The Orc's Awakening c45
Chapter 45: The Name
It’s a sacred word where I came from -- well, mainly from the dark corners of the web.
Look, being called, “Master” by a girl is every man’s secret fantasy. I’m going to emphasize the word “secret” here because being called “Master” in front of your friends is heart-shriveling, dig-your-own-grave-and-vanish-level embarrassing.
Behind me is Layla and Ayse.
In my arms is a girl who I’m pretty sure is a minor. She’s small and frail, and though she’s not a small child, it’s difficult to tell her age. Even if she turns out to be a 1,000 year old Loli Elf, looks matter in the eyes of the public.
Again, in any other fantasy, my heart would have been giddy by the opportunity, but I just spent a few minutes hanging upside down from a tree as a punching bag for making a few small upgrades to my Spiderlings.
There’s no telling what Layla would do to me if I let a little girl call me “Master.”
I feel chills run up and down my spine.
See?! I don’t even have to turn around! I can feel her (Layla) burning anger from behind me!
Ayse just stood there with her head tilted as she peered curiously at the girl. Orukus: “(snort) WーWーWーWait. HーHold on for a second there. I think you have me confused with someone else. I’m definitely not your MーMーMーMーMーMaster...”
Now I was the one with the stutter. It was really hard for me to just say that last word.
She looked like she was about to start crying.
Now Layla was mad at me for a different reason.
AAACK?!?! Please don’t cry!!
I quickly picked her up and set her down on a chair. I propped her up so her feet would dangle and not touch the floor.
In a panicked hurry, I called up [Water], [Fire], and [Earth] sprites. The [Earth] Sprites quickly gathered clay, the [Water] and [Fire] dried and hardened it to make a large clay bowl and filled it with some slightly lukewarm water. I get Bino, my [Blood] Sprite ready inside the water making it a slightly cherry color as I slowly settle her feet inside of it. I’m sure the lukewarm water still burned, but after a moment, she let her feet dangle in the water.
I gingerly and gently wash the top of her feet as I concentrate on examining her soles with Bino. When it comes to healing the body, Bino is an expert that can reconstruct the body on a molecular level. The only drawback is that it takes time to make quadrillions of cells. Still, as Bino multiplied by two and doubled his numbers quickly, he quickly gathered the numbers he needed to complete the process more quickly.
The raw skin underneath her feet is cleaned and new layers coat the bottom.
The water shimmered and danced inside the crimson water as the girl watched and before long, the nasty blisters beneath her feet were healed enough for her to walk. I call Bino back into my body’s blood stream, and Mano, the [Earth] Sprite helps me make a towel to dry her feet.
Orukus: “(snort)....there, she could probably use a bath too. Ayse, could you?”
I change the clay bowl to a bigger tub and fill it with water. I can leave [Fire] Fino and [Water] Wano sprites here to maintain the water temperature.
Ayse walks over besides me and places a hand on my shoulder as she kneels down to the girl’s eye level.
The girl was frightened at first, but Ayse smiled and……...CAN YOU WAIT TILL I LEAVE THE ROOM?!
I hurriedly ran out of the room, as the clothes came off.
Layla gently closed the door behind her.
Layla: “.............” Orukus: “(snort) Look, about that ‘master’ thing….” Layla: “.........no, it’s not that. Sorry, seeing girls like that……..brings back a lot of…..memories….”
Orukus: “(snort) Seriously? There’s kids like that everywhere?”
Layla: “...........yes and no. It’s rare to see a child…...or rather, she might be adult-age….you never know.”
Orukus: “(snort) HER?! She’s what, 15 at most?!” Layla: “Malnutrition is very common for girls around here. If it begins early and continues long enough, it’s not unusual for it to severely stunt growth, but…...her scars are unusual.”
Orukus: “(snort) Why’s that?” Layla: “Torture is too risky. What if she loses her life from the injuries? You would be marked.” Orukus: “(snort) Marked?” Layla: “...........wait. You really don’t know?” Orukus: “(snort)......................um……….no?” Layla: “Unbelievable…….where have you been all this time?”
Sulking in the dark corners of the web in a different world? But I can’t say that.
Orukus: “(snort)...........I don’t get out much…..”
Layla: “Obviously. It’s common knowledge that if you simply murder someone that’s outside of an official duel, you’ll be marked permanently by the blood of those you killed.”
She took her butterflies and a few of them etched dark crimson symbols all over her body.
She looked pretty cool with something resembling tribal tattoos….
Layla: “They would look something like this. And it’s impossible to wash the markings off. Typically, a marking itself is a death sentence, and not many live for too long after they’ve been marked.”
Orukus: “(snort) Really? What happens to them?”
Layla: “No one really knows. They typically disappear after a while, so most don’t even bother to find out. If it’s Monsters hunting them down, then just being around the Marked will put you in danger too. That’s why you’ll be expelled from Cities immediately if you’re found with Marks.” It’s like an automated judicial system. It’ll be hard to get away with murder that way.
Layla: “Anyways, that’s why abuse rarely goes as far and as deep as that girl has gone through. The only way to do that is…...”
Layla bites down on her lips.
I don’t think I want to hear this.
