Chapter 46: The Lizard and my Nemesis
The moment when the guards strengthened their eyes. Everyone felt hopeless. These people thought that they couldn’t do anything against these brutal guards.
This moment. Yes, a short moment. It was a small frame where a blue light blended with a silvery light. Strangely, no sound was heard.
No one spoke and no one made a noise. Everyone was shocked upon realizing the impossible scenario that unfolded right in front of their eyes.
The sword, whose blade was supposed to cut the young girl’s arm, was thrown away by something mysterious. It was as if the wind took the sword away. The sword looked like it danced in the mid-air. And then, amidst the silence of the area, we heard a metallic sound when the sword fell on the ground.
It was a short moment. Yet, too sudden for everybody’s eyes. The wind of sand came without warning and “blew” everybody’s minds.
「It’s okay now, young miss. But, you should stop betting your life on something like this.」
It was Lugis’ voice. Lugis was wearing a green garment. Next to him, stood the young girl that was about to lose an arm.
Sereal’s mouth relaxed for a brief moment. However, her expression turned into something unsatisfactory afterwards. “Why did he help me?”, she thought. Sereal felt a little wary and puzzled about everything that had just happened.
“How did this man appear here anyway?” Sereal’s eyes swayed a little, and her heart was relieved but, at the same time, conflicted.
No one would’ve been capable of interceding in this situation. It was a perilous situation for the young girl. Indeed. Her arm was supposed to pay the price for her sin. It was supposed to be cut and separated from her upper body. Yet, this man appeared out of nowhere. He tried to avoid this horrible scenario from happening. He even had rusty knives. What could those old knives do against swords? It was impossible. This probably happened with the power of witchcraft.
In the blink of an eye, this man appeared amidst the dusty horizon in order to save the day.
「…Who the hell are you? Do you understand the weight of your actions? 」
The guards were stunned by the actions of this man called Lugis and the mysterious way that he rescued the young girl. The guards strengthened their eyes so much that their pupils resembled those of reptiles. Yes, almost identical to those of their Vice Commander who began to fret over this entire situation.
「There’s no reason to fret, Lizard. What I did wasn’t that extraordinary. I just blew away the sword that was going to fall on the arm of my acquaintance’s sister. So, what’s wrong?」
I knew that disgusting man because of his peculiar eyebrows.
I didn’t know that special guard’s name but he had reptile eyes. I saw him once before. His figure was quite familiar. Yes. I clearly remembered this man, the Vice Commander, from one time when I went to Garoua Maria.
Selfish and authoritarian. His nickname was Lizard. It was weird why his subordinates called him such a strange nickname. But, it made sense once one looked closely at his image. There was no doubt about it. His eyes were like the eyes of reptiles. Of lizards.
「…This girl is a fellow of a thief. It is our role as guards to punish the sinners. If you get in our way, you’ll receive the same treatment as a sinner.」
The Lizard spoke to me. He narrowed his eyes and didn’t even try to hide his unpleasant tone when he spoke to me. His eyes and tone didn’t give a very good feeling. Actually, I felt that nothing good would come from my interference on his “act of justice”.
The Lizard continued to speak. He explained that a thief stole some goods from a merchant who visited Garoua Maria. This thief managed to escape and hid on the Poor People’s cave because it was easy to hide from the guards. Besides, he had help to hide away from justice, and that this help came from a young girl who was his informant.
「I see. You really have your hands full, huh. That’s why you were trying to cut the arm of a harmless young girl.」
「Hmm. If you keep provoking me, I’ll cut your useless tongue. If you understand it, just hand over the girl to us.」
Maybe he was aware that I was that thief’s fellow as well. After all, he was holding his scabbard in order to strike me back. There was no turning back now.
I moved my eyes slowly so that I could fully grasp the seriousness of the situation. I carefully evaluated my surroundings.
They were five guards including the Lizard. One could say they were just a few. But, for some reason, the people of the Poor People’s cave were kind of unreliable in this situation.
