I heard that the best time to be enjoying the festival was when it’s dark out, and that seemed to be right because the streets were already crowded with people.
The busy street was decorated with fancy lanterns and various stands (food stands, gaming stands, toy stands, etc.).
I’ve seen lots of these sorts of festivals before coming to this world, so I was quick to walk pass everything, disinterested.
“Hey. Are you sure that you came to enjoy the festival?”
Rennald asked, finding this rather weird for something that Penelope would do. I glimpsed over at him once before answering him half-heartedly.
“I am enjoying it.”
“You’re not even asking to buy anything for you. You usually go mad when you see accessories.”
He commented, pointing at the stands selling kinds of stuff for girls.
‘Then did you actually think I came out here just to have fun at the festival with you?’
I stared at him for a moment, then speechlessly turned back.
Honestly speaking, nothing came into view, be it the whole festival or whatever.
I was way too conflicted because I didn’t know where to start looking for Eclise.
“Hey, come here for a minute.”
Just then, Rennald caught me by my hand and dragged me somewhere.
Derrick wordlessly followed behind the two of us.
“Look. They sell some fine things here.”
The place Rennald led me to was one stand that sold some jewels.
“My my, welcome! Take a look, dear customers! A lot of new things have arrived for today from the East.”
I stared blankly at the man as I was confused about what I was doing right now. When I did, Rennald shouted at me in frustration.
“Ahh, he told you to take a look! Look around already!”
I looked at the jewels at his words. Those certainly were some very unique looking jewels that seemed like it could be seen only during the time of the festival.
However, I didn’t feel the want to buy any of these. Penelope’s jewelry box was already overflowing with accessories.
I lost my interest in them real quick. But then.
“This looks fine.”
An arm reached out from behind me. Derrick then picked one accessory up.
It was a bracelet made of platinum string and with little jewels in the color of a well-ripened plum, hanging.
“Goodness! I knew you had a great taste on these things, mister. To tell you about this bracelet, it took 3 months of a full day and night using the rare jewels found only in that mine over there in the east…… .”
The stand owner started spitting out those words, while literally spitting.
I felt a bit weird, staring at the bracelet that Derrick was holding.
It was because I felt that the jewels’ color was similar to those of my hair.
‘Hey, no way. No way he’d give that to me.’
I looked up at the [10%] and thought.
“Then this one for me.”
It seemed like Rennald was about to pay any minute, so I hurried and picked up a thing that interested me.
The stand owner who once babbled about the bracelet, shut his mouth close this time.
“……Are you serious?”
Rennald formed a deep frown on his face while looking down at what I was holding. It was the same for Derrick.
“Yes. This mask.”
What I chose was a white mask that’s been set far in the corner.
Only the eyes and the mouth part, which was curved upwards into a smiling face, were the places that were carved through. It reminded me of a hahoe mask (Korean traditional mask).
Thinking about it, there was no way they’ll let a little girl like me get into the slave market even though I wore a robe.
Therefore, it was a reasonable and clever decision to make.
“I’ll buy this.”
“Hey. I wanted to ask you this for a while now…… .”
Rennald asked with serious look on his face in response to my conclusion.
“Are you not well these days? I’m asking you if you suddenly feel dizzy at times, or your mind goes blank to find yourself in a different place later when you get back to your senses or anything like that.”
“Just say so if you don’t want to buy me this thing.”
“No, it’s not that I don’t……! You’re saying you really want this thing?”
I ended up shouting at Rennald who was asking me the same question repeatedly.
He looked at me in disbelief but ended up paying for the mask as well.
Buzzzzz-! A noise came from the distance.
I turned around to see a group of people going down the streets in costumes.
Bam, bam! The fireworks started which made the street even crazier with people. It was the start of the parade.
People came out from everywhere to see the parade.
Push. I was continuously bumped by the rushing people.
A sleeve that looked like it was a part of some fancy clothes, came reaching out for me from the front. I looked up and found Derrick looking down at me with an emotionless face.
“…… Thank you.”
I really thought I was going to be washed away by all these people, so I hurried and grabbed onto his sleeve.
But it seemed like I’ve grabbed onto the wrong place on it because something rattled at the part I was gripping on.
It was then when the parade people went past us.
I gripped onto Derrick’s sleeve as tightly as possible so that I wouldn’t be washed away.
Derrick’s panicking face gradually moved further away from me with the sound of something snapping.
“N, no…… .”
I was transferred somewhere by all these moving people and was just barely able to get away from them a while later.
