Assassins Pride Volume 1 Chapter 1

[This work is not yet edited, not because it is not edited, but because I didn’t edit it. Caution is advised]

LESSON:I ~The Awakening of the Golden Crow

A large chandelier that was mounted on the ground — that was the state of the world.

People rose their heads to stare at the blank sky. The dazzling celestial bodies like the stars, moon, and the sun only existed in ancient texts that had been passed down. There were many scholars who thought that these were just the creations of the poets, because in today’s world, the scene of having a blue sky hanging over the heads of the people — it was quite unbelievable.

In this world, from the skies to the ground, even until the end of the earth, all were covered in darkness. The colorless darkness had caused the people to unable to confirm what kind of surroundings further of the earth went, and the area of the vast land was beyond imagination… there was only a corner situated in all this darkness, where there was a huge group of glass containers and the height of them ranged from hundreds until thousands of meters, whilst exuding brilliant light.

That was humanity’s last city — The world’s lantern [Flandor].

The lantern had a diameter of 5km, its large glass containers were called ‘Canvell’, each containing a street, as if wanting to surround the “Holy Kingdom” where privileged class residents lived, 24 canvells line up tightly on metal bases, they could only be described as chandeliers. Even though there was a great difference.

In between different kinds of canvells, there were few metal bridges constructed, and situated on top of these bridges contained the transportation of the people. Right at this moment, there was a train that was passing through the Holy Kingdom’s outer tunnel, following hundreds of meters of elevated railroads moving down to other canvells.

On that train, in the last coach box, there was a young man looking out the window, his solemn expression showed as he counted the canvells, at the same time, while casually thinking.

What kind of force created such unreasonable constructions? People were even hesitant to think about this.

—That was what the young man was thinking.

***

The train that the young man was on finally reached its final stop which was a station situated outside of the Holy Kingdom, one of the canvells — Cardinals Learning Institution. This was where rows of academies were situated upon, half of the residents here are students, it was Flandor’s second to none gakuen city.

It was dawn, the young man disembarked the train, arriving at a platform covered with fog, he glanced around once and confirmed that he was indeed in the city where it belonged to students.

The people that disembarked and the people who boarded the trains, or the people who traversed around within the station, most of them were youths. The young man breathed in a breath of fresh air, as he fixed his usual military uniform.

The young man retrieved a map of the city that’s drafted on a paper from his coat pocket.

Speaking of Cardinals Learning Institution’s characteristics, it was also known as ‘Meditation Towers’ due to their beautiful construction. It was as if mathematicians, physicians, and artists cooperated to build it, hundreds of pointed roofs constructions neatly laid out, taking away breaths of many with its beauty.

The young man’s destination was the border of these tower streets.

He heard that Merida Angel’s mansion was constructed across the city of Seamus waterfront.

From today onwards for the duration of 3 years — this young man would start living the life of a private tutor in this city.

“The atmosphere is very different from the Holy Kingdom.”

The young man inhaled gently while placing the paper back into his pocket.

“There is a scent of intelligence…”

He murmured, then an unexpected clear high-pitched voice overlapped his voice.

The young man looked over his shoulder and at the same time he exchanged glances with the person looking at him.

The person was a girl who disembarked the train. She looked younger than him by a little, approximately age 16. The way she dressed herself, it exhibited a clear notion that she was conscious about her attire.

Her bright red hair has been well maintained to be silky smooth, her slender limbs were also filled with charm. Dressed like a beautiful fairy, like a dancer dancing on a stage, or a model right out of a fashion magazine.

A girl like her would attract many gazes of young boys, but she didn’t seem to notice her own charm. The girl smiled an innocent smile at the young man, she looked childish compared to how she dressed.

アサシンズプライド_P001_扉.indd

“Hehe, we said the same thing.”

“Sounds like it — wait, no, uh —”

The young man coldly replied, as he shook his head gently.

From arriving at the city, his mission has already begun. The young man’s identity right now was to head to the duke family and begin his job as a private tutor, he needed to put on a ‘mask’ befitting of a private tutor to handle the people that he met under the current circumstance.

After a moment, the young man smiled a warm smile towards the red-haired girl.

“Are you here for a holiday?”

“N-no, it’s for a job! Does that mean…”

“Yes, as you can see, I’m not a student — come on, let’s go.”

The young man escorted the girl towards the luggage compartment of the train.

At this very moment, there were more than just boys who were enraptured by the red-haired girl’s beauty but even a few women that were traversing within the station had their cheeks flushed, halting in their tracks. A portrait painter immediately took the liberty to start painting the scene, while a few seemingly like journalists’ boys who were dressed in suits pressed the shutter button on their cameras repeatedly.

Do we really look like a picture whilst walking together? The young man doubted, but the red-haired girl was the opposite of the young man, her face didn’t contain any trace of clue that she noticed the eyes of the public, her reddish cheeks gave out a sense of joy to the atmosphere.

After arriving at the luggage compart, the young man took the first step onto the stairs leading to the luggage compartment.

“What’s your ticket number?”

“Eh, ticket number? Uh… found it!”

The young man took the ticket from the girl that she took it out from her dress’s pocket. He walked into the luggage compartment, and within a few moments, he came out with his own luggage on his right and a cutely decorated travel bag on the left.

“Sorry to have made you wait, miss.”

The young man handed her the bag, the red-haired girl gasped with surprise, happily exclaiming:

“How… how chivalrous of you!”

“It’s only a small matter, nothing much. If I could help you to your destination, that would be the best…”

The girl displayed a face of fear and then shook her head, immediately took over her own bag.

After asking, the girl’s destination was the Cardinals Learning Institution’s trendiest high class residential area, as opposed to the young man as he was ready to head out to the depressing outskirts.

After leaving the station, both stood at the top of the large stairs that could be seen from the streets just from a glance.

As if they were on a stage, both shook hands atop the large stairs.

“I came here alone and I felt insecure… but meeting such a nice person, it’s awesome! It feels like from today onwards, a lot of things will go according to plan!”

“That’s great. If there is a chance, then we’ll meet up again.”

“Ok, if there’s a chance then we’ll meet again! We must meet again!”

The girl held the young man’s hand with both of her hands and shook it a few times, and after that she ran down the stairs. The girl turned, her red hair following the wind as it swayed, she waved at the young man accompanied with a smile.

The young man gently waved his hand as a response as he saw her disappear.

“Huuu” — the young man unknowingly sighed.

The young man’s superior guaranteed that his skills in acting were unbeatable wasn’t a lie. Even though it was a bit sad, but out of all the unit members, it seemed like himself was the most suitable candidate for this mission.

After confirming the red-haired girl has disappeared into the crowd, the young man walked towards the stairs with his luggage in tow, preparing to head to his destination.

The young man depended on his notes, walked towards one of the streets that extended radially. He passed by the pointed roof constructions and hearty eyed students, headed straight towards the outskirts.

The foundation of the city-state (Flandor) were the 25 canvells — even though accurately speaking it was the streets themselves that were radiating such light that could cast away the darkness. The real reason of the light were the street lights hanging on the street. A special gas was filled within the glass containers of the street lights.

The gas is called [Blood of the Sun].

That kind of liquid glass could be mined from a mine near Flandor outskirts, after lighting the gas in fire, it could radiate a strong and holy light. That was a shield as well as armor, defending the whole city from [the curse of the night] that had engulfed the world. It was humanity’s last lifeline to maintain a civilized society —

When the mining vein of Blood of the Sun dried up, what would become of Flandor? How would life continue? It had been discussed on the council countless times, but until now, there was no answer to this question, the thought flashed across the thoughts of the young man, as it disappeared.

Rather than fearing for a distant future, what was more important now was to not get lost in this foreign city.

The young man depended on his notes as he moved on, occasionally asked directions from stall merchants, finally he arrived at his destination — a corner of the canvell. The left side of the road had a brick wall that was built from long ago, an iron fence was also built to prevent visitors from visiting.

A shocking sight of an overgrown garden that was opposite of the iron fence.

Plants that existed within canvells were of course not natural plants. Who was rich enough to maintain such scale of a garden?

The young man approached the fence and was greeted by maids who bowed to him.

“You must be KufaVanpiel. Welcome, we have been waiting.”

The young man listened to the name he was given for the sake of the mission and returned an elegant smile. The red-haired girl from before had proven that the current ‘mask’ he wore was useful to the public.

“Lucky to have met you, from now on, please take care of me.”

“Yes, we should be the ones to ask for your care. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

In the middle of the three maids, there was one maid who stood forward, carrying a smile befit of a flower. The girl gave out an innocent image but at the same her strong will was felt.

“I’m Amy, I am the head maiden of this mansion. If there is any confusion, don’t hesitate, please come and find me.”

“Head maiden?”

The young man — Kufa frowned. The young girl called Amy, no matter how you looked at her, she was about 17 or so, not much difference compared to himself. The head maiden was referred to as ‘lady’, usually the one who held the rank would be of an older age, with ample experience.

The young man was then reminded before the mission, his superior learned a few things. Apparently, since the blood lineage of Lady Merida was suspected, her position within the Angel family seemed to become very delicate, even her father didn’t treat her well, even grouped her with the lowest ranking of maids together and placed them in another mansion.

This meant that not even the amount of people that was minimum, but this included experience, right? The maids behind Amy could also be said as the age of young girls.

“Look, it’s a man!”

“It is a man…!”

“He’s quite young…”

“It seems that he’s quite mature, wonder how old he is?”

The girls whispered among themselves. Even though they were in front of a guest, yet they still gossiped, happily talking away their secret topics. The young girls looked up the young man, with gazes filled with interest and passion, causing the young man to feel embarrassed.

“Look, he’s slim and tall… his Calvary uniform fits him so well!”

“Including that purplish black hair, accompanied with cold eyes, truly amazing…!”

“He exudes an aura that says, ‘I am skilled, got any problems?’!”

“Even though we’re seniors compared to him, instead, he’s the one that would be called as a devil instructor!”

“Ah, it’s too cruel!”

“Devil sensei ah…!”

Who’s the devil sensei?

Contrary to the topic of discussion and the unknown reason of why the girls were happy, Kufa acted as if he didn’t hear anything, at the same time sighed. However, Amy misunderstood such gesture, she quickly reached out.

“Oh, I’m very sorry, you must be tired! Let me help you with your luggage.”

“No, it’s fine.”

Kufa refused her kind gesture, and shook Amy’s outstretched hand.

“Today onwards, we will be colleagues, there is no need for such formal gesture. Please treat me as your helper, if there are any jobs needed to be handed to me, please just ask.”

“Oh!”

Amy’s face flushed red. The maids behind her gasped.

“Amy immediately received an attack!”

“Amy’s sneaky~!”

Cough, cough — the young head maiden faked a cough or two, and turned around, her skirt swayed following her actions.

“Then… then I’ll lead you to the mansion. Let’s go!”

