Chapter 3 Episode 10
Day 10th, 8th Month, the Year 2812, Western continent calendar: (Towards the peninsula 10)
“Is this the place?”
When the sun passed its peak and was about to set in the western sky, Ryouma arrived at his destination
In front of Ryouma, there was a dimly lit alley.
Despite having just come out of the main street, the darkness covered the alley.
“Here is where the shops that deal with slaves are.”
Ryouma nodded his head after hearing Laura’s explanation and stepped into the dark side of the world.
“Welcome, milord! Is this your first visit? I am extremely honored with your presence, sire. We are the biggest slave merchants of Epiroz city. Labor slaves, sex slaves, and even war slaves! We guarantee that we have all types and as many as you could possibly want. We are confident that we can find apt slaves that will suit your taste, sire.”
The big guy with whiskers on his face that seemed to be the shopkeeper lowered his head the moment Ryouma entered the store.
Surrounding them there were slaves bound by chains, staring at Ryouma and the others with dead eyes.
Different compared to the shopkeeper whose eyes shimmered as if seeing gold. It was as if his face were saying “I’m greedy”.
His body could be considered tall and also large. Although his height was slightly shorter than Ryouma’s, his girth was definitely the size of three Ryoumas.
He wore a robe with a long hem and decorated his body with jewels. There was also a leather whip hanging from his waist.
One could easily guess that the whip was for disciplining the rebellious slaves. The grip on the leather wrapped around the handle seemed to be smooth, indicating that the whip was frequently used.
“I’m looking for slaves.”
Ryouma tried to suppress his emotions as much as possible.
If Sara and Laura hadn’t clutched the hem of his robes, Ryouma would have started raining blows upon the slave merchant’s face at that very moment.
However, the merchant seemed to have failed to realize what was in Ryouma’s heart.
“Oh! Thank you very much. So then milord, is it labor slaves you want? Or perhaps some sex slaves to play with? If it is war slaves we do have some but the amount would be limited since our current stock is small. Please speak, what type of slave would you like to purchase?”
The shopkeeper was full of smiles while he rubbed his hands.
In spite of his appearance which made him seem like a slow-witted person, his declaration showed he was an affluent merchant.
Besides, if one were to look at him as a merchant and how he tried to please his customers, one could even go so far as to say that he was a good merchant. <TLN: As in good at his ‘job’ as a merchant.>
Only a few people would be able to realize that Ryouma was a noble by simply looking at him in his current appearance.
After all, Ryouma was wearing only a silk shirt and the cloak that he wore when he met Earl Salzberg, and he did not wear any accessories that would indicate that he was from nobility.
“I want slaves, a lot of them. But not only that, I also have several conditions. Males and females, ages ranging from 10 to 15… As for the ratio, I want it to be balanced. For now, I want around 300 people… If you don’t have enough in your store, you can call out the other slave merchants and gather the required amount”
After hearing that, the slaver couldn’t help staring blankly.
It was because Ryouma’s statement was too unexpected.
“Excuse me, sire, wouldn’t those slaves be too young for grunt work? I think slaves around the age of 20 would be more suitable for labor… Even if the slaves were to be used as a disposable labor force, I think they wouldn’t be too useful… And if we talk about reselling them as sex slaves, as labor slaves, they do not possess the necessary looks to qualify as sex slaves… And 300 people? Our shop is the biggest slave-dealer in Epiroz, but with those numbers… Even our shop won’t be able to meet your demand… I beg your pardon sir, just what are you going to do with them?”
When the slave merchant asked that, Ryouma shifted his gaze toward his eyes.
A labor slave was mainly used for agriculture. They were usually treated as farming tools not unlike cows or horses.
And the value of labor slaves depended on their strength.
Men were therefore considered more suitable than women because of this, and usually, they were sold as adults rather than children.
Although some might have bought women for labor, it was uncommon for someone to actually want them in the same amount as the men.
At least, for the slave merchant who had a long history in the business, this was the first time he had experienced something like this.
