The One Who Has Been Waited on Hand and Foot by The Tribe…
I won at the Coliseum that day, and raised my right arm in victory after the referee’s announcement. The winnings I got are enough for ordinary mercenaries to live off of for a few days.
But for me, it’s not a big amount at all.
I instinctively slam my fist against the stone wall.
“Cough… Onii-sama, what is wrong?”
“Hmm? Ah, no need to worry about it. Atla… I’m sorry.”
Atla… I’ve been taking care of my sickly sister since I was little. Atla was born blind, and had an incurable disease. She couldn’t even stand on her own feet.
“… Onii-sama, please don’t overdo yourself.”
Without consuming medicine regularly, she would die…
But no matter how painful it may be, she never whined. She’s my precious sister, the apple of my eye.
With no prospect of being able to afford her medication, I was left with nothing to do but pay the swelling interest bill. I could manage for a while if I won at the Underground Coliseum, but… I couldn’t get there often enough because my employer wouldn’t let me out.
“Well… I’m going out for a while. Atla, make sure you rest up.”
“Yes. Onii-sama… I wish you the best of luck.”
With determination filling my mind, I will continue to challenge the Coliseum battles today.
I won, barely. But I was slowly losing consciousness from the pain. I received first aid, but further treatment will cost money.
As I wobbled to my feet and returned to my assigned cage… where Atla was, I lost consciousness.
“Ah, Onii-sama. Are you awake now? **Cough… Cough…**”
When I regained consciousness… Atla, who should have had a hard time getting up, is giving me a lap pillow and taking care of me.
Killing my painful groan, I get up.
“Atla, if you don’t rest slowly, your body will be in pain!”
Just as I said that, Atla staggers.
When I reach out, Atla puts her hand on my chest and refuses my help.
“Onii-sama, if possible, heal your injured body without worrying about me… please…”
Atla tells me with a strong will and puts her hand on my lap.
Atla vividly knows what I’m doing, even I realize that.
“… Okay, just for tonight.”
I lay down as Atla directed.
“Onii-sama… Please, even if I’m gone…”
I fell asleep before listening to all of Atla’s words.
“Huh? I’m staying in for today?”
As I was leaving the prison to run and buy a few drops of medicine for Atla— who was sick from taking care of me yesterday— with what little money I had left, one of my employer’s men instructed me to stay.
I rushed to Atla, who was panting from the pain.
“I’m fine. Please… calm down.”
She doesn’t look okay! I have to buy the medicine as soon as possible!
There, my employer, a slave trader, brings a customer.
“W- what is it!? I’m doing my job properly! What are you here for!?”
What more do you want from us?!
Then, for some reason, my heartbeat increased unnaturally.
What? The moment I saw the guy next to the slave trader, I felt something strange from my whole body. Neither disgust nor fear… Was it, delight?
The guest and the slave trader talked and came into the cage where we were.
“W- what are you going to do!?”
“Yeah, yeah. Shut up for a moment, brat.”
“What?! I’m not a brat!”
In my mind I was screaming, ‘What the hell are you! What did you do to my mind and body?!’
The customer turned to Atla.
“What are you going to do with Atla!?”
Then the customer… takes out an Elixir of Yggdrasil and lets me smell it. After that, I was stunned about how fast the matter was cleared up. My mind boggled at how quickly Atla had turned her good intentions to the customer.
This guy is my enemy!
My body and mind fumed as if they were two separate creatures. As a new employer, I was brought in by him, and I had to carry Atla out for the slave registration.
“That… the person from earlier… just who is Naofumi-sama?” Atla calls out to the slave trader.
Right. Just who the hell is he?
Elixir of Yggdrasil… furthermore, to think he gave effective medicine so easily…
“He is one of the four legendary Heroes who protect the world, and you of the Hakuko species will know which Hero he is. Yes.”
It’s not that I don’t know Hakuko folklore.
I just thought that such a story was a bedtime fairy tale.
But no way… you’re saying he’s the Shield Hero?
“It doesn’t matter…”
“Onii-sama, I… want to go with him. Please… can you follow him with me?”
Absolutely, definitely not. I won’t give such an important person like Atla to that guy!
But I don’t want to be hated by Atla…
I… I am…
“Okay, let’s go.”
Carrying Atla on my back whose breathing had calmed down strangely, I stepped out of the cage that had been our prison, for the last time.