“Takatsuki-kun, it suits you.” (Aya)
Sa-san was happy for some reason.
My current form is that of a racoon beastkin.
The result after testing out my Transformation Skill in a variety of ways was that this one was the one that clicked the best.
When deceiving people, it’s gotta be a racoon, right?
“And you Sa-san are in the form when we met at Laberintos, huh.” (Makoto)
Sa-san is not in her usual human form but has bluish skin like that time in Laberintos.
Fishkin, was it?
We are currently in the 9th District of Symphonia.
◇A few hours ago◇
At first, Lucy said ‘I will also go!’ and wasn’t listening to reason.
“Lucy-sama! You can’t go to the 9th District!” (Nina)
“Lucy-dono, you will get attacked by hoodlums, 100%!” (Fuji)
She was met with the strong opposition of Nina-san and Fuji-yan.
Lucy-san has high temperature, so she always goes with clothes that expose a lot of skin.
The beautiful appearance of an elf and bright red hair.
She stands out greatly.
“A beautiful woman like Lucy-san going to the slums would be like giving meat to a pack of hungry wolves.” (Chris)
Chris-san also chimed in.
The result was that Sa-san and I would be the ones heading to the 9th District.
Using the Transformation Skill, we changed our appearances.
“Maybe I should try learning it too…” (Lucy)
Lucy wasn’t content.
Let’s go somewhere together another time.
By the way…
“Fuji-yan, I heard you learned who the leaders of the rebellion are.” (Makoto)
I confirm what I heard from Noah-sama.
“Where did you hear that from?” (Chris)
Chris-san was surprised.
“The Goddess told me.” (Makoto)
“As expected of a Goddess. We were about to go to Sofia-sama to consult with her-desu zo.” (Fuji)
According to Fuji-yan, it seems like the influential people putting order to the demi-humans in the 8th District are suspicious.
But the first person that planned this is still unknown.
“I heard from the man of the Snake Church that the next target would be Symphonia.” (Makoto)
It is something I heard when I went to the underground prison of Horun with Princess Sofia.
“Yeah, you told me before, Takki-dono. I am also suspecting the involvement of the devilkin, but…” (Fuji)
“That part is still unknown…” (Nina)
Fuji-yan and Nina-san had regretful expressions.
“I will go investigate the 9th District. I was advised by the Goddess after all.” (Makoto)
“We don’t have many acquaintances in the 9th District, so it helps us out, but…” (Nina)
“It is a dangerous place, Makoto-sama.” (Chris)
Nina-san and Chris-san were worried about us.
Is it that dangerous of a place?
“Takatsuki-kun, I will be going with you, so it will be okay.” (Aya)
Sa-san was swinging her brand new giant hammer.
I don’t want to be in a situation where she has to use that…
“Please be careful… We will be having a meeting with Princess Sofia to discuss our future plans.” (Fuji)
“Got it. I will investigate moderately and round it up.” (Makoto)
We will gather today in the evening, and exchange information then.
“It is kinda dim here…” (Aya)
The moment we entered the 9th District, it felt like the air changed.
“I heard that the place right after passing the gate is the most developed part though…” (Makoto)
There’s a number of store-looking places here and there, but…there’s no liveliness anywhere.
There’s a lot of empty stores.
People lying at the side of the street.
People who are standing in place spaced-out.
There’s an air of deterioration wafting about.
“What a strange scent…” (Aya)
It certainly does smell.
The first would be the smell of the drainage and trash that’s not being properly cleaned and maintained.
On top of that, this sweet scent…
The same scent as that time in the Horun bar and the circus.
Fuji-yan has shown me the actual thing once.
At a glance, it has the shape of tobacco.
(There was one yesterday at the store of the tiger beastkin shopkeeper who took care of Nina-san…) (Makoto)
Is it circulating in Symphonia too?
“It is strange that there’s a clear smell of narcotics in the main street…” (Aya)
“Are there no cops?” (Makoto)
In the West Continent, the Templars serve the role of police.
The Templar Order is an organization that’s managed by the Six Great Goddesses Churches.
In the cities where there’s the church, the Templars would protect public order.
They are in Makkaren too, but they were always drinking till dropping together with the adventurers.
Makkaren is a peaceful place after all.
In the 9th District…there’s no sight of knights.
“…Aren’t we being watched?” (Aya)
“Yeah…I can feel gazes.” (Makoto)
The people that are not doing anything here.
They are looking over here.
Why? We have the proper slum look though.
There were people slowly walking over here.
There were also people following behind us.
Geh, the path at our front is blocked.
They are mumbling something.
“Let’s run!” (Makoto)
We go from the main street to a path at the side.
Relying on Detection and Escape, we ran through the path.
By the way, Sa-san is faster than me even without using Skills.
