After about two hours, Selia finally woke up.
"How you feel?"
Her eyes focused on me with a distressed expression that seemed to ask "Who are you?"
Upon hearing the boy's voice, Selia's expression suddenly alternated between stupefaction and relief.
"Albert! ... Thank you! Oh, Ashma, thank you! Are you alright?"
"I should say that! Doesn't it hurt? Are you better?"
However, it's evident that she is still lost and bewildered I assumed she was very confused by the fever to remember what had happened.
"It seems that you somehow got poisoned while crossing the forest to escape the slavers and have been in bed since then".
To my surprise, the person to come forward to clarify her doubts was Zera.
"But everything is fine. Thanks to Argent-sama! He cured you, with a glance he could know what kind of poison affected you and provided you with the right antidote. You owe your life to such an outstanding person!"
Hmm ... Even I could be ashamed of such a display of idolatry, especially when it was a gesture as sincere as his. What I couldn't deny is that such an act of selfless admiration would highlight any possible act of "humility" on my part. I can take advantage of such an action.
"It was nothing. It was a surprise for us to meet you and Albert even before the sale of slaves. Right captain?"
"Really, really a lucky encounter".
"Eh? Mr. Rad?"
"I'm sorry I didn't do anything for you. Really ... I'm so sorry".
"Ah! You don't have to apologize to us, there was nothing ... That could you have done".
I agreed with that. It wasn't as if the presence of the captain and the other two had changed things. In the end they would have only increased the number of victims.
"But now everything will be fine. We have found you, you are already safe. And soon we will save the rest".
Although I could be understanding and notice that this girl had done nothing but receive unusual news after another. Honestly, I lack the time and willingness to wait until she stops feeling confused.
"For now, since you seem to be fine, it will be better to leave to not bother the <Slave Heroes> anymore. Selia, you and your brother will come with us. From now on we will take care of you".
Aware of her apparent stupor, I decided that the captain and the others would help her up, after which we quickly left that place. Once again, those men blindfolded us and made us follow a path full of a nonsense of turns to mislead us. After all that, we finally reached the point where we had initially run into the rebels, and we took off the blindfolds.
"Thank you for taking care of Selia, even if you are the slave heroes, you had no obligation to take care of her after rescuing her".
"No, I'm sorry I couldn't do more for her. If I had left her, it wouldn't have made sense to rescue her in the first place ... And I could never apologize enough to that man".
Before leaving, Ruthen approached Selia and Albert with the intention of telling them something.
"I regret the problems caused by my incompetence. With all my heart, I hope you can live free and happy now that you have met up with your friends from Galatea. And Albert ..."
Crouching down to match his height, he whispered something in Albert's ear, unfortunately I wasn't able to hear what he said. But I don't think it was something useful.
On our way back, I decided to make a slight change in our formation. After all, I needed some privacy to talk to Selia as soon as possible.
"Ehm, eto ... thank you very much for saving me".
"It was a pleasure. I will speak bluntly. Our plan was originally to save you along with the rest of the town of Galatea who was enslaved. I was going to buy you all tomorrow at the big slave sale".
"Now I have to reconsider my plans. I didn't count on the participation of the slave heroes. Who knows, maybe they will do something tomorrow in the sale of slaves, I don't know if it's a good idea to interfere".
"That ... well ..."
An easy bait, for easy prey. Come on Selia, I know you want to talk.
"I don't think they will interfere with the sale of slaves ... Mr. Ruthen was complaining about what they were going to do... That was a bad idea".
"Eh? How can you know that? Don't tell me he told you".
"No ... Actually, last night ... while I was suffering, Mr. Ruthen gave me something to drink that eased my pain. Before I fell unconscious, I could hear him complaining that the plan was dangerous, that he didn't like the idea of getting involved with the soldiers..."
"I see. And what does that have to do with not interfering with the sale of slaves?"
"Well ... If Mr. Ruthen didn't like it, it must be because they would abandon the slaves".
