I keep having the feeling I’m forgetting something ~.~
No idea what it is though =T
Anyway! Enjoy the chapter~! ❤
*Donations are at 2/50$ ^^
Chapter 2, Episode 3: Zorosta*
(TL note: Kanji provided is “demons” or “demon tribe”.)
Imperial Year 1023, July 14.
Having arrived in Links, Hiro visited Margrave Grinda’s mansion.
This is Hiro’s second visit here. This time, he is shown to a guest room on the first floor.
The room is surrounded by walls on all four sides, and from the window on the west side, you can look down on the north district where the upper class citizens reside.
It can be gathered from the figures of people that those who evacuated have returned.
Now that the flames of war have been extinguished, it seems the town is slowly gaining back its prosperity.
Looking back into the room, Hiro is sitting on a soft, springy sofa.
Sitting across across a table from him, is Margrave Grinda with his impressive beard. Standing behind him is Kult von Tarmie, the man who took care of Hiro during his last visit.
He regularly serves as Margrave Grinda’s aide, and is also the steward of the mansion who supervises all its employees.
「Going to the Imperial capital by stagecoach you say…」
Said Margrave Grinda.
After gulping down some black tea brought by a maid, he smiles.
「I’ll prepare one right away. When do you plan to leave?」
「I’d like to leave today if possible…」
「Are you in that much of a hurry? I don’t think there’s a problem with you resting for one day.」
「There’s something else I’d like to do quickly, too…」
It’s best to gain some distance from that woman, even if only a little.
If she’s coming after him, there’s a chance that Margrave Grinda might get involved.
(… But that was a presence I’ve felt somewhere before.)
Seeing Hiro lost in thought, Margrave Grinda narrows his eyes and looks as if he’s probing for something.
But he soon smiled and lightly clapped his hands.
「Kult, bring me a pen and parchment.」
Kult bows, exits the door to the hallway, and turns back around.
After bowing once more, he quietly closed the door and disappeared.
After watching him leave, Margrave Grinda began to rummage through his breast pocket.
「Now… even if you use an express coach, it takes five days to reach the Imperial capital. You can’t possible go that long without any food or drink, now can you?」
Margrave Grinda placed a plain bag on the table.
「Use this to buy food and water.」
「No, I can’t have you do all this for me…」
He received just a small amount of funds from Tris for his journey.
Eight silver dratz coins.
It’s not enough to keep him in luxury, but it’s plenty for him to reach the Imperial capital.
No matter how you look at it, you can tell the small bag which Margrave Grinda pulled out was even more than that.
As he tried to refuse politely, Margrave Grinda reached his hands out.
「No, no, there’s no need to hold back. You’ve done a lot for us. And most of all, I also owe you a debt for saving my precious niece. I don’t think this is enough to repay you, but how about it? Won’t you accept it?」
Though Margrave Grinda wore a kind expression, his eyes showed that he had no intention whatsoever of giving in.
It seems it will turn into an argument otherwise, so he decides it’s best to just accept his good will.
「… Thank you very much.」
Hiro bowed his head, then put the small bag into the pocket of his uniform.
Margrave Grinda watched him looking pleased, but then…
「And if I consider how you’ll be climbing the social ladder, it’s not a bad idea to take care of you while I can.」
Unbecoming of a gentleman, he wore an expression which clearly exposed his ulterior motive.
Seeing that, Hiro strains a smile.
「I will do my best to meet your expectations.」
「Haha, I’ll be waiting with high hopes.」
At that moment, Kult returned. He places a pen, ink, and parchment before Margrave Grinda.
Margrave Grinda smoothly moves his pen in a way to suggest he is not new to this.
「Hand this to the stagecoach attendant.」
Because the ink was not yet dry, he handed him the parchment as is.
「I’ll prepare the fastest coach. The ride will be that much more uncomfortable though.」
The road which the stagecoach runs on is mainly managed by the country and is called the Imperial Way.
Other than being regularly maintained, there are rest areas at fixed distances, and there are stalls at each one which sell food and water.
There are forts in the vicinity of each rest stop and guards are constantly on patrol so that they are not attacked by bandits or monsters. This allows for safe journeys, which the citizens appreciate.
