~ Chapter 2: The slobbering canine (Part 3) ~
Now, as for the one I was looking for, the slave towards which Sapherya guided me with her Divine Light, we finally found him. Over there, right at the very back of this wretched storeroom was someone chained up to the wall. A metal muzzle kept him from biting or talking, and a metal binder around his arms and legs kept him from moving them freely.
In terms of aspect, he strongly reminded me of an anthropomorphic wolf I would often see in anime, but his fur, from what I could see through the metal bindings, was a mix of midnight blue, navy blue, and cerulean, which I found very odd, almost unnatural.
Zor Nya Nyan, for example, had fur that varied from a light brown to a dark brown, with a mix of white around the edges. Unlike this wolf, however, she was far more human-like. Not all of her body was covered in fur, and as far as breasts went, she didn't have several pairs like most other mammals did. As far as I knew, cats on Earth had anywhere between 6 to 8, depending on the breed.
This nekatarian was just one slightly more furry cat-eared woman.
Although, I did remember something I once read in a book at the Waser Academy's Library regarding individuals with an abnormal Magic Energy pool and that was the fact that they would often have characteristics that made them different from those around them, be it a different hair color, eye color, and sometimes even more prominent physical mutations, like scales, horns, spikes, and other stuff like this.
I never did believe this 'fact' because that would mean that me and my little sister were going to end up as some sort of demons with anime hero hairstyles. So far, I was fairly sure we weren't.
Yet, despite all of these precautions to keep him from retaliating and the awful conditions he was being kept in, the fire of battle in his dark-brown eyes had yet to be put out.
I could feel it from all the way over here, at the entrance, that his strength had not wavered from the moment he was placed in those chains, and this meant only that he was considered by the slave trader as someone frighteningly dangerous.
“It's like an Iron Mummy...” I said a bit absent minded.
“Hm? What was that? Master wants his mommy? Oh~! Come here, I'll give Master a Nyabuh!” the nekatarian was silenced with a strong smack over the back of her head from Lindus.
As always, she made weird funny sounds.
“That one, over there.” I pointed at the chained up wolf-man.
“That one is no good, young Alm. He is a wild and very dangerous barmudian. He fought against four Emperor Rank Adventurers and they still had a hard time to capture him. Nearly bit one's head off, he did!” the clerk explained as he wiped the sweat off his forehead.
Barmudians were karbazarians with canine features just like how nekatarians had feline features. In essence, all anthropomorphic creatures in this world were called the Children of Karbazur the God of Beasts.
The thing was that this barmudian in particular seemed to be more on the animal side than the human one, and it wasn't just his physical features that made me think that. There was something about the way he looked at me, the way his presence felt pressing on my shoulders, that reminded me of the wild wolves and monsters I used to hunt together with Aunty Eliza in the Chedelle Forest.
All the other slaves here could also feel it and had instinctively moved away from him as far as they could.
Unfortunately, whether he was a dangerous fellow or not remained to be seen. After all, according to Sapherya, he was someone I was supposed to rescue from this place, so what was the worst that could happen? Well,... at least I was immortal.
“We'll take him.” I said again.
“Young Alm, are you sure about this?” the clerk asked again.
“Yes. Give me the contract and we'll take him away from here at once.” I told him in a firm tone of voice to let him know that I had no desire to change my mind about this.
Seeing that he wasn't moving yet, Timothy intervened “Be happy that the Young Master wishes to buy him, otherwise, you would have never managed to sell him.”
The clerk thought about it for a short moment before he nodded and then went to get the contract.
We didn't want to sound too rude, but what Timothy said was a fact all of us were well aware of. This clerk couldn't even dare to bring his customers here, let alone advertise the slaves he had in store. Most of them would end up dying one way or another if they weren't purchased either as meat shields or for experimentation by some weird noble.
Of course, what this man was doing here was a crime, but he wasn't the only one and even if these slaves were going to end up rescued, who was going to take over their ownership? The kingdom had yet to figure out this dilemma so it preferred to turn a blind eye to it, although from my point of view, an auction would have solved it.
