Chapter 8 – Ronil’s Thoughts
I softly exhaled as I saw the girl quickly fall asleep.
I felt a bit bad for lending her my cheap spare blanket, but she didn’t complain about it at all, or rather, she happily accepted it and wrapped herself up in it.
The weather in this area is stable, and the wind won’t bother us too much, so she shouldn’t be feeling cold, but still… This girl was so battered. I should have lent her my thicker blanket instead of the cheap spare.
“Ryuk, what do you think of this child?” I asked my escort.
He may still be a newbie adventurer, but he has a kind heart that cares more about other people’s feelings than for profit.
That’s not a good quality for an adventurer that is seeking a stable wage, but it was because I noticed this kindness inside him that I decided to hire him.
I am a merchant. It’s only natural for me to act in a way that is driven by profit.
However, that doesn’t mean I enjoy watching competitors losing their money, being thrown on the streets, with their business ruined and them homeless…
Of course, I won’t actively harm my own business to help someone else, but if there is a route that won’t make anyone unhappy, then I prefer pursuing it.
I sympathized with Ryuk specifically because of him being too good-natured for someone who is working as an adventurer, which was why I asked him to escort me instead of anybody else.
“The two of us are most likely thinking the same thing. There is no town near this place, so I don’t think she is a lost child.
“There was that wrecked carriage that we saw a small while back, so she’s probably…” Ryuk left the final words unsaid.
“A survivor.” I finished his sentence.
About two days ago, we saw the wreckage of a relatively new carriage on this road. We had thought it was abandoned due to a wheel failure, but it’s possible that it was attacked by bandits instead.
If we take that possibility into account, it wouldn’t be strange if this girl managed to escape the attack and walked all the way here.
Luckily enough, the girl doesn’t seem to be injured, but her clothes were stained with blood.
They were also really worn out, so it’s possible that some of it was torn off and stained with the blood of her comrades during the attack.
Perhaps the owners of that blood were this girl’s parents… It broke my heart to even consider this possibility, but it was quite likely.
“If she walked from that wreckage, then she has probably been alone for about five days. She doesn’t seem to have any belongs with her, so it’s a miracle that this girl is still alive.” I commented.
This girl was very skinny. If she has been desperately trying to escape, then she probably kept going without any food or water for those five days… She probably survived by eating weeds that grew on the side of the road, but it would also be extremely reckless to walk this far without any source of water.
She is way too small, so she is probably only seven or so years old. A child this young would normally be unable to live without her parents’ protection, and yet, she seemed to be relatively calm… It was probably her holding back her feelings though. She was most likely extremely battered by the accumulated hunger and fatigue.
“I’m glad that we found her, but it’s still horrifying to think she walked this far without being found by anyone.” I commented.
“Certainly. She must have a lot of mental strength to be able to keep on walking right after suffering such a horrible experience…” Ryuk replied.
I started feeling angry from simply imagining the bandits that treated a small girl like that.
And yet, I can’t help feeling surprised by both the mental strength she has, and by how educated she seems to be.
Usually, if a child this young were to be attacked by bandits, they would probably either panic or start crying.
Even if they managed to escape, it would be unlikely for them to be able to keep on walking alone for a long period of time. They’d probably crouch down and cry due to the loneliness instead.
… I can only imagine how strong this girl’s will to live must be, so as to let her keep on walking through this road all alone for this long.
There must have been others who were attacked too. People who were either killed or that ran in a different direction… People that were surely close to this girl, and that she was separated from.
And even when separated from her precious ones, this girl managed to not let herself be crushed by loneliness, and instead overcame it with her strong will.
… But this is not the kind of strength that a child this age should have.
“It was a blessing amidst misfortune that this child was able to use magic.” I muttered.
Even if she is still very young, this child was quite good at handling magic. She was certainly born with a good amount of magical power, as one’s magical capacity is determined at birth.
Sure, she probably can’t use any amazing spell at such a young age, but the difference between being able to use magic and being unable to is akin to the difference between heaven and earth.
Moreover, the fire-starting spell that this girl used was very unusual. Instead of using a strong spell, like what is generally used to attack others, she used something tamer to create a fire.
She has a natural talent, and she was probably able to thrive because of that.
It’s unlikely that this girl faced no danger on the way here. Maybe there was a bandit pursuing her, or maybe a stray monster attacked… This girl probably handled those crises by skillfully using magic to escape.
From what I have heard, one needs to create strong mental images to use magic. It was probably her childish, flexible imagination that saved this girl from peril.
“She said she wanted to be an adventurer…” I muttered.
“Yeah… Perhaps this child is sure that she is going to be alone from now on.” Ryuk replied.
Anyone can become an adventurer for as long as they’re at least ten years old. There are merits and demerits to the profession, but the age is the only requirement.
There are other occupations one can go for if they get an apprenticeship, but becoming an adventurer is the only choice that an unsupported child has.
I don’t think this girl meets the age requirement, but she probably doesn’t know about it. She is thinking about her future, trying to find a way to keep on living.
If this girl still had her companions, she would have surely asked them for help… The fact that she didn’t do it and instead traveled alone, probably means that she has nobody left to take care of her in this world.
She has no money, can’t go back to the town she used to live at… This girl’s only option is to become an adventurer and earn some money at the town she was headed to.
She’s a bright kid alright. And that’s why I sympathize so much with her situation… But it’s unlikely for a child without any living relatives to survive for long after becoming an adventurer.
This girl shouldn’t even have the money to buy the bare minimum of equipment, never mind finding a place to live in.
The least I can do for her, is help her until she can live a stable life. I’ll need to stay in Karaba for a while, but I have enough savings, so I should be able to manage.
Though I’m unsure if I alone am good enough for taking care of this girl… “Ryuk, can you help me?” I asked him. I didn’t need to say what exactly I needed help with, I’m sure he understood it.
“Of course. That was my intention from the beginning.” He replied.
To lend a helping hand to this girl that survived a tragedy. Both me and Ryuk had the same goal.
I looked at this girl’s face as she peacefully slept. She had some pretty features, so she might be able to grow into a tremendous beauty in the future.
This is an investment for the future.
We never know which goose will be the one to lay the golden eggs. Saving this girl today might become my strength one day in the future.
… Or well, at least that’s what I have to tell myself. I understand that this is not why I’m doing this, but I am a merchant, I need to try thinking of the opportunities this might bring me.
And so, while gently stroking this girl’s silver hair, which was reflecting the moonlight, I vowed to help her.