At that day, Harold knights of the Ruuin kingdom had spotted a strange sight.
In these past few months, the Harold knights had been following the Varuhallua bandit gang, which had been causing damage in the region. And then, a few days ago, they received information of their movements and were in a fast march towards the Rok village, which was where the bandits were headed towards.
However, when they arrived at the village, they noticed the sight of many dead bodies of the villagers exposed at the place in an atrocious state. It was to the point of one being capable of noticing that the village was completely ravaged with a single glance. There were no survivors, and all that could be heard was the cries of the few cattle that remained.
That bandit group was already one the knights had their eyes on since long ago. The bandits didn´t have a settled base, and even if they were attacking the villages, they didn´t have an intermediary to flow slaves into the market. Despite that, they casually attacked them to get their hands on food and the few gold coins that the villages would have saved up, and so they don´t have any of the villagers running away to call for help, they would kill all of them.
Originally, this was a scenery that wasn´t that rare to see. It was unpleasant to put it in that way, but the knights had seen this tragedy countless times when they would go after bandit groups. That was why that in itself wasn´t a problem to them.
But what the real problem for them was is how [the bandit group was annihilated].
As far as it could be seen from the situation, it seemed that the bandit group had fought against a machiini and had been annihilated.
Machiinis were iron giants of three to four meters that people can pilot. One of the gang´s machiini was collapsed, reclining onto a house , and the other one was destroyed, lying at the center of the town square and surrounded by the corpses of its bandit companions.
By the time the knights had arrived at the village, they had already received reports that the Varuhalla gang had been in possession of three machiinis. However, there were only two machiinis remaining at the village. The knights had heard that the third machiini was a young one of about three meters. However, it was nowhere to be found at the village.
Therefore, they guessed that most likely the certain someone that exterminated the bandit gang at this village brought the young Machiini together with him to have it sold.
Either way, there was no doubt that the knights had arrived late and had their achievements stolen by someone. And now, the Harold knights realized that their operation had ended up as fruitless effort.
This was happening at about the same moment the Harold knights were being perplexed at the state of the desolated village.
At the Yarke town, which from Rok village it was to the west, there was a bit of an uproar happening at the mercenary association.
“I see. You were the one to gather those.”
While putting his hand onto his head, the receptionist of the mercenary association, Miran Val, was filling the entries of a report file. The reason for that was the little girl in front of his eyes that was unfitting of this place.
“They became kind of messed up, you see. It is the first time I´ve been harvesting, so there might be a few that are damaged. Well, I picked up the ones that seemed good and brought them here.”
With the blonde haired brown skinned little girl saying that, Miran could only comply to what she said with a cramped face.
The so called [harvest] was a nickname very often used among the mercenaries. Summarizing what the little girl in front of his eyes said in the way she said, it felt as if she was saying she harvested many tasty fruits that were ripen right at the point, and was now asking him to buy them. The way she was talking about it felt just as if she was a little girl that came from her village in order to sell their harvest at the city, or so would it be the case if one wasn´t thinking about the real meaning behind it.
“”Ah, did she say she used to live in a village?””
She was Bela Heiroh, who was born at the village of Laila. Milan remembered that this was written on the registration documents he had received a few moments ago. However, at the moment, Miran thought this was impossible. No matter how, after thinking about all her irregularities, there was no way to believe in a bullshit such as this girl that was standing in of his eyes having been normally raised in a village.
This mercenary association Milan worked at was the term for the associations that supervised over the mercenaries and existed throughout the whole continent. But even with that said, it wasn´t an organization that was united. This name was simply the general term for the organizations that intermediated between the jobs and rewards of mercenaries, and in majority, they were organizations that were like the local landlords of the territory they were located at, or possibly, they would even be directly governing a country.
In addition, the mercenary associations of towns of countries that were not at war would be there for the sake mediating between the subjugation requests of bandit groups and demon beasts and its rewards. It was not only famines and wars that made people suffer.
With that said, something such as a child joining the mercenary association was not something to be expected. However this was an organization that had the doctrine of prioritizing competency, and there was no such thing as age restriction established in the rules.
Besides, because of the “goods” that were laid in front of his eyes, Miran could not ignore the child´s registering application as some kind of joke. Moreover, there were no mistakes with the document that had been handed in to him before. To begin with, even if she wasn´t capable of writing, the staff would still be able to write it for her. In other words, except for Miran´s discomfort coming from his general common sense, there were no problems with the little girl, Bela Heiroh, being registered at the mercenary association.
“Well, fine. Was it Bela-san? For now, there are no problems with the forms. It will be possible for your registration in the association to be completed still today.”
Therefore, because of all this, Miran decided to pretend there were no problems with the situation and abandoned treating the girl in front of his eyes as a little girl. From Miran´s perspective, rather than a little girl, she felt more like a grandmother that had the stubbornness of the countryside. Even considering her exchange with the girl of a few moments ago, he couldn´t imagine that the other party was a child.
“Is that so? Now, can´t you give me my money already? I´m in hurry here. My stomach is already growling.”
Although she was tapping her belly in hunger, for a girl from the countryside, she had a physique good to the point of it being possible to notice that her raising was more or less good. The sound coming from her belly didn´t seem good in either case though.
