Chapter 45

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When Peaceful Times Cease To Exist : Vandal-Valthus Blackhawk, Part 1 — Beastman Troops

Translated by KaiesV
Edited by KaiesV

 

Clang clang… A doorbell sounds, announcing the arrival of a visitor to the store.
It is still early in the day for this tavern to be open for business.
Recently, the manager has been thinking about offering lunch, but he, the manager, and Dent in the kitchen are the only people available.
Urd was polishing the table when he thought to himself, if they make him work any harder, he’ll make sure they give him a raise.

 

「Dear customer~ sorry, we’re not open for business yet.」

 

Unusually for Urd, his reply was somewhat riddled with errors.
That was not a good thing.

 

「Aahh? I’m not a food!」

「What the hell, you little dog? I’m going to eat you!?」

「Out of the way, you little brat.」

「Hi—hiee?」

 

A deadly reply was directed at Urd.
A group of terribly ill-patterned beastmen entered the store.
All of them had scars somewhere, and they were also beastmen of diverse races.
Wolves, bears, tigers, turtles, and a wide variety of others.
Even beastmen do not usually flock together very well in different species.
Urd is scared that it might be the same species that said something about eating him earlier.

It seems that Urd was standing there, frightened, because he thought for a moment about cannibalism and the worst way to die.
A tiger beastman in the lead grabs him by the chest.

 

「Get out of my way, boy!」

「Hii! Sorry, mister, I’ve returned!」

「I am a woman!」

「Ehh, it’s misleading!?」

「What did you say!?」

 

The tiger beastwoman gulps and opens her mouth.
Urd thought that with such muscularity, it was no wonder he could not tell whether she was a man or a woman, but at any rate, he seriously resented his own mouth for expressing his true feelings.

 

「You dog, you say.」

「But if you say that to Mynya, you’re a dead man.」

 

The beastmen were cheering each other up, and as Urd listened to their words, one word slipped out of his mouth that he couldn’t resist saying.

 

「Why is your name just so cute! And it doesn’t match the outside.」

「This guy, you’re still talking!」

 

Apparently, this line was a hit with all the beastmen except for Mynya, who burst into laughter, but Mynya was not so keen.
As Urd looked at Mynya, who was turning bright red and looking pale, a trivial thought crossed his mind,「I can’t come up with a phrase of resignation, goodbye my life.」But then a single sharp voice echoed through the store.

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「Shut this, you bastards!!!」

 

At that one word, the beastkins stopped laughing.
The voice was that of a rather small squirrel beastman in this group.
His head was smaller than Urd, who is no stranger to fighting.
Squirrels are supposed to be mild-mannered and averse to fighting, but this beastman had a large sword wound in one eye and his face was tight without a trace of carelessness.

He must be the leader in this one, as the beastmen naturally make way when it tries to step forward.
Then he came to the front of the line and glared at Mynya, and Mynya let go of her hand like a frightened cat.

 

「Good grief, Mynya, you’re such a bitch.
This is why they call you a manly woman, right? Do something about that temper of yours that you’re so quick to put your hand out!」

「I–I’m so sorry, Rascha-san……」

 

Mynya takes her hand away as if frightened and apologizes to the squirrel beastman called Rascha.

 

「If you’re going to apologize, it should be to him, not me.
I’m sorry about this, young man.
My people are very quarrelsome.
As you can see.」

The beastman, called Rascha, bowed deeply to Urd.
Urd hastily waves his hand to the side.

「T–that’s! I’m sorry I’m being so cheeky with her.」

「Mm.
About that, we’re not customers.」

「Then how can I help you?」

 

Rascha scratches his head ploppingly.
Was it something that is hard to say?

 

「Ahh, Mister Wolf… We have an errand for Mr.
Zeldos.
Is Mr.
Zeldos there?」

「Zeldos is indeed our manager, but can I at least ask you a few questions first? I can’t let you meet our manager before I know who you are.」

 

Hearing this line, the beastmen in the back tried to complain again, but Rascha glared at them with sharp eyes and stopped them.
Rascha was inwardly impressed.
This young beastman in front of him may not have any martial arts training, but even so, he would not back down in the face of so many bad-looking people.
The frightened look he had shown earlier was a lie.
There are many who mistakenly think they have huge guts simply because they are powerful, and there are many who are always reckless and appear to have a huge guts, but there are not many young people who know how to set their gut.

Rascha changed not only his attitude but also his way of thinking.

