Hifumi walked leisurely into the town, disappearing into the crowd.
Leaving the castle, Hifumi passed by an area lined with very large mansions that seemed to belong to nobles, arriving at an area lined with 2-storey and 3-storey houses, various shops, stalls and some food carts.
An enticing smell wafts from the stall grilling and selling some kind of meat and fish.
In a shop storing large amounts of vegetables, common people are happily gossiping.
On a roadside table attached to a restaurant, some old men with pipes were discussing something.
Men and women of all ages came and went, voices of merchants resounded here and there, adding to the hustle and bustle.
The clothes varied, but could not be called beautiful. The clothing industry was quite possibly not too advanced, thought Hifumi.
Incidentally, Hifumi was clad in a martial arts uniform, a dark blue hakama, on his feet were a style of sneakers. Besides, some people were glancing at Hifumi, but he wasn’t worried, since it was a habit to go for a stroll wearing his hakama in Japan.
Even though the King was incompetent, these fellows in town are quite well-built. That King was living quite extravagantly.
Taking a silver coin out of the Dark Hole, Hifumi bought some skewers from a stall. He was looked at unkindly for taking out a silver coin for skewers that cost 5 copper coins, but was presented with twice the skewers when he said the change was unnecessary.
As he ate while walking, he noticed a shop with a strange atmosphere.
He did not see any products on display, nothing special drawing him in. A black cloth was hanging over the entrance, and a stern faced man standing near it with folded arms.
Though there was a signboard, Hifumi could not read it.
Because he was interested, he decided to call out.
「 Oy… 」
「 Aa….. what? 」
Suddenly talked to, the man responded with his eyebrows raised.
「 What kind of shop is this? 」
「 It is written on the signboard. It is a slave shop and has nothing to do with a guy like you. 」
「 Nothing to do? Without even an introduction? 」
「 ….Such a thing, the cheapest of our slaves cost 50 gold coins, it is not an amount a youngster like you can pay. 」
Finishing his speech, the man turned his eyes to the street again.
A slave, huh…
Thinking about the future, while walking, Hifumi thought about it again.
Though I intended to travel around the world first…
In the previous events, he could not read the characters, did not understand the values of the coins, and realised that he did not have enough knowledge at all. Though he shopped at the stalls, he did not get the change, so he didn’t know about the conversion rate.
If he had a slave, he would be able to obtain that knowledge, and it would be convenient in the future. He had enough money, after all, he had half the contents of the castle treasury. Even if it was a somewhat high-class slave, it would be sufficient.
In case of betrayal, he would ‘deal with the problem’.
「 A gold coin, like this? 」
Pulling out a gold coin from the Dark Hole, Hifumi threw it at the stern man.
「 Ah? …. Yes, but one or two coins…. 」
「 Put out your hands. 」
Hifumi grabbed the man’s wrist and forced it upwards. He threw out approximately 30 gold coins from the storage into the hands of the man who was surprised at Hifumi’s strength.
Though more than half spilled and scattered, Hifumi was unconcerned.
「 Huh?? 」
「 Thank you for telling me this so kindly, but I want to see the commodities, get it? 」
Dumbfounded, the man quickly picked up the gold coins, his attitude did a complete 180 and urged Hifumi inside the shop.
「 W-Wait here please! M-Masterrrr ! 」
The man disappeared into the depths of the shop, and another person came out.
Without letting Hifumi wait too long, a man dressed in subdued, yet high quality clothes received him.
「 I am sorry for keeping you waiting. I am this shop’s manager. Dealing with the gatekeeper must have left a bad taste in your mouth….. 」
Although smiling, the man appraised Hifumi on seeing him.
「 Not a big deal. Though I heard it is possible to buy slaves here. 」
「 That is generous of you. This shop certainly trades in slaves. Honoured customer, shall we begin the slave purchasing? Of course, I can explain a little about this for a first-time buyer. 」
「 Ah, though embarrassing, I am from the countryside, so please explain everything. 」
「 Well then… 」
The manager explained concisely, holding to the main points.
- There are Crime slaves and Debt slaves, slaves sold for the sake of their families or villages called Realisation slaves.
- For Crime slaves, all of them belong to the country and are forced to work in the mines, etc, they are generally not sold.
- In general, there are only 2 kinds of slaves sold here : Debt and Realisation slaves.
- Though there are people who are kidnapped and enslaved, because there is a very high penalty for handling such slaves, most merchants don’t deal in them.
- The slave’s actions are limited by a tattoo imbued with special magic, it is impossible to rebel against the owner.
- Though slaves don’t have rights, it is a crime to kill one without cause.
「 Is it necessary for there to be a reason? 」
「 I’m afraid so. Though the master or their family cannot harm the slave directly due to the limitation set into the tattoo, if the master’s belonging is stolen, or if an associate of the master is harmed, it is not a crime. 」
「 Is there a need to prove it? 」
「 The master’s testimony is enough. 」
Seeing that the law was full of holes, Hifumi sighed.
However, it is convenient.
Shutting his eyes and thinking for a while, he asked the manager
「 Is there a slave that meets my conditions now? Money is not an issue. 」
The manager takes out a sheaf of parchment from his breast pocket, dips a quill in ink from a nearby table, and waits for the next words.
「 Has to have enough strength, should be able to endure long travel, should be able to read and write. Also powerful enough to protect me in a fight. 」
Quickly scribbling the data, the manager suddenly looked up.
「 A man or a woman, which is preferred? 」
「 Either one is fine. The problem is ability. 」
「 Certainly. We will prepare it, please wait for a while. 」
The manager ushers Hifumi to the interior of the shop.
