Chapter 10. A Mouse’s Cry
Barkas, Dot, and Terry returned to the inn they had rented and immediately fell right on their beds.
To them, it was an act that could only be considered natural. They’d spent several days subjugating orcs and chasing down an Aurel Rabbit before picking a fight with a group of newbies and ultimately drinking themselves all throughout the night. Another factor that contributed to their lack of energy was the fact that they’d actually captured the Aurel Rabbit. The joy that resulted from their success had pumped them full of adrenaline and stopped them from feeling their exhaustion.
The rush that had kept them going petered out the moment they got back to the inn. The sudden crash rendered them unable to resist their drowsiness any longer, and thus, they ended up passing out almost right on the spot. All three adventurers had long hit their limits, and thus slept soundly until some time in the afternoon.
Brakas, who’d gotten up with his body once again pumped full of energy, immediately visited one of his favourite bars upon waking in order to repeat the cycle all over; he’d already thrown yet another toast to his party’s success. His group wasn’t the only one drinking either. The bar was already filled with customers despite the fact that the sun was still high in the sky.
「We sure have gotten ourselves caught up in some trouble, haven’t we Barkas-san?」
Dot spoke to Barkas as he raised a wooden mug and downed its cheap, beer-like contents.
「Huh? What’re you talking about?」
「You know, the thing that with that one kid. Isn’t our party already D ranked? Why should we be doing something as lame as going hunting goblins?」
Terry followed up Dot’s statement and provided a bit more info as he used the tips of his fingers to grab a beer-friendly snack composed of meat and low grade vegetables.
「Was what I said really that weird?」
「Dunno, was it?」
Both Dot and Terry responded to Barkas’ laugh and taunt by raising their eyebrows in confusion.
「Sorry, my bad. Couldn’t help myself. I didn’t realize I forgot to tell you guys, could’ve sworn I did. This little event of ours won’t be even the slightest bit lame. In fact, it’ll earn us a hell of a lot more than just some Aurel Rabbit. We’ll probably be able to get ourselves a few gold coins out of it, in fact. Man, it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten a chance to earn this much of a payout.」
It didn’t take much for Barkas to convince both Dot and Terry. The little bit that was said had caused their faces to emulate his and warp into a pair of grins.
「You serious? Man, that sounds great. Looks like I’ll be eating well for quite some time. The orcs and aurel rabbit we got should pay out pretty well too. I think we’ll still have about half the payout after paying off all our tabs.」
Dot spoke happily as he considered the group’s debts.
「Gold? That’s perfect. I just so happened to have my eye on a certain magic item.」
「God damn Terry. Why the hell are you so obsessed with magic items? How about getting yourself a woman for once, huh?」
Terry reacted to the grin that accompanied Barkas’ comment by shrugging his shoulders.
「I just can’t really bring myself to really get in the mood with any women in the trade. Come on, you guys know what I’m into, right?」
「Yeah, yeah. You only like it when the woman doesn’t. I really don’t get you. Don’t they resist? How exactly does that make it more enjoyable?」
Dot voiced his knowledge of Terry’s preference in a bit of a questioning tone.
「That’s the good part, you see. Wait. What the hell, Dot. You’re questioning my tastes? Aren’t you a pervert yourself? You basically don’t show interest in anything but the nape of a woman’s neck.」
「I’d say the both of you are fucked. All that matters is that the woman lets you do her, come on.」
「「You definitely have no right to say that when you can’t be satisfied till you totally break whoever it is you’re screwing.」」
Both Barkas’ companions responded to his slander in unison.
「Whoops. I must’ve let that one slip.」
The three men broke out into a series of vulgar laughs. However, none present judged them, for the only people that would bother visiting a bar and ordering cheap booze in the middle of the day were their kindred spirits.
Hence, their laughs merely ended up blending into the background, and their conversations drowned out by the noise around them. They were the only three to know what’d been said between them.
「So which brat are we going after? The stupid one that got himself involved with us, or the lanky one that calls himself a swordsman and has a slave?」
Dot asked Barkas about the two options as he contemplated them.
「The stupid one. Have you seen his staff? That thing’s got value. I mean, should be pretty obvious by now, but he’s definitely a noble of sorts. He’s definitely not his family’s first or second son either, seeing as how he hasn’t got an attendant or anything. It’s like he was given the staff to make up for that.」
Barkas’ conclusions were followed up by Terry.
「Oh yeah, I think he was going off and blabbing about himself too. Both his stupidity and haughty attitude make it pretty obvious that he’s gotta be a noble.」
「The kid with the slave looks like a good mark too. He seemed to speak fairly politely too. Plus, the fact that he’s got a slave at that age has to mean that he’s either some rich guy’s kid or a noble’s illegitimate son or something.」
「No need to bother with him, Dot. My money sense doesn’t react at all when I look at him. Still, would probably be better for us to off him just so there ain’t any witnesses. He’s probably at least got a bit of cash on him. Plus, I’d love to get myself a taste of that rabbitkin slave’s body.」
「I’m with you on that one. Do make sure you give me a go before you totally break her, Barkas-san.」
Dot’s expression warped into a perverted grin.
