Meal is Delicious Even Without Working For It
Given to Kurando as his punishment was lumbering in the vicinity of the prison. That place was erected in a suburb of the capital and was located above a small hill. It was surrounded by forests growing on the gentle slope.
Considering the possibility of a revolt, 50 prison guards were deployed around the vicinity, armed with weapons and armor of steel. To do their job, they were only allowed to use old saws that had short teeth and wooden hoes. After cutting down the trees, they had to dig out the roots.
In that place, Kurando was paired with a man called McKinley who look like he was in his forties.
「That said, I’m your partner from now on. Nice to meet you. Bro」
McKinley, though his face looked like a skinny prying mantis, he was unecpectedly a caring fellow who would teach the ABC’s of manual labor in various ways.
At any rate I can’t put too much effort in the labor.
Lumbering is a continuing labour from sunrise till sunset. My body won’t last till the end if I go at full power since the very beginning.
On the other hand, the prison guards who kept watch won’t forgive me and will hit me with their stick if I’m too relaxed. Therefore, I took care to rest in moderation while keeping a constant speed at work.
「It’s not like the prison term will shortened if you’re diligent. On the other hand, If you keep at it like that, you won’t last even 3 days.. Do it moderately」
Dig out the densely packed root stump and carry it away with basket.
Though it was an extremely simple labour, the strength needed for it is no joke. They also had to carefully level the dug out earth. That, and with the surrounding forest spacious almost without end, the work couldn’t be finished with only 100 people no matter how one thinks about it.
To make matters worse, Kurando was separated from Koizumi and co. He was put into the isolation cell.
He couldn’t even have an idle chatter during the manual labour. In short he’s left alone on his own; he passed the time inside his room in boredom.
（Shit. I look like a loner[bocchi] now. It’s lonely, I want to chat with someone)
This was clearly a harassment from Kamarovich. Isolating Kurando alone from the people in which he got closer to, this was a tactic to drive his mind into a corner. Manual labour lasting more than 10 hours, digging and carrying, again and again without rest. Seven days has yet to elapsed and Kurando’s eyes had already lost it’s light.
「Nevertheless, what I can’t stand is the shitty food.」
The food delivered in morning and evening was just one slice of corn bread in small quantity and thin porrige resembling diarrhea excrement. Without any protein, and salt. Parted from salt, human will begin to lose their ambition little by little. Kurando who was already accustomed to the thick seasoning of the modern Japan have to endure this lack of salt.
Living bare of hope till the end. The eyes of summoned one lost with the passing day, it’s just like he’s continue to wandering in infinite road without ending forever. [TL : his eyes become loser eyes(Hachiman eyes)]
An incident happened in the eight day.
「What’s happened？ 」
Kurando was carrying heavy load along with McKinley as usual, when he heard the cry of the other prisoners from inside the forest in lower slope.
「This is bad. Bad news、BADNEWSBADNEWS、KURANDO! RUUUUUUUN! !! 」
「Oi, WA—. What just happened ! ？ 」
McKinley was shouting like a madman and had begun to run toward the prison.
The prisoners were stampeding in the same direction just like flocks of gazelle being chased by a lion as they’re fleeing from that place.
Kurando who didn’t understand anything ran to the upper slope following McKinley. Strangely, the prison guards did not reprimand the prisoners for abandoning their labor. Instead, the group slowly turned their gaze as a whole to the bottom of the slope. While being puzzled, Kurando followed their line of sight.
At the place away from the prison near to the forest, where the prisoners were working earlier, he saw a swarm of small, black something.
「WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?」
「Those are goblins. They make their homes within the vicinity of this forest. Once in a while, those pests will come out to attack us like this. SHIT！ ！ 」
Goblins were demi-humans that are frequently seen in this Romres kingdom and other countries bordering it.
Though they’re weak and short, they’re embodiment of jealousy, they’re creatures similar to imp with powerful reproductive ability.
They’re using official language of Romres, according to the area they’re a race that can’t be make light of even by human race.
Though it’s not that rare, this was the first time since he came to this world that he see such grotesque creatures.
