Shortly after having left, Chianelas returns along with the dark elf.
Ooooohhh! She came! She’s here!
I’m sorry for Chianelas, but I’m already head over heels in love with this dark elf.
I guess her height is above 160 centimeters? (ED: 5’3”)
The characteristic face guard is affixed to the upper section of her right cheek.
Long silver hair and beautiful silver pupils.
The red hue glistening as it blends into the silver color remains unchanged.
Since she’s adorned with a silver mask, I can only see the left side of her, but even so, her bluish-white skin suits her very well; it gives her a sort of transcendent, pure beauty…
I haven’t actually ever seen her before, but I believe you could say that the dark elf is a peerless beauty that wouldn’t lose even to Yang Guifei. (T/N: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yang_Guifei)
Her long, slightly curved elven ears are certainly wonderful as well.
Same as before, she’s wearing a black collar that tightly constricts her neck, as proof of her being a slave.
The equipment, unlike the bikini armor and garter belt that she wore before, was a kind of thick, sleeveless vermilion leather dress that exposes her shoulders.
Rather than being a dress, it’s more like a defensive armor, huh?
It’s shape is similar to that of a tailcoat, extending down, all the way from her back to her feet.
Unique patterns have been embroidered onto the surface of the thick, vermilion leather, using a combination of yellow, red and black threads, while the fringe has been beautifully outlined with silver thread.
I could tell immediately upon seeing it that it’s quite the high-class armor.
And, I know I’ve said this many times over, but still, her skin is just too damn charming.
That bluish-white tone visible at her shoulders… makes me feel as if looking into a glisteningly clean lake.
She seems to be wearing a thin, worn-out cloth below her scarlet leather armor.
Though, I think it’s regrettable that I can’t see her collarbone thanks to the choker restraining her neck.
At her waist hangs two long swords from a black belt adorned with golden thread.
The two longswords she’s equipped with seem to be the same steel ones she had the other day.
But, rather than the two longswords, my gaze is naturally drawn to her long, model-like legs.
Oh man, the black tights she’s wearing that end at her thighs are nice.
I’m intrigued by their bewitching ambiance.
Also just like before are the long boots that are covering her feet.
The boots, made out of dark red leather fashioned in a mature gladiatorial pattern, look like they fit nicely as they cover the soles of her feet like sandals.
At first glance, they look like sandals, but considering they are covering both her ankles and her knees with red leather, it’s obvious that they are actually just long boots.
… Chianelas takes a seat on the sofa after arriving with the lovely dark elf alongside him.
The dark elf is holding a hand-held bag as her only luggage.
“… Let’s begin the trade then, Shuuya-san.” (Chianelas)
He places some documents, a writing quill, and a container of ink onto the table, in that order.
To top it all off, he sets down some kind of potion stored inside a jar, alongside a set of knives.
The dark elf sits in a seiza next to the sofa, her head lifting straight up as she calmly pushes out her chest.
“I entrust all of this to you.” That’s the kind of feeling I’m getting from her pose.
Well then, I should probably take the money out now.
“Got it. I’ll go ahead and prepare the money.” (Shuuya)
I take out three large platinum coins and 50 platinum coins from my item box and place them on the table.
“Well then, previously I stopped in the middle of explaining, but I will continue now. She is a dark elf. Just that fact alone makes her a precious person of much value, but for your information, she’s a far more rare being than just a plain dark elf.” (Chianelas)
“So she’s some kind of unusual being?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. — Show him. This person will be the one to become your master, after all.” (Chianelas)
Chianelas orders the dark elf sitting next to me, her chest puffed outwards.
Upon giving her tranquil reply, the dark elf calmly lowers her head to remove the silver face guard, all while intently staring at me.
Ooh? It’s a beautiful butterfly.
A shining silver butterfly, one so beautiful and artistic that there’s seemingly no reason to have concealed it, is drawn on her skin.
Upon touching the silver butterfly tattoo with her finger, it begins to squirm as if it were alive.
As it squirms, another silver butterfly comes out of it, transferring onto the fingertip touching it, after which it flaps over to the back of her hand, all while displaying a gleaming brightness.
The silver butterfly stops near her wrist, resting there as if it were resting atop a tree branch.
