My eyes flickered to the void. The frigid, damp coarse ground rubbed against my back half. I attempted to sit up, greeted by a welcoming acute jab on the lower left side of my hip. The stench of sewage filtrated my nostrils, kicking in my gag reflex. Wherever I am, it’s utter hell.
I hoisted myself onto my feet, trying to ignore the gnawing ache on my side. Unable to see even an inch in front of me, I staggered around, trying to find any indication of where I could be. My hands eventually grazed up against a solid curved wall. I guided my hands against the wall, trying to locate an exit. The wall abruptly ended as I plunged forward, eating a face full of cold metallic bars.
“Fuck!” I cursed, attempting to regain my footing.
Faint footsteps echoed down to the far left. As the sound got closer, a petit ember of light glowed brighter. A tall drunk scraggly man holding a lamp walked up to me. The previously void space lit up, revealing a prison cell within some dungeon that I’ve only ever heard about in stories.
“Shut the fuck up already!” the man shrilled. “Merchandise needs to learn to behave. If you don’t want to see your parents again boy, keep yapping.” With that, he departed as obnoxiously as he approached my cell.
Merchandise? So those men who ambushed our Magic Automatic Gear car (MAGcar) were slave traders? I thought sacrificing myself to protect my family would be fine because of my magic combative abilities; however, I can't feel any mana coursing through my body. This should have been an easy operation, protect my family, beat up some bad guys, and make it home within a day. But without my magic or knives, I'm nothing more than a pig ready for slaughter. I wondered why they only tossed me in this crappy cell without chaining me in some sort of maximum-security prison. The metallic collar around my neck was most likely a Magic Restraining Device (MRD), rendering me nothing more than a defenseless child. No one would believe these petty slave traders got their crummy little hands-on government tech, restraining the most notorious magic users.
The only way I'd be able to escape at this rate would be when I got out of this cell and was alone with that drunken bastard. Even without my magic, I could effortlessly wipe the floor with that wimpy ass man-baby. I'll just bide my time to recover my strength and strike when least expected.
Within the lightless prison cell, I can't recount how long I've been here. Every second felt the same after a while; however, I never gave up hope that soon I'd be able to escape back to my family. They must be worried sick after the stunt I pulled. We may have our misgivings, but I missed my mom's nagging, my sister's wining, and my dad's yelling. They can be irritating at times, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. Being isolated here made me recognize how blessed I am to have all of them in my life. I bet they were waiting for my cocky ass to return home already.
The loud footsteps of the drunk man-baby clapped towards me. I despised glimpsing at his ugly mug every time he dropped off the leftovers.
"Get up you little fucker! It's time you make yourself useful and just sell for a boatload of cash. Some rich dude will probably want you as a pet since you are SO pretty. I'm tired of looking at ya." I'd be lying if I enjoyed gawking at you too. I can't see much still in the dark, so I'll wait until the right moment to knock this mother fucker on his sorry little ass.
Following the glow of the crusty lamp, we ascended a few flights of thick concrete stairs. The appalling stench disappeared as I entered a carpeted hallway, greeted by a whisk of lavender. Being in complete darkness made seeing an ounce of light scorch my eyes. The sudden disorientation caused me to stagger, but I continued to follow. Different art forms lined the long, elegant walls. After we wandered the labyrinth of corridors, the man-baby brought me to an open tiled shower chamber.
"Strip and clean yourself up," says the man-baby. "We can't sell you smelling like that. I'll keep an eye right here." I very much don't want to, but I still comply. It wasn't the time; one wrong move could end up with me in more danger. Engaging on wet slippery floor tiles was one way to slip up.
I quickly freshened up, trying to keep myself facing away from the man-baby. I quickly dried myself off and threw on the new clothes left beside me. The new pants clenched my butt very tightly, indicating its deep outlines. The jacket they handed me exposed my chest and stomach to the world. To them, I am nothing more than merchandise. Dolling up my appearance served as the final touches.
"I swear all you pretty boys take forever in here," groaned the man-baby. "At least that makes you sell, I guess. Hurry the fuck up already. The auction is about to start."
I wondered how many others were in a similar predicament that I am. I felt that the safest time to escape was after I'm purchased and shipped down to be retrieved by my so-called new master. Before I'm carried away, I'll shred this mother fucker and escape.
I'm ushered backstage along with the other merchandise, which primarily held magical items or rare drops from different monsters outside the city walls. It seemed like I'm the only living being sold today. I didn't hear anyone else down in the cell or around me other than the man-baby checking up on me. As various items entered the stage, the wooden floorboards creaked under the weight of the cart. The booming of the crown quivered the stage as the bid for the items skyrocketed.
"And for our final item is something a little special!"
A woman in a very skimpy-looking outfit dragged me to the stage. The blaring stage lights blinded my eyes as I stumbled in front of many people in the house wearing silver masks. The masks gave off a mysterious vibe; a devilish smile covered most of its lower half. Looking out into the vast crowd, I sensed the hungry curious eyes of the people behind the mask staring daggers into my soul.
"While we rarely see a wonderful specimen like this," the announcer said in an obnoxiously cheerful tone. "He's about 173 centimeters and weighs around 64 kg." The announcer seized my left arm, dragging her long bony fingers up my arm. "His body is nicely in shape and can definitely make an amazing slave. All that annoying heavy lifting will be completed very fast and efficiently. He also controls mana, so I recommend not taking off the collar." She flicked the collar a few times and dragged the crowd's attention. Their thirsty eyes seemed even more interested. "We'll even include a bonus integration to the collar making sure this little pup plays nice."
A short zip of electricity zoomed from my neck to the rest of my body. My legs spazzed, and I tumbled flat on my butt. The room filled with the roar of the audience's laughter. If I wanted to escape, I had to knock that man-baby out and escape before I got a dose of electricity. I am not entirely sure of the range of the device, but I definitely don't want to take the full power electric shock.
"We'll start the bid at one gold piece!"
The crowd erupted in a frenzy; to amount of money being tossed because of me was baffling. I'm no one special. My family wasn't some rich tycoon or someone from the royal family. My mom took care of the house and herb shop while my dad worked as a mercenary for a medium-size textile trade company. My parents could never afford the ransom for my sorry ass comparable to the amount these son of a bitches were throwing around.
"25 large gold piece going one," the announcer called. "Going twice. Sold to number ten!" The person holding the rounded number ten seemed to be some dignified man by his mannerisms. But then again, he entered the auction house knowing the illegal dealings of this place. Looks could be deceiving. I can't trust anyone other than myself until I am safely home.