TWEM Vol. 4 Chapter 9
Chapter 9 – Another Batch of Slaves
When I arrived at the backyard, I found Tendo and the other five heroes, as well as Finne, Kusel, and Iris, taking a break.
Since Ephyr and Asha are servants of the mansion, it seems that they are supporting the others without participating in the training.
“Well done, Tendo. I just want to quickly confirm with you again, what are your plans?”
After all, Tendo and the others had been training at my mansion for the past two weeks.
“Well, the thing is…I’m thinking of going to ask the knights of the royal castle to train me…”
“I see. In that case we should head to the castle later then. I’m going to check out the store today, so can we go after?”
“Thank you, that would be great…also, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you to spar with me for a bit? I want to see how strong I’ve become since the labyrinth!”
Well, that’s something I’m curious about too.
Looking around, I saw that not only the heroes, but also Finne and the others had a twinkle in their eyes as well.
“All right. So I guess my work is cut out with the first thing today being to check out the store, then briefly stop by Bohbee’s, and then to the castle. The spar will have to wait till another time, okay.”
When I said this, all but one of them agreed with me.
…That person was Ephyr.
“What’s the matter, Ephyr?”
“Umm…can I stay back? I’m still a little afraid to go into that store…”
Well, that’s understandable.
“Thank you. Then, have a good day.”
“Yeah, we’re off.”
I headed for the preliminary inspection together with Finne, Tendo and the others. While I was driving the carriage, something occurred to me.
“Come to think of it, Tendo, you and your party didn’t say anything about going to Bohbee’s store this time, is everything all right?”
These guys didn’t go with us on our last slave purchase because they couldn’t accept the concept of slavery itself.
“…Yeah, we’re fine.”
“Well, may I ask why the sudden change?”
I asked, and Tendo answered slowly, as if searching for words within himself.
“I have come to understand that it’s better to face these things and experience them personally, rather than avert my eyes from them. This world is different after all, and I have to accept that. Besides, I now know that buying slaves, like you did this time around, can also be some kind of salvation.”
Mogami nodded and opened his mouth.
“That’s right. As a hero, I think it’s only proper that we see with our own eyes how slaves are treated.”
Shinonome then continued.
“We must not turn our eyes away. We’ve all experienced how little value is placed on human life in this world. Yet, we still find it difficult to take another’s life.”
Tendo and the others looked down upon hearing her words.
Shinonome is right, human life is indeed insignificant in this world.
I learned that when I almost got killed. That’s why I have also made up my mind to kill anyone who tries to kill me.
Asakura opened her mouth.
“We are heroes after all. I don’t want to abandon lives that could have been saved right before my eyes!”
Asakura has a cheerful personality and was not the type to stand idly by and watch someone else get hurt, even back on Earth. Being who she is, her desire to help is probably stronger than anyone else’s.
Suzuno turned to me.
“I have a hard time seeing Haruto kill without batting an eye. But you had a good reason and told me about it. Even back then when I heard that you actually bought Ephyr as a slave, I was very surprised, but you had a good reason.”
I remembered that all five of them were surprised when I told them about Ephyr.
“And Haruto helped Ephyr to the very end. If we had met Ephyr first, I don’t think we would have been able to help her…still, I would like for us to help the ones we can with our abilities. To that end, I believe it’s prudent to accept all these things as they are. And I also don’t think it’s necessarily right to impose our common sense on this world.”
It would be almost impossible to change the values of this world.
Still, it is a very heroic way of thinking to want to help as many people as possible.
And to do so, y’all must have been prepared to accept a lot.
While we were talking about this, we arrived at our destination, the scheduled site of the Ashtaroth Trading Company.
Some craftsmen were still working, but they seemed to recognize me and let us through.
It probably used to house some big trading company, and the exterior is magnificent.
The building itself is quite large…or rather, it is ridiculously large. Maybe, a little too big, perhaps? It seems that Finne and the others had the same impression.
Since there was little point in observing just the exterior, I went in right away.
The store is designed with a storefront setup, and once you pass through the door, you will find yourself in an area where products are lined up.
There is a simple partition, and there seems to be another sales space in the back. This space could be used to display high-end products or as a business meeting space.
Perhaps because of the simple interior design, the space seems larger than it actually is.
“Wow, It’s quite spacious.”
Finne muttered as she looked around.
“Yeah, I guess so. We won’t have that much merchandise starting out, so we probably won’t be using all of the space…but, then again, Dillan went to the trouble to prepare it for us. So we gotta make sure that the store rises to his expectations.”
As each of us looked around inside, Kusel spoke up.
“Haruto, there’s a staircase leading to the basement here?”
I walked up to Kusel, and just as she said, there was a staircase that led further down.
It was dimly lit inside, but there was a magic tool for lighting, so I activated it.
Arriving down, we found several rooms.
