New Game – Chapter 22

The ashen-colored birdie – Part 2

If unauthorized, not even the nobles could step into the top level of Listina, where guards were always patrolling.
The Holy Kingdom of Richtert’s castle was snow white, and people prayed in the cathedral of the Goddess Filia, who they worshipped.
It was the territory of important entities like the royal family, a place that people of the slums, like Takumi and his comrades, could visit only when the stars aligned.
If a devout person was allowed entry, it would surely start crying tears of joy.
But for Suzuran’s members, who were walking through the castle’s corridor that was filled with a gloomy atmosphere, that wasn’t the case.

“…Aaah…”

“Uuuah… Totally unsettling…!”

Karin and Kunon were indifferent to the cathedral and the royal castle, and trudged forward with a depressed look on their face.

“…Hey, you two. We’re about to arrive, so keep yourself together.”

“Elsa is right. It’s still a sort of public buffet, you know?”

The slums’ captain of the guard and Mirta rebuked them, who answered half-heartedly, so Elsa decided to ask Takumi.

“Hey, you’re their master, right? Tell them something.”

“There’s not much I can do… Girls, why are you even like that?”

“Can’t you tell…?”

Karin grumbled with downcast eyes, her lips pressed in a thin line.
A long slit on her burgundy dress showed her cleavage, and since she was used to hide a lot of skin, that outfit made her feel terribly uneasy.

“…I said I’d come too, but I never agreed to wear a dress.”

“We can’t help it, Karin. We might be tasteless guys from the slums, but we can’t just come here wearing casual clothes. There’s a dress code we should respect for this kind of occasion.”

Elsa was clad in her usual work clothes, as she was there as a guard, and Mirta was wearing the same outfit, coat included, she had when she did her speech to become the leader of Suzuran.

“…You are dressed as always, though.”

“Well, I usually take care of my look. Also, putting aside me being a slave merchant, I’d win the antipathy of nobles if I was dressed too flashy.”

Appearance was essential for people with a certain social status.
If one was to dress more pompous than someone with a higher status, he would’ve been shunned, but if the opposite happened, the nobles would’ve been pleased. Or rather, things would’ve been easier to handle.

“I understand, but… It wasn’t necessary to show my chest and legs. If I had to wear a dress, wasn’t something like Mirta’s outfit fine for me?”

“Well, given her role, that kind of things fits her pretty good.”

“Her role…?”

“Yeah. She doesn’t fail to be girlish, and it’s not like she will flirt with men. Even though she is a woman, she should still dress like a major company’s leader… That’s why I said ‘her role’.”

The girl they were talking about was walking firmly in front of them, her back straight.

“There’s quite a lot of male chauvinism in Richtert’s tendencies under many aspects. They’ll be pretty worried now that a woman will have to deal with the public finances.”

Men didn’t discriminate against women, but females usually had a lower social position.
Still, the highest authority of Richtert was the queen. She was treated as an exception because she was supposed to be a descendant of the Goddess.
Also, she was the symbol of the Holy Kingdom. She had decision-making power, but most of the real power was in the hands of the three overlords, so she wasn’t particularly involved in national politics.

“If we keep bringing good results, people will have a better impression of women, and more career paths will open for them.”

He wasn’t thinking only of the present, but he even kept the future into consideration. After Takumi explained all of that…

“Weren’t we talking about my dress?”

“Listen, I liked that one, okay? I wanted to boast about you to the nobles.”

“Couldn’t you keep that idea to yourself…?!”

He started to whistle and ignored her while she tried to shrink in her tempting dress.

“It won’t kill you to dress like that every once in a while. If you feel too embarrassed, just stay quiet behind me or Mirta.”

“…Remember, Takumi. You’ll pay for this.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

He smiled at her resentful gaze, and then looked at her side.
Kunon was dressed up as a slave merchant’s apprentice, and wore a hat to cover her ears. She was muttering her discontent with her cheeks puffed.

“Takumi, I never agreed to come here!”

“This is what you get for falling asleep.”

“That’s because Captain’s lap is comfy and cozy! Also, I hate formal gatherings!”

“You only have to act as our bodyguard as usual, and you don’t have to care much about your behaviour, so go eat something if you’re bored.”

“Oh, can I? All’s fine, then!”

She raised her thumb and returned to her normal self. Thank Filia she was easy to handle.

“Have you finished your talk? We’ve arrived, so try to not cause any problem.”

Elsa butted in, and after she gave orders to some guards, the massive door in front of them opened.
There was a lot of extravagant furniture lined up in the vast room.
The curtain’s fabric was embroidered with gold and silver threads, and the beautiful, polished marble that composed the floor and walls wasn’t only a sight for sore eyes, but also reflected perfectly the light, enhancing the visibility in the room.

“Wow… so this is a buffet, huh?”

A lot of people friendly chatted among themselves, glass in hand, but a treacherous, dusky feeling drifted in the air.
For example, the nobles surrounded the most influential among them, who kept showing their power and dignity by dragging more and more people in their little crowds while trying to show off their accomplishment with their oratory skills.
Those who formed the crowd faced them with toady smiles.
But the shepherds were ambitious, so they didn’t only make sure to keep control of their flock of sheep, but also take any opportunity to steal more from others.
Those who were trying to trade were talking about business related matters.
They carefully chose their words while playing with the abacus in their mind to achieve the greatest profit possible.
That was the falsehood and distrust that jumbled together at that place.

“I cannot guide you any further, as I must go back with the other guards to patrol the perimeter. Please, remember to not be rude to others…”

“Elsa, we already have a problem.”

Takumi interrupted her, then pointed at his side.

“Kunon smelled something good and disappeared.”

“…Seriously, why did you let that irresponsible wolf girl free…”

With a slightly teary voice, Elsa shrugged her shoulders and started searching for the lost child. She grumbled often, but in the end, the nice guard honestly cared for them.

“Well then, time to…”

The moment Takumi opened his mouth, a voice reached them.

“Are they not from the new company?”

Those words were spoken so loudly that they reverberated in the entire room.

“As revolting people of the slums, they still had the courage to show their face here?”

“Is that not exactly because they are from the slums?”

“Yes, probably. The lack of intelligence and grace brought them to a place they do not belong to.”

“Indeed. They will make this place reek of black water.”

“The Fairstadt are supporting them, is it not? I had some expectations for Lord Lux despite his young age, but now I shall change my opinion on him.”

As soon as they entered, a lot of people started to mock them one after the other.
It was only natural, as those who came from the slums were the lowest in the social hierarchy.
Normally, nobles wouldn’t even have looked at them, but now that the guards accepted their help and they even became a major company, the nobles showed their true nature.
For those who thought only about their personal authority, the inhabitants of the slums were but unsightly garbage.
Still, Takumi grinned.

“Maaan! I’m so glad they insulted us!”

“Ahahah… You know that you shouldn’t be happy of being badmouthed?”

“Well, my sensitivity is pretty distorted. Anyway, I didn’t expect you to remain calm.”

Usually, Mirta would have been disheartened if anyone mocked her company, but she was now smiling.

“I am here as the Leader of Suzuran, so I cannot let anyone see a shameful side of my persona, do you not think so?”

She didn’t appear as a simple girl, but as a real leader standing above others, and Takumi smiled satisfied at that sight.

“Nice reply. Shall we introduce ourselves?”

She nodded slowly and started to walk toward the nobles who mocked them until now.
She ignored the voices stirring around her, and stopped in front a middle-aged man, then bowed politely to him while holding the hem of her dress.

“This is the first time we meet. I am the leader of Suzuran, Mirta Famille. You are the Count of Lingen, Alfas Hilbert, am I right?

“Y-Yes… indeed. I appreciate your politeness.”

“Today, I do not stand in front of you only because we received the invitation, but mainly for the great honour of introducing myself to you gentlemen.”

She spoke with a meek smile, and the man’s expression warped in embarrassment, but it wasn’t because she could talk so politely even as a mere resident of the slums.

“…Famille, you say? Forgive my rudeness, but what about introducing yourself to someone more important than me?”

He didn’t mouth those words humbly, even though, compared to other dukes, he wasn’t but a lad living in a warehouse, and but a drop in the sea compared to the lords and princes who were attending the buffet.
Still, Mirta showed him a graceful expression.

“I am grateful for your suggestion, Sir Alphas, but as an inhabitant of the slums, I consider every gentleman here as equals.”

“…I see. Your attitude is laudable.”

He was slightly shocked by her behaviour.
She just showed everyone that it didn’t matter how powerful the other party was, they all reserved the same respect.
After that, the derision and hostility hung in the air dimmed.

“Lady Famille, it is surprising to see someone so young as the leader of a company, and it is incredible that it became a major one because of the unforeseen accident of the other day.”

“My title is real but also a sort of decoration. This man, Takumi, was the first to support me, and many others followed his lead to make me reach this position.”

The young guy who stood behind her stepped forward.

“Very honoured to make your acquaintance, Sir Alphas. I am a slave merchant and a member of Suzuran as well. My name is Takumi.”

Instead of acting arrogantly as usual, he bowed his head and spoke elegantly. Still, the noble’s face warped in disgust when he heard his occupation, and looked at him annoyed.

“A slave merchant…? Many members of other companies try to make a profit at these events, but it is the first time that someone so vile attends one.”

Slave merchants traded human and demi-human’s lives, so Alphas couldn’t hold back his disgust.
Not only nobles and normal citizens tried to avoid any contact with them, but also fellow traders sneered at them behind their back.
But Takumi smiled.

“You are absolutely right… but every person allowed to participate at this buffet, starting from you, has some great abilities.”

“Are you insinuating that the same goes for you?”

The man’s face started to redden out of anger, but the slave merchant kept talking.

“Sir Alphas, might I ask you how you see the elf who is glancing at us?”

“Elf…?”

A ladylike Karin, who stood behind Takumi, cast her eyes down as the man’s expression distorted.

“…I cannot believe you brought a demi-human with you…”

“Why is that? Do you see this elf as a simple demi-human?”

“What are you saying? What else might it look like?”

Without grasping the meaning of his words, the noble looked at him with a puzzled expression.

“Slaves are like ore. They have the potential to become gems if polished and refined properly. Elves are seen as disgusting sex toys, but as you can see from this beautiful maiden, stating that she is not different from the others might represent a serious lack of aesthetic sense.”

Looking at the graceful girl who still hadn’t lifted her gaze from the ground, Alphas was at a loss for words, and Takumi took the chance to continue.

“But sometimes, I value my articles way more than mere gems.”

“Do you value them more than gems? That is quite the outrageous thing to say.”

The man shrugged his shoulders while laughing, but Takumi was unflappable.

“Let me give you an example. Ten hired employers fill a leather bag of ore each, but a demi-human alone can instantly find where the most precious stones are hidden. In such a case, only one person could do the job, am I right?”

“The next step of your bragging will be a delusion?”

“No, since those kinds of demi-humans exist. I know quite a lot of them given my job, so I understand very well the weight of my words.”

The noble’s sidelong glance revelead a slight hidden interest.
Takumi chuckled within his heart and kept talking.

“With such a demi-human, the working process would speed up sharply and become faster than having those ten employers handle it… That would mean that for you, wise Alphas, and many others, hiring demi-humans would be evidently better.”

“…If you speak the truth, I would almost say that I agree with you. The value would indeed be greater than a gem.”

“Thank you for understanding. I try to grasp the abilities of my articles in order to offer my clients what they need. This is the kind of slave merchant I am.”

Alphas brought a hand to his chin with interest.

“There are plenty of demi-humans with useful abilities. For example, drakonids are great miners, since they can survive if the site caves in thanks to their sturdy scales. A bird-man could read the wind current into the tunnel and dig a hole to let the poisonous air drift away. Thinking about it, have you ever heard that the number of miners dying in these circumstances is lowering?”

“…This is enough, I understand how good you are. I already looked into the background of the people in the remote regions.”

“Oh, please, I was only talking about a common accident in the mines.”

The noble smiled wryly at Takumi’s bright grin.
There were many casualties among miners because of poisonous gases or other accidents, and a few years back some happened even in Alphas’s territory.
The mine was currently closed due to the gas, and the work couldn’t proceed.
That was why his noble’s rank declined.

“If you are interested in the services of slaves, feel free to speak to Suzuran, our company. I will arrange our meeting ahead of time.”

“I will come when I find some free time. Despite my hate for slave merchants, I can at least trust someone competent like you.”

After that, the noble smiled friendly and walked away.

“Done, got a new client. Gonna keep this up.”

“…Seriously, you are like a swindler. You never stop talking.”

“You can’t sell if you don’t know how to talk, Karin. Thanks for helping me, though.”

