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I heard a flimsy and almost inaudible voice as my consciousness floated around. It’s Ravi’s voice. I must wake now.
As I pushed up my heavy eyelids forcefully, a face of fatigue stained with dried tears came into view. It’s an unfamiliar scenery. Where am I.
I wanted to call Ravi’s name, but my throat was coarse and dry.
Ravi who hurried over to the desk beside the bed, held a jug of water with both hands. As she carried the water hurriedly and offered to me, I received it with gratitude and wetted my throat. It felt like the water was moistening my dry body.
「Ha―……. Ravi, thanks. 」
At last, a proper voice came out. Ravi rubbed her face full of tears violently and faced me with a smile. The hearty smile made my chest feel hurt. I thought I should get up to make her not worry. But just as I was about to get up, a splitting pain hit the side of my abdomen.
「Can’t move yet……. The doctor-san, said that the sutured wound will open……」
Ravi pushed back my shoulders with a pale face.
Ravi explained what had happen after I collapsed with a faltering voice.
Someone had reported the disturbance that they heard. It seems that soon after I collapsed, the military unit came to the scene. After I was given first aid at the scene, I was carried to a room in the brothel.
And the doctor had given treatment for me and I had been out for about a day and half.
It seems that the thugs and the mercenaries doesn’t have any abnormalities with their life. The detoxification somehow succeeded, so I was relieved. As for the assassin, as a matter of fact, the military unit tried to track his whereabouts.
However, I heard that they couldn’t find any signs of him. Well, that’s a given. Even if his both hands are severed, he’s not a person to be captured easily.
「Daddy’s injuries, too serious……they said there weren’t any healer in town that can treat……」
「Well, that’s expected.」
If it’s just light injuries then it would’ve been fine, but since it was a wound that needed to be sutured, it needed a healer of considerable skill. And anyone that has a considerable level of skill would’ve not been a doctor but accompanying an adventurer party since that would be more profiting.
「I’m really sorry I couldn’t do anything……」
「It’s not something Ravi should apologize. I’m fine, it wouldn’t take long for me to recover」
To not let her worry, I tried to raise my body more careful than before. After gulping down a mouthful of air, I assured her again with 「I’m alright. 」.
Well then……. I turned around my back towards Ravi. Rolling up my shirt and taking off the thick bandage wrapped around my abdomen. The wound that hasn’t sealed completely came into view.
I’m used to seeing my own blood.
I pressed the sutured wound with my hands and started to chant the recovery skill.
《The benevolent goddess that treasures all life, the blessing of your healing light―― Full Recovery!》
The splitting pain of the wound vanished. The flesh had returned to normal, however the leftover signs of a suture remained.
But I still felt strange around the abdomen that received an attack. The strange thing about healing a wound using a skill is that you will still feel phantom pain afterwards. It’s probably a discrepancy in the brain. But the wound disappeared in any case.
I turned back around to Ravi.
「See. There’s no problem. 」
Seeing the completely vanished wound, Ravi was reaching out her hand intrigued.
「Can I touch……?」
The small hands reached out to my abdomen. Her warmth along with her worrying emotions are conveyed.
As I nodded back, the relieved Ravi cried again.
「……Hic……Thank goodness……. I’m glad……」
「Yeah, hey. Don’t cry. 」
As I felt disheartened when she cried, I raised her up to the bed. I said I’m fine while I lightly patted her back. Ravi clung onto me and started crying for real. Strange. I thought I was consoling her, but it had the opposite effect.
As I was troubled with what course of action should I take, hurried footsteps resounded from the corridor outside.
「I thought I heard some voices talking but it seems that you’re awake. 」
Inside the room, madam and Veronica, Ted and the Rose Princess, all of them flew in here. The others were also peeking from the door.
「I will call the doctor immediately. 」
「Umm, I’m fine. The wound is already gone. 」
As I explained I used a recovery skill to treat myself, they exhaled a sigh of relief. It seems like I’ve also caused everyone to worry considerably. As I apologized, Veronica rebutted me with 「Don’t act like a stranger. 」angrily.
「By the way Douglas-san. The military wants to have a talk with you. About the young man in black……」
The madam was referring to the assassin.
「Was there a reason behind the assaulting, is he someone you know, who is he. In any case, they just wish you to tell them anything and everything you know about him. 」
To be frank, I’ve almost zero information about that man. What I know is but two.
He’s an assassin.
His target is Ravi.
When I glanced at Ravi silently, she’s cowering in my arms with a very pale face. It was the same when she saw me facing off the assassin. The presence of blood completely vanished, and cold sweat started dripping from her face. The fingers that grabbed on my shirt was trembling non-stop.
If I were to cooperate with the military, Ravi would definitely be dragged in the flow. I don’t know the circumstances behind this child and the assassin. But I understood that something hidden is causing her fear.
「……Sorry. The wounds are closed, but it’s been awhile since my body moved, so I feel really dull right now. I will meet the military tomorrow. 」
It sounded really sloppy. I wonder did my true thoughts slipped out in that. Since I wasn’t really proficient in lying. Especially madam who said 「I see」without hesitation made me think so.
「I will tell them that. But they’ve stationed their troops outside of the brothel, so if you walk around too much, they will drag you by force you know. 」
I was intrigued by her words.
