Let us return to year 10009 of the Yulan calendar, September 21st. A few days had passed after Wharton and Nina’s grand wedding. At this time, Linley was under the belief that Reynolds had died.
“This is the third day on this ship. That bastard just tortured another slave to death, then tossed him into the river.” Through the steel-barred windows, Reynolds could see the outside world. He had watched a seemingly powerful, yet blood-stained body be tossed into the river. A human being, just like that, sank into the river with a ‘plop’.
In the army, Reynolds had already seen how worthless a human life was.
However, on this slave journey, Reynolds had been truly shocked by how terrifying these slavers were. Fortunately, he, Reynolds, was an extremely valuable commodity, and so those slavers didn’t dare to kill him.
“Whap!” A whip struck Reynolds heavily on his body, and then against Reynolds’ face. Instantly, a bloody welt could be seen forming on his face, and his ragged clothes were covered with rips as well.
“Motherf*cker, what are you looking at?” A large whip-wielding thug shouted angrily at Reynolds.
Reynolds could only huddle into a corner of the ship, not daring to make a sound. He had learned to be obedient. If he wanted to try and be brave and stare back at him…he probably would be tortured this entire night.
This slaving vessel was extremely large. The bottommost deck held those cheapest of slaves. Those slavers would sometimes go down to that deck, and if they saw someone they disliked, they would strike them heavily.
Reynolds, as an extremely valuable slave, was imprisoned within a special room in the second level. The windows to this room were barred with steel, and there were two thugs on watch at all times.
Quite a few thugs were stationed in the other rooms on the second floor as well.
The third and uppermost floor was used for transporting the leaders of this slaving vessel. One was an expert of the eighth rank, while two were experts of the seventh rank. If it wasn’t for Reynolds, this slaving vessel wouldn’t have had an expert of the eighth rank sent along with it.
On the deck of this ship, a tall, strong, bald man walked down from the third floor.
“Lord Peel [Pi’er].” The surrounding thugs said respectfully.
Seeing the bloodstains on the deck of the ship, the bald man frowned. “Wipe those bloodstains away. Also, slaves are worth f*cking money. All of you be careful when you hit them. Don’t kill them. If you kill a slave, that means the organization will lose some money.”
Those thugs didn’t dare to make a sound.
The bald man snorted, then walked to the chain links at the deck’s edge. The cool night wind blew against him as he enjoyed the beautiful night scenery of the Bonai [Bo’nai] River.
“Right. What’s going on with that magus?” The bald man snorted.
A nearby thug immediately said obsequiously, “Lord Peel, that little pretty-boy magus started off all high and mighty, but after the boys spent a bit of time trainin’ him these past few days, he’s learned his lesson.”
“Excellent.” The bald man said calmly, “All of you, be careful and keep a close eye on that magus. The only valuable commodity we are escorting this time is that magus of the seventh rank. And, by the looks of it, this magus is a noble. When we sell him, the price will be extraordinarily high.”
Those thugs all nodded.
A young magus of the seventh rank was definitely one of the best auction items that would appear in the slave markets. People would go even crazier for him than they would for a beautiful virgin.
“What’s that noise?” The bald man suddenly frowned, then turned his head and stared at the cabin. “That sick bastard keeps on coughing. Drag him out. Motherf*cker, he pisses me off.’ A hint of bloodlust was in the eyes of the bald man.
Soon, a skinny young man was dragged out. By the looks of him, he was eighteen or nineteen years old. His body was covered with a foul odor as well as bloodstains. The eyes of this youngster were rather vacant. This long period of imprisonment had caused him to go crazy. He was nothing more than a young man who had left his hometown in search of his dreams, but who would’ve thought that he would suddenly have been seized and sold to a slaving organization? Just like that, he had entered a nightmare.
“Hrm?” The bald man stretched his hand out, and a nearby thug very conscientiously filled it with a whip.
Holding the whip, the bald man cracked it in the air, creating a clear, crisp sound. Suddenly, a hint of fear appeared in the blank eyes of the youngster.
