Black Cat Chapter 164: For Those Who Supported Me

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 The morning after my interview with Caballero, I slipped out of bed while it was still dark and went out to the garden after saying “I’ll be fine” to the soldier on guard.


 I made a staff with void magic and held it up.



“Myah, nyah, nyah, nyah…” (Nyango)



 I swing the staff by combining the four basic movements of staff arts I learned from Mr. Zeol: striking, sweeping, blocking, and thrusting, and also foot handling.


 I should stop… thinking… thinking.



 Usually, if I curl up in bed, I am soon in a dream.


 Usually, as soon as I start swinging the stick, my nerves are sharpened.



 And yet, I can’t get rid of the brown catkin’s face.


 I can’t get Caballero’s curses out of my ears.



“Hah… hah…” (Nyango)



 I stopped swinging, dispelled the staff, and sat in the garden to watch the sunrise.


 The situation couldn’t be anymore refreshing, yet a thick cloud remains hanging over my heart.



 I worked up a sweat, bathed, and did some more laundry before returning to my room, where Mr. Novak, my roommate, was just starting to wake up.



“Nuuu… You’re up early, Nyango.” (Novak)


“Good morning, something woke me up.” (Nyango)


“I see… Hmm, do you want to go eat?” (Novak)


“I’d love to, but you’d better wash your face first.” (Nyango)


“Oh, that’s right…” (Novak)



 Mr. Novak is still half asleep, and his hair is a mess from sleep.


 He washed his face, and I waited for him to fix his hair, and then we headed to the dining room together.



 The Viscount and his family and Derrick eat in the dining room for visitors, but we use the dining room adjacent to the kitchen, which is used by the knights and soldiers of the ducal family.


 Even though it is a dining hall for soldiers, it is a far cry from the food at Count Grobrus’.



 The meal includes fluffy bread, rich milk, fresh crisp salad, fried eggs, thick bacon, tasty consommé soup, and even aromatic Calfe.


 It should all taste wonderful but…



“What’s the matter, Nyango, you look so down? It’s going to make your meal taste bad.” (Novak)


“Sorry…” (Nyango)



 Some are struggling not only to eat well, but also to find food that will sustain their lives.


 The image of my brother stealing bread from the market in Ibouro and running away desperately comes to mind.


 I wonder if it is okay for me to be the only one eating a belly full of delicious food while there are catkins who are risking their lives to change the unreasonable status quo.



“Huh… It looks like you’re really sad. Did that catkin’s words get to you that deeply?” (Novak)


“No, it’s not that I was taken in, it’s that our thoughts just don’t meet…” (Nyango)



 Mr. Novak tilted looked thoughtful when I told him how I couldn’t get anything out of him because I was trying to avoid getting pressured by Caballero, who didn’t listen to me at all and was just cursing me.



“Nyango, what’s wrong with that?” (Novak)


“Huh?” (Nyango)


“You didn’t lie to him, did you? You’ve been doing your best, just like you said, haven’t you?” (Novak)


“But we’re the same catkins, and yet we don’t understand each other, and I didn’t find out why they attacked us, and I don’t know who they’re working with…” (Nyango)


“It’s not your job to find out.” (Novak)


“But it was catkins who took the lives of all the knights and the people who were watching…” (Nyango)


“Are you the king of catkins? Or are you a noble of catkins?” (Novak)


“No, I am not that big…” (Nyango)



 Mr. Novak interrupted me with a wave of his left palm, then busily chewed the bread and bacon on his cheek and pushed it down with milk.



“It’s true that it was a catkin’s suicide bombing that caused the most damage in the attack the day before yesterday, but it was you, a catkin, who saved the most lives.” (Novak)


“But…” (Nyango)


“Well, listen. I can understand that you are shocked that a catkin like you blew himself up and was cursed by a catkin who you were supposed to be helping. However, catkins were not the only ones who took part in the attack. You should know. There were two of the archers that you defeated and three of the people who attacked us with magic guns, and there were goatskins just like me. However, I don’t feel responsible for their actions. I have never met or spoken to those people. I work diligently as a magic tool craftsman, accumulate knowledge about magic carriages, and have been recognized and hired by the Viscount. I have nothing to hide from anyone.” (Novak)



 Mr. Novak, who had changed his posture across the table and was now puffing out his chest, suddenly looked like a huge presence.



“Nyango. I can stand tall because of the people who, when I was about to go off the path and take a wrong turn, beat me and pulled me back to walk the right path. My father, my mother, my magic tool craftsman master, my seniors, my colleagues, the old man of the tavern… Many people have supported me, so I have been able to walk straight and not look down. I am sure, even Nyango has people like that.” (Novak)



 In response to Mr. Novak’s words, I silently nodded several times.


