"This guy is quite comfortable."
Stiel was impressed with Fish No.1. The feel of its back was one of a kind. She first figured the movement was going to be rocky since its massive body had to move, but the monster smoothly swam across the sea. It was so big that it wasn't even affected by the waves. The steel box that was tied down did not move at all.
"Should we take him onto land also? I think he has legs too."
Sian felt the fish flinching as he spoke.
"Isn't he too big? But if you're up for a world invasion… I would welcome that idea."
If this monster walked onto land, Kiara would bring out their Artagon to shoot it at the monster. That part was okay since it would only kill Fish No.1, but then Stiel would start destroying the entire nation and Kiara would be wiped out. Sian decided to let Fish No.1 go once they toward the end of Lagaopora.
"Good work. You can go now."
Sian came to like the fish because of the comfortable ride and meat it provided. Therefore, he let it go without any hard feelings.
"Miss Stiel, we will walk from here."
"Yeah, but wait."
"Let's get some more meat. It's so yummy."
Stiel offered to take more meat from Fish No.1.
"You are a genius. Hey, Fish No.1. Stop right there."
The distance to their destination, Kerbal, was still a little far. It seemed like a nice idea to have the meat to eat while they walked above the sea.
"Have you been communicating with Margaran?"
"Dammit! What in the world happened?!"
Near the end of Lagaopora, the city, Kerbal, was also in chaos. Margaran lost all of its contacts right after it sent a message to stop all ships leaving the dock. The City of Kerbal was in distress, but it was only the start as the chaos would only grow larger if they heard about what happened at Margaran.
Unlike Margaran, Kerbal was already a prosperous city before Lagaopora. However, it became more prosperous than ever after the Lagaopora festival started. Kerbal was even considered the second capital of Kiara.
All the goods came from Broshan, and people gathered to travel to Broshan. With the warm climate and beautiful scenery, the City of Kerbal was one of the best, only second to the capital of Kiara.
The city was famous for a lot of things, but there was one in particular.
The Black Market.
Every city had their own black market, but the one in Kerbal was special. It was huge, and with the vast amounts of money coming and going, the nobles knew of its existence but allowed it to continue operating. The people involved in the market were too powerful, and the bribes that were given to nobles were substantial.
After that, the black market was considered a specialty attraction of Kerbal.
"Oh. We should visit the place after grabbing a room then."
"It should be fun."
Sian and Stiel were munching on the fish meat. The meat was stored within <Nitzmatan>, and it would last for a while. Fish No.1 had to leave with a large chunk of its back sliced up.
"Will this place fall like Margaran?"
"I don't think so. It was already a large city before. It did profit from Lagaopora, but it didn't rely on it that much."
"Then the city won't really take any damage."
"Yeah. There will be some damage though."
"But Miss Stiel, do you know how to get to the black market?"
It was famous, but it was still hidden. It was not like the visitor's guide booklet told travelers where to go.
"No. I've never been here either."
"…you look unworried about that."
"Haha… but it will be easy to find."
Stiel took off a piece of clothing. She was now only wearing a thin, short-sleeve shirt, revealing her curves.
"Now… after this…"
Stiel felt people's attention shifting to her as she began walking into the crowd.
"ARGHHH! MY WRIST! YOU CRAZY B*TCH!"
"Did you see that? Let's ask him where to go."
Stiel dragged a man back to Sian.
"Hm… it should be here."
Sian glanced around an alleyway after he followed the directions from the man. The Black Market was so large that it had multiple entrances and this was the closest one from their rooms. Sian and Stiel walked into the restaurant that the man told them about.
As they walked in, the owner greeted them grumpily.
"…Chrona meat and Liona steak."
"Hmph. Come this way."
The owner then led them to an underground passageway below the restaurant.
"It's cheesy. Why do they use such code words?" Sian whispered.
"Hehe. Isn't that part of the fun?"
After they walked down, they faced an iron door.
"You can go in from here. Have fun."
The owner then returned while Sian and Stiel walked in through the door. As they opened it, they were now in a vast underground alley. They had reached the Black Market of Kerbal.
The Black Market was started in a basement and the back of a building and began expanding its area until they eventually joined each other to form an extensive tunnel network. As it grew too large, people then built a building on top to conceal it.
The Black Market dealt with everything that wasn't legally allowed. Smuggled weapons, drugs, items, Talic Stones… it had everything. And the most popular item of all was the slaves.
The Kiara Kingdom still had slaves. It was illegal officially, but people still traded and kept them secretly. This was where the most significant number of slave trades were held.
The Black Market wasn't just some market that people shouted about. It was crowded but somewhat subdued. The people who made purchases here wanted to hide what they were purchasing, so they tried to keep it as quiet as possible.
Sian and Stiel looked around as they walked through the alley. There were all kinds of fascinating things that Sian had never seen, from fascinating creatures to mysterious weapons and illegal potions. It had everything. The Black Market was a good place for mercenaries to shop around. If they were lucky, they would be able to purchase a good potion at a cheap price. It usually had bad side effects, but the mercenaries who always put their lives on the line did not care too much about it.
As Sian and Stiel walked in further, they came to the market where the slaves were being traded.
"It's a slave market."
Sian and Stiel glanced in that direction, but they were uninterested.
"They look clean."
"They won't sell if they look dirty. It's the same for everything."
"Oh… right. But they don't look special."
"Did you expect to see beautiful women or non-human races to pop up there?"
Sian turned his head as Stiel guessed what he thought.
'Some fairytales say that's where the main characters find their partners…'
Sian had no intention to buy one, but his dream had been shattered.
The people sold at a slave market were one of two things. They were either too poor that they had to sell themselves or they had a debt that they could not repay.
Both were the same in the regard that they were helpless either way.
The novels said that beautiful women or powerful non-human beings were sold at slave markets, but that wasn't realistic. Those were sold directly to people with power.
That was why the slave market was the gloomiest place in the Black Market. It was full of chained up, hopeless people. At least they were washed and clothed with decent clothing that made them look less like bums.
"Hmph. Let's move on."
Sian then decided to move onto the next stop, but he came across a familiar scent. He could not remember where he had smelled the scent before, but he quickly began chasing it. Confused, Stiel followed.