Chapter 6: 【To the Surface】
>> Satou here, due to chance and human error, I once had an opportunity to stay in the Presidential Suite of a high-class hotel. Being only an average citizen, I felt so tense, I could not enjoy the experience to its fullest. “Too much of a good thing can be bad”, as I often say. <<
Holding both Pochi and Tama’s hands, I ascend the spiral staircase leading to the exit. We are the last among the civilians. Along with several of his subordinates, the hot-blooded heavily armored warrior is staying at the hall below to keep guard.
They might check our luggage when we exit, so when no one is looking, I swapped the 「Bag of Holding」 with the regular bag. The cores Pochi is holding have also been reduced by seventy percent, with the excess moved to 「Storage」 through the 「Bag of Holding」.
The amount is much more than what anyone else had defeated, so I made the adjustment to prevent potential hassle.
“How about getting some good food to eat after we get out? Do any of you have something in mind?”
“Meat is good! I’ve seen huge pieces of meat on wagons nano desu!”
These kids sure do like meat!
I thought it was because they’re beastpeople, but if you think about it, all children tend to like meat!
However, the “huge pieces of meat" Pochi mentioned is the wyvern right? If possible, I would like to divert her attention to other types of meat, rather than wyvern.
“Pochi, Tama, meat is certainly good. But for mere slaves to ask for meat, it’s unbefitting of our position.”
“Liza is using difficult words nano desu.”
“I mean it’s too luxurious for us.”
Though Liza is trying to dissuade the two, I don’t think meat from the open-air stalls or something is that expensive.
The pork chop I had cost only a few 「Large Copper Coins」 too.
“To celebrate getting out of the dungeon alive, why not have some meat dishes?”
“Yay~” “Nano desu!”
“Goshujin-sama, as you wish. I, Liza, will enjoy every last speck of meat for your sake!”
Still holding my hands, Pochi and Tama are jumping around in joy.
And when I turn around to look at Liza who is following behind, I see her holding up her hand in a fist with a solemn expression, as if making a vow.
No, you don’t have to be that serious about it.
The sunlight shining in from the exit is quite blinding.
I am led outside the dungeon by Pochi and Tama, as they hop into the light.
Upon exiting, what awaits us are the uneasy and disturbed faces of those had gone ahead.
By looking around, the cause should be somewhat obvious.
Around the exit is an empty lot the size of a running track. The lot is empty but it’s not exactly flat, as a trench runs across its surface in an outward spiral from the exit. I assume that it is the remnant of the plaza and nearby houses being sucked into the dungeon during its creation.
In addition, the exit is now surrounded by a military encampment, protected by barricades backed by sandbags. Between the gaps of the barricades, I can see a row of cannons the same as what I saw on the anti-dragon towers. Behind those cannons are soldiers equipped with large crossbows on standby.
Of course, the cannons are aimed at the entrance of the dungeon— where we are right now.
Not just Pochi and Tama, even Liza is looking uneasy, so I ask someone who seems to know what’s going on.
“We were ordered to stay here before they finish checking whether any of us is a monster in disguise or has caught a contagious disease from monsters.”
Oh, I see, inspection does seem necessary.
As far as I can tell, none of us are monsters, nor is anyone sick or poisoned. Well, I don’t plan on announcing that, because even if I do, no one will believe me.
Surveying the soldiers in the encampment, I don’t see anyone with a skill like 「Appraisal」, so we can only wait for people or equipment that can do so to arrive.
Thanks to the Oracle and the other clergy among the survivors, we don’t need to worry about anyone being severely wounded. Those with small wounds are left alone, but anyone with broken bones or deep cuts has been treated and is now resting on capes laid on the ground.
Oh yeah, there are still three bottles of potions and another jar of ointment. Let’s put them to use! As for gifts for Martha’s family, I’ll just buy more next time.
I thought people might not trust medicine given by a stranger, so I ask Zena to administer them to the wounded in my stead.
Perhaps having become tired of waiting, Tama is leisurely napping face-up on my lap, while Pochi has gotten on top of my shoulders.
They were quite agitated by the atmosphere of disturbance and uneasiness, so I have been trying to comfort them, letting them lean on me to sleep. Liza has been holding her spear like she was standing guard, so I made her take a rest by me.