「Be careful out there.」
Hiro heads for the station after being seen off by Margrave Grinda.
Although the sun is glaring down and baking his skin, a cool, refreshing breeze gently caresses him.
While walking away from the mansion, he spots the shiryu which brought him this far.
It looks like it’s cooling off in the shade, so he leaves without calling out to it.
He must rely on the shiryu’s aid once more when he returns from the Imperial capital.
(I need it to rest up until then.)
After passing through a metal gate with white walls on either side, he climbs down a slope and enters the north district where the upper class resides.
From there, he passes by the relay station, turns the corner at the bar which is bustling with excitement from the victory the other day, and heads north.
He comes out into an open area, and a tall fence surrounding a lawn comes flying into view.
Within the fence were dozens of sturdy horses being raised for use with the coaches.
A short distance from there is a large station with a roof of logs painted red.
(The Imperial capital, huh… I’m sure a lot has changed from a 1,000 years ago.)
A visit to the Imperial capital after a 1,000 years.
Back then, it was still called the royal capital. He’s excited to see how it’s changed since then.
Hiro felt his heart racing from the anticipation.
Territory of the Lichtein Dukedom.
There is a port city called Ilnis at its southern tip.
It’s a port city bustling with fishermen from the large bounty of seafood harvested there. However, there is also bloodlust mixed in the atmosphere.
Reason being that there are boats with slaves from various countries which come to Ilnis.
A little ways off from the port where many of the slave ships drop anchor, there is a coast where the fishermen land their boats.
In front of a rest area set up on a rocky space, there were some fishermen having a conversation with gloomy faces.
「That’s what I thought. You can’t pick a fight with the Grantz Grand Empire.」
「That’s right. Sure enough, the heir to the duke family and their third son ended up dying.」
「Even if we’re at the southern tip, if the Grantz Grand Empire comes for revenge, we might be in danger.」
「Even after having his first and third sons die, it seems like the duke is still planning to attack the empire.」
「How stupid. Does he have to die to learn…?」
A voice interrupted the fishermen who were dejected about their futures.
「Someone, grab that girl!」
A plump, well dressed man dripping with sweat is running across the beach.
The man had his sights on a dark-skinned young girl.
「Again,」 the fishermen said as they dropped their shoulders and sighed to each other as they shook their heads.
This isn’t an unusual scene at all.
This is because slaves who are sold off, or citizens who are stripped of their citizenship, run away from slave traders from time to time.
That dark-skinned young girl is probably another one of those cases.
「Want to grab her?」
「All those slave traders do is argue. They won’t give us any money.」
「Forget it. Let’s get some booze for now and watch the show.」
「Then my money’s on her getting away—」
As they began to place their bets, the slave trader yelled out.
「I-If you catch her, I’ll give you 20 silver dratz coins! But don’t hurt her!」
The expressions on the fishermen change.
「Alright, I’ll catch her and buy you guys some drinks.」
「My wife wants new clothes.」
「Anyway, let’s go catch her.」
As each man said their piece, they scrambled to be the first to grab her. They soon catch up to the young girl.
Being used to the beach and moving quickly, the three fishermen soon surrounded the young girl.
The young girl spoke while her face twisted in fear.
「P-Please… step aside.」
「Sorry. Our livelihood’s are on the line here, too.」
「What a waste. You probably would’ve grown into quite a fine woman, too.」
Having become a slave, the young girl would not see adulthood.
This is because most are unable to withstand their cruel lives and they die before they do.
But they’re still treated the same way.
In the end, they’re slaves. If they die, the owner simply buys another one.
「Haa… Haa… Haa… Damn slave, giving me all this trouble!」
The frog-faced slave trader finally caught up.
He recklessly grabs the young girl’s hair.
He pushes her onto the beach and stomps down on her head.
The beach with the sun blazing down on it is not a place to run on bare feet.
Even the fishermen are wearing sandals.
Without a doubt, anyone would struggle if they had their face pressed against that sand.
But with the slave trader who was five times her size, there was no way the powerless young girl could escape the heat.
「The next time you run away, I’ll kill you! Remember that!」
「Hey, hey, weren’t you the one who told us not to hurt her…?」
The fishermen stare at the slave trader with shocked faces.
