I followed Figuro to a back room. It was a large room with quite a few creature comforts, and it was as nice as any room I saw in the noble’s mansion, if perhaps not is decadent.
“You’re not like the Guild Master or something, right?”
Figuro blinked and then chuckled, “No, nothing so grand as that. I’m simply a man who is good at his job. Even though slave trading is an ugly business, I like to be a part of it because, at its base, it’s all about people, isn’t it?”
“Selling them…” I frowned.
Figuro shrugged, “I’m all about connections. That’s why I work to connect myself with people all across this world. The master and slave relationship, that’s a kind of connection as well. Of course, you’re not here to talk about my personal philosophies on life. How can I help you today, Deek?”
“Ah, well, actually, I came for several reasons.”
“I’m sorry, but you did end up a week late regarding that special slave I told you about. In the end, she was auctioned off to a noble. It wasn’t one I would have preferred her to go to, but he was willing to pay more than a pretty penny.
Figuro didn’t look happy, but I could only give him a helpless shrug. I wasn’t that particularly interested in this girl I had never met in the first place.
“It’s fine, I’m not officially a noble yet anyway.” I tried to find an excuse.
“Yet?” Figuro smirked and nodded thoughtfully. “It sounds like things are progressing in the direction I had guessed.”
“Ah, well… you do know people best, I guess?”
Figuro chuckled. “That I do… which is why I predict one of the reasons you’re here has to do with these two new slaves I have yet to meet.”
“Ah! Yes, this is Celeste and Terra. They both need slave documents written up!”
“It’d be one gold coin per slave.” He explained. “I assume they are already bound to you? I don’t want to insult you, but I must make sure, they aren’t taken from any other owners, have you?”
As he asked this last part, he lowered his voice and whispered it to me. He was clearly sticking to his sentiment about not revealing any of this to any other slavers. I shook my head immediately.
“Celeste and Terra were both given to me by their parents.”
I was playing fast and loose with the story, but I technically wasn’t lying. After all, it was Celeste’s mother who enslaved her, and she condoned my ownership of her daughter. As for Terra, her parents made it so whoever had her control rod became imprinted as her Master. In that respect, since I’m the one who picked it up, their consent was inferred. Well, that was my story and I was sticking with it. Celeste and Terra thankfully backed me up by nodding.
“Alright, that’s fine then.” Figuro relaxed a bit. “In that case, what species are they? Um… excuse me for not assuming.”
“Ah… that’s Sylph and an Earth Golem.”
“Ah…” Figuro nodded thoughtfully as he wrote the information down on a scroll of paper. “A Sylph and an Earth Golem. Wait? A Sylph and an Earth Golem! Just how did you come into possession of a- no… not my place to ask. A sylph is practically priceless on the auction market… do I put her for a thousand gold? That’s really selling her short. And while Earth Golem isn’t necessarily too remarkable, one that looks… well… like her, she’d go for at least as much as Lydia… ieieie…”
He managed to stop and calm himself down and then began muttering out loud as he tried to figure out how he was going to get us through the registration process unharmed. He was a good guy.
“Alright, so that just about settles things with their registration.” Figuro sighed like he had just run a marathon. “What other things can I help you with today?”
“Great…” I smiled wryly. “Now is it possible to release them as slaves?”
“Ah!” The girls made strange noises of protest, but I ignored them.
“Wh-what!?” Figuro made a face. “I just finished all their paperwork! Now you want the mark removed?”
“Haha… well, the paperwork was just a safety precaution. I’m not sure if you’d be able to remove their slavery, and even if you could, that will have to wait. I’m just preparing for the worst while hoping for the best, is all.”
“Can you be more specific?”
“Well, you remember that Lord Tibult guy, right?”
He jerked for a second and the name but then nodded. “What of him?”
“I ended up being put into a master-slave challenge against him. It was made up by the prince. If I fail, I need to free the girls. This isn’t a problem for me. As you know, I’ve desired their freedom for a while. What is a problem is that I was cursed in a manner where I can’t give up my slaves. The Prince has a few solutions, but they require mutilating me or hurting the girls, and so a third option is definitely desired.”
As I spoke, the girls behind me were very quiet. Whenever I spoke of releasing them, they typically lowered their heads and became quiet. It was probably a taboo subject for a slave. If they let themselves show excitement over being freed, that would naturally put a lot of discomfort on their Master. It was nice that they were considering my feelings, but I really wished they’d be more expressive towards seeking their freedom.