When I regained my senses, I realized that I was in the corner of a creepy and dark alleyway.
With only a golden button that snapped off of Derrick’s sleeve and a mask that Rennald got for me in hand.
“…… Where am I?”
I furrowed my eyebrows while looking around me.
That moment, a white box appeared in front of me from nowhere and…
The episode [The Unlucky Slave From A Defeated Country, Eclise] has begun. Would you like to go to the ‘Slave Market’?
[Yes. / No.]
My jaw dropped.
Thanks to this, I was able to start Eclise’s route which I thought wouldn’t happen from those two following me.
I was transported to the entrance of the slave market immediately after I pressed [Yes.].
It was a really shabby building, so you couldn’t even have guessed this would be the right place.
I saw a few people lining up at the entrance. Each one of them had a mask on.
‘Knew it. I was clever to buy this.’
It wasn’t fancy at all unlike the ones that the other nobles wore, but it didn’t matter as long as it hid my face.
I put on the mask and lined up behind those people.
I didn’t forget to check the robe so that my hair color wouldn’t show.
It wasn’t too long after when it came to my turn.
“Please show me your invitation.”
A large man reached his hand out to me.
‘You need an invitation to this thing?’
I was flustered. I didn’t expect that you needed an invitation to be able to get in.
‘You didn’t inform me about any of this, you crazy game!’
The man frowned scarily as I panicked without giving him a reply.
“Don’t you have an invitation? This place only operates for the people with memberships so you cannot enter without an invitation. Now then…… .”
An idea popped up in my head when he said the word ‘membership’. I hurriedly dug my hand into my one pocket.
What I handed to the big dude was the button from Derrick’s sleeve.
The symbol of the Eckart family was carved clearly on the button.
The man’s eyes widened when he saw the button in my hand.
“If it’s about my invitation, I forgot it at home. This will do, no?”
“I, I didn’t notice such a high and noble person. W, welcome in!”
He rushed and made a way for me to enter. I walked in ever so casually, but I was surprised inside.
‘This is how powerful the duke family is, or maybe even more so.’
Of course, you never knew if this tricked worked from the duke being the VIP guest who comes sometimes to get some useful slaves.
This whole slave thing was bitter to think about for me.
“I’ll escort you to the auction.”
A server in charge of escorting people in, came to greet me by the entrance and led me in. I followed him down the small stairs from behind.
How long has passed since then?
The stairs came to its end when an area with a dim light coming from it could be seen.
Soon, I’ve arrived at a vast and luxurious space that I wouldn’t believe that I was in that shabby building I saw earlier.
‘This vast place was hidden here all along?’
The large hall was decorated like a colosseum so that you could look down at the stage from the grand seats.
“Have a seat here. And take this.”
The servant took me to the very front seat where you can see the stage the best, then left after handing me a picket. The picket was for the auction.
I sat in my seat, looking down at the stage.
“Ladies and gentlemen! The auction is finally starting!”
The auction started not long after.
The chained slaves walked up the stage after the auctioneer’s loud announcement.
“10 gold! 10 gold, is there anyone else? Sold with 10 gold!”
The slaves all wore a gloomy face as they were sold to the nobles.
Each slaves’ worth got better than the ones sold before them as some of them started to do some fascinating tricks and some of them had an incredible appearance.
“100 gold! 100 gold, is there anyone else? Ah, 102 gold!”
It soon became a battlefield in here with all the people reading other’s face and the atmosphere.
“Everyone now’s the time you’ve all been waiting for. Coming up the stage right now is today’s last slave!”
I, who was stared at the stage in disinterest up until now, straightened my body up at the last slave going up the stage.
“A barbarian from a defeated country! I introduce the slave, Eclise!”
Grayish brown hair.
He was handcuffed and his mouth was also covered shut, yet his eyes shined sharply at the audiences.
It was Eclise.
“Everyone here must’ve heard the rumors about this slave, right?”
The auctioneer smiled and said.
I didn’t hear any rumors about Eclise.
However, all the others seemed to know as they nodded their head.
“But there’s always a large difference from what the rumors say and when you see for yourself! That’s why we hosted a special event for our audiences! Have a look!”
One servant threw something at Eclise with a hand motion of the auctioneer.
It was a small wooden sword that kids used when they learned swordsmanship for the first time.
‘What are they up to?’
I tilted my head in curiosity.
When I did, the sound of a cage sliding open was heard from one corner.
Hyenas jumped up the stage.
Five of them at that.