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Chapter 5 Part 2
I bought rice at Sidele’s general store, so I thought I’d cook it that day, until I realized I didn’t have any cooking utensils at the moment. If I used [Ultimate Cooking], I wouldn’t need them, but that would be boring. I’d finally come to a human town, so I decided to go back to Sidele’s General Store for some pots, pans, and tableware.
“Oh? If it isn’t the young man from before! What are you looking for this time?”
Sidele just happened to be there to greet me himself. Was that really just by chance? How much free time is a store chairman supposed to have?
“Sorry for coming back so quickly, I just want to get some pots and tableware.”
“That’ll be on the third floor. I’ll take you right to them.”
Hmmm, if he’s going to guide me, he’s probably free, huh? I think I’d prefer if he let the cat-eared Prill guide me instead, though.
“Here we are.”
Upstairs on the third floor, I saw quite a bit of cookware and tableware for me to choose from.
“Welcome― ah, owner!”
“Don’t call me owner, call me the chairman!”
Sidele completely talked over her, but she looked happy about it for some reason. Looking at that interaction, I got the sense that Sidele doesn’t carry himself like the ruler of his store, but more like its manager; simply someone his employees can rely on.
The cookware, such as pots and pans, were displayed in one corner of this floor. I picked them up to take a look. Since the pots came in several sizes but had the same shape, you could estimate their usefulness in cooking for a certain number of people, and also what kinds of dishes you could use them for. There was even a huge pot for business use as well, and I felt the product lineup was comparable to that of a Japanese department store.
I kept looking around, but Sidele was always right next to me. I’d never steal even without someone monitoring me, but this situation was probably because Sidele knows I have something like an item box.
I left those thoughts behind when something particularly special caught my eye. A pressure cooker ― I didn’t think this world had those. I never used one when I was in Japan, but when I had no time to cook, I did think about getting them once or twice.
“Do you like that magic pressure cooker?”
“Magic pressure cooker… no, I just thought it seemed rather unusual.”
“Do you know about them?”
“Only a little bit.”
Obviously I’ve never used it here, and this world’s version is probably a bit different from a Japanese pressure cooker.
I decided to buy three ordinary pots, two types of frying pans (one medium and one large of each type), a square pan for frying eggs, some small cooking utensils such as kitchen knives, and a cutting board. Then I moved to the section where the tableware was displayed, and bought an assortment of those, such as flat plates, and bowls which seemed to be good for eating rice.
“Thank you for your patronage.”
“Man, Mr. Sidele’s shop sure has a wide selection of items, huh?”
“Our shop is proud to handle everything from food to slaves, yes.”
“S-Slave… You carry slaves, too?”
“Yes, please have a look! Right this way!”
“Uh, no no no, I…”
“It’s okay to just take a look!”
Sidele dragged me along anyway. We went down to the first floor, and then down one more flight of stairs. Apparently the slave section was in the basement.
The lighting in the basement was pretty good, even though it was underground, and it also didn’t smell weird. The slaves were divided up to about five people per room, each room was visible through a glass wall, instead of cage-like bars. They all looked quite clean, and didn’t seem violent even though they were slaves.
“We handle sales, purchases, and rentals of slaves here.”
“Rental? So you lend slaves, too?”
“Yes, well, you don’t seem to know much about slavery, so let me explain it.”
“O-oh. Please do.”
“There are two kinds of slaves, general slaves and criminal slaves――”
According to Sidele, general slaves still had human rights, and their owners had to pay not only for their clothing, food and shelter, but also wages as determined by law. In addition, when a general slave was injured or died, investigations would be carried out to search for the cause, and once a year, the slave’s condition needed to be documented through an administrative agency, at which time the slave’s identity would always be re-confirmed. It was all managed very strictly.
On the contrary, criminal slaves didn’t have human rights, and were very commonly used for forced labor in mines and wars; their fatality rate was extremely high. Even if they were injured or killed, no investigation would be carried out. The sale price was accordingly cheap, treating them as disposable.
Realizing there was such a disparity among slaves was a heavy dose of reality. I walked around looking at them while he explained all that to me.
“What do you think?”