“If you aren’t dead, why do you keep coughing? You ruined the wonderful mood I was in.” The bald man suddenly landed a vicious whipping blow onto the skinny youth.
This whip blow was far stronger than the blows of those common thugs.
The skinny youngster’s body suddenly trembled violently, and a terrifyingly deep whip-scar was left from his face to his waist. Blood immediately began to flow out. As for his clothes, they were destroyed long ago.
“Whap!” “Whap!” “Whap!” “Whap!” ….
The bald man viciously whipped him, fully venting his temper on this poor young man’s body. The skinny youngster, quite experienced by now, immediately tried to protect his head and curled into a ball. What he thought was that as long as he could endure, he might still be able to preserve his life.
Sadly. Although the bald man didn’t dare to kill Reynolds, the bald man dared to kill him.
“Lord Peel, he’s dead.” A nearby thug whispered.
The bald man casually tossed his bloodstained whip to a nearby thug, then turned back to stare at the raging river waters, stretching lazily. “Damn, that feels good. You guys, toss that piece of trash overboard. Also, make sure you scrub the deck clean.”
“Yes, Lord Peel.” The surrounding thugs quickly began to work as instructed.
“Plop!” With a plopping sound, yet another body was tossed into the river.
Each slaving ship carried several hundred slaves within it, and on each trip, over ten would be tortured to death. The ones which the thugs would beat to death were the ones who were physically the weakest. The physically stronger ones would be able to hold on for longer. Thus, the slaving organization didn’t lose too much.
“Yet another one.” Reynolds sighed in his heart. He didn’t expect that after managing to escape Neil City alive, he would have fallen to such a state.
Reynolds didn’t know what his future would be like.
“Be a slave?” Thinking about the debased, dark life of a slave, Reynolds shuddered.
“Pretty-boy, what are you mumbling? Do you want to cast a spell?” With an angry roar and a ‘WHAP!’ sound, another whip blow came, striking him directly on his face.
These thugs clearly knew that Reynolds was a magus of the seventh rank. All of those petty, despicable thugs wanted to whip Reynolds whenever they could, so as to satisfy their petty pride.
“Motherf*cker, f*ck off!” Reynolds was truly angry now.
The more he endured, the more overbearing these men became.
“Oh ho!” The thug with the whip raised an eyebrow, his lips curving into a sneer as he looked at Reynolds. “You still have the gall to be arrogant?” As he spoke, he struck out with another whip.
A ferocious light flashed in Reynolds eyes, and his lips quickly muttered the words to a magic spell.
“BAM!” A series of fireballs the size of a person’s head erupted out from Reynolds, striking out wildly towards those two thugs. In the blink of an eye, they had been encircled by over ten balls of fire.
“Ah!!!” Those two thugs screamed miserably, their entire bodies covered with flame. What’s more, these flames burned much hotter than ordinary, fire-stoked flames. The two thugs quickly had their skin turned into char. Soon, they stopped breathing.
Immediately after casting the spell, Reynolds charged outside.
But just then…
“Bam!” A sudden hole appeared in the ceiling of the room, and a one-eyed man wearing a red robe descended into the middle of the room. With a flash, he reached Reynolds, and then kicked Reynolds with his leg.
“Bam!” Reynolds was knocked into a corner of the cabin, hard. Blood spewed from his mouth.
The one-eyed, red-robed man glanced back at the two charred corpses, then stared coldly at Reynolds. “You are asking for death!” Reynolds stared back at the red-haired and red-robed one-eyed man.
“No wonder the organization insists on three months of special training. All of you are miserable wretches.” The one-eyed man cursed. Simply capturing an expert such as a magus of the seventh rank was not enough. To make them feel, in the deepest parts of their hearts, unable to resist any orders, was extremely difficult. If they were angered, they would go all out.
Multiple thugs grabbed Reynolds by his limbs, making sure he couldn’t move. The red-haired one-eyed man and two bald men stared coldly at Reynolds.
“Pretty-boy, I’ve reminded you that you need to be a good boy on my boat. But you, you make me very angry.” The red-haired one-eyed man said in a cold voice. “Peel, help him improve his memory.”
