End of the Night Shift, Back to the Day Shift
“…I’m a slave. Doing the filthy work is how I survive.”
That was the explanation that ‘Douva’ gave to me. However, she was using a figure of speech here. Her father had fallen into tremendous debt, which had then been subrogated by a noble. She was now paying in her father’s stead. Unsurprisingly, her father had vanished. As for her mother, well, she had died a long time ago. The only thing Douva had left was debts.
“So, that is why I take on jobs that I do not want to do. It’s the same with the others. The noble that hires us knowingly selected people who are in debt. Do you understand? If you want to buy us, the price will be high. And great house or not, no one pays that kind of money without a good reason.”
Indeed. Regardless of their situation, this was trespassing and attempted robbery. There was no reason to buy them at all.
That being said, I had promised to negotiate, so I would have to bring it up with Miss Camila, at the very least. Still…it worried me. This could get very unpredictable. And how should I move then? Daniela would be pretty angry if she could see me now.
“I will talk to her first. You stay here quietly while I call someone from the house.”
“Very well. I do not have the energy to resist now. But let me see the others.”
I nodded and took her to the guardhouse so that she could explain the situation to them. In the meantime, I returned to the mansion and told the butler that I needed to see Miss Camila. He didn’t seem too pleased but nodded.
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“I see. This is quite the opportunity.”
“You think so?”
“Yes, I will buy them. And then unleash them on their old master… It’s very simple.”
What a frightening mind she had…
“Of course, what this noble is doing is against the law. Nobles of the imperial capital are not allowed to have a private army. However, that does not include gatekeepers and bodyguards. But specially trained troops…that is forbidden.”
“That seems difficult to enforce. A gatekeeper and a soldier could look exactly the same.”
“I wouldn’t say that. Status cards do exist, you know?”
Status cards did not lie. They displayed all of your abilities.
“I will hire her and her men and send them back to this noble’s house. Information will be stolen, and the house will be forever ruined.”
“You just said that it was illegal to hire…”
“As long as I don’t get caught. And I won’t.”
One thing was clear. These people were scary.
□ □ □ □
“So, there it is. House Carteraza will take care of you from now on. However, you must finish this job first. This means entering the house you came from and stealing. Any objections?”
“None. Being backed by one of the eight great houses means that we have nothing to fear.”
Douva had lived in a rough world. She changed loyalty very easily. The others nodded in agreement. It spoke of how bad their previous environment must have been… I had only seen the beautiful sides of the city. There was a lot that happened in the shadows that I had no knowledge of. And while these were not literal slaves…there probably were real slaves here as well.
If I encountered such people later on, how would I react? I couldn’t know until the time came, but I had no delusions about saving everyone every time. There would be no end to it if I tried. There was only one person that I could help. And that was Daniela.
“There you are.”
The door to the guardhouse opened and Miss Camila entered.
“So, this is my new and brilliant army. It’s a pleasure.”
“Uh… Please forgive us for this disgraceful incident…”
“Say no more. That is of no interest to me now. There are more important things to discuss. The war council begins now. My maid will accompany you, and it will be carried out tonight.”
Miss Camila stepped to the side and the Automata walked into the room.
“I am Reticle, an Automata and exclusive maid to Camila Dee Carteraza. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”