“You wanted to use me like this from the start, huh? If standing quietly is all I need to do, I feel a little better.”

She let out a light sigh mixed with gratitude and shock.

“Well, there’re six other potential clients left. Let’s start with the lowest ranked and see if we can get closer to the subordinates of the leaders… mh?”

As Takumi was reorganizing his thoughts, he felt someone grabbing his sleeve, and once he turned his head, he found a little girl looking up at him. She looked very little, maybe she wasn’t even ten.
He guessed that she might have been the daughter of some attendant of the buffet.

“Yes? Can I help you in any way, young lady?”

Takumi made sure to keep talking politely as he bent to look at her. Her ashen-colored eyes were scrutinizing him.
She nodded, and her silver, almost transparent twin-tail swayed gently.

“You are a slave merchant from Suzuran, right?”

She spoke with a slight lisp, but her tone was hard and totally unfitting a child.
Takumi noticed that she was different from the people around them, and looked at her attire. It reminded him of western clothes.
It was blue like the sea and the sky, and the white seemed to resemble purity and honesty.
Then, the girl opened her mouth again.

“I am Lise Crest… Archbishop of Filia’s holy doctrine.”

Her gaze sharpened as her tone grew heavier.

“On behalf of Her Highness the Queen… I was ordered to take Takumi, one of Suzuran’s slave merchants, away from here.”


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3+

New Game – Chapter 21

The ashen-colored birdie – Part 1

Uaaah! I’m tired!”

Kunon broke the silence of Suzuran’s office while flailing her arms in the air.
Karin lifted her face and let her silky black hair sway behind her.

If you don’t start working, this will never end, you know?”

I know! But I’m not good at this!”

She puffed her cheeks and tapped her pen repeatedly with her index finger.
On the desk in front of them laid a mountain of papers… or rather, two or three huge piles of paperwork aren’t a real ‘mountain’, but they’re still a lot.
Even the diligent elf sighed dejectedly at that sight.

We can’t help it. Gaitsu is managing the company by himself, but we still have to select the new routes and customers for our trades.”

A month before, a major company fell apart.
The guards stormed one of its properties where illegal gambles were performed in secret and arrested the masterminds behind it and all the related nobles.
That’s how Amberg crumbled. Then, it was absorbed and replaced by Valeria, now Suzuran, which Takumi and the others were members of.

Takumiii…! Let’s go grab some food…!”

Kunon pleaded tearfully while shifting her gaze on him.

Okay, fine. Let’s go to Lilia’s after we finish.”

That’s not fine! I want to eat something now!”

C’mon, you only have to stamp a seal on these things. I know you’re not used to this kind of job but look at what I have to deal with.”

The cup of cold, black tea trembled while Takumi moved to grab some papers, making the ones nearby flutter, and showed the documents to her.
Karin also looked at them and remembered something.

Isn’t that… Gaitsu’s report?”

Yeah. A big shot complained about the reorganization of the facility located in the upper part.”

A big shot…? Isn’t Lux keeping the nobles at bay?”

Exactly, but he can’t do that with everyone.”

Looking at the name on those papers, Takumi wore a sour expression.

Kiad Fortesea…”

Fortesea…? One of the three overlords?”

Yes. Even Lux can’t do a thing against them.”

Listina’s royal family, and more precisely the queen, had the strongest influence in the capital, but the national politics were in the hands of those who were called ‘three overlords.’
The righteous Fairstadt, who ruled over justice, the harmonic Administer, who managed the administration, and the valiant Fortesea, who ruled over war.
Those three weren’t only the three duchies of the kingdom, but also the delegates of Richtert’s magic.
In the Holy Kingdom of Richtert, worshipping magic as a godsend was a national custom. The privileged nobles were selected to learn Richtert’s peculiar magic.
The strongest were a step above the others even on a social level, and among them were the aforementioned overlords.
They were leagues above the other aristocrats.

But… we only changed our facility. What is that Fortesea guy complaining about?”

Remember the defensive magic tools I removed from the former Amberg’s facility? Seems like we should bring them back because there’s a problem.”

Well… complaining won’t help, huh? But we are also a major company that participates in the state management, so getting robbed or assaulted would be troubling.”

The nobles’ mansions and the major companies’ headquarters were important facilities for the national politics, so a lot of magic tools were created to defend them.
But since Takumi wasn’t authorized to remove and re-utilize them as he wanted, it was only natural that the Fortesea, who carried the national defense on their shoulders, would complain about what he did.
The slave merchant brought a hand on his chin while staring at the papers.

The slums are a thing, but robbery and assaults hardly occur in the upper part. I’d understand this turn of events if we were in the middle of a war, but there haven’t been big conflicts for the last thirty years. Still, the next day we dismantled them, we got Gaitsu’s report about the complaints.”

Takumi tapped on his temple with his index finger again and again.

Let’s see, what should we do about this…”

…Are you planning something again?”

Of course. My philosophy is to use anything as long as it can be used.”

Whatever, just tell me what you come up with in advance, since I have to keep up with your impossible requests. Otherwise I won’t have enough time to fulfill them.”

You’ll be the very first to know. Also, your help will be essential for executing the plan. You’re the only one who can understand what my aim is, after all.”

…I guess it’s fine, then.”

She sulked and turned her head to hide her embarrassment, but her ears betrayed her as they started to turn red.

Let’s start with telling Gaitsu to dispose of those magic tools.”

I don’t think you should… People would kill for them.”

Magic tools, as the name suggests, were tools enchanted with magic.
They could use magic when activated, and their user-friendliness made them ideal devices for the military, peddlers and thieves, who never had enough of them.
Still, those tools weren’t created only from rare materials, they also needed the ‘Law formula’, which was the magic formula that composed their core.
Only skilled mages, namely those who understood the right method to write those formulas, could write them, so the distribution of magic tools was lacking compared to the demand.

Also, if those tools were Amberg’s, they should be made by Crest’s archbishop. Did you know that they are the best in the whole capital?”

Crest…? Those who changed completely the magic tools used by mages two years ago?”

Exactly. They also created Seizing Magic for guards, and the defensive barriers you want to dispose of, along with pretty much every magic tool you can find in the upper part of the capital. They are all made by the same archbishop.”

Wow… How much do we know about this one?”

Almost anything. He shows up only in the royal castle or in the cathedral. Not even our slaves are allowed to enter those places.”

She meant the network of slaves that they created in all those years.
Thanks to them, Takumi could acquire any sort of information.
But they were limited to their employers and those who were close to them. It was quite difficult to gather information about the important structures of the upper part, especially the castle and the cathedral.
Lux could give them a hand, but given his personality and position as one of the three overlords, the level of confidence was different than what Takumi had with his articles.

If slaves can’t access those places, I have to think of another way to gather information from there.”

I agree. I’d like to use Gaitsu better, but the hierarchy of the upper part’s branch isn’t ready yet, so we have to wait for some time…”

…It must be fun to talk to each other while I starve, huh?”

Commented Kunon while staring at the others.

Especially you, Karin. You look happier than usual whenever you talk with him.”

Happier…? I don’t think so, though?”

That’s a lie! You’re smiling!”

Wh…?! I’m not smiling!”

Karin immediately started touching her cheeks to confirm it.

See?! I’m not! I’m the same as ever!”

Okay, stop you two. Karin, you just look relaxed, and it’s only normal that you smile every once in a while, isn’t it?”

How many times must I repeat myself?!”

Takumiii! Gimme food, pleeease!”

As the girls lost their focus completely, Takumi waved his hand and sighed.

Fine. I have to hear Killfer’s report anyway, so let’s finish a little early today.”

Really?! Yaaay!”

Hearing the great news, Kunon’s eyes started to sparkle and her ears to twitch, and a broad grin formed on Karin’s face.

I heard his report before coming here. He asked me to tell you that the Holy Text’s script was spread, and everyone received it.”

Oh, that’s good to hear. Well, there’s no reason to go there, then.”

Nooo! Karin, you big idiooot!”

That’s what you get when you say weird stuff!”

Asserted the elf with her face flushed red and her lips bent in a childish grin.
The werebeast started to hit her lightly as her dreams shattered.
Meanwhile, Takumi started to tidy up the workplace, since it didn’t look like things were going to proceed any further. At that moment, someone knocked on the door and opened it.

Takumi, do you have a minute?”

A girl entered the room, her platinum hair swaying in the air.

Hey Mirta, what’s up? I was about to take a pause.”

You have a guest… Girls, what happened?”

She cocked her head, looking at a flushed Karin and a desperate Kunon on the verge of tears.

Nothing, just a shyness stroke and polyphagia. So, someone wants to see me?”

It was a bit late for visits, since it was almost midnight, but another person entered the room. It was a girl with long, flame-red hair tied in a ponytail wearing a snow-white uniform.
Seeing her, Karin let out a surprised voice.

Elsa? It’s strange for you to drop by this late at night.”

Well, my shift just ended, that’s why I’m this late.”

What, you came here at this hour to make sure that I’m not causing some trouble?”

…Listen, even I wouldn’t be that brazen, okay?”

Currently, Suzuran and the guards of the slums were collaborating.
Although they were an illegal company before, now they were one of the major companies selected by the Holy Kingdom of Richtert itself to manage the public affairs, and their current headquarter resided in an office with a surreal quantity of paperwork.
That’s why they didn’t only keep in touch with each other, but a strong guard was put in charge of defending them.
Before, the guards avoided dropping by as much as possible, but now they brazenly walked in and out.

So you came here because there’s something urgent you need?”

No, nothing urgent… wait, what happened to that wolf-girl.”

Sob… Captaaain…! Gimme some food pleeease…!”

Kunon was walking unsteadily toward her new hope with a strange expression plastered on her face.

Oh, are you hungry? That’s good. I was wondering if it was too late… They gave me a lot of extras at the bar, so…”

She offered Kunon a paper bag, and the next moment, strength returned in her petite body. The werebeast’s eyes started to sparkle, and she hugged the guard tightly.

Yaaay! Captain you are… a goddess!”

Woah, calm down! Here, eat this! Get off… Don’t drool! You’re gonna stain my uniform! Get off me! Slave merchant, stop watching and help me!”

Screamed Elsa trying to push Kunon away.

The three witnesses nodded with sympathy.

That’s peaceful.”

Peaceful, indeed.”

How peaceful, is it not?”

Stop looking so calm and help me!”

Kunon finally reached for her food and checked the paper bag while Elsa sat on a nearby chair.

Jeez… today I’m not here as a patrol, but as a messenger. Brother Lux asked me to.”

Takumi wore a dubious expression, and then she took out a letter from her breast pocket.

Three days from now will be held the royal buffet for celebrating your promotion. The royal family, three overlords, four major companies, and all the influential nobles who have the right to speak will be present… there will be quite a lot of people.”

I see. You came to warn us.”

Your invitation was written by Her Majesty the Queen herself. Actually, it should have been held in the near future, but a certain major company redesigned early than expected.

She kept talking after making Kunon sit on her lap.

Rather than a party, they want to remind you of your position. National politics are discussed in congresses, but since in this case we’re talking about a formal gathering, it will be hard to grasp other people’s attitude. This buffet serves exactly to share intel and exchange ideas.”

Oh, thanks for explaining. I don’t have much information regarding the upper part of Listina, so accepting this invitation might actually help me gather some.”

Takumi smiled happily, and the guard looked at him with dubious eyes.

…Don’t try to do anything funny, okay? If you do something, the Fairstadt family, meaning me and Lux who recommended you, will get in trouble. Understood?”

Why would I do something funny?”

Because you always do?! Ugh, my stomach…”

She started to pat her stomach with an uneasy expression on her face.
That happened whenever she tried to deal with Takumi.

Mirta… I’m counting on you. Keep him at bay.”

Eh? Am I also invited?”

Of course. It’s only natural that a major company’s leader would be invited, no? Also, you know how to behave and have the proper manners to participate, don’t you?”

I-I indeed learned a lot from the time we practiced etiquette together at your residence, but…”

She didn’t only think too much over things, but imagining to partecipate at a gathering where the royal family and the three overlords would be present made her so nervous that her gaze started to wander aimlessly through the room.

Mirta, why don’t you be more confident?”

I-I already am!”

Seeing her sticking her chest out, Takumi nodded satisfied.

That’s it. No matter the place or the opponent, just keep looking good. Prepare to look down on the three overlords, the royal family and even the gods if necessary.”

W-What was that…? Why can I picuter you doing it so easily?”

Because I’d do that even if a goddess went against me.”

Listen… if someone hears you saying that, it wouldn’t be strange for the inquisition to drag you away, you know? People worship the Goddess Filia here, don’t forget it.”