Accompanied by the three maids, Kufa passed through the main gate. Behind the gate, it was the garden where it could be seen opposite of the fence. Artificial trails are placed in between the lush and tall plants. The greens covered the path forward, still unable to see the silhouette of the mansion.

“The presence of a male is really helpful, if the house only has girls, then it would bring many inconveniences…”

Amy tried to start up a conversation with the young man, then the other maids also joined in.

“If there is any work that requires strength, can we trouble you?”

“Like moving stuff, or cleaning high areas!”

Kufa let out a bitter smile, and at the same time flexed his biceps…

“Leave it to me.”

His answer made the maids shouted out “kyaaaa~”.

According to them, the mansion has another same aged maid. In turn, it meant that there was only these maids… Kufa’s mind flashed over ‘men are forbidden’, such old saying.

Even though it was work, but for entering the garden, Kufa wasn’t immune to being nervous. But seeing such welcoming atmosphere, it didn’t seem to be able to confuse the mind and affect the mission.

— Until before meeting her at the end of the trail, he really thought so.

Merida Angel’s mansion was an elegant yet modern two-story building, the level of space was suitable to house 5 to 6 people. Comparing the Cardinal Learning Institution’s streets and the pointed roof tops, accompanying with such lush greenery surroundings, the whole scene gave out an atmosphere that it was a magician’s hideout.

After walking for five minutes since the main gate, they finally reached the main entrance of the mansion, Amy swiftly turned.

“Lord Kufa, welcome. From today onwards, a total duration of three years, here is your workplace. The young lady should be waiting… eh?”

Amy suddenly felt something and looked up. Kufa who was led by this action looked up as well, following the two other maids.

It was because all of them heard the talking.

Above the entrance, on the second floor, there was a balcony, the sounds came from the hall inside the balcony.

“Huh, aren’t they back yet? From when they went out to greet him, it’s passed quite some time.”

“Ojou-sama, really, how many times do you have to ask the same question? Amy and the others will greet the guest, they’ll be arriving very soon~”

“But, there’s only 3 minutes left until the promised time of meeting. They might be lost, or the train went into an accident…! I’ll go check it out!”

“W-wait, Lady Merida!”

Then there was a shadow running towards the balcony. Hurried footsteps appeared above Kufa and the others. Kufa took one step, two steps, three steps back, to confirm the identity of the person.

— then he was immediately approached by a bright light, Kufa couldn’t help but to squint his eyes.

It was blonde hair.

It was even brighter than the Blood of the Sun, compared to colors, it should be said that there was a brilliant light. If an angel created the light reflecting from a jewel, would it be such a holy golden light?

The girl followed her momentum and jumped onto the railing, her golden blonde hair danced like a harp playing. Her childish act befitted her 13-year-old age.

Her face was childish yet beautiful, using a doll to describe her would be most appropriate.

Soft and cherry colored cheeks, with a slim body and cute height —

Her perfect beauty led people hard to believe that she was just graduated from primary school, Kufa’s gaze was instantly attracted.

Kufa looked up with his half-mesmerized gaze, as for Merida she leaned her body forward at the railing, looking out. She didn’t even notice the people that she was looking for were below her.

“Hmm~… I can’t see them! They are not by the garden. So that means, they’re either still on the streets or at the main gate… really, I’ve known that the garden was too lush!”

“Sl-slow down! Ojou-sama, it’s very dangerous!”

The maiden that was in distraught rushed over to the balcony from the hall.

A face of impatient was drawn on the naughty young girl’s face as she placed a single knee on top of the railing. Kufa saw this as he involuntary let out a “hm”, unable to speak.

Not sure if it was nearing the time for school, Merida was wearing the academy’s uniform. The colors of her uniform are like a red rose but brighter, suited well along with her golden blonde hair.

Even though the uniform suits her… but her lower body was wearing a skirt. From the perspective of Kufa, boldly setting the skirt aside would surely show the skin underneath of the skirt inelegantly — ….

Kufa looked away.

The one that was worrying for him, was the one looking from the same perspective as him, Amy.

“You… you can’t, Ojou-sama! Here! We’re here!”

“It’s showing! There’s a male looking!”

“Eh?”

The sounds came from somewhere Merida had never expected, she kept the same posture as she turned her head with the feeling of doubt. She finally then noticed the three maidens that were looking at her, and within the three maidens, there was a tall man dressed in a military uniform.

She reviewed back her own appearance and the way she was standing as well as the place — even though it was just an imagination, but Kufa could see her childish beautiful face slowly turned red.

“Eh… ah… uwaaa…? — kyaaaa!”

“Ah!”

From the sounds of getting embarrassed, suddenly turned into a sharp scream. Kufa felt that Amy and the others took a deep breath — he looked up at the instant.

All he saw was Merida lost her balance and started falling from the second-floor balcony. Times like this, for people who weren’t ready, they wouldn’t be able to do anything. Kufa threw his luggage as he dashed across, sliding towards Merida’s drop point. He opened his arms and waited, calmly — catching Merida.

Thud — like the impact of feathers, Merida landed in the embrace of Kufa. It was a princess hug.

Merida had no idea what had happened, her eyes were tightly shut, her whole body was stiff.

“Are… you alright, Ojou-sama?”

“Eh…? — ah… uh, no… I’m fine…”

Merida trembled as she opened her eyes and exchanged gazes with Kufa.

Her childish beautiful face immediately turned red to the ears.

Was it because she was reminded the thing before, or was it that she was too terrified until her legs are weak? Or it was because Kufa’s muscular arms were too hard, it made her feel uncomfortable?

Her peach colored lips trembled, accompanied by a warm and soft whisper.

“Are you my tutor…?”

“Ah — yes, I am Kufa. Please take care of me from now on.”

“…!”

Merida immediately closed her mouth.

Her gem-like pupils radiated a sort of gravity, captivated Kufa’s gaze. It unexpected evolved to an ultra-close posture as both gazed into each other, besides Merida, everything else seemed to have disappeared from his vision —

Amy and the others rushed over, Kufa and Merida regained their senses.

“Ojou-sama! It’s lucky that you’re all right!”

“Waaaa! Eh? Ah… I… what is this…!”

Merida regained her own senses. She seemed like this was the first time receiving a princess hug from someone of the opposite sex, since her face was red as she pushed Kufa away and landed onto the floor.

Kufa thought that she’d leave the scene immediately — but the pride of a duke’s daughter made Merida halt when she was leaving.

“Please… please bring sensei to his room!”

She forced herself to say this and after that, she rushed into the mansion immediately. Those cute yet panicked footsteps slowly faded away… the maids that were left at the entrance looked at each other.

“Uh, that young lady is my employer…?”

“… she’s Lady Merida Angel.”

Amy looked as if she had a headache as she bowed. The other maids had a face of helplessness as they shrugged. Looks like the mischievous acts of the master of the mansion was something that was common to everyone.

It seemed that there were a lot of things that were more than met the eyes. This was what Kufa promised himself, sounds of footsteps approach nearer from the mansion. Supposedly thinking it was Merida who came back, but it was not.

PING! The door opened, it was the unknown fourth maid.

“Bad news, Ojou-sama jumped off from the balcony! …eh, weird, where’s Ojou-sama?”

The fourth maid looked around and didn’t manage to see the shadow of her master, but she found four of her colleagues. They were her superiors, Amy, two of her same age maids, and meeting for the first time, the young man who would be the private tutor…

Kufa immediately smiled courteously, however —

“Devil sensei…”

The fourth maid completely forgot about the dangers Merida was in, showed a mesmerized gaze. Told you I’m not a devil.

*          *          *

Given what happened earlier at the entrance, Kufa finally entered the mansion.

Kufa’s personal room was situated between the second floor and attic, it could be said that it was half an attic room. Amy opened the door situated in the middle of the stairs, slightly bowed her head apologetically.

“Because until now, there’s no room for males, I’ve asked people to urgently cleaned the room. Please forgive me if I’ve brought any inconvenience.”

“No, how would it be?”

Kufa carried his heavy luggage into the room that he will be staying for the next three years.

He let out a relieved sigh as he placed down his luggage on the floor. Even though Amy spoke humbly, but this room compared to the rundown apartment that Kufa lived in back at the outskirts of the holy kingdom, it was like a paradise.

There was not a hint of hypocrite within the words of Kufa, but Amy didn’t seem to have accepted the words of its face value. She kept coming forward desperately, possibly to make Kufa like this workplace.

“In this mansion, Ojou-sama dines with us servants. Tonight, there are plans to hold Kufa-san’s welcoming party, please look forward to it!”

“Mm, I look forward to it.”

“… ah, it was supposed to be a secret! I’m really…!”

“Ah-haha —”

Seeing as Amy felt embarrassed while holding her cheek, Kufa’s laughed openly.

After she left the room, Kufa once again looked at the room’s interior.

Even though, Amy said that it was an empty room, but every corner was cleaned and no dust was seen. Also, Kufa had never felt such a soft bed before, the new mattress let out a smell of warmth from the Blood of the Sun streetlights. These were also prepared by the maids for their new colleague.

“This isn’t a bad workplace.”

Kufa moved his luggage to the wall, as he opened the windows.

The scent of flowers blew into the room. The light was good, from here the scenery was superior when looking out from his room —

“Not bad.”

Kufa breathed in deep, taking a large breath of fresh air, shutting his eyes.

Suddenly, there was someone standing outside of the door.

After seemingly hesitant in silence, the sounds of a knock came from the door.

“… Sen… Sensei, mind if I interrupt…?”

“Ojou-sama?”

Kufa immediately rushed to the door, he opened the door and looked, the only thing he saw was Merida dressed in her Saint Frideswide Girl’s Academy uniform, rubbing her knees together, and looked up to Kufa.

“What is it, it isn’t time for school yet right?”

“Ye… yes. Hence… uh…”

Merida had a face of hesitance, not long after as if she was determined to do something and raised her head.

“If it’s convenient for you, can sensei teach me before school starts…”

“Ah…”

“So… sorry! Sensei is actually tired!”

Seeing the young girl bowed apologetically, Kufa can’t help but feel at a loss.

—Oh, it really is quite surprising. I would think that she wouldn’t have much drive, only then she would have such terrible results, but surprisingly, she is quite hardworking.

Kufa felt a sudden interest towards Merida.

“Sure.”

Kufa answered while taking off his military uniform, loosening his tie.

“Then, let’s see what you can do. Please change into some sportswear, and come to the courtyard.”

“Ye — yes! I’ll be in your care!”

Merida raised her head and smiled happily.

Kufa’s heart thumped. Merida’s smile was too dazzling, making Kufa unable to breathe as he was mesmerized — must be because I let my guard down.

*          *          *

At the back of the courtyard, there was a square for holding tea parties being surrounded by flowers. The space of the square could almost be used to play as well using it to train. Kufa dressed in a shirt, and Merida who had changed into sportswear with a pair of skin tight pants, each wielding practice weapons facing each other.

