It took us a week to reach the first stop, and that was without even stopping.
During that week, I had a few lectures from onee-sama, who taught me the basics of how non-practitioners fight – they use martial arts to fight. I thought I might have been able to remember some old martial arts and forms from my previous lives, but I was unsuccessful. Thus, I had to pay close attention to onee-sama’s instruction.
The other major thing that happened on the trip was I managed to join in on a poker game between the two guards and the maid. I acted as though I didn’t know how to play and asked them to teach me, to avoid arousing suspicion, then after a few rounds I started beating them. I managed to win a few silver coins from doing so!
However, we are now at the first stop, Elgora town. If you look at it from a bird’s eye view, it’s a strange sight. On one side, where we are coming from, there is desertland while on the other there is a dense forest. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s fairly normal as Elgora is a huge town. It’s even bigger than the town underneath the castle.
“We’ll be staying here for three days. We won’t show ourselves, but we’ll be hiding somewhere where we can protect you. Don’t stir up to much trouble though.”
Sarah is quickly followed up by the maid.
“I-I’ll be getting some things from h-here. But I’ll b-be fine on m-my own.”
“Please take care.”
Tomoe is the one who ends the conversation and soon the the they are all doing their jobs. A quick glance shows that I’m unable to detect where Tomoe and Sarah are, and the maid has quickly rushed into town. I’m glad that we were off the dragon or else I’d feel like they were playing a huge joke on us.
Onee-sama is looking at me with disdain again. I really can’t get her to open up her heart to me, can I?!
“What are we going to do, onii-san?”
Lumi, on the other hand, is just like an excited little child… Wait, she is an excited child. She’s normal, unlike me.
“I think onee-sama wants to take you somewhere. Perhaps you should go with her today, and spend tomorrow with me and-”
“And on the third day?”
Onee-sama butts in before I can finish my sentence.
“On the third day, we spend it together.”
Although she doesn’t seem to be pleased with the idea, she doesn’t outright reject it.
“… I’d like that.”
Lumi adds in her opinion, which makes onee-sama lighten up a little.
“I guess that’s fine. Don’t expect much though.”
I’m a step closer to getting into onee-sama’s heart! Well, I think she only agreed because of Lumi’s push but at least it’s not as bad as when I first saw her. Good going, Lumi!
“Let’s get going then.”
Onee-sama grabs Lumi’s hand and pulls her along with her. Turning her head back for a little bit, Lumi gives a smile and wave before giving all her attention to onee-sama. I think they got closer during this week… Well, so did I. Onee-sama didn’t give her trademark ‘Hmph’ once yet. She might just be in a good mood. Either way…
I wonder which guard stayed with me. It’s obvious that they’ll split up to protect all of us. That’s why it had to be Lumi going with either onee-sama or me. There are too little guards for us to go on our own.
Observing my amulet, I have used two days worth. Does this mean today is a bad day, and I’ll need to rest a lot? At least I’m on my own if that’s the case, as I won’t be dragging anyone else down.
I wait a little longer so onee-sama and Lumi are into the town and it doesn’t feel weird to enter on my own.
Entering the town, there aren’t even guards that check your identity. Isn’t that weird in a fantasy setting? Or maybe I’m the weird one, assuming there would be that type of check?
The town is filled with wooden houses that are fairly decent in size and a few large wooden buildings which don’t appear to be houses… A closer inspection reveals them to be slave buildings. So slavery is legal. That’s convenient – I might be able to make my own personal army. It’d be better than not being able to protect myself, or relying on protection due to my royal status.
“Wha’ you looking at, youngster?”
An old man comes out of one of the buildings holding a whip and speaks to me. I think he’d be quite scary, if his smile didn’t seem friendly… Are you trying to kidnap me into being a slave?!
“Ah! I’m just visiting the town and was curious. Why are so many slaves needed here?”
“Ohoho, the youngster is curious as to why our town needs so many slaves! That’s simple, they maintain our farms and buildings. As we are often out hunting or completing quests for the king.”
“Quests for the king?”
“Aye. The king often asks of us tasks such as ‘Locate the safest towns’ and ‘Find me a powerful Martial Practitioner’. It keeps us as a large town but as we are away a lot, we use slaves as our labour.”
I didn’t realise such a thing happened. I’d think that the king had his own forces to do those sorts of tasks. Is the kingdom suffering? Wait… Why don’t the slaves rebel? Let’s ask.
“Why don’t the slaves rebel?”
The man looks dumfounded for a moment before reverting back to his original friendly old man face.
