Ah yes, hello once again.
Well, I knew it was kind of sudden, but I decided to search for a job.
Yep, you read that right; I needed to work. It’s not because the provisions being given to me back at the Holy Palatial Gardens were inadequate, in fact, the Saint there was too generous I’m feeling bad for myself for freeloading. The second was, I had to save enough money as soon as possible so that I could finally buy a house in the city of Kamran. And also, not to mention, I’m getting freaked out by that stupid paladin, the Marquise of Monfort, proposing out of nowhere that I marry into the Braunhauer house through her half-sister, Eris. I mean, it’s all too sudden and spontaneous for me. And Eris was still a kid; by the time she grows into a beautiful lady, I’m sure I’ll be an old sop.
Well, it’s not like I’m considering that child to be a potential partner, but yeah, it’s impossible for me.
Besides, I don’t think I had the confidence to become someone of equal stature to the ladies of the Holy Palatial Gardens. They’re princesses and nobles; I’m just an ugly, powerless, and freeloading idiot from another world.
Saying that repeatedly to myself hurts, but it’s the reality, anyway.
And so, I looked for something else to do with my free time. And since the Gardens was near Arles, I tried my luck in that town. After all, most of its residents were well-to-do people; I’m sure there would be opportunities for me if I did my search well.
It took a while reaching Arles when we went riding on a cart before; but this time, I’m just walking, so I’m expecting a tedious journey. Of course, I couldn’t ask Her Holiness for a ride this time, or I’d be imposing too much on her. I also didn’t show myself to Lily and Eris; since I’m afraid that they’d come along with me, and I won’t be able to refuse them.
I want to be alone, after all.
So, after informing the guards at the gate of my intent, I proceeded on my way. Honestly, I didn’t know how they do job applications in this world. Questions like, ‘should I bring a resume?’, or ‘how about a coat and tie?’ had been pestering my mind since I last slept. But anyway, since this was a different world, I guess those things didn’t matter too much. I mean, fantasy worlds like this one should be simple and easy to deal with, right?
On the approach at the main gates of the town of Arles, the militia stationed there stopped me.
“Got any identification papers, sir?” a soldier asked me.
Oh right, Eris isn’t with me so it’ll be natural that they’ll be tight on security with me.
“Uhh…honestly sir, I’m from the Holy Palatial Gardens and was searching for work here in your town,” I answered, taking great care to give that guy a significant amount of respect so that he won’t be too suspicious of me. “And I don’t have any identification papers with me. May I ask how to get those?”
“…” the soldier only stared at me, unsure if he’ll believe what I just said or not.
“Let him in,” another soldier approached us. “He’s a companion of Miss Eris before.”
The first soldier, upon hearing the assurances of his companion that I’m not a threat, immediately backed down and let me pass. The second soldier then accompanied me.
“Ah, thanks, sir!” I bowed in gratitude to the guy who helped me.
“Nah, don’t mention it,” the soldier smiled. “I saw you before with Miss Eris riding a cart from the Holy Palatial Gardens. Why isn’t she with you today?”
“I went alone. I wanted to look for a job here, where it’s convenient.”
“I see. Well, many of our boys like to see Miss Eris come by,” he revealed. “She’s pretty popular around in these parts, see?”
“Oh…” I didn’t quite expect that. Well, given that Eris is cute, it’s a possibility.
“Well, they have to content themselves with looking at her, though. She may be a pretty girl, but she’s a member of the nobility. The gap is too wide for them to cross.”
Aren’t you considering the fact that she’s also a child, as well?
“I also have a painting of her in my room, you know?” he whispered, “But don’t tell her; it’s a secret between us men.
Well, I guess they will not do that, huh? This world has a weird standard.
“So anyway, if you’re going to work, at least you need to have proper identification papers with you at all times.”
“Okay, but how do I get that?”
“You lost yours?”
“Well, let’s say it’s almost like that,” I’m unsure whether or not to tell this guy my situation; but in the end, I decided to lie since it would take a while if I get honest with him. And also, chances were, he’d cast doubts on me because of my circumstances of arriving here were too extraordinary to believe.
“That’s unfortunate…” the friendly soldier sighed, “Anyway, come with me. I’ll help you get your identification papers.”
“Oh, again, thank you sir…?”