The silver butterfly pattern then settles onto the back of her hand.
Although I’m surprised by the silver butterfly’s mobility, I can’t help feeling that it’s fascinating actions have something emotionally touching to them.
Moreover, the main butterfly mark on her cheek is radiating a strong, energetic mana.
『Your Excellency, please maintain caution. I can sense an extremely powerful mana emanating from the original butterfly. I believe the silver mask is a special item meant to suppress her mana…』 (Helme)
Helme appears in the corner of my vision to give me a warning.
『Seems so, doesn’t it?』 (Shuuya)
『However, considering how only the butterfly is emitting mana, she’s obviously very skilled.』 (Helme)
Certainly, it seems very likely that she’s already mastered the Magic Combat Style.
『You appear to be correct. It’s quite faint, but the circulation of her mana is quite smooth as well.』 (Shuuya)
I give my honest impression as I stare at the body of the dark elf beauty.
『Yes. How could such an extraordinary person like that become a slave…?』 (Helme)
『Who knows.』 (Shuuya)
Helme in her miniature form floats a question mark above her head, before vanishing in a swirling spiral.
Upon narrowing my eyes as if I were suspicious, Chianelas begins informing me about her situation.
“… Please, there is no need to worry, as she can’t attack her master. Also, the butterfly dwelling on her cheek is actually an extra skill.” (Chianelas)
For real? I’m given a formal explanation by Chianelas.
Huh, extra skill; I possess four of those. He does mean that kind of extra skill, right?
“Extra skill, you say…?” (Shuuya)
『As expected. You had seen through her right from the start, resulting in you picking a really excellent person as a subordinate.』 (Helme)
Helme, who’d disappeared from sight, speaks to me via telepathy.
Well, me having chosen her in particular is just a coincidence though. Anyhow, I guess the silver butterfly on her cheek is an insignia for her extra skill.
“Yes, it is indeed an extra skill. Please speak to her directly if you wish to learn of its effect. And, although it deviates a bit from our talk, I must warn you: there has been many cases of people getting kidnapped or killed without question, due to their race or due to their identities as slaves in distant countries outside of the Southern Mahaheim area, usually in those to the north. Please remember that, since it’s an indispensable bit of knowledge when going on a journey. … Well then, Shuuya-san, I’ll need you to cut your finger with this knife, then dribble your blood onto this slave’s collar.” (Chianelas)
Upon placing the silver face guard back onto her face, the dark elf once again lifts her chin, displaying her long neck as she pushes out her chest.
The silver butterfly pattern on the back of her hand vanishes upon the face guard being put back on.
Leaving that aside, is blood really needed here?
“… Is that absolutely necessary?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. It’s the standard for slave trading.” (Chianelas)
Will I actually be able to form a contract with my blood? Such a worry crosses my mind.
After all, I possess a body with both, the light and the darkness attribute.
No matter how I look at it, that collar’s definitely of the darkness attribute.
I have the light attribute within my blood…
Won’t I just break it…?
Though, I think it will be alright if it reacts purely to the presence of mana within my blood, like the how the guild card works.
As I’m hesitating,
“… What’s wrong?” (Chianelas)
“… No, I’m just wondering what’ll happen with the collar, you know?” (Shuuya)
“It’s a collar of subordination, so the darkness spell will only work by way of the magic gem of darkness, located on the collar, reacting to the mana contained within your blood, Shuuya-san.” (Chianelas)
I see, I suppose it should be fine then as long as there’s mana present?
Well whatever; if it breaks, it breaks. Anyhow, it’ll probably work out one way or another.
The knife seems ordinary, considering I can’t sense any mana emanating from it.
Time to get this over with, huh?
I cut my finger near the dark elf’s collar, and let some blood dribble onto it.
The instant the collar receives my blood, the obsidian gem at the collar’s center begins to shine with a bright light.
I curiously eye the intense glow.
The glow quickly spreads, soon encompassing the entirety of the small obsidian.
A small magic crest floats up to the surface of the shining gem.
One by one, more similarly small magic crests rise up to the surface, stacking on top of each other like the forming of a barrier.
