Quite a few familiar faces from the Christmas Special have started to pop up…
Chapter 131: Where We Met
“Where do you plan to head next?” (Rafatalia)
“I think I have to see the guy I don’t want to meet.” (Naofumi)
“W-where would that be?” (Rishia)
Rafatalia looks at the path I’m following. She seems to understand. She holds back a sigh.
I’m surprised she could guess from that sentence. Is she an esper?
… I guess she had saw it coming when I obtained the land.
“Are you selling Firo?” (Firo)
“Is that man really that scary?” (Naofumi)
Firo seems to understand as well. She looks at me with the eyes of an abandoned puppy.
Firo usually acts quite carefree, but I guess she got a trauma from this place.
Though I think she could kill that man instantly if she set her mind to it.
Is it that phenomena where an elephant has his leg tied to a tree as a child, so he doesn’t try to run away as an adult? (TL: See Baby Elephant Syndrome)
It might be something like that.
“Calm down, I’m not selling anyone.” (Naofumi)
“I got it…” (Firo)
“Eh? Wha?” (Rishia)
Rishia… she’s a noble so she probably knows.
Granted, a fallen noble. There is also a chance she doesn’t.
I head down a back street and end up in front of the ever-so-familiar tent.
“My, my…” (Slave Dealer)
The slave dealer, who I don’t want to meet, greets me with a bored expression.
If you think about it, there are very few people who would go out to buy slaves in the middle of the day.
This person is more famous in the town as a Monster Merchant.
“If it isn’t the Hero of the Shield. It’s been quite a while. I’ve heard much about your victory.” (Slave Dealer)
“Yeah, it’s been a while.” (Naofumi)
“I was sure you had forgotten about me.” (Slave Dealer)
“I wouldn’t be able to forget about a shady character like you even if I tried.” (Naofumi)
It’s quite hard to forget this man. He has a sort of unique aura.
It’s a feeling similar to the accessory merchant.
I guess he needs to act like that to run this business.
The last time I was here was when I came to purchase Firo’s claws. It was around the time I was forbidden from using Class Up.
At that time, I had tried to escape to Silt Welt or Shield Freiden to Class Up Firo and Rafatalia.
I believe that this man had some connection to the Queen… Though he has never personally met her.
“You’ve been quite busy. I didn’t think you would have dubious ties to this country’s government.” (Naofumi)
“That doesn’t change the fact that I approached the Hero of the Shield because I found him interesting.” (Slave Dealer)
“Yes, I’m aware of that.” (Naofumi)
“Now then, how can I help you today?” (Slave Dealer)
“It’s about your real profession.” (Naofumi)
“Oh!” (Slave Dealer)
The Slave Dealers eyes sparkle for a moment.
What are you so excited about. Don’t think it will be easy to short-change me.
Is he happy that a famous person like me is fighting with his slaves?
While this is a fact, that doesn’t mean they are powerful because I bought them from you, you know.
“What price range are you looking in?” (Slave Dealer)
Currently, I have 5000 silver coins remaining of what the Queen gave me.
I’ll need the old man to make some more weapons, so I shouldn’t spend to frivolously here.
“For now, I would like to purchase some Demi-Human slaves around the price of 3000 Silver Coins. If possible, I would like them to be of low level.” (Naofumi)
“What do you plan to use them for?” (Slave Dealer)
“Why do I need to tell you?” (Naofumi)
“I know. You acquired some land and need some slaves there.” (Slave Dealer)
“I think I’ve said this before, but don’t ask for things you already know.” (Naofumi)
Really, how much does this person know… If he told me he could see the future, I might believe him.
“Please come over here.” (Slave Dealer)
The Slave Dealer leads me to the back of the tent.
As we start to follow him, Firo stops us.
“What is it?” (Naofumi)
“… I don’t want to go.” (Firo)
It seems the darkness of the tent and the smells are setting off her trauma.
I’m already used to it, but I know it isn’t a nice scent.
“Do you want to wait over there?” (Naofumi)
Fir nods as she stumbles towards the monster egg display.
You know Firo, that’s where we first met you.
Don’t eat those, I warn her, as I continue to follow the Slave Dealer.
