The 173th chapter “slave”
After bringing Cosette back to his residence, this big headed guy was still full of curiosity towards Du Wei. However, before Cosette left the union, Deacon Clark clearly warned him to treat Du Wei as his real master from today onwards.
“Just like your teacher.” That was how Clark described it.
Turns out Cosette had a teacher to begin with and his position inside the union is quite good as well. The person is in fact the very same Mage Azrael whom tricked Gargamel in the frozen forest years ago.
Fortunately Cosette’s status among his peers is of no importance, or else why would he be stationed outside as a supervisor for the wand shop? Also, Azrael has plenty of magic apprentices under him already, so missing one or two people like Cosette won’t raise any eyebrows at all.
As of today onwards, Cossette can be considered officially switched into Du Wei’s banner..
“What’s the matter, Cosette?” Du Wei saw that the big headed guy was looking a little odd compared to before, so he kindly asked: “What’s on your mind?”
“No, no, it’s nothing much, teacher Du Wei.” Cosette answered honestly in accordance with the union’s tradition. Contrary to what he intended, Cosette’s respectful words actually made Du Wei frown in displeasure.
“Cosette.” Du Wei stopped in his step and looked at his abducted genius: “I don’t need you to call me teacher.”
“But this is tradition……” Cosette whispered back in reply: “In the union, all magic apprentices are to call the magician whom they swore their allegiance to ‘teacher’.”
“But I am not your teacher.” Du Wei shakes his head: “You are not my student and more importantly, I have nothing to teach you. The reason I brought you back with me is for your brain. If I were to exaggerate my words, I will even need you to teach me things….” Fear filled Cosette’s face.
Du Wei tapped the stiff guy on the shoulder before looking at this big headed genius. With a smile, he then said: “Enough, you will understand in the future. What I value is your gift, so I hope you can help me do many great things in the coming days, okay?”
Then Du Wei no longer cared about the expressions Cosette was making. Pointing a finger to the end of the street in front of them, he continued to speak: “look, my residence is just over there.”
Further in front is Du Wei’s temporary residence. The place originally belonged to the Crown Prince and was rumored to be a place for his highness to hide his mistress. Whether this rumor is true or not is of no importance now.
Above all else, Du Wei was leaving the capital anyways.
It may not be grand like a mansion, but the house was still considerably big by normal standards. When Du Wei first moved into the place, the original servants and guards had long left the place to its own demise after the fall of the Crown Prince. Now living in the house is only the old housekeeper Marde and a couple of servants from the Rowling Household. These people did not want to go back to the Rowling Plains, so their only option was to temporarily stay with Du Wei at the time.
In addition, there is also Vivian, Gargamel, and the heavenly beast QQ in the house.
However, Gargamel and QQ’s existence is still a secret to the rest and only Du Wei is aware of their existence.
Upon reaching the entrance, Du Wei was surprised to find Vivian sitting quietly at the doorway. With her chin cupper against her hands, the girl was in a daze as she pathetically looked at the street corner. Even when Du Wei came up to her, the silly girl is still unaware of his presence.
“Why are you here?” Du Wei laughed as he watched the dazed Vivian sitting on the footsteps.
The truth is Du Wei was quite happy over Vivian’s willingness to come out. Since the day he brought Vivian back from “Brokeback Mountain”, the usually weak willed girl had locked herself up inside a room and refused to come out.
Every day he would go see her a few times, but every time Vivian was silent with grief. Du Wei did try to tease her to get her talking, but the result would always end with the poor girl dripping in tears around the corner of her eyes. Left with no other way, he can only leave her alone in the room to come to terms by herself. As the pain dissipates day by day, the scar will eventually heal with time.
Sure enough, Vivian is finally willing to come out and is even sitting outside the doorway. Delighted by this, Du Wei came up to her and lightly knocked the poor girl on the head. Squinting a smile, he then asked: “Hey! Are you in a trance? Do you not hear my words?”
Vivian lifted her eyes only to blink a couple of times as she looked at Du Wei. When she gradually regained her thoughts, she finally stood up only to find her knees sourly numb. Rubbing them to sooth her legs, Vivian then asked in a whispering voice: “You, you, pass the test?”
