Chapter 16 – Determination and Ridicule and Tears
It was 3 months ago when Elk Caucus first met them.
Beginning of things was because of a weapon Elk found in a weapon shop she passed by, due to pure luck.
For some reason, Elk decided to buy that weapon, but the price of the weapon which was decorated as a showcase was not something any novice adventurer get take out of their pockets.
There was someone who supported Elk’s shoulders at the time she was in a frantic to buy the weapon.
……Thinking it now,it was completely obvious.
Why didn’t I think it was really unnatural, Elk though as such within the past 3 months.
That man introduced himself as someone affiliated with the organization which supported novice adventurers who have promising futures.
Even the shopkeeper introduced him, saying he was a man you put trust in.
Furthermore, the organization in which the man was affiliated, was even a major dealer in this『Volka』, this alone let Elk trust him.
Elk took the man’s word seriously and finally took a loan.
……The place she took the money from was the so-called『Illegal Loan』and the shopkeeper who guaranteed the trust was also an accomplice of them. It was only the following week that Elk noticed the truth, when a bill of many folds more amount than the principal reached the inn.
The most troublesome thing was that the contract was virtually completed without any problems.
The problem was just personal problems, but no problems legally.
If there was no legal problem, then army and guards like police organizations won’t also move.
Was there no illegal point in the contract or was there any gaps in the contract.
Elk thinking that, desperately read the contract many times -She skimmed reading the contract 1 time- to find any gaps in it regarding money problems.
A month and a little had passed, Elk who was diligent and had higher learning ability too, went to a specialist who deals with such matters.
But, the conclusion derived after going there was『Nothing can be done』.The heartless words.
Different from Minato’s previous life, in this world there was no interest rate set on the illegal loans and so only the rate with the mutual agreement was taken as the rate.
If the signature and seal were real and legal, then there was no place to run.
Elk who understood that was puzzled.
From then till the present day, Elk was desperately trying to raise her money by going in dangerous areas, going in labyrinths and hunting demons.
However, though she tried her best to pay the interest, but there was no signs of her debt going down.
If she was unable to repay the debt, then she would either be degraded to a slave or either send to a brothel.
If that happened, then after that point, there was no freedom, but hell waiting.
Elk who understood that was cornered to the extreme, then some days before the men brought an offer to her.
That was helping in kidnapping, just like a devil’s deal.
The procedure was fairly simple.
One just had to pretend as victim of something or lie down on the road to trick the person who seemed kindhearted and had money to get closer to it.
And bring that person to the place where the kidnappers were waiting for ambush.
The money gotten from the goods and belongings of the prey and after selling the prey off to slave dealers, would be split in portions and that portion, amount of money, will be deducted from her debt.
No matter what, she didn’t want to drop that down as a human being and rejected the offer. But, yesterday, after seeing the large amount of money on Minato, before she even knew, she was『Guiding』Minato.
To the place where she had been informed before『We will wait here today, if you feel like it then bring us the prey, for the sake of both of us』
Most probably, Along with dozens of silver coins and the things inside the backpack along with the equipment too will be able to complete the debt, thinking that Elk’s unreliable reasoning power withdrew back.
She was making excuses to herself which don’t even pass as an excuse like. If I don’t do it, nothing will be solved.
The miscalculation was that Minato was strong.
So strong that he didn’t care about the kidnappers surprise attack.
And this time she tried to use Minato’s power to raise money through legal means while being burdened with the feelings of guilt and self-hatred for doing illegal work and getting engulfed in greed.
She thought of telling Minato about debt, but didn’t do it.
Right now she was suffering from the failure of being unable to repay the debt. The act of taking『Loan』had already become a trauma for her. In the very least, she only had evasion feeling regarding it for now.
The money she had won’t be able to repay the debt due to its increasing interest rate, this was also one of the reasons.
In reality, there were 10 gold coins in Minato’s backpack which might be able to help reduce the debt but neither did Elk knew of their existence nor she would have asked even if she knew.
And so, she tried the method in which she could also help.
