Chapter 4 Villagers' Welcome
Dusk. The western sky turns red.
After sleeping outdoors several times inside the forest, we finally came out of the vast forest.
She told me many things during the walk.
This world, the geography of each nations, history and the pantheon. And the menace of the demon king and the hero system.
Right now we're heading south where the royal capital is located.
However, I felt the extent of the demon king's influence as I listened to her story.
It seems no true hero has appeared for 100 years.
There were some strong heroes, but every one of them were killed by the demon king instead.
I can't help but think it's strange.
There might be a reason why the demon king can't be defeated.
Looks like I need to delve it in detail.
The two of us are walking on a path of a plain with swaying grass.
Celica walks by my side with a smile on her whole face without looking tired.
Her gentle white cheeks are dyed red from the light of the sunset.
"You're really lively."
"Yes. I'm happy just being able to walk with Hero-sama like this."
Celica puts her hands on her cheeks and twists her body. Emphasizing her delicate limbs.
I shake my head in astonishment.
We arrived at a small village when the day was about to fall.
It's a village with around 50 people scattered here and there.
Celica broods it over.
"Let's take a lodge in this village today."
"Yeah, let's.... However, is it safe?"
I implicitly included the fact about her Sinner status.
Celica speaks while grasping the pendant hanging on her neck.
"We should be fine, it's a small village. --Furthermore, I can't let Keika-sama camp outside anymore than this."
"I don't really mind.... And it looks like there's no inn here."
"Generally, you ask the village mayor to let us stay in his house in cases like this."
"We might have to sleep in the shed however...."
"No problem, as long as it keep us from the weather."
"Yes, I understand."
Celica steps toward the biggest house in the center of the village tensely.
I followed after her leisurely.
The village mayor's house was an unexpectedly big two-storied building. He might be working doubly as a governmental official.
We met the village mayor in the dining room of that mansion.
He was a very kind old man with white hair and gray beard.
He warmly welcomes us with a smile on his whole face.
"Well well, welcome to our humble village, travelers. Now now, we're having a dinner now. Please have your fill to your heart's content."
"We're very sorry for the sudden visit."
Celica gracefully bowed. Her blond hair hung gently.
I also say my greeting.
"Thank you for letting us stay. Is it really alright for us to even be treated to dinner."
"No worries. Your appearances suggest that you're adventurers. We're thankful enough that you exterminate monsters."
The village mayor laughs with furrowed eyebrows.
However, he can't deceive God's eyes.
I knew that his heart wasn't laughing.
"Now now, please. They're nothing much but please eat up before they turn cold."
The village mayor encouraged us to eat.
There are some crude breads and soup with piece of cut meat inside the bowl put on the wooden table. Appetizing steam rises.
Celica squints her eyes in delight, it's been awhile since our last warm meal.
I ask about the portrait of a woman hung on the wall.
"Who is that?"
"Ah, that's the portrait of Saintess-sama who saved this village from a curse a long time ago--"
I invoked a spell while the village mayor's eyes were diverted.
The soup shines for an instant. Mine only.
With Celica's character, she probably can't pretend like she's being deceived, so I've decided not to tell her.
Well, even without detoxification, I should be fine even if I ingest the poison since I'm a God, but I don't know the rule of this world, it's an insurance.
Then the meal began.
I eat while soaking the dried bread in the soup.
The taste was simple, but the meat's flavor and the fat weren't bad. It's similar to pot-au-feu with few ingredients.
Looking at the side, Celica is tearing the bread with her beautiful finger before putting it on the soup. Her slender throat is moving up and down.
Her behaviors are that of someone who doesn't suspect anything at all.
Noticing my sight, Celica tilts her head in puzzlement.
"Is there anything wrong?"
I resumed easting the soup and bread once again.
◇ ◇ ◇
We were led to a room with no window deep in the mansion. There's one bed and a sheet made from bundles of straw.
The oiled door is the only thing looking new.
"I'll be sleeping in the straw."
"But. Keika-sama, please use the bed."
"No, I shouldn't fall asleep you see. So it's just right."
"And also, gather up the baggage so we can leave immediately."
Celica looked at me wonderingly, but she obeyed without question.
After that, I asked someone in the house for some water. Celica wiped her body in the room, but I told her that I wanted to wash my whole body.
I draw water in the courtyard, wiping my limbs.
From top to bottom. Water drip from my simple black hair. The coldness wakes my eyes.
Many stars are scattered about in the sky, beautiful.
However, I can't see the bright moon. It's disappointing, but also convenient.
However, I wasn't just bathing.
I memorized the layout of the mansion while going back to my room.
And then I slept.
In a pitch black room with no light.
When I felt some presences I opened my eyes while still leaning on the straw.
I can hear the deep slumber of Celica.
I concentrate my mind.
Sounds of tiptoes in the corridor and the garden. However, they can't erase the faint vibration.
It seems they're talking but I can't hear them.
"--<<Multi Attentive Ears>>"
The surrounding sounds flow into my ears.
Voices of men.
"Did they fall asleep?"
"Is she really a Sinner?"
"The crystal ball shined red. There is no mistake."
This was a hoarse voice of an old man.
