Chapter 2:

Company Slave

REC Company

An hour passed since the incident and Enzel was still out cold.Bookmark here

Suddenly, his fingers twitched, and he was starting to regain consciousness. Lying on the dented floor, his head shook till his eyes were open. Though hazy, his vision was coming back slowly.Bookmark here

"What happened?" The damage he took on his head probably did a number on his memory. Within moments, the stinging sensation in his skull started to fade, and his mind was back intact. The events that transpired ran through his head.Bookmark here

"Damn! It's scary how strong I still am." He smirked in thought, confidence brimming in the mass destruction he caused.Bookmark here

His back then started to feel itchy. He reached it with his arms, but he couldn't even move them. When he looked down his torso, he realized he was on his knees while his hands were tied behind him. Actually, his whole body was bound by a rope in a complicated knot. He struggled to undone it, but it was too tight and he couldn't muster any strength at all; seemed like the previous fight drained him that much.Bookmark here

"What the? Who tied me here?!" He could only think of one person that will do this to him. "Where the hell are you, Rachel?! What's the meaning of this?!"Bookmark here

"Shut up, will you?! Your whining is ticking me off."Bookmark here

Suddenly, his head was caught in the grasp of a hand from behind. It wasn't fast, but strangely enough, he couldn't foresee this attack. Enzel squirmed as the hand's grip intensified as if it were trying to bury its fingers into his skull.Bookmark here

"Owowow! Let go! Let go! It hurts!" Enzel wiggled his body, causing the rope to tighten even more.Bookmark here

"Don't worry. I was only making sure you won't run away." The familiar voice behind him held no sympathy in her tone. There was no questioning who it belonged to. The hellish wrath in her breath was the only identification Enzel could ever need.Bookmark here

"Alright! Ow! I get it already! O-Ow!" Enzel found himself arching backwards with every second the hand dug deeper as if it were trying to tear his brain out. "Let go already, Rachel!"Bookmark here

Rachel released her clutch on Enzel and faced him. She stood in front of Enzel with a cold glare and flailed her hand; feeling that she had contaminated it simply touching his hair.Bookmark here

With the sharp pain easing, he looked at her angrily. "What's the meaning of this? Don't tell me you're into this kind of kinky stuff! Did you do this to those attackers too?!"Bookmark here

Her switch was flipped once more. Enraged, she immediately grabbed him by the neck, lifting him up into the air. Veins pulsated from her hands as she choked the poor sap.Bookmark here

"How say I give you a sample of what I put those rats through?" Her eerie tone grew more horrific with each word that she spoke.Bookmark here

Eventually, she let go, dropping him on the floor. He desperately caught his breath, coughing really hard. This was what kept raising questions the moment he reunited with her; that uncanny ability to inflict such pain on him. Since when did that weak guildmate of his grow so strong?Bookmark here

She wiped off her hand and then looked down the tied man lying on the marble floor. "Anyway, now that you're awake, I shall now turn you into my slave."Bookmark here

"T-turn me into your slave?" Enzel wondered with a face that shows confusion and irritation. He then came to a realization. "So you really have this kind of fetish! I always knew you were creepy! Don't think you can enslave me that easily. I've faced lots of women with far better technique than you!"Bookmark here

Rachel blushed upon Enzel's rebukes "W-what are you talking about, you lecherous pervert!?" She glowered. "You are going to be my slave as compensation for the damage you caused. I'll work your ass off you until you fully pay your debt!"Bookmark here

"Wait a minute!" He forcefully lifted his body upon finally understanding the situation he was about to get in. "Why the hell am I the only one paying for this mess?!" He moved his face close to Rachel as if he was pointing a finger to her, with his chin as substitute. "First of all, those goddamn thieves were the ones who attacked your store! I was the one who saved your sorry ass from them!"Bookmark here

Enzel then recalled the thieves who have mysteriously vanished. Looking around, he finally noticed that they were gone. "Speaking of sorry asses, where the hell are they? Shouldn't they be working for you too? What's with this unfair treatme- Umpff!"Bookmark here

She covered his mouth tightly with a palm on his jaw. "Shut your hole! Don't you dare prattle against me!" Enzel couldn't fight back at all. She was completely overpowering him.Bookmark here