Rebuked a disgusted Elsa, but since he already treated the Goddess of Reincarnation with insolence, he was only stating the truth.

Anyway, just take care of your look. Also, she is more or less the sister of one of the overlords. If you feel uneasy, practice in front of her.”

I am a proper sister, if anything! But he has a point, Mirta. If you need me, I’ll help you.”

I should think of Elsa as an enemy…? Err… L-Like, is this okay?”

Suzuran’s leader adjusted her expression and stuck her chest out looking straight at her friend, who looked back at her satisfied… then stiffened her face.

How to say it… You really grew…”

What…?”

Haha… To think that we had them alike once…”

Where are you looking at?! Where on earth are you looking at, Elsa?!”

Mirta started to hit her while blushing, and the guard quivered under her friend’s assault while looking in front of her absent-mindedly. They were like sisters, so mixed feelings were probably raging within her right now.

Well, not like you’re any bad either. C’mon, stick ’em out!”

Hahaha… Takumi, you really need some lessons to understand how to deal with women’s delicate matters.”

Isn’t it a bit too late to say that?”

I should be the one to say that!”

Then, Karin raised her hand lightly.

Thinking about it, Elsa, can I and Kunon also come at the buffet?”

Mh? Yes, no problem. Guards and chaperones’ attendants are also invited… how curious, though. I thought you hated those kinds of things.”

Well, I do hate nobles, but my Master said he’d go, so I can’t not join him, don’t you think?”

…Right. It will be reassuring to have my great secretary with me.”

The elf glimpsed at him, who nodded her back quietly.
They finally had the chance to gather information, and Karin had the most useful ability for the occasion. She could read people’s mind by watching into their eyes, which meant that they could skip a lot of steps to obtain what they wanted.
Elsa didn’t know about that, so she nodded without much suspicion.

Anyway, feel free to come and bring Kunon too. Come to the Fairstadt residence on the appointed day, and I’ll bring you there myself.”

As she tried to stand up, she suddenly stopped.

…Hey, wolf-girl. Get off. I have to go.”

Nnnh… T’z monnin’~?”

Kunon had fallen asleep while the others were talking and was now mumbling something incomprehensible.
Elsa enjoyed that scene before starting to slap her on her cheeks.

C’mon, wake up. Sleeping right after eating is not good for your health.”

Not sleepin’ here… My food’s still there…”

When her face started to get rubbed, she started to squirm restlessly.

Ehehe… Pudding for dessert…”

Hey, don’t touch me there! No, stop drooling! Please, stop, for Filia’s sake! If you drench my coat it will be freezing cold outside! Nooo!”

Elsa tried to rip her off her lap, but looking at her innocent, sleeping face made her hesitate for an instant, and… the next moment, her coat was completely smeared with drool.
Everyone could see Elsa’s deep grief while she walked down the road in the chilly night with her coat in hand.


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5+

New Game – Chapter 20

TL note: I added the various images in the previous chapters. You can find them in the following: 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 15, 17. I didn’t add the colored ones because I didn’t clean them… maybe I’ll try in the future.


The man who enjoyed his regret – Prologue

Takumi slowly opened his eyes and found himself in an empty, blank place.

“Hi hi~! How lucky to get another chance!”

A humanoid shape appeared from the void scene and spoke with an inappropriate voice.

“How much did you last? Around seven years?”

Her behavior remained, but that was to be expected from an existence like that.

“It’s been a while, Goddess.”

“Ah, if I could choose, I’d never meet you again…”

Her smile cramped, but after sighing, she quickly recomposed herself.

“I can’t believe you survived for that long… with that cheeky behavior of yours, I thought you were going to die in a jiffy. I even wished for it.”

“Are you really a Goddess?”

“That’s rude, of course I am! A middle-ranked one, at least.”

She answered while puffing her abundant chest with pride. Takumi sighed and glared at her stupid reaction.

“Okay, I guess… Listen, do you understand that you didn’t grant my wish as I asked?”

“Eh? Didn’t you want to reincarnate as a slave of some harsh world while keeping your abilities and look?”

“Yeah, you did exactly what I wanted, but… you forgot about a detail and added something, didn’t you?”

His gaze was as sharp as a blade. She shrugged her shoulders and let her long, platinum hair sway behind her.

“Oops, you found me out?”

“Of course. Even an idiot could’ve connected the dots.”

Replied him while remembering two girls.
Kunon, a blonde, lively wolf-girl with gold-colored eyes, and Karin, a gloomy elf with black, silky hair.
Demi-humans whose power transcended human’s, captured exactly when he was reincarnated.

“There’s a limit to human’s luck. Why did you do that?”

He pointed at her, who wore a shy expression.

“I… thought it was bad if you died the moment you awakened… I’m a Goddess, after all…”

“Remember what I said, senile Goddess.”

“I’m not senile! I have this faint feeling of having been alive a long time ago, but I’m definitely not senile!”

“Who cares about your mental condition, just tell me what your goal was.”

Takumi lowered his voice, and she smiled.

“Let me answer with a question. Why do you think we make people reincarnate?”

“I have no idea.”

“Oh, c’mon~! You’re pretty quick-witted… or rather, I might even say you were the smartest in your original world. You know the reason, don’t you?”

She laughed, amused, but he didn’t answer.

“Anyway, rest assured. You were reincarnated in the lowest social class of that world. Sorry for nudging you a little… Right, what about some power for this time?”

“Sure, only if I can punch you to death.”

“That would be a bit extreme, don’t you think?!”

“You reap what you sow. I reincarnated only to test my own abilities.”

He couldn’t use them to their fullest in his original world, so his regret brought him to wish for an environment where he was free to use them as he wished.

“Still, without those two you would’ve died, no? C’mon, show some gratitude to this concerned Goddess.”

“Try to intervene again and I won’t just promise to beat you, retarded Goddess.”

“Did those sound like words of gratitude to you?!”

“Also, if I was alone, with my limbs tied and ignorant of the world’s language, the result would have been the same. I’d have escaped and survived anyway.”

“Eeeh? If that was true, it’d be really boring.”

“Well, sorry for ruining your mood. Anyway, since last time I couldn’t dispel my regret, don’t help me at all from now on.”

“Okay, fine… I won’t make it happen again, and neither will I help you in the future. Test your abilities as much as you want.”

She eventually reached her limit and surrendered while drooping her shoulders.

“I already understood that you’re way more talented than the average human, so I don’t mind letting you do whatever you want, since I will still achieve my goal.”

“I don’t know or care about what you are scheming, as long as I’m free to do what I want. Anyway, I have a lot left to do, so bring me back, please.”

“My duty is also finished. Now I have a headache because of you… There, go into that light and you will wake up.”

“Okay. Call me if you want to have another headache.”

As he started to walk toward his destination, her voice reached him again.

“What do you think about that world?”

Her tone was totally different from before, as it was now tinted with sadness.
Takumi turned to let her see his smiling face.

“It’s not bad.”

Hearing his answer, the Goddess smiled bashfully.

<Prev | Index | Next>

2+

New Game – Chapter 19

TL note: this is the last section of the first volume. We want to take at least next week off this series to check and fix any mistranslation we might have left in the previous chapters before starting the next one.


Slave merchant and slave merchant – Part 4

Two weeks went by since the meeting with Lux.
In that brief time, Listina changed a lot.

Because of the illegal gambles scandal, three famous nobles were put on trial, and since they didn’t have an alibi, they were arrested, and every participant was properly punished along with them.
The minister of justice brought Amberg’s records and money laundering techniques to light.
Valeria was selected as a replacement, and after receiving all of Amberg’s properties, the royal family of Richtert promoted it to its new position.
That fact caused a big commotion.
A lot of people were skeptical when they heard that Valeria was an illegal company from the slums and some even protested, but apparently they played an important role in the operation, so there was no choice but to acknowledge the royal family’s decision, and things calmed down soon.

After that, plenty of people started to call Valeria ‘the miraculous company from the slums’. The citizens finally started to look at it in a good light.

…Or rather, things looked like that, but if we were to take a peek behind the scenes, quite a lot had happened.

“The royal family’s influence is just absurd.”

Said Takumi cheerfully, while walking with Kunon and Karin.
The elf, instead, looked dead tired.

“I can’t believe you threatened the Fairstadt family and also the royal family of Richtert…”

“I didn’t threaten them. I just brought them information.”

Gaitsu kidnapped citizens from the former empire beyond the mountains, the island countries and allied nations beyond the sea, and the allied city-states where heroes gathered.
Slave trading was illegal in every country except for the former empire, so the diplomatic relationships with the ruler behind this scandal – meaning Richtert – would have been severed, and it was possible that a war might have broken out.

Takumi promptly sent those slaves home, and the disgrace that should have tainted the Holy Capital’s reputation was swept under the rug.
Thanks to that, the royal family wanted Valeria to replace Amberg.
Of course, the nobles and the other companies wouldn’t have just accepted that.

“I mean, I only added a ‘pretty please’ and they accepted, you know?”

“That’s what ‘threatening’ means, Takumi… Lux had ‘give me a break’ written all over his face, and he seemed so sick of the situation that I almost felt pity for him.”

“He reacted exactly like his sister. That’s why they’re so amusing.”

“While you enjoy those reactions, I worry about their stomach aches…”

Thinking that Lux might have breached their contract, Takumi informed him that he kept track of the whereabouts of each slave. If anything was to happen, everything would have been exposed.

“It’s incredible that a company from the slums could replace a major one, arrest all the rotten nobles at once, and lead the royal family and the other influential companies by the nose…”

Commented the elf while looking at the same, filthy slums she got used to seeing.
Takumi had planned to make Valeria influential in a single move, but he thought that it wasn’t necessary to relocate their headquarter.
It wasn’t only what Mirta wanted, but it would’ve also been easier for them to monitor the area, and it would’ve sped up the information gathering process, which would have been discussed publicly thereafter.
Valeria wanted to connect people and make them feel that something was really changing.

“Anyway, being a noble in the upper layers would only bother me, so I’d rather stay here.”

“I know, riiight~? There’re too few food stalls and shops in there! It’s shocking!”

Kunon always looked bored when people talked about the slums, but her comment was lively as she held the large quantity of food she had bought along the way.

“Kunon, now that you have your food, it’s time for your report.”

“Okaaay~! First, the rehab of the demi-humans we seized in the last battle is over! Those who still have the will to fight are getting trained to become part of the suppression team while our members observe and assist them, and those who do not want to fight anymore can become your slaves!”

She kept talking while eating.

Takumi started to assemble a unit composed only of demi-humans in case he needed military manpower.
Thanks to what he remembered from his former world, he produced weapons from his era and formed an armed force no weaker or less disciplined than those he saw back then, which divided demi-humans accordingly to make full use of their natural abilities.
When Kunon hadn’t to be their guardian, she was in charge of their training.

“The guys we already had aren’t a problem, but the new ones don’t know a thing about small arms. Elves aside, the other races don’t really use tools, you know~?”

“Elves hate guns and stuff like that, but I’ve already become used to them.”

Said Karin while touching the sniper rifle that was on her back.

“This is clad in wood, but the smell of metal is terrible…”

“But Karin, don’t you love it? You looked so happy when Takumi gave it to you, and you even slept hugging it every daaah! Give me back my food!”

“No, this is your punishment for talking nonsense… Also, I slept with it only to get used to the smell!”

Exclaimed the sulky elf while eating the fruits she snatched. Getting used to that smell had been hard for her.

“By the way, how are things going for Amberg?”

“You mean what was Amberg, right, Karin? We are managing everything now.”

Since their staff and leaders were arrested, the company was essentially disassembled, and to avoid a disaster in the national politics, Lux and the royal family ordered Valeria to take over right away. Of course, Takumi already dealt with that.

“Well, the one with the report is waiting at Valeria.”

“…To be honest, I’m not glad to hear that.”

“I’m sure you’re thinking about a lot of stuff, but he’s still our colleague. I won’t tell you to get along with him, but try at least to not pick a fight, okay?”

Takumi patted her on the head as she wore a sour expression.
When they finally arrived at Valeria’s headquarter, they exchanged a brief greeting with the man behind the reception desk and headed straight to the office.

“Ah, welcome back, Takumi.”

Mirta was waiting there, and…

“Oh, Mister Takumi. Came back already?”

A skinny man on his thirty greeted them.

“Who is he?”

Asked in unison the two demi-humans, and he stood up flustered.

“That is rude! Lady Kunon, Lady Karin, did you forget about me?!”

“How can I forget someone I don’t know?”

“Wait, do we know each other?”

Seeing them tilting their heads, Takumi decided to formally introduce him.

“Girls, he is Gaitsu.”

“…What? No, Gaitsu looks more like… a fat pig.”