「Hmph, it’s fine if it’s me. Just me.」
「If you say so. We caught her, so hand over the reward.」
One of the fishermen holds his hand out.
The edges of the slave trader’s mouth broadened into a grin.
「I’m the one who caught her, so there should be no reward, right?」
「Wha, you bastard! You tricked us!」
「I didn’t trick you. The deal was if you caught her.」
「Don’t give us that!」
The fisherman tried to grab the slave trader’s collar, but his friend stopped him.
「His mercenaries are here.」
A number of figures appeared in the direction of the rocky area from which the slave trader came.
They are likely mercenaries under his employ. There are seven of them.
In their hands were weapons such as axes, swords and spears, and they had on light armor which was rusted in a number of spots.
Seeing the fisherman’s anger die out, the slave trader wore a victorious expression on his face.
「What happened to all that vigor you just had? Hmm?」
There are many instances for a slave trader where problems must be settled with violence.
Except for one group of slave traders, most employed mercenaries.
The fisherman who tried to grab him grit his teeth in frustration.
The mercenaries, who give off the impression that they’re familiar with battle, intimidate the fishermen from behind the slave trader.
Among them, one man wore an expensive looking armor. He looked at each fisherman one by one and sneered.
Then, he glanced at the young girl with the foot on her head and spoke to the slave trader.
「Looks like you caught the escaped slave.」
「Yeah, though if you bastards chased after her, I wouldn’t have had to get involved with these petty fisherman.」
「Hey, hey, our job is to guard you, right bossman? Chasing slaves is outside of our agreement.」
「That’s why I hate you bastards. You never do anything that isn’t written on the contract.」
「But that’s why we’re here. To do our jobs according to the contract.」
Ignoring the puzzled slave trader, three of the mercenaries shot off a sharp gaze toward the fishermen.
「We just need to kill these sturdy looking guys here, right?」
The faces of the fishermen instantly turned pale, but the slave trader smacked the mercenaries and stopped them.
「Don’t be stupid. How much do you think it would cost me to kill these three? I don’t mind if you’re okay with a lower pay though.」
「Don’t say that. Not a single problem’s come up until now. Honestly speaking, it’s disappointing. Our skills are going to become dull at this rate.」
The mercenary wraps a thick arm around the slave trader and smirks.
「You want this cheeky lot to die too, don’t you?」
「Well… I do, but…」
「If you get a reputation for being looked down on by commoners, it may be difficult for you to conduct your business in the future. Let’s kill them.」
「And you can hardly say the soldiers in Ilnis are passionate about their work. If you let them get their hands on some money, they’ll probably overlook it.」
「… Then in exchange, put on a show for me.」
「Hahaha, I like you bossman. Leave it to me. What do you want me to lop off first?」
「Start with the arms.」
After the slave trader’s last statement, the mercenary unsheathed the sword hanging off his waist.
The other mercenaries also ready their weapons in their hands.
「So, that’s the request from our client. Guess I’ll be taking your arms.」
「G-Get out of here!」
As one of the fishermen yelled out, a shadow suddenly appeared from behind him.
The mercenary said in a befuddled voice. Apparently, the fishermen notice him too and turned around startled.
「Hey, move it.」
The mercenary pushed the bewildered fisherman away and approached the large man who suddenly appeared.
「Who are you, bastard?」
『… Hmm… That’s a meager body. Are you human?』
The large man who appeared was even taller than the mercenary, who was looking up at him.
「What are you saying? What language is that?」
『So— this really is Soleil*.』
(TL note: I’m not sure if this is what the author was going for, but this is apparently the Japanese pronunciation for the French word “soleil”, meaning “sun”.)
The man brushed his bangs up in an irritated manner to assuage the heat.
A small, purple crystal shows itself, and reflects the light from the sun.
『The Grantz language was commonplace on the central continent, if I remember correctly.』
「… Hey, big boy, are you listening?」
『Sorry. How is this? Do you understand me?』
The large man spoke the Grantz language with a heavy accent.
「Are you from the Empire, you bastard?」
『Do I look human to you?』
The mercenary furrows his brows and observes the man. After a while, his lips stiffen.
「… Don’t tell me…」
A race with light purple skin, and bodies well endowed beyond humans.
