Volume 1 — Different World Life, Start
16. Hinami and Ikuru — 4
In this chapter Ikuru will explain about this other world and about the slavery system.
Ever since I met Thia-chan and Ikuru-kun, my life has been full of new things.
I could venture out from this house instead of being alone. I even became friends with Thia-chan. I learned a bit about this world too.
“Hinami-sama, here’s your tea. Rather, why is it magic restorative (mana potion) instead of tea… it’s a waste.”
“Well, it tastes nice? It takes like tea.”
While I had been preparing the fruit, Ikuru prepared tea, which actually is magic restorative (mana potion). Taken out of the bottle and heated with fire, the delicious tea is brewed.
Ikuru is saying, “There’s no way this will taste good,” but I’m sure he’ll be surprised with a sip.
“Come on, have a taste!”
“See? It tastes good.”
“……Yeah. I’m surprised.”
See, he’s surprised.
“Rather… Hinami-sama, who are you?”
“I mean, it’s surprising enough that you’re living in a forest of the lost… and top of that you’re skilful enough in medicine to cultivate herbs. But then, you don’t seem to have the knowledge the chemisters have.”
Well, that’s true… I guess I might be a ‘wonder’ or something like that.
I came to this world 2 years ago. I had always been in the forest and it was only yesterday that I met someone. I really do lack common sense, I guess?
“This house too… the magic tools are really advanced… it’s wondrous.”
“A wonder after all!?”
That’s right, for now I should explain things to Ikuru. But thinking about how I’ll explain… it’s difficult.
God brought me here and I live off points! …Nope. When I looked at Ikuru, he was looking around the house maybe because it’s a rare sight.
“Erm, like Ikuru said… I don’t really know this world, so erm,”
“I’ve been living here since 2 years ago. So…”
No! I can’t seem to explain this well…!
I wonder where I’m supposed to start off. I wonder if I should talk about god? I shouldn’t talk about it so freely either… right?
“I-I can tell that there are some circumstances at least.”
After having a sip of tea, I calm my heart. Losing control of myself, how embarrassing.
“Besides, I’m a curse-slave, you don’t have to force yourself to tell me, you know?”
“……That’s not it.”
“No, sorry. Well… where I’m from, we didn’t have a system of ‘curse-slavery’ so… how should I put it…… I can’t explain it well, but I can’t treat you like a curse-slave.”
“A place without… curse-slaves?”
After carefully choosing my words, I slowly convey that I am unfamiliar with ‘curse-slaves’… well, just those words might not be enough.
“I see. So Hinami-sama is treating me as a normal person rather than treating me as a curse-slave. Something like that.”
“Sh-Should I… not have?”
“No? Not really. Well I did think you were weird… but I could tell that you meant no ill just by looking.”
Ikuru sipped tea and laid a hand on his chin in thought. Then after staring at me, he shook his head.
“Hinami-sama is unique. It’s as though you are not of this world.”
“What is it, looking like I hit bulls-eye.”
I didn’t imagine Ikuru could pinpoint it that well! To deceive him, I started eating the apple and smiled a bit.
Ah, the apple’s tasty.
“Anyway, I’ll stop prying for details, so calm down.”
“Ah, yes… still, once I organise my thoughts better into words, I’ll tell you!”
“Organise… anyway, if that’s what Hinami-sama wants, that’s fine.”
I feel like I’m getting spoiled by Ikuru’s kindness, but I can’t help it. I didn’t even confirm through the exchange diary if it’s okay to talk about him.
Gasp! But I want to know more about Ikuru. I wonder if it’s okay for only me to ask? But when I ask things about someone, shouldn’t I tell them about myself too?
After I finished my apple in a gloomy mood and looked at Ikuru, he said, “What?”
“……You want to hear about my story, right?”
“Eh! How did you know!?”
“It’s written on your face in big bold letters.”
So if showed that much. I thought my poker face was pretty good…
Ikuru said, “come on,” as if he were sighing. He’s telling me it’s okay to listen! Or something!
“Even so, I don’t have anything special. The curse-slave village I lived in was normal too.”
There’s nothing interesting? As if to say that, Ikuru tilted his head a little. No wait a moment. Even if Ikuru’s lifestyle is normal, other than him being a curse-slave, I mean, that’s not it?
“Eh you don’t even know that?”
“Wait wait wait… I know that Hinami-sama doesn’t have common sense but not knowing curse-slave village is an even bigger problem, you know?”
“……Please pretend that you are teaching a toddler without any knowledge.”
I wonder how many times it has been since Ikuru showed that exasperated expression.
“Well… okay. Then from the top… Let’s talk about 〈Letisreel〉.”
“Yes! Thank you!”
Ikuru explained slowly and thoroughly about 〈Letisreel〉 so that I could understand.
In this world… when it was just fresh land without people nor animals nor trees.
First, ‘the rain’ fell.
Then ‘the sun’ shone upon the land.
Finally, ‘the moon’ softly enveloped.
With the rain moistening and the sun and the moon warming the land, a small tree was born in this world. Later, that grew to become bountiful nature and the goddess Letisreel was born.
The newborn Letisreel was very happy about the beautiful nature.
However, she also realised that she was alone.
Feeling lonely, Letisreel created animals, humans, therianthropes and spirits.
Everyone quickly got along and lived happily. Then this world was named after the goddess… 〈Letisreel〉.
“……That is the beginning of the world.”
“So it’s the name of the goddess…!”
“Right. Even so, this is stuff in picture books for children.”
“I didn’t know so it’s all good!”
“Yeah? Anyway, this is for little kids. Once they get older, children learn, from their parents, about the curse-slave system… about the ‘curse’.”
The slavery system… I heard of the ‘curse’ but I don’t know the details.
