With the battle over, now all that remained to do was dealing with the aftermath.
First of all would be to deal with the remaining people of the bandit group, but actually most of the bandits had already died in battle. There were some that escaped, and it seemed there had been about three people that remained inside the fort.
The reason why it “seemed” was because those people were already dead by that point. When Bela and Borudo found them, they were in an atrocious shape. It seemed that they were beaten to death by the women they had captured.
At the time they were captured from their villages, they had their husbands and children killed. With the positions of the strong and the weak shifted, this was the expected, and was what probably happened to those bandits.
Because the women seemed to be dealing with themselves well enough on their own, Bela didn´t say anything in particular. The bandits that died didn´t have prices for their heads. That said, she also couldn´t let them escape.
It was a pain to sell the ones she caught as slaves, and originally, Bela didn´t think too much about what she should do with them other than just killing them. To begin with, however, by having been killed by Bela, they were able die a more peaceful death than they would have otherwise.
Bela ordered Borudo to collect the heads of the machiini pilots and the salamas pilot and to collect all the gold and any goods there were inside the fort. The reason why Bela herself didn´t move out to do that was because she didn´t know how the released girls would act.
It was a basic rule that the person that killed the bandits could take their possessions, and if you could find something that used to belong to someone else, it was possible to hand it back to them in exchange of a large sum. However, with the value of the things the bandits got by raiding the surrounding region being obvious, all Borudo could find were actually only things that you couldn´t hold much expectation about.
Moreover, while Borudo was wandering looking around the place, it could be said that Bela was checking up her own machiini [Aiandinna], looking for possible improvements. After Bela finished inspecting her machiini and decided what she should do, she called Borudo for more work.
“Shit, for you to make a old man work around like that… You won´t die a peaceful death, you… My master…”
“Hyahya, am I supposed to be worrying about how I will die with my age? I will be fine, so just do it already.”
While laughing off Borudo´s abusive language, Bela watched [Aiandinna]´s modifying operation. The modification consisted of removing [Aiandinna]´s left hand and replacing it with the arm Abares´ machiini had.
Many little auxiliary arms left out from both the arms of Borudo´s gnome [Bakkas]. He used them to detach [Aiandinna]´s left arm. After having finished doing that, he also removed the exterior part and the various attachments on the joint, so on proceeding to remove the arm.
Because it seemed that [Aiandinna] and Abares´ machiini had a correspondent set-up, the attachment went well. There were pretty much no problems with the transmission rate in the connection of the nerves, so it could be used in the same way as the previous arm Bela was familiar with. So that the gimmick could be used, it was necessary to change [Aiandinna]´s structure itself.
In fact, people still couldn´t understand about most of the so called “Makino”, the machinery which occupied more than half of the inner structure of the machiini.
If there was correlation between the machiinis, it was possible for people to detach and attach parts on their own. However, with the need of changing the inner structure, it was necessary to expend frana and to modify the structure itself.
Because all it was possible to do by the machiini itself was to [repair] and [strengthen] the structure no matter how much frana you were to spend, in order to have that gimmick “special ability” to be transferred, the element´s machinery adjustment functionality was indispensable.
The dwarf´s gnomes in particular were good in that area, and without Borudo being an exception to that, he was good at readjusting machiinis.
“But this is really a weird view.”
Bela muttered that as she watched the display of [Aiandinna]´s left arm being put onto its side torso part and the shine of the magic power gleaming in a flowing manner.
[They say the small gods that live in iron mold it based on the design granted by heavens… apparently.]
From inside his gnome, Borudo said that as he carried on with his work.
“What do you mean?”
[Who knows? I just heard it from a fable of my kin. Also, that what we call frana would be the offering we give to those small gods, or so they say.]
Frana was the energy you get from killing greater beasts and destroying machiinis and that is absorbed by the dragon heart stone. It was similar to mana, but strictly speaking, it had its differences. By using up this energy, it was possible to improve one´s machiini.
After that, by Bela´s rapid succession of indications in the details, Borudo also changed the armor, installed a short sword at the waist, and attached a shield at the left hand too. After finishing all that, [Aiandinna]´s modifications were finally finished and night was already approaching.
In the next day, Bela and Borudo gathered the machiinis of the bandit group they destroyed in the center of the fort. They decided to bring with them only one machiini, and they destroyed the dragon heart stones of the remaining ones for the sake of gathering the frana inside.
However, even the mechanical carcass could become merchandize. It could become the foundation of a new machiini, and by disarranging it in pieces, it was also possible to use them on other machiinis in the same way that it was done to [Aiandinna].