Hey, wait for me!
“Sa-san, you are way too fast…” (Makoto)
“After getting all the way here, no people are chasing us anymore.” (Aya)
We arrived at an open place with few people.
A spacious and declining place.
There’s a sloppy fence, with a field of vegetables inside, and chickens in the open.
“A farm, maybe? It feels strange to have one at a place like this.” (Aya)
“Seems like it. I have never seen the vegetables grown here though.” (Makoto)
A different atmosphere from the showy capital and the slum entrance.
It is…a bit different from idyllic, but there’s a slight peaceful atmosphere.
What was deep inside it was a crumbling church.
“…A church, huh.” (Makoto)
“A church in the slums sounds rough.” (Aya)
We advance while talking about that.
“Stop!” “We were the ones who grew this!” “Please stop, it is the little amount of food we have.”
I could hear the voice of people arguing.
“Huuh?! As if I care!”
“Whose compassion do you think you are getting to be allowed to live here, you brats of dirty blood?!”
Children and an elderly woman were raising desperate voices.
The other voices were violent men.
Is their field being robbed?
Sa-san ran off.
For now, I chase after Sa-san.
[Will you save the children?]
[RPG Player] is reading the atmosphere.
(Well, this time around, I don’t even have to choose.) (Makoto)
“You guys! Bullying such small children, you are the worst!” (Aya)
When children are in trouble, Sa-san would definitely go to their rescue after all.
Sa-san had returned to her usual human form and made a pose.
But Sa-san is small and cute, so even if she says that, it is not threatening at all.
“Huuh?” “What’s with you?” “Now that I take a good look at you, you are cute.” “You are a pedophile?” “I am not!” “What’s so good about that chestless girl?”
(Ah, Sa-san snapped at being made fun of her chest.) (Makoto)
If you are going to get angry at that, you can just transform into a woman with big boobs though.
When I said that, she scolded me saying ‘That’s not the issue, Takatsuki-kun!’.
She apparently can’t accept faking that with her Change Skill.
A mysterious fixation.
“…You guys, prepare yourselves.” (Aya)
Her voice had bloodlust to the point that I could even hear the *gogogo* SFX.
Sa-san’s [Intimidation] is activated.
Even I who am at the back am getting chills from that pressure.
“Hiih!” “W-What’s with this girl?!” “W-We are gonna be killed!”
The men raised screams as they ran away.
Your opponent was bad.
“Hmph, what boring people!” (Aya)
Sa-san crossed her arms.
“Sa-san, Sa-san, here, here.” (Makoto)
She looked the other way.
All the children had fallen on their butts.
There were even children who had fainted.
“Aaaaah! Sorry, sorry!” (Aya)
“Sorry about our Sa-san.” (Makoto)
We apologized with our all.
Sa-san and I were guided to the inside of the church.
The inside of the church is old like its outside appearance.
But it is maintained, and I could tell that people are living here.
“Thank you very much… To help out people like us…”
The elderly woman has tattered clothes, but it looks like she is a sister.
““““Thank you very much!””””
The polite children were also wearing shabby clothes.
“No, we didn’t do much. They are such terrible people treating young children like that.” (Aya)
“Why did they go out of their way to do something like that?” (Makoto)
The elderly sister begins speaking.
“The church here acts as an orphanage. The children here all have the blood of demons… They hate us who have the blood of demons…no, they look down on us.”
“Yes…or also ‘dirty blood’. I am one of them too.”
When the sister took off her headdress, a small horn was in view.
She once again puts it on.
“But well, the demon blood is pretty thin now. We don’t have any special power. We are simply a bit different in appearance compared to other humans… All the children here are the same.”
The sister speaks sadly.
“We don’t know the faces of our parents…”
“We have dirty blood after all…”
“The children that you can tell are demons from their appearance are all thrown away.”
“We have to be grateful that we were at least allowed to live…”
The expressions of the children are gloom.
“…What’s with that?” (Aya)
Sa-san face stiffens.
“Can’t you just leave the capital?” (Makoto)
If they go to a place that’s not Highland which has a strict hierarchical system, wouldn’t it get better?
“There’s more than 50 orphans here… And there’s abandoned children every few months…”
It is not so simple, obviously.
In the first place, they don’t look like they have the money for that.
They seem to be self-sustained.
“If it is in Makkaren, couldn’t they get the help of Fujiwara-kun and Chris-san…?” (Aya)
Sa-san looks over here with a face that hasn’t given up.
I understand how you feel, but…it won’t be easy to look after a large group like this.
Even if we are talking about Fuji-yan, it is not like he is running a charity here.
“Makkaren? Could it be that you know adventurers by the name of Jean and Emily?”
