- Shari -
We just managed it out of the guildhall when I hear some shouting that promises nothing good.
"These masks! There they are! Seize those thieves!" (Moreau)
With this, the most unpleasant person I've ever met, including Chris and the generic bandits at the start of my adventure, accompanied by an entourage of guards and even this captain Gareth from our little murder incident enter and engage on us.
All I am able to reply to this development is:
"What the heck!?" (Shari)
The captain does approach and before he is too close I first turn around.
"Liqu! By all means, don't do anything and leave the talking to me!" (Shari)
This situation became extremely fast extremely dire.
Not just for me, but the whole town.
However, the fact that those guards haven't done yet anything physical tells me that there might be a way to solve this.
"Baron Moreau accuses you to have taken his property. Do you have anything to respond?" (Gareth)
"I don't even know where to start. I don't know where he lives and only met him once. And back then I certainly took nothing from him. So what should I have stolen? I am a little confused here!" (Shari)
Also as I just now became aware that I have no idea where Elin vanished to.
In addition, the captain just now seems to have recognized me by my voice.
"My stones! She stole my stones!" (Moreau)
"You've heard him." (Gareth)
Despite his words, he doesn't seem too eager to take measures.
"What stones? I still don't understand!" (Shari)
"My voidstones! You took them!" (Moreau)
That someone can become this red.
"What? Voidstones? All we did was harvesting some from the abandoned mine!" (Shari)
"See? Exactly like the guard said! They took stones from my mine!" (Moreau)
"Your mine?" (Shari)
"It is like this. Despite the current state of the mine, baron Moreau holds the ownership about this place and like this is the only one who has the mining rights or can grant them to others." (Gareth)
"This is a joke, right? The mine we've gone to was a deathtrap! Not to speak of in any condition to extract any stones from! This man should know best that there were reasons to abandon the mine and I can't believe he had any intentions to reopen it!" (Shari)
"You obviously managed to extract them." (Gareth)
"Yes! And for that they need to be punished!" (Moreau)
- You can try to use a whip on me if you want!
But honestly, this is bad.
There are far too many monster killers close by and I simply cannot afford an incident.
Those people would just do their job and killing all of them is wrong.
That aside, they also outnumber us and up against the entire town and eventually the whole kingdom is just too much.
And to make it worse with my body I'm no fast runner.
"We just got a bit. And with a great effort that is." (Shari)
As far I see it they only know that we brought some voidstone, but not the amount or that we had slime detectors with us.
This should lead them to believe it's just what would be expected from an abandoned mine.
So hell will I do and tell them how much we were able to gather.
"Nonetheless, the rights for mining belong to the baron." (Gareth)
"This place was goblin-infested! If he wants the rest of the stones we did him in fact a favor! Or would it have been cheap to clear the whole way and kill thirty-four of these goblins in that mine? The guy there at the counter can testify that I've just brought the proof or does anyone believe here that I raided another goblin camp on the way?" (Shari)
"She has a point there, lord Moreau. Their actions were indeed to your advantage." (Gareth)
"That doesn't matter! They took my stones and I warrant compensation!" (Moreau)
"Why don't we handle this situation like this: While ignorance is no excuse to overstep the law, their group will recompense you for the taken stones and we will treat this just as a small case of trespassing so that a fee would be enough. After all, it would be a waste to lose capable adventurers like this." (Gareth)
He in fact gives me a way out here.
You simply cannot bargain with nobles, so I need to take what I can.
"I demand justice!" (Moreau)
"I think justice will be served when you have no harm on your side." (Gareth)
I have to give them something they can base their demands on, but not too high or I will have problems with the payment, and too small will make them suspicious.
"But as I said, we only took ten kilos. The mine was already exhausted." (Shari)
"This is quite much. It seems you went lucky." (Gareth)
"Doesn't feel like this." (Shari)
"So at the current market price, this makes two gold and five silver." (Gareth)
Seems like Tamarah was rather generous.
Aside from the point that she got us into this.