“I’m Osmond Hein Rilley,” he offered his hand, “Just call me Osmond.”
Sir Osmond led me to a modest house somewhere near the walls of Arles. If I’m not mistaken, I guess this was their headquarters—a far cry from the gigantic fortress of the Palatial Armory of the Paladin Corps. After knocking three times, he opened the door, and we both came in.
“This is the office of the Arles militia,” Sir Osmond explained as he gave me a brief tour of their headquarters, “We issue and re-issue identification papers here. Please, have a seat.”
I took a vacant chair near the tables. Behind those was a small, bespectacled lady, busy with some paperwork.
“Misha, this man lost his identification papers,” Sir Osmond talked to her, leaning by the table, “He’s a companion of Miss Eris Braunhauer of the Holy Palatial Gardens. Will you re-issue it to him?”
The girl named Misha stared at me as if she’s trying to peer into my soul. After a few moments of awkward silence, she relented and went back to her paperwork as if nothing happened.
“How much are you going to pay me?”
“Huh?” I was startled by what she said. I didn’t have a single coin with myself, so how could I possibly cover the cost of re-issuance?
“Not you,” Misha snapped at me and pointed at Sir Osmond, “I’m talking to him.”
“Hey, come on now, Misha!” Sir Osmond pleaded, “It’s just one additional paperwork.”
“And I’m the one doing it. It’s not for free, you know.”
“Err…I guess, I should go back some other time then,” I offered to back down, but Sir Osmond stopped me.
“Okay, how about this, Misha?” Sir Osmond came out with a proposal, “You do his identification papers, and you and I are going to a date—buuu!”
Misha interrupted him at mid-sentence by throwing a pile of papers on his face. That’s got to hurt.
“I love you too, Misha!” Sir Osmond said as he fixed the scattered files.
You understand that, man? Moreover, stop flirting in front of me, for god’s sake.
Well, at least the girl named Misha began working on processing my identification papers. She told me it would take some time, but asked for my fingerprints, which were taken using a ‘magic orb’.
“Ah, thanks for the help, Sir Osmond,” I bowed in gratitude, “I’ll be able to repay you someday.”
“Don’t mention it,” Sir Osmond winked, “After all, you’re a friend of Eris. Would you say ‘hi’ to her for me?”
“Sure, why not—”
“Buu!” Another pile of papers flew straight to Sir Osmond’s face. It’s from Misha, of course.
I’m thinking that it is her expertise. The way she throws those papers and how they fly in unison straight to her victim’s face, that’s some talent for you!
“Don’t worry, darling! You’re the one I love!”
You really can understand her through the way she throws at you? That’s some talent as well, Sir Osmond!
Hmm…I guess I’d pick up the finished document after going around the town.
So, while I was waiting for my papers, I started my quest to find a job in this town. Although Eris had explained to me before that this place was a premiere spot in Chersea, I still couldn’t adjust here compared to what I was used to on Earth.
I mean, Arles is a small place compared to the gigantic shopping malls my old world has.
Well, I knew that this town had a complete set of stores to cater to your everyday needs, like several bakeries, few meat shops, some fruit stalls, a couple of armor smiths, and weaponsmiths. Nevertheless, I miss my old Earth…
Ah! Anyway, this wasn’t the time to think about that. I needed to refocus myself on my goal, which was looking for a job.
On my way around, I came across a familiar place—the ‘Holy Frills Diner’. Though I initially hesitated to come inside, I decided otherwise. I thought of talking to the owner, Mister Ricardo. Maybe he could help me with my search.
“Welcome to the ‘Holy Frills Diner’!” Mister Ricardo immediately greeted me upon entering his restaurant.
“Hello, Mister Ricardo!”
“Oh! It’s the boyfriend of Eris!”
“Err…I’m not her lover though,” I corrected him.
“Ah, it would end there anyway,” Mister Ricardo quickly dismissed my protest, “So, you came alone today? Want to try our special set?”
“Ah, no…” I’m embarrassed to refuse his offers, but I got no money anyway, “Actually, I’m here to ask for help from you, Mister Ricardo.”
“Hm? Want to borrow money?”
“Err…it’s not that, sir. I’d like to ask if you know some places here where I can get a job.”
“To prepare for your wedding to Miss Eris?”
“Ah no! It’s not like that!”
