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Chapter 455 - Slaves

There were many types of slaves. Most of them had low or middle level intelligence. However, a very rare few were immensely talented and could handle any sort of task thrown at them. Some slaves could also fight in place of players with no combat ability, such as those who dedicated themselves to crafting professions.

Nie Yan wasn't looking for a combat slave. Slaves were different from summoned monsters. Their deaths were final, like regular NPC servants.

Nie Yan planned on purchasing three slaves to help with tasks in his shops that he no longer could be bothered to micromanage.

The slave market was filthy, with run-down tents set up everywhere and wooden cages lining both sides of the central path. The large cages contained NPCs, both old and young, with vacant and hopeless expressions in their eyes. Some of the stronger looking ones were additionally bound with ropes.

The burly guards brandished scary-looking whips. Even the most innocuous actions by the slaves would set them off in a flying rage, cursing and hollering as a distinct cracking sound and wails of pain filled the air.

Nie Yan looked visibly disgusted by the scene before him. Thinking about it, this was the cruelty of a fantasy world. Conviction presented a very stark reality before the players' eyes, making them question if everything they were taught to believe was really right. 

This was the world of Conviction. All players were bound to its laws!

Nie Yan looked over the stats of the slaves. Most were average and mediocre, only capable of handling simple tasks. Some were well built with decent potential, allowing them to fight for their masters.

He continued to look around, peering through the cages on both sides of the path. He was looking for talented slaves, preferably ones with a unique ability. 

"Sir, are you looking to purchase a slave? Mine are the best in the entire market!" A fat sweaty slave dealer approached Nie Yan. His beady eyes were squeezed into two slits by his fat. His bloated face jiggled and moved in a disgusting manner when he spoke.

Nie Yan frowned while he instinctively recoiled back. He was about to decline, when he saw a familiar face in one of the cages. It was the young boy from before, Collins!

Collins was with two other kids. One was a small girl with delicate features who looked to be around the same age. The other was an older boy who was maybe 15 years old. He had a tall and muscular build that made him suitable for combat.

After noticing Nie Yan, Collin's eyes lit up in joy and surprise.

"Sir, it's you!"

"How did you end up here?" Nie Yan asked in bewilderment. He had given Collins 1,000 gold. Logically speaking, he shouldn't have ended up in a cage being sold off as a slave.

"That nasty man, Berrik, caught me. He stole the gold you gave me and locked us up in here," Collins replied, glaring at the fat slave dealer standing next to Nie Yan.

"Don't believe this brat's lies. He's a street urchin and a dirty little thief." Berrick's eyes flashed with a cruel light. Once Nie Yan left, Collins was done for. 

Nie Yan roughly understood the situation. However, all the slaves dealers here, including this Berrick, were at least Level 80 Elites.

"Sir, please get us out of here! We're willing to become your slaves and do anything for you," Collins pleaded. Nie Yan was his last sliver of hope.

Nie Yan recalled that buying slaves under these types of scenarios would result in higher loyalty, usually up to 90 or higher. Normally after purchasing a slave, the loyalty would be around 70. If the loyalty dropped below a certain threshold, the slave might turn on their master. The possibility was low, but it did exist.

Nie Yan inspected Collins' special skills.

Danger Sense: Collins has astonishing evasion ability, allowing him to avoid being injured by monsters.

Speedy: Collins is good at running, with a speed of 528.

Collector: Collins has an easier time finding ores and lost items.

Nie Yan was surprised. Collins' three special skills were quite rare. He wasn't the type of NPC that was confined to the city. He could move around in the wilderness and even explore high level maps. The only caveat was that he had zero combat ability.

Nie Yan moved on to check the special skills of Collins' friends. The small girl was called Delfina. She had Danger Sense, Artist, and Social Butterfly. Social Butterfly allowed her to communicate well with other NPCs. Artist allowed her to draw or copy complex designs such as blueprints.

