The three bandit brothers led Akira and Varbu to their temporary camp where they began to pack up their belongings and handed over some of the extra food and water they had to Akira and Varbu.
After what seemed like multiple hours of walking Akira was beginning to think the Bandits were either lost or trying to pull a trick.
When they reached a small trail that could pass as a desert road. Akira wanted to use the trail but stopped when he saw the bandits continue to walk past it.
“That’s only a small side trail you would be stupid to walk on it since there are too many bandit groups that have taken control of certain areas of the trail. We have to keep walking this way to reach the main road,” said the eldest brother after looking back and seeing Akira standing still.
It was late afternoon when they finally reached the main caravan road. A large caravan was passing by when they reached the road. The rough looking caravan guards giving them hostile looks as if daring them to try something thinking that they were bandits trying to accost them.
“The Idiot’s over there got lost in the desert so we had to go find them and bring them back to the main road,” said Akira trying to explain the situation to the caravan guards to deescalate the situation.
The three brothers tried to protest that it was Akira that had been lost but Varbu silenced them with a glance.
“Don’t bother us and we won’t bother you,” said the leader of the guards before returning back to guarding the caravans many camels. It looked like they didn’t care or take notice that Varbu was there.
Seeing they were unwelcome to join the caravan Akira and the others rested for a short time in order to keep a distance between the two groups, in order not to anger them by following too closely.
The desert road could hardly be considered a road judging by other countries standards. The only thing that was different from the rest of the desert was that instead of having to walk all over the place due to desert dunes the roads cut right through some of them with walls holding back the desert sand.
As they neared the city the pyramids continued to get more extravagant. Changing from dried mud to clay bricks.
They were able to reach the medium sized desert city of Jabooty a short time after they had eaten a cold dinner while they walked. They were some of the last people in line to be allowed to enter the city for the night by the dark leather armored guards.
If Akira and Varbu had not found the three idiots then they most likely would have walked right past the city. This improved Akira’s mood a little towards the three idiots. It helped that he had blown off some steam when they first meet and knocked their heads together forcing them to submit.
“We have brought you to the city of Jabooty like you asked will you allow us to leave now?” asked the eldest brother.
“First tell me do you know of any cheap inns in this city?” asked Akira.
The brothers looked at each other before the youngest spoke, “We can show you the inn we use. Don’t expect much though, you get what you pay for.”
The three brothers led them through the streets to the less glamorous red light district that was getting into full swing as the young night grew older.
They reached an inn with a freshly painted sign reading [Rear-end Inn].
After Akira and Varbu booked two small rooms he turned to the three brothers who were respectfully waiting behind them.
“You can leave now but you should seriously think about what we said earlier,” said Akira.
“That thing about you hating sand?” asked the middle-aged brother.
Akira sighed at the idiot brothers living up to their name.
“No, I’m talking about you getting a new occupation.”
A few more words were traded and the two groups separated and went to their own rooms for the night.
Then next morning Akira felt fully rested and went down to the inn’s common room to check out the city map that he had seen the night before.
The map was well crafted but looked to be several years old. He guessed that for the most part, it would give him a general idea of where everything was.
Akira was finishing eating breakfast when Varbu sat down at the same table as him.
“What are your plans while we’re here,” asked Varbu.
“First we need to replenish our food and water. Then after that, I’d like to check out the local market and see if I can sell off some of the less stellar weapons I made while in the dungeon. Maybe even set up a repair stand for a day or two to earn some extra money.”
Varbu grunted in acknowledgment and started to eat the light vegetable soup that was provided by the inn.
The two left the inn refreshed and ready to take care of their errands. After agreeing on where and when they would meet back up they split apart to complete their tasks faster.
Akira was able to find all that he needed to buy relatively easy and for a reasonable price. Since he had free time until he needed to meet back up with Varbu, he began walking through one of the city’s many small market bazaars, looking at trinkets clothes and exotic foods all native to the desert country.
“You sir look like you could use a brand new sword! I have the best swords and armor that money can buy!” said a merchant that stepped in front of Akira blocking his path forward.
“Please don’t be shy, take a look,” said the merchant gesturing to a rug with many plain items neatly laying on it.
Akira sighed and quickly used his inspection skill on the items to find that everything that was being sold either had the words unstable or training attached to it.
“Sorry I am not in the market for a new weapon I already have what I need,” said Akira.
To the merchant, it only looked as if Akira had taken a quick glance at his items and not really given them a good look.
“Good sir, take a look at this sword it will slice through the desert monsters and bandits alike, the price is also a cheap 5 gold!” said the merchant picking up a sword and shoving it into Akira’s face.
“I already have a sword,” said Akira pushing the man’s arm away from him.
