Chapter 3 – The 42nd District (part2)
“P-Please give me a little more time!”
Such a plea reached my ears when I had just set foot on the main road of the 42nd District. The road that was big enough for two carriages to pass each other, with restaurants, bars, and various other stores lined up on both sides.
In the middle of such a busy road, I saw a man who was prostrating himself in front of a muscular man with rugged beard, skinhead, and a villain-looking face. “I don’t want to get involved with this guy.” — would be the first thing that comes into your mind when you see him. He was that kind of guy.
“Time, huh…. Haven’t I waited long enough?”
The muscular man said with such a bold voice and threatening tone while looking down to the prostrating man.
“If you can keep your promise, you only have to be a frog….”
“No, anything but that! Please! I beg you!”
“Too bad, that is something that has been decided by the Spirit God.”
“P-Please wait! I beg you…!”
The prostrating man raised his face which was in a mess because of snot and tears, and then clung to the muscular man desperately. However, as if mocking the prostrating man, the muscular man didn’t pay attention to his plea and kept going.
“Judgement of the Spirit!”
Shortly after the muscular man declared so, the whole body of the prostrating man was enveloped in pale light blue.
“Ah!? W-Wait, please don’t!”
In front of the prostrating man who was crying, a semi-transparent panel appeared — The Conversation Record.
“Here, look at this! ‘I will return the money borrowed by the due date’ is clearly written over here. You said that with your own mouth, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but…. but I will return it! I will definitely return the money! So please, just give me a little more…………. Ugh!?”
The prostrating man who was making excuses, suddenly seemed to be somewhat in pain. Next the pale blue light wrapped him gradually turned reddish and increased in intensity.
“I…….. don’t…….. frog…….. NOOOOO…….!”
Leaving such a scream, the prostrating man disappeared…. or so I thought. However, after the dazzling light dissipated, on that spot, there was a huge frog about 80 centimeters in length dressed in rags. The clothing and other stuffs which the prostrating man from before wore, were scattered on the ground around the frog.
No way…. That frog…. Is that the man from before?
Did he turn into a frog? I mean, literally!?
“Well then, I’ll have this stuff, your house, your family, and your other assets.”
While the muscular man bent down to pick up his belongings, the huge frog kept crying helplessly.
“Bastard, don’t touch me!”
The muscular man kicked the frog in its face as he got up. The frog danced in the air and then rolled three turns on the ground like a ball of dust.
“Frog is an existence abandoned by the Spirit God. Just now, you were deprived of every right as a person! No one could complaint even if I kill you here! If you understand, then get lost from my sight immediately!”
Bathed in such harsh words and anger, the frog stood up with staggering feet. The frog scanned the surrounding with a desperate look as though asking for help, but there was no one giving him a helping hand. On the contrary, the gazes of the surrounding people that were directed to the frog had been filled with a color of disdain.
What the hell is going on!?
Are your human rights lost when you become a frog?
Even though he was one of them until a while ago, he is now seen as a completely different being from them.
The frog dropped his shoulder and hopped away while crying. He headed to the west side of the 42nd District, the direction of wetland belt. The liars would be turned into frogs — this was the rule that Spirit God has decided for this city. Those who had been turned into frogs would not be treated as people shunned.
No wonder I couldn’t find frog anthromorphs around.
What a terrifying city….
The liars lost even their human rights here.
I just saw something really unpleasant.
I don’t intend to sympathize with him, but…. seeing the muscular man gathering the prostrating man’s belongings gleefully, I feel an aversion.
How should I put this…. it’s like watching a big idiot who are joyfully hooking an idiot. This pisses me off.
Anyway, let’s get away from here quickly! I don’t want to get involved with that muscular man with a scary face. I thought of heading this way but I changed my mind. I don’t want to walk pass or even go near him.
Left with no choice, I entered a shop that was close at hand. It was a tavern with square tables and a few chairs cluttered.
This place has quite a lot customer even during daytime. Most of them seem to come for lunch, but there are also those who came for drinking in the broad daylight.
Immediately after I stepped in, there was a man with folded ears like that of a Bulldog’s welcoming me from behind the counter. I walked past the counter and take a seat a nearby vacant table. Shortly after, a young girl came to take my order.
“Have you decided your order?”
There was a pair hung ears like that of a Golden Retriever’s on the head of a girl with wheat-colored skin, and a tail growing from her butt.
Is this tavern run by dog anthromorphs?
When I was staring at her tail, the dog-eared waitress covered her butt with the tray on her hands while glaring angrily at me.
What’s with her reaction? Isn’t she cute? Okay, let’s splurge a bit today~!
Oh, right. I forgot that I didn’t have money. Guess I will drink-and-dash this time….
“What kind of drink do you serve here?” (Yashiro)
“There’s wine, ale, also beer.”
The dog-eared waitress said with a friendly tone that almost felt over-familiar.
Her attitude when serving the customers is fifty points. Well, this kind of attitude might be more popular for this kind of place. But alcohol, huh.
“Do you serve non-alcoholic drink here?” (Yashiro)
“We have grapefruit juice and grape juice.”
“Then I’ll have grapefruit juice.”
I shouldn’t drink alcohol. Because after this, maybe I have to run as hard as I can from this place.
After I told my order, the waitress smiled and presented her right hand.
“Grapefruit juice is 20Rb!”
This is, an advance payment system!?
Oh, I see. You can prevent customers to dine-and-dash if you ask the payment in advance. It’s simple but effective method. I wonder if it’s a natural system in this city. Setting that aside, what should I do now? I don’t have money after all….
