TGL Volume 5, Chapter 1 (2)

Running away from home, there’s nothing unreasonable about it. My parents are probably the strictest ones in existence, even when taking into account every single lower plane, pocket realm, and whatever upper plane there may be. Along with the strictest parents in the world, I probably have the worst luck too. After ten years, I finally created a chance to escape, and within the first three hours of freedom, I was caught by a group of human immortals and trapped in a cage deep within a building. Are they going to eat me? My parents always told me humans ate us beasts. They must be keeping me alive because I’ll taste better if I’m fresher. Squirrels are like royalty amongst the beasts. The humans who captured me are probably waiting for the right buyer, one who can pay what I’m worth to eat me. The sad part is there’s nothing I can do about it.

“Slayersson One?”

That’s me. This silver-robed woman standing outside of my cage, she’s one of the immortals who captured me. She knows my name through the use of force and intimidation. Anyone would give up precious information under the threat of death. Of course, I did my best to resist. As a squirrel, my bravery—

Bang!

“Hey!” The frightening woman kicked one of the bars of the cage, making me jump involuntarily. Anyone would flinch after hearing a sudden sound like that—my reaction had nothing to do with cowardice. “You muddleheaded moron, your guardian is here to pick you up.”

I’m not a muddleheaded moron! Of course, I didn’t object out loud. If I did object, I really would be a moron for angering her. That was just asking for a beating, and only morons would want to be beaten. Wait a second…. Did she just say a guardian was here to pick me up? I’m not going to be eaten? Who came to save me? I thought I had escaped from the tribe without anyone noticing, but my parents had their eyes on me the whole time?

The silver-robed woman nodded off to the side, and heavy footsteps approached, sounding nothing like how a squirrel would walk. Did one of the immortal elders come to pick me up? Only they could transform into a humanoid form. I don’t think my parents were close to any of the elders. Did they come in person!?

An unfamiliar face popped into view. It belonged to a woman with rounded furry ears and a plump, bushy tail. She was wearing a pink and black robe, and a pair of wooden sandals—standard footwear for the immortal realm, but … she was also wearing socks. “Who the hell”—

“Hi, nephew!”

—“are…?” Hmm? She’s winking at me? I clearly have no idea who she is, but it seems like she’s here to bail me out? “Good morning, …Auntie.”

The silver-robed woman looked at me. Then, she looked at the stranger who came to bail me out. Was she suspicious of our relationship? I would be; after all, I have red fur, and the stranger has orange fur. Her ears are more pointed than mine, making her look similar to a fox. Moreover, I’m a sensible fellow with impeccable fashion sense. I would never wear socks with sandals or associate with anyone dressing in such a manner.

“Well, alright,” the silver-robed woman said and held out her hand towards the stranger. “During the process of detaining him, quite a few formations were damaged. You can take him away as soon as you pay up.”

The stranger froze and stared at me. “As the cause of the damages, shouldn’t you be the one paying?”

When I ran away from home, I didn’t bring anything with me except for Nutty, my favorite stuffed animal. After all, a real squirrel doesn’t need any support to succeed in life. “I don’t have money.”

The stranger let out an awkward laugh. She glanced at the silver-robed woman. “How much did you say he caused in damages?”

“You know how squirrels are naturally good at destroying formations,” the silver-robed woman said. “Thirty-seven immortal stones are enough to repair everything.”

“Right,” the stranger said and nodded her head slowly. “How much is that in used panties?”

The frightening woman’s face became even more frightening. “We don’t accept that form of payment here.”

“…How about bear p****es? Actually, do you take aurochsen p****es? I have a lot more of those.”

“What are you squirrels even using as currency these days?” the silver-robed woman asked, the muscles underneath her eyes twitching. “Other than immortal stones, we also accept spirit stones, pills, weapons, and if you really have none of the above, you can also complete a few requests for us. If you’re unwilling to work, then I’m afraid we won’t be releasing him to you at this time.”

The stranger glanced at me. Her gaze seemed to stare through me as if she could see past my luxurious coat of fur, exposing the skin beneath. Why did her expression remind me of the one my mom wore when she’d go bargain shopping? Was this woman judging to see if I was worth the price!? I’m not merchandise! Before I or the stranger could say anything, another stranger came into view. I couldn’t see him earlier, and I hadn’t heard him approach either, but evidently, he was there. He handed the silver-robed woman a small bag. “This should have thirty-seven immortal stones,” the man said.

“Ah?” the stranger, who claimed to be my aunt, asked. “Where’d you get those?”

“From those people we helped on the way here.”

“Oh,” the stranger said, dragging out the word as realization lit up her eyes. “Right. Those people we helped.” She nodded.

Was I mistaken earlier? Why would someone who was willing to help others put a price on my head?

“It all checks out,” the silver-robed woman said after searching through the contents of the bag. “You’re free to go.” She stared me dead in the eyes. “The next time you run away from home, make sure you know where you’re going. If you had been captured by demons or a group of other less-understanding humans, you’d be paying with your life and not just a few stones.”

“Y-yes, ma’am, I understand.” Gosh, why is this woman so frightening? When I become an immortal, the first thing I’m going to do is come back here and teach her a lesson! But first, I should figure out what this stranger wants from me. My parents might’ve been strict, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to listen to the lessons in manners they taught me. This stranger helped me out, so it only makes sense if I help her out in return.

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