A Former Child Soldier 12 – I got a bad feeling when I heard they were bringing that thing to this city.

[Never thought I’d run into you in a place like this, boy.
Well damn, now I feel mighty embarrassed for trying to look cool back in the bathhouse.] (Holmes)

[I thought you had left the city.] (Seto)

[I’m here for a job.
You’re not with that hottie today?] (Holmes)

[No… Well…] (Seto)

[Ah-ha, I see how it is.] (Holmes)

Holmes looked at Seto, then he smirked as if he had guessed something.

[W-What? …I’m not hiding anything!] (Seto)

[Now now, no need to yell like that.
I’ve got free time before going to work.
So let’s go for a walk.
You hungry, boy?] (Holmes)

[I already ate.
When you say you’ve got work… what kind is it exactly?] (Seto)

Seto chatted with Holmes, the bearded dandy man he met in the bathhouse by chance, as they walked through the city.

Along the way, they saw not only the residents of this town, but also merchants from far away, and adventurers who were on their way to the dungeon, walking with dignified looks on their faces.

Drunken vagrants were sitting in the shadows of back alleys, leaning against the walls.

The city during daytime was as colorful as it was during nighttime.

[…And so, the slain monsters are brought to this city and transported to a plaza in the southern section.
That’s where craftsmen harvest the parts of the corpses that could be used as materials.] (Holmes)

[Ohh… I did hear about such craftsmen, but…] (Seto)

[Then the cut parts are magically preserved and transported to a different city to be processed into items.
Some soldiers from the country are in charge of bringing the monsters here.
As for me, I meet up with them, and we head to the next town.] (Holmes)

The fact that weapons, armor and other items can be made from the body parts of monsters is common knowledge.

But I never thought they would be doing one step of the process in this city.

[You can go watch them work if you like.
It’s free.
…And it’d make a nice dating spot for you and that sexy lady, dontcha think?] (Holmes)

[EH!? No, you’re mistaken! She and I aren’t—!] (Seto)

[Nah, I can tell.
She’s like the older girl from your neighborhood who’s been looking after you, then all of a sudden, you started to see her as a member of the opposite sex, and you feel nervous because of it, right?] (Holmes)

[Ugh…!] (Seto)

[Hahaha! C’mon boy, this ain’t nothing for you to feel ashamed of! ‘Course you’re bound to fall for her given how gorgeous she is! That’s just man’s nature!] (Holmes)

The boy was being consoled by a man he had met only the day before.

The way the latter led the former around by the nose, similar to what Satis did with him, made Seto feel uncomfortable.

[Welp, I think those guys should be here any second now.
I gotta go.
…You know your way back home?] (Holmes)

[Yeah, I’ll be fine.
…By the way, I realize I’ve never told you my name.
It’s…] (Seto)

[Ah, no need to tell me.
I’ll just keep calling you “Boy”.
I don’t wanna bother remembering names.] (Holmes)

After he walked away and the boy saw him off, the latter resumed his stroll.

The main avenue of the city was crowded with people.

Both adults and children were excitedly waiting for the monsters to be brought to the area.

This piqued Seto’s interest, so he waited with them.
Soon after, the captive monster was brought in a huge car.

It was as large as a massive boulder.

It was a stout, quadrupedal variety of dragon, bleeding from wounds he sustained in battle.

Surrounded by many soldiers, it was being moved to the southern district.

Children were merrily chasing after it.

Amidst the commotion caused by the people and the monster being carried away, Seto quietly remembered Satis.

She was still traumatized by monsters.

Her face had regained much more life since then, and she had recovered just enough to joke around with Seto, but her trauma still ran deep.

Does Satis know about that monster coming to this city? …Well, it’s dead, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem, but…

It was just a guess, but she probably did not know about it.

She may have known about the harvesting itself taking place in this town, but she had no way of knowing it was today.

Satis was in the middle of gathering information.

Chances were that she would hear about it soon.

[…Maybe I should go check this out.] (Seto)

Seto headed toward the southern district.

While somewhat in a hurry, he followed after the monster and the army corps that was hauling it at this very moment.

They just had to bring a monster here now of all times… I’m getting a bad feeling about this.

———His hunch turned out to be right on the mark.

The monster that had supposedly been killed suddenly awakened and began to rampage.

The plaza in the southern district was filled with screams and chaos.

The soldiers tried to fight it, but they were helplessly blown away by the enraged monster’s brute strength.

Seto attempted to manifest his sword, but then, his promise to Satis flashed into his head.

Kh! …But the only one who can fight here is…

Looking around, the majority of the people were running away, and those who were able to fight were getting cold feet due to the monster’s might.

If he rushed at it now, the damage caused would be minimal, but…

[Hey boy! Didn’t think I’d see you here.
You gotta get the hell outta here.
You won’t stand a chance against that thing.] (Holmes)

[But…! If we don’t intervene, it’ll cause irreversible dama—! O… Over there, it’s…!] (Seto)

Seto looked in a certain direction.

It was a bit away from the plaza, but near the fountain standing on the road leading to that plaza.

Satis was standing among the crowd.

She was shaking in fear, just like last time.

She was probably just passing by the area, but by a stroke of bad luck, she had run into the beast.

However, when the monster suddenly rose from the ground and roared its lungs out, her trauma returned, leaving her unable to move.

Sensing that she was frightened even from afar, Seto had the following thoughts.

If he drew his magic sword, he could help her.

But doing this would mean showing his power in front of the crowd.

Which would mean breaking his promise to Satis.

That was something he did not want to do.

But if nothing was done, the damage done would be too consequential.

Dammit… I gotta do something! But… the promise— No…! Never mind that, it’s her life that matters!

In the meantime, the monster started to move, and of all things, it turned in Satis’ direction.

[Hey, boy! Hurry up and run!] (Holmes)

[No, I’m not running away.] (Seto)

[Wha—!? What’re you…!?] (Holmes)

…Running isn’t an option.
I don’t want to break my promise to Satis, but there’s no way in hell I’m gonna lose her!!

Having reaffirmed his determination, Seto rushed off at full speed.

All sorts of items were scattered on the ground after the stalls were knocked down in the middle of the panic.

They were now free for use.

I need a way to fight without my magic sword, and without standing out… Satis, I’ll save you.

He was, without a doubt, making the face of a soldier.

It was the look of a man who had steeled his heart to carry out his mission.

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