We detoured, stopping by in Galeal O’dinn place of stay in Karvent city. Elras seems to be intrigued by this person.
Luxurious gold and red are the main color theme in this marble mansion of his.
Amidst our way through his mansion in the hallway, we come across what seems to be a humongous steamy bathing area separated by a wall of glass, reminding me of the public bath back in Japan. But this is way more luxurious with its shiny white marble and vibrantly colorful potted plants in it.
Humble merchant my ass. His wealth is equal to that of lower to middle-ranking noble houses. And this mansion is one of his many more throughout the kingdom.
What stands out, however, is the several beautiful girls throughout the bathing area, most relaxing in the steamy tub, others taking a shower. All of them are not showing any reserve in showcasing their tantalizing curves and polished skin. Some even become more daring, giving us a better angle on their sultrious body. I could tell, however, their movements and angles are directed more for Galeal himself than for us, his guests.
The man of pleasure indeed, what a fitting title.
All sorts and varieties of beautiful girls are here, with no similarity between any of them. The only thing that ties them together is a thin black metal collar on them — a slave collar.
A girl, however, becomes the center of my attention with what seems to be cat-like or fox-like ears and tails that add a very animalistic charm towards her. I would’ve enjoyed it more if it weren’t for her eyes and alluring body being directed towards Galeal.
「 Alderhide-sama was it? 」Galeal asks curiously.
「 Yes? 」I say back.
「 You find them pleasing in the eyes? 」Wry amusement found itself onto Galeal’s face in the form of a smile.
「 I admit they are quite beautiful, 」and I admit that I’m becoming a bit envious of this man to have such willing devoted love,「 I’ve never seen that kind of girl before. What race is she? 」I say as I point towards the cat-like girl.
「 Ahh… I see you are interested in more exotic slaves — the Canids. They come from a place far away in the east — the Oraint. Their furry tails and ears are soft and amidst their gentle and caring attitude lies great sexual heat. A suitable instrument of pleasure for a young gentleman like you. We can discuss the arrangements later on. 」
Did… Did he just come to the conclusion of me wanting to buy a Canids slave?
We arrive in his so-called “meeting room” which to me surprisingly seems like a mini library with a collection of tall bookshelves. Surrounded with pleasure but doesn’t forget that what makes a man is the knowledge and the intellectual capability we are capable of harboring.
In the middle of the room is a long rectangular table with chairs occupying each side. Galeal sat on one of the shorter ends of the table with me and Elras sitting adjacent to both his sides.
One of the maids… a slave maid from the apparent collar in her neck, steps forward, bearing a tray of refreshments, a bottle of wine, and a few glasses. She goes around the table, laying down a glass for everyone in the table, and pours wine onto it.
「 Please enjoy yourself with an exotic wine from a mountainous wine cellar deep in the countryside of the Lungkin kingdom — Nanxi 1497. 」Galeal says proudly.
Seeing Elras taking a sip, I take a sip as well, and immediately it gives a soothing chill as it passes through my throat. After it settles down in my stomach, an aftertaste of the hot, fiery taste, a classic of the alcohol, warms my body and interestingly calms me down.
「 Thank you for the wonderful wine. It’s been a while since I last drank a delicate wine. Never thought you’re a wine connoisseur. 」Elras says.
「 Of course, offering premium wine is the least I could do to rub some greatness on this humble merchant. 」Galeal says lavishly.
「 No need for flattery, 」Elras replies easily,「 let’s get down to business. 」
「 I see Elras-sama is eager to get down to business. That makes things much easier, 」Galeal then proceeds to clear his throat,「 I would like to discuss the procurement of elven slaves surrounding your territory. 」
Is that the reason why he called for Elras? I know I’m not going to be needed in this business meeting but Elras heavily insists on it. If it weren’t for my nobility status, Galeal would definitely not want me in this conversation.
「 Demand for elven sex slaves is on the rise? 」Elras asks.
「 Indeed. 」Galeal quietly adds, 「 the Canids and the Dragonkin slaves are a rare breed. The Canids come from a place across the Cordelia ocean, their price increases for every meter the ship has to sail. The Dragonkin slaves have become quite controversial with the Lungkin newest kingdom policy in the trade with their kind. Making all of them reserved just for the finest gentlemen… 」
「 And your point is? 」Elras interjects.
「 …Revered for their lasting beauty that stands through time, and their close proximity to us, the elves become very sought after. Their cheaper price compared to other exotic choices adds to the drool of most gentlemen. 」
「 I understand now, 」Elras answers, a seed of doubt seems to grow inside him,「 but why are you telling me this? My father is clearly the better option for your business endeavor. 」
「 Forgive my language Elras-sama, 」Galeal says nervously but stilled with confidence,「 the great Kaint Reinhardt, the Spearhead of the Veinard Kingdom, is growing older day by day. It’s only a matter of when his eternal rest will come and for you to continue his legacy. 」
「 You’re correct, but there’s the undeniable fact I’m still a young man and not fit to rule my fief just yet. 」Elras adds.
