Chapter 76 -Master of Demon Lords and the Keeper of Funds

The one Merea ran into next was, with an ostentatious wagon following along behind him while he walks through the main street of Lemuse, the 『money-grubber』.

Shaw Jules Sherwood. In other words, an alias.

The demon lord, who’s part of the genealogy of the〈Alchemy King〉.

With his golden hair waving in the wind, Shaw skillfully walked through the crowd while glaring at a parchment he held in one hand.

「It feels like, as far as he alone is concerned, even if we let him be, he’ll somehow manage to live…」

Before Shaw noticed Merea, Merea had already noticed him and whispered those words. Though he had an amazed expression but there were traces of enjoyment that could be seen on his face.

After a short while, Shaw finally noticed Merea’s figure. Seeing him, Shaw had a bright smile on his face as he lifted his hand and greeted Merea.

「Hey, my master」

「I wonder why, but that just sounds like sarcasm」

Merea approached Shaw while greeting back in a casual and familiar manner.

Shaw, who was slightly taller than Merea, welcomed him without any walls between them, like he would an old and dear friend.

Even when seen from outside, they would look like nothing but normal friends who got along really well.

If they didn’t know in advance, no one would ever guess that those two men were actually――『demon lords』.

「Is that so? Even like this, I feel quite the gratitude towards you though」

「Because you managed to establish a branch of your firm in Lemuse?」

「Well, mainly that」

「It’s good that you’re honest」

Merea smiled wryly as Shaw floated a grin. There was no negativity between them. It was a simple chat.

However, Merea was able to notice that, even with that almost perfect smile on his face, Shaw seemed to have a slight gloom mixed into his expression.

The reason he noticed might be because Shaw had let his guard down around Merea or it might be that Merea was much sharper when it came to such situations now but Merea himself had no way to know which was the actual reason.

Seeing him like that, it seemed like Shaw had something on his mind that he hadn’t shared with anyone but――Merea didn’t dig into that deeply.

Although they trusted each other quite deeply but there are still situations that might lead to it all being thrown away.

Merea felt that there was no need to dig deep into someone’s thoughts so quickly.

They had trust where it was needed.

――That is more than enough for now.

「So, what did you manage to do today?」

「Thank you very much for asking. I have finally managed to start commerce with the various countries to the west of Lemuse」

「That so?」

Ever since the branch of Sherwood firm opened up in Lemuse, Shaw had been spending all his time in getting that started.

The branch of sherwood firm in Lemuse was also connected with the wallet of the demon lord alliance.

While that branch wasn’t anything but a normal branch of a firm on the surface but in actuality, it was the 『cloth wrapping around the fortune of the demon lords』.

Based on the Sherwood Firm that already had a distribution route, the demon lords who are part of wallet could collect and move a lot of products and other items and if we also take into account Shaw who, rather unwillingly, holds the title of〈Alchemy King〉, then they can actually be considered an independent organization of demon lords.

If the surface also showed that nature and name then it seemed like it would be involved in a lot of troublesome matters so that was why, the surface was still passed off as a branch of Sherwood firm.

「Is that why you seem to be in a good mood?」

「Haha, that’s about it」

Surprisingly, it was Shaw himself who adopted such a plan.

Shaw showed a lot of tenacity when it came to circumstances surrounding his wallet but that tenacity was rather useful when it came to managing the 『wallet of the demon lord’s alliance』.

It might be that he was thinking something along the lines of, 『found a nice investment』 or he might be trying to expand his base as a merchant.

In any case, as far as the demon lords were concerned, it was an encouraging situation.

「It’s not like I’m doubting you but, I really felt like Shaw would move out once we reached a point where we could settle down」

In the current situation where Mūzeg’s menace was spreading all over, Shaw, whose firm had branches in many countries throughout the eastern continent could go anywhere he wanted.

However, Shaw didn’t try to stay away from Lemuse for a long time.

He would spend a few days going to other countries to peddle and do business but somehow or the other, he would return back to the star tree castle and would spend several days in his own room before heading back out. It had now become something of a habit of his.

Along with his business, he seems to be quite aware of his desire to associate further with the other demon lords.

「I myself have my own thoughts on the matter after all, my master」

「Stop calling me that, I’m having a hard time handling Marisa alone」

「Haha, a weakness should be grasped after all」

「How very moral of you」

Merea shrugged with an exasperated expression. Seeing that, Shaw spoke once more, 「Well, I don’t want to be the same as that strange maid though」. He sighed and returned back to the original topic.

「――Getting the conversation back on track, the merchants and lords who had been afraid of Mūzeg’s interference on the peddler’s highway, had finally decided to believe that Mūzeg’s influence has weakened so they’ve relaxed the restrictions on trade making the distribution of products much smoother. It was worth beating them on their backside all this time」

「Good job」

Shaw was definitely very skilled. Merea had no doubts about that.