“That’s simple. They are under a blood contract. If they break it, they die.”
“Huh? I thought humans couldn’t use magic.”
“The contract isn’t magic – it’s something we don’t understand.”
“Thank you for your help.”
I better get out of here before this guy tries to make me a slave. Before I do, I throw over two bronze coins to him and leave. With that, hopefully he won’t chase me. That information is probably stuff I coulda asked Sarah or Tomoe for though. The problem is, I was the suspicious one in that circumstance.
Reaching the centre of the town, I arrive at the marketplace.
It’s size isn’t disproportionate to the size of the town. It’s quite scary to think about how many slaves must have been used in creating this town. Even scarier, how many must have died in it’s creation?
Never mind, it’s not important anymore. That’s the way of the world, and if it works, obviously I can’t change it. That would be a stupid idea. Those who initiate change are often the ones who die first. I’ll avoid dying, if I can help it.
At least it’s easy to tell what stores are which here. There’s no having to go into a store and finding out it’s not appropriate for children to be there… I can walk in knowing full well I shouldn’t be there! (I really can’t, as there’s a pesky guard around, somewhere.)
The stores are quite varied, and I’m surprised they’re all open. I thought one or two might be closed until night, or have gone bankrupt.
There’s the armour store, which won’t really be of much use to me right now. Young people grow too quickly. The weapons store… Should I go in there? There’s also a enchantment store… How does a human run one of those- never mind, they probably have a slave. Clothing store? Hmm…. Nah, don’t need clothes right now. The last stores are for jewellery, accessories and pets. How do jewellery and accessories differ, people?
Well, the most obvious thing is the slave exhibition right in the middle. Surprisingly, they aren’t being auctioned, but rather being presented like a stall in a shopping centre. Maybe auctions don’t work well here?
Looking at the slaves being presented, there’s a short old man with a long white beard (is he a dwarf?), a young girl with beast ear’s. And an older sister type with big breasts. Like, so big that they will interfere with fighting. I guess if I were to choose the most appropriate one for me, it would be the young girl… But she’s almost onee-sama’s age, right? Onee-sama might get mad at me.
The man running the exhibition sees me and walks over to me. The slaves stay on their platform and nobody bats an eyelid. This must be usual antics for this salesman!
“Are you perhaps interested in one of my merchandise?”
“Ehhh, not one of them…”
“Hmm? Are they not your type?”
You asked that thing to a child? Perhaps I’m misunderstanding, as I doubt an old man would be anyone’s type, but still. What the hell, dude.
“Perhaps you’d like to see more?”
Before accepting, I’d better show my crest. I don’t trust this dude.
When he sees it, he nods, understandingly and says there really is more slaves. What can go wrong?
Turns out, he was telling the truth. He takes to a slave building and says that anyone of them is for sale and at a cheap price. He orders them all to stand in lines. Males on the left and females on the right. They even stand in order of age.
Looking at the girls, most of them are either mature and big breasted, or around onee-sama’s age. There aren’t any younger ones. The salesman said that these were the popular types around the area… Any younger than that and I’d be worried!
The guys, on the other hand, had some my age, some old men and then everything in between.
As I wasn’t interested in big-breasted bimbos and scared of what onee-sama might think if I got a slave around her age, I observed the male slaves. It’s regrettable, but it’s the only option I have.
Too old and they won’t be of use in a fight, so anyone over the age of twenty is out… That leaves ten slaves left to choose from. Three of them are my age, four of them are around onee-sama’s age and the last are either nineteen or twenty.
Looking at the three my age, one has blue hair and beast ears, one has red hair and is human and one has white hair and red eyes… What race is he?
“I want that one.”
I point towards the white haired one and not only is the salesman shocked, even the other slaves have weird expressions. What, is there something wrong here?
“Are you sure? There are no returns at this place.”
“That’s fine. How much is he?”
“He? Ahh, right. He’s only five silver. And as a discount, you can have him for three.”
I hand him the silver coins and the salesman tells me the procedure of making the slave mine. I have to cut my hand and force the slave to drink my blood… How crude.
And so, I leave the building with a new slave, who must have some severe defect to be so cheap. Considering, when I asked, all the other slaves cost from at least a single gold and some slaves can even cost a platinum coin.
When we meet back at the dragon, the others don’t even blink an eye at the fact that I bought a slave… Is it really that normal to do so!?!?!
Even onee-sama didn’t make a condescending remark to me… What the hell is going on?
Well, though I say that, the slave in question hasn’t even spoken. It’s weird.