Going slow as usual. I’ll work on other projects if I have time.
Chapter 45: First Time at the Slave Company
Dan and Eni encouraged us with words of “Do your best” (That said, they probably don’t know what Melissa and I are so happy about), and while the other adventurer’s sent us icy gazes, Melissa and I left the Adventurer’s Guild, and on the third and final day we walked to the Slave Company.
The Slave Company of Central Arts stands grandly on the street of the eastern district.
Without even trying to hide themselves, a large amount of people where frequenting their establishment.
I honestly thought to myself “Is this really a slave company?” and I was a bit doubtful, but Melissa reassured me that it without a doubt the slave company.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I thought the place wasn’t real, but the image of it was just too different from what I had in mind.
Besides, it’s really surprising that the slave company is located blatantly on the eastern street.
I never visited this city’s slave company back in the game, so I had the preconceived notion that it might be located in the slum district, or at the very least it would be somewhere near the northern district.
But the reality was completely different…… It even overturned my image of it being some sketchy looking building, and the actual building was made to look refreshing.
The outer walls were painted in a vibrant white color, and the design of it was made to feel somewhat inviting.
Also the signboard didn’t have any mention of “slave” or “human trafficking”, instead it was a stylishly etched sign that read【Evals Doll】.
However―― If you read the word Evals backwards you’ll notice right away that it spells out “Slave”.
“Evals”, as in Slaves. And “Dolls”, as in Sex Slaves.
Even if it looks fancy on the surface, this place is without a doubt the Slave Company, I can understand that after giving it a second glance.
Most of all, according to Melissa, apparently the complicated pattern carved into the signboard alongside the name was the characteristic signature of the Slave Guild.
Unlike a normal merchant, when a slave merchant wants to open up a store they must first gain approval from the Slave Guild.
And proof of that is that mark huh.
Well leaving that aside, Melissa and I opened the doors to the slave company.
Perhaps it was just my imagination, but I felt an airs of anxiety coming from Melissa, so I tightly held onto her hand as we stepped foot through the doors.
“If the outside is bright then the inside must by dim”―― An absurd idea like that was easily blown-away by the vibrant interior.
Maybe because the skylight window was placed in a perfect calculated position, but the light seemed to brighten the interior in a natural way. The walls were the same white color which set the overall atmosphere of the place, to the point where you would think “Did I accidentally enter a fancy cafe or restaurant?”
「Welcome. Thank you for paying patronage to our establishment. Were you by chance looking to purchase a slave?」
The moment we ended the store, a suave-looking man wearing a dress shirt and slacks came over to us with a wide and seemingly artificial smile on his face.
Despite wearing an obvious business smile, the moment he turned and looked at Melissa his eyes became sharp and he completely ignored me.
「Fumu, you are the slave Melissa are you not. You were the possession of Tornelo just recently, and since your owner died I believe your current standing should be undetermined, however――」
Then, the man looked in my direction and began examining me.
Even so, he instantly knew who she was huh…… He also treated her as a possession and merchandise though. Well, I get where he’s coming from.
Still, to start things off, I explained to the man our circumstances.
「I see, I see. So then Hitto-sama protected this slave from the hands of some thieves, and went out of your way to bring it here. Well well, you have really helped us out. Now then, rather than just standing here let us about we proceed this way, shall we」
After we spoke to a certain extent, we were advised to take a seat at a table to continue the conversation.
Taking him up on his offer, Melissa and I sat down on the wooden chairs, but.
「…… Hey, you swine. Why is a lowly trash slave like you sitting in the same seat as your human masters?」
The man’s glued on smile started to unravel, and with a discriminant gaze aimed at Melissa, he threw a dagger-like voice at her.
「I, I’m sorr……」(Melissa)
「I’m more comfortable this way. Is it not acceptable?」(Hitto)
Cutting in before Melissa could finish her apology, I informed the man from the slave company of my customs.
Although his tone was still calm, I could feel the malice in his gaze as he scowled.
「…… So that is the case. I understand. I would like to apologize for my manners」
Even though he said that, his smile still smelled fishy.
