[A few hours earlier]
Under the scorching suns, Sol wiped the blood on his hands after taking out the body of the last Taurus alive.
The odor of the blood made him frown a little.
‘I should really have gone out with a weapon.’
But how could he have guessed that he would be faced with such a weird encounter?
‘I fought more deadly battles and killed more beings in the few days I spent here than in all my life combined.’
He could only be left speechless at how much strife seemed to happen.
When he had heard of the Astral realm and the territories belonging to the divine beasts, he had imagined some kind of perfect utopia where peace existed.
This was even more so since Gabriel was a beast of virtue.
But, once again, the reality was sad.
As such, the result slightly disappointed him,
“In the end, I am still a little too naive.”
Murmuring, he turned his attention to Isis.
While he was dealing with the four taurus, he had heard the scream of pain from behind him and looking at the blood leaking from its eyes, it was clear that she had used her skill.
He did not really understand how this power worked, but the effects were astonishing.
‘Perhaps I should try recruiting her?’
Thinking so, he walked idly and stopped once beside her.
The last time, he had remarked that she seemed to become closer to him after he showed his lack of fear or disgust.
Clearly, this girl had suffered from some kind of discrimination because of her power.
Sol was not surprised. Few people could take such a sight without any problems. The only reason he wasn’t creeped out was that the mind control skill of Camelia was way scarier.
As for creepiness…compared to Milia’s shadows filled with hundreds of bloodshot eyes and the howls of pain, the sight in front of him was just mildly disturbing.
“So, what was the result?”
He could feel her stiffen a little before relaxing,
“What do you think? I obtained Intel easily.”
He smiled and ignored her haughty tone. He now understood that this was nothing more than defensive mechanisms.
“Though, before we continue, how do you plan to deal with them?”
Sol grimaced as he followed where Isis’ finger was pointed at.
The group of refugees were sitting and shivering while watching them. Fear was clear on their visages, but not a single one of them even tried to flee.
Clearly, they understood that even if they fled, in this desert filled with dangerous beasts and roaming bandits, all that awaited them would be death.
Looking at them, he could see that they were a mix of different races, most unknown to him and some that looked like children. Though, he couldn’t really be sure. After all, for all he knew, they could be variations of dwarves.
Coughing, he asked tentatively,
“Is there a leader or something here?”
All of them looked at each other before a tall bald man with a slightly orange skin seemingly made out of rock stepped forward.
Even though he easily went past the two meters and was somewhat imposing, it was like he was doing his best to appear as small as possible in front of Sol.
“Milord, I am Aktrach. The son of the leader of this settlement.”
Sadness flashed through his eyes before he knelt down, so low his head kissed the ground.
“We are truly thankful to you for saving us and avenging us.”
The others followed him and all kneeled in front of Sol, grateful voices mixed with sobs of sadness and relief.
Since the day he awakened, Sol always had a weird feeling of euphoria when people kneeled for him.
For once though, this feeling did not manifest and all he could do was watch.
Anyone in his place would have felt happiness at being praised so much, but for Sol, he could only lament at the reality of the world.
The only reason he even began to hunt down those bandits was only because he wanted to get more experience.
But this trivial decision ended up changing the lives of people completely unconcerned.
Sighing, he took off his hood and gave a smile to the people, “Raise yourself.”
Aktrach nodded and stood up, though he kept his body still slightly lowered. Since Sol did not know if the reason was some weird tradition or something of the like, he decided to not mind it.
“Tell me, Aktrach, how do you wish to deal with it? Do you wish to go to the city? Or stay here and create another settlement?”
Even though he had never planned to save anyone during this outing, since he did it, he decided to go all the way.
Of course, he would only give as much help as he could.
They all fidgeted a little, indecisiveness apparent on their faces, which was something Sol didn’t really understand.
Between living in the desert with the constant risk of being kidnapped as a slave or settling in a city, the choice seemed pretty easy.
In the end, all they could do was look at Sol in a begging way as if to plead to make the decision for them.
Sol immediately refused without the slightest hesitation.
Beginning a new life would never be easy, so Sol decided to leave the choice to them. This was as far as he was willing to go.
If he made the decision for them, it would be one thing if everything went alright. But he was sure that at the slightest problem, they would all curse him.
Sol would never underestimate the short-span memory and ungratefulness of the masses.
People were more prone to remember the bad than the good done to them.
In the end, Aktrach decided to settle in the city. Even if they decided to leave later, they would only do so after resting and getting their strength back.
After a few hours of travel, and a profusion of thankful tears, Sol and Isis were now once again alone in the desert.
In order to help the refugees have a good start, Sol left them with about 1000 Vira. He wasn’t worried about wealth causing them problems. After all, the city was more safe than any place in this world.
As long as they weren’t stupid enough to leave the city after flaunting their wealth or didn’t spend in a crazy way, this amount was enough to last them for more than a year and still have leftovers.
‘Sheherazade’ had also informed him that the welfare system in the main city was top notch and as such, they should have no problem.
The money Sol had given them was mainly to help them heal faster and pay for some weapons and equipment in case they decided to go back to the desert.
Though this didn’t concern him. He had already helped them to a ridiculous degree. If they went and got enslaved again or killed, that had nothing to do with him.
While they were slowly walking away from the city, ‘Sheherazade’ suddenly questioned Sol,
“Why did you help them?”
Sol wondered what was the goal of this question, but didn’t really care,
“Because I could.” He shrugged. He was capable of saving them and he did, nothing more and nothing less.
Isis raised an eyebrow at his nonchalant answer.
“Not because you should?”
Doing something because you ‘could’ or because you ‘should’ clearly carried different meanings. One came from one free will, while the other was born out of a feeling of obligation.
Sol was startled before shaking his head,
“I had absolutely no obligation to help any of them. I would never force myself to help someone if I am unable to.”
“…So you wouldn’t help if you were unable to?”
“Yep…Why would I? I would rather act for my own benefit first. Said benefits don’t involve sacrificing myself for people who have nothing to do with me.”
The phrase, ‘Great power means equally great responsibility’ was cool and all, but he didn’t particularly wish to live by this creed. Being a king was troublesome enough. There was no need to try to become some hero of justice because of people unrelated to him.
After all, even though people didn’t really die when they were killed in this world, he didn’t want to bet if he could reincarnate a second time.
Isis nodded to herself, seemingly coming to a decision.
“What was that about?”
“Forget it, let’s go.”
Shaking his head, he decided to ignore the weird question and changed the topic,
“So, you still didn’t tell me about the Intel you got. Also, why did that first Asad and his group attack us?”
Isis put her hands behind her back and began to slowly walk away,
“… Sol, do you know what Vira is?”
Sol took a step beside her and began to follow,
“Normally I would answer that it’s the currency, but I guess it isn’t just that?”
“Heh, well indeed. Vira also had another name in the past. It was called — Faith Coins.”
The wind around them stirred at those words.
(AN: Mixing Isis and Sheherazade names is sometimes a pain. Anyway, as long as the two are together, even if I write Isis in narration, for Sol she is Sheherazade.)
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