TLN: Have a good christmas! I have some chapters stockpiled so I can enjoy my holidays as well. I might release some extra chapters tomorrow as a present.
「Ardis, I will get Ted can you wait here?」 (Norris)
Ardis glances at Norris running to the other carriage and then looks at the two girls.
They seem to be about seven or eight years old
Seeing him stare at them, the girls hugged each other whilst trembling.
You could see the vigilance and fear in their eyes.
Looking closely, their appearances were very similar.
Perhaps they are twins, they don’t seem too different in age.
Ardis speculated that they may be part of the merchant’s family, but quickly shook off that idea.
The clothes they were wearing right now were too shabby to be part of a merchant’s family. Their bodies were also thin, indicating that they had not eaten very well.
「There are children?」 (Ted)
Ted and Orphelia were immediately brought to the carriage by Norris.
As soon as the door was opened, the two people frowned respectively muttering 「Uwa, seriously…」 「This is a problem…」
Ardis asked the three people who were holding their hands to their heads.
「What should we do? We could take them to town」 (Ardis)
「Well that’s what I was thinking but….ahh it would be ok if they weren’t twins」 (Ted)
「What about everyone else?」 (Ardis)
「Look at their limbs, they have a bracelet and an anklet. That complicates things」 (Ted)
Just as Ted said, the two girls were wearing rings on their wrists and ankles.
Confused, Ardis raised a question.
「What are those rings?」 (Ardis)
Not just Ted, but even Norris and Ophelia looked at Ardis like they were looking at something incredible.
「You, are you seriously saying that?」 (Ted)
「Ahaha, as expected of Ardis」 (Norris)
「I knew you were naive….but for it to be this bad」 (Ophelia)
The group of three felt it was just like Ardis to not know something so basic.
「So what is it?」 (Ardis)
Ardis asked again in a prickly tone, clearly annoyed.
「I’m sorry. Please don’t get angry I’ll explain now」 (Norris)
Norris calmed down quickly.
「You should know, it’s not exactly a nice topic. Is that ok?」 (Norris)
Norris started talking after seeing the silently nodding Ardis.
「These rings are used when people are sold for money. How should I say it….it looks like they are the merchandise the merchant dealt in. There are many ways they can end up like this, children getting sold by their parents due to being unable to pay back debts, people who have commited crimes, captives during war. They cannot possess property and they have no freedom of movement. They are not protected under law either, it is a disgusting and horrible thing」 (Norris)
「Is it like slavery?」 (Ardis)
「Well it’s close. However slaves are a little better off. Although they are considered on the lower rungs of society and have to obey the orders of their masters, they can still own property and have a family depending on the master’s personality」 (Norris)
「Is there really any difference?」 (Ardis)
「These people are not treated as human beings. Killing a slave would be murder, however killing the girls would only count as destroying property. If you abuse a slave you get a bad reputation, however abusing these girls would just make the merchant look a little bad for mismanaging his products. These little girls are a little better off though, as they’re allowed clothes」 (Norris)
Ted took over the explanation.
「The buyer can choose to make them into slaves if they wish, which would be a good thing. Being a slave, you will be treated like a human being as far as the master allows it. It would be much better compared to this, however in this case they are twins…」 (Ted)
「Is there a problem with them being twins?」 (Ardis)
「What? Do you not even know this? Which country did you grow up in? How rural was your upbringing to not know something so common?」 (Ted)
「Who knows. At the place I was raised I never heard anything to do with twins」 (Ardis)
「Ne, Ardis. Have you ever seen twins in your country?」 (Ophelia)
Ophelia asks from the side.
Ardis searched through his memory. Since he came to this world a year ago, he had not seen a single twin.
「When you say it like that, I’ve never seen twins before…but isn’t that just by chance? It’s rare that twins are born after all」 (Ardis)
「Oh yeah, I guess in the rural place you grew up with a population of 100, it would be pretty rare. However, don’t you think it’s strange that you didn’t see any twins in a big city like Toria?」 (Ophelia)
「Twins are considered abominations. They are said to be the apostles of the evil god who apposed the goddess」 (Ophelia)
Hearing the name of the Goddess, a viciousness appeared in Ardis’ eyes.
「Hey hey, don’t make such a scary face. You really don’t like the Goddess」 (Ted)
Ted hesitated to speak after seeing Ardis’ current appearance.
「It’s fine because we’re here, but be careful in the town」 (Norris)
「A, ah….sorry」 (Ardis)
「Especially be careful the church officials don’t see you. Didn’t you criticize the goddess in front of a priest last time?」 (Norris)
「As Norris said. You may think that way about the Goddess, but it would be better if you stop criticising her in broad daylight」 (Ophelia)
「Got it….I’ll keep it in mind」 (Ardis)
Upon hearing his response, Ophelia breathed a sigh of relief and spoke up.
「According to legend it was the evil god who tormented the Goddess using twin devils, the Goddess was severely wounded by them」 (Ophelia)
Hearing about the twin devils, Ardis’ fists strongly clenched.
「In the churches view, twins are the ones who hurt the Goddess. Therefore despite being innocent, they are born as sinners」 (Ophelia)
「Ophelia…do think that’s the truth?」 (Ardis)
Ardis inquired in a small voice.
