Hello? Is anyone still here?
Because after a long time, I have had the chance to pile up a good amount of chapters! I will be uploading them as new chapters of Tsuki come out.
Hope you will continue enjoying D.E.H!
In the end, I decided to buy the unruly boy.
The merchant was surprised by my decision and soon began to sing praises regarding the good points of this Striped Lion, as if redeeming for the things he said before. It seems he was actually a rare product that was scheduled to be send to the center of the capital, a rare race that is hard to catch and is very risky to even reach their homegrounds. But it was already too late. The moment he stated the fact that they were going to dispose him, my position was already in the advantage.
It was easy to bring the negotiation to a favorable direction.
As a result, I was able to buy the kid with only 2 gold when he should originally go for more than 7 gold.
The Slave Merchant didn’t like this result but he had no choice but to accept it. It was originally a ‘product’ that would be disposed of with no profit in view. Getting 2 gold from it and having it gone wasn’t really that bad of a deal.
I was soon brought to another room for the slave contract process. A really dim room resembling an interrogation room. Only a desk and two chairs were placed at the middle, and there was a door covered in a black curtain that seems to lead to another room.
Since the room in itself has nothing in it aside from that desk and chairs, most of the tools for the slave contract are most likely at the other side of that black curtain.
The Slave Merchant Birben urges me to take a seat and I comply.
Once I sit, the door opens once again and one of the huge builded guys enters, with chain in hand, and at the end of that chain there’s the Striped Lion kid.
The kid was showing futile resistance. The difference in strength was clear. In his current underfed state, I would be surprised if he were able to put up an actual fight.
The big guy drags the kid all the way and makes him take the seat opposite to me.
Different from my seat, the one the kid was made to sit in has arm restraints, and not only that, the man tied him tightly with ropes.
“Aaaaah! Kill… Scum- Agh!”
And after all that, they shoved a cloth in his mouth.
“Well, well, it has finally gotten quiet here. You there, go bring the tools”
The huge man nods once and promptly enters the black curtain. I tried looking at the other side in that gap of time, but the other side was so dark that I couldn’t see anything at all.
In the short while we waited for the man to return, Birben was humming a song. It reminded me of those songs that play while someone is waiting in the elevator. His humming resounded clearly in the room.
It seems this room isolated the sound really well. The ear-piercing screams were not ringing at all in this room. When I ask Birben about it, he told me that it is a special field magic that is covering this room in specific.
“Concentration is important in this step after all”, Is what he said while snickering.
Those words reminded me of Ethan’s words: “Don’t miss a step. Keep your eyes peeled.”
I sit there and just wait, watching the little lion in front of me struggling on the chair and glaring at me.
Talk about barking up the wrong tree.
A few moments later, the huge man returns with several tools that he places on top of the desk.
Jars with some sort of dense liquid inside, brushes, papers, needles, and several other small tools I can’t identify.
“Now then, everything is ready. I, Birben, will be the one doing the slave contract this time”
The big man that brought the tools leaves the room and only the three of us were left inside.
“Looking forward to it”, I respond.
Birben then smiles and takes a needle out… and stabs a finger of the kid.
“UNNGH!!!” Obviously, a scream of pain comes out from the boy, blood gushing out from the pierced finger.
I immediately stand up and take away Birben’s hand.
“Hey, what are you doing? You are damaging my property right there.”
“Oh sorry customer, that was out of reflex. But this is a necessary process for the slave contract so please bear with it”
He makes an ‘apologetic’ face as he places the blood filled needle onto a paper and begins drawing with it.
Without any assistance or anything, the finger continues to bleed. Seeing this, I tear a part of my sleeve and wrap it around his finger, tightly tying a knot.
“… You are a pretty unique customer” Birben says while narrowing his already narrow eyes.
It seems he didn’t like that small action of mine.
I didn’t answer him and just urge him to continue.
He snorts and grabs the paper with a blood drawn sigil and tries to approach me.
I lift my hand and stop him.
“What are you doing?”
“I am engraving this slave sigil drawn with the blood of your servant. It may be unpleasant to have your skin touch dirty blood, but bear with it.”