McKinley clicked his tongue while cursing. The prison guards were watching merrily as if they’re enjoying the show of the goblins attacking the prisoners. Somehow they’d also began to bet among themselves. He could see them passing around bamboo basket with copper coin in it around.
The goblins stabbed the prisoners who fell behind with their weapons that resembled short spear and swiftly killing them. The prisoners who got pulled down struggled fiercely trying to escape like captured fish. But, only bitter wailings resounded from below.
He saw that the group of goblin cut off the neck of the prisoners who couldn’t move anymore and dragged him by his feet. With their orderly movement, it felt like that they’re professional troop. [TL : Rou, is that you over here?]
「This neighbourhood has particularly low numbers of game*. That’s why those guys sometimes raid our woking site. 」 *. [TL : game here means hunting animal like wild bird, or deer, or something like that]
McKinley let out a frustated groan while trembling with his already paled face. Clinging tightly to his own back and curling himself like an old man. That was the sign that this raid had happened on countless occassions.
「Those guys, are they eating humans?」
「No matter how you look at it, humans aren’t appetizing at all. Those goblins carried the human that they killed to their nests, and minced their meat to mix it with the feed for their livestock*. Normally, the wild boars⎯ their livestock ate rabbits as their diet.」[TL : OMG, Gobu Rou is really here!!!]
Kurando’s expresion was turning pale, his body shivering at the violence that happening below him. Did he get carried away, planning to go out (for them)?. McKinley grabbed Kurando’s shoulder and shook his head.
「If you’re trying to help those guys below, forget that idea right now. It’s futile. There are several hundreds of those goblins. The result will be the same, even those armed prison guard won’t try to attack them. You’re safe if you stay near the buildings. Moreover, they’re armed with swords and spears. I don’t know they got it. We can’t do anything with our bare hands alone. We can only abandon those guys who were late to save themselves」
「It’s futile. At any rate, we have no choice but to keep our vigilance when working in the vicinity of the forest. If you sense something bad even just a little, don’t think about other people and run. That is the secret of having long life in this place」
It happened when Kurando was clenching his teeth.
The voice of a young girl could be heard in the middle of hoarse screams of the men.
When he quickly shifted his gaze, he saw a tiny shadow running here from a far-off slope.
Her gray robe, her dishevelled light brown hair were fluttering with the wind.
The strange mask that she wore to hide her face was the thing that made him remember her in some respect.
「Aryaa, it’s Maggot!!」
It’s the shout of someone amongst the prisoner. The men were excited at once.
「To run into the goblins when she’s going down the hill to throw the trash！！ 」
「What a bad luck!」
From behind the staggering and gasping Maggot, four goblins were seen chasing after her.
「Wait’ a minut’ there, I’m comin’ yer help now！ 」
「Ou, I’m pitchin’ in too」
Somehow with they seemed full of chivalric spirit. Or was it that they’re expecting a reward after rescuing her, their ulterior motive was clear as day as they descended the hill to Maggot’s rescue. Well, only their voices were full of spirit. One of the men was shot by relentless arrow coming from deep inside the forest as he was shouting and dashing down the slope.
And the other one, arrows whizzed and embedded his chest, throat, and stomach. His life instantly extinguished as his body rolled down the slope toward the forest.
That place was considerably close to Kurando and McKinley on the upper hill. They had just watched the efficient goblins at work. A bluish black imp that looked like their leader dealt with the body diligently, stabbing his dagger to the lump of meat that was still warm. It plunged it’s dagger into the throat and swiftly cut the neck off. Then as if it was just a hindrance, it kicked the head away toward the slope.
“Byuubyuu” the sound of blood gushing out from the body. As if it paid no heed to it, the imp pierced through base of the shoulder with its blade, then skillfully cut of the arm.
The corpse, with only its torso and legs looked like an abomination, a mutated being, that had never existed. Maggot who already lost her will power to escape sank down and sat frozen as she was on that place. It seemed that her hips had already failed her. Her hood gently fell, revealing strange shapes attached to her head.
Kurando with his excellent eyesight noticed. Two ears protruded on top of Maggot head, no matter how he look at it, those weren’t the ears of a human, those were the ears of a beast.