After an hour, several carriages arrive, and inspection begins. They are letting people out the barricade one by one and having them touch the Yamato Stone I had seen before.
After the captain and the Oracle, Zena is called as she is an 「Arcane Soldier」.
Inspecting the squadron comes first, and we are last.
“Then I will go out first, and wait for you there.”
“Yes nano desu.”
I assure the anxious-looking girls before heading to the other side of the barricade. I leave my luggage to the lady official and walk towards the table with the 「Yamato Stone」.
Damn, it would be too strange if I survived the Dungeon still at Level 1 and without any skills, right?
I quickly operate the 「Social」 tab in the Menu. Since the beastgirls are Level 13, I’ll make myself slightly lower at Level 10. As for skills, I’ll put down 「Haggling」 and 「Market Price」 which seem suitable for a merchant. Wouldn’t it be unnatural not to have any skills for combat? Let’s add 「Throwing」 and 「Evasion」 too!
Ushered by one of the staff, I place my hands on the 「Yamato Stone」. My eyes nearly dart toward the valley of the female official sitting across the Stone, but I manage to hold back.
I read what’s displayed by the 「Yamato Stone」, confirming that the statuses I set are showing up.
“Amazing, you’re not a soldier or an explorer, yet you have risen to such a level at this age. You must have it hard.”
“It wasn’t much.”
Standing guard by the 「Yamato Stone」, a female knight with a lot of makeup exclaims, but I reply with Japanese modesty.
“—So, please give me the spear.”
“My master made it for me, so this spear is as important as my life. Not even for a moment, I will never let it go.”
“Like I said, it doesn’t matter how you feel!”
I hear a quarrel behind me, and turning around, I see Liza making a fuss about giving up the spear.
“Liza, they will surely return it later, so please give it to that person for now.”
“I—, if you say so, goshujin-sama...”
Persuaded, for now, Liza reluctantly hands the spear over to the staff lady.
Let’s write down her name and department in the notepad of the 「Social」 tab! It would be great to get it back quickly, but from what I see on the 「Map」, everyone before us has been sent to the citadel on the carriage.
I don’t think they would lock us up in jail, or dispose of us to prevent rumors. But something like detaining us before they have the situation under control is very possible.
If you think about it, a dungeon appeared inside the city, and a High Rank Demon showed up, so it was definitely an astonishing incident.
I hear a small gasp behind me.
Seems like it made a surprise that, despite being a slave, Liza is Level 13 and has upwards of four skills.
I can’t see Liza’s expression, but her tail is swaying around, so she is probably quite content.
Pochi and Tama give the bag of cores to the lady and runs over. Maybe since they are children, they were let in together.
Since they can’t reach the 「Yamato Stone」, Liza picks them up from behind, and they’re wiggling around, seemingly enjoying it.
The official asks Pochi to place her hands on the 「Yamato Stone」, then gasps louder than she did for Liza. It’s probably extraordinary to be Level 13 at ten years old, and with four skills too.
Pochi wags her tail rapidly and scrunches her nose looking my way, clearly proud of herself.
Last but not least is Tama, who is held up by Liza like Pochi. She seems to be trying to swing her limbs, but ran out of strength from the excitement, and is moving like a corpse.
The gasp in response to Tama’s status is smaller compared to the one for Pochi. Though she is just as amazing as Pochi, it’s the third time after all, doesn’t it make sense for the surprise to die down? Tama looks a little miffed.
“It wasn’t easy to train demi-human slaves like this, was it?”
“Not at all, since they are quite capable.”
Not easy, true, but capable, also true. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have died, but would have definitely run into traps or other misfortunes.
The four of us are escorted by soldiers to the carriage, where there are several people who had gone through inspection before us waiting. Inside the covered wagon, armed soldiers are sitting at the front and back.
There isn’t anyone I know on this wagon, so I keep my mouth shut.
Since there might be people who dislike beastpeople, I make sure Pochi and Tama don’t get too excited. Causing uneasiness could make people belligerent.
Then, under this tense atmosphere, the carriage arrives at the county citadel. Regrettably, the openings on the wagon are covered by a cloth, so we can’t see outside, unable to enjoy the view.