The skinny man couldn’t help but smile bitterly at the elf’s remark.

“You see… Work kept piling up and I ended up losing some weight… Who knows what Mister Takumi would do to me if I fail to meet my duties…! No…! Aaahhh!”

“Don’t freak out like that, man. You have to report something, right? Are things going well?”

“A-Absolutely! Everything is going exactly as you wish!”

Both his weight issue and behavior seemed fixed, and even though he looked scared, he was determined.

“I-I will now… report in detail the Amberg’s management.”

After all that chaos, Takumi wanted Gaitsu to become Amberg’s manager.
It was hard to deal with him, but he was really proficient at his job.
Even though he didn’t have much manpower in Valeria, he managed to keep the business growing while secretly dealing with Amberg, expanding his network to other countries, and gathering more and more customers.
He optimized his few resources so much that he could achieve amazing results, and that showed his abilities.

“The company is running smoothly, but given the complete change in management method and company’s objectives, Amberg’s old clients will need time to get used to this change… Still, after things settle, I believe Valeria can expand its business.”

“How much time is needed, in your opinion?”

“Two months… no, since we are partners, we can do it in one. I already drafted a plan for our new business and commercial development, if you want to see it…”

Karin had a complex expression while seeing the man behaving like that.

“I… can’t believe he’s that Gaitsu… what about you, Mirta?”

“Ahahah… I felt the same way while we talked before…”

“Well, I’ve changed! I will now work myself to the bone as an underling of Mister Takumi! Because if I do not, next time… my life will… Aaaahhh!”

“Gaitsu, you’re starting to be a pain, so this is enough. Things are going well, so Lux won’t have any complaints. Now leave.”

“Yes… If anything happens, send a messenger! I shall fulfill any and all of your requests!”

The arrogance he had before disappeared, and after he bowed repeatedly to Takumi, he left the room.

“Did you… brainwash him or something?”

“Since he was so ambitious, I had to be a little hard on him. I annihilated him psychologically, and, when he came back to his senses, he was like that.”

“Ahahah… I don’t want to know what you did specifically, but please, never do that to Valeria’s members…”

“C’mon, let’s see it positively. If there aren’t problems, I don’t act, but when something happens, I can do whatever I want as long as my leader can’t see, right?”

“No, you can’t! It doesn’t matter if I see you or not, just don’t do that!”

Mirta stretched on her tiptoes and hit Takumi on the head exactly like a mother scolding her child. It was a good thing that she wasn’t holding back anymore.

“Anyway, we have pretty much everything we need for now. We have the necessary funds to act and the power to influence the nation, so Valeria will be acknowledged by everyone… The next move is to strengthen Valeria’s foundation.”

“Strengthen the foundation…? Are we going to build something?”

Asked Mirta, and Takumi nodded.

“I’m talking about our image and individual power. You became the leader of a major company, and that’s good, but I’m a former slave like Karin and Kunon, two demi-humans, and I don’t have a family name. It’s obvious that people would think we’re shady.”

Valeria was going to draw a lot of attention now, and if some of its workers had obscure origins, it would’ve damaged the company’s image.

“But haven’t you said that you like who you are?”

“I like the idea of being a former slave, yeah.”

“I don’t understand how you can like that…”

“Well, it takes all sorts to make a world. Anyway, we need to increase our individual power.”

Hearing his answer, Mirta brought her hand to her chin.

“Uhm… Thinking about it, if you had a family name, you could accept a noble title, right? In that case, you might use a military exploit to earn the title of knight, buy a land and rule a little region… then, if Richtert’s eminent clergymen start to consider you a worthy noble, they might grant you the right to speak freely…”

“Wow… You’re pretty knowledgeable, Mirta.”

“N-Not really! Dad was way more informed than me! He was in good relations with the Fairstadt family, so I learned good manners and a few things when I was a child.”

She waved her hands flustered while Takumi started thinking about her words.

“Why not, let’s do everything.”

“Eh? What do you mean…?

“I mean what I said. Earning the title of knight, buying lands, being acknowledged by the clergymen… Let’s do everything.”

He bent his lips in a confident smile.

“It will be boring if we don’t try for the impossible, don’t you think?”


Afterword (May 30th 2017)

Greetings, I am Fujiki Ushiro, the author of this novel.1
It has been a long time since I started my career with “Danzaikan” back then in 2015.2
I’ve never been so visible as a writer like now.
Since I had a lot of time after winning a prize for the last publication, I started to write a new series.
Truth is, after Dainzaikan I wrote something I wasn’t satisfied with, so I changed my plans, and this is the result. It made me think.
Anyhow, after a long time I could release a new book, so let me talk a bit about it.

When I started to write Saiteihen, I wanted it to be about a slave merchant with a lot of dark elements and a wicked, gruesome story, but my editor scolded me, and we lightened up the atmosphere… even though I was against it.
I am sure you can understand it from my words, but light stories aren’t my forte, that’s why I was quite surprised when I finished this.

“What?! No entrails flying around?!”

“I can’t add the main character’s true personality in the characters’ introduction?!”

“A place where people avert their eyes from slavery is inhuman!”

I tried to keep such notes in front of me, but I wanted to create a shocking setting, so the cute girls, which I didn’t even plan beforehand, served to maintain a balance.
In the end, this became a story about a guy who reincarnates in a slave and refuses any superpower to live in the world only with his own abilities.

The protagonist of this story is someone who has lived in a world that was too easy for him, so he decides to try living in a hardcore one.
This was the hardest part to write for me. Since he doesn’t have superpowers, I had to think about realistic ways to make him resolve various situations.
He isn’t peerless but uses his head to move people in a way that makes him appear as such.
I didn’t write anything about his former world, but someday… I mean, I’m thinking about it and hope to specify it in the next volume.

I want to highlight the girls who follow our protagonist, the black-haired elf and the upbeat werebeast, which I came up with.
The elf is the result of a revelation: “What if I give her the opposite image of a common elf? Same glossy and silky hair but black instead of blonde!”
The wolf-girl should have had ups and downs, and I wanted her to have expressive ears and to wag her tail when happy. She should’ve been lively, and I imagined her showing her canines while talking in a mischievous way. I wanted her to appear human but also animal at the same time. Her petite size helps to picture her as innocent as well as give impact when she set her bottled up feelings free…
I won’t digress too much on her because I don’t have much space left, but know that I love her.

I also want to develop the other slaves, and I really hope you will like them.
I’d love you to pay attention even to the other characters surrounding our protagonist, included the slaves, the cry-baby leader and the serious-but-soft captain of the guards.
I don’t want to limit this to girls only, but also to a certain dandy… oh dear, I’m running out of space.

Thank you for your support.
I apologize to the responsible of this project for my selfish requests and the hardships he went through due to me. I might be a nuisance again in the future, but I’m looking forward to work with you again.
A heartfelt thanks to Yuzuka3, the illustrator, for the many great images. The captain of the guards’ one has left a deep impression, but each and every one of them conveyed perfectly what I had in mind. The beast-traits you drew are astonishing. If we ever get the chance to meet, I’ll prostrate at your feet.
Many, many thanks to all the people who helped me realize this volume.
As last, let me thank you, dear reader, for reading my work.
I really hope you enjoyed it.

-Fujiki Washiro


1 Writer’s twitter here.

2 First of his light novels: Danzaikan no detarame na tsukaima (https://hobbyjapan.co.jp/hjbunko/series/139/)

3 Illustrator’s twitter here, and pixiv here.

<Prev | Index | Next>

2+

New Game – Chapter 18

Slave merchant and slave merchant – Part 3

While Takumi seized Gaitsu, the guards raided the gambling den and arrested each and every participant. The show was evidence of the city’s corruption.
Things needed to be investigated further, so the young man visited a certain place.

“Hello, Soft-hearted slave merchant. Sorry for making you come here.”

Lux Fairstadt, the minister of justice of the Holy Kingdom of Richtert who wasn’t even thirty years old, smiled gently at the merchant.
He sat on the other side of the desk, dressed in fine, formal clothes.

“Hi. No, don’t worry. I should be the one apologizing for bothering you while you’re busy.”

Elsa, who was sitting near Takumi, hit him on the head.

“How dare you speak so casually to an authority of this kingdom?!”

“I do not mind, Elsa. It would have been a problem if we were in public, but there is no reason to be formal in this situation.”

He spoke without changing expression, but Takumi could catch a glimpse of his true character.

“Well then, let us get down to business… Elsa, can you explain again how the operation to stop the illegal gambles was carried out?”

The girl stood up with a stiff face.

“After asking the cooperation of the upper part’s guards a few days ago, we coordinated with them to raid the basement of the Marquis of Kelbeg’s house, where we caught the participants of the illegal gambles red-handed.”

She then fell silent with a sour expression.

“What’s the matter, Elsa? Keep going, please.”

“Gh… Okay, fine! We investigated the place and found Amberg’s records in a related building…”

She took a deep breath, trying to keep her composure.

“But there wasn’t any information regarding the illegal gambles.”

Lux let out a grave sigh.

“I see… Amberg members are denying everything, and so are the other nobles. There is no trace of demi-humans or slaves who should have been used in fights, and both the records and the account books are clean.”

“I’m ashamed of myself, Brother Lux. I didn’t expect this result after asking your help…”

“I would like to say that I do not mind but… we assaulted one of the four major companies and arrested a number of influential nobles. If this act is misinterpreted, the supervisor of the operation, which is me, and the original proposer, which is you, along with the entire guards’ regiment, will have to take responsibility…”

The girl frowned and let out a deep sigh.
A gloomy mood filled the room, but it didn’t affect Takumi, who noticed something.

“No, wait. You’re not gonna ask me to cover you, right?”

“Ahahaha… Personally, I would love you to.”

The man was starting to reveal his true nature.

“E-Ehm… Brother Lux…?”

“…Elsa, I would like to talk in private with this slave merchant, so could you wait outside for a moment? If you stay here, we might not be able to speak freely.”

She looked at him puzzled before bowing and leaving the room.
The two, now alone, faced each other with different smiles.
One of them was trying to control his rage, while the other one was enjoying the situation from the bottom of his heart.
Lux reached his limit first.

“Guess I should start with a ‘nice job, shitty brat’.”

“Then let me reply with a ‘hats off to you, idiot’.”

Their intense gazes clashed with each other.

“Takumi, right? So, how much did it go as you planned?”

“Well, pretty much everything.”

“Wow… It pisses me off, but it doesn’t sound like a lie.”

The man leaned on the backrest of his chair that squeaked loudly. The dignified behavior he showed earlier was nowhere to be seen.

“I’m gonna ask you this, Lux. What do you know?”

“Well… I know you told Amberg about the operation, for example.”

Flames of rage burned into the minister’s eyes.

“C’mon, don’t be like that. It would’ve been better if they suspended the show as soon as they heard about it, though.”

The company knew everything, but it decided to let the guards arrest them anyway, so that they could rise the entrance fee hereafter.

“No one tried to step out of this, and they could simply hide or destroy the evidence. That way, we arrested the perpetrators on a false accusation, and we lost credibility.”

The guards’ regiment created by Lux had to keep the city safe and maintain order.
They gained trust by arresting criminals, and the Fairstadt family’s authority grew from it.
Still, this incident was going to stain their reputation.

“If this mess isn’t resolved, the guards might not be able to do their work anymore. That’s why Amberg erased all the evidence and let you raid their place.”

If this was seen as a mistaken arrest, even the nobles who didn’t participate wouldn’t have ignored the guards.
In the worst-case scenario, the guards’ regiment might have been disbanded.
Also, if the upper part became a lawless area, how wicked would the slums become?

“Holy shit… Founding the guards’ regiment in the city to keep those lowlifes at bay was a huge pain in the ass for me… They act as if the law doesn’t apply to them…”

“Your sense of justice is admirable, but you underestimated them, so this is your fault. As soon as they understood they could profit from the situation, they set up a trap.”

“I didn’t underestimate them. I just… didn’t expect an illegal merchant from the slums to mess everything up.”

The minister’s smile disappeared from his face as he tried to regain his composure.

“Let me go straight to the point, Takumi. I know you are in possession of the evidence, so can you hand them over?”

“Well, I’m a merchant, you know? You have to give me something in exchange.”

“If you really planned everything, I doubt you’re after money. Since I’m quite desperate right now, I’ll try to grant your request… to a certain extent.”

Lux couldn’t help but cringe, and Takumi smiled while looking at him.

“First, I want every single possession of Amberg, meaning their buildings, fortune, lands, mining rights certificates and so on, to become Valeria’s.”

“…Can I see the evidence before? If I don’t have them, I will be overthrown and lose my authority.”

