The Hero is both a Stalker and a Shinigami Part 1
「Hah… Hah… Hah… Hah…」
The man was running like there was no tomorrow, he didn’t even care about his surroundings.
As he was passing through narrow passages between walls, trunks and twigs scratched at him. Because of this, his arms and legs were grazed .
Nevertheless, he couldn’t afford to care for such trivialities.
The small wounds on his body were deemed trivial. His fear had flattened his reasoning a long time ago.
His instincts told him that if he didn’t want to be murdered, he had to keep running.
(Shit… This is bad, THIS IS BAD, SHIEEEET!!)
Running out of breath, though his body was begging for rest, his brain commanded him to ignore it and hurry.
The reason why he was running came rushing back with dreadful memories among his now chaotic thoughts.
The man was doing regular duties, just as always, as if it’s just a normal day on the job.
People who cannot afford to be seen in the light of day anymore come everyday to these slums.
Notorious criminals who are in the run, orphans who lost their parents, nobles who lost their standing because of family disputes, merchants who failed in enterprises, adventurers who couldn’t pay their debts, normal people who are just poor, these are some of the kinds of people who appear here in the slums.
These slums had became the crucible for people who end up running here because of their dark secrets, and would change the people completely.
However, there is order in the slum.
It is known that without the slum, these guys will flood over to the city, disrupting the public order.
One time, some order of knights tried to destroy a slum and annihilated it, took over it, and succeeded. However, contrary to their belief that commerce would flourish thanks to the disappearance of the slums, the public order worsened instead, and the merchants didn’t want to approach the city anymore. From that day onwards, everything went downhill.
That’s why there is an unspoken rule among the cities not to interfere with the slums, unless absolutely necessary.
Unless you get lost inside the slums, you can have a better life in a secure environment inside a city that has a slum than one that didn’t.
Nevertheless, the slum’s activities are overlooked, as decided, to some extent. Although the slums are considered a necessary evil, if the people in the slums interfere excessively with the bright side, the city and the country has no other choice than to intervene.
Also, the slum’s side didn’t want direct intervention of a city or the kingdom. That’s why those who stand at the top manage the lives of the slum.
They adjust the population, and maintain the status quo within the slums.
Also, they try to keep disturbances from happening outside of its borders.
In exchange of accepting problematic subjects, there’s an implicit agreement that the events happening inside the slum, under a certain level, will be swept under the rug.
A place that is accepted as extraterritorial, that is what the slum meant.
That’s why the man, making use of his abilities he learnt as a former spy, surveyed the entrances located all around the royal capital’s slum, as ordered by the man who stands at the top of it.
If he were to caught sight of a dangerous man, he would grasp all his main characteristics and inform the boss.
If he were to find nobles, riches, or any son of an influential figure that could endanger the slums, he would safeguard them.
By doing that, he prevented the slums to infringe upon the imposed rules, and would protect the slum from possible purges. If the slum were to disappear at some point, it would mean that he would lose his place to live.
That’s why, when he sensed the man coming from the grand avenue, as always, he marked the man as a target and started his surveillance.
The age of the boy seemed to be just past 15 years old. He had black hair, a slim figure, and was wearing some jet black clothes. Although his clothes’ quality were good, there weren’t clothes of that type among those of the capital.
At least he didn’t look like someone influential, but from his appearance you could tell that he wasn’t someone who was broke, or a criminal.
He could be a noble or a merchant from another town, but he couldn’t tell his influence or power. However, he knew that boy wasn’t an ordinary person.
「That means, it should be all right if he were to get some deep wounds …」
As the man was muttering to himself, on the main avenue, he saw that there were several hoodlums that appeared and surrounded the intruder. Then, the boy would get assaulted, be injured and saved by the man, as usual.
Those hoodlums and the man were under an agreement. In other words, it was a match-pump approach.
By giving them money periodically, in the case when the man were to judge that the intruder should be left alive, the hoodlums would fake a fight with the spy and at some point they would bail out of there, forcing the intruder to owe the spy a favor.
By doing that, the man would ask the intruder to leave the slums, while the victim doesn’t have complete animosity over the slums.
“Just when they are about to break 2 or 3 of his bones, it should be the right time to go” was what he thought as he prepared to go into the fight. Waiting for the best opportunity to intervene the hoodlums attacking the boy, he was left speechless by the following scene.
A scream echoed over. The man, for a moment, couldn’t understand the scene as it played out before him.
The hoodlums that were trying to assault the boy collapsed and bent down on the ground. Even the emissary, with the eyes he had trained all his life, couldn’t completely grasp the whole incident.
Nonchalantly, he created this scene with ease; and the one responsible for this catastrophe looked like he wasn’t particularly interested in this. Before who knows how long, in his hand, there was an edged tool that could as well used as a throwing knife; and using that blade, he pinned the hoodlum leader’s arm to the ground to prevent him from escaping. And finally, as the boy decapitated him, the man started to run.