「At least let me go first. Their cries always sound best right off the bat.」
Terry, however, protested in an attempt to sate his fetish to its fullest.
All three men once again let loose a vulgar laugh. But again, the bar was far too noisy for anyone to bother listening in. Or rather, any human being.
「Chuu. Chu chu.」
A single mouse had happened to be sitting nearby, with its body blended into the shadows as it listened in on all they’d said.
On said mouse’s back was a unnatural pattern, a shape only engravable through the use of magic, a mark only known as the『Crest of Subordination』.
「Yup. Looks like they’re scum through and through.」
Minnalis and I had gone into the forest in order to run a few preliminary checks. There, we decided that it’d be a good idea for us to keep an eye on Barkas and his companions. Hence, we had mouse relay to us what we wanted to know.
As one could assume, the mouse we put to use wasn’t just your everyday average mouse.
I’d used the【Magical Beast’s Egg Blade】in order to subordinate and train a Small Mouse, a rodent-like monster. Though the species’ members were technically classified as monsters, they weren’t really functionally different from their animal counterparts. They didn’t have any special abilities, nor were they thought of as dangerous. In fact, they were often mistaken for regular mice, seeing as how they kind of basically were.
The【Magical Beast’s Egg Blade】wasn’t actually shaped the way you’d expect a sword to be shaped. The grip and sheath were both normal, but that was about it. The blade instead bore the shape of a budding flower. It allowed me to control any monsters whose stats, HP and MP aside, totalled to less than 1% of my own through the act of engraving upon them a Crest of Subordination. I could also store the monsters I took control of inside a mysterious space that lay within the blade by temporarily sacrificing 100 of my max MP. Likewise, I could increase the total number of monsters I was capable of controlling at once through the same action. Another feature that once again shared the same requirement granted me the ability to share senses with any of the monsters I had under my control.
Mouse #1 was originally just supposed to be a prototype. I’d only intended on using it to test my abilities, but I ultimately decided to keep it because it turned out to be useful than I’d been expecting. Much to my surprise, it was smart enough to understand human speech. Naturally, it lacked the vocal cords to reproduce any sort of human language, but the rodent was still capable of responding with a yes or no by making gestures. Its small size only added to how convenient it was to make use of, as I didn’t need to store it in the【Magical Beast’s Egg Blade】. That in turn meant I didn’t actually have to have the sword out in order to have the mouse sortie. Another benefit to its size was that it was basically capable of squeezing in anywhere so long as the building wasn’t completely sealed off, which meant I could effectively have eyes and ears everywhere I wanted.
Its current mission, observing Barkas, functioned as a bit of a test run that would allow me to determine how practical it was to use going forward.
「Is something the matter, Goshujin-sama?」
「I just got some info in from Mouse #1. Barkas’ party was exactly what I’d been expecting it to be, a gathering of retarded douchebags.」
「Can you let me listen in on them too?」
「Hmm, I dunno. The【Holy Blade of Vengeance】makes it so we’re always connected through magic, so it should theoretically be possible. I don’t recommend you do though, just hearing them’ll be enough to annoy you.」
I give my shoulders a light shrug as I answered. I’d been thinking that it’d be better for her not to listen in on them, but it seemed I was mistaken as my choice had led her to become rather displeased.
「Oh come on, Goshujin-sama, how could you say that? I know I’m your slave and all, but aren’t we still supposed to be accomplices? I won’t be unreasonable and ask you not to hide anything from me, but I will say that I don’t need you to act all considerate of me. Do you know how frustrated I’d end up being if I found out that I didn’t torture them enough, and that they deserved a fate even worse after we finish them off?」
「A-Alright, I get it. You’re getting a little too close for comfort.」
I did have to agree with Minnalis despite the fact that she’d invaded my personal space.
「Alright, here goes.」
I successfully managed to connect Minnalis’ auditory senses with the mouse’s right as Barkas and his buddies started going off about their fantasies. I fundamentally viewed the stuff they were saying as the ramblings of a couple drunks, but they’d gone so far off the deep end that just hearing what they were saying made me want to murder them right here and now.
Minnalis remained silent as she listened to them, but the air behind her almost seemed haze up as she started to give off an incredible amount of pressure. I couldn’t let her just stay like that, so I considered asking her if we could get back to surveying the forest.
My accomplice turned towards me and smiled a smile as pure as that of the Virgin Mary herself right as I considered cutting off the link between her and the mouse.
「Hey Goshujin-sama, you remember how you said you wanted to do an even split? You wouldn’t mind changing that to a 6:4 cut, do you?」
The manner in which Minnalis smiled simply rendered me unable to argue the matter any further.