The city state, Reiten, two days after the defense battle. The city that had succeeded in fending off the beasts and demonic beings thanks to the mercenaries and soldiers had a festive mood every night.
Surrounded by such lively atmosphere, inside the reception room of the Litte Merchant Association were two people sitting on the sofa and one standing.
「So then? In the end, it flew away by itself, and came back by itself~nii? 」
「I totally thought it was you who was controlling it though. 」
Nicole continued after Marrieda.
「I didn’t do anything. This guy moved on its own. 」
While sending glances to the crimson sword on his hands, Ardis had an inexplicable expression.
「A woman with red eyes, huh……. Nicole saw her too~nii? 」
「She was unbelievably beautiful. 」
「Unn. That’s quite the not useful information. 」
At Nicole who was standing behind herself who added on happily, Marrieda retorted with a smile.
「Do you really not know about this sword? 」
「I said it before, I had told you everything I knew about the sword. There isn’t anything I know more than that. 」
Marrieda’s answer wasn’t the one Ardis hoped to get.
After all, the sword moved by itself without his influence and even managed to stop the immortal demonic being somehow. It flew off somewhere by itself, and came back to Ardis’s hands by itself sometime later. On top of that, the illusion-like existence that looked like Nere.
The sword that was originally already an unfathomable object had gotten itself a new incomprehensible property.
「Keep in mind we don’t accept any returns―」
「It’s not like I bought it from you though. 」
Ardis frowned at Marrieda who joked with a teasing tone.
To be honest, Ardis thought that the crimson sword is something that shouldn’t be handled carelessly. Even if Marrieda asked him to return it, he probably won’t do it. Depending on the situation, it might even be better to dispose it somewhere no one can ever get to.
The only saving grace is the sword didn’t have the ominous aura like before. Even for the past few days, there weren’t any sorts of red humanoids appearing. It seems that the curse-like thing had been dispelled.
「Miss. Shouldn’t we get into the real topic by now? He totally seems like he has the face of 『If there’s nothing else, I will leave now』? 」
Nicole who appraised Ardis’s expression had wonderfully made out what he was thinking.
「Geez. Ardis-kun is still cold as ever huh―」
「It’s because your idle talk is too long. So? Why calling me here? I really want to have something for lunch now. 」
Currently, Ted and the other members of 『Bright Stars of White Night』 is supposedly enjoying the meals of a tavern known for its delicious menu.
The first day when the army of beasts attacked Reiten, Ardis, 『Bright Stars of White Night』 had fought together with the soldiers to hold out until the evacuation finishes. During that, the old commander of the soldiers had promised to treat them to some nice meals in place of compensation.
After the aftermath of the defense battle had been cleaned up, when they all finally had a chance to take it easy, the commander had invited Ardis and the others to a famous tavern today.
And Marrieda had interrupted that and called Ardis. Why is it always a troublesome timing that this woman has something to do with me, Ardis had more than enough reason to see Marrieda as an annoyance.
Actually, Ardis wasn’t grumpy because he couldn’t make it to the free food and liquor treat. It’s just that he didn’t like how the grey-haired merchant in front of him acted, and the fact that his sleepiness wanted him to dive into a bed now.
「And regarding why you’re here. Ardis-kun, you’ve subjugated demonic beings on an absurd level this time, so―」
「Absurd is overexaggerating it. I just did somewhat moderately. 」
「No no. If that’s what you call 『Moderately』, then what are the mercenaries including me been doing there? 」
Nicole retorted immediately.
In the defense battle, Ardis had dealt with a total of eighty-seven demonic beings. Although he never did use finish all his stamps, his contribution would not amount to only a hundred demonic beings if totaling the ones he killed when he was shooting magic down from the walls.
Of course, for the demonic beings that was defeated by his magic, he didn’t get to stamp them, so he couldn’t get the compensation for those. But even so, eighty-seven demonic beings amounted to two hundred sixty-one gold coins.