After having deployed three of these thin, simple magic crests, they all start to vanish, folding upwards as they begin to sink back into the obsidian gem.
The collar, having absorbed the crests, breaks in half, alongside the gem, with a cracking sound.
The dark elf’s collarbone, as well her pale, bluish-white skin, have been exposed.
Besides that though, I also notice some sort of small snake thing, colored with a mixture of black and dark green, permeate through the beautiful skin right below her neck.
Huh? What’s with that snake-shaped lump of mana?
The mana snake, visible within her skin, disappears as it swims away.
Before long, a black ring rises to the surface of her skin.
The central part of the black ring seems to be made of a bunch of small roses?
Several faint, flower-like items rise to the surface.
There’s nothing unnatural about it. It looks to be the seal of the black ring.
It looks as if the black ring’s seal, located near her collar bone, had already been carved into her skin a long time ago.
Well anyways, everything seems to have concluded safely.
The dark elf coughs weakly.
Eh? The dark elf reveals a pained expression as she struggles to breath.
Is it a failure?
“The obsidian ended up breaking in a strange way, but well, it should be alright. Please, I assure you that there’s no need to worry; this is something that always happens at the time of forming a contract. Now, Shuuya-san, please use this potion for the cut on your finger.” (Chianelas)
He’s telling me to use this to heal the wound on my finger?
I mean, it’ll heal even if I just leave it alone.
Or rather, it’s already closed itself…
Since it would only draw me needless suspicion, I drink the potion to deceive him.
“Everything will be concluded upon signing this document. Given that it’s a special document, the slave will also be exempted from the poll tax. The slave’s signature is necessary as well, but she still can’t write the characters of the common language perfectly. Therefore, only her thumb print is necessary.” (Chianelas)
It appears that she’ll be excluded from taxes.
In addition, there’s a standard set of rules written on the parchment, stating that the master’s orders are absolute, that the slave shan’t hurt their master, and that they must preserve their own body to the best of their abilities, just like the three principles of robotics. (ED: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics)
I don’t feel any mana from it either, so it’s just a high-grade parchment.
I sign my signature on the paper with the quill.
The dark elf, who’s pain seems to have subsided, presses her thumb on the paper after dipping it in ink.
“Congratulations. With this the contract has been established. Now she can’t defy you, her master, anymore. If she does, her neck will be constricted, causing her to suffer. As you can directly tamper with the collar’s seal on her chest by touching it, please set the level of punishment to what you’d prefer. By the way, even if you adjust it to the lowest level, quite the amount pain will still assail her. Moreover, even if she’s far away from her master, you will know her whereabouts. Also, since the slave will die automatically upon their master’s death, she won’t ever betray you.” (Chianelas)
As Chianelas is talking with a face full of cheerful smiles, he puts the large platinum coins I used as payment into a bag, and stores the document’s transcript into a sturdy leather briefcase.
I store the document in my item box.
Right after I finish operating my bracelet, the dark elf, whom I’ve just bought, draws close to me, then kneels down on one knee.
“— Master, thank you very much for having bought me. Please treat me favorably from now on.”
A beauty has suddenly gotten very close to me… and umm… master, huh?
I’ve ended up losing my composure a little bit.
“Shuuya-san, the luggage the dark elf possesses as well as everything she’s carrying on-hand is included in the price, so please feel free to take it with you, okay? Ah, if you want to amuse yourself at once, I can make some time available for you so we may go to the slave company right now?” (Chianelas)
He’s really skilled at customer service.
Or rather, since I’m going to the adventurer’s guild at noon, I guess the slave company has to wait for another day.
I don’t know how many days I’ll spend in the labyrinth, so let’s schedule it for another time.
“… I’m sorry, I do want to look at the other slaves as well, but I just remembered that I already have plans made for today. Would it be fine for me to come here again some other time?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, by all means. Since I shall also be looking for high-class slaves that suit you, Shuuya-san, you’re welcome to come visit at any time, okay? You will be able to enter here whenever you’d prefer as long as you have the cloth badge.” (Chianelas)
“Understood. Chianelas-san, please take care of me at that time.” (Shuuya)
“Yes. Do come visit again without fail.” (Chianelas)
Chianelas slightly squints his eyes as he speaks.