「 Here, the merchandise that meet your requirements. Please choose freely. 」
「 Talk to them? 」
「 Of course, no problem. 」
The room Hifumi was taken to was wide, and ten men and women lined up against the walls in handcuffs. Wearing simple, dirty tunics, they looked hesitatingly at Hifumi. What kind of person buys them, their fate is in that party’s hands.
Hifumi imagined what he looked like in the eyes of the slaves.
Hifumi hardly looked old enough to be earning money. Did he even look like a merchant, noble or well-to-do young man…. Recalling his appearance, he smiled wryly, realising that was not the case.
Suddenly, among the slaves that had lined up, two women next to each other caught Hifumi’s eye.
One was of small build, height came upto Hifumi’s neck, thin blue hair and emerald green eyes.
The other was almost the same height as Hifumi, had a tempered and hard body. She had reddish eyes and brown hair.
I saw it in town, hair and eyes like this are poles apart….. Both had well featured faces. Truly, an appearance such that a brothel owner will immediately buy them.
「 You and you. Name? 」
The smaller one answered in a fading voice. The brown haired one did not answer.
Ignoring the audaciously staring brunette, Hifumi asked Origa.
「 Then, Origa, what can you do? 」
「 …. I can use wind and water magic. Besides…. 」
After hesitating a little, catching her breath, she continued jerkily
「 At night, can also keep company… 」
「 Origa! 」
To Origa’s murmur, the brunette raised her voice.
「 To be bought by such a person! A perverted noble buying us, how unpleasant… 」
「 Such a thing! Do you not understand what kind of fellow this guy is? 」 (Manager)
The manager raised a whip he was holding and drew near, but Hifumi raised a hand to stop him.
The brunette seems to be called Kasha.
Hifumi admitted he did have a strange air about him. 18 year old Hifumi had a sexual desire like anyone else, and he did not dislike women.
Though currently, the satisfaction of depriving people of their lives suppressed his desires….
Not noticing the abnormality, Hifumi casually ran his eyes over Kasha’s hands.
「 Kasha, is it. You use both hands to wield a saber. In addition, you can wield swords in both hands at the same time. 」
「 H-How… 」
「 Generally, I can understand the rough ability from the muscle movements of your palm, forefinger and thumb. 」(TN: Huh? How?)
Not just Kasha, but even Origa and the manager are at a loss for words.
「 Certainly, this Kasha uses swords in both hands, her ability as an adventurer is quite good. Origa worked alongside Kasha, her magical ability is quite high. Both of them have become Debt slaves due to a large sum of money. 」
The manager supplemented.
Origa and Kasha listened with unpleasant expressions.
Adventurer, huh…. Perhaps such an occupation exists in fantasy novels, forming parties whose task is subjugation and collection of demons and monsters. But in this world, what kind of occupation is this?
「 Okay. Now you two decide. 」
Hifumi’s expression had a cold smile.
「 I plan to travel in the future. Physical strength is necessary, fights are very likely. If you can follow without betraying me, I promise a fun life. 」
「 What do you say? Being slaves to a fun life… 」
「 I will follow. 」
Origa answered Hifumi in a low voice. Her emerald green eyes stared firmly at him. A little frightened, her eyes shook with tears.
Man, I’ve been scaring women since I came here.
Turning a blind eye to his faults, he wondered (What should I do about Kasha?)
Why is this man doing such an incomprehensible thing?
Why is Origa following this fellow?
She looked at the man in front of her.
Though he is smiling, her spine freezes.
This guy is dangerous. Her instinct sounds an alarm, this guy won’t hesitate to jump into dangerous things. Rather than that, the darkness in the depths of his eyes brings anxiety to Kasha’s heart.
However, Kasha had no choice when it came to Origa.
「 ….Understood. Though I do not understand how, I want you to take me with Origa…. 」
Kasha said, clapping her hands together towards Hifumi.
「 It is decided! 」(Manager)
Though Hifumi did not quite understand the mechanism of the tattoo, he smeared some blood on the tattoos on Origa and Kasha’s shoulders, completing the contract.
The amount of money paid for both of them was 600 gold coins.
Paying the full amount in cash surprised the manager, Origa et al, but it was more surprising that the customer was a user of the rare Dark magic.
「 An extremely mysterious person. Though it is obvious that he is from a far off place based on his clothes….. 」
At first, the manager was trying to analyse Hifumi, but now treated him like a guest of honour, as evidenced by the tea and sweets in the drawing room.
Behind Hifumi who was sitting on the sofa, Kasha and Origa stood with their handcuffs removed, both wearing simple tunics.
「 This was good business. By all means, please visit our shop again when more slaves are needed. 」
「 Ah, I too was able to do some good shopping. 」
Wrapping the sweets in a cloth, Hifumi left the shop with his slaves.
Greeted by the hustle an bustle of the city, Hifumi looked up at the sun. If morning and night were the same in this world, it would be noon.
「 I’m hungry. 」
Time flew during his morning practice, and he had only eaten a snack at the stall. He wanted a proper meal.
「 Do you know any place that serves good food? 」
「 In that case, there is a good store where I went a little…. There it is. 」
Kasha answered Hifumi’s question.
「 It is not necessary to force yourself to use honorifics. 」
Hifumi says with a calm smile, different from a while ago.
Though he has an arrogant and self-centred standard that inconveniences others, he is kind to his family. If someone is not an enemy, he treats them humanely.
「 Then, let us try out the recommended shop. Ah, that’s right…. 」
Neither Origa nor Kasha understood what he said, he continued,
「 I am being chased by this kingdom’s royalty, we need to leave. 」