35The Flowers of the Auction House (1)

Night. The outskirts of Underdog City.

For some reason, luxury carriages have gathered in droves in a vacant lot at the back of the city where no one usually comes.

Black tents cover the huge clearing.

Masked aristocrats and wealthy men stalked into the barracks.

Today is the day of the slave auction. Naturally, it is a slave auction that is not officially reported to Baskerville.

As such, the slaves being sold here are undeclared goods.

There were many people who could not be traded as slaves in the first place.

Barbarians displaced from their homes, nobles from distant lands, or commoners kidnapped out of nowhere.

They were chained, hawked, or drugged to the point where their will to escape or report was completely broken.

Or they were commodities that would be.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome to tonight’s ‘freak show’, yes, yes, come, come, come.”

A clown dressed as Pierrot welcomes the audience.

Next, a middle-aged man walks in front of the clown.

The middle-aged man, who has a long goatee and a somewhat scruffy appearance, keeps looking around to see what’s so unsettling.

The clown checked the middle-aged man’s credentials.

“Hmmm hmmm. Mr Montblanc the Chihuahua. Ah, so you’re from the Montblanc family, and your fabulous signature is a Montblanc trademark that no one else can copy. ……?”

The clown grabbed a middle-aged man named Chihuahua Montblanc as he tried to let him pass.

The Chihuahua is visibly flustered.

The clown squinted at him and said.

“I see the purpose of your visit on your certificate says you’re not here to buy slaves, but to sell……?”

“Ah. That’s right. I came to sell them.”

“What about for sale?”

“Well, I’ve got him tied up in the back there for a while, and I’ve only got one anyway, and he’s a young lad, so he doesn’t take up much room.”

The clown smirked and ducked his head again.

“I see,” he said, “the Montblancs always buy slaves in bulk, and since you’re here to sell this time, I was wondering if you didn’t like the ones you bought last time and wanted to get rid of them.”

The Chihuahua wiped the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief and shook his head.

“No, sir. I’m always satisfied with the quality of the slaves I buy here.”

“Isn’t that right? That’s right, we only sell carefully selected slaves. We kidnap barbarian women, commoners, and young noblemen from distant provinces who have lost their families and homes and have nowhere else to go, and we train them like rats and birds. They are obedient and never think of running away or rebelling, and we guarantee their quality.”

The clown turned to the Chihuahua and bowed politely once more.

“I would like to extend a hearty welcome to the Freak Show.”

* * *

There was a strange tension in the auction room.

Under a haze of hookah and tobacco smoke, masked men and women sat in a circle around centre stage.

Here were all the movers and shakers of the underdog underground economy.

A lady in a butterfly mask salivates at the sight of a naked barbarian male slave on stage, while a gentleman in a bat mask salivates at the sight of a mercenary male slave on stage.

There was no discernible public for the things that came up on stage at the auction house.

There were objects – old urns, famous works of art, sharp swords – and there were rare animals and horses, and there were people branded as slaves.

But for the wealthy people who gathered here, the distinction was a good one.

They’re used to seeing objects, animals, and people as the same thing.

The masked dignitaries, their mouths covered by fans, were chatting amongst themselves.

“I hear it’s all the rage in the Imperial capital these days to capture and display grotesque-looking slaves?”

“I don’t pay much attention to fashions like that, I just think a slave should be pretty and handsome, that’s all.”

“I don’t know, slaves are supposed to be good at work or good at fighting, aren’t they?”

“Hahaha, I’m drawn to the tragic past that slaves have, which is why I prefer them to come from fallen nobility or kidnapped nobility.”

“Well, whatever. I hope there are plenty of slaves available today.”

Most of the attention was on the slaves.

The emcee, dressed as a clown, stepped onto the stage and shouted at the top of his lungs.

“Yes! This sword and shield, surely a relic of an ancient civilisation, has gone for 30 million gold! Any more? All hail the snake-masked man over there who will take home this lucky piece of armour! Now, on to the next item for sale! Everyone, look at this beautiful jewelled crown! It must have been worn by a king of a defunct kingdom somewhere in the history books…….”


The eyes of the crowd, which had been focused on the slaves, suddenly snapped to attention.

It wasn’t a human being, but it was enough to focus all the attention in the room for a moment.

A black buffalo covered in lean muscle.

It has huge horns, a massive body, and three glaring eyes.

<Infernal Buffalo ‘Murcielago’

Danger Rating: A

Size: 3 metres

Found in: Red and Black Mountains, Ridge 2

-A type of cattle that inhabits the Oil Realm in the depths of Hell.

It is said to have nineteen hearts and will not stop charging until they are all stopped.

It was a gigantic beast that inhabited the Enemy and Black Mountains.

But the reason why no one runs away when this monster appears on stage is simple.