“Does this store also deal with criminal slaves?”
“We do handle them, but there aren’t many. Would you like to see the criminal slaves as well?”
“I’d like you to show them to me, just for reference.”
I wanted to see the gap between the types of slaves, so I asked Sidele to lead me to them. We went to a different area separated by a strong door. This room’s cells were barred instead of using glass, and the slaves inside these cells had a completely different attitude from the general slaves.
“Hahaha! A youngster, huh?”
“Hey bro, why don’t you buy me, I’ll show you a good time, eh?”
The slaves were terrified into silence when Sidele shouted at them. Apparently, for a criminal slave, orders are absolute.
“These are criminal slaves. Bandit leaders, and perpetrators of heinous crimes such as murder and attempted murder. Rather than imposing long-term prison sentences on these people, they’re made into slaves and serve society by doing harsh and dangerous work in the place of ordinary people.”
“What kind of harsh and dangerous work are we talking about? Stuff like mining and warfare?”
“That’s exactly right.”
For that reason, many criminal slaves were owned by feudal lords or merchants who possessed mines.
I looked around at these criminal slaves… and I noticed one that looked like they would be the most popular choice. A girl, placed in a women-only cage, curled up in the corner of the cell as if trying to erase her presence.
“What about that girl?”
Sidele was quiet for a moment. “She…” His attitude was almost sad, like he felt sorry for her.
“She just arrived today, but… she was serving as a magician in a noble house, but there was an incident in which the nobles’ child was killed. She was nearby at that time, and was named the culprit…”
“Do you think she wasn’t actually the culprit?”
“I don’t know. I don’t understand the details, but she was found guilty at the trial.”
Sidele’s expression said that she was probably a victim of someone’s scheme. I was also the victim of those priests’ scheming when I was thrown out into that hellish forest. At any rate, it doesn’t seem to be any of my business. Asking me to buy her is not an easy thing. Criminal slaves can’t be freed, so if I bought her, I’d have to keep her a slave forever.
But I’m not going to be in this town forever. I have a greater purpose ― to get revenge on the people who sent me to that Great Borf Forest. I can’t take someone with me on a path like that.
“Master Sidele! I want to buy Canaan!”
While I was pondering things, someone behind us suddenly spoke up.
“That’s… Master Dokum, huh? You’ve been coming by so often these days…”
“Enough chit-chat! I’ve come to buy Canaan there!”
The man approached Sidele bluntly, interrupting our conversation to push me aside; apparently his name was Dokum. Since he showed up with such a rude attitude, I couldn’t hide my displeasure.
“I apologize, Canaan…”
Sidele glanced at me. I wonder what he’s…? Oh, I have a bad feeling about this.
“Huh? What? Hey, who are you?”
Dokum only noticed me after Sidele glanced my way, and asked who I was.
“That’s my line. You’re so impudent, even though I was the one talking to Sidele first.”
“What? You little―!”
I have no reason to be polite to such a rude little shit. Get him out of my sight! A guy this rotten has no right to call himself a person ― he’s no different from the scum that threw me into the Great Borf Forest.
“Sidele. Shouldn’t I be the one to buy Canaan?”
“Y-yes… Master Dokum, I already agreed to sell her to this customer… Yes…”
“What are you talking about! Wasn’t it already settled that I’d be the one to buy her?!”
“Is that the case?” I asked.
“N-no, erm, Master Dokum, I promised this customer before you arrived, he’ll be the one to buy her, alright?”
“What did you just say to me!?”
“So noisy, can’t you use your inside voice? Jeez, this guy doesn’t seem to have any common sense at all.”
Anyway, I’ve already decided to go through this trouble, so let’s do our best.
Black Mist chimed in telepathically. (This looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.)
(Hmph, I don’t like this guy, so I’ve decided to thoroughly crush him,) I replied.
She chuckled. (I’m looking forward to what happens next.)
Name : Canaan
Job : Magician, Level 23
Skills : [Fire Magic] [Mana Control] [Mana Boost]
Attributes : HP [G] | MP [C] | STR [G] | INT [C] | AGI [E] | DEX [D] | LUK [E]