Turn of Events
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I really, I seriously did not intend to hurt you in anyway, but when I saw him press the knife to your throat and blood came out, I sort of got very angry and acted like that! So please forgive me! Please! Please! I really did not do it to harm you in any way!” Lakshman said very quickly in an apologetic voice.
“Ah… ah… um… uh… ah…” Emilia stuttered while looking troubled.
She was panicking because he was apologising to her, a slave, numerous times. All she could do was stutter and sound distraught.
Several minutes ago, the officials came and arrested the crazed man. He put up a struggle until they knocked out cold. Once they were gone, the people gave Lakshmana a look full of dislike before returning to mind their own business.
“Master! You’re making her nervous! Stop that already!” Ondine said to him in a low voice. Then she said “Besides! Everyone is looking in our direction! This is embarrassing! Seriously!”
Everyone were indeed staring at them. Passer-by’s glanced and saw Lakshman kneeling on the ground in front of the girls. It looked like he was paying respects to her which caught their interest.
“B-B-But I really did not mean to hurt her!” Lakshman said as he ignored the rest of Ondine’s words.
Ondine sighed and looked at Emilia before saying “Emilia. Please forgive my master. He often does this whenever he was directly at fault.”
“Oh! No, no! It’s fine, really! I’m actually thankful that he saved my life when he did! Otherwise, I think I wouldn’t be here right now!” Emilia said in a thankful voice.
“Did you hear that, master? Now you can get up!” Ondine told him.
“B-B-But I…” Lakshman began then he saw Emilia lower herself to the ground to face him.
“I really do appreciate you saving my life, Lakshman. I thank you very much! If it weren’t for you, I’d be gone forever…”
“Yes, but I still hurt you! On top that, I couldn’t completely heal you!” Lakshman said as he looked at the scars on her exposed parts of her body.
“Yes… That is trouble… I think I’ll get into trouble for this…” Emilia said and she suddenly looked upset.
“Eh?! Don’t tell me that bastard is still keeping you around?!” Lakshman exclaimed loudly.
When everyone turned at his shout, Tetra hugged him from behind and said “Please keep your voice down, master. You’re drawing too much attention to us.”
“O-Okay. Anyway! That fat bastard still enslaving you?!” Lakshman asked distractedly.
The last time they met, it was when he appeared as the Sacred Armoured Phoenix Titan. He had warned that fat nobleman to release her and the rest of the salves. Otherwise, he would have to face the same penalty as the Felix Freedom Faction he dealt with that day.
Emilia shook her head and said “No. We’ve been freed, but we still carry the rank of slaves. So I’m worried the Slave Dealer won’t be happy to see my scars.”
At her words, Lakshman was unhappy. His real intention was to free her and everyone else enslaved, but it looked it was useless. No matter what he might try to do, slaves will be slaves.
“We will talk to the Slave Dealer and make sure that you don’t get punished for this,” Ondine told her in a serious voice.
“No! You’ve done a great deal for me already! You should’ve have to concern yourself about someone like me,” Emilia said while gently waving her hand at them.
“No! It’s my responsibility to take care of this! Don’t worry, Emilia! I’m sure we can get him to understand and make proper arrangements!” Lakshman said bracingly.
When Emilia continued to look troubled, Tetra smiled and said “There’s no use in arguing anymore. We’ll do it anyway.”
Emilia was troubled, but she also understood the wisdom of Tetra’s words. She had a feeling that Lakshman was slightly pigheaded who does things his way. So she relented and, together, they headed for the Slave Market.
In the office of the Slave Market, Lakshman shouted “Ha?! You can’t?! Why not?!”
The Slave Dealer, wearing his usual stupor, said “This girl’s been scarred and the price will go down. Now body from here will buy her anymore!”
“What?! That’s stupid! She was not at fault for what happened!”
“I don’t care about the circumstances! The goods have been damaged and no one wants repaired goods! I seel quality goods so my reputation will get damaged if I were to sell damaged goods!”
Lakshman’s eyes widened in shock. He could not believe his ears that the man was referring to Emilia as if she was some sort of item they buy from shops.
“This is unreasonable, sir. Her injuries have been healed and she is back to full health. Just because she has a few scars on her left arm and hip should not mean that she cannot work here anymore,” Tetra told him in a reasonable voice.
