Infinite Mage (Novel) Chapter 129

                       



C129

"I've lost 5 gold pieces. Taking back what was given is the worst thing in the world. That woman should compensate for the loss."

Falkoa lifted Jis' face. Jis, whose jaw was pulled up until his waist was about to break, couldn't even breathe. A little more pressure, and his spine could have snapped.

"Hurt, doesn't it? It should. I'm incredibly strong."

“Spare… Please."

"Want me to ease your pain? Chew this. Then it won't hurt at all."

Jis turned his gaze even in the midst of hardship. In Falkoa's hand, there was a root.

Born and raised on the island, he knew. It was Loop, the stimulant of the natives. As a drug used for ritual awakenings, its addictiveness was beyond compare to other drugs. Weren't there rumors that the Kerugo tribe went extinct due to the excessive use of Loop?

"Please, I beg you. Anything but that..."

Jis pleaded earnestly. He had assumed that once he became addicted to Loop, his life was over.

He would go through life in the gutter, and his sister, who was the only family member, had no choice but to be driven to the street in the end.

Falkoa, as if expecting his reaction, put the Loop he had offered to Jis into his own mouth.

What about its addictiveness? If one couldn't live without Loop, then just keep using it for life.

“You are the coward of the world. This is God's stimulant. Anyway, what are you going to do now? Will you bring her to me?”

"Huh? Whay do you mean bring her? Who?”

“That red-haired girl. She seemed pretty. I bet I could sell her for a high price, heh heh. Of course, I'll have to sell her secondhand."

Jis was shocked. To think that he plan to sell a noblewoman into human trafficking out of anyone else. However, if it was Falkoa's mental state that was addicted to Loop, it was more than plausible.

'He's lost his mind. He's insane.'

Falkoa was the acting chief of the Freeman Organization. He was the highest-ranking person that Jis, who was nothing more than a thug, could contact.

He never met the captain, Freeman, but one of his mandates was a ban on human trafficking.

"I- If you do that, you'll be kicked out of the organization. It's against the Code of... Akh!"

Jis's jaw was turned by a studded boot. His mind spun, and he couldn't think of anything.

Falkoa grabbed Jis by the head and lifted him up. The moment he heard his cold voice, Jis regained his focus.

“What? Want me to bring your little sister?"

“Tha- That…”

Jis' body trembled. Anger and fear mixed together, and emotions that could not be guessed at the taste rose up.

My sister was a precious existence that could not be exchanged for anything. She didn't want to show her such a dirty world.

"Oh, didn't I tell you? Actually, I like your sister. Could you take this opportunity to introduce me to her?”

A rotten smell came from Falkoa's mouth as he chewed Loop.

-------------------------

Shirone and the woman managed to escape Gamose's bodyguards after running through the alleys for 30 minutes.

As expected of trained individual, their speed was fast, but the psychological warfare using blind spots to turn round was effective.

The two of them leaned against a wall, catching their breaths for a while. They had run so far that their mouths tasted of blood and their legs were trembling.

The woman chuckled as she gasped and looked at Shirone.

“Heh, you have surprisingly good stamina, don’t you? I thought you'd give up running because you look so delicate."

"If I give up, I'll be caught. I'm dying. But you, uh... Are you okay?"

"I'm Marsha. Running from trouble is second nature to me, so this is nothing. Let's take a break somewhere. I'm thirsty for a beer. I'll buy you one as thanks."

Shirone was puzzled. Marsha showed no sign of tension despite being pursued..

Furthermore, wanting to drink beer means she has money, so why did she steal?

"Ah, I think I should go now."

"You can't roam around right now. Let's wait at a place I know. Gamose is cruel but dumb, he'll forget soon. Just endure for an hour, and he'll get distracted and won't chase us anymore. And above all, I'm scared. Can you stay with me for a while?"

Marsha rolled her tongue and narrowed her eyes. While he wasn't enchanted by her cute appearance, Shirone ultimately decided to follow her. More than anything, if he got caught by Gamose now, things would get out of control.

"All right. But I don’t think I can stay long because my friends is waiting.”

"Fine. Let's just wait until Gamose's men give up. Come here."

Marsha led Shirone through winding alleys to a dimly lit bar. He wondered if anyone would come to this place to have a drink, but it was surprisingly crowded.

"Hmm, this place hasn't changed a bit over the years."

"Didn't you use to frequent this place? You mentioned earlier it was a bar you know…"

"Ah, I used to come here a lot. It's been three years since I've been to Galliant Island. I have a friend living here."

"I see. I thought you were a local because you knew the way so well."

“Hehe, I will never forget the road I saw once. Escaping is a part of my life."

As Marsha took Shirone and took a seat at the bar, a group of rugged men all turned to look at them. The combination of a beautiful woman and a young boy was out of place.

“People are staring.”

"Don't mind. This is a bar where only the troubled children of the island come. If there's an incident, this is the first place to receive the news. That way, we know when Gamose gives up."

"But isn't that more dangerous? Gamose's subordinates could come here."

“Gamose is the one who rules the island, not the trouble maker. So, this place is...kind of like a resistance. A community of destiny, shall we say?"

Shirone did not believe it straight away. In a place where so many people came and went, it was virtually impossible to completely control the information.

'This is something that cannot be done with the system alone. A treaty or rule would be possible. But why? What could they gain?'

As Shirone stared at her, Marsha gave a wry smile.

"Oh dear, you're tough. Alright, you're right. This bar is in cahoots with the Galliant autonomous government. What happens here is overlooked, even by the authorities."

