Chapter 53: The Slave & the Parasite
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"Sign, here, then there, and one more." - Glock

Why does an underworld guild have to need so many signs? I'm getting writer's cramp here. Tch. I'm getting second thoughts about this slave business. And for a reason that nobody would have imagined.

But anyway, I'd signed all the papers now, and it's scared me (specifically, my writing hand) so much that I'm gonna walk the slaves back home if I ever buy one again. Thank god only slaves have this much paperwork...

Glock, the delivery guy for the Blackmarket in this town, after accepting the papers filled with my signatures, opened up the carriage-like vehicle behind him and lifted a..., how much power does he hide in those thin arms that let him carry such a stupidly big vault!? Once again I'm convinced that this is a game-world. 

After placing the jet-black vault in the corner of the room where I'd pointed out, Glock went inside the vehicle again and brought out a young lady dressed in..., not rags, but close to it. It seems like a dress, but the clothing looks hard and dirty. "Fit for a slave", or something among those lines.

The black leather collar with a padlock around her neck shows that she's a slave. The design is something I chose, as the heavy-looking ones made from metal looked too off-putting for me.

As for the girl in question, it's acceptable to call her pretty. Her long silver hair and emerald green eyes are her main charm points, but other than that, she looks like she's seen better days. Her limbs are thin, her face's sunk in, and one can see bruises all over her body. 

"Don't look at Glock. The witch, she like this, when got her, a few days ago." - Glock

Glock understood my question just by me glaring at him. Guess kidnappers aren't treated well in prisons or wherever they're keeping them. 

That's right. I chose to buy the witch. Thinking back, the photo of her said it was a pic before she was taken in by the police. I'll take this as a reminder that I'm dealing with a real crook organization and be on my toes next time. Or rather, they even asked me if I wanted to take a look at the slaves before I left. My mistake.

Among the luggage were several clothes that had been given along with the sale. Glock said it was a bonus for all that I'd done for the organization, so the lolicon had selected some fitting clothes for the witch. And his taste of clothes...tch. It's damn good. 

Glock said his farewells after giving me a special item. It looks like a tablet, and it works like one as well. I can remotely order new furniture from the Blackmarket with the new debit card-including vault. Pretty handy. I'll try it once when I need something new.

But for now, there's the witch. She looks too weak for any rough treatment, not that I was planning on it. Even her eyes look empty. I bought her because I wanted to see how [Demon's Presence] works, but can I even corrupt someone that looks this broken? What did the so-called police do to her?

I looked at the papers regarding the witch that I got along with her and it says that..., she was mentally broken from the start? What gives? Let's see... Summarized, it's something like this:

"The subject in question was a normal Witch practicing pharmacy and sold her medicines at the market. But one day, after going to gather more materials for her potions, she suddenly disappeared. Many days later, when the town guards raided a building presumed to be the hideout of the culprit for many recent kidnappings, they discovered the subject in question in her current state of mind.
The bruises came from her resisting the guards with a temper equal to a wild beast. She is currently kept pacified with the Obedience spell, but it does not remove the fact that she's responsible for kidnapping and torturing people to death. In the end, becoming a slave was the only way she could escape the hangman's noose."

What a story. And yes, I know. Shame on me who only looked at the slaves' appearances and talents and not their background. But they were all beauties! Who can blame me!?

...but I should have given a thought to why she was way cheaper than the others. Seriously, my bad.

I can't see anything weird on her status page. It became possible for me to access it after I became her owner. The only thing that could make people stop to think is that she doesn't have a name, but that's normal for a criminal slave. They lose their name when they're turned into a slave, as part of their punishment. 

But man, what to do? She's pretty much "corrupted" in both mind and body. Whatever I do will probably have no effect...

Time to change the experiment's goal. From "how to corrupt someone" to "what will happen if I try to corrupt something that's corrupted". Even if it doesn't work, I'll know that for a future case.

I've been running [Demon's Presence] ever since Glock left, but there are no results yet. She's just sitting there and gazing into the air. Maybe I should give it some time. The description did say it was through prolonged exposure to the skill. In the meanwhile...

"Hey, stand up." - Garami

The Room's untidy, so having her clean it up would be killing two birds with one rock. Or so I thought, but she started to fumble as she tried to stand and collapsed!

"H-hey, are you..., not okay, I guess." - Garami

The witch had broken her nose with that fall. Is she that weak? This is bad. In lots of ways. 

*Ruuuumble...*

She's just hungry!? W-well, that's obvious, looking at how thin she is. Damn, I don't have any experience in nursing anyone. I've barely had contact with people for the last five years. 

First thing first, get her some food. Since I never stocked up on food items since Emergency Rations always helped me in the field during the rare times when my SP was getting too low, I used the tablet-thing I got from Glock right away and looked for some food items.

Oh? They serve delivery!? Why are they..., ah. Now I get it. It acts as a cover for their real occupation. That doesn't prevent the food from looking delish...

I ordered lots of stuff and waited for them to arrive, which happened in less than 5 minutes. They were transported through some teleport-gimmick. Guess only slaves are needed to be delivered by hand. 

