LS – Chapter 18: For the time being..

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Author: Annoyance warning.

*Important note*: Nameless (pretty much everyone set on calling MC that, haha) has a certain habit of calling himself with different types of “I” like “watashi” and “ore” and maybe even “boku”. Watashi is normally a more formal way of addressing oneself, Boku is more neutral, and Ore is more informal and even rude at times.

It would lower the dramatic factor in some scenes if I were to point out which it is at every instance, so whenever he uses “watashi” I will use “I” in italic, when he uses “ore” it will be “I” in bold, and in the off-chance it is “boku” I will use “I” underlined. Hope it shows clearly enough to make it noticeable.

I might post reminders every now and then though.

——-

I have been constantly waking up to muscle pain lately, but this time around, I woke up from the pain in my head.

“Did you call Grandma?”

“Yeah, she will be coming shortly.”

My vision is hazy. My surroundings are noisy.

It reeks of beast.

“Oi, he woke up. Can you hear me?”

Someone has approached me. Who is it?

I trace back my memories. After I discovered a rare forest with Ban-san…

“I am asking if you can hear me!”

“Uh…please keep silent. My head hur—dah?!”

Wait, who are these people?!

I was surprised by this sight and woke up in one go.

I am surrounded by several people.

But the people in front of me seem to be human, but have appearances unlike that of humans.

The first time in this world that I saw black hair, red eyes, with ears and tail covered in fur like that of an animal.

Tail…?

Speaking of which, I think Ilias said before that there’s demi-humans in this world like elves.

In that case, are they demi-humans mixed with dogs or wolves?

Putting that aside, I should be taking more of an issue in the fact that both of my hands are tied up behind me and am on the floor.

Hmm, this is that.

Kidnapping, right?

“Sorry, but can you please explain to me what’s currently going on?”

“What’s with this guy? What is he saying?”

“Who knows. He seems to be saying something though…”

Oh?

What a weird reaction. Could this possibly be…

“Do you not understand what I am saying? I mean no harm. Can you please undo the restraints?”

“He seems to be appealing to something…”

“No idea at all.”

Doesn’t seem like my words are getting through. Could it be that the possession spell ran out?

It has been 6 days since the possession spell was used on me the day I got caught, so the chances are high if I have been out for a day.

No, wait, they don’t get what I am saying, but I get what they are saying.

It is not like they are talking in Japanese. In that case, my words should be getting through.

Uhm, what did Maya-san say about the possession spell…?

“It is a method that doesn’t have a name though. We have the target be possessed by a Spirit temporarily, insert the common language in the consciousness of the target, and have their speech translated into common language. It does the same when on the receiving end, matching the words with the consciousness of the target.” 

Something like that.

I see.

My words are being translated to the common language, but their words are being translated in a way that I can understand, huh.

Basically, this possession spell isn’t the kind that allows you to speak English, but it is not like it allows you to understand English; you can speak English and are capable of understanding many languages, huh.

This is a lot more convenient than I thought, but not being able to use it in such a half-assed manner is a really vexing feeling!

“He has black hair just like us, but he is not from ours. Could it possibly be a demon?!”

I shake my head to the sides.

One man noticed this.

“This guy shook his head just now. You understand us?”

I nod and the people around notice too.

“Who are you? Answer.”

“I can’t speak.”

“What is he saying? If you understand our words, speak them.”

I shake my head to the sides.

“Could it be that he can’t speak?”

“As if that’s possible. If he understands, he should be able to speak it too.”

I shake my head.

“It seems he is trying to say he can hear but not talk.”

Nod.

“Hmm, what’s the meaning of this…? It doesn’t look like he is lying though… Can’t be helped. Let’s leave it to Grandma.”

I heard that before, but is Grandma like the chief of the village?

Fortunately, they don’t seem to be cannibals that don’t hear reason.

If we can communicate properly here, there’s the possibility we could bring this to a negotiation.

An old woman showed up with accessories decorating her all over.

The color of her hair has been lost to a certain degree, but rather than calling it white hair, it is more like gray.

“Is it that boy there? Isn’t he still just a child?”

“The ones who were out hunting found them and captured them. There was apparently one more nearby, but he disappeared by the time they noticed.”

