Shao Xuan hid in the wine cellar for four days. He’d learned a lot from the three slaves during these days too. These three worked here the palace and held a little bit power, naturally they knew more than lower-ranked slaves.
Soon after their return from Beast Battle City, Snow Plains declared war against Flame Mound. The slaves sent to hunt down tribesmen were assigned to return to participate in the war but they still lost most of the battles. There was one where they almost won but Rock Hill City interfered and turned the tables-- Snow Plains lost once again.
Within about twenty days, the population of Snow Plains had decreased by a third. This was merely an estimate, the specific number could be higher. However, the slaves’ lives were not lives to the slave masters. So what if there are fewer of them? They could always get more. The most important thing right now was to gain the upper hand.
“I heard they still can’t find the thing the lord lost,” said a slave, lowering his voice.
“Apparently someone from Flame Mound stole it. Rock Hill City was probably involved too.”
“Sigh, when will the war stop?! I don’t want to fight,” lamented the other slave who hadn’t spoken.
If the current situation continued, these three would be sent for war too. The conditions had worsened, the repeated losses had greatly embarrassed the Snow Plains Lord and his fury only increased as the days passed. No one knew how many slaves died as collateral damage due to his rage, everyone could see slaves carried horizontally out of the palace.
At this moment, someone was approaching from the outside.
The three slave’s expressions hardened, terrified it was a message instructing them to go for war. However, after going outside for a moment, they returned with lighter hearts.
“It was just a wine delivery, I was so scared…”
“We’ll just deliver the rest of the wine to the palace tomorrow. No, I have to drink some today. We won’t have any after we deliver them, I don’t know when’s the next time we’ll get to have some again.”
The messenger had instructed them to bring the rest of the wine into the palace, the lord wanted to reward the palace guards with wine.
“It must be great being a palace guard, I heard they get to eat and drink the good stuff.”
“That’s great but many of them were killed recently too.” There were also many guards who were killed because they angered the lord recently. The guard’s slaves were also wary of this. This time, the reason why Snow Plains Lord wanted the rest of the wine delivered was to calm these guards down.
The three slaves drank as they talked while Shao Xuan fell into deep thought. He had been waiting for an opportunity to roll around, this was the moment to make an attempt. He didn’t know when the next opportunity would come.
Before nightfall, the three slaves filled two wooden crates with various bottles of alcohol. And because they’d drank some of it, they’d filled up some of the half-empty bottles with other stuff too. These drinks were meant for slaves and guards so they did not care.
After filling up the crates, the three slaves went to bed. Shao Xuan waited until they fell asleep then put something in their rooms so they would fall into a deeper sleep. Thank goodness he’d prepared many different kinds of desert plants to slip into Snow Plains City.
The three slaves were sound asleep, oblivious to movements around them. Shao Xuan took out some of the alcohol in the crates then cut a wooden board in the cellar into a suitable size. He tested it by placing in the crate and decided it was good.
Placing the bottle’s he’d taken out on the wooden board, he first stepped into the crate, then lifted the board with the bottles slowly. This was nothing to him, a lot lighter than the boulders he used to lift.
He slowly lied flat in the crate. With his hands and feet, he carefully placed the board and bottles on top.
Once he was well-hidden, the boards and bottles placed properly, he wiggled his finger. There was the sound of a thread moving, then the cover of the crate snapped perfectly back into its place.
He retrieved his thread. Shao Xuan took this time to rest as he awaited the arrival of the next day.
On the next day, the three slaves were still asleep due to the herb Shao Xuan used. They did not rise when they were supposed to, and when the people in charge for transport arrived, they found the three slaves still asleep in the cellar.
Some of the slaves in charge of delivery were palace guards. They were very enthusiastic upon hearing that the lord wanted to reward them so they personally brought people with them to carry the goods. However, when the saw the three sleeping slaves, they kicked the door open and shouted them awake. Ignoring the confused and frantic three slaves, they peered into where the wares were kept to see two filled crates. Satisfied, they lifted the lid and took a look inside but complained that there were too few bottles so they turned over the entire place and finally found the alcohol the three slaves hid for themselves and tossed these drinks into the crates too. Once the crates were completely filled, they carried the crates out.
When the guards carried the crates out, Shao Xuan could not see the faces of the three slaves but guessed that they must be privately cursing the guards. They’d taken the effort to hide their own stash, and now it was all gone.
Since these were palace guards transporting alcohol into the palace, the guards stationed at the palace gates did not check the crates stringently either. They even joked happily with them, talking about sharing drinks.
The crates were carried into a warehouse. Although the slaves and guards were impatient, they still knew that rewards still had to be distributed by the slave masters. Distributing it on their own would only bring trouble. All they could do was take two small bottles from the crate, hide it in their clothing, then leave.
When these people left, Shao Xuan listened for movement outside. When he was certain there was no one around, he finally climbed out of the box.
Climbing quietly out of a crate filled with glass bottles was very difficult. At least Shao Xuan was strong enough to carry everything with utmost stability. Anyone who was not as strong or bad at balancing would not have been able to do this.
When he was about to step out, one of the bottles almost fell. With a hook of his ankle, he softened its landing so the bottle rolled unto the ground softly.
Although he did not take a long time, it was very difficult. When he was out, he was already sweating.
Placing the wooden board in an obscure corner, he put the bottles back into the crate once again. After he closed the lip, Shao Xuan slipped out of the warehouse when there were no guards outside.
The palace in Snow Plains City was larger than in Fallen Leaves. Shao Xuan was not familiar with the layout either, all he could do was creep around and hide from the patrolling slaves. As for the places with layers of guards, he had to temporarily avoid them. These must be where the slave masters were.
You could also tell by the designs of the quarters too, there were only a few places heavily guarded. The rest only had a few slaves here and there. They were very dispersed, unenergetic and unenthusiastic.
Shao Xuan hunted around where there were fewer guards. When he heard a young woman and young man speaking in a low voice about some handwritten notes hidden in a chamber, he followed them.
They were not husband and wife but their behaviour was intimate. They did not let slaves follow them either, and walked alone until they arrived at a stone house where the handwritten records were kept.
This stone building was similar to a library. There were three slaves standing outside the stone room. Two were young, another was very old- and blind.
“Second master!” the three bowed respectfully.
The man called Second Master waved then pointed at the blind slave. “You stay, everyone else, leave.”
The three of them seemed to have expected this. He did not have to say it twice, the two had already left hurriedly. The blind old slave entered a building next to the stone structure with the couple.