Yuusha no furi
74: Slave house raid!
The sunlight falls down on the royal capital Industria.
A dusty, salty wind is blowing at the port and many ships are landed. People and Golems are carrying wooden boxes with goods inside.

The warehouse district runs along the harbor.
The slave house lies slightly away from the main road where wagons loaded with wooden boxes were driving back and forth.
It is a luxurious looking building. It seems to be flourishing.

I looked at it with "Clairvoyance" and on the ground floor were the reception, a hall, a bath and offices. On the second floor were lots of small rooms rather than one big one and there were only women and boys.
The basement is deep. It's like a dungeon and there are many prison-like rooms.

There were also demons. With slavery status.
As expected. Might Jean's demon slaves have come from here as well?
I guess I could just rush through as a Hero.

--No, wait a sec.
The basements after the first floor aren't connected.
Is there some magical mechanism? That's a bother.
Maybe I should first observe it as an ordinary customer.

Strong guards are standing in front of the building's entrance.
"I'm sorry, dear customer. Do you have a membership card or a letter of introduction?"
"No, not really. Can I also use this?"
I showed the "Proof of Hero" to them.
"*Ugh*" The guards are catching their breaths.
"O, Of course, Hero-sama. Please go inside."

A beautiful lady with flaxen hair came to our side when we entered the building.
"Dear customer, this way please."
She started to walk in front of me.
A thick carpet is spread out in the corridor that we are walking through.
The pillars are carved and there are pictures at the walls. Beautifully dyed pots and sculptures are put around.
The corridor is showy and gives off a decadent atmosphere that let's you think of a high class brothel.

I was guided to a rectangular hall with three doors in the back.
As soon as I sat down on a chair, an elderly man who appeared to be a slave trader appeared. He came from the door in the middle.
A strong looking youth and an elderly man are following behind him.
The slave trader has a gentle smile, but his eyes are cold like ice.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Hero-sama. How can I be of service to you?"
"Let's see... some beauties would be fitting. Please show me some that might be useful."
I spoke while I held Celica's thin shoulder, who gradually starts to blush and casts her eyes downward.
"Ke, Keika-sama. It's embarrassing."

"It might be rude to ask, but how much might your budget be?"
"Show me the two coins you got earlier."
"Yes, Keika-sama."
Celica opened the bag at her waist with her slim fingertips and placed the two gold coins in the palm of my hand.

The slave trader slowly nods as he smiles strongly.
"Yes, alright. I'll show you several slaves."
He claps, and the young man goes through the door to the left after he bowed.
I observe him with "Clairvoyance" and "Attentive Ears".

The left door is connected to the basement's first floor. There are pretty men and women and young boys and girls. There are also an ax wielding dogfolk and an elderly woman with a cane who is reading a book.
All of them are locked up in an ordinary room.

The young man examines them with his hand on his chin and finally chooses about ten people and leaves the room with them.
The young man speaks in the hallway.
"The customer is a hero, so make sure not to make any mistakes."
The slaves raised their voices in surprise with "*Oh~*" and "*Eh~*".

There is a mirror in the room with the stairs on the basement floor, letting everyone arrange their appearance.
It seemed that it will take some time.

I looked at the slave trader.
"At any rate, your business seems to be profitable."
"Yes, Industria is a manufacturing city after all. There are never enough hands."
"You should also be able to get skilled people here. But the only way to get them would probably be to abduct them I guess."
"What are you saying, Hero-sama. There are many conditional slaves."
"Conditional slaves?"

The slave trader raised his voice with an "*Ah*", clears his throat and corrects his posture.
"There are two kinds of slaves. People with good jobs and abilities are expensive and can make conditions when signing conditional slave contracts."
"Oh. For example?"
"Let's see. For example I have an elderly woman who is a Wizard. Her contract forbids corporal punishment, heavy labor and fighting. She only works four hours a day and has to rest three days a week. She's worth 40 big gold coins.
"Isn't that expensive?"
"However, she is superior in black magic and drug synthesis and the current court magician was a student of the old woman."
"I see, she's a professional tutor. There has to be a high demand."
"Yes. She has already been traded many times before she came here."

--Conditional slaves seem to be something like temporary workers.
So everyone in the first basement is a conditional slave?
That explains why they are not overly constrained.