Thank you for explaining the situation.

In that case, there’s the chance that Ban-san managed to hide properly when these guys attacked.

The chances of him coming to save me are…half. The other half would be him returning to request assistance for the rescue.

Considering the personality of Ban-san, there’s a high chance he will ask for the help of Cara-jii or people in that line.

“Also, it seems like he can understand our words, but he only talks in words we don’t understand.”

“Fumu, that’s strange. Well then, let me get a look.”

This so-called Grandma placed a hand on my forehead.

I feel like this has happened before. From the time with Maya-san, huh.

“Hohoh, this child has been possessed by a Spirit… I see, in that case, if I do this…”

The hand of Grandma shone, and something hot began to flow in me.

“How is it, boy?”

“…Did you modify the possession spell somehow?”

“He talked. He freakin’ talked!”

Looks like we can communicate now.

“It seems like there’s someone who has created an interesting spell out there. But the method of output was different from ours, so I have soaked the Spirit with my mana.”

“…Has that also done something to the side-effects?”

“Now that ye mention it, there was a place that was strangely distorted. Sorry, but that’s as much as I could tinker. The person that casted that spell is extremely outstanding.”

Maya-san, if you are that incredible, please do something about the muscle pain quickly.

If she has poured mana, that means I will be able to communicate for a while more. It helps out in that point.

“Being able to communicate makes this easier. I intend no harm. I plan on answering whatever you want to ask within my power.”

And so, my communication with them began.

They are a race called Black Wolfkin, and they are apparently a bit different from humans.

They moved to this hidden forest and closed the path to it in order to escape from the fear and destruction filling the world by the Demon Lords a long time past, and they have been living quietly until now.

That’s the roots of these guys.

I myself also received a good amount of questions.

How did I get here from outside?

Where did my other comrade go?

Has the outside world fallen?

I answered as much as I knew.

“There’s no Demon Lords anymore…? That’s impossible.”

“It is not like I am certain of it. But there has been no new Demon Lord seen since they disappeared a long time ago, and the humans have now created nations in this continent and are living their lives.”

“Are you telling me that Black Demon Lord…has fallen?”

That Black Demon Lord was apparently killed by a slime -but let’s not say that.

I pretty much answered honestly to whatever they asked.

That goes the same for Ban-san. I don’t know if he is hiding nearby or has returned, so there’s no issue with me telling them.

“He is not the type of person who would abandon an ally. He doesn’t excel in combat, so there’s a high chance he will gather people and come back.”

“What… Does that mean it will end up in a fight?!”

The young ones began to make a ruckus.

“No, we can stop that. Fortunately, I am still alive, so I should be able to convince my allies that have come to rescue me in a peaceful manner. We did enter the forest unannounced after all.”

“Aren’t ye gonna tell us to free ya at once?”

“That would leave unease. I plan on doing the persuasion in front of you all so that you can rest easy. As such, I will have to stay in your village for a while. Is that okay?”

“—Alright. But can ya listen to my request while at it?”

“Depends on what it is. Please tell me.”

“We have been living for a long time in this forest and have cut off our connections with the harmful world. However, our tribe is slowly treading the path of decline… I feel like living in this cramped forest forever really would be difficult.”

“So you want to ask for interactions with the people outside.”

“Indeed. Ye can understand our words and the words of the outside, boy. Can I ask ya to serve as the bridge?”

“I don’t mind that. There’s a lot of valuable plants in this forest to begin with. There will most likely be a lot of people who would want to support you if there’s anyone who can move in the locale.”

I feel like there will be a qualitative difference in the trade with indigenous people.

However, from what I see of Ban-san who is a merchant of Taizu, I don’t think they will be treated that badly.

“It would be troubling to throw everything onto me. I will serve as a bridge, but I will have your representative be the one doing the negotiations.”

“Umu, we have a deal then.”

“Grandma, is that really okay?”

“This person didn’t tell a single lie. It is okay to trust him.”

Is she the type that can see through lies too? Is there some sort of technique to it?

Even though I am here doing my best to act in a fashion where I can still manage even if I get deceived. How enviable.

“By the way, how long have I been out for?”

