~ Chapter 105: The auction in Kantor (Part 1) ~
[Illsyore's point of view]
Before we arrived in Kantor, Nanya, Ayuseya, and Shanteya suggested that I shouldn't let our slaves out while we were inside the town. Their sheer number and the fact that we didn't appear to have enough guards would instigate quite a lot of thieves, scoundrels, and greedy nobles to try and steal them from us or claim them as theirs. I argued against the idea, but they made it quite clear that while they were Over Supremes, we still lacked the visual number for the size of our convoy.
Given these circumstances, I came up with the idea of dressing up the male slaves as guards and having them stand at the doors and windows. They agreed and admitted that this would make their lives a whole lot easier.
It wasn't like we didn't have the firepower to level the town to the ground, we simply didn't want to gather THAT much attention on us. If a village suddenly disappeared, it might raise an eyebrow, but if a town or city did, the whole nation would turn into an uproar. That sort of thing was troublesome and made it far more difficult to acquire information. Not to mention the fact that it would bring about the hate and wrath of everyone who so much as showed us a kind smile so far.
Still, there was another, more serious reason why I didn't want us to go in guns blazing everywhere. I was going to create an Academy, a place for study, learning, and understanding. A place where conversation and logic persevered over brute strength. Therefore, what sort of message was I sending to my future students yearning to strive on this intellectual path if I went about blowing up every mule-face who so much as ticked me up by merely existing?
A bad one... A really really bad one...
The academy I strived to create in the hopes of changing this rotten world would end up becoming a failure. One thing was self-defense and another a sadistic and anarchic mass-murder rampage.
That being said... it took me half an hour to explain to the idiots who were guarding the Eastern gate of Kantor town that what I was driving wasn't some sort of unknown monster but actually a magical device. I didn't want to explain how it worked, so I just said that it was the creation of a powerful Dungeon. Well, I wasn't lying at least.
Still, we caught quite the attention, and while I was arguing with the morons who made it quite difficult for me not to kill them and absorb their bodies as a Magic Energy supply, my wives were looking out for the slaves in the back cars.
As they foresaw, there were already quite a number of eyes on them, but once they saw the slaves wearing soldier armors and glaring back, most of them looked away.
Once we were allowed to pass through the gates, a whole different world opened up to us... a not so beautiful one. The whole town was filled with slave shops scattered left and right. Those who were put in front wore little to no clothes while showing off that they were healthy, young, and strong. There were many people checking them out as well, but what I found interesting was the fact that there were more human slaves than of other species. It was a 9 to 1 rate, which made it a bit ridiculous when I remembered how Paramanium advocated humane supremacy ideas.
Then again, maybe they think human slaves are better than those of other species? I thought as I slowly drove on the main street, following a carriage with a cargo of lettuce and tomatoes.
This place was... rancid, old, stagnant, sad. I don't think there was a better way to describe it. The air itself made you want to leave since they didn't have a proper sewage system. I actually saw someone throw out a waste bucket and nearly landed on some poor bastard's head. My wives, with the exception of Zoreya, were all holding their nose and trying hard not to think of where the stench was coming from.
The architecture made it even more troublesome as the streets bent and twisted complicated, maze-like patterns. It was almost as if the builders had no idea how to make a straight path. As for their style, they strongly reminded me of movie depictions of the 18th century London, with tall two story buildings, stone paved roads, and countless chimneys releasing their trails of dark smoke up in the air. Up on the dark-colored slates, I could see young and old chimney boys covered head to toe in soot. They were carrying big brushes for scrubbing the insides of the chimneys.
If I lowered my eyes to the road in front of me, I could see several people scooping up manure from the street. They were gathering it in a carriage and then probably either disposing of it in some manner or using it to grow crops.
“This place is unsettling...” remarked Ayuseya.
“Is the stench bothering you that much?” I asked her.
“Yes, but that's not the reason why I find it unsettling.” she replied and slowly shook her head.
“Then?” I asked her.
“The amount of slaves here it's... incredible.” she replied and looked out the window.
True, while in Port Rico and Krestan we barely bumped into one or two slave shops, from the moment we stepped in Kantor, all we've seen were slave shops. I was starting to doubt the fact that there were any normal houses or shops at all.
“This place is the den for countless slave traders. They sell the lives of sapient species like one sells potatoes at a market. It's disgusting.” Nanya let out a growl as she spoke these words.
“Do you wish to free some, Illsy?” asked Shanteya.