"And the other type?"
"Those are unconditional slaves. They don't have any abilities or have been sold because they didn't pay back their debts."
"I see"

I looked at the basement again.
Many men and women were chained in collars on the basement's second floor. The women and girls where dressed in thin veils and wore captivating make-up. The men were chained at their hands and feet.

On the third floor were heavily constrained people. Some of them cried with "Let me go home". It seems that they have been abducted.
Moreover, there was also an elf and beastfolk. And even someone with a snake body-- a Naga.
--I'll be scolded by Ieturia later if I don't save her soon.

On the basement's fourth floor... are several rooms. There are office-like rooms and rooms that look like storerooms.
A skinny man enjoyed himself by tying up a fat orc in a bedroom.

He turned out to be Gould after I looked at his status.
--It looks like this place is the criminal organization's hideout.

I don't know how to get down there though.
The slaves might die from the collapsing earth and sand if I forced my way through the ground.

Meanwhile, the young man came back.
He took along the group of ten slaves.
The slaves were lined up at the wall.

The slave trader explains.
"That one is good at fighting, that one is good at magic, that one can search with thief skills, that one is skilled at making tools..."
He answered several questions.
As expected, all of them were conditional slaves.

"Well, they are definitely good, but the conditions are tough. I can't take them on adventures and travel around. I want a slave with a more loose condition."
Status-wise, no one of them was exceptional.

The slave trader speaks.
"I'm terribly sorry. I'll immediately bring some others..."
"*Clap Clap*" He clapped twice with his hands.
At the same time as the young man went to return the slaves, the silent old man headed toward the right door.

I follow him with "Clairvoyance". Of course, I also use "Attentive Ears".
The right room was empty. The old man crouched, took off his gloves and touched the floor.
Then, the floor shone in the colors of a rainbow and a high voice echoed.
"You can go to the basement's second or third floor. What is your destination?"
"Basement second floor"
"As you wish"

The inside of the room flickered like a mirage and the old man warped to the basement's second floor.
Nevertheless, I couldn't see magic circles inside the warping room.

I looked at the old man's hand with "Truth Sight".
[Fairy's Crest] Lets you go through Fairy Doors. Can't move you to the Fairy World. Can be used up to four times a day. (1 remaining)

So he used a fairy skill?
It seems to be like a warp zone.
I guess he enslaved a fairy.

But it makes sense. Gould wasn't found until now because he is hiding behind fairy magic that can't even be seen through with "Truth Sight".

Hmm, it doesn't look like I can go to the fourth floor.
Maybe I should save the slaves up to the third floor and then draw out the ceiling.

But, the old man's key can only be used four times a day with one time remaining. It can't be used anymore after he used it to return.
There might still be one or two other people though, because someone has to bring him his meals.
--Or, could I maybe use Fairy's Blessing as a substitute?
It might actually be a degraded version of Fairy's Blessing.
I guess I should ask.

Should I telepathically connect to Lilille and ask for Haya?... no, since I know the fairy's face and name, I can just talk to her directly.

I murmur the incantation of "In my name of Keika Hiko-no-Mikoto, who possesses the Fairy's Blessing~" etc. to ask Haya.
"Haya, can you hear me?"
"*Ah*, that surprised me! Yes, I can hear you."
"I'm currently at the slave house but it seems that there is a Fairy Door. Can I pass through it with Fairy's Blessing?"

"Yes~. Because you have the princess's divine protection, you can freely pass though Fairy Doors and even Fairy Gates. There isn't even an annual fee."
"Is the Fairy Door something like a warp device? I can't see it from the distance though."
"The actual device is in subspace. It activates when a person with permission touches the installation surface~."

So I can't use it unless I know where it is? ...Alright. Ah, by the way, was the slave crest removed?"
"My stomach is now smooth and clean. Like the surface of a jewel."
"Then, please tell Minya and Lapisia, that they should hurry to the slave house. It is in the warehouse street at the port."

I stood up from the chair and stretched my arms.
"Well then. I guess it's time to bring out the trash."
"Eh? What do you mea-- *gufuu!*"
I strongly punch the coldly smiling slave trader into his stomach.
He hits the wall and faints.