"Regarding those thieves..." Rachel smirked deviously. "They already did their part, so don't concern yourself over their well-being. Right now, they're satisfying the sea creatures." She moved closer, whispering to his ears with frigid breath. "Or would you rather swim with them? Your body may be good nutrients for a certain King Calamari that lives around here."Bookmark here

"Not the tentacles!" Trembling, Enzel shook his head. Seeing his reaction, she took her hand back, wiping it with a cloth. A condescending smile emerged on her face. "Excellent. We're finally on the same foot. I suppose we have a compromise?"Bookmark here

"I value my life more than anything else. So even if it's against my pride, I'll swallow it up to work for you," He said as he tried to get the sensation of Rachel's hand off his face. The thought of a giant creature with wriggly tentacles made him shudder. "I wouldn't mind being eaten by another creature, but for the love of all that is holy, no tentacles."Bookmark here

As he continued thinking, the brilliant idea of escaping crossed his mind. "I'll just have to deal with her shit for now and then run away when I get the chance. Hehe. It's great to still be alive and kicking, but there's no point to it if I have to work for this pushover."Bookmark here

And while he was relieved that his life was spared, he was still flabbergasted, trying to digest the demon his old guildmate grew into. "Still, to think you'd feed people to a sea monster for simply destroying your store. Since when did you become so ruthless?"Bookmark here

"Forget about the small little details." Rachel shrugged off his question and started cracking her knuckles. "Let's begin the contract."Bookmark here

"Huh? Contract? What for? Why?" Enzel did not expect the requirement of a contract, which perplexed him. "Are you going to turn me into a magical girl or something?"Bookmark here

"Since I will be employing you, it is of utmost importance to form a contract with me, your manager, to ensure that your life is completely in my hands. Naturally, this would mean that you will have no means of escape."Bookmark here

"You sure are one paranoid wench." Enzel commented, hiding his inner thoughts. "I'm sure it's just some flimsy piece of paper with written conditions that needs a signature. I'll just have to steal it from her, tear it apart and finally, put on my vanishing act!"Bookmark here

"Fine, whatever. Give me the paper and I'll sign the damn contract." He tried to reach his hand out, but then he remembered he was still tied down. "But first, could you take this rope off me, like, right now?"Bookmark here

"Oh you're good just like that," she insisted. "I'll handle the contract myself. I only need you to be conscious for this to work."Bookmark here

All it did was confuse him. "Hah? Then what do you do?"Bookmark here

"This." She held her hand gently against his face, causing him to shy away.Bookmark here

"W-Wait a minute!" Flustered, he shook off Rachel's hands with his head; the slightest shade of red on his cheeks. "W-Why are you touching me like that?!"Bookmark here

"Didn't you listen? We're forming a contract! Can't you get it through that thick skull housing that tiny brain?" She grabbed his face again, squeezing down on his cheeks.Bookmark here

"You mean it's not a written document?!" he screamed in his mind.Bookmark here

"Don't resist. I don't like doing this either, but it is compulsory in order to secure our contract." She placed more pressure on his cheeks, ensuring he won't escape her grasp once more. Unlike him, she was completely composed and showed no reluctance in what she was about to do.Bookmark here

She slowly inched her head towards him until their foreheads made a contact. Enzel felt her warm skin and the floral scent of her hair pass through his nostrils, making him blush harder. "W-What kind of weird contract is this?!"Bookmark here

"Just shut up and close your eyes."Bookmark here

Under her orders, Enzel closed his eyes tightly. He could feel her breath lingering across his lips that were mere centimetres away from hers.Bookmark here

"O-Okay..." His heart was racing at the thought of what she was about to do.Bookmark here

"Alright. Here it goes."Bookmark here

Rachel slowly moved her forehead away. Taking a deep breath, she steeled her will. Holding down his cheeks harder, she seemed rather anxious about him moving away. It was as though she only had one chance. One she was not going to miss.Bookmark here

Enzel, on the other hand, was getting agitated at how long this contract was taking. With eyes still closed, he finally asked a question, "Hey, is it done alread-"Bookmark here

Before he could finish his sentence, he felt something moving closer to his face at top speed.Bookmark here

