Chapter 32:

Chapter XXX – Bless them which revile you.

His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)

Ayomide had woken up today, on the wrong side of the bed to be exact. Somebody had left one of the windows open in the barracks and the breeze had frozen her back stiff during the night. She cursed the person who had made her sleep a living hell.

However, her troubles were not to be over. She was making her way to Lady Leila’s room, with food as usual, when she heard awful noises coming from the room: cries and moans of pain. Plenty of them, and Ayomide worried, at least a little bit, whether the former mistress was dying back there. The abolitionist catgirl ran into the room, praying that their source of ransom wasn’t about to end further existence.

She gently opened the door to see that, visually at least, Leila was fine. There was no blood or anything, so things didn’t seem to be too bad. The woman was clutching to her belly, too busy being in pain to say anything coherent to Ayomide.

“Oh… is this what I think it is?” Ayomide didn’t need Leila’s response to understand what was happening. Shit. What do I do? Being an abolitionist catgirl wizard was a completely separate branch of business compared to midwifery. “Uhm… Uhm…” Now she was panicking as well, this situation was somehow more stressful compared to impaling the overseers with javelins. At least she knew how to deliver a javelin, delivering babies was a whole lot more delicate of a job.

An idea struck Ayomide. Right, didn’t Brown have twenty children or something? He should know at least a little bit about midwifery… or would it be midhusbandry in his case? With this she ran out of the room, leaving Leila alone while she hunted for a suitable abolitionist with a particular set of skills.

Old John Brown and Harriet Tubman were back in the estate’s office, planning plans of future abolition and having theological debates as to the nature of the universe that they had found themselves in. By now, they had come to an agreement that the Lord had most likely created realms other than Earth, and that they were just in one of many realms that was found in the grand painting that was Creation.

They hadn’t, however, come to full agreement as to their future plan for action. Brown was adamant on being bold, and continuing to take offensive actions like the capturing of the copper mine that they were currently occupying. Tubman, on the other hand, wanted to go in a more covert manner until they were a whole lot more powerful as an organization.

Their talks had come to a gridlock, so there was currently silence. Brown intended to break it, so he found something to change the topic. “General Tubman, w-”

“Old man! General!” Ayomide crushed Brown’s dream of conversation when she crashed into the room. “I need you to make a child!”

“Excuse me?!” The two abolitionists were unsure as to how to reply to such a request.

“I mean-” Ayomide’s tongue had slipped and fallen into a cliff out of panic. She was still panting from having to metaphorically fly up the stairs, and her brain was still lacking sufficient oxygen. “I need you to deliver a child! The captive’s giving birth!”

“Oh! You mean something like that, young lady.” Brown was happy that he was not being requested to copulate so suddenly. He was still, technically, a married man for God’s sake! “I’m afraid that I lack experience in the field of midwifery.” Back in his time, midwifery was definitely a woman’s job, and Brown hadn’t studied deeply into it. He looked toward Tubman for help.

“I’m afraid I ain’t got the experience either.” Tubman shook her head. “I haven’t given birth to any children of my own. Kyauta hasn’t either.” Being an Underground Railway operator was, just like being an abolitionist catgirl wizard, a completely different field from midwifery.

“Great…” Most of the people in the estate were miners, who definitely didn’t participate in midwifery. Shinasi was an adventurer / professional winesop, Hakim was a cook, and Tater was a kid. Why did this woman have to give birth right now?! “Alright, what do we do now?”

Brown had a brilliant plan. “We pray to the Lord and…” He got up from his seat. “…do our best not to mess up.”

This plan didn’t seem too satisfactory to Ayomide, but she didn’t have a better plan either. I think that the Lord has abandoned us at this point… “Then…”

“Let’s be quick!” Tubman had a better plan. “Come on, that baby ain’t delivering itself!” She hurried out the door to Leila’s room. Brown and Ayomide followed her in her swiftness. Brown paused in front of the door, causing Ayomide to pause as well. “You aren’t going in, old man?”

“Lord forbid, I’m not going to be staring at a woman while she gives birth.” That’d be a tad bit too sinful considering that involved seeing parts that shouldn’t be seen by a gentleman. “Call me if you need anything delivered to the room.”

“Alright…” You do what you wanna do, old man. With this, Tubman and Ayomide went into the room while Brown leaned on the wall, praying most fervently for a safe birth. Leila was technically their captive, the widow of a whose thoughts were most likely much less than savory, but a good Christian like Brown would not hesitate to bless those who reviled him.

While leaning on the wall, Brown could easily overhear the commotion coming from inside the room. “General, we should probably let her lay do-” Crash! “Crap! That wasn’t too expensive, was it?”

“Miss Ayomide, now is not the time to worry about that!” Tubman admonished Ayomide, and sounds of broken shards crunching under their shoes could be heard. “The baby comes out of here, just pull up her dress so the way’s clear.”

“This feels way too creepy… Wait, is that the baby’s head?!” Ayomide screamed out of shock. “Ah! The hell is this?!” This only served to stress Leila further, who was still wailing in pain.

