The next morning, Shyemul visited the bedroom to wake up Souma and ended up frowning unintentionally.
Even though she had told him to not overdo it that much, the bed shows no traces of Souma having slept there.
Sighing and dropping her shoulders in a grand manner as if to say that he’s really incorrigible, Shyemul turned her head around wondering where she could actually find Souma. Thereupon she discovers Souma sitting in a corner of the room, with his head hanging down and arms wrapped around one knee. She wondered whether he nodded off in that posture, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Seemingly unaware that someone had even entered the room, Souma was mumbling something to himself.
Shyemul started walking forward, making loud footsteps to make herself noticeable. With this, Souma finally became aware of Shyemul and sluggishly lifted his head.
“Don’t 『Ah… Shyemul』 me! Soma! I’m sure I told you to not force yourself!”
Due to her angry look, Souma’s vacant eyes came into focus at last. He slowly looked around him and noticed that the morning sun was shining into the room.
“Huh…? When did it become morning?”
Shyemul is stunned due to his comment.
“I have a wish, Soma. Please don’t make me worry so much.”
While saying that, she sat down next to Souma and took out the breakfast she had brought along. It’s a grilled bird leg seasoned with salt and herb, and a powder of crushed nuts that was turned into dumplings.
“This morning I found a stupid bird that lost its way into this mansion’s garden. Since it looked plump and delicious, I caught it while thinking of breakfast.”
Souma thought that the bird didn’t lose its way but was kept instead, but he couldn’t tell that Shyemul who’s brimming with innocent happiness.
Being handed the well-done bird leg, Souma was about to sink his teeth into it, but stiffens suddenly. Shyemul noticed Souma’s state of hesitating while holding the leg.
“What’s up? Do you dislike bird meat?”
“No, it’s not that…”
Shyemul bites into her own share of leg meat. The good flavor of the meat that had plenty of fat, the salt that had been sprinkled over its surface and the tingling herbs blended into a salty, hot flavor and has a deliciousness one can’t argue against.
The taste’s not the problem either. And yet, I wonder why he isn’t eating any of it? Shyemul wonders curiously. Being urged by her gaze, Souma nervously bit into the meat.
After biting off a large piece of meat and chewing it within his mouth several times, Souma gulped down the bird meat and whispers,
“… I can bite food?”
Due to that, Shyemul masticates while checking the meat she bit off once more and tilts her head to the side as she asks 「Is it that tough?」
The two of them silently continued their meal for a while after that.
In the meanwhile, Shyemul constantly felt that something’s odd from Souma. She wanted to question him about it, but at the same time she also senses a brittleness like the thin ice at the beginning of spring that make it look like he will break apart if she touches the topic unskillfully. Even though she’s searching for the proper words to use in this situation, Shyemul couldn’t find them.
Hence, when Souma, who finished eating, called her name, she unintentionally stammers.
“W-What is it, Soma?”
“Can I have you call Dvalin and tell him to gather the former slaves in this mansion’s square?”
“Understood. You are going to appeal to them to cooperate in the battle against the humans, aren’t you?”
However, Souma didn’t return a clear answer towards Shyemul’s question. Instead he asks her for something else.
“Also, there’s something I’d like you to prepare.”
Saying so, Shyemul has a puzzled expression upon hearing the names of the two items Souma mentioned. Neither of them is something of significance. Those are items that can be immediately prepared in this city.
“What do you intend to do with those items?”
“Well, they will work as trifling props.”
Souma smiled ambiguously at Shyemul, who all the more couldn’t comprehend what his plan is.
Garam gazed at the state of the former slaves, dinosaurians and dwarves, that had assembled in the square.
With them being freed only yesterday, they had been frenzied to the point that it wouldn’t be unthinkable for them to attack the zoan who helped free them. But thanks to a proper meal and sleeping for a night, they had apparently calmed down quite considerably.
Then again, that’s only on the surface level.
The looks the former slaves are pointing at us zoan are definitely not the friendly kind. In their eyes, we freed them from slavery, but that doesn’t mean that they had asked for that to happen. It looks like they believe we only did it on the fly to help in our capture of the city. It isn’t just that either. Some like the dinosaurian Jahangil believe that we only took the city because they lent us their help.
Just how the hell does Soma want to convince such a group? Garam couldn’t help worrying.
At that moment Zurgu, who was just as grim-faced as Garam, shows up.
“Zurgu. How does the situation look over there?”
“Basically the same as what’s going on here,” Zurgu spat out.
“The problematic ones are the dinosaurians centered around the guy called Jahangil or whatever his name is. I don’t know when they will start rampaging around.”
“As expected, they won’t be satisfied with obeying the human Soma, is what you are saying?”
From their point of view it might look odd that the zoan are abiding Soma, one of the humans who dropped them into slavery and exposed them to the limits of cruelty.
“There’s that as well. Also, they are saying we should slaughter all the humans living in the city. That’s the only thing they talk about when they open their mouths. Even I’m fed up with it.”
Garam suddenly shows a small smile upon Zurgu’s bitter tone.
“Their hot-bloodedness exceeds even yours, you mean?”
“I’m not that hot-blooded! Right, Shishul?”
Having silently waited behind Garam so far, Shishul is at a loss for words after being suddenly addressed.
Thanks to Zurgu’s miserable expression due to the unexpected betrayal by his niece, Garam, unable to endure it, burst into laughter.
Zurgu, who snorted with a sullen look because of that, raises his voice with a quiet 「Oh」.
“It’s the entrance of Sir Soma and your younger sister.”
