Chapter 43: Slave Traders
Silence, when used right, could do wonders. And I knew the way of silence like the back of my hands. I had mastered and practiced the art to the pinnacle during my stint in that conglomerate. There are many ways of using silence. In the workplace, managing noise pollution is of great importance within the office. Thus I enjoy passing through noisy places with my brows reaching the roof, and everyone becomes silent.
Anyway, I like it not too noisy and not too silent. Just enough for everyone to focus on their task.
Aside from that, the art of silence is also useful for negotiating deals. When partnered with a poker face and confident gait, silence adds pressure and weight to your presence. Truthfully, I all learned it from my mom. After all, she’s an expert at using it against me. When she stares at me and my dad in silence, we both buckle up.
Emma frowned as she watched me turning quiet.
She stared, trying to figure out what I was thinking. Then she saw me peeking at the cold soup with subtle dissatisfaction. The old catkin picked the bowl of cold veggie soup. A light glint flashed from her eyes. She strode, swapping it with a new batch of warm soup from the black pot nearby.
Anyway, the old catkin's morning nagging felt like home indeed. I remembered the raised eyebrows of my mom, her morning preaching mode to bless me every time I burn through the night.
Ah! The warmth. How I miss it. Soon, I demolished the dishes, taking relish with every bite. Not one piece had remained untouched. After that outhouse ordeal, my stomach had turned into a vast swathe of emptiness.
“Thanks for the food.” I burped after the sumptuous meal.
The old catkin nodded, smiling with pride. She’s indeed an excellent cook.
After taking breakfast, Emma asked me to take a rest while she busied herself with cleaning the house. I tried to help but got shooed away. She gazed as if I would only add more trouble if I help. Do I look like a sheltered lady? I glanced at my flawless palms and fingers, not one bit of callous existed on it. So this was the reason?
Emma roamed around the house, picking a few things the boisterous little kittens had scattered. I sat on a wooden barrel, rubbing the deformed tummy I created. I’m lucky that the kittens were the first ones to find me. Their food was top-notch.
Anyway, I’m getting curious again.
"Emma, are there slave traders in this continent?" I turned to Emma, hoping to ease my boredom.
“A lot,” the old catkin hissed, her pupils turning into slits. “It’s treated as a profession here in the Madlands.”
Unlike Endramion, slave trading was still rampant in this lawless land. No wonder the old catkins had told me off. I’m not a saint, but I still felt uncomfortable hearing of its existence. My modern personal views about slavery don’t fit well in this world. Anyway, isn’t Emma afraid of something happening to the little kids? Maybe I should ask?
“Aren't you afraid of slave traders?” I pursed my lips, gazing at the old catkin. “I mean... the little kittens.”
“Oh, you mean Tabi and Coby?” The old catkin’s thin lips arched, the broom on her hands stopped for a moment. “Afraid?”
"Y-you know slave traders," I uttered under my breath. “A-And they’re young and cute.”
Emma giggled after hearing my stuttering. “You don’t need to worry about anything, Lady Victoria. They’ll be fine. They’ll even fare better than you. Anyway, you’re going to understand that soon enough.”
Being compared to the kids, I’ll be honest, it stung. I chugged my ego and answered. “If you say so.”
What else could I say? I’m a mere freeloader. Nothing but a homeless auntie who is always enjoying the hospitality of others. Ever since I came into this world, things had been like this. Truthfully, I’m speculating that fate and I had a lot of bad blood.
The crown of fire had reached the peak of its reign. The temperature slowly rose. Fortunately, the grassland breeze continuously blew, cooling the bulk of the heat. I lazed on a wooden chair, gazing at the window. Glancing at the drifting clouds and swaying grasses, I kept myself amuse while Emma was away. In the middle of our talk, the village head came and gave her a new task. Our long-awaited talk had been cut-short once again.
My thought drifted, wondering what I will do from now on. The primary plan was to return to Endramion. But I do not know how. I’ll arrange my next steps once I talk with the village head and the old catkin. I’m still debating inside whether I should tell them my story. But for now, telling them my story would be stupid on my part. They don’t know me. And I don’t fully know them.
“I wonder what the kittens are doing right now,” sighing as boredom took its toll on me.
The white clouds turned into the shape of an elephant, making me giggle. Then I turned towards the grasslands, wondering when the kittens would come back.
Soon, the shadow of a scarlet kitten zoomed onto my view. Behind her was a golden kitten huffing as he tried to outrun the scarlet kitten. I rubbed my eyes, wondering if I was hallucinating. Luckily, I was not.
Are they racing? Cute fellows.
Then I saw something else. Two lanky bastards were running after them. One for each kitten. Vile things. A light-colored net lying on their hands.
Sorry for the word, but the shitheads made me scowl. Something broke inside - my temper.
