It would be impossible for us to escape unnoticed as the members of the Sfir family continued to attack the mansion. Besides, by the way I’m dressed I look like a nobleman, so I’d be even more conspicuous.
That’s why, after we escaped from the mansion, we hid in a hut along the outskirts of some farmland.
After we had found some safety, I sent Alice, who was unknown to the Sfir family, to go pick up Claire—
“It seems members of the Sfir family were sent to the monastery, it appears Claire-sama was taken.”
Claire had already been kidnapped.
“I have to go help Claire!”
Alice grabs hold of me before I can run out of the hut.
“Why are you stopping me!? Claire may be killed!”
“If that was what they wanted to do with her, even if you left now it would be too late.”
“I can’t know that unless I go after her now! What would I do if Claire was killed because I didn’t go to help her!?”
A dry sound echoes throughout the hut. At the same time I feel a sharp pain on my cheek.
“What are yo–”
I couldn’t finish my sentence. As I looked at Alice, who had just slapped me, her face was contorted from an immense amount of pain.
“What’s wrong, Alice!?”
“There’s no way you’re fine!”
— I see, because she hit me, the seal of her slave contract must have activated.
It must be considerably painful. Alice is sweating from her brow, but she didn’t complain, and she looked into my eyes.
“……Please calm down, Leon-sama. If they were planning on killing Claire-sama, there’s no way you’d be able to get to her in time to save her. However, that is only if they were planning on killing her.”
“………You’re saying they don’t plan on killing Claire? Didn’t you see what they did to Blake?”
“Although, the people attacking the mansion dressed as bandits, the people that came to the monastery introduced themselves as members of the Sfir family. If they were planning on killing Claire-sama they wouldn’t have revealed who they were.”
I understand. If they were planning to kill Claire, there would be no need to be honest about who they are. Just like how they attacked the mansion, they disguised themselves as bandits, and hid the truth about who really attacked the Grances mansion.
However, they introduced themselves as members of the Sfir family.
“So you think the Sfir family has some business with Claire?”
“There’s a good chance of that, but I’m not sure that’s exactly right. I’m guessing they took Claire so they’d have something you want, Leon-sama.”
“Who is most likely to take over the title of Earl, now that the head and heir of the family are dead?”
“….Isn’t that Claire?”
She’s the eldest daughter, and older than me. Furthermore, she is Father’s legitimate child. So I thought that Claire would become the next successor, but Alice shook her head.
“In the aristocracy, a woman would never take over except in special cases, and this would not be considered a special case. Leon-sama would be the next in line.”
“So you’re saying, Claire was taken hostage to get to me?”
“….That seems like the most likely reason to me, though it could still be a completely different reason. There is also the possibility that they just liked Claire and did not want to harm her. But, whatever the reason —”
“The likelihood that Claire has been killed is low.”
“That’s what I think, so you should stay calm so we can find a way to rescue Claire.”
“Even if you say find a way to rescue her…..”
If we look around, we may find some surviving members of the Grances house, but….the people that attacked us were from the Sfir family. I couldn’t prove anything just by saying that I saw Regis.
However, it would be impossible for Alice and I to sneak into the mansion……
“If you have no plan, can we go to my hometown?”
Alice made a proposal. Maybe she could tell I was unsure of what to do.
“Your hometown…..An elf village? I’m interested in seeing it, but…..now is not the time to be sightseeing……or do you have another reason for wanting to go?”
“If we tell them about what has happened they may offer to help us. Even if that is impossible, I’d be able to remove the slave contract, that would allow me to use my spirit magic again.”
Alice’s spirit magic? I’ve only learned to create magical power, I don’t know how powerful spirit magic is.
“Would we be able to rescue Claire if you could use your spirit magic?”
“It’s hard to say if I could do it alone…..I do have an idea, that may make it possible for me, but the problem is even if we took a carriage, it would take us one to two weeks to reach my hometown.”
“So, you’re afraid Claire may be killed in that time?”