On top of that, some of the demonic beings can be traded at a high price because of their body part’s value as materials. The small pair of vestigial1 wings on the back of the 『Whips』, the fur of the 『Hounds』 and 『Trons』 are all materials that can be sold at a high price.
「And there. The demonic beings that Ardis-kun subjugated, won’t you sell them to us~nii? And maybe throw in a friend discount――」
「No, why do I have to discount to sell it to you? Wouldn’t it be the other way around? In the first place, since when were we friends? 」
「Hey did you hear that, Nicole!? That rude attitude! The treatment he would give to a friend who had shared his pain and hardships! 」
「Miss. Did you hear what he said properly? In the first place, even if you say he’s being rude, wasn’t he like that from the beginning? 」
Marrieda who turned around to get support from Nicole was met with a cold jab.
「Huh, that’s true. 」
The short-haired woman who stood back up easily continued the talk as if nothing happened.
「Fine――. We will buy them from you at market price. 」
「That’s why I’m saying, why are you acting so high and mighty? 」
Even though she’s only offering to buy them at market price, Marrieda had an entitled tone. While Ardis didn’t even try to hide his irritation, Nicole interrupted.
「Having said so, how are you going to retrieve that much demonic beings? Not just retrieving them, you have to dismantle them too, right? I’m telling you but there’s no mercenary or even citizens around that you can hire for getting the materials even if you pay. 」
Majority of the monsters that were subjugated are beasts. Since it will cause disease to spread if they were left to rot, they must be incinerated and buried as soon as possible. But before that, retrieving the valuable parts of the beasts is something that anyone can think of.
Even if their value is lower than a demonic being’s, the fur and fangs can still be sold at a high price. On top of that, the number of beasts weren’t normal.
The soldiers and drafted soldiers didn’t have the stamps like the mercenaries. Naturally, the ownership of the beasts fallen outside the city wasn’t clear to anyone.
It’s probably more appropriate to say that it’s finders, keepers now. As such, the people were rushing to dismantle the beasts to get the materials. There were even some who brought their entire family including their children to help.
Although there’re damages caused by the army of beasts and the stopped trades, the value of materials of the demonic beings and beasts could probably more than enough make up for that. Reiten who had now gotten a mountain of materials like never before is booming more than ever.
「There’re people out there retrieving materials on their own as well, and mercenaries who are hired to dismantle are also there. I don’t really think there’re anyone in Reiten now having difficulties in finding a job? Even the soldiers are working hard to get some pocket money. 」
The soldiers are given the task to burn the corpses of the beasts outside the city. But soldiers are also people. It can’t be helped that they are holding dismantling knives out there on their rest day to enrich their fortune.
「If it’s our association, then we have many employees that you can hire temporarily~yon. 」
How is it, Marrieda had a business smile as she proposed.
「The subjugation tag doesn’t last forever too right? Certainly, you’re strong. Your capability in killing demonic beings are overwhelming. 」
But that doesn’t mean the same in dismantling, right? Nicole suggested.
Certainly, Ardis wouldn’t sweat in dealing with demonic beings. But dismantling and recovering the materials are different. Although Ardis had the basic necessary skills to do so, his speed and precision wasn’t anything better than other mercenaries.
Having said so, that’s not something Ardis would be impatient about. If he just froze them and buried them deep in the ground like he did in Thoria, he can take it slowly and work on them one by one.
「The dismantling will be fine. 」
「Then, the selling? Where are you going to sell the materials to~nii? 」
「It’s not like you are the only one doing business here. 」
「That might just be the case~nii. A merchant association that can buy the huge amount of materials that Ardis-kun have, it might be only us around~yon. 」
An unexpected answer came from Marrieda.
「Ha? What do you mean? Aren’t there loads of merchant associations in Reiten? 」
「Well, there’re many smaller ones. 」
It was Nicole who answered Ardis’s question.
