Leo followed the guards deep into the stronghold. As they were walking, they walked past a cellar very similar to the one Leo was chained in. He peeked into it and saw that the people there were completely silent even though all of them were alive.
They were all too weak and afraid to make a single sound. The cellar had a total of 74 people in it, which meant it was also probably stripped out of its best candidates like his cellar.
As they walked more, Leo started discovering that the number of Aura Knights was increasing. The number of cellars they crossed also increased one by one. Each of the cellars were manned by two guards each.
Till now, the only Aura Knights near them were the two guards. Each of them was 1st Circle Aura Knights. That was why they were confident in controlling all ten of the people that their boss picked out. The only miscalculation they made was Leo. Since they didn’t have an actual mage or a 3rd Circle Aura Knight, there wasn’t anyone to sense the aura in Leo’s body.
They just assumed he was a normal boy and didn’t account for the small chance that he was an Aura Knight. Of course, this was not even the biggest problem they were going to face, since he was also a 3rd Star Mage.
As they got closer to their destination, Leo’s expression turned sour. He had sensed a total of 30 1st Circle Aura Knights and 4 2nd Circle Aura Knights. The information that Lia had given him was completely wrong. This further deepened his distrust of them.
They finally reached a door where the guards stopped all of them. One of them opened the doors slowly, while the other guard talked to the captured people.
“Everyone inside decides whether or not you are worth keeping alive. So behave carefully.” He told them.
He then moved out for them to walk inside. Leo waited for the others to enter before entering after them. He looked at the inside of the room and saw that it was completely different from the place where they came from.
He came from a place that looked like a dungeon. It was poorly lit and very musty. However, the inside of the room was very different from that. It was very well-lit and had incredibly lavish furniture.
There were a few sofas to the side with people sitting on them, facing the people. The rest of the room had a few cabinets and decorative plates. The walls were properly painted and there was a chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
Leo looked up at the people who were eyeing the people standing in front of them like they were looking at objects. He immediately recognized one of them. Sitting on the couch to the right was a short person who had a very recognizable face. It was Chief Boban.
It finally made sense to him. The Chief and the entire village were weird from the start. He expected the innkeeper to be the one to tell the bandits that he was leaving and the chief had fed him with information that lead to him being trapped. But what Leo couldn’t wrap his head around was why.
Why would the chief go through the trouble of capturing a person he didn’t even know? And why were they imprisoning so many people at once? He could count at least 3 cells on the way to the current room, which meant there were at least 300 people being imprisoned in the entire stronghold. What could they achieve by doing that?
Boban clicked his tongue. “Where is the mercenary?” He asked.
The guard stepped forward. “He never showed up. When they went to capture him, we found this boy instead.” They said.
Boban frowned. “You useless pieces of garbage. The mercenary was a Silver Rank Mercenary. That means he was a 2nd Circle Aura Knight. Imagine a 2nd Circle Aura Knight with incredibly good looks? How much would he sell for? He wouldn’t even be sold at a fixed price. They would hold an auction for such a nice product! He could have made us millions!” Boba started shouting and his anger intensified as he kept rambling.
The man in the suit stopped him. “That’s okay. We can still catch the Mercenary. For now, the boy will work just fine. He looks very good too. The younger ladies might find him interesting. The only issue is he is too young, but there are definitely people with that preference.” He said.
Boban calmed down. He looked at the confused face of Leo and laughed. “You are right. Look at his clueless face. Someone explain to him what is happening to him.”
Meanwhile, the man in the suit also got up. He looked at Oliver who was beside Leo. The glare he gave made Oliver shake in fear. “Explain to your friend what all of you got stuck in.”
He also left the room behind Boban.
Oliver leaned in and whispered to Leo, “We are being sold. The people buying us are most likely nobles who want slaves they want to use. We will probably serve them for the rest of our lives. At least me and Brock have it easy. We are only going to be butlers or gardeners. The girls will be maids at the mercy of their masters. And you are also going to be at the mercy of the person who chose to buy you. But you should be in a better position than them.”
Leo’s expression immediately darkened when he heard that. He was never fond of nobles, but he bore their existence. After hearing what happened to Solhaven, however, he grew a huge hate toward them. The minute he found out the whole thing was a scheme to let nobles buy slaves, he lost all interest in playfully finding out what was happening.
Buying and selling slaves were technically illegal. Even nobles weren’t allowed to do it, but no one would stop them if they did. After all, the only person above the nobles was the emperor. And the emperor always put the nobles above the commoners.
Now that Leo found out everything that was happening, he was prepared to break free and leave the place, but he stopped in his tracks. He could sense a group of individuals walking toward them. Among them, importantly, were two mages. Each of them was only a 2nd Circle Mage, but they were mages nonetheless.
Leo clenched his hands. This meant that he was going to be seeing nobles in person. He would be seeing the faces of the people who engaged in this depraved act. As he thought that, the people finally got close to them.
The door to the room they were in slowly opened. A group of 8 people walked in, led by Chief Boban and the man in the suit.