Female Warrior Prologue Volume 1: Light and Shadow
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: Light and Shadow Part 5 – translated by Azakura
The moment he spoke, Red Cloak covered his mouth and leaned close to his ear to whisper, “Don’t speak. Just nod in reply. Do you trust me?”
Silvester blinked a few times. When he heard Red Cloak’s question, he immediately nodded, resembling the action of pounding garlic. But after nodding, he realized that he had absolutely no basis for trusting Red Cloak in the first place. He did not know the other party’s real name and had also never even seen their face… Not to mention he wasn’t even sure about Red Cloak’s gender.
Red Cloak let go of Silvester, then turned around to climb out of the basement. Silvester hurriedly followed but looked back to scan the rest of the group before he left. Everyone was sleeping like the dead. Even Cale, who was supposed to be on night-watch, had fallen asleep as well. Silvester could not tell if it was because he was actually exhausted or if it was Red Cloak’s doing.
If Red Cloak really is the Warrior Queen, I’ll definitely beg her to come back and help you guys. Silvester vowed to himself.
Loud booms sounded one after another. Cale had immediately woken up at the first blast of sound, but his reaction was still not quick enough. The basement door had been kicked directly to the floor by someone. Cale raised his head only to catch a glimpse of the black uniform that the patrol team wore. His heart sank as he understood that their escape this time was now a failure.
Yet there were still parts he did not comprehend. How did the patrol team manage to find this place, and how on earth did they accomplish it in such a short period of time?
While the city isn’t exactly large, it is still of considerable size. Besides, they can’t blatantly conduct the search in public, so how could they have discovered a secret door concealed among the floor boards with such ease and speed?
He hardly believed that the patrol team, who were so lazy that they left the place unguarded for half an hour while changing shifts, could be experts at searching.
“Get out here, all of you! Any bastard who lags behind will get whipped! Damn you bunch of assholes! You made me get reprimanded by the city lord!”
The color of the slaves’ faces was ashen. Some had expressions so defeated it was as if they were facing certain death. They climbed out of the basement one by one, and as they had expected, received a round of beating.
The patrol captain spoke with a foul-mouth. “Damn it, if it wasn’t for tomorrow being the day of the auction and the city lord ordering us not to rough you up, I would have beaten all of you to death!”
Despite the city lord’s order, the patrol team still raised their hands at the slaves from time to time. Either way, seeing as the slaves already had a fair amount of injuries, as long as they did not cripple the slaves, they could still satisfy their lord.
Cale was shocked to see a face he knew mixed among the guards. He realized right away why the guards had managed to find them so easily…
Silvester had betrayed them!
Cale roared, “I’ll kill you,” then immediately pounced in Silvester’s direction with an expression akin to a mad man’s. However, he was soon wrestled to the ground by quite a few guards.
Terrified, Silvester retreated a number of steps. He had an easygoing attitude and usually never provoked any deep animosities; hence, this was the first time he had ever seen a person direct such vicious hatred toward him.
“Captain, we’re done restraining!” a guard reported in a loud voice.
The patrol captain laughed maliciously as he reproached his subordinates. “You’re done? Nonsense! Don’t you know how to get things done? See that gigolo still out here? Tie him up with the rest!”
The patrol team laughed in unison and proceeded toward the gigolo their leader spoke of.
Silvester stared at them in shock. He frantically spoke, “Hold on! Didn’t you say that you’d let me go if I told you where the others were hiding?”
The patrol captain laughed coldly. “When did I say that? You’d better not speak such rubbish around here!”
A patrol member twisted Silvester’s hands behind his back and tied a rope around them. Silvester did not dare protest. He simply cried out wistfully with unshed tears, “You clearly did say so! How could you go back on your word?”
Cale sneered, “So he went back on his word. What can you do about it? You actually believed him. I guess your head was full of s*** to begin with!”
Silvester withdrew his head. While he felt deeply wronged, he did not dare refute a single line of it.
“Lock this guy up in a separate jail cell to spare him from getting torn apart by the other inmates. If even one of them dies, the city lord would definitely not let us off!” The patrol captain laughed maliciously, “But don’t lock him up too far away. We don’t want this gigolo to feel too lonely. Let’s lock them up in adjacent cells so that they can chat.”
