“Mister Kuro, let’s get you out of this place.” Filly responds. With a snap of her fingers, a presence shifted to the back of the woman.
“Tyga, if you would.”
That alarmingly gruff voice seemed to appear from thin air, causing White to flinch noticeably.
As soon as the man called Tyga revealed himself, his instincts worked their hardest to caution him as a potential threat.
White's had such a feeling before. That was the time he had faced a goblin while he was a mere Level 1 in the past.
This was the feeling of being overpowered by levels. Ten, no, maybe even twenty more?
It made more sense to him as to why Filly was composed all the time, now that he understood that the woman had such a capable bodyguard on standby the entire time.
He must be a contracted mercenary. The battle-hardened, rough look in Tyga's eyes exuded hostility and alertness.
The man's toned muscles showed through his clothes were a form of intimidation towards the guards, who were clearly keeping a distance away from him as he stepped into the cell. The two swords sheathed in a cross behind his back rattled soundly, until he stopped just before the young man. Tyga’s apathetic eyes narrowed as they came across White’s. He said nothing and began working on the cuffs with that same glare on his face.
With the key inserted, the metal constraints on White’s wrists were promptly unlocked. A heavy click could be heard, before they fell weightily onto the ground. White rubbed his wrists a few times as he got rid of the accumulated dirt stuck into his skin. When he saw that Tyga was staring at him impatiently, White immediately stopped.
The young man swallowed his apprehension, and cautiously limped past the escort who had moved out of the way. His body still felt heavy but despite that, he found his footsteps unconsciously moving closer and closer towards that woman. Until, he was finally outside of his cell.
At first, he didn't feel like it was real. But as a click of the tongue brought him back to his senses, he turned to look at an irritated guard right outside his cell in satisfaction.
I’m… outside. ...
"Mister Kuro, please wait here while I handle the rest of the bail procedures with these gentlemen here."
White nodded solemnly, as if he was giving an underling permission to handle it for him.
The guards on the other hand, had mesmerized reactions from the display of elegance from the slender beauty. With how low they were willing to stoop to gain favors from Filly, White expected things to wrap things up very shortly.
As he waited, his eyes wandered around. But because White could only see the gloominess of the underground cells, his gaze fell on his neighbor who had accompanied him during his stay.
I'll be going ahead first. You're a nice guy Yuri, I hope you make it out as well.
White sighed. The idealistic thoughts of saving others no longer existed in his head.
His hands moved up with a languid motion, and he looked at his palm filled with red cracks. He moved his fingers one by one, feeling life returning back to his body.
It felt so long since he had stretched his body like this.
Despite everything, he was still alive. The life that was returned to him had a different kind of meaning to him now.
Sensing that Filly was just about to finish the procedures, White steadied his heart again and prepared his method acting.
“Im very sorry it took so long, Mister Kuro. If it displeases you, I..."
"Stop talking and get me out of this place."
Filly raised her head respectfully with another shiver.
Why was her face so flushed?
"A-Ah, yes... the carriage is already waiting for us above. We can rest once we're aboard the carriage.”
...Carriage. Are they taking me somewhere? ...Right. ...orders from the Master.
It may not be the best idea to follow her, but not doing so ran the risk of inviting suspicion so the young man grunted as a sign of approval.
He's already gone deep enough down the rabbit hole. He would see how far he can take this lie.
"Great! This way then, if you would." Filly placed her fingers together in clear relief.
After ascertaining that he was following close behind, she led him through the dark passageway and to the exit. The guards they had passed by had sour looks on their faces, clearly directed towards the young man.
But he no longer cared what they thought. He didn't have to live by the rules underground anymore.
He was free at last. The last rusty, metal door that led towards the surface creaked open. With slow, firm steps, White finally felt a fresh breath of air enter his lungs.
The smell of freedom.
When he noticed that Filly had also stopped to cast him a look of amusement, he continued to walk.
--It was already nighttime outside. White looked up at the two moons in the sky longingly as he dragged his feet.
The two luminous disks superimposed in the sky suddenly brought forth a memory of that girl looking up at snowfall, turning to him and holding out her soft, delicate hand—
Why was he remembering all of these?
The voices echoed inside of his head.
"Ne, Master! Love you!"
“H-Hey!” White heard a voice call out to him, but it was distant. In his mind, were suppressed imagery flaring up one after the other. Once he began to jog his memories, the realization of missing her struck like lightning.
That smile of hers that had kept him going through his lowest.
That radiance that equaled the sun, he wanted to see it again.
And the shape of his thoughts that had been murky his entire life, was now beginning to form an outline, settling down into a more tangible form. A fire dancing on his chest, slowly combusting amidst a single figure in his mind, just like that fire he saw on that fateful night.
Ruru. That playful girl who tussled with him under the bedsheets, cooked for him, and waited for him to come home every day like a dutiful housewife.
But she was also that broken, distorted girl who had become distrustful, fearful of people. Who had her everything stolen away from humans. Who had longed for love in her dreadful years of slavery.
Could he even return to those days again?
"-Kuhh...” White pressed against his eyes in pain, his consciousness waning. Foam leaked out of his mouth, as his tired eyes began to dilate.
“Mister Kuro-! ...Mouu, I knew this would happen...!!! Tyga, bring me that!"
Those were the last words he heard, before White blacked out.
Bumps jerking his body soon brought him conscious again. As White felt a soft and warm feeling on the back of his head, his eyes slowly began to open.
“Feeling better?” Filly’s face appeared right above his.
