Chapter 3 – First Battle
“What… What on earth is that?”
“We were almost out of the forest—what’s a C-rank monster doing so close to the city! Any normal serpent would have been fine, but a scale viper…”
“Hurry up and rescue me! I’m paying top coinage for the lot of you!”
“We’ll do as much as we can… but please be prepared to abandon cargo and flee in the worst case.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! There’s forty rainbow ipomoeas1 in there! Just how much do you think…”
By the time I had arrived at where I had heard the scream from… the battle was already at its peak. Backed up against the the two-horse wagon stood a slightly plump man hiding in its shadow… and a group of three with weapons drawn trying to protect him. Against them were serpents that measured what could easily be over two-meters tall. Five to six strong with outward shells that shone like armor.
I called out to the the plump man who was closest, “Hello~… Would you like some assistance?”
“Woah!? Where did you pop out from…“ He nodded immediately, ”Well, whatever. I’ll reward you so hurry up and dispose of them!”
Hmm, a reward huh? Duly noted.
Let me activate Stealth and see what I can do. Sneaking behind a large one, I activated Surprise Attack.
Oh, I hadn’t equipped my weapon yet. Ah whatever, they looked weak anyway.
I moved in for the attack and sank a blade-hand chop. Its head detached from its body with a satisfying snap, rolling to the ground. It seemed like my Surprise Attack had triggered Critical Strike too.
“Where did you— Who are you even?!”
“You did that… barehanded? Were the necks of scale vipers sliceable barehanded?!”
Though Stealth had faded as soon as I had begun my attack, it didn’t seem like it would pose any problems for me against an enemy of this level. Though the four remaining vipers had simultaneously turned to their attention to me as if having recognized me as a threat (the last was being kept in check by the sheer size of the male guard), they weren’t able to lay even a single scratch on me. Master Evasion seemed to be doing work.
“Ah, just leave them to me. You guys go help the tall guy over there.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! One against four—huh, you haven’t even broken a sweat… Alright, I don’t know who are you are but thanks! Quirley, we’re back to Govack! Be ready with healing spells for us!”
So their names were Govack, Quinn, and Quirley. The towering muscle of a man wielding a greatsword must be Govack, the glamorous silver-haired lady in snug-fitting leather armor and wielding something like a shortsword must be Quinn, and girl with chestnut hair the one garbed in a vibrant green manteau with must be Quirley. As I ruminated over the matter, my body was automatically dodging the vipers’ every attack and responding with Master Counter landing critical hit after critical hit.
“Yaaaa!!! Take this! Rock Cleave!!!”
”Bless us with good fortune! Minor Heal!”
Around the same time I beheaded the last viper on my end, the trio also seemed to have finished dealing with their one.
“Huff, huff, serves, you, right!”
“Hah, hah… They did have the ‘Rough’, ‘Evasive’, and ‘Paralysis Poison’ attributes after all… Even out of C-class monsters, three-attribute ones are particularly difficult.”
“Thanks for backing me up guys. As for the rest of them… Wait, those corpses, don’t tell me you…?”
“Yeah, the one who saved us earlier. By herself, she took out four alone in a flash.”
“Woah, unbelievable. And they’re all practically one-hit kills.”
“What astonishing prowess… thanks traveller, you really saved us.”
Just hearing those words born of the heart of praise and gratitude, I couldn’t help but feel prickly and uncomfortable…I only happened to land a chance to cheat my way into getting this power. Really a grade far from the skills they had risked their lives to forge.
“You’ve really outdone yourselves you dogs! Now stop dawdling—we’re heading out. We need to reach town and make the delivery before the day is out.”
I see, so the chubby man was the merchant and the three who fought were his guards he hired.
“Ah, wait a moment please… The gem located on their foreheads serves as proof of their neutralization. We should at least take those before leaving… Quirley, go to our driver and tend to her wounds in the meantime.”
Huh? So they had a fifth with them. I following after Quirley to the back of the wagon… and saw a petite girl collapsed by the wagon.
Ohh, cat ears and a tail. The devilishly cute— Wait, her arm was on the verge of falling from its socket. How painful.
“Hmph, leave her! Her arm is already in tatters. Even if we were to heal the wounds, she wouldn’t be able to drive the wagon with just one hand.”
“… She’s your slave,” said Govack.
“That’s exactly why! What use is she! I can’t even sell her to a brothel because no one would bed a beastkin… I had only hired her as a guard and to take care of chores and yet she’s already become useless in blink of an eye. Nothing but a wasted expense.”
“Stop it Govack. Master Kosuinen, could we at least us take her with us to town? If you think about it, abandoning her here would serve only to spread bad rumors.”
“Hmph, I guess it can’t be helped.”
Quinn was appealing to the sensibilities of that merchant, Kosuinen’s was it (lol). Good job!
