This series is rated MATURE, please make sure you are of age in your jurisdiction before reading.
This series contains scenes of GORE and VIOLENCE.
This series contains EXPLICIT SEXUAL scenes.
You have been warned.
I was in a room at an inn, drifting in and out of sleep in order to heal my wound.
The wound was deeper than I expected, the fact that it somehow didn’t reach my internal organs is probably due to my well-built muscles and high quality armor.
I coated it in medicine, ate meat, and slept.
I had already repeated that for three days since I came here, and I can finally move about a little bit.
After the battle I was half carried by Schwarz north into Arcland’s northern neighbor, the “Gordonia Kingdom”.
Gordonia is one of the prominent nations in the central plains, with a population of 1.5 million people, and possessed of a good military and economy.
In particular, the capital with the same name, “Gordonia City”, was the largest city in the central plains.
Gordonia is a country that boasts its military strength, but the border on its north is the Great Forest that marks the end of the Central Plains, with the Olga Federation on the other side — and it also shares borders with several other countries.
As for its political system, it’s a monarchy with strong feudal elements, it had powerful nobles even the King couldn’t ignore their clout.
The current King, Hybell the Second, adopted a peaceful, or to put it less flatteringly a don’t-rock-the-boat policy, which lessens tensions with the neighboring countries and stabilizes the country’s internal affairs.
I was in the Gordonia Kingdom’s capital Gordonia.
I who was on top of being wounded, rocked about on a horse, took the first inn I found and so here I am now.
The people at the inn looked at me worriedly but took a ‘don’t bother me with something troublesome’ attitude.
If Maria were here I’m sure I’d heal a lot faster.
The fourth night, when my wounds have healed to an extent, I was awakened by the sound of the floorboards creaking.
Still lying on the bed, I opened my eyes slightly and watched.
It seems I have an uninvited guest coming through the window.
Keeping the sound of their footsteps down, they rummaged through my belongings.
It was dark and I couldn’t see clearly, but they looked petite, maybe a child or a small woman.
“My purse isn’t there you know”
Moonlight shone on the small shadow, and the face it revealed was of a young girl barely past 10 years old, her hair was an unusual silver, though a bit dulled.
She sprung up and took alert by the window.
I rose slowly to my feet.
Seems the pain in my stomach was not so much that I couldn’t withstand.
The girl took out a 10 cm long knife from her breast pocket.¹
Looks like she means to rob me even if it meant killing me, now that she’s been noticed.
¹ «TN: the inside pocket where you usually see people store a bag of coins in medieval settings»
“You’re about right for rehabilitation… come here”
The girl silently brought herself down and lunged.
That was an unexpectedly fast and sharp lunge.
She looks like she’s got a rather good knack for fighting.
Even an adult would end up having their throat sliced if they don’t pay attention.
I knocked the girl’s knife down while thinking, and pushed her down on the bed.
She struggled but now without her knife, she had no way of pushing me, with a better physical build, aside.
I was thinking I’d do her right then and there, but she’s a little too young.
I don’t find it enjoyable to rape children.
I pressed the girl’s hands down and talked.
I haven’t had the chance to talk with a woman lately, I might have been a little thirsty.
“What’s your name? Why did you sneak in?”
I already know why, but it’s still a topic to talk about, so I asked.
“You can at least talk, can’t you? Or would you rather keep silent and I take you to the guards?”
“Soot? Your name is Soot?”
The girl nodded, that’s not a proper name.
“‘Cause my hair is covered in soot, target is money”
Straight to the point.
“Why do you need money?”
“It was an order”
Ooh? Now this is getting interesting.
“By whom? and what for?”
“By Miguel. Says I have to bring money”
This girl seems to be a slave of this “Miguel”.
Kidnapped when she was young, made to do all kinds of crime, and hand over the money.
“You never questioned the way you lived until now?”
A life of theft and burglary.
I shouldn’t be saying anything about how others live their lives.
But the girl said “It was an order so there’s no helping it”, which rubs me the wrong way.
I was maybe seeing my younger self in her.
“If I don’t bring back money I don’t get food. I get beaten”
Using the money the girl earns for herself.
Or maybe choosing a different lifestyle.
Neither of those probably ever crossed her mind.
People won’t think they can choose for themselves unless someone taught them to.
“Do you believe you’re living a good life now? Have you ever want to eat something better than you are, or do something you like?”
“I don’t know, but I can’t do that…”
“You can, you just think you can’t. Use your head and think. It’s not about can or can’t. It’s about want or don’t want”
“Is there any other way to live for me?”
“There is. There are infinite ways to live. You just couldn’t see them”
The girl fell silent.
“Do you want me to rape you here now?”
“No. Don’t want”
“Good. Then push me away. If you can’t then try to talk me out of it. You can also scream.”