“Sigh, I knew you would want to, but can we please not stop here for the night. I feel like I'll have a nightmare if I sleep next door to these people.” Ayuseya scoffed.
“Me too! I don't want to sleep here! My nose will fall off!” Tamara said while covering her nose with both hands and flattening her fluffy ears on her head.
“Alright, we won't sleep in town.” I told them with a smile.
Ayuseya showed me a smile of relief.
“So where are you going to buy those slaves from? If you check every shop here, we'll end up staying in Kantor for a year.” said Nanya with a raised eyebrow.
“Hm... Zoreya? What do you think?” I asked her.
“I want to sleep with you tonight...” she replied.
Straight to the important matters, huh? I thought and blushed.
“Ahem. Besides that.” I told her.
“Ah... Erm... How about an auction house? Those places are bound to have the best slaves put up for sale.” she nodded and smiled.
“An auction house? We're not in a chinese novel, you know?” I raised an eyebrow.
“A what?” she tilted her head to the left.
“Forget it, but do you really think we will find one out here?” I asked.
“I don't know. But you could always ask.” Zoreya said and then shrugged.
“Alright.” I nodded. “Erm, about that first thing...” I said lifting a finger.
“I claimed you first, so it's my turn, of course!” she nodded.
“I didn't agree to that!” Nanya retorted.
“Well, it appeared to me as though you skipped yours.” she said.
“I DIDN'T! STUFF HAPPENED!” she shouted back.
“Rock, paper, scissors, magic punch, magic block?” Zoreya asked with a grin.
“I'll pulverize you!” Nanya growled.
A bit confused, I looked back at Ayuseya, who merely giggled in return. Shanteya showed me a smile through which I was to understand that she won't tell me.
Letting out a sigh, I stopped the car and got out before the magic punch landed in my face.
While those two were having a contest of some sort inside, I went around and asked the people around this side of town if there was an auction of some sorts happening here. Instead of speaking with ruffians, I spoke with the guards and more respectable looking fellas.
They told me they were three types of auctions happening in this town. One of them, the biggest, was organized by the town's governing lord and had 10 gold coins entrance fee. This one was taking place tonight. The second one was aimed at rich adventurers and would take place again in two weeks. I was late to this one by two days. The last one was aimed at the not-so-rich yet not-so-legal adventurers, basically mercenaries, thieves, assassins, individuals from those lines of work. It was hard to get in and no one knew where and when it would take place, however, everyone was 100% sure it did.
With the new obtained information, I returned to the car. There I found Ayuseya giggling and Nanya was sulking on her seat while drawing circles on the window. Zoreya had a triumphant look on her face, and Tamara was being petted by Shanteya.
“What happened here?” I asked.
“I won!” declared Zoreya.
“OK...” I said and shrugged.
After I got back inside, I told my wives what I found out.
“Sooo we're going to go raid the Town Lord's mansion?” asked Nanya raising an eyebrow.
“No. I'm going to go and participate like a normal customer and see what I can find. I'm thinking about the rest of our staff as well...” I replied.
“Indeed, a Magic Academy, if small, can be easily managed by us, but one that is the size of Fellyore or larger will require additional teachers and guards.” said Nanya who thought back at the time when she worked as a teacher there.
“Yes, that's exactly what I thought about.” I nodded.
“In that case, why don't I come with you? I do have some experience as a teacher, and I will definitely be able to spot those rare gems you won't.” she snickered.
“Sure, why not? Then is everyone alright with this?” I asked.
They replied with a nod, and I started the car's engine. We drove all the way to the Town Lord's mansion, although, I had to admit I made a few wrong turns and debated a couple of times whether or not I should just go through the houses themselves and rebuild them afterwards.
When we finally arrived at the gates, I parked the car in an alley and took out a bunch of golden items to show off my wealth. I wore a cape woven with gold and silver thread, which weighed as much as another person. I pair of gold plated boots, with assorted pants and belt. A pair of wrist guards made out of pure gold and encrusted with several gems.
Next to me was Nanya, who took on the guise of a green-eyed noble beauty. She wore an expensive looking dress and was covered from head to toe in expensive jewelry. If I didn't know any better, I would say I was looking at a woman who lived the high style and meddled only with those in the high society. Underneath the illusion, the demoness was wearing her battle-ready armor.
“You look ridiculous.” she told me.
“And you look lovely.” I replied with a smile.
“Let us proceed then, shall we, my dear?” she said in courteous tone of voice and with a small bow.