“We do. We have adventured together.” (Makoto)
“Is that so! Are they doing well?”
Sister made a happy expression for the first time.
So Jean and Emily came from this orphanage.
Now that I think about it, they did say that they were from an orphanage of the Sun Country.
Hm? Then that means…
“Those guys…were devilkin?” (Makoto)
The sister made a shocked expression.
She must have thought she slipped there.
“Ah, we are otherworlders. We don’t mind that.” (Makoto)
I said this beforehand.
“O-Otherworlders? Could it be the legendary Hero-sama?!”
“No, I am a Hero that’s not legendary.” (Makoto)
For now, I give a simple self-introduction.
“Wow! You are the Hero-sama of the Water Country of Rozes?”
“Amazing, Nii-chan~.” “So cool~.” “Hero-sama…”
The gazes of the children were passionate.
This is embarrassing.
“You are grinning, Takatsuki-kun.” (Aya)
“Isn’t it fine to enjoy it a little bit?” (Makoto)
“Yup yup, it is fun, right?!” (Aya)
Sa-san seems to be having fun too.
“So Jean and Emily are doing well. Even though it hasn’t been long since they have become adventurers, they are sending us money at fixed times. Despite that life they have definitely not being easy either…”
The sister smiles.
Jean…you were doing that?
I didn’t know at all.
After that, we talked for a while about Jean and Emily.
The sister smiled happily.
“I see, Jean and Emily are now a couple.”
“Were they not like that before?” (Makoto)
I have been thinking they were going out with each other the first time I met them.
It seems it was recent that they began going out.
“In the orphanage, Emily was more of a big sister. Jean was saying ‘I will become an adventurer and make it big!’, and Emily went together with him in worry.”
The sister speaks as if nostalgic.
“I see. I will tease Jean with this next time.” (Makoto)
“Takatsuki-kun, so evil~.” (Aya)
Let’s have a talk about this church and the sister too.
We now have a good story to tell when going back.
But we didn’t come here to have idle chatter.
This place is a devilkin orphanage.
They might have information.
“This church…is it for the Sun Goddess?” (Makoto)
I say this as I look up at the statue of the Sun Goddess Althena-sama.
“There’s no church in Highland aside from ones of the religion of Althena-sama.”
“I see…it is the same as Rozes in that regard.” (Makoto)
Being a country strict in their religion is just as I heard, huh.
“By the way…” (Makoto)
I try to bring out the topic casually.
“Do you know about the Snake Church?” (Makoto)
The moment I said that, the face of the sister got stern.
“Do you think we are believers of the Evil Devil?”
“N-No no.” (Maktoo)
“Even though those horrendous acts of theirs are bringing harm to our brethrens…! They attack humans indiscriminately, spread a terrifying drug like the weed, and bring chaos into the world. The spears of hate from the people who have been hurt by them are directed at us powerless devilkin…”
The sister groans weakly at the end.
I see, the people here are victims from the Snake Church…
Hm? There’s one point that bothers me.
“The weed is something that the Snake Church is spreading?” (Makoto)
“Yeah… The residents of the 9th District all know this. The Snake Church is getting their funds from the sales of the weed. There was one time when a man said he was related to the church asking whether we would want to cultivate the plant that’s the source of the weed.”
“No way…towards these children? Unforgivable.” (Aya)
Sa-san was angered.
The Snake Church and weed.
It was connected, huh.
“We are searching for the Snake Church. A man of that church made monsters rampage in the capital of the Water Country the other day. They said they were targeting this capital next.” (Makoto)
The sister made a bitter expression.
“Anything is fine. Do you know something?” (Makoto)
“How about the underground canals…?”
A child who was listening to our talk muttered this.
Sa-san and I tilt our heads.
“Symphonia has complex underground canals that serve as drainages.”
“There’s a…rumor saying that there’s the hideout of the mafia and the Snake Church there.”
“It is said there’s kidnappers there, so children shouldn’t get close to that place…”
There’s a place like that?
“An underground canal in Symphonia, huh…” (Makoto)
“Takatsuki-kun…could it be that you are going?” (Aya)
“Eh? You won’t be going, Sa-san?” (Makoto)
Sa-san looks at me surprised.
Did I say something weird?
“Even though you are the careful player type, Takatsuki-kun, you poke your head into dangerous places, huh.” (Aya)
“The underground canals of the capital, sounds like a dungeon. Don’t you think it could be fun?” (Makoto)
But it is a place that’s even further down than the slums.
I feel like we are going deeper and deeper.
[Will you go to the underground canals of Symphonia?]
Today is a day with a lot of choices, huh.
“Sa-san, let’s go.” (Makoto)
“Yes yes, got it~.” (Aya)
Sa-san smiles with a troubled expression.
We head to the underground canals of Symphonia.