Buying Trouble, PT 3: A Hard Slave To Sell

Eris stared up at the man who held her. The rest of the patrons had moved away from him the moment he caught her, as if his personal space was a tangible force field.

He wore the low, circular black broad brimmed hat of a mercenary and blue robes edged with black silk tied tightly across his chest and flaring out to his feet. Those robes hid a multitude of sins, Eris was sure of that. His hands were wrapped in synthetic leather coverings designed to protect a clenched fist. Of all the people she could have run into, this was the worst. Mercenaries ranked somewhere below slave traders in the hierarchy of scum.

Behind her, the trader came pushing through the crowd. Eris was gratified to see his nose bloodied where the flying table had hit it. It was the very least he deserved.

“That is mine,” the trader said, pointing at her. “That little bitch.”

The brim of the hat lifted as the mercenary looked at the merchant. Eris saw his face then, strong chin and jaw, hard, high cheekbones, dark eyes set in an angular way which gave him a perpetual squinting appearance.

“Yours?”

The trader took a step back, unbidden. Something in the merc’s eyes, maybe. Eris was still trapped in his strong grasp, frozen next to his much taller frame. She was not as afraid as she should have been, but the last few days had overloaded her capacity for fear and left her with just her sharp tongue to make up for it.

“How much do you want for her?”

The trader stammered for a minute before getting his price out. “A…A thousand credits.”

“A thousand credits. I could buy five slaves for that.”

“Or four slaves and a really nice toaster,” Eris piped up obnoxiously. She didn’t want to be sold. She wanted one thing – escape. The trader was going to be a lot easier to get away from than this mercenary, she was sure of that.

The merc looked down at her with a dour gaze. She thought maybe the corner of his lip turned a little bit. Maybe not though.

“Or two slaves, a second hand shuttle, and a pot plant,” she added. “But not a nice one. Maybe a cactus or something.”

“She’s mouthy.”

“A gag fixes that,” the trader said. “Or you could find a different way to occupy her mouth.” He leered in that way which made Eris want to stick something sharp in him.

“I bite,” she said, hoping that would put the mercenary off.

The merc looked down at her, and this time she definitely detected a smile.

“Good.