“…….. You’re telling me to fight?”
“If you want to”
As I got up from the bed the girl jumped and rolled towards the window.
I threw a steel knife and it stuck a few centimeters from her head.
Unlike the one the girl took out earlier, it was 30 cm long, a knife for killing people.
“I’m giving you that. Think and choose for yourself, will you come at me again with it, will you sell it off for money, or will you use it to break the chains that bind you”
The girl held the knife in silence for a while, but she then left through the window just like how she came.
Doesn’t look like she chose to come at me again.
If I were to be careless now I’d be done for if she picked up the courage to come here again.
While I thought that I closed my eyes.
…… that girl probably never took a bath, ever.
The bed stank where I pushed her down.
When I was about to fall asleep, the window opened again with a creak.
I was surprised that she’d come again, but unlike before, she made no attempt to hide herself, her footsteps loud and clear.
Otherwise, I who had totally let my guard down probably wouldn’t have noticed.
“What’s wrong….. I see, you chose that, did you…”
The girl looked just like before, she was holding the knife I gave her drawn.
The difference is that she was covered from head to toe in blood, the knife was also bloody.
“You cut the chains?”
“The chains…. crumblier than I thought”
She cut away the chains that bound her.
But there’s just one problem.
“Why did you come back to me?”
“I don’t know anyone else. So I want to ask”
“Am I worth anything? Do you want me?”
She doesn’t know enough words and cut straight to the chase.
But her feelings went through to me.
“Of course. You moved very well, but most of all, as a cute girl you’d have some value”
“I see. Then I want you to rule me”
“You were the one who taught me to resist, to choose”
“What’s that got to do with rule?”
“I broke the way I live until now. Your responsibility to teach me a new one”
That’s not how it works.
Or so I thought, but well, yeah, it was me who incited her to destroy her way of life.
I don’t mind taking her in, but there’s one thing on my mind.
“Isn’t that totally no different from how you lived until now?”
There’s no meaning to breaking your chains if you’re getting new ones.
“Not the same”
She spoke in a clear tone.
“You ruling me. Me living with you. That is my own will. My own choice. Choosing to be ruled by someone, isn’t it choosing my own way of life?”
The girl chose to wind the chains and fasten the lock on herself.
Then all is well.
She’ll come to know the world one day, I can release her lock when she wants to fly away.
I’ll keep her nearby until then.
I’ll also raise her and have a little taste afterwards.
“I don’t plan on staying here. You might even die if you come with me”
I thought about threatening her a little, but the girl no longer had any doubt.
“I don’t mind. Here is the same. I want to follow you. I want to go where you go”
I offered my hand.
My intent was a handshake, but the girl knelt and gave my hand a kiss.
Seems like this is what she means by rule.
“Then I will obey you…. umm”
I told her the ‘-sama’ isn’t needed but she won’t hear of it.
“You’re teaching me how to live and letting me stay with you. Saying -sama is obvious”, she says.
It doesn’t sit right with me to have others obeying me but I gave up since this is what she herself wanted.
“So what’s your name?”
“That’s not a proper name”
Does anyone ever even gave anyone a name like that.
“Other than soot, there’s ‘you’ or ‘this kid'”
None of them are actual names.
“Those aren’t people names. ….. Okay, from today on your name is “Celia”, you’re Celia”
“Celia…. Celia…. from today I’m Celia”
The girl muttered Celia, Celia several times, as if savoring the taste.
It’s actually the name of a girl I bought meat from before but let’s not mention that.
She had a set of top of the line huge chests. If I wasn’t injured I would’ve tried courting her.
The name comes with a prayer that your chest will grow that big, so don’t think badly of me.
I thought the conversation was over, but Celia seems to still have something to say.
“What will I be to you?”
“Hm? What do you mean?”
“How will Aegir-sama be ruling me? A mistress? A slave?”
She wants to know where she stands, she’s serious about the weird things.
‘Mistress’ is interesting but Celia needs to grow a little.
Her height didn’t even reach my chest, so it’ll be impossible to even enjoy her attending to me at night.
That said, unlike Carla and Mireille she doesn’t give of the feeling of a ‘companion’.
“You’ll be my follower. You will do as I say, and be of use to me. In return I’ll be looking after you”
“Follower……. very well. I’ll do my best”
She spoke politely.
That seems to be the image of ‘follower’ in Celia’s mind.
“Then I’ll give you your orders right away”
Celia stood straight.
“Go fetch water from the well! Wash yourself with that! Don’t forget your hair!”
It’s going to be winter soon and a bath would be a little painful but she’s too filthy.
I’ll ask for hot water in the morning and thoroughly wash her then.
Celia’s clean silver hair will be really beautiful.