The night two days ago...
I have escaped from the guards with smooth escape but something is bugging me. I feel like I have done something I shouldn’t have. Regret is creeping in but I don’t have any idea why and how to stop it. I should stop thinking about it.
I am in a back alley deep in the slum. The camouflage function is still active but it will run out soon. It can only hold for one hour after activation at night. Then, I need to recharge the battery in the day. I deactivate the function when there is nobody around.
“Now then, what should I do now?”
I should think of how to help Mary and the others from the shadow. Creeping on the roof is an option. For now, I need to take my traveler robe from my room in the inn. It will help me hide without using the camouflage.
I climb to the roof of an abandoned building. From there, I start to move roof to roof. While trying to do it as silent as possible, I gradually getting closer to the inn. The inn is still crowded with people. There are a lot of soldiers moving around and pedestrians watching them. I can no longer see Mary and the others. They should be in their room now if they are not interrogated..
The Viscount is still nervous as he is the target of assassination. His guards are looking around vigilantly with other soldiers there. I feel like somebody's watching me but it might just be my imagination. There isn’t any of them that is looking at me and I am covered by the chimney’s shadow.
I am watching for a few hours until the inn is no longer crowded. It is now the time for people to sleep even if they like to sleep late. Looking at my bracelet, I see the time is 2 a.m. I stand up and slowly move around the building to go down the back alley. I cross the road and walk to the inn’s sidewall. I climb the wall to the roof again. Such an inefficient way of moving. I have no choice though.
From the roof, I count the window to my room. After reaching it, I tie a rope around my body and look around. I tie the other end of the rope to a wooden pillar that supports the roof. Then slowly, I move down to the window. I open it slowly and see Frank sleeping inside. I am glad nobody thinks to lock the second floor window. Well, it’s normal considering the inn got guards patrolling around.
I grab my robe and see if there is anything I should take. When I see that there is nothing else I need to carry, I climb out of the window again. Frank is still sleeping like a log. On the roof, I start to think if I should leave something behind to help them. Frank’s sword and Yuni’s bow are with them. I have given my short bow to Yuni too since I can’t use it properly.
I look at my storage list and see a staff with blue ornament on it. It’s Mary’s personal staff. It is a staff that help her control mana and reduce her mind’s burden. It also serves as a close combat weapon for self defense as it is made of hardwood. I should give her this staff.
I count the window again. It should be around here. I tie the rope to a pillar again and climb down. I slightly open the window and see a couple in the room sleeping.
“Sorry. Wrong room.”
I whisper while closing the window slowly. I move to the window beside it. I slightly open the window and confirm that this is the girls’ room. They are all asleep but I hear a sob. I slowly open the window and enter. I untie the rope and look around. There isn’t anyone crying unlike my imagination when I heard the sob before. Then, I look for a place to put the staff. There is a table nearby. I put the staff on top of it.
“Now then, I should leave some message. What should I write?”
I whisper in a low voice so as to not disturb the sleeping beauties. When I am pondering on what to write, the sob can be heard again. I look around and see that Mary is not sleeping well. She is curling up in her bed and sometimes moving restlessly. I get closer to her.
She is crying in her sleep. Tears are staining her cute face. Alishia, who is sleeping while hugging her, has her clothes wet. She is having a slightly uncomfortable sleep. I feel guilty for causing Mary to cry. It can be no one other than me.
I pat her head softly a few times and brush her hair. She calms down a bit from it. I keep brushing her hair until she is sleeping calmly. My hand is a bit tired but I can at least do this to calm her down. After a while, calm breathing is heard. I leave an apology letter for Mary and then go out of their room.
In the night, I slowly walk to the wall and climb over it with active camouflage. I climb a tree in the nearby forest. My camouflage uniform should be enough to hide me here. I sleep there for the rest of the night.
The next day’s breakfast is horrible. I can only eat dried meat with some salt. Hmm... I wonder when can I eat Mary’s cooking again? After breakfast, I sneak into the town.
It’s late in the morning when Mary and others come out of the inn. I am on the roof as usual covered with black robe. Not many people will look up so this is sufficient. I follow them slowly through the main road. Jumping up and down on the roof like a certain assassin. This is a bit fun but I nearly slip countless times.
In the middle, they are followed by a group of people but they handle it beautifully. Frank is now following them from behind while looking around. You need to look up too, you know? I am up here.
At this time, I feel like I am being watched by someone. I shift my gaze but the feeling is gone right away. I can’t see any suspicious person. This feeling is the same as yesterday. I carefully follow Mary while trying to stay hidden more. Occasionally, I still feel it. This is a really scary person.
Not long after, I see Mary and the others go inside the tower. I see, so they are visiting this tower. Damn it, I want to visit it too. Can I charge in?
‘Hmm? Someone is watching me. Where is he? It’s annoying. Just come out already.’
I look around but still can’t find a single hair of him. Who is he? A stalker? Is this the feeling of people being stalk? It’s scary.
