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Rockwall Lou – V5 Chapter 8

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟖

(8)

“When it comes to using his power, Tabashika of the “Phantom Flame” does not hesitate. In fact, she’s the type who finds a certain pleasure in it.”

In the Black Neck Squad, she took on the role of an interrogator, leading many people astray in their lives, regardless of whether they were good or evil. Ozma had thought she would readily accept this particular job without a second thought. But she was mistaken.

As she heard about the task at hand, Tabashika turned pale, her expression tightened, and she ultimately shook her head.

“I can’t help.”

Ozma simply nodded.

In situations like this, it’s crucial not to rush to conclusions and let the other person explain.

“May I ask why?”

After a moment of hesitation, Tabashika replied.

“I have a lover. In the Royal Guards.”

A knight from the esteemed Royal Guards and a mage often looked down upon as an outlaw makes for an unusual pair.

“Come to think of it, during our recent operation, there were times you were mysteriously absent.”

Tabashika’s gaze wavered.

Despite the fate of the nation being at stake on this journey, this female wizard seemed to be taking it as a vacation, enjoying secret rendezvous with her lover.

Resolutely, Tabashika began to speak.

“That’s why I can’t betray him.”

“Hmm, troublesome. You do know that I’m not the type to compromise easily, right?”

Ozma rarely intervened with the discipline of the squad, but when it came to operational actions, it was a different matter.

“Yes.”

“You should also know why I’m taking on this risky operation, even playing the fool at times.”

Tabashika affirmed once more.

Ozma had been reminding his subordinates at every opportunity, even before the appearance of the “Blue Demon Beast.”

To strive to make life easier for the unfortunate wizards facing discrimination in this country.

Such insincere pretenses.

“Is it not just a fleeting feeling?”

“What do you mean?”

“Most of those who join the Royal Guards come from noble families. Even if they can’t inherit land, they are given a one-time title and remain connected to their families. I can’t imagine your relationship being accepted.”

“Hold on—”

Tabashika quickly corrected herself.

“He told me. He doesn’t need any titles for my sake. If his family opposes our marriage, he’s willing to cut ties.”

What a curious man. Ozma didn’t intend to meddle in someone else’s love life, but this was becoming problematic.

“You don’t want to harm him. But I have no intention of withdrawing this operation. What do you plan to do?”

“I’ll persuade him. Tonight.”

“You mean to betray your comrades and run away alone? Would someone from the Royal Guards even agree to that?”

“I’ll make him. I’ll use magic if necessary.”

Tabashika, having acquired the power of a rare demon beast called Glossy Fire Serpent, became a wizard. Her ability is to manipulate the human mind with the mesmerizing glow of fantastical flames. She showcased it prominently during her debut ceremony in the royal capital.

“I see.”

Ozma showed signs of agreement.

However, just consulting the members of the Royal Guards about setting a trap is already fraught with danger. From the looks of Tabashika, she seems quite persuaded. There’s also the possibility that she might betray them.

Rather, she probably intends to.

Taking the initiative, Ozma decided to create an escape route.

“How about you both just run away together?”

“Huh?”

Wizards under the control of the country face various restrictions. They always have to wear a collar indicating their grade, and once a month, they are obligated to report to the Bureau of Magic. If an ordinary wizard goes missing, it’s one thing. But if a top-grade wizard disappears, they will undoubtedly be pursued.

“But in the current situation, it’s a different story. Even if this chaos settles down, it will take a long time to rebuild the nation. They probably won’t spare extra manpower just to search for one missing wizard.”

The female wizard, who had been keeping a poker face, slightly trembled at her lips.

“Well, your flames are just an illusion, and you can’t control the heart of an enraged demon beast. In the upcoming “wilderness” journey, you won’t be much of a help. So. . . . . .”

Ozma suggested with a smile.

“If you accept two conditions, I might let you go.”

As if she was making a pact with the devil betting her soul, Tabashika’s expression became serious.

“What conditions?”

“First, as your final duty as a member of the Hero Squad, you’ll cooperate with our operation. If you don’t accept this, there’s no deal.”

“Of course.”

Tabashika agreed without hesitation.

“The second condition is※”

Ozma smiled mischievously.

“Leave a note for the other members you’ve been through thick and thin with, apologizing for betraying them.”

She seemed taken aback by this request.

“If you suddenly disappear without saying anything, some might suspect foul play. Being the last person to have talked to you, I might be considered a suspect.”

“Ah, I see.”

They prepared paper and pen and wrote then and there. With the negotiations settled, a somewhat relaxed atmosphere flowed between them.

“By the way, do our members know about you and that guy from the Royal Guards?”

“I think they’ve noticed. Battsu saw us once.”

“Well, that makes things easier.”

While Ozma checked the written content, Tabashika gave him a slightly lonely, mischievous smile.

“Hey, captain.”

“What is it?”

“I don’t dislike that lax yet careful side of you, captain.”

After receiving the subtle compliment with a wry smile, Ozma began speaking earnestly.

“Now, about your duty, the first condition.”

“Yes.”

“I think I’d like you to fulfill it right here.”

Tabashika blinked two or three times, as if not understanding what was said.

“Anyway, I wanted your abilities. Originally, I was thinking of asking you to take care of the princess in place of that chatty maid. But. . . . . .”

His voice unnaturally dragged and became unclear.

“Well, maybe later. . . . . .but for now!”

The middle-aged man’s slack smile eerily melted, and he lunged at the female wizard like a tidal wave.

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