“Then, let’s start from the basics. Even if you did wrong, it’s all right, please try to demonstrate style one to twenty-eight of the book of swordsmanship [Noble Stances].”

“Ye… yes.”

Merida answered with a stiff voice, she raised up the wooden sword that was almost the same height as her.

Even though it felt that the weapon wasn’t suitable with her physique, but as a paladin rank, she should be able to wield a sword of that length. Merida should realize such fact.

If Merida was really a paladin, there would be no problems, but…

“— ha!”

Merida took a step as she breathed a short breath. Her knees gently lowered, as she slashed the air with the sword.

“Oh.”

Kufa involuntarily let out a gasp.

Originally, Kufa was worried that Merida would not be able to handle the weapon, but she was able to use the centrifugal force to skillfully wield the long sword. From a downward slash then changing into a robe slash, with a smooth flow and then added with a strike.

Maybe it was because she felt the gaze of Kufa, her movements occasionally felt stiff. Even so, the effort of making this turn into a second nature would not betray her. Until now, Merida had repeated hundreds or even thousands of times of sword practice, until her body could perfectly reproduce the model of the basic form.

Until the last act had been smoothly performed, Merida raised her sword skillfully.

“Looks like that you constantly practice.”

Kufa wrote a note on his notebook, and picked up a wooden sword.

“Now then, let’s try some tricks.”

Kufa walked to the front of Merida, and gently closed his eyelids.

Amidthe darkness, appeared a ball of white flame floating in the consciousness of one.

Kufa instantly poured all his thoughts into the small flame. The flame became more violent as it expanded, surpassing the sound of speed as it channeled through the body —

It bursts!

Boom! Blue flames exuded from Kufa’s body. It was the release of mana.

Although it was fire, but it didn’t burn. The light coming from the flames was a holy power just to keep away the “Night”. The so-called mana, it was also known as “The Blood of The Sun” dwelling in one’s body.

“Uwah…!”

Merida’s eyes widened as she stared at Kufa.

“Sensei’s mana is the color of blue…! This is my first time seeing such clear flames!”

“Is that right, this is embarrassing.”

“Um, if you don’t mind, what is sensei’s class…?”

“It’s Samurai. It’s the class with great agility.”

Kufa spun the wooden the sword that is the shape of a katana around, causing Merida to gasp.

Kufa smiled bitterly and held his sword in front of him. Mana conveyed from his palm onto his sword, transferring the blue flames onto the edge of the sword.

“Then, please attack me however you wish. Even if you feel like it’d hit, there is no need to stop.”

“Ye… yes.”

Merida nodded nervously, and raised her long sword. The long sword looked as if it was heavy, the tip of her sword was shaking.

After staying as if she was petrified for a few seconds, Merida started to move. She moved took a step forward and at the same time, raising her sword above her head, within a the time of a breath, got close to Kufa.

“He-ya!”

Kufa heard Merida’s raging cry, within his thoughts came up with a question mark.

But, it was already too late. The long sword carried a violent momentum as it came down. The sharp long sword slashed down on the wooden sword —

Clang—! The long sword accompanied by a defeaning sound bounced off.

“Uwah!”

Merida flew two meters backwards, as she couldn’t help but sat down on the ground. Freed from her hand, the long sword flew up into the air, and broke into two. It was dropping just on top of Merida, hence Kufa immediately dashed forward and slashed with his wooden sword, whipped away the wreckage of the sword.

Kufa switched to use his left hand to hold the wooden sword, and helped the dizzy Merida off the ground.

“I am so sorry, Ojou-sama, are you, all right?”

I was careless. Kufa totally forgot about Merida’s status on the “MPO”.

Just think about it, you would know why mana users would be given the authority of nobles, it was price to bear the burden of having to fight against enemies. Merida was unable to use mana, if a weapon that was infused with mana clashed against a normal weapon, it would result like this.

“Let’s change the bookings, first, we need to awaken your mana.”

Kufa looked around the broken pieces of Merida’s sword, and smiled bitterly.

“There would be a need to prepare a new weapon.”

“… sorry.”

Merida had done no wrong, yet she apologized, also dropped her head in frustration.

Kufa kept the practice swords, and supported Merida by the arm to the middle of the courtyard.

Kufa relaxed his posture and began to lecture Merida on the basics.

“Mana users’ body has a few organs that could not be seen by the eyes. The whole body has more than a dozen mana discharge holes that are called Mantle, also there are twenty-two tunnels connecting these places called Vaporizer.”

Kufa gently placed his hand on top of Merida’s head. Even though, he wanted to accurately point out the place was the middle of the top of her head.

“The discharge holes have their own names. Here, it is the ‘Ketel(Crown)’.”

Kufa then moved his hand and touched Merida’s slim right upper arm, right forearm, left upper arm, and left forearm, then her right thigh and calf, left thigh, and calf. While touching he read out the names, respectively ‘Binah (Understanding), Gevurah (Severity), Chochmah(Wisdom), Chesed(Kindness), Hod (Glory), Malchut (Kingship), Netzach (Eternity), Yesod (Foundation)’.

Finally, Kufa placed his fingertip on the middle of Merida’s chest. Merida’s face turned red, but Kufa kept his serious expression. The thirteen-year-old kept her lips tight, taking this seriously.

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“’Tiferet (Beauty)’ — this is the most important Mantle. The fountain of mana is here, the twenty-two Vaporizers accumulate here. If the user consciously stresses the ‘Beauty’, mana can be released through the Vaporizers.”

Try it and see — Kufa urged, Merida nodded.

She shut her eyes, both hands clasped together, as if she was praying.

She waited a while… but nothing happened.

Merida’s forehead had begun to sweat, sweat droplets begun to drip down her face.

Still couldn’t? Kufa didn’t say anything but in his heart, he muttered to himself.

For example, Kufa couldn’t understand the feeling of having a tail like a cat; unable to copy how bats fly by using ultrasound; and unlike fishes, he couldn’t breathe underwater using gills.

If someone didn’t possess the same organ as he did, then that person would not be the same kind of organism as him.

Right now, Merida felt distress, it was the same as this feeling.

Because her body didn’t possess Manto or Filipoleux, and even mana didn’t even exist —

“… Ojou-sama, it’s almost time for school.”

In the end, until Amy came to call for Merida, there was no result. The maid had a face of sadness while watching the lonely and petite back of her mistress walked back to the mansion.

Amy then turned to Kufa, forcing a smile.

“Right, Kufa-san. Please take care of our Ojou-sama at school as well.”

“Please leave it to me. As one of the servants in the duke’s home, I need to be on guard.”

“— eh?”

Merida was shocked as she turned around. She trembled while asking:

“Sen… sensei will come to the academy as well…?”

“Yes, you didn’t know? As ojou-sama’s private tutor, as well as your attendant. Even though St. Fridesweide’s All Girls Academy forbids males from entering, I was given special permission because I’m your attendant.”

“… um!”

Merida had a complex expression as she bit her lip nervously, then turned. Merida looked upon the mansion and ran towards it, Kufa and Amy that were left behind looked at each other.

Kufa wondered what was Merida worrying about.

***

Merida studies at Saint Frideswide Girl’s Academy, with a castle-like school building, a cathedral attached, it’s an academy that possesses history and style. It’s situated at South Albert Avenue;towering walls are all around the vast campus. From far, you could see the tip of the school building pointing towards the sky.

The children of aristocrats studying in — a school where mana ability users learn to develop their knowledge, there a total of 13 schools in the whole of Flandor. One of them is Saint Frideswide Girl’s Academy which places special attention to make its students to become a lady, it’s an academy with a long history.

Once it’s time for class, the streets will be naturally filled with students. Each school has their own uniform, some are of a traditional dress, and some others are cute skirts, etc.

Merida donned the Saint Frideswide Girl’s Academy gothic style uniform, hung her head low among the students, looked at the floor as she walked.

Her slender hands held a leather bag stuffed full of stuff.

“It seems to be heavy, ojou-sama. Let me help you?”

“N…no! It’s fine!”

アサシンズプライド_P001_扉.indd

Merida didn’t look at Kufa, but just shook her head. What is inside?

Not long after, nearing Albert Avenue, there are more girls wearing the same uniform appearing. Kufa’s impressive military uniform, no matter if it’s the color of his height is particularly conspicuous, occasionally there would be curious gazes. Merida, as if she’s sitting on a carpet riddled with needles, shrunk her shoulders.

The entrance to Saint Frideswide is a narrow tunnel. You could see there are a few girls wearing the same first year emblem as Merida gathered at the side of the tunnel.

After confirming that Merida was walking over, a girl who tied her hair into a twin ponytail raised her hand.

“You’ve finally come! You’re too slow, Merida!”

Merida raised her head, don’t know why she glanced over to Kufa, somehow showed that she minded him being there.

Then she forced out a smile, ran over to the students.

“Good… good morning everyone.”

“Morning! Hey, what about the things that we asked for?”

The girl with the double ponytails held out her palm, the others giggled.

Merida opened the bag, took out two thick and heavy books.

It is the latest collection of love stories authored by a writer famous throughout the region. Kufa remembered what some people thought about that work ‘it’s content was too extreme, not suitable for students’, it was a hot topic within the Holy Kingdom.

The twin ponytail girl took the books from the hands of Merida like she was robbing her.

“This is it! Chris Lattwick Sensei’s newest book! I always wanted to read!”

“Nerva-sama, please lend it to me after you’ve finished!”

“I want it too! Please let me read it!”

The girls crowded while they discussed loudly about the novels. The twin ponytail called Nerva, smiled as she turned to Merida.

“This is great! My family is strict, the postman doesn’t even dare to send something like this to my home. You’re so lucky, Merida, your house doesn’t have your mother nor your father!”

Merida nodded with an ambiguous expression, and returned a stiff smile.

At this moment, Nerva noticed the man in the military uniform standing behind Merida.

“Oh, Merida, who’s that?”

“Ah… he’s come to tutor me today, he’s my private tutor…”

“Merida got a private tutor!”

Nerva seems to be the leader of the girls that are in a heated discussion about the romance novel, she raised her hand immediately to attract their attention.

Nerva walked to Kufa and elegantly bowed.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Nerva of theMartillo family. Merida is my ‘Blumen’, we’re very close.”

“Blumen?”

“’Blumen Blatt’… it’s a unit, sensei?”

Nerva smiled a ridicule smile as she said it.

A unit is to protect the Flandor military organization — it is made up of mana users, the smallest group within the ‘Cavalry Regiment’.

At most there would be 5 people in a group, the Cavalry Regiment is made up from many groups. No matter defense or attack, the foundation of strategies is made up from these groups.

Supposedly for drill sessions, these academies that taught these noble daughters suggested that they use this group system from their learning times to let them get used to the military beforehand.

