TWEM Vol. 2 Chapter 13

Chapter 13 – The First Slave

 

The slave trading post Sebas told me about was located in a back alley rather close to the nobles’ district.

There were several places selling slaves in this area; it was pretty close to the nobles’ district, probably because only nobles could afford slaves.

“…so it’s here.”

I was standing in front of the building marked on Sebas’ map.

It was easily the largest building in the alley.

I opened the door leading inside and a clerk immediately greeted me.

“Welcome, dear sir. How may I help you today?”

“Ah…could I speak with Bohbee, the manager? Sebastian introduced this store to me, actually.”

“Did someone call for me? I think I heard about an introduction from Sir Sebas?”

A short, pudgy man in the back of the store reacted to my question.

“Director!”

Director? So this guy was Bohbee?

“It’s fine, you can go. I’ll personally take care of any clients referred by Sir Sebas.”

“Understood, sir.”

The clerk duly obeyed.

“Well then, dear client, you have been referred by Sir Sebas…oh? Might you be the EX rank adventurer, lord Haruto?”

“Oh, you know me already? Sebas will work at my residence from today, you see.”

“Naturally, milord! All of Perdis knows its savior! Oh, where are my manners…I am Bohbee, the director of this slave trading post. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Bohbee followed his words with a very deep bow.

“Nice to meet you. So then, could you show me all the female slaves you have?”

“Certainly. Please follow me to the room in the back, then.”

After we went to another room, Bohbee talked again.

“Please wait here, milord. I’ll bring them a few at a time.”

“Thank you. Oh, please focus on the younger ones.”

Bohbee nodded to me and left the room.

The room was probably reserved for the most important guests: the furniture and objects in it all looked very expensive.

I looked around the room, killing time, and soon enough Bohbee returned, bringing five slaves with him.

I imagined slaves as wearing tattered clothes and looking sickly and lean, but the young women Bohbee brought were dressed normally and looked pretty healthy, definitely not malnourished.

I voiced my thoughts — with the necessary tact —  to Bohbee, who promptly replied that it was natural, as they were slaves meant for nobles.

I see, no one would offer slaves in rags to a noble, after all.

The young women Bohbee brought seemed to range from 10 to 20 years old.

I checked their status as Bohbee related the information shown in the crystal about their status and their profile, as told by the slaves themselves or the merchant who sold them to Bohbee.

Even if they could do house chores, however, none of them had any decent fighting skills.

Bohbee brought in a few other groups of slaves, but no one convinced me.

After the introductions ended, he asked for my final opinion.

“ — this group was the last one, milord. Did you find anyone to your liking?”

“You don’t have anyone else?”

“Well, ehm, actually, I do, but…”

Bohbee’s words trailed off, so I encouraged him to continue.

“Go on, I’m listening.”

“Their condition and defects are terrible, milord. Honestly, I could not possibly show them to someone referred by Sir Sebas…”

So that was the problem. I could probably heal any wounds they had, so I decided to take a look all the same.

“No, show them to me.”

“B-but, milord…”

“It’s fine, just do it.”

Bohbee reluctantly nodded and led me even further in the store.

We passed an area apparently used as the slaves’ living quarters, which Bohbee explained to me.

“Generally, the slaves live in groups of four or five per room. All rooms are fully furnished with beds and a toilet; they are given three meals a day and cloth to wipe their bodies several times a week. As I previously mentioned, we mainly handle slaves for a noble clientele: their lifestyle is on par or superior to the average citizen.”

It was very different from how I imagined a slave trading post to be, that’s for sure.

We walked some more, eventually passed the living quarters and arrived in the furthest area of the building.

“This way, please.”

Bohbee opened a door as he said those words.

The moment I saw what lied beyond, I became speechless.

“ — in this room we keep slaves with defects who would not find buyers in our store. I know all too well, however, that if I gave them to other trading posts, they would suffer cruel treatment, so I keep them here. If we can’t sell them, it means we cannot earn anything from them, so we give them simple jobs and repay them in equal measure. We cannot grant them a lifestyle on par with the other slaves, though…of course, they are allowed to go to other trading posts if they so wish.”

All the slaves in that room either had missing limbs or visible scars.

So this was like charity work for Bohbee, I guess.

I checked the slaves’ status as I looked around, then noticed something.

“Hmm? Is there another room in the back?”

“…yes, that is correct. It is reserved for those with defects of even higher degree…”

Bohbee opened the door as he replied.

