Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Flight. A portion of mages and influential people aside, for most people it’s a dream, never meant to come true.
But now, that dream could be realized for a meager price of 10 gold coins.
In the blink of an eye, this story spread among the nobility and wealthy merchants of Karluk Kingdom.
As a result, the upper class, those capable to pay those 10 gold pieces, came to frequent the store almost daily, seeking to purchase the high-grade slaves.
Next, that rumor spread among slave merchants of the city, so new slaves were sold to the store daily.
In contrast, the number of slaves in Karluk Kingdom greatly diminished. Originally, all of the deals passed through the king and Koshmar Company, but since the king gave Taiki rights on slave trade he now couldn’t interject.
On top of being able to negotiate directly, it was possible to sell slaves without paying a high toll to enter the capital. That was an extremely important point for merchants, who didn’t want to bear even a single copper of extra expenses.
Thus, Taiki’s store had what could be called an abnormal number of customers, despite being placed on the highway without much pedestrian traffic.
Now, though this turned into a virtuous circle, just as Taiki intended, some didn’t like this development.
「What is the meaning of this……!」
Grey was shouting in the main office of Reginshion company in a tone that hinted he barely was suppressing his rage.
To which, the manager of that store, Sieg, raised an eyebrow.
「……What is the meaning of what?」
「I heard that Reginshion company joined forces with a foreign country and is selling slaves abroad!」
Hearing Grey’s words Sieg smiled broadly and spoke.
「Ah, you mean that? Us, Reginshion Company, in association with that notorious Heavenly County, are running a slave store. Well, this truly turned out to be a stroke of great luck. If you hear about where they are sold you’d be surprised as well. Not only upper nobility are rushing to buy them, but even foreign royalty. Like the other day, the emperor of Blau Empire……」
As Sieg kept talking in a good mood, Grey grit his teeth and slammed a fist on the table.
Sieg closed his mouth as the loud bang resounded through the room.
「…You don’t even know how they will be treated there. And you are happily selling slaves to royalty and nobles? 」
Grey said in a piercingly cold tone. Observing him with a now cooled-down head, Sieg then breathed a sigh.
「The buyers are nothing like the nobles that you hate. Besides, they are sold at high prices with conditions of slave contracts clearly unthinkable to be applied to a slave. All of the sold slaves would surely find their happiness there.」
Being told so, Grey narrowed his eyes sharply.
「……And who can guarantee that? Sieg. Are you the same as other slave merchants? All is good as long as you are getting paid? Why aren’t you trying to decrease the number of slaves? Why are you helping the business set to increase their number……」
「Nothing of that sort is happening. For now, don’t ask anything and cooperate with us. If things go like this, we might be able to crush Koshmar Company very soon. And the royalty of Karluk Kingdom will likely follow after them. If that happens, the economic infrastructure built by the kingdom will pass to Heavenly County. Getting there, we will be able to handle it however we please. If we wish, we can even extend our services even to faraway countries. Yeah, a truly dream-like future is within our reach……!」
As Sieg excitedly replied to Grey’s question, a knife was stuck into the table in front of him.
「……Stop the slave trade right now.」
Sieg narrowed his eyes after being told this in a low voice.
「……Please calm down. If you like, I will take you to the store. There, take a look with your own eyes and confirm it. If you do so, you surely will understand it as well.」
Without faltering in the slightest, Sieg said as he looked Grey right in the eyes.
The first thing that came into sight after leaving the capital were people striding along the road. Normally, it’s one of the deserted roads, without much human presence, but now it had not only peddlers but also guards, and common folk driving wagons.
Beyond this crowd was a store.
「Here it is. That huge one……?」
Sieg, who acted as a guide, stopped mid-sentence, with his finger pointing to the building.
And blinking a couple of times, he tilted his head.
「What? What’s wrong?」
Called out by Grey, Sieg hummed.
「No…… I feel like it wasn’t this big before……」
He was confused, in one month it became almost three times bigger.
「I don’t get what you’re talking about, but let’s move.」
Grey, who didn’t know about the previous state of the store, walked ahead, leaving the dumbfounded Sieg behind.
Someone called out to him as soon as he arrived at the store. He turned to the source of that voice. There stood a girl, wearing a clean white outfit.
「Are you seeking to purchase a slave? Or did you come to sell?」
Being asked in such a cheerful voice, Grey unintentionally faltered for a moment, but noticing a glimpse of a slave seal at the base of her neck, donned a stern expression.
「……Are they making you work? To think they’d make such a young slave sell other slaves……」
In response to Grey’s voice seething with rage, the girl, who looked about fifteen, ran a hand along her neck.
「Ah, are you talking about the slave seal? Actually, I’m a runaway slave…… So I’m working here in secret. I actually should be in the back of the store, but there are just too many customers, so I’m helping here a bit……」
As the girl said this, laughing bashfully, Grey furrowed his brows with a dumbfounded look on his face.
「You aren’t forced to work against your will?」
「Eh? No, what are you saying, dear customer? At this store, no one is working unwillingly. We can eat three times a day, sleep on a bed, and since the number of employees now increased, we also can take one day off per week. Isn’t this amazing?」
The girl recited with a shining smile. Greatly disturbed by that unexpected sight, Grey took a step back and looked around.
「…But, don’t you pity the slaves that are being sold? If you were in the same situation, you know how bad it can get?」
Hearing that question the girl tilted her head with a puzzled expression, then, as if realizing something, went「Ah」.
「Could it be, that you, mister, like Richt-san, also worked for emancipation of slaves?」
The girl asked, lowering her voice. Grey frowned.
「……Richt. I heard that name. If I’m not mistaken, he should belong to the organization where ex-slaves gathered, but……」
「Ah, that’s him. At first, Richt-san also was half in doubt about this, but after checking the actual treatment of the slaves that are sold he immediately turned to help the store. Right now he is even doing something like buying up the slaves sold at the capital……」
Grey’s eyes went wide as the girls explained Richt’s current situation.
「What did you say?!」
Grey’s shout echoed through the store, drawing the attention of customers and clerks to them.
「Ah, wawah……! Wha, please, come over here!」
Panicking, the girl grabbed Grey’s arm and pulled him into the inner part of the store.
Dragged through the store in blank amazement he ended up outside, taken there through the backdoor.
Being suddenly brought outside he first became cautious, but then, noticing the scene around him, his eyes opened wide in amazement.