Unfortunately for him, it was not a pair of lips as he had expected, rather, an entire forehead.Bookmark here

"Urrrrrryyyy!"Bookmark here

Screaming at the top of her lungs like a madman, Rachel rammed her head against Enzel's, causing immense pain to both of them the moment they collided. With a few seconds of skin contact, silence grew in the ravaged store.Bookmark here

Finally, the stinging pain kicked in. Rachel moved her head away and let go of Enzel's. She slowly stepped backwards, pressing her hands against the sore spots.Bookmark here

"Oooowwww! My head is going to break!"Bookmark here

"Ouch! Ouch! My head! Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!"Bookmark here

While Rachel was somehow able to keep standing, albeit teary-eyed and a bit dazed, Enzel was rolling on the floor, suffering from the excruciating pain that he couldn't ease thanks to the rope that prevented his escape.Bookmark here

"Ugh! I did not expect it would hurt this much!"Bookmark here

"What the hell, you bitch! I thought you were about to kiss me!"Bookmark here

"Kiss you?" Rachel grimaced when she heard that. "Why would I do that for a contract? Not to mention, with a miserable scum like you! It'd be easier to convince me to feed myself to the King Calamari. Besides, I only need physical contact to seal the deal."Bookmark here

"Does it really have to be a freaking headbutt?!" Still lying down on the floor, he cried, "And kissing is also physical contact, you moron!"Bookmark here

"I need to force a huge amount of magical energy into you so that the seal could be embedded, which will authenticate the contract." She was visibly shaken, hand on her forehead. "Though I was considering kicking you in the balls instead of a headbutt. Maybe I should have gone with that."Bookmark here

Enzel immediately guarded his crotch by squeezing his thighs together. "On second thought, I'm fine with the headbutt." He paused for a moment. "Like hell I want your kiss anyway! I'd rather kiss a llama's ass! It's prettier than your face!"Bookmark here

"I should be the one saying that." She was twitching, crept out by the idea of kissing him. "Stop being disgusting, will you?!"Bookmark here

A few seconds after that painful 'contract signing', a symbol of a butterfly with four wings appeared and immediately vanished on Enzel's forehead. Only Rachel noticed this; her lips curling into a satisfied smile.Bookmark here

As the pain dispersed, she straightened her posture and crossed her arms. "Since the contract is now complete... Enzel Venera! From today onwards, you are officially my slave!"Bookmark here

"Did you give out too many headbutts?!" Still on his bum, recuperating from the ache, he looked up at her. "I'm not your slave, I'm your employee!"Bookmark here

"You're a corporate slave. So technically, you're still a slave." She insisted with a nose held high. "And stop calling me by my name. From now on, you are to address me as manager or master whereas I shall call you slave. Do you understand, slave? Must I repeat myself, slave?"Bookmark here

"Stop saying slave already!" he yelled at her. "I'm your employee and employees have rights!"Bookmark here

"No, you are a slave." With a tone of malice, she was forcing her perspective into him. "And slaves do not have rights. Accept it or accept the tentacles, slave!"Bookmark here

"You oppressive witch!" He was ready to explode anytime after all the abuse she was throwing, but the odds were stacked against him. "F-Fine! Do what you want! I'll just have to work my ass off here, right? I'll show you what I can do!"Bookmark here

"Oooh, confident, are we?" Rachel smiled sarcastically.Bookmark here

Despite being incapacitated, he managed to exclaim, flaring with confidence. "Who the hell do you think I am?! I am the strongest fighter in the history of time! I've taken down entire armies and slain thousands of monsters! Nothing can stand before me! All shall fall before the might of! The one! The only!" He tried to strike a pose, but ended up tumbling and hitting his head on the floor. "The great Enzel Venera! Also, remove the rope already!"Bookmark here

She just rolled her eyes, deriding his egocentric speech. "Yeah, yeah. That was like, three years ago. Move on from your delusions." Shaking her head, she continued. "And that has nothing to do with the work you'll be doing here. Do you even know anything that doesn't involve fighting?"Bookmark here

Enzel had a crooked smile, veins popping on his forehead. "Hell yeah I do! You don't know because you were always left behind in that guild like dirt! Since you're such a useless mage, nobody wants to work with you!"Bookmark here

