Chapter 19: An Unjustifiable Parent-Child Talk
Ms. Ninz shook her head and pressed her lips. She probably thought my words were foolish.
「Ms. Ninz, you have some connections on the autonomous city of the east, am I right?」
「I refuse. 」
Those words echoed across the room, as she sat down on her chair. She wanted to change the topic that desperately. Sure, I understood that she didn’t want to talk about it. But I deserved to know the reason why. I couldn’t understand her obsession to behave immaculately. Obvious facade. But I had some expectations, that’s why I came here.
「Lugis. Don’t tell me you forgot. Those who leave the orphanage… 」
「…Yeah right, I didn’t forget that the orphanage doesn’t even care for those who left. I’m sick of hearing all that repetitive stuff. 」
I sat on a chair like Ms. Ninz. I pointed to my ear while I spoke with her.
The orphanage household protected those who belong only to the orphanage. That was the iron rule here.
The orphans had to obey the orphanage’s methods without question. After leaving this place, they will be “abandoned” and left to survive on their own without any guidance. I just couldn’t swallow this ridiculousness. It was true that I enjoyed my time in the orphanage. But we can’t deny the other side of the coin. I was sick of this facade.
If an orphan rebelled, the trust to the orphanage would be lost. For example, if a person sold to a brothel escaped and the orphanage protected that said person by giving shelter, it would be betrayal to the owner. The consequences would be too drastic.
There was a reason for that. The consequences wouldn’t just fall on the orphanage alone. The Capital would put some blame on the management of the brothel itself. All of that had repercussions, because there was a hierarchy. The owner of the person sold to the brothel, then the management of the brothel and behind that, the organization that manages the network of all the other brothels.
You could say that all of that was connected to the orphanage. Therefore, the orphanage held the main responsibility. Orphan women with intellect are sold to brothels, whereas, those who display arrogance are sold to bouncers.
The orphanage became a shady business under the facade of a charity. If the orphanage had a direct connection, not only to the management of a certain brothel, but to the core of the organization, then, the existence of the orphanage would become too powerful. If that was the case, then the other organizations wouldn’t be able to touch the orphanage.
Therefore, the orphanage was presented to the world as a weak union to hide that shady business. In fact, the orphanage tried to keep a neutral position, so that it would be safe from external interferences.
「…That’s the truth. You even stopped caring about Ariene when she left. 」
「That story is over, boy. No matter what you say, I won’t let you meet the main lord of the orphanage. 」
Ms. Ninz hardened her expression, and she turned her purple eyes away from my gaze. That was right. She couldn’t even argue with my argument. All she could do was change topics. But that was not what I came to talk about.
「Okay then. But I didn’t come here to hear you say that you’ll protect the lord of the orphanage from me. I have a different reason though. 」
I rose up from the chair and I put my hands forcibly on the table. I looked down at Ms. Ninz, who was still sitting on her chair. Ms. Ninz blinked her eyes repeatedly because she was surprised to see the sudden change in my attitude.
I had no power. There was no prestige or status. The only thing I learnt in the orphanage was how to be educated. It was not shameless to talk about morality and ideals. But it won’t do any good if I can’t convince other people.
So, I only had to use the only “weapon” I owned. That was…
「I came to do business with you, Ms. Ninz. It is an equal trading opportunity for you…」
The only “weapon” I had was knowledge. Yes, the knowledge I had when I lived on this era before. I had to be in sync with Caria Burdnick, old man Richard and everybody around me.
「…Lugis. Let me tell you this. Why on earth would you like to do a so-calling equal trading with me? Don’t you have anything else to do? Mind your own business. 」
Ms. Ninz made a deep sigh as she spoke quietly. It was as if she was reasoning with a child.
「If you’re asking for my connections, then forget it. It will be futile because I won’t give you any information. Besides that, there’s nothing I want to trade with. I won’t make any deal with you.」
「That’s not the business I want to do with you. Ms. Ninz, you are a living human being, unlike those unmoving corpses. So, it’s natural that you would want something. 」
I raised my hand from the table while I talked with her.
I could hear a heavy breathing sound. However, on that moment, Ms. Ninz accelerated breathing sound changed and disappeared completely.
Her hair was moved towards her forehead and slowly hid her eyes. She probably didn’t want me to see her unsettling eyes. Her body movements changed dramatically but she was desperate to hide them.
Below my hand, I had an engraved ring with a peculiar emblem that Ms. Ninz was always curious about. Yes, that very same ring.
I thought this ring would become useful to this trading thing. It probably won’t be that weird to use it for a transacting since it’s customary to trade things with close relatives.
