Thanks to Essex for supporting the translation on Ko-Fi! :v
Coalition, Reiten in the night. The time is already well past midnight, there aren’t any houses around that still had their lights on. Even for this town where it’s busy in the day, other than the taverns serving alcohol, the town is dominated by silence.
In the middle of the street, the main street that weaves through the center of the town. All the buildings that are lined up in the main streets are famed merchant association.
As expected, in the night, the first-floor stores are all in darkness but, most of the merchant association uses the second floor as office and worker dorm. The rooms thought to be used as offices are still bright.
In one of those buildings, a room in a certain association with two men. The starlight that shines through the window is too weak, the room is mostly illuminated by the lit lantern.
The man in his thirties that is sitting in his chair was looking at documents. The long dark brown hair he has was tied up to not get in his way of doing job.
「Litte would help Rovell? 」
The man who finished reading the documents commented while frowning.
「Yes. Rovell contacted us the other day, they said they are returning all of the loan. After investigating, it seems that the Litte had moved. 」
The old man in the middle of the room standing opposite of the man in the chair replied.
「Don’t joke around! 」
The long hair man slammed on the desk angrily.
「Then our efforts in crushing the Rovell would be meaningless! 」
The man’s frustration is justified. The plan that was to obtain Ellie・Rovell as his mistress, causing the Rovell to lose its successor, and then slowly consume their association would be all for naught.
On top of that, it wasn’t cheap to make the Rovell association go under and get its only daughter, Ellie as well. Exactly because that they could obtain Rovell Merchant Association that had been standing in Reiten for many years, that they have put in this much investment into it.
To think that Rovell would return the money in full that the man thought they would never be able to return. Worse, the man couldn’t do anything since the loan was returned well before the deadline.
「Litte’s intervention wasn’t expected. 」
The old man said so unimpressed.
「Even if Litte is successful now, to think they would risk their business to carry Rovell’s debt. We knew that Litte’s president is friends with the daughter from Rovell but, her actions were unexpected. 」
「Of course. The little miss at Litte……was it Marrieda? She’s an annoying bug but, her senses as a merchant aren’t fake. She should’ve suppressed her feelings to not risk her association but……. She might be unexpectedly an emotionally driven person. 」
The long hair man thought while crossing his arms.
「What will be the course of action, Julius-sama. 」
「……It’s infuriating but, there’s no time to be caring for that now. 」
Holding in his disappointed expression, the long-haired man called Julius sighed deeply.
「We will just look for another opportunity to acquire Rovell. Since Litte intervened, their finance should’ve taken a hit. The order is reversed now but, we should absorb Litte first, depending on the scenario, we might even get Rovell as a bonus. 」
Correcting the plans in his mind, it seems that he had come to a conclusion.
「If the Litte’s little miss is as emotional as we think, then it’ll ease our operation in the future. 」
Julius who was smirking suddenly thought of something and asked the old man.
「There was someone in Litte right? Can we still use him? 」
「Yes. We still have someone in Litte. He’s one ambitious person, depending on the situation, he might be able to deal the final blow. 」
「I see……, then leave it as is for now. We don’t have time for them right now. 」
Just like what Julius said, their plan that had been in the works for quite a while is nearing its end. There’s no time or resources for them to divert to something else.
Julius who took a breather asked the man for the current situation.
「How is the situation with buying up all supplies? 」
「Stone and wood used for construction, catalysts needed for maintenance of tools and weapons, herbs used for medicine, all of them are bought smoothly according to the plan. 」
「Good. Continue without letting the others find out. What about the mercenaries? 」
「Half done, is what I suppose. As expected of famous mercenaries, most of them wouldn’t move unless it’s a high price. 『Freedom Cloud』, 『Dragon’s Pawns』, 『Spirit’s Guidance』had arrived yesterday, 『Bright Stars of White Night』 is scheduled to arrive this evening. Tomorrow will be another two parties. 」
「It would’ve been good if we managed to get the 『Sword Magic User』 of the recent rumors. 」
「Although we had confirmed 『Sword Magic User』’s frequented inn, our informant reported that he couldn’t be contacted easily as he’s not always in town. 」
「There’s no helping it. It’s just one fewer person. There’s no need to be bothered over that. It’s a little less than what we expected but, there’re at least ten of them right? 」
「Yes. All of them are mercenaries that are famed for their feats in their respective areas. They’re different than the useless lots in Reiten’s taverns, they are sure to execute their jobs perfectly. 」
「The verification of the effects of 『Demon Attracting Incense』? 」
「We have had mercenaries tested it, it seems to have worked successfully. Using it in a secluded forest, we successfully baited demonic beings that normally resides in the valleys. 」
The consequences were the failure of stopping it in the forest, and it caused harm to travelers on the highway or a nearby village was victimized, it was details that the old man left out.
It’s because that even if he reported it, the man called Julius probably wouldn’t be impressed. Rather than that, Julius would probably reply with what’s wrong with that instead.
「Good, the plan is unchanged, continue working. 」
At Julius words, the man bowed deeply, before excusing himself from the room.
Ted and the others who arrived at Reiten went to find an inn to stay the night immediately. The next morning, after separating with Ardis who has his own matters to attend to, Ted, Norris and Orphellia headed to Jimberyl Merchant Association.
The reason why they’ve came all this way out from Thoria is because that they’ve received a personal request from Jimberyl. The request was to gather materials in the valleys. They were to gather a specific flower to concoct a special medicine.