The little maiden still looked hurt and weak on the surface, but her voice showed a clear sign of concern for Du Wei.
Smiling, Du Wei’s voice also became softer: “Did you intentionally sit here just to wait for me?”
“I … … I was worried about you.” Vivian’s small cheek began to blush. Lowering her head to hide her embarrassment, she then said: “The ma-magic assessment is very difficult. I’m worried….”
Du Wei patted his chest heavily to show the magic alchemist badge pinned to his shirt: “Rest assured. You see? This is my badge. Now standing before you is a genuinely qualified magician.”
Vivian widened her eyes to stare at the badge. However, before the girl can say a word, Du Wei was already pulling Vivian through the doorway. As the two walked a few steps, Du Wei suddenly turned around to face Cosette: “Why are freezing up? Come in!”
Marde was also quick to come meet them as he furiously ran out from the inside. Upon seeing his faithful servant, Du Wei instructed old Marde to pick a good room for Cosette: “Let him pick a room since there is so many anyways. Aigh, whenever night rolls around, the place becomes deserted ghost house.”
Marde nods in understanding. Just when he was about to back away to carry out his orders, Marde suddenly recalled something: “Master, Miss Rolynn came around today. She said there are some matters about the shop she needs to discuss with you. Although business is good, but she made it clear there is a lack of staff. If possible, she would like you to make an appearance at the shop. From the way she sounded, it would seem she is not satisfied with the two craftsmen in the store…. Also, there is the matter of the quadruplets you sent to help her. It is quite obvious she is not happy with them.”
Du Wei only nodded: “Marde, I understand… … Hmm, you also need to remember one thing. Do not call her Miss Rolynn anymore. Remember, she is a knight. No matter what the occasion is, you are to call her knight Rolynn, remember that? This point is very important.”
Rolynn does indeed have some annoying problems at hand.
Although her boss is on a roll without any signs of declining, and the fact that Du Wei left his entire business operation to her, there is still one major problem: she does not like her work.
In essence, she prefers the job of managing the pirate fleet. At least with the fleet out in sea, there will be adventure and excitement. Even if she couldn’t wear a set of gorgeous gowns every day, she would still rather do that than spend her days handling the hypocritical nobles in the capital.
At the moment, she is still willing to submit to Du Wei’s arrangement. With her intelligence, it wasn’t hard for Rolynn to see through Du Wei’s difficulty of finding more people. Although this little master of hers is rising through the ranks at an immense pace, but too fast may not necessarily be a good thing. Without enough people at hand, this weakness could become a fatal weakness in the future if not solved.
As such, Rolynn is still willing to obey and dedicated herself to managing the business for Du Wei.
As a result of her loyalty, she was able to demonstrate her full capabilities. Though every day she was forced to be beside all those snobby nobles, but unlike before in her adventuring days, she did not have to sacrifice her sex appeal….. Thanks to Du Wei’s image change on her, all Rolynn has to do now is maintain her cold appearance and the nobles would flock to her side like flies.
Very soon, she found herself unable to cope with the ever increasing workload. Though she knew Du Wei was going to the union today for his assessment test, but this clever female knight was confident in her young lord…. It’s a joke actually. She is far too familiar with Du Wei’s method of doing things, so she wasn’t worried in the least. Instead of asking about Du Wei’s test result this morning, she would rather stay in the shop and address some of the issues at hand.
Business is very good currently. In just a few days, the sales have netted 500,000 gold coins for Du Wei. Deducting the expenses upfront, Du Wei’s net worth right now is already in the millions.
Without any middle man to exploit his profit margin, Du Wei can continue to directly import all those goods from the mercenaries in the northern forest. With the freshest of goods and a slightly lower price point, about half of the original shipment brought in by Rolynn was already sold.
To solve this, she had already sent someone to deliver a message to the ships parked at the Enke Port this morning. The reason is to instruct the pirate crews to immediately head back into the north and import more supplies.
After that, Du Wei finally arrived with little Vivian. Since the little maiden is willing to step out of the room, then he cannot let her be stuck at home anymore because walking around is also a good way to calm the heart.
