Extra chapter thanks to my Patreons~ I’ll try to release another chapter as well by this month if I have the time to. 🙂
Chapter 38: Reunion with Ademi
Al, who had remained in the shop.
Flanking him were two subordinates of Guard Captain Moen, in charge of guarding and accompanying him.
Nobody said a word as the sound of rain hitting the roof echoed in the shop.
The plan was to capture the attackers who attack Lit in disguise as Al and drag them here to hand them over to the Guards.
There was no guarantee that she would really be attacked but Red said that the possibility was high.
Red should be following Lit from a distance as a back-up in the event that something unexpected happened.
And so those two Guards were in the shop.
Suddenly, the handle on the door rattled.
There was a ‘Closed for today’ notice hung on the door so it was probably not a customer.
Al’s expression tensed.
One of the Guards drew the short sword on his waist and approached the door.
The other readied his halberd.
Al also drew his personal shotel that was secretly delivered yesterday night.
That action alone caused Al’s fear to fade.
The new blade felt extremely familiar in his hand. Many times more so than that expensive magic sword. It felt as if it was an extension of his limbs.
“Who is it?”
The Guard who approached the door asked.
Al heard that voice before.
It belonged to that petite man who delivered the magic shotel.
“He’s a subordinate of Big Hawk!”
Al cautioned them with a firm tone while lowered his voice.
The Guard nodded to show that he understood … and unlocked the door.
Al couldn’t understand what was happening.
The Guards who were supposed to protect him sheathed their sword and halberd and received that man while bowing to him in a servile manner.
The man was not dressed in a magician outfit like before but in his original thief outfit along with a poncho as shelter from the rain.
Underneath his clothes, he wore a chain shirt that does not make any noise when moving while retaining its function as an armor. His poncho was a high-grade item made using Fire Mouse skin which has strong fire resistance.
Behind that man were two bodyguards wrapped in black-hooded cloaks.
“Even though Big Hawk went through the trouble to prepare a present for Al-kun, you’re a bad boy for choosing to hold onto such a cheap article.”
The man smirked.
When the man gave a signal, one of the bodyguards behind him took out two silver coin pouches and passed them to the Guards.
“Hehe, thank you very much.”
“The Hero Lit probably thought she could draw us out but … isn’t making her think that the safest option? The hero will definitely notice the spell concealed in the weapon and try to draw us into a trap with it. It is our greatest chance to draw the Hero Lit away. That foolish girl who only has her physical strength to be proud of can never compete against our wisdom.”
Al drew his sword. However, the man gave a scornful smile and tossed a ball-shaped object he took from inside his sleeve.
It exploded with a bang at Al’s feet and scattered green mucus on him.
“Wha-, thi-this is!?”
“A Sticky Bomb. I may look like this but I possess the Divine Protection of the Alchemist.”
Al, who had his movements sealed, was carried by one of the bodyguards.
Seeing as to how the sticky matter did not stick to his cloak, they probably applied some kind of chemical on it in advance.
“What do you plan to do with me!”
“We won’t do anything bad. However, a hero is always needed during a revolution. Big Hawk-san’s reputation is a little too tarnished to be a hero and there’s another person but they’re not a South Marsh resident. On that note, you have a clean reputation and have the spectacular Divine Protection of the Weapon Master. We’ll have you become the Hero of South Marsh.”
“Hero … ?”
“We’ll let you meet Ademi.”
“Ademi!? Where have you been hiding him this entire time … unless?”
The man smiled without answering.
“Oops, it will be bad if we stay too long and get seen by the people from Downtown. Let’s beat it.”
Left with no choice, Al could only let them carry him to Big Hawk’s mansion.
In the South Marsh district lined with dilapidated houses.
Big Hawk’s lavish mansion surrounded by a sturdy fence stood out within that sight.
It was a stately three-floored mansion made of stone that was exceedingly vast perhaps due to the cheap land prices.
Within that mansion.
Al was lying on top of a red carpet.
He was directly tossed onto the carpet from the position he was carried in but the expensive carpet cushioned Al such that he didn’t suffer any injuries.
“What do you intend to do to me!”
He tried to act tough but his voice trembled.
The shotel was no longer on Al’s waist.
Al felt crushed after realizing that the bravery he had all along was but a transient emotion caused by his Divine Protection.
(I am still the same kid that cries from fear of the darkness …)
Al trembled with fear and did all he could to hold back his tears.
“So you are Al huh?”
Despite being 175cm tall, the abundance of flab on the fat Half-Orc made him look a lot larger than his real height.
“You are Big Hawk … san?”
Big Hawk’s mouth of protruding fangs twisted. Al somehow understood that he was smiling.
“That’s right my brethren. I am Big Hawk, the acting boss of South Marsh. You don’t have to speak politely. To me, all South Marsh residents are my brethren. Don’t worry and address me casually with ‘san’.”
Big Hawk approached Al with his style of smiling.
His thick finger grabbed onto his shoulder, causing a thin film of tears to finally appear in Al’s eyes.
