~ Chapter 113: Farewells in Argos (Part 2) ~
Thus, we made our way peacefully to the shop owned by Anthony Buckart. When we entered, we were greeted by two slave women wearing maid outfits.
“Welcome to Mister Buckart's Slave Shop!” they said with a smile on their lips.
They were most likely ordered to give this introduction to any possible customer, but now I could see why the owner of this shop held Marcelle in high regard. She was a draconian who was thought the ins and outs of what it meant to serve royalty. If this individual had such peculiar tastes, then her being treated as special merchandise was highly likely.
“I've been sent by Roygar Venadez to see Mister Buckart's special wares.” I told the slave on my right.
“Of course, Madame! I'll go inform the Master right away!” she said cheerfully and then left for the back room.
I didn't need to wait long, a fat man of such a short stature that he barely reached my waist entered the room while holding a broad smile on his face.
“Ah! Customers! Welcome! I understand you wish to see my special wares?” he asked while rubbing his palms together.
“Yes. More specifically, I'm interested in one named Marcelle Ollera.” I told him.
“Ah! The draconian maid! A fine choice! She's well trained, and I personally witnessed her skill!” he said with a smile.
“You touched her?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“Ah! No! No! Not in that way! I can assure you that the draconian maid was kept chaste while within my establishment, but I do not speak for any of her previous masters.” he nodded.
“I understand. Show her to me. If I am pleased, I may wish to buy more.” I told him.
“Ah, of course! Of course! Right this way!” he said and invited me to another room, but when Shanteya and the other three tried to follow me, he stopped them “Only the customer may pass through this door. But please, have a seat in the waiting room.” he pointed them to another door.
“It's alright.” I told them.
“If you feel threatened, you are free to use your full power to destroy this place.” I told her.
When the merchant heard my words, he went pale.
“But... I'm sure I have nothing to worry about in this gentleman's establishment, right?” I asked as I looked at the merchant from the corner of my eyes.
“Of course! Of course!” he said wiping off his sweat.
I doubted he planned to do anything fishy to us, but this little threat would serve merely as a warning. As long as he didn't make a foolish move, we were honest paying customers.
Buckart took me to a room with a luxurious chair in the middle. I took a seat and then waited for him to bring forth the slave in question.
“This is the draconian maid who goes by the name Marcelle Ollera!” the merchant introduced her.
Indeed, it was her. Those green scales, that blond hair, that petite body of just 2.04 meters tall, and those trembling eyes like those of a hare that got caught by a fox. It was Marcelle, the cute little maid who always did her job splendidly and served me to the best of her abilities. She had a sweet tooth and a passion for literature.
While standing there, she was looking down and trembling. Her hands and feet were bound by chains and a slave collar was attached to her neck. Unlike the other slaves I was presented so far, she wore a clean maid dress that was modified to expose her cleavage and thighs far more than needed.
This was clearly the preference of a man with certain tastes.
“I'll buy her.” I announced.
The moment she heard my words, Marcelle lifted her head up and looked into my eyes. She recognized me, and I showed her a kind smile.
Before she could say anything, tears gathered in her eyes and flowed down on her pink cheeks. Surprise and maybe happiness both surged through her body at the same time.
“Thank you, Madame.” Buckart bowed and then made a sign for his servant to take her away.
“I'm also looking for some other slaves that fit the following requirements...” I then told him Illsy's preferences: be them child or adult, they must be debt slaves and not individuals who sought revenge.
I interviewed all of those presented to me, and I picked four out of them all: one draconian woman with a missing eye from an infected injury; a young human mercenary who fell into debt after he was defeated by a bunch of bandits and lost all of his valuables; a slave's child whose parents were sold; and an elf woman who was recently sold by the brothel that owned her in order to pay up their debt.
After I signed the contracts and performed the ritual through which I became their masters, basically casting a certain spell which the merchant finished, we left the store together. Marcelle was worth 310 gold coins, while the other four 54 coins. It was a considerable amount of money for the local people, but pocket change for me.