「What was that, a demi-human. CEH!」
「Even if she is a woman, she just a beast HUH」
When Kurando was still mesmerized by the ears that were protruding from the top of Maggot’s head, the prisoners who had been watching left for the prison building one after another letting out a pity-like voice.
「What the heck happened to everyone. What’s wrong with demi-human! 」
「Haa？WHERE THE HECK DID YOU COME FROM? Aryaa~, from the shape of those ears it looks like she’s from Werecat tribe. Che, why should we trade our lives for that lowly beast. 」
While Kurando stood there dumbfounded from their comments, Mckinley, with a tired face, supplemented what prison guards just said.
「Maybe you didn’t know about it since you’re a newcomer, there’s a jinx in this place saying that you will never leave this prison till your death if you have sex with demi-human woman. Pity for Maggot, heh. It’s no wonder she cover that face at work. If she got found out, none of them guys would get happy gettin’ food from her. Though rumour said it was superb, doing it with one of them… I see, demi-human is it. 」
McKinley turned his back. The goblin who had finished dismantling their game[prisoner] came and put their hand on the cuff of Maggot’s robe. She couldn’t even scream anymore. That little figure of hers was swarmed by the goblins.
Kurando cheeks burnt hotly like it’s set ablaze.
By the time he noticed, he was already running toward them with hoe in his hand.
A voice calling him to come back was heard from his back.
But he ignored it.[I won’t just stand and do nothing in this place. ] Kurando
Kurando attacked the head of the goblin with his hoe while letting out a bestial roar.
He could feel his hands go numb.
The little monster which got his head smacked really hard fell to it’s back with it’s limbs twitching.
「STAND UP！COME HERE! 」
Kurando kicked away the swarming goblin while pulling out Maggot.
The goblins whose height were less than 140 cm height couldn’t even jostle around Kurando who weighed close to 80 kilogram with his 180 cm stature.
The three remaining goblins then charged at him letting out some kind of war cry.
Despite their small frame, they’re armed with dagger in each hand.
Kurando brandished his hoe as if losing himself. While protecting Maggot, he retreated backwards little by little.
Because he was too focused on the ones before him, he became careless of the surrounding. The goblins which sensed the impending crisis to their companions started to send reinforcement fire. The arrowhead logged themselves on the sides of the body, his right shoulder, and wrist. Kurando was only a normal college student; this was basically his first battle in which he’s putting his life on the line.
That was the only one that occupying his head while he’s bombarded with those arrows.
His fear was stronger than his pain.
Then, he felt a shiver transmitted from Maggot’s body that was clinging on his back. Was he influenced by her fear? His body was getting limb and became harder to move. His field of vision rapidly narrowed.
Then a goblin sword came suddenly from the front and lodged itself deep in his abdomen. He couldn’t even feel the pain. The hair on his back bristled up and his vision turned deep red.
He coiled his right arm around the neck of the goblin and strangle it using all his power.[GRIT], the sound of the shattered neck bone resounded in his ears. Looking at the grotesque spouting foam of blood, something broke inside him.
He then ran while pulling Maggot hand.
Several arrows pierced through his back.
While running, he swung his hoe toward the faces of the goblins that were persistently chasing after him.[Snap], the handle of the hoe finally snapped.
His breath had become ragged, his blood was already going up to his head which made him lost his cool.
He’s looking toward the approaching prison guard with desperate look in his eyes.
He then glanced to his back.
The goblins had retreated. They had somehow given up on seeing great number of humans.
「It’s alright now.」
He embraced Maggot who was clinging to him.
Then, he fell unconscious.
When he woke up again, Kurando was alreadiy inside his cold jail. He felt that someone was looking at him. When he could gradually risen his head, in that place was a cute girl with tears spilling from her lovely big eyes, silently looking at him.
「Thank god. You finally wake up」
The girl age was around 12~13 years old. Her light brown hair swayed quietly in the dim light of the room.
With her blue pupil, over all she was a cute girl.