“The slave here was in this condition when I found her. I kept her here, as she would surely meet a brutal end in other shops, so I hoped to at least let her spend her final days in peace…actually, there were other slaves in this room before, but they died just a few days ago.”

The single slave in the room was a young girl, probably 16 or 17 years old.

Her ears had been cut off, her right arm was missing, her left eye was crushed, her throat was wrapped in bandages. Her right eye was of a beautiful emerald color, but it looked lifeless. She was also extremely thin, to the point I doubted if she could even eat. A full plate was laid beside her, but it looked like she didn’t even touch it.

I tried checking her status.

 

NAME : 

Ephyr

LEVEL : 

43

AGE : 

128

SPECIES : 

Elf

SKILLS : 

Bow Arts LV3

Spirit Magic LV4

Wind Magic LV4

Recovery Magic LV3

Society Arts LV4

Manners LV4

TITLES : 

Elf Princess

Spirit User

Spirit Magic? Never seen that before, better check it out.

.

<Spirit Magic>

Powerful magic activated via the help of spirits.

Spirits can only be seen by Elves and lend their powers only to Elves.

While it is a powerful kind of magic, it can only borrow the power of spirits present in the user’s location, so it might be difficult to use.

.

Oh, so there are spirits in this world? I can’t see them, though.

…wait, wait, she’s an Elf princess!?

“Bohbee, what do you know of this girl?”

“Nothing, actually, she strongly refused to use the crystal, so we couldn’t see her status…the merchant I bought her from said her throat was damaged beyond repair when they found her, so he couldn’t learn anything from her…even the person that merchant bought her from didn’t know anything, apparently…”

I see, since her ears were cut off, they couldn’t even see she was an Elf. It all seemed pretty suspicious, though…

“I see. I’m going to buy her.”

“…are you really sure, milord?”

Bohbee was wide-eyed in surprise. He definitely didn’t expect me to be interested.

“Yeah, there’s something I want to find out. I might know of a way to heal her too. How much?”

“Well, let us see…if you can promise you will treat her with proper care, I can sell her to you at the special price of 50,000 Gould.”

“Isn’t that too cheap?”

“No, I do not think so. She will not recover if she stays here, so it might be better for her to be bought by you, Lord Haruto. I am still running a business, however, so I cannot let you have her for free…”

It still sounded too little to be the price of someone’s life…but I guess that in this world life was worth that much.

“I see. We’re settled, then.”

I took out the money and placed it in Bohbee’s hands — 100,000 Gould.

“Milord? This is more than I asked…?”

“Just think of it as a bonus. If we’re going to sign a contract later, I imagine there will be other fees too.”

“…I shall gratefully accept this sum, then. I shall proceed with the contract, so please wait in the guest room. I will have someone carry her.”

So proposed Bohbee, but I shook my head.

“No, I’ll carry her myself.”

“Milord…?”

I ignored Bohbee’s words and took the girl — Ephyr in my arms. She did not have the strength to move and only glanced at me.

I followed Bohbee back to the guest room I was first shown to.

“ — very well then, Lord Haruto. About the contract, we can attach the collar or apply the slave crest. Which one would you prefer?”

Once in the guest room, I put Ephyr down and Bohbee asked me this question.

“What’s the difference?”

“Well, the effects are basically the same. The collar would make it easily visible that its wearer is a slave, while the mark is engraved on the slave’s back, making it normally hidden from view.”

“Use the mark, then.”

“Understood.”

Oh yeah, there was one more thing I wanted to ask.

“Can slaves be freed?”

“Oh? Will you free her, milord?”

“I’m just curious.”

“I see. Yes, it all depends on the owner. Slaves are used in all sorts of ways: some are forced to work without any pay, others receive a salary and eventually use it to buy their own freedom. Others prefer to remain in the employment of their owner, even if they receive a salary. They can be freed anytime, as long as there is someone capable of using Slaving Arts. Normally, they are freed at the store they were bought from. By the way, criminal slaves can be freed only with permission from the country.”

I see…depending on her circumstances, I might free her immediately.

“If you do not have any other questions, milord, I shall call our Slaving Arts technician.”

Bohbee then left the room and returned shortly after, followed by a man.

“He will engrave the slave mark on her now. Please expose the slave’s back.”

Ephyr’s clothes made it easy to show her back, so I had her do it.

The man held his hands over her back and recited an incantation, forming the slave mark.

As I was looking at his work, I heard the usual robotic voice in my head.

