The slave market was bustling.
I sat down at the back of the hall and looked at the slaves. This time’s market was full of sex slaves and soldiers, I couldn’t spot anyone suitable for our needs.
After a short break, it was a time for crime slaves to take the stage. I don’t plan to pay a special attention to this section. That being said, it’s not like there is a zero possibility of Mei-level individuals to appear. I shouldn’t overlook him.
A while after the start, the stage turned noisy for some reason. It seems that a female crime slave went on a rampage. After a while, three slaves were dragged out to the stage but once I saw them, I received a great shock.
……The idiot heroes of the cat tribe.
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The female cat is always crying. The men had swollen faces as if they just received a beating. All three wore some tattered clothes.
「Well then, number 16. A man of the cat tribe, 16 years old; a woman of the cat tribe, 15 years old; a man of the cat tribe, 17 years old. Let’s start with 5000G! 」
Unexpectedly, there was no response. In this still atmosphere, a certain noble-looking man raised his token.
「Is there anyone else? Anyone? 」
I raised my voice before I noticed.
「10000G! Is there anyone else? Anyone?……Then, the final price is 10000G! 」
We didn’t wait for the end of the event and went outside.
「Rinos, why did you buy those cat tribe people?」
「Don’t you remember, Rico? He is the cat that claimed to be a hero and caused a mess in the palace」
「There was such a thing. Are they truly those people? 」
「I don’t think I’m wrong」
I headed towards the room where people collected their purchases. After a while, we were approached by a strange-looking slave trader.
「Thank you for your purchase. Let’s complete the procedures right away」
The man said so and led us to another room.
In the same way as with Mei, I paid the money and provided my blood. Immediately after, those idiot cats were brought inside. Different from their tattered clothes from before, the men wore shirts and the woman wore one piece. They stood in a row as my blood was put on their arms and legs. Once the trader chanted the spell, my arm glowed.
「With this, the contract has been completed. If those slaves’ performance isn’t to your satisfaction, please do not hesitate to visit us as we can buy them back」
Saying that, the man gave me something like a business card and left the room.
「Thank you for purchasing us this time. We shall perform our duty with utmost effort」
「Aren’t you become quite fluent for an idiot cat」
The cats took a closer look at me.
「Ah! You’re that imprudent person from before! 」
The woman raised her voice.
「You sure have a hobby of bringing trouble upon yourself. Well, me meeting you again can be considered fate. It’s hard to talk here, let’s go outside」
We took the idiot cats, took Sonya and Ange, who were waiting for us outside, and went to the restaurant in the hotel.
「You must be hungry. You can order whatever you want」
However, the slaves seemed to hesitate. Without any other choice, I ordered the same thing that I ordered for myself.
「Still, how did you manage to become crime slaves?」
「i had a dispute with a local lord. At that time, I hurt the Lord and his retainers」
「Uwa~ This is~」
「That’s why they have so many bruises」
Apparently, the idiot cats had a hard time after separating from me. They traveled from one village to another, occasionally being deceived by people, occasionally being attacked by monsters, he said. When they reached a certain city, they were forced to join a massive monster subjugation operation. There, Willis, with his somewhat reliable sword arts, and Shera, with her healing magic, proved to be of a great use. With this as a reason, they decided to settle down in that city, Willis lived working as an escort or a guard for the merchants, Shera opened a healing business, and Yuriel made use of his education to open something like a school to teach kids how to read and write.
Since they weren’t particularly greedy, they earned just enough to sustain the three of them, Shera and Yuriel often helped for nearly nothing. As a result, they were greatly appreciated by the residents and spent their days fulfilled.
However, the Lord of the town had his eyes on Shera and wanted her to become his concubine.  Of course, he was adamantly rejected by all three of them but the Lord was rather persistent. And after they hardened their resolve and tried to leave the town, they were ambushed by the Lord and his people. As a result, Willis hurt the Lord’s retainers as Shera and Yuriel hurt the Lord when he tried to capture them. Following that, they were deemed criminals and were sent to be sold in the capital.
「Working for the sake of people, receiving their gratitude. It was a fulfilling life but we ended up like this. It seems that we don’t have much luck in our lives」
「There is no way that’s true. Being bought by Rinos can be considered you good luck」
「The First Princess of the Hideta Empire, Ricolette」
「Ah, that tyrannical woman from before!」
「Shera! Watch your mouth! 」
Willis shut her mouth before everyone managed to react. Well, isn’t he became a good big brother.
「Judging by the fact that you call Master as Rinos and your attitude towards him…..」
「Yes, Rinos and I had a wedding」
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「Ma-Marriage? Eh? Why? I was sure that he became a servant of Princess-sama…….」
After that, I told them about the events that led to our marriage.
「For such things to happen…..That being said, Master is amazing. Taking the First Princess as a wife, becoming an Honorary Marquis, managing the Second Prince’s territory……」
「If you understand this much then it’s enough. You’ve experienced a lot. If something doesn’t work, you can just try again. Still, you have grown quite a bit. It should work out with the current you」
「It was truly hard on us. But we were helped by a lot of people. Master wasn’t wrong when we were told to talk to people more」
And while everyone was enjoying the desserts, I talked about the future
「I want you to manage a store for me. Sonya and Ange will take care of the store that sells barrier magic stones. People from the army often visit that place, you shouldn’t try to take it easy. And Willis’ group will manage an ingredient store. It’s scheduled to open this autumn, so be prepared. Of course, as the fellow storekeepers, you should help each other out when the other side can’t handle it」
Everyone silently nodded.
「You shall live in the stores. However, it will take about two days to prepare a living environment, so you will stay in this hotel until then. Meanwhile, you should gather your daily necessities. Of course, you also need to buy some clothes. I will leave all the money with Gon, tell him if you need something. I’ll leave it to you, Gon」
On the next day, the five slaves went around the capital with Gon to buy all kinds of things.
As a result, I was forced to give up on creating the living quarters in the store that sells barrier magic stones due to its size. On the other hand, the warehouse had a second floor, which we decided to use instead. There is still plenty of space left even with the five of them. However, as I was worried what should I do about the kitchen and the toilet, Willis and the rest ended up buying the material themselves and making one. They might have developed it during their travels. Those guys may be surprisingly dependable.
Soon enough, Sonya and her daughter received the store from Luara and started working. There were no particular problems and it’s still functioning properly. On the contrary, since there were no more times when the store was closed due to my whims, we received an especially positive response from the merchants. In addition, Sonya can be considered a beauty. She obtained a certain popularity amongst some of the army men and merchants.
Although the warehouse was still under construction, the preparations, such as dividing the warehouse into the storage zone and selling zone, were steadily progressing. We are selling the harvested crops and vegetables through the stall that we set up outside the warehouse. This can serve as an advertisement until the store is opened, if people remember the taste, the opening will be destined to succeed, suggested Willis. I accepted his proposal and, starting from Kairiku, set up the teleportation barriers leading to the storage zone. And in the storage zone itself, I set up a refrigerating barrier trying to keep the goods fresh as long as possible.
Although there isn’t much to sell at the moment, Willis’ store is prosperous. Fortunately, there are plenty of people waiting for an official opening. As a consequence of his hardships, Willis developed a certain charm to him, creating a good impression on the customers.
From this point on, I’m going to stop calling them「idiot cats」.
- She is totally a cat, though. ↩