Waaaa! Red Cloak, you’re really gonna get me killed at this rate!
Silvester shrank into the furthest corner of the adjacent cell. He felt so wronged that he was ready to cry bitterly until he lost his voice.
The curses and condemnations from the neighboring jail cell came without pause. Thankfully, the ones they were cursing were his parents, grandparents, and so forth, whom he had never seen before. No one cursed his teacher, so he had no need to refute them to defend his teacher’s reputation.
Cale was the only one among them who did not waste his breath screaming and cursing. He simply stared coldly at Silvester with eyes brimming with deep-seated hatred… If the bars separating the two jail cells were to suddenly vanish, while the rest of the slaves would probably charge over and beat me to a pulp, wouldn’t Cale most definitely kill me?
Whenever he noticed the hatred in Cale’s eyes, Silvester felt a number of cold shivers run down his back. In the end, he could not even bear to look at him and shrank into himself, desperately trying to hypnotize himself into falling asleep quickly.
But with the cursing from twenty people in the adjacent cell no more than three meters away, no matter how thick-skinned a person might be, it would be impossible to fall asleep!
However, the cursing suddenly stopped completely. Silvester felt it strange so he lifted his head to see. The slaves who had originally crowded the side nearest to him were now dispersing to let someone through. Cale walked out from behind. He stopped right before the bars and stared straight at Silvester.
After staring for a long time, Cale finally opened his mouth to speak. “Why did you betray us? I thought about it over and over and it still doesn’t make sense. You aren’t the type of person who would betray someone… because you don’t have the brains to do so! Someone who had betrayal in mind wouldn’t have given his name, would he?”
Can’t you say that it’s because I’m actually a good person? Silvester felt more wronged than ever. He snuck a glance at the patrol members outside. They are sitting quite far away, maybe because the cursing was overly noisy?
Only now did Silvester dare to speak. Quickly and softly, he said, “I didn’t betray any of you! I really didn’t!”
Cale snorted in disdain. It looked like he didn’t believe Silvester at all.
Silvester wanted to explain himself, but after thinking of a certain person’s warning, he could no longer risk speaking. No matter how frightening Cale is, he’s definitely not as scary as THAT person! Well… that person has never attacked me… but I imagine they would definitely be frightening if they did!
Having thought thus far, he tilted his head slightly downward to avoid Cale’s gaze and did not venture to speak a single word of protest.
“Silvester, no matter what plan you’ve devised, you’d better remember that I’ll definitely get revenge on you for selling us out!”
Hearing this, Silvester raised his head, more alarmed than before. He nearly blurted out an entire lengthy explanation. But after considering it might not be too long until the misunderstandings would be cleared up, he restrained himself.
Both sides fell silent. Even the slaves who were endlessly screaming curses stopped, as if Cale had already helped them reach a verdict. In the midst of this uneasy form of tranquility, the sun rose higher and higher in the sky, and it was finally noon.
Although it was “finally” noon, in actuality, when they were brought back to jail, it was already nearly daybreak. They had only been in jail for roughly three hours. Perhaps it was just the fact that he was being stared at with eyes filled with such animosity that Silvester finally understood how it felt to have a day crawl by like a year.
By the time the patrol members rudely dragged him out of his cell, Silvester fought the impulse to thank them. However, the next second, he immediately buried his words of gratitude, as the other slaves were also being escorted out of the neighboring cell. They stood only a few feet away from him. He dreaded that if the patrol team were to loosen their grip, they would charge over to beat him to a pulp.
Thankfully, the current patrol team had a much more serious attitude compared to the previous night’s. They seemed to have no intention of lollygagging along the way and so watched over the slaves very firmly throughout the journey. After they stuffed everybody onto two horse-pulled carts as if they were commodities, they started off, the carts swaying and shaking. Only after quite a long period of time did they finally stop.
Everyone was rushed off the carts and made to stand at attention in front of a vacant building that looked close to being in ruins. However, once they entered the building, the interior was neat and tidy, and there were already several people who were either standing or sitting. These people were dressed in rather exquisite clothing, especially the ones sitting down. The clothes that they were wearing demonstrated that they were definitely of noble background.
