Circumstances on the Other Side (1)
A visitor came in while he was cleaning the stables.
“Horse, are you there?”
A rough voice, along with an intimidating presence—
—and the smell of fresh blood.
Even though usually, he’d only smell of iron and sweat.
…Perhaps, that was why he was there.
“Iron Bull, you came at an unusual time.”
The inconspicuous man called Horse answered while carrying on with his work with the fork.
The space was large enough for two horses.
Since the work itself wouldn’t take long, he opted to just continue as he listened.
That way, whether the story was convoluted or not, he’d still get the job done.
“It’s an emergency.
I have something to talk about.”
“Is it about the newcomer?”
“Yes, that ‘glasses boy’ you were mentioning.”
—Did he do it?
Horse guessed why Iron Bull had come here.
“Did he subjugate the mountain monsters?”
It was to be expected for the glasses boy to hunt the mountain monsters.
However, Horse soon stopped his hand and turned around due to the next, unexpected words.
“He managed to kill the Sky Lizard.
This is just too unexpected…”
Both his attention and consciousness were blown away.
Apparently, it was indeed an emergency.
Quickly finishing his work, Horse invited Iron Bull to his home.
After all, it wasn’t something they could do outside.
To begin with, it wasn’t a large house, but the moment such a huge man entered, the oppressiveness was overwhelming.
Horse offered Iron Bull to sit on a chair.
Soon, another guest arrived.
“—This is bad, Horse! That boy has—… ah, Iron Bull…”
That’s right, you mentioned that you’d be coming as well, didn’t you?”
The one who had barged in without knocking appeared to be an old woman.
She was clad in a black robe, and her eyes were concealed by her hood—
—No, her voice sounded too youthful for being old.
“Did you go there, too?”
“In terms of timing, I believe I arrived first.
It’s because I taught him how to dismantle at my place.”
“Ah, is that so? Because there are some parts that I couldn’t quite explain…”
As she entered her friend’s dwelling without permission, Owl removed her hood—
—Instead of an old woman, the face was that of a beautiful woman of mysterious age.
…Once, she was hailed as the ‘Poisonous Temptress of a Toppling Country.’
Her beauty still hadn’t faded at all.
Although, due to her makeup-free face, it’d be difficult to call her a poisonous woman.
Not to mention, her skin also seemed vibrant, albeit her eyebrows were thin.
“How long have you been talking?”
“We haven’t talked about anything.
We’re just about to start.”
‘Did I make it this time…?’ Muttered Owl.
“…That kid has really awful timing.
We don’t seem to be compatible.
It’s unbearable, really… He always barges in whenever I am changing.
Not to mention, two days in a row? Why didn’t he knock…?”
In the past, she used to be a woman who’d deceived influential figures, and was said to have poisoned an entire country and led it to ruin if she went as much as got angry with them.
Therefore, it was doubtful that she’d care if she was seen naked.
At the same time, she probably didn’t want to show off either, because she wasn’t lecherous.
However, she was a visitor who came to that village, and had to conceal her identity.
Her black robe had a magical property to it, giving the wearer a considerably older appearance… In short, it could make the wearer look older.
Since it could be turned on and off at will, it was a pretty handy disguise item.
…However, someone accidentally saw her get changed, and not to mention, two days in a row.
Before she had any time to get dressed, her true appearance was revealed—and again, two days in a row.
“…In the first place, why does Megane-kun always hide his presence? What, is that supposed to be a habit? Is this some kind of a prank?”
Many of the villagers may be able to overlook it, but for Owl, who specialized in poisons and espionage, it’d be a hassle.
Well, she could still sense the presence of ordinary people, but…
“Well, do your best.”
“Yeah, it’s your fault for not training and skipping some practical skins.”
“Yeah, yeah, of course, as expected of the competent ones.”
Horse and Iron Bull were the experts in terms of violence.
Hence why they were good at detecting people without any traces of presence like that.
In fact, they could even handle it.
—They were getting off topic.