“Shall we visit the last shops?” asked Shanteya as we were walking towards the gates.
“Yes. There's only one more anyway, and I want to see if we can purchase any more slaves before we depart for Ilia.” I replied.
“Your Highness... is that really you?” Marcelle asked in a trembling tone of voice.
I stopped and looked back at the poor draconian woman who was looking up at me with disbelieving eyes.
“Yes. It's me. You can ask your friends as well.” I told her with a soft smile and gently patted her head. “Now that I bought you, you don't have to worry about anything anymore. I'll release you from slavery and then you may choose to do as you wish with your life.”
“No...” she shook her head. “If your Highness bought me, then I wish to serve you!” she declared.
“I'm not a royal Princess anymore, Marcelle. I'm just a regular draconian, more or less. I'm married to wonderful man, and this here is Shanteya, my sister-wife.” I explained to her.
“With Dankyun?” she asked knitting her brow.
“Gods forbid, no! With Illsyore, the Godlike Dungeon Lord who took care of us at Fellyore Academy.” I told her with a smile.
“Hau?!” she made big eyes and let out a cute sound.
“Marcelle?” Kelataru poked her cheek.
“Y-Yes?!” she jolted and looked back at him.
“It's alright... We were surprised by that piece of info as well.” he told her with a wry smile.
“T-Then... it's true?! What about the curse and... and...” Marcelle said, but she stopped mid-sentence, her eyes were swimming.
She was a great maid, but very poor at following complicated subjects. In fact, one of he reasons I had a preference for her was because no matter what sort of matter I discussed with someone else, there was a very low chance of her understanding. Unless I explained it slowly, it was highly doubtful that she could repeat my words.
“Ah~ Marcelle is as cute as always!” Neya said and jumped on the petite draconian, hugging her and rubbing her cheeks against hers.
“Awawa~ Stop it, Neya~ It's embarrassing~” she complained.
“Well leaving the complicated matters aside, I am alive, the curse is gone, I'm married, and I have come all the way here to free you. We can do so right now. Afterwards, we'll go register Keltaru at the Adventurers Guild.” I said.
“I will follow your orders, your Highness!” Marcelle said with a nod and bright smile on her lips.
“Does this mean you don't wish to be freed?” Keltaru asked.
Looking back at him with big eyes, she tilted her head to the left and then replied “Does it matter as long as I still get to serve her Highness?”
“I-I guess not...” he replied with a wry smile.
“Then, let's proceed with plans as usual.” I declared.
I was a bit surprised that Marcelle would deny her own freedom, but I think it was mostly due to her clumsy nature. Either way, once we reached Ilia, Illsyore was certainly going to remove her collar just like everyone else.
Unfortunately, there were no slaves I could buy in the next shop. It was filled with muscled middle-aged men and women who all looked like they were trying to compete on who could beat a bear in a wrestling match faster. The owner wasn't very polite either, so we left and went directly to the Adventurers Guild.
Here, Keltaru registered himself and received a guild card just like mine alongside the explanation on how things worked. While the staff put him through the typical test of strength, we waited for him outside. Once he was done, he came to tell us the results.
“They accepted my strength to be at a Low Master Rank. Now all I have to do is get myself some armor and a weapon!” he said proudly.
“I have one for you.” said Shanteya and then took out one of Illsy's test armors.
It looked like a typical knight's heavy plate armor, but it was as light as a feather and as sturdy as a Leviathan's hide. In other words, this was a Supreme-worthy armor, and the sword she gave him was something that could boost his strength and speed as well as cut through steel like it was made out of paper. Although we had far better weapons and armors, I still felt as if giving him this set was a bit overdoing it.
Maybe this is her way of showing her worry towards her nephew? I wondered.
“Thank you, aunty Shanteya! I'll treasure them!” Keltaru replied with a bright smile as he received them from her.
I think my sister-wife was quite happy to help out her nephew, and while many human women would have frowned at being called an 'aunty', she carried a charming smile on her lips.