But, in this process after being in contact with Minato’s child-like honesty and kindness, Elk felt her ugliness becoming distinct.
Even though, she wasn’t calm at that time, but it was her who agreed to the contract without reading the contract agreement conditions.
It was self-destruction, nothing else.
For covering it up, she involved other people, used the good intentions, trampled the trust underfoot and in the end she hated herself for again taking the money.
And she hated herself even more after being saved by Minato from the big serpent inside the『Labyrinth』
The moment, she was gazing at her ugly self in the reflection of window, a letter reached her.
“Hey, just what did you say?”
“I refuse. I said that. There is no way you didn’t hear it?”
The time was at the borderline and it felt like after an hour or two the sun will also go down.
The place was, wastelands on the outskirts of the city.
Elk had by herself come to the place which was written in the letter she got before.
From the many men surrounding Elk with bad countenance, one man……the man who warned her on yesterday’s night spoke while furrowing his brows.
“You read the letter, right?”
“I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t read it”
“I see, then you also understand it, right? That you don’t have any other option left.”
The contents of the letter were something like this.
It was about those members who attacked Minato yesterday’s noon.
Though there were no deaths, but they had to give a lot of treatment fees and suffered financial losses.
Though not completely, but Elk was also responsible for that, and so she had to take the burden of some amount of that money. It was added to her debt.
Now that there was no way to clear the debt using legal ways, only one method was left.
The sharp eared men, had already heard about an『Adventurer in Black』killing the big serpent and judged it was Minato.
Including the fact that Minato would be rewarded enormous amount of money as reward for killing it.
Then seeing the right time after he got reward, attack him and seize all the equipments and luggage everything. The plan also included to sell him as he was a rare person with black hair and black eyes.
If it went easily, about 60% of her debt would be repaid. And if the prices of equipments and all were high then she would be able to repay more than that.
However, Elk’s response was,
“Don’t make me say it again and again. I’m saying I reject that offer.”
“……Bitch, do you understand the meaning of your words?”
That man was somewhat more rational than others, but it was clear from his speech that his mood was getting foul.
He scowled at Elk, in his eyes was unconcealable irritation.
It was obvious that behind the words that sounded like warning had threat included.
After all, if Elk was unable to repay the debt before the deadline which was approaching, she would either be sold off to slave dealers or brothel. To a woman, there was nothing else than hell after that point.
Even more, the reward Minato would get would be more than the money they would get by selling off Elk.
Hence, they were trying to persuade Elk by intimidating her with fear. For gaining more profits.
……Still, her reply didn’t change.
“I know what I’m saying. You will at most sell me to some slave dealer or brothel? I won’t resist it after all this time.”
“……What did you say?”
“I’m saying, do what you want to your heart’s desire. But, now this talk is over, don’t even try to lay hands on that idiot……Minato”
She herself, didn’t think that this would stop them.
Just, she wanted to something good at the last moment so that she won’t regret……and would be able to show her face straightly to the boy who saved her.
Of course, she knew that Minato wouldn’t like it and she herself didn’t want to jump in hell by her own will.
She just felt that if she try to live a disgraceful life, then she would stop being herself.
Choosing to live a lowly disgraceful life was too heavy a choice for her after being in contact with Minato’s kindness.
If she tried to return, it was a dirty path. If she didn’t return it would be either slave or prostitute.
Either return to hell or go to hell. both sides were hell for her.
In that case, while her mind was cooling down……she made decision.
“If I’m going to hell anyway, then it’s more good to go to hell by my own will while carrying all the sins. There would be not even one person who would feel sorry for me.”
“……You’re an idiot. You going to ruin your life by rejecting the offer in front of you? Rethink about it, even by saying good things, it won’t give prof……”
“You’re right, nobody will gain profit, but neither will anyone suffer loss.”
“You can’t complain about anything in hell, still going with your choice?”
“Bake me, boil me, have fun. ……It is a befitting end for garbage like me. Even if you people are garbage like me, but I won’t let you get any profit.”
