“I don’t want to.”
I looked down at Goaz, whose skin had been tinted black, and I could feel the corners of my mouth rising into a smile.
The sight of a large man kneeling and trembling before me was truly a humorous thing.
He had a rugged face.
He was the kind person who vainly trained his muscles, the exact kind of person that I hated.
People like him were the plague of my previous life.
He reminded me of my old life’s debt collectors.
“Please forgive me! I’ll do anything!”
The men around me had their guns at the ready as they carried out the corpses.
Their eyes on Goaz seemed to have a frost to them.
This was precisely the reason why I couldn’t forgive Goaz.
One of the reasons being that he’s the type of person that I hate, with the second being because he seemed to be misinterpreting the situation.
“Aren’t you misunderstanding something? You’re saying that you’ll give me all of your treasures, but all your treasures are already mine. The only thing of value you have left to give me is the bounty that the Empire has placed on your head.”
Goaz’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Please wait! If you let me live, I can still be useful to you! I might’ve lost to you, but you’ve seen my strength! Without arms or legs, there’s no chance of me ever betraying you! So spare me, I beg of you! I even have hidden treasures worth far more than my bounty located elsewhere that I can offer you, so please! Have mercy!”
He started sputtering on randomly.
What he was saying could be true, but it wasn’t enough of a reason to spare him.
“Oh? You still have a few secrets left? I’m sure you’ll be willing to tell me on our way to the Empire, we have lots of fun torture chambers booked for you.”
“Don’t screw with me you shitty braaaaaaaaaaa-”
Maybe he had given up on speaking with me, but Goaz lunged at me the best way he could with only one foot.
There was black smoke emanating from his body.
To such a Goaz, I pointed my sword and-
-I chopped him up to the point where he was just barely alive, I even took his last leg.
After slipping on the floor, Goaz had the idiotic look of someone who couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. It took a while, but after understanding the situation, he started to cry while pleading for his life.
“Help me! Please! Anyone! Please help me!”
I delightedly looked over my new sword, it was far better than I could’ve ever imagined.
That’s when my men asked me,
“Lord Liam, do you intend to capture him alive?”
“Is there a problem with that?”
“N-no, it’s just that he’s killed a lot of our men.”
I see, I definitely couldn’t show any mercy to this scum.
“If I kill him, will the total bounty drop? Isn’t it usually better to bring them in alive?”
I remember hearing that it was like that.
But apparently Goaz was different,
“No, particularly atrocious criminals are fine if they’re brought in either dead or alive. Goaz is one of such individuals, the rewards should be fully paid out as long as you have evidence of your kill.”
I was quite embarrassed to have my lack of common-sense pointed out again,
“Oh, so there was something like that too, huh?”
Goaz was still crying when I looked back at him.
The sight of him brought back memories of my previous life– who the hell said that there was room for humanity even in debt collection? Because of bastards like him, I was coerced of my life’s savings and forced to live a life of poverty.
They had absolutely no room for mercy.
I was forced to tell them I had already invested it all into life insurance.
And no matter how much I cried, nobody saved me.
I worked desperately just so I could live to the next day.
Just why was that world so unreasonable?
That said, what about now?
Now I was in the position that took things away.
And wouldn’t a heinous criminal like Goaz be one of the best people to take from?
“Please have mercy. I’ll tell you everything, so pleas-”
“No, you annoy me.”
After I chopped off his head to shut him up, I was surprised as to what happened with Goaz’s body.
His black skin slowly reverted into a normal skin tone.
It turned into a wheat-like shade that was slightly sunburnt.
“Huh, he changed back to normal. Does this mean he wasn’t a remodeled human?”
No matter how I looked at the body, there didn’t seem to be any form of cybernetic alterations.
So that black skin was just some kind of skill he had… this universe sure has a lot of mysteries in it.
I picked up Goaz’s head.
“Will this work as evidence?”
My subordinates immediately replied while bringing over tools for first aid.
From the reports that had started to come in, it looks like we’ve almost completely taken over the ship.
One of my subordinates then brought forward some interesting news,
“Lord Liam, we’ve captured one of their officers and apparently… they have some people imprisoned here.”
◇ ◇ ◇
One of the captured pirates led us to a room that was built near Goaz’s personal quarters.
I thought this pirate ship was built quite well, turns out it was actually a seized battleship from another star country.
As a side note, It was a lot of fun ‘overdoing’ my abuse against our captive,
I kicked the pirate who was guiding me from behind.
“Hurry it up!”
“A-as you wish!”
The man was one of Goaz’s close aides, someone with the position of a ‘rearing officer.’
He was short, fat, and his limbs were thin.
In conclusion, he was a creepy little man.
