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The innkeeper reported that he had disappeared when Ritsu went to give information about the bandits to Rikuya and his siblings.
The innkeeper claimed that they had run away in the night.
Because the three had run away, he had run out of labor, and he had complained to the Louvent family about what to do about it.
The complaint was properly addressed by Ritsu, who was able to talk them into sending a servant from the castle until a new worker could be found…
“But did the three really run away at night?” (Ars)
Rikuya seemed motivated. The other two seemed to basically follow Rikuya’s decisions, so if Rikuya was working properly, the other two would follow suit.
If they had worked for several months, that would be understandable, but it had only been a few days.
It was unnatural for them to be in the mindset of running away at night.
“Well… they had just opened, so I heard the workload was heavy, but even so, they didn’t seem like the kind of people who would run away without saying anything in the middle of the night…” (Ritsu)
“I think so too.” (Ars)
“But if they weren’t running away in the night, why were they gone?” (Ritsu)
“What if… they have been kidnapped?” (Ars)
“The room seemed clean for someone who was kidnapped. There was some disarray, but it was just the kind of disarray that one would get in a normal life.” (Ritsu)
“Well… Takao and Rikuya can do a fair amount of fighting, and if they fought, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were traces of blood or something left behind… and if they fought in the first place, it wouldn’t be strange if the innkeeper heard noises or something like that…” (Ars)
Certainly, under the circumstances, it might be natural to assume that he ran away in the night.
Rikuya seemed motivated, but he was still former royalty. It is quite possible that he got fed up with the unfamiliar job and ran away.
“Just keep looking for them, they might have been involved in an incident. Well, if they ran away, there is a good chance they are no longer in this town.” (Ars)
“It will be done.” (Ritsu)
I asked Ritsu to still act.
~3rd Person Perspective~
“I wonder what will happen to us…” (Rikuya)
At the same time, Rikuya and his siblings, who had been taken to the hideout of the bandits and locked in jail, muttered to themselves.
“Help… well, I guess it’s not coming.” (Maika)
Maika muttered as if she had given up.
The hideout was located in one of the most unsafe areas of Canale.
The place looked like an ordinary house, but it had a large basement where the bandits lived, a cellar where Rikuya and the others were locked up, and a warehouse where the stolen goods were temporarily stored.
The entrance to the basement is cleverly camouflaged and not so easy to spot. Getting into the hideout was no easy task.
“I’m hungry…” (Takao)
Takao murmurs while his stomach rumbles.
For the time being, he received a meal, but it was a small piece of bread, and it wasn’t enough to fill Takao’s stomach.
“It is too bad brother didn’t abandon me. Now the three of us were caught together.” (Maika)
“Don’t be ridiculous! I can’t abandon you!” (Rikuya)
“You should have. It was the most rational and right thing to do this time. A king must sometimes make cold-blooded decisions.” (Maika)
“No matter how rational it is, if forsaking my sister’s life is the right thing to do, then I don’t need to be a king!” (Rikuya)
Seeing Rikuya shouting, Maika let out an exasperated sigh.
“Haa… As expected, my brother is naive… well, but what happened, happened. Still I would like to thank brother for saving me, thank you. I didn’t want to die either.” (Maika)
Maika says a little embarrassed.
“You should have said so from the beginning.” (Rikuya)
Rikuya stroked Maika’s head.
“Hey, stop that! I’m not a child anymore!” (Maika)
Maika blushes and tries to shake off Rikuya’s hand.
“I’m hungry…” (Takao)
Takao, as usual, looked too hungry and sleepy to pay any attention to the exchange between the two of them.
Suddenly, a voice called out from outside the prison.
The three of them reflexively looked outside the prison.
A tall man with a long, thin face was standing outside the prison.
He had a well-groomed haircut and a beard, but it was neatly trimmed. His clothes were clean. At first glance, he does not look like a bandit, but rather a wealthy merchant.
(He is…) (Rikuya)
Rikuya recognized the man’s appearance.
He had seen him when he was taken into the hideout. The bandits had called him “Boss”, so this man must be the boss of this bandit group.
“Do you guys have any relatives who might be willing to pay? We could make a lot of money if we could get a ransom.” (Bandit Boss)
Rikuya is asked and thinks.