「…Why are you looking with such curiosity at my ring? I won’t trade this ring for money or gold if that’s what you’re thinking about.」
Ms. Ninz started to breath heavily. She was interested in the ring but she was trying to suppress her desires. She behaved as if my ring was not important to her. I knew very well how materialistic she was. She tried to trick me into thinking that it was not a big deal. But on the other hand, I was successfully playing mind games with her.
「Yes, it is not for sale. But, now that I mention it, do you recognize this emblem? This coat of arms belongs to very old beliefs.」
The engraved emblem on the ring. Ms. Ninz pointed directly to the coat of arms, so I had to use that to my advantage. Every detail was well-engraved and everything was symbolic. Her purple eyes blinked ecstatically. I switched the conversation.
「Who cares about old traditions and morality when this word is on the brink of chaos…Assassins riding horses ambushed me. They were carrying weapons. They were after a letter that turned out to be fake, and yet, they dared to attack Caria Burdnick, a person from the Knights Order.」
An heavy atmosphere brewed inside the orphanage.
I had no time to waste here. There was no point in getting into riddles. It was crucial not to show weakness but firm resolution. Telling the truth might have consequences, but it might have a positive outcome. Just tell the facts. That’s it.
Ms. Ninz looked a bit confused. After I took a breath, I spoke the remaining words.
「Well, I was wondering what to do, you know. The Guild is not very helpful in cases like these…If I was the only one attacked, I wouldn’t feel a deep grudge, but they broke the rules when they attacked a knight like Caria Burdnick. That makes me think that the order of this world is going to collapse very soon.」
The truth didn’t matter if I was the only one to be attacked. Low class people didn’t have the right to speak or question the ordeals of this world. But not Caria Burdnick. She belonged to a great family. Even if her status had degraded, she still belonged to the prestigious Knight class. It was obvious that she was unmistakable a knight by the time we were assaulted.
Let’s get real with this. There was an absurd rumor going on in the taverns that she was attacked and survived because of the goddess of luck. Consequently, she was forced to leave the Knights because of her shameful condition. People sure have a quick judgement when it comes to crucify others.
I was indeed upset, but it didn’t surprise me much to be honest. The recession and the growing dissatisfaction among the common folks was rising. The high taxes made everything worse. People were furious to pay the very few coins they had just because of maintenance of the country’s security. If a low class person were to attack a person from the upper class, unintentionally or not, then the soldiers would happily hunt that lowly person. This chaos was becoming more and more uncontrollable. This will only get uglier. That I could assure you.
…Because of this unfair judgement of the common folks, they will revolt against the hierarchical society. There will be a constant conflict between the people and the King in the future.
「…Lugis. Why are you telling me this type of story? 」
My words were silent. For a moment, everything was quiet in the room of the orphanage. Soon, I opened my mouth and I spoke seriously with Ms. Ninz.
「Well…Ms. Ninz is a person who cherishes faith deeply. The faith that brings humanity together since the ancient times. I know your conscience is extremely powerful because of your faith.」
I had to sweet talk with her in order to win her favor. It was as if I was trying to swing the tip of a sword. She was always strong-minded.
She started to guess what this talk was all about. She was not dumb. She had too much wisdom to avoid this talk now. But I had to remind her that this was not just a deal, but a crucial offer that would determine my safety.
After a while, a big sigh was heard.
「All right. You are a “hungry ghost” that won’t budge away until he gets what he wants…My, you’ve became a fine man, Lugis. 」
「You flatter me Ms. Ninz. But I don’t think I’ve changed that much. 」
I was somehow overjoyed when I heard Ms. Ninz flattering words. Soon, her purple eyes became serious-looking when I spoke seriously.
「What I wanted to say when I arrived here was related to city of the east. I want a feasible way of transportation to get to that city. And if possible, a guide as well, and I’ll need a citizenship, actually, I’ll need two.」
「I understand. I have connections on that autonomous city. I could help, but it won’t be easy. So, let’s switch this talk. Lugis, what will you offer me?」
Ms. Ninz words were straightforward. Honestly, getting the citizenship of an autonomous city wouldn’t be that easy. In other words, she’ll have to use her connections and, thus, be responsible for our actions.
I answered while I touched the ring.
「I will give you this ring as a collateral. And…Caria Burdnick will come with me to the autonomous city. This will be your evidence and you can use it to whatever you like. It will be killing two birds with one stone.」
「I see. 」
I was not sure if Ms. Ninz thought this was foolish and crazy idea. I couldn’t tell based on her stoic expression. She cleared her throat then.
「You’ve became a really fine man, Lugis…I’ll make sure you’ll get your citizenships.」
Ms. Ninz talked with a smile that I’ve never seen before while I lived in the orphanage.
With this, two of my plans to rescue that woman were in place. Now, what was left was executing the plan.
I sighed in relief after I managed to accomplish two difficult negotiations.
Good to see Lugis finally using his wits.
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