The streets were filled with their usual load noises that seemed to bounce off the walls of the large buildings lining the walkways. Women carrying children walked alongside their husbands, while others had their arms latched around that of an escort's. Men with riches came and went through the doors of jewelers and tailors, often times followed by someone who could only be described as filthy in comparison to the primed and proper looks of the man whose items they carried. These dirtier group which followed the well-off members of society were the slaves; the ones who were owned by any who had the money to buy them. The markets roared with the sounds of money being passed from one hand to another in exchange for that evening's supper.
Walking down the cobble stone pathway and into the square located in the center of the market place was one man who was unaccompanied. His long black coat, which was folded and slung over his forearm, matched his jet black hair and eyes which were dark as coals. His long sleeved button down shirt was kept perfectly under the black vest, which was kept shut by the two buttons in the front. Not a single wrinkle showed from the point of his collar to the end of the black trousers, and not a spec of dirt spoiled the shine of his black leather shoes. Unlike the other men who seemed to surround him, he had no companion following after him as though he were leading some stray with cook meat. Instead, he walked entirely on his own, avoiding coming into too close contact with those he passed by. He showed no interest in any of the beings he passed by as he made his way through the square, that is, until he reached a small crowd which had gathered in one of the corners of the already full space.
"Mr. Fullbuster." A man amongst the called upon seeing the man in all black approach the crowd. He lifted an arm to wave the man over to him.
"Fine enough day today; isn't it Mr. Connell?" The two men shook hands as they met.
"I believe I told you to call me Alzack." Mr. Connell let a chuckle escape his lips as he straightened his brown suit. "Formalities have never been my favorite."
"The same goes for me." Mr. Fullbuster allowed himself to join Alzack in a short laughter. "So then, what is this all for?" He gestured towards the crowd which seemed to surround a small wooden stage which was usually reserved for traveling musicians and actors. But, seeing as there was no music playing, and only men, many with women on their arms, reaching for their wallets, it was clear that the crowd had not been attracted to a performance of any kind.
"Slave trade my dear friend." Alzack said. He shoved his hands into his own pockets, clearly clutching onto his own wallet, as if anticipating a need for it to arise at any moment.
"And I'm to assume that you are in the market?" The dark haired man watched his friend's face closely, seeing that he was watching the stage.
"My daughter is in need of a caretaker." Connell explained. "I'm sure you would know how it is if you had a wife of your own Gray."
"Perhaps." The conversation ended there as a loud rush of voices sounded from the crowd as a man dressed in a semi-beaten suit jacket and tan slacks stepped onto the stage.
"Ladies and Gentlemen." He began. "Today I come baring a collection of slaves hailing from across the vast ocean. We shall complete this sale as if it were an auction, the slave going to the highest bidder. Now, please prepare yourselves as I bring forth the first of the batch." A tall man with dark skin appeared on the stage. The constant clang of shackles which were around his wrists sounded with every movement the man made, just as the scraping of chains against the wood of the stages filled the air due to the shackles around the man's ankles. He wore ripped and dirtied rags instead of clothing, but still looked surprisingly unharmed despite the tares in the cloth.
Men and women alike began waving bills in the air, calling out number after number until no one was able to go any higher. Gray Fullbuster watched in both fascination and disgust as the process continued for the next slave who appeared on the stage. He had never been one to own a slave. Not saying that he didn't have anyone tending to him; he had several hired workers in his home who took care of the house work he didn't care to do. Despite that, the way that people gathered to buy and sell slaves was highly intriguing to him. But what stood out to him even more was the mixture of feelings which seemed to flood through the unfortunate men and women who stood under the shackles. Everything from immense humiliation to forced pride showed on the faces of those who stepped onto the stage to be sold. It was as if they were still trying to be strong even though they were being put through such distress.