After exiting the carriage, we are once again surrounded by soldiers.
“Wh—, where are you taking us?”
“Yeah! We had just survived the dungeon!”
The delinquent-looking young man and the obstinate uncle are protesting against the soldiers. Despite being surrounded by an armed group of people, they sure are courageous.
“For the next few days, you will stay in jail. This is the decision made by our lord Count. Those who disobey will be charged with treason. To make it easier on everyone, shut up and abide!”
Whoa! I was wondering whether we would be detained but seems like I underestimated the nobility. It has become a jail experience.
After all that effort saving 「Seiryuu City」 from the clutches of a High Rank Demon, my reward is “an all-expense-paid trip to jail”. What a bummer. But I did hide my identity, so I can’t really complain.
Did talk of treason have an effect? Without further resistance, everyone is now obediently following the soldiers. Not until later do I learn that, when facing treason, one’s family would also be implicated, not just themselves.
The jail is somewhat dim and cold. There isn’t even a mattress, so we are forced to sleep on the stone floor. We are only given a thin blanket, so it’s going to be a long night. What’s more, a pot out in the open serves as the bathroom. It’s real harsh.
Really wish they would respect privacy a bit more.
Though this place looks so miserable, in the end, the four of us won’t stay in here for even one night.
“Hey, which one of you’s Satou?”
“Follow me, you’re going somewhere else.”
A male official juttingly unfit to be here at the jail comes to fetch me.
Man, leaving the beastgirls by themselves in a place like this, I wouldn’t dream of it. Let’s put my 「Negotiation」 skill to work here.
“These kids are my slaves, so if I’m to be moved, please let these kids come with me.”
“Uh, my orders only state to bring you. The demi-human slaves are not part of this.”
This is where I introduce some golden incentives right?
A 「Gold Coin」 would be too much, so I quietly pass a 「Silver Coin」 to the official here for me, while saying: “Couldn’t you do me a favor?”
＞＞＞ Obtained skill 「Bribery」
＞＞＞ Obtained skill 「Persuasion」
The silvery incentive seems to have quite the effect, as the man’s attitude quickly softens.
”...That’s what I was told, but I wasn’t ordered not to bring your slaves either. Well, you could take them with you, but if they’re kicked out, it’s not my business!”
“Alright, that’s fine.”
If that happens, I’ll just persuade the person who tries to do that!
Since they look useful, I add points to the new skills. If I abuse these, I might raise the flag for becoming a sinister merchant.
Waiting for us where we are brought, there is an old gentleman I have never met.
“Nice to meet you, Master Satou. I am Deschamps, the chief butler at the House of Viscount Belton.”
Yeah— not Sebastian.
“Nice to meet you, Mister Deschamps.”
“Master Satou, please do just call me Deschamps.”
Calling a stylish old gentleman like this directly by name, it’s too much for me.
“For delaying your proper treatment, I sincerely apologize. To have let Master Viscount’s savior stay even a moment in jail, it was the result of my incompetence.”
“No, it’s thanks to you that I don’t have to stay a night in jail. Besides, it’s not every day that I get to see the inside of one.”
While constantly apologizing, Deschamps brings us to a guest house inside the citadel. The size of this citadel sure is large, nearly the same size as the university I attended.
“Please stay in the room here. There should be maids on duty now.”
When Deschamps rings the bell placed on a table near the entrance, a twenty-something maid comes out from a room down the hallway. Though she is a maid, she is not an Akiba-style or Victorian Era maid. She isn’t wearing a so-called maid outfit, but a normal dress like an ordinary female house staff.
Is it because aproned dresses and white lace haven’t been introduced here? Rather than miso or soy sauce, I think introducing those things is the true responsibility of a Japanese person. Uh, isn’t it? Well, that’s a shame.
“I shall take my leave here. If you have any requests please feel free to ask the attending maid. And these might not be much, but they are a token of gratitude from my master.”
Receiving a small bag from Deschamps, I see that it is not filled with money but small, pebble-like objects. Jewels, maybe?
It would be funny if it’s actually filled with candy.
Rejecting it would be rude, so I simply ask him to pass on a message of thanks to the Viscount.
Normally I should thank him in person, but since he let his chief butler deliver the gift, he must be too busy to come see me.