<<Skill “Slaving Arts” acquired. Skill level reached 10. Skill added to Magic Unification.>>  

…hmm, I didn’t know if I could have had any real use of it…I had no intention of creating new slaves, but maybe I could free Ephyr with it.

Bohbee then called out to me.

“Lord Haruto, could you give us a few drops of blood? It’s necessary for the contract.”

“Yes, of course.”

“You simply need to shed a few drops of blood on her back.”

I followed orders and used the knife Bohbee gave me to make a small cut on my fingertip and let a few drops of blood fall on the slave mark drawn on Ephyr’s back.

“Kh…!!”

Ephyr winced in pain, so I gently patted her head.

“It’s all going to be over soon, please endure it.”

The contract was thus completed, as evidenced by the red slave mark on Ephyr’s back.

I watched her fix her clothes, then Bohbee came up to me and bowed.

“We are finished, milord. Will you need a horse carriage to return to your residence?”

“Yes, I guess I do. Can I bother you to call one for us?”

“Naturally, I will be glad to. I will go call one immediately. Please kindly send my regards to Sir Sebas.”

“Sure, thanks for everything.”

~

After the horse carriage prepared by Bohbee brought us back to the residence, I stood in front of the entrance and called.

“Can someone open the door? My hands are busy, I can’t do it myself.”

Almost immediately, Sebas opened the door for me.

Finne and everyone else were behind him: they were very curious about the slave, apparently.

“Welcome back, milord. Could you find a slave….oh, the young lady is?”

Sebas looked at Ephyr, who I was carrying in my arms, and asked the question surely on everyone’s mind.

“She’s the slave I bought today. As you can see, she is severely hurt and weak. Do we have a bed for her?”

“Is that so. I suggest using one of the rooms on the second floor, then.”

Sebas then instructed Lyla and Mia to prepare some wiping towels and breakfast, then led us to the room.

I carefully laid Ephyr on the bed, then waited for Lyla and the others to come in the room and asked the sickly elf a question.

“Can you hear me?”

She nodded, weakly yet clearly, so I continued.

“Good. I’m going to heal you now, all right?”

Ephyr’s right eye opened wide.

Sebas and the others too expressed their surprise.

“You can restore her from such a state, milord?”

“What are you saying, Sebas? Haruto is almighty!”

Iris replied in my stead, all proud for some reason. Almighty? …seriously?

I turned around and nodded to Sebas, then used Recovery magic on Ephyr.

“This might be a bit bright, so close your eyes — Perfect Heal!”

Following my words, a suffused light enveloped the elf.

I could hear Sebas, Lyla and Mia swallow their breaths.

They had good reason to: Perfect heal was an Ancient Age grade spell, only available to those who had mastered magic arts.

Even Perfect Heal, however, did not seem to be able to heal Ephyr’s missing body parts.

“It didn’t work…? Okay then— ”

Recovery magic, as the name said, can heal wounds or abnormal conditions; in other words, it can return the target to its original state. I thought that high-level Recovery magic might be able to heal missing limbs, but apparently, its effects did not extend so far.

I then thought to combine Recovery and Time-Space magic, to create an original spell.

“ — Revive!”

The spell “Revive” made it possible to turn back time, to restore wounds and abnormal conditions *as if they never happened in the first place*.

An aura of light, brighter than the one before, surrounded Ephyr.

The light gathered on her missing body parts and gradually reformed them.

After less than a minute, the light disappeared and revealed Ephyr’s body, completely restored.

Lying on the bed now was a young girl with glossy blond hair reaching to her waist, silky white skin, and beautiful, refined features. It was a bit hard to tell since she was lying down, but she was probably about 160 Centimetol tall.

“What…what magic was that…? Could it be…a lost Divine Age spell…?”

I heard Sebas whisper something like that, but was focused on Ephyr at the moment — her face in particular.

She was cute, of course, but more importantly, her ears were really pointy.

I knew that she was an elf from her status, but seeing something like that with my eyes really made me feel I was in a fantasy world…

Ephyr’s eyes were still closed, so I tried calling her.

“I’m finished here, how do you feel? Can you stand?”

Ephyr hesitantly opened her eyes, then sat up.

She then covered her formerly missing left eye with her hand, then looked at her newly restored right arm and swallowed her breath.

Lyla, with perfect timing, gave her a hand mirror and Ephyr looked at her reflection.

“I…I…recovered…m…my voice….hic…wah…waaaahhhh!!!”

Ephyr broke in loud sobs, then cried for a good, long while.

~

Ephyr eventually fell asleep, so we left Lyla to watch over her and left the room.

