Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Raid on the Etsuato company」Part 1
The Etsuato trading company was located in the capital’s third district.
As the largest slave dealer in the capital, it’s main building was built near the wall of the second district and appeared to be frequented by many wealthy visitors.
Slavery has had a variety of origins in human history, from criminals being reduced to that status, people selling themselves or others into slavery, to people taken as prisoners of war.
In the case of this world, the majority of the slaves are one-sidedly kidnapped from beastmen villages by human mercenaries and then sold into slavery.
Those that called themselves the People of the Mountains and Plains are human-like beings with the ears and tails of animals, and they are known to have greater physical strength than humans. Because of that reason the race faced rejection and seclusion.
Due to the People of the Mountains and Plains’ high physical strength, there was a high demand for them so they could be used in mining operations.
Since this is the center of Rhoden Kingdom, many of the slaves were brought to the multiple slave merchants to be sold to the nobles and wealthy.
And the most influential company of them all was the Etsuato company.
A tall fence surrounded the company’s building and the main gate had been reinforced with iron bolts that caused it to stand out from the surrounding shops.
However, the sturdy gate wasn’t even a shadow of what it had been previously, because right now it was reduced to a pile of rubble that had been tossed aside.
The gate had indeed been sturdy, but since it’s size and thickness weren’t built to withstand a siege weapon, it was disappointingly easy to destroy when my body slammed into it.
The gate in Hoban might have been somewhat stronger.
When I destroyed the gate, Chiome wasn’t surprised at all and simply said that her companion Goemon could have done the same.
Once we passed the destroyed gate we immediately began to search the building.
Night had already descended and things weren’t going so well as the only light sources in the building were a few magic tool lamps.
The building was four stories tall and had a large courtyard in front of it.
Up ‘til on, we’ve only found locked up human slaves, and nary a hint of the enslaved People of the Mountain and Plains.
This operation was supposed to be a decoy, so we decided to free the human slaves.
During our break in, I had defeated a high-spirited guard and swiped a large key ring from his waist.
I tossed the keys at the feet of one of the slaves and then bent the cell’s bars so that a single person could pass through at a time. The slaves that saw this backed away in fear. Once we stepped away from the cage, they began to scramble for the key ring before all of them crawled out of the cell.
However, when the crawling slaves looked up, they all started to scream and ran out of the building as fast as they could.
I couldn’t really blame them for that.
What they saw was a person wearing a gray cloak whose eyes were hidden within the depths of their hood. This was none other than the dark elf Ariane, who wore a mask to complete her ensemble.
The kumadori-like patterns engraved into the mask and the eeriness brought on by the dim lighting gave her the appearance of a wicked shaman.
I wasn’t any different with my black cloak and the demonic looking helmet that was covered in decorative bird feathers.
In preparation for the raid, we found a street vendor that sold art pieces and bought the masks we were now wearing.
With these, the chances of our true identities being revealed were now only a one-to-ten-thousand chance.
To be honest, our appearance was only a superficial excuse because there isn’t anyone who wouldn’t be scared of a person that can bend metal bars with their bare hands.
But… Chiome wasn’t the target of much fear since her full-body ninja garbs allowed her to blend into the shadows of the dark building.
Whenever a small amount of light penetrated the darkness I would catch a glimpse of Chiome in the corner of my eye, as she lurked in the shadows and cut down another slave trader.
Chiome was a cat person, so she had night vision like Ariane, and combined with her quick body it was unlikely that human eyes would be able to keep track of her in the darkness.
As I continued to admire her abilities while we searched, Chiome seemed to become slightly prideful.
“The first clan head was quoted as saying that the members of the cat-people race were supreme existences.”
Chiome repeated the first clan head’s words and out of that auditory hallucination I came up with “The best of all animal-eared people! Cat ears are the strongest!”
After driving away the hallucination I asked about something that had started to bother me.
“Was the first head a cat person as well?”
“No, the first had been human. The first was a spy for the Leburan empire and when he saw the mistreatment of the cat people in the empire he protected them and eventually made them his subordinates. That is how the present Blade Heart Clan was founded.”
“Hoo, so you didn’t remain part of the empire?”
“Correct. The first generation were excellent spies and they accumulated so many achievements that people started to fear the first head’s power. As his exploits grew, the first head was targeted for assassination many times, yet he was able to skillfully overcome all the attempts.”
Chiome eyes narrowed as she continued to tell the story.
It’s inevitable that a person with great power would be the target of fear. Moreover, as a human surrounded by cat people instead of other humans, he would be meet with even greater suspicions and alienation.
