Author’s note: Hey guys, sorry about the late update. I’ve actually been going to bed and waking up at somewhat decent hours lately. Believe it or not, I already had this chapter ready. I just didn’t post it. On top of that, I was supposed to have my orientation at my new job today, but I got a phone call telling me that they changed it to Friday. Apparently they called everyone who received the email about it. So yeah… I might not have as much free time to write like I used to. I’m still working on chapter three, but lately I’ve been wasting my time with Team Fortress 2 because of the extended Halloween event that’s going on until Thursday. This is my chance to get some rare gear. Not to mention watching more anime and reading more manga. Anywho… I am still working on this story. But for now, please enjoy?
Ugh… I can’t believe this. Even though there were possible villages to stop at, we drove right passed them because Coy wanted to avoid as much trouble as possible. Not to mention… we finally made it to the badlands after what felt like an eternity. I will admit that driving in a car is faster than a horse and wagon, but still… why couldn’t the cars in this world have air conditioning!?
“Coy-kun… how much longer is this going to take?”
“Not sure. Don’t forget, I actually had to travel through here the first time in the back of a wagon. Be thankful that this is faster.” (Coy)
Thankful… yeah right? This thing doesn’t even have seat belts. Too believe, I once took cars for granted? Now I’m grateful for the cars in my world, they have A/C, radio, and seat belts. I’m just thankful that the windows roll down in this thing.
“Take a look at the map, there should be a village nearby?” (Coy)
I looked as asked… and couldn’t believe it! There is a village! This seemed like a godsend.
“Coy-kun… what’s the name of this village?”
“That’s seriously the name. I don’t know the original name, but that’s what it’s called these days. It’s because the residents feel like they’ve been damned to live there.” (Coy)
What kind of village is this place? I’m getting very worried…
“Coy-kun… what kind of village is this ‘Damned’ place?”
“It’s a Night Elf village. Despite the name, the locals are actually friendly and hospitable.” (Coy)
Night Elves? Like Kimiko’s people?
“I can only guess that you’ve been there before?”
“Yeah. Even though the residents feel like the Deity has forsaken them, they won’t refuse weary travelers. That’s as long as said travelers don’t cause trouble.” (Coy)
Trouble? This guy… he’s traveling with the Devil King and he’s saying such things so casually? I just don’t get him.
“What kind of trouble are you speaking off?”
“Ya know… rape, murder, theft, urinating in public, scamming, arson, assault and battery, kidnapping, punching infants, indecent exposure, disrupting the peace, the usual stuff.” (Coy)
“Wait… punching infants?”
“Yeah, that’s actually a common problem because some people just get tired of hearing someone’s infant wailing.” (Coy)
Just what kind of world did I get summoned to?
“Well, you won’t have to worry about me then.”
“Oh… we also don’t want to mention the whole me being the Hero and you being the Devil King there either. When me and my party went through the first time, the elder warned me that the inhabitants want nothing to do with the war. There’s some people there that despise the Deity because of events in the past where the village was used for a battlefield between both forces. What they hate the most is that no matter who won, the winners abandoned the people.” (Coy)
“Wait… then why are we headed there?”
“Because it’s one of the few neutral places. So no one’s going to be looking for either of us their due to why it’s neutral. Not to mention… it’s the only place for miles that you can find liquid charcoal.” (Coy)
“Yeah, the fuel that cars run on. Ever since an alchemist discovered a way to turn charcoal into a liquid fuel source, the world’s advanced so much. And since Damned is a village that mostly survives via trading, you’re guaranteed to find stuff like liquid charcoal there.” (Coy)
So basically… cars don’t use fossil fuels in this world? I heard of some countries that use lumber to make bio-diesel fuel, but this liquid charcoal stuff takes the cake.
“So we’re basically stopping there for gas?”
“Gas? Ain’t that stuff what’s used to kill people by poisoning the air?” (Coy)
“Not what I was talking about. It’s short for ‘gasoline’, it’s what cars in my world run on. It’s made from oil.”
“Why make another fuel out of that? It’s only good for lamps.” (Coy)
“How about we just drop the subject?”
“If you say so.” (Coy)
The last thing I wanted to do was start talking about fossil fuels. Still, it was a while before we made it to the village. Most of the buildings looked like they were made from clay. The rest were badly made out of wood and there were quite a few tents. The first thing that Coy did when we got there was store his car in his inventory. I will admit that the fact he could do that still amazed me. And then… we had to find a very shady looking merchant.
