15 Just a Nap

What the... we're suddenly in a carriage on a bridge! We were elevated earlier... about second-floor level, and now we're on ground elevation?! Teleportation?! The slums are in front of us, and a gigantic wall behind us?!

What the hell is wrong with this city?! So they're separating the pitiful and the blessed, I assume?! That's next-level human atrociousness! The level of bullshit with what I'm currently witnessing is equal to that of the Atlantic slave trade... I may have transferred to an extreme version of my previous world.

In a worried tone, Francis asked, "Sir, are you alright? You look like you've seen a ghost."

"I-I'm fine!"

While sitting across me, Francis advised, "You don't want to be moving too much, Sir. Your girl's asleep..."

"Who... oh."

Again? Ria's sleeping on my shoulders! I kind of like it this time! So I'll let it be.

"You two seem too close to not be dating."

"Seriously, we aren't!

"Then is she you're sister?"

"Do we look alike? And don't you think that's questionable?!"

"Figures... Seriously though. If you aren't lovers, then I don't know what you two are."

"W-Well... It's not like I'm against the idea."

"Oh, what's this? A blooming romance?"

"Y-You're doing good yourself, Francis. You got Ms. Alice head over heels for you!"

"Eh? That big-breasted ego? W-We do have a c-complicated relationship, I'd say."

"Just admit it!"

"I don't want to end up with a hardcore sadist."

"Woah... weird kink."

"Hahaha... But it fits her, though."

"We can both agree with that... hahaha."

"..."

"Thank you! Sir Miles!"

That came out of nowhere. Francis is a genuine dude, so for now, he's free of any suspicion. It appears that we get along quite well. He's a potential asset, a unique and intimate one. This fellow saved my life, so I should be the one thanking him!

"I should be the one tha-"

While looking ahead, Francis muttered, "Shh... Sir, we're close."

|...|

Something seems to be threatening us. At first glance, this area is just a bridge over a body of water heading towards the slums, with a thick mist... blanketing the location... What the hell is with this perfect assassination setting?! And why would someone target us?!

"Relax, Sir Miles. But I suggest you hug Madam Ria tightly and cover her face."

"You're not faking this, are you?"

"I wouldn't do such a thing to our honored guest! We're entering the slums, and the road will get bumpy."

"Okay? But what does covering her face do?"

"Trust me, please."

I'll hug her! So don't think of anything, Miles! D-Don't think! It's only a procedure, and it's not like there's anything to it, right?!

"*Snap!"

|...|

Arggh! It's bright! All I can see is white!

As I was blinded by the lights, we were greeted by a deep voice.

"Oh! It's Francis! Shut 'em lights, you dimwits!"

In a friendly tone, as if they were long time acquaintances, Francis yelled, "Good afternoon, Uncle Jerry! We have visitors!"

|...|

Eh? This is the slums, right? This place is the farthest thing from poverty! It looks like a wealthy 12th-century Viking settlement but with tiny cameos of modern technology. What's even more absurd are the people!

Living with a smile in the slums, with an atmosphere of a festival. Again, it's black and white from what I expected. I might as well stop trying to anticipate this world.

Hard to conceive this place is called the city of riots. I presumed the slums will be the capital of violence since the downtown was flawless, but as I said, don't try to anticipate anything.

"Who's this youngin' who snatched 'emself a beauty, ey' Francis?"

"They're our new members, extremely talented ones."

"Ms. Alice sure do have a keen eye for 'em peeps."

I should introduce myself... Francis appears to have connections to these people, so I have to leave a good first impression!

"I'm Miles, and the one on my shoulder is Ria... Nice meeting you!"

"I'm Unc' Jerry. Good meetin' ya dimwit!"

What a vulgar mouth and a refined body! This old man must be a dwarf, I suppose? He's about the same height as Ria, so that's relatively tiny.

"Get your ass down here, boy! We treatin' you to dinner! Consider it payment for aidin' our people!"

I apologize, Uncle Jerry, but I've let your people down already. With the newfound knowledge about this world, I assume the old man of the toilet and his daughter must be a dwarf. I couldn't even save his child! But conversing about that now will be far from ideal! I should avoid these people for now!

"Sorry, but I'll pass... I can't leave her here, and I don't want to wake her."

"You worry too much for your girl! Leave 'er, you can have all the fun you want with her later!"

I already admire Uncle Jerry's ability to not give a fuck about the words that leave his mouth.

Our stay in Ms. Alice's restaurant was cut short, so my stomach is an empty void. But I can't leave her...

"Sorry, but I really ca-"

"We a bunch 'o tough mothefuckas' out here, so don't worry 'bout her safety! We havin' steak!"

Francis joined in, and with an inviting voice, he said, "Accept the offer, Sir Miles! Our restaurant's steak recipe came from them!"

Stop trying to tempt me, you devils! But I'm craving meat... the only thing they need to do is...

"We have unli-rice too, youngin'."