… So it really did happen.
This time it was my turn to narrow my eyes.
“How weird. I have heard of no such process. Isn’t this the part where you ask for a drop of my blood to mix in the drawing?”, I ask the Slave Merchant with a sharp gaze, hinting my knowledge of this Slave Contract process.
With this, I hope he will stop this useless sham.
What he is doing now is to try turning me into a slave.
I was severely warned by Ethan about this point.
The most dangerous part about buying a slave is the Slave Contract. This is the part where most Merchants will try to trick the customer into slavery.
‘Why?’ Is the question that immediately popped in my mind.
The words of Ethan resound in my head: ‘Because humans cost more than beasts.’
Along with detailed instructions of the Slave Contract, he explained to me that humans are sometimes more valuable than beasts.
In terms of a pleasure tool, humans desire humans more than beasts or spirits. That’s how it works.
Why do they go out of their way to capture beasts you say? Complicated stuff regarding human slavery and the fact that capturing beasts for slavery yields not only the gold for the sell, they also give out rewards that come directly from the Kingdom itself. That’s why, even if the slave doesn’t sell, they still get the ‘hunting’ reward.
And for some reason, Ethan was extremely sure they would try to turn me into a slave.
‘You have black hair which is pretty rare in itself, resembling those of the hero stories. Not only that. It is vexing to say this but… you… forget it, anyways, they will definitely come for you. No matter what you try to buy, you will be considered as more valuable!’, Ethan told me this, slamming both hands on the table with a flushed face.
I don’t consider myself good looking in no way. At most, I would say average. But maybe the standards of this world are different and my features are viewed as exotic.
I slightly understood what Ethan was trying to tell me, so I was preparing myself for any of the signs he told me about.
“… Right right, this Birben must have spaced out for a moment there. Here you go, customer”
Birben bows his head apologetically and places the slave sigil drawn with blood on the table and puts a needle close to it.
I prick my finger with the needle and let a drop of my blood fall onto the sigil.
The moment it makes contact, the blood drops and creates ripples in the whole sigil.
After this, Birben tried those cheap tricks 3 more times. All of those attempts failed.
Birben looked dejected that all failed.
Right in front of the concerned party nonetheless.
Then, it finally came to the part where the contract itself would be officially made.
Birben recited a chant. I listened to it carefully. I may not know about magic chants, but I made sure to write down the exact order and memorize it.
Surprisingly, there were no weird changes.
Light began to radiate from the slave sigil and suddenly increased to a dazzling level.
It was then…
In that small dazzling moment, I maintained my eyes wide-opened.
And then, I grab Birben’s arm and take away what he was holding.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
A dropper with blood inside it.
Not only did he try with the obvious methods, he even went for the most secretive ones as well.
Ethan told me that the first ones are made obvious to test the authenticity of the nobles since they all should have knowledge of those steps. That’s why, having the badge of the family alone doesn’t work in the Slave Market of the slums.
But the less obvious ones are what I have to keep my eye out.
In moments of distraction, they will slip in a drop of blood from another person, and it rewrites the contract.
No one is safe in the Slave Market of the slums. This is a fact. Well, maybe the ugly ones are, but that’s another point.
That’s why nobles that want assured safety prefer to head to the Slave Market at the center of the capital. There’s better products there anyways.
But to think they would go so far for me…
It turned out exactly as Ethan said. How vexing.
“Ah well, customer, this is…”
Birben probably didn’t expect me to catch him here as well.
This is the main reason why this sneaky method is not used.
There’s no squirming away from this one.
All publicized methods can be easily pointed out if you know them and can be easily explained, but this one is clearly not.
In that sense, Ethan is pretty impressive. He knew this method and all the timings I had to watch out for.
His reason for knowing even the smallest details was because: ‘I have to protect lady Elinalise from this rotten world!’
I feel like he is spoiling her a bit.
Anyways, I look back at the Slave Merchant and play with the dropper in my hand. Purposely showing it to him.
“You know Birben, I am interested in the Thought Linker~ It would be convenient~” I get close to Birben and grab his shoulders firmly. I could feel his body jumping for a second.