Luckily, Vivian showed great interest in the goods Du Wei was selling. In her view, the goods imported from the northern forest had many uses related to the magic field.
Leaving Vivian behind so that she can slowly pick out what she liked, Du Wei and Rolynn went into a room upstairs to discuss the matters at hand.
Once inside, Rolynn started to explain the more pressing matters at hand.
Firstly, there is a lack of manpower. Since the business is orientated towards the noble and wealthy class, then we must have some well-trained waiters standing by. A nobleman is not your average customer. We can’t just go purchase some slaves from the market and have them work here. If they are not trained properly, then gossip wills naturally spread, or even worse, you might even lose face.
Secondly, there is also the problem with the craftsman’s. All the goods we imported from the north are mostly raw materials that need to be processed. We may have hired extra artisans, blacksmiths, tailors, carpenters, and several engravers to help with the issue, but it is still far from enough.
In order to turn a monster hide into a dress or suit, it requires a highly skilled hand to do it. You can’t just randomly sew some leathers together and call it a day. Also, there is the problem of style. The noble class is very particular about this, and it is very clear we are still insufficient in this department.
There is also the precious monster nucleus in our hand. Although most have been ordered by the union, but there are still some occasional nobles that would come seeking one or two in order to recruit a mage.
Besides all this, there are the weapons too. This subject is what’s giving Rolynn the biggest headache.
At the moment, the current materials reserved in the warehouse are all first class goods. However, the two blacksmiths under us is too average. Aside from the lack of staff, the two mediocre blacksmith actually damaged some of the earth dragon scales while they were processing it. Not only is the heat insufficient during their forging process, It was utterly shameful when I tested one of the blades. When I knocked one of slender blades against the anvil to test its sturdiness, the blade actually broke apart!
The truth is the two blacksmiths has been very hard at work, but their talent is simply too lacking. In their time, they came in contact with numerous weapons, but never once in their life did they come across so many good things.
All these points are just the icing on the cake. What really upset Rolynn the most is in fact the quadruplets!
Once valued in the millions, the quadruplets should be serving Du Wei after being gifted to him. However, the moment he brought the girls home, he immediately tossed them into Rolynn’s hand.
Du Wei’s thinking is very simple. He hopes to continue the development of his business and if possible, start producing some magic tools in the future! Mages are never short on money. No matter the rank or level, large numbers of nobles would gladly line up to shower these people with gifts and money. As such, this special grouping of people in society is the best type of consumer.
Not only are his goods from the north very suitable for crafting magic items, Du Wei also understands that just selling raw materials is far inferior to selling finished products! Sometime, the profits will double or even triple! Unfortunately for him though, a magic tool is not something ordinary craftsmen’s can produce.
On the Roland continent, there is a profession called “magic craftsman” specializing in making magic tools like wands, crystal balls, and in rare cases, magic scrolls! The number of people in this grouping isn’t very large, in fact, it’s miniscule. Despite their small numbers, their occupation is rather unique and hard to come by.
Well, Du Wei did know where to find some of these people, but most of them already belonged to the magic union. In the magic craftsmen profession, a small portion of these people are in fact themselves magicians. In order to supply themselves with enough items for self-consumption, they will only create small batches at a time. In rare occasions, one or two of these items would end up circulating through the market. As for the rest of the people in this profession, most of them are of magic apprentice origin. Due to their lack of talent, many of them are forever unable to become a true mage, thus, forcing them to seek out a path for survival in the world of magic.
Hence the quadruplets. Du Wei’s hope is that these girls will use their knowledge in the magic field to become his money making machine.
It is obvious Du Wei’s value outlook on these girls are completely different from most men’s.
If changed to any other noble, those lustful beasts would have already locked these rare beauties inside a room and refused to let them out.
“To be perfectly blunt your lordship, I ask you to take these four away with you!”
Rolynn is very blunt in her words: “They are not here to help me! Every day I would even need to break up some of my people to serve them! Humph……”
Du Wei frowns: “There is such a thing?”
What came next is Rolynn narratively explaining her encounters in the past few days.
