Chapter 250: Lead

Vahn’s blood immediately filtered out the drug and he learned from Sis that it was intended to make him more ‘receptive’. It wasn’t a poison or anything dangerous but would give Shauntac a big edge in any negotiations they would have. With a small smile on his face, Vahn explained, “Every now and then there would be ships that traveled in from the Far East. I once saw the appearance of a beautiful girl with curved, fox-like, ears and a large bushy tail. No matter what I did, I was never able to spend any time with the girl and later learned that she was what the Far East referred to as a Renard. I recently heard that there was a Renard in the red light district and wanted to try my luck meeting the girl.”

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Shauntac showed a contemplative expression and squinted his eyes for a few seconds until he responded, “I do recall there is a Renard within one of the brothels. Since she is rather rare merchandise, I once tried to purchase her from the current owner but was denied…So, you intend to purchase this information?” Shauntac had a somewhat amused smile on his face that Vahn couldn’t understand well.

Nodding his head, Vahn said, “Indeed, it has been one of my long-held dreams to meet and associate with a Renard girl. However, it’s not as if I’m only interested in Renard’s, there are several girls that I’m quite fond of.” Vahn knew that if he only focused on the information pertaining to Haruhime, it would actually make it harder to obtain. The broker would try to up the price more and more depending on the interest he showed in obtaining it. What would normally only cost a few tens-of-thousands of Valis would likely cost several-hundred-thousand or more.

Shauntac’s eyes squinted a bit as the amused expression on his face turned more serious and his business-like smile reappeared as he said, “I’m sure we can work something out, but the price may be outside of your expectations. As far as I know, there is only a handful of Renards within the entire City and only one of them is a prostitute. However, her backer isn’t someone that I’m willing to offend easily…if you want the information we’ll have to arrange something special before I’m willing to trust you with the information.”

Hearing Shauntac call the girl he suspected to be Haruhime a ‘prostitute’ made Vahn’s eye twitch a bit. Fortunately, Shauntac just thought he was frustrated about not being able to easily obtain the information as he continued, “You see, Mr. Yashima, I’m much more inclined to give information to customers that I’ve closed deals with. As you’ve likely noticed, my brokerage isn’t a simple institution that disseminates information alone. Perhaps purchasing some of our ‘stock’ would help ease my tensions…”

Vahn averted his eyes to the ceiling as if he was thinking about Shauntac’s offer. He knew that the drug he took earlier was likely meant to prime him for Shauntac’s offer. Since there were various illegal channels supporting the slave-trading ring, even though slavery wasn’t illegal, it meant becoming an accomplice of sorts if Vahn purchased a slave that wasn’t procured through legal channels. However, it also meant that Vahn would be liberating a girl from her fate and he could just as easily free her after the purchase. Since he planned to crush this facility in the future, Vahn couldn’t see any harm in playing Shauntac’s game for now. Worst case scenario, he could force the information out of the broker once he identified a few of the collaborators.

Nodding his head complacently, Vahn had an ‘excited’ smile on his face as he said, “Sure, that sounds like a good idea. I’ve never really thought about purchasing ‘stock’ before, but it might be an interesting experience.” Vahn noticed that Shauntac went out of his way to avoid referring to the girls as slaves, so he considered it a red flag to mention it himself. Since all slave markets were strictly regulated, they were also required to post proper signage to indicate the nature of their business. Since the outside of this brokerage was unmarked, it implied they were an illegal trafficking ring that used a ‘referral’ system to attract customers.

Though he had already expected Vahn to agree, Shauntac still had a somewhat surprised and elated expression on his face as he stood from the sofa and grasped Vahn’s hand. After patting him on the shoulder in an amicable manner, Shauntac led Vahn through several corridors before arriving at a large room that had several doors and a few chairs set to the side. After motioning to the chairs, Vahn sat down while Shauntac informed one of his goons before sitting next to Vahn.

With an evil glimmer in his eye, Shauntac proudly claimed, “I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking Mr. Yashima. My stock is one of the most unique amongst the entire circle of brokers in the City. Even if you can’t find something you like, we also accept requests and will do our utmost to guarantee the satisfaction of our clientele.” As Shauntac spoke, Vahn sat in a somewhat dazed manner as he listened passively to the information. The smile on Shauntac’s face between somewhat larger as he motioned toward the side where a man was standing next to a door.

Vahn looked over and saw a line of twenty girls enter through the door in an order based on height. The shortest girl was only around 118cm, and Vahn could tell she a half-pallum that still seemed to be maturing. The tallest girl was around 180cm tall and had an incredibly curvaceous body with seductive green eyes. Every girl was wearing a simple cloth covering their bodies and Vahn noticed that none of them had on any undergarments at all. Some of the girls had even started to appeal to him already by flashing glimpses of the contents behind the cloth.