He no longer has any relatives since he was kicked out of Yo. He has no relatives who came with him to the Somerforce Empire.
The innkeeper is not close enough to ask them to pay the ransom.
The only possible one was Ars.
He seemed to have bought his talent at a high price, so there was a non-zero chance that he would pay the ransom.
However, Rikuya did not mention Ars’ name.
It was because he thought he couldn’t cause that much trouble.
“No one present.” (Rikuya)
“Is it true? Besides, you have such an expensive-looking sword, and aren’t you connected to anyone with money?” (Bandit Boss)
“It was stolen from our homeland and we fled here with it.” (Rikuya)
Rikuya lied because he couldn’t tell them their true identities.
“What, it was stolen? Well, how can you have so much money in your family when you are working in an inn? I thought that since you guys are foreigners if you had relatives, they would give you a lot of money. Foreigners living in this country have a strong sense of camaraderie.” (Bandit Boss)
The bandit boss said, a little disappointed.
“What did you do with that sword?” (Rikuya)
“Of course, I sold it. I sold it for a fair price. Now we just have to figure out what to do with you guys…” (Bandit Boss)
The bandit boss thinks for a moment.
“As expected, we have no choice but to sell you as slaves. That kid… doesn’t look bad, and we might sell her to some pervert.” (Bandit Boss)
“What do you mean?” (Maika)
Maika looks at him as she doesn’t understand the bandit’s words at all. She, too, was royalty, and had not the slightest knowledge of that kind of vulgarity.
“The big one is likely to sell for a high price. There are nobles who want strong fighters.” (Bandit Boss)
There is an establishment in the state of Ansel where they let strong slaves fight, and a lot of guests watch them. They also make bets, so a strong slave is worth quite a lot.
“Hey, are you strong? How strong are you?” (Bandit Boss)
“I’m hungry……” (Takao)
“It seems that even if two of mine fight against you, they won’t be able to win.” (Bandit Boss)
“I’m hungry……” (Takao)
“Hey, are you willing not to talk?” (Bandit Boss)
“When he’s hungry, he can only say he’s hungry…” (Rikuya)
Rikuya explained Takao’s condition.
“What is that? That can’t be alright. If he looks hungry and weak, the price might go down. Hey, bring plenty of food.” (Bandit Boss)
He ordered his underlings to bring him a lot of food, including meat and bread.
Seeing this, Takao’s eyes lit up and he ate without restraint.
“Brother. Could they be good guys?” (Takao)
“How can that be? They’ve already decided where they’re going to sell us!” (Rikuya)
Rikuya scolded Takao for being too carefree.
“Finally, you are… umm… what? You don’t have any special characteristics, but you’re a man who can be used for labor… so we can sell you somewhere else.” (Bandit Boss)
“Hey! What’s with that random decision-making!” (Rikuya)
Rikuya is indignant when even the bandits say there is nothing special about him.
“You will stay here for a while to prepare for the sale of you guys. Don’t even mistake of thinking of getting out. If you try to escape, I will kill you immediately.” (Bandit Boss)
Finally, with a sharp look in his eyes, the boss of the bandits left.
(At least there is a good chance that our lives will be saved… but the three of us will be sold as slaves in different places… Takao as a fighter and Maika…) (Rikuya)
Rikuya doesn’t know where he would be sold, but he would most likely be used as simple labor and might not be that hard hit, but Takao and Maika are different.
No matter how strong Takao is, if he is made to be a fighter who fights many times against strong men, there is a possibility that he will be defeated and die or be seriously injured.
As for Maika, depending on where she was sold, she might have been better off dead.
(We still have to escape somehow… but… how?) (Rikuya)
The prison was guarded all the way and there was no chance.
As the bandit boss had warned earlier, if they were discovered, they would be killed without mercy.
Even if you successfully escape from the prison, it will not be easy to escape from there. There were so many bandits that it would be difficult to get out without being discovered. No matter how strong Takao was, he was outnumbered and would not stand a chance if they came in large numbers.
(If they are going to sell us out, there would have to be a chance to go outside at least once. That might give us a chance. I guess we’ll just have to wait for our chance to come…) (Rikuya)
Rikuya came to this conclusion and decided to wait for now, not to be hasty.
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