“!!! B-But customer, you see, the thought linker is…”
I also take this chance to flash the badge of the Freyhart family.
A stronger jolt as if struck by lightning could be felt running through the body of this thin slave merchant.
With a really reluctant face, Birben closes his eyes and finally nods as if resigning to his fail.
“Understood customer. But I implore you to please provide at least 50 silvers to add this function…”
Birben bows deeply, his desperation was obvious.
Well that’s a given. Thought Link lets you talk with your slave telepathically. This kind of technique already exists within humans that form parties, but the perk of this is that, since a direct contract is made, the connection between you and the slave can reach longer distances than a party one. But the main function it is purchased for is because, no matter what language is spoken, the other party will understand (That isn’t necessary for me though).
Thought Link is not used for friendly conversations with the slaves. This is a function to give more personalized orders to your slave.
Because of this, the price of adding Thought Link is normally at a heavy price of 2 gold.
A reduction to 50 silvers is pretty nice.
Suddenly, in the silent room, a muffled voice resonates.
When I look at the only person that could have possibly said that, I see the smug face of the kid. With a cloth still in his mouth, he looks at the pathetic shape of Birben in a completely contemptuous way.
He doesn’t know human language, so he probably guessed that Birben was driven to a corner and took the chance to make fun of him.
“Kugh!” Birben heard this but couldn’t retaliate. He just waited for me to agree.
“It’s okay. I accept your apology and would like to purchase the Thought Link addition too”
I place 50 silvers on the table.
Birben takes it reluctantly.
“Thanks for your purchase, customer”
After that, the Slave Contract continued with no cheap tricks.
Looking at the dejected face of Birben, I couldn’t help but feel slight happiness.
As expected, seeing the results of revealing your cards at the right moment does feel good.
[A slave contract has been formed with Kiur Coruga]
[Thought Link has been connected with contractee]
[Skill [Thought Link] – [Slave Detection] – [Shared Senses] – [Status Check] have been added] [Passive Skill [Slave Growth] [Absolute Obedience] has been added]
Is that the name of this kid?
Well, let’s leave that for later.
The small boy stands in front of me. A big choker at his neck and a slave sigil that is visible below it.
No restrains were placed on him anymore, he was simply standing there, unmoving.
Both of us facing each other.
(Hello there, little boy) I test the Thought Link.
Maybe it isn’t working?
(Hello there, Kiur Coruga)
Oh, a reaction. Looks like it does work.
I turn to where the Slave Merchant is.
“Birben, it was a pleasure doing business with you”
And offer him my right hand.
Birben weakly takes that hand and accepts my handshake.
“The pleasure is mine, great customer”
Once we left the Slave Market, I was walking through the streets of the slums.
This time, with the little kid in hand.
Of course, he was totally against it, but with an order he can’t refuse, I made him hold it.
I am not worried about him getting lost or anything. I feel like he might get kidnapped at any moment if I don’t hold his hand, or maybe even run away.
There might be other ways, but this one felt more comfortable and secure for me.
The people around were giving me gazes of disgust, but I just shrug it off.
Hmmm, maybe he doesn’t know how to use thought link?
(To use thought link you just concentrate on the person and when you feel a click, you send what you are thinking)
(I know how it works, stupid human)
(…) Silence again.
Really, when I am walking in an unsightly street like this, I would really like some kind of distraction. At least cooperate a bit here.
(We didn’t have much of a chance to properly introduce ourselves. It would be inconvenient for you to call me stupid human all the time, right? My name is Youma and I’m an adventurer of sorts, and you?)
(Kiur Coruga, Striped Lion… stupid human)
(Well, nice to meet you too)
Looks like he doesn’t intend to speak with me anymore.
It’s okay, I don’t really mind you know.
I have a bunch of new skills I can test out anyways!
It seems like I can acquire skills by fulfilling requirements that are not necessarily connected to levels. This was proven at the time with the Blood Bear when I got new skills in the middle of a battle without leveling up.
I currently don’t know if levels affect my acquisition of skills, but it’s certain that there are conditions.
First things first, test out what I am most interested about.