Looking proudly, Nerva explained:

“Blumen means Garden, in Saint Frideswide this name would be used to call the unit. No matter where on the school grounds, we will never be separated, we would hold study sessions, tea parties or sleep overs… we’re as close as biological sisters.”

“Ah, I see, what a wonderful custom.”

“Fufu, are you coming to class? Sen. Sei.”

Facing Nerva’s sarcastic tone Kufa didn’t back away, but replied with a relaxed smile.

“I will remember your teachings, I’m KufaVanpiel, please take care of me from now on.”

“Vanpiel… I have not heard of this surname.”

Nerva doubted about it for a while, and thought that it was nothing and turned away.

Then, the group — no, the unit (Blumen) one of them as if there’s something funny spoke.

“Eh, didn’t Elize-sama hired a private tutor as well?”

“What!”

Merida suddenly twitched her shoulders.

From far there was a first-year girl who hid behind some girls. Her clean-cut silver hair, snow white skin, and a cold gaze fell straight onto Merida.

There is something similar between them both. Merida’s lips turned white, as if she was shivering: “you’re here, Eli.” Her voice was so soft that it sounded like it would have disappeared, only to have heard by Kufa.

The girl called Elize replied without an expression on her face:

“… I came to the mansion this morning.”

“And apparently, that tutor, is one of the youngest to have joined the Crest Legion, one of the elites!”

“Ah, totally from a different level!”

Nerva gasped, besides Elize, the others laughed. Even though she didn’t state whose level is different, but Merida’s shoulders dropped.

“Alright, we won’t be able to catch up to class, let’s go.”

Nerva exclaimed, the first-year students also started to head for class. Merida didn’t feel like it but followed anyway.

It was obvious that Merida was trying to stay at arm’s length from the girl named Elize. Kufahas browsed the mission materials before, the name has appeared. Elize Angel… she’s one of the members of the Duke Paladin family, her and Merida are cousins.

Elize is different from Merida who has her identity being suspected, her abilities as a paladin has been awakened long ago, it was not long after enrollment that she has begun making a name for herself.

A useless member from the main family and the excellent member from the branch family… it’s quite hard to imagine about their relationship with each other, the plan of the adults will be messed up as well.

Nerva who was walking at the front turned around from her group to look at the thinking Kufa, she smiled with another meaning hidden behind it, and then asked a question towards her sisters.

“Speaking of the Crest Legion, has everyone thought about what they will do after graduating?”

“Ah, Nerva-sama. There’s no need for you to be that impatient, we just enrolled into the academy not long ago?”

“There’s no such thing, three years will past by very quickly. Right, Merida?”

“Eh…?”

After being called unexpectedly, at the far corner of the group, Merida who was keeping a distance from everyone was in shock.

Nerva continued triumphantly:

“I kept thinking, which sort of group would have such a useless trash like you? I’m worried, because we’re friends. You’re also studying at a mana nurturing academy, of course you would enter the cavalry?”

“Um, yes…”

“I’ve thought of the place most suitable for Merida. How about the White Night Cavalry Regiment?”

(TL note: not sure of this name, the manga strays a bit from the light novel)

After Nerva said that, it caused an uproar among the girls.

Flandor is made up of hundreds of military regiments, it is also the total fighting power of humans, it is called the ‘Light Cavalry Regiment’. Missions that are handed to them are divided into four types respectively, to maintain Canvell’s law and order ‘maintain security’; to defend the human’s survival circle ‘defend the territory’; to eliminate enemies that have passed through the defense line ‘enemy elimination’; stepping into the dangerous territory that has been consumed by the night ‘night exploration’.

There are a few that have obtained good results, like the ones that have obtained a lot of credit during missions, or the ones that have won during large martial arts conferences etc., according to the rules they would be invited to the ‘Crest Legion’ the elite force, their mission ‘Guarding the Sanctuary’ is responsible for special duty in the Holy Kingdom.

However, there is a rumor that has been flowing through the streets and alleyways, according to the rumor, there seems to be a dark cavalry regiment that is opposite of the Light Cavalry Regiment that protects the peace…

They are said to be the secret organization that is active in the shadows, nobles and rich businessmen are afraid of them. In secret dealings, there is a need of suspicion to see whether they are behind the walls. Also, there was once an armed group in the lower residential areas that wanted to launch a coup, but they were annihilated within a night… there are lots of rumors about them.

Many have hoped there would be a name to call them, but no one knows where to start, the name ‘White Night Cavalry Regiment’ has unknowingly stuck with the masses. That name, ghosts and natural disasters are a symbol of terror, or it has been widely known for ‘what doesn’t exist’.

In other words, even if you don’t think about it, you could understand that Nerva is mocking Merida.

“Ah, but Merida has already decided on her future, I know it.”

“ — ah!”

As if expecting a decisive sentence, Merida shook a bit and kept stopping her footsteps.

In contrast, the other girls are looking for the climax of the show, coming forward to watch the fun.

“Please tell us, Nerva-sama!”

“I’m also interested!”

“Calm down. When I was at the interview, I was coincidentally in the same group as Merida, that time I heard she told the interviewer this — ‘my goal is to enter the Crest Legion, becoming a sword of hope like that, it has been a dream of mine since young’. When I knew these words came from the legendary ‘talentless girl’, it felt really funny…!”

The girls, including Nerva within the Blumen laughed hysterically.

They chose at the very center of the road towards the school. Surrounding them were girls from Saint Frideswide Academy, just by speaking loudly, everyone surrounding them would hear them loud and clear.

How humiliated someone would be to be exposed of their inner thoughts?

“…”

Merida’s whole body trembled, as she bit her lip to withstand this, but —

“Hmm, what does Elize-sama think?”

“ — ah!”

One of them questioned the silver haired girl, letting Merida’s slim shoulders tremble.

Elize who was at the opposite of the group didn’t join in them was mocking Merida, she just has a poker face on.

After receiving everyone’s fazes on her, it didn’t take long for her to nervously open her mouth.

“… I —”

At this moment, Merida took off. She didn’t run towards the school, maybe she doesn’t even know where she’s going.

On the way to school, a lot of people sent her a sympathetic gaze. A lot of them meant no evil, but to Merida, it was as if sitting on a carpet with needles.

Nerva smiled with satisfaction, as if the scene is one of the best paintings.

“Ah, how fun… you have to keep treating me as a friend, Merida.”

When she said it, another girl left the group.

“Ah, Elize-sama, where are you going?”

“…”

Elize silently gazed, and ran. She went after Merida who left for the same way.

Even though Kufa has so far been a shadow, but as a private tutor, he must follow. He nodded towards Nerva and the others, and chased after the two.

***

Even though the slightly large school area has made Kufa lost his way a bit, but he found two shadows at the empty chapel. He managed to hear Merida’s voice first.

“… why do you have to come after me! Anyway, you just wanted to say I can’t do it, right?”

Kufa watched from the shadows, he can see Merida asking Elize. The corner of the eyes of the blonde hair girl are red, can easily tell that she is in a state of being shaken when she is crying.

Kufa silently observed the two, saw that the silver hair girl’s expression changed. The silver hair girl slightly frowned, as if hesitating and spoke:

“I, Rida, I’ve also decided to join the Crest Legion…”

“ — ah!”

Merida’s face became red.

“Don’t call me Rida so casually!”

Elize’s shoulders shook. Merida shouted loudly, and ran away. She took a turn, and coincidentally bumped into Kufa.

“Sensei…!”

Merida’s eyes widened, aware of her moist eyes. Her face grew red as she wiped her face, she turned, her back facing Kufa, and ran away.

When Merida ran away from Kufa, a tear dropped on Kufa’s palm.

Kufa looked on as the blonde girl ran away, he turned to see Elize’s back on him, her head lowered.

Kufa suddenly remembered something and took out his notebook.

—The goal of the ‘talentless girl’ is to join the best cavalry, the Crest Legion.

“It’s really not a funny joke.”

Kufa didn’t laugh and spoke, shoving the notebook back into his pocket.

***

Simply speaking, this is the current situation of Merida Angel. Born from a noble family yet unable to use mana, such heresy will not be able to fit among the children.

Despite this, Merida seems to be doing her things her own way to a certain extent within her ability.

Kufa watches his master’s straightened back whilst sitting during the morning class.

A female lecturer in her late twenties stood on the lecture podium facing her students that were seated at a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree fan-shaped seating. She spoke gently to the students like she was talking to kindergarten kids.

“Dear students, the long-awaited summer vacation will be coming soon. Everyone is worried about public match at the end of the semester and the Circlet Night Festival that will be held afterwards… but all of you haven’t forgotten that before that, there is a practical final exam that will also be held at the end of the semester, right?”

Since a few students looked down sadly, the female lecturer chuckled.

“This is the first practical exam that everyone will be going through since studying in Saint Frideswide. Are there anyone who has been focusing on just practical skills and neglecting their homework? Today, let’s revise what we’ve learned — is there anyone that is able to summarize the chapter titled “The Cursed Night, Lycanthrope and Human Relations” from the historian textbook?”

At this moment, Merida raised her hand faster than anyone else. The female lecturer was quite happy as she called Merida to answer.

Merida stood from her chair,for a moment, she seemed to care about where Kufa is.

“… we humans live within the city-state known as ‘Flandor’, the ‘Night’ is a darkness that expands beyond Flandor’s domain, and [Lycanthrope] are shape shifting beings that lurk within this darkness. Lycanthropes vary from highly intelligent beings to bestial monsters; their physiology is a completely mystery to us. For example, the highest order would be [vampires]; werewolves [wolf]; will prey on creatures [tree men]; and the shapeless [witch fire] etc… They possess a power called [anima] an energy unlike mana, they will maliciously attack humans. We noble users of mana are tasked with the mission of protecting the weak from the threat of the lycanthropes. The most important job of the Light Cavalry Regiment is to push back the lycanthropes, do not let them get near Flandor.”

The female lecturer’s eyesight urged Merida to continue talking, Merida swallowed her saliva, continued to talk:

“Lycanthrope are dangerous creatures, they’re said to have originated from humans and ordinary flora and fauna. This is the main reason for the phrase “cursed by the night”. The darkness of the night eats away at those that live under its embrace and it is what causes the lycanthrope to change. To prevent this, we can’t leave Flandor. The Calvary that goes out to our lands in the night must bring a lamp lit with the Blood of the Sun and can’t let go. If one day the glass container (Canvell) breaks, that would be the end of humanity. Mana users depending on the Blood of the Sun, it is the last hope of all the humans that is living in Flandor and the world. We must always remember this by heart.”

“It’s a shame that today isn’t an exam, I have yet heard such an accurate answer.”

The female lecturer didn’t hesitate in complimenting Merida, the students in the class have their eyes lit up, gasping in admiration. Merida blushed as she lowered her head, but Nerva started to deny Merida’s effort.

“She said ‘us mana users’! She said she’s the humanity’s hope!”