However, the thing that stood out the most to Vahn was their auras. Other than some of the more ‘seductive’ girls, every single one of them had a mellow and sad aura tinged with blues and purples. Vahn understood that the majority, if not all of the girls, were forced into slavery. The only reasons he could think of for the actions of some of the more mature girls was that they had been slaves for a longer period of time and had ‘adapted’ to the lifestyle.

Vahn slowly passed his eyes over every girl and focused primarily on their expressions as he had a silent and contemplative look on his face. He was very tempted to just kill Shauntac there and then so that he could liberate these unfortunate people. Though he didn’t know all of their ages, Vahn was very aware that a number of the girls were under the legal age even for normal slaves. The only explanation was that, like criminal Familia, they had either been born into slavery or kidnapped from villages outside of Orario.

The fact that anyone could be ‘born’ a slave was something Vahn fundamentally disagreed with and intended to change in the future if he could. For now, he just inspected the girls as Shauntac explained the fabricated origins and training each girl had undergone. When he called them forward from the line, the girl would stand in front of Vahn before removing the simple cloth that covered their bodies. Vahn felt his mind grow progressively numb over time as the cold sensation continued to increase in intensity.

After every girl had stepped forward, Shauntac turned to Vahn with a smile and asked in a somewhat amused manner, “Well then, do any of these girls suit your tastes Mr. Yashima? Know that we can provide a discount if you’d like to make a bulk purchase.” For several reasons, Vahn released a sigh and shook his head and explained, “Though they’re all beautiful girls, none of them are quite what I’m looking for…”

As Vahn spoke, he noticed that the auras of the girls turned slightly chaotic as they began to droop. Since Vahn hadn’t taken an interest in them, they were destined to continue their life as slaves for the time being. Several of them had thought Vahn was very attractive and had a gentle disposition so they had been trying their best to appeal to him. Having a kind and young Master was always preferable to some of the despots that typically visited the facility.

Expecting Vahn’s answer, the smile on Shauntac’s face remained unchanged as he motioned for the girls to exit while a smaller batch came in through the earlier door. Vahn turned his attention to the new arrivals and his brows raised slightly as Shauntac explained, “Sorry for the earlier display, we simply wanted to keep you entertained while the real merchandise had been prepared. I’m positive you’ll be pleased with at least one of these girls.”

Including the Cow Person, Vahn had seen earlier, each of the six girls that arrived was of a race Vahn had never seen previously. Even though he hated almost everything about this situation, Vahn couldn’t help but feel somewhat interested as he gave each girl a cursory glance. Noticing his gaze, four of the girls made slight appeals while two of them seemed completely disinterested in Vahn’s presence. They had dreary auras and eyes that contained nearly no light at all.

The first girl to step forward and remove her cloth was the same Cow Person he had met earlier. She had azure blue hair and pale green eyes with the largest breasts Vahn had ever seen. Since she had a youthful face and was only around 154cm tall, Vahn wasn’t able to determine her age. To accompany her large breasts, she also had somewhat large nipples that came to a point with a slight indentation. Her figure was somewhat plump and she even had neatly trimmed pubic hair that matched her hair color. From the explanation given by Shauntac, Vahn learned she was called Mona and was actually twenty years old and, as she demonstrated, was constantly capable of producing milk. After he was asked, Vahn somewhat flusteredly refused to sample it himself.

The second girl looked decidedly more exotic than everyone else and Vahn even thought she might be a Renard based on appearances. She had large bushy ears on her head that were dark brown with tufts of white fur on the inside. On her backside, she had a bushy tail of the same color and was also tipped with white fur. Her breasts were relatively modest, but her figure was somewhat tantalizing with how wide her hips were. Her eyes were a deep purple and she had red makeup that enhanced their appeal quite a bit. Shauntac explained that she was seventeen years old and was actually from a derivative species of Renards known as Kitsune in the Far East. Her name was Shizune and she appealed to Vahn by trying to get him to touch her fluffy tail.

Only allowed on

After Shizune stood back in the line, the third girl walked forward and Vahn frowned slightly when she removed her cloth. She was only around 150cm tall and had shaggy, platinum-blond hair with light grey eyes that had lost their light. Drooping from the side of her head, she had similar ears like a cow but the horns on her head were much larger and arched backward before curving around to a point. She also had a short shaggy tail and a slim figure with very modest breasts. The thing that disturbed Vahn was the various small scars and burn marks that covered her body..

Shauntac saw his expression and explained with mock distaste, “This is Preasia, she is eighteen years old and comes from the Sheep Person from the western plains. Her last owner had slightly deviant tendencies and liked to torment her a bit, but you can rest assured that she is still a virgin. If you choose to buy her, we’ll offer a healthy discount as well as a bit of insurance for if she fails to keep you satisfied.”

