After the subjugation of the Three Great Demons, Ardis’s name had spread widely in the capital. It took six days for the kingdom to verify the truth, and when the kingdom had finally announced the demise of the Three Great Demons officially, the entire capital was enveloped in a festive mood.
At the northern mountain area where the 『Bell Chaser』nested, it had been confirmed that the area there is indeed rich of Heavy Metal ores, so the ore traders and blacksmiths are all excited.
Even for the merchant ships that had to take a roundabout sailing route because of the 『Four Winged』, they can now use the shortest route again, shortening the time needed to sail to the west by more than three days. In addition, the local fishermen were delighted by the opening of a new fishing ground near the capital.
As for the fortress where the 『Crimson Eater』 resided, it seems that the army had been stationed back there to maintain security. There’re also plans for developing the land surrounding there for farming.
The monsters that were concerns of the kingdom were all subjugated at once. Due to the numerous economic effects brought about by it, the future of the Kingdom of Nagras looked very bright.
Of course, the name of the person who had made this possible is sure to be spread in the capital. It can be said that there’s no one who doesn’t know the name of Ardis in the capital now. His name probably would even spread to Thoria in a few days.
If hiding his identity would prove difficulties, then contrary to that, Ardis just has to spread his name more, so that anyone who was aiming for him would have no choice but to withdraw.
To mess with someone who can deal with the Three Great Demons on his own, not even idiots would do that.
「As expected, the people who tried to capture you before seemed to have given up. 」
Chezare came all the way to the inn Ardis was staying in just to tell him.
「Well, that’s fortunate. 」
The result of his effort of showing a strong impression after hunting all of them at once had paid off, Ardis smiled in his heart.
「And thanks to you, there’re eyes on me all over the place. 」
Chezare’s sigh was mixed with frustration.
He’s talking about the night when Ardis appeared while carrying the Three Great Demons’ heads. Many had realized that the act was for the sake of 『Showing』 to Chezare. If so, there is sure to be some who are investigating Chezare’s relationship with the one who defeated all three of the demonic beings.
「Well, because of that I’ve got more business, so it isn’t entirely bad news. 」
The information broker that had dealt with Ardis, of course that kind of fame would bring him business. But being an information broker, there is merit and demerit for standing out like this.
Being known to a certain extent as an information broker brings more customers. On top of that, being able to forge good relationship with other information brokers would definitely come in handy. On the other hand, since his face is now known, it’ll limit his capability and freedom, since whenever he’s trying to gather information from someone, he will be guarded against.
「So? Have you come to disturb someone’s breakfast just because of that trivial matter? 」
While resting his elbow on the table, Ardis fed himself the sandwich in his hand.
「Even though I came here with good intentions to deliver you some news even if it meant skipping my breakfast, you’re being so harsh. 」
「It’s not like I asked. Could it be that you’re looking for easy money from me just with that? 」
「That much isn’t worth anything but, isn’t a business formed when it’s beneficial for the both of us? Ah, little miss, can you get me a sandwich and some juice? 」
Chezare ordered his breakfast on the way. It seemed like he’s getting into the main topic.
「So, what do you have? 」
「That time, didn’t you use me as your steppingstone to sell your name? 」
「You’re not saying that I need to pay for that right? 」
「No no, it’s not that matter. Just that, I was wondering if I can get some information on the Three Great Demons for using me as your steppingstone. 」
Ardis who listened that was convinced.
Although they’re now subjugated, they’re still the demonic beings which left the kingdom a long-lasting headache. Chezare is acting fast since that piece of information still has value now.
Certainly, there’s no guarantee that there won’t be similar monsters appearing ever again.
It could be that there are similar monsters that are just living in somewhere that no one ever set foot in, or it could be that sudden mutations would happen to monsters and threaten people again. That time, information about the Three Great Demons would probably be worth golds.
Unlike other information broker, the fact that Chezare knows the person who actually subjugated the Three Great Demons brings him more credibility. Then as an information broker, it’s natural to take advantage of that and get detailed information about the Three Great Demons.
「I see. So, what do you want to know? 」
Since Ardis himself is conscious that he had used Chezare for his purpose, he decided to pay back some of that debt in this way. As such, Ardis had willingly described the difference in information he received and the real thing, the strength and weakness after he had battled it personally, the abilities and actions they have.
「――So basically, the strongest one was the 『Crimson Eater』? 」
「Yeah. The 『Bell Chaser』 and the 『Four Winged』 weren’t much. 『Bell Chaser』 was weaker than a Grinder. Although the 『Four Winged』 is troublesome when it flies on the sea but, it isn’t really that strong. It was only the 『Crimson Eater』 that was uneasing because of its unknown nature. 」
The special trait that it will be hostile to anything red. The way that it makes liquid sounds when walking, and the toughness that would even break a short sword that’s made of Heavy Metal. And the fact that it’s resistance to most magic elements.
When its head was severed, its body turned back into the liquid, only the head didn’t liquified but stayed as one. Every single aspect of it, Ardis could only say that it had something that disgusted him.
「I took its head, and its body dissipated. But whether it had really died or not……, in the first place, it’s strange if it’s even a living thing. 」
「That story, have you reported it to the Kingdom? 」
「Just in case. I talked about it when I reported the subjugation. Well, it didn’t look like they took it seriously though……」
The soldiers who heard Ardis’s story took note while smiling bitterly. Since mercenaries like to exaggerate their work, they probably thought Ardis was doing the same too.
