377 Slave Declaration
What ultimately convinced me were the two ladies who were inside the tent.
"We too would like to ask for your aid. We have been listening to your conversation. We are worried about the existence of traitors in our houses even if we get back home. Would you be so kind as to lend us your strength?"
They're obviously fishing for my sympathy.
And I have no heart to go against it. I can no longer decline becoming their bodyguard.
"Ha~, I got it. Then you have to listen to me. However, I'm not gonna outright reject your opinions if they're reasonable, just be selective. I'll take the job if you can agree to those terms."
The ladies nodded. So now I tell them.
"We're staying the night here today. It'd be nightfall by the time we arrived at the federation if we depart now with your pace. Hm? Speaking of, where'd that underling gone off to?"
I looked around and saw the guy hiding with his back glued on a nearby tree's trunk.
"What to do with this guy? Looks like he crossed us even with that slave collar. Might as well just dispose of him? ...But we need a guide..."
"P-please at least let me live! I'm begging you! I-I'll do anything! I swear I'm never doing harm to you guys! So! Please! Let me keep my life at least!"
The underling quickly rushed out into the open and prostrated himself.
Then a mysterious light came up on his collar.
"Hm? What's that light? From the collar...?"
The three ladies was staring at this as well.
The light eventually receded.
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"Ha! C-crap!? Damn! C-can't get it off!"
Apparently the underling didn't notice the light itself but he seemed to know what was going on as he tried to take the collar off in a panic.
"Oy, you're gonna tell us what was that all about. What's the deal with that anyway?"
The underling turned at me with a look of resignation before starting his explanation while groaning.
That light is apparently a system that comes into place when the collar's wearer volunteers to become a slave on their own volition.
Once that's been activated, there's no way to take off the collar for life regardless who touches it.
Nobody wishes to become a slave. But if one who's wearing this collar verbally declares that they want to be one, the collar will activate this system with no exceptions.
It's something that almost never happens outside some sick plays.
This can also happen if someone deems another person as their master from the bottom of their heart, but nobody in modern times have exhibited this.
The underling has now reduced himself into Linda's servant. Or so the gist of his explanation goes.
Despite the prostration and verbal promises, this guy was definitely plotting plans to take the collar off and get away from us.
But his action of saying those words out loud was deemed enough by the collar to activate the system.
(Magic really can do anything, heck this is pretty terrifying stuff. I guess that's one less thing to worry about at least.)
However, this means Linda is responsible for this underling now.
Hence I asked her.
"Hey so, what's your plan with this guy? He's now your loyal servant, but if you don't want to deal with him for life, you can have me dispose of him."
Linda groaned at this. Even with that collar system, it seems she's not big on the idea of letting the guy who tried to kill her off the hook.
"I shall have him work as a forced laborer once he has led us out of this forest. He must atone for his crime. An attempt on chairman's daughter's life, a grave crime that warrants a death penalty. But now that he has that collar on, I suppose forced labor is on the table. It's a fate worse than death. He will work for life."
At this revelation, the underling put on his second deadly pale face today.
I got a bit taken aback at the fate worse than death bit as well.