Speaking of which, Viscount is a rank below Count, so his position must be quite high.
However, if I recall, having another nobility live in a noble’s territory is uncommon.
Even if the titles are similar, I probably shouldn’t carelessly assume that this place has exactly the same nobility system as Medieval Europe.
Leaving the rest to the maid, Deschamps leaves.
“Then, allow me to show you to your room.”
I follow the maid, listening to her explanations.
Pochi and Tama were sternly ordered by Liza to stay quiet, so Liza is carrying them under her arms like giant stuffed dolls. The way they’re covering their mouths with their overlapping hands, fingers outstretched, is quite cute.
The chief butler and the maid both casually referred to it as a room, but even the entrance lobby is eight jou, and the entire house is about 200 tsubo. If this were a hotel’s presidential suite, several of my paychecks would be gone just to stay a single night here.
The living room isn’t lined with carpet but something like felt, and has several leather sofas that appear to be quite soft. The sofas are decorated with cloth pillows and I feel like I can relax on it.
This room is about 30 jou, and there is a fireplace without ventilation on the other end of this room.
Did I look quite curious about it? The maid explains to me.
“That uses a heating magic tool. Pressing the lever here will turn on the mana, and the magic tool inside the heater will become hot. If you wish to adjust the temperature, don’t hesitate to ring the bell and I will come immediately.”
The chandelier on the ceiling doesn’t have any candles either, so that’s a magic tool too. The AR display calls it a 「Shimmering Chandelier」, which makes me anticipate nighttime.
Next, we are brought to a twenty-jou conference room.
Similar to the living room, the decor here is of high quality. Perhaps due to the more simple layout, this room feels more reserved.
"Right next to it is the dining room, where there is a wide table that is able to seat dozens and is made of a smooth to touch dark granite."
The maid only briefly mentions that the changing room, the maids’ waiting room, and the serving pantry are also nearby.
After ascending the stairs back at the entrance, we see a master bedroom that is as spacious as the lobby. An oversized bed with a canopy is sitting grandiosely at the center, looking quite comfy.
Pochi and Tama look like they want to tackle it, but Liza holds them tight, so the maid doesn’t get mad. Good job, Liza!
Connected to this room, there is a small area for staff and guards. There is only a stiff bed and a simple wooden chair, so it is quite plain. The class gap sure is extreme.
There are toilets on both floors, but they are squatting types like the one at Gateside Inn. What serves as toilet paper is not a pile of hay but papyrus feels high-class.
No baths, unfortunately.
“Is something the matter?”
“Um, it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be a bath.”
I say with the speck of hope that there might be one.
“Do you like to take baths? In that case, I will let the male servants bring over the tub, and it should be ready in the evening.”
They’ll carry the tub! Amazing servants.
“Sorry, the request seems to be quite troublesome.”
“Not at all. If you have any wishes, we will do our best to serve you.”
I don’t have any special requests, but I hear a cute grumbling from behind me. Don’t know whether it’s Pochi or Tama, but it’s about lunchtime after all.
“Then, I will prepare lunch. If you have anything you dislike, we can accommodate that.”
“No, I don’t have any preference, so it’s fine.”
After making a bow, the maid exits the room.
Having been carried by Liza the entire time, Pochi and Tama are now fast asleep. If that’s the case, did the grumbling back then come from Liza? Liza’s cheeks are slightly flushed, but I will pretend not to notice.
Seeing the dishes set on the table, I tilt my head in confusion.
Seven plates of various sizes are lined up on the table. Maybe to prevent cooling, they are covered by round silver lids, but why is there only one portion? Is it due to a difference in treatment?
“Um, what about the kids’ portion?”
“Your servants’ portions have been prepared in another room.”
“Can you bring it to this room? Eating together is my house rule.”
Of course, this is just an excuse, but I really don’t like eating all alone.
Fast food is a different story, but if it’s a free meal, I like eating together with everyone.
In the tray in front of the beastgirls, there are only bowls of stew and rye bread. I ask for dishes from the maid and share my food with everyone.
“Yeah, as expected of food in the citadel, tastes great.”
“The meat in the stew is so big, so delicious!”
“Really, the chewy texture is unbelievable.”
