Chapter 47: Antihero
「Lugis. There’s no point in doing this. Just put your blades down. 」
Helot Stanley told me to give up by putting my old knives away.
Actually, to tell the truth, I didn’t had the slightest chance on a fight against swords. If I causally jumped into this fight without much thinking, naturally my skull would be split in half.
I knew it too well. But, I didn’t want to let them feel as if I gave up. I didn’t want to show any weakness, so I hid the overflowing emotions from my heart.
「Yeah, I agree. However, I won’t give up if they don’t put their swords down as well.」
I wished I had my chewing tobacco at times like this.
I didn’t let go of my knives. The blades emitted a dull silvery glow. Then, I changed my stance against Helot. Besides those men, my nemesis was an opponent who fought fiercely. But, he was an honorable men. He never fought with surprises or ambushes.
And, by opponent, he was the worst I could face, I mean he was a future hero. The unmistakable genius. The person who showed a majestic aura as the sun, the famous Helot Stanley.
It felt that the street dust disappeared from the Poor People’s cave. This main square was strangely brighter than normal. It was as if the sun light illuminated this gloomy place.
I hated this. Ah, absolutely hated this. Still, I’d be insane if I were to fight with this man for real.
「So, where is that girl? 」
She ran away. When I let her go, she disappeared immediately in the crowd.
Still, I had such a bad luck. I tried to save her, but she never thanked me. On the contrary, she just left regardless of what could happen to me. I was the unreasonable one. I went to save a young girl in spite of the consequences.
I didn’t see any small figure when I looked closely at the surrounding crowds.
「…Lugis, why did you confront the guards? 」
Helot asked me that question with such naivety and purity. I could tell from his expression that he really meant what he asked. He looked rather confused. But, would he understand what really happened? Maybe, he was a righteous person after all. All he cared for was justice.
「Don’t make assumptions without knowing the truth. My acquaintance’s sister was about to be slashed by those guards. That’s right. They were going to cut her arm.」
Helot narrowed his eyes at the guards lined up on the other side.
He probably doubted me for a second. That’s why he asked one of the guards if my story was accurate. The guard saluted vividly and responded with, 「Yes, Captain! 」.
What an arrogant attitude these guards had. They responded vigorously as if they didn’t do anything wrong. The people from the Poor People’s cave were humans too. Either way, I noticed something unusual. The guard responded in such a polite manner towards my nemesis, that made me question my previous knowledge.
I didn’t know that Helot was the Captain of the Guards.
I never heard of such story during my time in the Rescue Party. However, I had heard before that the Stanley family was a well-known household in Garoua Maria.
That’s right. Even though the city-state was known for equality among citizens, it was natural to have some sort of difference between “common folks” and those that belonged to prestigious families. It all depended on the family status. It was a facade. The city-state was never a completely equal organization as they proclaimed it to be. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that the power of Helot’s family got him this captain position for a very short period of time before he joined the Rescue Party. Of course, there may be other reasons.
After exchanging words with the guards, Helot tightened his mouth and remained silent for a brief moment. Then, he sharpened his lips and said the following words.
「I understand. We must capture the girl. However, execution on the spot isn’t allowed. No matter what.」
My eyes widened while I doubted my ears. I had no idea what was going on. My eyelids blinked fast. I didn’t hear anything wrong. My ears weren’t mistaken. What on earth was he talking about and why? My understanding of the situation fell short. I felt that my understanding was fading away from my previous conversation with the Lizard.
This man named Helot was not a person with a bad sense. Unlike the lizard, he wouldn’t try to seize the young girl Sereal for his own achievement. Then, why?
「…Helot Stanley. We’re outside of the walled city. What are the reasons that made these guards enter the Poor People’s cave like this?」
I felt confused. That’s why I spoke those words in order to solve the puzzle entangled on my thoughts.
Helot raised his eyebrows and slowly shook his head. It seemed that they had a reasonable intention for coming here. It made me feel somewhat ignorant.
「I can see that you don’t know the whole truth. Lugis…We received a report from my subordinates that informed me that that girl had a tattoo. If that’s true, then we can’t afford to let her run away.」
He spoke as if he hadn’t a choice. It was as if he felt some empathy, yet he couldn’t just overlook the purpose of justice. I truly disliked this sort of talk.