“I ehard it! If I were to be in the same spot as her, I would be so embarrassed that my face would explode!”

Members of Nerva’s Blumen started to chime in and laugh. On the opposite, the class became quiet. The female lecturer as if was warning the students when she coughed and held up the textbook.

“…let’s continue. Next topic is ‘The uses of the Blood of the Sun, the difference between pressure types and inhalation types’.”

The female lecturer immediately chose another student to answer, Merida sat down. Nerva and the others won’t stop laughing at Merida, the other students minded but they didn’t say a word.

Merida didn’t oppose as well.

Because even if she could memorize the whole textbook or can perfectly reproduce an action, she still must carry a disadvantage of unable to use mana.

In the afternoon, it was time for practical skills class — Kufa had to witness Merida’s reason of being called [Talentless Girl].

Saint Frideswide is worthy of being called a vast school, they have readied a few training arenas.

One of the training arenas were a round stage like what a circus would use, on the conical stage that was separated by a rope, there were all kinds of exercise equipment.

Even though it seems the equipment are what circuses would use but the decisive difference is in its degree of danger. Places to walk were also dozens of meters of height, and there were also no fences to prevent from falling. Even though, it seems the surroundings have traps to make the challenger fall.

The first-year students changed into their designated uniforms and queued at the entrance of the stage. The tutor that stood aside would make a sign, and a few students would enter, it would be a test to their accuracy during passing a few obstacles and also time consumed during the test. If using the results from this test on the [Flandor’s Uniformed Combat Capability Benchmark], it would turn the students’ strength into data.

For a normal person to step into this training stage that was designed for a mana user, it would be normal to be unable to retreat.

Merida stood before the trap where no matter what she would never be able to pass, her legs stood stiff. Nerva who was going through the test at the same time with her urged Merida on from the back as if showing off.

“Hey, Merida! There are people behind you, jump quickly!”

“…”

Outside of the training platform, the students rose their head to watch Merida, they were worried about her. The tutor who couldn’t stand it placed down her report and replaced them with two wooden swords.

“Meridan Angel! Wait right there!”

The tutor went onto the training platform and not even 10 seconds she managed to reach Merida, throwing one of the wooden swords at her.

The tutor has decided to challenge Merida, this is one of the methods to measure her abilities.

But Kufa who was observing from behind the students sighed, “the result is the same.”

Attack Power 1, Defence Power 1, Agility 2 — This is the limit of the mana-less Merida Angel.

“Haaaa!”

Merida picked up the wooden sword, held an impressive manner of attack. The tutor has already retired from the Calvary, yet her body still has mana that has been honed.

— It wasn’t even five seconds, the wooden sword flew up in the air, Merida landed on the floor.

“Argh…!”

This scene has been played umpteen times. Just as Merida released a cry in pain. Nerva and the others laughed, as if they were waiting for the chance to.

“Ahahaha! Hey, Merida, you should be an entertainer! Better than joining the Crest Legion!”

“…!”

Merida who has been lying on the floor gripped her fist, causing her hand white from the force. The female tutor who was watching Merida sighed, and turned her back around and at this moment —

“— Uaaaa!”

Merida shouted as if she was a hurt puppy, jumped at the same time swung her sword. The tutor who has already gotten rid of her fighting stance was shocked, seeing the student who was charging at her.

“Merida Angel! Don’t be reckless!”

The wooden sword connected with the tutor’s defenseless shoulder — accompanied by an ear deafening sound as the sword bounced back.

The tutor did nothing. She stood still at her place, doing nothing. As long as there is mana surrounding the body, a normal person wouldn’t be able to penetrate through. Following the momentum of striking down the sword, the force that bounced back was a few times stronger, Merida’s small body flew back like she was a feather.

And easily flew out of the training arena.

“Ah…”

Her whole body was paralyzed by the wind, Merida had a blank expression. Her upper body weight leaned down, falling from tens of meters.

“Merida Angel!”

The tutor screamed, the students stopped breathing. Then Kufa reluctantly got up.

Subsequently, a burst of impressive speed sped through the training arena.

As the female students felt behind there was an impressive sound of footsteps, a black shadow flew pass and into the training arena. He turned at an acute angle, as the edge of his foot appeared sparks, his spend increased, less than 2 seconds he was able to enter the training arena which took the female tutor ten seconds to penetrate, and found a suitable place to jump, opening his arms.

Kufa caught the blonde girl in mid-air. His elegantly saved the girl in a princess style, spreading his momentum across his whole body. His shoe soles exuded a burning smell.

Kufa gently placed Merida down on the ground, and naturally knelt on one knee.

“Are you alright, ojou-sama?”

Everyone was shocked. Everyone around the training arena didn’t say a word, not to mention Merida. The female tutor finally arrived next to the two, as she showed an interested smile.

“Amazingly done, should I draw a circle of flowers to reward you?”

“I’m humbled, madam.”

Kufa bowed with respect, the girls who had their emotions caught up with the current situation burst in cheering. Shocking cheers surrounded Kufa.

“Please tell us your name!”

One of them led with the request, and soon followed by a few girls who started to ask for Kufa’s name as well. The female students flooded the platform, colorful eyes like flowers surrounded him.

Merida was squeezed out from the circle, but no one seemed to care.

“From the first time I saw you, I have been paying attention! I’m from the Kelada family…”

“Wait, you’re too sneaky to steal the first place! Everyone is supposed to line up to greet and meet!”

“Even though I couldn’t see clearly, but I was totally enamored! Your speed is faster than the tutor, right?”

“Eh, this can’t go unnoticed. Who will lend him a wooden sword!”

“Ma…madam, you really like to joke…”

The students along with the tutor has evolved into a very lively commotion. Yet the one who has yet to join the commotion which is Nerva and the others, they had a face of uninterest, thinking about how to pour cold water onto the current situation.

“It’s really bad how this tutor has been given to Merida Angel!”

Her sarcastic sentence didn’t get heard by anybody besides Merida.

“…!”

Merida left the scene. Even though it’s still during class time, she left the training arena. Even though it’s obvious that she’s skipping class, but no one asked her to stay.

More so, not even one person noticed Merida disappearing.

“…”

Only Kufa saw her leave. Originally, Kufa thought of chasing after her, but closing his distance with Merida will only bring the opposite reaction. Moreover, Kufa has already… —

“Lord Kufa?”

Seeing Kufa looking at a different direction, a girl leaned her head sideways and asked. Kufa smiled at the girl, while he answers the questions asked by many, at the same time, he thought under his fake mask:

— It’s time.

***

Late at night, when everyone in the mansion has fallen deep into their dream world, Kufa sat at his desk.

He was producing his mission report. This report will pass through channels unknown to the post office, and unknowingly passed to the hands of his superior before dawn.

The text written on the report is simply the following:

  • Merida Angel has no talent after observing a whole day.
  • Conclusion, she is not Duke Felgus Angel’s biological daughter.
  • Hence, I will complete the “second mission” given to me.

Kufa placed down his quill and stood from his chair. He carried the unopened luggage to the bed and opened it.

The luggage that kept clean clothes, daily necessities, books etc has a secret compartment. Kufa solved the lock to open the secret compartment, took out the things that were kept in the secret compartment.

— There is a rumor. Something that a mother would tell when the kids wouldn’t listen to her.

It is said that this country has another regiment that is the total opposite of the Light Calvary Regiment, which is the Dark Calvary Regiment which is owned directly by the council. The council will hand them missions which would include ‘assassination’ and ‘secret management’, sometimes there would be missions where they treat humans like test subjects ‘forbidden experiements’ etc, dirty jobs that would make people suspicious of one’s self.

Most of the members were educated since young by the organization, according to the records they don’t exist under the bright society. Every time they make a public appearance, they would change their names, their perspectives, after arriving to their destination they would disappear. Killers simply do not exist in this world —

“I never thought that I would need to dispose of my identity ‘private tutor mask (Vanpiel)… that soon.”

What was hidden in the case was poison, gunpowder and explosives, steel wire and a black dagger, etc. He prepared all of this because he didn’t know what was needed.

Kufa first put on black leather gloves, then started to think.

—This time, I was given two missions. One was to educate the useless ojou-sama, nurture her to someone who is suitable as a fighter of the Duke Angel household.

Then the second mission was, if Merida Angel has no growing potential, it is when I can confirm that she has no bloodline of the official Paladin —

Then the girl that would taint the Angel household, without leaving any traces behind would need to be —

‘Erased.’

Kufa held the steel wire and tucked it under his sleeve. If there were to be a drop of blood it would be bad, hence it would be better to use strangulation. Or would it be better to burn her until only ashes left? It would be quite difficult to ‘not leave the body’ to prevent investigation.

Just in case, Kufa placed the dagger onto his hip and left the room. He was thinking that he wouldn’t need to use his favorite dagger, then he kept his favorite dagger under the bed mattress.

When the maids have fallen into their dream world, Kufa didn’t make any sound as he moved soundlessly down the corridor.

“I’m sorry, Miss Amy, and others.”

Kufa apologized silently. They just also had a grand welcoming party for him.

It should not have been so quick. Even though his superior smiled as he said: “if things go well, you could come back within a month?” However, to be careful, he should have waited and watch whether things would change.

After all, the new hires have just arrived that day, if the ojou-sama dies now, then anyone would be suspicious of Kufa. Even if “Kufa” doesn’t belong to the society, the client will help to eliminate the suspect, to prevent drawing people’s attention.

Knowingly, Kufa still has the determination to end this mission… because he can’t bear to wait.

Merida Angel has made him unable to wait.

After school, during the home lessons, Merida had no results. This is of course, Merida’s mother was apparently a businessman’s daughter, if Kufa’s prediction was correct, then Merida didn’t inherit any noble blood.

Although they were rich, but the mother was of the civilian class, a daughter born to an affair with an unknown, and had registered the Angel house name, Merida doesn’t even have the qualifications of becoming a Paladin.

Merida who doesn’t know this, honestly trusts her own talent.

“Poor girl.”

Kufa thought like that sincerely. Kufathought back to Merida’s expression the first time at the welcoming party, where she just said hi and went back to her room.

Her life is filled with pain, after today, it will only continue. Also, her pain will never have any good returns.

That being the case, the chains should be broken as soon as possible —

that is called the Assassin’s Pride.

In the unlit hallway, a tall figure stands in front of Merida’s bedroom that is located on the first floor.

“Ojou-sama, the world is cruel.”

At least I should not let her continue to live under such despair, it is also considered as a kind of happiness —

When Kufa was thinking about this, he realized something on the other end of the door was not right.

Kufa immediately opened the door and walked into the room. The bedroom wasn’t too spacious with lovely furniture. There are girly style dressing table and wardrobe. Kufa could clearly see the furniture because of the candle on the table that was lit. A sleeping gown was placed nicely on the princess style bed.

But Merida was nowhere to be seen.