Layla: “.....is to inflict those wounds a little at a time over a long period of time……”
The thought itself was sickening. It made me want to spat, but we’re inside the Spider’s Lair.
“? What’s with the long face?”
Noir walks up to us with a bundle of clothes in her arms. She sets the clothes down and rummages through the pile to pull out a few sets of clothes.
Orukus: “(snort)..........wait…..did you…….?”
Noir: “That Sue is absolutely amazing! I just have to give her a design and her and her Spiders get to work! Look! I got some new clothes for that girl!” Noir whips out a very frilly, pink dress.
Noir: “And guess what else?” I suddenly get a bad feeling.
Blood and Bino floods into my mask as my nostrils blow a gasket.
Before I went blind, Noir pulled out a bra.
Layla’s face turned bright red.
Noir: “What? It’s stretchy, comfortable, and keeps its shape! You won’t find one like this in the City!!” I scrambled blindly and ran a second time out of the hallway back to the lair while blood continued to dribble out of my mask, and I hit the wall clumsily a few times like a pinball.
When I came back into the main hall, I also noticed Sue holding her head up and a hand to her face holding a bloodied handkerchief.
[Boss, Lady Noir is an Angelic, Holy Goddess or a divine prophet. You will love my new work.]
Orukus: “(snort) (cough) (spat) Stop. Just. Please. Stop...” I sit next to her with my head tilted upwards as I try to get the bleeding under control.
It took a little bit….in fact, I wanted to say it took about an hour, but there’s no time here. The girl’s didn’t have watches or clocks, and the sun is about the only thing that is indicative of time. Should I make a clock? Nah, the closest thing I could make is a sand timer.
Noir looked a little unhappy as the girls came out of the hallway one by one. The new girl had on dark leather overalls with lots of pockets and a white shirt. Her hair was super short like a boy’s cut, but it was currently hidden underneath a hat like a newsboy’s cap.
She looked refreshed but her burn scars were still present on her face and arms.
I guess she didn’t want the frilly dress?
She stepped up to me to speak, but again, had difficulty getting her words out. She hit her head in frustration before trying again.
Orukus: “(snort) Please, just call me Orukus….”
Or Pig or Fatty or Trash. I don't care. Just anything but that.....
My life will literally be beaten out of me. Do you get Marked for killing a Monster? Probably not. So nothing’s stopping Layla from crossing the line, so please stop probing and tempting her.
Orukus: “(snort) We’ll work on that later. What’s your name?” She looked troubled at the question.
…………..did I ask something really stupid? Like…..you’re not supposed to ask a girl her name?
I think back to when I first met Shana and the rest of the girls. Pretty sure they just introduced themselves normally…..or at least, normal according to my culture back home…
Layla: “...........do you……..not have a name?” “ThーThーThーThey called me, ‘BーBーBlisters’.”
And she raised her arms to show me her bumpy, callused hands and pointed to the blisters there.
“ “ “ …………………. ” ” ”
The room fell silent.
Orukus: “(snort) pssst. Layla. Is that normal?” Layla: “Of course it isn’t normal!”
I tried to speak in a hushed whisper, but our voices carried throughout the room.
Orukus: “(snort) Well, what am I supposed to do?! I can’t call a girl, ‘Blisters’! What kind of sicko do you think I am?!”
I know some people thought it was funny to give dogs and cats names like “Maggot” or “Turd”, but doing that to a human being…..yeah, I can’t.
Ayse: “Round One.” Ayse points at me.
Orukus: “(snort) Hm?” Ayse: “You. Give. Name.”
And points to the girl.
I didn’t have children in my previous life. I never married. In fact, I didn’t even have a girlfriend or pets either. I think we had a class pet that we all voted for names, and that’s about the extent of my naming abilities.
For crying out loud! My Sprites are all named similarly, and I named my main Spiders Bob, Sue, and Joe!
I shouldn’t be naming a human being!
Ayse, Noir, Layla, and the girl are all looking at me.
Noir: “Should I?” Ayse: “No. Round One. Master. He. Gives name.”
Ayse seems firm about this.
Layla doesn’t seem to have an opinion except, “Name her something indecent or crude, and I’ll rip that face off your skull” which is written all over her smile.
And the girl.
She looks at me intently.
Though her body is covered in scars, her eyes look straight at mine.
There is something inside there that I never had in my previous life.
A fire that was hungry for life and willing to grasp onto anything.
If I saw that before I came to this world, my dead eyes would have looked away ashamed.
My voice wavered.
This was terrifying.
I gulped and took a deep breath.
Orukus: “(snort)....what about…..Luz?”
I think it meant “light” in another language. I sincerely hope that I’m not wrong.
“Luz……?” The girl repeated the name. Speaking to herself, she didn’t stutter this time.
Luz: “I am…….my name……..is Luz.”
She said the name several times as if trying to engrave it into her memory.
Ayse nodded. Noir thought about it, and gave a nodding approval. Layla paused and finally nodded her head in approval seeing as she couldn't find any twisted meanings in the name.
Luz turned around to me.
My heart melted seeing her bright, cheerful smile for the first time.
Luz: “ThーThank you, Master.”
…….but we still had to talk about that “master” business before I’m put inside a meat grinder.