“Mia, could you go buy a change of clothes for her? You can tell what size would fit, right?”

“Certainly, I will go right away. Should I switch places with Lyla when I return?”

“Yeah. Call me when she wakes up.”

So I said as I gave some money to Mia, who accepted it with a nod and went shopping.

The rest of us headed to the living room.

I had Sebas and Asha prepare tea for us, while I explained to Finne and Iris about Ephyr’s circumstances.

“ — so in the end, the normal slaves didn’t seem very useful to me — well no, I should say they didn’t click with me, so Bohbee showed me the slaves not considered ‘on sale’, who lived in the back of his store.”

“For a slave trader, he’s actually a decent man, that Bohbee. He often helps those caught in such unfortunate situations.”

As I explained the situation to Finne and Iris, Sebas came back with our tea and interjected.

“Yeah, that seems to be the case…so, in the room furthest in the back, I found that girl…Ephyr.”

“So her name is Ephyr?”

“It’s been a long time since I last saw an elf. Her ears were cut off when you brought her here, so I suppose Bohbee didn’t realize it.”

“Can’t you see that with a crystal, though?”

Finne, Iris, and Asha spoke in turn, then I replied to Asha’s question.

“She apparently did not want them to see her status, so I think that Bohbee really didn’t know anything.”

“She didn’t want others to know her status…? She must have had an important reason…”

I nodded to Sebas, who was holding his chin, deep in thought.

“Right. Actually, when I looked at her status I found an unusual title, which might be a key factor in whatever happened to her.”

“An unusual title? Hmm…she probably wanted to hide her identity as an elf, though.”

I shook my head to Finne’s theory.

“That could be part of the reason, but I think there’s something else.”

Sebas then gave his opinion too, a faint smile on his lips.

“Could it be that…she is an assassin?”

“Uh, no, there’s plenty of those already…”

This old hawk definitely knows about Lyla and Mia already, doesn’t he…

“There’s plenty? What do you mean?”

“Nothing, never mind.”

Iris was intrigued, but I changed the topic.

Lastly, Asha timidly raised her hand.

“Could it be…she is a princess? But…a princess would never become a slave, I guess…”

“…….”

My silence said it all.

“EEEEEEHH!?!”

Finne, Iris, and Asha shouted in unison. Sebas didn’t shout, of course, but looked very surprised too.

”W-what!? How can a princess be a slave!?”

“I don’t know either. I wanted to ask her, actually, it’s one of the reasons why I decided to buy Ephyr.”

Iris seemed shocked, but I could only shake my head.

We discussed for a bit the reason why Ephyr became a slave, then Mia came back and I explained the situation to her too. I told Lyla too afterward, naturally.

The only way to know was to talk with Ephyr herself, though.

As we continued talking, without reaching any plausible conclusions, the day was turning to night.

It was almost time for dinner when Mia, who had taken Lyla’s place in watching over Ephyr, came down to call us.

“Master Haruto, miss Ephyr woke up a few minutes ago.”

Oh, sooner than expected.

I glanced at Iris and the others, then we headed to the room where Ephyr was resting.

~

I opened the door and found Ephyr, wearing the clothes bought by Mia, with a grave expression on her face.

As soon as she saw me, she bowed deeply, all of a sudden.

“Master, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I owe you my life.”

I was a bit taken aback by her overreacting but acted normal.

“No need to thank me, I’m just glad you seem to be better…I’m Haruto, an adventurer. Nice to meet you.”

“The pleasure is mine, master. My name is Ephyr.”

Ephyr raised her head and stood up from the bed.

“You don’t have to be so polite, you know. Anyway, there are a few things I’d like to ask, do you mind?”

Ephyr looked at me, perplexed, and nodded.

“Okay then, first of all, you should know that…I can see people’s status. You understand what I’m getting at, don’t you?”

“!?”

Ephyr instantly raised her guard, figuratively speaking.

Her emerald eyes showed a mixture of confusion and suspicion.

“I heard from the slave trader that you didn’t want them to use Appraisal on you, but I had to do it. Please forgive me.”

I lowered my head to Ephyr in apology and saw the suspicion in her eyes dim a little.

“I told the rest of the people here about your identity, but no one harbors any ill will towards you, so you don’t have to worry about that…so, could you tell me why you became a slave? I don’t mean to force you, though.”

Ephyr shook her head, forcefully.

“…no, I will talk. I could not hide the truth to the person who saved my life.”

Ephyr took a deep breath, then started talking about what happened to her.

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