"Five gold! Only then I will forget this! They are scarce and that demands more, am I right? And in addition the fee for trespassing on noble's ground! So five gold and not less!" (Moreau)
"Five gold? You can't be serious!" (Shari)
"Baron isn't this a little excessive?" (Gareth)
"No, it isn't! And mind your place "captain"! Or do you want me to have a talk with your lord? If they don't have that much, too bad for them! In this case, they will have to compensate me as debt slaves." (Moreau)
"Sigh! Sure baron. You've heard it. Can you recompense him?" (Gareth)
- Shit, I don't have a choice here!
If this gets worse the money won't bring me far.
I mean I wouldn't be able to spend it if I get on the subjugation list and never again can enter a town.
But I need to sound believable why I have this much.
"We could sell them well, with the current shortage and had some savings. So this is just at our furthest limits." (Shari)
I scrabble in my stash for the stored money, but let some of the silver and one gold coin slip inside me when I get them.
God beware if this asshole finds out I have more than he demands.
And I wouldn't anyway make it through a personal search.
"Here, this is all we have. Satisfied?" (Shari)
I would grind my teeth if I would still have them.
Yet the lack of these in addition to the emotional pressure induced the hole behind my mouth to collapse, creating an awkward squishing sound.
- Just Great!
Now I have to fast reassemble it again before anyone starts asking questions.
The guard captain is the first to clear his throat, while I do the same in a bit more intense way with mine.
"Ahem! With this, the situation should be solved. Am I right, baron?" (Gareth)
"I guess I might show me from my generous side. If they bow down and apologize!" (Moreau)
- Really? Rip us off and then this?
- Let it go already! I am acting here for your sake!
Maybe it is good that my mouth has first to form before I can splutter this out.
But it soon does and so I have to act.
I take Liqu at the collar and shove her head downwards to at least roughly imitate the warranted gesture.
"Ie am teerrieblye sorrye mye lord. Wee shouuld haeve beeen moree caereefuull aend fierst ask foor peermiessieon. Mye deeepeest aepooloogies!" (Shari)
- What the hell was that?!!
- Okay. I know what it was.
My throat was just not completely ready yet and this together with the fact that I am so conflicted about what I had to say that I could just reluctantly force it out lead to my vocal strands hanging at every formed tone.
Would they believe me it wasn't planned if I gobble up some slime and show them the condition of my throat?
- What a stupid joke, Shari!
Not only those two but also the guards look quite stupefied.
For now, I should gloss it over as good I can manage.
"Thie-... Ahem. This should be enough, right? If so we would like to take our leave now." (Shari)
"You were properly compensated baron. Like this I don't see why we should extend this. I sure wouldn't want to waste your precious time." (Gareth)
"Grmpf, you call this an apology? Are you mocking me?" (Moreau)
"Surely not my lord. I am just very tense in your presence. Please forgive us." (Shari)
And please, leave now to a place far away or I cannot guarantee for anything.
"Baron, despite the strange sound nothing was wrong with their apology. Why not just end it here. It's not like you would gain anything from this." (Gareth)
I think I owe this man something.
He really tries to appease the baron for us.
One more reason why I wouldn't want this to get out of control.
"Tsk! You are right in the way that these dirty peasants aren't worth my time! Reprimand them accordingly in my name. I have more important things to attend to!" (Moreau)
Does it finally end?
The man leaves down the street with some of the guards.
I would really like to know here how his influence in this town is.
Just the guard captain remains.
"You really shouldn't have upset the baron. Don't you know that those who anger him like this generally don't live long?" (Gareth)
"No! Like I already said, we just came to this town! As if I have an idea who of the nobles would want to see me dead!" (Shari)
"Ugh, just don't get anywhere close to him again. There won't be much hope if you would agitate him once more." (Gareth)
With this, he turns around and leaves together with the remaining guards.
And I can finally take a breather.
If I just would be able to perform the act.
Well, imitating has its own value.
At least for my mental state.
And would you believe it, promptly Elin comes back from around a corner.
We go the few steps in her direction, even if only to get away from the main entrance.
