Translator: Adam Seacord
「Lily, Lily! It’s me, don’t you remember? Don’t you…?」
「Ah… Agh… Ah, Cha- Charl」
The woman on the bed… No, she was actually still young, a similar age to Shiro. She must have been early in her pregnancy, since her belly was still flat… In fact, she was quite boney, she could not have been healthy.
Unable to speak intelligibly, the girl placed her hand on Shiro’s cheek… The cheek of the old leader of the White Dog Gang, Charlotte. The girl is muttering something, with some joy and sadness on her expression.
「Astarte fixed Lily up, she wasn’t feeling well. She had a cold until yesterday, she really wasn’t feeling well. Is she really a priestess? I’m not smart enough to know it, but her prayers and her healing sure seemed like the real deal.」
…That’s right. Astarte wasn’t there when I turned Shiro into a monster; she didn’t hear Shiro’s confession.
「Astarte’s not all well. She’s here, after all. Neither am I. But… I was the only one who knew any details about Shiro’s past. Astarte didn’t have the opportunity to know about her. 」
I made an excuse, although I knew it wouldn’t help anyone.
「Lily ended up here because she was pawned off from some slave merchant. You saw her, she’s too broken to hold a conversation. Well, she could still move her hips if you threw a man on her, so she’s been working as a bottom-tier prostitute. …Even when something bad happens to her, she can’t put it into words. Sure, she still has the mental capacity of a small child, but it’s not like the other girls have enough leisure to take care of her… 」
I inferred from how Dora spoke, that Lily would have been kicked out of the Spider’s Web, if it wasn’t for this event. There were beggars in Abram, too. Go to the slums in the new part of town, and you would find a small number of the poor, clinging to life in the sewers. However, Lily would not even make it to there. Dora must have been on the verge of giving up, knowing that she could not protect Lily much longer, even though she had no obligation to protect a broken prostitute.
「Lily… I’m sorry, I’m sorry… If I was stronger… I could have… Lily, and everyone…」
With her arm around Lily, who sat there without seeming to grasp the situation, Shiro was crying. No, it wasn’t Shiro sitting there now. It was Charlotte, the lady thief in repentance for her failure to protect her team.
It was Shiro, who had sacrificed everything by becoming my dog… A monster, stripped of the feeling of powerlessness and regret, who can accept her servitude to me as happiness. Even so, her human days spent as Charlotte were never erased, nor were her humiliating days spent as a sex slave after her defeat to <Red Bird>. It had not even been a year since I turned her to be a monster. I did not have the power to erase anyone’s memories. Of course, Shiro’s damaged heart had not healed, unlike Sara’s. Her old wound had opened up, bleeding again after all this time.
…What could she do?
The prostitute called Lily, if I remember Shiro correctly, used to be an herb mixer; she wasn’t suited for rough waters. To top it off, she was broken too badly to use any of her medicinal knowledge, and she was almost certainly pregnant.
If she were only pregnant, I could have arranged to have her do other work in the brothel. If she were only broken, I could have taken a passive approach of having her dedicate herself to the temple, with some donations. Alas, she was both.
Another big problem was Shiro. I had heard that Charlotte was a bright and confident girl with a strong sense of responsibility. Shiro was a monster, who, while active, was not confident, and quite passive as she often waited for my directions. Charlotte would not have been able to accept her past; by becoming a monster, Shiro saw that past as the experience of someone else… That was the illusion she kept up, until this point. Since their paths did cross in the past, this girl would break Shiro, too.
I couldn’t let that happen.
「Hey, Elliot… Was it? That girl… Her face, her arm. Does that mean… At the Man Eating Dungeon? 」
Dora quietly asked me about Shiro’s appearance. Well, our hoods were down, and with a close glance, anyone could see the white fur and the beast-like feature. Of course, she would be curious. Still, she took care to not let Shiro hear her.
「She’s been through some stuff.」
The truth was that I had turned her into a monster, but Dora did not need to know that. …At least not before I turned Dora into a monster of mine.
「…A lot has happened since. She’s working for me now.」
Dora looked at me inquisitively. She clearly wanted ask how I freed her, but seemed to be keeping that to herself.
…Oh, right. I can just tell her.
In order to keep this brothel in check, at the very least, I needed Dora to pledge her loyalty to me, either peacefully or by force. Considering that, I decided to let Dora know that I was not her enemy, and she definitely did not want me to become one.
「Dora, I’ll take Lily in. Don’t worry about it. Also, don’t tell the other prostitutes about Shiro. Although, Astarte and Diana know already. 」
「All right. But, what are you going to do with this girl…?」
Dora’s tone slightly shifted. She might have been a little scared of how I spoke.
「…If we’re lucky, you’ll see her again. I didn’t take on this brothel from the previous owner just because it’s good business. That’s all… Shiro, no, Charlotte.」
Dora had gone quiet, and Shiro finally turned her tear-smeared face toward me.
「E-Elli… Um, Master… I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m your dog now, but…」
Her voice was the same as Shiro’s, but foreign to me.
「It’s all right. There’s no way to change that you were once Charlotte, and I don’t intend to try. …I just don’t want you to forget that you’re also Shiro now.」
Hearing this, Shiro stumbled to turn to me. I stopped her by raising my hand, and took a knee in front of her, and held her chin up with my hand.
「You are my dog. I am your master. She may have been a member of your family, but you don’t need to take care of all of it on your own… You can trust Master.」
「But… She’s not Shiro’s, she’s Charlotte’s… She’s Charlottes, I thought she was dead-」
Shiro was crying, and her face belonged to somebody I don’t know. I took a strong tone. Charlotte had awakened from her slumber within Shiro.
…I’m about to trample Charlotte’s soul and put her under my control, too.
It was laughable how greedy I was, but I had thought that that would be the best solution, for me and for her.
「This girl… Lily. I can’t fix her. But… Remember how you became Shiro, Charlotte?」
「That’s right. There’s no guarantee, but I’ll do it. Now, let me hear you say it… Obey me, Charlotte. And… Give your friend, to me.」
「…Yes, Elliot. Master. Not as Shiro, but as Charlotte, please. I will obey you, make me your dog. Make us, me and this girl… Your dogs.」