「There’s four merchant association that can be said as giant associations in Reiten. Needless to say, our Litte is one of them. And another one was Rovell but――」
「Where Kyrill is huh? 」
「Yeah yeah, that. Since Rovell failed on a big business recently, they are now in the process of getting back up after borrowing funds from us. Of course, they wouldn’t be able to do any big purchase now. 」
「Then the other two? 」
「Yeah, that’s the problem. One of the four, the Jimberyl Merchant Association which had the most prowess in recent years. You’ve heard its name before, right? 」
「The association that contributed a lot in this incident right? 」
「Yeah, them. Actually, they fled. 」
Ardis who didn’t get what Nicole was saying for a moment let out a noise.
「They fled. 」
And Nicole repeated it for him.
「……They fled, what do you mean? 」
「It’s literally that. The president, Julius suddenly vanished. During the defense battle, he was last seen there, but his whereabouts after that is totally unknown. 」
「It seems like when the fight was over, they were already gone. Every one of the upper managements of the association including Julius ran. I heard it was a huge mess that day~nii. The employees are still desperately trying to run the business but, it seems like Julius had withdrawn a large sum of their funds. So they probably would be hitting a wall very soon~nii. 」
While shrugging, Marrieda revealed the information only merchants would know about.
「And so they wouldn’t be able to buy as well? 」
「I’m glad you understand~nii. 」
「Then, the last one is the Rotia Merchant Association. They’re also in quite the predicament. After all, they had been expanding their business by cooperating with the Jimberyl’s, but now that the Jimberyl is in this state, they would probably have to bear the responsibilities. Since everyone in Reiten pretty much thinks that they’re on the same side with Jimberyl, the president there is probably panicking now. 」
It seems like Nicole has some debts with the Rotia Merchant Association as he cursed them, 「Serves you well」.
「And so~nii. The other merchant association are too small to be able to afford a huge amount of demonic being materials. In the first place, I think they’re already all out from what has been recovered from the battle by now. Fu―fu―fu, Ardis-kun. The only merchant association around in Reiten that can afford to buy all your materials is pretty much only us――」
「That’s what she said but, our lady here is offering you because she’s worried about you though? 」
Having acted like a villain, Marrieda who gave her verdict was interrupted by Nicole and flustered.
「Fue!? Hey! What are you saying, Nicole!? 」
「Just like what she said, there’s only Litte that can buy the large amount of materials flowing in Reiten now. On the other hand, there’s still a load of materials outside the city sitting around to be recovered right? The materials market will surely be saturated if it continues. 」
「Hey, Nicole! 」
「If that happens, there will be too much stock in the market and no one buying it. Its value would plummet when that happens. In other words, you can only sell them at a cheap price if you’re too late. 」
「Don’t, speak, extra. 」
Marrieda tried to stop Nicole from speaking any further no matter what but, after all, her opponent was someone who could easily defeat three Despairs at once. Her hands only missed her target every time. It looked like a kitten trying to jump at a cat.
「Even now, the materials from the beasts are already affected. The price of Grass Wolf’s fur had dropped by two tenth compared to a week ago. Since there’re not that much demonic being materials circulating compared to the beasts, their prices haven’t dropped that much but, they were definitely affected as well. Why not take up on Miss’s kind offer to buy your materials before their prices go down? 」
Marrieda who finally realized that her attempts at resisting is futile had faced away pouting. Her ears had the same color of Orphellia’s face when she’s drunk.
Having seen this clumsy side of Marrieda he never seen before, the irritation that Ardis had a while ago vanished.
It was Ardis who unintentionally blurted out rudely before, but after his irritation went away, he replied with a bitter smile.
「Fine. I will discuss about it with my comrades. 」
In the end, it’s decided that Ardis would depend on the Litte Merchant Association for manpower for dismantling and buying them. There wasn’t any choice other than that but, having affected by Norris’s appraisal of 「So in short, it’s just that Ardis can’t really stand this Marrieda person, right? 」, certainly if he excluded his personal judgement against Marrieda, it wasn’t a bad offer.
After that, Ardis and Ted together with the other members of 『Bright Stars of White Night』 stayed in Reiten for a little while more to finish all their matters. After getting their compensation and selling all their materials, it was ten days after the defense battle that they’ve left Reiten, returning to the capital Gran.