“As expected. But why would the government do such a thing?"

"Money. Money laundering, creating slush funds, circulating lobbying money, and so forth. That's what 'Island Gate' refers to. Shall we say it's a system created by the characteristics of a closed island? They agreed to distribute funds from the shadows in exchange for guaranteeing the safety of criminals. A win-win. Isn't that how the world works? Hehe!"

Marsha clicked her tongue. Her seagull-like squinted eyes looked somewhat melancholic.

“It's funny when you think about it, isn’t it? There is a lot of talk about punishing criminals, but in the end, it's criminals who fill their stomachs. It breaks up large amounts of money that you can't swallow, making them easier to digest. They're like the microbes of society. Without microbes, life dies."

Shirone couldn't answer. The social system that went against human nature was too complicated and colorful for an 18-year-old boy to judge.

"I've been too serious. Did you say Shirone? What did you come to the island for?”

"I came to play with friends. We want to swim and see the ruins."

“Kerugo Ruins? I've been there before. Ah, I was young back then, but now I'm already 27. I might grow old as a spinster. How old are you?"

"I'm 18."

“Oh my, more than I thought? You look very young."

“Older sister also looks younger than her age. Oh, can I call you 'older sister'?"

"Sure. Everything starts from 'older sister'. Once we become lovers, you can call me anything, hohoho!"

Shirone raised the corner of his mouth as if it were ridiculous. To an 18-year-old boy, a 27-year-old woman was an adult that could not be overlooked.

Apart from that, Marsha was a much more intellectual and rational woman than he had expected.

Their conversation was enjoyable, and with his guard down, Shirone shared his experiences at the port.

Marsha nodded as if she had a hunch and said,.

“Ah, you got caught by a street tout. They're quite nasty. Still, 5 gold was a bit harsh.”

"Yes. In the end, I had a disagreement with my friend, and I'm not in a good mood. They must be waiting for me now. I'll probably get scolded when I get back."

Marsha checked the time and asked the bartender.

“What happened to Gamose’s ruckus?”

As the bartender wiped the cup like a deaf person, Marsha placed a silver coin.

Then the bartender's mouth opened as if it had never happened.

"According to the news that came in 10 minutes ago, it seems to have spread all over the main street. Probably about 40 people are blocking the entire crossroads."

“Ugh, still? That person is so tenacious.”

“Originally, the Gamose alarm goes off right away. The lid must have been opened today.”

Marsha looked back at Shirone gave a playful smile. Shirone had nothing to say, since she was the one who blew off the lid of Gamose's head.

Marsha then returned to the original topic.

“Anyway, it’s good to deal with street touts in moderation and avoid them. They are children who belong to an organization. Once you start getting tangled up, it becomes difficult to handle.”

"I see. Actually, I hadn't even thought about that.”

"Heh, do you need to? You're here to have fun, aren't you? But there's always a danger hidden within the tourists' fun. The island is small and closed off. In order to share limited resources, you have to compete more fiercely than inland."

Shirone engraved the fact in his mind. He planned to stay on the island for ten days, so she was likely to meet many touts.

Thanks to Marsha's advice, she was less likely to cause a major accident, unlike today when he knew nothing.

Suddenly, Shirone realized something and looked at Marsha.

According to what he observed during the conversation, Marsha seemed like a really good person. She was kind, witty, and she also had the prudence not to judge others' words hastily.

Why would such a person do theft? Judging by her willingness to tip the bartender, it seemed that she had no shortage of money, too.

"Um, I'm not sure if I should ask this, but I'm really curious."

Marsha leaned back in her chair and looked up at the ceiling.

"Hmm, I was worried when you would ask. But Shirone, a woman's three sizes aren't something you hear, but something you imagine."

"No! That's not it! Why did you steal the ceramic?”

"Huh?"

"You don't seem like someone who would be a petty thief. And you lied about not having money. Why did you steal the ceramic, which isn't even a useful item..."

“Hmm.”

Marsha rested her chin and fell into thought.

"I don't know. I just felt like stealing it?"

"Really? Is that possible?"

"It's possible. It's called Kleptomania. Of course, I wasn't like this from the start. I was an orphan. My parents abandoned me when I was four. A man from the mercenary group picked me up and raised me, he became my adoptive father.”

Shirone's heart trembled at the unexpected words. Marsha, like him, was abandoned by her own parents.

“But it was far from a comfortable life. The Mercenary Corps is a place full of strange people. When I was 11 years old, one of the savage mercenaries tried to get his hands on me. Fortunately, my adoptive father found it first and beat him up.”

"Of course. His daughter almost got hurt. Anyone would do that."

"Heh, would they really?"

“Yes?"

Marsha looked down at the bar with a sad gaze. Somehow, her eyes seemed to be moist.

"I received a piece of bread and a glass of water every day. My adoptive father gave nothing but that. Clothes, sweets, and toys. In the end, he just raised me like stock. That's when I started stealing from others. One day, I was caught stealing apples, but he paid the fine without resisting. However, when I returned home, he changed and started to hit me. He didn't say a word, and he didn't stop until I passed out."

“It is too much. If he can afford to pay for the fine, wouldn't it be better if he bought it from the beginning? And why didn't you ask for one?”

“Because that was what my adoptive father wanted. Submission to him. The only resistance I could make was to steal something every day. Of course, I was beaten to death on the days I got caught. It was a terrible daily life. Then, one day, I gave up on everything. And I said this to my uncle."

Marsha rested her chin on her hand, recalling the past.

"You can kill me if you want."



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