“Of course. Still, since I couldn’t find many myself, I don’t have them with me right now, but I brought you this.”

He pulled a bunch of paper out from his jacket’s pocket and placed it in front of Lux.
The man immediately started to read them, and his expression lightened.

“They contain the dates and places of every gamble that was organized so far, along with the earnings, the names of the participants and the money laundering technique used… if you compare them with Amberg’s records, you might find a lot of information.”

“…Can I trust what’s written here?”

“Of course. That is the account book of the guy who was supplying slaves to Amberg. He’s obsessed with money, so he always writes down everything in his diary and in an account book.”

Gaitsu had the habit to write in detail the earnings of the day.
He started doing it since he joined Valeria, and he kept doing it while working for this new company. Takumi knew about it, so he let him prepare that precious data before seizing him.

“Since these are personal documents, Amberg couldn’t falsify them.”

“I see… we can let them blame each other. Since they were so frantic to destroy the evidence, maybe we can find some genuine clues with this. Even if we don’t, we still have the register of the participants, so a noble might make a mistake and spill the beans.”

Now that Lux had what he needed, he faced Takumi again.

“Now no one will cut my head for this supposed flop, but… earlier you said ‘first’, so you want more, right?”

Takumi showed a toothy smile to the man’s sour face.

“I want Valeria to become a major company in Amberg’s place.”

The minister of justice was petrified.

“Do you… understand how impossible your request is?”

“Of course. That’s exactly why I’m asking you.”

“No, it’s impossible even for me. I can’t let an illegal organization from the slums take part in the national politics as a major company without a valid reason.”

“But you do have one.”

“…Okay, what is it? Nothing can surprise me anymore.”

He held his head, trying to suppress a headache while Takumi kept talking.

“If things had gone as planned, you would’ve found the slaves used for those gambles, but Amberg couldn’t leave them in Listina, since they could be used as evidence… so they were transported to another place.”

Gaitsu gathered a lot of slaves, but after a chain of riots, they managed to escape.

“We are looking after them temporarily, but… they see you guys as wrongdoers.”

“Wrongdoers? I don’t think we did anything to them.”

“Sadly, if they’re poorly handled, they’ll cause more harm than a bomb.”

Takumi seemed to really enjoy the situation.

“That guy couldn’t gather many slaves due to a fight with another merchant, and when he finally had a considerable amount of goods, the other organizations stopped dealing with him and he ended up in a tough spot.”

He raised his index finger.

“Now… where do you think they came from?”

Lux couldn’t help but frown. He had a guess, but he didn’t want to say it.

“Don’t tell me…”

“They were all captured from different countries.”

If it was made public, it would’ve become a big scandal.

“He didn’t care about Amberg in the slightest… he just wanted to start a war to earn more money?”

“Well, when a war starts, money circulates easily. Merchants think like that, you know?”

“Damn! Why can I imagine that so easily?!”

Lux turned pale, but he kept talking.

“Still, I understand your request. Essentially, you want to bring them back home in secret, am I right?”

“Precisely. I’m used to do this kind of shady deals, so I won’t ask for your help. Might it be by crossing the mountains or smuggling them on a boat, they’ll get back home safely.”

Takumi folded his arms and smiled.

“Either way, if you can’t meet my conditions, you’ll have to handle a war. I expect a positive answer, Sir Fairstadt.”

“As if I have a choice… Now I understand why Elsa has that sour expression whenever you’re mentioned.”

He sighed deeply and shrugged his shoulders.

“We will punish Amberg for their sins, and, according to our deal, you will obtain their properties and Valeria will become one of the major companies. The public won’t know that you helped maintaining Richtert’s peace, or that you helped with our diplomatic relations, but your achievements won’t be ignored by the royal family… What a great synopsis.”

Lux clapped his hands without smiling.

“So, why are you doing all this? You succeeded this time, but… if you try to do anything funny in this city, I swear on the name of Fairstadt that I will put my heart and soul into sinking you.”

Those were the words of someone who, despite his family name, earned his place thanks to his own abilities. Takumi’s tactic worked exactly because no one expected him to act like that, but it wouldn’t work a second time.
Lux understood that the slave merchant in front of him was a threat. Once Valeria officially expanded, the minister of justice would monitor their every move.
That was exactly why the young man smiled.

“Let’s say… I want the slums to become colorful and cozy.”

The man opened his eyes wide.

“That was quite poetic for someone who does things in such a way.”

“Well, it’s what my kind leader wishes for. To change the slums’ current situation, we must become stronger.”

“If this is your leader’s wish… what are you yourself aiming for?”

“I only want to see how far my abilities can bring me.”

Takumi didn’t change his tone of voice as he smiled with confidence.
As if drove by it, Lux smiled back gently.

“Incredible… I can’t believe someone said the same words of Vatel…”

“Wait, you knew him?”

“Yes, pretty well. He was… a dear friend of my father.”

The man closed his eyes and reminisced about the distant past.

“Well, looking at what you guys will do from now will be interesting. No one has done anything in a long time, and the nobles are all rotten to the core, so we can’t really distinct good ones from bad ones. A change of air won’t be that bad.”

“Okay, and what do you really think?”

“Honestly, dealing with you is tiring as fuck, so I hope we can both profit from being on good terms.”

The young man returned a wry smile to those words.

“I’ll start to bring back home those slaves right away. Be sure to do everything right.”

“I can do things pretty well without you worrying about them. I can’t let my family’s name to get soiled, and neither I want Richtert to become a war zone.”

Lux took a pen and started to write on a sheet of paper.

“Here, this is your written pledge. Let’s be on good terms, Soft-hearted slave merchant.”

Takumi accepted it and smiled back at Lux.

“Yeah, hope we can get along.”


<Prev | Index | Next>

6+

New Game – Chapter 17

Slave merchant and slave merchant – Part 2

Takumi said he was chasing after Gaitsu, but even though he was irritated, his pace was slow.
He followed footprints, stomped and snapped leaves and branches, and entered the forest.
At the end of those tracks was an open space, where Gaitsu was panting heavily while bent on his knees.

“So, can’t you run any further?”

“Ha?!”

Gaitsu let out a high-pitched sound while he jolted to face his chaser.
His expression was warped in fear.

“P-Please… I’ll give you all my money! I’ll give you everything I have, but spare my life…!”

“Aaah, I can’t hear you! Don’t beg for your life with those cheap words.”

Takumi’s gaze sharpened. He was in a bad mood.

“I won’t gain anything from killing you… So you will give me information, otherwise I won’t forgive you for the slaves you let die.”

To support Amberg, Gaitsu had to sacrifice many slaves in those illegal gambles.
Not only in crude battles, but even in worthless, wasteful, unproductive ways. That was unforgivable.
As Takumi glared daggers at him, the man was trembling in fear, but as time passed, hatred filled his gaze.

“You are a bastard… you’ve always been since your childhood. You’re so prideful and arrogant. No matter what happens, you step on others and look down on them…”

“That’s what superior people must do. If you don’t have pride, you can’t rise above others, and if you’re not arrogant, you can’t find people of your same level… I know that better than anyone.”

The young man remembered his old world.
People, teams, organizations, companies, countries… he spoke as he stood above all of them.
Gaitsu couldn’t grasp the real meaning of those words.
He could only understand that Takumi was born a step above him, with better status and capacities.
Still, he couldn’t accept that easily.

“Then… If I can fucking kill you, even I’ll prove my worth!”

The moment he screamed that, the silent forest instantly became noisy.
So many demi-humans appeared that they outnumbered easily those who were on the wagon before.

“I thought you were underestimating me by bringing only those few men with you, but now I understand… You might manage to kill me with this many people.”

“I thought some casters from different countries would be able to seize the Hound… But well, since you followed me, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Gaitsu stood up again and not a trace of fear could be seen on his face.

“Someone who manipulates others while looking down on them… you bastard are indeed frightening. You might have me, the big companies, and maybe even the whole country in your hands…”

His lips thinned and curved into a toothy smile.

“But in the end, you’re just a human like everyone else. It doesn’t matter the number of slaves you own, and neither how strong is that werebeast.”

The killing intent that surrounded them was growing thicker.

“I’ll smash your head and gouge your heart out… your time has come.”

Gaitsu glared at him with bloodshot eyes, and then raised his hand.
The moment he would have lowered it, the young man in front of him would have died.
His body would have turned into a pulp of meat and crushed bones.
Still, even in this hopeless situation, Takumi didn’t lose his composure.

“You’re superior because you can predict what comes next, huh…? I see you as a threat, and as everyone I saw like that, I’ll destroy you… This is what being superior means.”

“Hah… is this how you beg for your life? How arrogant.”

“Begging for my life? Stop spitting nonsense.”

A smile brimming with self-confidence formed on Takumi’s face.

“Yeah, you’re begging for your life… just like the scum you are, filthy pig.”

Gaitsu nodded meekly.

“They’re gonna slit your throat.”

As he started to lower his hand, a thunderous sound pierced his ear.
Everyone who heard that froze in shock.

“You’re good, but… you missed something from the start.”

The smell of gunpowder hung in the air.

“Do you really think anyone can handle me?”

The man started to tremble slightly and pointed at Takumi’s hand.

“W-What is… that…?”

“C’mon, piggie, can’t you recognize a gun when you see one?”

Guns were well known in that world.
That’s why Gaitsu stiffened the moment he heard that bang.
What Takumi held in his hand was still unknown to the world.

“A wheel gun, commonly known as revolver, but I strongly doubt you can understand what it is.”

Since magic displayed higher efficiency at long range, guns were acknowledged as mere hunting playthings for nobles.

“A… A gun that doesn’t need a flint and can be carried that easily can’t…”

“It’s right in front of you. I can’t explain how triggers and cartridges are made because it might cause a lot of trouble, though.”

In a world where knowledge about firearms didn’t surpass muskets, the existence of handguns might have started a revolution.
Anyone would have brought along one, and anyone would have used it.
After that, sniper rifles, assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers would have been next… they were all developed in Takumi’s former world due to the absence of magic, and their firepower could rival magic’s.
They would have created conflicts, and the blood of a lot of lives would have stained the earth.
Takumi didn’t want to turn this already cruel world into an even bloodier one.
But exactly because he now lived in a merciless world, he had to protect himself as better as possible.

“Humans are weak… but I wonder if it’s the same when they hold a gun.”

Gaitsu panicked for an instant, but then regained his composure.

“What… did you say? That’s just a small gun! As if you’ll be able to deal with this many people!”

“If you think so, bring it on. You guys are not enough to kill me now.”

A mocking smile appeared on his lips.
It was the fiendish, cruel grin of someone who stood above everyone else.

“C’mon, coward, let’s see if you can do that.”

Gaitsu’s expression stiffened, but in the end, he lowered his arm.
The demi-humans, who were loyal to him thanks to drugs, rushed toward their target, but the moment they leaped into the air to assault it, an invisible force knocked them on the ground.
The smell of blood filled the air, and Gaitsu looked at his opponent’s weapon only to see that he wasn’t pointing at them, and no smoke was coming out the gun’s barrel.

“So, who’s next? If no one steps forward, I’ll come get your leader.”

Said Takumi as he started to walk toward his prey.
Other demi-humans reacted to those words and started their assault, but it was like an invisible wall prevented them to get too close to him, and after leaving trails of blood behind, they all fell at his feet.

“You’re good, but you’re also an incredible coward. The moment you saw a gun you were so scared that you couldn’t do the right move. Let me be clear… I never said this is the only gun or type of gun I created, and neither I said I’m the only one who holds one.”

Bullet holes pierced through the bodies of those who laid on the ground, but none of those wounds was fatal.

“That’s not…! I didn’t hear any other gunshot!”

“That just means they were too distant to be heard. Don’t make me say obvious things.”

“It’s impossible! How can someone aim only at demi-humans from such a distance and while we’re in a forest!”

Another assaulter fell in front of the baffled man.

“Actually, that’s totally possible. Here’s the difference between you and me.”

The young man got closer while maintaining his smile.

“Dwarfs aren’t the only useful demi-humans, you know. Werebeasts can see in the dark, bird-men can read the wind currents, dragon-men can measure the temperature with their body… and even elves can be more than playthings. Each one of them has its own special traits, and you should use them properly to see noteworthy results. But you only waste them and run away from reality, calling all of this impossible.”

Gaitsu didn’t even have the chance to run now.
Takumi’s invisible army would have blown away his head if their leader ordered them to.
He understood the difference in strength, tactics and abilities between them.
All of that was done by a powerless human.
By someone who let his subordinates be his strength.
Someone who, standing above the others, had an overwhelming aura.
The dread he was feeling reminded him of the one-sided battle with Kunon.
As he couldn’t stand that pressure anymore, something inside him shattered.