When Garam turns around, it was right at that moment that Souma was walking over to them from within the mansion.
Garam scrutinizes with his eyes when he sees his sister following behind Souma as usual. That’s because Shyemul held something unfamiliar.
“Those are… shackles and a bag?”
It was at a distance, but what Shyemul carried in her hands apparently were wooden shackles that are usually affixed to the hands and neck of a slave, and a small bag.
“What does your sister plan to do with something like that?”
Garam shakes his head towards the question of Zurgu who likewise watched the items held by Shyemul.
“I don’t know. I fear that it’s likely some kind of idea by Soma.”
Garam couldn’t even imagine what Souma was planning.
But, his intuition, that had been honed by him struggling through many battles between life and death, is strongly perceiving that something unbelievable is going to happen from now on.
For some reason Garam felt the fur at his nape standing on end due to the small human boy who stood in front the former slaves while being accompanied by his sister.
Standing in front of the people gathered in the square, Souma was overwhelmed by the looks focusing on him.
The several hundred people that are filling the sight in front of him are pouring their stares only at him. That turned into an intangible pressure and felt as if it is trying to crush Souma’s small body.
However, grasping his fists strongly and tightly, Souma resolves himself.
And then, once he fills his lungs with air to the brim, he shouted undaunted by the pressure.
“I’m Kizaki Souma, the one who commands the zoan, obtained this city and freed you!”
Talks about Souma had already been disseminated between the former slaves by people such as Dvalin.
However, what came to their minds from the words that a human whom the zoan, the supreme rules of the plains, obey is a heroic veteran with a brazen look or a human similar to a tactician that can’t be taken lightly even as he’s interrogated or scrutinized. However, the one who actually showed up in front of them was a boy with features one might call homely.
It’s understandable that skeptical whispers began to leak out from the former slaves.
However, Souma, who had already experienced something similar when he persuaded Zurgu and his fellows, didn’t plan to clear away those doubts with words. It’s because he learned that the act of showing a single truth is more convincing than a million words.
“I also know what you guys are worried about right now. It’s what we are planning to do with you, right!?”
Even those who looked at Souma with distrusting eyes cannot help getting serious if it concerns their treatment. Keeping their mouths shut, they listen carefully by bending forward wondering what Souma will propose.
“I have been completely entrusted with complete discretion in regards to your treatment!”
Saying that, Souma points at Garam and Zurgu who are in a corner of the square. Noticing that, the two nodded with exaggerated gestures so that it can be seen by everyone present on the square.
The former slaves are shown the reality that the zoan are in fact obeying the boy in front of them and get surprised all over again. The colors of suspicion and disdain towards Souma had vanished from their expressions when they once again turned their gazes back to Souma.
Understanding their change from experience and having obtained sufficient feedback, Souma said the words they most likely want to hear the most after waiting until the time is ripe.
“You are free! You are slaves no longer!”
Being once again affirmed in the fact that they were released from slavery, the former slaves cheered. They embrace the shoulders of the comrades standing next to them, those who belong to the same race, and there are even some who are stifled by tears of gratitude.
In front of them celebrating, Souma shut his eyes and didn’t try to say anything further with him only listening to their shouts of joy.
After a while, the cheers of the former slaves gradually die down.
Among them, who have cooled down from the temporary passionate delight, a sense of impending danger slowly and faintly gains in strength. Just because they were freed from slavery, it doesn’t end at that point. Everyone present understood that there’s no hope for the humans to leave such large-scaled slave revolt alone.
However, Souma, who was expected to address their anxiety, only stood in front of them.
Everyone gradually starts to feel uneasy due to Souma continuing to stay silent while simply keeping his eyes shut.
At last a single dwarf couldn’t bear it any longer and asked,
“So, what do you think we should do!?”
Consenting voices saying 「Yeah, yeah」 rise in the surroundings.
Due to that, Souma opened his closed eyes and slowly surveyed the people assembled then and there.
“I’m sure I told you that you are free. Do as you like!”
With that line, shocked voices could be heard from the former slaves and zoan warriors crowded around, due to Souma’s forsaking manner of speaking.
It’s because he should have appealed for a joint struggle with the released slaves in order to fight against the humans’ military forces that will come soon, according to the plan they had heard.
The looks of the zoan warriors naturally gather on Zurgu and Garam who lead them.
Even the two of them felt shaken by Souma’s completely unexpected statement, but locking that up in their hearts, they pretended to be calm. The two, who know that unrest will spread among their brethren if they expose their own turmoil, couldn’t do anything but frantically hide it. However, they’re among the ones who want to question Souma the most in this place, due to the fate of their clans resting on their shoulders.
Instead, a single former dwarven slave spoke up.
“I heard that you will fight against the humans’ armed forces, but is that really true?!”
Souma nods grandly at that.
“It’s the truth. We have to fight against the humans’ forces that will come here soon!”
Due to that reply, the former slaves finally discovered a way they can tread on.
“In that case we will fight as well!”
“That’s right, that’s right! It’s time for revenge!”
“We will cause a bloodbath among the humans that made us into slaves!”
Hearing that, Garam thought that it was successful.
Souma didn’t appeal for their cooperation, much less did he force them into it. The former slaves voluntarily chose to fight against the humans.
They weren’t told to do so by someone else and those, who decide to fight by their own volition, are strong.
Soma changed the former slaves into warriors that will fight by their own free will, Garam assessed.
However, that was a complete misunderstanding.
Everyone doubted their ears due Souma’s refusal that went even beyond their wildest imagination.