Chapter 7 – The Bequeathed Legacy
It happened one day while I was sightseeing in a certain city.
A strange man started talking to me all of a sudden.
“Hey, you’re a witch, right? Does that mean you can ride brooms and stuff?”
What an incredibly idiotic statement.
“Seeing as I’m a witch as well as a traveler, yes, I do ride them.”
I wouldn’t be doing something as troublesome as traveling if I couldn’t ride one.
The man nodded as if he was satisfied with something.
“That’s awesome! Hey, would you be willing to do something for me?”
Without even allowing me to reply, the man pulled out a map and continued to talk.
“Could you take me to this location on the map? I have something that I need to do there.”
He was enthusiastically pointing to a place on the map, but no matter how you looked at it, it was just an ordinary forest. He had some business in such a place? I wonder, what does he want to do over there? Well, it doesn’t really matter.
“Well, I don’t mind taking you there… but you’ll have to pay for the service, you know?”
“You don’t need to worry about that! I’ll properly pay you, so be at ease!”
“In that case, I don’t mind.”
“Ah, that’s great—by the way, I can only pay you once the job is done, is that okay? Hehe.”
“Eh? I’d prefer to be paid in advance.”
Somehow, he doesn’t seem very trustworthy. From his manner of speech, I get the impression that he’ll run away the instant after I take him wherever he wants to go.
“Well, hang on. Don’t be hasty! I’ll pay you properly if you get me there safely. I’m going there to retrieve gold, after all.”
“Oh? From someplace so deep inside a forest? …Are you going after buried treasure or something?”
I said that in a joking manner. However, he replied with an energetic nod. On top of that,
“That’s exactly right! The legacy my father left me is buried over there!”
He even said something like that, so can you blame me for being surprised?
While alternatively looking between the map and the path, I proceeded to go deeper into the forest.
A rope was tied to the handle of my broom, and the other end of the rope was tied to a sled. I was flying towards the place indicated on the map where the treasure was buried while having that man sit on the sled.
I heard such screams from behind me as I continued to travel, but I didn’t pay them any heed. It had been about an hour since I started flying on my broom.
Right after we started flying, the man complained, saying,
“Hey, why am I on a sled? Let me sit behind you.”
However, I honestly replied, saying,
“If you keep saying that, I’m just going to leave you here.”
However, as the time passed, even doing that became troublesome.
To my regret, he appeared to be a person who was fond of talking. While sitting on the sled that was hanging below my broom, he kept talking about his adventures for some reason.
According to him, his father was a legendary gambler. He was also a gambler who had earned a decent amount of money. He followed in his dead father’s footsteps and, until a few years ago, he had made a lot of money through gambling.
However, he recently had kept losing, and was now on a decline.
“I’ll definitely return the money when I win.”
“I promise, I’ll definitely return it.”
Saying things like that, he racked up an enormous debt with his friends, but as he continued to gamble, the money and his luck continued to evaporate like hot water.
What’s more, his friends and acquaintances got tired of dealing with him, and people who had known his father even insulted him saying things like, “The father was blessed, but his son is horrible.”
At this rate he would die a miserable death while shouldering a massive debt—while he was worrying over things like that, he recently had happened to come across a map at his home that showed the location of the treasure his father had buried.
Unbelievable. God has not forsaken me! He had danced for joy while thinking that.
And so, he caught a hold of me, a traveler, and used me as a guide. Perhaps this was something that would make any gambler excited.
I don’t understand it at all, but in any case, that was apparently the situation.
“I’m going to get back at all those people who made fun of me! I’ll show them that an apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!”
Saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree was originally a way of implying that the child of a mediocre person would also be mediocre no matter how hard they tried…oh well. I let that slide without passing a comment.
After that, he ceaselessly continued to talk about his life so far. Things like what was the most money he had earned in a single day, stories of his passionate love with beautiful women, and many other things in addition.
I made sounds of acknowledgement in the beginning, but even that eventually became annoying.
And so, I purposely chose to fly recklessly.
Ah, this is such a pleasant change.
We finally arrived at our destination.
Soon after we landed, he threw up. While supporting himself by putting a hand against a thick tree.
“Are you okay?”
“No problem! My father’s legacy is right in front of my eyes, so something like this is no big deal!”
“Speaking of which, where is the treasure?”
Wiping his mouth, he looked at the map.
“Maybe over here? Ah, no, it must be over there? Nope, that’s not right either. Umm…”
He walked around in circles while holding the map.
At this rate, maybe he’ll throw up again? He continued to walk all around me while I watched apprehensively.
After some time,
“Ah. It’s this tree. It looks like the treasure is buried under this tree.”
Saying so, he pointed at a certain thick tree.
It was right beneath the place where he had thrown up.
“…Umm, I’m sorry.”
“…Ah, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it…”
I had already finished what I was contracted to do, so of course I didn’t help him dig it up. Doing that would have been a pain, in any case.
I just waited while watching him dig at the roots of the tree with a trowel.
“Treasure…! Treasure…! Treasure…!”
He looked just like a thief.
And so, the time continued to pass as I was feeling bored.
As he continued to dig away, a hole was formed in the ground and a correspondingly large mound of earth had been made beside it, when finally his trowel made a loud metallic sound as it struck something hard.
After I stood up in reaction to the sound, he turned around to look at me and gave me a thumbs up.
“I’ve found it! Look here! It’s the treasure!”
He used his trowel to pry it from the earth, and then threw it towards me. A tin case rolled upon the hard earth.
“Hoho. So the treasure is inside this?”
“You betcha! Let’s open ‘er up!”
Seeing me nod, he opened the case.
After peeking inside, he said,
“Hehehe… now I’m also a wealthy man… Hmm?”
His laugh was transformed into an expression of doubt in a second, and the next instant, he turned pale.
“…? What’s inside?”
Stepping beside him, I peeked into the box.
And then, I saw what was stashed inside.
There wasn’t a single coin inside the box. It was just filled with a large amount of paper.
Friends, relatives, inns, pubs, butchers, and vegetable sellers. The case was filled with details of money his father had borrowed from all kinds of people, the date by when the money was to be repaid, and even the names of guarantors who were to pay in case his father was unable to return the money. It was filled with such details
“My son, please pay the money in my stead. Love, Dad.”
That was the short letter that accompanied those notes.
“No way… how can this be…!? This has to be a lie…! Daaaaaaad!”
And then, he pulled out every note the in the box and threw them them out. Invoices were flying out one after the other. Amongst them, there was a letter. He apparently didn’t see it, and threw it out along with the other notes—this is what was written inside the letter:
“I’m sorry, there is no treasure. In fact, I wasn’t some legendary gambler in the first place. My luck was good in the beginning, but eventually I wasn’t able to win anymore and I am a horrible father who incurred a massive debt. Please forgive me. While you’re at it, please return the money I owe. I’ve properly explained this to the people I borrowed money from. I’m sure they’ll wait until you get the money ready. I’m counting on you.”
It was an excellent demonstration of throwing your troubles onto someone else. It was such a horrible way of dealing with the issue that it almost made you feel refreshed.
Looking at the shouting young man from behind, there was just one thought that crossed my mind while I was pitying him.
Indeed, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.