“You think that a slave merchant is simply a slave trader…”

Takumi stood now in front of Gaitsu, who had lost the will to run.
A smile crawled on his face as he decided where to aim.

“But a real slave merchant is someone who can use its articles.”

The gun let out a mechanical sound as the wheel rotated.

“Now, you still have some value.”

The devil’s grin replaced Takumi’s smile.

“I will crush you like a slave every time I get the chance.”

Another thunderous sound resounded in the woods.


<Prev | Index | Next>

5+

New Game – Chapter 16

Slave merchant and slave merchant – Part 1

Two weeks aren’t a very long time.
Elsa asked for the collaboration of the upper part’s guards, and thanks to Karin’s detailed information, they could plan a perfect assault to arrest the Amberg organization for hosting illegal gambles.
Then, one night, Takumi left Listina.
He used a secret passage that stretched underground to get outside the city: the slums’ former drainage channel.
Once, the water scooped from Verna’s lake flowed through it, that’s the reason it was designed way broader and sturdier than the average channel. Even a wagon could fit in it, and it was paved with the same stones that connected the roads of Listina, so it wasn’t painful for the hoof of horses.
Nowadays, since the city was working to make the water flow into a new drainage channel, the former one was abandoned and used to make goods transport in secret, since no water remained.

“Uff… they’re late!”

Complained Kunon, who sat on a rock while flailing her legs under the moonlight.

“Have some patience. They haven’t used Valeria’s route, and this is the only access to the underground pathway.”

For the past two weeks, Takumi investigated it.
He made sure that there weren’t other paths, secret doors or tunnels that lead outside.

“Elsa has already started the operation, so they should come soon.”

Takumi peered into the darkness lightened by starlight.
Then, Kunon’s ears twitched and she stood up, and he quietly imitated her.
A wagon covered by a cloth was approaching them from shadows. After a few moments it started to slow down and its horses neighed.
The coachman was a fat man.
Seeing who was waiting for him, his lips curved into a wicked smile.

“What a surprise, Mister Takumi. What brings you here at this hour?”

“I came to bother you, naturally. Sorry, but you have to leave us your wagon and leave.”

“Heh… You actually sounded like a bandit, but they act in large numbers.”

The man glared at the two who were blocking his path.
There was no one other than them.
The guards were working in the slums, and Valeria’s members had other tasks to do elsewhere.

“Quality over quantity. Kunon alone is enough to seize the likes of you. By the way… you don’t really have time for small talks, right?”

“Yes, indeed. I must take care of an important deal.”

Takumi laughed loudly.

“Gaitsu, you don’t have a single slave with you right now, do you?”

The man’s smile vanished from his face.
On the other hand, the young slave merchant, expecting his reaction, smiled brightly before opening his mouth again.

“Our very existence is a pain for you, so you want to get rid of us to fully satisfy your grudge.”

He glanced at the wagon’s cloth.

“Maybe you’re hiding a bunch of mercenaries in there to kill us. Maybe your sponsors abandoned you like a dog?”

“What an imaginative brat you are.”

“I’m not imagining a thing. I know you pretty well.”

Takumi started to tap on his temple while speaking.

“A coward like you would never ride a wagon alone, since you know that you might be attacked by someone. You need to play it safe, and paying mercenaries to protect you would do the trick.”

His finger stopped and moved to point at the coachman.

“Here, I just explained your poor reasoning. At least I’m not afraid of being surrounded by a bunch of bandits, you coward.”

Takumi sneered at him.
Then, Gaitsu goggled his eyes and screamed.

“Kill them! Crush these bastards!”

The cloth that covered the wagon fluttered in the wind and the moonlight showed what was hiding underneath.
Kunon dashed toward Takumi, took him and jumped away.
The next instant, a huge pillar of fire ascended from that spot and cut through the night with a thunderous roar which kept reverberating in the night as its flames were fueled by oxygen.
It was a rare sight, but something like that was entirely possible in this world.
Magic.

“You knew my intentions, huh? I already know that.”

While flames burned toward the sky, a smile spread on Gaitsu’s face.

“I knew that you would have approached me directly, so I got ready to kill you!”

Shadows emerged from the interior of the wagon.
They were all humanoids, but clearly none of them was human.
Demi-humans, and at least twenty of them.

“The Hound is a real pain. Normal humans can’t even scratch her, and demi-humans are too soft to harm others… that’s why I thoroughly trained them only for this moment.”

Their eyes shone with insanity, as if they were a bunch of starving beasts’.

“I see… but they look hastily made. You drugged them and rewrote their nature forcefully, huh?”

“I had access to lot of drugs since I became part of the major companies. Demi-humans are just a bunch of brainless beasts anyway. Isn’t it better to use them like this?”

Wearing a scornful smile, Gaitsu looked at them with contempt.
Seeing that, Takumi’s face twisted.

“…Jeez, that’s so like me. How vexing.”

He manipulated demi-humans with drugs and also brought several magic casters, who were still hiding in the wagon, with him.

“He really wants to kill us if he brought even magic practitioners, don’t you think, Kunon?”

“Uuh… I don’t really get magic because no one usually fights casters…”

She let go of Takumi while glaring at the wagon.
Only nobles or people related to them could learn magic.
The Richtert family was particularly known for their powerful magic, and since they didn’t want their researches to be spread outside, they taught it only to their descendants.
Studying so diligently brought the various noble families to develop unique technology and acquire enough knowledge to manifest the true power of magic.
Richtert’s magic users were a privileged class, and one of them could wipe an entire army by itself. That’s why everyone hesitated to go against them.
Still, nobles were permitted to use magic only when strictly necessary.
The pillar of fire that was cast from the wagon was weaker than a Richtert’s caster’s, so they were probably hired from another country.

“What are you gonna do? If this is too hard, we can run.”

“Oh no, that’d be super boring.”

For Kunon, not even magic users were a threat.

“This is a rare chance, I should enjoy it to the fullest!”

Unable to keep a straight face, she smiled and giggled while unsheathing her two daggers.
The blades were jet-black and curved like a wolf’s claws.
As she held her falcatas, Kunon smiled innocently.1

“Well then… Show me what you can do, guys.”

Kunon’s smile was terrifying, but the demi-humans ignored it and attacked her from every direction.
Their physical abilities were far superior than human’s and the effects of the drugs amplified them even further, granting them a speed that exceeded even the average demi-human.
A wolf-man’s fangs, an ogre’s sturdy arms, a dragon-man’s and a bird-man’s claws swooped on her little body to tear it apart.
Still, she remained immobile.

“That’s no good, you have to think before attacking…”

She rotated her daggers smoothly, and with that, the four attackers fell on the ground like a bunch of puppets whose threads were severed.
She then searched eye contact with the others while smiling cheerfully.

“Killing an enemy is hard, so you better think about what you do. How strong he is, where should you aim, it’s better to strike it down with a single hit or it’s better to feint… If you try to use only brute force, the enemy won’t even be scared of you.”

She was wearing her usual expression while spinning her weapons.

“There’s an abyss between someone who thinks and someone who doesn’t. Also, when you believe that someone to be ‘invincible’, the abyss grows deeper.”

None of the fallen demi-humans had fatal wounds on them.
She simply incapacitated them using her combat techniques.
She made the wolf-men, who had a sharp olfaction, smell the poison that covered her blades the moment she unsheathed them.
She aimed for the ogres’ weak points with her fists to damage their internal organs and bypass their tough bodies.
She assaulted the dragon-men, who had sturdy scales protecting them, with enough power to harm them.
She hit the bird-men’s temples with the flat of her blades to mess with their sense of balance and let them crash on the ground, rendering their claws useless.
Once you know the enemy’s characteristics, it’s easy to find their weakness.
Kunon was thinking about it that very moment.
Whenever she talked or ate something, a part of her was analyzing how to strike her opponents down.

“Don’t worry, I won’t kill you. I’m a Hound, so my duty is to hunt and seize my prey.”

The proof of her words laid at her feet. None of those guys was dead. She just made sure they’d be powerless.
That reality was way more terrifying than thinking they were all slaughtered.
She then shifted her gaze to the magic users who were chanting a spell, and when another pillar of fire was about to raise from beneath her feet, she stomped with all of her might.
The ground broke under the blow with a loud crack, and the flames dispersed in a moment.

“Uhm… is that all…? Magic isn’t that fun…”

She pouted, deeply disappointed.
Normally, that magic would have burned any human to a crisp in a few seconds, but she suppressed it with sheer strength.
She didn’t only look like a monster…

“How boring. Let’s finish this.”

She was a monster.
The other demi-humans dashed past her in a panic and aimed at Takumi.

“Nice move! You used your brain, huh? Still, that’s no good.”

She anticipated them and started to knock them unconscious.
Taking advantage of those few moments, the casters started to chant a spell aimed at Takumi, but the Hound tossed her black blades toward their necks.

“Aiming only at Takumi is not fair~! I understand you’re afraid, but trying to escape me won’t help you!”

When she hit her targets, she pulled the threads fastened to her weapons back with a dissatisfied groan.
The casters weren’t listening to her anymore.
Their companions looked at them expecting their death, but their head wasn’t detached from their bodies, and neither was their windpipe severed.
They were trying to talk, but not a sound escaped their lips.

“Did you think I was going to kill you? I just cut your vocal cords.”

Her expression clouded slightly.
Doing something like that while fighting was almost impossible.
If the blade was to cut an inch deeper, they would’ve died for sure.
Still, she polished her abilities that much to make her foes think that she was unbeatable.

“Your career as casters is over… but I’m sure my master will find a workplace even for mutes like you.”

Beneath the veil of innocence of her voice, they could perceive her insanity.
It wasn’t a matter of killing or not. That wasn’t even a battle to begin with.
She was the embodiment of massacre itself.

“Let’s see… One, two, three… every demi-human fainted, so those in the wagon are the only ones left, right?”

Spinning her body, she showed them an inappropriate, bright smile.

“You have no chance, but… wanna try?”

She crushed their spirit. There wasn’t room for choice.
They surrendered. It wasn’t to protect their life alone, but also to maintain a bit of sanity.
They rose their hands while descending from the carriage and walked slowly toward Takumi and the Hound.

“Nice job, Kunon. You handled this perfectly.”

“It isn’t nice at all. You said this was hard, but was too easy instead. I’m sad now.”

“Well, I thought casters would have given you a hard time, but you’re really strong. You should be happy about that.”

“I’m not, you liar! I won’t listen to a word you say from now on!”

“I see. I guess you wouldn’t want to grab a bite after we go back home, then.”

“…Sorry, I take it back.”

A bitter smile formed on his face while she sagged her ears and tail, and the next moment, he started to pat her head.
Seeing him treat that relentless monster like that made him look like a demon in the eyes of the casters.

“Listen, Kunon, someone from Valeria should come here in a bit, so I need you to keep an eye on these guys.”

“Yes sir! But are you going somewhere?”

She tilted her head puzzled, and he sighed deeply.

“I’ll chase that disgusting pig who fled as soon as you started to knock these guys down. Jeez, that fatso does the right moves only in these situations.”

“Then let me come…”

“You don’t need to. Just wait here, okay?”

He waved his hand slightly and headed toward the same direction of Gaitsu.
His figure disappeared in the night.


1 Kunon’s falcatas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcata) aren’t that big, as you can see from this picture.

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2+

New Game – Chapter 15

Heartfelt thanks to Andreas Knappe, our first donator, who donated us 25 euros for this series.
This means a lot for us.

We decided to write a page dedicated to our supporters.


Major companies – Part 4

After he left the station, Takumi was escorted back to Valeria with one of the guards’ carriages. Obviously, Elsa was with him.
Once they arrived and sat on the living room’s sofa, she started talking in a peevish tone.

“Let’s be clear, I’m not here to babysit you or anything like that. I shall simply accept the information that you, residents of Listina’s slums, are offering to me.”

“How to say this… you look quite conflicted.”

“Mirta, you’re way too honest compared to a certain uncooperative someone… Please, watch your back.”

“Hahaha… sorry, but it’s hard to stop him by myself.”

“Since you’re the leader here, can’t you control this situation properly? Otherwise my stomach ache will never pass.”

Watching Mirta smiling bitterly, Elsa started sighing again.

“…Anyway, let’s discuss about the illegal gambles. Takumi, is Amberg really behind this? I want to be sure about that.”

“Yes, and all of the others major companies are accomplices. I mean, since none of them can show that publicly, they’re feigning ignorance.”

Hearing that many important figures were actually taking part in illicit acts, Elsa unconsciously grabbed her head.

“Just thinking about it makes my head hurt… So, what are we supposed to do? Honestly, I won’t support any illegal deed.”