“After that, the Emperor fell from power and the struggle for the throne began, so the first head went into hiding as the various factions fought it out. A large-scale civil war soon broke out and the first head used the confusion to lead the clan out of the empire.”
If I’m not mistaken, the Leburan Empires were large countries to the north of Rhoden. Could the reason that the Empire is divided even to this day be the result of the first head’s actions……?
When her story was finished Ariane spoke up.
“Chiome-chan these cells are full of People of the Plains and Mountains.”
It was as she said, the passage we were now in was lined with cells full of people with various figures.
There were cat people like Chiome, wolf-eared people, and people with long rabbit ears that were a little similar to elven ears.
Since the People of the Plains and Mountains lack the high magic-power of the elves, they weren’t bound with the magic eating collars.
Instead, every single one of them was chained to the wall with shackles and fetters made of heavy iron in order to restrict the movements of their high-spec bodies.
After a cursory glance of the cells, I could only internally sigh at the number of people that had to be freed.
When I stepped forward to help, everyone looked upon me with wariness before retreating as far back as they could in the cell.
Again, it was an understandable reaction because anyone would be wary of a duo wearing strange masks and black and gray cloaks respectively.
Some of the cells had young children inside them that started to cry when they saw us. Several scowling young men even stood in front of the children in an attempt to protect them.
We somehow have assumed the role of the villains.
It was at this moment that a group of bodyguards and slave traders suddenly appeared from somewhere deeper inside the building, running towards our current position.
“I am Chiome of the Blade Heart Clan and I’ve come to help you! Listen to Arc-dono’s instructions when they are given!”
Chiome told the people in the cell that as she brandished her dagger and charged at the approaching group.
The people in the cells suddenly stirred at Chiome’s statement.
“Hey, did you just say the Jin Shin Clan?!”
“Is that true?! Who are those weird people?!”
I saw the caution in their eyes turn into a small ray of hope. The Blade Heart Clan was apparently well known.
While Chiome rushed the bodyguards and slave dealers, I began to do my part of this raid.
First, let’s destroy these cells.
I went about distorting the iron bars of the cells with my bare hands to make a traversable opening. I bent the bars to the point where the opening was the large enough that even I could pass through it.
Those watching in the cell gasped in surprise and admiration.
Next, would be the removal of the shackles and fetters, but I didn’t find a set of keys to unlock them like with the humans.
Since there was no other option, I drew my sword from under my cloak to cut the chains, and everyone obviously shrank back when I held up my sword.
“I need to cut the chains of the strongest people first.”
My voice was muffled by the mask and that caused the people to hesitate.
Suddenly Ponta popped up from beneath my cloak in front of everybody.
Before the raid, Ponta had been planted atop my head as usual, but in combination with the mask she would’ve attracted even more attention, and that’s why she had been wrapped around my neck until now.
It must have been stuffy under everything so she came up for fresh air.
The appearance fluffy fox around the neck of a strange masked figure caused the people to stare as such an indescribable sight.
They all fell silent and it looked like nobody in the cells knew what to do in this situation.
Sounds of an intense battle was heard as Chiome clashed with the bodyguards from the depths.
“Hurry up, their reinforcements will be arriving soon!”
After hearing Ariane’s shout and seeing things unfolding, one man took a step forward.
The man had ears similar to Chiome’s, but their size and coloring were like those of a tiger or leopard rather than a cat’s.
Despite his large size, the man timidly held up his shackled hands.
When I slashed at the chains of the shackles they were cut without any resistance and the man could freely move his arms again.
“Sorry. You’re here to save us after all.”
The leopard man was a little teary eyed as I chimed in while cutting the chains connecting the fetters.
“Please start cutting the chains of the others with this!”
When the leopard man could once again move freely, Chiome reappeared and handed him a large axe.
I saw that there was blood dripping from the axe’s handle, so it was probably a weapon taken from one of the dead bodyguards. When he received the axe, the leopard man started to slash the chains of his brethren.
However, he had to struggle since there was no way the iron chains could be cut easily with an ordinary axe.
As for me, there was no way a mythical grade weapon couldn’t cut through the chains, so I quickly cut them off the slaves one after another.
Soon a group of guards in matching armor rushed in from the rear entrance.
“Don’t let the slaves and thieves escape! If you can’t capture them, kill them!”
The guard captain handed out instructions to his subordinates as they all draw their swords. A solitary shadow suddenly approached the group at a speed faster than the eye could follow.
『Water Style: Water Wolf Fang!!』
Chiome performed a hand sigh similar to certain ninja manga as she charged at the guards, and suddenly three one-meter tall water wolves appeared around her and she commanded them to attack the guards.