“Hmph! I doubt you will understand, little miss. Nobles and people around guy goods from me and expect them to be high quality. She is no longer the quality I would prefer to sell!”
“This is such a load of rubbish…!” Ondine muttered angrily.
She disliked slavery and, above all, less importance to human life. The man was treating Emilia like she was worth nothing and that stirred Ondine’s anger.
“Isn’t there something that can be done about this?” Lakshman demanded as he stared at the man firmly.
The Slave Dealer looked at Lakshman for a moment. Then he looked towards Emilia for the first time in a while. Seeing his gaze, Emilia flinched and acted as if she wanted to hide.
“Only the hip section and the arm looked scratched… Mmm… If it’s him, I’m sure he will take her,” the Slave Dealer said as he thought aloud.
“Who? Who can take her?” Lakshman asked quickly.
“A cousin of mine runs a Slave Market at Sheifet, the capital of Mardana Kingdom. He accepts any kind of slaves regardless of who they are or what kind of body they have.”
“His cousin runs a Slave Market as well? Gah! I guess it runs in the family!” Lakshman thought angrily.
“M-M-Mardana? No…!” Emilia said and she suddenly looked frightened.
“What’s wrong?” Lakshman asked when he saw the frightened expression on her face.
The Slave Dealer suddenly chuckled and said “Yes. I guess this slave is a little smart for her own good. She will make an excellent addition to my cousin’s additions.”
“Why?” Lakshman asked curiously.
The Slave Dealer looked at him and said “Well…! The people that buy slaves from his Slave Market are usually… ones that have some… certain unique tastes.”
Lakshman did not understand what the Slave Dealer meant by those words, but he certainly did not like the tone he spoke in. He looked at Ondine and Tetra and realised they were looking horrified. Judging from their reactions, he guessed it must be really terrible.
The Slave Dealer clapped his hands twice. From a nearby room, two strongly built people came out. Upon receiving orders from the Slave Dealer, the two grabbed Emilia and started dragging her away.
“No! Please no! I don’t want to be taken to that hellish place!” Emilia shouted as she struggled to break free.
“All slaves say the same thing, but now they are singing a new tune. All of them have changed and understood how beautiful that life really is,” the Slave Dealer said with a wicked smile on his face.
Lakshman watched Emilia being dragged away. Seeing her struggles, he wanted to help, but at the same thing he wondered if he had the right to. She belonged to the Slave Dealer; that was what it meant by being a slave. Emilia has no choice, but to comply with his orders.
Just then, he suddenly realised intense stared directed at him from behind. Looking around, he was startled to see Ondine and Tetra staring at him with serious expressions. In that instant, he realised the girls wanted him to do something.
He was stumped because he had no idea what to do. They could probably talk an alternative for her, but that will still not help.
Wondering about what to do, he suddenly remembered what the Decisive Player had told him.
“Make her your own.”
This was the inner voice that Lakshman had spoken to a while ago in his mind or something. He wanted to believe it to be a dream, but it felt pretty real to hear his voice.
Then he realised she got into this whole mess because of him. So it is only reasonable that he takes responsibility for the action that brought this upon her.
He turned to the Slave Dealer and asked “How much is it?”
“Excuse me?” The Slave Dealer asked in a confused voice.
“I’m asking you how much does she cost!” Lakshman said loudly.
“Well… The prices are usually high for some young and higher for someone older. Then their current ranks get calculated in along with their combat and normal abilities. Since she has been injured, the price will go down, but being a virgin still makes keeps it at a reasonable price.”
Lakshman suddenly slammed the desk with both of his hands, glared at the man and asked “What… is… the… price?!”
“W-Well… Taking in all the… um… debt… It’s about five-thousand-and-eight-hundred gold.”
“Five-thousand-and-eight-hundred gold?!” Ondine and Tetra whispered in shock.
The girls were shocked at the price, but Lakshman was not. He was thinking about something else related to that price.
“Five-thousand-and-eight-hundred gold. That’s the amount Emilia’s life is worth which is basically more than a year’s earnings…” Lakshman thought before letting out a sigh.
He cannot change the system, but he has to live in it. There was no choice, no option or an escape route. All he can do is try his best to live his way without drawing too much attention to himself.