“Well, it’ll come anyway. So, I can somehow understand you,” Mister Ricardo dismissed my objections once again.
Seriously, does he even listen to corrections?
“A job, huh?” Mister Ricardo seemed to ponder for a while, “Well, if it’s work you’re looking for, I could use an extra hand in my restaurant. Do you know how to cook?”
Oh great! A lucky strike on my first try, huh?
“I do,” with a proud grin on my face, I even boasted, “Back in my world, I used to cook for myself since I live alone.”
“Huh? ‘Your world’?”
“Oh, I mean, my old country.”
Crap! It casually slipped from my mouth. I should be careful about letting out my secrets in this place.
“Ah, anyway, what’s your name?” Mister Ricardo asked.
“It’s Kuro, sir. I was having my identification papers re-issued at the militia headquarters as of this moment, but that’s my name.”
“Okay then,” Mister Ricardo replied, “Well, I usually pay my employees 50 bronze coins at the end of every season, provided the work quota was met. And an extra five bronze coins for every work done outside the quota. Sounds reasonable to you?”
“I guess so, Mister Ricardo,” well, I didn’t know the standard wages in Chersea, so I guess I’d just agree in the meantime. After all, everyone would start at the lowest possible level.
“However, there’s still one more condition I have for you, Mister Kuro.”
“You know, since I’ll have you work in the kitchen for most of the time, I don’t think you’ll have to wear the famous frills of this diner. Is that alright with you?”
“Yes, thank you very much, sir!” I immediately answered in relief. Now that I recall, this place was the ‘Holy Frills Diner’. I almost had myself wear that embarrassing dress like the owner, but I guess I evaded that stupid fate.
Ah, thank you, my lady luck!
Well, Mister Ricardo told me he still had to prepare my uniform to work there, so he asked me to come back sometime later. And so, as usual, I was left with nothing else to do. Again. Hmm…maybe I should check on the identification papers if those are already done?
I started my way back towards the headquarters of the Arles militia.
While on the road, I heard some loud noises as I was getting near a blind turn. And then, I noticed that the bystanders around me either went towards the direction of the noise, or those who could see what’s happening had their heads turned to the spot where it was happening. Well, it’s not like I had some interest in that kind of commotion. And nothing would happen if I went out of my way just to watch it. So, even if I’m setting a flag here, I’d just go on my way, and ignore it.
“Hey watch out!”
It was too late when I turned around to check on what’s happening. I felt someone collide, well, not towards me, but at the parked carriage behind me. The sound of the thud was so loud, it’s horrible to hear!
“Oh god, is he dead?” I blurted out. I saw a boy lying down unconscious on the road behind me.
Well, he’s still breathing…
His head had a slight concussion in which some blood was coming out. Seemed like he hit his head quite hard on the sturdy body of the parked carriage. And also, his dirty clothes identified he was a slave. A lot of bystanders had arrived and surrounded the accident scene. Some of the militia were having difficulties in keeping them back…
Well, I can’t ignore this boy, ain’t I?
Back on Earth, I was trained in the administering of first aid, since I was a teacher. I guess now’s the time to use what I learned from the Red Cross then?
“Hey! Don’t move him!” I shouted to the man, perhaps the carriage driver, who was about to pull the unconscious boy to the side. He immediately obliged. I went to beside the boy and checked his breathing patterns.
Well, he seems fine to me, but I can’t be sure.
“Anyone got an ice compress? Or anything cold plus a piece of cloth?” I asked the crowd. Fortunately, someone was kind enough to chant ice magic, and I quickly wrapped it on the cloth. Careful and gentle, I put it over the concussion.
The boy felt the cold sensation; he moved and his facial expression turned sour. At least he’s responding to me, huh?
“Hey boy, you okay? Can you wake up?” I asked.
The boy then opened his eyes and stared blankly at me.
“Oh good; at least you’re conscious now!” I sighed in relief, “Got anything painful in your head?”
He silently nodded. But maybe due to reflex, he quickly backed away from me when he realized he’s talking to me. That kind of hurt, boy. I know my face is ugly, but at least you could show a little gratitude…
Ah, nevermind. Of course, it’s a slave, so I didn’t have to expect much. Well, I guess my job’s done here. Seemed like the slave boy was fine now…
“Hey! Don’t cause any further embarrassment for me, you stupid slave!”
