My Sister The Villainess - LightNovelsOnl.com
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"Ah, the Dry Lands. A G.o.ds-forsaken h.e.l.l on earth the equal of you're unlikely to find now or in the future. Love the place."
Harris laughed uproariously. A tall, slightly pudgy individual who smiled too much, stank of ale and cheated at every card game we had since our meeting.
The man was one in a number of merchants running supplies to a large city, the only large city, in the Dry Lands who was kind enough to let us travel with them--for fee, of course. They were pretty good bros.
b.a.s.t.a.r.ds cost an arm and a leg though, so f.u.c.k 'em.
Me, Minnie, Evie, Dolly, Vera and Baz sat in a comfy caravan the size of a small building
Sadly Charlotte had to stay behind and continue her training. Her last words were, "Papa, don't go! You promised you wouldn't leave me, you promised! Papa! *Hic* Papa!"
That's totally what she said, word for word. Believe it.
Oh. But Arbok was here, by the way.
I brought him, too, when I left home.
Currently he was lounging on a blanket next to Baz. Who was rubbing his head and feeding him rats. Spoiled little s.h.i.+t. Heh.
Meanwhile he guards at either side of the caravan were sweating bullets, and not because of the heat. Arbok had kept looking at them, then at me, his eyes saying, "Dinner?"
To which I audibly replied, "They'd be pretty tough... you sure?" Which nearly made the battle-hardened warrior p.i.s.s themselves.
It wasn't surprising. Arbok, like Patches, was a fine specimen. Having grown considerably since his capture, the lovable little guy was now large enough to completely cover a fully grown man and crush his bones into fine powder.
CONGRATULATIONS! Your Sneaky Snek evolved into...Danger Noodle!
As for Patches, he followed behind. His army of subordinates made the others traveling with us rather nervous.
What about water, you ask? Well they can actually go without for a while. It's food that they really need but they hunt during the night so the've been pretty good on that front.
Also for the past three weeks since we left I've been exploding almost every other day--that artifact was s.h.i.+t. Thanks for nothing, Kane--and in addition to flowers, water would now rise from the ground too and fill within the hour.
Only since we entered the desert though.
So they've been drinking that.
That aside, Harris, unlike the other merchants, welcomed the small army of wolves. It was free added protection, after all.
"Have you been here before, Young Master?" The man asked, chugging down a bottle of wine.
Now see, I could act like a normal pleb. But Dolly and Vee? Total bluebloods.
Couldn't hide who we were, really, so I decided not to. Actually why would I anyway? Things came a lot easier and simpler to people with status, can't deny.
It was expecially easy being recognized too since Harris had coincidentally been there at that tournament from way back when.
Needless to say, I made an impression on the bloke. Really liked my "flair" apparently.
"Once, with my father." I nodded. "Not the city though. Just one of the clans."
The Aeil were mainly a nomdic people, or at least the small clans were. The larger ones centered themselves around areas with a water supply, which were few and far between in this wasteland they called home.
Everyone else moved around a lot. Kinda had to. You could only last a few months at one place at a time or you'd attract too much attention from the surrounding beasties. Smaller groups had little chance against the big eaters that's come looking for an appetizer.
The sandstorms were no joke either.
I even heard there's an area of the Dry Lands that'd once been hit by some sorta weird lightning storm for weeks on end.
It turned the sand into gla.s.s and now the sandstorms there were deadly to anyone unlucky enough to be caught inside.
"Indeed? Well, that's your luck. I've had to come here every month this past year and the blasted sun hasn't taken kindly to me at all. The spiteful b.i.t.c.h is determined to burn the fat off my bone." Harris fanned himself. "Alright let's stop and set up camp." He yelled out, causing a chain of shouts as the men to the far forward and backwards were infomed.
He wasn't the highest ranking merchant but he was the one leading the way. He was the most familiar with the route, apparently.
The man turned his eyes toward me. " Another game, Young Master?"
"Why not?" I yawned. It was evening but there was little to do except eat, drink and play games. Which grew boring fast, but it was something. Maybe I should start writing again, I hadn't in a while.
As Harris set up the board I noticed Evie eying the set curiously.
All this time both she and Minnie had their eyes downcast, barely talking at all.