「I’m Maggot. Thank god you finally woke up. Geez, I really don’t know what will happen if you don’t wake up」
Maggot was covering her face with her sleeve and starting to cry. Bouncing fluffily above her head was her cat-ears-look-a-like. That was what the prisoners call as Demi-human. It’s different from cosplay, the ears really grew out from her head. The base of their ears were no different from a dog or a cat. Looking at the furry hair growing densely inside her ears is the DEFINITE EVIDENCE that THEY AREN’T FAKE EARS. Though he didn’t know how did she do that, he saw her ears twitching lightly.
「Ah, the ears」
Maggot played her hand awkwardly when she noticed Kurando’s gaze that was fixated at her ears.
(Did I somehow made her frightened?. Though I didn’t feel anything strange with her figure. AH, that’s it, there’s some huge misunderstanding. )
「AH, I’m not particularly thinking about blaming you. But, I’m just a little surprised since it’s the first time I saw someone like you.」
「Eh, someone like me[werecat]. You had never seen a demi-human? You, which backwater place did you came from?」
After Maggot said that, her face suddenly turned aghast when she noticed what she had accidentally implied with those words.
「So-sorry. That, I didn’t mean to make fun of you when I said that. Errm, errm that’s, somehow it’s just strange, you know. Though I originally wanted to say my gratitude to you when you wake up… Nee, are you angry? 」
「Haha, it’s fine. I don’t mind it」
「Ha~h, Thank goodness. The thingg is—-. I want to say thanks for helping me. Thank you. I’m glad that I got to say thanks to you. Thank you for not loathing me… 」
Maggot was smiling delightfully while joining both her hands in front of her chest and look relieved.
There’s a tinge of passion in her eyes and her face flushed red like an apple.
Since she was still a child, there’s not enough sex appeal in that reaction of hers.
Thereupon, Kurando’s coughed to clear his throat, and lied down on the floor while scratching his head.
「Well, it seems after all that, we managed to escape with only small injuries. 」
As if trying to change the topic. Maggot expression crumpled at once.
「There’s no way you’re alright. You suffered from heavy bleeding. Why did you help me?」
「Let see… why I wonder. The moment I regained myself I had already started running to help you」
「Isn’t that too vague……」
Slowly, she stretched her slender arm from the other side of the prison bars and caressed Kurando’s face. It’s felt cold and smooth. When he raised up his head in surprise, Maggot averted her line of sight as if getting embarrassed.
「Nee, what is your name. Please do tell me」
「I’m Shimon Kurando」
「No, that was my surname」
「Surname？Could it be, you’re from higher status[noble] lineage? 」
「No~way, absolutely not. Anyway, my given name is Kurando. Just call me Kurando 」
「Kurando, okay. Kurando」
Maggot seemed to be pleased with that as she muttered his name several times with her face bent down. Her tiny bridge nose was twitching while making sniffing sound. Like a kitten, how lovely she was.
「Nee, Kurando. If it was fine with you, please be my friend.」
Since that time, Kurando befriended Maggot. Although, Kurando still remained in his jail.
The only time he can meet Maggot was during the breakfast and evening meals. Though it was extremely difficult to sneak a conversation in while the prison guards were keeping their eyes around, those two really enjoyed their little mischievous exchange. He got to know that Maggot was from Were-cat family and she was 12 years old. She also told him that she honestly didn’t feel herself inferior to others, even though she is a slave.
Maggot had one older brother. He’s currently earning some golds in the capital to redeem her, and he told her that he will definitely redeem her this year.
「Sorry, it’s only me that will be freed」
She was the type that couldn’t think quickly; sometimes she completely couldn’t follow part of Kurando’s story, but she beared with it and patiently tried to understand his story. She was a good hearted girl, but because that point of hers [slow thinking] was beyond help, it seemed the she always couldn’t get the work done right, and so she was often scolded by the other prison guards.
As Kurando and Maggot got closer, she opened her heart to him little by little, reaching the point where she behaved like a spoiled child around him and completely forgetting herself as a prisoner.
（She really is a kid. It seems she really missed her ani*） [TL : older brother]
Even a great man will cry when his workplace was this gloomy. Due to her slave self, bereave of her freedom 24 hours, he became an indispensable support in her heart.