I chant these words in my mind and soon after, a stat window appears in front of me.
|Alignment||Slave – Youma Hiromi|
|Active||[Feral Slash] [Lion Roar] [Iron Mane] [Razor Teeth] [Pounce]|
|Passive||[Child of the Wild] [Sharp Sense] [Muffled Step] [Fast Regeneration] [Fear Resistance] [Pain Resistance] [Slave Growth] [Absolute Obedience-Slave] [Thought Link]|
Hoh~ I finally get the chance to see the stats of someone else.
I also open mine.
[Heavy Blow (E)] [Speed Burst (D)] [Limit Break (E)]
[Fit for injuries] [Weak feed the Strong] [Calm voice] [Slave Growth] [Absolute Obedience-Master]
[Discern] [Instinct of the Predator] [Map] [Thought Link] [Shared Senses] [Status Check] [Slave Detection]
I look at the small boy who is now watching the surroundings with disgust. Comparing his stats from mine, I can tell that our affinities are similar. We are both combatants. Physical fighters.
“As expected of human scum” Looking at the street of people that were lying on the corners, he speaks with a tone full of loath and in beast language.
“The beast race doesn’t have places like this?”
There was a slight pause, but he finally decided to open his mouth to answer.
“Humans rely too much on money, when that is gone, this is how they end. The proud beast race doesn’t cling onto something like that. They survive not by relying on a petty coin, but by their own efforts”
Relying on a petty coin huh. Indeed, human lives can even end up depending on it.
For a little kid, that’s pretty good insight.
So the beast race doesn’t have a currency system? Well I will know in time. The important thing is that the beast continent is beginning to sound interesting.
“You are pretty intelligent, Kiur”
“Hmph, humans are just stupid. And who are you calling Kiur?! Only my family calls me that way!”
“Well, what a honor I have”
[Slave Detection] is pretty simple, I can tell where Kiur is even when he’s far away, just like when I am using [Instincts of the Predator]. When I don’t have it toggled, I can still feel his general direction.
Now, for the one I am most curious about.
The instant I activate the skill, a pungent stench pierced my nostrils and almost made me puke. I quickly put both of my hands over my mouth and hold my breath, but the stench didn’t go away. As if I was still breathing.
But I was sure that I have stopped, and yet, the stench continues entering.
Soon after, I noticed, this strange sensation are the senses of Kiur.
Because I was overwhelmed by the stench, my brain didn’t work properly.
But now that my brain had slightly regained its calm, I could tell that a massive amount of information was overflowing.
A stinging occurred in my brain.
Quickly closing my eyes and stopping my steps, I decide to adapt to this new sensation.
“Hey stupid human, did you do something? It feels weird”
The voice of Kiur. It felt as if it came from two different distances.
The sense of disparity was no joke.
It is a nauseating feeling.
“Keep silent for a while Kiur”
Slowly separating and distinguishing which is my side and which is his. Taking in all the new information and analyzing, adapting to it.
“Kiur, say something”
“What, did you decide to take a piss?”
I can hear it clearly now. In fact, too clearly. As if I were listening in a surround stereo.
It didn’t sting my brain either.
Looks like I am the one who gets the shared senses. Kiur did feel something at the moment of activation, but since he doesn’t know what it was, he just shrug it off.
The hearing is fine now.
Smell is still unpleasant, but bearable to some extent.
“Kiur… touch me”
“Stupid human, you are abusing your authority here!”
My wording was wrong, but right now I had no freedom to speak in detail.
Since we are bound by a contract, Kiur was unable to go against my order and reluctantly, truuuly reluctantly, placed his hand on my right arm. And while at it, he looked at me with disgust.
What a strange sensation. It feels as if I am touching something, and at the same time, grabbing myself.
“Kiur, sorry for this”
I pinch his hand with my left.
A sensation of someone grabbing my skin as if I were actually pinching myself.
There was no pain. Probably because I’m not in combat mode, I am unable to cause any sort of damage.
If possible, I want to check if pain is shared as well. Maybe in another instance.
Since it has come this far, there’s no need to test taste.
I slowly open my eyes. It felt strange since I felt as if I had them opened already, even though they were closed.