Now was the only time since we met the traveling merchant that either of them expressed real interest in something.
Harris also noticed her stares.
I saw him frown.
He waved a hand at one of the armed men near us, spoke a few quick words in a language I didn't understand, and pointed.
The brawny warrior silently approached and raised a hand.
"Either tell your guy to step the f.u.c.k away or I'm cutting off his hand and feeding it to you."
This was why!
The two were being considerate!
I didn't even think that Harris might be one of those people who believed in strict social cla.s.ses.
By the way they acted he must've viewed them as low-cla.s.s servants or something.
Like, I dressed them well enough. But given how quiet and docile they've been...
How dare this f.u.c.ker. Harry, dude, you've lost all your bownie points just now.
He smiled jovially. "Oh? The Young Master is generous towards his servants, I see. Very well, since you don't mind it I won't either." Another short string of words. The man returned to his original position. "There. All's good, isn't it?"
I ignored him.
"Wanna learn how to play?" I asked, refering to Evie.
"It's easy, you know. I'm sure you'll get a hang of it fast."
The girl's eyes shone. "Is it...okay?"
"'Course. C'mere." I gestured.
Harris raised a brow but said nothing.
"...No, anything times zero will always be zero. Why? Because for the last question there were two sets of five apples in each basket, see, so the answer was ten. And it's not asking about the baskets, only the apples, but there aren't any apples. So, zero. Get it? No matter how many baskets you have it's useless if you don't got any apples to go with them. And if they weren't exact sets then it'd just be adding. Got it now? Okay, great. Let's move onto our verbs and nouns... "
Wearing a pair of reading gla.s.ses i didn't need, decked out in a grey vest and white dress s.h.i.+rt, I took out my gold pocket.w.a.tch--sneakily borrowed from one of the other merchants, because how else would I find a nice accessory to go with my dandy little suit out here in Satan's a.s.scrack?-- to check the hour.
It was just a little past 4:15.
I glanced over at Minnie. The young woman was hard at work trying to solve an equation I'd created. Her brows were all scrunched up in concentration and her tongue would stick out from time to time.
She wore a black choli top that exposed a long, s.e.xy waist coupled with a hooded purple shawl. Along the top's cut hung gold beads that fell just short of--and drew attention to--a cute little navel.
Her pantaloons were also purple and of the chalwar* style, light and billowy and somewhat transparent. It clung to her hips enticingly.
She could've been mistaken as belly dancer, or a member of some King's harem. Which was the entire point, really.
the outfit said, "Child support is only 18 years." Or even, "Life is short, have an affair!" Both of which I'd give serious thought towards.
And guess which genius was responsible for this feast of the eyes. That's right. This guy.
I walked by and gazed over her shoulder.
Using the horse whip confiscated from Vera the night before--seriously, what did she think she was gonna do, huh? Actually, how many of them did she even have?! This is the third in as many weeks... --I placed the tip under her chin and made her look up at me.
"Just what do you think you're doing?" My voice was cold and unforgiving. "Don't tell me you've forgotten about PEMDAS already."
The woman averted her eyes. "Sorry, Master." Was all she managed.
"Oh, Minnie." I tsked. " What a disappointment." A shake of the head.
"I'm really sorry." She repeated.
I noticed another little habit of her's--She bit her bottom lip when nervous, along with the hair tugging.
"I suppose special lessons are in order now, aren't they?"
Guilt flashed brightly. "No, Master, you needn't trouble youself! I'll get it right on the next one, I swear!"
s.h.i.+t, did I say that out loud?
As I was about to make up an explanation there came a sudden knock on the door.
" Young Master!" Harris barged in. "Please tell me you didn't actually kick a.s.sisant Branch Head Kang out of his own caravan."
The man was out of breath.
"Kang?...Ah" I remembered. Angry pompadour dude. "Well I needed a quiet place and he was being stubborn." I splayed my hands. "He made me do it, didn't have a choice."
"Need it for what? Wait..." He gave Minnie and Evie a cursory glance. "Young Master, you can't be attempting to educate the help, right?"
"You guessed it."
"But that's...that's ridiculous. They're low-born!" He seemed utterly dumbfounded.
Hahaha. The irony of that statement. First, they're Royalty. Second, he's a merchant. Not exactly a high-born himself.
