Tel'Hatra, the Northern Khanate's capital, a haven of sin and injustice where abusive slavery ran rampant, and the feeble could perish for a yes or a no. While the Holy Continent's denizens typically treated slaves like valuable commodities with output depending on the master's input, the Barbarian Continent's citizens thought otherwise.
Within this half of the world, slaves, especially those hailing from the Holy Continent, were treated no better than cattle. Their life expectancy was fairly low, and their existences tragic. Moreover, contrarily to the Holy Continent, the majority of barbarian slaves were not human, but beast descendants snatched from the Holy Continent with the occasional spirit appearing among them.
Naturally, spirit slaves were precious commodities the scions of powerful clans competed for. The right to abuse such goods was not cheap.
As Konrad's carriage approached Tel'Hatra, he could get glimpses of the massive megalopolis housing more than eighty million individuals on its own. Back when he'd first arrived in the Ancient Crystal World, such a population density would have undoubtedly startled him.
But now, it couldn't even cause a ripple within his eyes. Instead, it was the curved domes and structures evoking the Azari style of the Persian architecture that grasped his attention. How such a structure was reproduced god-only knows how many astronomical units from Earth was a mystery Konrad couldn't comprehend.
And as he reached Tel'Hatra's entrance, he couldn't help but wonder if the theory of the collective unconscious didn't hold more merit. Granted they could pay the entrance fee, Tel'Hatra's gates welcomed all. Therefore, Konrad's carriage only stopped for an instant to pay the toll before carrying in.
The streets abounded with life, legions of individuals that strutted back and forth, heading into another chapter of their lives. Little did they know that the entirety of their lives was about to undergo drastic changes due to the Profane Prince's machinations.
"Let's first settle in an inn. We should appreciate what the city has to offer before overthrowing the monarchy."
Said Konrad, while the carriage approached the marketplace.
"I heard Tel'Hatra produces the finest wine within the Barbarian Continent. We should indeed enjoy a sip."
Else replied with her head leaning against Konrad's shoulder. But in that instant, he felt it was a pity his empress wouldn't be there to enjoy it too.
And before they could bypass the marketplace, a commotion arose.
"In broad daylight conducting such vile a deed as a slave auction, don't you feel ashamed of yourselves?! Release them at once!!!"
A voice thundered from within the marketplace, causing hundreds of footsteps to stop, and the eyes above to turn toward its origin. Slavery was common practice within the Ancient Crystal World, and Tel'Hatra was notoriously known for its empowerment of the practice. Here, slave auctions didn't need closed doors, and the traders were free to parade the captives for all to see.
Of course, a minority disliked the practice. However, even if they did, none would dare speak against it. After all, it was state-sponsored! Whoever challenged it was challenging the royal clan's will!
Who was that bold? Who was that fool?
Even Konrad's interest was piqued, and he pushed his head out of the window to better observe the scene. On a tall platform, six scantily clad young women with fully exposed assets and five bare-chested, muscular men stood for the potential buyers to appraise. Their value and the purposes they would serve was evident to all. However, it wasn't on them that eyes fell, but on a large, gruff man whose face looked as if it had been trampled by a stampede of ten-thousand horses.
A nose large enough to occupy half the face, huge, protruding lips that barely fit in a palm, tiny, barely noticeable eyes on a long, rectangular face and elephant sized-ears.
Without a shred of hesitation, Konrad dared say…that this was the most hideous-looking man he'd witnessed in two lives! Hideous, so hideous that it didn't look natural! Whoever laid eyes on him was struck speechless and forced to turn to avoid permanent damage!
Even Else couldn't help but blink in disbelief, not knowing what genetic combination produced such a dreadful individual. Surely, there was a reasonable explanation.
Looks of horror filled the bystanders' eyes as they locked on that man, but as if entirely oblivious to those stares, he stood there, upright, with his massive body overflowing with righteousness and heroism!
Seeing this pose, Konrad had a misconception, and wondered if perhaps, this wasn't…the hero the world needed!
But then, he probed the man's cultivation with his Origin Sight, and all his hopes crashed into nothingness.
The slavers' leader bellowed and raised his hand, summoning five armored guards that brandished their broadswords, ready to hack the intruder.
"Nowadays, ants truly don't know their bloody place. With your sixth step Adept Knight cultivation, you dare speak such outrageous words before us? Do you know that I only need to report you to the authorities, and your entire family must follow you to the grave?
Was life so sweet that you got tired of living?"
The slaver snarled, annoyed that his good business was interrupted by this horrid man. Within the capital, what was an Adept Knight? Not even fit to be a gatekeeper. To say nothing that even powerful clans would think twice before attempting to interrupt a slave trade.
The only reason why the slaver had yet to strike was that he firmly believed that no man under the heavens was stupid enough to dive into such suicidal a situation without a solid backup plan. Perhaps, an expert lied in the shadows, pulling the strings of this strange creature.
"Before injustice, regardless of the difficulty, one must rise to oppose it. Not daring to empowers it, and since no one dares, I dare! In any case, my only relative is dying, and since she raised me for it, I'm sure she wouldn't blame me for battling the poison that festers our society!"
The hideous man roared back, reaffirming Konrad in the belief…that the hero had finally appeared!