“For a brief period of time. The sun has not gone down yet. Uhm, sorry about that.”

Looks like this man is the one who attacked me.

“No, even if you were to talk to us, it would have been hard to reach an understanding. Considering my one other companion, the chances are that we would have run away and come back with more people in the future. Negotiations would have been more problematic at that time. In that sense, you could say it wasn’t all bad.”

“I-Is that so?”

“It is not really as an exchange, but can you please show me the lifestyle of this village? It is necessary to deepen the relationship on our side.”

And so, I was guided inside the village.

There’s somewhat archaic houses lined up.

There seems to be cultivation fields a little further away too.

There’s people gathered at the center that seems to be a plaza, and they are giving each other the fruits and game they have obtained in the day.

“You can hunt animals despite being an isolated forest, huh.”

“Animals can go over mountains. They would at times come down and attack the livestock, so we don’t neglect our daily explorations.”

I see.

That’s when I hear a sound resembling the clashing of wooden tools.

The men at the side of the plaza were training with wooden sticks in hand.

Their movements are far faster than that of the bandits.

Compared to the knights…they do have flexibility, but I feel like they fall behind in terms of technique.

“I don’t think you need to train that much against animals though.”

“There’s no knowing when the army of the Demon Lord will come. That’s why we never forget our daily training as warriors.”

Speaking of which, it was that kind of village, right.

It is an isolated village, but their population seems higher than 100.

There’s people who are looking at us with interest every now and then, but most of them are filled with curiosity rather than fear and unease.

“Despite that, they seem to be receptive towards people who come from the outside.”

“The details of it have already reached the village.”

So everyone in this village is a neighbor…

The more the population increases, the less proactive people are in getting involved with others.

Obviously, it is not like all the people will be involved in your life.

But with a village of this size, the amount of people you meet are limited, to a point where you can count them.

That’s why communication with each other becomes essential, and they can live as a tribe where it is one for all.

This is most likely valid in its own way.

It is a bit scathing as someone who is bad with human relationships though.

After that, I was brought around the village by the guide, and I managed to obtain a rough picture.

And then, I was guided to the entrance of the village at the end.

The sky is already bright red. He probably won’t guide me outside, and making him worry about me escaping would be harsh.

I look around in a broad manner to show as if I have no interest.

“…Hm?”

I suddenly saw children at the side of the entrance.

The mischievous children were picking up rocks and tree branches noisily and were playing around by throwing them to something outside the entrance.

A trashcan or something like that? But it has a shape someone could be put into.

It is way too crooked to be called a hut, and it feels more like piled up litter made from randomly gathered straws and branches.

“What’s that?”

“Aah, it would be better for you to not approach that place. You might get cursed.”

“Cursed, you say. Is there something dangerous?”

“Yeah, that’s the dwelling of the Blight Child.”

Blight Child?

The moment I thought that, someone showed up from inside.

I was on the verge of feeling disgust at that appearance that reminded me of vagabonds and the poor who suffer overseas.

But the moment I saw the whole picture, I felt beauty in that figure, and ended up gulping unconsciously.

Pure white snow hair that was unkempt and had grown endlessly, and yet, it felt cristalline.

She was wearing ragged clothes that I find hard to even call clothes, and even though her whole body is dirty in mud, white skin could be peeked at from there.

The shape in itself may not be different from that of the black wolfkin, but a girl so white it wouldn’t even be dyed by black was standing there.

“That’s…”

The girl called the Blight Child hesitantly looked at the children.

When she did, the children screamed loudly, and threw rocks and sticks.

The girl hurriedly hid inside the rubble.

The children laughed.

Not only that. The adults around were watching over the children with a smile.

What’s…this?

My vision shook.

The smiles of the villagers were nauseating.

It is not like I don’t know this feeling.

Ah, this is something that I have tasted in Japan too…

“Now, let’s go back. It is getting late.”

“—Why is that girl at that kind of place?”

“Why, you ask. Because she is a Blight Child. You saw that figure of hers, right?”

The guide man tilted his head in wonder.

I closed my eyes and sigh.

It is just that this guy doesn’t understand it at all.

In that case, this man isn’t the one I should be asking for an explanation.

