Black Cat Chapter 109: Bodyguard

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 After four days on the road, the carriage of the Furniture Workshop Diaco arrived safely in Kilmaya.


 For two days from the next day, Borzi is going to have business meetings with his clients.



 They will see the new products loaded on the carriage, take new orders, start manufacturing when they return to Ibouro, and transport the products when a large quantity is completed.


 At the same time as the business meeting, they also collect payment for the goods delivered.



 In other words, since they are carrying a large amount of cash on the way back…  They need to be more careful and deposit the payment into the account of the Merchant and Craftsman Guild.


 I thought that if they don’t carry a large amount of cash, there would be less worry about being attacked by bandits, but since people are on board even without cash, they are said to aim to kidnap and confine people and demand ransom.



 For example, in the case of the Furniture Workshop Diaco, they would use Elisa as a hostage to make Borzi pay the ransom, or they would use two people as hostages to extract the ransom from the workshop.


 The bandits’ activities are exclusively on the roads in the middle of nowhere, but the kidnappers are said to take advantage of opportunities to kidnap people even in the city, so we must not lose our focus.



 The day after we arrived in Kilmaya, Borzi, and the others were escorted by me alone.


 Shure was going back to her hometown to report to her relatives that she had avenged her cousin’s death by killing Zozon.



 The reason I went along with this request was also to fill the gap that Shure would be missing in her report.


 I’m sure there are many skilled martial artists in Shure’s hometown, and I’m tempted to go there, but for today I’m going to concentrate on escorting the client.



 I’d like to go there, but for today, I’m going to concentrate on escorting him.


 The trading companies that do business with Diaco are all first-rate, so there is no need to pay attention to the inside of their premises.



 After leaving the inn, the carriage turned into a back street and entered the premises through the service gate of the Graz Trading Company.


 Once the carriage was parked near the back entrance of the building, the craftsmen set up the stairs leading up to the loading platform.



 This carriage, it seems, is a moving showroom, so to speak.


 Borzi and Elisa, who came down from the cabin, along with Keane, the butler, who was carrying a large bag, stepped into the trading company.



 Eugen, the owner of the Graz Trading Company, is a 40-ish-year-old zebrakin man with the air of a successful man.


 He has a lively manner of speaking, a mischievous grin, and sophisticated body language. …I wish my father would share one-tenth, or even one-fiftieth, of his character.



 I wonder if there is anything that can be done about my father, who has a hard-to-understand accent, a sneer, and odd behavior… that seems to be a collection of the worst parts of catkins, and there’s my oldest brother, who is a perfect copy.


 Fawkes was a bit jittery around the members of Chariot when he first arrived at the base, but he seems to have gotten used to them recently.



 I guess the environment around him is reflected in his attitude and behavior.


 If Fawkes can speak normally with the members of Chariot, he will be able to speak well when he does his own work.



 While the business meeting was going on, I was waiting in the corner of the room with Keane, the butler, I was met with the appraising gaze of a rhinoceroskin man who looked like Eugen’s bodyguard.


 He was about the same age as Eugen, maybe a little older.



 He was dressed more like a butler than an adventurer, but even through his clothes, you could not hide that he had unusually developed muscles.


 He looks like a refined version of our Gad, and if I were to make an enemy of him, I would have a very tough fight on my hands.



 Imitating Shure, I try not to focus on any particular spot to keep my composure, but my whiskers start to tingle.


 After greeting the guests, clearing out the goods already delivered, and explaining the outline of the new products, we were moved to the carriage to check out the actual products.



 In the hallway leading from the reception room to the carriage, the rhinoceroskin bodyguard came up next to me and spoke to me.



“Is the usual guard not here?” (Bodyguard)


“Yes, she has other things to do today…” (Nyango)


“Hmm, careless.” (Bodyguard)


“Careless… really?” (Nyango)


“Yeah, it’s nonsense to leave one catkin as an escort and go somewhere else.” (Bodyguard)



 Said the rhinoceroskin bodyguard while looking down at me with a disgusted expression.


 Well, if I’m the only escort, it’s not unreasonable to react like this.



 I was a little pissed off, but unlike the guild bar, I couldn’t cause any trouble, so I kept my mouth shut. I was silent for a moment, but then Keane, the butler, who was walking beside me, spoke up.



