Just a little more.
In one of the room of the Litte Business Association located in Reiten of the Coalition. Despite not exactly the most luxurious, there were still quite a few prestigious looking decoration that strikes a peaceful atmosphere.
Staring herself in the mirror, Marrieda muttered softly towards no one but herself.
「It’s almost ten…… eight years huh. 」
It was a long journey. Although there could never be enough words to describe it, for Marrieda, more than half of her life had been spent mundanely.
And that is finally coming to an end. Desperately holding up the business association that almost collapsed when both her parents passed away, managing to defend against the takeover from outside, retaining the old employees from quitting, by the time she noticed, years had passed without knowing about love and romance.
That time when she was still ten years old, there weren’t even time for her to mourn over her parents’ death. Discarding shame and reputation, she sacrificed everything to protect the association.
All of that was for the sake of standing against those that had caused her parents death, something that others might consider silly, but it was the line that she will never give.
Naturally, that was not the end. She will take revenge eventually. From the time she swore as a child, she had been preparing various things, making use of her cursed prophetic dreams.
She had kept the betrayer and gave them tough work for them to not realize her own intentions. Thanks to her relentless working, she finally had a shop in the nobles’ district.
But above all, she managed to get a connection with the joker card known as Countless Swords Sorcerer. Her preparation was complete, as the Empire’s invasion to the Kingdom finally started, the time is almost ripe.
Will the Countless Swords Sorcerer come? No, even if he doesn’t, she still has Nicole. While thinking like that, Marrieda felt a little warmed in her chest as her expression turned better.
「Nicole had been around for long too……」
It’s natural that she had grown to have some emotions staying for eight years together. Her appreciation for Nicole who had stayed at her side smiling despite asking for many impossibles never ends.
She thought that it would be the best if it continued like this. Even after she reaches her goal, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to expand the association with Nicole.
Throwing away everything and live secludedly just with the two of them can be considered too.
However, that’s also after everything is over. When everything ends, the life of Marrieda ・ Litte will finally start.
「It has been a while~nii. 」
Two days later, Ardis visited Marrieda who had been working on her preparation bit by bit.
「It’s terrible in the Kingdom but……, I guess it doesn’t concern Ardis-kun now――? 」
Although Marrieda said it casually as 『Terrible』 but, the truth is that the Kingdom is on verge of annihilation.
The downfall of the capital, the main force of the Kingdom that was at the border was also annihilated.
The second capital of the Kingdom, Thoria had declared independence, and the other territories were getting conquered one after another because of attacks from the sea.
It was only the remote villages and towns with small population that hasn’t been touched by the Empire yet.
Although there were still remnants of the Kingdom army resisting in various places, they couldn’t keep that up having no supplies provided by any cities.
They wouldn’t be able to keep up the organization eventually. The royalties were all captured, and the three duke houses that holds the rights of succession are on the verge of destruction.
It’s already a situation where no one can take up the Kingdom’s flag. In this situation, it’s probably impossible for the tides to turn.
Far from being a country, it’s already in a 『Destroyed』 state.
「It’s not like it doesn’t concern me at all but……, I have no obligation to help them at this point. 」
His words might’ve sounded cold. But still, it was a natural answer considering that he was forced out of the capital.
「Unn. That straight forward personality. Honestly I don’t hate it yo~n. 」
「It’s like someone’s else business to you huh. 」
「I mean, it is. 」
Ardis had a stupefied tone but Marrieda responded with a matter of fact.
「So you’re saying that it’s impossible for the Empire to start invading the Coalition? 」
「Unnya. I think it’s about fifty or seventy percent chance they might do it though~nii. 」
Rather, if they didn’t come invading, Marrieda’s wish will not come true. Having been hoping her own hometown to be invaded by another country since a child, she was conscious that she was quite a scumbag.
「But you seem――」
Quicker than Ardis who wanted to say something, Marrieda changed the topic.
「So, Ardis-kun. What kind of business you have here today――? I’m not very free either, so I really want to return to my work~nii. 」
「……I need some help with getting food supplies. 」
「Food supplies? 」
Marrieda tilted her head. If just a few portions, then it’s a problem that he can easily solve just by buying them from some stalls nearby.
「Since you’ve come to ask me specifically, I assume it’s not a small amount~nii? 」
「Yeah, for three thousand people, one month for the time being. After that, I will need about another four months. 」
「That’s quite the……」
Marrieda was surprised at the number that was off by two figures. While keeping her composure on the outside, she instantly calculated the cost for three thousand people.
「It will cost quite alot yo~n? 」
「I know. Is a hundred eighty gold enough for a month? 」
It seems like he came with some preparation. Marrieda points out the reality to Ardis, who has offered a realistic amount of money.
「Food are already lacking thanks to the Empire’s invasion~nii. It might’ve been enough a week ago but……, it will probably cost two hundred now~nii. And the prices are going up by each day, so the price next month will be considerably higher yo~n? 」
Ardis clicked his tongue hearing the two hundred gold. It’s a tough line according to his budget.
「Then it will be separate discussion each time. Also, can you buy Heavy Iron ores from me? 」
Did he come to a decision by himself, Ardis put the question regarding the cost on hold, and now asked for purchase of another unexpected goods.
「Heavy Iron oreees? How many by the way? 」
「The excavation limit is unknown yet. 」
It was not tools made from Heavy Iron nor refined ingots. Moreover, it was a deal that the excavation limit even came out.
「Talking about excavation huh――. Ardis-kun, what are you actually doing? 」
Marrieda wasn’t trying to dig deeper into his business, but rather it was purely her curiosity.
「There was some situation. 」
Regarding what kind of situation that made him approach with such a deal, it would be a lie if Marrieda said she was uninterested.
However, despite her young age, Marrieda is the president of a business association that can pride in its size even in Reiten.
She understands at least that much about someone that she should peer deeper and someone she should not.
「Well, since we are doing business, I don’t intend to ask more~nii. But~nii――」
「But, what? 」
「Just like how Ardis-kun has his situation, I also have mine~nii. There might be some whacking punch situation later――. If Ardis-kun is willing to listen to my request, then maybe I will consider your deal a li――ttle bit more. I can even offer you the hundred eighty gold coin per month as well yo~n.」
It was a rare chance of the joker card coming into her hand willingly. Even if she bears some damages, she must make use of it in the biggest play in her life.
「Heeeh, well well well. 」
Ardis who seemed to see through her intentions had a fearless smile.
「I will even throw in some bonus for the Heavy Iron ores! How about it? Yes? 」
While thinking that it wouldn’t be effective either way, she proposed another benefit.
「All I can see is that you’re really trying hard to use me. 」
「Don’t say it like that. It’s just a little escort request~yon. 」
Marrieda shortened the explanation to the limits for Ardis who replied negatively as expected.
「Don’t you have Nicole as your escort already? 」
「Of course, I trust Nicole too, and I have no doubts about his capability. But, I think it’s still too much for one person to bear. 」
「Who the heck are you trying to pick a fight with. 」
Sensing unrestful aura from her words, Ardis’s brows were met with a frown. With a commercial smile on her face, Marrieda slightly shifts the direction of the story, paying close attention so that her voice does not get upset.
「Well you know, it’s not like we’re going against the Empire~nii. 」
「Of course. No matter what, spare me from going against the entire Empire army with just myself and Nicole. 」
Ardis didn’t even hide his distrust.
「It’s finee, it’s fineee. As expected, it won’t be something like that yo~n. 」
Waving her hands to assure him, Marrieda thanked her parents in the afterlife for having secured the greatest card for the showdown ahead.