From what I understand from her words… if I chose to tag along with their group. I could reach a town pretty quickly, that would be great, but… tagging along with these unknown dangerous people... Tatsumi swept his pupils across all three of them as a thought couldn’t help but pop into his mind.
With them? Isn't that a little too dangerous for comfort!
‘‘You're thinking that we’re too much of a danger to you, right?’’ The old lady calmly observed his hesitant expression, and said.
Tatsumi pupils constricted as his face distorted briefly in a frown when he heard what she said.
She is reading my thoughts again!
‘‘Always being cautious is a good thing, but you are thinking way too much about this. In the first place, why would we harm you, it's not like we're a pack of bendit.’’
‘‘Since you don’t seem to believe what I say, then think about it this way.’’
Seeing that her words didn’t seem to relax his guards against them even by a little, the old lady gives a brief thought, and continues. ‘‘If we really want to harm you, couldn’t we just poison the meat that you were eating.’’
The moment those sentences sounded through his ears, Tatsumi frown turned really ugly as his gaze directly towards the huge roasted leg by the bonfire. As his eyes landed on it, he also looked down at himself with worry.
‘‘Haha… don’t worry. If we really did put poison on the meat, even if you die, you wouldn’t know how it happened.’’ The old lady laughs darkly when Tatsumi looks at the meat and his own self with an especially ugly look.
I wouldn’t know how I died? Who the heck are these people!? Tatsumi couldn’t help but narrow his brow as his thoughts raced quickly.
No. In the first place, knowing about who they are isn't something I should concern myself with, instead, the real question is. Why the hell is this old lady fixed on me tagging along with them, when we literally just met?
Does she want something from me!?
UGGH…! My mind is too disarray right now, I need to calm down and think things through properly.
As many unanswered questions raced through his mind, Tatsumi took a large and deep breath as felt that his mind was too unedged and unable to process things calmly.
Taking the deep large breath, he exhales softly through his mouth.
Feeling that his thoughts were becoming much clearer, he peered out at the old lady in purple clothing for a quick moment, before turning his eyes away and seemingly in deep thought.
… if I think about it clearly, what she said does make sense in a lot of ways. If they really want to kill me, they wouldn’t bother to wait now to do so. And another thing is, why would they have any reason to try and kill me in the first place?
It's not like we have a life and death grudge…
Tatsumi's head tilted slightly saidway in confusion as he was unable to come up with any true reason as to why he had thought that they were plotting something against him.
Now that I thought about it, haven’t I been the one instinctively viewing them with suspicion, and also seemingly the one who alway ready to draw his sword first since the very beginning?
Although they may have a dangerous aura about them. But that is only because I could feel that they are very strong, strong enough to easily threaten my life. Which is the reason why I was feeling so cautious around them.
As every one of the words he thought about raced through him, Tatsumi's expression turned blank, and he couldn’t help but utter in his mind.
Aren’t I just being paranoid right now? Instinctively viewing people who are strong as dangerous and need to be fully suspicious of — as if they are people I always need to be on guard against at all times… When the realization sank in, he felt a little shocked at how he was acting.
Since when was I this paranoid…? Letting the shock he felt quickly flew past him, Tatsumi questioned himself.
Well whatever, I believe being a little paranoid should be fine, since it could remind me to be cautious, but I also don’t think being too paranoid is a good thing either… Moving his pupils to the old lady, he murmured inwardly.
Besides, I don’t think my cautiousness towards them isn't unfounded either.
Though, I could afford to be less… ‘vigilant’ too.
‘‘Seeing as how you are thinking so hard about this,’’ the old lady spoke. ‘‘Have you come to a Decision, yet?’’
Tatsumi didn’t reply to her for a moment as he let himself sit in silence while staring down at the ground.
… it should be fine to tag along with them, as long as I stay careful and not let my guard down, right? Peering out at them from the corner of his eyes, he mutters in his mind.
After a few more moments of thinking over what decision he should make, Tatsumi made a decisive decision on his part, and lifted his head up to face the old lady.
Smiled out warmly at her, he said with a calm and gentle tone of voice. ‘‘Ok. I’m willing to tag along with your group, ma’am.’’
‘‘Haha~ that great, for a second there I that you would have refused with how careful you seem to be. Looks like you're quite brave, aren’t you.’’ At first the old lady laughed out gently while talking, but toward the end, her smile turned slightly dark.
Finding her smile a little eerie and disturbing to look at, Tatsumi could feel himself becoming slightly more tense. Forcing the tenseness down, he rolled his head to the long light red-hair girl.
‘‘Since we will be moving together, you’ll tell me where we’re headed now, right?’’ He said, emphasize the word ‘we’ to Chelsea.
As she heard him, Chelsea put on a look as if she was contemplating something innerly while sneakily moving her eyes to the old lady, as if trying to get some consent from her.