Certainly, I noticed some strange tattoos on Sereal’s neck. It was the proof that she committed a sin in the past.
So, was that the reason why they came here? Their point was clear, and I perfectly knew that. My mouth quivered for a second. Ah, I almost forgot about it entirely.
Helot was a stubborn person who never asked for my opinion. Besides, he never tolerated evil.
Therefore, what he was implying was that a tattoo was the testimony of a criminal record. It wouldn’t erase the fact that, even though she was a young girl, she was once tattooed in Garoua Maria because of a horrible deed. No wonder that they were suspicious of her.
I see now. How great and bittersweet. I got no better reason than this.
「Those with tattoos mustn’t approach Garoua Maria. And the current law applies to the neighboring districts of the city-state as well. Lugis. I fully understand your reasoning. However, can’t you leave the rest of this matter to me?」
He made it look as if it was I that made the bad choice.
Helot, as the Captain of the Guards, had some meaningful power. He could send orders to the surrounding neighboring districts and other city-states.
Unlike the Vice Commander Lizard, Helot had the right to leave and enter Garoua Maria even if he had a sinful tattoo.
What a troublesome man he became.
This was such a laughable story. What a bad joke really.
My hands and feet were numb. My throat was dry and refused to release words. I felt as if I were put under a spell just like a serpent’s incantation.
Helot mainly influenced the Rescue Party. Every part of it was because of him. Actually, it was frustrating, but I knew that his reasoning was somehow precise. No. It was the real deal. No doubt about it.
But, at the same time, it was not. He and I were different creatures. Unquestionably.
「…It can’t be helped, huh. It’s me. So, judge only me. 」
Helot’s eyes became wide-open when he heard my words. There was no turning back now.
However, I couldn’t leave Sereal in this man’s hands. I mustn’t allow that. He would surely punish her. Yes, this righteous man who only saw justice and nothing else. This man didn’t understand anything about the world.
Yeah, I got it. The tattoos were the proof of a sin. But was it theft, violence or fraud? It could be anything that didn’t abide with the laws of men.
I was sure that this man named Helot ever made a sin. Nor he was forced to sin. Yes, sins that weren’t exactly evil, but necessary in order to survive.
Yes, that was unimaginable for this man. He was knowledgeable, and yet, he really knew nothing at all.
For example. A poor man had no money to call a doctor nor did he have money for medicine. He couldn’t even get nutritious food. His sick family was weakening day by day. All he could do was watch them die with tears on his eyes. What could this man do?
No matter how much he’d pray to God, nobody would help him. No one on this harsh world. The cruelty of people and their greed. No help at all. This man didn’t have any hope.
Then, there were those who weren’t looking for medicine, but for nourishment. Hunger was a sad and lethal consequence for poor people. What could these people do in order to get little basket of food? Of course, in most cases, they would resort to crimes. To become sinners in order to survive the cruel life that was bestowed to them.
The ignorance was not only limited to Helot. This ignorance was a characteristic of wealthy and strong-influenced people. Therefore, these privileged people didn’t understand what the poor people went through with their daily lives.
「I’m telling you here and now. I’m the thief you’ve been looking for. Yes, I’m the culprit. That young girl is neither my accomplice nor acquaintance. She was just passing through here.」
I didn’t profess these words for him to tolerate it. A sin was a sin. A punishment was a punishment. Yeah, that’s all.
Nonetheless, I was sick of living in a world with the likes of them.
「So, let me tell you this. It will be useless for you to capture that girl. She won’t talk about things she doesn’t know about. Actually, she doesn’t speak at all. She lost her voice because of the trauma she received when guards of the likes of you nearly killed her older brother.」
I pulled the knives out of my waist and aimed towards these spiteful men.
There was no turning back. No doubt about it.
My thoughts were surprisingly calm. I understood it very well. My knowledge and mind were clear about this. I knew it too well.
Helot Stanley and I were incompatible with one another in life, will, soul, and everything else.
Judging from this story pace, I don’t see this fight working out too well in favor of Lugis… But lets see.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!