There was no need for an explanation.
He sensed that he was unable to deal with the boy.
A strength that could be considered insurpassable by that of the kingdom’s order of knights.
A tough spiritual mind that can take lives without a hint of hesitation, to the point of being inhuman, an outsider of the slums.
That silhouette looked like that of a god of death that reaps the souls of those it chooses.
He didn’t know if the hoodlums had talked to the boy about their relation, but he was sure that if the boy were to put his eyes on him, there was no way in hell that he would be left alive.
In any case, the man’s instinct was telling him that death was upon him.
As the man tried to cross, as fast as possible, to the other side of the moldy bridge. The former spy, judging that it was impossible to handle the boy all by himself, and being suppressed by his fear, was retreating to inform the man responsible for the slums, as soon as possible.
After some time had passed since he had started running, the man had reached the slum’s market.
Straying from a street where there were only crude wares that couldn’t be compared to normal goods of the capital, he enters a building through a corner.
Installed in the crude building’s interior, there was a reinforced steel door, and on both of its sides, there were two gargoyles enshrined, acting as guards.
The gargoyles looked at him with cold eyes, just as cold as their gray skin that felt roughly like stone.
「「What’s the password?」」
「Haaa, Haaa, 『The master key of the garbage dump.』」
「「You can pass.」」
Speaking in concert, both of them synchronized their answer as they both heard the password. As he took a relieved breath, he pushed open the door made of steel.
Inside it, there was a room, unusual for the slums, that was kept clean; even most the furniture and supplies were valued highly, adorning the splendid interior that could even be comparable to that of a middle rank noble’s mansion.
In the middle of the room, there were bodyguards who were former knights or adventurers, relaxing while gambling.
「Nnn? What happened Jack, so agitated.」
「Hey Hey, sympathize with him a little. Maybe he ate something bad and he’s at death’s door?」
「Hey, youuu… Don’t try to cheat within all this commotion!!」
「Tch, you’re too sharp-sighted.」
Having been called his name, while being surrounded by his colleagues who provide a reassuring atmosphere, laughing, Jack felt that his fear settled down a little bit. Judging that he was safe here, all the tension melted away.
「I need to meet with the boss, it’s urgent.」
Despite feeling safer, it’s not a mistake to inform about his findings as fast as possible.
He didn’t know the objective of the boy, but he was sure that he was not a regular lost child. He knew that even though one person’s influence shouldn’t amount to anything, as a veteran spy, he couldn’t leave the boy alone, because he didn’t know the impact that the intruder could bring to the slums.
「What? Did the country dispatch a knight?」
「I don’t think so… We’ll talk later.」
Believing that he couldn’t explain the situation concisely, as he was a spy, he decided that it would be pointless to try to report inaccurately, he decided to not speak his thoughts too quickly.
Climbing the creaking wood stairs, at the end of the hall, he stood there and knocked on the door.
「『Who is it?』」
「Boss, it’s me Jack. I want to inform you about something urgently.」
「『The door is unlocked, so help yourself.』」
「Then, please excuse me.」
As he pushed and opened the door politely he saw a 30 year old man with all-back style bleached hair and a monocle, who gave the impression of a clever guy, who was reading some documents with his long slit eyes.
「Do you mind if I listen while I check these documents?」
「No problem, Boss.」
The man responded that way, not because he believed that his information was of little importance, but because he believed that this man was capable enough to make a wise decision while doing so.
「Houu, It seems like it will take a while. I don’t mind if you make yourself comfortable in that sofa.」
It wasn’t known if he understood the importance of the situation just from the man’s voice, but the Boss’s voice was backed with a serious tone.
「Well, then excuse me… 」
As the man was leaning his back against the sofa, he was thinking about how to break the news. The course of events was running through again inside the man’s head, and he was about to open his mouth.
However, before he could make them into words, the boss opened his mouth first.
「Mmm, Jack, you’ve made a mistake.」
Being transfixed prematurely by his boss by the words 『You’ve made a mistake』, even before he told him about the incident, made him freeze in thought.
「Wha, What do you mean by that… 」
「Hello, are you perhaps the boss of this slum? 」
Just when he was about to ask about it, the door was kicked down while the voice was heard; with the sound batan, that voice was erased.
As the door opened, a man entered while his killing intent was retracting into his body as he spoke.
There was a man who acted cheerfully, like a friend who was invited to play over at someone’s house. In his right hand, there was a gargoyle that didn’t have its body, while in the other hand, he was dragging the ex-adventurer, who was the companion of the spy, with all his extremities hyper-extended…
「You, thanks for guiding me. Just for that, I’m going to forget about the matter before」
There was the boy with the smile of a shinigami, standing there.