Chapter 6 - Continued - A Tale of Charity
A motorrad was racing across a long, unbranching road.
The spring grass danced in the wind, and a carpet of green stretched as far as the eye could see. The sky was so blue it was almost cold to look at.
"What a haul, Kino!" The motorrad exclaimed, moving down the firm dirt path.
On either side of the motorrad's back wheel was a black container, and over it was a bag and a sleeping bag. Small cloth sacks hung from everywhere, shaking in rhythm with the motorrad.
The rider named Kino, who wore a black jacket, smiled underneath the goggles.
"You can say that again. I got new shirts and new underwear, I bought a great new sleeping bag, and I bought more ammunition for [Woodsman] and [Flute]. And you too, Hermes…"
The motorrad named Hermes continued where Kino left off.
"I got a motor oil change, new chains, and we stocked up on extra plugs."
"And fuel and rations. We even bought sacks to fit everything in."
"All thanks to those donations!" Hermes said. Kino nodded.
"Yeah. I don't think I could ever thank them enough."
"But over half the donations they collected went to the Traveler's Aid Society's pockets, right? It would have been nice if we could have taken a bit more, like seventy percent. What happened to the greedy old Kino I know? Is she off traveling somewhere without me? Did she have a change of cart?"
Kino looked up into the sky and thought for a moment.
"…Hermes, did you mean… 'change of heart'?"
"Yeah, that's right!"
Hermes went quiet after that.
"That was a bit hard to figure out, Hermes."
"Really? Anyway, what actually happened?"
Kino looked back at the luggage behind her. A bag, a sleeping bag, and several small sacks. The country they had departed from was no longer visible past the horizon.
Kino looked ahead again.
"They're the ones who did this for me. And what would I do with so much money? I don't think I could ever spend it all. And if I bought things I could sell for a good price in other countries, like jewelry, everyone would have noticed something was wrong."
"Actually, there was something I was so worried about I didn't even tell you, Hermes. Since I can't see the country from here anymore, I'll tell you."
"Oh? What is it?"
"All right. So about what I did--pretending to be a poor traveler receiving charity from the generous citizens--it's actually something Master did when she visited this country before. She did the same thing and came out richer."
"Wow, that's amazing. Looks like she was always that evil, huh?"
"But I think even Master felt bad about it afterwards. She told me something later."
"What did she say?"
"She said, 'If I ever get the chance to return, I would tell the people everything'."
"Huh. So I guess she never ended up coming back."
Kino looked up into the sky. A trio of birds were flying in a circle in the air, their wings spread wide.
Kino turned her gaze back to the road and answered.
"That's right. And she said something else too: 'Kino, if you ever end up visiting that country, and there are still people tricking others in this way, make sure you reveal the truth. But only after you've received everything you could'."
"So I wrote letters explaining everything and sent them to that country's press organizations. In secret."
"Kino… no way."
"Yeah. I made sure to explain all the details, so there must be a huge commotion going on about now."
"You're terrible, Kino."
"It's not nice to take advantage of innocent people." Kino smiled.
"Then why didn't you tell them earlier?" Hermes asked.
"Because no one would believe me otherwise."
"True." Hermes answered. For some time, only the sound of his engine could be heard on the plain.
Eventually, Kino spoke up with a tone of satisfaction.
"So in the end, 'We left with all kinds of goodies', 'The people learned the truth', and 'The fraudsters were arrested'. All's well that ends well."
"You should think about becoming a con artist yourself, Kino. I bet those people are livid right about now."
"Maybe you're right. But…"
"It's their fault for falling for it."
The motorrad raced across the long, unbranching road.
Continued in Chapter 7.
Continued in Chapter 7.