「Since the flowers only grow deep in the mountains, we can only request mercenaries with strong abilities. There’s a high possibility that we will encounter dangerous beasts or demonic beings along the way. 」
Having a friendly smile, the man with a long hair, Julius explained. The way he speaks gently and politely, his attitude of keeping composure even when dealing with someone rude, he gives off an impression of a cheerful young man.
「The reason why we invited 『Bright Stars of White Night』 all the way from Thoria is exactly due to everyone’s strength. 」
Ted and the others who visited the Jimberyl association were guided into the building’s reception room on the second floor. They were welcomed and seated in a luxurious sofa with various decorations, and the person opposite of them is the young president of the association.
「That’s quite the flatter. You even called for 『Dragon’s Pawn』 and 『Crimson Three Blades』right? Quite generous of you. 」
Ted’s face seemed like he wasn’t quite happy. Because of their skills, they received a nominated request and came all this way, that wasn’t the point. The requestor seemed to have nominated other mercenaries party that are active in other areas as well.
In other words, it wasn’t that they were invited specifically. They were just part of a list the requestor considered to invite. Of course, Ted couldn’t be quite happy at that.
「Please don’t take it in the wrong way. The materials we need are not just a few. Certainly, we have hired other parties as well, but that’s not because we underestimate the strength of everyone in 『Bright Stars of White Night』. It’s because that we are short on time, so we had to have more escort parties to collect the materials in different places at the same time. 」
「Well, we are professionals. If you pay the compensation well, then we have no complaints. The travel fees are paid in advance after all. 」
「Thank you very much. I appreciate ever――」
「But, whether we accept this job is a different matter. 」
Overwhelming Julius who had a smile on his face since the start, Ted leaned out and clarified.
「The letter for us had 『Please decide whether to accept the request after hearing the requirements of the request in Reiten』, right? 」
「Yes, exactly so. There’s no problem if you give your response within three days. Even if you don’t accept the request, please be assured that we will cover the travel fees that you used to Reiten. 」
Hearing that, Ted sat back on the sofa.
「Got it. Then let us hear your details. 」
――One hour after that.
The members of 『Bright Stars of White Night』 left the Jimberyl building.
On the road back to their inn, Ted spoke about the contents of the request that they’ve heard just a while ago.
「How is it? The compensation is good. The conditions aren’t bad too. 」
The conditions of the request by Jimberyl Merchant Association, it would be a good deal even if they toned it down. What they are supposed to get are the petals of a flower named 『Blue Tulip』.
The compensation for successfully getting the petals is a hundred gold coins. A single petal is worth about five gold coins. If they are lucky and find a field of them, then it’s no difficult matter to earn more than two or three hundred gold coins in one go.
The period is within ten days. There’s no penalty if failed. Even the fees used for travelling wouldn’t need to be paid back. The inn fees during the period would be paid by the association. On top of that, injuries during the request would be treated for free in the clinic that the association has a connection to.
「On the other hand you don’t seem quite impressed? 」
Orphellia who had her red hair hidden in her hood smiled teasingly.
「That ain’t true. 」
「That is true. What’s that face? You think you’re pretending strong with a poker face but you’re just making it look pathetic? 」
Ted who was being pointed out by Orphellia received another hit from Norris from the side.
「Ted, the request this time, are you going to accept it? 」
「……I don’t like it. 」
As if hiding away from the gazes of the two, Ted muttered.
「The compensation and the conditions aren’t something to be complaining at. But I don’t like the requestor. 」
「The requestor? But Jimberyl is supposed to be quite the big name in Reiten right? And the president person, Julius didn’t seem like he’s someone strange……」
Orphellia recalled the person, Julius that they’ve met just a while ago while her index finger was at her lips.
「Ahaha. I’m on the same page with Ted on this one. 」
「Even Norris think so? 」
「I mean, it’s strange right? 」
「What’s strange? 」
「It’s not clear what they need the materials for but, didn’t they put out nominated request for parties from afar like us? 」
「Yes. There’re too many types of materials they need to collect, and the area is also wide. 」
「Unn. If they had just hired one party to do that, although it will take longer, they can save on the expenses. That guy said that’s why they hired multiple recognized parties from all over the place to do the collection at the same time but……. In the first place, they had waited for us all to arrive at Reiten, wouldn’t it be a better idea to just hired the mercenaries in Reiten? 」
「That’s……, didn’t he say that 『Since it’s a dangerous place, we need to hire strong mercenaries』? 」
「But, wouldn’t there be parties that will succeed if lucky? It’s not like monsters will definitely appear if they went in the mountains. After all, their request states that the compensation is only given if the procurement is successful, so it wouldn’t hurt them even if the mercenaries failed right? Rather than calling out to mercenaries from afar like us, I would hire the local mercenaries if I was him. 」
「That’s true certainly if looking on their benefits……」
「Well also. Whether we accept the request or not, we have to decide it in three days……. That’s quite the generosity they have. 」
「Now that you said it……. What about Ted? 」
Ted who was asked of his opinion stopped walking, crossed his arms, pondered for a while before opening his mouth.
「It’s hard for me to say it in words. You know, it’s like their motives aren’t clear? He didn’t seem like he’s serious in having us complete their request. 」
「Yeah, that too. Somehow it felt 『It would be fine either way』 if we accepted or refused his request. 」
Having received the two men’s opinion, Orphellia had a difficult expression.
「If the both of you say so, then should we give up on this request. 」
「Well, fortunately we have quite some time before the deadline. Let’s think about it for tonight and leave the decision for tomorrow after we gather our opinions. 」
Orphellia and Norris agreed at Ted’s suggestion, and such, the three continued their advances back to their inn.