Walking in Another World
Chapter 42 – Special slave
After ten days wandering through the forest, we finally make it out.
The issue was mostly Hikari.
She worked as an intelligence operative for a long time, so her stamina is actually pretty good for her age, but she still gets tired if she keeps walking without stopping.
By the way, apparently she’s about ten years old.
“Are you all right?”
“Just don’t push yourself too much.”
I’m being annoying because before, she pushed herself until she couldn’t walk anymore.
This is my fault too.
I don’t get tired no matter how much I walk, but I forgot that and I just walked at my own pace.
Hikari doesn’t talk a lot, and she probably wasn’t allowed to voice any complaints in her old job, so she just keeps on walking and never says anything about it.
Even when she had painful blisters, she kept it to herself and never let it show on her face.
I tried to heal her with a potion, but she even refused that.
“People are coming.”
We reach a main road, and just as Hikari says, I see reactions from people on the map.
We should reach a town if we follow this road, and from what I can see with Map, we should reach it before the sun sets.
“Looks like we’ll be able to sleep well on a bed tonight.”
“I’m fine anywhere.”
She’s been holding on to me since that day.
I guess I would be ecstatic if I was a lolicon, but she’s five years too young for me.
Wagons, horsebuses, and merchant caravans pass by us, and they all look this way with quizzical expressions.
That’s not surprising, because my eyes are currently hidden behind a mask.
I made it with alchemy, using the slave mask as reference.
As we were walking through the forest, I realized that it’s not a good idea to walk around with my face exposed.
I faked all that, but if someone I know sees me, I’m busted.
But that means a little girl and someone wearing a suspicious looking mask are now walking side by side.
“Sora, that really is suspicious.”
“Bear with it.
I already told you why I have to wear it, right?”
I was going to say ‘you wore something like this until very recently’, but decided not to.
After some more wagons pass by us, we finally reach the town.
There are a lot of people in front of the gate, and we have to go to the back of the line and wait for our turn.
I’m guessing a lot of people are coming and going.
As we wait, even more people start queuing behind us.
We’re called, and we step forward.
“Do you have identification?”
I shake my head, and I can feel the guard becoming cautious.
I want to register in this town’s merchant guild if that’s possible.”
I say while showing the bag I’m carrying.
“And there’s some things I want to ask too.”
“It’s about this girl.
I picked her up on the way here, but what should I do?”
“Picked her up? What do you mean? Hold on, tell me more about it in the guardroom.”
I follow him to the guardroom.
I get the feeling this is something I can’t refuse, but running away was never an option anyway.
“Now tell me exactly what’s going on.”
“I don’t really understand either.
I found her when I was traveling, and she was wearing ragged clothes.
I asked her where she came from, but she says she doesn’t know, and I couldn’t just leave her there, so I brought her here with me.
What should I do?”
I ask, as if asking for help.
If I’m asked a ton of questions, I’m going to have to keep coming up with excuses, so I try my hardest to make it seem like I’m troubled and in need of help.
I think the best option would be to leave her in an orphanage…”
The moment the gatekeeper says that, Hikari trembles and grabs my clothes.
The gatekeeper sees this, and seems kind of troubled.
He’s devoted to his job, but I think he’s also just a nice person.
“Apparently she’s taken to me, since I’ve been taking care of her, so what should I do? I heard there was an age limit to request identification, so…”
“It would be one thing if she was registered in town, but yes, she really can’t ask for identification.
And at the very least she’ll need it to enter and exit towns.
Little lady, don’t you want to go to an orphanage?”
Hikari aggressively shakes her head.
“That’s a problem.
Do you have any business in this town?”
“I want to register in the merchant guild if I can, and start buying and selling something.
I don’t think I’m cut out to be an adventurer.”
“So you want to do business by yourself? It’s going to be tough without any connections… But that’s your responsibility, so I don’t have to worry about it.
I know, do you know the slavery system?”
There are criminal slaves, war slaves, and debt slaves, right?”
“Yes, but there is also something called a special slave.
It’s a system put in place to adopt people without identification.
It’s not used by a lot of people.”
That’s the first I’m hearing of it.
“It mostly comes with downsides, so that’s the main reason why.
It’s not too different from a debt slave.”
According to the gatekeeper’s explanation, a special slave is a minor with no identification that is provided for until they each adulthood and can get themselves registered.
Of course, in return the special slave has to help out, or even be put to work.
It’s a system occasionally used by merchants running big stores.
A big part of it is to secure capable people by training them from a young age.
If people are provided with a better environment, they’ll usually want to keep it and improve it.
There’s also the fact that they are pretty much surrounded by the idea that this is possible if they work for their masters, so they can’t escape, but the authorities mostly turn a blind eye to it.
Despite their masters’ intentions, at least the people themselves are happy.
I’ll try registering like that.
I don’t think she’s going to want to get away from me anyway.”
I pay two entrance fees, and enter the town after hearing from the gatekeeper where I can find the slaver.
“We tricked him.”
Hikari says with a naughty smile.
I’m sure she still looks emotionless for most people, but I’m starting to pick up on those sorts of emotions.
“We were lucky to come across a nice gatekeeper.
If it was one with a more rotten personality, we would’ve been asked all sorts of things.
Although I’m not sure if he’s cut out to be a gatekeeper.”
We follow the gatekeeper’s directions, and arrive at a corner where the slaver is.
It really is in a place away from the center of town.
And I get the feeling that it’s smaller than ones I saw in the kingdom.
Is it because it’s a small town?
How may I be of service?”
The slaver asks after looking at me, looking at Hikari, and looking at me again.
“I want to form a special slave contract with her.
Can you do it?”
I will prepare it right away.”
I pay ten silver coins, less for the commission, and more because of the magic items involved.
I’m guessing this is cheap because special slaves are just that, special.
The collar is different from regular slaves’ too.
This one is black with three silver stripes.
I step onto a magic circle along with Hikari, and the slaver starts chanting a spell.
I put a drop of my blood on the collar, and the slaver starts chanting again.
That was pretty simple.
“Please visit the nearest slaver when it’s time to undo this.
It can be done anywhere.”
Also, do you have any beast people or elf slaves?”
“I do not.
Maybe you can find some in the holy city.
Am I right in assuming this is your first time in this country?”
“Why do you think so?”
“People here don’t ask that sort of question.
Yes, in the Holy Kingdom, slavery isn’t very well liked.
The reason is people’s strong devotion to the goddess.”
“But it’s still not prohibited?”
Despite their devotion, slaves are still useful.
Reality is different, no matter how pretty their words are.
Of course, some are very fastidious about refusing it outright.”
“So not many people ask what you have?”
“Almost no one.”
“I see, thank you for the information.”
“Come visit if you ever need something again.
Ah, our company also does business in other countries, and has a store in the holy city.”
The slaver bows respectfully with a shady smile.
I leave with Hikari, and look at the sign outside.
It says ‘Howler slave trading company’.
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