Wow, an interesting reasoning. Although I think I had a better idea of what the real reason was. No doubt it's about the risk of messing with the people of Iren. Personally I don't want to deal with them again.
Right now, I can still stop them if I give their position to Garonte. But I still don't know their plans, nor have I determined their potential value to me. If I had to choose between helping them or Garonte ... I still need information.
If I put myself in their situation. Their plan may be to put Iren's soldiers against Garonte. It can be easily achieved, considering that they are in the city looking for something. It is easy to convey the rumor that the rulers of the city have that something and are hiding it.
Of course that plan has its risks. But for some reason Ruthen thought it was a bad plan ... No, wait. Is not that. Looking at Selia next to me, I can see that I am not considering something important. These people are nothing but poor wretch.
Even a plan as bad as that is too much for them. It must be something so absurdly stupid that even someone so careless to talk about their plans in front of a strange girl can recognize as a bad idea.
Ignorant bastards! They can't think of killing an Iren soldier to cause an international incident!? If I consider the story of Garonte, Jagheb will give up the city and abandon it to its fate. Nothing would stop Iren from reducing it to rubble.
How the hell do they plan to do something like that !? It must be at a time when they can deal with them alone. But The soldiers are under constant surveillance, after all it's very risky to leave them on their own in the city ...
"You may be right, Selia. They may think of abandoning slaves".
It's so obvious. Who called them << Slave Heroes >> in the first place? I don't think they stopped in their tracks to proclaim themselves with that name. But even so, people call them that, everyone knows it. That is why it seems logical for them to try something in the sale of slaves. But assuming that is just a convenience.
If tomorrow the justice officers concentrate their vigilance on the market. There will be fewer men in the rest of the city. A perfect time to do something crazy.
It seems that all the pieces fall into place. The important thing is what will I do about it?
The easiest would be to leave here as soon as possible. But I need to get an excuse to abandon the slaves of Galatea. After all, I already declared that I would save them, and above all, I don't know if Garonte will simply let me go without saying a word.
If there is a place that will continue to be guarded apart from the commercial plaza, it will be the city gates. After "Putting him under my orders" it would be strange if I left at once.
I must think. Is there a way to turn this situation into an advantage?
The answer is: Obviously.
Although before moving forward, I need to confirm several things. It's best to meet Garonte as soon as possible.
The problem is ... those guys are following us.
As soon as we parted, a small group of people have been following us in secret. Of course I can know thanks to the monocle. If I didn't have it, maybe I would take the risk of going straight to tell Garonte about the situation of the rebels and end this without letting those from Iren get involved.
I noticed it because the confused Selia walks more slowly when she starts thinking. Because of that, on more than one occasion I had to turn to look at her, that is how I saw them. While they're watching us, I can't just go with one of the city leaders. Nor can I get rid of them in such a ... public place. So I can't send my men against them. Besides that if they see suspicious movements, they will look for ways to get off. If they were one or two they could handle them, but there are four, and they keep distance between them, so it isn't easy to capture them all at once.
I wonder if it wouldn't be easier just to crush them. After all I have Ryuuji. There is nothing they can do. But if I do, it will have to be after leaving Selia and Albert at the inn. If they realize that those who follow us are part of the group that rescued them, I might have trouble dealing with them.
I'm not sure how many men they have available either. Maybe they can have these four until they have executed their plan, or maybe they need them and they can only keep an eye on us for a few hours.
I think I can try my luck for an hour or two. We will go to the market after passing through the inn and see if they stop following us when we are no longer suspicious. Of course I'm not going to waste my time. If things get complicated, tomorrow I will have to force my way out of this place. So I want to confirm the presence of the famous blacksmith of the rumors before that.
Did you forget it? When I learned about all the problematic things, I also heard that there was a famous blacksmith in the city. If it turns out to be true and can be useful, I have to confirm it.
Even in the current situation, it would be silly not to get all the possible advantages.