Huh~ my dishes don’t have that kind of meat, though? That darker meat is different from the stuff in my food.
Checking the AR display, I see that there is some lamb on my plate while everyone else got wyvern. The kind Pochi talked about when we escaped from the dungeon. Since all three of them are joyously eating, I won’t make any unnecessary complaints.
After expressing gratitude for the gourmet meal, I make the request. Even if the quality of food must drop, I hope that all four of us receive the same meal.
It’s too much trouble to share my dishes every time.
Preparation for the much-anticipated bath starts with four male servants bringing in a marble bathtub that fits only one person.
Then, several men scurry back and forth, carrying water that was heated elsewhere, making quite a fuss about it.
I was certain they were going to use 「Life Magic」 to quickly conjure up hot water.
After one hour of preparation, the bath is now ready.
I feel a little sorry for troubling the laborers this much, but it’s no use to start caring now. I’ll tip them generously later!
“How about going in together?”
“Together nano desu!”
I invite Pochi and Tama who are looking at the bathtub with interest since there shouldn’t be a problem taking a bath with primary school-aged kids.
Well, they’re wearing yugi anyways, but we do have to go into the bath fully naked later.
“Before going into the bath, let’s clean ourselves first!”
I teach the eagerly responding kids how to use soap.
“Wowow~ The white stuff is getting bigger~?”
“It’s puffy nano desu!”
“Well, the dirt is coming right off— what do you think, goshujin-sama?”
Before I noticed, Liza has gotten in with Pochi and Tama like it was natural.
The soap bubbles are aptly hiding the important parts, but taking a bath with a high school-aged girl like her still feels a little scandalous. Though she is flat as a board like Pochi and Tama, her figure from behind is astounding.
“The water is quite warm.”
“Weird~? But, so comfy~”
“Using hot water to wash ourselves! So luxurious, yet quite pleasant.”
Though they have yet to go in the bathtub, their evaluation of it is high. Liza seems quite happy in particular.
Is it due to long years of being in slavery? It took some effort to clean all the dirt. Meanwhile, the bathwater cooled off a little.
So, I ask the maid to warm the water.
“■■■ ■ ■■■■ 「Heat」.”
The maid brings in water, adjusts the water level, then heats it with 「Life Magic」.
Using magic to reheat the water?
Wait, that’s not the main concern here.
Why does she need to wear that to use magic? I ask myself this. Though I can’t see everything, she is basically half-naked in a yugi. She has a great figure, so if she gets wet, the front will become transparent and it’ll be very bad. Seems like the steam is doing its job in another sense.
While thanking her for reheating the bathwater, I try to ask in a roundabout way.
“Yes, in order to service you at any time, I have been standing by in this outfit.”
*Sigh*, so that’s it.
It’s extremely unfortunate, but I’ll do without the service.
If the beastgirls weren’t here, I would have gone down the erotic route. How scary.
Since the tub isn’t large enough for all of us, we go in to warm ourselves one by one.
Having enjoyed the bath a lot, Liza meekly asks to take another dip, so I take Pochi and Tama to dry off first.
I wipe down the two with soft towels. The maid, now in her dress once more, offers to wipe me down, but I politely turn her down.
I’m not comfortable with that kind of service.
Dinner is a whole roasted bird on an extravagant plate. It looks like chicken but is actually a bird called 「Shiga Forktail」.
It’s difficult to cut open, so for once I put down my pride and ask the maid, who expertly divides it into even portions.
The beastgirls favor the meat near the bones.
It may be a little late, but I’m grateful to the Viscount! A jail cell can never compare with service like this.
Speaking of which, aren’t Nidoren and the others still there? It’s probably impossible to get them out, but can I improve their conditions?
After the food, I discuss the matter with the maid. Seems like it’s possible to give them better food and blankets, but freely distributing provisions is outside of her power, and has to come out of the Viscount’s budget.
Is it just about money? In that case, could I just pay for that from 「Storage」?
“How much do they need?”
“If it was only one person, one 「Silver」 would be enough, but since there are upwards of ten people, it would require two 「Gold」.”
Oh, only this much? I take out two 「Gold」 from my pocket for her and ask her to improve the treatment of those inside the prison.
“So soft nano desu!”
Pochi and Tama are bouncing on the mattress.