Big Hawk muttered quietly when he saw Al clenching his teeth and desperately holding it back.
“You seem like a kid with a strong will. As expected, my eyes were not wrong.”
“Wh-what do you mean?”
“Did they not tell you? I’ll have Al-kun become our hero.”
He could not comprehend it. Which was why it made Al even more afraid.
“I’ll explain it to you step-by-step. Firstly, I don’t think it needs any explanation but, the scene is the disastrous state of this South Marsh district. You are a resident of the South Marsh district so you should be aware too. We are outsiders. We migrated from other places and thought we could live in Zoltan but the Congressmen shoved us to this land.”
“I know …”
“That’s why I decided to rise up in the world from here. I made a name for myself in the Thieves Guild. Unlike the lazy residents of Zoltan, I was born and raised in the slums of the capital of the Principality of Daigun. It was not a lenient place like Zoltan. The ‘Poison and Daggers’ I experienced in the town of Daigun where four noble houses have continued to conspire against each other for decades can’t be compared to the small fries I encounter in Zoltan. I killed anybody who went against me even if they were my comrades. There isn’t anybody with the will to get revenge on me either. All of them just flee from me in fear.”
Big Hawk started talking about his brave sagas.
Al’s own teeth could not stop clattering as he listened to those brutal sagas that he wished he could close his ears to.
“In this way, I made myself an existence that the Congressmen could not touch. Do you think I have shown sufficient results?”
” …… ”
“But it is not enough. I have the ability to reach greater heights. Rather than those idiotic lethargic worthless Zoltan residents, I can change this town if I become the leader of Zoltan!”
“What does that have to do with dragging me here?”
“The drug I scattered about. The Congress calls it the Fake God Drug but its real name is the ‘Devil’s Divine Protection’.”
“Devil’s Divine Protection?”
“Normally, absolutely only one Divine Protection is bestowed from the Gods. A person’s role and life are decided according to their Divine Protection and that Divine Protection can’t be changed. People live to fulfill the role assigned to them by the Gods.”
Big Hawk spread his arms wide.
“However, not everyone is satisfied with their Divine Protection. No, rather, most people are distressed by the gap between their desired lifestyle and the role required of them by their Divine Protection and pass away in disappointment! It should have been the same for me as well! My Divine Protection is Torture Master. A Divine Protection to be comforted by screams and sobs in some prison, to spend my life in some hole in the ground filled with the smell of blood, sweat, and urine! Will you be satisfied? I did not wish for such a life, I fought as a warrior of the Dark Continent, pillaged and killed en masse, I wanted to become like my father who passed away, a strong warrior who could act violently whenever and wherever!”
That was Big Hawk’s background.
Al could tell that this was what Red referred to as being a mere shadow of one’s former self after denying one’s own Divine Protection.
“The Devil’s Divine Protection was like gospel to people like us. That medicine bestows a new Divine Protection, weakens the impulse from your inherent Divine Protection and is basically a medicine that gives you the privilege to walk a new path in life. Everybody should be allowed to thread their desired path.”
“New Divine Protection?”
“The Devil’s Divine Protection is made using demon hearts as the raw material. The medicine in circulation now was made using the hearts of 50 Axe Demons. Thanks to that, there is now a shortage of axes in Zoltan. I wonder if my son’s shop is making money after I told him to stock up in advance.”
“I don’t know the theory behind it. To me, what’s important is not why it was made like that, but how I can make use of it. I will use the Devil’s Divine Protection as my weapon to become the King of Zoltan.”
In the beginning, Al thought he was just using it as a metaphor.
Zoltan was a republic which consisted of the Congress and the Mayor. Even though there was very little racial discrimination in Zoltan, without a noble background and furthermore, as a Half-Orc, there was no possibility of Big Hawk becoming a Congressman, let alone the Mayor regardless of how much money he throws at them.
That was why Al thought he meant it in the sense of becoming the leader of the Thieves Guild.
However, Al was convinced when he saw Big Hawk’s heated gaze.
He was serious. He actually wanted to conquer Zoltan and attempt to reign as king.
“With the South Marsh residents strengthened by the Devil’s Divine Protection and the people who can’t go against me due to their reliance on the Devil’s Devine Protection. I have made strategic arrangements for both the inner and outer workings of the Congress. All that is left is to ignite the smoldering flame and prepare the trigger.”
“That would be you, Al-kun.”
“Oi, bring it.”
Upon Big Hawk’s orders, the bodyguard, wrapped in a cloak like before despite being inside the house, left the room like a shadow.
After a while, a boy tied with rope was brought in.
Al cried out.
Ademi who was drooping weakly lifted his head upon hearing Al’s voice and his expression distorted when he saw his face.
“Sorry … it was not supposed to be like this.”
“I, just … only wanted to become a splendid Guard like my father, why did it turn out this way …”
Big Hawk and Ademi.
Both of them looked up to their fathers and were fellow suffers suffering from the gap caused by the roles given to them by their Divine Protections.
But there was not a single trace of pity in Big Hawk’s expression as he basked in ecstasy with the realization of his dreams in front of his eyes.