But wasn’t there something I could do for her? At the rate things were going, even if we took her to town, her fate would be left to the streets, a death sentence for sure. What’s more, it seemed she was valued bottom of barrel even among slaves, and, with just one arm left, she likely hadn’t many prospects.
Wait, maybe there was something. I called up my inventory to look over what I still had from Sengoku Online. If I could make use of these…
I readied myself and called out to Kosuinen (lol), “Uhm.”
“Huh, oh! It’s you again! What you showed back there was quite the spectacle. What a display of prowess! You have my thanks… What do you say, rather than those three fools, how does becoming my company’s personal guard sound?”
“Ahaha, my apologies, I’m a little busy with other things at the moment… But as I was saying.”
“Hmm? What is it?”
“You had mentioned a reward earlier if memory serves?”
“Huh? Ahh, did… I?” his face stiffened.
“You, had, mentioned, it, did, you, not?”
“Ahh, I-I did! But I’m currently still mid-delivery, so I don’t have any coins on hand.”
What stubborn fat-ass. “Worry not. I request not money, but her. Would you entrust the girl to me?”
“The… girl? The beastkin girl? Just her and nothing else?”
“Indeed, however in consideration of possible future disputes over ownership, I would like all formal produces for an official transfer be conducted. Would that be acceptable?”
“Ahh, if that’s all you want then… Nellie! Come here!”
Under Quirley-san’s healing, it seemed the bleeding had stopped for the cat-eared lass, Nellie-chan. Her white hair that drooped to her shoulders was dyed in blood. Just looking was hard to bear.
“Now listen carefully, that lady there is saying that she’s going buy a useless deadbeat like you. Be grateful you even got this chance.”
Gulping, Nellie-chan nodded.
“Then let us begin the contract transfer procedures… Place your hand on the beastkin’s collar.”
“That is sufficient. Now that I think about it, I didn’t get the chance to hear your name.”
I briefly thought about using an alias but said, “It’s Shino Kagura.” Considering that it was a formal ritual, I thought better of it and gave my real name instead.
“Alright then, let us begin.” Kosuinen also placed his hand on Nellie-chan’s collar, “God of Contracts, Promys, I pray to thee. I, Kosuinen, one of Secovytch’s merchants and owner of the slave Nellie, hereby transfer her ownership to Shino Kagura-dono for no required compensation. Shino Kagura-dono and slave Nellie, do you acknowledge?”
As if in response, a light began to permeate the room centered around Nellie’s collar and drew me in. Fascinating.
“I acknowledge,” said Nellie, shaking me from my stupor.
I see, so this is an “official transfer.” Then I too ought to reply, plus the two of them seemed to be waiting for it, “I, uh, acknowledge.”
“Excellent. With that, we’ve completed the transfer. You can now use her in whatever way you please.”
“How could you say that? How could one think to do anything but fawn all over her,” I said, my voice resounding clearly, still quietly gazing into the light as it settled. ”Such a bewitchingly fluffy tail! And these blissfully cushy ears! How could one not shower her in love?!”
“Well, uh… to each their own I guess… ” said Kosuinen, a little startled by my sudden outburst of love for the likes of a beastkin, a single-armed one no less.
“Shino-dono was it?” said the blond-haired man as he offered his hand. “Thank you so much for… for well everything. My name is Govack, level 18 warrior.”
Sturdy-looking and carrying a greatsword upon his back, a warrior… He probably was also extending his thanks for taking in Nellie. A good person unbecoming of his grim-looking face. Wait, he said level 18 right? So this world has a level system? First magic, now levelling, this really is an RPG world.
“My name is Quinn,” said the silvered-haired lady. “I’m a level 15 ranger. Allow me to also express my thanks Shino-san.” She saluted with her shortsword.
Glamorous with leather armor that fit her to a tee. Ahh, now that I wasn’t distracted, wasn’t she drop-dead gorgeous. This lady. Even as a woman, I could feel myself getting a little light-headed.
“While I don’t have any money, for now at least, let me offer you this as a token of my gratitude,” wrapping me in both arms, she kissed me on the ear.
Oh my god! This was too much for a village lass like me. If I were to go down this yuri route, just what else could be awaiting me!
She giggled and said, “You’re so cute when you’re embarrassed.”
Running to my side, the girl with chestnut hair looked up at me, her eyes full of respect, and said, “Uh, uhm, thank you very much. My name is Quirley. I’m a level 13 healer.”
The girl in a vibrant green manteau, Quirley. If Quinn-san were a luscious red rose, then she would be an immaculate white chrysanthemum. Though appealing in a completely different way, Quirley too was incredibly adorable.
If it weren’t for her ears, even Nellie would be incredibly attractive among humans. Were all girls in this world beauties by default? Then wouldn’t that basically rate my charm at weed level status in this world? How depressing.
“Uhh,” she said with a voice devoid of emotion, probably due to the shock of losing an arm, ”my name is Nellie. I’m a level 1 common slave. Pleased to meet you… Goushujin-sama.”
