I trudged carefully through the steep stairway, making sure I wasn't going to hurt or break my body. I descended slowly.
When I finally reached the bottom, the same nauseating stench of death overpowered my smell as a look of disgust marred my features.
The more I delved deeper, the more that horrible smell became stronger.
I need to make haste. They might notice that I’m gone.
Enduring the putrid environment, I sighed and continued to look around. There were no cells in this room only chains to hold down prisoners as I scanned through the hanging chains on the wall. This time I could see puddles of blood and shit across the ground as I tried to avoid it.
A bit too late to worry for that now considering my clothes were already dirty just from being here.
As what you would expect, the first thing I lay my eyes upon was some chap who had their brain matter exposed. Their eyes protruding out of their eye, having a single nerve connected to its socket.
I saw a lot of people passed out—no, they’re definitely dead.
It had been awhile since I last encountered this.
At the end of the tunnel of despair, the flashlight reflected a hardly surprising sight.
Three small emaciated children sprawled across the ground, their horns sticking out. Their bodies looked malnourished and severe lacerations were evidently displayed in their already worn down clothing.
They had hair as white as ashes and their horns were as dark as pure onyx. One had their horn on the right, the other one on the left, and one had both.
So these were my new parents’ wildly concerning hobbies.
There wasn’t any merit if I got involved with them. I could never even survive in this unfamiliar place alone as a child.
Are they still even alive?
It would be really annoying if they were. I placed my hand on the left horned child's neck trying to get a pulse. I felt a beat as I took away my hand quickly with mixed emotions.
I do not have any moral obligations to help them considering I was just here to appease a peace-loving idiot. Wouldn't it be better for them to just die? Should I end their suffering?
An unwanted reminder resurfaced: “You can’t kill, okie? So be on your best behavior…”
I was sitting here and staring at the three victims. I didn't know what race they are but their features look similar to humans except for the horns like that of a ram prominently highlighting their unusual features.
There were multiple lacerations across their ghoulish bodies, some were fresh and others festering.
They must've experienced this for quite some time. I didn't know any magic spells that could heal, and even if I did. I'm pretty sure their situation will go much worse when those two realize that they may be capable of healing.
I recalled those parents, their voices echoed in jubilation throughout the hallways.
Any action that would run the risk of getting discovered may lead to unintended consequences such as my death.
There was a small part of me that felt bad about being related to what transpired here and their misfortune. I could guess the people I passed through this dungeon had been in here a long time since this has been going on by the time of my birth, perhaps even before I was conceived.
In any case, there were a lot of problems if I decided to get involved with them. Freeing them would be ideal, maybe it would grant me a few nights of peaceful rest, but…
They were wearing this metallic choker with a green stone embedded in it. It acts as a subjugating tool from what I’ve observed because every time their hands wander on their neck, it tightens its grip. I was even more surprised at how they were still breathing.
People’s resilience to live are fascinating.
I suddenly heard heavy footsteps coming towards my direction. I immediately hid in a nearby cell, making sure the corpses were enough to cover my figure.
It was a nasty idea, but it worked.
I shut my flashlight as the room was plunged into darkness.
“Wake up!” A gruff voice harshly called out.
【Mirror. < Set Time Limit: Maximum 20 years >】
I stared at the screen incredulously. What’s with the sudden weird jump in numbers?
“Hey, you brats!”
Hearing somebody getting kicked nearby, I immediately set it to an an hour before using it to peek at what’s happening without giving away my position.
I swerve the【Mirror】, trying to get a good vantage point until the final tilt showed a large hairy thing with cupped ears on top of its head holding a lit lamp.
Is that…a tiger on it’s hind legs? What…?
My intrigue for its peculiarities only lasts for a moment as an onslaught of beatings was carried out. People might think that these scrawny little kids offended him somehow.
I knew anthropomorphic beings existed in this world, but I thought they were persecuted. I observed the beast’s clothing which consisted of armor, a sword, and a prominent slave choker that was similar to the kids. Compared to the children who were dressed in tattered rags, he must be well-treated in this place despite being on the same social level.
“L-Lea-” a tiny voice stuttered before being replaced by an aggressive animalistic growl.
“L-Leave…th-this…” A painful cough was heard, I tilted the【Mirror】to see who was speaking.
A foolishly brave kid with two horns tried his best to shield his siblings from the man by saying with more power than before. “Leave this…place.”
There was silence between them as my mouth fell open at the kid’s absurd demand.
Yeah, like that’s going to make him leave.
Not the smartest move, kid. Practically doomed yourselves to a painful ending. I’ll be hoping that your soul doesn't get sorted out by some stupid god after you die.
I waited for the child-beater to finish his business so I could leave as well. I could use my magic, however, it seems that people can sense it faintly based on how the Marquis couple perceived it. I wasn’t about to risk my position for a stupid kid.
“Understood.” The same gruff voice answered, but it was much more softer which startled me with his sudden change in attitude.
Huh? What? It worked?
Surprised at the unexpected turn of events, I watch the man’s figure, he stood still for a few moments before marching off.
I hear the kid let out a long shaky sigh of relief, before it was replaced by a painful grunt. The whimpering died down and only cold silence replaced it.
With the hulking mass of fur gone, I peeked over the corpses. The boy with two horns sprouting on both ends shivered from the chilly air before coughing violently before collapsing on top of his siblings who groaned at the weight.
I dusted of the dirt and grime that sticked to my clothes as I walked towards the children. Part of me felt disconnected at supposed this pitiful sight, seeing defenseless weak people who were forced into an unjust reality felt like the closest thing that is relatable between us, but it was not enough to tug on my heartstrings.
Looking at my【Flashlight.】that was set to expire in a few minutes was my cue to leave. The【Mirror】I was holding dissipated into nothings.
When I was about to walk away, my eyes catches the same kid staring at me, possibly in a daze as he had a far-off look to him. His black sclera and white pupils bore into me as I instinctively flinched.
Something felt off about this kid.
Eyes narrowing, keeping alert on potential dangers, I take a tentative step back. My eye catches a hazy rectangular thing floating on top of all their heads. Something tells me that I have no choice but get involved in their affairs.
Sensing there was no danger signals, I bent down to face the kid as he gave me a blank look, did not even move nor flinch when I scoot closer, he seems unresponsive.
【Blanket. < Set Time Limit: Maximum 5 years >】
I checked my【Watch】.
【Blanket. < Time Limit: 3 hours >】
“Sleep tight, kid.”
He tried to open his mouth, but no words came out.
I silently covered them with a soft blanket before giving them one final look at their huddled form and left.
In any case, I still lack the information and the capacity to do anything and decided it would be best to just watch and go back since I wouldn’t be able to help much.