I went inside the warehouse tent and took out 3 gold coins.
Not only was it the warehouse, it also doubled as my living quarters.
Unlike Mark’s tent, there was barely any space to sleep.
I went to sleep everyday curled up on the hard sand.
If I stretched the wrong way in my sleep, I would inevitably knock something over, like a broom, causing a small avalanche.
It was impossible to get a good night’s sleep.
I looked at the three gold coins in my hand.
This was money I’d earned through blood, sweat, and tears.
Obviously, the coins hadn’t come from Mark.
I made peanuts working for Mark. There’s no way I’d be able to pry 3 gold coins from his grubby fingers, it was impossible.
No, the money had come from my own diligence in reaching out to rich-looking clients to have them purchase goods directly from me.
I knew of a market where they sold scraps and cheap crystals.
Using my appraisal skill, I could easily identify the higher quality goods and purchase them.
It was the most important skill a jeweler could have, and I was able to make a good profit selling to those with a discriminating eye.
A particularly good piece could earn me at least 1 silver coin.
Confiscating the money I worked so hard for was a dick move.
And then I remembered a place.
I’ll use every last cent I have today.
I’ll use it and arrange Mark’s demise.
Enjoy it while you can Mark, your days are numbered.
(I thought as much, the market in the Oasis District is huge.)
I went to visit the Oasis District.
I couldn’t find anything worthwhile in the slums, there just wasn’t enough of a good selection.
I wasn’t one to question where the goods came from, but this time was a little different.
(It is not the clothes or accessories that I want right now.)
I slowly browsed the Oasis District market.
There was fruit that made me salivate, and I just wanted to reach out and take it.
Someday I also wanted to get that magic book being sold.
But today I had one specific thing I had to buy.
“Excuse me, I’d like this animal glue.”
I told the shopkeeper.
Animal glue, in other words, an adhesive.
It was made by boiling the skin, guts, bones, and nails of an animal then cooling the viscous liquid that came out of it.
And before using the adhesive, it needs to be boiled in water.
Using my appraisal skill, I chose the best glue from the lot.
The shopkeeper muttered “You have a good eye,” as he took out his merchant scale.
The shopkeeper weighed it, then held out it hand declaring, “3 silver coins.”
“Weigh it again, but turn it around this time. Just to make sure.”
You had to be careful in a shady place like this.
I was almost cheated until I thought the desk might be leaning to one side, or some trick to the merchant’s scale I wasn’t aware of.
I was glad I brought a battle slave with me instead of a weak porter.
Young as I was, I wouldn’t be able to fight back if the merchant tried to do something.
“……2 silver and 4 copper coins it is.”
Although a kid like me saying ‘That’s better’ would probably incite a little rage.
It was hard to read the shopkeeper’s expression.
I endured and brushed it off with a poker face.
(I have to get a new bucket and broom after this……)
The next purchase was an investment for my future business.
I need to procure a bucket, broom, dustpan, tent hide, and other tools. It would cost around 10 silver coins in total.
(Also, I need to get a leather bag and make it into a blackjack.)
The blackjack would be made from a long and thin leather casing, then packed with sand.
It was a simple weapon.
I needed to have something for self-defence, right?
(Then I need to get several pieces of tile to protect my body by wrapping it around.)
The tiles would be my armor. I figured I could string them together by making a small hole in each, then use 2 to protect my sides, and 1 to protect the front of my torso.
(After this would be the real future investment.)
Soap, scissors, and small tools like razors.
Jam made from citrus rinds.
A wooden board to draw on, and ink made of soot to draw with.
It was a lot to have to buy right off the bat.
(I wonder if I can buy everything I need today?)
I knew I would find more things I needed as I looked around.
And the remaining budget is…just a little over 2 gold coins.
It should be just enough.
(Excellent, I think it’s time for me to get real experience, right Mark?)
I saved the one thing I really wanted to buy for last.
Of course, it was something very important to study for my future.
I went inside an Oasis District slave shop.
The market price of the slave, the quality, and even the purchasing process were all different here.
(Slaves. This lady would probably decide herself which slave was best for me to buy.)