She failed to give him a reaction of any kind. Instead, she only shot back with a retort. "Funny. The strongest fighter in 'the history of time' is now working under said useless mage. If that useless mage is nothing but dirt, then that fighter is lower than dirt. The fool who follows the fool is the bigger fool, after all."Bookmark here

"Why you! Useless! Weakling! You can't even cast a basic spell properly!"Bookmark here

"I look forward to what that fighter can do for this useless mage who gave him a beating today without even using a basic spell she can't cast properly."Bookmark here

Enzel gritted his teeth; clenching his fists behind from the ever growing frustration. Not only did he get beaten up good, he ended up becoming a slave-official worker to her, someone who was always inferior to him. He could only glare at her in anger, to which she responded similarly.Bookmark here

And while the two continued their glaring contest like a married couple in a feud, a group of children walked into the store. Since the door was destroyed hours ago, neither of them noticed their presence, as the bell attached to the door failed to make a chime.Bookmark here

It was only till one of them spoke up that they realized they weren't alone.Bookmark here

"Ah! The store is wrecked! What do we tell big sis?"Bookmark here

They heard the voice of a boy, putting an end to their wordless war, diverting their attention to the kids. The group composed of two girls and four boys didn't seem to be street children as they were properly dressed, but they didn't look too luxurious either. Certainly, they were of average background.Bookmark here

When the kids noticed Rachel, they immediately approached her, but stopped halfway when they noticed her with a man doing what seemed to be a bondage play. The battered and tied down fighter sat beside her. The children froze upon the scenario of a woman and tied man together in a run-down establishment.Bookmark here

A girl, who was the shortest and youngest among them, pointed at Enzel and then looked at the manager with probing eyes.Bookmark here

"Ms. Witch, is he your husband?"Bookmark here

The innocent question of a lily-white child only brought a cold silence to the store.Bookmark here

Both the adults were utterly stunned. As if things couldn't get worse, the other five followed suit, surrounding Rachel with a barrage of questions.Bookmark here

"Hey, Ms. Witch! When did you get married?"Bookmark here

"When did you two meet, Ms. Witch?"Bookmark here

"Why aren't you wearing your wedding ring?"Bookmark here

"Do you have a child? Is it a boy or a girl?"Bookmark here

"Ms. Witch. Did it hurt the first time?"Bookmark here

Rachel, while surrounded, couldn't contain her embarrassment and her cheeks gradually turned a shiny red, especially in regards to the last question.Bookmark here

"W-Wait a minute, kids! Why do you know something like tha-" She swallowed a breath, tackling the point of contention. "I mean no! He's not my husband!"Bookmark here

"Me? Your husband?" Enzel pointed at himself. "You're losing your marbles!"Bookmark here

"I should be the one saying that!" Rachel snapped back; her face still as red as tomato.Bookmark here

The girl who asked the first question pouted in disappointment. "Is that so? And here I thought you're happily living with a man, Ms. Witch."Bookmark here

"I guess Ms. Witch isn't really married to this man." The oldest-looking boy scrutinized him with keen eyes. "Look! His clothes are torn and tattered, he has lots of bruises and wounds, and he's dirty! There's no way a scruffy hobo like him would be Ms. Witch's husband. She has standards."Bookmark here

"You looking for a fight, brat?!" Enzel lashed out at him.Bookmark here

"That's correct, youngster. It's impossible for me to marry a fetid, penurious derelict like him." Agreeing with the boy, Rachel rewarded him with a gentle pat on the head, throwing fuel on Enzel's fire.Bookmark here

"But why is he tied up?" A snot-nosed younger boy asked, which made the two adults pull their tongue back.Bookmark here

With the snap of her fingers, Rachel undid the rope around Enzel that dispersed into small particles.Bookmark here

"But!" the young girl answered back to the boy. "Maybe that's just how Ms. Witch shows her love to him! Y-You know, by hurting him! You see, mama always tells me that papa shows his love by beating her up. There are even times he would tie her down and call her a bitch. Isn't that the same with Ms. Witch?"Bookmark here

Rachel could only stare, having heard such a bleak statement from such a saintly voice. "Ugh... I feel bad for this girl."Bookmark here

