Chapter 51:

Chapter XLIX – Walk before them faithfully and be hidden.

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

29th of Summer, 5859
Adventurer’s Guild of Casamonu, Casamonu

“Mmh… Is it morning or not?” Morning had come, and the sun wasn’t shining on anyone’s faces. Not out of any weather-related or supernatural reasons, but out of the fact that the adventurer’s guild in Casamonu had bricked up its windows. Glass was expensive, and a “window tax” had been implemented pretty recently by the count making having needless windows a bother for businesses. The upper classes would just pay the count off to continue having their precious windows, while the rural nobility was unaffected by the petty taxation concerns of the pesky city folk. Ayomide knew none of that, all she could do was try her best to understand how much she had slept by gauging how sleepy she felt at the moment.

Shinasi slowly rose up as well. He had woken up upon hearing Ayomide. “Who knows when they’ve removed the windows? Only one way to find out.” He got up on his own two feet and waited for Ayomide to do the same. “It seems the old man has already bailed.”

“Oh? Oh.” Ayomide looked around her to find that, indeed, there was no other radical abolitionists in her local area. “I did find it weird that no one woke me up. He’s probably gone out to take a walk or something.”

“You’re probably right.” Shinasi checked his pockets, finding a very dry piece of hardtack courtesy of Hakim. “Let’s just eat something downstairs. Maybe we’ll find him there.”

The pair went down the stairs, entering the wide hall of the Adventurer’s Guild of Casamonu. Unlike the disappointing guest room upstairs, the big city had a decent enough dining hall and reception area. The tables had been newly cleaned, a job that took a long time thanks to adventurers drinking away every night and leaving a mess behind them. There were windows on the ground floor, which meant that the precious morning sun could actually be seen newly rising up. The dining part was mostly abandoned this early in the morning, except for…

“…that’s why me like America, you know? You buy tank and ride legally; it is okay to do!” The black knight from gushing about the United States in broken English to a certain someone.

“…how do you ‘ride a tank’ young man? Tanks are meant to contain liquid, not passengers as far as I am aware.” John Brown was the target of this gushing, and it seemed that he wasn’t really managing it well.

“I was wondering how you could drive a tank as well.” said a woman wearing a very tall witch’s hat, so tall that one couldn’t forget it even if they saw it once.

“A tank…” The black knight went silent for a second. One couldn’t see whether he was thinking or not thanks to the helmet covering his face. “It’s like a golem on wheels. You ride it and go to battle.”

“Ah, I see.” The witch nodded, clearly satisfied by the answer.

“A golem… on wheels? Wouldn’t a golem have legs to move around?” All Brown vaguely knew of golems were that they were beings from Jewish folklore, humanoid creatures made out of mud or clay who followed orders without question. He was confused as to how or why someone would ride such a thing to battle.

“No, some of them don’t have legs. Most don’t actually, golems with legs are hard to balance.” replied the witch. “Wheels are much common in the ancient golems I’ve seen. Fierce things those are, you can barely pierce through their steel armor. Thankfully they’re also really dumb.”

“Dumb hunks of steel on wheels…” Brown had a eureka moment, remembering their surprise encounter in the supposedly ‘minor’ dungeon. “Do those steel ones appear in minor dungeons?”

“Of course not! There wouldn’t be anyone left alive in the guild if that was the case.” replied the witch. “If an old man like you sees one, the best thing you can do is run away and call us for help.”

The dark knight patted his precious zweihander which he had leaned against the wall. “Yes, we can take care of them. For a price, of course.” He was smiling at the end, though no one could see from the giant hunk of steel covering his head.

“Yes, this tin can can open all other tin cans, can’t he?” She gently nknocked on the knight’s helmet, which caused him to feel as if his head was being pecked by a dozen woodpeckers.

“Tangerina! Didn’t I tell you not to do that?!” The black knight’s gaze moved towards an anachronously designed clock on the wall. “Come on, it’s time we go.” He got up, and extended his hands towards John Brown while speaking in English. “I am glad meeting American who isn’t loser.”

Brown was taken aback by how direct the man sounded, but he shook his hands out of formality nonetheless. “Have a nice day.” He intended to go back to staring out the window, contemplating the nature of God and existence and whatnot, until he noticed his party members watching him from afar. “Oh, good morning young lady and young man. I see you two are early.”