「That aside, for you to be saying words like that, it means that you plan on doing more than just returning to us our merchandise, is that correct? By the looks of things you seem to have grown pretty fond to it」
The man spoke while wearing a disgusting smile. This guy, he’s slowly starting to show his true colors.
「……Well, I’ve learned quite a few things from talking with her. And I also have an interest owning a slave. Frankly speaking, I wish to buy Melissa」(Hitto)
I can’t stand beating around the bush after all. And besides, if I keep talking to this guy it will only feel more and more irritated.
「Oh my! So that was the case!」
Straightening out his back, he did a somewhat fake overreaction.
Seriously, everything he does just stinks of sketchiness.
No matter how much the building and the decor may try to divert your attention, you can’t hide a person’s true nature.
「Even so, Hitto-sama has a well discerning eye. Even among the slaves at our store, this one is first-rate merchandise. Of course, it is also very popular. So much so that it would instantly sell if it was ever put on display. However, since Hitto-sama protected it, and even went so far as to bring it back to us, you have gained the right to preferential treatment in regards to purchasing this slave」
「…… Yeah, I know that. I was hoping to use that system in order to purchase her」(Hitto)
「Thank you for your patronage. I am sure that this slave also feels it is a joyous occasion for it to be purchased right away. However, since it is a merchandise of this level, even when taking into account the transportation discount the price should be quite high――」
「I don’t mind. How much?」(Hitto)
Well, I already know that Melissa’s price is 1.5 million though.
「Yes. This slave, Melissa, will cost 3 million Gold」
「I see. In that case let’s get it all paid for and―― WHAT!?」(Hitto)
I couldn’t think straight for a second. 3 million…… Isn’t that double what the estimated cost was――
「Oh? Is something the matter?」
「No, when you say “something” that’s――」(Hitto)
「T-That is not right!」(Melissa)
Melissa stood up as she let her emotions get the best of her, and she raised her voice.
Then, although he didn’t say any words in response, the merchant man sent her a sharp gaze. It still made Melissa shiver slightly though.
「W-When I was purchased before it was only 1.5 million Gold. For the price to be double that……」(Melissa)
After Melissa had said her piece, I urged her to sit back down. While looking like she still would not accept the price, she calmly sat back down in the chair.
「…… I see, I see」
The slave merchant was nodding his head as if he understood something.
「Hitto-sama, it appears that you have been given old information by this merchandise」
「Yes, that is correct. It is true that when this slave was sold to Tornelo its purchasing price was 1.5 million. However, since then the feudal lord has changed, and the price of various goods and commodities has increased. Because of that, the price of slaves has greatly inflated across all merchandise」
…… A look of fright was showing on Melissa’s face. Honestly, I took quite a bit of shock too…… But thinking back, when we met with Shadow, he also said Melissa looked like she was worth around 3 million.
So he wasn’t just mistaken about the price. More like, he had a complete grasp of the current market price――
「Fumu. From your reaction can I assume that you have only prepared 1.5 million Gold? In that case, how shall you proceed? Will you give up?」
Placing his hand on his chin, the normally expressionless man asked me that question.
…… His expression, does he think I’ll give up just because of that? You must be joking!
「I’ll buy her. I might be a bit short on money at the moment, but I plan on using the reservation policy. I can use it, right?」(Hitto)
“Of course you can,” the man reverted back to his usual smile. Seriously, this guy is easy to understand.
「If you plan on using the reservation system, then no one else will be able to purchase that slave for 5 days. On the other hand you will have to pay an advanced payment of 10% of the price」
An advanced payment huh. Well, I had expected that to be the case. Paying 3 million Gold is beyond my means, but if it’s 300,000 Gold then I’ll pay it.
「Alright then, let’s go with that」(Hitto)
「Thank you for your patronage. If that is the case then we shall take great care of the merchandise after we take it back into custody for the interim」
「!? Custody? Of Melissa?」(Hitto)
「Yes. Is there a problem with that?」
「T-That is strange! In past cases, slaves were allowed to stay where they are during the reservation interval――」(Melissa)
「It is true that there has been precedent for this in the past, and we allowed slaves to continue accompanying prospective buyers without much concern, but the system has been changed since then. During the 5 day interval we will not hand over the slave to other customers, but we will be collecting the slave temporarily」
「…… Is there anything you can do about that?」(Hitto)
When I asked that, the man’s smile evolved into a wide grin.
