Akugyaku no Black Maria

Chapter 4 – A Morning Episode

After getting himself dressed, Shizuru headed down the stairs to a room at the back of the first floor.

The condition of Black Maria’s third squad headquarters couldn’t be called extravagant to begin with.
It was enough to ward off the winds and rains but it was something someone who wanted a decent living would keep at a distance.
Which means, honestly speaking, it was falling apart. Luckily, since one of the inhabitants, Shizuru, was methodical, it received frequent cleanings.

And that room inside the headquarters was falling apart especially hard.
‘That room’ should have been reworded ‘the room’s surroundings’.
As a place of living, it had the minimum of things covered, but at a glance, it was almost in ruins.

Shizuru stood in front of the door made of boards patched together.

He was about to give the door a knock, but he stopped himself.
The hinge looked like it was going to come off. It was likely to break if he knocked.

So instead of knocking on the door, Shizuru raised his voice a little louder.
Not to the point of yelling, but just louder than every other sound.

“Cassie. It’s morning, get up”

After the call, Shizuru waited several seconds.
There was no response. To him, this was just as expected worth no particular feelings.
For there was really no instance of a response coming back after just one call.

“Cassie”

Second call. Sure enough, there was still no response.
Far from it, there wasn’t even a single sound.

“Cassie, Cassie, Cassie. CassieCassieCassie …”

Shizuru called out her name. Detachedly, like playing a random melody that came to mind.
This makes eight times. The record up until now was seven times.
Looks like they’re not breaking any records today.

“… Haah”

At the tenth call, Shizuru cut off his calls for once, and sighed.
He thought he should rather go inside already, but to enter the room before she had woken up was a very dangerous act.
He had never forgotten how he almost died doing it in the past once.

As an aside, if he yelled out loud, he could get hit if his luck was bad.
She was relatively, mostly, or rather was almost certainly having a hangover every morning.
Loud voices would ring in her head. But unless he shouted loudly it won’t reach the sleeping person.
Shizuru had spent considerable effort to learn the right amount.

“Will you please get up already, Cassie … if I kept on calling you out in front of your room like this they’re gonna think I’m a hopeless stalker or something, oy!”

Still no response, time passed in vain.
Shizuru himself was starting to lose count of how many times he called already.
It was only natural, since he wasn’t actually counting, but it would’ve been a great help if she would wake up while he still knew how many times he’d called without having to count.
Shizuru nursed that thought every morning, and was betrayed as many times.
It was probably somewhere around the fiftieth call when a response finally came back.

“… mmmmmhh … hoaaaaaahhh …”

A mumble came back from behind the door.
Rather than a reply, it was more of a groan.
A voice that would confuse several people out of ten of whether she was sleeptalking or waking up.
Shizuru made a small sigh and pushed the door with his finger.

The door with broken hinges creaked unsteadily as it easily opened.
Incidentally, the doorknob was already long gone due to the room’s owner being too violent.
Shizuru repaired it four times and it would be broken again everytime, so he stopped trying to fix it.

“It’s morning already, Cassie”

The inside of the room was dark enought that one would doubt whether or not it was still nighttime.
Of course it was, since there were four layers of curtains to keep light from entering by any means.
It was practically a blackout curtain. With just the light from the open door, Shizuru walked inside.

Even if he knew the room’s layout, she would randomly leave things laying around.
She would sometimes sleep on the bed properly, and other times sleep on the floor.
If he somehow stepped on her, what awaited him was a hell of submission.
He would then have to spend useless effort to heal his own fractures and dislocations.

Which was why Shizuru stepped carefully — and he finally found the woman sleeping on the bed.
Looks like she managed to find her way to bed today.

“Morning”

The bed had no pillows, covers, or sheets, just a mattress.
On top of it lay a woman, looking as if she was dead.
She was laying down on the bed the wrong way around.

With the door open and the room brightened, her form was revealed.

Wolf-cut blond hair, frazzled just like how its owner’s personality was.
A tank top that only went down as far as the pit of her stomach.
Kinked slacks whose fold lines had all but disappeared from being worn right out of wash.
A belly button ring, reflecting the light that filtered into the room.

She was rather tall and had a physique that made her look muscular for a woman.
And what would be her most distinguishing feature, the huge breasts that seem to be on the verge of tearing her tank top right now.

“… ooih …”

She opened a pair of red pupiled eyes slightly, seeing Shizuru, and let out an indistinct voice.
She was probably trying to say ‘morning’ just now, he judged.

— Her name was Casca, nickname Cassie.
However, it was only Shizuru and Richelieu, who had been with her for a long time, who called her that.

Her role in Black Maria was the Commanding Officer of the Third Squad. In other words, one of the seven leaders in the organization.
Once a bad girl well known within the slums, a woman feared as the “Demolisher” who could destroy things with her bare hands.
In fact, it was not just once, but she still had that name and was still feared even now.

And she would drink the whole night away like today, a hopeless drunkard.

“… hiu … alp …”

Moving her lips that were dry from drinking to much, Casca whispered something in a voice that would make you think that the hum of a mosquito’s wings were more lively.
By Shizuru’s deciphering, she was trying to say “Shizu, help”

“Haah …”

How, why, even though every single day she would turn out like this, she never showed any sign of ever learning her lesson.
As he thought that and sighed, Shizuru stretched out his hand at Casca.

“— O Goddess of White”

A faint light appeared out of his palm.
The room was still dark even though sunlight had already filtered in, so that light seemed especially bright.

— The creatures in this world were divided into those that do and do not carry magic power.
The overwhelming majority don’t, and of those that do, were called Holders if human, and Magic Beasts if they were animal.

And then there were eight colors of magic, and their attributes are divided according to color.
Red of Fire.
Blue of Water.
Green of Air.
Brown of Earth.
Yellow of Lightning.
Purple of Ice.
Black of Darkness.
White of Light.

Thus in this world, all magic was lumped together and called the Eight Color Magics.
Each and every Holder or Magic Beast possesses one color.

Shizuru was one of the holders.
His color was white, governing light.

It then diverges further into two directions, Shizuru chose healing magic.
Magic that heals wounds, neuters toxins, and even cures disease.

Magic’s effectiveness and difficulty in acquisition were ranked in order of Low, Medium, and High grade.
And he, after seven years, had managed to raise everything to Medium.
This would normally be impossible, it was clearly an abnormal speed.

“El Wohl Iste — Wash”

A warm light shined from Shizuru’s palm, falling over Casca like a curtain of aurora.
Gradually, the flush returned to her face, and her dying eyes regained its vigor.

The light finally subsided and vanished like it was never there.
And Casca was cured of her hangover like sleight of hand.

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