This chapter is actually almost identical to the WN one for those of you who might get confused.
A person with nothing
There is a conceptof levels in this world.
All living beingsbegin at level 1, and can level up by gaining experience pointscalled 'Spheres' which are obtained by defeating the monstersthat inhabit this world. However, these monsters are very dangerous,and not everyone has the capability of defeating them. Only warriorswho possessed strong attack skills could destroy these monsters.
Skills are specialgifts given by God to people when they are born. Each person has atleast one of these gifts, and live by using their powers. As such,those who possessed stronger skills are said to be chosen by God.
This was what mydeceased father told me.
The skill that I hadbeen given was "Gluttony". It is a troublesome skill that onlygives me a feeling of constant hunger. In the village where I hadbeen born and raised, I was told that I was good-for-nothing, and wasfrequently bullied as a result. I am a useless person in this world ―I have nothing.
Thanks to thispointless skill, I was kicked out of the village after my father, whowas my only family and support, passed away from an illness. I thentravelled to the Seyfert Capital, thinking that in such a large city,surely there would be something that even I could do. I held thishope close to my heart.
Despite this, Icould not find a decent job and ended up being employed as agatekeeper for the castle. Whether the weather was rainy, windy, orsnowy, I was not allowed to move away from the front gate. Yet,compared to amount of hard work for this job, the wage was very low.
Originally, this wasnot a job that a commoner like me could do. This was somethingreserved for the Holy Knights who served the castle. However, becauseof the 3K; "severe", "dirty" and "dangerous", thehigher-up authorities employed daily labourers like me to be theirsubstitutes. (TLN: Severe, dirty and dangerous are all words thatstart with 'k' in Japanese, "kitsui", "kitanai" and"kiken", hence the term '3K'.)
"Oi, have you beenguarding the gate well as our substitute today?"
The voice belongedto a young Holy Knight wearing brightly shining armor. He was myemployer, one of the three siblings of the Breric family, a member ofthe five noble lineages of the kingdom. The one who spoke to me withsuch arrogance was the eldest son, Rafal. Next to him stood Hado, thesecond son, and behind them both was their younger sister, Mimil. Thethree siblings all had icy blue coloured hair, and all of them weresuperior Holy Knights.
A Holy Knight issomeone who has especially outstanding skills, even amongst thewarriors. It is an honourable title given to those who areacknowledged by the kingdom to have a great talent. In this world,levelling up stronger skills leads to an increase in one's status.Therefore, Holy Knights who fought demons with their holy attributeskills and levelled up were in a completely different dimension topeople like me. If I were to anger them, who knows what they woulddo.
I kneeled down andbowed my head at them, even if they were irritating jerks.
"Here, your wagefor today."
Rafal threw severalcopper coins at my feet. The other two smirked in disdain.
"Pick them up. Ifyou don't hurry, I'll decrease your wage."
Even if he had notsaid that, those coins were important money for my living expenses. Iquickly began to pick them up, but just I was about to retrieve thelast piece, Rafal stepped on my hand.
"Oops, my bad.There's a hand there? It's so dirty that I didn't see."
He laughed hardwhile stepping down. Obviously it was on purpose.
"Don't forget,we're the ones who gave a job to scum like you. We can replace youas many times as we want. Do you understand? Is this too hard forsomeone as stupid as you?"
"Oh yeah, it seemslike you've been slacking off lately. We gave you an honorable jobto do for us. Normally this job isn't even paid, so you should begrateful that we're paying you so generously. Shouldn't you bepicking them up more carefully?"
"It's just as myolder brothers said. Your failure will inconvenience us. I'd feelbad if I executed you."
This was theireducational guidance to me by firmly reminding me of my position.Telling me how lowly I am and emphasizing that they were the oneskeeping me alive, this was what they drilled down to my bones. If Irefused to listen to him obediently, he would not let me pick up thelast coin. If I defied him, I'd lose my job and possibly be killedsince they would see it as a rebellion.
Damn it. I havealready lived as their slave for five years, with no change in sight.If I decided to quit, Rafal and his siblings would surely be enragedand accuse me of false charges. He's that kind of person.
I felt theirritation accumulated in these five years start to build up inside,angry at why I must obey them and resenting my own uselessness. Andonly at such a time does my "Gluttony" skill awaken, making mystomach rumble loudly.
Rafal seemed tothink I could never eat enough and started berating me sternly.
"How pitiful. Eventhough you're doing such a poor job of being a gatekeeper, we arestill feeding you! Stop embarrassing the Breric Family!"