I immediately sent a mental note to my contracted spirits. Even though I couldn’t see them, the tingling sensation I felt during the time I had accidentally contracted them remained. There had never been a perfect time for my dear green blobs to shine. Thus, I threw one simple request.
Pointing straight at the bastards, I said. “Shred them.”
Yes, I went straight towards the all-bloody route. Cuz’ damn it! The kittens were the glorified fulfillment of my dreams. No, rather, I also carry all the dreams of those silent wardrobe geeks. I’d not wish anything bad to happen to them. If someone dares to have evil designs against them, they’re dead meat. No one’s going to do bad things to them under my watch.
This auntie’s eyes burned. I threw caution in the wind, asking the wind spirits to protect the little ones. The duo ignored me, warning me I shouldn’t do so.
But how could I stand still? I ignored the flashing crimson notification and the wind spirits’ advice. Fury burst forth from my chest, “[Wind Arrow]!!”
They shall not defile such sacred kittens.
The golden fire burning brightly in the skies immediately hid into the rushing dark clouds. A roar of thunder trembled, answering my summons. Razor-blade flashes of lightning followed the trembling thunder, ripping through the skies. Not one, but many.
Then comes the twisting wind falling from the dark clouds. The [Wind Arrow]. Eh, why is this one a bit… bigger?
I gritted my teeth and immediately controlled my mana output, lessening it into pitter-patters until I achieved the right size.
The rapidly shifting weather caught the two ugly bastards confused. They turned their head upwards, their speed slowing down. Though I couldn’t fully see them, I could at least tell what they were doing from my location.
Taking the chance, the golden kitten sprinted, continuing to flee. For the scarlet kitty, she had a bloody plan.
Soon, I discovered what Emma meant by don’t worry.
Before my spell could even unleash its fury, the scarlet kitten halted her steps, turned back after seeing that the bastards had lost focus. She suddenly rushed to the dumbfounded slave traders. A fog of crimson covered her like a veil. Her speed rocketed. A trail of scarlet drifted behind her visage. It waltzed akin to flying crimson-colored satin.
What happened next made me shut my eyes. The scarlet kitten zigzagged, dodging the nets thrown by the bastards. Her tiny right hand nimbly lunged to one bastard's chest. A fountain of blood spurted from the fool’s rib cage. The bloody kitten puckered holes one at a time throughout his entire body.
In the end, she twisted the man's neck. He died.
The grim fate of the first scoundrel scared the still-living one. He froze on the spot before he tumbled, falling on his butt. He then immediately stood and fled. With the scarlet kitten trailing behind him, he cursed his ancestors for not giving him an extra leg. His predecessors had climbed the wrong evolution ladder.
The slave trader knew how to run. He probably had trained as a warrior. Though lanky, he had the speed to plow him through.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. His luck got cut short as the golden kitten picked up a few stones, making a small sling with a dirty cloth laying on his side. He slung a few stones in the air. The stone whistled, striking the back of the head of the running bastard. The slave trader staggered before sliding onto the ground.
The scarlet kitten caught up. She huffed, her eyes turned listless.
When I thought everything had finally ended, I saw something worse. Tabi grabbed the escaping man's nape, puncturing it like a balloon. She dragged out the man’s spine, splitting him in half.
No mercy attached.
After that, the kitten kicked the man away. The bastard’s corpse twitched despite getting ripped into two. Oh boy, I almost peed after seeing the shocking sight.
As for Tabi, she stood unmoving. The scarlet kitten stared at the dark skies with an innocent smile on her face. She was in a daze. Not even the tempestuous wind could move her from her spot. Meanwhile, the golden kitten waited a few meters away, refusing to go near the crimson veiled kitten.
I swallowed cold air. My entire body shivered at the cruel end of the fools. I took a gulp. And here I was, petting the same kitty?
Anyway, what will I do with that tornado? I smiled wryly, canceling the furious wind. Then something flashed before my eyes.
[You have activated your magic. Now taste your penalty.]
Before I knew it, the rebound had already come. I spasmed on the floor, drool or saliva bubbled, dripping from the sides of my lips. How could I tell? Well, the two blobs told me what was happening to me…
Their thoughts were now much clearer than before. Before, I could only sense their general emotion, but now I could hear everything. Their voice echoed in my head.
The fist-sized one said in a young master’s tone, “Victoria’s going delirious. Go fix the stupid girl, Maggie. We tipped her to not use any magic, but this naughty lady still did it. She even drained part of the mana I sapped from her. This spendthrift. Sigh.”
The little green blob cried. “But you’re the one who made her like this! Causing that disaster was the reason she suffered from ruptured mana veins. And you’re older than me, so take responsibility. I’m still young, a baby! I don’t know what to do next. I’ll tell father if you bully me!”
Hearing their voices felt weird. It made me want to butt in. Unfortunately, I was having a seizure. And damn, it was painful.