~ Chapter 108: Ayuseya and the Marquess ~
[Ayuseya's point of view]
I climbed out of the car and looked at the stage where the slaves were being auctioned off. I was a draconian and as such I was taller than the average human by more than half a meter. For me, it was easy to see who stood all the way over there without needing to move closer to the stage.
“Are you sure it's him?” Illsyore asked walking over to me.
“I think so...” I said.
“It's him, alright.” Nanya declared as she glared at a guard who kept staring at her.
She was in her demonic form, which made many humans flinch. This was the case for everyone everywhere she traveled in this appearance, but even so, there weren't that many who would dare to attack her. As long as she held an approved Adventurer Guild Card or didn't try to start a fight by herself, people would stay clear of her path.
Throughout the three continents the demon species was something everyone knew of and at the same time rarely had the chance to encounter. The tales surrounding them made them appear like fearsome monsters in appearance, but who could communicate and interact with everyone else in a normal way.
They were a symbol of fear and curiosity, but at the same time they were recognized by everyone as an intelligent species not a monster ruled only by instincts. Of course, there were nations and settlements which took this matter a bit further and made them the scapegoats for their mistaken religious beliefs.
In short, individuals like Nanya were seen with a cautious and yet curious eye.
“My question for now would be how he managed to get himself enslaved?” Illsyore asked while looking at the stage.
“I'm going to go and buy him.” I declared.
“Alright, let me know if you need some extra coins.” he told me.
“I'll come with you.” Nanya offered.
The two of us entered the crowd and thanks to her spiky armor and unusual appearance, we made our way safely to the front. There, I locked eyes with Keltaru, and I knew he recognized me.
“120 Gold Coins!” someone shouted.
“125 Gold Coins!” I declared raising my hand.
Compared to the last time I saw him, the el'doraw man was skinny and dirty. His short black hair grew out and reached past his shoulders. His black eyes lacked the energy and life they once did. It was as if he had given up on hope, on everything. The color of his skin didn't show the tinge of dark red he often displayed, it was a pale purple.
Of course, it's been more than six years since I last saw him, and currently I had no idea as to what became of him and my other maids. Last time I saw them was when Dankyun had captured me and was ready to take me out of Illsyore's territory. Before this, I remember to have told them that in the event of my death or capture, they were free to choose to abandon me and aim for their own dreams. I found it hard to believe that my words could have led my trusted bodyguard to end up in such a deplorable state.
“145 Gold Coin!” another shouted.
“Lady, you don't look like you are from around here.” someone whispered to me.
“150 Gold Coins!” I shouted and then looked at this man “Really now? What gave me away? My charming red eyes or the scaly tail?” I replied with a smile.
He was wearing aged leather armor and had an unkempt greasy beard. The sword at his waist and the look in his eyes told me he was an adventurer of common birth, most likely a bodyguard for one of the rich nobles around me. Some of them were glaring, but Nanya glared back. It was a contest they couldn't hope to win.
“Funny. But I'm just givin' you some advice here. That man over there” he said and then pointed with his chin at the noble who kept outbidding me “Not only is he a rich noble, but he's not very fond of losing.”
“Really now?” I said.
“Yeah, really. Don't believe me if you want, but most of the fellows who dared cross him ended up missing, just sayin'.” he shrugged and then turned to look back at the stage.
“Hmph!” Nanya snorted and whipped her tail in the air.
“I guess our beloved husband will have another one to deal with after this is over.” I let out a sigh.
“Most nobles are like that. They jump to bite anything that doesn't go well with their own meager beliefs.” Nanya said.
“I don't think it's about beliefs... but maybe you are implying that he thinks of himself as the alpha Dayuk because he made people disappear?” I asked.
“Yes. That's his belief. That he's untouchable, powerful, and that's why he will bite us even if we win fair and square.” she said and then tossed a glare at another noble.
The man turned his head and looked up at the sky.
“200 Gold Coins!” the noble whom we were warned about raised his hand.
“500 Gold Coins!” I declared with a smile.
