Asked Vlad, who seemed to regain his consciousness, sounding a bit annoyed.
"Old man, can you stop swinging that annoying chair? I can't even sleep with all that noise, have someone look at it and fix what's broken."
The old man stared at Vlad and rose to his feet, slowly moving toward him.
The dark mark on Vlad's chest suddenly went back to its needle size before the old man couldn't even reach it.
When he was close to Vlad, he said while chuckling a bit.
"The sleeping beauty woke up earlier than anticipated. Kid, you got yourself handed quite the beating. Also, about the chair noises, those are coming from how it is built, nothing I can do about it. "
For the first time, Vlad looked straight in the old man's eye and could see no evil intention in his face. He was met by a smiling face where he could only thank the old man for treating him.
But still, he was a bit skeptical of people that got too close to him, something he gained after dealing with relentless assassination attempts from young to his last years of 44 years old.
'This old man doesn't seem to hold any bad intentions on me.'
"Old man, thank you for treating me and letting me sleep on a bed. I'm really thankful, and for sure I will pay back this debt. I can't give you much for now, but I believe that if I grow up, I'll surely be able to pay you back."
"Right, back to my first question. Who are you, and where am I exactly?"
"You can call me Nius or grandpa Nius. That guard called Gif brought you here to have your wounds treated. That's where the fish smell comes from. No need to worry. It's probably the best ointment for treating wounds in the entire kingdom."
Scratching his long white hair, the old man said funnily.
"Oh, and to raise your expectation a bit, you're inside the mining camp. A place for prisoners, slaves, and professional miners such as me.
"So what's your name, kid? Do you have one?"
"I'm called Zagreus. That's my full name." said Vlad in a concise manner, not trying to lie or anything.
"Hmm, a commoner. Well, not like it matters here if you are a noble, king, prince, or peasant. Everyone here is the same as a mine worker. Ahem, I ramble again on useless talk. How did you got here exactly, or even got this malnourished?"
"That's a long story, old man. Are you sure you want to hear it?"
"Meh, why not. I still have some time before going to sleep. Amaze me, kid."
Vlad nodded his head and told the old man in a summarized way how he grew up in the orphanage and then how 2 days ago his island got raided by pirates and captures, then being sold in slavery.
"Sigh, to think you would be an orphan and even not treated so well in that place you came from?" Shaking his head in disappointment, the old man who was seated beside Vlad then continued.
"Kid, don't despair and do something stupid here as to end your days. Seen many young lads like you around this place who did this. It's not the solution to ending your suffering. You have to face it, and when the chance arrives, try to escape. Nothing is eternal, not even the sky above us."
"I don't think I will have a problem, sir."
"That's what all the new brats said, yet they did such stupid things."
"Kid, you'll be fine here as long as you stick to your own business and do what you're assigned. As for repaying your debt to me, we shall see if I'm still alive to see that day, or you can hold up to what you say."
'Old man, probably you're doing better than I did after spending most of my middle-ages inside bars. Such irony, I even have to let them treat me as a kid because of how small little Zagreus body is. Another pain in the ass.'
'Well, nothing I can do about this, better find some more information about the mine and the environment around me, less I mess something up without even knowing.'
"Sir, do I have to do any jobs tomorrow at the mines. Right, mister. I still haven't told you about the fat guy who brought me."
"Ohh, I think you didn't mention this part. Go on, kid, your stories, and the way you tell them is interesting."
Like the story of how he got captured by Dethell Blockted, he began telling the old man about the old guy conducting the auctions. When Vlad mentioned his name, the old man's eyes turned a bit frosty, but he still continue with his story.
"Then that beautiful lady Felicia began buying all the girls sold in the auction. Do you know about her, sir?"
"Hmm, little Felicia, you say? I know some things about her, but you don't need to be bothered knowing about."
"Heh, you sound as if you know her personally. Fine, let me continue my story."
Vlad continued with his auction and how Mayer bought him at a still cheap price. Following that, he narrated how the auction assistants kept reminding Vlad and the other two boys to keep their mouth shut and only talk when asked.
"That's enough, little boy. I know that a bit of what's inside that fatfuck brains. Let me guess, you did nothing wrong. The guy didn't like your face and began hitting around like a retard?"
"How do you know all of this?"