"The things they teach kids these days..." Enzel, on the other hand, had a hard time stomaching what was said.Bookmark here

"Bitch? What's that? Do you know that, Ms. Witch?" Another girl asked when she heard an unfamiliar word. Meanwhile, the adults were silently in shock.Bookmark here

Rachel stuttered and failed to give a proper answer to the kids. After all, she couldn't just tell them the definition of such vulgar word and corrupt their minds at a very early age.Bookmark here

Instead, Enzel chipped in. "You see kids, a bitch is someone who is really strong. Someone you must idolize because that person is amazing!" He then pointed his now free hand at Rachel. "Like this woman here. She's a bitch."Bookmark here

He was humbly rewarded with a kick to the face by Rachel after clearing up the question.Bookmark here

Before the topic could derail to something darker, Rachel decided to change it by entertaining her customers while the poor hobo wriggled on the floor like a dying caterpillar. "A-Anyway! Kids, I think Ms. Witch knows why you are here. Are you here to pick up your big sis' order?"Bookmark here

"Ah!" The older girl exclaimed. "How did you know that? We didn't even tell you! You really are a witch!"Bookmark here

While her reply was rather asperse, Rachel decided to let it slide as it was normal for children their age to behave that way. "Sure, sure. Whatever you want to say." Hands on waist, she sighed. "So I was right?" she smiled. "I'll get it from the workshop, okay? Behave yourself, kids!"Bookmark here

In unison, the children answered with a loud, "Thank you, Ms. Witch!"Bookmark here

Convinced, Rachel nodded and started walking towards a door, a few meters to the right of the one that leads to her house. "Watch the kids for me, slave," she ordered as she left.Bookmark here

Enzel got up and just goggled at her lazily and when her back was turned, he stuck out his tongue like an immature brat.Bookmark here

With his manager off at the workshop, the slave looked back at the kids with his droopy eyes. They stared at him intently as if they were examining him from head to toe.Bookmark here

"W-what?" A few drops of sweat trickled down Enzel's head. He wasn't particularly enthusiastic about conversing with brats.Bookmark here

"Hey, hey, Hobro! What happened to the store?" The youngest boy asked.Bookmark here

"I-It's a long story. Don't ask about it!" Enzel froze when it hit him. "Hobro?"Bookmark here

"Hey, hey, Hobro! Let's play!" The younger girl enthusiastically raised her arms like she was asking for a lift, all while hopping up and down.Bookmark here

"Stop calling me a hobo! I work here, you know!" He couldn't help but sigh. Assuming his boss wouldn't take too long, he decided to just go along with the kids. "Alright, what do you want to play?"Bookmark here

"Let's play house!" The second youngest boy suggested.Bookmark here

The young girl was ecstatic when she heard that. "Yes, yes! Let's play house, Hobro! You can be mama and I will be papa!"Bookmark here

"Yeah sure. I don't care whoever plays papa." Enzel simply went along with it as he scratched his head in boredom.Bookmark here

"Yayifications!" The girl merrily jumped around like a bunny. "Then... Since I'm papa, I'm going to love you by beating you up!"Bookmark here

The 'mama' buried his face in his palms, containing his emotions. "So pure, yet so deluded."Bookmark here

Sitting down to meet her eye level, he grinned. "Alright, you can beat me up if you want, but don't hurt yourself okay?"Bookmark here

"Yepperonis!" The girl joyfully answered, twisting her shoulders.Bookmark here

He had a blank expression, not a shred of fear on his countenance. "Well, it's not like those tiny hands can hurt anything. I'll just let her do as she pleases"Bookmark here

"Are you ready, dear?" The girl clenched her little fists. "I'm going to give you lots of love!"Bookmark here

Enzel imitated a loving housewife with the most ear-grating falsetto. "Yes! Be gentle, darling!"Bookmark here

The girl took a deep breath and then launched a punch at him. "Hiyaaaaa!"Bookmark here

He remained in place, keeping to character. "Ahn! Darling! Don't be so rough with m- Guhoooooo!"Bookmark here

The girl's fist buried into Enzel's face before he could even finish his line. Though the girl barely stood above his waist, she was far stronger than she appeared. Her attack was more than enough to knock him down to the ground.Bookmark here