Not that either mattered.
"Go back far enough in history and everyone used to be pig farmers or sheep herders." I countered.
"Bulls.h.i.+t." He scoffed. "There're many bloodlines which go back nearly a thousand years."
This guy's a bit slow, ain't he?
"Bit stupid, aren't you?" Oops, I said it.
"I resent that."
"Feel free to, buddy, not like I care. Anyway, what I do with my followers isn't any of your business."
"You harra.s.sed an important member of my entourage just so you can teach a couple of servants how to write their names. That makes it my business." He smiled. His thumb was rubbing against his other fingers in the universal sign of Gimme.
I see what he was doin'.
What an oily b.a.s.t.a.r.d....I can respect that.
But I couldn't make deals like this with these two watching.
"You'll find it a business not very profitable then."
"I can throw you out, you know?"
"I've got an army of wolves, you know?"
"...Your a dab hand at negotiations, Young Master." The man laughed. He cleared his throat. "Yes, very well. I'll find another place for a.s.sistant Head Kang. Carry on, Young Mas--"
"Young Master, bandits." Baz popped his head in.
"Bandits?!" Harris' eyes went wide.
I, on the other hand, was as cool as a cat wearing a fedora.
"About d.a.m.n time." I grunted.
"I'm sorry, what?" The pudgy man was starting to look ill.
"Nah, don't worry about it." I waved him off.
Baz poked me. "Young Master, actually--"
"Let's go, Bazman. You know how fussy Ca.s.s can be if we keep them waiting."
I was already stepping out of the vehicle.
Harsh winds of heat pelted my face as soon as I got out the door. Yeah, the suit may not have been very ...well, suitable for the weather. I'll have to find a good hat with a wide brim, at least. Minnie and the others should be kept inside so they don't turn to jerky, too, now that I think of it.
That aside, seriously, is it just me or does it feel like I'm the one getting most of the sun? Like yeah it's everywhere but it really feels as if it had something against me in particular.
The smells of roasted pig, boiling soups and other things wafted in from every direction.
Tents were set up everywhere. I saw to my far right a huge group of people armed to the teeth. One half were the hired guards, the others were bandits.
No fighting broke out yet but there were shouts being thrown back and forth. I a.s.sume they were undergoing negotiations of their own.
That was the thing about Dry Land bandits. They didn't like to sneak up on you, they were straightforward and honest about taking your valuables. They almost always opted for fighting you head-on. Apparently anything less was considered cowardly and liable to d.a.m.n your soul to a thousand years of cactus up your a.s.s.
Although if you're brave enough...
They didn't care much for the object themselves either, they only cared about how much water they could make off them. Here water was more valuable than gold, literally.
There were women and children huddling together in fear near their own caravans.
I ignored that and walked to where the action was.
Pus.h.i.+ng my way past the sweaty meatheads, I soon reached the front and found myself staring at a handsome, one-eared Aeil warrior. The signature golden brown skin and pale lavender locks--yeah, weird color for hair, but it's a game world after all so I just roll with it--both present.
His snarl died halfway through as soon as he saw me.
"Who the f.u.c.k are you then?" I asked.
He was oddly quiet, seemingly surrprised by the sharpness of my tone.
Couldn't help it. This was NOT Ca.s.s.
"Young Master, that's what I was trying to tell you." Baz struggled to my side. "They're bandits."
"Yeah, no s.h.i.+t, of course they're--Oh." I realized belatedly. "Not friendly, then?"
Huh. Quite a pickle, eh?
I saw both sides quiet down as they all stared at me.
I held up my hand. "Hold up. " And jogged back to the caravans, returning a moment later with my trusty Great Club.
This earned me strange looks from everyone, bandit, merchant and guard alike.
I put the oversized weapong over my shoulder, then pointed to the handsome bandit leader.
Most Aeil spoke the common tongue.
"Hey man, how do you feel about cat-ears?"
The man sneered. "Mutant sc.u.m!"
"A slow death it is then." A nod
And smacked him with my Big D.
"FOR THE HORDE!"
I didn't know why, exactly, I said that. But somehow it just felt right.