Everyone started talking in a whisper around me. The adventurer who offered us his 'advice' let out a sigh and shook his head.
“I guess you've done it now.” Nanya giggled.
“Oh, and I am so afraid!” I giggled.
The noble was glaring at me, but he didn't raise his hand up again. Instead, he whispered something to the man next to him. The man was a tough-looking human, most likely a bodyguard around Emperor Rank.
“Sold to the pretty draconian!” said the auctioneer.
“Oh my, thank you!” I said, and I showed him a polite smile.
“Next up is this draconian woman! She's feisty! She's strong! And she'll definitely keep your bed warm if you know how to train her!” he declared, and while Keltaru was pulled off the stage, another one walked up.
“That's Soleya...” I said when I recognized one of my former maids.
“We're starting off at 100 Gold Coins!” declared the auctioneer.
“150 Gold Coins!” declared the noble whom I managed to annoy.
“500 Gold Coins!” I declared immediately.
“HEY! In case you don't know, I'm Marquess Gaharian!” he shouted.
“Are you bidding or not?” I asked with a soft smile.
“Kuuu!” he glared at me, but he didn't bid.
“Thought so.” I said and then ignored the Marquess.
“That's a rather high ranked noble.” Nanya pointed out.
“Do we care?” I asked her.
“Do YOU? You are the one with politics.” she asked with a raised eyebrow.
“As long as we abide by the laws, there's nothing he can do, and if he does, we can use this incident to our advantage when we will establish treaties and pacts with the Paramanium Empire. It won't look good for the Emperor to know that while traveling through his country we ended up assaulted by his nobles and were faced with acts of abuse of power and corruption. If you know how to weave this situation, you can even make it so that they are unable to comment against your contractual conditions.” I showed her a polite smile.
“You are evil.” she told me.
“Thank you.” I giggled.
“Sold to the pretty draconian!” said the auctioneer.
After Soleya was taken off the stage, I watched as a human slave was brought out next. I didn't bid for her, and she was won by the Marquess. He was smiling triumphantly at me, but I didn't care.
“What are we waiting for now?” Nanya asked.
“To see if any other of my maids are here.” I told her.
She nodded and then waited patiently.
After another auction was won by another noble, the bodyguard of the Marquess approached us. He had a mean look in his eyes, and his hand rested on the hilt of his sword.
“My master wishes to speak with you. It would be in your best interest to follow me.” he said.
Nanya grabbed the man by the collar of his clothes and pulled him down to his knees before he had a chance to say anything. She glared at him and whipped her tail in the air, causing everyone to stop what they were doing and look at the scene. A few guards noticed the commotion and were watching to see if they were needed to intervene.
“Do you have any idea with whom your speaking to?” Nanya asked him in a growl.
The man shook his head and gulped.
“If you don't then know that you were one step away from being beheaded. Get out of my sight or I will send you back to your master in pieces, got it?” she told him.
The man nodded.
She then released him and pushed him back, making him stumble and fall on the ground.
“What are ya all looking at, huh?” she glared at the audience.
Faced with her threat, everyone around us put on an act as best as they could, pretending as though something else caught their attention, be it a cloud in the sky, a stain on their clothes, or a pebble on the ground.
“Can we please continue with the auction? I do hope no more interruption will take place.” I said as I showed a smile to Marquess Gaharian.
The noble cursed under his breath and looked towards the stage, where the auctioneer continued to take the bids for the elf slave.
What Nanya did wasn't very tactful, but she did good in spreading a good amount of confusion and curiosity. She didn't say my name nor my possible rank, which would make many wonder who I was and how I managed to tame the demoness. At the same time, by showing I wasn't afraid of the Marquess despite having been told who he was led them to believe that I definitely held an equal or more political authority than him. Lastly, having spent so much money on those two slaves was a clear proof of how rich I was, which would make those with a brain think of ways to approach me and befriend me rather than antagonize me.
Above all, Nanya's approach, although not polite or calm sent a message of might and danger to those who were on the same wavelength as the bodyguard from earlier. Even the adventurer who gave us a friendly advice gulped when he saw the scene.