She stood there, looking down on Enzel with her fist raised proudly. "Hmph! You're weak! Even mama could take more punches!"Bookmark here

"Do I look like your battered mother?!" he answered angrily, holding onto his reddened cheek. "Also, how the hell do you punch that hard?!"Bookmark here

The older girl had her nose held high. "We may be small, but we are strong!"Bookmark here

"Hobro, I thought we were playing house?" One of the boys asked.Bookmark here

Enzel lifted his body and sat on the floor. "Yeah that's what I thought too." Defeated, he shook his head calmly. "Guess we're playing wrestling instead."Bookmark here

"Wrestling?!" The children's eyes glimmered with exhilaration at the mere mention of the word.Bookmark here

The necessitous slave was taken aback by this sudden boost of interest. "W-Wait a minute. Hey! W-What the hell are you thinking?!"Bookmark here

"Attack!" The oldest girl shouted, ordering the others like a warlord in the battlefield. The others heeded her command and immediately jumped to Enzel while shouting, "Wrestling!".Bookmark here

"Hiiiiiiiiiiiii!" A pig-like squeal was let out as the kids fell on his body.Bookmark here

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"Kids, I'm back!" About thirty minutes passed and Rachel returned to the store with a hat in hand. Feathers all over, the hat looked like it had wings.Bookmark here

But what welcomed her back was her employee being wrestled by her customers. The boys locked their legs around his limbs, while the older girl had his head locked in her small arms. As for the little girl, she was simply jumping on his stomach. Repeatedly.Bookmark here

"Wow. Five years, and you've grown so feeble that even children can overpower you."Bookmark here

"D-Don't ask! Ack! J-Just hel-uk me!"Bookmark here

As the children's assault continued to torture Enzel, a young woman, somewhere around her twenties, entered the store with fretful eyes. "Excuse me, but did you see a group of-" She glanced towards the floor, finding the children tormenting some stranger. "Oh, hey! There you are!"Bookmark here

When they heard her, the children stopped, released Enzel from submission and turned towards her.Bookmark here

The woman let out a sigh of relief, pressing her hands against her coat which had long tails behind. Pairing with it was a short blue skirt adorned with yellow vertical linings. On her waistline was a belt with two swords attached, which indicated combat experience.Bookmark here

"It's big sis!" The children exclaimed, releasing their victim. They then ran towards the woman, hugging her black, thigh-high stockings.Bookmark here

She fussed, tapping her brown laced boots against the floor. "Geez! I was getting worried! You kids were taking too long! Did you get lost?"Bookmark here

"No, we were playing house with Hobro over there!" The young girl pointed her small finger at Enzel who was down, sore all over.Bookmark here

"Hobro?" The woman shifted her gaze to Enzel's beaten body, finding familiarity in his appearance. Tapping her chin, she struggled to recall who he reminded her of. Eventually, she shrugged it off and placed her attention back to the children.Bookmark here

"Kids, what was the basic move I taught you when you fight someone?" Her words sounded authoritative yet laid-back.Bookmark here

"Do a three-hit combo!" The children joyfully replied and big sis nodded in satisfaction.Bookmark here

The young girl tugged the woman's blue coat. "But big sis. I just punched him once and he was already down. Did I do something wrong?"Bookmark here

She stared down at the anxious girl. "You knocked him down with only one punch?"Bookmark here

"I-I'm sorry I didn't follow what you said." She was ready to cry as the woman's expression turned stony.Bookmark here

Seconds passing, the woman sighed as she tipped her purple hat adorned with golden chains. "Nah! You didn't do it wrong. In fact, if you defeated your opponent with one punch, then that's just proof of your strength!" She gave praises to the young girl while patting her head, relieving her of worry. "Guess the old man's training regime paid off, yeah?"Bookmark here

"Yayness!" The girl blushed and smiled, indulging the praise she received.Bookmark here

The woman then gazed at Rachel. "Ah is that my order?" She pointed her gloved hands towards the hat she was holding.Bookmark here

"Ah yes. It's done." Rachel handed over the hat over to her.Bookmark here

"Thank you," she said as she received the item. "By the way, what happened to your store? It's completely ruined." The woman started probing her new hat.Bookmark here

