The Story of Hero Among Heroes ch.152

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Chapter 152 – A certain slave’s story

My name is Lotte. I was sold as a slave in the Royal Capital.

I was made a slave by the bandits.


One day, bandits raided the village where we lived in, kidnapped me and a few friends in the process.

Those who resisted were killed one after another as an example. 

With each kill, our will to resist continued to wane.

The bandits not only robbed the gold, but they also captured the rest of the villagers that didn’t fight back. Yes… all of us were sold as slaves.

We couldn’t do anything but cry.

And without question, we were sold to the slave traders soon after.

But my fate… well, I guess one can say that it’s the turning point of my life.

======

There are various reasons why someone could become a slave.

Kidnapped by bandits, like us, for instance. Some were unfortunate people captured during wars. Some were trapped by loan sharks, unable to pay their debt. Each one tends to have different reasons. 

I often heard stories… That slave traders not only aimed for women only, but they also sometimes willingly took an entire family.

Men can do hard labor while children and old people can still do menial tasks.

Some even said that strong warriors and adventurers are not exempt from enslavement. 

The only way for a slave to release themselves from enslavement is to buy themselves back from their owner. But that’s near impossible.

Slaves also receive wages. That’s the established rule within this country. But the amount of wages is decided by the master, so it’s like trying to water the entire desert with a trickle of water. The slave masters will not let go of the slaves they’ve bought so easily.

In the end, slaves had barely any human rights. Nothing more than the master’s 『property』so to speak. 

=====

We were taken to the Royal Capital, where we had to wait for a buyer. I would never forget this period of time.

In the darkness, I saw a little kid weeping inside her mother’s embrace. They must’ve been brought here by another seller. When I thought so… I felt like I couldn’t hold back my feelings anymore. I knew full well that my future seemed grim. No, I thought that I knew where my path would lead to, but I only got to know it because it was『made clear』…  

One day, a few days after being brought to the capital, the slave trader came to our room with a wide smile on his face.

[Oi, your buyer has been decided.]

That one line made my mood become darker. Ah, it’s been decided… he said.

But of course, I didn’t know yet… that this very person would be the one to bring us out from the darkness. 

=====

To my surprise, I wasn’t the only one being bought. The same buyer had also bought everyone from my village that were enslaved in addition to those who fell into slavery due to poverty. Yes, he actually bought all of us…. He also bought some former adventurers, but more importantly to me, he made sure to also buy the slaves’ family members, if any. 

[No, I should be the one thanking you here. Thank you for your continued patronage…]

I could see the slave trader bowing his head politely. When I got out of the room, I got a glimpse of the person who bought me. He was accompanied by several warrior-like men and women. What bothered me was that these people wore matching white cloth on their arms.

Are they our masters-to-be? Or maybe… it’s not something I should see…?

[However… is it really alright like this? If it’s sex slaves, I have a better female slave for that role. There are also stronger former adventurers in our store, you know?]

I could hear the slave trader speaking.

[That woman, she likes to do whatever she wants, be it scamming people or orchestrating robbery. I’m not interested in that kind of person. I still want to keep my head attached after all. About the adventurers, I’ve done a background check on them because I’m not going to buy someone who I cannot trust.]

One of the warrior-like people spoke in response. 

[Ahh… is that why you chose to buy a whole village with their entire families…? You guys are still as mysterious as ever. Well, not that I’m complaining since to me, you are a good buyer.]

Having said that, the slave trader proceeded with the procedures.

[Ah, by the way, do you have any idea about the bandits who sold them to you…?]

[Nn? Sure I do. Well, please keep it a secret that I told you, okay? For my safety…]

That was the last thing I heard from them. Soon afterward, we were brought into a carriage and spent quite a while inside.

=====

To my surprise, we weren’t the only slaves being bought by this group of people. There were several more carriages outside… and most of them looked full. Just how rich are they to be able to buy this many…? I estimated that the total number was enough to populate a big village.

The carriages travelled for a while before stopping on a meadow. Here, everyone was told to unboard the carriage. This was where we realized just how many slaves were gathered there.

Then, one of the warrior-like people…stepped forward and spoke to us.

[Ahー….everyone, please listen…. Ah, dammit. I’m not good at speaking to the crowd like this…]

[It can’t be helped. Flik, our usual spokesperson, is out to deal with the kidnapper bandits. And it’s been decided by lottery, so you have no right to complain.] 

A long haired woman spoke from the side.

[Gaah, I know it already. Wellー, we are from the Schwarzer Frontier Territory. All of us will now head to the Frontier area.]

Schwarzer Frontier Territory!

That same frontier territory that belonged to the Schwarzer’s hero?

Currently, he’s the most well known aristocrat in the Arcadia Empire, having become a hot topic since his rise to fame.

But the Frontier territory… formerly known as Grants Principality, was known as an underdeveloped land full of barbarians.