“Where did she go…”

Textbooks of the academy were stacked on the table, opening the notebook, beautiful and neat words were written all over the pages. Kufa couldn’t find the practice sword, he opened the wardrobe, and couldn’t find Merida’s sportswear.

In other words, she’s still doing pre-reading for tomorrow’s classes, and took the sword for practice. Towards Merida’s hardworking attitude, he felt admiration — …

No, wait.

Kufa’s ears twitched, his sharp hearing heard a strange sound.

Merida’s bedroom window was opened, she’s supposed to be at the balcony training. But in the pitch-black courtyard, she was nowhere to be seen.

Again, a hard-strange sound was heard from the garden that surrounded the mansion.

“—hmm!”

Kufa rushed out before thinking. As if a gust of wind, rushed towards the garden.

The sky of Flandor, no matter if it’s day or night, it is dark as always. Even so, the people living has a concept of time. Once the day is ending, shops will close, people will head back to their houses and the streetlights will become weaker, and most people will step into their dream world. In the quiet city, the distant sound is very loud.

Kufa easily knew the truth behind the strange sound.

“Why would it be here…!”

Kufa crossed the trail with the same power of a panther, it didn’t take long for several shadows to be in his field of vision. He immediately hid himself in the bushes, eliminated his own breath as if he’s hunting.

The pupils of his violet eyes captured their target amidst the darkness.

One of them was Lady Merida. She was wearing her sportswear as predicted by Kufa, swinging the wooden sword that didn’t fit her height.  A group of trios surrounded her with clothes of a clown and with heads of a pumpkin.

“Lycanthrope…?”

Kufa didn’t speak a sound, the content of the class head during the day suddenly flashed across his mind.

Those are the enemies of humanity who live in the night, in the past, they used to be human. The name means ‘to fall into sleep and lose thy original self’.

Those pumpkin heads are the lowest in rank of Lycanthrope, they are also the race called ‘Pumpkin head’. They don’t have special powers (Anima), nor do they posses any intelligence, they only have great strength. They are sometimes called as a small cockroach by humans.

Such a small cockroach, there is no way they can infiltrate such a high classed area.

Kufa suddenly remembered the statement that his superior said before the mission — “Lord Modrew has also been applying pressure towards her, but it seems there wasn’t any result.”

“Is this the pressure…!”

The three pumpkin heads seem to be sent by Lord Modrew. He probably wanted to wake the Mana that has been sleeping in Merida by forcing Merida to fight with the lycanthrope.

This method is quite reckless.

“Hu… hu… who are you people…!”

Even though Merida was panting while she looked at the pumpkin heads, they seem to be still keeping their sarcastic smile. Merida courageously raised her sword and charged forward.

“Hiya!”

She slashed down the wooden sword smoothly, but after the wooden sword hit the pumpkin head, Merida flew back like she was flicked.

“Ah!”

Instead, the wooden sword that was used started to crack from the middle and it hit Merida. The pumpkin head didn’t even dodge, they pointed at the fallen Merida as they laughed.

This is the problem with lycanthrope. They will nullify any conventional weapons, the only thing that can penetrate the defense is either the light of the Blood of the Sun or mana — that is ‘Factor of the Sun’. It is precisely because of this reason that the country that it will bestow the privilege of an aristocrat to people who can fight against the lycanthrope, also known as mana users, and instilling effort in nurturing and using them.

TL note: not sure about this.

“Ugh…!”

Merida held her sword tightly and tried to get up. Such a heart wrenching scene, it makes people think of when she fought Kufa or the school instructor.

One of the pumpkin heads seemed to be laughing at her while stepping on her hand. Merida cried out “ah!”, the half-broken sword spun out in the air at the same time.

“It…hurts… dammit!”

Merida held tightly her bleeding hand tightly, and directly punched the pumpkin head. The wide-eyed pumpkin head hooked Merida’s leg as if dancing, causing her to fell face first to the ground.

“Urgh!”

Merida’s whole face was covered in dirt as she lied on the ground, the three pumpkin heads surrounded her. Three of them laughed and started dancing, they also kicked Merida around.

They pointed at Merida who was rolling on the ground and laughed.

“Ugh…!”

Merida tried to get up.

—What is she doing?Kufa furrowed his brows while thinking in the bushes.

No matter how much of a person resists, without mana they will never win against lycanthropes. No matter if it’s children of nobles or commoners, in kindergarten they have always heard teachers telling them that. Hence why commoners must avoid lycanthropes at all costs and the nobles need to protect the commoners.

Merida doesn’t have mana, she could have just asked for help. Even still, from the start, why has she endured the tears that are about to pour, and didn’t even let out a cry of pain?

The Cardinals Learning Institutionhas a lot of troops of the regiment, as long as Merida cries out loudly, the patrolling troops will immediately save her. They will fight these lowest ranked lycanthropes while yawning. Or is it that she’s scared that the maids will come? She must know that the mana user Kufa would also be in the mansion as well…

Kufa couldn’t figure out the answer, as he watched the current situation escalated badly.

“It’s… enough… go back…”

The Merida who was lying on the ground moaned. The pumpkin heads focused on her.

Repeatedly applied pressure, that means this isn’t the first time. They should have appeared on Merida’s own training several times so far, unilaterally start a fight and retreat before it evolves into a big commotion. That situation seemed to be the same as right now —

But this time, they are not the same to the ones in the past. One of the pumpkin heads showed his arm and a rusted claw flew out from his sleeves. He stretched another arm and grabbed Merida’s blonde hair and violently pulled up.

“Eh? What are you doing… ouch!”

Merida cried out in pain for the first time. The pumpkin head pulled Merida’s waist length blonde hair up, and then placed the rusted claw in the middle of the hair.

Merida noticed the situation and her expression suddenly tightened.

“Liar, don’t… stop! Don’t touch my hair!”

Although she immediately tried to struggle, but the other two pumpkin heads held onto her body. The pumpkin head that was pulling Merida’s hair and had the rusted claw on her hair laughed evilly.

Merida struggled while shouting:

“Stop, let me go! That is the only inheritance from mother! It is the same blonde hair as my mother! If I lose this, then I can no longer remember my mother!”

‘Keke…keke…keke…’

The pumpkin heads laughed as if saying that what they heard was something happy.

Merida’s grandfather, Sir Modreweven sent out an assassin like Kufa, it’s obvious that he has no patience. After all, he even said, “if it’s not a paladin, it’s okay to kill her”, it’s the end of the matter, he does not intend to leave any mercy.

He has already decided, if Merida died because of this, then it’s all right.

“Hu… hu… let… me go…!”

Merida used her full strength and tried to escape from the grip of the pumpkin heads. She could have used that strength to ask for help then the situation would be dealt with, but she didn’t.

— Why? Kufa produced an unexplained anxiety towards Merida, why won’t she ask for help?

Kufa’s knees rebounded reflexively, his rational left hand immediately pressed down his knees. An urge that couldn’t be explained with speech is pushing him. Why, why, why — ….

Finally, Merida herself gave an answer.

“I… I need to cherish this hair…! I need to join the Crest Legion! Because, because if I don’t, then…”

“Then no one will admit that I’m the child of House Angel…—”

A shock that was invisible to the naked eye, hit Kufa from the head to toe.

When Kufa was doing this mission, he has memorized most of the information of Angel Household. He remembered that one of them said:

‘As Paladins of House Angel, everyone needs to possess the experience of joining the Crest Legion.’

Merida also noticed this point. The reason she wields the sword that does not fit her height is because she believes that herself is a paladin? Until now, she has persisted for so long —

It is because once she cried for help, she has admitted herself that she ‘is not a mana user’.

She’s not a noble’s daughter, not a child of the Angel House — is it because of that?

Kufa instantly resembled a deflated ball. Ah, such a not funny joke.

What am I doing in the bushes —…

“Gaaaah—!”

The pumpkin head cried out a strange sharp sound, finally raised his claws. Tch—! A dagger made a crisp sound, stabbed the center of the pumpkin head.

Although there wasn’t much damage, but the unexpected situation made them stop moving.

“Do not touch my master.”

The pumpkin head turned to look at the silhouette of a military uniform that came out of the darkness.

All emotion has disappeared from Kufa’s eyes which flashed with murderous intent.

“Get lost.

The air rumbled, a pumpkin head’s head has been cut in the shape of a cross. Kufa stepped forward and at the same time held the dagger that was stabbed in the pumpkin head, and made vertical and horizontal slashes, when they realized that Kufa was among them, he has already killed one of them.

But at this moment, the dagger couldn’t handle the pressure of the mana and dissolved. The weapon was not meant to be used against lycanthropes. Kufa took out his steel wire and used a speed which no one could see clearly the movement of his arms. He wrapped the steel wire around one of the shocked pumpkin heads’ neck, then his mana’s pale blue flames immediately flowed onto the wire.

The pumpkin realized the situation and tried to pull the steel wire out, while crying.

“‘Help’…?”

Kufa didn’t even blink.

“Do you think you can survive?”

Kufapulled the steel wire with his hand, ping! The pumpkin head got decapitated.

The third pumpkin head, as in the last pumpkin head made an accurate judgement of the situation. As he witnessed Kufa’s speed, he quickly fled the scene. He should’ve been able to understand the difference of power between two sides. After the head of the second pumpkin head fell, he fled out of the attack radius of the steel wire.

I won’t let you return to Sir Mordrew.Kufa lit up the mana that was concentrating on his right palm, and cast out a basic level assault skill.

“«Phantom Trident»!”

Blue flames swirled, at the same time, they were sharpened, the shapes of blades were quickly made on Kufa’s palm.

“«Void Fang»!”

Three thin yet transparent blades appeared when Kufa slashed down. Mana blades went a far distance, flew towards the back of the pumpkin head. The three pale blades seemed to want to block the pumpkin head’s escape and managed to come from three directions, the three blades converged on a single point — shak! The clown clothes were torn to shreds.

The pumpkin head that was separated into three pieces didn’t even manage to make a cry before rolling onto the floor.

Not relying on power or splendor but concentrating only on speed and accuracy, this is the Samurai class fighting style. Standing in the position of Merida who is almost the same as an average person, everything happened within a blink of an eye. Just a slight sense of light and sound, everything returned to silence.

Merida blinked and looked up, to see a tall man’s back facing her dressed in a military uniform.

“Sen…sei…?”

Hearing Merida’s call, Kufa turned to face her.

He was thinking that he ‘accidentally made a move…’ and was dumbfounded.

This is obviously against the will of the client. He needs to cover up the deaths of the pumpkin heads to convince Sir Modrew. Not to mention, in such a high classed area (canvells), if someone found that there are pumpkin heads, it would cause a very huge commotion. He needs to deal with the bodies carefully…

However, that kind of thoughts disappeared in an instant when Kufa turned his head.