“Of course, my dear.” I said as I took her hand and made a graceful bow.
Those lessons in court manners and speech I received from Ayuseya proved to be quite useful for such an event. I was more interested in what we did afterwards, but I remembered everything she taught me, down to the last letter... and reward.
When we arrived at the gates, the guards stiffened and a man wearing a butler's suit approached us.
“Good evening. Are you here on invitation, recommendation, or is it your first time attending Marquise Garanteux's auction event?” he asked in a rather polite tone of voice.
“Good evening. My name is Illsyore Deus and this lovely lady is my wife, Nanya Deus. As it so happens, we were passing through this town, and I remembered how some of my acquaintances offered words of praise to Marquise Garanteux's auction event. We decided that it would be a wise move to drop by this rumored auction and even leave with an item or two, so that I may brag to them.” I spoke like a stuck up noble who had nothing better to do than to waste money.
“I understand, then I shall take it as though you wish to participate in the auction and not just be a humble spectator, correct?” he asked as he took out a scroll.
“Why quite certainly!” I replied.
“In this case, you will need to provide a 100 Gold Coins participation fee, and since this is your first time, you will also need an item of some kind that is to be auctioned off for tonight. If you have none on your person, I would suggest any of the fine jewelry the madam is wearing.” he replied.
“Hm, this is not exactly what I had heard. Mind explaining to us why do we need to pay this fee and even add an item to the list? While you do so, I'll be counting the 100 coins... Erm, can we go inside?” I asked.
“Of course, right this way.” the butler replied and then guided us to the guards room on the other side of the wall.
Because it was meant to welcome possible new participants, the room didn't give off the sweaty and dirty stench one would find in such a chamber. Instead, it was aired out and several guards stood at the entrance in case they needed to escort a fake participant back outside. There were no beds or bags of dirty clothes here, but there were several coffers lined up next to the wall and most likely filled to the brim with admission fee coins. In the middle of the room was a table with several chairs around it.
We took a seat and then I pulled out of my pocket the item I wished to auction off. It was an enchanted gold orb with several jewels encrusted within it. The enchant was [Coolness] and what it did was basically drop the air temperature around it to a preset value, which was currently at 22 degrees Celsius. Around the middle, an inscription written in the Shorayan language: 'May the coolness of autumn and spring bring prosperity to your hot summer days.'
“This is quite an interesting object. What is it used for?” he asked.
“Besides being a decoration? It lowers the temperature to make those summer days more bearable. Unfortunately, I do not know in what language the inscription in the middle is written in, but I have several of them. A relative brought them from the Allasn Continent.” I replied with a blunt lie and showed him a smug expression.
“The Marquise will decided the minimum bid for it. If you bid on anything, the price will be deducted from this.” nodded the butler as he continued to inspect it.
“How about you tell me now why the large fee and item?” I asked as I pulled out my coin purse and started counting.
“Certainly. It is a guarantee of good will towards the Marquise himself.” he explained.
“Nothing more? No economical or marketing strategy?” I asked.
“No.” he replied.
“Interesting.” I said and once I finished counting, I offered him the money.
“Very well. I will verify the amount now.” he said and then began to count them himself.
He finished faster than I did and after gathering all the coins, he placed them in one of the coffers lined up to the wall.
“Mister and misses Deus, please follow me to the participant lounge. You shall receive there a number, afterwards, you will be instructed on the rules of the auction. Do note that you must bid wisely because only 8 items are allowed to be taken by each bidder.” he explained.
The butler left the enchanted sphere in the hands of another butler who came at the sound of a bell. After a brief explanation, he was gone with my item, and we were guided to the mansion. There, we were welcomed into a grand ball room filled with all sort of individuals who were merely chatting among themselves. To me, it looked more like an opera house without the seats in the middle and several balconies to the left and right, from which one could freely observe the bidders and the items bidden upon.
As soon as we entered, we were explained all the rules, including how to bid and how we were to claim a won auction. At the same time, he warned us that once we bid and won our last item, we were to be escorted to the observer balconies. He also stated that once this auction was over and we won at least one item, the next time we participated, we wouldn't need to pay the fee or offer an item to be auctioned off. Of course, no rude behavior was allowed within this room, especially towards the Marquise himself.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
Seeing how things have been a bit hard for me lately, I will try and focus around posting only at the end of the week, during a Friday or Saturday(ish). I'm going to try the weekly chapter dump version of the schedule to see if this fits me better.
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