“Hello, my name is Cecil. How can I be of service today?” (Cecil)
This guy was human, that’s for sure. His skin was slightly tanned from living in the desert badlands, but his hair was blond and his eyes were blue. He had a pretty smile, with the exception of a gold left front tooth. He wore a dark brown cloak with a blue sleeveless shirt and white pants underneath. Unlike most of the men I met since I came to this world, he wore brown stringed sandals, which I could only assume were due to the environment he was in at the moment. As for what was on his head… I was a little surprised by the fact he was wearing a fez.
“I just need some liquid charcoal.” (Coy)
“That would be fifty gold per barrel. (Cecil)
Fifty gold!? From what I’ve learned from this world’s monetary system, that seemed expensive.
“Big barrel or little barrel?” (Coy)
He then pointed to a barrel that only looked like it could hold a few gallons of fluid. I was astonished.
“So… since when has liquid charcoal been this expensive?” (Coy)
“Don’t forget my dear sir, this is the badlands. Ya will not find it any cheaper in Damned, I can tell ya that much.” (Cecil)
“So what’s the normal running price?” (Coy)
“That merchant on the other side near the gate sells it for twice as much.” (Cecil)
Coy then started walking away. I of course stayed right next to him, curious as to why he would go for the more expensive merchant. But… then Cecil started to chase us.
“Wait! Why are ya going to him!?” (Cecil)
Coy then stopped, but didn’t turn around.
“Because I can only assume that he’s in the legal market, not the black market. As an employee of the Walton Trading Company in Anthill Bay, I cannot be seen buying from the black market.” (Coy)
“How did ya know?” (Cecil)
Coy then smirked while still facing away.
“I didn’t, it was a very good hunch.” (Coy)
As I looked towards Cecil, I could see the shocked expression on his face. Just how did Coy get that good of a hunch in the first place?
“Wait… we can negotiate, right?” (Cecil)
Coy then straightened out his face and turned around.
“I’ll give you a choice if you want to do business. Either sell the little barrel to me on credit, or… sell it to me half-off for actual gold? I’ll even waver my Adventurer’s Guild discount. How does that sound?” (Coy)
I could see the frustration on Cecil’s face from this. But I could put it together very easily. Since we were not likely to come back to this village, selling it to us on credit was not going to be a wise move on his part as he may never get paid. So if he were to ever make any gold from us, he would have to accept the offer that Coy handed him. I was starting to think that Coy made a better villain than a hero after all.
“Fine… you win. I’ll sell it to ya for twenty-five gold.” (Cecil)
“In that case, I’ll take two.” (Coy)
Just how far was he going to take this?
“All right, two for a total of fifty gold.” (Cecil)
I was surprised the Coy wasn’t going to take this any further than he already had. After Cecil gave us the two barrels of liquid charcoal, Coy shook his hand.
“Anything else I can do for ya?” (Cecil)
“Actually, I’m curious. Do you have a sister?” (Coy)
What the hell Coy!?
“I do. She’s actually serving her holiness as a member of the elite guard. At least… she was when I heard about her last.” (Cecil)
“Knew it, you’re her brother.” (Coy)
Wait… what is he going on about?
“So ya met Cecilia then?” (Cecil)
They have similar names!?
“You can say that. She’s the head of the elite guard and… she really hates my guts.” (Coy)
Just how many women do you know!?
“She’s the head of the guard now? I can’t say that I’m surprised about that. Or… that you’re on her bad side and still breathing?” (Cecil)
“Let’s just say that there’s a reason she hasn’t done me in yet?” (Coy)
“Heh, my little sister will never change.” (Cecil)
I was surprised to see Coy handing him some more coins.
“What’s with the twenty-five pieces of silver?” (Cecil)
“Let’s just say that I only feel a little guilty about our transaction. I would had handed you gold, but I know that the liquid charcoal has been watered down.” (Coy)
“Just… how good are ya?” (Cecil)
“I wouldn’t say that I’m good. My boss back home, Mr. Walton… is actually better.” (Coy)
“Heh, ya are an interesting guy.” (Cecil)
“If you say so.” (Coy)
He then signaled me that we were leaving. I just couldn’t get a handle on him, is he good or is he evil? There is just no way of telling with this guy. After we got out of hearing range, I just had to ask him.
“Coy-kun, just how did you know that things were going to work out this way?”
