~ Chapter 105: The auction in Kantor (Part 2) ~
Before the butler left us alone, he gave us our number, which was a black gem encrusted silver plaque connected to a gold handle. It was rather luxurious, but in Nanya's opinion it was just a means to tickle the egos of all those who participated in this auction.
We did not partake in this chit-chatter, but we did keep our ears peeled. There were several notable individuals, such as a Duke and a Viscount. One of them I believe I heard him introducing himself to some rich merchants as a general of the Paramanium Empire.
Then the auction started. It consisted of three parts. The first one was aimed at collectors of rare paintings and works of art. The second one was aimed at collectors of strange and unique items, such as my sphere, which got auctioned off for 2850 Gold Coins. The general was the one who won it. The last event was aimed at those looking for a new slave. This was the part in which I was most active, and Nanya's advice most helpful.
Because one of the rules stated that we had to keep the noise to a minimum, we didn't talk with each other that much, but whenever someone promising popped up on the stage, Nanya elbowed me in the ribs... Not the most pleasant of signs. If I had any doubt, she would explain in a whisper as to why we should acquire that individual.
I won seven auctions already and abstained from bidding on many of the slaves shown on the podium. Many of them were put up there just for their looks or battle power, just a few of them for the knowledge they held, showing that people didn't really know how to appreciate wisdom. Then again, it was highly possible that these people feared the idea of having a slave who was smarter and more knowledgeable than they were.
Regarding the slaves I acquired, all of them were adults over 20 year old and with a background in various crafts. Two of them were a pair of boy and girl twin blacksmiths who were trained by one of the best in Paramanium. Their master bought them from a very young age with the intention of selling them latter for good money. They weren't the only ones who had been raised in this manner, it appeared to be a rather common practice among those who could afford it.
I also got two farmers, both sturdy-looking men with varying skills among which animal herding. It never occurred to me that I might need them, but now that I had them, not only could I have them teach others their skills but also get them to work and provide the Academy with nourishing foodstuff.
The other three were acquired because of their knowledge in various domains, but one of them, a woman of Asian descent, was the former chef in a renowned restaurant in the capital until she lost a competition and had to forsake her freedom. Her former owner cut off her hands at the wrist because he didn't like her being better than him at cooking, but it was emphasized that she could still teach someone how to cook properly. The look on her face was that of someone who had lost her will to live, so not many were eager to bid for her. I got her the cheapest out of them all.
The other two were of African descent. One was a renowned alchemist who spent all of his money on ingredients for researching a new type of healing potions. He succeeded, but when he said he wanted to make it available for normal adventurers as well, the local Baron tricked him into revealing where he hid the potion's recipe and then had him tossed in jail for not paying his taxes. Although the Baron was later caught, the man's freedom wasn't restored.
He had a similar gaze in his eyes as the cook. The other one was a woman with long black hair. She was one of the best dancers in a traveling performers troupe. After they got robbed by bandits, she sold herself to a slave dealer in order to gain enough money to help them return home. It turned out that she was tricked and selling her was the get-go reason behind forming the troupe. With her talent and a bit of fame, she was surely to rise in price. They were among the observing audience at the time when I bought her.
She was the only one who, after hearing the announcer tell her tale, burst into tears. Unlike the others, there were many nobles who were trying to buy her, raising her price more and more. Their intent was clear as day, especially given how beautiful she was. The reason I bought her was because I really wanted to see her dance and also because I didn't like such a shameless betrayal from her so-called friends. Nanya, on the other hand, pointed out that she could also become a dance teacher at the Academy, since such skills were heavily valued in certain circles.
In regard to how much everyone cost, the prices went down like this:
Blacksmith brother: 12560 Gold Coins
Blacksmith sister: 36750 Gold Coins
First Farmer man: 7800 Gold Coins
Second Farmer man: 8200 Gold Coins
Asian woman cook: 2460 Gold Coins
African alchemist: 45800 Gold Coins
African Dancer: 145820 Gold Coins
Total: 259390 Gold Coins.
That was a enough money to maintain this entire town and for an entire year, but it wasn't that much to me. I managed to gather quite a lot from the Pirate King's coffers. This was nothing but a drop in the sea for me.
Although, what I found to be interesting was how rare those of Asian and African descent were. To this, Nanya offered me a bit of insight. Apparently most black human variants, as she called them, were located on the West half of the Sorone continent, and were quite a few in Shoraya and north of Allasn Continent as well. Paramanium mostly had the white variant.
Apparently, the black folk also had a strange rumor surrounding them. They instinctively hated slavery, but only when it came to enslaving those with the same skin color as them. In their kingdoms, the white human variant was the one most likely to end up as a slave. There was also a saying about how keeping a black man as a slave would bring bad luck, while freeing them would bring good luck. A rumor that took life because black ambassadors tended to demand the freedom of black-skinned folk or even putting up as trade their own white slaves. That was why many superstitious nobles refused to enslave black people and even try to buy them so they could free them because they thought this would bring good luck.
As for the Asian woman, her variant of the species was extremely rare. By extremely, Nanya meant barely a few villages here and there, a ridiculously small minority when compared to the others. Nanya said that she heard rumors of an entire continent filled only with 'cultivators' but she could never find out what sort of plants they were cultivating or why they had such an inclination towards farming.
After buying the black dancer, I didn't see anything interesting that caught my eye. Thus, we finally reach the end of the auction.
“Our last and finest specimen to be brought before you today is a slave who lived among royalty until recently!” the announcer called out.