"Sold!" The man on stage called and pointed over the crowd to Alzack, who waved a bundle of cash above his head. Mr. Connell had just won a young female with lightly tanned skin and a short-cut purple hair. She looked down timidly at, either her feet or the stage. Even when Alzack approached her and told her to follow him, she did not even lift her head. Although, that was to be expected of a slave. Gray Fullbuster had been about to turn away from the auction before he found himself become sucked in once again. This time however, by the one who walked onto the stage.
The small boy tripped over his own feet as he was pushed onto the stage by a man who had been dragging the more reluctant and disobedient slaves out from the cage like carriage they had been kept in. The boy struggled to stand back up on his feet, the weight of the metal cuffs, long chains and all, around his wrists pulling him down. Although the boy could have been no more than ten years of age, his skin was tanned as if he had been working out in the heat and sun since he had been born. The sand colored skin contrasted completely to the light pink hair which sat as if it were a messy bush on top of his head. The boy wore less than the other slaves who had appeared on the stage before him, only a set of highly beaten shorts held up on his waist by a piece of rope.
It didn't take long for Gray to realize that less people were interested in buying this boy than the other slaves. Seeing as how not as many people seemed willing to throw their money out at the opportunity to buy, it was clear that many did not want a child slave. Looking towards the boy once more, Gray felt as if this boy was doing all he could to keep from showing how much weakness he must have been holding back.
"$350." Gray held up his wallet above his head. Many turned their heads to look at the man who had offered a hundred dollars more than had been needed to outbid the previous winner. Many were surprised purely because they had known Gray before, and they knew him to be one against slavery.
"Sold!" The salesman called, stating that Gray had in fact won the auction for the boy.
Gray approached the stage, ignoring the looks from anyone who may have been paying attention to him rather than the next slave to be brought onto the stage. The boy was already off the stage at that time, being watched by one of the keepers who were there to collect the money and make certain that none of the slaves attempted to run away. Mr. Fullbuster handed the other man the money for the small boy he had just purchased, after which the boy was shoved towards him.
The small child followed his new owner away from the crowd that had gathered around the stage as they then exited the square. Once the amount of people walking along the street had thinned out, Gray located a bench under a tree at a nearby park and sat down, placing his coat on top of the bench.
"Come here now." He said, motioning for the boy, who had been standing a good distance in front of the bench, to come closer. He watched as the child inched closer and closer until Gray was able to reach out and grab the boy's wrist, pulling him the rest of the way closer. The boy's black eyes became wide at the gesture and the audible gulp of nerves was clear to both of the males. The pink haired child watched as his new master reached into a pocket before squeezing his eyes shut, anticipating a possible beating or other form of injury. However, instead of being hurt by a miscellaneous item, he felt the shackles around his wrists open up, followed suit by the sound of them falling to the ground. "I've never like chains." Gray bent over and held the shackles around the small boy's ankles in place as he brought a key down to them. He quickly took the chunks of metal off from around the boy's ankles. "They are nothing but demeaning and harsh."
The small boy opened up his eyes to look down at the chains and shackles which were lying on the floor, no longer holding him down. He stared at the obvious patch of pale skin that wrapped around his wrists, made pale only because of how the metal cuffs had shielded the skin from any sunlight, and rubbed the skin gently. He then looked up at the man who had taken off his chains, disbelief covering his face. "Th-th-thank you M-Master."
Gray frowned at the word. "I wish you wouldn't call me that." He muttered, then looked up to see confusion spreading on the small boy's face. "I did not buy you to make you work for me, nor to use you as a slave." He began to explain. The black haired man chose his words as carefully as he could in order to make sure that what he was attempting to say would not be misinterpreted. "There is no longer any reason for you to treat anyone as if they own you because now you are not owned. However, you will live with and listen to me when you are given instruction."
"Mas-….Sir?" Confusion painted the boys expression, showing in every detail of his face.
Instead of responding, Gray lifted a hand and placed it on top of the boy's head, gently ruffling the messy pink locks of hair belonging to the boy. Afterwards, he stood up once more, placing his coat over his arm, and motioned for the boy to follow him as he began to walk down the cobble stone pathway.