BBYW Vol. 4 Chapter 20 (WN)

Chapter 20 – The Things Young Ninjas Say…

Oboro, who I was meeting for the first time in months, was fanning himself, due to the sweat caused by his disguise, and sighed.

“I heard you just returned from the southern islands, and you are already off to the west! Always the busy young master! What possesses you so?”

“No jokes please, I’m actually worried about it. Everyone says the same thing.”

I frowned, then grabbed the meat from the plate in front of me and tossed it in my mouth.

Seasoned with salt and herbs, the steak was a bit hard and chewy. After some biting and chewing, the flavor gradually spread in my mouth.

After swallowing and smacking my lips, I looked at Oboro again.

“So? What’s going on in the west?”

Before setting off on my journey, I had contacted the Fangs of Steel members dispatched to the western province. The fact that Oboro was waiting here meant that he had something to report.

Oboro took a bite of the meat on his plate, then started speaking.

“It appears that the second line of defense of the western province has been breached. The undead forces have already invaded over half of the domain of House Sphinx: if they cross the third line fort too, they will reach Thebes, the capital, in no time. The citizens have been evacuated early, so the human casualties are not severe for now, but…”

“The end is near, is it…I was almost too late. Where are Naam and Lady Mist? Have they already moved somewhere safe?”

“Those two…should be still in Thebes.”


I couldn’t believe Oboro’s words.

“They can’t fight, can they? Does Margrave Sphinx want his bloodline to die out?”

“There seem to be some complex circumstances, young master.”

Oboro grimaced, as if he couldn’t find the right words to say, then continued.

“The western province was split between two factions, which apparently prevented them from making any movements.”

In short, Oboro’s explanation went like this.

The western province was home to two tribes, splitting the territory down the middle: the “migrants”, who originally came from beyond the desert, and the “natives”, who dwelled in the province since the distant past.

(TL Note: in the original text the two tribes are called (for convenience’s sake, I guess) “black” and “white”. I thought it would give an unneeded impression of discrimination to the reader about their conflict (which doesn’t seem to be the point in the story), so I used the words “migrants” and “natives”.)

The two tribes were definitely not on good terms: there have been countless skirmishes, assassinations and kidnappings on both sides in the past.

The eastern side “native ”nobles have not sent any reinforcements to counter the current invasion of the “Terror Armies”; on the contrary, it seemed they were even relishing in the suffering of the western side “migrant” clans.

“To send the two ladies to a safe shelter, they have to go east. If that happens, however…”

“They have to stay with people they don’t trust…I see, it’s not a light decision to make.”

There is still the alternative of sending them to the capital or the provinces to the north or south, but in any case they will have to cross the territory of nobles not trusted by House Sphinx, which would require adequate protection. In a situation when not even a single soldier can be spared, they probably do not have enough manpower to escort the two out safely.

“That is one reason, but more than anything, the two ladies have no intention of leaving, apparently.”

“They don’t?”

“They seem to think that, being of a foreign tribe, they do not have a home outside of the western province. They would not be able to blend in anywhere else, so perhaps they decided to die together with their home?”

“What the fuck does that even mean!!”

A surge of anger swelled in my chest, so I grabbed the rest of the meat on my plate and wolfed it down. I crushed the hard sinews under my teeth and shouted, letting my feelings take over me.

“No woman should decide to die as easily as that!! To die on the battlefield is the job of us men!!”

I didn’t mean to say women were inferior, and I knew there were plenty of women stronger than the average man, like Grace and Shana. Even so, I found it unforgivable for a woman to meet a tragic end on the battlefield.

Naam was no exception. Nowhere in her letter did she plead for my help.

If she asked for my help, I would offer it in a heartbeat. If she ran away, I would shelter her without a question. If the royal palace demanded her to take responsibility for House Sphinx’ failures, I would use the full extent of House Maxwell’s powers and authority to protect her. Why does a twelve year old girl have to accept that she’s going to die?

“If she has to go to heaven, it’ll be on a bed first. Damn it! This pisses me off!!”

“D-Don’t let it out on me, young master! If you have something to say, please say it to those two ladies directly!”

“Oh, I will! I sure will! They’re not going anywhere before I do!”

So I snorted, angrily, then lay down in the tent.

Even if they didn’t ask me to help, I was going to do so all the same, by force if necessary. For that sake, I had to rest as much as I could, while I still could.

“I’m sleeping now! Tomorrow, I’m barging into House Sphinx!!”

“With moderation, please…honestly, the young master’s mood swings are quite troublesome…”

Completely ignoring Oboro’s sighs and complaints, I closed my eyes.

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