“The Prince Aberis and Lord Tibult, you’ve encountered some interesting people yourself since coming to the Capital.”
“Ah… well, it wasn’t intentional. Things just sort of happened that way.”
“Alright… well, I can tell you there may be an option. There is a special rune formation which nullifies bonds.”
“Nullifies, you say?”
He nodded. “Slaves, pets, coercion… it was created a long time ago after the end of some war against a demon lord. He used a lot of bonds to force people into his employment, and the country was getting a major headache trying to determine who was a legit follower of the demon lord and who was just brainwashed or forced into doing it. In the end, this circle was made. All bonds are effectively severed while the rune is in effect. During that time, it may be possible to sever their bonds.”
“But!” He held up a finger. “The ingredients to make the rune are extremely rare and hard to find. You’d need to have a lot of wealth to build the rune. At least 10,000 gold, and even then, you’d have to be lucky to find all the ingredients or have a lot of resources. I heard a while ago someone had the parts for such a rune, but those were just rumors.”
I lowered my head. “So, it’s probably impossible then.”
Even someone like me who had already had accumulated a nice wealth, 10,000 gold was still far outside my realm of affordability.
“Alright, then, I guess I’d like to look at your slaves.”
“Ah! Fantastic!” Figuro clapped his hands. “Then, please tell me, what is your formation missing? A form of six is said to be very strong without being too large.”
I shook my head. “Actually, the five of us are already fine. Celeste handles mana, Miki spirit, Lydia is speed, Terra is strength, and I’m support. Rather, I’m looking for people to send to Chalm. Um… actually, if it is possible, I don’t want their slavery shifted onto me for obvious reasons.”
“Right, that can be arranged. The paperwork filing is what really matters. As long as they have a slave mark, whether it is attached to you or not is not important. I assume you also wish to free them as well.”
“Eventually, I’ll let the Mayor and Guild Master worry about those things.”
“Okay, then I’ll also sell slave-breaking runes as well. Are you just looking for skilled artisans without a criminal record?” As he spoke, he stood up and gestured us to follow him out the door.
“That, but I also have some more personal requests. I’ll need some servants as well. My mansion is being built, and I’ll have a property in the Capital that it’d be nice if I had someone to care for as well.” I said, following him with the girls in tow.
We were now heading to the slave block. He seemed to bypass the wagons outside and used a special key to enter a back area. I had a distinct feeling that only special guests were allowed to see these slave areas. Was it because I was special, or was Figuro more unique than he let on? Just being good at his job didn’t earn reverence like that secretary guy had for him.
“Do you have anything particular in mind?”
“A head maid would be nice… someone with the skills to train everyone else. Definitely cooking and cleaning experience. Also… If they have clean-up magic, that would be great.”
“A maid with cleanup magic?” Figuro raised an eyebrow. “You never disappoint to make impressive requests. A woman of that quality is usually reserved for a palace. You typically don’t find them enslaved.”
“Ah… is that so? Don’t worry about it then.”
“I didn’t say we didn’t have someone of that type!” Figuro waved his hands. “Rather, it’s just she’s a VIP slave. She’s very expensive.”
“How much is very expensive?” I asked curiously.
“Well, this slave is incredibly beautiful. She used to be the maid to a noble, but that noble ended up going bankrupt and having to sell her. Even so, she’s 2000 gold.”
“Two thousand!” I let out a noise like a strangled cat.
“Of course, there are a lot of things that go into deciding the price of a person. Most standard, unremarkable people only cost a few gold coins. Sickly and old might even go for less. Rare species, rare jobs, high levels, beauty, youth, and a high level despite youth, these are all things that increase their value. As for this girl, she is the rarest find imaginable.” He stopped in front of a door.
“How rare is rare?” I asked, helplessly.
He grabbed the door and pushed it open. The room had actually been decked out quite nicely. It was like she was a noble herself. Compared to the slaves outside sitting in straw, the nice carpeted floor and a full bed were in stark contrast when it came to treatment. A tall, beautiful woman spun around when she saw the door open. She had an abundantly large chest and an extremely alluring body. However, the feature that stood out the most were long, pointed ears on either side of her head.
“Try… extinct.” Figuro coughed.
“A big-titty elf girl…” I said the words in wonder.