Furthermore, there’s even one week where she had come to his cell everyday to play with him till midnight in secret .
Since she is a werecat people, she could skillfully erased the sound of her footsteps whenever she came around.
And, Kurando’s isolation cell was the furthest one inside. The one living in the isolation cell next to his was an old man⎯ in the evening he would sleep like a log thanks to the labour that day. When sad things happen, Maggot would come to the his isolation cell, and stood motionlessly with tears in her eyes. At that time, Kurando would reached out his hands through the the bar and gently patted Maggot’s small head.
When he gently brushed Maggot’s head, she would made a face like that of cat that was enjoying itself sleeping in sunny spot.
(Maybe this is how it feels like having a younger sister)
He kept encouraging the disheartened Maggot everyday. Before he knew it, something warm began to reside in Kurando’s heart.
In the morning after waking up, he would call “I’m Off” to Maggot; after he returned from the day’s work, he would chat with her before the evening meal; then they would chat in secret after the lamp was turned off. One day, Kurando discovered a pale blue flower during his lumbering job. He picked it up secretly and gave it to Maggot.
「It’s beautiful. Thank you, Kurando」
Sometime later, she was always seen carrying it with her after she made it into a dried pressed flower.
「I’m happy. Really~ really thank you」
Maggot hugged the pressed flower tightly, her tail bouncing quickly with joy. When Maggot came to his cell, Kurando would sit as near as possible to the cell bars. That way, they could feel each others temperature even if just a little despite being separated by the wooden bars. Kurando was a lonely person, that was same even in Japan. Without any relatives, no one will wait for him even if he return to Japan. And yet, it was also painful for him to live in the world that he never knew of. Not only the custom, everything else were also different, for example what they eat. The two, even if they’re from completely different race, they were close to each other like real siblings, each kept his/her heart together sane due to the presence of the other.
「You know, in the place where I come from, there’re really beautiful flowers blooming on its hills. Ojiichan and Obaachan*. Okaasan and Otousan**. Together with a lot of my siblings, we used to go on picnics near the river. When the day is warm and cozy, we will nap on the grassy plains while basking under the warm sun.」 [TL* : grandpa and grandma] [TL** : mother and father]
Maggot shut her eyes while reciting her past everyday life. There’s nothing special happened in the story of her past. It was an ordinary everyday life not worth mentioning. Though he didn’t know the detailed story of how she fell into slavery, how much she suffered till she arrived at this place, Kurando who passed his life in ordinary way couldn’t possibly imagine it.
「You know, Oniichan is an adventurer」
「Yeah. Adventurer. He’s doing his best in the capital right now. And then, we will go to the dungeon after coming out of this place」
「Hee. That’s, and then. Great adventurer huh. Is there someplace where they’re gathered?」
「Oniichan said at the southern end if you’re walking on the straight line from the capital, there’s a labyrinth city. A lot of adventurers gathered in the guild of that city. Someday, we will definitely explore the dungeon after leaving this place. And then, we will definitely made a lot of money. So we can live together with our family like our olden days. At that time, I will also made a request to the king so that I can take Kurando out of this place too」
「I see. I’ll look forward to that time」
「Un. I love Kurando after all. That’s why, let’s become adventurer together with Oniichan after leaving from this place! 」
「Haha. I see, that sounds interesting. By the way, where is the location of this so called labyrinth city?」
Maggot began to groan while clutching her head. Her protruding cat ears instantly fell flat on her head, her tail winding and swishing behind her.
Maggot always carried a little book with her. When Kurando asked her to show it to him during their rest, she handed it to him while her nose was standing high proudly.
「I-I can’t read it」
「By the way, me too. Until Oniichan come to take me, I want to be able to read it by then.」
‘I don’t want to become a burden to him’, softly letting out a lonely smile, Maggot inserted the pressed flower gift from Kurando into the book as a bookmark, like it was really precious.
 Imagine the tail swishing http://welovepetsq8.com/2012/06/12/cat-tail-positions-an-indicator-of-your-cats-mood-d/
Made a new one