The surrounding men scowled at Elk, who was speaking in a masochism way, with eyes filled with hatred.
Right now from their standpoints it was, Elk who was rejecting their offer for some hypocrite feelings.
However, in front of those stares, Elk showed a refreshed face giving off the feeling that what she had done was only natural.
Most probably, even if they attacked her or tore her clothes apart and be violent she won’t resist at all. But she definitely won’t regret, neither make any complaints.
The leader man who was speaking till before after knowing Elk had no intention of withdrawing, opened his mouth,
“……I got it, I’ll give you what you want you bitch. I will sell you to the place which gives more profit. I won’t hear any complaints from you now.”
Even after hearing the words similar to death sentence, Elk’s expression didn’t change.
On the contrary, she faintly smiled.
As if saying, that she was finally going to be free of guilt.
It was the face of Martyr being dragged by scaffold.
But her heroic determination was short-lived and would be trampled underfoot.
“We will take care of that Minato brat, after we take care of you.”
Elk made a surprised face after she understood the meaning of the words.
In front of her, was the leader man who had the vulgarest smile of the day fixed on his face.
“What? Did you think he would be saved if you sacrificed yourself?”
“You didn’t say it!? He is not in any way involved in my debts! Why……Just why are you people laying your hands on him even after I say that I’m going to take all responsibility……”
“You really are an idiot. We are only taking that brat on our own accord, it has no relation to you. We are『Moneylender』and『Slave dealer』and those others are『Kidnappers』. They do their work. You never know which person they will attack and when, right?”
On those words, the surrounding men also laughed.
While making a fool of Elk who showed her useless determination and feelings.
The people from which Elk took money were without a doubt, these men, who were affiliated with the famous major merchant’s association this city.
That association itself was regarded as a good and legal one, with no relation to illegal things. ……They do deal with slaves and many other commodities, but it was in the regions of law.
The the preparators, the『Kidnappers』were only an outlaw group. They were evil people who would get death sentence the moment they were captured.
They were only related to the dark side of association, in front they both were completely unrelated.
This was the way『To make money without any problems』and therefore both parties were making use of each other nothing more.Therefore, they could attack the association anytime.
It was only the truth. One cannot expect outlaws to have morals or anything like that.
Realizing that, Elk clenched her fists in anger and started trembling. She was angry towards herself that she couldn’t see their true intentions and her face was getting red from anger.
“Do yo get it now, Elk? You foolish woman, it still ends like this. Honest people are seen as fool……it would’ve been better if you choose the easier way, right? Ah, it’s already too late?”
Ironically, the words she had said in the noon were turning in reality.
While feeling that in the corner of her mind, her whole mind was already under control of fury and despair.
So much fury, that she didn’t realise that she was almost going to cry.
“Don’t go ahead and try to end everything while acting cool for self-satisfaction, it’s creepy. You’re just a shitty woman who can live while pushing problems on the surrounding people! That black guy is also pitiable, if he hadn’t met you, it wouldn’t have turned into th……”
“Noisy! Shut up! Worst!”
“I’ll say it. We are going to capture that guy with a really good plan. After all, I have people of Rank D and C, they are completely different from people from yesterday. They are right now standing on guard, they won’t let anyone esc……”
At that moment,
“I see, so those people were D and C? No wonder, it was really easy”
In the wastelands with bloodthirsty atmosphere, resounded a voice with no feeling of tension.
Being surprised, the men’s and Elk’s line of sight changed to the place from where the voice came.
At that place,
There was a silhouette in complete back with the sunset as its background
It wasn’t because of backlighting from sun, but in reality the silhouette had black clothes, scarf, gauntlets, shin guards and finally hair and eyes.
“They were looking at me from afar and it was getting irritating, so I cleaned them up? Don’t be stingy and use 10 people. It would’ve been better if you used 100 people.”
The child-faced boy smiled sweetly with a face and voice having no tension at all.
His line of sight falls on the girl surrounded by men who was about to cry……but actually didn’t betray the boy’s faith.
There was no one who knew that the boy was getting angered behind his smile.