The Hero makes eye contact
After leaving Duphein’s base, I first made my way to the edge of the slums once again.
Although I was going to carefully assess all of the goods I needed to procure the advance payment that I received yesterday, since I screwed up my schedule and had received a generous amount of money before the preparations, I decided to make the bigger purchases first.
Carrying my rucksack stuffed with a sack full of coins (in this world, for all trips on foot, people would normally prepare bags like this), I headed to a part of the slum where there were even fewer people.
Adventurers and employees who changed into filthy clothes were roaming about this street, a really unique business area where it does pay poor people no heed.
This is a black market in which banned articles assemble.
Illegal documents, drugs, stolen goods, curse catalysts, and of course, slaves.
Debt Slaves who lost their place, crime slaves who committed felonies, ransom slaves who were sold for money, and war slaves who were knights from another country that were turned into slaves.
The crime and war slaves are usually forced to work on mines managed by the kingdom. While the rest of them are treated as goods at slave stores.
I don’t know how they treat the slaves. The treatment of slaves is all up to the owners, however, they don’t usually display the slaves being mistreated or overworked to the point of collapse. Basically, it’s because the slaves are expensive merchandise.
Thus, the stores that proudly establish themselves on the capital’s main street are slave providers for nobles, which have a lot of quality slaves, but they are required to be bought by nobles, millionaires, or people with letters of introduction from such personage.
So people without connections or the affluence to afford expensive slaves come to buy slaves here in the slums.
I walked around the area aimlessly with the help of my memories from my first life.
As usual, guys who looked rough became pale as soon as they saw me and left the place.
「I was sure that I did that to give a warning…… but did I overdo it?」
Thinking that maybe it was a strong impetus, I pondered about how much the information has propagated since yesterday.
To tell the truth, that exchanger staff (Daruma) was an ex-adventurer, a key figure in the upper ranks, known for his skill and competency in using magic to enhance physical strength and create illusions. And I, who one-sidedly overwhelmed him, was considered to be a threat in the eyes of the citizens in the slums whose creed was mayhem.
「Well I don’t care, it’s better if annoying people don’t approach me.」
As I was rounding up such thoughts, I reach my intended destination. With that, I found and entered into a random declining slave shop. To accomplish my objectives, it is much more convenient to prevent myself from entering the eyes of the public as much as possible.
Inside the store, there wasn’t anyone aside from me at the counter. After the store manager, who seemed free, evaluated me by looking mockingly from head to toe, he talked rowdily as he didn’t consider me as a guest of honor.
[Daily: Oh boy, here we go again. I feel like I’m reading a CN novel]
「Are you looking for slaves? Excuse me for my impoliteness, but about how much is your budget?」
「I have around 10 gold coins, and I need one person. If you show me the slaves that you could sell me, I will then take a pick by myself.」
Considering my budget to spend for necessary travel goods, and thinking about how much money would I need in the future, I responded with a suitable answer.
By the way, it seems that if you were to buy a slave marketed for nobles from a store on Main Street, you would be spending several gold coins, and depending on the quality, you could end up spending white gold coins. In this slum, you can find everything from cheap to expensive goods, however, the price of a slave is at least 3 gold coins. Since the average slave’s price is around 7 to 8 gold coins, if I say that my budget is around 10 coins, I should be able to see most of the slaves.
「Pardon me for my rudeness, but do you really have such a budget on your hands?」
The slave merchant was looking suspiciously in my direction thinking that I wouldn’t have that kind of money. If I were a noble’s son, I would be buying a slave on Main Street; on the other hand, I look too skinny to be an adventurer. Being able to separate people easily into types from a very young age, he couldn’t believe that this greenhorn would have that much cash.
Even though I know his reason for suspicion, I’m still pissed off since he is making light of me.
「……Is this sufficient for you?」
I don’t need to restrain myself, so I pulled out a sack of coins from my rucksack and purposely made a noise as I put the sack on the desk while declaring.
「Th-there is no problem at all! I will now lead you to the cages.」
The instant that I had proved that I had gold, he changed his attitude splendidly which made me remember that detestable person and strained my face a little bit. However, it won’t change anything even if I were to shout at this man in front of me, so I decided to just follow him quietly.
In the inner part of the shop, there were cages with iron bars, which had inside of them humans who are probably slaves with their extremities tied up with handcuffs and with dark gazes.
In this world, the notion of essential things such as nutritional science and hygiene didn’t even exist, nevertheless, it was a harsh environment.
I want a slave to use as a disguise the moment I leave the Kingdom’s royal capital. In the end, when they assemble personnel to search for me, they only have limited characteristics to identify me with, just my black hair and strange clothing. Also, if there were two, it would be a lot easier to get out of the city.
There’s also one more reason.
It’s because I need a practice partner for my skills. There are several skills which can’t be trained by oneself. And since I have the Holy Sword of Vengeance, I wouldn’t have any problems since I should be able to detect ill intent. However, I don’t want to make friends or companions, so that’s why I want a slave.
After I use the slave to raise my level skills decently, I will give him some compensation money and free him. And in the worst case where he becomes a thorn for my revenge, then I can just kill him, and I wouldn’t have a problem with it either.
Well, disgusting and evil acts like casting away someone after using him/her just like them makes me want to puke, even if he/she is a slave. If the slave doesn’t become my enemy, I don’t plan to do such a thing.
Since the slave would probably learn the basic skills to survive as he/she will just help me raise my skills’ level, it won’t end like throwing him/her out defenseless. If we establish a business-like relationship between us, that would be the best. I would like to develop a first class relationship which pays each other’s services with justified profit.
That’s the kind of thought I was having.
……So, I’ll be keeping an eye out until I find that certain slave.