 

「That is plausible.
It will be understood if I say that Rascha of the Squirrel Tribe has arrived.
The requirements are not something that can be said lightly here, so.」

「The manager will take care of you as soon as he leaves, so please let us know where you’d like to wait——」

「That won’t be necessary, Urd.」

The manager, Zeldos, slunk out of the kitchen.
At that moment, all of the beastmen went down on one knee.
Urd knew by their gestures that they were all military men, or their equivalents, despite their bad looks.

「This is a nostalgic group of people, but you don’t seem to be here to talk about the old days.」

「Unfortunately.
Can we have a moment of your time now, Captain?」

「That’s something I miss being called to… Guests are not here yet, so it’s fine.
Come on the back.」

「Hey, you guys wait here for a while.」

 

Everyone nodded silently, but Urd was the only one who looked to him for help.
Zeldos wondered if it would be a pity to leave him alone among these ill-designed people, but there was nothing else he could do, so he left him alone.
There would be no way he would let them vacate the restaurant.
Then, urging Rascha on, Zeldos goes to a private room in the back.

 

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***

 

「So, what do you want, Rascha? Not the Gruzald connection now, is it the hawk one?」

「Yes, the current fourth squadron was wiped out.
Valthus asked me to have you go back to the Blackhawks.」

 

At the report, Zeldos sighed, not with compassion for the wiped-out contingent, but with a sigh of relief.

 

「Come on, I retired ten years ago, remember? I’m too slow to fight now.」

「Doesn’t look that way to me, though.」

 

Rascha glanced at Zeldos’ body.
He is older than he used to be, but his body does not seem to have deteriorated.
He is not just running a tavern, he must be probably secretly working out.

Noticing Rascha’s gaze, Zeldes continues his story in a very languid manner.

 

「Yes, it’s rare to see an entire troop wiped out, but it’s not like it hasn’t happened at all for a long time.
You experience this once or twice when you are a mercenary.
Even Blackhawk is not invincible.
Is it really worth fussing about now?」

「Indeed.
I have heard what the next request is and the current group members are more than enough.
However…」

「However?」

「Valthus-san, said,『I’m worried.』That maniacal beast, you know? We who ran around the battlefield in blood—— we who were said to be the most ferocious in Gruzaldo, he who showed us how to fight to the point that we froze with fear.
That’s what it means.」

「……That might indeed be a big deal.」

 

At these words, Zeldes tapped the table with his finger and pondered.
Zeldes retired from the mercenary company that was the predecessor to Blackhawk because Valthus had reached a level of competence far above his own in the first place.
Zeldes thought there was nothing for him to do, so he wandered around the country in search of a new place to live.
He is also the owner of a tavern in Mysia.
Rascha continues.

 

「He feels something unusual about this battle.
That man has always been that way.
No matter how chaotic the battlefield was, if I had followed his instructions, I could have gotten to safety, I could have survived.
The mercenary group was wiped out and disbanded once before twenty years ago, but it is not normal to gather the faces from that time again.
Besides, we all owe him a debt of gratitude.」

「Hmm.」

 

Zeldes crossed his arms and thought for a while, then seemed to collect his thoughts somewhat.

 

「Well, we promised to help you if you needed us…… but we’re not going to renege on our promise, but are we as useful as they think we are? I just saw that even my original unit was down.」

「As you can imagine, the faces of 20 years ago are not gathered as they were.
But what you’re asking us to do may not be military force.
It is true that the newcomers may not be useful yet, but we’ll train them later.
Besides, Captain Zeldes is surely the right-hand man, not to mention us.
After all, he is one of the few warriors who survived a single combat with King Dryan of Gruzald.」

 

Rascha’s mouth was somewhat boastful as he said this, but it seemed to be unimportant to Zeldes.

 

「When was that? Now I’m just an old man in a tavern.
And I know that Blackhawk has Betts.
I think that one’s more of a monster.」

「I think you’re right, though, Betts is old.
No, I mean, he’s still strong.」

 

Rascha chuckles bitterly.

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「So, who’s the best squad now?」

「It’s Max.」

「That little lecher⁉ It really is the end of the world, huh?」

「Well, when we knew him, he was just a chick, but now he’s grown up to be quite a man.」

「I mean, he’s probably an old man by now.」

「Well, if he’s really screwed up, just beat him up.」

「That’s true, too.
And aren’t those guys kind of noisy?」

 

Zeldes wonders out of the room.
Rascha’s head was in his hands again.