Silvester was especially curious and looked around everywhere. He noticed that everyone at the event wore masks, almost as if they were attending a masquerade ball.
One of the masked men walked up to a small podium. His clothes looked pretty luxurious, but even the most magnificent of clothes would not be of any help in improving his figure. His big belly was practically going to make his clothes burst.
The fat man spoke cheerily. “Everyone here’s a long-time customer, so explaining the rules yet again would be unnecessary, right?”
His words provoked a burst of soft laughter.
“There are around twenty slaves in total today. The starting price will be five gold.”
Displeasure erupted from the floor. “Why are there so few this time around?”
“About that… conditions haven’t been favorable recently, so we can’t conduct our business brazenly. Please make do, everyone!” The fat man spoke with a smile, not only because the people before him were the ones holding gold soon to be his, but there was also a number of aristocrats in the audience that he could not afford to offend. Hence, he hurriedly continued, “However, the quality of the slaves we’ve obtained this time is truly superb. Have a look, everyone! They are all sturdy-bodied. I guarantee they will be useful!”
Discontented grumbles stopped coming from the floor. The fat man furtively wiped the sweat on his face and promptly declared the start of the auction.
The first slave to go up had a normal build and was not “sturdy” as the fat man had described. Despite that, the price still climbed smoothly, with people from the floor bidding fifty more silvers each time they raised their wooden paddles. It was not long before the price broke ten gold. This shocked Silvester in his heart. He had never used anything like a slave before, so he never fathomed that they were worth such a substantial amount of money. No wonder the city lord took such a desperate risk!
In the end, the first slave was sold at twenty five gold. The fat man couldn’t even control the smile on his face. The price reached in this auction was even greater than that of the previous one… probably due to the stock shortage this time around.
The slaves were sold one after the other. The price was always at least twenty gold, and a tall and strong slave would even break thirty.
When it was finally Cale’s turn, he haughtily raised his chin. His face, which gave off the impression that he was just impossible to tame was obviously not well-received, plus he had a slight and skinny build. The price he was auctioned off at only reached eighteen gold, becoming the lowest price of the day.
Silvester, who was immediately after Cale, went up to the auctioning stage. While he did not have a solid build, he was still taller than a hundred and eighty centimeters, and his facial features were not bad either. He also had a shy expression on his face. In the eyes of the competing aristocrats, this slave was tall and handsome and looked like he would be incredibly obedient. He naturally became the most valued item of the auction.
The fat man on stage clearly knew who was going to be the most valuable slave of the day beforehand, so he made use of the other slaves to hype up the atmosphere earlier. Then only under a situation where hardly any slaves were left and there was an enthusiastic atmosphere would he bring out Silvester to auction. This was all planned in order to fetch a higher price at the auctions.
But contrary to expectations, Silvester’s auction price was not escalating particularly quickly, although there were a select few who persistently kept bidding. Upon witnessing the situation, the fat man was not in the least worried and even felt secretly happy. He knew very well how people would compete for a target that they really wanted to get their hands on. The audience would not rush to put out a price but would patiently hold out until the very last minute before raising their hand.
While the price was rising very slowly, it still gradually rose to over thirty gold. Nonetheless, this was nowhere near the price it would finish at. The situation now took a turn as people became much more active than before.
Silvester found this inconceivable. He had never known that he was worth so much money. Each time a person raised their paddle, he could not resist sneaking a peek at that person’s appearance.
Although he could not see their faces since they were masked, he could come up with some rough indications about the person from their manner of dress and their figures. The people who were targeting Silvester were mostly those who were standing. Since they were standing, they were clearly not of nobility and instead held the status of servants or housekeepers, but the clothes they wore were not at all inferior to the seated aristocrats’. It was most likely that the noble families they worked for were even more illustrious than those present. After all, truly prominent noble families would not visit such a place in person.
Compared to the laid back pace earlier, once the price exceeded thirty gold, the bidding increased in a blink of an eye. A man on the left who looked like a housekeeper bid thirty five gold in one go while a lady on the right went as far as to raise it to forty.
I never knew I was worth so much money… Silvester extremely regretted not having sold himself off earlier.
At that very moment, a cold voice boomed from the back of the room. “One hundred gold!”