“This place could probably serve as the base for manufacturing our goods or as a warehouse.”
There was another room upstairs that could be used for storage, but it would be really handy if the basement could be used as well.
After checking out all the facilities, we returned upstairs and went out to the backyard.
It too was reasonably spacious, and in the corner was a shed with a small chimney.
“What is this? A warehouse?”
As we approached, we found out what it was.
Iris answered my question.
“I believe my dad is also aware that Haruto makes his own weapons, so he was probably looking for a property with a blacksmith’s workshop, maybe?”
“I see. So might as well make it here…however.”
I utilize a skill to make weapons, so I don’t exactly need a workshop per se.
Well, I guess it could serve as a camouflage to make it look like I’m making them here.
I am currently the only one who can make weapons and armor, but it might be a good idea to have craftsmen make and sell weapons here while I’m gone.
Which means I will need some craftsmen…in other words, Dwarves? I heard that there is a Dwarven Country past Glicente, maybe I can find some there…
“I’ll have to find craftsmen for weapons, so might as well find some for potion craft while at it.”
With that in mind, after checking the interior and deciding roughly where to put what, we headed for Bohbee’s store.
“Haruto, when are you launching?”
Iris asked me in the carriage.
“Honestly. I would like to open as soon as possible, but we are still in the preparation stage. Bohbee will be joining us in a week or so, and we’ll be ready to start setting up the interior…well, we’re right on schedule, so maybe two more weeks.”
As we talked about this, we arrived at Bohbee’s.
A short time after entering the store, Bohbee came out.
“Is everything all right, boss?”
“I was just checking out the store and thought I’d drop by and see you…how much longer is this going to take?”
Bohbee put his hand on his chin in thought.
“Let me see…I think we’re on schedule, so maybe another week or so.”
“I’m glad to hear that. I’ve got my own staff, and they’re currently being educated on how to serve customers. We have excellent butlers and maids, so everything should fall right into place.”
“I guess there won’t be much for me to teach after joining up, then. But, if I may ask, are the staff the only resource we’ve secured? What about the escorts when we need to stock up and security guards for the store? We may have to hire a dedicated escort or an adventurer…if we consider all these, then the budget.”
“Nah, if my staff keep up the same pace, then they will be strong enough to defeat a C-rank adventurer on their own.”
“Wha-!? What in the world did you do to them?”
Bohbee was surprised at my words.
These are slaves he sold, which is probably a surprise to him because he knew their capabilities best.
“Well, I just taught them how to use their powers a little…so, Bohbee. The point is, we’re just about ready. I feel bad rushing you, but I’m just waiting on you now.”
“No of course not, I will try to join you as soon as possible.”
I nodded to Bohbee, who bowed his head.
Then Ellis suddenly spoke to me.
<<Master. There is a capable individual in this slave trader’s shop.>>
<<Yes. He’s in the back of this slave trader’s shop.>>
So you’re saying he’s a commodity?
<<That’s right. I strongly recommend you meet face to face.>>
I understand. If Ellis says so, I’ll see him. Now I’m a little curious.
I decided to ask Bohbee to meet this person Ellis mentioned.
“Hey, I’m sorry to trouble you again so soon, but do you mind if I take another look at the slaves? It’s that place.”
“Oh there, sure of course. Would you like to bring your companion with you?”
Bohbee glanced at Finne, Tendo and the others.
The way I said it, he must have understood that I was talking about the room where Ephyr was, and for a moment his face tensed up.
However, Tendo nodded, probably thinking that he had to see it since he was prepared for it.
“Yes. They’ll be coming along.”
However, Iris and Asha next to them were shaking their heads, and it seemed that Finne and Kusel weren’t coming as well.
“All right. Then please follow me.”
Bohbee opened the door and stepped in first.
I, Tendo, Suzuno, Mogami, Shinonome, and Asakura followed Bohbee.
We were making our way toward the room in question when suddenly I received an instruction from Ellis.
<<Please turn left that way.>>
Hmm? That’s a different route from the one I remember.
“Bohbee. Please take a left there.”
“All right…I guess this will be the first time I show you this way, huh.”
Bohbee did as he was told and turned left.
<<He should be straight ahead.>>
There were iron cages on both sides, and the slaves inside were looking a little scrawny.
Come to think of it, I hadn’t been down this way before.
“Excuse me. Do you not treat the ones that are injured?”
I asked what Tendo must have wondered.
“This room is where we place the new arrivals of our store…we just haven’t gotten around to it yet is all.”
And when we proceeded straight to the end of the room, I saw a girl in her teens in a cage.
Ellis, is this her?
<<That’s right. She’s the one.>>
I stared at her, and Bohbee looked at the person in the bars.
“This one just arrived at my store just yesterday…I have only taken the bare minimum of measures. I apologize for the unsightly appearance.”