“Simple, Miss Yuki. Cecilia warned me about her brother being a scamming merchant in the black market before I left Tholmen. Other than his appearance, he smelled a little bit like her. All I needed was to know his name to confirm. As for how I knew about the liquid charcoal being a little watered down, that was just instinct. No way was I gonna pay full price to watered down liquid charcoal, that’s a given.” (Coy)
“I see. So… where to now?”
“The Village Elder’s house.” (Coy)
“Wait… why there?”
“I need to know the current happenings in the village. This place seems at a little more unrest since the last time I came through here. Even though I’m supposed to keep the Hero thing a secret, I’m still obligated to at least know what’s going on.” (Coy)
Wow… he’s not a total waste of a Hero after all? Then again, he did have a point. With the exception of Cecil, everyone else here seemed to be a little on edge. As we walked towards the village elder’s place, I could see it getting worse. Just what was going on here?
When we knocked on the door, I was a little surprised to see what kind of person answered. He was a night elf like most of the village, that’s for sure. But… he looked so young. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that he was in his early twenties. His golden eyes seemed friendly and caring. His silvery hair was longer than Coy’s (who’s hair is only slightly past his shoulders), and kept in a nice braid that was hanging over his left shoulder. His build was thin, wearing only dark gray robes.
“Hello, Elder.” (Coy)
That’s the Elder!?
“Coy, it’s been a while. Come on in.” (Elder)
We came in and he guided us towards a table with a few chairs. As for the building, it was made from clay like most of the village. His furniture was very simple, I was expecting it to be above average. Before I sat down, Coy pulled out the chair for me. Maybe he was more of a gentleman than I thought? As for the Elder, he walked away and then served us some liquid in cups that were made from clay. I was surprised of the taste when I took a sip.
“What is this stuff?”
“That my dear young lady is cactus tea.” (Elder)
“Thank you very much, it tastes good.”
“Why thank you. Now of only Coy here were polite enough to introduce us?” (Elder)
I could only give a slight chuckle.
“Elder, this is Miss Yuki.” (Coy)
“Hello there, Miss Yuki.” (Elder)
He then took my hand and kissed it. I could feel myself starting to blush.
“Now then, why is the Hero here?” (Elder)
Wait… I thought the whole Hero thing was supposed to be a secret? Did Coy tell him of all people?
“I noticed that the village is at a bit of unrest since my last visit. So could you be so kind as to tell me and my companion here what’s going on?” (Coy)
“Always straight to the point, eh? To tell the truth… she’s returned.” (Elder)
I could see a bit of a pained expression on the Elder’s face.
“The shrine maiden.” (Elder)
Wait… shrine maiden?
“But… I thought she disappeared years ago?” (Coy)
“She suddenly appeared last night. When she came back, she told us off for abandoning our faith before taking the shrine back over. To be honest, I was hoping that she would never return here. This village hates the Deity with a passion. Now that she’s back, the peace is being disturbed.” (Elder)
“Just who is this shrine maiden?”
I just had to ask.
“Miss Yuki, it’s a tradition that all shrine maidens to the Deity abandon their names when they get that role. Unlike the nuns for the church who keep theirs, shrine maidens abandon everything to serve the Deity. Their name, their life, their family, everything.” (Elder)
To be honest, I didn’t know that.
“As I’m not from these parts, I don’t know much about this side of Deity worship. I didn’t even know that the Deity was being worshiped outside of the church.” (Coy)
“Coy, I know that you can’t act as the Hero here in Damned. However, could you try talking to the shrine maiden? If we can’t get her to leave by her own will… we’ll be forced to act on our own.” (Elder)
“Wait… what will you do if Coy-kun doesn’t get her to leave?”
The Elder looked at me until Coy explained the suffix. After he understood it, the elder gave me his reply.
“We’ll be forced to give her to the Harem King when he stops by tomorrow.” (Elder)
That sounded more like an anime protagonist to me.
“That guy!? I don’t wanna deal with him.” (Coy)
“Wait…. you know him?”
“Only by name and reputation. He’s an incubus.” (Coy)
“Wait… an incubus?”
“Miss Yuki, I can tell that you’re not from around here. The Harem King is an incubus who’s only desire is to expand his harem. He uses women to get what he wants. There have been multiple villages that have been deprived of all their young maidens in his conquest. And there’s nothing that they can do as he uses his powers to control their thoughts and… desires. He always gives each village a warning to offer at least one young maiden. And if the village either refuses or offers him one he doesn’t like… he uses his powers to take what he wants. There’s nothing that can be done as he uses the maidens already under his control as shields.” (Elder)
This guy is a real villain. Seriously, he seems like a bad guy straight out of a manga.
