8 Me? A Slave?!
It had been two, maybe three hours since the men had brought me into their camp or rather abducted me. At first, I had thought they would help me, just like I would help any girl that got herself in a situation as desperate as mine, but that wasn't at all their intention.
There were three old geezers among them, who had demanded that I was to be put to death on the spot, while the younger bunch had ideas that were just as threatening. They didn't see me as an enemy that had to be destroyed, but rather as the woman I now was.
If it hadn't been for their leader, a muscular, dark-brown haired man that appeared to be in his mid-thirties, I would probably have lost myself back then in one way or another. It was him, too, who had shielded me from the cold, using his dirty, but unbelievably warm cloak.
Still, I would never be able to trust him. Not only had he declared that I was a slave that had to be brought back to its owner, but he had put a rope around my wrists too, stealing away even the slightest possibility of me escaping their greedy grasps.
Even without that, I never had a chance to run. Not only had I been little more than a shaking mess, unable to even answer or shout at them, but the leader of the group had also picked me up to carry me all the way back to their camp!
He didn't put me over his shoulder like a heavy sack of rice or flower soil but instead carried me exactly how those good-for-nothing hero-type characters in animes or mangas would do: in his arms.
«For him to go as far as princess-carrying me...»
「He saved you~! Like a prince!」
«She still didn't give up...»
If I was a girl, or more exactly a girl at both body and heart, maybe I would have liked being 'saved' like that. But neither did that man save me for real nor was I feeling even remotely flustered by his actions. He was a danger, just like all of them, and it was only a matter of time until he would change his ideas of how to best deal with me.
「Want me to give you a warm pillow? It helps, you know?」
«The fire is hot enough. I don't need you!»
「But aren't you in pain? It really hurts, doesn't it?!」
She was right, even though I still fought desperately against admitting it. Ever since I had been transported into this world, an ominous abdominal pain had been attacking me. I already knew what it was, as the brat had never exactly made a secret out of it, but I refused to accept the fact my Mira was used like that right now. No, that wasn't her. It was just a piece of cloth!
«I won't accept your help. Never!»
「But it helps?! It really does!」
«Who cares?! I'm done with you!»
«That's not my name!»
「It is now~」
The voices of the young men grasped my attention. I was lying a few steps away from them, next to the campfire and huddled into several layers of blankets and cloaks, but that didn't hinder them from once again talking about me as if I wasn't even there.
"She is quite cute, don't you think?"
"It is such a shame she is a beastkin."
"A shame?" A third voice chipped in. "You can take her! Just like that! She won't even say no!"
"She probably has an owner already."
"She ran away from him. Why else would she be here, without anything to wear?! Nobody can say anything if we keep her for ourselves!"
「Don't worry, Rika! I will protect you!」
«Aren't you on their side?»
「You meanie! I would never want to help them bully you!」
«They aren't trying to bully me...»
「Whatever~ it will be fiine~」
«You think I will trust you? After all the things you did to me?!»
"You think we can buy her?" One of the guys asked.
"Did you find treasures somewhere, dumbass? A slave of that quality costs a fortune!"
"She is used goods anyway."
"You think so?"
"Why else would she run away from her owner head over heels? She didn't even take clothes with her!"
"It is obvious what he did to her," another voice replied. "Maybe he was to rough this time?"
"I would like to be a liittle~ rough to her, too."
"You? Are you sure you can satisfy a woman with that thing of yours?"
A series of laughter rang in my ears as the perverts got all worked up about what they would do to me if only I was their 'pet' instead.
I could hold back my anger, barely at least, but it was getting harder and harder by the second. When their voices turned quieter again and they moved their conversation to a more serious aspect of this topic that was me, something inside of me crumbled.
"Maybe he tossed her out because she is pregnant and he doesn't want her bastard being born into-"
I jumped up immediately. "YOU ARE THE BASTARDS! ALL OF YOU ARE!!"
Following my sudden eruption, there was a deadly silence. The young men stared at me, unable to get a single word over their lips, but their eyes soon wandered down my body that I had failed to protect in my anger.
"PERVERTS!" I screamed at them. "DO YOU ONLY THINK WITH YOUR STINKING DICKS?!"
"She understands us? So she really is-"
"Who cares!? Grab her!"
I couldn't say if the goddess was afraid of me being hurt or happy that I would 'play tag' with those men. Considering her lack of common sense, she probably enjoyed the idea of four almost adult men jumping onto me. Whatever she thought about this, I could only follow her command. Staying here in this camp, together with those men, spelled nothing but danger.
Before the men had risen from their places on the opposite side of the campfire, I had already turned on the spot and towards the jungle-like forest that had spread in between the crumbling ruins that surrounded us. With all the bushes, trees, roots and stones around, I would hopefully be able to shake them off, sooner or later.
"Leave me alone!" I screamed, before running off.
They didn't even think of granting me this one wish I had. After overcoming their surprise, they ran after me, and even though my hands were no longer shackled due to the little pity their leader had shown me, they still caught up in no time.
I hadn't even left the light of the fire when one of them, a tall, black-haired youth, suddenly appeared right in front of me. It happened so sudden there wasn't even a chance for me to slow down before crashing into his rock-hard body.
A breathtaking pain assaulted my body. I staggered back a few steps, desperately trying to keep my balance, but before I realized I was already on my back and seeing stars.
「RIKA!」 The goddess' voice ringed in my ears. 「RIKA, SAY SOMETHING!」
"What- what was- he didn't even ... touch me."
I was still struggling with the aftermath of the first attack when the four men had gathered around my now even more defenseless body. Once again a debate started.
"Why did you do that!?" His friend protested. "What if her master is somebody important?!"
"I didn't attack her! I swear! She just ran into me! She must have been hurt before! I didn't even touch her!"
"Maybe she was hurt before?" Somebody suggested. "This ruins can be dangerous."
"What do we do now?! We would never be able to pay for her if she really is injured!"
"We can just say she was injured before!"
The four were still trying to come up with some kind of alibi when a loud shout cut off their discussion.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HER?!"
Before they could even realize what was happening to them, a big, muscular silhouette had appeared next to me, brutally pushing away two of them. Its facial features were hidden behind the veils of my tears, but I already knew his voice. It was their leader, the guy who had given me his cloak and carried me all the way to the camp to warm me up.
"SCRAM! SCRAM BEFORE I FORGET MYSELF! YOU BEASTS!"
His powerful voice painfully rang in my ears, leaving behind nothing but a high-pitched noise, but it saved me nonetheless. Within mere seconds, the young men had fled back to the camp or at least out of my vision, leaving me alone with their leader. I was saved, or at least I hoped I was.
The man let himself sink to his knees, bend over me and checked my wounds. His angry face swiftly changed into one of pity and anxiousness. My injuries probably looked just as threatening as they felt.
"Damn..." He cursed, before reaching for a small bag that seemed to be attached to his belt.
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Rika: It hurts!
Ofris: Don't be afraid! It's all ok now! It will be ok! I will help you!
Ofris: I just have to find... where is that damn bottle?!
Ofris: Chewing gum... Toothpick...
Ofris: Why is there a sandwich in here?!
Ofris: Is that my- I have searched for it for ages!
Ofris: Wait a second... is that my lucky coin?!
Ofris: Look! It is rusty, but it is the first coin I ever received when I began working as an adventurer!
Ofris: Isn't it great?!
Ofris: I thought I had lost it! Luckily I had decided to search the bag!
Ofris: Why did I...
Rika: ... owie?