Still, I couldn’t let Filaret come here and face them directly. It wouldn’t do any good. Everything would be useless if these people were to find out about her identity. The meaning to hide her face would be lost. That’s why I had to bring myself to this kind of tough condition. A lone wolf with an old knife against five enemies with swords.
As expected, it wasn’t a good move. It was actually quite reckless. Only those who were powerful could use some unreasonable recklessness, because their power and status would protect them at any costs. Even amidst surprises and ambushes. If anything went wrong, they would have a certain back up. They wouldn’t have to deal with unnecessary troubles unlike the poor people.
Indeed. Powerful human beings just like Caria.
「You want me to give you the girl? If we were on that walled city, I would probably reconsider it. But, you know what? We’re in the Poor People’s cave. This place is not Garoua Maria as far as I can see.」
The Lizard’s eyebrow raised slightly upon hearing my words. His body hardened even more.
Well, I felt frustrated by how aggressive he were with me since the very beginning. I tried to reason with him while lubricating my tongue. This Lizard man was smart. He wasn’t any fool. He certainly knew what I was talking about. No doubt about it. Actually, he tried to be a fool by pretending he didn’t know what I meant. But, I knew perfectly well how his cleverness worked. He won’t be able to fool me.
「…What are you implying, bastard. 」
「Yeah, you know what I mean. There is no law nor the authority of guards within the Poor People’s cave. So, if my information is correct, why are you causing such ruckus around here? You have no reason nor excuse to interfere with our lives.」
Yes. The walled city-state of Garoua Maria had the legal jurisdiction only within the walls.
The inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave were not citizens of the walled city-state nor were they wanderers. They were just poor people that camped outside of Garoua Maria.
It seemed like an inconvenience at first glance. But, actually, it was pretty convenient for Garoua Maria. If the city-state were to recognize the Poor People’s cave as its own jurisdiction, then these poor inhabitants would become legal citizens.
And, that was a big problem. There was no way that people like these were to be recognized as part of the high-class populace of Garoua Maria. Even if the law said otherwise, the high-class people would never allow it. They would never accept a blend between them and the inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave.
In addition, if such recognition did happen, a large dissatisfaction would erupt from the guilds that used to treat the inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave as if they were livestock. It’s been a long time since the local guilds of Garoua Maria began to exploit these poor people, either by physical labor or prostitution.
Cheap manual labor was not a problem because it was part of the foundation of Garoua Maria as a trade city. This injustice happened quite frequently, even if the city itself was thriving economically. I heard people say that “the more you have, greater economy you’ll have and more prosperous the city will become”.
Therefore, the city-state enjoyed great prosperity because of their exploitation on the Poor People’s cave. If they recognized them as citizens, the city wouldn’t prosper in the first place. What a distorted city-state that Garoua Maria had become.
On this moment, the Lizard man spoke as if he didn’t comprehend what I said. Actually, he probably didn’t even care that much.
「…Of course, I have the authority on everybody here. The reason why? Because you people are inferior beings.」
I involuntarily rounded my eyes upon hearing his words. There was no understanding nor compassion coming from that man’s words. This incomprehensible scene crossed several times on my brain.
I felt a sense of superior confidence coming from that man’s muscle and limbs.
「Your tongue seems to be wild, spitting words as you please. But, did you really think that I would be persuaded by your sweet talk? Your reasoning is senseless. Who do you think it’s going to rule the poor folk that are inferior to animals? We are, the legal citizens.」
The Lizard man spoke as if he was having fun with his twisted words. His wicked and superior personality made him like a complete tyrant. He was no longer speaking only to me, but to all of the poor people around him.
「Who cares about the law or the supposed freedom of you inferior people…We, as the glory of Garoua Maria, have utmost authority. We can do whatever we want with the likes of you.」
His words, which were spoken as if he truly believed in them, didn’t hide his cold person. The lack of empathy towards others was quite evident.