Ah! Fuck it! I'm being an overprotective parent. I suppose I can leave Ria for a few moments...

I gently pushed Ria away and got down from the carriage, "Fine... I can't turn that down."

"There we go! Prepare the fucking food, dimwits!"

"Good choice, Sir Miles. You would've left a bad impression had you rejected the offer!"

Hmm... But I still can't leave Ria by herself. I know!

"Watch over Ria, Francis."

Francis replied in a sarcastic tone, "Oh... I was planning on joining the meal since I haven't eaten yet, but I'll do as you command."

Trying to guilt me? Pathetic! I'm a heartless bastard, Francis! And now you'll know!

"So... I guess I'll complain to a certain hardcore sadist..."

"Anything but that, sir!"

"Then thank you for your service. And stay three meters away from Ria, and don't even think of doing anything to her!"

"O-Okay?"

Woah... Those words just now left my mouth without any thought. I really am an overprotective parent! But it feels like the root is more profound, a closer bond.

"Watcha' starin' into nothin' for? Haul your ass here!"

"S-Sorry."

|...|

As I follow Uncle Jerry, I thought something. Within the thick mist and the haze of poverty, there lies a glistering smile that dissipates the malignant air of being poor. It's a ragged slum with an atmosphere of a carnival. The slums are... amazing.

As I continue to walk, a voice of a kid complained.

"Uncle Jerry! Who's that cool dude with scary eyes?!"

"Mind yer vulgar mouths, ya' brats! This youngin's another one of Ms. Alice's folks!"

I'd say you're the one with the indecent vocabulary, Uncle Jerry. This old man is amusing. And what did this brat just say? Cool dude? Oh! You flatter me too much! I'll treat you to some ice cream if I could!

|...|

"Sit down, youngin'."

I entered and sat down.

Woah... This place is like a medieval bar! Now I don't have to mind my manners!

"Welcome to the shack, dear guest."

Finally, someone with decent language!

Before I could order, someone yelled with all urgency... "Everybody hide! The Kuroi gang is here!

"Uncle Jerry... what's happening?!"

"Those fuckers are attacking now, huh? Sorry young fella, but I got some ass clapping to do."

Sheesh! Those muscles are bulging! But someone is attacking! And-

I couldn't even finish apprehending the situation, and suddenly... a loud explosion reverberated.

"*Boom!"

|...|

Ria...

|...|

I got up from my seat and raced towards the carriage... As I sprint with all my might, my mind could only think of one word... Ria.

Adrenaline is rushing in my veins... and my body is move without my accord. That's causeless if I can't reach Ria!

"Make it in time, Miles! Make it in time! Make it... in time..."

"..."

Hahaha... This is bullshit, right?! This is just my hypothetical enhancement! There's no way this is true! N-Not you too! Not this world! I've already seen enough death! What the fuck is this?!

I felt a force from my back... I've been pushed. While caught in the confusion, another explosion could be heard. That force I felt was the shockwave.

"*Boom!"

I found myself lying on the ground with shattered glass and shrapnel. Ria is mere inches away from me, so I embraced her while thinking it would be the last time. With her warm blood all over my shirt, I closed my eyes and hugged her like it's the last time.

Am I going to die? My vision is blacking out... my consciousness... fading... sorry Ria... I'll see you soon.

Ahhhh! Like fuck I would! Stand up, you pathetic bastard! She's still alive! That idiot wouldn't die so quickly! Protect her, you ugly son of a bitch! You're lying next to her on the ground!

With all my remaining strength, I placed my hand on her cheeks and shouted, "Ria... wake up!"

Her eyes stared into my soul. She raised her right hand and placed it on my forehead.

"Miles... heal..."

What the... Magic?! Her left hand is glowing light green! Her enhancement is Heal?! T-That's convenient!

"Use it on yourself, idiot!

"I'm fine... trust me, okay?"

"Now is not the ti-"

With teary eyes, she barely muttered, "Miles... was it fun?"

"Oi! Don't talk like tha-"

"Was it fun...?"

"..."

"Y-Yes."

"Will you still look for it with me?"

"Y-Yes."

"Will you still take me out?"

"Yes!"

"Will you still worry?"

"Yes!"

"Will you still pay your debt?"

"Yes!"

"Will you still l-li... like m-"

"Y-Yes! So please live!"

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With a smile that resembled my mother's, she closed her eyes and whispered, "Thank you... Trust me, okay? I'll just take a nap..."

Don't smile! Why are you smiling! First mother and now you?! What is there to smile about?! Look at you, god damn it! Wake up, Ria!

Fuck this world! I want to go back! This shithole is a hundredfold worse! Why me! Why her?! This world... can just go to hell!

As I scream these thoughts in my head, I heard another familiar voice.

While limping towards me, Francis yelled, "Sir Miles... forgive my incapability!"

Francis! Not you too... It was only a short ride, but...

Francis fell on the ground, and with what seems like all his remaining strength, he uttered, "I'd like to make... amends, so see you soon..."

"*Snap!"

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