Kids would use any bed they see as trampolines.
Liza is also sitting at the edge, carefully appreciating the bounciness of the mattress.
Everyone has their own bed, but Pochi and Tama are asking to sleep together with puppy eyes, so we all end up sharing one bed.
It would be too cruel to leave Liza sleeping by her lonesome.
I lie down on the bed that seems to suck me in.
Inside the dungeon, I was always awake to ensure the beastgirls’ safety. I was used to all-nighters, and my 「Endurance」 is high, so going without sleep wasn’t too stressful.
But it does seem like I have accumulated a lot of exhaustion. As soon as I relax my body on the mattress, the urge to sleep enshrouds me.
Lying between Pochi and Tama with their high body temperatures like hugging bags of hot water, I enjoy some long-awaited rest.
Life under house arrest was unexpectedly fulfilling.
While I read the beginner spellbook and alchemy book found in the dungeon, time passed quickly.
I practiced casting magic every chance I had but have yet to complete those impossible chants.
Perhaps unaccustomed to a leisurely life, the beastgirls couldn’t keep still, so I let them practice sword swings and grappling to let off steam in the lobby.
After running out of books, I asked the maid to purchase more. It would have been suspicious to pay with too much cash, so I used the jewels given by the Viscount as payment.
I also asked her to purchase picture books for Pochi and Tama, but since the two are illiterate, I was the one reading.
It almost felt like having my own children.
In addition, though we are under house arrest, it’s not like there aren’t any visitors. An official came to see us twice.
The first visit was to return luggage deposited when we had exited the dungeon.
When I hear that “Things found within the dungeon belongs to the finder”, I am a little surprised.
After all, if someone was murdered and robbed inside a dungeon, the stolen goods can become legitimate this way.
I voice my question with such concerns.
“That is not a problem since any wrongdoing would be revealed by the 「Yamato Stone」. At places like 「Dungeon City」, guards with the natural talent 「Eyes of Judgment」 are posted at the dungeon exit, and the same is true at the gates of 「Seiryuu City」.”
Seems to be a convenient talent— likely an inherent skill— that is only found in the families of devout Urion believers.
Among Urion believers, the chance to obtain this gift is one percent, so there are typically several such people in every city.
I wonder what kind of gifts are given to the followers of other deities.
I’m almost certain the name of every god ends with “-on”, except Dragon God Aconcagura. Is there some rationale for this?
I got a little sidetracked. That was just the first matter.
The 「Cores」 deposited with the luggage have been requisitioned by the county government, leaving me with only a bag of coins with equal value. She says that this is standard practice for any monster hunted within the county, and the dungeon was no exception.
The amount is no less than the market price, so I have no complaints.
Judging by the official’s tone of voice, there seems to be a chronic shortage of 「Cores」. Let’s be mindful when I dispose of the ones in Storage!
“We cannot verify the safety of this monster meat, so it will be confiscated. This spear is also made from monster tissue, so it is forbidden within this city.”
Liza turns around dramatically.
Su—, surprisingly, Liza got mad?
Liza is making a scary face that sends a chill down my spine. Look, the lady’s smile froze too.
Since there are concerns of disease, I think disposing of the meat is unavoidable. But she seems to really like the spear, so let’s negotiate for it!
“That spear is a good weapon, so could you ask someone with the skill 「Appraisal」 to judge whether it is dangerous? I’ll pay for the appraisal of course, so if it turns out to be safe, please return it to us.”
“I—, I understand. I will arrange it. If the appraisal reveals no problems, it will be returned with the other weapons when you leave.”
“Alright, please do.”
Right, I have to ask about the beastgirls.
“Um, I have a question—”
I try to find out who the beastgirls now belong to.
“I see, you protected these slaves whose master had died, and brought them out of the dungeon?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Liza also nods slightly. Pochi and Tama are lazed over Liza’s legs. It’s too boring for them, huh?
“In that case, these demi-human slaves are now yours.”
“Is that so?”
I thought I would have to buy them first before I can free them.
“Slaves who lost their master in the dungeon, just like items found within the dungeon, belongs to the person who collected them, as long as the master was not murdered for this purpose. So by both law and convention, you are the master of these slaves.”