That was probably his real intention. His true colors. The unmistakable spirit of the man nicknamed Lizard. Piercing words that could rip the heart. In a sense, those words were also reality. After all, his “language” was the same as the language spoken by the other citizens of Garoua Maria.
I stroke my chin to think for a moment. The heat of my body increased dramatically as if the lead melted away. My skin was hot and my eyes seemed like they’d melt as well.
Apparently, this man despised everyone here. His eyes told me that he hated the inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave. And now, I was included on his hate. He was that kind of person who wouldn’t care if these people would rot away. He simply didn’t care for their well-being. Actually, he would rather enjoy seeing them suffer. After thinking deeply about that, I felt extremely angry with that man.
That’s right. I felt some similarity. Yes, a similarity with my past timeline. I felt that this kind of situation and absurd reasoning happened before with me.
Yes. Not with this man, but with Filaret.
I knew it. I understood why I felt this way. Even though the situation per se was different, and both my position and age were different as well, there was some similarity. No doubt about it. This man also looked down on me. He treated me as someone lowly.
My guts were boiling with hatred. I finally burst aloud and spilled the words that were stuck on my throat.
「I disagree. You don’t own my conscience nor my will. I have the right to decide for myself. To put it bluntly, I’m the one who decides if I made a sin or not. And not you!」
The eyes of the Lizard stared fixedly at me. Now, he looked like a reptile more than ever.
There was rage and a murdering intent on his eyes. It was as if a student crossed boundaries with his teacher, a boundary that shouldn’t be crossed. An attitude that wasn’t tolerated. No one would like to be stepped on by his own subject.
I felt a shivering pass by my spine when I saw that man grabbing the sword on his waist.
On the other hand, I held my old knives tight. They were well-adjusted, ready for an imminent assault. This felt like a climax. However, this was the moment to act with a cold head. I just wanted to turn my head to the other side and escape through the crowd.
Ah, this was frustrating. I was in the same position as that woman. I was powerless and useless. What could I do against these men? I was just a simple rat.
However, the hatred that I felt was different, far from fear. This emotion devoured my reason as if my heart was bleeding and vomiting at the same time. I distorted my expression as I stared attentively at those men. These raw emotions were sticky and accumulated on my insides like viscera. The feeling was quite strange, but at the same time, it was comfortable. How odd.
It’s been a long while since I’ve felt this way. There was something different in me now. This situation was extremely dangerous. Yet, it felt foreign to me. It was as if it wasn’t that bad to begin with. Actually, probably my emotions clouded my mind and judgement.
The guards noticed my anger. They probably thought that this situation wouldn’t be solved verbally. They clearly knew what kind of attitude I had towards them. I held an offensive stance and icy eyes. The guards touched their swords lightly as if they were waiting for the instructions of their Vice Commander.
A moment of silence. Soon, my blood began to boil even harder than before.
How could I win against all of them at the same time? How could I avoid getting killed? This imminent situation. A perilous situation in fact. And probably without an answer. But, nothing changed within my own heart. I wouldn’t give up. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to forget these new found emotions. A hatred without fear. I didn’t want to abandon these feelings at all.
Something abrupt happened when me, the guards, and the inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave, knew that blood was about to be spilled. I heard a voice amidst the long silence.
「…Vice Commander. I don’t seem to recall that you followed such a dogma so seriously.」
My earlobes quivered when I heard that voice. I thought that my ears were failing me. I felt that my insides, who were boiling with heat, cooled down rapidly as if they became frozen.
This was impossible. He shouldn’t be here. If I remember correctly, wasn’t this man in the Gharast Kingdom with his uncle during the Gospel War?
Was I wrong? Was I hallucinating? No, I wasn’t. There was no mistake about it.
「Let go of your swords and explain what’s going on here. 」
That famous high-pitched voice. The figure divided the crowd as if he were sanctified. My eyes weren’t wrong. He was unmistakable.
Helot Stanley. My Nemesis arrived.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!