I returned her polite “Welcome” greeting with a nod.
I needed to see just how different the slave shop in the Oasis District was from Mark’s.
“What can I do for you today?”
“I need to buy a cheap slave. The best one you have for around 2 gold coins.”
I checked the interior design of the shop. It actually wasn’t that bad.
The furniture was moderately classy, and possessed a sense of security.
Compared to Mark’s store, although his was the best in the slum district, this shop was better decorated.
I expected as much from a shop in the Oasis District.
“……A cheap slave?”
The shopkeeper shot me a glance for a moment to appraise me.
However, that was exactly what I wanted.
Since I could also see the psychological graph I knew exactly what she was doing, however most people would be uncomfortable getting appraised.
The female shopkeeper was called Miroir, and she was the slave merchant.
“Yes, I’m actually in the same trade. I would like to buy suitable cheap people, slave with special characteristics will be fine too.”
She reacted when I said I was also on the same trade.
Indeed, Miroir seemed to doubt me.
No matter how you looked at it, I was just a 15 years old kid.
Although my clothes were fixed to fit in the Oasis District, she probably knew from the tanning on my skin that I was actually from Slums.
I wondered if she was observing me objectively.
Miroir was certainly thinking of how to answer me.
“What will you be using it for?”
“Just simple and trivial chores. But I don’t need them to do too much manual labor, so I don’t mind if it’s a woman or child.”
I thought I would lose this deal if she kept interrogating me.
However Miroir kept her poker face.
“I’m sorry, but can you show me the possible slaves?”
“……Please wait for a moment, I’ll bring them here.”
“Thanks, although I’d prefer you take me towards the slave quarters. It would be more convenient.”
I was sure I would learn a lot more if I entered the slave quarters myself.
She may not have wanted me to see the slave quarters, or she might have had something to hide back there.
However as a shopkeeper, she still had an obligation to meet her customer’s demands.
When it came down to it, Miroir looked to to be a good business partner.
I thought about it as I followed Miroir to the slave quarters.
“This is the slave quarters. The slaves that you wanted to buy are over there in the training area.”
Miroir pointed towards the partitioned section.
I see, they divided the room into sections by putting up curtains.
The tent was more or less used for high-class slaves, but it was also divided to be shared with the low-class slaves. Unlike Mark’s tent, the low-class slaves are even separated by the category they fell into.
For example, the laborers were in that corner, while the housekeepers were in the other corner.
There weren’t any decorations here since it wasn’t a place meant to showcase the slaves to customers.
The slaves should also be dressed when being presented to potential customers.
Though maybe not for the labor slaves, since it was better to show off their muscles.
I headed directly towards the back of the room.
There were a lot of child slaves in one section.
These were indeed the cheap slaves.
“These are them?”
“Yes, please check them at your convenience.”
Miroir said it while smiling.
A child slave was surely worth about 2 gold coins.
And why was that? Because they were purchased cheaply in the first place.
There were times when a farmer or a nomad had a bad harvest and could no longer afford to raise their children.
In those hard times, they often sold their children to reduce the number of mouths to feed.
They lacked the strength needed to be a labor slave; they simply didn’t have the physique or muscles to carry heavy loads.
And they couldn’t do clerical work because they couldn’t read or write; there was no chance for them to be educated.
That’s why child slaves were typically so cheap.
Miroir’s shop seems to have a program to raise and train these kinds of kids.
Kids who had the right qualities were raised to be pleasure slaves or were trained for professional work.
Sometimes they stocked up on hopeless low class slaves to be sold as disposables,or maybe sell them cheaply to someone who was in the same trade like me.
It was very practical.
It wasn’t a good idea to think about the ethics of the practice, it was simply an evaluation of Miroir’s management practices.
By using the Appraisal Skill, I was able to look at the attribute values and skill data.
Normally you would select a child that only had high stats.
Skills didn’t matter at this point.
“These children are a good find, right? Including the procedural expenses, your total would be 2 gold coins. What do you say?”
“You’re right, the stats are indeed high.”
I thought I was going to have to do some old-fashion negotiating, but it was actually settled rather smoothly.