When I tilted my head, Ikuru quietly started stripping.
“Eh! What are you doing Ikuru!”
“It’s faster to see it.”
Wh-wh-what! Ikuru who became shirtless very quickly turned this way. Funny how I’m more embarrassed than Ikuru…!!
I was reflexively averting my gaze to not see his naked body when he called out for me.
“This is a ‘curse’.”
When I looked at Ikuru, near his heart… there was something vivid, bit like a tattoo resembling a flower.
Rather than get flustered, I felt a strange chill.
“What, is that……?”
“……Let me elaborate.”
The goddess Letisreel and everyone were living happily together.
However, before anyone noticed, there were more people in this world… and there were those who left Letisreel’s side.
Everyone was sad about leaving, but they did so because they thought that having too many people gathering food from one place is not good.
For some time, people visited to Letisreel’s place and shared stories. No one suspected a thing when everyone was all smiles talking to each other.
There was happiness, but there was one big difference between Letisreel and other people.
Yes, life span.
Born as a goddess, death did not exist for Letisreel.
As time passed, those closest to her passed away first… then new life was born. Gradually, the people further away forgot about Letisreel.
Centuries later… a tragedy happened.
The ‘gemflower’ that Letisreel cherished was stolen. The thief… was a human or a therianthrope… or perhaps both? From the sudden happening, Letisreel was so shocked and so very sorrowful. Her tears overflowed and the world was flooded with the tears.
Then people noticed… Letisreel had disappeared and these a flower engraved on those who stole the ‘gemflower’.
That was the ‘curse’, and the mark of sorrow that Letisreel left. That ‘curse’ had 3 effects on those marked with it.
Effect No. 1, reduction in stats.
No. 2, no offensive spells.
No. 3, some sort of abnormal condition.
To dispel, 5 years of continuous dedicated servitude is required.
At first, those with the ‘curse’ left it alone as they didn’t know the implications. However, the ‘curse’ was passed down to their children. When centuries had passed, everyone had learned of the curse and its information… Thinking that things shouldn’t go on like this, everyone living in this world started cooperating to solve the problem.
Thus created was the slavery system so that people could work to lift the ‘curse’.
Also, to manage this a guild a founded. Later this grew into a neutral organisation that also supports adventurers, becoming an indispensable association for 〈Letisreel〉.
A contract system where the guild manages the source while curse-slave traders act as intermediaries was created.
“This is the beginning of this world 〈Letisreel〉… and the story of the curse-slaves.”
“Well, it might be hard to believe. The existence of a goddess sounds ridiculous to begin with.”
Talking in a self deriding tone as if to say he doesn’t believe in the goddess… Ikuru looked like he had a sad expression for some reason.
“So… technically, curse-slaves aren’t ‘slaves’?”
“The name? Well, that’s something the guild thought up… For people without the ‘curse’, especially for those with devout faith to the goddess Letisreel it’s an unforgivable incident. Those with the ‘curse’ like me are the descendants of criminals that stole from the goddess.”
“But it disappears after 5 years right?”
“Right. Even the zealous treat people normally once their ‘curse’ is gone, as they are pardoned by Letisreel.”
Then this curse-slave system is quite different from what I had thought.
I wonder if this is the proof of the goddess’s sadness. Because they stole something precious… because she couldn’t forgive them… but not forcing them to suffer forever… that sort of kindness.
I think it might be unfair for the children to have the ‘curse’ too, but as I don’t know the exact details I don’t want to denounce the goddess.
“That means… Ikuru, does your ‘curse’ also reduce your stats and inflict an abnormal condition on you?”
“Yes. But it seems to be case-by-case so I won’t know until the ‘curse’ is removed. I can only use magic for exploration, so that’s that. The status effect doesn’t affect my daily life much so there aren’t any problems.”
“I see… I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t affect your life badly!”
The status effect should be related to the body I think, and anyway it’s not polite to pry and if there aren’t any hindrances I shouldn’t interfere.
Huh wait, but……?
“After 5 years, the ‘curse’ is gone, right? But then there were a lot of curse-slaves… weren’t there?”
“We’re the descendants of thieves after all. Do you think someone who stole from the goddess would dedicate themselves to servitude for 5 years?”
“Ah, is that so… if there aren’t problems with living, that in itself is fine, is that it?”
“Right. People who become curse-slaves to dispel the ‘curse’ are… those who just don’t like the ‘curse’ on their chest. People who dislike the reduced stats or the restrictions of spells… these sorts are adventurers, knights, or people who live in areas with lots of monsters. Finally, there are those who seek to remove their abnormal condition. So it’s not rare to see people who don’t try to dispel the ‘curse’. Therefore the number of curse-slaves is not decreasing and the guild is trouble because the problem persists.”
I’m trying my best to organise the information. So in the end the number of curse-slaves is not decreasing because there are many people who choose to leave it be?
Wait, what about…!
“Right! What about the curse-slave villages?”
“Ah. It’s a village of people with the ‘curse’ like me. Fundamentally, people with the ‘curse’ are managed by the guild. Well, we can lead normal lives in the streets… but it’s troublesome if we are found out by the devout. So naturally people with the ‘curse’ formed communities. Those are the so-called curse-slave villages.”
“Hm… I thought it’d be a scary place.”
“Well, it looks normal.”
The goddess and the ‘curse’.
I wonder if the goddess no longer exists?
Or is she somewhere… in this world?
I opened my mouth to ask Ikuru more about the goddess.
But then my stomach drowned out the sound…!
“For now… let’s have food.”
Hinami: “I lost again!”
Hana: “Then let’s go watch the animation I want when we go to the cinema!”
Hinami: “…Okay. But I wonder why I lost at Old Maid.”
Hana: (It’s because your face says everything.)