Since I lacked a table or anything, and it would be too sad to see someone eat from the floor, I used the waiting time to order some new furniture. A dining table, some chairs, a chandelier, and even a kitchen. All came as two different sets, each matching my Player Room's theme.

"Ugh..." - Witch

What now?! The witch looks like she's in pain. Crap, I should have ordered some medicine first!! Maybe a potion-

"Ugh, *cough*!" - Witch

As I was flustering around from this newfound situation, the witch coughed up something. What the..., bleargh!? It's moving! What is this, a bug?!

Race: Venemitella Take-Over Token | Hostile
Level: 1/10 (LOCKED)
Condition:
  • Madness [51] (Movements becomes unpredictable)
HP: 3/3 MP: 3/3 SP: 3/3

Ah, a token. AS IF THAT'S EXPLAINING ANYTHING!!

In any case, I squashed the bug into black dust. What the heck was that? A parasite? It said something about "take-over", so it may be the reason for the sudden personality change in the witch as the docs mentioned. 

"*Cough, cough, cough*-!" - Witch

Awawawawaw! Wh-what now!? F-f-first, I should calm down! Wait, it's this one who's in trouble! Why am I trying to get myself straight!? Try acting more as a demon, me! At least inside the game!

"Wh-where...hiii!!" - Witch

The witch got better. Then she fled to the corner of the room in something that could be best described as a mild panic attack just from looking at me for half a second... What is this feeling? My heart feels both struck and emptied...

"There's...there's food over there..., and don't leave this place..." I said while suffering an impressive depression attack on my heart and soul before leaving the Player Room. 

But it was only after I left it that I remembered that the Fear-inducing [Demon's Presence] was still on. Damn my bad memory...

---

It would be strange returning to my Player Room right away after the mess I left there, so I killed some time by reading the books in the library. Specifically, stuff regarding the bug that the witch coughed up. 

While "take-over token" wasn't written in any of the books I looked through, I found something on the "Venemitella". It's a Poison spider that thrives on making allies fight each other through using deception and tricks, then it kills them all. 

However, there is nothing about the Venemitella attacking humans, nor that it can mind-control people or create parasites. At most, it uses poison that makes people more easily irritatable and tricks through its usage of thread-based skills. This species making "tokens" or whatever is something unheard of...

Unless it's a new species? Maybe something like a "named monster" in other MMOs? It's not impossible, but for an NPC, correction, an inhabitant to find one, that must be the worst luck she could ever have, that poor witch.

I also looked up the local laws, but it seems that too severe crimes can't be excused by saying that something controlled you. And anything that severe is enough to make you a criminal slave. Not that we have any proof anymore, seeing as I squashed the bug to dust.

Not that I wanted to anyway. I won't get a refund, plus I gotta keep my demonic image. Still, it doesn't mean I'm for a little spider-hunting. I'll schedule it for after the event.

It's been long enough now, so I decided to return to the Player Room. Inside, I found the witch eating while shedding tears. Her hunger must have won over her fear since I, the boogeyman, left. As for why she's crying..., did she remember what she did? I sorta feel bad for her...

"Delicious, *munch, munch*, too good...-!" - Witch

Forget it. She's just a glutton. 

"*Cough*." - Garami

"Hmm? ...hii!!" - Witch

And take two! My poor heart's getting ripped to shreds!!

"...you remember what happened?" I asked after I saw the witch having calmed down after making a barricade with the dinner table. I gotta say I'm impressed that she managed to take all the food behind her cover without spilling it. 

"...remember what?" - Witch

"...from when the bug got inside you?" - Garami

"Ahh..., wait, that's from the start!!" - Witch

She looks spunky enough now. But she went into a small coughing fit for raising her voice so sudden.

"Then you know the law can't see through its fingers for your situation?" - Garami

"It's not like I cared about those people that I was forced to kidnap. All the people here are either perverts or big perverts. You know how much pain I have had to live through while living here?" -Witch

All my sympathy for this one just flew out the window with a jet plane. Or maybe a rocket.

"Then I won't accept any complaints about how I treat you. And this is an order. Got it?" - Garami

The witch twitched for a moment before nodding. Not that I would agree if she decided to disagree with me. 

"Okay. First, why did you end up like that?" I asked. The whole event surrounding the witch is so confusing that I couldn't stop myself from getting interested in it.

"Not sure. All I could remember was that my body moved on its own to do something about mutations." - Witch

"Mutations?" - Garami

"Something about merging one or more of your traits with something else's. It's not my field of expertise, so I don't know much, nor do I understand what my body was doing," - Witch

Meaning it was the bug that had all the info about the forbidden rituals she did? Things are getting stranger and stranger, but I bet there's a way to find out why if I ever discover the "true culprit". 

"That's fine for now. Start cleaning this place." - Garami

"Huh? Why should I..., why is my body moving on its own!? I hate cleaning!!" - Witch

Did she forget the whole slave thing? Maybe I should hurry up with the corruption experiment. Two negatives become one positive, wasn't it? Let's hope that's true for personalities as well. 

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