Chapter 15:

Chapter XIII – Ye who art bummed.

His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)

I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person now that I was free. There was such a glory over everything. The sun came up like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in heaven.

- Harriet Tubman, as quoted in Harriet, The Moses of Her People (1886) by Sarah Hopkins Bradford

70th of Spring, 5859
Azdavay, County of Casamonu

A group of guards, garbed in most fashionable attire, flanked an equally fashionable carriage. “Make way! Make way for the count!” The crowd moved like a sea being parted in twain, making way for someone who looked way too important to be in Azdavay.

This group of upmost pompousness stopped in front of the Azdavay town hall, and a man came out of the carriage. He was a middle-aged man, bearing a blood red cloak that’d put actual blood to shame. His hoses were made of famous Prusian silk, his hat bore the feather of some exotic bird he couldn’t even pronounce the name of. A servant, dressed sharply but of course not as sharply as his lord, followed the lord out of his carriage.

“This place really is one giant pigsty filled with adventurers.” The lord spat on the ground in contemn. “Let us make haste, lest the mud of these pigs soil us.” They entered the town hall, being met with a bubbling crowd packed tightly into a room that was probably not larger than an actual pigsty.

The crowd calmed down once they noticed who had stepped into the room. The servant following the lord called out to the room to make sure everyone got the memo. “Ladies and gentlemen, His Excellency Leon Satō-Wang, Count of Casamonu.” Everybody in the room got up from their seats to bow down out of courtesy. Who wouldn’t want to be a sycophant when faced with a man who has enough money to buy himself a servant, whose only job is to call out his name?

The mayor of the town quickly ran toward Leon, bowing down again and again as he made his plea. “Your Excellency, you have most likely heard the slave uprising in our town…” Leon had heard all about it since the mayor had specifically mentioned this event multiple times in his letter. “…it’s terrible, Your Excellency! Many fine men were slain.”

Leon slowly walked over to his seat while conversing with the mayor. “How severe is the damage?”

“It has only been a week since the uprising, we haven’t yet had enough time to compile a complete report of all the damages. But, a report by the operator of the slave market reported over thirty items from his stock missing, and the local Adventurer’s Guild has had twenty-one reported cases of missing slaves. And…” The mayor shuddered at the thought he was about to convey “One of the knights in the city was found dead, most likely killed by slaves. An Awmereighkan otherworlder named Sir Jacob Smith of Florida, may his soul rest peacefully in an Otherworld.”

“Are you serious? A dead otherworlder?” Leon sat on the seat, which sat in the center of the room, reserved for him. He heaved a deep sigh of concern. Someone daring to kill an otherworlder? That was quite an upset especially to a man who had otherworlder blood like Leon.

Lightskins ruled over darkskins and the otherworlders ruled the lightskins. That’s how things were ideally supposed to work. Darkskins going against otherworlders constituted a complete toppling of the pyramid that was Gemeinplatzian society.

“Don’t worry sir, we’ve already found the perpetrators of this vicious rebellion. They’ve already been hung, maybe you’ve seen their bodies while passing the gates?” Of course, they couldn’t have found the perpetrator. The mayor had targeted one of his rivals’ beloved slaves and used them as convenient scapegoats.

“You have done a good job, mayor.” Leon could guess that the perpetrators wouldn’t have been found so easily as well; he didn’t care. Hanging a few of those darkskins to calm the populace was a win-win situation for them. Though, it was not like the officials needed to do the hanging, for the populace had already hanged a few of the slaves themselves.

With their lord seated, the crowd had gotten rowdy again.

“Your Excellency, please send some of your men to help us!”

“We need money to stay afloat! My family is in a tight situation since our slave escaped!”

“Yeah! We should even get the Adventurer’s Guild of Casamonu to help us out.”

There wasn’t much that Leon could do. Sending some men after the uprising had already happened wouldn’t help, nor could he command any of the guilds of the city. The town itself was under supervision of the mayor anyways, this wasn’t Leon’s job. He turned to his servant standing beside him. “Just go with Plan B.” The servant took out a piece of paper from his pockets, and unfurled it.

The servant read the paper with the most serious voice he could muster. “Ahem… His Excellency says that his thoughts and prayers are with the people of this town. We send our condolences to the loved ones of the brave knight Sir Jacob who fell during this incident. His Excellency will do all he can do on his end to eradicate any organizations that may be behind this uprising.” The people in the town hall seemed to be pleased with this answer; a few pleased murmurings could be heard in the room.

The mayor clapped his hands to grab the attention of everyone in the room. “We have eternal gratitude for His Excellency, and we ask for forgiveness for having taken him out of his precious duties. Now, as to what Azdavay will do…”

Leon’s thoughts drifted away from the town hall as their mundane discussions began once more.

71st of Spring, 5859
Aroghlie / Zon’guldac, Union of Dwarves

On the coast of the Dark Sea sat the grand port of Aroghlie, the largest in Northern Gemeinplatz. Sailing merchant ships went to-and-fro, delivering and taking goods as fast as humanly possible. The port and the settlement around it were mostly inhabited by humans, while the heart of Aroghlie lay in the Curry Mountain range.

There, inside the mountains, lay the true Aroghlie of coal, steel, and industry, of dwarven industry with no rival.

The territory of Zon’guldac was abundant with coal, and most of it was extracted here by the dwarves. Dwarven live was dedicated and shaped by coal: They wore simple clothes that were easy to wash coal dust off of, had physiques that made it easy for them to navigate the tight mineshafts that lead to veins of coal, their lungs had evolved to be resistant against the negative effects of inhaling coal dust 24/7.