“Um… What are we looking for?” (Rishia)
“We’re going to get people in positions similar to yours.” (Naofumi)
“Even though fallen, you’re still a noble, aren’t you? And before Itsuki saved you, you were in a similar situation weren’t you? Please read the situation.” (Naofumi)
This country has an active slave trade. Nobles and other rich folk should be well aware of its existence.
Why is Rishia so surprised?
Is she unexpectedly quite dense?
“T-this is a… I never noticed.” (Rishia)
“But they don’t deal in human trade.” (Naofumi)
“I see…” (Rishia)
We follow the slave dealer, and end up near the cages where I first saw Rafatalia.
“… This is where my fate changed…” (Rafatalia)
I am also reminiscing about that time.
Though it wasn’t that long ago, it feels like years have passed.
“Let me pick out some slaves that are within your budget. I’ll even give you a slight discount.” (Slave Dealer)
“How generous.” (Naofumi)
“I hear you are starting up quite an interesting town. It’s quite exiting! Perhaps you will become my best customer after this.” (Slave Dealer)
“Well… I just come to fulfill my needs.” (Naofumi)
“Though business may seem to be slow today, I have already earned a large profit from The Hero of the Shield’s fame.” (Slave Dealer)
“What do you mean by that?” (Naofumi)
“During negotiations, if I bring up your name, they expect their new slaves to turn out like your companions. Even if I overcharge, they seem to knowingly accept it.” (Slave Dealer)
Rafatalia did earn herself quite a bit of fame during the last battle.
She outclassed the entire continental army in ability. If people learned this is the place that sold her, I guess business will improve greatly.
“Ah, besides those, there is also another type of slave I wish to purchase.” (Naofumi)
“What may you be interested in?” (Slave Dealer)
In response to the Slave Dealer’s question, I turn my focus to Rafatalia.
I approach her head on and put my arm on her shoulder.
“W-what is it?” (Rafatalia)
“Rafatalia, is there anyone here from the village you used to live in? I don’t care about the price, pick anybody you recognize.” (Naofumi)
Rafatalia widens her eyes in surprise.
“U-um… Are you really okay with that?” (Rafatalia)
“What are you saying at this point in time? Employing people who used to live in that land is the most efficient option for reconstruction. They might have to fight a bit, but our main objective for now is resettling the land.” (Naofumi)
Rafatalia probably has the wish to go back to the village she used to live in tucked in somewhere in her heart.
It occurred to me when I visited the graveyard with Rafatalia. I need to work hard so that when I leave this world, Rafatalia will still have a place to call home. Even if I’m gone…
Of course that isn’t my only reason.
Rafatalia’s former village is on the sea, and if you walk a few hours from it, you can reach the mountains
As people used to live there, the ground is relatively level and ready for agriculture.
It’s the perfect area for testing various things.
(TL: It’s perfect for both farming and Farming)
Because of the wave, I won’t be kicking anyone out of their homes either.
“Oh, Slave Dealer, can you ask around the store you got Rafatalia at? I’m willing to buy back slaves from nobles if I must. They’ll probably be willing to part with them if you mention the Hero of the Shield.” (Naofumi)
My popularity is rising in this country. There’s no reason I shouldn’t use that.
“You plan to motivate your slaves by giving them their previous homes, all while putting them to work? The thought process of the Shield intrigues me! I understand. I’ll ask around.” (Slave Dealer)
“Now then, Rafatalia, do you see any familiar faces?” (Naofumi)
“… Please give me a moment.” (Rafatalia)
On a side note, that silk hat… he seems to jump on board any idea I suggest.
I’m scared of his ulterior motives. I’ll investigate his movements later.
The Slave Dealer shows Rafatalia around the cages containing the slaves, and she carefully examines each individual one.
“-Found one!” (Rafatalia)
So there was one.
Rafatalia is pointing her finger at a Demi-Human child… It’s a man with dog-like features. His age seems to be around 10. He’s a little larger than Rafatalia was when I first met her.
“You’re Kiel-kun, right?” (Rafatalia)
“…Who are you? Why do you know my name?” (Kiel)
So he wasn’t listening to our previous conversation.
“You forgot my face? I might have gotten a bit bigger, but I’m Rafatalia.” (Rafatalia)
The boy named Kiel looks quite surprised.
“That’s a lie. The Rafatalia-chan I knew was smaller than me, and she isn’t as beautiful as you. Though she was kinda cute…” (Kiel)
Kiel says this as if talking about a deceased person.
