The man that exited the tent called to another young man that passed by.
「Aah Victor, you came at just the right time. 」
The young man called Victor turned around. With wheat-colored hair, a man that has the looks to be taken as a noble’s son replied.
「What is it, Captain? 」
「Help me prepare one portion of food and take it to that tent? 」
「Haa, I bet you picked up kids again. Seriously, Captain really like to do that. When did the 『Wisteria』 mercenary band become an orphanage again? 」
His bluish eyes dumbfounded while he commented harshly. However, the man who received those words looked like he didn’t feel anything.
「Two of them looked like dying, you would know, of course I can’t let them die there. 」
「A normal mercenary band would though? 」
「Upfront investment, it’s called an upfront investment. Train a kid to be a mercenary from young, and they will become more useful than amateurs out there. 」
「Yes yes. Let’s leave it at there. So, any prospects? 」
「Don’t know about the girl but, the kid has some potential. He didn’t give any eye to the others and jumped straight to me. Even if he doesn’t have the strength, his eyes are good. 」
The man called as the Captain as if found useful equipment was grinning.
「Couldn’t it be a coincidence? 」
「Nope, those are the eyes that manage to discern that I’m the leader in that group. In that situation, it’s not a bad choice to take me as a hostage. Moreover, I don’t hate how he took the bet in that desperate situation even when the chance to survive is tiny. 」
「Well, if Captain says so, it’s not like I can say anything to stop you in the first place……」
Victor who shrugged as if he gave up confirmed the instructions again.
「And so, food, was it? 」
「Yeah. He looks hungry. The tent has a barrier, so he probably can’t escape by himself but, put him to sleep if you need to. 」
「The barrier? 」
「It will last for another hour. 」
The shortest reply required for confirming the details.
「Got it. 」
Then, just as Victor wanted to leave, the Captain added on as if he recalled.
「Oh, yeah. That kid, he’s like a cat that has its kitten taken away currently, careful. Though I don’t think that’s needed for you. 」
「……A troublesome one again, I see. 」
With an expression that looked like sighing, Victor left the Captain behind.
Then, the Captain continued walking down the path lined up with tents, going to his destination in a straight line.
While greeting the other mercenaries that he come by, he arrived at a place with female mercenaries, and entered the tent after calling out, 「I’m entering. 」.
「How is she? 」
「Ah, Captain. 」
There was a young girl sleeping in the tent. Another young woman beside her noticed the Captain and turned around.
「She’s better now. The fever has gone down and her face color looks calmer. She might wake up tomorrow. 」
While hearing what she said, the Captain bent over and looked at the sleeping girl’s face. After looking for a while, the Captain as if thought of something said.
「She looks thin now but……, she looks pretty well-born. 」
The woman agreed as well.
「I agree. Her hair and hands, both looks like they were well taken care of before. Leaving aside her clothing, her undergarments are high-grade, couldn’t she be a nobility young miss somewhere? 」
The Captain frowned. Leaving aside if they just taken care of her for a bit, getting the nobles in town involved will be troublesome.
「Did her group get attacked, her escorts annihilated, and she got lost……」
Although a town protected by walls might be safe, the moment they step out of it, their position and wealth are all useless.
In the territory where only violence is law, losing her escorts meant death. But of course, something like that is common knowledge, and bringing many escorts when going out is a common sense.
But no matter how many escorts they have, being unlucky is enough to be wiped out. Getting attacked by a pack of beasts, encountering strong foes, just one or two more escorts mean nothing.
「Her injuries? 」
「Several small ones. There’re some areas that are carefully treated, some medicine-looking thing is also smeared there. 」
Any poor people would’ve only washed off the blood and wrapped their wounds in some cloth. Rubbing medicine is something only children of wealthy family would do, the Captain thought.
「Either way, two children in the wilderness……」
The woman with a painful expression combed the girl’s hair.
「But well, didn’t they get lucky too? Because they were in the wasteland, there were no beasts to eat them, and luckily we passed by. 」
In the sandy wasteland, there’s only at most some insects, there’re no hostile monsters anywhere there. Although the environment is harsh, it’s a land that’s at the very least doesn’t have the threat of being attacked by wild beasts.
On top of that, their timing was good. The mercenary band that had just finished their work was moving to the next town, and it’s lucky that they coincidentally got near to the place where they were setting up tents.
If even the two children or the mercenary band’s timing were off by a day, the girl would’ve not survived with her weakened state.
The boy is still young. From her age, he would be the girl’s attendant, or maybe the last surviving escort―― no, maybe an apprentice. A servant is plausible too.
However, either way, his protectiveness over the girl isn’t fake. He didn’t choose to abandon the girl in the harsh environment, and even chose to fight against the group as a last ditch effort, the Captain thought that part was likable.
If they have somewhere to return, the Captain thought to escort them with some mercenaries. Needless to say, he’s expecting some compensation.
Joining the band is also a valid option. If they don’t want either――, then he would just drop them off at the nearest town and leave them alone.
As expected, even the Captain is not benevolent enough to be feeding children that can only be useful as baggage.
The Captain has his duties as a captain. Protecting the members’ life, the duty of making sure they won’t starve.
If they become a member, then he wouldn’t mind protecting them but, if not, they are just a stranger. Even sending them to a safe place is already considered very much friendly for a mercenary band.
The woman asked the Captain who was deep in his thoughts.
「What about the kid? 」
「Aah, he already woke up just now. He’s noisy about meeting this girl so, for the time being, Victor is handling him. 」
Hearing that name, the woman looked very worried.
「Victor? Won’t there be a problem? 」
「It’s fine. He’s a good caretaker despite this and that. 」
「Certainly doesn’t seem so to me. 」
The Captain defended Victor while the woman had a dubious expression.
「He’s just shy and can’t reveal his kindness in front of others. 」
「Captain too, Victor too, this mercenary band is full of difficult men. 」
「Don’t say that 」
As the woman shrugged with a bitter smile, the Captain stood up.
「I will ask Iska to take over later, please take care of her until then. 」
「No problem. Iska and I know how to pay back our debts. 」
That’s why, rest easy, and we will take care of her. She won’t say that explicitly. The woman and Iska both are his acquaintance for more than ten years.
Even without speaking, there’s a sturdy and trustworthy relationship between them.
「Tell me when she wakes up. If I don’t let that kid know soon, he’s going to explode. 」
「Then why not let him meet her now. 」
「If he met her now, I bet he would take her and run. 」
Hearing the Captain’s words, the woman sighed tiredly.
「Ah――, so he’s the same type as Captain huh? 」
「Don’t be stupid, I’m not that reckless. 」
The woman did not hide her dubious gaze towards the arguing Captain.
「Who knows. 」
With an expression mixed with awkwardness and displeasure, the woman stepped down with 「Whatever」.
「I will let you know when she wakes up. 」
「Ou, thanks. 」
Perhaps he felt a little uncomfortable, the Captain left the tent in a hurry while leaving those words behind.