Seeing the look Chelsea was giving her, the old lady spoke out. ‘‘It’s fine, since he will be traveling with us for a while. Besides he’ld be following us anyway, he would know eventually when we got there.’’
Getting the old lady approved, Chelsea drops her fake contemplation look and starts speaking. ‘‘The destination we’re headed to is called the ‘Hakuro River’, ever heard about it before?’’ As she explains where they are going, forming a faint smile on her face, Chelsea questions him.
Listening intently to her, Tatsumi shook his head lightly at her question and eagerly urged her to finish explaining what he had asked of her. ‘‘Please continue with your explanation.’’
‘‘Well, aren’t you eager~’’ showing an amusing look, Chelsea said as she continued speaking. ‘‘By the Hakuro River, there is quite a flourishing town right next to it.’’
Tatsumi's eyes brightened up when he heard the word ‘town’ from her. The thought of being in a town and eating good food causes him to be in unconcealing joy from no end.
He won’t lie, living in the wild for the past few weeks causes him to miss civilization quite a bit. It was not that he disliked the wilderness and the nature around it, as someone who likes traveling and seeing new places, he actually enjoys it.
But, there were two things he came to understand that were a slight problem and kept bugging him these past week.
First: it was food, he was starting to get tired of eating meals every day without any proper seasoned, or any seasoned at all for that matter. Although many danger-beasts' meats are good, but without any seasoned put into it. They started to taste blend lately for his taste-bud.
Second: a comfortable place to sleep. Although he grew used to sleeping outdoors long before coming out from his village, it still felt unpleasant sleeping on hard ground or rocks.
All these factors make him yearn for civilization once more, at least for a while until he would long for nature once more.
Seeing the look of joy within Tatsumi two green-eyes that seems to luster like a beautiful coloring jewel within the night. Chelsea's facial expression flickers as she turns her face slightly to the side, avoiding looking directly at him.
Lost in thought, Tatsumi didn’t notice her strange action, though even if he noticed it he likely wouldn’t put much thought into it.
A short amount of time passes. Letting his mind wander back to reality, and looking at Chelsea, Taeko, the old lady, he said with all seriousness and smiled at the same time.
‘‘I hope we have safe travels together, and nothing unexpected will happen.’’ Faking out a yawn form within, he continued to say, ‘‘well, I’m tired, so I’ll get some rest.’’
As he spoke, Tatsumi stood up and walked towards a big boulder a few meters away. Stopping midway before reaching the big boulder, turned his head. He said, ‘‘I’ll be sleeping atop this boulder, so you guys can rest next to the bonfire. Good night.’’
‘‘Have a good night as well, lad.’’ The old lady reply’s back in a kind elderly tone.
Watching the young man laid atop a boulder in a distance away from them, Chelsea's expression flickers into seriousness as she looks toward the old lady and says in a whisper.
‘‘Barbara… Why were you persistent in having him tagging along with us? You do know he is dangerous, right?’’
The old lady, also known as Barbara, glared at Chelsea in anger. ‘‘Hmph! Are underestimating my keen sense. Of course I could sense he is very dangerous — so dangerous that staying around with us wouldn't be good for any one of us.’’
‘‘Then why?’’ Chelsea's question, confused over the old lady's action as she herself admits that the unknown young man was dangerous, and was a person they have to be extremely cautious around.
As Chelsea questions Barbara, Taeko, who remains silent the whole time, leans in as she was also puzzled by her teacher's action.
‘‘Because he is interesting.’’ Having their expecting gaze on her, the old lady in purple clothing chuckles for a brief second, and answers them.
‘‘Because he is interesting…’’ As the answer only continues to confuse her even more, Chelsea inquires more from the old lady. ‘‘What is about him that interests the you?’’
Barbara scoffed at her immediately when she said that, ‘‘although your physical capability needs some work you also have a lot of good aspects about you. Here I thought being sharp was one of those, but at how clueless you seem right now, maybe I am wrong.’’
Despite being berated by Barbara, the light-red girl didn’t care as she continued to look at the old lady, urging her to answer what she wanted to know through her two pink eyes.
Eventually the old lady in purple stopped berating her, and put on a solemn bearing, looking serious.
Seeing her teacher's solemn bearing and serious expression, Taeko's calm expression that seemed devoid of emotion most of the time, became curious about what her teacher was going to say next.
‘‘Obviously, both of you must feel the monstrous killing intent that is released every time the boy seems to be in a fighting mood, right?’’ Barbara's thin elderly voice softly sounded out in low menner.
Both Taeko and Chelsea just wordlessly nodded without trying to interrupt her.
‘‘When you think about it, someone with that much murderous intent within them, would suggest that he had killed countless amounts of people, and which would make him quite experienced, to the point that every one of his actions would contain deadliness.’’