「 Your experience and your position in the Ishkar Common Regiment. The regiment which handles most of the elven skirmishes mind you… warrants me to take notice of you, 」Galeal remarks,「 besides, the elves are not going anywhere. We can take it slow. The demand for elven slaves will always be on the rise. 」
「 Very well then, 」Elras slightly chuckles,「 I’m sure you didn’t invite me without a single thing in mind. So tell me, what’s your proposal? 」
「 The Reinhardt fief, especially the Karvent city, is always under constant threat of the elven ambush. Why of course, for the elves, we are the uncivilized creatures standing in their proud holy land. But enough is enough. I think it’s about time we stop hiding behind our walls and strike back. 」
「 Watch your words Galeal, 」Elras says seriously,「 what you just said is not an easy task and for all I know could possibly involve the whole kingdom — the royalty. 」
「 Correct me if I’m wrong Elras-sama, but small skirmishes near the territory of a widely-known foreign enemy don’t require permission from the royalty, 」Galeal remarks.
「 Fine… Go ahead and continue, 」Elras says.
「 If the need arises, I know numerous people that could help us in arranging the logistics and others. And I’m also willing to fund your military efforts in striking back against the elves. I will recoup my losses or even profit more with the number of elven slaves the war will produce. 」
「 Interesting… Renald, 」Elras turns to me,「 do you have any thoughts on this? 」
「 Hmm… 」I find myself pondering heavily on his idea, and notice a rather small detail,「 It’s a great idea. One with seemingly meticulous planning. However, all of you forgot one rather small detail that affects everything. The common people. 」
The once heated room becomes silenced with my somehow bold revelation. All are now looking at me with expectations within their eyes, waiting for me to continue my statement.
「 Who’s charging deep into the elven territory? 」I continue,「 the one that will die, fighting against the elves? It’s the common people. Yes, logistics and other factors are important and should be considered, but the one who’s doing most of the hard work in them. What you’ve told me so far doesn’t put the common people into the equation. First, you must research the people’s opinions about an offensive operation toward the elves. Yes, I’m sure they hate the elves but are they willing to sacrifice their lives and resources in this endeavor? 」
「 I know deep down there’s an element missing in this idea, but thankfully my smart friend seems to be able to spot it. 」Elras says, smiling inwardly.
「 That is… 」Galeal says, trying to find words to say,「 quite an interesting perspective in looking at the matter. I shall take a look at it and report back my findings. 」
「 Suits me just fine, 」Elras says with a small chuckle, 「 It’s about time we are on our way anyway. The sun soon enough will set. 」
Elras rises up, seemingly eager to go back. I follow his lead.
「 Excuse me, Alderhide-sama, 」Galeal somehow calls me,「 do you mind if we talk some more? 」
Before I could answer, Elras immediately says:「 I see you in the carriage Renald. 」A small laughter makes it way through Elras.
He then goes out of the room with one of Galeal’s slave maids escorting him. Doesn’t even give me the chance to answer any of them….
「 Why not…? 」I say, surrendering to their whims.
「 Thank you for your time. Just a brief moment of your time is sufficient. 」
We sit down again in our respective chairs. Galeal seems quite eager.
「 So what is it that you want to talk of? 」
「 My… Aren’t we going to discuss your first purchase of the exotic Canids slave? 」
「 Woah… Wh-What?! I’m… I’m not… 」I want to say not interested but that’s completely lying…「 I don’t have the luxury to even think of getting a slave… 」
「 Hahahaha! 」A big laugh comes from him, was it that funny to the point of him banging the table?
「 Sorry for being unsightly, 」he says after calming down, 「 I just wasn’t expecting the wise young gentlemen to be so nervous about buying a slave. If you are not in the mood then we don’t need to go further. 」
A rather small awkwardness lingers in the air between us. I don’t really know how to continue this conversation. What does he want from me anyway?
「 I sense greatness within the depths of you, young gentlemen, 」he adds profoundly, 「 I firmly believe this is not going to be our last meeting. Come to me if you are still interested in getting a beautiful companion of pleasure. I’m willing to introduce you to this new world of pleasure. 」
Greatness within the depths of me? Was he that surprised by my insight on his plan? A man of his caliber should honestly be able to spot this issue… Perhaps he truly doesn’t know the mind of the common people? I mean, there’s a staggering amount of nobles who wouldn’t come to understand fully the very people he is ruling over, deciding to rather ignore them and have a surface level of understanding.
Or maybe it’s just lip service. Elras did introduce me as a man with a level of standing similar to him, which is clearly not true.
「 It was nice getting to know you. Now go, Alderhide-sama. You don’t want to keep Elras-sama waiting. 」
Agreed. The last time I was late to meet Elras, he would become very irritated towards me and give me quite the hell on our adventuring quest.
As I go out of the room with one of his slave maids escorting me, he bows quite deeply. A big smile makes its way to his feature after he stands still.