Furthermore, Ryouma did not bear the countenance of someone with some lolita-complex. <PFN: i don’t think anyone needs this explanation, but just in case, it means to love small girls, a lolicon, a paedophile.>
Not to mention, those children would have underdeveloped strength. And because their body is still growing and developing, they would need more food than usual.
In other words, those children worked less and were more costly to maintain.
Thus it was natural for the slaver to ask such questions. However, Ryouma answered him with a cold voice.
“It’s none of your business, is it?”
When Ryouma said those words, the sisters who stood behind him trembled. And it was also the same for the slave trader.
Ryouma never raised his voice. In fact, from the tone of his voice, it was that of a calm character.
However, his voice felt very cold, as if it were a steel blade.
And his message was clearly being conveyed to the slave dealer.
(I will f*cking kill you…)
Inside the slave merchant’s mind a scene played where he was being slaughtered.
So far, he had slain a lot of slaves.
Old slaves, rebellious slaves, slaves who had lost some part of their bodies and slaves that had been infected by some illness, among others. And the slaves that the man before Ryouma had slaughtered the most were the children.
For him, younglings who couldn’t be expected to become labor slaves were annoying.
At first, he would always chain the children he bought cheaply on the storefront.
Most importantly, he bought youngsters who had both good looks and physical strength, since that way they would still be of use.
But naturally, even with that, there remained some children left without buyers. Those who couldn’t be sold even after a certain period of time were usually disposed of by the slave merchant.
He did this in order to avoid the expense of feeding merchandise that would only be a burden to him, and which would then cause his profits to decrease.
In opposition to their traded goods, the slave dealers were known to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, growing fat from the profit of their shady business.
Concerning all the cruelty he was responsible for, he fully disregarded it. After all, in his mind he had simply gotten rid of defective slaves. As for those victims of his trade, in his eyes were nothing but tools in human shape.
And when a person stops seeing another person as a human, all feelings as a fellow man would disappear. That was why he did not feel any kind of pity.
And right then, when looking at him, Ryouma’s eyes shined just like how the slave merchant’s when looking at his own slaves.
“N-No, of course not! Please forgive me. I beg your pardon! Please! I was a fool! Please forgive me…”
The slave merchant immediately crawled on the ground, begging for forgiveness.
Around them, there were no slaves, but he had no intention to pretend either. He knew, unless he was forgiven, he would have no way to survive that day.
This was not because Ryouma was a nobleman. Even if he had been a commoner, the slave merchant would have done the same.
The slaver could see the clear difference in power between them and that it’d be effortless for the young man before him to end his life.
Laura strongly pulled Ryouma’s cloak, while he was looking down at the shopkeeper, who kept bowing down on the ground, with a cold stare.
To be honest, Laura and Sara also wanted to kill the slave merchant.
They had also seen the gruesome condition in which the slaves inside the store were.
Living amidst filth and squalor; whip scars clearly seen on their bodies; they had probably never even taken a bath before! Their hair was matted, and their clothing was less than minimal. In the case of the children, they seemed to be lucky to even wear underwear. The majority of the others were not so fortunate and were outright naked.
The light of life had disappeared from their eyes.
What was left was only dead eyes, staring at the empty void.
Even though Sara and Laura were slaves once, they had been born and raised in a prestigious knight’s house.
And most importantly, they both were very beautiful. That was why, even when they were slaves the same as the ones they’ve just met, they had never been treated too harshly.
In that sense, the slave merchant who had bought the sisters could even be considered as a kind person.
That is, compared to the man who was grovelling before them at the moment.
“Ryouma-sama… Right now is…”
Once again, Laura pulled Ryouma’s cloak.
“I know… I’m fine Laura… I know that I should not listen to my guts right now…”
Ryouma tried his best to hold down his emotions.
(Calm down… I can’t do anything right away… If I killed this guy now, I won’t be able to save anyone…)
As he was going further inside the alley, Ryouma gradually grew angrier, but for the time being, he couldn’t let his anger explode.
This was due to the fact that this was also part of Earl Salzberg’s territory. What this meant was that the slave merchants had gotten permission for their businesses from him.
