Chapter 23:

Chapter XXI – The unrest is come.

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

Lady Leila was resting in her bedroom, reading a book about the wonders that laid on Earth. She was softly rocking back on forth on a chair, cozying herself by the fireside.

Today was a good day.

“On the island of Nehoun, carriages called the sheenkawnsen connect the entire island, allowing one to travel the Nehounchin realm in one day… How peculiar!” She turned the page to see hand-drawn illustrations of Japanese bullet trains, which looked like odd metallic snakes to her. “I wonder if we’ll ever get to see any of these…” She put her hand on her belly, thinking such thoughts of idle semi-philosophy. Earth was a place that she’d love to visit as family one day.

She lazily stretched her arms, and turned to the next page. It was one on Japanese cuisine, which contained many items that weren’t too unfamiliar to anyone in Gemeinplatz. Rice, curry and soy sauce had become a staple food item long ago thanks to every otherworlder bringing their own cuisine to Gemeinplatz. She glanced over this page as it contained nothing interesting, turning over to one with Japanese sweets. These weren’t too alien as well, everybody had mochi at least once in their lifetime.

Still, speaking (or more accurately, reading) of sweets had made Leila crave some. She would normally go to the kitchen herself to order something, doing at least that instead of calling over a servant made her feel less lazy. But, carrying around another human being made it hard to go do just that, and she instead opted to look out the window to see if there were any servants in sight.

She saw Ekene and Ejike busy in the garden, probably trimming some hedges as usual. Leila called out to them. “Ekene, Ejike! The usual, please.” The siblings rushed inside in response, as they would normally do. The only thing left for Leila was to wait. She was from a family whose only claim to fame was being very far relatives of the royal line, being able to command someone to do something was a guilty pleasure of hers that satiated the royal blood coursing through her veins.

Of course, this kind of lifestyle was built off of the back of countless bodies down in the copper mine, but she liked to think of this as a civilizing force for the darkskins. She had read about how savage the darkskin and demi-human lands were, with their tribes apparently containing no rule of law compared to the oh-so civilized Gemeinplatz. Leila didn’t support the heavy-handed approach her husband sometimes had, who saw the darkskins as akin to dogs. She saw them more like children, ignorant and rowdy, in desperate need of the guidance of the lightskin race.

She heard a knock on the door. “Lady Leila, it’s us.” It was the siblings. Ekene brought forward a cup of tea and a tray of cookies. That was unusual. Ejike stayed behind, standing next to the door. Leila felt a slight hint of unease.

Click, clunk. Ejike locked the door swiftly as he could after taking a deep breath. Leila watched him, eyes wide open. “W-what are you doing, Ejike?”

“Please, be quiet as you can, mistress. We do not intend to hurt you.” In stark contrast to his statement, he took out a kitchen knife while nervously pointing it towards his former master. “Please, do not force us to do anything rash.”

Today was a good day.

“Sir Algernon!” Shinasi was running fast as his legs could carry him. He found Algernon resting in his lonesome. “Your wife, she-”

Algernon suddenly ceased his relaxing posture, “She’s what?”

Shinasi took a break to catch his breath after running so quickly from the guard’s shed. “She’s… gone into labor sir! We’ve called over the midwife, everything, she wants to see her dear husband.”

“She wants to do that?” A man being in the room during birth seemed odd to him, but he didn’t see any reason not to oblige. “I’m coming, Leila!” He and Shinasi rushed over to the bedroom, both of them left panting by their swift run. Shinasi knocked on the locked door.

“It’s me, and the master!” The door quickly opened up. Algernon rushed into the room, only to find the servant siblings and his wife, who was clearly not in any sort of labor.

“What’s happen- ARGH!” Algernon’s query was prematurely answered by the shaft of Shinasi’s spear bashing against his kneecaps. He crashed to the floor, and the siblings rushed to restrain him.

“Damn you darkskins, and you darkskin loving motherfuc-mmrgh!” The siblings conveniently censored their former master by shoving a tablecloth in his mouth. The once grand Algernon looked quite ridiculous while squirming on the ground.

“That’s the big cheese dealt with.” Shinasi’s eyes came into contact with those of Leila’s, who were watching him with shock. “My sincere apologies, missus, for causing so much commotion.”

The squad of Brown, Ayomide, Hakim and Tater had quietly advanced up to the slave barracks, which lay next to the mines. There were five overseers, all armed, watching over the slaves as they dug the open field mine.

The emancipationist squad stood at a slightly higher position, mining operations tended to lower elevation, and the overseers were too busy watching over the slaves to notice them. One of the overseers stood next to the door of the barracks, while the rest were in the mining field. One of them had a crossbow, while the rest had the trusty shield and spear combo.

Everybody took a deep breath. This was potentially the deadliest part, where actual combat would take place.