The lady writes something on a piece of official-looking paper and hands that to me.
“This is an official, temporary proof of ownership of these slaves, valid only within the city. Please go to a slave trading business or agency soon to enact a proper slave contract.”
I ask whether it can be done within the citadel, but apparently the responsible agency is different, so it would be impossible. In this world, the government seems to also be vertically organized.
At that time, I informed her of the names of the deceased I found inside the dungeon and gave her their hair. The second visit was to report the results.
Outside the temporary encampment at the dungeon exit, a list of the deceased’s name given by their family had been posted, so the locks of their hair were properly delivered. The family would have to pay me in equal value for anything they require from the deceased’s personal effects, which would be taxed.
After telling the official that I won’t ask for rewards, I get the following reply.
“Please do, or else there will be nefarious people claiming to be related to the deceased.”
Oh, I see. Greedy people might take advantage of that.
If I don’t feel right asking for a reward, I can donate it to an orphanage or a temple, so she suggests.
Ahh, sounds like a plan. I’ll discuss potential recipients with Zena later.
On the fifth day of house arrest, Zena and Ouna came to see me together.
While we sip a tea named “Blue Ruby" brewed by the maid, a ridiculous name for a tea, I try to catch up on the situation.
“So, Zena, you two have been released from house arrest?”
“Yes, due to the lack of magicians, I was quickly released from house arrest, but I’ve been stationed at the temporary encampment outside the dungeon exit since.”
“That sounds rough.”
Despite having just escaped from the dungeon, she’s already on duty. I’ve never met the Count, but he’s sounds very strict!
“I’m the point of contact for the dungeon exploration team, so it’s not that much work. The professional magicians, though, have been exhausting their mana setting up the barrier to prevent the dungeon from extending under the city.”
“The magicians aren’t the only busy ones, my Temple has been preparing for the consecration ritual for the finished monolith. I haven’t had time to sleep in three days.”
Ouna, if you’re that busy, you didn’t have to come with Zena. Just rest at the Temple.
“The encampment outside the dungeon has been obscured behind a fence, and the rumors are being quelled by restricting what the bards on the streets can say, so the rest of you should be released as well within a few days, Mr. Satou.”
Sounds great. Though it’s comfortable here, I’m starting to get tired of it.
The bards seem to be similar to newscasters. If this were a game, they would be important party members for support. That’s new.
The actual release came three days after Zena’s visit.
On the way to the citadel gate, we meet with Nidoren and the others who were also released.
“I heard from the guards. Master Satou provided warm food and blankets for us. We are all very grateful.”
Having noticed my presence with Nidoren’s words, the other men also thank me profusely. The topic quickly becomes about the good food inside the jail. Well, good thing their treatment did improve.
“Thanks, the food there was better compared to the westside!”
“For sure. There was no alcohol, but I didn’t think there would be meat stew inside jail!”
“That was really good! I wanted to stay a few days longer.”
“When I tell everyone back at westside, no one is gonna believe me.”
The men say then start laughing heartily. These people had been jailed yet did not become dejected, and I want to emulate their firm spirits.
Nidoren offers to process the beastgirls’ contracts for free as thanks, so we proceed to his slave market where he is waiting.
I want to go along, but the rental carriage driver refuses to serve the beastgirls, so we will walk there.
In the Duchy in the south or the Dungeon City in the southwest, the treatment of demi-humans seem to be a little better. Maybe I should move to those places.
“Hey, Dog Ear over there.”
Is that loafer guy looking for trouble again? I turn around in frustration. Indeed, standing there is the blond young man we had saved from the spider in the dungeon.
Reminds me, when I was I talking to Nidoren, he seemed to want to say something.
“What is it?”
“Not you, I have business with the twerp there.”
“Not you, I have business with the twerp there.”
Your life was saved like that, and still want to berate her? What an ungrateful bastard!
I glare at him without reserve, but he pays me no mind. A dangerous-looking macho man catches my eyes, but he panickingly looks away and disappears into an alley.
What was that about? I even got the 「Threatening skill」. I don’t get it.
While I was distracted by the other guy, the young man merely tells Pochi what he wanted to say—
“Thank you for saving me. I’m sorry for kicking you before.”
Though the voice was quiet, besides me, Pochi and everyone else clearly heard it.
