Early morning the next day, the bolstered party headed back to Giantwood Town, embarking for Mokoff Port in the east. When Flowsand saw Waterflower and Gangdor, she was a little shocked.
However, obstacles surfaced even before the team took off. The party didn’t have any horses that could withstand Gangdor’s weight. On top of that, none of the horses would even let Waterflower get close, forget letting her ride them.
Richard eventually had to give his personal armoured warhorse to Gangdor, while Lina found the gentlest horse and fed it calming pills before Waterflower finally got on. It was only then that the journey began smoothly. Truth be told, Gangdor and Waterflower would rather just run to Mokoff on foot. To them, that was faster.
After a three-day-long journey, the small party finally made it to Mokoff, a northeastern port-city of the Sacred Alliance that boasted of natural protection from the winds. It was only because of the Constellation Harbour being closer to Faust that it was more frequently used. On top of that, there was a mountain range to the north of the port but none of the surrounding regions had any specialties, which meant it could never prosper.
The fief was basically independent, with its leader only seeming to vow loyalty to the Sacred Alliance Emperor on the surface. Morfan only paid their taxes for formality’s sake, as the annual proof of his ‘allegiance.’ In this city of only ten thousand people, he was the supreme ruler. A supreme ruler known for his audacious slaving business.
Because of the port’s location, Mokoff had slaves of almost every race. From grey dwarves to the nagas, and because of its nearly sovereign nature even third-generation human nobles without position and certain elven and winged tribes. If the buyer paid a high enough price, they could even get their hands on creatures with royal blood in them! However, the sale of such “merchandise” was an underground business. The buyers needed wealth and status for the deal to take place, and these were all people who acquired bizarre things and creatures as trophies or for experiments. Every inch of Mokoff’s land exuded the scent of blood and money.
Stepping into the port’s lands, Richard was detained by a patrol team. With rune knights, light cavalry and mages in his party, they obviously weren’t ordinary adventurers, basically as good as an army. This was enough to attract everyone’s attention.
Richard took the chance to observe the people who had stopped them. All six of the guards had both weapons and armour of superior quality, exceeding normal standards by at least 20%. The guards themselves were also at least level 5 each, giving one a sense of Mokoff’s power.
The coachman who’d come along with Flowsand was the one who negotiated with the guards. Once they saw the token of the Eternal Dragon that he gave them, their attitudes turned on the head. The leader sent two of his guards to report the group’s arrival, before leading them personally to the city proper.
Morfan was a middle-aged man who seemed more like a merchant than a portmaster, and negotiations with him went rather smoothly. He welcomed Richard and Flowsand with appropriate enthusiasm, asking his men to bring the two to select slaves immediately.
Their destination for this trip was a small slaving camp at the outskirts of the city. There were thrice as many guards here as in ordinary camps, making it clear how valuable the prisoners here were. There was another odd thing about this camp;—Richard and Flowsand did not hear the usual shouts and sounds of agony. The guards were the only ones moving around the large area, making the entire campsite look quite deserted. It was quite evident that the common slaves had been moved away.
Richard followed Morfan’s assistant to a shack in the north of the campsite. A pungent odour assaulted their noses the moment they stepped in, but ever since the death camp Richard seemed immune to such things. He showed no discomfort as he trailed the assistant, something that surprised the other party and caused him to reevaluate this young mage.
Even more surprising was that Flowsand actually followed them this time around. Her expression was emotionless as usual, making her seem oblivious to the bad environment.
Thick metal fences separated the shack into different cells. This place was the living quarters of the slaves, but only seven slaves occupied the entire shack. Or rather, seven groups of slaves; the biggest cell actually had two ogres within.
Of course, the ogres attracted Richard’s attention. They were an intelligent race that was found commonly in Norland, related by blood to both humans and therianthropes. Of course, this didn’t stop them from having these ‘cousins’ of theirs in their diets.
The strength of a ogre was as great as its size, with a mature adult easily surpassing a level 10 warrior in strength. They weren’t dumb despite their big size, and in fact many believed that their intellect did not lose out to that of the humans and elves. That fact was evident merely from the number of mages and shamans in their ranks.
When ogres reached a certain level of power, there was a chance for them to undergo a mutation. The most common of these was growing another head, with two-headed ogres far surpassing their kin be it in magic or physical strength. One often needed a team of adventurers of different classes with good chemistry to deal with such power.
Richard saw these two ogres had yet to mature, their physiques being noticeably smaller than ordinary members of their race. However, an unnerving feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. They were clean, almost too clean to be ogres. And unlike ordinary ogres who were easily incensed, they were quite relaxed as well. Just as Richard was observing them, they too were looking at this boy before them. It was clear that they were smarter than normal.
“Why are there two ogres here?” Richard asked.
Morfan’s assistant replied, “They were discovered by an adventurer team in the north mountains. They used to live with an old druid, I hear he’s the one who’d brought them up. He taught them language, writing, even magic. His influence left them with various human habits.”
“And then?” Even if he asked, Richard could predict the latter part of the story.
“Then...” The assistant shrugged, “The team realised their worth, so they killed the druid and sold the ogres to us. Ah, this was the first time Master Morfan spent ten thousand on a single ogre! But of course. These ogres are smart, far smarter than average. It also makes them far more dangerous.”
The assistant pointed to the taller and stronger one as he explained, “That one is a warrior, called Medium Rare. The one beside him is a mage, name Tiramisu.”
“Sorry, what?” If Richard’s mouth had been filled with water, the assistant would have been sprayed down right about now. Ogres were commonly named after epic skills or weapons, like Flamefist or Gianthammer. This was the first time he’d heard of such unique names.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Gem
Edited By: Theo
TLC By: OMA