I thought the commotion would end there, but I guess I was wrong. For out among the crowds came a beautiful young woman with a whip on her hands. She wore a nice, elegant dress, showing that she’s someone of high upbringing. And she went for the slave boy and yanked his arm.
“What are you doing trying to run from me?” the lady began hitting the poor slave who tried his best to make himself small to avoid the lashes.
The slave cried out in pain. It was terrible to hear, but I couldn’t help it. Honestly, I didn’t think I should interfere with them. I mean, this was a different world, and of course, my values here didn’t apply.
But hey, for someone who’s just injured himself, I think this is too much…
The crowd slowly dispersed, all the while the beautiful lady was hitting the slave. This kind of scene must’ve been a daily occurrence for them to be that indifferent. After all, slaves were accorded no rights, both here and in my old world…
Haa…I guess some systems will persist, no matter where you are.
I should go on my way and pick up those identification papers.
“Hey excuse me!” I knew I shouldn’t be doing this; after all, I just wanted to live peacefully. And I’m neither an ally of justice. But well, you know, I had my values. Though I may accept some compromise, this kind of inhumane treatment was something I couldn’t take to ignore.
“What do you want?” the lady hissed at me.
“Err…I don’t think that slave of yours can be useful for now,” I explained, carefully choosing my words so as not to offend her, “He hit his head on the carriage over there and was unconscious for quite some time.”
“And so? That’s his fault for running away from me, his master!”
Of course, anyone will run away from you if you’re like that.
“What do you want with this slave, anyway?” she stared at me, obviously taking a good look, “Well, aren’t you a commoner? How dare you talk to me as if you know everything!”
Well, it’s not that I know everything. I’m a teacher, of course, I know what I say most of the time. But I guess I shouldn’t say that, lest I annoyed her even more.
“I just know some information on injuries,” I replied, “I’d recommend that you let him rest for a while and check for symptoms of injuries like—”
“Are you dictating me, a baroness, of what to do?”
“Err…I’m just suggesting, you know.” God, I said the word ‘recommend’ clearly, right? Why do nobles so hard to deal with? It’s not like they’re really useful, or anything! “Well, if you’ll excuse me, I apologize for my brazen behavior and thus, would go on my way.”
“Hey wait! Are you serious?” she was starting another commotion by screaming, “You’re turning your back to me? Aren’t you the most disrespectful?”
Blahblahblah! Oh god…here comes the usual arrogance of the nobility. Should I dash away from here? The gathering crowds were a perfect obstacle for her pursuing guards, if she had any.
I was about to break into a run when someone else entered the scene.
“I’m sorry, Baroness Welt, looks like my man here has caused you trouble.”
I faced the new arrival. He was a young man of good stature. His elegant, yet military-like dress had a ‘princely vibe’ unto it, and he was carrying a finely decorated sword to his side.
A typical ‘bishounen’ from a ‘shoujo manga’, if you ask me.
“Hmph! Just because you’re the second prince of Nerfes doesn’t mean your men can’t go around spouting whatever they want!” the arrogant lady softened up upon recognizing the man she was talking to.
“I offer my heartfelt apologies,” the handsome dude bowed. Secretly, he winked at me, which told me that everything’s alright.
“…” I was dumbfounded. What’s this new guy thinking by covering for me?
“Consequently, I’d like to purchase that slave from you, if you will, my lady.”
“Huh? Why would you want him? He’s useless!” the lady was taken aback. She wouldn’t give up her rights to that slave easily.
“Would ten gold coins suffice?” he offered.
I take my words back. She’s just after the money.
“How about 15?”
“Then 18 gold coins!”
“Alright, 16 gold coins,” the princely dude haggled, “Take it or leave it.”
“Deal is closed then,” the lady shook hands with the handsome guy.
Well, that solves it, I guess. I needed to return to the militia headquarters, pick up my identification papers, and be back at the Palatial Gardens before the guards close it for sleeping time.
I let myself blend into the crowd.
While on the road towards the Holy Palatial Gardens, I heard someone following me.
Well, it’s a set of horse’s hooves. It could be a carriage of some sort, or a lone rider going the same way as me. Anyhow, I needed to step aside. The road wasn’t the usual wide, concrete, and asphalt one back in my old world; it’s just a narrow dust path worn down by the passing carts, carriages, coaches, and horses over time.