"Oh, you made it back! I was wondering if you already had managed to leave it the town considering how fast you did vanish." (Shari)
"Can you really hold it against me? For all I know this might have become one of the bloodiest incidents this town has ever seen." (Elin)
From a purely logical point I can understand her and it's not as if her presence would have helped in any way.
At worst she might have upset this man even more and this I really couldn't need.
"Well, while I am sure not this much blood would have been left I can understand your point. But if this team shall work I can't have you running at even the smallest threat." (Shari)
"I wasn't far away. Just enough to still have an overview on the situation." (Elin)
"Doesn't matter! If we have a plan to follow I need to know you are there and do what I say!" (Shari)
Speaking of this.
"And Liqu, I am somewhat impressed that you were able to contain yourself. So listen carefully, as I am sure you won't hear this often. You've done well!" (Shari)
"Oh no! She starts to embarrassed turn left and right and holds her head as if it's going to explode from excitement.
"My Shari praised me! How wonderful! How joyous! This is so great!" (Liqu)
I need to stop her from making a scene! This incident already gathered far too much attention.
"Yes, yes, calm yourself! I just wanted you to know that it was good that you acted as said and didn't go rogue!" (Shari)
"Honestly, I have no idea what even happened! There were so many difficult words, like mining rights or ownership. Why you gave him money? So that he goes away? This must be worth much! Especially since I'm not allowed to just dissolve people!" (Liqu)
Oh, she did not understand what happened.
Well, this was my luck, as otherwise she surely wouldn't have been so calm.
"No, it was more that he ripped us off!" (Shari)
She frantic strobes her body.
"But... nothing is missing? Did he rip something from you?" (Liqu)
"No. And don't you dare to try to confirm it! What he took was our money! He used our situation to his advantage so that I had to give it to him. Like when Elin forced us into this deal. I had no choice but to give the money to him!" (Shari)
"Was that really necessary?" (Elin)
"Yes! Absolutely!" (Shari)
"But couldn't we just say no? We weren't weak this time and he surely isn't stronger than us!" (Liqu)
"While I don't doubt your abilities, even if you made it to kill all the guards he brought with him, we are just in front of the guild. What do you think would happen if you would go all out? We can't fight the whole town." (Shari)
"Huh? But I can!" (Liqu)
- I hope I misheard!
- And hopefully, no one listened too closely in on us!
"What did you just say?" (Shari)
"I said I could win against the town. I've developed a special technique just for the emergency that I would get found out in a settlement and am up against a larger number of humans. If I use this one and get a good start I can do it!" (Liqu)
I stand stunned.
Until now I was very sure that Liqu can be a calamity, but I always thought that she would be more of the local kind.
When I considered what might happen if we get found out, I was set on fleeing and somehow get away before a coordinated force could confront us.
But this slime is much worse than I thought.
Not only can she fight against much greater numbers, she truly has the concrete plan to annihilate this whole town.
What terrible threat did I just bring in this town?
"Huh, much more dangerous than I thought!" (Elin)
As I assess Elin, she couldn't care less for every single person in this town.
But I do!
"Listen Liqu! If ever something should happen we are going to escape first! You are hereby absolutely forbidden from destroying towns!" (Shari)
That I even have to give such an order!
"But what if you are threatened?" (Liqu)
"Even then escape comes first! No voluntary killing! Understood?" (Shari)
"If you say so." (Liqu)
Oh, she looks like a hurt puppy.
- SORRY LITTLE PUPPY THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GO ON A KILLING SPREE!!!
"Okay, we go back now! And no more words about the purging cities!" (Shari)
"Oh, but we still need to address the most important." (Liqu)
"Huh?" (Shari, Elin)
I am a little reluctant to ask.
Anyway it seems I have to
"What is it?" (Shari)
"Wasn't it the cutest thing ever how my Shari just spoke? So precious!" (Liqu)
I stand stunned.
"Pffft, Ahahahahahahahaha!" (Elin)
And someone else got a heavy laughing attack.
I really need now some rest.
I would even take those three hours of standby mode.