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Chapter: 66


"Here you go, William," Herman said as he gave the young boy a grilled fish.

"Thank you, Uncle Herman," William replied as he gladly accepted the food that was offered to him.

After the three Mountain Trolls left the clearing, the group decided to have lunch by the riverside. Est kept sneaking glances at William as the boy happily ate the grilled fish with relish. His eyes would often dart to the mithril collar that hung on the boy's neck from time to time.

Naturally, William noticed his gaze, but he paid it no mind. Everyone in Lont had given him the same curious glances when they saw his slave collar for the first time. Contrary to William's expectations, no one made a big deal out of it in Lont.

They just looked at him with interest and thought that the collar on his neck looked cool. Even the adults who had realized that it was a slave collar felt that it was just a prank by Celine in order to tone down William's mischievousness.

Of course, this mentality was only restricted in the town of Lont. For people who were not in the know, they would just think that William was a pitiful Half-Elf that had been sold by slave traders.

"By the way, William, Thank you for saving us earlier," Est said with a serious expression. "I swear on my name that I will repay this favor."

"Just call me, Will," William replied with a smile. "Also, you don't need to repay me. I only did what I thought was right. I'm sure that if you were the one in my shoes, you would have, also, done the same."

"But."

"No buts. You don't need a reason to help someone in need."

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Herman watched the two children's exchange and nodded his head in appreciation. He was very fond of William and felt regret that he didn't have a grandson like him.

Est could tell that William was firm in not accepting any kind of reward from saving his life, so he decided to just repay him in the future whether his savior liked it or not. For the time being, he wanted to know more about this shepherd who was giving him a mysterious, yet pleasant feeling.

"You said that you are heading towards the Holy Temple, right?" Est inquired. "What is your reason for going there?"

"I'm going to the Holy Temple to meet a God-- I mean, I want to pray to the Gods so that they will protect Lont and keep the townspeople safe from harm." William made up an excuse in order to cover up his earlier slip of the tongue.

"Lont?" Est glanced at Herman. His eyes were clearly asking "Do you know anything about Lont?"

Herman closed his eyes and pondered for a bit. "If I remember correctly… Lont is a small town located at the edge of the Western Region. Ah! Are you perhaps related to that old bastard James?"

William grinned and nodded his head. "My full name is William Von Ainsworth. However, just call me Will, Uncle Herman."

"Ainsworth," Nana curled her lips. "So, that shameless old man is your grandfather."

"Nana? Do you know William's grandfather?" Est asked.

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"Of course." Nana nodded his head. "He is the shameless bastard who took advantage of the chaos during the battle of Windkeep Citadel. He and his companions were the ones who took down the Flood Dragon, Oroubro, and the Amphisbaena.

"That old man even had the nerve to announce to everyone on the battlefield that the combined forces of the Hellan Kingdom only won because he lured the Flood Dragon away and broke the Monster Army's chain of command.

"Right now, all the nobles in the capital are cursing his name. Even the King has a headache about how to best handle the aftermath of the battle because of his antics."

Herman chuckled as he gazed at William. "Your grandpa was a very sly fellow. When all the forces of the kingdom were dealing with the Monster Army, he lured away the three Big Bosses and managed to subdue them. Basically, he used the alliance as cannon fodders in order to reap the greatest profit in that battle. That grandfather of yours sure has guts!"

William had already heard the story from his grandfather because the old man really liked to brag about his heroics. Even so, William was still very impressed by how their small group was able to become the big winners of the war against the monster army.

Ian snorted when he heard Nana's and Herman's comments about William's grandfather.

"Although he managed to reap the most benefits in that battle, his grandson still became a slave," Ian sneered. "Isn't this what you call Karma?"

"Ian, don't be rude!" Est reprimanded his retainer. "William, I apologize for my retainer's words. He's just a straightforward person."

"It's fine." William sighed. "I guess, you can also call it Karma that this happened to me. My Grandfather went bonkers when he found out that I became a slave after he returned to Lont."

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"Eh? He knows that you became a slave?" Isaac, Ian's twin, looked at William in surprise. Although no one was saying it out loud, they thought that William was one of those survivors of the Beast Tide Calamity and had been sold to become a slave.

Currently, there was an influx of slaves in the capital and most of them were survivors from the villages and towns that had been ravaged by the monster army. Initially, they thought that William was one of those survivors.

"Mmm." William nodded his head.

"Then why didn't he buy you back?" Est asked.

"He can't afford it."

"Eh?"

William caressed the mithril collar on his neck. "A Half-Elf that is as handsome and talented as me is worth an astronomical price. Even the gains that Grandpa acquired during his short expedition was not enough to buy me back my freedom."

"Surely, you're exaggerating?" Este challenged. "Just how much did your Grandpa need to pay in order to win back your freedom?"

"Let's just say that even if the Royal Family of the Hellan Kingdom emptied their entire treasury, they would still not be able to afford me," William replied with a smug expression. "Even an Emperor's ransom pales in comparison to my net worth."

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Est, Nana, Herman, Isaac: "…"

"Can I punch your face?" Ian asked. "My hands are feeling very itchy right now."

The boy looked at William in contempt. Although Half-Elf slaves were expensive, they were worth ten to fifteen thousand gold coins at most. Even if you killed him, he wouldn't believe that the shepherd in front of him was worth an Emperor's ransom.

"Your hands are feeling itchy? You must be suffering from athlete's foot," William sneered. "My condolences."

"I said hands, not foot!"

"You're a fool? Congratulations! There's no cure for stupidity."

"Y-You!"

Isaac hurriedly grabbed his twin because the latter was about to have a go with William. Nana and Herman exchanged a glance and shook their heads helplessly.

William rolled his eyes at the pretty boy in front of him. He didn't lie when he said that an Emperor's Ransom paled in comparison to the ingredients that Celine had lost during her experiment. Some of the items she had lost couldn't be bought even if you had the money. That was how rare and precious those ingredients were.

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He just didn't understand why the boy named Ian was targeting him out of the blue.

'Could it be that he is jealous because I am three times more handsome than him?' William thought. 'Hah~ Being handsome is really a sin.'

If Ian could only hear William's thoughts, he might have fought tooth and nail with his twin in order to get a chance to beat him up to a pulp.

"How about all of you? Why go this far to visit the Holy Temple?" William asked after he finished eating. "Although your clothes don't look expensive, the designs are very different from the ones commonly worn in the Western Region. Did all of you perhaps come from the capital?"

Nana's, Herman's, Ian's, and Isaac's gazes landed on Est.

William noticed the subtle change in their expressions and looked expectantly at the delicate looking boy with light-brown hair and eyes.

"Our reasons for going to the temple are the same," Est answered. "I am also going there to pray and ask the Gods for their mercy."

William gave a nod of understanding. Everyone visits the temple to pray to the Gods, so Est's reason was not uncommon.

After that, the group started to talk about random things which made the atmosphere more lively. Half an hour later, they left the clearing and continued their journey towards the Holy Temple.

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