Nie Yan's mind trembled. Delfina could duplicate blueprints in several hours normally and up to one or two days for high rank ones! If things like the Armoured Ice Catapult Blueprints could be reproduced, it'd be a huge boon for Asskickers United.

The Artist skill alone was enough for Nie Yan to make up his mind! He had to buy them, no matter the cost!

Nie Yan checked the special skills of the older boy. He was called Bernard. Even though he was young, he was big for his age. He was brimming with muscles, and his skin was a healthy bronze.

At first glance, Nie Yan believed Bernarde was a combat slave. After examining him, however, it turned out he was more suited for a gathering profession! His special skills were Danger Sense, Speedy, and Digger.

Bernard knew how to dig. If he was given a good pickaxe, he could become an excellent Miner.

"How much for these three?" Nie Yan asked the pudgy slave dealer.

Berrick's eyes sparkled. Just as he was about to say something, Nie Yan cut him off. "I hope you'll give me a fair price. I trust the administrator wouldn't be pleased to find out a person of my status was swindled in the Hilton Stronghold."

Berrick let out an awkward chuckle. "Oh, I would never dare, sir Grand Scholar! For these three, 120 gold sound fair, right?"

"You liar! Another person came before, and you only asked for 60 gold!" Collins yelled. Berrick's face turned as red as a tomato after being ratted out.

"Here, take it, 120 gold. They belong to me now." Nie Yan didn't wish to interact with this repulsive character any longer.

Seeing Nie Yan hand over the gold without batting an eye, Berrick was vexed he didn't ask for more. However, the transaction was already complete. After opening the wooden cage, he glanced at the three and said, "You brats have a new master now. Scram."

Collins, Bernard, and Delfina glared at Berrick, wishing for nothing more than to rush up and beat him to a pulp. However, the trio understood they were no match for him.

"Come on, let's go," Nie Yan said.

Nie Yan led the kids out of the slave market. He discovered their loyalty stats were over 90. Collins had the highest at 99, while Delfina and Bernard weren't much lower at 96 and 95 respectively. Like this, the possibility of revolt was basically nill.

These three kids would definitely be useful additions to Asskickers United. Delfina would be responsible for duplicating blueprints, and Collins and Bernard could scavenge and mine in the wilderness. Every once in a while, they could also run errands in the city for him.

After leaving the slave market, Nie Yan sunk into deep thought. The number of crafting profession players in Asskickers United was increasing at a frightening rate. The Starry Night Potion Shop showed promising growth, producing many high rank Alchemists. The other crafting professions were also rapidly growing, with tons of new hires every day. All of them were busy accepting different quests and improving themselves. Truthfully, all professions were related one way or another. At the later stages of the game, crafting something wouldn't just need one Alchemist, one Tinkerer, or one Engineer. Often times it would take tens of people from differing professions to complete something, like the Goblin Magic Cannon and Armoured Ice Catapult.

An idea popped into Nie Yan's head. Why didn't he just bring all these players together and form a profession based guild, one composed only of Alchemists, Tinkerers, Engineers, Blacksmiths, Tailors, Refiners, Enchanters, Miners, and so on? It would probably be best to establish a giant workshop divided into different areas for each profession. Like this, dividing the work and collaborating would be more convenient for everyone involved.

Of course, the cost of building such a workshop wouldn't be cheap, probably in the excess of tens of thousands of gold. However, it was definitely worth the investment. When so many crafting professions were brought together, the possibilities were endless! It would also undoubtedly raise the property values of all the nearby shops.

Nie Yan decided to build the mega workshop near the Starry Night Potion Shop. He still had three large plots in the area which remained unused anyway, mostly because ordinary players couldn't afford to lease such large spaces. Previously he hadn't figured out what to do with these properties, so he simply plopped down some Tier 1 shops to prevent the system from reclaiming the land. Now things were different. He would immediately set to task after returning to Calore!

Nie Yan could already imagine it, a guild for trade professions. A grand plan was slowly taking shape in his mind.

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