Since this morning, there's been starving children who have trouble finding a daily meal residing in the back streets and the underground of the Royal Capital. This makes these orphans suitable for kidnapping, regardless of their gender or healthiness.
As was the norm in some countries and regions in my previous life, the orphans either lost their parents in a war, were abandoned by their parents because of poverty, or were thrown away because they had physical deformities. There are various reasons why the countless orphans do not have guardians.
At one point, the Kingdom’s 【Sage from Another World】 created orphanages with his own money as a way to help them. However, due to the competing interests of the nobles and the issue of costs, there are only a few of these orphanages. Even though there are many important orphans that live there, there were a number of children that ended up being left out.
Still, the fact is that the results were more than adequate as they were raised above a certain standard. Even with the knowledge he brought from a different world and the abundant internal magical power he possessed, the 【Sage from Another World】 had a personal limit.
Although many of the orphans that were left out died from starvation, the cold, and other such things, some of them were persistently hanging on to their lives.
These orphans will often form groups in order to survive, and it's not uncommon for them to resort to stealing in order to eat.
It's a really common thing. After living in the neighborhood for a month or two, I've seen quite a few instances of theft.
When the orphans are caught stealing by adults, they'll often be beaten and kicked and then left in a terrible state in one of the back alleys. If they're unlucky, they'll die.
At any rate, since there are orphans who earn pocket change by guiding travelers, polishing shoes, and other such activities, the ones who commit crimes like theft are ignored by the people.
Since the lives of the citizens are affected by them, it's hard to say that they're completely bad.
For that reason, if such an orphan disappears unnoticed, the citizens won't care that much.
They’ll likely think, “Did the troublemaker die, or were they kidnapped by someone? Either way, it’s good that they disappeared.”
Therefore, I’m choosing just the right targets.
This time, as one of the war's rewards, the king gave me direct permission to do this through the Tomboy Princess, so I gathered the orphans in my mansion without any discussion.
In this way, by noon, 50 children had been abducted and they were lined up in front of me.
Most of the orphans are weaker and smaller than average children from the same age group, and some were weakened by disease as well. They were dirty all over and were giving off a smell that was difficult to describe. However, their eyes expressed their strong will to live.
As I stood in front of them, most of the orphans naturally began to gaze at the ground, though there was one that had the guts to stare back at me.
Since he’s the oldest amongst them, I assumed that he was currently the leader of their group.
Their ringleader, who was trying to protect the younger orphans, was bombarding me with various questions. However, I began by treating everyone to food for now.
Among the magic items that I obtained in the Labyrinth City, there are some large pans that automatically make dishes when I put the ingredients in.
Since it was necessary to prepare for a number of people this time, these were effectively used and I put together a dish for 50.
I placed Horned Rabbit and Turtle Snake meat in a large pan, added plenty of vegetables that I had bought in the Royal Capital’s marketplace, threw in some milk and cheese, and finished making something that was similar to a cream stew.
A rich, fragrant smell stimulated the appetite. As I tasted it, I was surprised that the dish was so delicious, since I had prepared it in such a noncommittal way.
When the cream stew was ready, I poured it into something that was similar to a large platter. Although I gave the orphans spoons, they didn't use them, instead choosing to greedily and wholeheartedly eat it by using their hands to put the food in their mouths. As they swallowed down every last drop, their eyes became bloodshot from the frightening sight of the empty platter.
It looks like they were more starved than I had anticipated.
Since I made a new batch, it didn't become a problem, though the orphans looked at me curiously after they finished eating the meal.
They leaned their head to one side as if they wanted to say, “Why did you give us such a delicious meal?"
I didn't answer the question though, and proceeded to put all of them in the bath.
As expected of a mansion that was built by a person that was rich amongst the nobles, the bathroom was big enough to house dozens of people all at once.
Even though the number of maids who still remain has decreased, I gave them instructions to wash the orphans’ bodies.
Since they used soap that was created from raw materials gathered in the Kuuderun Great Forest, the dirt that they scraped off of the orphans began to accumulate in the bathroom.
Although the bathroom had become quite dirty, I deemed it acceptable since the orphans were now clean and smelled normal again.
It was only the bathroom that needed to be cleaned again.
After that was done, I cured the children that were suffering from illnesses.
Even if their wounds had festered, they were on the verge of getting tetanus, they had parasitic worms, or one of their arms or legs was hard to move because they had severe burns, it was easy to cure them if I combined my healing skills with 【Blood Elixir】.
Although it’s not yet possible to completely heal an orphan who lost an eyeball or finger, I can at least reduce the pain so that they can endure it.
After the meal, the bath, and the treatment had been completed, I lined the orphans up before me again and they seemed to have changed their state of mind.
Their wariness had faded considerably and they looked at me with a friendly gaze.
Although the wariness of the boys and girls that had lived in this severe world for some time wasn't reduced, they were still at a loss as to why I was taking such good care of them without answering their questions.
Seeing that, and because all of the preparations had been completed, I told the orphans why I abducted them.
There’s no way I would feed the orphans, bathe them and treat their illnesses for a charitable cause.
I told them my goal plain and simple: I wanted to raise them as war potential for the future.
Well, including the goblins that have very high fertility, there are also many other beings that can become important war potential depending on how they're managed. When it comes to non-humans that are more powerful than humans with 【Jobs】, there are too many to count.
However, since humans have potential that monsters don't have, people that achieve interesting growth are likely to appear.
They're excellent in terms of diversity.
After taking these things into consideration, it's necessary for me to have human group members that I have trained from an early age. However, normal humans grow slowly. If you want to raise them from the time they're a baby, it’ll take many years.
Although humans are being born amongst the members of my group as well, it’s too slow.
For that reason, I concluded that a quicker way to do this is to abduct children that have already reached a certain age.
This isn't a bad situation for either side.
I picked up orphans that won't really cause problems if they suddenly disappear, because I can train them so that they can at least be useful on their own, while giving them the minimum amount of food so they don't die.
Well, you could say that that's the reason that I picked up 50 orphans that would have died in the near future and had them become new members of our group today.
Now then, I had the group's leader remain in the top position for now, and decided to treat them as a military unit in order to experiment with new methods of training and the handling of new weapons.
With that, the new experimental youth corps ≪Solitude≫ was established.