It turns out it wasn’t just Rolynn being depressed, the quadruplets were also depressed. Since little, the four girls were already considered rare beauties. After being bought by Sir Biliaibuer, the guy spared no expense to train and give the girls ample knowledge in magic. His expectation is simple, “design the girls from the grounds up so they can entertain men in the future.”
Even back in the years under Sir Biliaibuer, the standard of living for the quadruplets could even rival a lady from a small noble household.
At the first the girls were still pleased over the fact that they were given to Du Wei. After all, he is young, handsome, and with a powerful background. To top it all off, Du Wei even became a Duke!
The girls originally thought that if they can use their sex appeals and obtain Du Wei’s love, then they would be able to transform from a peacock to phoenix.
Unfortunately, Du Wei never even laid a finger on them before throwing the girls into Rolynn’s hand!
To the girls, the most annoying thing is Rolynn! This rude, cold hearted woman is daring enough to tell them to work!
Listening to Rolynn’s story, Du Wei became gloomy. He took one look at Rolynn’s eyes before speaking: “So you can’t take them on? Knight Rolynn, I am very disappointed in you! You managed to pack a bunch of unruly pirates away before, but now, you can’t even handle four little girls?”
She started to look a bit awkward: “… … These ladies are after all sent from your side, I…..”
Du Wei immediately understands Rolynn’s worry. With a smile, he then said: “You can rest assured that they are not my woman; I also don’t intent to let them be my woman! Now are you assured? Since I sent them to you, they are under your control! If they still won’t listen, then you can handle them as you please!”
Rolynn lets out a long sigh because she is finally relieved.
Looking at the female Knight’s face, Du Wei secretly laughed inside: and with that, it is expected the quadruplets will be suffering quite the bitter experience in the coming days.
After a moment of hesitation, Du Wei then said: “The problem of manpower cannot be fixed quickly. The only solution we have before us to slowly find one from afar. In the capital, no one is going to impart their skilled craftsman to us willingly. We could go rob them, but that would mean offending the other party. Though they wouldn’t openly retaliate considering my status, but it would be a whole different matter after I leave. Therefore, its best not try any offending things!”
“But all good craftsmen’s are already with a Lord, where are we going to find one then?” Rolynn sighed in frustration.
“Its true things aren’t working out. The only dumb option left for us is to produce one.”
Du Wei also shakes his head: “But the cost is too much and long with a slow effect. Let’s first put the Craftsmen issue aside for now, and then I will slowly come up with a solution…. Hmm, it’s still early, lets first head over to the slave market in the city. Maybe we can get lucky and find some proper manpower.”
Roland continent’s slavery policy had long been opposed by the temple for the past millennium.
Of course, in Du Wei’s view, this is not the Temple being noble. Instead, it was because the temple had no way of cutting a share in the huge profit margin.
Although the continent may seem peaceful on the surface for hundreds of years, but the expeditions into the southeastern sea and small outbreak of rebellions had produced tons of prisoners…. This was especially true in the recent expeditions out in sea. Originally, the booty was still large and grand to make it profitable, but as time pressed on, the amount of goods started to dwindle down to nothing. As such, the only thing left to pillage is the indigenous tribes themselves.
Southeast Asia, there are often small outbreaks of rebellion in the Northwest, after the military conquest of the Empire, always appears as a lot of prisoners … … Especially the South Pacific Expedition fleet, expedition came back at a time, will bring back a large number of booty … … Much of which was captured on the large islands from Southeast Asia to the indigenous.
With that, it became the trend for the slave market to be flooded with the indigenous tribes from the southeast. According to a recent census, it is estimated there is more than 8,000 slaves from the southeastern island. Some of which has been living in the capital for many years and in some cases, they are even second generations.
Of course, there are many slaves that is of freemen origin. Due to being improvised and unable to survive on their own, some of these men and women would sell themselves to a willing master. In addition, there are the prisoners of war from the several outbreaks of rebellions in the empire.
Aside from all the previous cases, there is a special classification of slaves called “official slaves”. These people are usually from some ruined noble household. For example: in the recent coup of the crown prince, many people that partook in the event was convicted and was revoked of their free citizen status. Thus is their fate of being sold as salves in the market.