He comes to an answer derived from seeing the small, purple crystal embedded in his forehead.
「Are you a zorosta?!」
「What did you say?!」
The one who spoke up in surprise was the slave trader.
「Hey, I’ll raise your pay threefold, so capture him!」
A 1,000 years ago, there was a country of zorostas which conquered the central continent.
In order to oppose the zorostas who were increasing their sphere of influence, the four races of humans, dwarves, elves, and anthros created an alliance. At the end of an intense war, they succeeded in destroying the zorostas’ country.
However, although the country fell, they were unable to eradicate the zorostas.
After the war, it is said that they crossed over to Ambyssion, an archipelago located south of the central continent, in order to escape persecution.
Because an angry sea doesn’t allow anyone to enter that place, there is no way to confirm whether or not that is true as of now.
However, it’s not that all the zorostas crossed over to the archipelago. A considerable number of them still exist on the central continent.
「Currently, they’re under the protection of the Empire, so it’s hard to see them on the slave market. Even if they do, they’re mixed dregs whose zorosta blood is weak. Its questionable whether they can even be considered zorostas. But looking at this guy, I think the zorosta blood is strong in him. If I sold him off as a slave, I’d more than make a fortune!」
To the northeast of the Grantz Grand Empire, there is a country called the Revering Kingdom.
Although it’s a country which was founded by zorostas in order to save their brethren from persecution, currently, they are a vassal state of the Grantz Grand Empire under the pretext of being under its protection.
「Bossman, now that I know that, threefold is too little. There’s a chance this guy’s a pure blood who isn’t mixed with any other race. Unless we get at least five times the pay—」
Before the mercenary is able to finish speaking, his body split right in two.
His entrails scatter all over the beach and a grating sound jolts the eardrums of the humans.
「Eek!」 A quiet scream flies out from the throats of the fishermen.
The large man had a large sword gripped in his hand.
『Really now… talking about slaves and money so arbitrarily. I guess all countries are the same. Do you think you lot can capture me when you don’t even understand the difference in our strengths?』
After seeing their comrade murdered, the other mercenaries each lunge at the large man with their weapons.
With one swing, three mercenaries went flying and their guts splattered all over the beach as their lives came to an end.
Seeing this, perhaps the remaining three mercenaries gathered they were no match for him, because they exchanged glances and turned their backs.
「H-Hey, wait! Don’t you bastards want your pay?!」
The slave trader yelled toward their backs as the mercenaries race across the beach.
「Our lives are more important than money! We’re not going up against a monster like that!」
「Wha, and you bastards call yourselves mercenaries?!」
『You’re not getting away.』
The large man put one knee on the ground and clapped his hands together.
The sand rose up, entwined the legs of the mercenaries, and toppled them over.
「What is this?!」
「There’s something on our legs…」
The mercenaries fell, and a cloud of sand rose up before their eyes.
A large sword cut through the cloud and beheaded two mercenaries.
A vast amount of blood paints the beach red.
『Humans… truly are weak.』
The large man crushed the head of the last mercenary with his foot.
「S-Someone save us!」
The fishermen run away, but the zorosta does not chase after them.
He trampled over the corpses of the mercenaries, placed his large sword on his back, and walked toward the slave trader.
「I’ll give you ten times their pay. Won’t you become my merce-ahh!」
His disgusting face is covered by the large man’s hand, and the slave trader’s legs were dangling in midair.
Below his feet is the dark-skinned young girl. Her face is bright red and she’s unconscious.
The zorosta took a glance at her, then turned his cold eyes towards the slave trader writhing in agony.
『… An irredeemable fool.』
Blood came gushing out from the slave trader’s eyes, nose, mouth, ears, basically every hole he had.
Even though the blood which flew out from between his fingers landed on his face, the zorosta’s expression did not change.
He gropes around the slave trader’s breast pocket, takes out a number of small bags, and tosses them away.
He kneels beside the dark-skinned young girl.
『Starting over again doesn’t seem like a bad idea…』
The large man sympathetically touched her red, swollen cheek, and affectionately lifted the young girl up.
『It’s a life that was once lost. It doesn’t sound bad to test my powers here and see to what extent they’re effective.』
With the young girl in his arms, the zorosta began to walk aimlessly along the beach.