We all perked up our ears and looked towards the stage. A woman around 28 years old stepped forward and onto the stage. Gold shackles kept her bound and powerful enchants maintained her in a vegetable-like state. A gold slave collar was placed around her neck and several enchanted tattoos on her left and right hand maintained her Magic Energy to almost null values. I was certainly surprised of the amount of restraints she had on her.
“Savannah Azura was once a prominent teacher and bodyguard of the princes and princesses of the Paramanium Imperial Family. She had studied everything from foreign literature to history, mathematics and astrology. I will assure you gentlemen, there are very few things she doesn't know! In regard to Magic, she is a powerful sorceress of Supreme Rank. Or should I say, she was... The tattoos on her body are a curse put on there at the order of the Emperor. Right now, she is no stronger than a Master. BUT while her strength has diminished, her knowledge remained. She can still be ordered to teach someone her own Supreme Skill. She can also teach anyone almost anything!” the announcer said, describing her in a manner that was probably slightly exaggerated in order to make people bid more.
What I'm curious about is how she ended up as a slave. I thought.
“I have said that she was once a prominent teacher and bodyguard of the Paramanium Imperial Family, but many of you are probably wondering why she's in chains then? There's a simple reason for that, I'm afraid. While she is powerful and wise, the Emperor feared she would one day use her might to usurp him. To make sure such a thing would not happen and none may try in the future, he brandished one of the many Forbidden Tattoos on her body, which constantly drains and depletes her Magic Energy, forcing her to be unable to cast her mightiest spells. The collar around her neck also ensures that she will never leave Paramanium, so those of you who wish to travel aboard cannot take her with you. Do keep this important detail in mind, beloved nobles and wealthy gentlemen! Those who wish to pull a secret about the Imperial Family from her cannot do so either as the collar around her neck is enchanted to keep her mouth shut about any such topics. But while all of these details might seem like an unpleasant drawback for most of you, I wish to remind you that Savannah Azura still remains an unparalleled beauty, a wise teacher with knowledge in all domains, and above all, she is a healthy woman who never experienced the touch of a man!” he declared.
When he said that last sentence, many nobles began to express their interest. Nanya let out a low growl in response, but no one seemed to have heard it. I could tell, however, that she was about to elbow me to the other side of the town, so I let her know through a nod that I will bid for her.
The competition thus began, and as the saying went, the first number made me cough up blood.
“120000 Gold Coins is the starting bid!” called out the announcer.
“140000!” someone called out and raised his number.
“145000!” another raised his number.
And it continued like this until the value reached 567500 gold coins, with many of the nobles gulping at the mere sound of the ridiculous amount of money. To put it in simpler terms, it was enough to maintain the capital city of Paramanium for several months and still be enough left to prepare a big festival for the people.
“600000!” I called out, raising my number up high.
“By the gods!” one of them said, and I believe a woman fainted somewhere up in the observer's balcony.
I found their reactions to be a bit... ridiculous if not maybe intentionally exaggerated to catch the onlooker's attention?
“Are you sure you wish to compete with me, sir...” the Duke said with a smirk on his lips.
“Illsyore Deus, at your service.” I made a polite bow in front of the high nobility.
“I never heard of you. My name is Duke Harbrind Vanova, do remember it. And I am currently inclined to believe this brash decision of yours might be fun. “650000!” he raised the bar.
“700000!” I raised it higher.
“With that much money, I could buy a mountain of pies!” one of the nobles made an odd yet completely agreeable and delicious comment.
“705000!” he added a bit more.
“Surely you don't wish to spend that many coins on a woman who has earned the hate of the Emperor, right? Especially one in your position.” I smirked then called out “750000!”
Duke Harbrind flinched.
“She's the sole reason I'm here at this auction. While she was the tutor of his Majesty's children, I couldn't touch her, but her cocky attitude made it very hard for me not to try to. Alas, I am a Duke loyal to the crown, so I wouldn't dare hinder her work, but now... now is different. I will take this woman...” he said.
“750000 going once!” the announcer called out.
“... and make her into my personal toy. She's still a beauty after all... for now.” he sneered.
“750000 going twice!” the announcer called out again.
“765000!” called out the Duke.
“Really now? This is how you want to play it, huh?” I said and dropped my facade for a moment.
An evil smile most likely appeared on my lips because certainly no one was laughing around me.
“Three million.” I said and raised the number.
“What?” Duke Harbrind looked at me with big eyes and an opened mouth like a fish laying flat on the sea shore.
“T-T-Three MILLION! Going once!” shouted the announcer.
“Well?” I sneered at the Duke.
The man gulped and raised the number. Everyone was looking at him, curious to see how much he was going to charge for this woman.
“Does the gentleman with the number 105 wishes to bid more?” asked the announcer.
The Duke clenched his jaw and with a glare tossed at me, he lowered his number.
“No, she's not worth it.” he spat.
I let out a sigh of relief.
“You are an idiot.” sighed Nanya and shook her head.
“What? Why?” I asked her.
“You could have just kept on raising the value until he actually gave up. What you did was pointless.” she explained raising an eyebrow.
“I know, but I wanted to show off.” I shrugged.
“By offering more money to the people who will use it to enslave more people?” she asked me.
“Erm... Now that you mention it, I didn't think about it that way.” I showed her a wry smile.
“Sigh... Nothing we can do about it now. Let's just get our slaves and leave this place. All of these fat nobles keep reminding me that I haven't sharpened my claws today.” she shrugged.
Well, it was time to take our slaves, get back to the car and leave as fast as we could from this place. Although, I felt like I wanted to do something very... dungeon-like to all of these arrogant nobles.
Should I? Maybe I shouldn't? Maybe I should... hm... Let's leave the town first. I thought as we walked towards the room where the exchange was going to take place.
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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