Perhaps, if he had not been part of the family, the demon lords might have been in a considerably severe situation.

「I say it often, Merea. If it wasn’t for Merea driving Mūzeg to that level of destruction, this level of commerce wouldn’t have been possible」

「That’s just hindsight. It’s really not something to gossip about」

「No, it’s fine for you to be proud of your power. I feel quite the awe and respect towards your overwhelming power」

Shaw spoke to Merea in a clear tone.

He placed a hand on his mouth and spoke exaggeratedly while raising a finger towards the sky.

Though he had a smile on his face, his voice was low and sounded very serious.

「I’m usually, wholeheartedly scared of people who aren’t affected by the power of money. Your overwhelming military might and power are just that. The hypothetical power created by humans――in other words, money, isn’t something that would work on you even if it came from right in front. The authority you wield is much more primitive which in turn, leads to it being much more powerful」

「You’re just exaggerating」

Though he said that, it wasn’t like Merea was ignoring it completely.

He understood what Shaw was trying to say and he realised that if he had to turn his attention to that fact as well.

Since Mūzeg was using such a power quite well.

Just as Shaw had said, he was also one of the people using that power as a weapon.

If he forgot that fact, then the power itself might hurt him.

That was the kind of thing it was.

――Violence, that is.

「Well, there’s no need to worry when it comes to you since you seem to be thinking about it quite a bit, especially when it comes to rampaging. In the first place, you have a higher authority」

「But I also have a promise with you all to make sure to beat me back onto the right track if I ever veer off of it」

「At that time, it’ll be fine to leave it to the muscle head group」

「Like Salman?」

「Yeah. Also, Lady Lilium as well, I think she’d give you quite the severe lesson」

「Lilium doesn’t come under the muscle head group though」

「Well, that’ true as well huh. ――No, I think she’s halfway inside tt group, that lady」

When Merea pointed it out, Shaw laughed out loud.

「Personally, I think it’d be fine if she entered either group. ...Since she was the first demon lord I met while climbing to the top of the sacred mountain, we managed to converse quite a bit so, I feel rather attached. Yes, the sheer power she shows when she pinches your side is something to look out for though」

「That really doesn’t sound like attachment between a man and woman though」

「My lover is only money after all」

「I thought you’d be assertive」, Merea smiled wryly as he spoke. Afterwards, Merea turned his gaze away from Shaw.

Shaw matched his gaze and they both looked towards the same direction. At the end of their gaze, they could see the large star tree.

The building built next to that large star tree was the place that they called home――the star tree castle.

There were various houses and shops in the surroundings and even clock towers so the castle couldn’t be seen in its entirety from the street but the tall spires of the castle could still be seen over everything else from where they stood.

「――Well then, I should get going as well. I have to make a record of the results of the trade, this time around」

「Good job, so far」

「Calculating money is my time of bliss after all! I won’t let anyone get in my way!!」

――Yeah, there’s definitely something wrong with him.

Seeing his money-grubber nature take over to a refreshing level, Merea couldn’t help but heave a sigh.

He clapped Shaw on his shoulder and walked past the wagon with who knows how many products stuffed inside. As he walked away, Merea suddenly stopped and turned around towards Shaw as if he had just remembered something.

「Ah, that’s right, I have a favor to ask. Is that fine?」

Shaw turned his body around a little when he heard Merea call out to him.

「What happened?」

「Today’s the day that everyone will be in the castle so how about we do a 『dinner party』?」

With both Elma and Shaw having returned, it was the day when the majority of the demon lords would be in the castle.

Merea, who had just noticed that fact, came up with that proposition.

When they began living there, they would have dinner together in order to discuss division of position or policies but after that, three to four days had past and with all the work they had piled up, everyone somehow ended up really busy.

「That’s nice. Let’s do that. Luckily, one of the products that I procured is the mutton from the Karsuna plains so, let’s use that as the base for the cooking」

From what Shaw said, Merea noticed a particular name that had come up in the information that Marisa had taught him.

「That’s good. If I’m not mistaken, the sheep that eat the grass from those plains taste quite good right?」

「That’s right. ――It seems like the lessons of that strange maid are showing quite the effect. Though she’s still really severe when it comes to me but I’ll at least evaluate her favourably on this point」

Merea smiled bitterly at Shaw’s grumble and nonchalantly did a guts pose because his answer was correct.

「I’ll return after walking around a little more so pass that onto the others」

「As you order」

As he waved his hand again, Shaw honestly but also exaggeratedly bowed low causing Merea’s wry smile to get even bigger.

While thinking about that theatrical bow, like that of an actor, Merea stepped back into the hustle bustle of Lemuse’s streets.

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