Derrick grumbled inwardly and put on a fake smile. Deep down, all he wanted to do was read the book and assimilate every single word in it, but the person watching him would surely suspect something.

"Sure, let's go!"

Brigand was happy to hear that, so they both left the building in the epicurean carriage. A few minutes later, they arrived in front of another large edifice. This one, however, looked way more tacky, with gold placed everywhere in sight.

Seeing the visible distaste in Derrick's face, Brigand let out a hearty laugh.

"Yeah, I find it hideous as well, but once you're inside, you'll forget about the decor"

Leaving on a mysterious note, they went to the entrance and once the guard recognized Brigand, he instantly let them through, which made him beam with pride.

"Told you I had contacts! Hehe"

Somehow, Derrick found his companion's reaction hilarious. It had been a while since he had bonded with someone since the cave wasn't exactly prone to making friends. It almost made up for the fact that he had been interrupted in his important read through.

As soon as he entered, the carefree attitude he had instantly made place to awe. The interior was jam packed with people and slaves. The traders had their best products on pedestals, often exposing them naked to assure that they had no defects.

Moreover, all the races were present. There were elves, orcs, dwarves, goblins... If you needed something, they had it.

Behind each of these traders were rows of slaves that didn't move, as if they had lost their will to live.

"How are they so calm and obedient?"

Derrick was really puzzled and figured that it was a magic of some kind, which was then confirmed by Brigand.

"They are 'branded' by the traders. It's a magic pact that prevents the branded from ever hurting their master. If you ask me, I find it disgusting as it prevents them from thinking. Without one's mind, you're just a walking corpse"

Derrick couldn't help agree more, although it depended on what sort of task he needed them for.

"Anyway, this is just the first level. Don't bother with this low quality, we're going to the top!"

With a grin, the burly man led Derrick to the last level, passing security on each level. After arriving at the fourth floor, they even had to be searched before proceeding forward.

"This is where the good stuff is when you have money. You can find princesses, blacksmiths, enchanters and any type you need. You can even 'order' and when they receive it, they'll contact you"

Derrick was honestly flabbergasted. You could 'order' individuals?! What the fuck! Anyway, it worked out for him right now.

As they kept walking, they arrived in a large hall with a single central counter. Behind it was a small man that was writing in black ledger. When he saw the newcomers, he put down his feather and looked them down.

"What's your budget?"

His voice was high-pitched and nosy, which honestly surprised Derrick more than his disregard and bluntness. Brigand, however, didn't seem phased by it at all.

"900 gold coins"

Derrick didn't have any time to waste, as he wanted to go back to his book. The small man eye's suddenly shone as if he was looking at a money bag. His attitude did a complete 180.

"Dear guest, what are you looking for?"

What a two faced bastard! But I guess that's to be expected when you deal with the higher parts of society.

"Blacksmith, enchanter, researcher, scholar, general and show me a princess while we're at it"

After hearing the exhaustive list of demands, the small man couldn't help but burst out laughing. After a few seconds, he started wiping away the tears that had formed at the corner of his eyes.

"I'm sorry... You just took me by surprise. My name's Yankov. May I know yours?"

Derrick had a massive frown as to why he had been laughed at, but after seeing Brigand's eyes pop out of their sockets, it eased a little.

"I'm Derrick Tarlin. Why was my request so funny?"

"Dear guest, your demands don't match your budget at all, not by a long shot. Right now, what I can show you are blacksmiths, scholars and generals. As for enchanters and researchers, they are so rare that you couldn't even buy them with your entire fund. Princesses are on the cheaper side of the spectrum, but I assume that they aren't your priority, correct?"

Derrick's mind stopped when he heard the cost of these slaves. He thought that he had struck it rich, only to be told that he was still a beggar. After gathering back his thoughts, he nodded to the man.

"Good. I'll show you our various selection in these fields. Please wait a moment"

Once again, Yankov looked at the ledger and started going through it, noting down numbers. After a few moments, he put it aside, and pulled a small metallic key out of a drawer. He then left his counter and went in front of Derrick and Brigand.

Out of nowhere, he started shouting numbers and making motions of a key opening a door. What made Derrick dumbstruck was that a magical door actually appeared and opened in front of them. Every time Yankov carried on, another one would appear and so on and so forth.