“Then I’ll prove to you I’m the real thing. Two months before that incident happened, you were looking for a pretty shell to give Father for his birthday so you dived into the ocean. You almost drowned, so Sadina jumped in to rescue you and together, you…” (Rafatalia)
“…Eh!? Are you really… Rafatalia-chan?” (Kiel)
“That’s right, and after that, remember when you accidentally ate a poison mushroom you found in the field, messed up your stomach, and hid to avoid being scolded? You told me to keep it a secret when I found you. You had even wet your pa-” (Rafatalia)
“Wai-! Yes! I believe you! You’re Rafatalia-chan.” (Kiel)
Memories from the past? How charming.
But the contents seem to be quite embarrassing.
“Rafatalia-chan. Why did you become so big… so pretty?” (Kiel)
“You know, I am currently the slave of the Hero of the Shield.” (Rafatalia)
“Naofumi-sama is quite a trustworthy person. And by his request, I am currently searching for the people who used to live in our village.” (Rafatalia)
“D-do you mean me? Can I finally go back home?” (Kiel)
“Yes, but… You will be employed as Naofumi-sama’s slave, and put to work. I guarantee he won’t do anything evil, though. Do you want to come with us?” (Rafatalia)
The child Kiel fidgets and blinks a lot as he listens to Rafatalia’s request.
His face is slightly pale.
“Is the Hero of the Shield that man over there?” (Kiel)
Kiel stares at me.
What’s with that attitude.
“That’s right. He might have an evil look around his eyes, and he might have a habit of smiling cynically whenever something bad happens to the people he dislikes, but he’s a good person.” (Rafatalia)
“Are you even trying to persuade him?” (Naofumi)
She seems to be casually throwing in complaints against me. She’s grown to be quite confident.
But trying to persuade someone with those words is impossible.
If it were me, those words would make me even more cautious.
If I heard those words, I would think that Rafatalia had been brainwashed by a shady person.
… It hurts that her complaints are right on the mark.
“He’s the hero that saved this country. Don’t you know about him?” (Rafatalia)
“Now that you mention it, it has been getting noisy as of late… Will I really be able to go back to that village?” (Kiel)
“Yeah. Your mother and father… won’t be there, but if we work hard together, we can rebuild that village.” (Rafatalia)
“…I understand.” (Kiel)
Kiel nods and grabs Rafatalia’s outstretched hand.
“I’ll add him to your purchase, Please continue to pick out slaves with that girl.” (Slave Dealer)
“I’ll need to prepare a few things in regards to that matter. Leave that to us.” (Naofumi)
“Fufufu, I feel that it will be getting interesting around here.” (Slave Dealer)
“Let’s go, Rishia.” (Naofumi)
“How wonderful…Yes!” (Rishia)
Rishia follow closely with teary eyes.
Does Rishia not do well with these sort of stories? She seems like she would be an avid reader.
(TL: I believe Rishia is crying for joy at Kiel and Rafatalia reuniting)
Firo suddenly runs over.
“Are you done yet?” (Firo)
“Oh right… Firo, there’s a favor I would like to ask of you.” (Naofumi)
“Please take Rishi and go level grind for a bit. Go hunt until you feel satisfied.” (Naofumi)
Firo’s eyes sparkle and Rishia lets out a confused sound.
What is so surprising?
Did you forget about wanting to get stronger?
“I’m going have to train my newly attained slaves anyways, so this will be good practice. Also, I will be troubled if Rishia stays at level 1 for too long.” (Naofumi)
“B-but how am I supposed to train with Firo-san?” (Rishia)
“Don’t worry, you just have to ride Firo and make sure you don’t fall off. You’ll still gain EXP. Firo’s carriage is a rough vehicle to ride, you may need to train yourself. Rafatalia went down this road herself. This is killing two birds in one stone.”
It’s a leveling strategy often used in online games. It’s also used in various console RPGs.
A high level character fights with minimal support from a low-level one.
If I leave it to Firo, things should turn out just fine.
“Then, Firo will be off~!” (Firo)
Firo turns into her monster form, grabs Rishia and throws her on her back. She then proceeds to sprint out of the tent.
Rishia’s scream of terror fades into the distance.
“Now then…” (Naofumi)
I put on a cloak and leave the tent.
There are some other places I need to stop too.