Funny thing is, the biggest slave company in the capital did not belong to any random person; rather, it was a direct department of the imperial government! It just so happens that the place is located in the west side of the slave market where a large portion of the “official slaves” is being sold.
As such, the yearly income from this business is bringing in quite the large sum for the imperial court.
And the reason the Temple is so discontented is because they couldn’t take a slice of this big cake!
The capital’s slave trade is mostly concentrated on the South Western part of the city. Inhabited by more than 900,000 citizens, this area accounted for almost half of the population in the imperial capital.
This thousand meter long street wasn’t just for slave trading, it is also a place for people to seek work.
In other words, this is similar to the “labor market” in Du Wei’s past life.
At the end of the street, a square was connected to it. Originally, a fountain with a luxurious statue is centered in the middle, but due to popular demand, the place was revamped for business many decades ago. In its stead, multiple platforms were built to be used for slave trading.
Above the square, several tall platforms were used as the center to gather crowds and onlookers. In its mix, many were merchants that came from afar with hopes of hitting it big when they go back. Of course, there are some servants from certain noble houses that came to buy in fresh blood for their masters.
Standing on the platforms are some slavers with whips in hand. Just about every one of these people is protected with strongly built guards for their security. Behind these heartless people are cages. Chained and kept against their will, many men and woman are bound behind bars, ready to be sold to the highest bidder. These poor souls are the recent batch of slaves brought in from elsewhere. Because they are still unwilling to accept their fate of being slaves for the rest of their lives, the slavers are forced to keep them behind cages.
While the other slaves on the high platform remained still, their faces were already pale and their eyes hollow without life. These people had long surrendered to fate and accepted their life of chain and servitude. Therefore, the only thing needed to bind them is a thin rope around the neck.
Even the slavers were daring enough to constantly move over to the slaves just to squeeze the face and mouths of their product. The reason is prove to the customers that their products had no problems or disease. Like beasts, these poor souls did nothing and fully heartedly accepted their destiny.
Disguising themselves in common wear, Du Wei and Rolynn mixed into the crowd without arousing the attention of others.
Through the efforts of Rolynn leading the way, the two finally managed to squeeze through the crowd.
In addition to the slave stands on the sides of the road, there are also many people of all ages and sex with ulterior motive. Though they had different reasons for being there, they all had one thing in common and that is a cloth draping over their arms.
These people are not slaves, but free citizens of the empire. However, in order to survive through the harsh condition in their life, these people are revolt their freedom. If a black cloth is hanging off their arm, then it means they are willing to become a slave.
Of course, there are some reluctant to become slaves. Standing there, their arms are draped with a white cloth, meaning they are willing to follow a master under the status of a free citizen.
There are actually quite a lot of these people. Mainly comprised of artisans and horse groomers, there are also many lowly skilled warriors.
Du Wei found that several of the people claiming to be warriors were already in rags. Though their face remained stern like that of a real warrior, but their swords were already rusting. Such a sight was unusually obstructive.
A warrior’s survival in the capital is not easy. As the epicenter of the empire, the place is swarming with experts. Basically, an intermediate ranked warrior can only live the life of a bodyguard for a noble.
As for a lower ranked warrior, it would become much more difficult. For those unlucky ones, they would only be able to find a job as a laborer for a noble household while the luckier ones work as a bodyguard for a transport caravan.
Only the bottom dwellers like the rank one or two warriors cannot find a livable job.
The growth of magic and the decline of warriors is the trend of the entire continent.
“Master, look!” Du Wei was just in the process of evaluating some warriors when he suddenly heard the call from Rolynn. Looking in front, he saw the crowds of people were starting to move towards the site of where most of the “official slaves” are located!
In terms of quality or price, an “official’s slave” is generally much higher than an ordinary slave. The reason is because such a slave is usually read to go the moment you buy them; therefore, many people are still willing to spend the extra expense to purchase these slaves.
“Let’s go take a look.” Du Wei nods.
It looks like he came at the right time because it seems a new batch of goods is about to go on sale.
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