I once again directed my gaze at the rubble and headed to Grandma.

“Have you seen the state of the village?”

“Yeah, and so there’s one thing I want to ask. It is about a girl called the Blight Child. That’s a cursed child. White mixes into the hair of the aged ones. But even an old one like me only gets this much of a mix. The hair of that thing holds an eeriness that resembles death.”

I endured my desire to object and urge her on.

“That thing was suddenly born despite having a black wolfkin mother. Her mother lost her life when it was born. That thing’s father, who tried to raise it, was caught off-guard by a beast and never returned just a few days of its birth. Thinking it eerie, we left it in the forest, but the grass around that thing had withered the next day, so we couldn’t throw it away. If a warrior was to take that thing’s life, that person might get caught in the curse and die, so we couldn’t take its life either. As such, we have let that thing live outside the village, and have given it the duty to take in the calamities that enter this village.”

“So you are using her to ward off evil because she is ominous?”

“It has no other use than that, ya see.”

I don’t like it, but this isn’t the place to spill out those feelings.

I stand up and try to leave the house.

“Don’t get involved with that thing. Tragedy will befall ye too, boy. Also, it is already late. I can’t guarantee yer safety outside the village.”

“I have no intention of moving away from this village, so don’t worry. And then, I will confirm it with my own eyes.”

“Do as ye please. Ye will understand once ye see it with yer own eyes.”

I arrive at the entrance of the village while holding the torch I got back from them.

It might turn into a fire if I were to enter with this, so I extinguished it.

It shouldn’t be too hindering with this moonlight.

I advance to the place that seems to be the entrance of the rubble.

It smells. My nose feels like it is going to bend with the stench of what seems like rotten raw food.

There’s the organs of animals and dirty fruits at my feet.

They probably put the leftovers of what they distributed in the evening here.

But that’s no reason to stop my feet.

I peek inside the rubble.

A girl was there.

She was watching the moon from a place that has a hole opened, on top of spread out straws.

The moonlight was lighting up the girl and her white hair and skin was shining as if luminescent.

That appearance of hers is as wondrous as the sight I saw when I first came to this world.

“Oi.”

“—Ah!”

I spoke to her, and at that moment the girl noticed me and raised a scream.

She raised a hard to describe scream and retreated deeper in while shaking her head.

There’s tears accumulated in her scared eyes.

“It is okay. I won’t do anything to you.”

I spoke to her, but the girl continued letting out incomprehensible noises, and tried to move away from me.

No, that’s not it.

Grandma said both of this girl’s parents died soon after she was born.

And she has been avoiding communication with others until now.

It is not that she can’t speak because of fear. She doesn’t know any language.

I thought my words would get through this girl since she is also a black wolfkin, but I was too shallow.

The downside of the possession spell is showing here.

This spell is used on livestock, make them understand your words, and turn their will into words.

But there’s no understanding to begin with towards a person that doesn’t know words.

Even if she tries to turn her will into words, she doesn’t know those words.

I might be able to communicate with her if the possession spell is casted on her, but I myself had someone else cast it for me.

How vexing. We won’t be able to communicate like this…

“I see…”

After thinking that far, I finally understood the reason why she is trembling.

This girl has been tasting this frustration the whole time since the moment she was born.

What she understands is that the villagers hate her.

Even if she is told something, she doesn’t understand what it means.

Just that she continues being persecuted even after that.

She has no way of knowing why she is being treated this way or why she is being allowed to live.

She has simply been living in fear.

To the point she trembles just from being spoken to…

She takes distance, but she doesn’t run away. She can’t.

There’s chains on her legs, and it is connected to a giant stake.

I don’t know if it’s because it scraped on her or she tried to escape countless times, but there’s a large number of bloodstains on her leg.

She is not being treated as a person. Not even as livestock.

My eyes grow hot. My vision gets hazy.

I probably won’t be able to understand all the pain she has tasted.

However, my tears won’t stop…as if that tragic past of hers was being transmitted to me.

I couldn’t endure it and hugged the girl that tried to take distance.

She stiffened and thrashed around as she screamed, but that body of hers was cold.