I don’t think his annoying attitude will improve, but at least he’s a little nicer, so it’s fine.
I thoroughly caress Pochi who is looking up at me with pride, wagging her tail like it is about to fly off.
I also pet Tama who tackles my side, while Liza nods as she looks lovingly at these two. Are you their mother or something?
After that, I signed the contract as the beastgirls’ master at Nidoren’s place.
I was going to leave immediately, but at his insistence that I take a look at the slaves left after the auction, I decided to do him a favor.
Though the beastgirls were my slaves, I intended to release them as soon as I could and didn’t plan on purchasing new ones. Actually, I’d much rather hire a tour guide.
The slaves Nidoren would introduce were leftover from the auction, so they were problem slaves in reality.
Having casually ignored the showcase of slaves so far, I play along until there are only two left to introduce.
Seeing the next girl, I quickly change my evaluation of Nidoren’s ability as a slave trader.
I see, the reason he has been showing me problem slaves until now is to let this girl stand out!
The girl is the Japanese-style gorgeous teen I saw on 「Central Boulevard」 before.
She is fourteen and quite young, but her looks exude an undeniably marvelous grace. Her long, straight black hair is giving an impression of purity like in a bottle water commercial. If I were a lolicon, I would probably go for her.
“My name is Lu-, Lulu.”
With a mumbling whisper, she announces her name. Perhaps quite the shy kind, after only one sentence, she lowers her head again.
Her exceptionally beautiful face hidden once again under her black hair.
Nidoren takes over speaking for Lulu, but what he says makes me doubt my ears.
“Though an ugly girl, she possesses the skill 「Etiquette」—”
Is this girl ugly?
If she’s not good looking, then neither are 99% of all women, you know?
I wonder if that was just an indirect way of praising her beauty, but it doesn’t seem likely from the way he put it.
Are the standards of beauty just different?
With Nidoren’s permission, I get to touch her hair and cheeks.
No, I haven’t succumbed to her charms and turned into a lolicon. I wanted to make sure of something, so I am doing a test.
I whisper a sentence in her ear, and as if having heard something incomprehensible, she looks confused.
I didn’t think it was possible, but she seems not to be Japanese.
The next one introduced was the purple-haired little girl named Arisa I had seen transported with Lulu.
She was quite young at eleven, but also a beautiful child with smooth flowing hair and Scandinavian facial features.
Although not exactly on Lulu’s level, but for a beauty like her to be leftover, it must have been due to the ominous titles I saw.
Arisa stares at me cravingly with her almond eyes wide.
You could say she’s completely awestruck.
“Master Satou, my apologies. She is normally such an observant and witty girl, no one would even care about the purple hair color, but it seems like she has been captivated by your charm...”
While making up a strange excuse, Nidoren makes his sales pitch of the little girl.
No, no way that’s true no matter how you put it. I can’t help but smile wrily.
So, it wasn’t her titles but her hair color that prevented her sale?
I do think purple hair is rare to behold, but how is it sinister?
“Nice to meet you, Master Satou.”
Though she sounds no different than a child’s, there’s something about the way she pronounced my name.
“I am Arisa, a slave from a fallen nation. I will bring you as much knowledge of this world as you wish, and provide aid in various ways.”
Unlike her clearly juvenile voice, her words are clear and concise. It feels like a self-promotional speech of a college student at a job fair. Maybe it’s just me.
Despite the grim titles, she introduced herself without breaking that dignified smile befitting of a former princess. Only, I feel like there is more to the phrase “various ways”.
She’s just a primary-school-aged child, so I don’t intend for anything sexual, you know?
Disregarding her hair color, the way she said “this world" and the name Arisa has made me very curious.
Again with Nidoren’s permission, I try the same thing with Arisa as I had just done with Lulu.
“Nooo! Get it off, I hate spiders! Sheesh, you’re mean!”
The affected, princess-like mannerism earlier is gone without a trace, and she reacts like any normal girl.
That’s right, I had whispered to each of them in Japanese: “There’s a spider in your hair!”
I’m not sure how Arisa is originally written, but she’s definitely the same as me.
Lulu and Arisa.
Perhaps ever since I saw those two on a carriage, I was destined to become their “Master”.