“Look how swift you can swing the sword and how sturdy it is,” said the merchant swinging the sword in the air a few times. On the last swing, the blade detached from its handle and crashed into another merchants stall causing a larger hole to appear.
Akira sighed in amazement at the gall the merchant had to try and sell such a crap sword. He quickly escaped the merchant before he got caught up in the argument that started between the merchant who had his stall heavily damaged.
Akira hurried back to the inn where he was supposed to meet Varbu around noon which was only a short time away.
When he entered the [Rear-ends] common room he saw Varbu waiting for him at one of the tables. He looked to have a sour mood hanging over him.
“What’s with you?” asked Akira as he sat down on the opposite side of the table.
“A group of rotten little kids told me I look ugly and scary before laughing at me and running away,” said Varbu unhappily.
Akira chuckled at this, “Don’t let it get to you, they’re children. But you do have an aggressive looking face I can see why they would call you scary.”
“Hey, I was born with this face! I’m a very handsome Orc! All the young Orc females want to be my partner! They shouldn’t be scared!” said Varbu defiantly.
“Well, it’s true you’re stuck with that face you have.”
“What are we doing this afternoon?” asked Varbu wanting to change the topic.
“I need to sell some of the junk…I mean the items I have collected over the last few months to earn some cash for our travels. From what I gathered we’ll have to go to the smaller bazaar near the east side gate if we want to sell anything without a license from the city.”
“How much is a license?”
“Too much for what it offers. It only allows you to sell at the bazaar near the front gates or the central bazaar. And doesn’t remove the high tax needed to get into the bazaar.”
“Well the side bazaar may be cheaper but buyers would have to go out of their way to get to it. You might not get many customers.”
Akira shrugged. What could he do? He didn’t want to take the risk of spending a large portion of his money only to make a small amount back. There were no guarantees that he would be able to sell anything.
They ate their lunch quickly and walked through the streets to the market bazaar near the east side gate.
When they neared the bazaar there was a large crowd surrounding multiple tents, metal cages, and a large platform that was raised high enough for everyone in the crowd to see what was on the platform.
For the first time while in the city, Akira noticed that there was a large number of different people from multiple demon races mixed in the crowd along with humans.
He recalled seeing multiple other demon races during the morning but had thought nothing of it. It seemed the country of Cadia was less strict with the demon race than Vussia was.
A muscular, bare-chested, olive oil skinned man, stood next to a cage that contained what Akira guessed was a monster from the desert. Akira was interested in what was going on stopped to watch.
“Look at this ferocious monster! The adventures that captured this fella, tamed him to be as docile as a household pet towards its owner and ferocious as a lion to any enemies. The bidding will start at the low price of 20 gold!” came the booming voice of the muscular man.
Instantly there were multiple shouts as people bid a few extra silver bit by bit, then a few gold until the final winning price was 33 gold and 10 silver.
“The winner please go to the tent behind the stage and pay for your purchase. We can then make arrangements for it to be delivered to your home. The next items for sale is a group of rioting debtors. A small village incurred a large debt of several thousands of gold. When the agreed upon time came for them to pay back the gold loaned to them, they attacked and killed the messenger, which they tried to cover up and pretend did not happen. They are being sold as indentured servants for 10 years of hard labor or 20 years of soft labor.”
A group of more than 20 men women and children were led up onto the platform all of them with varying skin colors from dark as the night, green olive oil, and even some with white skin.
“The bidding for the children will start at 3 gold each! For the adult females 7 gold and 15 gold for the strong males who would make for fine fighters or be even better as a hard laborer in mines and construction sites!” shouted the man.
Seeing this Akira knew exactly what this place was…it was a slave market.
He had heard about such places but had never seen them in any of the major capitals of the other countries. Although he disliked what he saw on the platform he understood that the villagers had entered an agreement with their creditors and were unable to pay off the debt. They even went as far as killing the collector sent by the creditors.
This left the creditors no choice but to inform the local authority of the situation, they were now hoping to receive a small portion of what was owed back by selling them into indentured servitude.
It was a distasteful thing but the debtors should not have taken such a large amount of gold if they had no way of paying it back.
What was even worse and what Akira could not forgive was the innocent people who committed no crime and were captured and sent to the slave markets.
He was sure that this slave market sold all types of slaves. But there was nothing he could do lest he wanted the entire city guard to chase after him or endure life in prison if he was caught freeing them.
He could not change the countries laws or the way the rulers of the cities thought. It made one feel both anger and helplessness at being unable to help.
“Let’s go,” said Akira turning his back to the platform while glancing at a few cages he had not bothered to look at before seeing multiple monsters, humans, and even some people of demon races chained inside.
Akira and Varbu left the slave market and walked to the Bazaar near it with a bad taste in their mouths. They paid the few silvers required to enter and sell items.
“Don’t cause any trouble,” warned one of the guards as they passed through the bazaars entrance.