~ Chapter 2: The slobbering canine (Part 2) ~

“Nya~! Master, do you really think we can find them here?” Zor Nya Nyan complained with her cat ears flattened on her head, earning her a sharp glared from Lindus.

“I definitely saw the light back then. She or he has to be here somewhere...” I replied as I looked back at the shops we already passed by.

We've been wandering through the slave market's streets for almost an hour now, visiting every single stage to see if I could find that individual, but so far, I didn't even catch a glimpse of the Divine Light. This fact led me to believe that maybe they were among the slaves kept in the back.

With a knot in my stomach, I said “Let's go one more round through the shops, but this time, let's look at the ones in the back too.”

“The ones in the back, you don't mean to say that our new companion is going to be a sex slave?” asked Timothy.

“Or they could be a worker or someone deemed far to dangerous to be kept in the front.” Lindus added.

“Indeed, but this worries me. Are you sure of this, Young Master?” he asked.

“Yes. It's not like we have a choice anyway. I'll be counting on you three to get me inside.” I told them.

The back showroom was no place for a children, so this had to be an exception the store made, especially since the sex slaves were more than often left with no clothes on or placed in disgraceful positions.

“Nya?” Zor Nya Nyan perked her ears up when she heard that I would be relying on them.

“Not you.” I quickly added.

“Nya...” she flatted her ears on top of her head and looked a bit disappointed.

Lindus made a triumphant smile instead, as if to show that he won in this imaginary competition of theirs.

A couple of minutes later, we arrived at the entrance of one of the biggest slave shops in Waser. It was owned by none other than the Mirmid Company, who had shops in almost every city and town in Lukrentia. If you wanted an expensive quality slave, you knew you could find one here, or so their motto went.

The moment the sales clerk saw us enter the shop, they immediately assumed that I was back again for one of the slaves I saw earlier. Big was his surprise when he heard me ask for the back ones. Initially, they refused, but Timothy talked with him and eventually agreed to let us through.

This place was set up like one of those underground Las Vegas casinos. There were a lot of people here looking at the stages where the available back room slaves performed. To the left were the workers, to the right were the sex slaves, and far in the back were the dangerous slaves, all kept bound in chains and held at bay by sword and magic.

With a single glance from atop the stairs, I knew that the one I was looking for wasn't here, so I turned around to leave.

In that moment, the clerk immediately approached me and more or less begged me to at least take a look at their merchandise. I didn't want to be rude with them, but I really didn't have the time to look at something I wasn't even interested in. Timothy, however, immediately understood my troubles and stepped forward to explain to the clerk that I had my own peculiar ways of finding my slave.

To make it more reasonable for all of us, I did ask him whether or not there were any other slaves that haven't been shown yet.

“No, Alm. These are all the slaves in our stock.” he replied.

Furrowing my brow, I said “Then that settles it. We apologize for bothering you. Let's go, everyone, they don't have the slaves we are looking for.”

After leaving the Mirmid Company, shop, we went to three other shops, but I had no luck there either. It was starting to get late, and I wanted to finish this while there was still light outside. We were hungry too, since we didn't have time to drop by the tavern to grab something to eat. At least I wasn't feeling tired. If there was one thing this body of mine was good for that was its ridiculous endurance and the ability to resist sleep deprivation. That latter one got me in trouble with Timothy when I ended up studying too late at night.

When we entered the fifth shop, the clerk wasn't as willing as the others to let us see what they had in the back. The fact that I was a child didn't seem to be part of the reason, which meant only one of two things: he either had some illegal merchandise, like a slave of noble blood, or he wasn't treating his slaves properly.

If the slave merchants had a bad sale or were gunning for a quick coin, they would usually keep the maintenance cost of their slave at a minimum low. This meant cutting down on cleaning, sanitation, and healing.

Timothy, however, was rather persuasive in negotiating our back pass, stating that if we were to buy a slave, we'd be doing him a favor. Of course, we would also keep our mouths shut about the condition of the other slaves if this was just the case of bad maintenance.

If he was keeping noble blood slaves or children, both of which were illegal in the Lukrentia Kingdom, we would report him immediately. I wasn't so lenient as to ignore a crime like that.

The clerk decided to let us see his merchandise in the back after some further thought.

When we were brought there, I saw unsanitary cages where skinny and ill-looking slaves were being kept. The few who had clothes on were so dirty that they would have been safer without them on. The stench in this place was so unbearable I felt like I was suffering a third-degree chemical burn with each breath of air I took in, but I didn't let my disgust show. Zor Nya Nyan, however, refused to take a single step inside. It was too much for the poor nekatarian. Lindus and Cormina stayed back with her.

“I suggest you clean up this place after we're gone, least what you wish for is to never sell your slaves.” I told him as I looked to my far right, where I spotted a dead rat.

I couldn't tell if the critter died because of the stench or was killed by someone.

“Of course, kind Alm.” the clerk replied in a humble tone of voice.

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Ah, yeah. Slave. The prominent feature in most story. Yup.