「They say there’s a possibility he will appear again, so they are guarding the brothel for the moment. I tried to reject them, but they wouldn’t listen. 」
「Seriously, they’re just doing as they like. Even though I complained so much when the thugs were harassing, they wouldn’t move an inch! 」
「Fufu. The military leader of Milton, he really desires to be promoted. He wouldn’t move unless it’s a big case. 」
「Well, it’s as Rose Princess said but……」
An assassin of high caliber. One who kills the masses without batting an eye. Arresting that man would definitely yield the military huge honor. There isn’t any sincerity felt from the help of the military. However, now that it’s such a serious case, it would be impossible to reject.
Since the military squads are stationed outside, together with Ravi, we decided to stay in the room for the day.
「Yeah, and one more thing. The baron had returned from his journey, and he heard every deed of Carlos when he was gone. From now on, Carlos is to be accompanying the baron whenever he’s going out on a trip. Since he’s getting observed constantly by his father, he probably can’t bother us anymore. 」
「Is that so. That’s good to hear. 」
「And the baron is also told that Douglas-san is looking to have a talk with him. 」
「That’s……I owe you one. 」
I’m feeling thankful. But probably, there isn’t a chance for us to meet with Baron Morris.
That night. After being left just the two of us, I asked Ravi.
「Are you going to tell the military squad about the assassin man? 」
Ravi’s shoulders spiked and trembled. Her pupils are shaking in lost, and her lips were shivering. But a single word did not come out in the end.
Ravi squeezed on her throat as if in pain, and her eyes full of fear started to shed tear. I panickily embraced her.
「No it’s wrong. I’m not asking you to tell them. I’m asking if you’re against the idea telling them. It’s just that. 」
The fleeting voice conveyed her mind after a pause. It’s fine with just that. Knowing that answer is enough.
「Alright. Then let’s escape. 」
I carried Ravi back up and grabbed the two coats hanging on the wall. I lowered her down to put the coat on her. And I put mine on myself hurriedly too.
We’re really saved that we brought our baggage around even when we were walking around in the brothel. I grabbed my own Zuta bag, together with Ravi’s orange bag, and carried both of them on my shoulders. And then once again, I hugged Ravi up.
And then I wrote a note on the table beside the bed. A letter of apology for my bother. And I also wrote that if they would get suspected for covering for us, just hand out the letter.
I peeked out from the gaps of the curtain. Outside was pitch black. According to the madam, the military should’ve a few people watching. Even so, I can escape without problems by taking advantage of the darkness.
I felt sorry I couldn’t thank everyone who had been taking care of us. But if they knew that I was escaping from the military, it would just spell trouble for them.
……Alright, I guess it’s time. As I felt guilt for being ingratitude, I opened the door. Stepping in the dark corridor slow and silently, arriving at the entrance. There was a figure standing with her hands on her hips.
「That’s why I said don’t act like a stranger. 」
With both hands on her waist, she turned around and the moonlight illuminated her. Veronica stared at me with an unsatisfied face, puzzling me.
……Did she realize that I was going to escape.
「In the first place, the military squad is stationed outside, how are you planning to get away. Hey, come with me. 」
As I was still unable to grasp the situation, Veronica pulled me by the hand.
「Because we’re going to help you two escape. 」
As I was surprised by her statement, we arrived in front of a wagon in the courtyard. The others were also there.
「You look like you’re not buying it, I can’t believe that you actually thought that you can deceive us. You’re so bad in lying that you should keep it in mind. 」
「This wagon would deliver foodstuffs and wine to us every night. The driver is already informed about it. He would take you to the outskirts of the city. 」
「But that would drag you all in……」
「Just let us do that much please. Else we wouldn’t be satisfied. You can probably escape just fine by yourself. But since you’ve a child with you. Won’t it be better if it’s a safer choice. 」
「I see. That’s true……」
I decided not to hold back and bowed deeply.
「The first day we met, thank you for helping me. Being kind to me, I will never forget. Ravi-chan, stay well too. 」
「Douglas-san, we’re really in your debt. Thanks to you, our girls here can be safer than never. I really can’t thank you enough. The flowers that you and Ravi made will forever be treasured. 」
「Fufu, it’s my first time meeting a good man like you. Next time, when you come visit this town again, I will thank you properly at that time. Of course, the chibi’s together. 」
Ted, Madam, Rose Princess and the others said their farewell to us. And the last, Veronica came out in front whispered.
「……I’m still not sure about how I should live my life onwards. But……I will think about it properly. I won’t hate my past anymore. Finding something in the future, and one day when we meet once again, I must be able to say, 「It’s been a long time」 with pride. 」
She said that and raised her head. I nodded back with a meaning for her to try her best, she smiled. It was her first smile I saw, it was dazzlingly bright.
「Now, it’s almost time. 」
The madam raised her voice with slightly moist eyes. I returned a nod, and Ravi entered the wooden crate prepared first.
「Ravi, is it fine? Just a little patience while we wait. 」
Ravi peeked out from the crate and waved to everyone. I patted the head of such Ravi, before closing the crate. Next is my turn. I went in another huge wooden crate beside Ravi, and Ted shut it for me.
I can’t see everyone’s faces now. But I felt their presence with me.
「If you make too much noise, they would find out. So, make sure you speak softly. 」
The madam cautioned and――
「Thank you, Douglas-san……! 」
「Let’s meet again, Ravi-chan……! 」
「The four days we spent together were really fun……! 」
「Stay well……! 」
It’s the words of bidding farewell. Even though the voices were soft, it resounded loudly deep in my chest. It was too short of a time for me to understand all of them.
But even so, I’ve learned a lot from this city. I thought so in the wooden crate smelled like apples. And being supported by the strong and bright prostitutes, we departed from the City of Pleasure, Milton…….