This dump of information came rushing the instant I open them. Now all the senses were present and I was trying to gather them all and utilize it.
Strangely, my eyes adapted fairly fast.
I wanted to take a deep breath right now, but that would be akin to suicide. Stupid beyond limits.
Looks like I am now able to at least grasp this power and use it to a certain extent.
It even feels fresh, though the stench begs to differ.
I look around and check my s—
“What, stupid human. Give me the order to release my hand already. It is extremely unpleasant”
“Right, you can take off your hand now”
I pause for a second and switch to [Thought Link].
(So Kiur… why haven’t you told me that we are being followed?)
There’s a very peculiar characteristic of this sense of smell. That is, the ability to see slight outlines of people even when they are out of vision.
It is similar to my [Instincts of the Predator] but it is also completely different as well.
Just like how a dog remembers the smell and tracks it down, these sense of smell catches the outline of a person Kiur remembers the smell of.
For a while, two outlines of humans have been looking at our direction, taking their distance and hiding behind the corners of these narrow streets here.
Even I remember them. The builds of the people in that place are very unique after all.
The first has a big build and bald head, missing fingers in his right hand; the second, a thin build, toned body, and tall. Long and ugly face. If I had to compare it to something, it would be a goblin. Don’t know the ones of this world, but in my world, a goblin would be depicted just like this man.
Both of them were guards I saw at the Slave Market.
(You didn’t ask)
(… Come on Kiur at least cooperate here. If you continue in that way, your pride will one day get you killed)
(I won’t die)
*Sigh* (And that’s what makes you a kid)
I glance back at the location where those two are hidden.
Those two are outside the range of my detection skill. To begin with, a radius of 20 meters isn’t that far.
This is bad. I unconsciously grew reliant of this convenient skill that I ended up neglecting my own senses.
If Shishou were here, he would slap me senseless. No joke.
(So, what are you going to do? Run away, cowardly human?)
(… No. From what I see, they have already divided and are moving to corner us. Judging from their movements, they know this area better than us, no doubt)
(Oh? For a human, you sure have sharp senses)
Because these are yours.
No way we can outrun them. We will only be struck down and lose the advantage we currently have.
In that case, we will face them. I don’t know their objective, but with all that sneaking around, I doubt it is for anything good.
I open my inventory and select several items from it. Stealthily equipping them.
Good thing I came prepared in case something like this happened. I am in the slums after all.
(Kiur, take this)
I hand over a small flask of red potion and a red rock as well.
(What are you doing?)
(In an emergency, it is better if you have them on you. I will also give you a belt. Put it below your clothes and use it when necessary)
I whisper as we slowly move forward.
Then I stop abruptly and grab Kiur’s shoulders.
“Kugh! Damn human, what—?!”
“Aaah as expected, I can’t control myself anymore. In this desolated street, I just can’t hold back! This urge of testing my new toy is just unbearable!”
I shout loudly and it echoes through the narrow streets. In human language, of course.
Then, I hug Kiur tightly.
I quickly take out the belt and wrap it around his waist. In this darkness, it would be hard to make out any details. And I make sure it is from a blind spot.
It isn’t the best acting, but it is definitely better than suddenly putting a belt on Kiur. Don’t know what suspicion it might arouse.
The fact that Kiur is struggling is also good.
Nice job Kiur. Nice ‘acting’.
“Aaah! As expected, even if you can’t defy the Slave Sigil, the fact that you still try to fight back is so exciting!”
I throw hints here and there as I play around with my new slave.
After finishing all preparations in the midst of all that, I disable [Shared Senses].
There’s no need to keep it on right now. With my current skill, I can only use it when I am totally concentrated.
It would only hinder me in moments that require more concentration out of me. It’s not a simple double in burden. The senses of a beast race are clearly above my current self.
Since the two shadowing us are already closing in, I can safely tell their location.
(Human, you are getting really annoying. Can’t you fight them upfront like a man? Don’t you have pride?)
It seems Kiur caught wind of my aim.
“I’m at my limit. Come with me!”
I grab Kiur’s hand and quickly drag him to an alley.
