Translator: Latte Proofreader: Adulldoll
The ruffian grabbed Aria and lifted her up.
He wore a luxurious sword on his waist. He seemed to have stolen it from a nobleman.
“Hmm? What did you bring with you?”
He wondered if Aria had carried valuable things with her since she had just crawled out of a secret passage.
“We can sell this little girl.”
Another man removed Aria’s hood in a rough manner.
But as soon as they saw her face, their eyes began dripping with greed.
Underneath the hood, was a beautiful gem that could even tempt high-ranking nobles.
“Wow! With a face like this, we could sell her to a duke! No… maybe even to a king of another kingdom!”
“How did you end up in a place like this, little girl?”
“Wearing such luxurious clothes. Did you come out for a night walk?”
“It’s easy for bad guys to catch you if you wander around at night.”
“You mean guys like us,” one of the ruffians joked, earning a laugh from the rest of his entourage.
Aria frowned at their words.
At first, everything had seemed far too easy. She was able to breach the security of the village without any harm done.
‘But I guess that it’s too good to be true.’
She didn’t want to do anything that stood out.
Though if it’s like this, she would have no choice but to sing.
Even though she couldn’t sing the song of destruction, she could still sing a song that would erase their memories.
But it might be a little difficult because there were several people.
“Now… you stay quiet, kid.”
As the man reached out his hand towards Aria, she immediately parted her lips.
But at that moment…
“You there! What are you guys doing?”
A boy in a white uniform approached them.
The boy was white from head to toe.
He had pale skin, snow-white hair that glistened underneath the moonlight, and eyes as blue as the midwinter sky.
He stood out so much even in the dark.
“What’s this? Another kid?”
“Hmm… Would we be able to sell him?”
“Wait, that uniform… is he a knight?”
The Order of Knights. They belong to the Papal Palace.
The ruffians became nervous and stepped back.
However, they didn’t run away immediately because the boy didn’t look threatening at all.
He was all skin and bones. He looked very frail and tiny.
‘Is he really a knight?’
He was a frail-looking boy with a delicately beautiful face. If one were to pass by him without closer inspection, he could easily be mistaken for a girl.
“I don’t think he’s that big of a deal, right?”
The men exchanged glances with each other.
While the ruffians’ attention were elsewhere, Aria immediately pulled the hood of her cloak over her head and slowly stepped back.
“Are you harassing that child?”
“Obviously, can’t you see it? Do you want us to bother you as well?”
They laughed at the boy as if he were absurd to have approached them without the slightest fear.
“Human trafficking is illegal.”
“Well, my dear knight. Do you know the term extraterritorial jurisdiction?”
“Even if the village is exempted from the jurisdiction of the law, human trafficking is unethical and inhumane. God is always watching you. So you better stop now.”
The ruffians grabbed their stomachs and burst into laughter.
This was the first time they had been scolded after settling down in the slums.
“You’re a funny guy, aren’t ya? To come to a place like this and preach the notion of God!”
“If God is actually watching, then he should just come here right now and punish me!”
It was clear to the boy that talking wouldn’t work. Therefore, the boy silently drew his sword and lowered himself into a fighting stance.
He was in his relaxed stance. One could feel the steadiness of his gaze.
The ruffians also smiled and drew their swords.
“Tch, how unlucky…” Aria muttered, seeing the boy beaten up and sprawled on the ground in a few seconds.
‘What did he come here for?’
For a second, she actually thought that he could fight since he drew out his sword so nonchalantly…
‘I shouldn’t have set my expectations too high…’
Plus, he was wearing the Papal Knights’ uniform.
‘Shouldn’t knights be able to easily defeat those bums?’
As Aria stared at his uniform once more, only then did she realize that he was nothing more than a squire, the apprentice of a knight.
‘His uniform… a squire? That’s right… in Garcia, anyone was allowed to become a squire as long as they wished to become a knight.’
The Holy Empire intended to give everyone equal opportunities.
Of course, it was still useless if they only had big dreams. If one did not have any talent, they could easily fall behind in less than a month.
‘By the looks of it… it must not have been long since he became a squire,’ Aria thought.
But with those current skills of his, he would never win against those ruffians.
‘He won’t last long at this rate…’
Still, Aria decided not to laugh at the boy’s dream.
Because she believed that those who had the will would one day surpass their limits.
“F*ck, his face is completely bloody. His value is probably less now!”
“What if we just beat him all the way? This is the first time I’ve ever heard something so ridiculous. A beating is only natural for guys like these.”
“Don’t, man… this kid can’t even take a punch. We need the money.”
