The Green-Haired Girl
After we passed through the lakeside, the Archivian capital, Lemuria, was just ahead. We were travelling by carriage, so we would probably arrive by the end of today.
It was quite the spectacle.
The roads were wide and cleanly paved. There were many more travelers and merchants who wandered about, as well as nobles who rode around in carriages.
The blue sky had not a single cloud, and giant stone walls towered above far away.
The capital was unlike the other cities in that it was built to include several dozen villages. In short, although I found it hard to believe, the capital, Lemuria, came from one of those cities.
This empire had troublesome monsters that roamed about the mountain forests, wetlands, and other natural terrain, so those walls had probably been erected to defend against those monsters. Hm, this was much more interesting than I had expected.
We went farther along until we reached a long line of carriages and travelers, which led into a small town encompassed by wooden walls—an inn town, so to speak.
The long line meant that the entrance procedures would take at least the whole day. I had wanted to grab an inn for Satella to sleep in, but annoyingly, she recently hasn’t been able to get any good sleep without the body pillow that was me.
“Satella, after you grab a room—” I began.
“No,” she refused with a beaming smile.
Jeez, I might have spoiled her a little too much. Well there was no use crying over spilt milk. We’ll have to camp out today.
“I’m interested in human cities. I’ll return to the carriage by tomorrow morning.”
And with that parting remark, Sylphy broke out into a child-like smile and set off.
You know, weren’t you technically supposed to be my bodyguard? Seriously, this dragon just does whatever she wants.
“Well no getting around it. Let’s just wait our turn in the line.”
“Okay!” Satella cheerfully replied before grabbing onto me.
As the sun began to set, the officials closed down the checking station and the procedures grounded to a halt.
If you filled your name into the register by the checking station, you would receive the same spot in line tomorrow.
In case anything and everything went wrong, I didn’t bring anyone who would drag me down, including a coachman for the carriage, and I always had at least one person inside. Looks like I’ll be huddling up with Satella in the tent again tonight.
I moved the carriage to the clearing south of the inn town, Lunette, and began setting up the tent beside the carriage with Satella when I heard an angry voice cry out.
“There she is!”
Then, a blonde-haired girl with twin tails ran past us carrying a young girl with green hair who was about seven or eight years old. Chasing behind them were a group of men who looked to be thugs.
The blonde-haired girl had quite a lot of physical ability, but she was greatly outnumbered. Soon, she was surrounded by several dozen men.
“That kid is the Fishes Family’s goods. Hand her over.”
“No!” said the blonde girl, baring her teeth at the men. On the other hand, I couldn’t read why they were so angry at her as they only heaved a collective sigh and shrugged.
“Surely you understand, Miss. In this city, no, in this world, you won’t live long if you go against them,” said a short man who rubbed his bald head at a loss.
“And surely you know how messed up that place is, right?” she shot back. “Who knows what she’ll go through if I hand her over.”
The green-haired girl twitched and tightened her grip onto the blonde girl.
“Even still, we have no other option if we want to live.”
“Don’t play me like a fool! Stop involving this child in your unseemly reasons!”
“Please, Miss. Just fall back on this one.”
“I’ll never! My mother would never forgive this—this injustice!!”
For the first time, the short bald man grimaced like a crying child.
Looks like he was different than I had imagined.
“Grey-sama……” Satella said, pulling on my sleeve.
“Yeah, I know.”
I had no intention of acting like an ally of justice, nor was I as kind as Aquido, who would readily lend his hand to anyone who cried and didn’t expect anything in return.
So I thought I’d ask.
I pushed my way through the onlookers who had gathered around and walked up to the men who were surrounding the green-haired girl.
I ignored their flustered voices and stood in front of the green-haired girl.
“Hey, you can’t—” said the blond girl who grabbed my shoulders.
Ignoring her as well, I stared into the young girl’s lifeless eyes and asked, “What’s your name?”
She could only tremble in response.
“If you’re human, then say your name.”
She twitched before mumbling, “Shiina.”
“Then, Shiina. What do you want the most right now?”
She merely tilted her head in confusion.
“What do you want the most?” I asked again.
I see. I wouldn’t have understood that sentiment in my past life, but now I could sort of comprehend it.
“And what can you offer me in order to meet your mom?”
“Are you her—” began the blonde girl, strengthening her grip on my shoulder.
“My master is asking you a question,” Satella cut in, pulling us apart, “so keep your mouth shut!”
“I’ll ask again. What can you offer me?”
“A shoulder……massage. It made Mom……happy.”
“I see. Then the transaction is complete. You’ll be my personal shoulder massager, okay?”
After she gulped and nodded, I caressed her head before turning back towards the bald man.
“Henceforth, this child is under my employment. If you need money in return, I’ll pay as much as you want.”
“Look here, boy. You shouldn’t make fun of us adults.”
Jeez, this bald man wasn’t taking me seriously, so I grabbed a bag filled with 30 silver pieces, worth 30 million G in total, out of my item box and threw it at him.
The bald man curiously peered inside the bag to confirm its contents before widening his eyes and freezing.
“Hey, Jill?” one man asked.
The other men behind the bald man named Jill peered inside the bag and froze up in a similar manner.
“Not enough? Then name your price.”
I had no experience buying someone out of bondage after all. I didn’t know the market price, but I was paying for the price of a life. At least this amount was to be expected.
“What do you want?” he warily asked.
“I’ve employed that girl into my company, and I want to pay her bondage. Didn’t I say that earlier?”
“That’s not what I mean! I’m asking why you’re paying this ridiculous amount for that useless shorty over there!”
Shiina, the green-haired girl, shrunk at his yelling and hid herself behind me.
“Don’t shout. You’re scaring the kid,” I rebuked.
“Why, you’re plenty a kid as well.”
“Back to what I was saying. My reason. She’s my personal shoulder massager. I thought you heard that too?”
He stared agape at my reply for a while.
“Whatever. Sorry, but I don’t have any intention of selling her to you. Hurry up and leave.”
He waved me away like I was some annoying fly.
I can’t have that either. I said that I would pay her bondage.
“If you’re concerned about the Fishes Family, then I can talk to them myself.”
I’d do whatever I set my mind to, no matter what methods I had to use.
If they wouldn’t shake their heads up and down, then I’d have to persuade the original sellers.
“You obviously can’t! Stop with your nonsense and hand over the kid,” Jill said and threw back the bag of 30 million G.
“What’s all this fuss about?”
Among the crowd, a trademark dandy man with a short mustache and elegant clothes made his appearance.
At his appearance, the men gave quick bow, and the blonde girl frowned.
He wore black gloves and classy clothes, and his eyes were as sharp as a falcon’s. He looked like someone who would be popular with the madams, but apparently he was at the top of Jill’s organization. Still, this prickly sensation. He’s probably—.
“Let us talk inside. There’s tea for you as well, Miss Aria,” said the man called Lieutenant who then promptly set off.
↑ This term, wakagashira, is mainly used in yakuza hierarchy. The hierarchy starts with the head, who’s called oyabun. There are some ranks below the oyabun, one of which is called the wakagashira, which is often translated to lieutenant or first lieutenant. In short, this guy is super high up in the ranks and has the potential to become the next head.