「I would recommend the slaves inside this cage since all of them are hard working. If you want one of those slaves, then it will be a little more expensive but within this cell I…….」
「Hey, how about the one hanging in the last cell?」
「Yes? Ah yes, that girl. She is scheduled to be disposed of in the near future. Since I have heard that some honorable nobles who are living in the royal capital prefer that kind stuff, I went to all the trouble of bringing her here. However, she won’t quit showing hostility. Even though she’s given punishment via the slave seal, she would still show resistance until death’s door; so even if her figure is good, since she will try to grab her owner’s neck and try to kill the client with the price of her life, nobody wants her anymore.」
Inside the royal capital, religious human supremacy has been deeply establishing its roots. Among them, species like beastmen and any other species different from humans have been receiving abuse. However, inside the kingdom, you usually don’t see any beast-kin, and the kingdom can’t get along with the Beast-kin’s kingdom, located on the opposite border of the Empire, sandwiching the Empire together with the Kingdom. Incidentally, the beast-kin’s Kingdom has a dogma of Supremacy of the beast-kin, so there’s no difference in the treatment of humans in beast-kin’s Kingdom, and beast-kin in the Kingdom; it goes both ways.
「Hey, I’ve decided. I pick her.」
「What? But… that is a beast-kin, so even if it’s contrary to her look, she could still asphyxiate you with her great physical strength……」
「I don’t mind. I will pay you 10 gold coins for her so make a contract already, and I won’t complain about it later.」
「Haaa~, if that’s so, there is no problem on our behalf…… Is it your first time buying a slave?」
「Well, it is.」
「If that’s the case, you have to tattoo yourself with a master crest.」
「Yes, if you supply mana to the master crest, the carved slave crest will react and cause sharp pain that could restrict the slave’s movement to a certain extent.」
But first, I returned to the lobby’s counter and signed the purchase contract.
Then, to register for the master crest, I signed on another document.
The contract itself is a magic tool with an integrated magic circle, so when one signs it, it burns itself and a magic circle appears on the back of the one who will be the master, making it a convenient tool.
【System Message: You have unlocked Slave Trainer’s Whip Sword.】
It seems that I got a new soul sword, but I will check it out later.
「Lastly, you have to pour mana on your master crest, directly pile it on her slave crest, and put her under your control, then the contract will be done.」
「With that, doesn’t the possibility of overwriting the contract with another master crest exists?」
「It’s alright. A slave crest will change shape in accordance with the master crest that overwrites it first, and its shape can’t be changed or modified until the contract is canceled.」
Returning to the back room once again, I head to the inside of the cell.
I opened the rusted iron bar door which made a creaking sound and entered the prison cell.
Inside the jail, was a slave. A woman of the rabbit-kin with a gag in her mouth, handcuffs in her hands, which tied her at both ends, and an iron ball attached to her leg, which was a countermeasure for escaping, all tied up.
Having wounds all over her body, she was wearing clothes just in case, which were probably painted black with her blood in several places. Her hair had a color that was too dark to be considered orange, maybe a dark flax color, and her long hair, after being deprived of proper care, was losing moisture, being damaged and dried up.
Her rabbit ears, which was proof that she was a beast-kin, were drooped down, and since she was deprived of food for a long time, her body, which you could tell that it had a great figure from her physique, was underfed. Her arms, legs, and face were thin beyond normal, and her eyes showed tiredness.
I didn’t know how long she had been in this state. Her stamina has hit rock bottom, and she is in a state where she couldn’t even groan. Obviously, she wasn’t allowed to take a bath, so her body was filthy all over, and she was in a terrible condition no matter who saw her. However……
「Yeah, as I thought, you have beautiful eyes.」
Yes, even if she was in this state, only her eyes weren’t dead.
The blackest of the black, deep within the shadows; a dark flame that engulfed everything like magma.
Body’s wounds gouge the soul.
Usually, it wouldn’t be weird if she were to relinquish everything, even her consciousness, and fall into despair.
Even after all that, her eyes were bursting with an unyielding heat as if that was her instinct, her intention.
It’s really, really beautiful a gaze for revenge.
Touching her skinny face, I looked into her gaze as if I was peering deep into her.
Aside from detecting ill intention and hostility, the 【Holy Sword of Vengeance】 can do one more thing: it can see through others’ vengeful souls. This holy sword, let me know about her soul of vengeance.
However, even without such a thing, I would be able to realize it.
It’s because her eyes which were full of vengeance were extremely clear without any murkiness.
「Do…n’t touch… Hu…man.」
Giving a sharp gaze, she showed her teeth with clear intentions of intimidation.
This girl is without a doubt, one of my kind.
A living being who can’t be apart from vengeance as they lived.
A being who can’t move on without exacting revenge.
Like me, a being who has a burning hot desire compressed deep inside that could perhaps melt everything.
First off, I should finish with the slave contract.
Storing magic on the back of my hand, I made contact with her slave crest which was located at the nape of her neck.
The slave crest brightened as it reacted with magic, and the carved seal changed its form.
As the light dimmed, the screams from withstanding the pain ceased.
I pulled out HP and MP potions that I prepared for emergencies from my bag, and shoved the contents directly into her mouth.
「With this, you should be able to talk better.」
Since the appraisal soul sword is still sealed, I can’t know of her condition. However, it is obvious that she is under a status problem which lowers all her stats.
HP and MP have some kind of correlation with stamina. If her HP and MP are recovered, even if she wasn’t able to bring out the usual strength within her, she should still be able to move like normal.
「Who do you want to kill?」
That voice echoed softly within the cell.
I just stare at her dark zeal that dwells deep inside her eyes which are the same color as her hair.
I just ask her about her burning desire.
「You, who do you want to take revenge on?」 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2020 So Far