Gakkin, Gakkin, Gakkin
Today was another day of sweat and toil.
In my hands is a pickaxe.
I've grown used to the smudges of dirt on my face.
Soara, who works next to me, doesn't seem to mind.
This is the construction site of Rudra's Castle.
Surrounded by a high circular wall, many workers crush rocks as we do.
I'm so tired. I'll drink some water.
"Hey, that's not fair. Give me some."
"This is mine. And you've already been given your water, Soara-San."
"No, I've already drunk it all. Just give it to me, and God will bless you."
"You won't get anything from me under the pretext of being a priestess."
"You make me sound like a bad person who uses her title as a shield to get what you want."
"That's because you are, even if you don't look like one."
I handed the bottle of water to Soara-san.
She took three sips of the water and gulped it down.
"Puah~, you have God's blessing."
She handed the almost empty water bottle back to me.
How awful. She drank more than I thought she would.
The next water ration is in the evening.
Soara-San and I were sent to this place a week ago.
We have been transported to a magic circle that was deep within the forest.
After that, the magic circle stopped working and we were left completely unable to return.
We somehow managed to find our way to civilization, as we went through the forest in the direction Soara indicated, but we were unfortunately caught by the servants of the demon king Rudra, and now we are here.
It seems that this is a different continent.
Based on the information we've been able to gather, that's the conclusion we've reached.
"I don't know how much longer I can live like this."
"If Toru and the others are on this continent, they will surely find us soon."
"But there's no way to know if that's true. We don't know if this is another continent other than the one Toru went to. There may be more than one."
"You are right about that, but God is telling me that there is a savior in these lands. That must be Toru."
"I understand. Uh, Soara-San, one of the generals is looking at us, start working or he'll get angry again."
We raised our pickaxes and resumed our work.
Soara-San is a person who is alert and never lets her guard down.
Honestly, I doubt she's really a priestess.
I would be happy if Toru came to my rescue, but dreaming won't change reality.
For now, if I work here, I can get food, a place to sleep and clothes to wear.
I have to work hard to stay alive.
"Even though you're a demon, you're someone very serious."
"And Soara-San isn't serious enough for a human."
"What did you just say!?"
Soara-San had found out about my identity as a demon earlier.
She had taken off the camouflage ring Kaede-San had given me.
She was surprised at first, but after about five seconds, she was back to normal.
Nowadays, she's gotten so familiar with me that she's started pinching my cheeks while swearing whenever I make her mad, like she's doing right now.
This person is like a violent demon... No, she's definitely worse than a demon.
She released my cheeks and I rubbed them with my hands.
Ouch, she scratched me. Even if I have a higher level than her, that hurt a lot.
"Hey, stop slacking off!"
"Hoo, General. I don't think it's wise for you to talk to me like that."
The General had scolded Soara-San, but she adopted a rebellious attitude.
The General pretended not to hear that and turned away.
"How did you do that?"
"It's because of this."
She pulls out a wad of papers from his chest.
It's the currency used here.
Unbelievable. When I came here I was only given one thousand rudra, and yet Miss Soara has three hundred thousand of her own!
"We made a bet and I took all the money he and his friends had."
"So it was a trick?"
"Not at all, he thought that because I was upset, I wouldn't participate in one of their games. Oh, but they were so innocent, they never imagined I would have God's blessings on my side."
"I thought priests weren't supposed to partake in gambling."
"You want me to slap you with this wad of money? Hm?
I apologized quietly.
Hmmm~, the truth is, I'd like to eat something a little fancy with Soara-San's money.
We went to a nearby sales stand.
They sell liquor, meat, candy, books and other items that you can't get through the distribution you get from the work lairs.
"Whoa! Look at this foam, Soara-San!"
"This is the liquid gold I was wishing for!"
The beer is poured into a pitcher.
You can see how cold it is when you hold the handle.
Soara-San and I gulp down the beer in one go.
Fueeh~, it was so delicious!
After all that work, a nice, cold beer is bliss.
"Here you go, two chicken skewers."
Two skewers of chicken were placed in front of me.
"Pione, you have to be open with your desires."
"Oh, is that so?"
"Yes, you have to be extravagant at the right time. If you try to satisfy yourself with small pleasures, you'll end up falling short and, instead, you'll feel worse than before."
I take a sip of my beer and then pick up the chicken skewer.
It's covered in a sweet sauce that looks very appetizing.
It is the most delicious thing to eat. This is what it means to satisfy your desires, and I'm enjoying it.
"What are you doing here?"
The leader of the work group approached the concession stand.
Behind him were the faces of two of his cronies.
Smiling, Soara stood up.
"Looks like you're looking for me to take your money again."
"This is the last time I'm going to let you get carried away. Just you guys watch, I'm going to get back everything we've lost."
Beer tastes good.
I want to eat more of this chicken skewer.
Soara and the guards borrowed a tent and a table and started playing.
I don't know how the game works, but it seems that the person who gets the score closest to 21 in total card points wins.
At first, Soara-San lost one after another.
The general was in a good mood after winning a lot of money.
But halfway through the game, the situation was reversed.
By the end of the game, Soara was still winning and the faces of the three soldier were pale.
"Which one is the last one?"
"No, no, it's not possible."
The team leader's losing streak was confirmed.
Soara-San's wealth had increased to 800,000. She had a big smile on her face, a big wad of bills in front of her.
I wonder if all priests are like that.
"Damn, we lost again!"
"I have God's blessing on my side. You should run away with your tail between your legs like a good loser. Or do you want us to go all or nothing?"
"Uuuh, I'll remember this!"
The group leader and his friends fled.
Soara-San sat down next to me and ordered another beer.
"What did you mean by 'all or nothing'?"
"Myself. There are two ways to pay for things here; with your money, or your body. In other words, you become a sort of pseudo-slave.
"You mean like, depriving you of your freedom as a person?"
"Not in that sense. It's like a verbal agreement, since there is no middleman slaver. But in a place where there is no escape, it doesn't matter if there is a master-slave contract."
I want to leave this place quickly.
I've been planning with Soara-San and looking for a chance to get out of here. But the guards have eyes everywhere, and they are watchful at all times.
I really want to see Toru.
I wonder what he's doing now. I wonder if he's thinking about me.
I miss him so much.
"It doesn't suit you to look so gloomy. Here, have another drink."
"Thank you, Soara-San. You're very kind sometimes."
"Did you really have to phrase it like that?"
Soara-San started pinching my cheeks again.