“Speak.” Said Horse, who was in charge of that village.
Thus, Iron Bull and Owl explained the recent emergency.
As expected, it was an emergency, to the extent that the two came running.
“…Even though he had just arrived in the village, he already subjugated the Sky Lizard, huh?”
Horse listened to every detail of Iron Bull’s story.
After leaving Iron Bull, the glasses boy apparently brought the head of the Sky Lizard as a token of his subjugation and showed it to Owl.
“A terrifying person has appeared.”
He hadn’t told the students yet, but the nearby mountains were inhabited by monsters that two-star adventurers would struggle with.
In that village, which had been training assassins, there existed a custom.
After the students had arrived in the village, each of them was expected to discover their own assassination techniques, train for about half a year, before honing their skills against the monsters of the mountain.
At that time, the student would be assigned with an instructor, who’d also serve as an escort, and would be thoroughly taught.
After all, there were skills and experience that could only be earned through actual combat.
Later, the subjugation of the Sky Lizard would become the final test, which’d also serve as a mark of passing.
Not only was a Sky Lizard difficult to find, it was also a tough opponent, and was quick to escape.
As such, high fighting prowess wasn’t enough to defeat one, while superficial skills would hinder one from delivering the decisive blow.
Basically, it was a monster that couldn’t be hunted just by improving one’s technique.
However, despite being the main target of the final exam, it wasn’t a deadly opponent.
While the Sky Lizard could only bite or pounce, its skill to turn invisible made it a threat.
Furthermore, the Sky Lizards were omnivorous, so they’d eat anything.
Nevertheless, they’d only attack prey that they could eat whole.
Unless people invaded their territory when they were very hungry, or when they were crazed due to the breeding season, it was unlikely for the Sky Lizard to attack people.
By subjugating such a lizard with all the assassination techniques he had learned in the village, the student would then graduate from the assassin training school.
Hence why it was an emergency.
After all, it wasn’t supposed to be a monster that a newcomer could slay without learning any assassination skills.
…But that kid did anyway.
In the last twenty years, Horse had been able to live as a villager, while also raising the next generation of assassins on the side.
In all those twenty years, not a single student had ever come close to such a feat.
“From the beginning, I knew he had potential.”
Horse monitored the movements of the students along the way.
If it was an ordinary student, he’d be exhausted from the long carriage trip.
Not only that, due to the stress and the physical debilitation, they might even lash out and quarrel with each other.
However, this year, the students managed to overcome the trial with plenty of time to spare.
After all, amongst them, there were budding magicians and hunters with foraging expertise.
In that regard, this year’s students were a bit different.
Nevertheless, the glasses boy was especially eye-opening.
“Weiss found that glasses kid himself and recommended him to us.”
Even though Horse hesitated to divulge that, an unexpected crisis had arisen, so he had no reason to hide it anymore.
As a matter of course, recruiting the glasses kid as a student was never part of the plan.
Weiss Levant included that boy at the last minute.
“…Haa, considering his age, why is he still acting unreasonable?”
Weiss was the leader of a group of assassins owned by the Kingdom of Nastiara.
In the assassin industry, there was no such thing as heredity, and only those with skills may rise to the top.
In other words, only those who were recognized and respected by everyone could rise to the top.
The current leader, Weiss, was the only one not referred by code, but by name.
“…So, what are you going to do, Horse?”
The assignments differed from person to person, but the glasses boy had completed the one intended for graduation exam.
For that reason, it’d be impossible to give the same assignment to other students for the graduation exam.
Otherwise, they’d definitely say, “But he did it as soon as he arrived, didn’t he?” In fact, it might even severely damage the self-esteem of some people.
An assassin was a solitary business.
Without a certain amount of self-esteem, one couldn’t continue.
Thus, the only solution he could come up with was to raise the hurdle of the graduation exam to match the level of the glasses boy…
…However, if he did that, there was a possibility that no one would graduate.
In the face of such an emergency, Horse…
“—Dunno, I’ll think about it.”
…Put it on hold for the time being.
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