"It's not like you are the first one to get bought by that idiot. But surprisingly, you are alive. Good job."
"Well, yes, his kicks surprisingly hurt quite a lot. However, I overreacted with my act, so I made the guy put less force in his kicks, keeping my body intact and not stir something bad inside of me."
"Haha, that's smart. You really did well, kid, for someone who meet that fat idiot for the first time. Others ask for food which would trigger some trauma inside that pig, which would lead to a nastier reaction.'
The old man nodded his head, still laughing a bit before saying.
"Good story kid, you should try in the future to become a playwright. You'll have the noble ladies all under your crotch. Ahh, I shouldn't talk about this to a kid. Me and my fantasies. I always wanted to be one of those bards who had the bitches under their cocks. Damn it, not again."
"Hey kid, forget about what I just said."
'Don't worry, old man, I even know what you're saying. Those bards sure had it nice when it came to bed, those bitches.'
"Well, whatever, I'll look after you the days you recover."
"Kid, you sure did a lot for a newcomer. As for who those underworld guys are, you don't have to bother with knowing about them lest you want to die. With regards to that fatty Mayer, he's a weird one, but he's indeed quite famous in the Kaysang Kingdom."
"A wealthy guy, but a truly retarded person. If it wasn't for his late father's assistance, the sharks in the kingdom would eat him alive. All his money would scatter like ashes."
Noting everything that Nius said about the underworld guys who dealt with human trafficking and information about where he was and Mayer's status. He still asked the old man to make other plans for his future.
"How much do you think that fat guy would hold hatred on my head? Do I have to prepare for anything in this regard, or I'm safe as long I go about my business?"
"I doubt Mayer would really hold much of hatred against you. I mean, he's mentally incapable of making too many plans in this regard. No worries, you'll also get fair treatment as the other guys, food included."
Vlad could only digest the information he got. Concerning this, if Mayer would by chance keep him in his memory and start making trouble for him, he had experience dealing with tortures but not the ones that could actually lead to someone's death, just the one that inflicted the most pain to the body.
His body still aches in pain, and he felt a bit of annoyance that Gif couldn't finish the job properly in a swift manner.
Now his entire body was full of the old man's ointment. It had a fishy smell but chose to not comment on it. He was very grateful for the old man's treatment but was still paranoid about him. Even the scent of this ointment felt like he tried to poison him or something like that. He was just a stranger to Vlad yet still took care of him like a parent would do.
Feeling the silent stare of the old man, Vlad stared back. The atmosphere was weird, yet after some minutes of silence, Vlad's calm face crumbled, and he asked the old man while smiling a bit.
"Old man, what was with that ranting of yours? Were you really a soldier? Do you mind telling me more?"
The old man took by surprise, smiled at Vlad, and only said.
"Little Zagreus, you don't have to be bothered about what I was talking about before, just a senile old man ranting."
Looking more at the interesting and weird kid that turned silent suddenly, Nius could only say something to Vlad.
"Little Zagreus, as I look closer to you, your eyes seem to remind me of someone close to me. Even that shrewd way that your eyes show is similar to him." Ended Nius while sighing sadly.
Vlad felt the sadness Nius expressed and chose not to bother him with his random questions. He had plenty of time to do that in the future for different conversations, at least if the old man could hang on until then.
The two talked until the old Nius starter talked to get sleepy. He could keep up with the kid's energy and went early to sleep to a bed close to Vlad.
Finally, the old man took a break after looking after the body of Zagreus. Not long after the old man took off for the dreamlands, insane snores started to resound inside the wood shack.
Vlad could only facepalm himself when he heard the monstrosity speaking the dream language. He could only blame his bad luck for having such a weird roommate.
'This old man sure seems to enjoy himself. Sigh, I doubt that I will be able to sleep properly.'
'At least it is enjoyable to speak with him. Compared to talking to rats, or dark walls, having someone to talk to sure feels better while being imprisoned somewhere.'
'The old man seemed to create some smoke when I woke up. Unfortunately, I can't even get out of bed to take a look. My body seems to not listen to me and chooses to take a break. If it's like this, so be it.'
'That smoking thing it feels like something the Muslims would use in my days. Even this wood shack seems to be built way better than the ordinary houses of my realm. The bed is also comfortable. It doesn't feel like a hard bed.'