Even though not even one strand was taken, but Kufa could see the golden blonde hair that was covered in dirt, he even witnessed the “honored” girl was stained with blood and tears—

“…I was late, I apologize, ojou-sama.”

Kufa knelt on one knee and held out his hand, Merida who was staggered took his hand and stood up.

Merida rubbed her eyes and the traces of the mud spread even further.

“No… I’m sorry… to have troubled you.”

“Ojou-sama.”

Kufa held Merida’s hands and pulled her close.

He gripped her hands tightly, hoped that his heat would transfer to Merida’s icy fingers.

“Ojou-sama, please allow me to help you. I want to become your strength. No matter the storm, I will always support your voice.”

“…!”

Merida bit her lip hard and suddenly released it.

Her ruby red eyes widened, a drop of tear fell.

— and it couldn’t be stopped.

“Waaaaah! Waaaaah—!”

Merida cried so loud that each corner of the garden could be heard.

The tears are not only for today, Kufa thought.

***

Both returned to the mansion, on the trail surrounded by the botanical garden, you can see a gold and black shadow.

She cried, shouted until she has a sore throat, after vomiting out her inner feelings, Merida has calmed down. She’s a strong girl, after someone saw her do something that would lose face, she would feel embarrassed for a while.

Merida naturally held Kufa’s hand and walked forward, at the same time, shyly looking up at Kufa.

“That, sensei…. Do you remember the girl you met today at school, called Alice?”

“Hmm? I remember. I heard that she’s ojou-sama’s cousin.”

“You saw us argue, right…”

Merida forced herself to smile. She has been very upset about the encounter with Kufa at the back of the cathedral. Kufa thought, Merida is quite a sensitive girl.

Merida slowly walked, and at the same time said:

“Our relationship used to be very good. Alice was a bit slow, she would be misunderstood by people around her because they didn’t know what she was thinking. But she was very weak and liked to cry… so I always had the feeling that I need to protect her.”

Merida softly chuckled, but her expression faded away.

“… but once we entered elementary a few years later, our relationship changed.”

“Changed?”

“No matter how long, my mana has not awakened, but Alice has become a paladin, and suddenly she has gained recognition from everyone. Unknowingly, I was the one that got left behind. I’m now under her shelter from bullying… it used to be the opposite.”

Then now it is like this — Merida said it self-deprecatingly.

“Sensei saw me like that at school. Even though I was being ridicule by my classmates, I could only just smile, can’t refute a word. Once I thought about Alice seeing me like this, I felt very embarrassed… I don’t even have the guts to see her…!”

Merida’s monologue made Kufa’s heart tighten. This is called psychological trauma. Compared to getting physically beaten or scolded, facing embarrassment in front of the public, will leave a much deeper scar in the heart.

“I could slightly understand ojou-sama’s feelings.”

“Sensei could understand? No way, sensei’s so successful…”

“I was born in the ‘Night Region’.”

Merida’s eyes widened. She seemed to unable to comprehend.

“Eh… that’s outside of the Canvell, the lower residential area…?”

“It’s further out. It’s as I said, I was from the night region and fled to Flandor.”

Merida’s eyes got bigger and bigger, as if just received a big shock as she shouted:

“What! There are people living outside of Flandor?”

“It’s not about living there, but it’s about struggling to survive. Even though the night has been cursed, but humans don’t change to monsters immediately. Even though the quantity is little, but there are people who has been left in the night region for various reasons, they only can avoid Lycanthropes quietly, and live there.”

“Hmm….”

Merida’s expression is so funny, that Kufa can’t help but smiled.

Even though it wasn’t published in the school textbooks, but the mission given to the cavalry ‘explore the night region’, besides retrieving new resources and survival circles, it is to rescue such refugees.

Kufa stared far into the sky, the glass container surrounding them (canvell) at the other end, he continued:

“When I am sensible, I was already in the night region. I could remember clearly that a very squashing darkness surrounded me, and how unreliable it is to burn the lights at the time. My mother and I were very lucky to be able to come to this city, to be able to survive.”

“Sensei’s mother?”

“Yes, she didn’t live long in Flandor when she died.”

Although he saw Merida’s deflated expression that let Kufa felt apologetic, he kept talking:

“Even though the forceful army has pushed mother’s body to its limit, but the one that was hard on her was the stress. The stress from getting discriminated by the citizens of Flandor that our background was from the night region.”

“Discrimination?”

“It was said that ‘people who got left in the night region, their bodies are contaminated and that getting closer to them will get you infected.’ When I was young, the nearby children called me ‘bacteria.’”

“How dare they!”

Merida frowned and was angry for Kufa, he felt happy.

“Of course, it was all baseless rumors. But the importance wasn’t the truth but how the general people thought, such discrimination has deeply seeped into the minds of the commoners, endlessly becoming worse… even though it was like this, mother has always hoped that I would obtain happiness, until her last breath.”

“…”

The things that happened after can’t be told, being born from the night region, a child losing shelter thus losing his place to live. This is when the non-existent dark cavalry adopted him.

Then, Kufa was forced to pick up a dagger, as naturally as picking up a spoon; his youth was wasted in hellish trainings, and now he’s forced to do dirty work under despicable men…

“So, ojou-sama, I feel very envious.”

“Envious?”

“Even though I received education, I didn’t go to a school. Sometimes when I see children wearing uniforms, I used to be very envious of them. Like them happily chatting away, go to classes, and after school would go to a café to hang out, go on dates during the holidays… I was envious of them that they could live such a youthful life that they take for granted.”

Kufa turned around and looked at Merida, smiling.

“—but there are still troubles going to school eh?”

Merida showed a panicked expression for a moment, but she immediately smiled back.

“Of course. Sensei, the school is like a battleground.”

“Keke.”

“Hehe…”

Both stared at each other laughing. During the period of conversation, Merida’s stamina has recovered much.

Should I bring up the issue now. Kufa thought, he abruptly stopped in his footsteps, his expression turned serious.

“Ojou-sama.”

Merida felt the mood change, her body shivered and nervously stopped in her footsteps.

“Y…yes.”

“I have a suggestion.”

“Suggestion…?”

Merida wondered — for a girl who is only 13 years old, from his standpoint she looked really young, Kufa carefully selected his words carefully and continued:

“Today, the whole day, I’ve been observing ojou-sama as the house’s private tutor… and I could tell you honestly, that if you continue, no matter how much training you go through, waking up your mana’s possibility is very low.”

Merida’s expression showed a lot of emotions.

“What…”

“Sometimes, there are children born in noble families that didn’t inherit mana. This kind of thing will not be too obvious, plus ojou-sama’s situation happened to be happening in a duke’s family, it will lead to quite a chaotic scene…”

Kufa lied to cover up her background, but Merida didn’t listen.

Merida lowered her head, she held a small fist in front of her chest.

“It’s like…this?”

Kufa didn’t let her to have time to grieve about this, as he asked:

“That’s why, I have a suggestion, ojou-sama, would you give me your life?”

“What…?”

“Although it’s a dangerous bet — but there is a way for ojou-sama’s mana to awaken.”

Merida’s reaction was like when travelers find an oasis.

Her lips trembled as if she yearned for air, unconsciously asked:

“How do I…”

“We need to use a drug that has yet to be openly announced and is still in experiment. The drug is mixed with mana user’s mana — this time, it will be mixed with my mana to have you to take, it will cause a reaction towards ojou-sama’s hibernating mana and waking the mana up… there’s such a possibility.”

There’s half a life in the statement, in reality Kufa’s method is to transplant mana.

It is the inarch method.

It is to cut off a branch from Kufa’s tree (mana), and have it transplanted to Merida’s body. The branch that has been cut off will grow a new tree, so there won’t be much trouble. Then later the transplanted branch would grow roots and into a big tree.

“But this is very dangerous. Such a feat only has a 70% chance of being successful… three times out of ten would result in failure.”

“But if it fails, what would happen…?”

Kufa thought about it a little whether to sugar coat it but decided to report it truthfully.

“There would be sequela.”

“Sequela?”

“I don’t know what symptoms would happen. But in my knowledge, some people would grow scales; some people’s faces would crumple from the inside and become as ugly as a ghost; and some people’s skin would turn green, there is no absolute symptom. No matter what famous doctors, they can never cure these sequelae, and it will scar you for life. The worst scenario… would be death.”

“—ha!”

Even Merida felt scared, she hugged herself.

When humans become inhuman and die, even Kufa felt uncomfortable about the situation. But, the dark cavalry’s maniacal scientists will say that gene modifying is very dangerous.

“I can’t force you, ojou-sama. What do you want to do?”

“…”

From the side, you can see her struggling within.

This is not a situation where you can just try it. You can’t even say shouldn’t have done it.

This choice will break Merida’s life into two different roads.

Destiny is not controlled by a god, but it is an extremely rare moment when it is entrusted to you.

However seeing Merida unable to make a decision, Kufa thought, bearing such a stress, a child of a 13 year old would not be mature enough.

“….”

The tense atmosphere lasted for five minutes, Kufa spoke in an easy tone:

“Of course, even though ojou-sama wouldn’t do it, I won’t quit my job as your private tutor. I will nurture you and watch you grow, until you graduate. You don’t have to make a conclusion now, how about it?”

“I want to do it.”

Merida said it like so.

The expression where she gripped her chest, how would I describe it?

She didn’t cry, didn’t state a reason, and didn’t even shout spiritually.

She said it once again, clearly:

“I want to do it.”

“… ah.”

Kufa nodded and knelt on one knee on the stone road.

The greenery that exist in the canvell, of course it is not of natural plantation. Surrounded by miracle greenery, Kufa took Merida’s left hand and pulled it close, kissing her finger tips.

アサシンズプライド_P001_扉.indd

“… My Little Lady.”

“Eh?”

“Like ojou-sama has handed her life to me, I will bet my life for ojou-sama.”

Kufa smiled, looking at the 13 year oldojou-sama which doesn’t seem to understand the situation.

“We have to prepare, come, let’s head back to the mansion?”

***

They came back through the balcony and walked through the opened window and back to Merida’s room. This is the behavior that should be done privately. Kufa was afraid to wake the maids of the mansion and got ready at the scene.

He carefully grinded the Pebrot leaves, mixed in with other liquids and dissolved it completely. Then he added the phosphor powder of a red butterfly and stirred it further, then dripped diamond essence into the liquid as it started to bubble, at the same time it turned into a pink color. Then… to have it easier to digest, he added a spoon of honey.

After perfectly calculating the required amounts of ingredients and added them in the correct order, he even calculated the number of stirs and speed used… Kufacontinued on this kind of nerve-damaging work, mixing in a few other ingredients, and lastly a puff of white smoke appeared, the liquid in the beaker started to glow.

The mana transplant medicine will be completed after adding Kufa’s mana and blood into it.

Kufa bit his lip, blood followed by a sharp pain came. He turned his head.

“It’s done.”