Reynolds’ face immediately turned pale.
He remembered the threat which the one-eyed man had previously made to him. The terror-stricken Reynolds stared with bulging eyes, but the bald man named Peel only laughed as he walked over. “Hold one of his hands down for me.” Immediately, the thugs grabbed Reynolds’ hands and pressed them against the deck.
From the deck, Peel retrieved a pair of steel pincers that were used for cutting through iron chains. He pressed the steel pincers around two of Reynolds’ fingers. Sensing the cold feeling from his fingers, Reynolds’ heart trembled.
“Hrmph. Squeeze.” The one-eyed man sneered coldly.
The steel pincers clamped down, and as easily as cutting through cloth, Reynolds’ two fingers were cut off. Fresh blood flowed out as piercing pain wracked Reynolds’ body.
The pain of losing two fingers was far worse than even when he had received a blade chop on his body.
Hearing Reynolds agonized moans, the nearby thugs began to grow excited. The one-eyed man sneered coldly, “Pretty-boy, remember this. Today, all I did was teach you a little lesson. If you forget this lesson again, I guarantee…you will never forget the next lesson again.” After speaking, the one-eyed man turned and walked away.
Reynolds was curled into the icy cold corner of the room, his body still trembling slightly. His severed finger-stubs had already clotted. The two nearby thugs occasionally looked at him, their eyes filled with madness.
Reynolds had killed two of their friends. These thugs naturally were filled with hatred towards him.
A whip suddenly flashed out, aimed at Reynolds’ wounded hand. Reynolds tried his best to hide his injured hand behind his back, but part of that whip still clipped his hand. An extreme wave of pain and agony came from his hand…the wound burst open yet again. In particular, the pain of the whip striking his finger bones was especially agonizing. It was as though his fingers had been chopped off yet again.
“Enough. Stop hitting him.” The nearby thug said.
Actually, the two thugs were also afraid that Reynolds would go crazy once more and cast magic at them. However, the thug which had just hit Reynolds was on extremely good terms with one of the two thugs that had been killed. Naturally, he wanted revenge.
“I can’t do this. I have to escape.” Curled into a ball in the icy corner, Reynolds secretly thought to himself, “If this sort of life continues, I really will go insane.”
Reynolds knew that even if he was able to persevere and hold on to his sanity, the only thing which would welcome him was the life of a slave.
“Tomorrow. Tomorrow, when the ship reaches the shore, I’ll make my move.” Reynolds had no time for any misgivings. Actually, every day this ship would stop at the shore. One reason was to replenish their food supplies; the other was because the one-eyed man didn’t like to eat dry food. He preferred eating fresh delicacies. Thus, they had to go ashore to do so.
However, the one-eyed man was very careful. Whenever he went ashore to eat, the other two experts of the seventh rank would watch Reynolds.
Time passed very slowly. Lying on the floor late at night, Reynolds felt even colder. What’s more, throbbing pain continued to come in waves from his severed fingers. He gritted his teeth and endured.
Slowly, the sky began to turn bright.
Those two thugs whipped Reynolds a few more times, but Reynolds only huddled in the corner, quietly accepting the blows. He knew that he couldn’t resist. The first time he resisted, he had lost two fingers. The next time he resisted…then perhaps, like the one-eyed man had threatened, the next ‘lesson’ would be one he would never forget!
Reynolds quietly waited for the boat to near the shore.
After a long, long time…
“We’ve reached the shore.” Ringing sounds could be heard from the deck above. Soon afterwards, the sound of footsteps could be heard. Clearly, the two experts had walked down.
“Peel, you two stand watch. I’ll go rest for a bit, and then I’ll come and change places with you two.” The one-eyed man’s voice could be heard.
“Milord, don’t worry.” Peel’s voice rang out as well.
Hearing the footsteps head away from the ship, Reynolds let out a silent sigh of relief, and then he shut his eyes, once more mentally going through his escape plan.
The plan was very dangerous, but he had to give it a try.
Glancing at the two nearby thugs, Reynolds curled into a corner and lowered his head, and his lips began to slightly move…