[Ah, no worries. We guarantee your safety on this trip. It’ll be alright.]

Having said that, the warrior-like man smiled in reassurance. Ah, a kid just cried after seeing him smile….

[…Oi, why is he crying after I smiled…?]

[Because he’s scared of you, of course? Good grief. Baran is really useless in times like this.]

[Shaddap… Karina. Arrgh… I feel like I wanna cry as well…]

Ignoring the depressed looking man, the long haired woman stood up and approached the kid, stroking his head. 

[Anyways, your safety is guaranteed. Believe in us. If there is a problem, feel free to tell us. Like… that woman over there, why does your face look so pale…?]

The woman pointed at the family sitting in front of me… at the mother to be exact.

The entire family instantly had their face turned blue and they promptly bowed their heads.

[I…it’s alright! My wife can also work! Please, spare my wife!]

[I don’t wanna be separated from mom! Please!]

[Pwease!]

Even the little ones desperately bowed.

They looked pathetic… but there’s nothing we can do here.

I heard that unusable slaves, usually because they’re sick, are often thrown away. Not only are they unusable, they could also infect the other healthy slaves. The owner would want to reduce the damage since the slaves aren’t exactly cheap.

[Ha? Did I say something wrong?]

The long haired woman looked embarrassed after seeing how the family reacted.

[I mean… I just wanted to give you this potion. You can’t travel long distances with a sickly condition, right?]

The woman said as she took out a bottle from her pocket.

Potion!? Such an expensive item!?

Back in the village, I only ever saw concoction of herbs being used as medicine. Something as expensive as a potion is nowhere to be seen.

Both the sick wife and her husband were stunned silly.

[Come on now, don’t hesitate. Ah, anyone else who is sick, please don’t hesitate to speak up. The journey will be quite long, you know?]

[Ah… thank you very much!]

[Thank you very much!]

The couple bowed their heads while shedding tears and so did their children.

I… no, most likely all of us felt the same after seeing this… a small glimmer of hope was ignited within our hearts.

=====

The trip took 2 months, but we finally reached the Schwarzer Frontier territory.

The journey was mostly comfortable. We were given enough to eat and there were no monster attacks at all along the way.

Once we entered Grants, the actual frontier territory, we were gathered once more.

This time another man was standing before us. Unlike the previous one, this one didn’t seem to be a warrior.

[Everyone, thank you for all the effort. And welcome to Grants. My name is Sven Knorr. I’m working as an official in Grants.]

All of us bowed after hearing him introducing himself.

[Ah, please don’t act so submissive to me. I would like to ask something to everyone here…]

What the official, Sven-san said was next nothing like we expected.

[We are…to make a village here?]

[That’s right.]

What he proposed to us, was for all of us to work together and make a village.

[For those who have a family, we will provide you all with the land and minimum tools required to build the village, as well as temporary housing and food before the village is completed. All you need to do is build the village… Ah, the security is very good. There are no monsters or bandits around here. So rest assured.]

Mister Official laughed afterward.

[But you do have to obey the law. Since this is a frontier area, we do have our own law here. Also, you are exempt from tax for 2 years. Instead, you’ll be using that period to work here in order to buy yourself out. You should be able to buy your freedom in two years if you work properly. Of course, after that, you’ll have to start paying tax.]

How come there is such a sweet offer? All of us were too surprised to respond.

[If you are a former Adventurer, then please watch over the village. Even if there’s no monster around here, wild animals will still come out. Please follow the instruction of the Village Chief once you all choose one. Also, an Inspector will come to visit from time to time. If any of you have any questions, feel free to ask.]

And finally, the mister Official looked at us.

[As for those who have no family left, please come with us to the city. We will help you find a job there. Looking forward to that.]

And that’s how we started our new life in Grants.

=====

I’m now working in the mansion of Lord of Frontier Ares-sama. Along with me were few fellows that were brought along as slaves back then.

Some of us also worked in other places, such as a Merchant’s house, an Official’s or a General’s mansions. They were treated well in any of those places.

The Lord of the Frontier’s mansion was very cozy.

Aside from Cornelia-sama, the Lord also had several more wives. But they’re all kind and caring.

Two of the Lord’s wives were in charge of leading us, Theta-sama and Maria-sama. Both are kind and hardworking.

Helmut-san, the mansion’s head butler, was always very detailed. He’s a little bit scary at times, but he’s also a kind man. I almost fainted when I first saw the mansion guard Zetos… but I already got used to his appearance by now. He’s quite friendly, despite his appearance, and I often spent my free time talking to him.

And then… there is our Lord, Ares-sama.

When I met Ares-sama for the first time, he said:

[Save your wages, use it to buy yourself up. Obtain your freedom by yourself… don’t rely on other people.] 

I’m almost ready to grab hold to my freedom. But…

I want to stay here『by my own will』even if I’ve regained my freedom. 

Because for me, this mansion where I’m working at right now is where I belonged…

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