After three more slaves passed by, another draconian was introduced for the bidders. I recognized her as a Neya Paradikva, another one of my personal maids, who joined me on my journey to Allasn.
“This lovely draconian woman has a maid's training and has yet to be touched by a man's hand. Her purity is guaranteed, so if you are into her kind, there are a lot of things you can teach her! But her looks is not the only thing worth mentioning about her, this draconian is well suited as a cook and cleaner. She can also protect her master from a possible thief or bandit. Her prowess in combat reaches up to Master Rank!” the auctioneer declared as he showed her to the audience.
Neya had always been one of my strongest maids. She also acted as my bodyguard when Keltaru wasn't around, however, just like him and Soleya, she was wearing nothing but rags. At the very least she had been fed well so as to not lose her proportions and drop in price. From what I could see, there were no signs of abuse on their bodies either, which meant that the slaver knew his business well. An injured slave was worth far less than a healthy one.
“We start off at 225 Gold Coins for her!” he declared.
Already several hands were lifted up in the air. The auctioneer then raised the price with a smile on his lips, and this continued until she reached the price of 540 Gold Coins. She was currently the most sought after, and the highest bidder had been Marquess Gaharian.
“1000 Gold Coins.” I declared calmly.
“YOU AGAIN?!” the Marquess shouted pointing at me.
I showed him a gentle smile and then looked up at the auctioneer who was looking back at me with big eyes. It was almost double her price and four times her initial bid.
“1010 Gold Coins!” the Marquess declared, although I could see he was trembling a bit.
Maybe this amount is a bit too much even for him. However, it's a foolish thing to compete with me. I thought and then raised my hand “1020 Gold Coins!” I said.
“1030!” he declared.
“1040!” I said.
We continued like this without the auctioneer interfering until we reached the value of 1160 Gold Coins. In Sorone's money, it would be around 1400 goldiettes, give or take a few.
“Give up, you wench! She's mine! I'm the Marquess!” he declared while pointing at me.
“Fufu. Really now? 1200 Gold Coins.” I said and the man gasped upon hearing the amount.
If Illsy joined this battle, the price wouldn't even be in the thousands... I thought when I remembered the ridiculous amount he bid for Savannah.
“Going once!” the auctioneer shouted.
“Going thrice! The pretty draconian wins again!” he declared.
I showed him a polite smile and then waited for all the remaining slaves pass through the stage and end up bought by others. The Marquess won another two slaves, but I didn't pay him any attention. I was more curious about how my maids ended up in this auction in the first place. Even without me by their side, their own skills would have provided them with various means of survival. Most nobles in Teslov would have jumped at the possibility of marrying one off to their retainers or having her as a wife. Neya for example was of a noble lineage, which meant that she could return home to become a bride to be and wait for a suitable husband.
When the auction was over, Marquess Gaharian approached me and declared that what I did will not be forgiven easily even if I begged for a thousand lives. I had no idea what he meant by that, but I asked him politely to go through my secretary, Nanya, if he wished for an audience with me. A single glare from her made the man tremble in his shoes.
Of course, I was well aware that he was thinking about getting his revenge somehow, but I honestly didn't care nor mind his foolish behavior. When the time came, I was going to exploit his rudeness to our advantage and make sure to gain a profit from those who wished to deal with Illsyore Academy. Reminding them of this man's poor behavior and denying them certain privileges as a result would only instigate them towards aiming their anger at the Marquess. It didn't need to happen now, but in a year or two, given how the politics of Paramanium worked, this noble would be no more.
Unless he does something foolish and gets himself killed... I thought as I entered together with Nanya in the shop who owned Keltaru and the other two maids.
After signing the contract and giving the coins, I took the three away and headed back to Illsy.
“Why? Why are you still alive, your Highness?” was the first thing the el'doraw man asked once we left the shop.
“Because my husband is a wonderful Dungeon.” I replied calmly with a smile.
“Huh?” he blinked surprised.
Such a reaction was normal, wasn't it?
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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