Volume 4, Chapter 20: Meeting Latter Part

(He’s fast.)

Maomao honestly thought.

However, that didn’t mean that he was fast running in a straight line. It was like his speed didn’t die down amid the narrow obstacle-ridden paths of the back streets from the many unused barrels.

(Oi oi, give me a break.)

Maomao left the bottles she was holding onto and chased after him.

It was a godsend that despite the twist and turns, the path was fundamentally straight. Even Maomao who had lived in the capital since birth didn’t know all the roads.

(I don’t really want to go here though.)

Rat-like scoundrels skulked around in places with little human traffic. These fellows either don’t work at all or can’t. However, they were full-fledged members of society by only being aware of turfs.

Could the sound that Basen heard be a turf war between those fellows?

(You didn’t need to poke your nose into it.)

His thoughts are jumping a little too far ahead, isn’t he, Maomao thought.

That moment, she heard the shriek of metal and a scream.

Maomao looked through the two forks in the path. She looked left and right, then veered towards the sound. She headed right.

(!?)

There was a plaza at the end of the bend. There was a storehouse at the back. She could see human figures before it.

One, two, three…

(Seven people huh.)

The thugs were attacking two men. Basen involved himself into the original two against four.

The two men were dressed as good townspeople. It looked like they were in the middle of getting robbed.
However, the blades in their hands were somewhat unrefined for self-defence. They were fighting with the thugs like they were protecting something.

The four thugs looked filthy, but their weapons were more specialised. There were no chips on their blades either.

As if he was going to settle it at that moment, it seems Basen had decided how he was going to act.

(Oi oi.)

Even though his mind and his hands were both empty. Just what was he planning?

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Maomao thought as she hid herself behind the wall.

But then—.

It was the thug who fell first.

(!?)

Basen was gone. She thought he was gone, but then his shadow appeared behind the thugs.
She had no idea what he did. Only that another thug had fallen before she realised it.

She wasn’t sure, but either of the two had to be done in by Basen.
One was showing the whites of his eyes, and the other one trembled as he clutched his knee.

(Did it get broken?)

The leg was bent in a strange direction. It was broken, not twisted. His skill was too high to have done that in the space of a moment.

And during the interval Maomao observed them, it seems the last two were also finished.

She had no idea how he did it, but the rest of the thugs went flying. That moment, Basen twisted the thug’s arm strangely. There was an unpleasant sound.

(No chance of recovery?)

All four thugs who had fallen to the ground had their joints broken.

Certainly, it was unnecessary to go easy on armed robbers, but she felt that he went too far by haphazardly going in to help people.

However, the two people Basen helped didn’t thank him. They only got down on their knees.

(Huh?)

“You were quite careless.”

“My deepest apologies.”

One man lowered his head at Basen’s words. The other one took out a cord from his breast pocket and tied up the fallen thugs.
It seems they knew each other.

“Basen-sama.”

Maomao came out, her head tilted.

Basen ignored her and went into the storehouse.

“Inside?”

“Y-yes.”

She saw the man cover his mouth reflexively. With a face that wanted to say that there are limits to sloppiness, Basen strode off.

(….)

Maomao also hurried after Basen.

Basen violently threw open the doors of the storehouse. She could see the shadow of someone huddled inside.

“….”

“….”

There was a pretty town girl. No, for a town girl, she was much too perfect, a fine jewel. A girl, where a maiden that is highly recommended by a pimp couldn’t compare.

Of course, there was no way this was a normal girl.

(Oh yeah, normally, she’s considerably beautiful.)

She tended to forget while she was in the inner palace. The dazzling flower garden – no matter how beautiful a flower, they will pretty much get overshadowed when they get surrounded by bigger flowers.

Consort Riishu was there.

She got it. The men outside were the consort’s guards; they would have to be military officials or something. No doubt they would also be acquainted with Basen.
And so, it was as Maomao had worried. Was the consort’s outing leaked? Or did she happen to meet robbers by chance? It would probably have to be the former.

Whether it be a raid for weapons or they were driven into a dead-end in the back of the alleyway, she couldn’t see it as a random crime.

Consort Riishu wasn’t wearing her usual gorgeous dress. Nonetheless, she was wearing clothes that were worn by the daughter of a large business. Maybe she had been shivering the whole time inside the cramped storehouse, when they opened the door, there was a burst of perfume fragrance.

The corner of her eyes that had less makeup than usual was filled with more tears than usual. Her lips were twisted. Her whole body was shuddering.

Her eyes were dyed with terror.

Basen, who was lit up from the back, was reflected in Consort Riishu’s eyes.

Even though Basen should have also said something, he was just standing. At this rate, the timid Consort Riishu might just wet herself while her face is covered with snot in her fear.

The exasperated Maomao showed her face from behind Basen.

“Are you hurt?”

Absolutely naturally, Maomao made a smile to ease the consort’s nervousness.

However, Consort Riishu drew back like she was bristling. “Eek!” She inadvertently raised her voice.

Oh now, isn’t this worse then she saw Basen, Maomao thought as she crouched down for the time being, and wilfully looked to see if she was hurt. Though her clothes were dirty in places, she didn’t seem to have any external injuries.

As if she finally calmed down, Consort Riishu’s stiff face gradually eased.

It was just that her face seemed feverish. Could it be that she got suddenly worn out after her tension was eased – she looked a little dazed.

“Basen-sama.”

Maomao looked at Basen.
She couldn’t see his face properly with the backlighting, but she knew that his tension still hasn’t gone down.

“I’ll leave her to you for a little while. I’ll go help with dealing with them over there.”

Leaving with a stiff tone, Basen headed towards the guards.

It seems Maomao had a slightly wrong impression about Basen.

She had thought that he was Jinshi’s close aide because he is Gaoshun’s son, Jinshi’s milk-sibling. His essence was straightforward and impulsive, but with his youth as well, she had always thought that he was waiting to grow up.

(No way for that?)

Honestly, she thought that Basen wasn’t capable. Or rather, she thought that he was a simple person that was easy to deal with.

Let’s amend that.

Certainly, on the civil side of things, she felt that he was a little lacking to work for Jinshi. Of course, she thought that he is perfectly outstanding compared to a civil officer of the same age. However, it wasn’t enough with just that.

Unfortunately, it appears his talent was more on the military side of things. There was no way you can easily defeat four thugs barehandedly. However, Basen did away with it with movements like he was breathing.

Maomao, who had no idea about martial arts, also knew that much.

Which reminds her, it had been Basen who accompanied Jinshi when they headed off to suppress the Shi Clan, not Gaoshun. Since Jinshi returned with an injury on his face, Basen was hit by Gaoshun and his cheeks had swelled up.
However, Gaoshun must have also not put any guards with Jinshi because he doted on his son. Him hitting his son might have been because he had betrayed that trust.

(Let’s tease him a little less.)

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He doesn’t look like the type to raise his hand at women, but for now, she got a better opinion of him.

Even so, Maomao looked at Consort Riishu.

“Are you okay?”

“Eh, ye-yeah.”

I-I’m fine, Consort Riishu’s face was redder than before.

And then her red face was turned towards the plaza, watching Basen who was giving directions to the guards.

“…”

She had an unpleasant premonition.

And that was most likely on the mark.

“…sama.”

The consort whispered something.
However, she couldn’t hear it properly. It was a knockout this time – it wasn’t something like that.

“So his name is Basen-sama…”

The thirty percent better looking Basen was projected in the consort’s teary eyes.

(…can we stop here?)

Consort Riishu’s face had become the extremely bothersome maiden.

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