"It was attacked. That's all."Bookmark here

"That so? Well, that happens a lot lately." The woman then stuck her right hand in the hat and spun it about. "Glad nobody got hurt." She glanced at Enzel. "Well, except for that poor sap over there."Bookmark here

Rachel immediately stopped the woman from pressing further. "Pay no attention to him."Bookmark here

The youngest boy tugged the woman's skirt. "Big sis! Big sis! Did you know that Ms. Witch was married to Hobro and they were doing some game with a rope a while ago! They looked like they were having fun."Bookmark here

She turned to Rachel with the most mischievous smile, her left hand hiding her lips "Heh you're into bondage? Pfft! The things I learned today! But please don't show it in front of the kids. Also, since when did you get married?!"Bookmark here

"No! That's not true and I didn't get married!" Rachel violently disapproved the woman's statement. "I was just preventing this guy from running away! He's my new worker! Don't twist the facts, will you?!"Bookmark here

The woman was already enjoying herself, but decided to drop the teasing and shrugged it off. "Anyway, thanks for the hat! I might order another one soon, so tell your craftsman in advance, 'kay?"Bookmark here

After paying Rachel, the woman walked out the store, prompting the children to follow.Bookmark here

Before they joined their big sis, the children turned back to Enzel and waved goodbye to him. "Come visit us at the orphanage sometime, Hobro! Let's do another wrestling match, okay?! Bye-bye!"Bookmark here

And thus the children left, chasing after the young woman.Bookmark here

Enzel was left lying on the floor, his limbs still numb. As the cheerful clamours of the children faded into echoes, he only had one thought running through his mind.Bookmark here

"I hate kids."Bookmark here

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Soon, the sun was setting. Behind the counter, Rachel waited idly for customers. She looked at Enzel who was still down on the floor. Bored, she decided to make small talk. "Surprisingly, you got along with the kids real quick."Bookmark here

"The fact that they have that kind of fighting prowess still bothers the hell out of me. That big sis of theirs sure is proud of her little devils. Who were those people anyway?" Feeling his limbs, Enzel was finally able to at least sit down on the floor.Bookmark here

"They come by every now and then." Rachel snapped her fingers, creating an invisible, box-shaped barrier surrounding the store. "Seems like I won't be able to sell much today thanks to your misguided heroism so I'm closing for today. This barrier should suffice to prevent anyone from coming in through that hole in the wall."Bookmark here

"You should have used that from the very start." He stood up, stretching his arms.Bookmark here

She opened the door to her home. "You stink. Get in and take a bath. Bath's just beside the stairs. Once you're done, go upstairs and wait for dinner."Bookmark here

He raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Wait. Are you trying to say that I'll be living here with you?"Bookmark here

She turned around to face him, an icy glare in her eyes. "Do you prefer sleeping outside? I don't mind giving you the boot."Bookmark here

"Uhm... No." He shook his head. "I was just surprised you'd let me stay here."Bookmark here

Annoyed, she explained, "All of my workers stay with me. That is at least one privilege I give to my employees. So be grateful, even though you're a slave."Bookmark here

"Well..." He was scratching his neck shyly. "Thanks, I guess."Bookmark here

For some reason, that shy look on his face made Rachel blush a bit. She quickly averted her gaze so he wouldn't notice her reaction. "Hmpf! Get inside already! You smell like shit so get in the bath quickly!"Bookmark here

Slamming the door, she left him alone inside the wrecked store.Bookmark here

"Uhh... Okay," he sighed, incapable of understanding her sudden fit of anger.Bookmark here

Cracking his neck, he stepped forth to wash himself up. It was strange how the little weakling he would pick on was now the one picking on him, but in the end, life was just full of surprises. There was no way to predict what would happen tomorrow. Enzel hadn't a choice in the matter, but at least he has a roof for shelter now. If only the cons didn't outweigh the pros.Bookmark here

Like it or not, his new life as an employ- slave was simply beginning.Bookmark here

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A/N: And chapter 2 is done. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I had fun writing it. Next chapter, we go outside the store and Enzel gets to do his first errand. We'll soon explore the town they live in and a few more characters will be introduced. Look forward to it! Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.