Yet again, Lakshman mentally cursed his powerlessness at how the system has such a powerful grip over them. Then he shook his head to clear away the unnecessary thoughts and pulled out his money bag.
“Here!” Lakshman said as he slammed the money bag on the table.
“Hmm… Let us see. Analyse!” The Slave Dealer said as he aimed his hand at the bag.
For a moment, the bag glowed slightly. Then a puff of smoke suddenly rose up and showed the numbers five-thousand-nine-hundred-and-ninety. The man nodded in satisfaction and pulled out a pouch which he placed beside it.
“Transfer one-hundred-and-ninety,” he said and both glowed slightly before returning to normal.
“Here is your extra money and this is your payment money.”
The man clapped his hands and the two men reappeared. After being ordered, they went away and brought Emilia back to where they were. She was looking confused and a little nervous at the sight of the Slave Dealer.
“You should count yourself, lucky, miss. This noble man decided to buy you!” The Slave Dealer said brightly.
“Eh?!” Emilia said in shock and she quickly turned to look at Lakshman with wide eyes.
Lakshman wordlessly smiled in return.
“Now then! Let us make the arrangements for the Slave Seal. This way please,” the Slave Dealer said and they followed him.
He took them to a separate room which was slightly dank and dark. The Slave Dealer picked up what looked like a stamp and turned around.
“We will require a few drops of your blood to activate the Slave Seal to establish your ownership!” The Slave Dealer told him.
Lakshman was apprehensive, but he nodded anyway. Then he cut his finger and let a few drops fall onto the stamp. It began glowing bright red and the Slave Dealer ordered his men to hold her steady.
Emilia let out a pained voice as the Slave Dealer pressed the stamp onto her bare chest. While this was happening, Ondine had covered Lakshman’s eyes from seeing anything. All he could hear her moaning sounds which made him feel extremely nervous and confused.
“There! The Slave Seal has been imprinted!” The Slave Dealer said cheerfully.
His men let go and Emilia sat down weakly. She was breathing a little quickly as the pain from imprinting the Slave Seal subsided. Then, with the help of Tetra, she rose to her feet.
“T-Thank you,” she whispered to them to which they just smiled at her.
“Thank you for buying from us and we hope to see you again!” The Slave Dealer said before they parted.
They stepped out of the Slave Market and into the bright sunlight. Emilia had a bag full of her belongings which the Slave Dealer’s men had prepared while the imprinting was being done.
“Here! Let me carry that!” Lakshman said and he attempted to take the bag from her hand.
“No, no! I can carry this on my own! I’m fine!” Emilia said quickly.
“Master! No! The master is not supposed to carry the belongings of a slave!” Ondine said severely.
“Eh? But I carry your stuff all the time.”
Ondine leaned closer to his ear and whispered “No one here knows about me being a Slave Spirit! So please try to act mainly and like an owner!”
“Eh…? Sounds annoying to me,” Lakshman said, but he decided to do it when she looked at him with a serious expression on her face.
“U-Um… Why did you do that?” Emilia asked them.
Correctly guessing what she was referring to, Lakshman smiled at her and said “My rash decision got you into trouble. So it’s my responsibility to take care of it. Dad always told me a man is not a man if he doesn’t take responsibilities of his actions!”
“Yes, but please remember that your father impregnated your mother before they got married!” Ondine said severely.
“Y-Yes, but it still makes sense!” Lakshman said quickly.
Ondine placed a hand to her face and sighed. Watching this, Tetra began to laugh and Lakshman indignantly told her to stop. Just then. Ondine made a comment which caused them to burst out laughing.
Emilia watched them laughing and felt something stir within her. She did not understand what it was, but she knew they are people that she can be happy with.
In her brief life as a slave, every master she had never smiled at her. So seeing her new master smiling at her suddenly made her feel really happy.
Out of pure emotions, tears appeared in her eyes and caused Lakshman to panic.
“Hey, hey! Please don’t cry! Everyone will think I did something!” He quickly said.
“Master! You are such bad boy!” Tetra said cheekily.
“Will you please stop teasing me?” Lakshman instantly said to them. As they chuckled, he sighed and turned around to smile at Emilia as he said “Anyway! Let’s get going!”
Feeling fortunate for the turn of events in her favour, she smiled brightly and said “Yes!”