“Then, why is it that you are in hurry? I´ve heard that you came piloting a machiini.”
From what she had heard from a talk of a few moments ago, the little girl had stolen a machiini from the bandit gang, and then, annihilated them at the same place. Even if the girl in front of her eyes was an existence that didn´t look very much like a simple child, as to be expected, Miran hadn´t been able to believe in that until the girl showed him the dragon heart stone.
Compared to other dragon heart stones, hers was smaller and its red light was bright. By common sense, one could guess by the size of the dragon heart stone how much prana it had gathered and how young it was by the brightness of the color of the stone. Miran could understand that the machiini Bela had stolen was one that didn´t have much battle experience.
And the little girl that didn´t behave like a child gave him a “Hah…” to Miran´s question while showing an annoying smile.
“It´s because I heard that a knight group was coming.”
Miran nodded at Bela´s words.
Indeed, they received reports informing that the knights of the Ruuin kingdom were pursing the Varuhalla gang. From what it is popularly know of knight groups, they were be capable of doing things like killing people and making their achievements their own. Guessing Bela´s thoughts, Miran gave a faint smile.
“The knight group of this country are honest, and I don´t think they had ever done something like stealing people´s achievements. In particular, the knights that were following after the bandit gang, the Harold knights, shouldn´t have any bad reputation related to that.”
“Oya? Is that so?”
Bela said with a face that didn´t expect those words.
“If that is so, then I should have just scavenged things there without hurrying back here then.”
With how she said that, Bela now started to look like a normal child being frustrated about something.
“But how did you know those things about that knight group? Could it be that you were tailing after them and attacked the bandits before they could?”
Bela shook her head at those words.
“Ah, that´s not it. Hmm, I´ve heard that from this guy, you see.”
And then, Bela pointed to one of the heads that had been laid there. It´s features were beautiful, but the face was twisted in pain.
“When I was peeking at them for a bit, I saw that they killed those guys of the village right away. Well, I thought that it was weird for them to kill even the women without having some fun with them before, you see. After strangling him a bit, he said that a group of knights were coming and that they were planning on getting away from there quickly.”
Miran let out a sigh. Her appearance was of a little girl, but the way she spoke was exactly like an experienced mercenary. Having something like that should have been impossible, unless that person was a great magician that renewed his body. But with that said, the girl in front of his eyes was too vulgar to be a great magician. In any case, his idea that that girl wasn´t something like a respectable existence didn´t change.
“Well, at any rate, things like that always happens from times to times. I will be paying you with money now.”
“Hya, fine then. Now, the money. Money; hand it already.”
While extending her hand forward, Bela said. However, Miran shook his head with a wry smile.
“Sorry, it is necessary for the people of the assignment to come verify the heads. Besides, it takes a bit of time for us to do the registration. And so, it should take from two to three hours from now.”
However, after hearing those words, Bela threw a tantrum.
“Hey, hey, don´t be kidding with me. Even though I´m in the growth period, I didn´t eat properly since yesterday at night here, you know?”
Miran thought she would say something like that. And so, while letting out a sigh, Miran took out his wallet. Then, while saying that it would be retracted from her reward later, he gave Bela some pocket money for her meal.
And so, while saying “Hyahya, you should have given it to me from the beginning”, she took the money and left the association building with relaxed steps.
“What was this? That from just now.”
Once the gate keeper man confirmed that Bela had left the place, he walked over to where Miran was and asked him this. Obviously, Miran didn´t have the answer for that.
“I don´t know. Let´s just say it was someone disguising herself as a brat. She didn´t seem to have a decent character, but she seemed to have the skills.”
“Heh, is it even possible for this to be a disguise?”
“I don´t know. She didn´t seem to be a Korobo, but rather than thinking that she was a child, it is better for my sanity to say that is a disguise. For now, think of her as someone to be careful about. It won´t be my fault if you go and cause unneeded trouble because you rubbed her in a wrong way.”(TL note: Apparently, Korobo is a race of small people. I guess you can think of them as those guys from the lord of rings I forgot their name… Because it was written with the little letters that appear above normal letters, there was no way for me to add it to the translation…)
The gate keeper nodded at Miran´s words.
“Fine, but aside from the people of the association, I didn´t tell the people outside about her. Her looks seemed to be nice. She would be attacked by someone right away, you know?”
“There is no way I want to be babysitting someone´s child. Rather than that, having people that are from other organizations killed is what would be convenient.”
Saying that, the gate keeper turned right and went back to the entrance.
Saying that, Miran leaned his back at his chair, slowly leaning his body weight at it. And then, he let out a sigh.
To begin with, Miran didn´t care about the little girl imitation´s safety. Even if that little girl that seemed to be a pain in the ass to deal with was to be killed, or perhaps sold away, he wouldn´t care. Just as he had said before, he thought it was convenient if troublesome things went away.
“”Well, she didn´t seem to be someone that would easily die, though.””
And then, by looking at the blood stains that were stuck at her war hammer, Miran thought that once the attacking side raised their hands against her, they would be the ones to be killed. As a matter of fact, she seemed to be someone that was a troublesome to deal with at the end of the day.