I leave my seat and fix my gaze on the super-beautiful dark elf.
“… Let’s go then?” (Shuuya)
For some reason, it just doesn’t quite seem to suit me.
However, I won’t give her some sort of cliché order like “Don’t call me master.”
Taking the dark elf along, I exit through the entranceway.
Rollo hasn’t returned yet.
She should be somewhere in this garden full of blooming flowers, but…
This seems like a good opportunity to talk with her, so I continue walking for a while.
Leaving the stone path, we enter a grassy plot filled with various types of flowers.
The large cotton roses are very pretty.
There are also several pinkish-white blossoms among the plain white cotton roses.
These are called cotton rosemallow?
I think I heard that they bloom for only one day. In the morning they’re white while in the evening they’re dyed pink, or something like that.
I guess some of the flowers from Earth also grow in this world.
“… So, what’s your name?” (Shuuya)
Stopping, I pluck a pretty, white lotus flower and pin it into the dark elf’s silver hair as I ask her.
“… It’s something that you must decide on, master.”
She stops right behind me, kneels down and states that.
I have to decide on a name? Although it’s rather cliché-like, even this dark elf should have had a name in the past.
“You had one in the past, didn’t you?” (Shuuya)
She lowers her face and answers.
I won’t say something nice such as “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to” here.
She’s already my slave after all.
“Tell me.” (Shuuya)
The dark elf lifts her face, then, after a short pause, reluctantly speaks as she furrows her brows in hesitation.
“…”, she sighs, “My name is Viine Dao Azmail. I come from the 【Underground City Da’Umezalan】. Being the second daughter of the 【12th ranked Sorcery Noble Azmail Household】, I lived a good life due to the Azmail family’s flourishing in the Underground City Da’Umezalan. But, during the third week of the Shinra* month, the Azmail household was destroyed by the joint efforts of the【Fifth ranked Sorcery Noble Langibad Household】 and the 【11th ranked Sorcery Noble Squad Household】 after a dispute occurred, the team up being looked down upon as pure cowardice. As a result, I was captured and expelled to the Above-the-Cover world– the surface… the one who picked me up on the surface was Magul, a human slave trader. After that, I was passed back and forth through the hands of several slave dealers, until I finally arrived at Chianelas’ place. And, for the sake of being sold expensively at the large-scale auction called the Underground Auction, I piled up many experiences at Chianelas’ place.” (Viine) (T/N: It translates to Divine Fabric or something similar, but it’s too bulky :p)
Her name is Viine Dao Azmail, huh?
From the Underground City Da’Umezalan…
Second daughter of the 【12th ranked Sorcery Noble Azmail Household】.
Does her being a the second daughter of a noble family mean that she was originally a sheltered young lady?
According to what she’s said, I suppose she’d been exiled to the surface after being defeated in the power struggle between “Sorcery Nobles Households”.
The name 【Underground City Da’Umezalan】, where she lived, as well as calling the surface area as “Above-the-Cover”, the human called “Magul”…
It matches with the words I exchanged with the dwarf Roa, whom I’d met underground by chance, when I was first brought to this world.
I’m slightly curious about the social structures of the dark elves’ society.
But whatever, I guess it’d be okay to just get her to tell me the details at her own pace, bit by bit, in the future.
Just as she was once called in the past, I will call her Viine.
“… Viine – is it okay for me to call you that?” (Shuuya)
“… Fine.” (Viine)
She shows a far more unwilling expression than the one from before.
Her face shows how on guard she is as wrinkles form on her forehead, but nevertheless you can also clearly grasp that her face is full of scorn.
She doesn’t seem overly happy with me, but that’s fine.
“Alright, let me introduce myself. I’m Shuuya Kagari, a C-rank adventurer.” (Shuuya)
“… Okay.” (Viine)
Viine squints her eyes and observes me as if to measure my strength.
She gathers mana in her eyes. It’s Magic Observation.
“Viine, looks like you can use Magic Observation, huh?” (Shuuya)
Her silver pupils dilate and constrict a bit in shock.
The brilliance around her pupils, which was a mix of red and silver, shifts.
She should have seen me using Magic Observation before as well, so why is she surprised?