「I do not know if it is the truth or not. Because no human was present to see and hear the event happening. This is considered a myth, however…」 (Ophelia)
「The world is too strict with twin’s lives, that is fact」 (Ophelia)
「Actually, it is common in twin births than one is disposed of immediately. There are even places where you can abandon one of them according to the region. However, they are looked on with contempt and cannot receive the blessings of the church. Similarly, they can not afford a decent job. In this case I wonder if they lost their parents, or if their parents actually sold them…?」 (Ted)
A faint sense of pity appeared in Ted’s eyes
「Most twins die in childhood. Even if they live due to good luck, their only destination is becoming a slave, otherwise a bandit」 (Ted)
「So what are we going to do Ted? We can’t stay here forever」 (Norris)
It was just as Norris said.
Although this robbery was not Ardis’ fault, there was no-one who could prove it.
With all the corpses surrounding them, it would be easy to mistake him as a bandit.
「Well, let’s move from this place for the time being」 (Ardis)
Ardis moved to dispose of the corpses and carry out the goods that could be carried out.
「Norris, have you identified them?」 (Ardis)
「Nn, apparently it looks like the merchant has a shop in the kingdom. He was on his way to deliver to a company in Toria」 (Norris)
Norris confirmed this from the documents in the merchants bosom.
「So taking a a little should be fine right….What about you Ophelia?」 (Ardis)
「There are some textiles and cloths, however only a part of it can be brought out as it’s bulky」 (Ophelia)
「If only the horses hadn’t ran off, then we’d be ok」 (Ted)
Ardis decided to get a fire going in a hollow away from the highway, they would have to spend the night outside.
Fortunately, firewood and tools were found within the carriages, so there was no problem setting up camp.
Looking up at the sky, night was already drawing close.
Four people, Ardis, Ophelia, Ted and Norris circled the fire. Two other people crouched shoulders together a short distance away where the light faintly reached.
「We brought them after all…」 (Ted)
Ted sighed as he looked at himself and Ardis alternately.
「I couldn’t leave them」 (Ardis)
Ted responded to Ardis, furrowing his brows.
「Well it’s not wrong but…twins are not ordinary merchandise, it might be difficult to find a buyer…」 (Ted)
「What if a buyer doesn’t buy them?」 (Ardis)
Ted spoke up to Ardis’ question.
「Items that cannot be sold are disposed of」 (Ted)
「Are you going to kill them?」 (Ardis)
「…I won’t but…well it looks like it might end up like that, there are some things I can’t say…」 (Ted)
「For example?」 (Ardis)
Ophelia covered Ardis’ mouth to prevent him pursuing it any further.
「You’d better not listen to something you’re not comfortable hearing」 (Norris)
Norris said to Ted, with a face of understanding.
「So are we going to take them with us after all? Even one child would be troublesome enough, they walk so slow they will slow us down. Even if we take them to Toria, they wouldn’t sell for much」 (Norris)
Ted knew this well.
Children, twins in particular. Even if they sell them, the money received would be insignificant.
It would be more profitable to sell their clothes.
Indeed as Norris said, it would be pointless.
「How about we give them food and water and let them go to Toria by themselves?」 (Norris)
They had not planned to do something as cold as what Norris suggested.
Ted fell silent, his face showing his frustration.
Both Ted and Ophelia felt a sense of pity for the little girls.
Perhaps if they were not twins, he would have taken them to Toria as a matter of course.
「I will take them both」 (Ardis)
Ted’s hand that was scratching his head, Ophelia’s finger that was rubbing her eyebrows and Norris’ hands that were preparing firewood all immediately froze at the words of Ardis.
「Well, Ardis…」 (Ted)
「I’ll give up my share of the goods from the carriage and I’ll look after them to prevent a delay. Do you have any complaints?」 (Ardis)
Interrupting Ted, Ardis spoke up.
「Thats alright…」 (Ted)
There was no denial to the proposal. If the shares do not decrease and it has no effect on the walking speed of the group, there was no reason to oppose.
「What merit is there in that? They are strangers moreover twins. Even if you take them, they will not sell for much. You might not even be able to enter the town with them」 (Ophelia)
「There is no merit, what Ophelia said is true…」 (Ardis)
He murmured in his heart that is was irresponsable to forsake the two little girls.
Ophelia questioned Ardis who was silent, closing his eyes.
「Count it as a passing whim」 (Ardis)
Ted gave up on Ardis who responded in that way.
「Give me a break. I don’t want to give up on them either」 (Ted)
「Sorry about that, Ted」 (Ardis)
「But even if you get them to town, you won’t know if you can actually enter or not」 (Ted)
「Then I’ll sneak them in during the night, secretly」 (Ardis)
「Ahaha. You’re interesting Ardis as usual! Well then, at that time I’ll help you out as well!」 (Norris)
In contrast to the overblown laughter of Norris, Ted and Orphelia were trying to conceal their disgusted expressions. This was the state of 『Resignation』.
The twins did not respond at all to Ardis’ conversation. They just stayed at the side and hugged each other.
As the night grew deeper, they could no longer stay awake and fell asleep quietly together.