Chapter 121: Estia’s past
We exited from the cave leading to the Dwarf Kingdom and the vicinity became completely bright and sunny.
“And so, why are you laying in ambush?”
Estia was at the entrance to the cave.
” … Do you know me!?”
“Estia right? I suspect “Thank god~” you?!” (TL: Estia interrupted him mid sentence)
Estia began to cry loudly.
” … Luciel-sama, is this person the Estia you spoke of?”
” … She’s only a girl nya.”
” … Did we originally know her as well?”
As expected, Lionel and the others did not remember anything about Estia at all.
Leaving that aside, couldn’t she have escaped without others noticing when she became a slave? It only served to deepen my suspicion toward Estia.
However, she’s crying and staying behind … no, crying can be an act too so I can’t ease my attention … I began speaking with that thought in mind.
“She’s Estia without a doubt. Estia, crying will not clear the suspicion on you. Why weren’t you together with the former slaves in the slave’s resting area?”
“By manifesting the Darkness Spirit’s power after a long time, everyone forgot about me …”
“Darkness Spirit-san was angered and tried to attack everyone so I left the place.”
“What did the Darkness Spirit do?”
“Inside the cave? It can’t appear unless it becomes night time.”
Sounds plausible … but, it’s way too dangerous and there’s not a single merit to bring her along to Rockford.
“Well, since you’re no longer a slave, do your best and live.”
“Please help me.”
Estia’s expression was as if she was seriously at her wit’s end.
I decided that there might be a chance that I would be cursed if I leave it be so I decided to listen for now.
” … The other … the Earth Spirits said that they are afraid of Estia. Could you explain why?”
Mentioning that the Spirits were afraid of Estia … the instant I said that, her body trembled, she gave a surprised expression, and she once again began crying.
“Even though I just want to get along well with Spirit-sans … ”
Her excuse was that apparently, she does not want to manipulate the Spirits.
However, when she senses danger towards herself, she will unconsciously borrow power from Spirits but the actual fact is that she snatches the Spirits’ power without permission huh.
” … If that’s true then you are quite a dangerous existence.”
” ……… ”
She stiffened as she continued casting her eyes downward.
“If you request of the Darkness Spirit, can’t you train so that you won’t steal the powers?”
” … I was told that when the time comes, I will be able to control it.”
“Told by the spirits?”
“No, by the person who raised me. Darkness Spirit-san gives a sad expression whenever I talk about that …”
Is it normal to not be able to control it? Or maybe … the person who raised her huh.
It would be Instructor Broad in my case.
If she’s a reincarnated individual, I’m curious as to where she learnt that combat technique from.
“I’ve turned 17.”
… Eh? Did I misread it?
” … When did you become able to see and speak to Spirits?”
“When I was a child … in the past, I had a body that was so weak that it would not be strange if I died anytime.
And even now, I can still somewhat remember the time I was sold … when my parent told me to go to a place where I can get treatment.
I was forced to drink various medicine that was said to be for an experiment, forced to swing the sword even when I had a fever and I was always full of bruises.
Furthermore, I was always lonely.
That continued for a couple of years before one day, I became able to see Darkness Spirit-san.
After that, my body’s condition became better.”
… Meaning she summoned the Spirits herself? Or was it that she originally had the talent? Or is it the effect of the medicine she was forced to drink … eh? I directly asked the question that was on my mind.
“Even though you were sold as a slave, isn’t it strange to be caught as a slave again?”
“Because I was released from slavery once.”
” … You sure get released often.”
“That time, I was surprised when it was easily done when I wished to be released from slavery but it seemed that it was done by Darkness Spirit-san.”
” … It’s been on my mind the whole time, did you use a memory lapse magic when you left the king’s audience? To not leave a trace of it behind … furthermore, why didn’t the Earth Spirits notice the Darkness Spirit’s presence?”
” … That’s because of the price of the power?”
Estia made a gloomy face and continued.
“At the place we fought with the queen ant, my defence instinct flared and I ended up using Spirit-san’s power.
Because I snatched the Spirit-sans life magical power, other than Darkness Spirit-san which is my contracted spirit, the others were resting to regain their power.
Conversely, Darkness Spirit-san became healthy and ended up causing a concealment effect to trickle down to the surroundings.
To explain the price in an easy-to-understand manner, originally, at the time everyone left the cave, I was supposed to disappear from everyone’s memories.