“I hope they will serve you well and protect you on your way back home.” she told him.
“I'm sure they will!” he replied.
“Is there any way to make you change your mind?” I asked with a soft smile.
“No.” he shook his head “But, Mistress Ayuseya, thank you for everything! For all of your help and kindness you have shown me! I will never forget it!” he said and then bowed at his waist in front of me.
A few tears gathered in the corners of his eyes and flowed down his cheeks and then fell on the ground.
“You can be proud of yourself, Keltaru. No matter what the Council of Elders declared, you can tell everyone that Princess Ayuseya Pleyades never regretted taking you up as her servant, and you have done an excellent job until the end. The same goes for everyone else here.” I told them with a smile.
“We are in your debt, your Highness!” they all said and bowed to me.
A few humans who saw the scene threw a curious gaze our way, but I ignored them. As long as there were no nobles among them, I didn't have to worry about needless trouble popping up.
“Rise. There is no need to bow before me anymore.” I told them.
They all got up and looked back me.
“Just like Keltaru, all of your all are free to chose the path you wish to go on. You may come with me and be part of the Magic Academy my husband will soon build or you can go and travel wherever you wish. I will help you as much as I can with the expenses.” I told them.
“You are setting us free, your Highness?” Marcelle asked as she timidly raised her hand up.
“Yes. If you have anywhere you wish to go, I'll give you enough money to reach that place.” I told her.
“Then, I wish to stay with you, your Highness.” said Marcelle with a cute nod.
“Me too. I have nowhere to go for now.” Soleya said with a wry smile.
“If you are letting us go, then I wish to go see the world. I never got the chance to do so, and after those years being locked up as a slave, I came to realize just how precious my freedom is. I want to use it well... maybe I will find a good husband and settle down.” Neya said as she looked up at the sky.
“Then if you ever wish for a place to settle down, come and look for me. I'll make sure you will get a good home and a job to suit your skills.” I told her.
“Thank you, your Highness... No, Ayuseya. I'll make sure to drop by when I have the chance!” Neya nodded.
When she called me by my given name without any honorifics, I felt happy. Another chain from my past was smashed to pieces with this.
“You should visit Sorone or Allasn. They are far better than this crummy continent.” pointed out Keltaru.
“I will, thank you.” Neya nodded.
“Ah, before I forget, here's a letter a recommendation for you two. It's not much, but it should prove that you two were once my trusted servants and that I vouch for your abilities.” I said and then gave one to Keltaru and one to Neya.
“Thank you.” they said.
“Now, here's a bag of coins for you and one for you. Use them wisely in order to survive. Neya, I would suggest to stay close to Keltaru until the two of you reach Sorone at least. Paramanium is regrettably not a safe place where a draconian woman like you can travel by herself.” I told them.
“I understand.” Neya said with a nod as she took the bag of coins from me.
“If she wants to travel with me, I will make sure to protect her.” Keltaru vouched as he took his bag of coins. The man's eyes then moved to Soleya who was standing next to Marcelle. “Stay safe.” he told her.
“You too...” she replied with a soft smile.
Was there something between these two? I know that at one point Keltaru kept blushing when he was near Soleya, but... Hm, could it be? I wondered.
“Keltaru, take this to my parents.” Shanteya told him as she handed him a small lock of her beautiful silver hair.
“This is...” he said as he took it.
“Proof that I am still alive.” she showed him a small smile.
“I will bring it to them! You can count on me, aunty!” he declared.
“Thank you.” she nodded.
After we said our goodbyes, we parted ways at the South gate of Argos. Neya and Keltaru traveled East, towards Dravis Port. On their way, they were going to work as adventurers and see the world as they wanted. Once they reached the port, they would take a boat to Sorone and from there continue their journey on their separate ways.
As for me, I pulled out the MCV from my Storage Crystal and traveled together with Shanteya, Marcelle, Soleya, and the other four slaves towards Ilia Port City, where we would reunite with Illsyore.
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!
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