A middle aged man asks.
"Won't they get up?"
"It was a sleeping drug for monster. They'll be fast asleep until tomorrow morning."
This was the voice of an old man again, mixed with laughter.
An old man's voice.
"Alright. Someone go to the city and call the guard--"
"Now now wait. Our achievement will be robbed if we call the guard."
"However, they looked like strong adventurers."
"They're sleeping right?"
"That's right but...."
"We'll arrest them and bring them to the guard ourselves."
There's only five men in the corridor. Including the village mayor.
Around 10 men in front of the mansion. There are sounds of armor and metals from this direction. Looks like they're armed.
However, judging from their conversations, I had guessed it wrong.
I thought this was a village where the people kill vagabonds and steal their belongings, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
One of the men chuckled while I was in doubt.
"That babe is a 『Sinner』. She's worth 10 big gold coins. Might even be one pure gold coin...."
A man who's strangely breathing roughly asks.
"He-hey.... Before we take her to the guards, er, we can...."
The village mayor scolds them in low voice.
"Fools, if even one of you have anything to do with a Sinner, your whole family will be slaughtered. The village will be cursed too. Did you forget the terror of that epidemic! You must not put your hand on her."
"Tch, I know I know."
I clicked my tongue inwardly.
--They were aiming for Celica huh.
Celica said that it was alright, but it seems the village has an item that can perceive a Sinner.
By the way, it seems judging if someone is a Sinner does not happen frequently, it's only done when a baby is born or when an outsider comes or when you're studying to be a priest.
We were found out because we were outsiders this time.
Still, they're not letting people to get their hand on one even though the Sinner will be killed.
They're probably afraid that a child might be born.
A light elemental girl has a high chance of giving birth to a child with even bigger light after all.
That means, all girls with Light element are all chaste huh.
I'll prioritize helping them once I become a hero.
Someone is touching the door. And then opening it without a sound.
Four young men enter first before the village mayor.
Two to the bed, two to my direction. Tiptoeing with ropes in their hands.
The moment they entered the right distance, I jumped!
Thud, thud, two dull sounds.
My right hand hit the two's abdomens. They couldn't breathe when I hit their diaphragms.
I jumped over the collapsing two.
I hit the two who were going to tie Celica, robbing them of their consciousness.
The village mayor was going to shout in surprise.
My hand was faster.
I wrap the rope that was going to be used to tie Celica on the village mayor's neck.
The village mayor is desperately trying to take off the whip-like coiling rope with his fingers.
I move like a wind and strike the village mayor's abdomen.
He falls down. I untie the rope on his neck immediately.
I check his clothes and snatch a key.
And then I tie their mouths and arms with the rope they brought themselves.
After that I take our baggage and lift Celica who's sleeping like a blond princess--
"It's a bit hard to move."
Her head would likely hit the wall or door if I carry her with bridal carry.
I put her on my back instead. I felt soft round sensations on my back. They really are big.
"Unya, munya.... Grandma, nandesuno...."
How much of a princess this girl is.
I left the room while feeling her cute sleep breathing.
I close the door quietly from outside.
I go to the back since there's 10 armed men in the courtyard. I've checked that there's an unused door there.
Since I've memorized the layout, I can walk without being lost even with no light.
Walking with bare feet.
I was never going to fight. I fully intend to escape.
Of course I can instantly end it, mere villagers they are, if I want to.
However, since they're armed I might make a mistake at holding back and some of them might die. They're probably going to use magic too, all the more dangerous.
--If I was still the same as the me in Japan, I probably would have flood the whole village with mud in anger.
While saying it was a blasphemy against God.
However, that's not good. I won't be able to become a God if I repeat the same thing.
Becoming a hero is my first priority now.
If I'm burdened with the stigma of murder, I will lose the qualification to become a hero.
It will ruin this easy live toward divinity.
Do it gently. Don't get angry, me.
--Well I'll ask for the payback in full once I've become a hero though!
I walk while suppressing my footsteps and concentrating my ears.
Presences inside the house. Suppressed breathing of people.
Children and women are holding their breath in their own room.
There's no obstacle in the route.
However, it's only a matter of time before they realize.
I've to hurry.
I arrived at the back door. Dust and junks are piled up in front of the door.
I open the door with the key I snatched from the village mayor.
Putting some strength, I quietly push it--.
An awfully loud sound resounded in the darkness of the night.
It must have rusted since it was never used!
The air in the mansion completely changes. Rustling sounds are resounding.
"Did you hear a sound?"
"From the back."
"Someone go see it."
About five footsteps went toward the back.
I went outside while cursing.
To the opposite of the footsteps.
I run through a narrow path.
Celica is swaying on my back. Her blond hair is tickling my neck.
I'll use God's Power to raise my speed once I arrive at a place outside the villagers' eyes.
Because they'll think I'm a monster if they see me using God power.
However, I heard shouting from behind.
"They ran away!"
I saw several villagers chasing us when I looked back.
--Damn, they found us already!
With this I can't use God power until I shake off the villagers.
I had no choice but to run away while carrying Celica on my back.
I leave the village and run in a gentle plain.
To the south where the royal capital is.