If Ryouma made some sort of trouble here, he would be blamed for disturbing the Earl’s citizens’ livelihood.
At the time, Ryouma had yet to achieve any real power. And since he understood that, he tried to ignore all the misery that he saw around him.
It was the hapless merchant’s last utterance that caused him to be unable to hold all of his anger in and let part of it exude.
Fortunately for the slave dealer, Ryouma did not draw his sword immediately.
“Enough… Raise your head…”
“Y-Yes! T-Thank you very much.”
Following Ryouma’s statement, the slave merchant immediately complied.
He tried to not do anything unnecessary anymore, thinking that if he worsened the young nobleman’s mood once again, he might get butchered on the spot.
“I will say it once again… I want 300 slaves, both males and females, with healthy bodies, and their ages need to be around 10 to 15 years old. Can you prepare all of that?”
Ryouma repeated his wish once again.
“O-Of course… Please let me arrange your order, milord! Leave it to me. We will risk even our lives so that we can prepare all of them.”
This time, the slave merchant also did not utter any useless drivel.
And responded to Ryouma with just the necessary words.
“Good then… First of all, how much is it for 300 people?”
“The prices depend on their gender and age…”
Ryouma repeated his query while showing that he was once again beginning to feel annoyed.
“H-How about 1.5 million baht?”
This meant that a single head would cost 5,000 baht. Converted to Japanese Yen, that would be 100,000 Yen in total.
Ryouma wondered if it was because of his previous burst of anger that he was being given such a bargain. But since Ryouma did not know the price for the children in the first place, he was not entirely sure either. However, for now, Ryouma agreed on the price.
“Fine… At what time shall I come to get my goods?”
“Well, because this shop alone cannot fulfill that order, if possible please give me a week of time!”
“Very well… How about the delivery place?”
“I am very sorry, but since it is 300 people it would be hard to do it inside the city… How about we meet on the outskirts of Epiroz?”
Indeed, it was impossible to deliver all 300 slaves inside this dark alley. ………….
It was necessary for them to meet at a spacious place.
(Well, we also need to leave towards the outskirts to provide those slaves with some education. North of the city is the border with the Wortenia peninsula, while the to the west is the border with the Zalda Kingdom… I guess we’ll have to camp on the eastern outskirts, huh…)
Ryouma immediately calculated everything in his head.
“I’d rather meet at the eastern outskirts… I will pay half of the price now. The rest will be paid after you deliver all the goods to me. Is that fine?”
Ryouma took the gold bag from Sara and handed it to the slave merchant without even counting what was inside of it.
“Inside, there’s 750,000 baht. Go and confirm it, then bring me the receipt.”
“Please wait a moment!”
After receiving the gold from Ryouma, the slaver ran into the shop. Very shortly after, he returned with the receipt in his hand.
He did not dare to count the money inside the bag.
As a merchant such an act would be considered sloppy, but in this case, no one could blame him, since he was in a state of shock and excitement.
“Well then… One week, is that right?”
“Yes, sire! Thank you very much for your patronage. Please rest assured, we will definitely deliver the goods after a week!”
Ryouma immediately left the shop, ignoring the slave merchant who bent down his body.
He did not want to stay any longer in such a place.
Inside there, Ryouma had to constantly fight the urge to puke.
The shop emitted too much feeling of human greed and malice, which caused Ryouma to become nauseous.
Ryouma’s group quickly walked out of the dark alley until they had finally come back to the bright town’s main street.
The three people then breathed out a deep sigh.
“Ryouma-sama… Are you alright?”
Laura anxiously asked Ryouma.
“Yeah… I’m fine…Forget about me, are you two fine?”
In response to Ryouma’s question, the two sisters silently nodded.
Their expression was stiff.
“I guess that was the dark side of this world, huh… Damn it!”
Although he already knew about the slave system, the reality was harsher than he had imagined.
(I will definitely change it… Absolutely!)
Ryouma vowed inside his heart.
He realized that such a vow was just self-satisfaction.
What he had just witnessed was the reality of this world. And what Ryouma could take care of right now was just the tip of the iceberg.