Thank you to raw provider: Aii
The salty sea breeze tickled his nose. At the same time, a loud noise penetrated Kian’s ears.
He arrived at a market built near the port in the southern part of the Empire.
The yells of solicitation by the merchants was loud enough to be annoying.
And a familiar yet unpleasant sight occupied his field of vision.
“You—young man from Tyros! Look at this muscular body! It has a lot of power, so it’s perfect to use as a worker!”
“A woman from a fallen aristocratic family! A rare product!”
What the merchants were selling were slaves bound in chains around their hands and feet.
They all looked tired and unfocused, and a shadow of their former selves—Kian could see himself in them. His self image overlapping with them.
It was an auction house. The audience was full of people shouting prices.
It was an area that brought back memories that he wanted to forget. Not wanting to stay long, his walking pace increased.
He needed to find a slave trader named ‘Aulos.’ That was the purpose of Kian’s coming here today.
He stopped in front of a slave dealer selling slaves on the roadside.
“Welcome, noble sir! What kind of slave are you looking for?”
The slave trader spoke politely. Kian ignored his words and asked.
“Do you know a slave trader named Aulus?”
Realizing that Kian wasn’t there to buy slaves, the slave trader smacked his lips with regret. Then, he peered at Kian up and down.
‘A handsome man with bright eyes. If he was a slave, he would have been sold for a great price… … .’
“I asked if you knew a slave trader named Aulus.”
Kian repeated himself a second time, annoyed. The slave trader answered in haste.
“If it’s Aulos, I’ve heard of him.”
Kian blinked as if prompting him to say more.
Intimidated, the slave trader started to speak instead of using surly terms such as ‘If you want to know, pay up.’
“He’s pretty famous around here… made a lot of money from the slave trade.”
“…… Do you know where he is?”
Seeing that Kian’s expression had ebbed, the slave trader looked at him and said,
“It looks like you’ve come to see Aulos……. If I’m correct, then you’re one step late.”
“What do you mean?”
“I heard that he had a chronic illness and died two years ago.”
Kian paused for a moment.
After finding out the whereabouts of the nanny, he wanted to kill him by tearing him apart with his own hands… … .
The sense of oppression the slave trader felt from Kian grew stronger and stronger. The slave trader, who was having a hard time breathing for some reason, gasped and said,
“Ah, it looks like Aulos has a business.”
“He had a son…… . How about visiting him?”
It was unexpected information.
He thought the trail of clues he was following would be cut off, but he got lucky.
“Sir, I’ve told you everything I know…….”
The slave trader now looked like he was begging for him to leave.
Regardless he was ready to leave this unpleasant place.
Without delay, Kian headed for his next destination.
* * *
The place the slave trader had directed him to was a small town in the eastern part of the empire.
The village, with its small, rough roofs, was peaceful and quiet.
Kian approached the owner of the shop who lined the boulevard with colorful fruit.
After buying an apple, he inquired of the owner.
“Son of Aulus? I know him well.”
“Do you know where he lives?”
While tilting her head, the middle-aged woman meekly gave him information.
‘I don’t think such a beautiful man would do anything wrong.’
There was a reason she favored a complete stranger like Kian.
It was because Kian’s appearance was so beautiful that he could easily be liked by both men and women.
And Kian was well aware of that.
As the shopkeeper had instructed him, Kian turned the corner to the right and stopped in front of the first house he saw.
He thought his son would live in a mansion thanks to his father, who made a lot of money from the slave trade, but it was an ordinary stone house.
Kian knocked on the door, lightly two or three times.
After a while, the door opened and a middle-aged man stuck out his head.
It was a face that closely resembled the Aulos that Count Douglas recalled when Kian went through his mind.
With the arrival of a stranger, the man looked at Kian with a wary look.
“Are you the son of the slave trader Aulus?”
Instantly, the man’s face contorted in embarrassment.
“I asked if it was true.”
When Kian urged him to answer, the man hesitatingly answered with an anguished voice.
“…… That’s right.”
He exhaled painfully and asked,
“Who are you?”
“I am the man whom Aulus sold into slavery 20 years ago.”
The man’s eyes fluttered violently. He lowered his head, not meeting Kian’s eyes.
“…… My father is already dead.”
The man raised a question, trembling,
“Are you here to take revenge on me?”
At that moment, a middle-aged woman suddenly stuck her head over the man’s shoulder. She spoke if she sensed the conversation was unusual.
“Honey, what’s going on?”
The girl dangling from the hem of the woman’s skirt asked innocently.
“Daddy, who is this pretty brother?
“Nothing. Everyone stay in.”
The man rushed his wife and daughter inside. Then he turned his head to Kian and begged.
“Please, please don’t touch my family.”
The man who was constantly bowing his head and begging was about to kneel.
Feeling like a villain, Kian opened his mouth.
“I am not here to get back at you.”
“What? That, then…….”
“Twenty years ago, your father sold a woman with me into slavery. I need records documenting who she was sold to.”
Upon hearing those words, the man’s face still didn’t look relieved.
Kian interrogated him,
“Where are the deeds of the slaves that your father kept?”
The man who hesitated to answer, finally closed his eyes tightly and spoke,
“I’m sorry. Not one remains.”
“Are you sure?”
“I am not lying. I burned them all with my own hands.”
“I was ashamed and hated my father, a slave trader. I wanted to erase all traces of that person. Therefore… … .”
He thought things would be easy, but it was the other way around.
The man bowed his head as if he was ashamed.
“I’m sorry. Because of me… … .”
Kian had no intention of blaming the man.
It was a 20 year old document. Even if this man did not get rid of it, there was no guarantee that it would remain intact and withstand the storms of time.
‘What should I do now…….?’
As Kian was immersed in his thoughts wondering about his next steps, the man spoke out cautiously.
“Perhaps… … There may be a way.”
It was a skeptical tone. Yet as if holding on to a little hope, he continued,
“My father was very thorough in his work. He may have made a copy of the deed of sale in case he lost it.”
“Didn’t you say that you destroyed everything Aulos left behind?”
“The things he left behind to me. He may have entrusted copies to those who worked for him. Maybe those documents are still there.”
Kian didn’t understand why this man would try to help him with such a cumbersome task.
“Why are you trying to help me?”
“Well… … .”
The man’s face was stained with guilt. He explained,
“Because I want to atone for my father’s sins, even if it’s just little bit.”
“… … .”
Kian cackled and sneered.
* * *