The ones that were specialized on recovering those sort of things were those that worked as scavengers. Hence, Bela intended to ask Kohza for that once she got back to the city.
“However, the machiini of those fellows… They meet all specifications for the machiinis of a knight group, but they can´t be from the Ruuin kingdom, right?”
Borudo, who had gone out of his gnome after he had properly finished carrying out of the fort all they were going to bring, spoke. In response to that, Bela answered without putting on airs in particular.
“Those are from Paroma´s knight group. Those guys piloting the elegant ones had the short sword with the crest of Paroma´s knight group by their chest after all. Most likely, they were guys that fled from a lost battle or so.”
“In that case, wouldn´t it mean they would get a bonus in the reward for them?”
Bela laughed at Borudo´s words with her usual “Hyahyahya”.
Those were pilots of the enemy kingdom, and so there should be a reward for taking their heads. Because there was the short sword to prove those were deserters, so there should be no problems for getting the extra reward. Just like Borudo said, they should be able to get the additional money.
“In that case, maybe I should buy you a barrel´s worth of booze for you.”
Borudo unconsciously gulped because of Bela´s muttering. To the dwarf race, alcohol was just like the blood that flowed through their bodies. Looking at Borudo´s change in character, Bela laughed even more and proceeded by shifting her attention to the problem at hands.
The problem would be how to deal with the women that had been captured by the bandit group.
The women that already calmed down after one night having passed were gathered at the center of the fort.
“So, in total, there are twenty four women. Much more than I expected.”
“Yes, I guess.”
Borudo´s words were slightly hazy.
There were actually twenty five women in total. However, the one inside the room of the man that seemed to be the leader of the bandit gang was beaten to death. The signs of aggression were recent, and they also seemed to have been done by the hands of women. Borudo imagined that the ones that killed her were those people that were now gathered in front of his eyes. Her face was all smashed, but the girl still seemed to be very young. (TL note: Noooo Yunannn ;-;)
“What is it?”
“No… it´s nothing.”
Borudo shook his head at Bela´s puzzled gaze. It wasn´t something that was needed to be talked about in particular. All there was about it was that the other women held resentment for the girl that became the boss´ woman, and thus, the girl was killed. They were the same women that brutally killed the remaining bandits. If they were to poorly deal with them and aggravate their situation, once those women started to show signs of rebellion, perhaps they would go kill the little girl in front of his eyes without mercy. No, Borudo believed they would definitely do that.
“Hmm. Well, fine then. So, did you finish talking among yourselves?”
Bela turned her eyes from Borudo to the women. Bela waited. There weren´t many choices available. She thought that by now should be about the time for them to decide.
“Ah, yes. I am Rama. I was chosen to be the mediator for the moment.”
One of the women stepped forward and answered.
She was in her twenties. It seemed she to be the one sorting out the captured women. She seemed to be the type that would kick men´s butts and make them do their work, but even so, she was looking at the child that was smaller than her own kids with eyes filled with fear.
“You…. No, we will go to Collosus just like you said.” (TL note: The “You…” part, the girl used ->あんた<-, but then, she corrected herself, using ->あなた<-, which is more refined.)
“All of you?”
Rama and also the other girls behind her nodded to Bela´s words. There were girls even that had just passed the age of ten. Despite that, the choices given to them were only few.
All the men of their village were killed, so even if they went back to that place, they would lack workforce. Because of that, they wouldn´t be able to pay the tax to the local landlord. And besides that, there were poor harvests this year, so their emergency stocks were stolen. Their situation was one all they could do was to starve to death.
Therefore, the only choices available were to become slaves with Bela mediating the negotiations and having something to eat the next day guaranteed, or to go back to their villages and die of hunger, and perhaps be cheaply sold as slaves in the end.
There was also the choice of leaving their village aside and escape to some uninhabited land without anything guaranteed, but this would be a gamble of low chances of survival. The continent of Ishtaria wasn´t a kind place that would permit such a reckless thing.
And so was it. To Bela, whatever decision those women would take didn´t matter to be fair to herself. She could make money if she took them to the Vagahte company, but in Bela´s opinion, rather than doing that, she would rather just go do another commission already. It would take a lot of work to send them to Colossus, the city of the battle-crazed. Because having to carry a machiini together with them would slow down their traveling speed, Bela just casually talked about that. If it wasn´t for that, there was no mistake she would have just left the women there and gone back sooner.
In any case, it was decided that the women would go back to the city along with Bela and Borudo. Bela obtained both the gimmick ability of the newly attached arm and a machiini. There couldn´t be better battle results than that.