“It must have been sad, it must have been tough, you must have been scared… Don’t joke around… There’s not a single person with the right to corner you into a lifestyle like this one. You must have wanted to complain, it must have been frustrating, being in this world where you can’t even seek help…all alone. Damn it!”

Since when was it that I stopped crying like a child?

By the time I felt like the world was dry, even the effort to cry was a hassle.

There’s things in society you can’t make come true; there’s also things that might have possibly been made true.

There might have been things that could only be fulfilled with time.

By delineating them in that fashion, I thought I had settled my feelings on it.

I just have to become strong to a degree where I can; it is fine as long as I can live safely.

This girl has destroyed that wall I created unconsciously.

Unrestraint aimless anger and sadness that was kept on a lid deep inside my heart was leaking out.

I would like to cry tears in place of this girl as much as I can if possible.

I want to complain to the world that it must have been painful.

Even if there’s no point to it, even if I am told it is hypocritical.

“Uwaaaaaaaaaan!!”

I hugged the girl and weeped.

The girl was scared, but seeing that state of mine, she began to change her reaction.

She must have understood that I was crying and screaming.

Those are the only things the girl knows too.

That’s why she was pulled by this and raised her voice too.

We cried together while shedding tears.

◇◇

“The lad has been caught by demi-humans?!”

Ban considered rescuing him when he was kidnapped, but after seeing their numbers and strength, he hurriedly returned to Taizu.

He did plan on saving him if it had been 1 or 2, but there were way too many.

Judging that he won’t be immediately executed, he decided to call for help.

The person he went to is someone he knows too; Caragyugujesta Domitorkofucon who is deeply acquainted with Ban as well.

After explaining the situation, Caragyugujesta dashed into action immediately and spoke to the Ragudo Division.

He only managed to gather 10 in such a short notice, but that’s enough numbers.

The population of the village is around 100, and probably half of them are the ones who can actually fight.

There would be room for worry if it were a normal knight division, but there’s no such thing if it is the Ragudo Division.

“Alright, let’s go!” (Cara)

“Speaking of which, what about reporting to Lord Ragudo—”

“That can be done later! The life of the lad is of utmost priority!” (Cara)

It is not like he is scared of being stopped by his superior.

Lord Ragudo would most definitely tell him to form a rescue team.

He might actually get reprimanded for taking his sweet time by reporting it.

Ban was following the knights that dashed out from the gate, got on their horses, and rode off.

“To think Ilias would be off-duty at a time like this…!” (Cara)

“I have at least told my subordinates to search for Ilias-sama and have them explain the situation.” (Ban)

“That’s fine then. Ilias would come here with her own two feet and be faster than with a horse!” (Cara)

Caragyugujesta is affiliated to the Yugura Church, but his devotion was faint.

But he had no choice but to pray right now.

That boy is perceptive but his weakness is top class.

“Lad, be alright…!” (Cara)

◇◇

After crying for a while, I noticed that I had been hugging her the whole time and released her.

“Aah, I showed a pathetic sight. Sorry.”

I tell myself there’s a point in directing my intentions at her even if words didn’t get through.

When I did, the girl shook her head to the sides.

She shook her head.

“…Did you shake your head just now?”

She nodded this time around.

“Do you understand words?”

She nodded.

And then, she groaned with an ‘au au’.

—I think of the reason.

This girl shouldn’t know any words.

But she suddenly can understand my words.

I searched for a similar case in the past.

I observe the girl.

And then, I stretch my hand towards the hair of the girl.

The girl didn’t show any fear and silently watched me.

I touched the hair of the girl. She must not have washed her hair in a long time, it is stiff, dirty in sebum, and dry.

But, even with that, her hair illuminated by the moonlight was as if it were luminescent…no, it is actually emitting light -literally.

A single conjecture surfaced in my mind drawn from my memories and experiences until now.

I have no certain proof of this, but it is most likely the case.

The girl was looking at me with interest.

Of course she would be. A person she can understand suddenly appeared when she didn’t know how to speak.

What’s fortunate is that she knows about the gesture of shaking her head.

She most likely observed the villagers and learned about its meaning.

I remember how she was shaking her head to the sides when I entered this place.

What this girl who wasn’t taught anything had learned in desperation was this -as her sole defense mechanism.