When the clerk returned, I took out 85 gold coins and placed them in a separate pouch. Timothy counted them once and then handed them over to the clerk, who checked each coin to make sure it wasn't fake.
While he did that, I looked over the contract to make sure that there weren't any weird clauses in there and then gave it to Timothy, Lindus, and Cormina to read it as well, just in case I missed anything. When the contract returned to my hands, I signed it with my name and a drop of my blood. The clerk was also satisfied with the coins, so we went to the next step and performed the spell of ownership transfer which was applied to the wolf-man's collar and with this, it was done.
The clerk thanked us for the deal and then left us with the key to the dangerous slave's bindings.
The wolf-man was like a bad taste early Christmas present. He was only missing a big red ribbon on top of his head. Oh, how I missed that silly holiday!
“Sigh. Timothy, remove his bindings.” I told him as I gave him the key.
“Are you sure of this, Young Master?” he asked me.
There was a bit of concern in his eyes, especially when seeing how ferocious the wolf-man continued to look at me, his new Master, as if he wanted to bite my head off and slurp all the blood that spilled out, but I wasn't feeling any killing intent from him. Not like he could do anything to me even if he wanted to, one of the basic functions of the collar was to prevent all forms of aggression towards the slave's master unless ordered otherwise.
“I'm sure, besides, if he wants my help, he won't do anything foolish.” I said and then looked straight into his eyes, but not in a challenging or aggressive way.
A gesture, which made the barmudian perk his ears up in curiosity. There weren't that many people who would willingly accept all of this overwhelming pressure he put out without considering him an enemy. In my eyes, he couldn't be one, he didn't have to be one, and this was reflected in my own gestures, words, and presence as well, all of which I had a feeling he could read quite well.
The wolf-man's gaze didn't change at all even after all of his chains had been removed, dropping on the floor with a loud metallic rattle. If he wanted to flee at this point, there was no one who was going to stop him, not even me.
“Well, how are you feeling? If you have any problems, let me know. Everyone here will treat you kindly, so don't hesitate to express your needs, especially in regard to traveling essentials, food, rest, health, or even armor and weapons.” I told him.
“Yup! Yup! Master is kind. Nya~!” the nekatarian declared with a happy smile on her face.
She somehow managed to find the courage to join us here, but the poor woman was struggling to keep the bad stench away from her sensitive nose. She had her sleeve placed against it, but her feline ears twitched as if shocked by electricity every time she accidentally took a whiff of the stench around her.
As for my nose, yup, it was burned to the point that it was going to be a wonder if I could smell anything else for a while now! I had gained immunity to any biological hazard fart in the world!
“You... you're not going to harm me?” he asked me furrowing his brow and pointing his wolf ears towards me.
“Why would I?” I raised an eyebrow at him. “For now, we'll be companions and travel together until you find your own place in this vast world. At that point I'll free you, no strings attached.” I told him and then I shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal.
“I...” he kept staring at me with the same soul-piercing gaze.
The wolf-man then took a step forward and moved closer to me, then another step, and another, until he was close enough to tower over me like some sort of insurmountable mountain, letting off a powerful and wild presence that had everyone else there worried for my safety.
Still no killing intent from him, though, so I knew that even in this situation I wasn't in any danger.
“What is it?” I asked tilting my head to the left.
There was another moment of tension between us when it felt as if he was about to rip my head clean off my shoulders.
What happened next, however, was completely unexpected.
Like a big, slobbering canine, a malamute, he gave me one BIG lick over my entire face that covered me completely in drool.
“Young Master! I, Rakosta, see truth in your words and promise to follow you for now!” he declared as he tapped his big hairy chest with his right fist.
Meanwhile, I... just stood there... frozen...
“Ew~! Mutt drool!” Zor Nya Nyan quite accurately said what I was thinking.
“Watch who you are calling a mutt, you flea bag!” Rakosta growled at her, making the nekatarian hide behind Timothy.
“Young Master, may I suggest a bath?”
“For him or them?” Lindus inquired as he pointed at the two karbazarians.
They both flinched when they heard the word 'bath'.
“Yes... all of us.” I said without opening my mouth too much so that I wouldn't accidentally get that dog drool in my mouth.
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