Apparently he was assigned to this position because of some specialized skills and knowledge that he had.
After being guided to the room near the captain’s quarters, my men entered first.
The rearing officer was trying to say something,
“Ah, please try your best to not touch the equipment, they’re very important tools of the trade.”
“Tools of the trade?”
They were using tools to raise animals? On a battleship?
Something seemed off about all this…
“Were you raising a dog on this ship?”
Maybe thinking that I was taking an interest in his work, the man started to smile,
“I love lords who understand my profession. So you like dogs? I can modify any animal exactly the way that you like, my lord. Do you want me to create an obedient dog for you?”
What the hell is this man talking about?
As I pondered how strange this man was, several of my subordinates had practically jumped out of the room.
Some of them even removed their helmets and started throwing up.
One of my escorts began criticising them,
“W-what the hell are you doing in front of Lord Liam?!”
The fully trained soldiers had pale faces, just what did they see in there?
As another one of the soldiers walked out the door, he grimly reported to me,
“Lord Liam, I recommend that you don’t enter the room.”
There was no power in his voice.
“Don’t patronise me. What happened in there?”
Surprisingly, it was the creepy breeder who answered my question instead of my hesitant subordinates,
“This is my laboratory. Inside, I was usually tasked with helping with the Boss- er, Goaz’s hobbies. I’m sure that my lord would understand the true worth of what’s in there.”
The men who had taken off their helmets were glaring at the rearing officer,
“You’re the devil!”
At my subordinate’s words, the rearing officer started to smile.
With my order, the rearing officer began to fervently talk about his work.
And because of that– with a feeling of disgust welling up inside me, I shot the breeder in the head with my handgun.
As I thought, all thieves are evil.
It couldn’t get any simpler than that.
◇ ◇ ◇
Inside the dark room, creepy tools were hanging off the walls.
But what everyone there was scared of was the operation table that was placed in the center of it all.
This room was called the ‘breeding room’ among the pirates.
It was an unholy place where the culmination of the creepy rearing officer’s experiments and Goaz’s hobbies had combined.
The ones kept in this room were individuals who were once considered ‘beautiful people.’
Goaz had the hobby of defiling that which was beautiful until it was ugly.
Incidentally, he also enjoyed the practice of torture.
On the other hand, the rearing officer was more interested in the modification of the human body. The repulsive appearance of the former beauties was the result of bringing these two people and their hobbies together.
Among them, there was one woman in particular who was treated especially horribly.
Her name is [Christiana Leta Roseblaire]- a girl who was once a beautiful female knight.
In a small country separate from the Empire, she was born into their royal family and was loved by all as the ‘Princess Knight.’
She was captured alive alongside Goaz’s attack on her territory, and became his favourite toy.
Everyone brought to this room was a person that had a special position in their respective societies.
They were the people who were afflicted by Goaz’s distorted hobbies.
Christiana- Tia was now barely more than a chunk of meat that didn’t physically have a single vestige of her former self.
She was aware of the strange occurrences happening to the ship, so she wasn’t that surprised when an unknown armed force entered into the room.
The soldiers who entered started to throw up at the sight of her.
Some of them were even shaking.
Tia began speaking to the nearest soldier,
“…what happened to Goaz?”
The former beauty’s voice was now repugnant and nauseating to listen to.
One of the shoulders shook in surprise and raised his gun.
“Don’t be scared. I might look like this, but I’m not an enemy. I’ll ask you again, what happened to Goaz?”
As she was acknowledging the soldier’s response as only natural, a gunshot could be heard from the other side of the door.
Her friends in the room felt relief at this sound.
This meant that they could finally die.
One knight entered into the room soon after.
Young and petite.
It was a suspicious little boy who carried around an adult-sized sword.
Judging from the response of the soldiers, Tia could tell that the boy was their superior.
“What happened to Goaz?”
The boy seemed a little surprised at the question, but answered immediately.
“I killed him.”
“…is that so.”
In the room, her friends started to moan.
They expressed happiness, gratitude, and tears of joy- the sight of which only scared the soldiers, though the boy seemed to be watching Tia with interest.
One of the soldiers who was searching the room handed a terminal over to the boy.
Tia was overjoyed.
The boy was like an angel sent from the heavens that she had prayed for.
“It’s really over… I don’t know who you are, but if you have any compassion left in your soul, please save us!”
To die by the boy’s hands would be Tia’s salvation from this hell.
She would no longer be forced to live inside this prison of a body.
Tia thought that everything was finally over.
“You want me to save you?”
“Yes, you can understand just by looking at us. We can never live as humans again, so by your hands-”
After taking such hideous forms, it would be impossible to revert back to their original states.
There was no point in living anymore.