“Don’t be needlessly uncouth, Miss Ayomide!” Saying ‘hell’ was definitely not acceptable, even in such a stressful situation. “It’s moving down… Alright, push!”

Wow, it looks ugly.” She sounded genuinely surprised. “I thought that babies were supposed to be cuter, and not covered in slime.”

“Miss! Stop being rude toward other people’s children and help me get this baby out!” It seemed that Tubman was slowly running out of patience.

“I can’t move it further! There’s a hose of flesh stuck to its tummy.” Ayomide was further creeped out by the baby, but she didn’t dare make any further disparaging comments lest she incur the wrath of Tubman.

“I think we have to cut that one.” Tubman popped her head through the door to meet old Brown. “Knife.” She extended an empty hand, which was quickly filled by Brown’s trusty knife courtesy of Watanabe Generico (remember him?). Tubman popped back in as quickly as she had popped out.

“Wait, we’re just going to cut- Just like that?!” Ayomide wasn’t exactly used to seeing impromptu incisions to human flesh. Spawning new humans was a whole lot messier than she had initially thought. “And… That’s a whole sac of flesh that just came out of her. Holy…”

“That’s called ‘placenta’, if I remember correctly. The baby’s bit quiet-” Tubman’s thoughts were interrupted by the newborn crying so loudly that everyone in the room (and even Brown outside the room) thought that their eardrums would rupture to a thousand pieces. “Alright, it… he’s alive. Brown, you can come in!”

Brown came in to the room, to see that the once elegant bedroom had turned into a huge mess. There were the shards of a broken vase on the floor, a wet carpet thanks to said broken vase, along with other bits and bobs knocked and moved during the chaos. Ayomide was sitting on the couch, looking up to the ceiling in a manner that suggested she was most exhausted. She wasn’t expecting so much action today. Tubman was looking around for some sort of towel to clean her hands of fluids that needn’t be mentioned in further detail, and the newborn infant was seated on Leila’s chest.

“Thank the Lord, it seems that you are all fine.” Brown’s comment gained a sarcastic glare from Ayomide.

“Yes, I’m very fine as you can see.” Ayomide had only one question left in her mind after witnessing the wonders of childbirth: Why the hell do people willingly have children?! She was glad to be the one peacefully sitting on the sofa, not having to worry about doing whatever had just happened in front of her. “Huh, what’s this?” There was a letter that had been left on the armrest. “Oh, it’s the letter that the butler just gave.”

“Stop…” Leila tried to rise up to meet Ayomide, before she remembered there was an entire baby currently occupying her. “…Or… It doesn’t matter if you read it. It’s not like I can do anything to save myself.” She seemed somber all of a sudden, for a good reason. “We’re all dead men here.”

“Huh?!” Leila got the same reaction out of everyone else in the room. Ayomide rushed to open the letter. Confronting the letter’s letters, she remembered the fact that she was illiterate. “Old man, could you?”

Brown snatched the letter from Ayomide. He began reading its contents out loud. “Dear sister, I hope that you are doing your best despite these troubling times. May the Divine give you patience, and…” Its contents, on the front page, were mostly intrafamilial fluff. However, when Brown turned the paper over, he saw another thing.

Instead of letters written in ink like usual, there were letters written in something that had burnt down. The paper smelled vaguely like citrus, oranges to be exact, which revealed the nature of this simple invisible ink that had been made visible. The writing on the page with invisible ink was a whole lot cruder as the sender wasn’t able to clearly see their writing during the process.

All of this work preparing invisible ink had actually gone to waste, as Ayomide hadn’t inspected the contents of the letter in the first place. Sir Baha had simultaneously underestimated and overestimated the freemen on that front. Brown was a bit angry that they hadn’t managed to catch something as simple as invisible ink made from orange juice.

Dear sister. I regret to infourn inform you that the count has decided to not wait for you to be released. He’ll be caming coming with his army soon.

May murcey mercy be granted to our souls.

“That’s way earlier than I thought. Huh.” Brown took a good look around the room. Ayomide’s face looked like she was done with life, so did the face of Leila, while Tubman retained her slight scowl as usual. Unlike them however, Brown didn’t seem to affected.

“Old man, aren’t you supposed to be panicking right now?! I’ve only had a couple days to drill those thirty or so slaves, and there’s only a little trench to hold back whatever that count throws at us!” Ayomide was righteously freaking out a bit over the prospect of being attacked by a proper army.

Brown continued as calmly as he had done before. “That just means that we’re just going to have to advance our plan in a quicker pace.” He threw the letter back on to the armrest. “It’s a shame that we’re not getting the full ransom, but we’ll have to content ourselves with what Providence has deemed suitable for us. The Lord eventually rewards the righteous, one way or another; keep this in mind young lady.”

“…and he’s currently rewarding us with certain death?” This Lord didn’t exactly seem to be of the consistent sort. “We can’t win against the forces of a count!”

Brown revealed a slight smirk, committing the sin of pride. “We can and, God willing, we will.”

And Ayomide revealed a raised brow. “…how are we going to face such a force?”

Brown’s answer was suitably laconic:

“We aren’t.”