Merida who was sitting by the bed waited. Kufa’s instruction before the deed was that Merida should lie down whenever, hence when Kufa was concentrating on making the medicine, she changed into her sleeping gown.

“…”

Merida didn’t raise her head; her body was as if she was petrified.

Kufa placed down the beaker, and asked:

“Let’s forget about it?”

“Ne… nevermind, it’s nothing like that…”

Merida nervously looked at Kufa.

“That, sensei… could you lie to me?”

“Lie?”

“Yes… I hope that you’ll make a promise to me, there’s no need for you to take it seriously.”

Merida hugged her slim shoulders and continued:

“After ingesting the medicine, if my body has mutations… whenever that comes, will sensei take me as his bride?”

“Ojou-sama…”

“You… you don’t have to take it seriously! You can lie to me… let me feel easy for the moment.”

Kufa knelt on one knee by the bed, took Merida’s finger. It was the finger that he kissed earlier.

“… Please relax, ojou-sama. The remedy will surely succeed, because there are many stories showed that after tragedy, the princess will ultimately gain her happiness.”

Merida smiled brightly.

“Then sensei would be the prince?”

“If… if you want to talk about it, I should be the evil witch that brought those poisonous apples…”

Merida looked as if she wasn’t satisfied, she leaned forward.

“Even… even if the prince was the evil witch, it would be awesome.”

“It’s even a ridiculous cruel prince…”

He will push others into the valley then only rescue them, such a new setting would even wake girls up that likes to dream. Kufa helplessly smiled, even Merida felt it was funny and laughed.

The frail body as if placed down a heavy burden, laughed and swayed.

Then — would this be the story’s beginning, or a cruel ending?

The time for the trial is here.

“Let’s begin.”

Kufa stood up, Merida nodded seriously. Kufa nodded in return and placed the beaker to his lips, Merida gasped stopped him.

“We…weird, why is it sensei would need to ingest the medicine?”

“Eh? Ah, right. Sorry, I haven’t talked to you about it clearly.”

Kufa forgot to tell her about the most important part. He placed the beaker back to its original spot and continued:

“Because the medicine’s last ingredient is my mana, so the medicine has to go through my body. Also if this medicine has gone through contact with the air, it would produce some changes, so ojou-sama would have to ingest the medicine straight from my mouth.”

“Then that would mean…. ki…kiss!”

Merida jumped up, her face flushed.

…hm, correctly speaking it would be mouth to mouth, but to a girl who is only 13 years old, both is the same thing. From this reaction, it would be clear that this is her first time experiencing. In this form, taking her important first kiss, even Kufa felt sympathetic.

“Let’s… let’s forget about it…?”

“N… no! It’s not that I hate it! That…”

Merida covered her face with her hands nervously.

“To me it feels like those stories….”

So… that’s how it is. Only if the liquid that came from the prince’s mouth wasn’t some genetic modification poisonous medicine, it might be considered as romantic.

But, if it should start, if you don’t ask Merida to prepare herself, it would be a headache. The medicine once it touches Kufa’s mouth it will start to change, and if there are any doubts from before, it would be very dangerous to the both of them.

“No issues?”

“N…no issues! I won’t….”

“Don’t be so nervous, calm down — then, let’s start.”

What’s the most important is the mood. Kufa only gave five seconds to Merida to prepare herself, then drank the medicine in one go. The blood and saliva that was in the mouth mixed with the medicine, as if the medicine wanted to explode.

From this second, there should not be a delay. Kufa grabbed Merida’s slim shoulders and pressed his lips onto her without gaining approval. Kufa forced open Merida’s peach lips.

“Mmm…!”

The medicine started to turn. It wasn’t an easy digestible taste, it stimulates a numbing sensation on the tongue. Added that Merida has never kissed, hence her movements were quite stiff. If not done properly, the medicine would leak.

Merida thought that it wasn’t a time to be embarrassed and wrapped her arms around Kufa’s neck. Merida let both of their lips to stick together, tongues intertwined with each other, and swallowed the medicine. The liquid flowed through her small throat.

After both of them sweated for about ten seconds, the transfer of the medicine was complete. Merida reluctantly pulled away, an unusually sexy sound echoed.

Unknown to Merida, both of them were hugging tightly, and she suddenly broke away their bodies. She looked down, even her neck was red, her lips were burning.

But, not long after they broke away their bodies.

Badump! Merida’s body jumped.

“Mmm…!”

“Do not vomit it out, please patiently swallow it.”

Kufa pressed on Merida’s mouth.

The medicine is now changing Merida’s body drastically. She could feel magma boiling in her stomach, and all of her joints were breaking and her body was so cold as if someone threw her to an ice mountain.

Merida could not maintain her rationality and fell onto the bed. Kufa carried Merida up and let her sleep on the pillow and covered her with a few blankets.

Now is the fight against time.

After a few hours, before the maids wake up, the results would be known.

Would she obtain mana; or would she lose to the medicine, and breaking her body —

“Mmm…. Mmm… mmm~…!”

“I will watch from the side, please rest easy ojou-sama.”

Even though Merida couldn’t hear him, but Kufa said it anyway. Right now, Merida was so in pain that she couldn’t sleep, having said that, she should not be able to maintain her rationality right now. Such a hell that would have a 13-year-old to experience it, it is above imagination.

Kufa quickly kept his dispensing appliances and ingredients, as he pulled up a chair next to the bed. He dried the cloth from the washbasin that he prepared beforehand, and helped Merida to wipe her sweat.

Just only today, the little girl who became Kufa’s master, or should say a rather poor assassination target. Kufa consciously realized that he was doing something very ridiculous.

Even if the procedure is a success, Merida’s obtainable rank would not be her dream paladin, but the same as Kufa, a samurai. That would not provide any persuasiveness to Modrew. To doubt Merida’s mother, Melnoa Angel has any affair, he has hired Kufa to prove that Merida has the bloodline to the paladin.

Kufa has already known that Merida didn’t inherit the bloodline of the duke’s family. If it was known that Kufa has meddled in covering this up, Kufa would become the next assassination target. If he would think to protect himself, it would be better to let Merida die like this.

— I should think what to do in the future…

After a few hours, if Merida mutated to become like a corpse, he would need to deal with her along with he three pumpkin heads. Should I bury them in the forest; or put them in a coffin, and throw them into the river? If she managed to survive like this, it would be a headache. If people knew that Kufa has done this to her, no matter what, it would not be an easy thing to deal with.

Honestly, what should I do… —

“…oka…san….”

And at this moment, Merida let out a weak sound. Nightmares has caused her to cry.

“Okasan… otousan… where are you…?”

She unconsciously raised her arms, reaching for the black ceiling.

“Pleased don’t leave me… alone…”

The corner of her eye leaked a tear. Her arms dropped after wasting all of her energy.

Before her arms could fall onto the blanket — pa! Kufa held onto Merida’s palms.

“Stay strong, ojou-sama…!”

Kufa held Merida’s hands to his forehead, both hands holding them tightly.

“Stay strong, stay strong…! Do not give up…!”

Kufa leaned his elbows against the edge of the bed, praying religiously with the hands that are stuck on his forehead.

As an assassin that is praying, is there a meaning to this?

If there isn’t, it doesn’t matter if it’s a curse. Hoping that his own words would become a chain, helping this girl to survive in this world.

“Please survive, please survive, please survive, please survive….!”

Kufa tightly closed his eyes, he could only feel the icy cold fingers, and at the same time he prayed non-stop.

At this moment, Merida that was in pain with her eyes brows furrowed, slowly relaxed….

“…. Sensei…”

She released comforting yet weak sounds.

***

“Mmm…”

How long has it been?

There was a moment where vision turned white, then a lazy powerless attack hit the whole body. Blinking those heavy eyelids, a fresh sunlight shined onto the retina.

The brightness of the world has announced the morning’s arrival. The active time of the people has started to come close, the tens of thousands of strong lights have also enhanced the dazzling brightness. The city that was dreaming, has started to move.

After greeting the slow awakening, Kufa, he — jumped up immediately.

“Shit, I slept…?”

Kufa couldn’t believe it, wiping the saliva that didn’t even leak out.

He originally planned to take care of Merida throughout the night, but he lost to sleep, and passed out. Using mana transplant was indeed energy consuming, but going to sleep without any guard up, he did not have the right to become a special force.

“Right, ojou-sama…!”

Pillow side — it has the missing Merida’s shadow. The messy blankets have spoken of her.

If Merida could get out of bed, then that means she’s not dead. But, after waking up, what has she become…

At this time, unknowingly somewhere came a girl’s wailing.

It was the voices of the maids that are working in the mansion.

“…mm!”

Kufa nervously swallowed his saliva.

Just one glance, the curtains were fluttering in the window. The window was opened. It felt that there were a few people running in the courtyard. The wailing of the girls could be heard continuously.

Kufa could sense that that in the midst of the chaos, it was Merida.

“Ojou-sama…!”

Kufa sluggishly ran to the window. Pulling away the curtains in one breath.

“Ojou-sama!”

Then a white flame appeared! It swelled up in front of Kufa, Kufa immediately stepped back.

“Waaa!”

“— ah, sorry, sensei!”

After hearing the flustered sound, Kufa blinked in confusion.

First, the flame before him wasn’t hot, it is not a natural occurrence. The color was as if a lion’s golden mane — it’s a mana flame.

It is a flame that came from the girl that was smiling happily in the courtyard.

“Look, sensei!”

As if blooming flowers, Merida raised her hands, golden flames were flying around in large quantities, as if dancing flower petals.

Merida danced like a ballet dancer, brilliant flames came out of her fingertips like a big snake, bending, and glamorously adding color to the dance.

Looking at the lights that were dancing mid-air, the maids were ecstatic. Everyone was wearing their sleeping gowns and running around the courtyard, barefoot, shouting happily.

“Amazing, really amazing, Merida ojou-sama!”

“Wah, when did you start learning magic?”

“Look, Kufa-san! Ojou-sama finally has mana…!”

Amy, the head maid ran towards Kufa, wiping her tears.

“The dream of ojou-sama and ours ahs finally came…! This must be Kufa-san’s guidance! How should we thank you…!”

“…. Yeah, I’m very happy.”

Kufa acted being moved and covered half of his face with his hand.

His hand hid his big smile.

Then — we can’t go back now!

There is no way I would let ojou-sama know that her mother had an affair. The truth about me as an assassin should be a secret. At the same time, the White Night that Modrew and I both own should hide Merida’s true background, and the thing about how I specially took care of her.

If there are any mistakes, both of them would die —

Hence… my young yet but noble ojou-sama (My Little Lady).

Don’t make me kill you!

Merida didn’t notice the assassin’s dumbfounded gaze, happily dancing.

The maids’ dresses were as if flower petals, the burning flames were as if diamonds, adding colors. Amid it there was a smiling girl, just as beautiful as the sun.

アサシンズプライド_P001_扉.indd

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