「If that is the case then I believe it will be all right as long as we establish a provisional contract. It is a service we provide that allows you to be contracted with a single slave for a trial period of at most 5 days. If you are willing to use that service then it will be all right for this slave to accompany you. However, during the trial period, it is strictly prohibited for the contracted party to cause harm to the slave or indulge in nightly entertainment」
「…… It will cost money, right?」
「Yes. For this slave it will be 150,000 Gold for one day」
150,000…… Damn it! These guys really are money hungry!
「We have grown well acquainted with each other during this time, have we not. Normally the cost of the provisional contract would be 150,000 multiplied by 5 days; totaling 750,000 Gold. On top of that the advanced payment will be 300,000 Gold for a total sum of 1,050,000 Gold. However, if you are willing to pay for the full 5 days of the provisional contract, then we will give you a price reduction on the 300,000 Gold advanced payment based on the total number of days. A total of 1 million Gold will be sufficient. How is that?」
―― Maybe I was letting some unease show on my face, but the merchant rattled off a long list of conditions.
Since he knows that I have 1.5 million Gold, he wants to secure a portion of that huh.
Still, given the alternatives my choice has already been made.
「Okay. I’ll pay 1 million Gold」(Hitto)
「Thank you very much! Now then, I shall quickly arrange for the necessary paperwork」
After that I signed the documents that the man presented to me, paid the 1 million Gold total, and I left the company with Melissa.
The documents strictly forbid any sexual acts, and harming the slaves was also forbidden.
In the next 5 days I will have to gather an additional 2.7 million Gold…… The portion I paid for the provisional contract was not added in.
「Goshujin-sama, I am terribly sorry――」(Melissa)
As we walked along, Melissa remained gloomy and apologized in a hushed voice.
Good grief, Melissa really worries too much.
「It’s not something you should be apologizing for, Melissa. My thinking was to naive. But we still have another 5 days. If we find some good paying requests then we’ll earn that money in no time」(Hitto)
I turned to her with a calming smile, and added an extra “You should have more faith in your Master”.
And perhaps that made Melissa feel as ease, she returned to her usual cheerful self, and she nodded her head with a “Yes”.
「Hey, did you hear?」
「Yeah, a member of Shadow Cat is being put on display in the plaza as part of a a public demonstration, right」
「They must have been really stupid. If you get caught then as a slave you should just obediently give in. Since they are a runaway, the Chasers are the ones that caught them, right?」
As I was in the middle of thinking about the slave predicament, I continued to walk alongside Melissa, when I heard those type of conversations from here and there.
When I let those words slip out, Melissa turned and looked at me.
「Yes, Goshujin-sama. Shadow Cat is, a band of thieves here in Central Arts that primarily steals from nobility. They have become quite the talk of the town for the people living in this city. It is said that they take the stolen money and other goods and distribute it to the poor in need――」(Melissa)
「Fumu. So they’re what you’d call “gentleman thieves” huh」(Hitto)
As I placed my finger on my chin in thought, Melissa answered with an “Indeed”.
「However, just a while earlier it was said that all the members of Shadow Cat should have been captured by now……」(Melissa)
Melissa recalled the past as she let those words spill out.
I see. While staying silent I was able to pick up on various conversations, and eventually someone mentioned that the thief was a slave that ran away before they were to be sold.
But it seems like they were captured today, and right now they are in the plaza and being displayed as an example of what happens to criminals, also――
「But ‘cha know, she looks so young and has sucha pretty face, to think she would be a thief」
「Yeah, she was a woman with a nice body and tan skin though. Seriously, I’d kill to have a slave like that」
Tanned skin, and a runaway slave―― You can’t mean!
「Yea! Let’s hurry to the plaza!」(Hitto)
Almost simultaneously, Melissa and I burst into a sprint――
TL extra side: That was quite the discount there, a whole 50k off of the 3 million price >.>
TL note: If you remember way back, the time limit for returning/buying Melissa was 3 days.
Also, holy crap, it took me 2 years to progress 3 days in this novel orz.