The Suspects of Necromancy Volume 1 Prologue

Prologue
 

 
In the center of a large room, a platform was set up, surrounded by a crowd of adults.
 
A man brought a small child onto the platform, who became the target of the adults’ uninhibited gazes. The children on the platform were replaced one after another.
 
When the adults’ reactions were unfavorable, the man became irritated and harshly reprimanded the next child he brought up.
 
“Smile!” “Look more charming!” “Be more appealing to the customers!”
 
The child, grabbed by the shoulder and shaken, only became more stiff and tense. Clearly, this approach was counterproductive.
 
A girl watching from the back shivered, wondering if she would be treated the same way.
 
But when it was her turn, the man smiled confidently and said,
 
“All you have to do is stand there.” “Don’t trip and hurt yourself on the platform.” “Keep your eyes wide open.”
 
That was all he said to her.
 
As the girl approached the platform,
 
the room buzzed with excitement.
 
“Golden hair, pale skin, and red eyes? Is she an Asra?”
 
“Can’t be. She looks like a pureblood.”
 
“But those red eyes are definitely genuine.”
 
The girl on the platform was subjected to a different, almost peculiar gaze than before.
 
(Scary…)
 
The girl shrank back, but there was nowhere for her to escape.
 
Everywhere she looked, people were staring intently at her.
 
Then, the adults began to shout something in unison.
 
Listening closely, she realized they were shouting numbers.
 
(Come to think of it…)
 
She remembered.
 
(All the children who stood on this platform were given numbers.)
 
She didn’t know what the numbers signified, but during the other children’s turns, the voices of the adults arguing over the numbers had filled the room like angry shouts.
 
After a while, more and more adults stopped shouting numbers and looked at the girl with pitying eyes.
 
The girl wanted to get off the platform quickly, but the man who brought her was still shouting numbers.
 
“A hundred! A hundred! Is there no higher bid?”
 
There was no response, and the room fell into a tense silence.
 
“Alright! Sold for a hundred!”
 
The man announced, looking satisfied.
 
He slowly lowered the girl from the platform and said seriously,
 
“Please don’t get hurt. At least not until you leave our hands.”
 
It sounded almost like a plea.
 


 

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The girl was led to a beautifully decorated room and told to wait there.
 
After waiting for a while, the door opened.
 
“Hey, Hundred Gold Coins. Thanks to you, I was on the verge of bankruptcy. Please sell for a high price, okay?”
 
The man who entered was a black-haired man with a forced smile, and a red-haired woman with a slightly stern face.
 
Both of them seemed to be of higher class than the rough man who had been with the girl until now.
 
“What does Hundred Gold Coins mean?”
 
The girl was curious about the name the black-haired man had given her.
 
“It’s your price. It’s a big deal. Not many people can fetch that price.”
 
The black-haired man laughed thinly.
 
“Then what about you? How many gold coins are you?”
 
The girl thought that the person who bought her must have paid a considerable amount.
 
But the black-haired man looked taken aback for a moment, then covered his face and burst into laughter.
 
“I see, I see. That’s a good question.”
 
He seemed genuinely amused, unlike his earlier forced smile.
 
“So, what’s my price?”
 
He asked the red-haired woman, who had been watching the girl intently.
 
“Your price? Well, you’ve received a proper education, so you might be suitable as a servant for the nobility. Five gold coins would be a good price.”
 
Hearing “five,” the girl thought, “That’s low.” There had been children among those she’d been with earlier who had been given such low numbers.
 
“That’s quite a good price. So, I’m only worth one-twentieth of you?”
 
The black-haired man seemed satisfied with the evaluation of “five.”
 
“one-twentieth?”
 
The girl didn’t understand the meaning of those words. She was unusually good at counting for her age and could count up to a hundred, but she had no knowledge of larger numbers.
 
“In other words, if there were twenty of me, I’d be worth the same as you?”
 
(Still low. How can such a person afford to buy me?)
 
The girl looked bewildered.
 
“Seems like you’re not happy about being bought by a man cheaper than you,”
 
the black-haired man said, guessing what the girl was thinking.
 
“But that’s the way it is. A person’s value isn’t determined by gold coins alone. But before you’re a person, you’re a product for sale. There’s nothing wrong with having a high price.”
 
The red-haired woman looked slightly displeased when she heard this.
 
“Is it good to have a high price?”
 
“Of course, there are advantages. How were the other children around you treated? Were they treated the same as you?”
 
The girl thought about it. The other children had been treated more roughly than her. They were hit immediately and sometimes even locked in cages.
 
The girl herself had never been hit or caged. Instead, she had been taught things like how to read letters and numbers. She had been special in that small world.
 
That must have been because she had a value of a hundred gold coins, the girl thought.
 
“If the price is higher, are there more advantages?”
 
The black-haired man and the red-haired woman exchanged glances.
 
“Isn’t it obvious? Those with high value are treated with care. They have to be, or buying them would be meaningless. It’s like throwing money away.”
 
“How many gold coins are there above a hundred?”
 
The girl didn’t know any numbers above a hundred.
 
“I’ll teach you that,”
 
the red-haired woman said, crouching down to match the girl’s height. Her gaze was different from that of other people, kinder. I don’t know how many numbers there are above a hundred, nor how to read or write.”
 
“I’ll teach you all the numbers above a hundred, how to read and write, housework, and everything else you need to know to live.”
 
“If I learn that, will my price go up?”
 
“If you listen to what this person says, your price will go up. Everyone will be happy.”
 
The black-haired man said nonchalantly.
 
(Is that true?)
 
The girl didn’t quite believe what the flippant black-haired man was saying.
 
But the red-haired woman, still crouching, looked at the girl seriously.
 
“The value placed on you by others doesn’t matter. If you don’t recognize your own value, living will be hard. You’re still young, so you might not understand, but ‘I have value’…if you can think that, you’ll definitely be happy. That’s why you need to learn all sorts of things. Your eyes, hair, and skin already have a value of a hundred gold coins, but that’s not something you earned through your own efforts.
 
And if that value disappears, you’ll have nothing. So, do your best. Only the things you’ve earned through your own strength have true value.”
 
The girl didn’t fully understand what the woman was saying. But she could tell she wasn’t lying.
 
So, the girl thought.
 
(I will become something of value.)
 
That was the girl’s first clear memory.


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