However, the boy didn’t give the order to kill,
“Understood, I’ll save you. I’ve actually made a lot of money this time, so I can afford it. Somebody call a doctor and have all of them carried out!”
Tia realized that the boy had misunderstood her request for him to ‘save’ them.
But the boy had already left the room with some of the soldiers.
So she turned to the ones that stayed.
“Please! Kill me! I’m begging you! Just kill me!!!”
But the soldiers refused.
“-it’s Lord Liam’s order. We can’t go against it, sorry.”
Inside the darkness of the room, Tia had fallen into despair.
◇ ◇ ◇
As I left the room, I was looking up the original appearances of the modified people on the terminal.
What was interesting about each individual, what kind of experiments were done, and what had been modified was all written in detail in the documents.
I looked up the modification process, and there was even something similar to a breeding diary.
Apparently all of them used to be quite beautiful, and then they were experimented on until they had their current appearances.
“This is a disgusting hobby.”
I couldn’t understand how anyone could enjoy this.
My subordinate asked me,
“Lord Liam, are you really going to help them?”
The one who spoke was a subordinate that had some medical knowledge. He started explaining to me that the methods to treat people who had been modified that much were quite limited.
“To fix their appearances, we’d have to send them through treatments to reconstruct their bodies from scratch.”
“Will they be able to recover then?”
“It’d require an elixir. We might only need to use a diluted amount, but you should know how expensive and valuable they are.”
Usually when you speak of elixirs in fantasy universes, you’d have the image of a universal medicine.
They existed in this universe as well, but there were only a few of them in the entirety of the Empire.
If one was brought to an open market, it would definitely be sold for an exponential price.
“I’ll buy it. They’re something that I’ve wanted as well, so let’s purchase a few of them.”
If I sold all the treasure that I’ve obtained from Goaz, I was sure to obtain a considerable amount of money.
There might be more hidden treasures that I haven’t even found yet too.
Besides, I’ve been wanting to have a personal elixir for a while now.
“No, it’s not that simple, we’d also need to hire specialized doctors, and prepare state-of-the-art equipment for them. Even with all that, it would take years for them to revert back to their original forms, and on the off-chance that they do recover, then they’ll undoubtedly need therapy to deal with the mental stress they’ve been forced to go through. The costs of treatment would be immense.”
I didn’t see any real problem since we made a lot of money this time, though.
“I’m only helping them because they asked me to help.”
“When they asked you to save them they meant-”
My subordinate fell silent.
They couldn’t expect to live a normal life anymore.
I also knew that- but looking at the processes written in the terminal, I could only say that they were just unlucky.
I felt sympathy for them, who had suffered through things far worse than what I had.
Most of the people who were captured had their homes destroyed in Goaz’s raids.
The majority of them didn’t have anywhere to return to.
“I’m feeling a little generous right now. Plus, it doesn’t feel bad to do good deeds every now and then, don’t you think so?”
My subordinate was silent and didn’t know what to say.
◇ ◇ ◇
When I finally returned to my territory, I was given a hero’s welcome.
Many of the people were crying in happiness like Brian, who went and greeted me at the mansion.
Amagi was the same as usual.
But Brian was crying to the point that it was almost unnerving.
“Lord Liam, this Brian definitely believed that you’d return safely!”
“O-oh, I see.”
Amagi softly added on,
“I was only slightly worried, I knew you’d win.”
“…is that so?”
—I wish she worried a bit more and cried.
Brian tried to give a report through his tears, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying so Amagi took over.
“I’ve been summoned to the Imperial Capital?”
“Yes, they wish to bestow a medal to the lord who had defeated Goaz’s Pirates. It’s just a statement at the moment, but the official announcement should arrive soon.”
That’s when I remembered the guide’s words.
He said I’d complete great achievements through military exploits.
It all came true.
For destroying a pirate fleet of that size, I had received an incredible amount of treasure and honour.
Pirate hunting sure is profitable.
“In addition to that, we’ve been contacted by the Henfrey Chamber of Commerce and the Seventh Weapons Factory. Thomas wants to begin talks with you about purchasing the spoils.”
“What did the weapons factory want?”
I couldn’t really think of a reason for the factory that the beautiful Nias worked at to contact me.
But Amagi followed up right after,
“Many of the weapons that the pirates used were things developed in other countries. They want to purchase them as research materials.”
“So they just want to secure more things to research?”
“If you found any rare metals, they’d also like to purchase those to increase their material stocks.”
The Goaz pirates did possess a substantial amount of precious metals.
—though that didn’t make me happy because there wasn’t much gold.
“I guess I’ll talk with Thomas first.”
“I’ll begin the preparations immediately.”
Things really were easy as long as you had competent subordinates working for you.
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com