Chapter 18 – The Hero will help a bit 2
「Such wonderful clothes, is it really alright for me to wear them?」
With the streets of the Royal Capital dyed with the evening sun, Minnalis had changed from wearing her old rags, which, as slave clothing, only had holes to fit one’s head and arms, to wearing light clothes from a thrift store.
Though Minnalis said they were wonderful, in truth, it was only slightly better than what people casually wear.
So Minnalis meant that it was better than the slave clothes she had been wearing, not that she was incredibly happy because they were wonderful. Incidentally, I had also changed into clothes suitable for a regular townsfolk.
「It’s fine because you are beautiful. In this country, we need to hide your ears and tail because grandly displaying those will only attract trash nobles and random idiots.」
I remembered something unpleasant, so I just spat out what was on my mind.
Slaves are generally treated as “things.”
Therefore, when trash nobles see “good things” next to commoners, they try to forcibly make them their own to show off their money and power. There are also those who abused their own power to extort money and acting like hoodlums.
During the first run-through, I had disputes with low-lives like that who were only out to satisfy their own greed. At that time, I met an aristocrat who didn’t even try to hide his greed yet was really good at saving his own neck.
Returning to the conversation, said hoodlums rarely frequent the main street, so there will be few problems. However, if we get involved with the nobles, that will be a problem. Starting a fight which would make us stand out is out of the question. I prefer to be less conspicuous.
Thanks to the forceful recovery from the potion, the pitiful bruises all over her body vanished. Her black eye vanished as well. Her cheeks might be hollow, but ignoring that unhealthy look, she was still on a level of considerable beauty.
Even without the prejudice towards beastkin, if her being a slave was exposed, the possibility of being entangled with nobles was still quite high.
「…… Beautiful? I am… beautiful?! Kufu~, Kufufufu~」
「Hmm? What’s wrong? Are there any adverse effects from using the potions to forcibly heal yourself?」
Suddenly, Minnalis stopped walking, and turned her face away while trembling, then spoke in a low voice.
Since HP potions restore the body’s vitality, in the same vein, willpower is restored with MP potions. So “stamina” is also recovered. However, Minnalis’ weakened condition was not an abnormal state caused by magic or poison, it was instead due to being exposed to a harsh environment. It was not something that can simply be removed with potions.
To recover from this weakness, one needs to sleep well and eat nutritious food. Otherwise, the weakness from this abnormal state will continue. Incidentally, a beastkin with advanced physical abilities can recover from this weakened state in a mere three days.
「Sorry, but please endure until we reach the item shop. Even if an abnormal status potion is ineffective, it will become a little easier with a relief potion to reduce the effects. We cannot relax until we leave town.」
Even if I said to drink a potion, its effects were varied.
For example, there are ones that recover HP and MP, ones that temporarily raises one’s status, ones that decrease one’s status instead, ones that nullify abnormal states for a fixed period of time, ones that assist skills by strengthening senses, and ones that have some combination of those effects.
Among the potions concerning abnormal statuses, medicine that targets the source and helps one recover from said abnormal statuses belong to the 『Recovery system』, and those help weaken the effects of abnormal statuses. Potions of the 『Relief system』 on the other hand, are more like first-aid.
In her current state, potions from the relief system should be effective on Minnalis. It is only a symptomatic treatment, but it should be able to take effect quite easily.
Or so I was thinking, but Minnalis shook her head as if to say that she was all right.
「No, my body is not in a bad enough state where a potion is necessary. Sure, I do feel a little heavy, but it seems killing those goblins were treated as if I defeated them, so I leveled up. With that, I should be fine within a day.」
Saying that, Minnalis showed a thin smile. But her expression was different, her delicate face reddened.
Sure, something was definitely a little off, but it didn’t seem like she would accept the potion either way.
This is bad, do I have to force her to drink one again? And while thinking that, I tried to match Minnalis’ pace as we walked.
While we were walking I was worried about Minnalis as she seemed to be restless. Certainly, only that much doesn’t seem to be a problem. As usual, she showed a perfect smile when she turned her face my way. Although her complexion hasn’t returned to normal, it doesn’t seem to hinder her very much.
Because we can’t rest immediately after leaving town, we’ll have to use a relief potion as expected, and while thinking that it was better to buy a little bit more, we stopped by an item shop.
There, we bought some low-grade HP potions, MP potions, every type of relief potion for status abnormality recovery, food and water to last us a few days, and a large amount of seasonings.
「Here, a relief potion for your weakened status. Drink it.」
「N-no, I’m fine. I can’t take something that expensive.」
「… Just drink it. Don’t give me extra work.」
Sure enough, since Minnalis didn’t want to take the potion, I ordered as her master for the first time.
I didn’t use the slave crest to compel the weakened Minnalis. In the first place, using pain to make somebody obey is something I absolutely despised. However, since it will be troubling if she resists, I narrowed my eyes a little, lowered my voice, and more or less coerced her in a serious manner.
Now that Minnalis has become my accomplice and has shared desires of revenge with me, she should not be afraid of such coercion that lacks even a fragment of hostility; I want to believe that what I asserted was somewhat out of dignity.