I took a glance at the dog-eared waitress. She was still holding out her right hand with an unchanging smiling face.
Is it even possible to say “I don’t have money” and leave, now? I’m really in a pinch.
“Customer, if you came to our shop for the purpose of dine-and-dash, Dad will not keep silent, got it?”
The dog-eared waitress said so with a smiling face. I felt an intense pressure even though she said it with a smiling face. I also saw her canine glittered for an instant.
Or rather, Dad? That bulldog uncle behind the counter is her father…? No, the two don’t look alike….
There’s “Forced Translation Magic” in effect, so no matter how cloudy the word used, it will be translated to the word familiar to the other party. I guess he is really her father. Well, it’s good that she doesn’t resemble him.
“CUS-TOM-ER, it is 20Rb!”
The pressure from the dog-eared waitress was getting intensified.
This is bad. If I say “I don’t have money” here, I feel like I can’t leave this place in one piece….
What to do now…? How can I get through this…?
While I was thinking about such a thing —
“Oi! This is my spot! Fuck off!”
— an angry voice was heard from the direction of the entrance. When I turned around, I found the muscular man from before was sitting at the counter seat.
Uwah~ He came here of all places!? I’ve chosen the worst possible place to escape.
“That Goffredo seems to be at it again….”
The dog-eared waitress stuck her tongue toward the muscular man who pushed out the other customers from the counter seat.
Is he called Goffredo?
“Do you know him?”
“There’s no one in the 42nd District who doesn’t know that guy.”
The dog-eared waitress brought her face close to my ears and explained it in a low voice while hiding her mouth behind the tray.
“He’s a loan shark who operates in this 42nd District. The last time I saw him, he took all his debtor’s possessions until the last Ruben.”
“But debt should be returned properly.”
The dog-eared waitress’s eyes lit up, she raised her index finger, then swung it right and left in front of my eyes.
“That guy has a distorted personality, requesting money more than one borrowed, or even requesting money that one doesn’t remember borrowing.”
“Isn’t that a fraud?”
“Right? But his words couldn’t be judged by the ‘Judgement of the Spirit’. Even though I was sure there was something wrong, the Conversation Record proved him right….”
That was a modus operandi of typical fraud. Though it sounds like there’s nothing wrong from the outside, when we open the lid, it turns out that there’s “something different” inside. However, because the agreement has been formed, it will be settled with the conclusion “those who didn’t listen properly are at fault”.
How could he establish such a business in this city? Now I’m interested.
“In addition, he loves to turn people into frogs more than anything else. He really has a bad personality.”
“What happens to the people who were turned into frog?”
“Hmm? I guess they’re as good as dead.”
“Yeah. I mean, they can no longer live with the people. No one is going to help anyone who has been turned into a frog in this city.”
“How about their relatives?”
“If there’s a family member turned into a frog…. They absolutely wouldn’t want the other people to find it. When push comes to shove, it would be better to lie by saying ‘he/she died of a sudden illness’.”
That’s a better, huh….
Isn’t it strange to take a risk of becoming frog to conceal that one of your family member became a frog?
“Can those who were turned into frog turn back?”
“To turn back, you need to fulfill the promise you’ve broken.”
“Then, after they turned back, what happen to their human right? Will they get it back or not? How about their family members’ reaction?”
“W-What is this, Customer? Did your acquaintance turn into a frog or something?”
“Oh, no……….. This is my first time visiting this city. I was a little surprised because I saw a man turned into a frog a while ago.”
This is bad. I hope she didn’t think it was because I have a high possibility to be turned into a frog. I was too focused on gathering information. I need to restrain myself.
“They can turn back if it’s a promise that can be fulfilled later, like keeping the due date for example. But if they break a promise that can’t be fulfilled in any way afterwards, then they’re done for.”
“After they turned back, they will be treated the same as before they turned into frog, they will receive the blessing from the Spirit God again, and they will have their human rights back.”
Just as before?
Is that even possible?
Setting the feeling of those who abandoned them aside, how about the feeling of those who were abandoned?
Will they be able to interact the same way as before with those who abandoned them?
To begin with, rebuilding the relationship with the family members who said “he/she died of a sudden illness” is almost impossible. In any case, in this city, you’re as good as dead when you’re turned into a frog.
“Even so, turning someone into a frog with a malicious intent, he’s really a despicable man. I hate him so much!”
The dog-eared waitress secretly stuck her tongue towards Goffredo once more.
What’s with her? Isn’t she adoreable?
When we had such a conversation, those whose seats were snatched by Goffredo “moved” to the table in front of me. Or rather, it was more accurate to call it “taken refuge”.
“Hey, why did you also run away? He is alone!”
“Don’t be unreasonable! Our opponent is Goffredo. One wrong step and we will be turned into frog.”
“Still, I really hate that guy!”
“Okay, I will give him a piece of my mind today!”
“Idiot! Stop it! I’m serious!”
As far as I heard, it seems Goffredo is hated by a lot people. Even though they don’t want to die uselessly, human is a race that couldn’t live while having hard feelings.
“Even so, I still want to punch his face at least once.”
“Hahaha~ That’s impossible for you. You will be half-killed even before touching him.”
“That’s right. Goffredo is quite skilled in both swordsmanship and martial arts. There are no adventurers around here who could match him.”
“Yeah! You can only kick his ass inside your dream.”
Hearing those men laughing while having such a talk, the dog-eared waitress was looking at them with a complicated expression.
Oh, this smells like money!