“Don’t be so tense. I heard that you dived into the labyrinth as well, but up to which floor did you advance to within the labyrinth, Viine?” (Shuuya)
“Until the fourth floor.” (Viine)
“No, it was together with skilled adventurers and several combat slaves that were arranged by Chianelas.” (Viine)
That makes sense. It would have been bad if his merchandise ended up getting injured, wouldn’t it?
“I see. I still haven’t gone any further than the second floor. Anyhow, I’m an adventurer, so I’ll have you dive together with me on those occasions, okay?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, please leave it to me.” (Viine)
Viine says with a tone that makes one sense her confidence.
Her thin, silver eyebrows remain stiff, not moving even a little.
“And, there’s also my partner and pet, Rollo. She should be taking a stroll around here at the moment…” (Shuuya)
“— Nyaa~o, nyaooon.”
Oh, speak of the devil. It’s Rollo’s voice.
Upon looking in the direction the sound had came from, I see Rollo standing on top of the branch of a tall pine tree, acting as if she were the lion king…
What are you doing… I feel like she’d done the same thing a long time ago.
I endure my desire to interrogate her for nearly an hour with “You want to enter the Shiki Theatre Company and act in a play?” (T/N Probably a reference to something)
“The black cat, who’s climbed onto that tree, is my partner & pet. Her name is Rollodeen, or Rollo for short.” (Shuuya)
“Understood. She’s a cute cat, isn’t she?” (Viine)
“Yeah– Heeey, come back already.” (Shuuya)
Her ears stick up in an adorable manner, apparently having heard my voice. She then gives a short reply and proceeds to jump up as if she were flying off the tall tree’s branch.
Before colliding with the ground, she extends her tentacles downwards to cushion the impact.
Without stopping, she then returns the extended tentacles back to her nape, runs over, and climbs onto my shoulder.
Viine seems to be curious about the tentacles growing out of Rollo. She observes the tiny tentacles extending from the cat’s nape.
“Rollo, this is our new friend, Viine.” (Shuuya)
Rollo lifts her paw and greets Viine by tapping my shoulder.
Going by her look and voice, I think it’s a greeting along the lines of 『This great me is your senpai nya. Best regards nya.』.
“She understands words?” (Viine)
“Nya? Nnn, nyaa!”
She’s protesting or something like that. She hits my shoulder three times in a row.
“That’s correct. She’s no mere familiar. She’s a divine beast! She can also grow from the current small black cat size to that of a big gryphon. Her tentacles have bone swords attached to them, allowing her to use them for attacking. Her fangs and claws are strong as well. In addition to all that, she can also breathe King Class flames from her mouth.” (Shuuya)
“… T-That’s far too amazing. It should be Rollo-sama then.” (Viine)
Viine trembles in surprise, bows her head after a glance at Rollo as if to apologize, and goes down on one knee.
Rollo looks down at her triumphantly upon hearing my explanation.
“That’s how it is. Anyways, please stand up, Viine.” (Shuuya)
“Yes!”, she nods and gets up.
“Keep the kneeling down to a minimum when we’re outside and in front of others, okay?” (Shuuya)
“Yes! I understand.” (Viine)
She moves her thin, long brows a bit and bows.
“Good. I don’t mind you doing as you please if it’s just us two in a room or something similar. Well then, let’s have a chat while we walk.” (Shuuya)
Viine takes out a bow and quiver from her hand-held bag, and shoulders the bag like it were a rucksack.
Does that also serve as a backpack?
Afterwards, she affixes the bow near to her hips by hanging it from her backpack.
Well then, I should give Helme a heads-up, considering how I plan to keep the Water Spirit of Everlasting Darkness Helme a secret from Viine.
I focus on Helme and address her.
『Yes, Your Excellency.』 (Helme)
Helme comes into view while twirling around.
『I think you are up-to-date on the gist of things since you heard our talk, but still, please take care of Viine, as she has become our new comrade.』 (Shuuya)
『Yes, as you command.』 (Helme)
『I still haven’t mentioned you, Helme, but I might do so in the near future.』 (Shuuya)
『Understood. I’m ready to come out whenever.』 (Helme)
The miniature Helme-chan nods her head with a bob.