For some reason, it could not interfere with Luciel-sama’s memories.”
Those eyes didn’t look like they were lying.
But, I was unable to measure the trust I have in her.
If there isn’t a threat, there’s the choice of bringing her along to Rockford. However, I could not trust her to that extent.
“I cannot determine if the Darkness Spirit that wanted to save Estia acted wildly or that Estia unconsciously acted wildly.
In a world where there isn’t an exchange of life, it might be alright to think that it’s fine. But, in this world, I can’t immediately bring you along.”
” … I guess you’re right. Since you did release me from slavery … I am thankful for that alone.”
Looking at the forced smile made by Estia, I ended up being distressed about whether my decision was the right one.
I’ll postpone thinking about the right thing to do after getting my hands on more information.
“I will lend this sword and shield to you. Also, I will write to King Rockwell so that you will be able to wait in the Dwarf Kingdom so please wait there.”
“I don’t intend to do something as thoughtless as abandoning a person who can’t even cook.”
“Thank you. Thank you.”
As Estia conveyed her thanks to me, I took out a parchment from my magic bag and wrote a letter to King Rockwell.
While I wrote the letter, I thought, if the measure and the mindset of spirits differ, won’t we be able to understand the Spirit’s way of thinking slightly through Estia?
While thinking of her merit if I bring her along, I made it so that we would meet again.
“I plan to return to this land 10 days later. It’s alright if you properly live in the Dwarf Kingdom until then.”
“Understood. I look forward to meeting you again.”
Taking out Fornoir and the others using the Key of the Hermit, when we were about to set off for Rockford, Fornoir approached Estia from the front.
“Wha, what’s wrong?”
Estia asked bewilderedly.
“What’s wrong Fornoir?”
Fornoir ignored my question as she stopped in front of Estia and looked into her face.
After a dozen of seconds, Estia curtsied.
After that, Fornoir calmly walked back to me but … (TL: Holy sh*t even his horse is OP lol)
“Did you do something?”
Fornoir merely shook her neck.
However, Estia was different.
She continued to simply stare at Fornoir as if she was released from her inner demons.
When Lionel straddled his horse, Cathy and the others boarded the carriage and finished their preparation to set off, and I also hopped onto Fornoir, I called out to Estia.
“If you can speak with the Darkness Spirit, it would be better to properly convey how painful it is to you for memories of you to be lost from those around you. There’s probably a large difference between the way of thinking of Spirits and human.”
” … Understood. I will try asking Darkness Spirit-san.”
While being seen off by Estia, we departed for Rockford.
A couple of minutes after departing, Lionel spoke before me.
“That girl was most likely from the Elimasia Empire.”
“Why do you think so?”
“There’s a possibility that she fell ill when she was a child due to a hidden job aptitude that was not suitable for her body.”
” … Just a possibility right?”
“Currently, the Empire still collects such children to turn them into the Empire soldiers.”
” … Why?”
“Publicly, they claim to treat them but in reality, by turning them into Empire soldiers, they cause them to arouse a sense of resentment toward the other countries they were brought from.”
“You mean by brain-washing?”
“Yes. Because while they are young, they would not realise that they are being brain-washed.”
” … Previously, I’ve heard of similar stories in Meratoni but …”
Botacyl’s daughter’s situation felt that way.
Thinking about that … what happens to the slaves sold to the Empire?
“Incidentally, what’s the fate of the adult slaves from the other countries sold to the Empire?”
“I can’t generalise all of them but they may flow from country to country, be bought as pets or for children’s training … there are also rumours of human experimentations.”
“There’s also cases like Lionel’s betrayal right?”
” … Yeah, that is true. The darkness in the Empire is more deeply-rooted that you can imagine.”
“However, why do they take in sickly children just based on a possibility?”
” … It’s because the Emperor of the Elimasia Empire had the same circumstances. His weak body drastically changed once he reached adulthood and due to the special job he possessed, he climbed up to the seat of emperor all at one go.”
” … And what’s the result in the end?”
“I don’t know the exact details but I heard that it gave decent results. If they do not obtain special jobs or advance jobs, I heard that they would once again be sold to other countries …”
Would they really sell them after they’ve paid so much money to treat them and nurture them?
I decided that I would try asking Estia the next time I met her if I have the chance even though I’m unsure if she would answer.
Thank you for reading