The dwarves had gathered, like they usually did every season, at the Supreme Council of Dwarves. The council room was shaped like a dome, with a grand round table sitting in the middle of it. Around this table sat the representatives of dwarven industry, who were all elected yearly by the workers of each industry to represent them. Flanking these representatives were the ordinary dwarves who wished to observe the proceedings.

These representatives were mostly discussing ordinary internal issues like steel production, income from trade and mining accidents. Except for their elven neighbors that lived alongside them in Zon’guldac, the outside world rarely bothered the dwarves and the dwarves didn’t bother the outside world. Dwarven trade with the outside world was mostly based on getting resources that couldn’t be easily gathered in the their part of the Curry Mountain, such as wood, iron and crops.

Tangible goods weren’t the only import however, for the port also imported rumors from the rest of Gemeinplatz. Today, something that seemed relatively minor to the dwarves had been imported from Casamonu. The one tasked with delivering this news was the Lord of Trade incumbent Whitebeard Er’temirr.

In front of every seat in the council lay a small hammer used to call attention. After waiting for an opportune time when discussion slowed down, Whitebeard hit the stone table with the hammer to calling the attention of every dwarf in the room. “Everyone, I have interesting news to share from the east.”

The dwarves quieted down and began listening intently, as changes in the outside usually meant that changes were needed in all branches of industry. “Today I had a meeting with newly arrived refugees: two humans who had newly escaped from slavery.”

One of the representatives replied. “So? Refugees come here to escape something pretty often. It’s not an unusual thing, I think.” Aroghlie wasn’t a part of the Gemeinplatz Empire, nor did the dwarves practice slavery, meaning that it was a safe harbor for those needing to escape.

“The unusual thing was that these refugees hadn’t escaped alone. They claimed, and I have verified claim with other merchants coming from Casamonu, that an uprising of slaves had broken out in the town of Azdavay.” She searched her great white beard, finding nestled within it the notes she had taken for the council. “Apparently the leaders in this uprising were two humans, one whose name I do not yet know and the other named… ‘Isaac Smith’. They’re either part of one organization or are two organizations that worked together, I have been unable to get clarification on that part. That is all the information I have as of now, the events have only developed last week.”

Another one of the representatives tapped the hammer on the table. “Since you’ve brought this up, am I right to assume you have a plan for action?”

“Right.” Whitebeard nodded her head. “I believe that this event might be the harbinger of a shift in the political situation of Northern Gemeinplatz, or Gemeinplatz as a whole if it comes to that. This is one uprising, a successful one at that, that might inspire others to commit similar acts once the news spreads out of Casamonu.”

She hammered the table again, to draw the attention of some of the representatives who had drifted away in boredom. “Thus, I think that this esteemed council will agree that it is of upmost import that we keep close watch and prepare to realign our policy. I’d like to request permission to send humans from the port to actively relay the events happening in Casamonu, and make contact with the organizers of the uprising if possible.”

7 May 2023 / 72nd of Spring, 5859
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Far, far away from the dwarven city of Aroghlie, or any city in Gemeinplatz for that matter, stood the capital and soul of (South) Korea: Seoul.

Under the scraping skyscrapers and enlightening lights of the city sat a young man, one certain Kim Seong-Min. Of course, he was no usual young man, or else he’d not be mentioned in this story at all. This young man was a millionaire (in terms of US dollars) and CEO of the Isegye Company, dealing in business of the otherworldly kind.

His story was one of tragedy followed by great success. He had begun his life as the son of an office worker, a nobody. Unlike other rich people, who made their money thanks to their family already having money, Kim had to crawl his way to success with the hardest of work. Hard work, of course meaning ‘stumbling upon a portal that leads to another world’.

There, in that new world, Kim had worked hard slaying mobs (with an overpowered magician girl he had found, she did most of the work), opening a business in another world (a dark elf he hired did most of the work on the business front), and generally enjoying life (by spending money to flex on his acquaintances in Korea).

Of course, he also had a sick sister with a vague disease, who he had paid for the treatment of, along with a large debt of a couple hundred thousand won that he had also paid off. What kind of Korean main character would he be if he didn’t have those?

Interrupting today’s important work in his office, important work being an online MOBA game that Kim was obsessed with, was his secretary entering the room. “Mister Kim, there is an urgent report from Gemeinplatz.” The secretary was a dark elf, standing six and a half feet (2 meters) tall. His skin was dark, not the type of natural black color that was formed with melanin, but a deep black that resembled burnt ash. Along with his crimson eyes, Nirmal looked to be a very intimidating figure.

Kim groaned in annoyance as he had to disconnect from his match. “What is it, Nirmal? This better be something really important.”

“There has been an incident in Casamonu, where an uprising happened in the town of Azdavay. I do not have any details on the nature or numbers of this slave uprising, but I do know that the flow of goods has been directly impacted.” He placed a sheet filled with dull financial figures on the table. “Merchants and porters have been staying inside towns and cities, along with charging higher fees, due to fearing an ambush by the fugitives. We estimate that we won’t be able to complete our deliveries in time and in the right price this season, on this sheet are a summary of the estimated effects that this’ll have on us.”

Kim was bummed at the prospect of losing profit. “So, cut to the chase. How much money are we talking about?”

Nirmal reluctantly gave the figure he had been trying to avoid giving. “A loss that sits somewhere between a hundred million to eighty million won. We’ll be losing a lot of perishable stock, not to mention having to call of deals we’ve already agreed to.”

Kim was even more bummed now. “Pay some adventurers to escort the ones complaining. If there are any more rumors of any more uprisings, then I authorize my company’s intervention.” He turned back to his computer. “Now, if you’re done, I’ll be back to pwning noobs.”

“U-Understood, sir…” Nirmal bowed down and left the room. He’d be busy tonight.