 

「They are also at it again—— that young canine, is he all right? The guts he had were pretty good, though.」

「Don’t worry, Urd has more than just guts.」When they finished talking and returned to the restaurant, they were all sober.
And as if the acrimony of earlier was a lie, Urd was the center of the circle, and the excitement was so great that some of them were even shoulder to shoulder with each other.

「I was surprised.
He was at peace with those ill-patterned people.」

「It’s Urd’s talent.
He can get along with anyone.
And once he hear a name, he will never forget it again.
I’m not like that.
He is indispensable to my store.
If it weren’t for him, I’d probably be a mercenary again by now.」

「After all, Captain Zeldes has a good eye for people.
When it came to human resource development, you were the best in the world from the time you were in the military.」

「Keh, it just happened.
By chance.」

 

They watched the scene for a while and eventually interrupted to talk.
Urd was vehemently opposed to Zeldes leaving the store, but when he sensed that Zeldes was determined, he reluctantly agreed.
He just had to convince Zeldes to hire a temporary employee while he was gone.
And when they had finished talking for the most part, Zeldes approached the beastmen.

 

「Then we all leave as we are.
That means an emergency meeting, so we’ll get to Third Id as fast as we can.」

 

At the sound of Zeldes’ voice, the beasts begin to move in unison, but some of them do not move.
With a look of obvious frustration on his face, he stood up and walked over to Zeldes.

 

「Wait a minute.
Why are you suddenly so sure of this?」

 

All of them looked at the owner of the voice with surprised eyes.
It was the most dashing bear beastman among the new recruits who had recently joined the group.

 

「Stop, Olle.」

「Rascha-san, we joined this unit because you talked us into it.
I don’t know if he’s your ex-boss or what, but we have no right to take orders from a flabby old man in a liquor store like this.」

 

The young beastkin chanting their agreement to the statement.
Rascha snapped his fingers with a cluck of his tongue and tried to shimmy, but Zeldes, of all people, stopped him.

 

「It’s nice and lively, isn’t it, Rascha? Let’s see, Olle, was it? Then how can you recognize me?」

 

Zeldes moved forward to push Rascha out of the way, and Olle responded by moving forward as well.
In terms of size alone, Olle is about two times larger than Zeldes.

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「You’ll have to play me! You know the beastman’s ways are the same everywhere, all the time!」

「All right.
You want a simple fistfight?」

「Right.
Let me tell you, I’m pretty strong, okay?」

 

Indeed, Olle was one of the biggest among the beastmen.
But Zeldes laughs softly, as if in front of a child, and rumbles his shoulders.

 

「Let’s do it then.
Oh, and one word of advice.」

「What the hell is it?」

「Please don’t let yourself die just from being pampered, alright?」

「?」

 

Olle didn’t know what it was for a moment, but the moment he confronted Zeldes, the hairs on Olle’s entire body automatically stood on end.
Then Zeldes’ body seemed to grow rapidly, then became distant again, and then he fainted.
Olle did not even realize that he had been blown away by a single palm strike.

The scene was most shocking to Urdo.
He knew his manager was proud of his prowess, but he didn’t expect him to blow that huge body through the eaves of the store across the street with a single palm strike to the solar plexus.
And with that huge body, he is fast enough to close the gap in an instant.
The beastkin like Olle who started the fight would not accept food for three days.

 

「What’s this? That flew better than I thought it would! Let’s see…… still want to do this, youngsters?」

 

All at once those who had been complicit with Olle turned pale and shook their heads hard and silently.
Zeldes grins at that.
But this scene is so familiar to the familiar that all the old-timers are giggling and laughing.
Many stood up to Zeldes like this in the past, and were blown away in the same way.

 

「Well, didn’t Minya used to get blown up too?」

「Don’t tell me that!」

「Well, that’s what happened.
Sorry, I thought you were a guy too and didn’t add or subtract at all.」

「Contact the captain at……」

「「「Gyahahaha!」」」

 

Everyone is rolling with laughter.
Apparently, the series of Zeldes’ actions are a baptism for newcomers.

 

「Someone take care of Olle.
All right, then, Urd.
Take care of the store! And don’t let them crash it, okay?」

「Old man…」

「Nhn, what is it? Do you miss me not being there??」

 

Zeldes patted Urd’s head with a plop.

 

「I’ll deduct the cost of repairing the door you just broke and the store across the street from you from your salary.」

 

At that moment, Zeldes froze like a stone and turned white.
Hearing this, the others laughed even harder, and Rascha wondered if the strongest one was actually this little kid named Urd.

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