‘‘But, although the lad was always on guard against us, and was ready to take action at moments noticed. As I deeply observe him and his actions, I pick out one thing from it.’’
Not knowing she was trying to get at, the two young girls become even more curious and eager as the old lady in purple continues to talk.
‘‘In truth he seems to be quite inexperienced, and though he never let his guard down, I could still pick out many openings from him. The air around him wasn't that of something who had slew many people either’’ As she explained, Barbara's face turned perplexed, as she herself didn't fully understand a certain reason either.
‘‘But the killing intent that came out from him didn’t feel fake at all?’’ For the first time, Taeko spoke out, quiet but laced with confusion.
‘‘Yeah… the feeling it gave out was so terrifying,’’ Chelsea agreed, while shivering slightly when remembering that monstrous murderous killing intent radiating and spelling out from the young man's cold gazes.
‘‘I’m not saying it was fake,’’ the old lady interjected. And fell in silence soon after, murmuring underneath her breath. ‘‘It's more along the line that, instead of having such strong murderous intent because he killed too many people, it felt… more like it innately was born from him.’’
Hearing Barbara murmuring, Chelsea didn’t know what to say as she mull over her words in her mind.
After quite a bit of thinking and trying to decipher the meaning of the old lady's words, she gave up and released a sigh from her mouth. ‘‘But that interest alone shouldn't be enough for you to ask him to come along with us? We’re doing a mission right now, we can’t add any unknown variable to the mix.’’
While continuing to speak out about what she thought about the matter, Chelsea suddenly ‘yelped’ as she felt an aching pain on her head.
Chelsea then raised her hands, placed it on top of her head and looked at Barbara grudgely.
‘‘Are you trying to teach me things now, you're too young for that,’’ Barbara glared at Chelsea sharply and pulled back her hand. ‘‘Interest isn't the only reason… but there is no point in telling you about it, yet.’’
Seeing that Chelsea was about to speak out when hearing the first half of her sentence, the old lady in purple clothing shut her up immediately with the next line.
Knowing that Barbara won’t tell her what her other reason for wanting the young man to tag along with them even if she asked, the light-red hair girl put away her curiosity and shut her mouth right away.
‘‘If you don’t like him tagging along with us because he is too dangerous, why did you accept his offer to join him in eating? Hmph, shouldn’t think of that first.’’ Snorted at Chelsea way, the old lady said.
As she heard what the old lady said, Chelsea awkwardly scratched her cheek and said. ‘‘Well… that was because… although terrifying, I was curious.’’
‘‘Hmph, is that why you were acting so comfortable and friendly around him.’’ Barbara snorted again.
‘‘I have to be friendly, so he wouldn’t feel like I could be a danger to him. After all, you remember what happen when he felt threatened by you.’’ Chelsea awkwardly said again. ‘‘Besides, it's the basics of being an assassin to alway put on a friendly façade, so your target could relax around you.’’
‘‘At least these are the things that you understand and are good at,’’ Barbara praised, while giving her another sharp glare.
As the rays of sun cast away every speck of darkness within the land, laying on top of a big boulder, Tatsumi tiredly and uncomfortably opened his two green eyes.
Opening them, a dark circle could be seen from the corner of each of his eyes as he winced slightly from the sunlight.
‘‘I couldn’t sleep at all because of my wariness towards them,’’ sighed softly, he muttered as he felt the tiredness from his body. ‘‘I am going to have to work on this… if I can’t sleep soundly around them. This would become a big problem.’’
Tatsumi positions his upper body up, and raises both his hands up in the air, before releasing yawns from within.
‘‘You're awake, but then again, I don’t think you sleep at all by the look of those dark circles around your eyes.’’
Knowing who the voice belonged to, Tatsumi turned towards his back and nodded at her without mustering up a reply.
Having only a nod sends her way, Chelsea covers her mouth and grin slightly. ‘‘Not in a talkative mood are we, seems the lack of sleep got to you more than expected. You should work on that since you’ll be traveling with us for a while. It won’t be good to not rest at all.’’
Listening to her continued chatter, the young man put up a small smile and gazed at the corner of both her eyes and said, with a tone as if trying to advise her. ‘‘You as well. My uncle once said to me that when women lack sleep, they tend to become less pertity.’’
‘‘Ohhh. You shouldn’t believe what your uncle said, women don’t become less pertity just because they don’t get enough rest time.’’ Chelsea's grin slowly disappears because of what he says, and replies soon after.
Tatsumi's small smile held a faint amusement, as his lips moved to speak once again. ‘‘I remember another thing as to why he said a lack of sleep makes them less pretty. Want to know the exact word?’’
Lips slightly twitching, the light-red hair girl said. ‘‘And what would those exact words be?’’
Faint amusement still resides on his smile, he answered her. ‘‘He said that it make them look old and… ugly.’’