The girl had long black hair, purple eyes, and no right arm.
<<Master. Please take a look at her status.>>
I did as Ellis said and took a look at her status.
Sword Arts LV5
Illusion Magic LV7
Darkness Magic LV6
Shadow Magic LV4
Physical Boost LV6
Assassination Arts LV7
The Shadowy One
Hmmm. I see.
I wonder if this is the skill you were talking about when you mentioned interesting talent.
The more difficult the situation, the more the basic physical ability increases (up to five-fold).
Skills used for assassination are easier to acquire, and the effect is always doubled.
Wow, it’s certainly interesting.
Is “the more difficult the situation” here, based on Noir’s subjective judgment? Or is it god’s judgment?
It’s a rather scrupulous skill, but if used right, it could be very powerful.
But with such a powerful skill, how did Noir become a slave?
I asked Bohbee about it.
“Bohbee. Why is she…?”
“Apparently, she used to be a member of Glicente’s dark side, but she committed some crime and was condemned to slavery…according to what I heard. She was with a merchant I know in another city, but because of her background, he couldn’t find a buyer for her, so she was brought here.”
“What’s the crime?”
“Well, the man who sold her to me wouldn’t tell me anything, and she wouldn’t open her mouth, so I am also in the dark about it…”
I see, it sounds kinda fishy.
“Well, open the door so I can talk to her for a minute. She can’t move anyway, right?”
I asked Bohbee to open the door, then I approached her and crouched down.
“…What, do you, want…?”
Noir was able to barely move her mouth.
Her expression was weak and her voice feeble.
“I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”
“…I have nothing to say to you.”
“Even if you don’t want to, I am still going to ask…so, you used to be an assassin for Glicente.”
“…What about it?”
Noir frowned at my words.
“I hear you’re a former member of Glicente’s Black Ops division…are you aware of the purge of the royal family in that country?”
“…I am, but what does that have to do with me?”
This is hopeless, she doesn’t feel like talking at all.
While I was struggling, Tendo approached me.
“Haruto, may I give it a shot? If she’s indeed an ex-Glicente subject, she might feel comfortable talking to me under my title.”
“Hmm? Oh, I see what you mean.”
I stood up, and Tendo crouched down in front of Noir as if to replace me.
“…Who the hell are you?”
“I am Tendo Koji. I was summoned by Glicente as a hero.”
“…Oh I see, you’re the one. So, what does the great hero of Glicente want with me? I heard that you were the ones who attacked the royal capital.”
Oh, the focus of the conversation has changed.
If anything, won’t she become even more wary of us, at this rate?
“That’s true, but…”
“To be precise, I was the one who initiated it.”
I replied, taking over Tendo’s cue.
Then Noir finally seemed interested in me.
“…May I, ask, your name?”
“I’m Haruto Yuki. An adventurer.”
“I see. The famous EX-rank…well, if you were there, then it makes sense that the royal family, with all their clamor about some ridiculous trump card they call Yvel, were purged.”
Yvels are modified soldiers created by the royal family. The fact that she even knew of their existence suggests that she may have had a very high position in the Black Ops division.
Her level is also quite high, damn I really want her.
“Hey, Noir, would you mind if I bought you?”
“You want to buy me, a former member of Glicente’s Black Ops division?”
“What if I tried to kill you?”
“You think I’m that easy of a target that you can kill easily?”
She’s not going to try to kill me, not with that much difference in our abilities.
Besides, I am determined to decipher the magic circle that Glicente used to summon us and create a magic circle for our return.
I’m already working on deciphering it with Ellis’ help, but it will take some time.
Until the magic circle is completed, I can’t afford to get myself killed.
“The so-called crime you committed was made up by the royal family, wasn’t it? Aren’t you relieved to hear that the royal family has been purged?”
Noir’s eyes widened at my deduction.
As you’d expect of someone from the dark side, she was trying not to wear her emotions on her face, but she couldn’t get past my discerning eyes.
“What do you say? Just try talking to me?”
“Sure. I’ll put up a barrier so no one but you and I can hear anything we say.”
I then created a barrier.
“I just deployed a barrier. Now no one can hear us.”
“…Seems like you really did erect a barrier.”
Then Noir closed her eyes once and made a gesture of one in deep thoughts.
“…Okay. I had my doubts when I heard that you led the purge of the royal family, but if you are capable of putting up a barrier of this magnitude, I need no more convincing. And even if I stay silent, I might end up being made to divulge everything against my will anyway.”
Noir said, as if giving up everything.
As if, I’m not going to force you to say anything you don’t want to say…although, it would be nice if you are willing.
“Thank you for understanding. Are you fine with the barrier then?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. So you want me to tell you what happened to me, correct?”
“Please, by all means.”
“As you already know, my name is Noir…where do I begin?”
Noir prefaced her story with this and began to tell it.