“That’s a definite possibility. Therefore, Leon-sama you must decide.”
Should we head to the Sfir home immediately, or go to Alice’s hometown? It’s true that we have no time to waste, but as I am now, I wouldn’t be able to do anything to help Claire.
It seems like the smart decision would be to go to the elf village.
“—- I’d like to ask, is it safe for a human to enter an elf village?”
I don’t know if my knowledge from Earth would apply here, but from what I’ve been told, the elves of this world rarely involve themselves with humans. So, I’m worried of being sent away when trying to enter the elf village.
“It’ll be fine. If I say that I’ve invited you, they’ll definitely let you enter.”
She seems pretty confident.
I’m still unsure, but for now our next destination has been decided.
“Alice, please take me to your hometown.”
We were able to obtain the needed money for travel by selling off some of the clothes I wore.
That’s how we escaped the town safely. I made sure to weave my way throughout the town, while we headed to the elf village, in order to avoid any members of the Sfir family still searching for us —
I stare at Alice with scornful eyes.
“Wh-what is it, Leon-sama?”
“When I asked you if elves would accept humans, you said they would, right?”
“Ye-yes, I said something like that.”
“Then, why are we being surrounded!?”
We arrived at Alice’s hometown. Where we — or should I say I was surrounded by dozens of elves pointing their bows right at me.
“They absolutely are not accepting of me.”
“We-well, I didn’t think they’d surround us before we had a chance to talk. Please, everyone, this person isn’t an enemy, so please lower your bows!”
Alice hugged me……No, I guess she’s trying to protect me, but due to the height difference my head is in a rather soft place.
“What are you talking about, Alice! Isn’t this the man that took you!?”
“Leon-sama wasn’t the person that kidnapped me!”
“Leon-sama? Why else would you give a human a title like that! You’ve clearly been enslaved!”
“…….Eh? It’s true that I am Leon-sama’s slave.”
“I knew it! So, you’ve been commanded to protect him!”
“You’re wrong! I’ve chosen to be with him!”
“You don’t need to lie for him! Don’t worry we’ll kill him and release you soon enough!”
“I’m telling you, you’re wrong! Please, listen Father!”
……Huh, father? I look at the elf that has been yelling for a while now. He looks very elegant and maybe in his early twenties, but……..he’s Alice’s father?
“I-I’ve just been so worried about you….”
“If that’s true, then listen to what I have to say! If you hurt Leon-sama, even a little, I will never speak to you again!”
“Wha-! P-p-p-p-please anything but that! —- Wa-wait a minute! I’m sure you were commanded to say that by that child!”
“Haa~~…..You don’t think I’m being serious? Then, go ahead. Try to hurt Leon-sama. I’m sure you’ll be the one regretting it.”
“What did you say? You’re serious? You really care for that child? But….that can’t be true. But, if you’re serious, then you’ll never speak to me again?”
………….What is even happening. Could you please stop negotiating with a person’s life so casually?
Well, Alice is still hugging me in order to protect me, I guess she’s doing this in case she’s unable to convince them.
Though, if she keeps holding me like this, I won’t be able to say anything to defend myself. I need to be able to explain myself properly.
“You have no right to call me father.”
“No….that’s why I purposefully added Alice.”
“You’re noisey, stay quiet. I have no intention on speaking with a human like you! I will spare your life as Alice has asked, so leave this place immediately!”
Wow…this old man, can you not listen to people’s stories properly? No, in this case, he won’t listen to me because I’m a human. Anyway, this is bad.
“….Alice. Would you like to go home?”
“Yeah, return home, let Alice come home and you leave us already.”
“No, I’ll be leaving with Leon-sama. Anyway, old man, could you not speak to me so casually?”
“W-w-w-what are you saying!? I’m your father!”
“Huh? My father would never be so awful to someone that has helped me out so much.”
………How long is this going to go on? I know there’s nothing I can do to make this go faster, but I can’t let this absurd act go on any longer.