Just wait a little longer, don’t worry.
“Kagura Shino… though perhaps, it would be better to introduce myself as Shino Kagura over here. Kunoichi. My level is secret.” Not knowing what my Sengoku Online level would mean for this world’s levelling system, I decided to leave it ambiguous.
“I understand. I imagine it can turn out to be quite the hassle to deal with the flood of job requests that come once they find out you’re high level. No offense at all. But kunoichi huh? I’ve never heard of it. Quinn, have you?”
“It’s a first for me too. But judging from the battle earlier, it seems to be a light-armor class that focuses on speed and use of skills yet is a tier above light-class warrior at the same time… perhaps it’s even a hidden class.”
… I didn’t quite follow. Tier above? Did she mean like an addable crafting profession? Perhaps the system worked the same way how RPG’s let you change professions.
“Y-yeah, something like,” I said, trying to pass it off. I’ll be sure to ask Nellie-chan about it later. Hastily changing the topic, “A-anyway, we should first focus on healing Nellie.”
“… My apologies,” Quirely said on the verge of tears, “this is the best I can do with my skills, anymore is…”
“It wasn’t my intent to blame you! Rather, I just so happen to have gotten my hands on a quality healing item, but I won’t know if it’s effective or not until she tries it…” Wait, why was everyone making such surprised expressions? Especially you Kosuinen.
“Y-you’re going to use something so expensive on a slave… A magical item that could restore lost body parts?!”
“Ah, well like I said, I’m not sure it’ll work without trying.” Whoops, was it abnormal to use healing items on slaves?
Looking through my inventory, I spotted some pills I had made while on my herbalist while replenishing my stock and took a few tablets out.
Panacea, cures all abnormal effects.
Analeptic, completely revitalizes one’s stamina.
All-recover, restore lost body parts (only one part per use).
Though town shops sold each for quite the price, I could make them for free ignoring the labor time costs thanks to my kunoichi’s gathering and herbalist’s production skills.
That self-proclaimed world’s overseer did mention they would try their best to recreate my Sengoku Online data, in which case… Moving my arm to make it seem as if I had pulled something from out my pouch, I placed one of each tablet into Nellie’s left hand and told her, “Please swallow this.”
“Ex, excuse me! One such as myself cannot possibly accept such expensive medicine!”
“… Nellie, aren’t you my slave?”
“Then be quiet and swallow. I am not one to skimp on looking after that which is mine.”
“Al… right,” finally conceding as if having resigned herself, Nellie swallowed all three tablets.
The effect was immediate.
Nellie whole began to shine brightly, and, one by one, all of her bruises began to disappear.
“It burns! Goshujin-samaaaaaa.”
Everything was going to be fine, r-right? Though she probably was overreacting a little, perhaps she would calm down a little if I hugged her?
“Don’t worry Nellie, everything is going to be alright.” I hugged her and gently patted her back.
Once the light had faded, I looked over to see if Nellie had calmed down, The skin that regrew on right arm is looking glossy and wonderful.
“… Oh man,” said Govack, ”isn’t that amazing! For it to have such a dramatic effect, as expected of an elixir-level item.”
“… If you were to sell this,” said Quinn, ”you’d be rich in an instant. Nevermind common slaves, you could even buy a cream-of-the-crop sex slave.”
“Sob, I’m a familiar of a healer.”
I was surprised at the guard trio’s words. I’d never thought that healing items in this world would be that valuable. Although I could opening a business selling them and secure myself a lucrative income source if it came down to it, I think I’d rather pass except as a last resort… I wouldn’t want myself to stand out too much.
“Nellie, are you alright? Does anything feel out of place?”
“Yes, Goshujin, sama, there doesn’t, seem to be…” she said, staring blankly at her restored arm. “Goshujin-sama, it’s a bit strange. I can see the flow of mana even more clearly than before. And… I know I shouldn’t really possess that much mana, yet now it feels like I’m overflowing with it.”
Hmm? A side-effect of the item? I thought to myself when I heard the ding of a message received.
‘You are now an output gate for mana, even something innocent like a well-intentioned hug will bestow mana, magic in other words, to the other. Please proceed prudently.’
Geez, I thought you said we wouldn’t be in contact again… Oh—so what was happening to Nellie wasn’t because of using the item but because of me!
Those eyes are too full of temptation, Nellie-san.
“Goshujin-sama, I vow to devote my entire life to you! Even should this contract be revoked, this body is yours now and forever…” Bending to her knees, she kissed the top of my foot.
“Y-you don’t have to do such things… but well, I’m not too familiar around these parts since I’m not from this continent, so I’d be overjoyed if you would help me out.” I extended my hand to help her back to her feet.
“Of course! Goshujin-sama, please feel free to ask anything of me!”
—I’ll keep it secret that she had slipped straight into my heart with that pledge and set it on ablaze.