Mana jogged along with a bright smile on her face as we followed the man. If someone asked me whether I trusted this man, of course, my answer would be “no”. I’ll follow him all the same though since he was causing trouble in broad daylight and had the gall to attack Mana. If he has a group, I plan to go and crush it.
“So how did you two misses get to be so strong?” The man asks, trying to start some idle chatter as we walked
“That kind of information is very expensive, are you sure you can afford it?” I ask, purposely interrupting Mana
The secret to our strength is such that we can’t simply reveal it to just anyone. I never suspected I’d so easily make a display of my powers, so I haven’t thought of any good excuses yet.
“Smart. I won’t pry any deeper then, though I’m sure we could afford it.” The man said with a genuine and respectful look
He seems so different from the person harassing a man on the street that I almost feel like trusting him. It put’s you off your guard in a way.
“Muh! Mana was speaking, Mano! That was rude.” Mana says pouting a bit
“Sorry sorry, I’ll buy you ice cream later so forgive me.” I say jokingly, attempting to make it seem natural
“What’s ice cream?” Mana asked with sparkles in her eyes
“You’ve never had any before? I’m sure you’ll love it, so let’s make it a surprise, okay?” I say
“I’ve never heard of this “ice cream” either. What sort of item is it?” The man asked with curiosity obviously showing in his voice
“Oh… D-Does your country not have any? That’s a surprise. Hahahaha” I say awkwardly, realizing my mistake
Ice cream is a complex treat that certainly wouldn’t exist here. I need to be much more careful next time.
“I’m not sure since I’ve never heard of it before. What’s it like?” The man asks with a worried look
“Well… We freeze a substance called “milk” after sweetening it.” I explain
“Just because I look like a thug doesn’t mean you have to treat me like an idiot you know. I know what milk is. Besides your “ice cream” is just another name for “gelalo” it seems. Many vendors sell it in the market.” The man explains, looking disappointed
“Is it tasty?” Mana asks with upturned eyes at the man
“Eh, I like it at least. Bit expensive though.” The man responds with disinterest
Now I know this man is evil. To have such resistance to Mana’s sad look… he must be entirely heartless.
“Is something wrong, Mano? Mano has a strange look on her face.” Mana says looking at me with curiosity
The man looks back at us and eyes us both for a little while.
“Ah, so that’s your thing… be careful, that’s not legal here.” The man says looking away from us
It takes me several moments to comprehend his statement.
“I think you have misunderstood something,” I say with a smile
My seething anger might be seeping out a bit though because even with his back turned he shivers at my statement.
After a while, we arrive at a building with an oddly extravagant sign for the back alley that it was located in.
“Welcome to ‘The Grand Tier Company’! Home of the best loans and fighters in the whole capital!” The man says throwing his arms out and presenting the doorway
Loans? If I remember correctly, that means that these are the people scamming Tea, which makes this just that much more convenient. “Two birds in one stone”, as the saying goes. Still, I never heard the bit about their fighters. Maybe I should gather some more info before I go charging in there alone.
“If you have such great fighters then why do you need us?” I ask digging for more info
“That’s actually a bit of a long story. If you will come in then we can have lunch while we talk.” The man says gesturing at the door
I don’t want to go in there without more info. I could very well be walking in to a trap, which would make-
“Yay! Mana is hungry!” Mana says running through the doors before I could manage to stop her
“…” I stare stunned as my options slimmed by themselves
“Is there a problem?” The man asked giving me a slightly worried look
“…No. No problem at all. I will be relying on your hospitality then.” I say as I walk inside
“Wha?! Somebody’s Ina got loose!” I hear the man scream behind me as I walk through the door
I look back outside to see that Kurobe is growling and giving quite a harsh glare at the large man.
“Ah, he is with me. I don’t suppose he could come in as well?” I ask trying to sound like he is a pet of mine
If I told Kurobe to “stay” he would more likely bite the head off one of these thugs than listen.
As I’m thinking this, however, Kurobe seems to catch on to the situation, and simply walks away. He is still growling softly as he leaves, however.
“I’ve never seen a fed Ina behave so aggressively. I have heard that after a long time their personalities begin to reflect their owners though… You must be quite the lady.” I hear from behind, in a soft and deep man’s voice
I turn to see a man who seems to contradict himself in every way. He is wearing fine clothing and has a slicked back professional haircut, but extruding from every opening in his clothing are complex tattoos peeking out. He looks weathered and has many scars, but seems very kind. Probably the most perplexing thing is that between his dulcet tones and kind aura, every inch of my body is warning me about the danger approaching.
“Mano…” Mana says hiding behind my leg
Even the innocently ignorant Mana seems to understand the danger.
“Relax, I have heard of your strength and I simply wish to ask of you a favor. You have my personal word that we have no intention to harm you.” The man says with a smile
My eyes show me a kind trusting smile, but something is crying out to me that it is the smile of a snake.
“My, my it seems I can say very little that will change your opinion of me. Very well, shall we get started then?” The man says sitting at a nearby table