He kicked me in thestomach as I was still kneeling. Even though he did not kick hard,the difference between a Holy Knight's status and a commoner likeme was like heaven and earth. The impact of the kick was strongenough to feel as though my internal organs might just jump out of mymouth. Vomiting repeatedly, I lost my breath and fell to the ground.
"What's this?You're like a maggot. Smelly and dirty."
In the midst of myconsciousness, I heard what sounded like Mimil's voice.
"Oi, hurry and getup. If you aren't doing your job properly as a gatekeeper, we'llget blamed by the other Knights!"
Rafal was nowstepping on my face and pressing it to the ground.
"Get up already!"
As if I can get up.Unless he took his tough leg away, there was no way I could stand upwith the overwhelming power difference between us. Rafal knew that ofcourse. He seemed to enjoy watching me struggle and writhe under hisfeet.
He stepped downharder and I felt a severe pain as if my head was about to crack.Just as I thought I was about to die, I was saved by a dignifiedvoice.
"Rafal, stop thatat once! He'll die if you continue. Your actions towards the peoplewe are meant to be protecting are improper for a Holy Knight!"
"Tsk… Today'sshift change is Roxy Heart, huh?"
The person who savedme was Roxy Heart, someone who believed in using strength to assistthe weak and was therefore a rarity amongst the Holy Knights. Herdazzling golden hair reflected her courageous personality.
The Heart Family wasalso one of the five noble lineages, and they believed strongly inhonoring justice. Hence, they were adored by the public, and ofcourse I was her fan too.
At Roxy's glare,Rafal and his siblings left with a string of curses. As they did so,Rafal looked back at Roxy with a defiant smirk. I knew thatexpression well. After all, Rafal was a revengeful person. It waslikely that he resented Roxy for shaming him and was already thinkingof a way to retaliate.
Roxy paid him noheed and taking my hand, she helped me up. With her handkerchief, shewiped the blood that flowed from my forehead.
"Are you alright?"
"Yes, it alwayshappens. Thank you very much for your help, Roxy-sama."
"Not at all, weare gatekeeper comrades after all so it's only natural that Ishould do this. Anyway, let's change places."
I bowed deeply andhanded Roxy the spear adorned with a flag that had Royal Familyemblem embroidered on it. This spear was the symbol of thegatekeeper. Unlike the other Holy Knights, Roxy was a respectableKnight who did her job as a gatekeeper properly. She glancedworriedly at me as I released her hand.
"If something likethat happens again, I'll―"
"No, I cannotcause trouble for Roxy-sama. I'm okay, so I'll be on my way now.Please excuse me."
Although it seemedlike Roxy had something else that she wanted to say, I quickly ranoff. I did not want her to concern herself with the Breric Familybecause of me anymore. With their personalities, who knows what kindsof dirty tricks they would use. There was no greater despair to methan just the thought that she may end up being treated cruelly likethe way they dealt with me. I wanted Roxy to be able to keep walkingher path without hesitation. It would definitely be better this wayand bring happiness to the people of the kingdom.
Feeling gloomy, Iheaded towards my usual drinking bar and as the moon rose high intothe sky, I entered. Late at night was when it was the busiest.Merchants, prostitutes, travellers and many others sat down and drankuntil their faces turned red.
Sitting down at thecounter in what could be called my designated seat, the bartenderplaced a glass of red wine in front of me without a word. This wasthe cheapest wine in the store and was not delicious in theslightest, being rather sour. Its sole purpose was to serve as mydistraction.
"Master, bread andsoup."
Bread that had beenbaked for so long it that became burnt. Tasteless soup leftover fromboiling vegetables for other dishes. This was my dinner. I had noteaten meat for more than five years. The last time I tasted it wasfrom a small piece of dried meat.
I've alreadyforgotten what meat tasted like.
Due to my "Gluttony"skill, I was always hungry yet I never had enough money to satisfy myappetite. Consequently, I ate the meal in front of me very slowly inthe attempt to lessen my hunger just a little. While I ate the burntbread and drank the wine bit by bit, the bar owner struck up aconversation.
"How was your dayworking as a gatekeeper?"
"It was prettyhard."
"I see… I hopeyou won't end up like your predecessor."
I gave no reply. Ihad heard that my predecessor employed by the Breric Family had diedfrom being overworked. He status was the same as mine, having beenrelentlessly tormented while working severe hours. He had graduallybecome thinner until like a thread snapping, he suddenly fell downand died.
And then, the barowner had witnessed the dead body being kicked and stomped upon bythe Breric Family, as he had died while on guard duty and was nolonger of any use to them. Even now, it was a miserable scene thathad been burned bright into his eyes, unable to be forgotten.