At that moment, the slim one sprung from one of the buildings with a weapon in hand, dashing swiftly towards me.
“Here should be fine, c’mere!”
I jump towards Kiur, arms spread wide, and get evaded by him. I fall grandly on my face.
At that instant, a cold flash passed right above my head.
When I look at the floor, I see strands of black hair.
That was damn close!! I didn’t need any hair trimming!
He got some sort of abnormal boost in speed when he got close.
“Eh? Wh-who are you?! Where did you come from?!”
I turn back and shout in surprise. Sliding backwards to take distance from the man to show fear.
“Tch, I missed huh”
The slim man twirled his dagger and spits those words.
“Y-You… You are from the slave market, aren’t you?”
“‘Customer’, I am here to retrieve the product”
With a sarcastic voice, he points his dagger at Kiur who is slightly behind me.
“What are you saying? I bought him fair and square! And he is already contracted to me!”
I honestly don’t think these guys would come by the orders of the Slave Market itself.
Birben did see the Freyhart badge and he didn’t show any such signs.
These two waited for the moment when I have already returned the black glove, and the time when I was crossing the desolated streets that are close to exiting the slums.
“Heh, I didn’t come here to steal your defective product. WE came here to kill it!”
Those words served as a signal.
From the back of Kiur, the big builded man swung a battle axe.
I quickly send a transmission to Kiur, but maybe it was unnecessary, he had already begun moving before I even told him.
The battle axe hit empty space and soon hits the ground, cracking part of it.
“Dodging like a vermin”
The bald man places the battle axe on his shoulder.
I showed my surprise once again, looking at both men that were blocking both sides of the alley.
I quickly activate [Discern].
[??? Class: Warrior Level:43]
[??? Class: Rogue. Level:45]
They are both rank 4. The ones I previously saw at the Slave Market.
“W-What’s happening here?! I-I am related to the Freyhart family! Do you think it is okay to be doing this?!”
I flash the Freyhart badge at them, knowing it was a futile attempt.
“Sorry rich boy, but we are getting that kid over there, even if we have to kill you as well”
“Actually, I really want to kill you. I know hobbies vary between people, but it was a disgusting watch nonetheless”
And as expected, they weren’t fazed at all.
… Are they actually connected with Birben then?
“Hiiih! K-Kill?! Did Birben send you to do that?!”
“Huh? That weakling that only knows how to boss around and can’t even walk a damn lap around the Slave Market without getting tired?”
Looks like they really didn’t come here because of direct orders from the Slave Market.
They both look at Kiur with pure hatred.
But there was one who looked at him with a specially distorted expression of anger; the bald one.
He raises his left hand that’s holding the battle axe and points at Kiur.
“That kid there, that damn beast brat bit off 3 fingers from my right hand! My dominant hand! I was looking forward to executing him tomorrow, and yet, you randomly came and bought him! You understand how I feel?! No, of course you don’t!”
Shouting with bloodshot eyes, he lifts his right hand that only had his thumb and pinky finger.
He swings down his battle axe to the ground and a heavy noise echoes as it strikes it.
He then continues his angry rant:
“I was once called Tempest Axe Coul! Carrying an axe that weights double my weight, I would bring destruction to everything in my path! Now look at me. I am forced to use only one hand, and this pathetic battle axe that weighs barely enough”
… I couldn’t care less.
But I continue my fearful facade and look back and forth between the bald man and the slim man.
“I simply have a deep hate against this furry abominations”
The slim man shrugs his shoulders and casually says this, as if it’s only natural.
I stand up and shout at both of them, with trembling shoulders and teary eyes, grabbing Kiur tightly to my chest.
“I won’t hand you Kiur! He is my possesion now. I will not tolerate this. The Freyhart family won’t tolerate this!”
“Does it look like we care?”
“Uhm, you should?”
“No, we don’t”
“Well actually, we were just going to kill that brat and sell you off to a slave trader”
The bald man pauses, looking at both me and Kiur, then, after creasing his brows, he says:
“But I changed my mind. With your position within the Freyharts and what not, along with that disgusting display of your hobbies… I would rather kill you”