「I am really sorry. I will drink it.」
Finally, Minnalis received the potion. It’s not much, but Minnalis looked somewhat awed while drinking it.
For the time being, I checked Minnalis’ status, and what was written on the weakened status has changed. Its effects had decreased from a half to a third. Though her complexion again turned red, it seemed to me that walking to our next destination will pose no issue.
The next store we went to was a weapons and armor shop.
I’m fine because I can fight with the soul sword, but it was necessary to buy a weapon for Minnalis and armor for both of us.
Due to the nature of a beastkin’s magical power, it’s probably best for Minnalis to specialize in close-range combat. That said, there’s no need for her to fight unarmed.
Even without the beastkin’s status, the unique skill Minnalis had obtained, just by looking at its name, was obviously one that inflicts an abnormal condition. Since that’s the case, it seems a lot better to use it in combination with slashing-centric swords rather than striking-centric fists.
「Minnalis, do you know how to use any weapons?」
Even though she didn’t obtain any other skills, I thought that there may be room for her to learn skills with weapons considering that she had an affinity for a Unique Skill. Though I said unarmed, there are other options like using a talon too. There are many ways to fight, so I want to choose an easy-to-use weapon for starters.
「Um, about that, I only somewhat learned how to swing one from playing with the adventurers who came to the village while escorting merchants… I’m really sorry.」
「Hm? It’s not really something you need to apologize for. It’s fine because you can still learn. In the first place, I didn’t buy you because you are already strong. It was enough that you satisfied the requirements that I wanted from an accomplice.」
With that, they reached the Weapons and Armor shop.
The store, which was close to the border between the main streets and the slums, had a motley—read as ratty—but still warm appearance, and it had a sign out front that was carved from wood with “Rishall Weapons and Armor” written on it.
「Hm, oh, welcome! I’m sorry, but I’m closing soon. You won’t have much time to look around, so how about tomorrow…」
There was an apprentice looking after the shop at the storefront.
Certainly, night was approaching with the sun starting to set. Stores still open were starting to turn on their lights.
「No, we have already decided on what we want. We won’t be long since we’re not after anything special, and we need it before the day is over.」
「If that’s the case… Old man!! There are some customers!!」
Minnalis curiously looked around the shop while the boy who had been instructed to close loudly called for the store owner.
「Haaa!? Send them away! Whether they want weapons or armor, if they take their time choosing, we wouldn’t be able to eat our dinner!」
「Seems that they already decided on what to buy!!」
「Then shouldn’t you just sell it!? Once you’re done, hurry up and close the store!!」
The old store owner seemed to be working at the back of the shop. The boy that had been yelling turned around and came to ask us.
「Then, what did you want?」
「Two sets of armor for beginner adventurers, four sets of repair tools, and also regular longswords and sheaths. And please pick out ten appropriate ones.」
「That many? I’m sorry, but do you have enough money?」
The boy glanced at me in doubt. To afford what we had just requested, we needed more than an average person’s monthly salary(roughly two large silver coins). It’s obvious that he doubted us since we currently looked like commoners.
Next to Minnalis, I felt a hint of anger rising within her, so in order to hold it down, I decided to speak up first.
「Don’t worry, here.」
As I said that, I took out one gold coin from a bag and showed it to him, and upon seeing it, the boy was then stared in shock and apologized.
「Is that… gold?! I-I’m sorry, I’ve said something ru-, something rude…」
「Yes, I just had some money come in recently, so my purse is a little heavy. I’m neither a noble, nor do I work for someone wealthy. So please don’t worry about it.」
He probably misunderstood and thought that I was working for an aristocrat or someone wealthy when he saw me take out a gold coin (Though my clothes shouldn’t have given that impression).
There were, of course, people who maliciously used the influence of their proprietors. If you took the wrong approach to them, you would be set in the sights of said nobles or wealthy men; it was well-known for the normal townsfolk to not get on their bad sides.
I jokingly said that and the boy sighed in relief as the atmosphere inside seemed to have loosened up.
「Ah, still, I’m sorry for doubting you. I will bring everything out right away. Two sets of armor for beginner adventurers, four sets of repair tools, and ten regular longswords and sheaths, right?」
「Right, then please.」
The boy hurriedly brought the necessary items from inside the store and placed them on top of the counter.
「Here, two sets of armor, four sets of repair tools, and ten regular longswords and sheaths. Five silver coins are two large silver coins and two large copper coins is four… seven, no, eight after that is one silver and five big coppers. So… O-ow!? That hurts!! 」
With a dull sound, the boy was struck in the head by a brusque fist while he was desperately calculating the value of the coins.
「How long are you going to take? A calculation like that should be done immediately you moron!」
「Even so, hitting me won’t do anything!! If you hit me too much, I might become even dumber, you know!!」
「Are you arguing with me, you stupid brat!?」
A really slow, old-fashioned blacksmith emerged from further inside the shop.
He had a rough-looking muscular body with a stern face and had a beard which was probably caused by the dwarven genes that constituted a quarter of his blood.
「Customer, was there anything else you required?」
It only showed a little, but Minnalis was perceptive enough to notice the fragments of both happiness and sadness from the befuddled emotions I somehow showed.