“Thank you for your concern, Mr. Thalberg. But Mr. Nyango here is a very capable adventurer, so there is no need for concern.” (Keane)


“Hou, I’m sorry about that.” (Bodyguard => Thalberg)



 On the surface, the two are smiling, but they seem to be on edge.


 I mean, Keane looked at me the same way when he saw me at the meeting place on the first day.



 We waited outside the carriage while Borzi proceeded with the business meeting, showing us the actual product.


 While we were waiting, Thalberg stood next to me and seemed to be making some kind of a move.



 Well, even if he does, it will probably be just to scare me and not to attack me, but I’ll put up a thick [Shield] just in case.


 The business meeting proceeded, and the craftsman who had been outside the carriage with us was called in to explain about his products.



 There was a thud, and Thalberg frowned and held the back of his right hand.



“Thalberg, what’s that noise?” (Eugen)


“Well, it seems it’s from outside… Do you want to check it?” (Thalberg)


“No, it’s fine. You stay there and guard me.” (Eugen)


“I understand.” (Thalberg)



 He tried to stop me with a backhanded blow to my nose as I was standing in line, and he seemed to have hit the [Shield] I had put up as hard as he could.


 He was trying to scare me, but he got hurt, and he looked like he was biting a bitter bug.



“What did you do…?” (Thalberg)


“Adventurers don’t reveal their secrets that easily.” (Nyango) [T/N: Uhuh. Ms. Leila and Shure beg to differ.]


“Oh… you’re not just any catkin, are you?” (Thalberg)



 Towards Thalberg, who was once again throwing an appraising gaze at me, Keane lined up on the opposite side of me smiled, and puffed out his chest.


 Yeah, it’s not something for Keane to brag about either.



 The business meeting seems to have gone without a hitch, and they are going to have lunch at a restaurant recommended by Eugen.


 While Mr. and Mrs. Eugen, Borzi, and her daughter Elisa ate in a private room at the restaurant, I was left by the wall with Keane and the others.



 It was very hard for me to watch the full course of 7 or 8 dishes starting from appetizers to desserts.


 Haig, the chef, and two artisans were having their meal in a separate room.



 I had put up a shield to block them, but the good smells were pouring in from somewhere, and my stomach made a pitiful rumbling sound.


 At this point, I was seriously thinking of walking away from the adventuring profession.



“Huh, you’re just like a stray catkin in a back alley…” (Thalberg)



 As soon as he scoffed at me, Thalberg’s stomach growled loudly in discontent. [T/N: LOL]



“What did you say? I couldn’t hear you very well because your belly was making so much noise…” (Nyango)


“Kuh, it’s nothing…” (Thalberg)



 It’s not cute for a 40-plus-year-old man to sulk.


 Looking at us, my employer, Mr. and Mrs. Eugen, can’t hold back their laughter and are choking on their food.



 But still, I’m starving. …If I keep on escorting them to their next business meeting, I might collapse.


 On the way, Keane left the room after leaving his bag, and he didn’t come back for a while.



 I thought he might have gone to the bathroom, but he must have finished his meal in the back.


 I’m going to curse him to have his little toe hit the corner of his closet every day.



 While maintaining a delicate distance from Thalberg, the time spent looking at the scenery of the client’s meal felt absurdly long.


 It was a painful situation for all the bodyguards to be so hungry.



 It was about the time when Borzi and the others had finished their meal and left their seats that Keane finally returned.


 Keane was carrying two small paper boxes and handed one of them to Thalberg.



“Please enjoy your meal later.” (Keane)


“Yeah, sorry about this…” (Thalberg)



 Thalberg, who had been wearing a sulky face, broke his composure and accepted the box.


 It seems that Keane had asked for takeout.



 In that case, I’ll pray for you to have good luck every day. If you have luck, then the curse on your toe… won’t it cancel out?



“Mr. Nyango, please eat it while we head to the next business meeting.” (Keane)


“Thank you.” (Nyango)



 The paper box smelled so good that it made another pitiful stomach grumbling sound… but it was drowned out by the earth-rumbling cry of the Thalberg’s stomach.



 I exchanged a grin with Thalberg.



 It seems there is no veteran or newcomer when it comes to the pain of hunger.





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