348 Getting Dragged Just the Way It Is
'When did he...', the courier man whispered as he glared at me. Sound of someone swallowing saliva resounded.
"Uh well? I just did? Forget that, are you gonna answer my questions? Or not? But well, I get you've got your own circumstances so even if you won't, no, can't give it to me straight, I don't mind. I'm not gonna force it outta you either way."
The courier man seemed to interpret my reply as me being reasonable, he put on a smile as he straightened his back.
"So you will let me go if I give you intel? I shall tell you anything if you abide by that. What would you like to know?"
I did want to know some things. But I thought better of it.
"...Hm? Thinking again, hearing your story means no turning back isn't it? I don't want to get involved in this mess. So yeah, you can go now. Your plan ends in failure. Just be grateful you're not dead at least."
I've got the rough gist of this matter, I don't need to know the whole story.
That's just gonna set up a flag.
No point to it anymore. I'm probably getting dragged in this mess whether I heard it or not.
(Aah, what to do with all these kids... I guess I gotta take their collars off at least, and also give them food?)
What's the federation plotting up to kingdom? Probably a war. If what they said is true.
All without a good reason, or a declaration. A blitzkrieg. War of aggression.
This must be part of the strategy. A plan which was crushed by someone as insignificant as me.
What's more important is the children, I can't just 'Okay then. Run along now.' and abandon them here.
I lost interest with the courier man as my head was filled with the children's safety.
The courier man used that chance to ran out of the door in an jiffy. His movement was fluid.
As fluid as his parting threat.
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"Damn you! Don't think you'll get away with this! I've memorized your face! Dead to all pest! Your day is numbered, cower in fear until that time comes!"
Man, do these types of baddies always have to have the last word or something?
I ignored him and turned at the kids.
"Line up kids, I'm gonna take off your collars... Don't be afraid. I'm not here to... Well whatever."
I couldn't afford to make any more verbal promise recklessly so I shut my mouth and touched one of the kids' collar. It came off just like that.
The children reacted quickly when they saw that. They lined up in front of me without any argument.
"Are all slum kids trained in this stuff or something? I can't find the punchline..."
They had all their collars removed smoothly. It took quite a bit. Some of the freed kids wept, some hugged each other.
There's 45 of them in total. Quite a lot. Some of these kids are losing strength from malnutrition as we speak.
Having no choice, I started making soup on the spot.
A stock soup using the leftover bones from yesterday's Forest Seekers.
The kids were staring at me without making a sound as I cooked.
I went to gather some wild grass outside as the fire settled in. To get as much garnish as I could.
Can't let the soup just be water and bones. I spoke to the kids who looked like they still had some strength.
"Oy, go gather these wild grass if you have strength left. You'd help your stomach by helping me."
I gently taught them what the wild grass looks Their eyes were serious.
The older kids' survival instinct kicked in and several of them went out to gather the grass.
I opted to tend the boiling pot and scoop out the scum.
(Good thing I kept the bones I guess? But eh, saving them just to make broth is a bit~.)
I stirred the pot while vowing this is the last time I do it.
Then I put in the wild grass the kid gathered. The pot still looked lonesome so I had the bright idea of looking for meat.
I'll get back in an flash by employing Acceleration anyway. The water is never gonna boil past the pot mouth even with the fire on.
(Alright let's do it, I'll make it my meal as well.)
'And some fruits as well', at this point of time, I never imagined I'd end up going too far.