Chapter 77: The situation of the slums [2]

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Author: Kobayashi Homare Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2227 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1003 words
Editor(s): Deximus_Maximus

According to Bacchus, the man had short white hair, but still looked like he had not hit thirty yet. His skin was slightly tan, his body incredibly well built, and his eyes sharp and evil unlike most of the people in the slums, making even Bacchus shudder in fear.

(Maybe he has some sort of special eyes then? I’ve never really heard of someone having powers in their eyes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist…I’ll have to be careful.)

His weapons of choice seemed to be two daggers. He carried them in black scabbards with golden inlays.

“There were golden dragons drawn on the scabbard. I might hate him, but I’ll admit those were some damn fine weapons.”
“…”

Well…everyone is entitled to their own tastes, so I decided to not say anything there. The only thing I still wanted to know was where I could find that man. I thought it would be hard to know, but I received a reply much faster.

“The b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲ knows no one here would try attacking him, so he just took over the nicest house around. He took all the children there, as well as a bunch of women for only god knows what!”

He bit his lip in anger as he said that, there was probably someone he knew amongst those women. Taking children hostage had already marked him as an unforgivable target for me, but I felt even angrier hearing about the women. I felt like I had to make him taste something even worse than death now.

“Was he alone? Or did you see anyone with him?”
“Mm, he’s alone. I had some of my men track him for a while, he hasn’t interacted with anyone else since he arrived here.”

That meant the demons were really short on hands then. Everything the maid had told me was starting to gain validity. It would be easier to take him down, but I could not overlook that he had accomplished a lot on his own already, I had to keep my guard up.

Once Bacchus told me everything he knew, I started planning how I would deal with this.

“Alright, let’s go see him now then.”
“Really?! You’ll go fight him already?”

Bacchus leaned forward as he asked, clearly happy thinking everything would be resolved soon. I felt bad for him, but I could not act on my own until the date I agreed on with everyone, so I gently shook my head.

“No, not yet. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to take him down, and if he has hostages I want to make sure they’ll be safe. I’ll need to prepare for three days first.”
“Ah, I see…still, I’m happy you’re willing to help. I’ll just show you his hideout for now then.”

Saying that he stood up and I followed him. Some of the alleys were blocked by mean-looking men, but once they saw Bacchus was with me they quickly greeted him and opened the way. There were some elderly people as well, who smiled with a slight melancholy as we passed. It seems Bacchus was much more respected in the slums than I had expected. I was also surprised to see how many people seemed genuinely nice in this part of the city. But I also noticed that everyone who looked amiable also looked the thinnest, wearing worn and dirty clothes that showed their bony and frail bodies. It was clear they did not have enough to eat.

“Have you been getting enough food around here?”

I asked as I walked behind him, he replied without turning his head or stopping.

“Not at all. Before we could manage somewhat with the support of the city, but there was that demon attack so now all of that is gone. Those guys up in their castles are too busy saving their a̲s̲s̲e̲s̲ they can’t afford to think of us.”

He did not speak loudly, but I could tell from his voice that he had a lot of pent up anger. This was something most took for granted, when a country goes to war, the ones who suffer first are the poor and homeless. Or at least those who are better off think that way, the people in the slums keep struggling trying to live each day, and curse their fate until their last breath. I could not blame people like Bacchus for holding a grudge against the king and nobles, but no amount of complaining would change things, he had to put in some work if he wanted everything to be better.

The entire country was suffering after the demon attack, but depending on how you looked at it, it also opened a lot of good opportunities. While there had been many casualties everywhere, that also meant there was a shortage of working hands. The demon army had been driven off, leaving behind ruined cities and villages with no inhabitants. Even if they were rebuilt, the people could not return from the dead. That opened up many opportunities for people, even those living in the slums.

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The people in the slums hardly got any help from the government since they could not pay any taxes, but if they were allowed to move out of the capital to repopulate those abandoned cities and villages tax-free for a few years, I could see many taking the opportunity and getting the country back on track. There were some who lived in the slums because they hated working or were incapable of cooperating with others, so moving everyone was impossible, but I am sure that many would prefer having a new shot at life rather than dying starving.

“…maybe once things settle down I’ll try talking with the king…”
“Did you say something?”
“No, it’s nothing. Are we getting close yet?”
“Yeah, we’re almost there. It’s that house there.”

Bacchus pointed to an old detached mansion which looked about to crumble down.



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