After bowing slightly, Preasia picked up her cloth before walking away with mechanical steps and rejoining the line. The entire time she stood in front of Vahn, her expression hadn’t changed even once and he understood she had developed a serious trauma and sealed her own mind away. Replacing Preasia was the second girl with lightless eyes, except she seemed to have an incredible animosity emanating from her body.

She had dark, somewhat ashen-brown, skin with red hair and burgundy eyes that had a hint of madness contained within. Like an elf, she had long pointed ears, while her body was almost flawless. Even though her skin tone was somewhat peculiar, she had a very beautiful and fit body with relatively large breasts. Shauntac spoke up from the side, “This one is a dark elf named Shiva, and she was a…return product. We had to place a curse mark on her tongue because she injured her previous owner. Fortunately, she is also still a virgin even though she is 31 years old. Don’t worry though, as her species can live for several hundred years, she will retain her beauty for the rest of your life.”

As if to reinforce Shauntac’s words, Shiva opened her mouth and showed a strange seal on her tongue before she snapped with her teeth. Though he wasn’t truly intimidated, Vahn swallowed a bit of saliva for reasons he couldn’t explain. She didn’t even bother to pick up her cloth as she rejoined the other girls and acted like she was continually trying to intimidate him.

The fifth and sixth girl were actually identical twins and they each had silvery hair with hazelnut eyes. Though they looked like Cat Persons, their ears were slightly rounded and had speckled black spots on them. Their tails were also twice as thick as normal and had speckled-black rings covering the length. They had a matching height of 158 cm and slender bodies like most of the Cat People Vahn had seen. Their breasts were modest and they had lithe figures with hopeful expressions on their faces as they held each other’s hands and appealed to Vahn by hugging each other and staring at him with pleading eyes. Since he could see their aura, even if they were trying to ‘pretend’, Vahn could tell that the two girls were actually very unstable and there was some truth behind the act.

Shauntac explained, “As you’ve noticed, these girls are twins named Emiru and Maemi. They are both sixteen years old, virgins, and from a very rare tribe native to the Northern Tundra called Snow Panthers. Since they became stock willingly after their village was in a famine, they have a clause where they will both go to the same home when purchased. I’m afraid I’ll have to charge a premium as well since they are not only a rare breed but also twins. They’re actually recent arrivals and haven’t received any training, so you’re in luck since they will likely be purchased soon just based on their rarity.”

Hearing Shantac’s words, the twins made a harmonious verbal appeal to Vahn, “Please buy us, Master. We don’t want to end up in a strange place…” Shauntac cut them off and they had sad expressions as they picked up their clothes and returned to their place in line. Looking over, Shauntac could see Vahn rubbing his temples and knew that he had been impacted by the two girls. Before negotiations even began, he increased the price of the girls by twenty percent.

Vahn had realized by now that, even though he had prepared himself, he wasn’t actually able to resist the plea of others so easily. Because he had the power to ‘liberate’ all the girls present, Vahn was very tempted to do so and then just release them later. Especially after hearing the twins plea, Van felt like he had made a mistake by coming to this place. Now that they were literally asking to be saved, he couldn’t overlook them even if he wanted to.

With a short sigh through his nose, Vahn gave the girls another look before asking, “How much?” Shauntac’s smile widened as he asked, “Did you find something that suits your tastes Mr. Yashima?” Hearing the discussion, every girl except the dark elf Shiva had somewhat excited expressions on their faces. After a brief period of thought, Vahn stated, “I want to know how much the information for the Renard will cost me. Other than that, I want to know the prices of the girls here and I will make my decision based off of that.”

Shauntac’s brow raised slightly because he hadn’t expected Vahn to even remember his original purpose after the drug kicked in. He realized that Vahn was likely very interested in sampling the Renard girl and had a ‘knowing’ smile on his face as he explained, “The information for the Renard girl will cost you nothing as long as you purchase each of the girls here…lets say an even 1,000,000V for the first four and an additional 700,000V for the twins.”

With a hesitant expression on his face, as if he was contemplating things seriously, Vahn released a sigh as he handed over notes that amounted to 2MV. Shauntac had a pleased expression and pocketed the notes as Vahn said, “I don’t care about the change, just have these girls properly dressed and give me the information I came for. Consider it a bonus to celebrate the conclusion of our successful business.”

Each of the girls had a happy expression on their faces and the twins were both slightly misty-eyed as they hugged each other before leaving into one of the side doors. Vahn was escorted by Shauntac back to the earlier lounge and gave him an information packet that not only included the image of Haruhime, but also detailed some of her personal information like breasts, waist, and hip size. After reading it over, Vahn understood why Shauntac had been wanting the conceal the information and hadn’t been able to purchase Haruhime himself. The current ‘owner’ was none other than Ishtar, Goddess of the Ishtar Familia and the primary governing force within the Entertainment District.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Slave Exhibition’,’Exotic Collector Yashima’,’The Mastermind Appears’)

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