“I don’t want you to do that either. Letting you break into the designed place at the start of the party and arrest all the presents is more than enough.”

As he said that, she looked more and more doubtful.

“I know that you’re not the kind of guy who would destroy an illegal business moved only by some sense of justice. What are you scheming?”

“I won’t deny that I’m up to something, but this is not the time to talk about that. Let’s pretend I just want to punish further Gaitsu Ejistan. We must stop the slaves from being brought in there, that’s why I want you to think about the rest.”

“Stop the slaves from being brought in there…?”

“Yes, but It won’t be an easy talk for you. Generally, buying a common slave is a waste of money, since they don’t know how to do their assigned job properly, but if you use them for illegal gambles, you have the chance to regain what you spent, and even more.”

“So letting them kill each other is a way to gain money and to dispose of something ‘useless’…? This is disgusting even for low-life scum.”

Elsa spat out those words without hiding her emotions.

“Gaitsu… betrayed us. Especially since Vatel, who did so much for the slums, disappeared.”

When the former proxy-leader had control on Valeria, he did a lot of unforgivable things.
He didn’t only value money over morality, but even used without shame the authority that Vatel built up. He used his power many times and profited over something that the guards should have done out of duty.
Still, Takumi acknowledged his abilities.

“He is an egoist and a miser… but he’s smart. If we put Vatel’s ideology aside, getting affiliated to Amberg was a nice move for Valeria.”

Even though they had a lot of influence in the slums, they fell behind when compared to organizations of the middle and upper part.
That’s why affiliating with Amberg would have let Valeria become an authorized organization. Valeria would have steadily grown and enlarged its activities.

“Still, he’s slow. To become the top starting from a growing organization would take many years and he’d need to act countless times. If we leave the slums like this and let them degenerate… the government will decide to eradicate them and all of its residents.”

The slums were filled with criminals and orphans. Beggars and good for nothing were also numerous.
That didn’t mean that all of them were bad people, that’s why Vatel decided to grant them a better place to live and tried to change the slums for the better.
To achieve that, Takumi’s plan had to be a success.
The Soft-hearted slave merchant faced Elsa again.

“To be honest, we can’t do this by ourselves. We need people who can hold back the big companies’ private armies. That’s why I need the help of your guards.”

He bowed deeply in front of her.

“This time we are not straying from the will of Mirta Famille. This is not about the slums or Listina… We want to act in the name of the Holy Kingdom of Richtert, and I vow that in the name of our Goddess Filia.”

His words were firm.
A few moments later, Elsa grasped the situation and sighed deeply.

“…So be it. I, Elsa Fairstadt, as the Captain of Guards who protects the slums of Listina, vow to undertake this mission.”

The stiff expression on Takumi’s face crumbled into a smile.

“Jeez… instead of being so carefree, why don’t you always behave like this? If you did, maybe I would listen to your requests anytime.” Remarked an exasperated Elsa.

“I can’t do that. If I wore a serious expression like you all the time, I’d choke to death.”

“That’d be fine with me. It’s… quite late now. Send me your elf for the details.”

“Sure. I have another request, if it’s possible… I want to talk with your big brother about this. When things settle down, can you arrange a place for our meeting?”

“…Do you want to talk with Brother Lux? He is actually racking his brain over this, and it should be more important than everything else…”

“I understand that caring about the judicial affairs needs a lot of hard work. Tell me when he’s free, so that I can adjust my schedule accordingly.”

“I can’t guarantee that, but… okay. If you want to go as far as to talk with the upper part’s guards, I guess we really need to move and coordinate. I will report to him what you said.”

After a pause, Elsa stood up and started to leave the room.

“Right, I didn’t have the chance to tell you something.”

The guard faced Mirta and smiled kindly at her.

“Congratulations, Mirta Famille, new leader of Valeria. You are too kind, but I believe that the slums need your kindness. I’m truly glad that this became official.”

“Thank you very much!”

She smiled back at her friend, who then left the room.
Silence descended on the two who remained there.

“Sorry for not letting you talk.”

Said Takumi with a low voice, and Mirta waved her hands.

“D-Don’t worry! Not like I ever talked a lot before becoming the leader… Also, I understood that you’re doing this for the slums since you even bowed your head to someone.”

Her tender smile made him relax a bit.

“Well, I’ll let you handle this kind of things from now on, so don’t look that sad.”

“I-I’m not! Valeria’s leader can’t be sad!”

“Even the Captain of the Guards acknowledged you. Why don’t we spread a rumor and make her angry?”

“I don’t think that’s a great idea, so let’s not, shall we…?”

Exchanging those light remarks, Takumi stood up.

“Let me handle this, Leader.”

“Yes. I will protect Valeria until you come back.”

She nodded in approval, and he headed towards the door.
As he walked through the almost deserted streets, he talked to the night.

“Kunon, come here, we have to talk.”

“Yeeep!”

From the darkness, someone replied in a cheerful tone, and a petite werebeast appeared from shadows.
As she approached him briskly, she matched his pace and he started to talk again.

“How much time do we need before the demi-humans I bought will be ready?”

“Uhm… Do you mean until they’re adjusted?”

“Yes. They’re already under our control, so I could mean only that.”

“I think a week will be enough. Demi-humans hesitate to attack people, so they need a little time to get accustomed to fights, but there won’t be any problems as long as the correction unit does its job.”

She answered coldly, like the time she attacked Gaitsu, but her attitude didn’t really change.

“Give them the time to finish, then. If a problem arises, let Karin handle it.”

“Eeeh?! You’re gonna make me wait again?!”

She puffed her cheeks disheartened and he pressed on them with his fingertips.

“No, this time I have a super-hard job for you.”

“Super-hard?! But, something like super-uber-hard?!”

Her eyes shone brightly at those words.
She enjoyed hard tasks, because the harder they were, the more interesting they were bound to become.

“It’s something only you can do. I have great expectations for it.”

“Yes! Leave it to me!”

She replied with an innocent smile.

“Aaah, I’m sooo looking forward to it~!”

It was so innocent that it concealed perfectly what was hidden behind it.

“Well then, I’ll go finish what I have to do!”

With her ears now straight again, she ran back to the darkness with light footsteps, passing by Karin who was approaching them with a casual pace.
Then, the elf started to walk alongside Takumi.

“What was that about? She looked quite happy right now… did you give her food?”

“No, she now has two works to do. One of them involves fighting.”

“I see… well, lately she’s always full of energy, even for one of her kind. At least, she’s really enjoying her work.”

“Letting her play every once in a while is my duty. Now, how are things going on your end?”

“Everything is proceeding smoothly. They’re desperately searching for slaves from the nearby towns and even from far away areas, but even though they can’t find anything, they’re not stopping their hunt.”

“I bet Gaitsu can’t efford that. What about the rest?”

“You came up with this plan, so do you really need to hear that?”

“You know how important is to hear these reports, don’t you?”

“…Yes, I do. I was just saying.”

She pouted slightly, then cleared her throat and recomposed herself.

“Many people from the countryside were sold as slaves, but we already collected them all. Other organizations are taking measures to not get involved with us. Meld’s guides accepted the money and left the place, while the guards and the custom houses’ bribery records ended.”

“Great. How are the demi-humans living in the mountains?”

“Aigle and Lewin said that no one was captured. There were some fights, but demi-humans are especially good in those kind of situations. Some were injured, but nothing more. They had to deactivate traps and provide support to the others from the shadows.”

“Tell me about their logistical support. They never missed the target, right?”

Karin let out a soft sigh.

“We didn’t allow it for this expedition, but… it seems that Aigle used the longbow he’s so proud of. It seems that he blew away the upper or lower part of the body of several criminals.”

“That’s a shame. Still, that weapon would rip someone’s limbs off only by grazing them with one of its arrows.”

“Good grief… and I even clearly said to not draw attention. It seems that he retrieved all the arrows, but if Gaitsu sees those corpses, he might find us out.”

“He’s not stupid, I bet he already guessed that I’m behind this. Or rather, it’s even better if he believes that.”

Takumi replied in a good mood at Karin, who was worried by her mismanagement.

“Let Kunon know about Aigle and tell her to beat him a little. Maybe that demon of a teacher can knock some sense into that bird brain.”

“…If you’re fine with that, I don’t mind. By the way, her work is different from us, right?”

“Yes, of course. The place is up to you. I’ll allow everyone to go on that day, so you’re free to display your abilities.”

“Hmm… I shall buy more of the oil you bought me and repair my brush. The lack of action was boring me.”

Takumi smiled bitterly at her lively remark and adjusted his expression.

“Well, that will depend on the cornerstone of our plan.”

“You’re right. Now, regarding the most important part…”

“Gaitsu got in touch with the cities from the coastlands and arranged some big ships. He moved the slaves he has in them, and he’s now waiting for the great day, but…”

“What, is there any problem?”

She shook her head and sighed deeply with an annoyed expression.

“I was just wondering what goes on in your head. Normally, things wouldn’t proceed this smooth, and you knew that all of this was going to happen two years ago.”

“I did everything to end with this situation. I only had to prearrange stuff and move accordingly. Simple, isn’t it?”

“You’re the only one thinking that’s simple. I can’t follow you.”

She wore a dissatisfied expression while he smiled bitterly at her remark.

“You’re quite amazing yourself, since you can organize and report this amount of information. That’s why I leave the important stuff to you.”

“…Would you say that even if I hadn’t my power?”

She looked at his face with her golden, diabolical eyes which could peek into people’s minds. She could understand when someone lied, but she also had to perceive even what she didn’t want to. That’s why she couldn’t believe in anyone.
Still, Takumi stroke her head roughly.

“S-Stop! What’s got into you?!”

“Don’t push the limits of your power. Your eyes are a burden for your body, so don’t use them like it’s nothing.”

“…I used them exactly because it was important.”

“You already know that I won’t tell meaningless lies. You’d be great as you are even without your power, and even in that case, I would still entrust this work to you. C’mon, try to see if I’m saying the truth yourself.”

A smile spread on his face as their gazes met.
For a brief moment, her eyes’ color looked more intense… then she let out a soft chuckle.

“How to say it… you’re way out of my league.”

“I’m glad you’re satisfied now. If possible, I’d like to see your smiling face more often, though.”

“That’s impossible. I looked for a second and my head is already hurting.”

As she endured the consequence of her actions, a bright expression overwrote her scowl.

“Jeez, how stupid can you be, self-proclaimed Miss.”

“Shut your trap or I’ll keep calling you brat.”

“I won’t deny the truth and I wouldn’t mind being called that from you either. Still, we’re going to have an important job. Don’t use your power thoughtlessly. You can’t risk a collapse now.”

As his hand was now stroking her head gently, his lips curled into a smile.

“It’s time… to let everyone join the party.”

He muttered, and the two figures eventually disappeared into the darkness of the night.


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New Game – Chapter 14

Major companies – Part 3

When the new festival came to an end, it was already evening.
A long time passed since Takumi was dragged into the spartan room by Elsa.
Only a desk, two chairs and some lamps were in it.

Takumi kept moving, making his chair creak, while Elsa, who was sitting in front of him, had her arms folded.
Her eyebrows were twitching out of anger.

“…Takumi, why did you start that uprising? Tell me sincerely.”

“I’ve said it many times, Elsa. It was just a party with all the slums’ inhabitants. I also think we were a little too loud, but haven’t I apologized for it?”

“Oh, that was ‘a little’ for you?! Fool!”

Her tied hair swung as she slammed her fist on the desk.

“We could hear your screams from this very station, and to reach you, the cause of that tumult, I had to push my way through a crowd of drunkards! Do you know how hard it was?! None of them listened to me, and I couldn’t understand a single word they were saying!”

“Oh, I see. I didn’t know about that, but I’m still the culprit, so it doesn’t matter.”

“Are you not regretting your action? You aren’t, are you?! Is that it?!”

“Well, the slums are always noisy. If you’re that neurotic, you’ll ruin your skin.”

“Mh…? You’re so considerate, Soft-hearted slave merchant, but I’m a guard and also a knight. Do you understand that treating me like a woman insults me?”

“Nonsense. I’d never try to insult the daughter of the Fairstadt family.”

“Then what was the point of your words?”

“You’re fun when you’re angry, so I thought of teasing you a bit more.”

“That! Is! It! You wanted to insult me!”

As her face flushed red from anger, she kept hitting the desk over and over again.
That was exactly the fun reaction he wanted to see, but she didn’t seem to be aware of it.

“Yesterday you even told me that you didn’t have the time or the intention to cause troubles! Remember?!”

“I said ‘tonight’, didn’t I? Meaning that today, which is the day after the Harvest Festival, I could cause all kind of troubles.”

