“About that…to be very frank, those who are in charge of monitoring the slaves are a gathering of scum. They think their job begins and ends with striking with their whips. Their thoughtless methods have caused a number of slaves to die, and it’s become a daily routine for them to confiscate their earnings. However, even all of that is not enough to allow us to make a move. We are not in the same department, you see. Because those men were sent from the royal capital…”
Backus clenched his fist with frustration.
“The slaves were able to escape due to their disinterest in monitoring them, but we too have to bear some responsibility for this incident. After all, we did not take the necessary measures, even though we knew it was possible that someone would arrive, who they had a grudge with… I am truly sorry. We will prevent this from happening again by increasing the number of men on patrol, and who is on watch.”
His look was earnest, and I felt like I could trust him. But more than anything, he was Russell’s cousin. The person that had helped me the most in this world.
“And also, about the slaves…what will you do?”
My heart goes cold in an instant.
“What do you mean?”
“You can increase the years of their sentence, or have them executed. In terms of the law, I can move with a higher authority than the management office. If you prefer it, I can easily have a noose around each of their necks.”
I couldn’t help but smile at this nostalgic question. He was a kind man as well.
“Hehe…Russell asked me the same thing.”
“He did, did he?”
“Yeah. ‘I have the authority to hang them’ he said.”
“That is quite similar…”
I chuckle as Backus looks a little disappointed. I guess they really were cousins.
“As for my answer…”
Just as I was about to tell him, the door was banged on loudly.
“Apologies for disturbing you! We have brought over the partner!”
Apparently, Daniela had arrived. I heard her unusual, frantic footsteps approaching, and then she burst through the door.
“Asagi! Are you alright!?”
“Yeah. Morning, Daniela.”
“What is that nonsense! Were you injured!?”
Her hands patted down my arms and stomach. That would actually really hurt if I was injured. Not a good idea.
“I’m fine. I immobilized them before any damage was done.”
“Ahhh…that is good. When I heard that the slaves attacked you while I was sleeping, I became so frightened…”
Daniela crumbled to her knees. I got off of the chair and onto the floor in order to support her, my arm going around her shoulder.
“Did you really think those guys were gonna beat me?”
“I know more than anyone that you are strong…but, I was worried.”
“Thank you, Daniela.”
She stared at me with teary eyes. She had been so worried for me. That made me happy. Her slightly reddened cheeks looked very cute, and I could feel us getting closer and closer as we looked into each others’ eyes.
Then our lips were so close that they could touch, our eyes close…
“Cough! Ahem! Cough, cough…!”
We quickly separated. Where were we again? The guardhouse. Who am I? Oh right, the stupid bastard that Backus brought in for questioning.
“You have done more than enough to convey your fondness for one another! Now! I would very much like to hear your opinion about the punishment for the slaves!?”
He looked like he was on the verge of snapping. He drained a cup of water that had been brought to him and slammed it down on the table. My shoulders jumped.
“Asagi, by slaves, does he mean…”
“Yeah, the same Adventurers that Russell sent here. They saw me walking in town and attacked.”
That was all Daniela needed to understand the situation. She stared at me.
“Asagi, I will not say anything this time. The decision is yours.”
“Are you sure? It might have been me who was attacked, but you are still involved in it as well.”
“And yet, I will leave it to you. I want you to decide.”
So saying, she stood up and moved back to the wall. She would listen from there… My decision was already made. So I wanted her to stay and hear it.
I sat back down and faced Backus.
“Backus. I want you to increase their sentence.”
“Are you certain?”
“Yes. I want to believe that humans are capable of change.”
That was the answer I had decided on as I sat in the town square until morning.
“…I understand. You have my word as Backus White, captain of the guard. They should be grateful for the magnanimity of the Adventurer, Asagi. This warmth of feeling will surely reach them, and perhaps help them rehabilitate.”
Being surrounded by his kind smile and by Daniela, I felt my heart begin to rise in temperature once more.