He repeated the gestures nine times in a row.

"You can all come out now"

After Yankov's command, nine individuals stepped out of the magical doors. They were all dressed properly and seemed well-fed. Their treatment was obviously better than those located on the lower levels.

"Dear guest, what you see in front of you are the best goods we have for your needs. There are three people for each field, graded by their quality, which is good, great and outstanding. Of course, their price varies accordingly. For the blacksmiths, it goes as follows : 100 gold coins, 200 gold coins and 400 gold coins. For the scholars : 50 gold coins, 100 gold coins and 200 gold coins. Finally, for the generals : 150 gold coins, 300 gold coins and 600 gold coins. I'll leave you two to it!"

While performing a slight bow, the man returned to his former duties.

Derrick was still in shock of the mechanisms behind the magical key, but he kept his questions as they would never answer them anyway. The prices hadn't been as exorbitant as Derrick expected after hearing about the prices of enchanters and researchers, which relieved him.

"I'll also leave you to it"

With a light pat on the shoulder, Brigand left. Derrick liked his tactfulness. He was now convinced that he would ask him for help concerning Akata, although only after getting the answer to a question that had recently occupied his mind.

Now that he was alone, it was time to choose wisely. In front of him were nine individuals that represented three races, which were human, orc and dwarf. Five were men and 4 were women. He decided to go in order of importance.

He already had his army of undead, which didn't require a general, and he could already make weapons, which made the scholar a top priority. A smirk suddenly appeared on Derrick's face. It wasn't that he didn't trust their initial assessment, but the system would surely confirm it.

"System, can you use Appraisal to evaluate the potential of these individuals?"

[Modification to Appraisal possible. Would you like to do so? Note : the original skill Appraisal will still be intact]

This system was the gift that kept on giving.


[Modification successful! New skill is named Potentus. It allows its user to evaluate the talent ceiling of individuals in certain domains. Will evolve in the future]

"Evaluate them"

[The assessment has been verified and confirmed. The individual costing 200 gold has the highest potential and his ceiling is Master tier in the Scholar domain]

Derrick was joyous. He figured that he wasn't using the system much and that he should explore its options more.

The scholar was a man that looked to be in his early thirties. He had black hair and sharp traits. His nose was a bit crooked, and he had pursed lips. His physique was nothing special, and he was about a head smaller than Derrick.

After deciding his first choice, he then went to inspect the blacksmiths. He did the same routine with the system and came to the same results. The one he chose was a male dwarf that was short and round, bald and with a long beard. The system had also assessed his ceiling to be at Master tier in smithing, which had pleased Derrick.

Finally, for his general, he only had 300 gold coins left. Common sense would have dictated to take the great tier one, but he had a gut feeling about the good tier human. She had a decent figure, red hair and a nice face, but more importantly, she seemed to have a fiery attitude and an unwielding spirit.

"System, use Potentus"

[The assessment has been verified and revised. The individual costing 150 gold has more potential than the one costing 300 gold. Her ceiling is Master tier in war tactics]

A diamond in the rough! Derrick was proud of himself for trusting his instinct.

"Yankov, I'll be taking these three"

Yankov looked up again and was surprised by the choice of his general, but still obliged. Like before, he opened the drawer and came out with three pieces of paper before walking in the direction of Derrick.

"By the way, since it doesn't seem to be like the systems below, how do they recognize their owner?"

Derrick had his curiosity piqued when he had seen the magical doors, and he now wanted to know how they would obey him.

"You do not have to worry about this. Compared to the brainless monkeys below, we only use the highest magic formations to brand their souls, resulting in inviolable laws. These formations are bound by blood and will last until their owner dies. They will also have their own thoughts"

Magical formations! Another topic that completely eluded Derrick. After all the new things he had experienced today, he felt like a country bumpkin that had a lot to catch up on.

"Dear guest, would you please give me a drop of your blood?"

Derrick merrily nodded and saw as Yankov pricked his finger, resulting in a few drops falling down on the three identical parchments. They were all drawn with various runes that looked impossible to duplicate.

After doing the same process with the three soon to be servants, a blinding light erupted and the three sheets flew and entered their minds, which made them fall on the ground.

"Everything is concluded! The total amount owed is 750 gold coins"


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