For Ardis, he doesn’t care what might happen with the head he handed over, or even if the crimson liquid on the floor revives itself. If it’s needed, then he will just have to go for another expedition. What is important for him is just, preventing unneeded annoyance by selling his name, and of course the bounty.
He had already received the bounty for the Three Great Devils. The total bounty he received was eight hundred gold. It’s quite cheap of a price considering they were the demonic beings that had caused numerous headaches for the Kingdom for many years but, for the Kingdom, it’s probably too much of money to be given to a random sacrificial pawn of a mercenary.
Their intentions of just letting some reasonable amount of money to attract some mercenaries to defeat them is too obvious. Since just the fees needed to sortie the army once would amount to eight hundred gold.
Of course, Ardis had realized their intentions, but he didn’t bother. Since his priority wasn’t the money in the first place and he had found some material in the fortress that can even replace the bounty during his subjugation of the 『Crimson Eater』.
「Well, the average soldiers wouldn’t understand the importance of information after all. 」
Chezare said it as a matter of fact, the waitress that took his order just a while ago brought the sandwich and the fruit juice he ordered.
「Sorry for the wait! It’ll be three small copper coins! 」
「Three is fine? That’s quite the cheap price. 」
Leaving aside if it’s an inn guest, the norm for guests who are only looking for breakfast is about seven or eight small copper coins. A price under five is already uncommon in the capital.
「Our inn prides in our affordable price after all! 」
The waitress received the coins from Chezare, and left a charming smile before leaving.
「Of course if it’s a Company Commander or the General, they won’t say such a thing――Puha―! 」
Chezare who tried to continue the topic took a bite at the sandwich, and immediately spat it out.
「So bitter! Cough, cough! What in the world is this!? 」
After finishing his round of coughs, Chezare who washed his mouth with the juice in the cup complained to the waitress.
「Little miss! What’s this taste! It’s super bitter! 」
「Huh? Was it not to your likings? It’s our special chicken sandwich with bitter grass. 」
「What do you mean not to my likings, bitter grass isn’t something you use normally right! There’s no precedence of using it for a sandwich! 」
In the first place, the bitter grass is too bitter and nobody thought to use it for cooking.
「It’s exactly so! Because no one had ever used it before, it’s worthy to challenge as development of a new taste! 」
「No no no no, this costs money you know!? It’s so bad that it’ll be better to be paid to eat it!? Is it even food in the first place!? Isn’t it some kind of harassment!? 」
「It’s not a harassment. Isn’t Ardis-san eating it perfectly fine now? 」
While being watched by the waitress and Chezare, Ardis took a bite at the sandwich and ate it.
「Ah, you……, you’re fine eating that? 」
「……It’s not inedible. 」
Ardis said so without his expression changing even a little.
「As expected of Ardis-san! It’s only Ardis-san who says my cooking is delicious! 」
Well, although it was as expected of Ardis, he never said anything along the lines 「Delicious」 but, it seems that it became like that in the waitress’ mind.
「Mornin’, Melir-chan. What’s today breakfast? 」
The inn guests came down from the second floor and greeted the girl. Judging from the time, it seem to be about the time when the dining hall gets populated by guests.
「Good morning! Today’s menu is my special bitter grass sandwich! 」
「Geh! Today’s breakfast is Melir-chan’s work!? 」
「Ah, I don’t need any breakfast. 」
「I will also head to work immediately, I don’t need it. 」
And just like that, the inn guests started scattering. There’re some that scurried back to their rooms, some that finished their own food, some that left the inn immediately. There were various reactions but, it seems that there’re no challengers brave enough to take on the girl’s cooking.
For the long-time guests in this inn, Melir’s cooking was something they want to avoid at all cost even if it means wasting their already paid breakfast fees.
Chezare who saw their reactions whispered to Ardis.
「That……, I might be bothering you but, why not move to another inn that has better food? Isn’t the inn that you stayed at before a better option? 」
「If I stay in an inn that sells their guest’s information, I can’t sleep peacefully. 」
With that said, Chezare couldn’t reply anything. Because it was the truth that that inn had sold Ardis’s information to Chezare.
Chezare panickily changed the topic.
「In the first place, you have the bounty money of the Three Great Demons right? Rather than the inn, don’t you think you should retire from this dangerous job as a mercenary? 」
Certainly, a mercenary isn’t a job that you can do forever. If a fight starts, then it wouldn’t be sure that you would even survive till the next day, and many jobs for mercenaries are all life threatening.
Although it’s a popular job that many young, poor people and ruffians dream of because of its potential of earning a huge sum at once, the people that actually enjoys it are in the minority.
And for mercenaries like Ardis who had earned a large sum of money, many of them choose to retire from a dangerous life and live a peaceful life. In fact, there are many mercenaries that had earned enough choose to retire and open a tavern or arms store in the city.
Totaling the bounty and what Ardis had before, it was enough funds for him to be living in the house in the forest for the rest of his life. But, the thoughts of leaving the mercenary occupation, Ardis didn’t have a sliver of that.
「You are looking for more wealth? 」
That’s wrong. Money isn’t a problem as long it’s adequately enough for Ardis.
「Or more fame? 」
That’s also wrong. A fame that doesn’t invite excess troubles is enough for Ardis.
「Or could you be aiming to be a knight? 」
How idiotic. Ardis disliked being bound in an organization the most.
「Or maybe a peerage? 」
It was a cold joke. It isn’t realistic for any mercenary to become a noble. In the first place, Ardis didn’t get what’s so good to become a noble. That’s why at Chezare’s questions that were mixed with sighs, he was hesitating to answer any of them.
「You, for what reason had you become a mercenary? 」