"That was utterly spectacular!" Harris gushed. "You sent him flying like BAM! Twenty feet in the air, a crushed chest! Then the wolves, my G.o.ds, the wolves! Just AWOO~! and you're already torn apart. Oh, and the sword! Dear heavens, THE SWORD! It just comes flying in like WHOOSH~! heads rolling left and right. How exciting! They had so many valuables too! Who goes out stealing with all their loot just a few minutes away? That man was pretty quick to sell out his friends, eh? Talk about honor among thieves. "
....I rubbed my fingers.
The man's excitement died quickly. "Tsk. Fine. Here's your cut." He begrudgingly handed over a pack of gold coins.
"Thanks, Harry my man."
"Say, about that sword--"
"50 more gold pieces and it's yours."
"*Glows in panic!""
"Nah, I'm just f.u.c.king with you. It makes a great survival tool, not gonna sell it. Do you even know how easy it is to make a hot bath when you can cut boulders like warm cheese? There's just so many things you can do..."
The Hero was using the sword all wrong before. This is a master-cla.s.s carving tool! The possibilities were endless!
I was on my way back to Minnie, whistling a cheerful tune as I wiped Sinner off my hands.
All around me were terrified faces.
Everyone was so scared, in fact, that not one person made even a single peep.
I was thoroughly confused. It's like they were looking at a Devil or something. Shouldn't they be GLAD the bandits are gone?
These weren't like those immagrants from before, these dudes would've left them without food or drink or even the clothes off their backs, okay? Geez.
Though I guess me cleaning pulverized Sinner from my face with a handkerchief wasn't a very wholesome sight.
Speaking of, why wasn't Milly all dirtied up? There wasn't blood anywhere on her. And she's the one who took off more heads than anyone.
I supposed that's a magic Holy Sword for you, it's conveniently self-cleaning. I had to say, with the low maintenance and it's cutting abilit it's safe to say it was growin' on me.
From now on instead of toothpick, let's upgrade it to pig-sticker. If it keeps being so handy it can even be on the same level as a swiss army knife some day.
And I love those things, always a use for them.
"Young Master, you got blood all over me. Look at my s.h.i.+rt, it's ruined! This was my favorite, you know? How rude...It'll never come out!"
Baz complained. During the fight this little guy was rolling all over the place like an excited jackrabbit. He was really just trying to get out of the battlezone but once someone threw an arrow at his head he got mad and started kicking some s.h.i.+ns.
Indiscriminately. Which may have been partly why everyone was looking at us funny, they couldn't tell which side we on.
"Sorry 'bout that." I gave him a cookie. "Forgive me?"
I always keep a cookie on hand. Baz loved cookies. They're like s...o...b.. snack to the guy, he'd do anything for one.
"Of course. It's just a piece of cloth, what's one lucky s.h.i.+rt sewn by Mother for three days and nights to a couple of brothers like us? *Munch* *munch* *munch*"
"...Don't tell Mary about this, please."
He rubbed his fingers.
This dude! He's being corrupted! Who did it, who's tainting my moss-headed little goofball?!
I slipped him another cookie.
I gave Harris a look. "See, now THAT'S how you make a deal."
"By using blackmail and bribery?"
"...I see..." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
While he chewed on that we reached the caravan.
Evie was the first to speak up. "Master, that noise..."
"There were a couple of G.o.dless heathens to take care of." I explained.
"Oh. " She nodded, as if that were the most natural thing in the world. "Did any of them see Master's light?"
"Er...no. No, I don't think so." I had a light?
Even if I did they wouldn't be seeing much of anything anymore, I reckon.
Somehow I was a bit nervous about the direction she was going in.
"What noise, then?" Minnie asked, having only just now wrenched her gaze from the practice worksheet I'd given her.
"You didn't hear that?"
"Hear what, Master?"
"Nevermind." She was becoming weird too!
Minnie, people were dying out there, you know! They were just bandits, but still!
What happened to your excellent hearing?!
Suddenly Vera popped her head in.
"Young Master, bandits."
"Again?!" Harris gasped.
"Young Master Damien, just what the heck is happening?!" The merchant was on the verge of a panic attack.
"Hands us, fatty. This is a robber--I mean...surprise inspection."
"I-Inspection?" He stammered. " From who?"
I calmly started collecting the two maids' work.
"The Spanish Inquisition, that's who. I know, I know. No one ever expects us."