 Grandma Carisa, Mr. Zeol, everyone at Chariot, Professor Lembolt… I have been able to become the person I am today because of the support of so many people.



“Don’t look down, look forward proudly, Nyango. For you to look down is to insult the people who have supported you.” (Novak)



 Each word resonated with me because Mr. Novak, who usually seemed to be just a pleasant, talkative old man, was so full of passion.



“Nyango, you’re doing really well with that little body of yours. In that chaotic situation, you calmly defended the viscount and his family and prevented the attackers from attacking one after another. You are really great. You should be proud of yourself, and that’s how you repay the people who helped you.” (Novak)


“Yes!” (Nyango)


“But you know what, Nyango? No matter how great you are, there are limits to what you can do. For example, there’s the magic carriage that we rode in. It’s a splendid thing because the Viscount uses it. It is a magnificent thing because it is used by the Viscount, but it cannot be made by a single craftsman. The magical tools that power it, the axle that transmits the power from the tools, the wheels. The cabin in which the Viscount relaxes, and the frame that supports it. It takes the combined efforts of many craftsmen to finally complete a magic carriage.” (Novak)



 Mr. Novak stopped talking for a moment, moistened his throat with the cold Calfe, and then resumed speaking.



“The master’s job is to give instructions to the many craftsmen involved in making that magic carriage so that they can work smoothly. If you want to make small magic tools, you can do it by yourself, but if you want to do a big job, you need someone who can see the whole picture and give instructions. The work site is disrupted by the master’s wrong instructions, and even if the master gives instructions, if the craftsmen don’t move, the work doesn’t progress. Nyango, don’t you think this sounds like something you know?” (Novak)


“What… Oh, the territory… Or rather, the whole world?” (Nyango)



 Mr. Novak grinned and picked up the cup to moisten his throat, but it was empty because he had drunk it earlier.


 Then a servant quickly walked up and poured fresh Calfe into the cup.



 After enjoying the aroma rising from the cup, Mr. Novak slowly sipped the Calfe and savored it.


 Just looking at it, it looks delicious.



“Nyango…” (Novak)


“Yes, what is it?” (Nyango)


“You will become an even greater adventurer in the future, but you are only a craftsman in charge of a small part of the big job of a country or a territory. It is the job of kings and nobles to think about what to do with the entire country or territory. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to live as one pleases. We must fulfill the tasks that are assigned to us in a systematic and thorough manner. Only through the accumulation of such efforts will the world become a better place.” (Novak)


“That’s right…” (Nyango)


“Well, go ahead and eat. If you don’t finish eating, the kitchen staff will never be able to finish their work.” (Novak)


“Yes… Yeah, yummeow! It’s cold, but super yummeow!” (Nyango)



 It was as if the breakfast menu, which had been like chewing sand, had suddenly regained its flavor.


 It is true that there are people who can’t afford to eat, but I should be grateful to the people who made the food with me in mind, and I should eat it while properly enjoying it.



 I finished the rest of the breakfast, which had gotten a little cold, with more yummeows than usual.



 Today, Viscount Lagart’s group will stay at Duke Letburnes’ mansion as they cremate the knights who died in the attack.


 I changed into the black shirt and black cargo pants I had brought just in case and attended the knights’ funeral with Mr. Novak.



 The crematorium was built adjacent to the chapel, on the grounds of the mansion.


 It is said that when a noble dies, their body is cremated, and their bones are buried in a powdered state so that they do not become undead.



 A large stone kiln was placed in the crematorium, where the bodies were burned using a combination of magical tools and firewood.


 The kiln is said to burn the body at a very high temperature, and the iron door is closed so tightly that the smell was almost imperceptible.



 Before the cremation, the Viscount and his family laid flowers on the coffins.


 Aida, who usually looks so haughty, had moist eyes and solemn face.



 On the road so far, I had the impression that while there is a strict difference in status between the viscount’s family and the knights’, such as the separation of dining and lodging areas, there is a unique intimacy between the two.


 When they took a rest on the road, Aida talked to the knights in a friendly manner, and the knights’ eyes that looked after Aida were like those of a relative’s child.



 Despite the difference in status, they were like relatives to each other, and it must have been difficult for them to say goodbye.


 As I watched the funeral, I thought about many things, but I tried to stand firm so that I would not waver.



 For the sake of those who have supported me, I will stand with pride.



 I hope you will forgive me for being a little hunched over and not keeping my feet on the ground with [Step].




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