And here I was thinking she was going to overcharge me by at least 50 silver coins because of my youth.
As it was, she seemed fine with just charging me the the market value of 2 gold coins.
“You sure seal the deal quickly, Miroir-san. You’re really helpful too.”
“It is a pleasure to serve you. So, will you be purchasing one from this group?”
“Ah, hold on, give me just a moment.”
It was too bad, but the one I sought was not among the cream of the crop.
The one I really wanted was the little Harpy over there.
Name : Eris Harpya (Slave) Age : 11 Years Old Level : 2 HP : 13 MP : 4 Strength : 3 Agility : 5 Magic Power : 2 Endurance : 3 Inherent Blessing : Descendant of the Winged Beast King Special Skill: Wind Magic Lv. 0 Special Skill: Singing Lv. 0
There was nothing special about her stats, but I immediately noticed her high potential when I saw her skills.
Inherent Blessing: Descendant of the Winged Beast King A descendant of the King of the Winged Beast race. Wind Magic Support + Singing Support +
That was it.
The harpy had an aptitude for Wind magic.
No amount of money could buy this kind of blessing.
“This child seems best suited for what I have in mind.”
I looked at Miroir while I said it because I wanted to see her reaction.
“I see, this child then?”
“I have no problem with paying the 2 gold for her, but it’d be nice if you could also include some clothing……”
“……Let me see.”
Miroir was perplexed for a moment.
This little Harpy wouldn’t be overly extraordinary to Miroir if she could only see the stats.
(Is she aware of it?)
The only reason for her to hesitate was if she knew the little Harpy had skills.
I kept my poker face so as not to show any sign of nervousness.
I just waited for Miroir to answer.
“I understand. 2 gold coins will seal the deal.”
Miroir bowed her head as she said so.
When I saw that, I was instantly relieved.
Surprisingly, Miroir was also the seal engraver.
I had already seen she had the skill Seal Engraving Lv. 3 when I used my Appraisal Skill, so there was no doubt she was the seal engraver.
She was both the slave merchant and the seal engraver.
She did everything herself.
As expected of a slave merchant in the Oasis District.
I absentmindedly thought Miroir to be an excellent shopkeeper.
“Then let’s move on to the procedure. Please sign here.”
She gave me the contract and the ink.
The contract was a long one, and I saw phrases like “The former employs the latter as a slave, and all rights of enslavement will be obtained” and so on.
And the name field was blank.
The name “Eris Harpya” was written underneath the blank name field.
I understood that magical power was used in the ink.
When I carefully analyzed it using the Appraisal Skill, I could see a thin thread of mana connecting Eris to the contract.
Eris had been staring at me the whole time.
The little harpy was quiet, but she seemed to know I would be her new master now.
I had seen this kind of behavior before, she was being cautious.
I suddenly saw an image of Mina overlapping her.
“Your name, please.”
I wrote my name the way I had practiced it. “Toshiki Mitsuji”
I made sure the spelling was correct.
The engraved seal on Eris’ body shone as soon as I wrote down my name.
At this point the slave seemed to feel some amount of pain for a moment.
But Eris didn’t even let out a cry of agony.
“Can she not speak……?”
I intended to keep it to myself but I murmured it unconsciously.
Miroir confirmed my suspicions.
“This child doesn’t speak very much. But she can talk if necessary. It’s nothing much to worry about.”
“……Miroir-san, she wouldn’t happen to be defective merchandise, right?”
Miroir reply was short. “No way.”
” I verified that she can speak. Her voice was like an angel.”
“All right then, please introduce yourself, Eris.”
Just to make sure, I immediately gave my newly enslaved Eris an order.
Eris began to talk slowly as she received the order.
“……Yes. My name is Eris. I’m 11 years old. I’m a harpy.”
She indeed had a beautiful voice.
I couldn’t see it being a problem in the future.
I once again bowed to Miroir.
“I had a great shopping experience. Thank you very much.”
“Not at all, thank you very much for your business.”
At first I thought she might have pushed a problem child on to me, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
I was certain Miroir and I would have a good relationship from now on.
That’s what I was thinking about as I left her shop.