“Umm, excuse me. Is there nobody that wants to listen to what I have to say?”
“Then, let me ask you –”
A clear voice echoes throughout the area. When I looked around for the source, I saw an elf woman standing nearby us.
Alice prepares to run, but before she can the elf woman speaks.
“Alice, if that boy is important to you be quiet and stay there.”
The elf woman is smiling, but there is incredible power behind that smile. Alice hugged me tighter and fell silent.
“What is the chief of the village doing here? What do you plan on doing to Leon-sama?”
“Don’t worry. If that boy isn’t a bad person then you’ll have nothing to worry about.”
After hearing the chief’s words, Alice put a little distance between us, but she still kept hold of the bottom of my shirt.
Anyway, I turn my gaze to the elf that I now know is the chief. She looks about the same age as Alice, but based on her position as chief I’m assuming she’s much older.
Then suddenly, she appeared right before my eyes….
“Were you hiding your appearance with magic?”
“Oh, well done.”
“Well, you used the argument with Alice’s father to approach unnoticed.”
If that’s true, then that argument was truly pointless. I guess it was necessary in order for the chief to approach stealthily.
“No, that was a real argument between father and daughter.”
I was sure that he was acting, but I guess it’s better he wasn’t trying to deceive me. Well, either way, I’m glad everything’s clear now.
“You got closer to us to get Alice back, right? Then, why not kill me before revealing yourself?”
“Because you said you had something to say…..Besides, at this distance, even if you were planning something, I could kill you in an instant.”
She’s smiling, but her eyes show her killing intent. If I do anything strange I’m sure she wouldn’t hesitate to kill me.
Well, if she’s being honest I have nothing to worry about. I have no intention on opposing them.
“I have a question. Can you remove the slave contract inscribed on Alice?”
“Yes, that wouldn’t be a problem.”
After hearing that, I let out a sigh of relief. Even if I still have to fix the misunderstanding with the elves, and I still need to find a way to save Claire, it was major concern of mine to erase the slave contract inscribed on Alice.
“Well then, please erase the seal on Alice. Afterwards you’ll believe her words, right?”
“Are you trying to buy time in order to escape?”
“Then, restrain me if you’d like. Just promise you won’t harm me until you listen to what Alice has to say.”
“Hmm? It appears you’re being serious.”
“Yes, I am…..”
They’re still doubting me. Is this all just because I’m human?
“I can’t tell what you’re thinking, but you seem to believe in Alice. Though, the slave contract can cause the slave to falsely trust their master even after it’s gone.”
“……Are you talking about brainwashing?”
“Not literally, but a slave is attacked by intense pain whenever they act against their master. So, a slave may come to like their master in fear of being hurt by the seal.”
“….Ah, I see.”
I remember a similar theory from my previous life. When a criminal takes a hostage, the hostage may develop Stockholm syndrome.
“So, you’re saying even if Alice tries to defend me, you’ll think that it’s only due to the effects of the seal?”
“I think that is a possibility. So, after we’ve removed the seal, we’ll give Alice a week to regain her senses. However —-”
“I don’t care. Please remove the seal on Alice.”
After I answered without hesitation, for the first time the elf woman’s facial expression changed. She let out a small look of surprise for a split second.
“I’m surprised. I thought that a child wouldn’t be able to understand…..But, it appears I was wrong. Though, are you confident in your actions?”
……..Confident in my actions?
Thinking back on what I’ve done to Alice……I left a kiss mark on Alice’s neck, grabbed her chest and told someone that I trained her to my liking every night.
……I’m not confident at all.
Once Alice is freed from the slave contract, it’s possible they may learn about that stuff. Right now, I’m more concerned about how sharp the chief’s intuition is.
“I’m not confident in my actions, but right now all I want is for Alice to be free from her slave contract.”
“Understood. Then, it will be decided what to do with you in one week. You will not be allowed to interact with Alice in anyway. Everyone, please make sure he doesn’t interfere.”