'I used to sleep when I was training in the janissary army. To even think that many slaves and miners would have this kind of treatment. It is simply unfathomable, or the only explanation I have for this aspect is the fact that this world is more developed than mine by many generations.
'To think that I would even think of myself as a barbarian around this place. To not even know those simple things in the room, so this is how my ancestors felt when they encountered the Roman Civilization.'
'At least I have time to adapt to this world customs. I'm even a slave who got injured, so everything would go as planned if I play my chess moves well. With the old man here, I can learn one or two things about this world by at least trying to act like a kid who doesn't know a single about the world.'
'A mine slave? Heh, at least I am alive. From what the old man said, they treat the people better than my own world. Haha, what a low start to this journey of mine.'
Minutes passed, and the old man still hasn't stopped snoring, but when he did, Vlad instantly closed his eyes and stopped thinking, leaving his mind empty of thoughts.
"Good night, weird old man, don't have a stroke while sleeping and snoring this hard."
Soon, in only 10 minutes, he started snoring loudly along with Nius, who seemed to have positioned himself in a bad position.
The night ended without any incidents. Every person in the camp was sleeping or drinking, relaxing for the next day. Most things went peacefully inside the camp, while in other parts of the kingdom, some were having the worst day of their life. There was a fat guy swearing and cursing.
"ARGHH! Those sluts didn't even want to look at me! Whose fault is for such a shit day? Could it be that little shit's fault? Did he curse me for beating him?"
"SERVANTS! COME TO MY ROOM. I WANT YOUR ADVICE."
Instantly as he said that a group of servants that were headed by an old butler appeared inside his grand room.
"What happened, master Mayer?"
"I've been cursed by a little shit. Give me solutions to get rid of the curse."
Hearing this stupid comment about a curse, one servant who didn't know what to say added without much thinking.
"Just make in exchange his life a hell inside your mine, lord."
Mayer's face instantly turned as if someone lighted his brain cells and, after a while, saying to the servants.
"That's right. I can make the little parasite's life an hell so he also will feel my curse. If I'm not making your life hell, then start calling me an idiot. Do you dare bring your dirty peasant luck? I'll see you're dealt with."
"I better start promoting Belpel even more and have him torture the kid until he suicides."
Next to him was a small number of his servants in his mansion inside Sagletius stared at him while masking his desire to laugh at his misfortune, especially when Mayer said that he would call himself a pig if he didn't do as he spoke.
"Master Mayer, this is a fantastic idea. You should support sir Belpel even more. This would also target those guards that insulted you."
"That's right, old man, that's what I should do."
The butler was thinking in his head.
'Ahh, compared to the old master, this fat idiot is totally worthless. Did he really sire this pig? Or has the mistress cheated on the old master when making this pig? Sigh, now I can't do much, but try to guide this dumbfuck, or else my head will be on the line when Sir Lacilet asks me about the situation concerning this pig.'
The butler could only agree with what Mayer added." Indeed, master, it would be best if you did that. In a sense, it is not a bad strategy to let the kid feel slowly what real hell is."
Feeling great about his future strategy against Vlad, he started to indulge himself in eating.
And so, a night passed for Vlad in this mining camp. He was still sleeping peacefully. Some of his bruises healed partially, the miracle of old Nius's ointment was showing up, or it was the fact that his body was different than when he was in his world. Slowly his skin regained its clear white color, contrasted with his short black hair and calm face. It gave Vlad a unique feeling about him.
When Nius woke first and noticed the kid's snores, he could only laugh and make fun of him. "Well, well, what we have here, kid? You should look at yourself snoring like a little pig, but it's fine. I got my sleep time. You can snore all you want I don't care."
Slowly he got up from his bed and walked to Vlad's bed. Not long after noticing the kid's lousy sleeping posture, him facing the roof while snoring, it looked funny for the old man.
"Oh, he seems to get better, praise be the stinky fish, always doing wonders on my old legs and back."
Old Nius prepared to start his new day. He washed his face, cleaned his teeth with a brush, and went out of the wood shack. Before leaving, he said to the sleeping Vlad. "Kid, take your time. You still got to recover before being of any use in the mines. I'll take my leave for now. See you later."
A/N: Hmmm, this old man doesn't seem half bad. What do you think guys? Quite the fun old man to talk with when you are having a drink with.
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