At the Sherwood Firm
「It is a rather large firm in its own right, however, the actual number of merchants working in the firm aren’t really that many.
On the other hand, the people employed by the firm are thoroughly selected by me, which is why we can trust them」
「Since they were selected by you, they’re probably true to their love for money」
Marisa said that to Shaw while looking at him with scornful eyes. She said that suddenly with a sigh.
On the other hand, Shaw seems to have already gotten used to her attitude and seemed to just let it slide easily and instead showed a triumphant smile.
「That is exactly right. A half-assed love for money isn’t good enough but if they were at the level of a 『money-grubber』 then they would be much easier to trust. That would be because, as long as my business acumen is a cut above the rest, they wouldn’t betray me.
They would definitely not do something as stupid as letting go of a man who was basically a golden seed」
「…Haa, that confidence of yours is the only thing worthy of respect」
「Ohh, a rare compliment from Miss Marisa~」
Most probably, that was something she didn’t mean to speak out loud.
However, from Marisa, who kept consistently piling up abuse on Shaw, that was indeed, quite rare.
At that moment, Shaw had a broad grin on his face, which in turn made Marisa quickly shut her mouth with a, 「Crap!」.
Marisa’s expression very obviously changed back to her 『original expression』.
「I, I said nothing. …Nothing at all」
「This time is my win, right?」
「It’s not a matter of winning or losing」
「So, you make that kind of face even when you’re not looking at your 『First Master』 huh? Might it be possible that, under that arrogance you’re actually a proper maiden?」
「If you dare to speak any more drivel, I’ll tear your mouth apart」
Seeing Shaw’s triumphant look, Marisa quickly pulled out the two daggers hanging at her waist and held it up so the light glinted off the sharp tip of the dagger.
「Please don’t do that! If I didn’t have this, then I wouldn’t be able to carry on with my business! I’ll stop right now!」
「Please do that」
Marisa put her daggers back into their sheaths, turned the other way and stopped talking.
During that series of actions, she kept glancing towards Merea which was something that only Shaw and Aiz noticed at that time.
The man in question, Merea himself had thoughts like, 「Their quarrel is quite stylish」 and faintly laughed to himself.
In any case, seeing that their exchange was coming to an end, Merea decided to speak up.
「Honestly, I really am no match to Shaw. I respect you quite a bit」
Merea’s words had no sarcasm in them.
Since Shaw could do something that he could not, as far as Merea was concerned, he deserved to be respected.
「Haha, If we have the time, I’ll teach you the know-how」
Being complimented by Merea, Shaw didn’t seem to dislike it as he had a smile floating on his face.
「By the way, how much would it cost?」
「Let’s see… Since you saved my life, I’ll specially give you a 『discount』」
「I had some hopes but, it really won’t be for free huh」
With his white hair swaying, Merea shook his head a little. Since he had Lilium on his back, he wasn’t able to shrug his shoulders.
「It’s not okay to offer it for free. That is something I’m saying for your sake
『There is nothing more expensive than free』 is a very apt saying. If money is not exchanged, then the end point of the deal would become very vague. You’ll end up giving the other side considerable scope to squeeze more out of the deal.
That would be an extremely terrifying thing」
「I see, I’ll keep that in mind」
「For now, I’m the first professor of know-how. A fee will, of course, be charged」
「We really have to be on guard with you huh!!」
「Ha, ha, ha, you’re still too naive!」
As Merea hung his head head, crestfallen, seemingly having been had, the other people around them had a troubled expression as well.
Aiz approached Merea and while gently tapping on his shoulder, said, 「Ch, cheer up? Okay?」, seeing which, Shaw had a triumphant look on his face.
In the meanwhile, Shaw raised a victory laugh and finally faced the firm’s entryway and knocked on the door.
After which, without waiting for a reply, he walked right in.
As soon as they entered, the first thing they could see was a long table for visitors.
It was like a fence that divided both sides.
There were stone lanterns hanging from the ceiling that let off a pale orange light and gave the room a rather warm atmosphere.
Seeing those stone lanterns, Aiz had a surprised look on her face.
Marisa replied from next to Aiz,
「That is called a light stone and has been molded for lighting purposes. In the northern part of the continent, where the day isn’t very long, technology and industries related to lighting have developed quite well but, this is an ore that has only recently been discovered in the northern part of the continent」
「Is that, so」
Seeing it for the first time, Aiz had a strong curiosity in her gaze.
Not losing out to that at all,
「What’s that!? I really want it…!!!」
Merea had an even more brilliant light in his red pupils as he spoke.
It was as if he was a child who had found a new toy to play with.
Seeing them, Shaw showed a slightly bitter smile.
「If we go to the northern part of the continent, you can get these quite easily. When we get our next batch, I’ll take your shares into account as well」, said Shaw.
At that point, as if having noticed the voices coming from the entrance, a man walked out from inside the building.
He was a middle aged man wearing a monocle which suited him quite well.
With dull gray hair tied up in a short ponytail, he had a deep wrinkle between his eyebrows that was like a symbol of his apprenticeship, he walked forward with his rather thin body.
Only once he fixed the position of his monocle on his face did he finally look at the visitors with a quizzical look.