Because of me, these two were put to death by the princess in my first run-through. During the first time, the princess had hidden country’s absolute contempt towards people other than their own from me. I had mentioned their dwarven heritage in passing, and it seems that they were killed without my knowledge.
At that time, I wholly believed that they only returned to their hometown as the princess had told me.
In the first place, other than a dwarf’s small physique and beard, they didn’t have any other defining characteristics. In addition, because of how diluted their dwarven blood was, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate the shopkeeper and his son from regular humans.
At how dumbfounded I was, the princess sneered at me, saying that it was all thanks to me that she was able to discover them which saved her the trouble of finding the hidden trash.
In truth, I knew it was better not to go here. Even so, I couldn’t not confirm the existence of the two of them.
I also understood that it was just my cheap sentiments, but if at that time they were alive, if they went against everyone and did not turn into my enemies, I would know that, at the very least, they did not betray me last time.
I deeply resented this country, but it was obviously my fault that I was betrayed and got them killed in the previous run-through. So the idea of apologizing swelled within me.
That emotion swelled in great amounts. It seemed that the shared thirst for vengeance was why Minnalis sensed this. In the first place, I did not know if Minnalis was that sensitive in that regard.
「Hm, no, nothing.」
I answered with a single phrase as I shook my head.
「According to what’s on the table, it’s a total of two large silver coins, five silver coins, and eight large copper coins. The armor made of hide has a fastener used to adjust the size. If it does not fit you, you can pay for it to be adjusted for one silver coin. I wonder why you wanted to buy ten long swords, but if the swords are damaged beyond repair, then those repair kits will be rendered useless. If that does happen, it can still be roughly restored for one silver coin. Aside from that, do you want to hear anything else?」
「No, it’s fine. Can we put on the armor here? Anyhow, we have no other places to go to and we’re also carrying a baggage, you see.」
I said, as I placed the last gold coin on the table and received large silver coins and regular silver coins as change.
「I don’t mind. If you don’t know how to do it, shall I teach you?」
「I already know how so it should be fine. And I can teach her too. It shouldn’t be that hard.」
The sets of armor composed of average hide armor plus waist armor while the leggings and the gauntlets were made of iron along with the same hide.
After quickly putting mine on, I helped Minnalis wear whatever she didn’t know how to equip.
Though the shopkeeper and attendant wanted to help, Minnalis refused. It’s not like the illusion would cease to function when disturbed, but it’s still better to prevent being found out regardless.
I didn’t think that this father and son will change just from that, but it was better for them to not know. They were really friendly, and I believe that even if they knew about our circumstances, they wouldn’t turn into our enemies.
「Uhh… My Lo-… Kaito-san, the chest, it’s a little tight.」
「Ah. Not good. It seems I’ve put more force than necessary.」
While thinking about some things, I unintentionally tightened her armor too much. And her large breasts were emphasized by the pressure.
In my confusion, I loosened my grip, and from the side, the shopkeeper patted my shoulder and raised his thumb with his other hand.
「Shut up you perverted old man!! Your son is in front of you so restrain yourself!!」
「??? What did you say? What did you say was in front of me?」
[Deus Ex: Penis joke? If you watched enough Gintama you will realize that Kaito used the word musuko 息子 = son, given a different meaning by the shopkeeper むすこ = penis then.]
Even in front of his son, he’s still the same as the one from the first run-through, a self-destructing old man. That’s why I was able to quickly get on friendly terms with him, but if not for this, his good points as a perfectly cool blacksmith regrettably need to be thoroughly reviewed.
Finally, Minnalis’ equipment was put in order, and out of the ten swords, Minnalis equipped two of them. The rest were to be brought bound with a cord.
「I’m sorry for intruding on you while you were closing up shop. Ah, right, as recompense, I’ll give you an advice. I still don’t know the reason, but the price for antidotes might suddenly rise from now on, so if you can, try to stock up on those.」
「Hm, is that so? I will take it to heart then.」
「Haha, well if that’s the case, then good… By the way, I’m sorry for the first run-through.」
「Huh? What are you talking about?」
「No, it’s nothing. Just setting something straight. Well then, stay in good health.」
I said so to the shopkeeper who had a strange look on his face, then took Minnalis with me out the shop. Outside, the sun had almost set.
「I will carry the bags since I am a slave.」
「No, we don’t want you to be found out as a slave.」
「Even if it’s not as a slave, I still want to at least carry things…」
「No, having a girl carry heavy luggage while I stay empty-handed will be too conspicuous. Besides, I will carry the bags while you’ll be carrying the food. That should be good already.」
Minnalis looked a little troubled after I said that, but I ignored it.
I need to help her remove that part of her thinking about always looking at our relationship as master and slave. I’d be troubled if she stayed thinking she’s below me forever.
Minnalis wasn’t just a slave, she was my accomplice, the same level as someone to discuss plans with. It will trouble me if she became a pawn who only did what she was told.
All the more after that magnificent display of revenge. We’ll just have to keep adjusting our sense of distance from here on to maintain it.
「Anyway, this means we have everything we need. Watch your surroundings; we’re leaving town.」 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2020 So Far