Brown gulped, and began putting the group’s drill into practical use. “Alright, plant spears.” They used the tip of the spears to plant them on the ground, so that they could quickly pluck them when firing. “Ready arms.” They put spears on the M1, and raised them ready to fire. “And… May God grant us victory, aim at the guy in front of the barracks, and fire!” Brown shouted the last order, and everyone released their spears in unison.

Two of the flying spears found their target and lodged themselves inside the overseer in front of the barracks. Not many people could stand after being skewered by spears, and this overseer was no exception. He fell down, immobilized.

Brown gave no time for the overseers to react. “Now at the guy with the crossbow, ready arms, fire!” They all fired, but missed the crossbowman standing far away. The crossbowman had broken from his shock, and fired a bolt at the emancipation squad. Hakim was hit right on the knee, and subsequently fell down as his knee failed.

“Do not fret! Ready arms, fire!” Three spears made their way toward the crossbowman, and one of them got a lucky headshot. He fell down, dead by the time he hit the ground.

The remaining three overseers got into formation, forming an impromptu shield wall against their foes. Brown ordered his men to fire another round, but the stone spears only managed to lodge themselves into the shield without penetrating them. The emancipation squad prepared themselves for tactical retreat, except for Hakim who still couldn’t stand.

Suddenly, one of the overseers fell down with a pickaxe lodged in his spine. They had exposed their backs to the slaves, and one the slaves had taken advantage to throw his pick. The two remaining overseers instinctively turned around to see who attacked them.

Brown had been praying for something like this to happen. It seemed that the Almighty had granted him His grace. “Fire!” Another round of spears found themselves flying toward the overseers, one of them fell down as a spear lodged itself to his flesh.

The last remaining overseer did the most rational thing he could, and threw down his spear and shield to surrender. He was restrained by one of the slaves.

Four overseers down, three to go.

Ayomide crouched down to heal Hakim, while Brown stepped forward to address the newly emancipated. “The time is come, ye who art the enslaved of this realm. We ought to obey God rather than men, and today we shall rid you of the man you have obeyed for so long!” He turned around to Ayomide, who had finished healing Hakim by now. Brown thought that her addressing the crowd would be more appropriate, since most of his usual rhetoric didn’t work in Gemeinplatz, and she stepped forward in his stead.

Ayomide raised her voice as high as she could. She had been training her rhetorical skills as much as she trained in combat, having prepared a speech in case she needed to give one. “Brothers and sisters! You who are in bondage since birth, you who have been forced into bondage! You, the meek who shall inherit the earth of Gemeinplatz! You might have heard about the uprising in Azdavay, and let me tell you, it shall not stay an isolated incident.” She raised her hands, pointing toward the lowlands visible from their position. “For the oppressed of this land have found themselves tired and beaten, and they now cry for sweet liberty! Now the flame of uprising has made its way to this estate, and I believe that my siblings here shall do the right thing and join us in fueling the fire.”

Ayomide’s rhetoric seemed to be much more effective. There were positive shouts from the crowd, as they raised their fists and picks. Her plan of agitating the crowd had worked. “We shall fight for emancipation, not for those of you in the mine, but for all of us. The slaveowners will arm themselves and fight, we’ll drown them in our numbers. The adventurers will be paid to slay us, we’ll slay them for free. The lords will levy their men, we’ll levy ourselves without anyone telling us to where and when. We are what this empire is built upon, we only need to rise up from the foundations for the whole rotten structure to come crumbling down!”

The crowd was in a frenzy. Now that they were agitated, and therefore willing to listen, Ayomide continued on to instilling their cause into the people in the crowd. She turned around to present Hakim and Tater to the audience. “Now, my friend Hakim over here, he used to be a chef in a café down in Azdavay, Here’s his assistant, little Tater. They cooked for others without end, the most delicious and delectable food you can think of. What’d they get in return? A bunch of gruel.” The crowd sounded displeased; they could relate to such a situation. “You, you mine copper that is made into the fanciest things in all of Gemeinplatz. The emperor himself probably has his palace decked in copper, brass, bronze, everything that none of us can ever dream of even seeing. Yet, is a man not entitled to his own labor, his own copper? Do you deserve gruel for breaking your backs until you die? No, no I say, let us be free to eat the fruit of our own hard work!”

Ayomide had come to the last part of her speech. With a cause instilled, now was the time to for the grand finale: a call to action. “Now, to take back your freedom and liberty, to take back your hard work, to live and die with dignity, who is willing to fight? Who is brave enough to face poverty, war, and death with us? Those who do not have the courage, you are free to head to the dwarves in Zon’guldac. Those who do…” Ayomide added a pause here for dramatic effect “…rise up ye gallant children of Gemeinplatz! We have nothing to lose but our chains! Today, you have worked in the mines and must be tired. Next morning, we shall get together in the mansion and discuss our plan of action together.”

Thus began a great war that’d irreversibly change an entire empire.

Taylor J
Steward McOy