“Just don’t do that! That’s why people like you are…!”

“Oh, c’mon, calm down, Captain of the Guards. I didn’t let you drag me here only to tease you.”

“Tch… Okay, fine. This isn’t the first time you’ve done something like this, and it won’t be the last. If you really did it as a celebration, there’s no need to dig any further into the matter.”

“Wow, you’re super honest today. Let’s be friendlier with each other, ‘kay?”

“Listen, can you please realize that I don’t want to be your friend…?”

The knight’s anger disappeared, leaving her pleading with a tearful voice.
The commotion of the festival and her daily work must have worn her out considerably.

“I’m trying my best as a knight, but people are envious since I’m a woman. I tried to keep an eye on Mirta because I’m worried sick, and ended up accepting the slums’ Captain of the Guards’ role that no one wants, and now here I am, talking with the avatar of exasperation itself…”

“Yeah, whatever, can I go home now? That’s too long for me.”

“If you keep this up, I will hit you.”

“And you haven’t done it yet. I’m deeply moved by your kindness.”

“You’re always like that. I can’t just ask my subordinates to handle you, so I have to take this responsibility myself… the last guy who tried, resigned and returned home.”

“Well, Listina is a big city. It’s normal for someone from the countryside to be overwhelmed.”

“I bet you did something, didn’t you?! Oh well, he was over-friendly and randomly touched me. Also, he looked at me in a strange way, so I’m more at ease now that he has left.”

“That’s great. If a guard were to make a scandal, even your dignity would have been tainted. You were lucky that he went away before he could try to lay his filthy hands on you.”

Takumi started to whistle shamelessly, and Elsa clenched her fist as she tried to hold her anger down. In the end, she sighed deeply, as if surrendering to resignation.

“So? Every time you let me catch you this easily something bad is going to happen.
What is it this time?”

“Nice guess, that saves me some time. I didn’t want people to see us talking in public, so I let you arrest me, even if you might think it wasn’t necessary.”

“Just spit it. I’m listening.”

“Well… you should have already heard about this.”

She looked at him puzzled.

“Recently, illegal gambles are spreading in the slums.”

“…How do you know about that?”

“Do you really want to know that now?”

“Well, no, but realizing it hurts…”

Her face stiffened, and then sighed even deeper than before.

“Sorry, Takumi, but I won’t tell you anything about that. Even though I’m searching for information, I won’t exchange any for money.”

“Of course, I can’t buy information from the Captain of the Guards with money. Also… you don’t have any, right?”

Takumi smiled faintly as he noticed her reaction.

“Rumors about them are spreading. You know that they are hosted in the slums and that the average customers are nobles with lots of free-time, but you don’t know who is behind this, so you don’t really have a lead… am I right?”

“…To be accurate, the guards deployed in the slums don’t have enough power to keep investigating by themselves, so they gave up… As knights, I wonder where their pride and dignity went.”

“Those thoughts stem from your family’s teachings. A common person wouldn’t think of opposing evil and risking his life despite its family and rank.”

Elsa was part of the Fairstadt family, one of the three major families in Listina. They had a long and honorable tradition and have been taking care of judicial and royal affairs for generations.
They had a strong sense of justice, and were like the embodiment of fairness, so it was normal that the guards were a little intimidated by one of its members.

“…I read the records about the illegal gambling. Enjoying slaves battling each other to death isn’t human.”

Her fist started to tremble while she imagined that.
Takumi smiled at her.

“Hey Elsa, they shouldn’t get away with this, don’t you think?”

“Of course! As a proud knight of Richtert, I can’t allow such inhuman acts to be performed!”

“You’re not alone, your subordinates think the same. They always have to deal with scum, but they’re not intoxicated by their power like the upper part’s guards, right?”

“Exactly! They can suppress you guys when needed and never miss a day of training!”

“Then can we tag along and crush those criminals?”

“Yes, we should punish those evildoers! Wait, what?”

Takumi wore a toothy smile while looking at her gaping mouth.

“Come with me, I’ll tell you the details at Valeria’s.”

“Eh? No… are you serious?”

“Of course. Those guys bothered even our leader, so I thought to draw a clear line between us and them.”

“N-No, wait a minute. Do you even know who are we going to crush? If there’s someone important involved, the nobles won’t remain silent.”

“Where did you put the knight’s pride you were talking about a few minutes ago?”

“I-It’s still here, I’m not hesitating! I want to arrest them with my own hands, if I can, but… I don’t have enough information. Nobles and clerics are privileged in the slums. They can be visited only by a few people and only in private places, so even if we start a public investigation, they’d destroy all the evidence as soon as they notice that something’s going on.”

Frowning her brows, she let out another sigh. Elsa lived in the slums, so she knew very well how things worked there.
Looking at the disheartened girl, Takumi opened his blasphemous mouth.

“The illegal gambles are set up by Amberg, one of the four major companies, and its affiliated organizations. They use several places, like the company’s buildings or secondary residences offered by investors. The next event will be held in the basement of one of Marquis of Kelbeg’s houses two weeks from now.”

“…Eh?”

Unable of processing all that information, she could only reply in a dumb voice.

“Yeah, you’re welcome, Elsa. I can even tell you how much of their private forces will be deployed. If you really want to capture them and you’re not like those cowards of the slums, we can do this.”

He smiled with confidence.

“Your answer? Don’t just wave your justice around, this chance will bring the guards a lot of merits. Taking this opportunity is up to you.”

He admired her dumbfounded face for a few instants, then started speaking again.

“Oh, and don’t ask me how do I know all of that, please.”


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New Game – Chapter 13

Major companies – Part 2

Mirta’s victory party lasted until the next day.
The slums’ residents were so excited it was like they were still celebrating the Harvest Festival, and since this wasn’t an official festival, everyone was a little more carefree. Lots of fights, some even involving Valeria’s members, broke out.

The merchants kept bringing food and drinks in a hurry, maybe because they were also carried by the mood, or simply because Valeria was paying for them.
But the word ‘hurry’ couldn’t even start to describe how chaotic the situation was.
Takumi was grabbing food nonchalantly, while Mirta, who looked like she was getting swallowed by the crowd, staggered while trying to reach him.

Hey, new boss, great work. It was tiring, huh?”

Y-Yes… I am indeed a little tired.”

Her face showed traces of fatigue, but talking with Takumi restored some of her vitality, and she was now smiling happily while blushing a little.

I understand that everyone is giving me their blessing, but… even though it is rude to say, a smaller celebration would have been…”

No, we should do things this way. You have a small build compared to a man, so it was natural that party lovers would have thrown you in the air so many times.”

I-If you saw that, why didn’t you save me?! It was scary! They threw me too high in the sky!”

You’re right, sorry. Next time I’ll help you.”

She was upset, but he decided to stroke her head lightly.
At that moment, someone called them.

Yaaay! Takumi, Mirtaaa! Wanna driiink?”

Lilia approached them while carrying a bottle in her hand, her face slightly red.

Hey, Lilia. You’re having fun, huh.”

Pretty muuuch! God Takumi, thanks for making me driiink!”

She said loudly. Usually, it didn’t matter how much she drank, her face never changed color. Seeing it red meant that she really drank a huge amount of alcohol.

Killfer is having fun and suffering at the same time… aren’t you, Mister Chaperone?”

Look at me… Do I look like I’m having fun?”

A blue shadow covered his face while he staggered behind Lilia

Well, that’s your problem. I understand that you want to keep an eye on her, but what’s the point if you get tired before her?”

What can I do… We emptied a whole wine cask one glass after the other… Do you know how many times she challenged me to a drinking contest…? Ugh…”

He brought his hands to his mouth, probably after remembering how much he drank, while the person in question was laughing mercilessly at him.

You sure can’t handle alcohol, maaan!”

Err… Lilia, you must have drunk quite a lot, but… will you be okay?”

Eheheh~ You don’t haaave to worry! This is nothing for uuus!”

Mirta tilted her head, unsure about the meaning of her words.

You’ve done a looot for the slums, and we know it better than aaanyone else! Everyone knows that the things you said before in the plaza were your reeeal feelings! That’s why weee should celebrate your success from the bottom of our heaaarts!”

As to confirm Lilia’s cheerful words, the surrounding people started to shout Valeria’s and its leader’s name happily.
Mirta’s declaration resonated with the slums inhabitants’ feelings, and they were now blessing her sincerity.

Also, Takumi arranged aaall of thiiis! It would be a reeeal shame to waste this chance!”

I only said that we’d pay for food and drinks, though.”

Here he goes agaaain! You are always so humble, Takumiii~ Heeere, lemme show you some gratitude!”

A merry Lilia offered him the bottle she was holding.
Seeing that, Mirta tried to stop her.

What, no… Takumi, you’re not allowed to drink, understood? Elsa will come to check what’s going on, and we’ll have to explain everything.”

Eh? I’m in the right mood to drink with them right now. Don’t worry, I won’t get drunk.”

I’m not worried about that… Anyway, you can’t! I’m not saying you can’t drink for the rest of your days, I’m saying that this is not the right moment for that!”

Remarked an obstinate Mirta.
While Takumi was thinking about what to do, Lilia squinted her eyes and whispered.

What a nice view… A drunk husband getting scolded by his wife…”

W-Wife…? Y-You said that I’m Takumi’s wife?!”

Yass! Ya get along pretty well, ya know?”

The more she drank, the more her face reddened, and her speech pattern and movements started to resemble a drunkard’s.

Jeez, Lilia… you drank too much. Killfer, what are you waiting for? Take her away and let her rest.”

Sorry… I can’t do that. She’d make me drink again on the way, and I’d only faint while puking.”

Find the courage to refuse, Mister Chaperone. I don’t think you will ever turn down Lilia’s invite, though.”

Since Killfer never tried to restrain Lilia’s behavior, she was now like a hurricane.

Riiight! Leeet’s celebrate yer wedding ceremony together instead of her victory! Let’s have another toooast!”

How about no, you drunkard. C’mon, Mirta, tell her something.”

Takumi shifted his gaze toward the girl, but she was muttering “His wife… She said I’m his wife…!” with her face as red as Mirta’s. It looked like she wasn’t going to help him.

At that point, things got even more complicated.

What?! Valeria’s boss and that slave merchant will get married?! For real?!”

Nice move, Soft-hearted slave merchant!”

He can’t get away with this! Guys, let’s throw him in the air! Let’s show that lucky bastard the slums’ blessing!”

Damn yeah! He also helped Mirta and Valeria, after all! Let’s throw him into space, guys!”

As the drunkard’s nonsense spread, another commotion burst.
Takumi let out a soft sigh.

Well… I’m the party organizer, looks like I deserve this…”

He resigned to his destiny, and as those sturdy men were about to lay their hands on him, a voice drowned out their roars…

Heeey! Silence! Shut your mouths! What’s this?! Another festival?! No one notified me about this! I want some explanation! Slave merchant, show your face!”

A group of guards forced their way through the crowd. They all wore uniforms, and their leader had red hair tied in an updo.
Panting heavily, Elsa appeared in front of Takumi.

Hey, Elsa. You took your sweet time, but thanks for saving me from a flight.”

Y-You…! What on earth is going on here?! I want to hear what, how and why this is happening, you heard me?!”

He smiled at her rage.

Well, the Harvest Festival wasn’t enough.”

…What?”

I mean, a peaceful festival like that can’t satisfy the slums’ energetic people, so I just organized another one.”

N-No! The truth is that Valeria had to choose its new leafh…?!”

Mirta tried to explain the situation, but Takumi shut her by placing a hand on her mouth.

We can’t trouble the Captain of the Guard, so our leader was trying to control this commotion for Valeria’s honor. I should come with you to explain things, Miss.”

If you’re going with Elsa, I should also…”

No, I’m enough. I’ll return to Valeria later, so put the situation under control in the meantime. We already dragged Elsa into this, but we shouldn’t bother even the other guards.”

Valeria earned the slums’ support thanks to what happened with Gaitsu.
Then, the ruckus dragged there both Elsa and the guards.
Everything was going exactly as Takumi wanted.

This is your first official job as our leader: end this before I come back. I believe that you can do it.”

He urged Mirta by pushing her back softly, and then faced the Captain of the Guards.

I will explain everything in detail. Shall we go to your station?”

We will have a long talk! C’mon, move!”

She grabbed him by the collar and dragged him toward their destination.

Ah, Elsa. Sorry for asking, but might you wait a minute?”

…For what? Try to escape and I’ll knock you out.”

I won’t run, but since this will take a while, can I go grab some food?”

We have some at the station! Stop fooling around and hurry up!”

Even though she refused his request, the Captain of the Guards showed her tender side.


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