He suddenly raised a hysterical voice.
Seeing Shaw’s face, it looked like his eyes would pop out.
The stern expression he had on his face while walking over had completely collapsed and he had a look of astonishment as if he had seen a ghost.
「Yo, Zaido-kun. Somehow or the other, I managed to get away from the fanatics of Saisalis」
In contrast, Shaw, with a light attitude, raised a hand in greeting.
Although, with just one look it might seem like the middle aged monocle would be much higher but the relationship between the two seemed to completely opposite.
Seeing this strange scene, Merea and the others, once again, confirmed that he was the actual head of that firm.
「I’m glad you’re safe! I heard from the branch office in the vicinity of Saisalis that Sherwood-sama was being chased by the fanatics of that country, so…」
「Ah, So the information was circulated huh」
「Yeah, although, to think that you would run towards the east…」
「Quite a few things happened. The west was no good, the north or south were also no good, the east was the worst option but, if we managed to get past here then there was a place with some possibility」
「Hou, possibility…huh. If it’s related to a 『Demon Lord』 then that would be…Lemuse right?」
「That’s about right. Although it’s not impossible to do business while being chased around but it is rather inconvenient. So, in order to have them stop, I decided to create some sort of a foothold that would help」
「You have my sympathies. If Sherwood-sama were not there then this firm wouldn’t work as well. Of course, we were all working by ourselves before we started working here so we would be able to do at least the minimum required work」
「Yeah, I have high expectations. …Anyway, although there are a lot of things I want to talk about, we’re a little short on time. I’ll send you letter later」
As their conversation reached its end, the middle aged monocle’s gaze finally settled on Merea and the rest.
「These people are?」
「They are also 『Demon Lords』 who are facing considerably more troubling situations compared to me. One thing led to the other and I was saved quite a bit by them」
「Is that so. Same as before, you have my sympathies. Being manipulated by the selfishness of those violent people must be rather troublesome」
It seemed like being with the〈Alchemy King〉had given the middle-aged monocle…Zaido, quite some insight into Demon Lords.
「However, to think that Sherwood-sama was saved by someone, that’s quite rare. I thought you’d be on the side saving people though」
「That’s not true. …Anyway, there are somethings that I would like you to prepare」
「I completely understand. …You want me to prepare transport to reach Lemuse right?」
「You saved me the trouble of explaining」
「I’ll procure it quickly」
「Can I ask you to prepare it for 30 people?」
「Hahaha, you really asked for something difficult huh. …However, I’ll do it.
Also to show these people the infinite power of money!」
They are definitely birds of a feather.
Seeing the smile on Zaido’s face, Merea thought so.
「Well then, let us wait for a while. Zaido-kun will prepare our transport for us. He’s someone who has the entire commerce of the〈Duchy of Neuce Gauss〉 covered so, he’ll definitely do a splendid job
Until then, there are items procured from various regions in the basement of this firm so would you like to go check that out while we wait? Just sitting around is also boring after all」
As soon as Zaido gave a bow and quickly exited the firm, Shaw looked over at Merea and said that.
Hearing those words, as if it he would never have enough, Merea’s eyes twinkled.
It was an extremely easy to understand expression of curiosity.
Seeing that child-like expression on his face, Shaw unconsciously once again felt a wry smile float on his face.
Shaw himself, during the the trip in a conversation with Merea found out that he had lived his entire life on the mountain top of Lindholm Sacred Mountain.
At first, he immediately thought that it was a lie and he laughed rather exaggeratedly but, once he talked to Merea even further, he finally accepted that, that may actually be the case.
Although he knew a lot of specialised techniques, he didn’t have the same common sense that any normal person would have, nor did he know about things that were very common.
Though that didn’t decide it all but he also seemed to only have information till an age long past.
It was a very strange deviation.
――Exactly who or what was he raised by?
Although he hadn’t received any clear answers for that question, if he thought about the graves they built then a rather strange guess could be made.
――Were there really any heroic spirits on the mountain top of Lindholm Sacred Mountain?
They might really have been there.
Although they were just rumours or legends but, he had heard stories that there were strong spirits gathering on the mountain top of the sacred mountain.
The names that were engraved onto those gravestones.
Although he had heard the family names of many of the names he read there but if he also considered their given names, then he hadn’t heard of most of them.
Also, there are countries which erase past records of Heroes in order to make them Demon Lords so it possible that, in the present, their names are no longer left behind.
――I guess we’ll take this step by step.
At that point, Shaw stopped thinking about Merea temporarily.
Other than him, there was still someone who he felt like he had to think seriously about.
Rather, unlike Merea who was able to take a proper rest during this short break they had, the other one was a much bigger source of anxiety.
Shaw looked away from Merea who had sparkling eyes and turned his gaze towards the〈Sword Emperor〉Elma who was standing slightly apart from them all and seemed to be deep in thought.
Unlike Merea or Aiz, she alone still had an extremely heavy expression on her face.
The air around her seemed so heavy that she herself might end up choking because of that heavy atmosphere around her.
To Shaw, it looked like the expression of someone, who was regretting having done something that was irrevocable…that was the kind of expression she had.