“Oh, hey! It’s the hero of Arles!”
Huh? I turned around and saw a horse a few distances away from me. But never mind the horse, it’s the rider—or riders—that I’m concerned about.
“Ah, it’s the ‘bishie’ prince,” I blurted out.
“Huh? What do you mean by ‘beeshee’?” the princely dude from Arles came and stopped before me.
“Well, what do you mean by that ‘hero of Arles’ stuff?” I countered.
“Hm, I guess you wouldn’t know since you suddenly disappeared,” the guy on the horse explained, “That girl you confronted back there is Baroness Gaia Welt. She’s pretty infamous for her cruelty towards her slaves, but the townsfolk of Arles are afraid to do anything because her grandfather wields some influence on the court of the Duke of Savoy, which has the jurisdiction over Arles.”
Ah, as typical of the spoiled bigshots…
“And yes, you’re the first person ever in the entire duchy to stand up to her.”
Err…looks like I attracted some legitimate pain-in-the-ass. Good thing I’m heading north once I saved enough money for a house.
“So yeah, the hushed whispers around the town refer to you as the ‘hero of Arles’,” the ‘bishounen’ informed me, “Good thing you’re someone that Sir Rilley knows. He told me you came from the Holy Palatial Gardens, so I followed and caught up with you here.”
“I see…” I nodded.
“Ah, anyway, I brought over Senshee.”
“Senshee?” I turned my attention to the slave boy behind his back, “That slave boy’s Senshee?”
“Yes, apparently, that’s his name,” the guy shrugged, and then introduced himself, “Oh, and by the way, I’m Simon Hugh Reed, the second prince of the Kingdom of Nerfes. Nice to meet you, err…”
“Kuro,” I proudly showed him my newly made identification papers. So, this one’s a real prince indeed, huh?
“Right, Kuro,” he then offered me his hand for a shake, to which I obliged.
“By the way, Your Highness—”
“Nah, just call me Simon.”
“Oh…well, Sir Simon, I haven’t thanked you yet for covering for me earlier,” I bowed to show my sincere gratitude, “So yeah, thanks for helping me out. You even had to shell out some money just to save me.”
“Ah, you’re welcome,” Simon smiled, “Just think of it as my sign of respect for what you did. Not only did you bravely confront Baroness Welt, but you also saved the life of this boy.”
“Hmm…I’m just doing what I have to, according to my set of values.”
“You’re pretty humble too, if I may say.”
So yeah, now that I’d said my thanks, I thought it was time for me to proceed to my destination. Although the sun in the sky never set on this land, I could tell by my feelings that I needed to return as soon as possible.
Or I’ll risk sleeping outside the Holy Palatial Gardens.
“Well then, Sir Simon, I guess I need to go on my way now,” I bid him farewell.
“Wait!” Sir Simon stopped me, “How about Senshee?”
“Err…aren’t you the one who bought him from that girl?” I’m having a terrible feeling about this, “It’s your money, so you get to keep him.”
“Huh? Impossible!” he had a horrific expression on his face, “The Kingdom of Nerfes won’t allow slavery in its territory, so I can’t take in slaves.”
“Well, you may free him if you wish.”
“Don’t be unreasonable, I can’t just do that!” the second prince protested, “Senshee has a slave contract bounding him!”
“But can’t you just break it or something? You bought him, after all.”
“No, I can’t do that! Senshee has already decided to follow you!”
“Don’t you know about a slave’s contract?”
“Well, I do have an idea. But isn’t that a forced thing, something that this guy doesn’t have a say?”
“Ah, you’re talking about the ‘Forced’ slave contract. Senshee’s former master, Baroness Welt, used it on him when she bought him from the slave market,” Sir Simon had an amused face, “This time, when Baroness Welt released Senshee from the contract, he voluntarily transferred his ownership to you, the one who saved him. That’s called a ‘Voluntary’ slave contract…something that those who fell into debts would often use.”
Oh, now I get it. So, I became the master of this guy Senshee…Which means I’m in really deep shit.
“So yeah, please take care of Senshee, Kuro. I bid you farewell!” Sir Simon brought down the slave boy and then prodded his horse back to town.
Not only I stirred up unwanted trouble in Arles, but I also had a new mouth to feed.
Warning: Cuss words.