This Murcielago was dead.

The emcee shouted.

“Now, this sale is a stolen kill from the knights of the Baskervilles, a precious, Danger Rank A beast, with its hide, meat, bones, entrails, and everything else to spare!”

There were nineteen wounds on the Hell Buffalo’s body.

Apparently, it had only died after its heart was destroyed.

The price of this carcass immediately began to skyrocket.

“One hundred million gold!”

“120 million!”

“140 million!”

“190 million!”

“200 million!”

“250 million!”

The entire auction house erupts in excitement, even though the human slaves are not.

Having sold the carcass of a hell buffalo for a good price, the emcee took the opportunity to lead the auction in earnest.

“Now it’s time for the auction for humans and their ilk!”

With that, humans of all kinds began to walk onto the stage.

A barbarian man with a dead look in his eyes as if he had given up on everything, a kidnapped noblewoman crying and begging to be sent home, a terrified commoner boy who still had no idea where he was, and a fallen noblewoman screaming that she would rather be killed.

“One hundred million!”

“Two hundred million!”

“Two hundred and fifty thousand!”

“Take it and seven thousand more!”

“I got that bitch, no one can touch her!”

“You’re being ridiculous. Get more money.”

The more they cry and scream and despair, the more the madness of the humans surrounding the stage intensifies.

Just then.

The emcee, buoyed by the brisk sales, suddenly looks puzzled.

“……? Huh? Huh? You put this one up for sale, too? Huh? G, really? Oh, okay, I’ll see if I can sell it.”

He stutters, as if he’s having trouble communicating with the men behind the scenes.

He composes himself and continues.

“Now, this next one is a little different, a little more appealing, and still has plenty of room for improvement!”

In other words, even the slave traders aren’t quite in control yet.

After the slave was painstakingly wrapped, the emcee dragged it to the centre of the stage.

Unlike before, this time the slave was locked in a sturdy metal cage.


A series of guttural screams erupted.

Inside the cage, a barbarian girl with a stern face was rampaging madly.

She must have been about 17 years old.

She had black hair mixed with silver, triangular pointed ears, and a face that was a dark colour, but it looked like it had been smeared with ash and was normally a light brown.

He wore a choker with thorns around his neck, and the animal skins he wore as clothing were little more than rags.

Peeking through the rags, its body was toned and lean, but its face was unrecognisable through the ash, and it was snarling and snapping so fiercely that no one bothered to raise a bid.

“!אני בת המלך. תקלל אותך. אני אהרוג אותך”

A language I don’t understand at all.

Moreover, the stench of animal feces that had been wafting across the stage since earlier, and the body odour that seemed to have not been washed in decades, caused the noblewomen to turn away with frowns on their faces.

“……Ah, who buys this?”

It’s enough to make even a clown talking to himself.

Still, he had to sell, so he did his best to make a point.

“Come on, come on, slave traders say they’ve picked this one up from the depths of the jungle! Come on, come on, don’t you think a slave this fierce could use some taming? Use him as a night watchman or a gladiator! This is your chance to prove your slave taming skills! I’ll start the bidding at 5 million! Let’s go!”


But no one raises their hand.

Usually there’s someone who calls out the lowest bid, for the sake of the moderator’s dignity and the atmosphere of the auction house, but…… this time there wasn’t even that.

“Eight, then let’s lower the minimum bid a bit, 3 million, anyone got 3 million?”


“Then you don’t have it either! Two million! I’ll take it at two million! I’ll say it again, you don’t have it either!”


“Okay, okay, okay, one million! I’ll take one million with my eyes closed! Take him and boil him for human consumption! I’ll sell him for nothing more than meat!”


But in the end, no one raised their hand.

The moderator grunted and waved his hand.

“Forget it. This isn’t selling. I told you, only put up guaranteed items. Get them backstage, and use a windbag next time, I want.”

Soon the slavers were on stage, pulling down the cage that held the barbarian girl.

The girl even managed to bite off the finger of the trader holding the cage, cutting it off.

The atmosphere in the auction hall became chaotic.

The organisers had to control it somehow.

So what did they do?

The emcee knew it was time to bring out the big guns.

“Attention, ladies and gentlemen, jumo~ok, keep your eyes peeled, because I have what I consider to be the best lot of the day right now!”

And then. A man stepped onto the stage.

A boy with handcuffs on his wrists and heavy chains dangling from them.

He looked to be about 15 years old.

Despite the weight of the restraints, the boy’s gait is effortless.

There was a faint murmur of admiration from the audience at his confident and calm demeanour.

As he stands at the centre of the stage, the torchlight from above illuminates his face.

The boy’s appearance was revealed in a glow of light.

And the audience’s jaws dropped in unison.


The expressions of all the noblewomen and some of the middle-aged men gathered here had become dazed.