I grab the shoulders of the girl and tell the surprised girl.

“Do you want to leave this village?”

The girl froze for a moment at that question, but she eventually nodded.

Of course, I planned on saving this girl regardless of her answer.

But this girl is currently carrying trauma that she can’t clear away due to her life until now.

That wound will probably follow her the rest of her life if I were to forcefully save her.

She needs to win against her trauma herself in order to clear herself away from it.

I couldn’t think of a way in the time I came here.

The moment I learned that I couldn’t communicate with her, I thought I would have to do this even if forcefully.

However, she is showing her will here right now.

Is there any good method? It is not like I don’t see some faint hope here, but I would like more certainty.

“Quiet.”

I heard a voice behind me all of a sudden.

I was flustered to a degree where I felt like my heart would jump out from my mouth.

Who? Since when? Did they hear what I said just now?!

…No, this voice is…

“Don’t scare me like that, Ban-san.”

When I look back, there was Ban-sa—who?!

No, now that I look closely, it is Ban-san.

The attire of Ban-san is like that of bandits you normally see in fantasy worlds.

It looks somewhat fancier than the attire of the bandits I have seen before.

“I have come to save you. I was thinking about infiltrating the place just now, but then I heard, uhm…manly cries from here.” (Ban)

He heeaaaaaard!

It has been discovered by a close acquaintance that I was wailing despite my age!

I-I have no choice but to erase him…no, calm down. To erase the person who came all the way here to save me is…

“P-Please keep it a secret.”

“That said, Caragyugujesta-sama and the Ragudo Division are on standby outside the forest.” (Ban)

“That’s fast. Has Ilias come too?”

“Actually, Ilias-sama is suddenly off-duty… I am sure my subordinates have told her by now though…” (Ban)

That might be good in itself.

I feel like Ilias would have rushed straight on and it would have been a big ruckus right about now.

“Well then, let’s escape.” (Ban)

“No, please wait.”

I call Ban-san to a stop and tell him about the talk of the black wolfkin.

“I see, so their side is already willing to accept peace and trade… In that case, it would be better to come here tomorrow.” (Ban)

“Yeah. We will end up needing Cara-jii and the others to wait though…”

“Got it. I will go tell them to be on standby at the cave.” (Ban)

Normally, I should be leaving this village as soon as possible to bring peace of mind to Cara-jii and the others who came here in worry, but Ban-san most likely also wants to see what comes ahead of this too.

That’s why he easily accepted this proposal.

“Also, there’s something I want to request of everyone.”

“What is it?” (Ban)

“It is about this girl… Ooi, don’t be scared~.”

Speaking of which, I directed my attention at Ban-san, and I completely forgot about her.

The girl is scared of Ban-san and is trembling at the corner of the room.

“Is the bandit style not to her liking?” (Ban)

“About that…”

I tell him about her circumstances, and tell him about how I want her to separate from this village.

“Uooooooooooon!!” (Ban)

Ban-san cried.

He is a good person.

“Is that how it was? I see, I get it now. I am sure Caragyugujesta-sama will cooperate as well if I explain to him!” (Ban)

“Right. Also, there’s something I would like to confirm with you first…”

The plan I had put on reserve is looking realistic now that Ban-san has appeared.

And with the seal of approval from Ban-san, the plan will be executed tomorrow.

It is about time I return. My clothes are pretty dirty and smell terrible because I hugged her.

If I remember correctly, there was a water spot, so let’s clean myself there.

The girl looked at me when I was about to leave.

“It is okay. I will definitely free you.”

I have gotten used to taking a step back in things unconsciously since the moment living safely became a habit of mine.

I avoided standing out, and even if I moved, I took the stance of pushing someone to the front.

I am sure Cara-jii and Ban-san would be able to save this girl too.

It would actually be an option to leave it to those two if I want a higher success rate.

But I ended up thinking…

I decided on it…

I want to save this girl with none other than my own hands.

I might end up deviating from the path of living safely.

No, not really.

Choosing the path I won’t regret is also the safe choice for the stability of my heart.

That’s why, for this moment alone, I will say these words I have been trying to avoid.

I will grant you freedom.”

I emphasized myself as I promised this to her.

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