『Got it. You can leave for now.』 (Shuuya)
Helme vanishes from sight.
While conversing mentally with Helme, Viine and I pass through the garden with its beautiful flowers, and continue along the stone path leading towards the grounds’ exit.
As soon as we exit through the stone gate, I open my mouth.
“Next we’ll be heading to the adventurer’s guild. I have an appointment with a friend. Therefore, I’m sorry for being abrupt, but I’ll have to have you challenge the labyrinth together with us and said friend in a party. And remember this: the basic rule is One’s life comes first, all else comes second. Since I’ll be alright on my own, value your own life, alright? And last but not least, treat our party members politely and refrain from killing anyone without getting permission from me.” (Shuuya)
Given that I don’t know what might happen with her, the last part is very important.
As I gaze at Viine, who replies as she bows, I ask her,
“So, what’s your main way of fighting, Viine?” (Shuuya)
“The two swords at my waist are my main weapons, but I can also use archery, wind magic, lightning magic and darkness magic from a distance. Additionally, due to my extra skill <Dance Art of the Silver Butterfly>, I’m also strong at support and illusion magic.” Viine explains proudly.
“Hee, looks like you’re capable of various things. Firstly, please tell me the details regarding the support and illusion magic.” (Shuuya)
“Okay. The extra skill <Dance Art of the Silver Butterfly> is activated by touching the silver butterfly on my cheek with one’s hand. It’s a magic-like skill that is invoked after linking with the hand seal on the hand that touched it. Its support skill is <Silver Shallowtail Butterfly>. This has the effect of raising one’s defense against magic by applying the Silver Shallowtail Butterfly’s blessing to a designated area. On the other hand, the illusion art is called <Silver Speckled Moths>. It creates countless speckled, silver butterflies at a specified area. Those who enter the range of this illusion art, whether it’s people or monsters, see various hallucinations, causing them to lose any sense of direction. Shortly afterwards, all five of their senses will be stolen, resulting in them becoming incapable of fighting. In the worst case, it’s also possible for them to die.” (Viine)
Whoa, stealing the five senses is pretty cruel…
As expected of an extra skill.
“Wow. So that means you can do anything from close-combat to ranged combat, Viine?” (Shuuya)
An immediate reply. That’s a high-class slave for you. It seems she is rather confident in her combat ability.
Only half of her face is visible, but it gives me the impression that she’s quite battle hardened.
Even so, it’s still just an impression.
Since there’s a hole for the eye in the silver mask’s face guard, I can at least see her pupil, but it’s difficult to grasp her expression from that alone.
“… I will tell you about how I fight as well. — This is my main weapon. My magic attribute is mainly water attribute.” (Shuuya)
I summon the Magic Halberd into my right hand while walking.
“And, I can manipulate a chain with my left hand.” (Shuuya)
Extending my arm and lifting my left hand diagonally, I calmly eject a <Chain> out of the <Chain Factor> mark on my wrist.
“It allows me to deal with short and long distance engagements.” (Shuuya)
“… As one would expect of you, master.” (Viine)
I could see a clearly disturbed expression on the side of her face that isn’t covered.
I suppose that sort of reaction is only natural, considering how weapons are suddenly appearing and disappearing out of nowhere?
“Viine, are you nervous?” (Shuuya)
“N-No, the weapon, which you let me see just now, can you summon it at any time?” (Viine)
“I can—.” (Shuuya)
I make the Magic Halberd appear in my right hand once more, and twirl the violet metal shaft vertically with just one hand. After handling it as if I were playing with a toy, I make it disappear.
“I underestimated you, master.” (Viine)
“Oh, how nice. Words of praise from a beauty…” (Shuuya)
“… That’s reasonable after seeing your abilities, master.” (Viine)
She squints her eyes and gives a cold, scornful laugh.
For some reason, she’s giving me a thorny impression.
Looks like she wants to test her strength, doesn’t she?
I don’t know what she’s keeping hidden within her heart.
She might actually be brimming with dissatisfaction for all I know…
However, it appears that her neck will be wrung if she violates my orders. It seems that I can adjust the strength using the black ring located under her clavicle, so I guess I might as well try testing it out a bit.