I take out a small mirror and hide under a chimney. Its shadow will prevent the mirror from reflecting sunlight. Slowly, I check my surrounding with the mirror. There is no one on the roof so the stalker should be on the ground. I search for him with the mirror but I still can’t find him. The feeling of being watched disappear in the middle of the search.
It is pointless to keep searching when I don’t even have a single clue so I stop searching. I take out my binocular and look at the lobby while still hiding under the chimney.
Who the hell is that woman!? She is so pretty and sexy. Oh? Yuni is talking with her.
Hey! Don’t scare Mary. Even if you’re pretty, you still lose to Mary. Are you jealous?
Oh! Felicia comes out. Good! Push her back.
Eh? Somehow, the lobby is strange. The sexy woman is taken aback. What did you talk about?
Oh! Now, where are you going? Just stay there. I haven’t watch enough.
Aaannnddd... They are gone... With magic too. Damn it. What magic was that? You can’t just suddenly disappear like that in front of my eyes.
Let’s see. From the bracelet position, Mary is still inside the tower. I wonder what they are doing.
The feeling of being watched appears again. This annoying fellow keeps popping out and suddenly gone like a ghost. When I turn around, a black clothed man stands in front of me. When did he come here!? I try to take out my pistol in surprise but he is faster. He thrust his hand to my throat. I withdraw my hand while leaning back and barely block his hand.
Knowing his hand is blocked, his other hand thrusts out to my stomach. With my balance break from the previous strike, I can’t block his left hand. My stomach is punched and my breath is out of order. He follows up with a hook from the right. I push my left arm out to block it.
The impact is stronger than I thought and I am push off balance on the roof. I nearly fall down to the street. I slide down the roof until halfway and kick the roof. A few piece of bricks slide down and fall to the roof of the stall below. I silently apologize to them and run. The man is following me closely behind.
After jumping from roof to roof, I descend to the ground level from relatively short building. I quickly run to a back alley to escape his pursue. He descends but I don’t feel him pursuing me anymore. Did I lose him?
Suddenly another black clothed man appears in front of me. I take out my shield and sword. I keep charging to him to push him back. Two meters in front of him, two more men appear from my sides. This is an ambush. How did they prepare it so fast?
I swing my sword to the man on the right. He meets it with his own sword but my sword with the extra power from exoskeleton isn’t easily blocked. I push him back a few steps, breaking the encirclement. I step to the hole to escape. The other two react fast but can’t catch up with the sudden event.
I broke out but reality is cruel. Another two men appear and swing their swords in front of me. Why are they so persistent!? I block it with my shield and is pushed back. Now I surrounded from five directions. A slight sound come from above. I look up and another man is already in front of my eyes. I am hit in the head by the handle of his sword.
“Hmph. This cursed child is hard to deal with. Why are we ordered to capture him?”
“Be quiet and don’t question the order.”
“Yeah. I know but can’t I--”
“Just bring him. Come on. Don’t waste time or the commander will get angry.”
“Where do we bring him?”
In my dissipating consciousness, I hear the conversation.
When I come to, I see a stone roof and feel the cold hard floor. I sit up and see rows of iron standing in front of me.There are several other people with me but they are avoiding me with fearful faces. I am staring at the rows of iron and the people when I suddenly realize that I am inside a jail! My fuzzy mind clears up at once.
I rub my eyes a few times but the rows of iron is still there no matter what I do. I check the surrounding and the people I saw before are sitting on one side of the jail. They are using rag clothes with thin bodies. They are mostly teenagers with some children mixed in. When I look at other jails, there are men and women in separate jails. It looks like I am being put into a children's jail for unknown reasons.
I look at my cloth and find that I am using the same rag clothes. My exoskeleton and uniform are stripped off. Good thing that my bracelet is still on me. It is hard to detach without my interference. It can only be taken off when I want to or when I die. When I look at my right hand, I am surprised of the unknown tattoo on it. I never put on any tattoo before and will never put it on, especially this ugly tattoo. I try to rub it off to no avail. Will I have this tattoo until I die? Curse the one who carve it!
When I am struggling to rub it off, a few soldiers come into the prison area. They are fully armed. This exaggerated equipment to visit a jail is silly. They stop in front of my jail.
“You! Come with me! Don’t try anything funny!”
“Why should I follow you who unreasonably put me into a jail!?”
“You stupid cursed child. You will follow me no matter how you don’t like it. Come with me! This is an order!”
”Hmph. I don’t---!?”
I can’t breathe. Something is forcibly choking me but there is no one around me. Struggling on the floor, I try hard to gasp for breath but it is so hard to breathe.
“Stupid slave. If you don’t follow orders, you will feel pain. Now, come out!”
Ugh... The tattoo is faintly shining. So this is a slave tattoo. Damn it! I force myself to get up and the choke is loosening. I try to move away from the jail door and the choke suddenly increase in force. There is no way out!
I move slowly to the door and the soldiers are moving away from me. I smile a bit and try to attack one of the soldiers.
“Don’t do anything stupid!”
The choke comes back and I kneel down because of the pain. The soldiers laugh. This is too painful. Is this the feeling of being a slave?
The leading soldier slowly move to the door. I get up and follow him.