"Celica! Tie him up! Also his mouth!"
"--Yes, Keika-sama!"
Celica was slightly puzzled but immediately followed my order. She uses the slave trader's belt to tie him up and plugs his mouth.

The young man tries to escape.
I punch his head from behind. He collapsed onto the floor.
Celica comes over and ties him up in the same way.

I carried the slave trader and the young man to the right door.
Celica tilts her head.
"What are we going to do?"
"We'll save the slaves in the basement. Then we'll take down Gould. But first we'll neutralize the old man once he returns."
Celica nodded with a serious face. She has a dignified beauty.

The door opened after a while.
The old man brings five slaves.
"Sorry to keep you wai-- eh?"
I instantaneously moved and hit the old man's neck.
The old man collapsed with a dull sound.
The slaves are making noises.

I show the "Proof of Hero" to the slaves.
"I'm a hero. I have proof that this man is an underling of the Demon Lord. You'll also be treated as his underlings if you won't cooperate."
Well, the proof is in the basement and I don't have it yet though.

"Ye, Yes" "Understood, Hero-sama"
"Then, line up at this wall and say that we went to the room in the back for interviews if an employee comes."
The slaves obediently nodded.

Incidentally, I noticed that one of the five slaves was a craftsman.
He's a young man with black eyes and black hair. Although he's an unconditional slave, he holds his head high and has a gallant expression on his face. His eyes are shining with determination.
Name: Melvius
Gender: Male
Age: 28
Race: Human
Job: Slave
Class: Architect Lv41 Magic Seal Master Blacksmith Lv5
Attributes: "Earth"
Oh. He has the Magic Seal Master Blacksmith skill.
I wonder how he became an architect though.

I talk to Melvius.
"Who are you? How did you become a slave?"
"I am Melvius. I needed money to cure my wife's illness. More than 30 big gold coins. That's it."
Melvius answers in a cool voice.
"Could she be cured if you had the money?"
"Yes. She needs a very rare medicine."
"Is that so-- Celica, give him a coin."

To my call, Celica took one holy gold coin out from the bag that was hanging at her waist.
"Here you go"
"Take it"
I spoke while I picked up the slave trader and his entourage.
I don't further care about Melvius for the moment.
He can't escape from the building because of the slave crest anyway.

I put the tied up slave traders into the room to the right.
Then I put my hands on the floor and it shone in the colors of a rainbow.
"You can go to the basement's second, third or fourth floor. What is your destination?"
"Basement third floor"
"As you wish"
The moment I was just thinking that the voice was quite shrill, I couldn't feel any gravity anymore.

Then we warped to the basement's third floor.
"Let's go, Celica. We'll save the people, the elf and the Naga who have been kidnapped."
"Yes,-- a Naga!? ...Understood"
We leave the room and quickly run through the corridor.

First we save the humans.
There were the daughter of some noble and the son of a senior official. It looked like they weren't slaves but hostages.
They thanked me with "Thank you very much" and "Thank you, Hero-sama" while they were crying.

Then I rescued the elf.
A beautiful woman with green hair was chained up inside a room.
I bend the iron door open.
"Are you alright? I came to help"
"Yo, You are...?"
"I'm Hero Keika. I'm an acquaintance of the chieftain Jagd."
She began to cry with "*uuu*" the moment I mention Jagd's name.
"You can cry later. Let's escape."
"Ye, Yes. ...but, the chain..."
"No problem"
I approach in big steps, pull the chain, that is attached to the wall and teared off the collar.

The elf lowers her head many times over, causing her green hair to ripple.
"Thank you very much, Keika-sama!"
"Follow me"

Now we headed to a room in the back.
Inside the small room was the Naga woman.
The Naga trembled with her whole body when I forcibly opened the door. Her huge breasts shook from side to side.
"Wh, Who are you?..."
"You know Dhalia or Ieturia?"
"...!! Why do you know the names of my comrades!?"
"I'm Keika. I'm a hero. Everyone is working enthusiastically at Doruas. Well, I'll get you out."
"...u, ugh!"
The Naga's beautiful face distorts as she spills tears.

I tear the chain off the wall.
"You can cry later. Let's flee for now."
She wiped the tears with her hands, bent her snake body back and forth and went out into the corridor.
I took everyone and we returned to the first floor.