“Good morning old man, I see you’ve found a new conversation partner.” replied Shinasi, taking a seat in front of Brown. He took out his hardtack and began eating it for breakfast.

“No, they found me.” He began taking a look out the window, unable to resist Casamonu’s otherworldly sights. “The gentleman in black armor suddenly asked if I was American. I said yes, and he suddenly started gushing about it.” Brown looked bored and tired from the conversation he had. Not understanding half of anything that was said made it hard to derive any entertainment. “I do wonder how the 21st century is…” He wasn’t sure whether things had gone better or worse as far as what he knew from the rumors.

“We’re in the 59th century, old man. I think you’re wondering about the wrong time.” He took a bite out of his hardtack, joining Brown in navel-gazing. “I do wonder how I’m going to be by the time the 60th century arrives.”

“You’re gonna be the old man by then.” replied Ayomide. Truth be told, she hadn’t gotten enough time to think of the future, not to mention not having had a future to think of to begin with. Would she, or, would they be still alive by then? Unlike Brown, she was young, young enough to have a timespan of a couple decades to think about in terms of a future.

They all sat silently, unsure of what to do next. There wasn’t much for them to engage in while waiting for the okay signal to come from the smugglers. Brown tapped his fingers on the desk, Shinasi whistled a tune, and Ayomide stomped her foot…

“Ayomide!” shouted Shinasi suddenly.

“Wha?!” The catgirl jumped back from the sudden noise; Brown was too deep into religious contemplation to notice the noise. She looked around her, not seeing anything urgent that warranted Shinasi’s sudden exclamation. “What’s the sudden shout for?!”

Shinasi’s stopped, having lost a bit of courage after Ayomide’s reaction. Still, he had just slaid a golem, and the young adventurer was filled with enough courage to continue after a pause. “Wo-Would you like to go out and eat something together while we wait?!”

“Yes! Why are you shouting?!”

“Why are we shouting?!” Shinasi coughed after having strained his vocal cords so much. They had both gotten a bit nervous to say the least, and Brown was looking at them with confused eyes after having missed the first part of their conversation / shouting match.

29th of Summer, 5859
Rogers’ Plantation, Outskirts of Casamonu

Night had fallen upon Gemeinplatz once more, and the grueling work of harvesting and processing tobacco was done for the day. Most slaves sleeping in the slave quarters loved the night as it forced their masters to give them a break; no sane person could expect work during nighttime barring expensive lighting options. This was true for the slaves living in the plantation of one Sir Rogers, who were on the only true break from work they got for the entire day. Yesterday was work, today was even more work, and tomorrow would be a whole lot more work until they inevitably perished.

One slave amongst the countless was slowly dragging his feet back to the quarters, intending to be the last one to go in. The quarters indoors were cramped and stunk like how one would expect a cramped room filled with twenty people to stink. He’d go back as slowly as possible to take in the fresh air before an overseer would rush him along.

Fresh and free air, there was plenty of it to be had outside the plantation. It wouldn’t actually be that hard to escape outside the plantation, especially at nighttime. He thought of doing it countless times, but just escaping outside didn’t mean you were free. There was a hostile world out there, most escapees would be found and sent back in a week or two if they were lucky, and the punishments for fugitives were the type to be not spoken of openly. Reaching Zon’guldac was a dream held by everyone, but only the naïve tried to realize their dream only to end up dead in a wild ditch or hunted down by adventurers. He again thought of bashing a careless overseer, the only one in his sight, and making a run for it. Thought was the only thing one could give to such a thing. He turned back, making his way back to the slave quarters as to not be punished.

“Hey brother, got a light?” He turned around at the sudden female voice behind him. It was a woman clad fully in black, and the overseer from before was nowhere to be seen.

“N-No…” He paused, unsure whether to comply with this stranger. “But the kitchen should help you if you’re looking for light.” There was no harm in helping the woman whatever she was doing.

“Good. Go back to your quarters and inform your brothers and sisters to be ready. You probably won’t need this, but…” She took out a small spear from under her cloak and handed it to him “Hold off any unexpected visitors.”

“Huh, wha-” The woman quickly leaped back into the shadows before he could question anything. “There she goes…”

He was grateful for having paused to take a whiff of fresh air.