“But if you’re not going to offer the shrine maiden, then who are you going to offer?” (Coy)
He had a point.
“My daughter.” (Elder)
“Wait… what!?” (Coy)
Just what is the Elder thinking!?
“I do not want to offer my Nyra either. But… she is the best maiden that we have in the village. Just why does that bastard have to come here!?” (Elder)
I could see his pained expression very clearly.
“Elder… I’ll take care of everything.” (Coy)
I couldn’t believe this, Coy is seeming to be more heroic than meets the eye.
“Coy… I can’t let you do this. This is our problem, let us solve this?” (Elder)
“Elder, I remember the kindness you offered when I first arrived here. You were the one who told me and my party to keep my identity as the Hero a secret from everyone. Hell, you even allowed us to stay in this house for our stay. Not to mention, Nyra is still young… for a Night Elf. I can’t let her become a part of that man’s harem, not when she still has a future.” (Coy)
Heroic level is getting higher.
“Then will you please marry her like I asked last time?” (Elder)
I had to spit out the cactus tea I was sipping on.
“You know that I can’t do that.” (Coy)
“Why? You know that she would be happy. Let’s just ask her. Nyra, come out here!?” (Elder)
Right then, a door opened. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, this wasn’t someone who looked like she should be in junior high. She looked like she should be in elementary, she’s a loli! Her silvery hair was in pigtails, and almost reached the floor. Her face was still full of innocence, not really mature at all. As for her attire, she was wearing robes similar to the Elder.
“Yeah dad… it’s Mr. Coy!” (Nyra)
She then jumped for joy before running our way. With the way she leaped, she was heading for Coy with the pounce of a predator. But Coy… caught her head with his hand. It seemed like something straight out of an anime.
“Nyra… what am I going to do with you?” (Coy)
He sounded very annoyed.
“Simple, marry me and stay in the village!” (Nyra)
Just what is this loli thinking?
“I know I’m not big and bouncy yet, but give me another hundred years and I might be?” (Nyra)
“Miss Yuki, elven folk age slower than most races. Not even dwarfs age as slowly. Normally, our aging slows down when we get to seventeen years of age. Nyra on the other hand… she stopped aging around eleven. Believe it or not, she’s thirty-seven years old right now.” (Elder)
That made sense, Kimiko told me something similar. Not to mention… she still only looked around my age at a hundred and seventeen years old.
“Mr. Coy, who is this woman!?” (Nyra)
“Nyra, meet Yuki. She’s my companion.” (Coy)
I could see Nyra giving me a scowl as she sized me up. Just what is her problem?
“Mr. Coy, is she your girlfriend?” (Nyra)
“I’m his wife!”
I didn’t know why, but I said those three words.
“Wife? Yeah right? Your breasts are smaller than mine, washboard!” (Nyra)
Oh, she’s asking for it.
“Who are you calling washboard, brat!?”
“How am I a brat? I’m older than you!” (Nyra)
“You don’t just look like it, you act like it!”
Before I knew it, we were in a scuffle. It wasn’t much, but it ended with us stretching each others cheeks.
“Um girls… could you please calm down?” (Coy)
It took us a bit, but we released each others cheeks. Then we both got up, crossed our arms, and turned away from each other with a ‘humph’.
“Mr. Coy, this ‘washboard’ here is claiming she’s your wife. I don’t see a ring, so therefore she’s lying.” (Nyra)
“Not all married couples have rings, you damn loli.”
“I’m not a…. wait, what’s a loli?” (Nyra)
“It’s short for Lolita, it basically means little girl.”
“But… I’m older.” (Nyra)
“The term is more or less used for appearance.”
“Still… I’m… I’m not a loli!” (Nyra)
She then started flailing her arms at me. I was able to hold her back by placing my hand on her head with my arm outstretched. I could easily tell that she wanted to cry out of frustration. I just had to take it further.
“Loli or not, you should act your age.”
She immediately stopped.
“I know that. I… was just trying to see if you knew. Yeah, that’s right.” (Nyra)
Older or not, she really didn’t need to act that way. She already ruined the fun by realizing what she was doing so easily.
“Anyway… maybe we should go and investigate the shrine?” (Coy)
That was the smartest thing he said all day. However… we didn’t know what would happen later in the day as well.