“Tch, fine,” the other man said as he clicked his tongue.
‘Well… I did receive his help.’
Aria didn’t want to get involved with him at the start, but she decided to step into this mess as he had tried to help her.
She took a deep breath, put two of her fingers into the back of her mouth, and blew air through her lips.
Hearing Aria’s whistle, Silver immediately jumped out of the bush he was hiding in and struck the ruffians.
“Argh! What the-?!”
“It’s a monster, a monster!”
At that moment, Aria recalled the voice of the Grand Duke of Valentine, casually saying that he would feed his dogs bodies of humans.
She promptly closed her eyes and turned her head.
Aria didn’t want to see a person being eaten alive right in front of her eyes.
However, contrary to her expectations, the screams of the bums gradually became farther away.
‘They ran away…?’
Aria slowly opened her eyes.
Silver was biting a bunch of rags.
It was the clothes that the vagrants were wearing.
And there were multiple swords scattered on the ground.
‘Thank God I closed my eyes.’
Those ruffians would probably be running around the streets naked by now.
In an unregulated area like this… horrible things might happen to people that run around naked without a weapon.
Aria patted Silver’s head for a while, praising him for a job well done.
“Let’s go back, Silver.”
It was time to get on Silver’s back.
But on the corner of her eyes, was an unconscious little boy.
She sighed and put the boy on Silver’s back.
‘I’m going to waste so much time because of this…’
Still, if she let him be in such a dangerous place, some other ruffians might steal his organs or sell him to the black market.
Aria’s weakness was other weak people, she just couldn’t help it.
“To the Papal Palace.”
Thus, Aria brought the fainted boy to the Papal Palace.
When they arrived, she leaned him against a wall that was transparent enough for people to notice.
‘This should be enough.’
Then, Aria ran through her bag to find her teleportation scroll.
She was about to tear off the paper and go back…
But stopped, Aria was worried that the boy would be frustrated and crushed with what had happened today.
‘Because the boy who kept his convictions lost the fight, while those who tried to fulfill their greeds by sacrificing others won in the end.’
The world was full of injustice.
However, even if everything seemed to be over, the next one would continue to exist, and it would never reach its end…
Aria pulled out her card.
[You’re convictions are right. Trust yourself and don’t doubt the way you walk on the path of life.]
Aria really wanted him to know that.
‘We won’t meet again anyway…’
* * *
Aria had set the coordinates of the teleportation scroll back to the Shaman’s Tower.
Carl’s face was the first thing she saw after tearing the scroll.
“Oh, how burdensome,” Aria said while pushing his face away with her palm.
Carl, who was still leaning down, looked unhappy and hurt.
“You’re late,” he spoke after being silent for a moment.
“So what happened?” Aria asked.
“Well, nothing happened. Except for the fact that the second young master was actually the spy of the gutter.”
He moved faster than what Aria had originally thought.
Still, she thought that it would take him at least a day or two to find out about it.
Aria nodded her head in response.
Then she looked down at a box which she had been holding onto it tightly in her arms.
It was a holy relic, Divine Judgment.
“Did you already know?” Carl asked.
“Yes, this is the future that I was trying to prevent,” she replied.
Even if Aria knew about it, can she really stop it from happening?
Aria stared at Carl whose gaze seemed to say those words.
If they had already framed Vincent, then time was running out.
“Are you close to the second young master?”
They were not close.
In the past, she wanted to punch Vincent as hard as she could whenever possible.
However, they haven’t had a dispute these days. So Aria felt indifferent to him.
Aria shook her head.
“Then why…” Carl asked, he just couldn’t understand her.
Was there something else?
Even if Vincent was no longer under suspicion, there was nothing she could gain from it.
Only help if there is something to gain, don’t get involved in matters that have no benefits.
That was Carl’s motto in life.
He had lived such a simple and clear life, thinking that money was all that mattered.
“There’s nothing else.”
‘It’s really tiring to converse with close-minded people like him…’
But that was why people like her, who immediately jump into what they believe is right, always seemed to shine more.
Because she could never live like that, turning a blind eye from the injustice of the world.
“If the day of the trial is set and the judge decides that the second young master is indeed a spy, it will be difficult to reverse the situation.”
When the trial begins, it would not be easy to overturn the situation.
So he meant that today was her last chance to save him.
“Yes, I understand.”
Aria rode on Silver’s back.
Then, she spoke, “Your leader… ”
She thought about it for a while and then decided to change her direction.
“Your leader… guide me to the second strongest person after your leader.”