|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1249 words|
As Cloud woke up feeling a dull pain and was about to grab his head, he noticed his hands wouldn’t move. Not just arms, he couldn’t even move his legs properly.
He opened his eyes while enduring a headache, and noticed he was in an unfamiliar building.
“Where is this…”
“Oh, did you finally wake up? Looks like you’re weak to drugs, brat.”
Hearing a sudden male voice, he quickly checked his surroundings. The surroundings were dim, but from what he could see it was quite a wide building. It was most likely a warehouse.
He, Michelle, and the merchant were tied to a pillar and couldn’t move. And before him were the three laborer men.
“You, why did you—?!”
“You don’t get it? If you hadn’t messed up the Boss’s room, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Don’t play dumb. You did it with that Finia girl, right?”
Hearing that much, he finally realized that they were mistaken for Nicole’s actions and were captured. Finia was acting as a servant, so she headed out to Methuselah more frequently than Nicole.
During those times, she also contacted Cloud and Michelle, so they seemed to have been recognized as an executive squad of the enemy.
“You got the wrong person. I am familiar with Miss Finia, but why would I lay waste to someone’s room with her!”
“Stop playing dumb!”
One of the men kicked Cloud’s face as he objected. Of course, that kick wouldn’t do much to Cloud who had a tough body, but that only went for Cloud.
If they directed that violence toward Michelle or the merchant, they would most likely get greatly wounded. Moreover, Michelle was a girl. If they saw her as a target of carnal lust, she could do nothing to oppose it. He had to avoid that at all costs.
“L-Listen, you really got someone else. Listen to me.”
“Shut up. Behave yourselves until Boss arrives.”
“Who is that Boss in the first place? We’re really just passing Adventurer.”
“Like I care.”
They replied, but they didn’t budge.
Realizing that, Cloud decided he had to carefully think about the situation they were in. If he just kept this up, it would only end up provoking the opponent. He also calculated how long it would take for rescue to come.
They conveyed to Nicole that it would take two or three days to finish this request. If that passed, she would suspect something and come to inspect the situation. That period had already passed, and they also finished the loading work too.
He didn’t know how long he was passed out for, but a day more and Nicole should realize something was wrong. If he only gained time until then, Nicole would easily be able to take down this level of opponents alone.
“Hey, why don’t we have fun with that brat for a bit?”
But then, one of the men voiced what Cloud feared the most. Michelle was disarmed and even her breastplate was gone. Since she was tied up in that state, her chest was emphasized, making her look lascivious.
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Cloud didn’t think these men could hold back at that sight.
“We were told not to kill them.”
“I know that, but it’s fine if we don’t kill them right?”
“Huh? Well, I guess…it’s fine.”
“Like hell it is!”
Cloud retorted without thinking. Unless he shifted the situation, Michelle would be in danger. He had to avoid that no matter the cost. Cloud was quite attached to her, so this was more important than anything to him.
“Wait wait wait! You’re right, I am acquainted with Letina. We used to Adventure together. I admit that.”
“Hmph, finally huh.”
“But that’s not the only thing.”
He admitted something and switched the topic to himself. By doing this, he was able to get them to sit at the negotiation table. From now on, he had to talk about things that would benefit his side, and attempt to secure their well-being.
“Our comrades are also Nicole’s comrades. Do you get it? It’s the Six Hero Lyell and Maria’s daughter, Nicole.”
“What about it?”
The enemy should have looked into Letina’s past to a degree. Then they should also know about Letina and Nicole’s relationship. It seemed that his guess was correct.
“In other words, Michelle is also Nicole’s comrade. She’s the best friend of the Heroes’ Daughter. You should realize what would happen to you if you lay your hands on her, right?”
If they touched Michelle, Nicole’s rage would be akin to flames. She would probably chase the enemy to the ends of the world and torture them to death. No, she would definitely do it.
It was the truth, so Cloud’s words were quite persuasive.
“It’s not just Nicole. I know just how much Lord Lyell and Lady Maria adore Michelle. And if those two turn into enemies, the rest of their comrades would move too. You would end up turning all of the Six Heroes against you.”
“There’s no way that…”
“I’m not joking here. I don’t know how scary that Boss of yours is. But do you prefer turning the Six Heroes into enemies? Think carefully.”
“Those threats will—”
“You should know well that those aren’t threats, right? I get that you’re scared of your Boss. I would ask you to release us, but if you do you’ll get killed, right?”
Cloud continued the negotiations as he kept talking. If he got desperate here or if they ignored his speech, it would be the end. He laid out his conditions in one go so they wouldn’t question it.
“So I’m not telling you to betray him. You don’t have to release us. Depending on the situation, I don’t mind putting a good word with Lord Lyell too as long as you don’t touch Michelle. I could just say you were forced into it.”
“Like hell you can do that!”
“You guys should be well aware of how dangerous this situation is, right? But your Boss hasn’t thought that far. It’s because Michelle is a commoner girl.”
Cain, being a noble, didn’t comprehend how precious a commoner girl like Michelle was for Lyell and others. Cloud believed so. And that was an unmistakable truth.
He held himself back, but Cain treated commoners as valuable tools, so he didn’t realize just how important Finia and Michelle were. That was the reason he resorted to a violent act like this.
Having that pointed out, the men couldn’t hide their bewilderment. What Cloud said was not wrong. Their boss, Cain, didn’t realize the situation they were in. But if they betrayed him, they would certainly be put to death.
But Cloud was telling them there was no need to go that far. He was even willing to put a word for them. They couldn’t think of another way that could get them out of this situation other than the favorable conditions that he offered.
“You will put a word for us, right?”
“Yeah, as long as you don’t touch Michelle. But if—”
“I get it. We accept those conditions.”
“That’s good. It would also help us too.”
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If he failed to save Michelle, he would feel remorse for himself. Nicole would be the same. She would most likely blame herself for it. Just avoiding that outcome gave meaning to the earlier negotiation.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Cloud closed his eyes, waiting to be rescued.