White’s expression flinched for a brief moment, but he quickly recovered. He tried to wet his lips in an attempt to say something, but was briefly distracted by a familiar sweetness on his tongue. As White touched his lips, he found some syrupy liquid remaining in his mouth. It tasted a little like medicine.
“...What did you feed me?”
Noticing White’s gaze, Filly placed a finger on her own lips as well, and smiled, “That well, Mister Kuro, you were unconscious. Since time was of essence, I had taken some liberties with the administering of a recovery potion while you were unconscious.”
"...Just an ordinary potion?"
Filly shivered at the look White was giving her, and adjusted her seat.
"Heyy... I'll get hurt if you keep looking at me that accusingly you know?"
Filly held up an empty bottle, clearly made with expensive materials for its catalyst.
"Look, a high-grade elixir. They're limited in quantity even amongst the royal merchants these days, so one would have a hard time finding them even if they had the connections to purchase one."
"Why use something like that, if it's so expensive."
Filly shrugged her shoulders, "I had to resuscitate you, Mister Kuro. You weren't breathing at all even after I've casted a recovery spell on you."
...Was the panic attack that severe? White grimaced at the blunder he'd made from losing his composure so easily. To be brought someplace dangerous while he was unconscious, this wasn't the first time he's experienced something like that.
He should be more careful right now, especially when his bail was now only held together by a temporary misunderstanding.
"So you see, wouldn't a normal person consider this as a favor?"
"..." White squinted his eyes at the woman, her unbroken smile seeming to imply that she'd already done something to him.
...Something felt wrong, but White couldn't tell what it was. Plus, it was true he owed the woman a favor now.
White quietly opened up his status window, and saw nothing different from before. There was no poison status or anything, nor were there any strange skill debuffs he had obtained.
...Right, all clear. So the problem now was...
Sensing the heavy gaze letting up slightly, Filly grinned again with narrowed eyes.
"Ah, repayment, correct? Don't worry, my favors are cheap. Perhaps, just a kiss on this maiden's lips would suffice..." Filly's face reddened as she pursed her lips in a seductive motion.
"...Don't jest." It was fortunate that White had kept his poker face up the entire time, as Filly seemed to have misunderstood that her charms were not working on the young man.
Her face revealed an undisguised part of her disappointment, which gave White considerable relief, realizing that she was going to give up now.
"What a shame. Let's leave it at that then, for now."
White tried to avoid the soft chuckle across him, and surveyed his surroundings guardedly.
He was in a cabin of sorts, and he could feel that it was moving quite speedily judging by how fast the scenery was moving outside the side windows. The carriage interior had wine-purple pillow seats, and had polished finishes to the rest of the cabin’s complementing furniture. Suffice to say, this entire set must’ve cost tens, if not hundreds of gold coins, not including the black Trystan Horses that he'd recognized at the front. In a book he’d read, White recalled that Trystan Horses were one of the more well-known for horse-drawn vehicles in this country, and were valued at 300 gold coins on average.
White slid his hands down the texture of the seat, silently amazed at how expensive everything feels.
“I'm glad you’re satisfied with the quality of our ride, Mister Kuro. ...Though you've never once shown interest in it for all the times you've ridden it."
...Was she beginning to suspect something? Surely, he couldn't pull off all of the mannerisms of this Mister Kuro perfectly, right?
"...I'm sure it must've been difficult staying in Halvan's notorious central prison for so long. Once again, I apologize on behalf of the Master for our late reception."
...So she was just feeling sympathetic. The young man relaxed slightly, and thought of words to follow,
"...Don't worry about it. I was working alone after all. It was inevitable that I would be brought to that kind of place."
White didn't know what he was saying, but it seemed like it would fit the narrative of this person he was impersonating, someone who always had a plan.
"Hmm... So that was why you let yourself get caught in that way..."
As expected, Filly looked at the young man with respect as if she'd just had an epiphany for his actions. The misunderstanding just became deeper.
"Although I don't understand why Mister Kuro chooses to use such crude ways to accomplish the agenda, I believe there must be a reason for it, if it's you."
Honestly, White had no idea what she was saying. He decided to keep silent lest he gets into a more delicate conversation he wasn't confident in taking by ear.
"In any case, I believe all of this should be discussed in detail with the Master, and not me. We should also be arriving very soon so you can sit back and relax for now.” Filly explained with a smile as she spaced herself to the opposite seat out of consideration.
...Meanwhile, White felt sick in the stomach.
His thoughts quickly turned cold, and he remembered his primary objective.
That’s right. He had to get out.
He couldn’t waste more time now that he had left prison.
In this city where he could no longer trust, there was but one person he needed to find.
Ruru was somewhere. Somewhere!
...But he couldn’t be rash. He needed to perform again.
And so with a quick gulp in his throat which went unnoticed by Filly, White spoke again,
“...Sit back and... relax? Was that what you said?”
“Eh? ...Y-Yes, is there something wrong?” Filly’s expression became slightly startled at those words. White had turned his face away to look at the carriage doors, but at the corner of his eyes, he could see the anxiety building up on her face. He made a smirk which went unnoticed.
Don’t give her time to think.
“...Stop the carriage. I’m getting off.”
“B-But wait, there is still… Mister Kuro? P-Please wait a moment, the carriage is- Hyaa!!'
Before White could react, Filly’s body lunged forward from losing her balance.
Her breasts piled on top of his face, and White let out a gasp as the two bodies were entwined in the carriage.