Reiten, east of the Coalition, a trading city that had developed thanks to its relationship with Nagras Kingdom. There’s an abundant of peddlers and carriages moving around in the city.
The competition is fierce in this town which has many merchant associations taken root. If you don’t take risk, you would get out-competed, if you’re not careful, you would lose all your assets.
The main street that stretched from east to west of the town, there were all kinds of different building with different merchant association lined up. And among them, one building. It was the building with the signboard 『Litte Merchant Association』.
The surrounding buildings is in the same style, the first floor is reserved for the storefront, the second floor is for reception space or the office for employees, and finally the room of the president.
The doors of that building didn’t seem new. They have probably taken care of it for a long time, even when the owner of the building changed or when the president of the association changed. With the old door still standing setting the mood, the building gave off the impression of its lasting history.
「Why did you let him go by himself to Nagras!? 」
It was a yelling voice that had ruined the solemn atmosphere. There were two women in the president’s room.
The one yelling loudly just now was Rovell Merchant Association’s successor, Ellie. She’s a woman with long vibrant blonde hair who seemed to be in her late tens. Her shoulders trembled with her pupils that showed anger.
On the other hand, the person she was directing her anger to, was the owner of the room, Litte’s president, Marrieda. Short grey hair and maroon eyes. She seems to be in the twenties, just about the same age with Ellie.
The both of them aren’t unbelievable beauties but, they certainly have good looks. If it was an idle and peaceful talk, then it wouldn’t be weird that they would attract gazes from men.
However, it can’t be said that the atmosphere flowing in the room at this moment is peaceful at all. Against Marrieda who was sitting on the sofa composedly, Ellie was standing up while glaring at her.
「Ellie. Someone who’s going to marry soon shouldn’t be so short tempered~yon. 1」
It seems that Marrieda is trying to calm Ellie who is eager to rush at her any moment.
「Aren’t you the reason behind me being like this. 」
Ellie’s voice seemed to have softened by a little, as she crashed onto the sofa while still looking frustrated.
「I’m also a merchant after all~nii. Even if it meant saving my friend, I can’t be allocating funds without reason in front of my subordinates~yon. In exchange of funding Rovell, he will be doing something for my association, that’s what we call a trade right~nii. 」
「But, even so, it’s nothing to do with Kyrill. 」
「There’s no such thing like that, you know~yon. Kyrill is also a member of Rovell despite being an apprentice, right―? Since the situation of his association dictates his future greatly as well, isn’t it obvious he will have to do his best to avoid the collapse~nii? 」
Well, actually, for Kyrill-kun, it felt more like he did it for Ellie’s sake rather than the association, as Marrieda thought about the young boy.
「The matter about the funding is already solved. Jimberyl’s Julius-san would lend a hand……」
「So? Ellie would become a mistress of that Julius, you think Kyrill-kun would stand by silently seeing that~nii? 」
「It couldn’t be helped for my case. In fact, I didn’t think of marrying in my life, being a 『Pruned』, it would be better that someone else excellent in Rovell succeed it. 」
Suddenly, Marrieda looked at Ellie with a serious face.
「Certainly, there’s some people who will condemn you for being a 『Pruned』. If Ellis is going to succeed your association, then surely there’ll be troubles regarding that. But――」
Marrieda’s large pupils stared right into Ellie’s. Stopping her normal casual tone, she said it as clearly as possible to correct Ellie.
「If you choose to give up on your life because of that, what will the people who gave their best supporting you so far do? Your father or Kyrill-kun, what they did for you, that will mean denying all of that. 」
Probably getting Marrieda’s point in her words, Ellie apologized. Hearing that, Marrieda’s aura returned to her normal cheery one again.
「There’s no need to apologies~yon. Well, I’m not in a position to say that too~nii」
Marrieda understood well that she is the person in the least favorable position. After all, she had used the excuse of her childhood friend being in danger and taken advantage of a young boy while spouting lies. I would definitely be in hell if I died, Marrieda thought so casually as if it was not her own matter.
「Hey, Marrieda. Shouldn’t you be sending someone to receive Kyrill now? 」
「There’s no meaning in that now~yon. He would be already heading here from Nagras if it was according to schedule~nii. 」
Just like what Marrieda said, Kyrill had departed Reiten more than ten days ago. There’s no point in sending someone to get them when they’re already returning.
「Isn’t that if they’re safe, right? It would’ve been fine if he was an adult, but Kyrill is still a twelve-year-old boy you know? Even father kept silence at that……」
Ellie’s father, in other words, the president of Rovell Merchant Association had of course been notified beforehand. To not let Ellie realize Kyrill’s departure, he had put on some excuses for Ellie.
If Ellie had come to know of this matter early, then it’s no doubt that she would gather escorts and chase after Kyrill. After all, Ellie is such a girl.
In the end, it was exposed nonetheless but, today would be the day Kyrill might return after all, she probably wouldn’t send people out since they might miss each other.
「It’s fine, it’s fine. Kyrill-kun is mature despite his age~nii. I gave the required funds for his journey too, and I’ve let him hitch a ride with my acquittance to Nagras. If he hitches a ride on a caravan back here too, then he would return in just a jiffy~nii. 」
Ellie asked sobbingly. Honestly, as a merchant, it wouldn’t be good for her to be so emotional.
Although Ellie is like this, she’s excellent usually. In fact, her ability as a merchant is better than Marrieda’s. Knowledge of goods, calculative skills, discerning ability, pricing ability, imagination. All of them were at least on par with Marrieda, or even higher.
But, she has just one problem. She’s too emotional albeit a merchant.
Especially when it is matters relating to her family or friends, this trait of hers would show itself evidently. Being a veteran merchant, it might be better if she would be more calculative and meticulous.
Even now, Marrieda thought that even if the matter about being a mistress broke down, it might be better that she gives up succeeding Rovell. Keeping a calm mind while having a smile on your face. Together with decisiveness is what makes trading trading after all.
Even if it meant making use of her own childhood friend as a façade. Just like what Marrieda is doing exactly now. Although it wasn’t anything to be praised of by using her own friends as a steppingstone, it’s normal for her to take advantage of her friends to the extent that it won’t do any harm for them.
But, deciding where to draw that line is difficult. As Marrieda thought that in her mind and smiled to Ellie as a reply.
「Yup, no worries. 」
Well, the funds were probably nowhere near enough. They were the words that Marrieda never spoke of.
「Well……, if it’s a caravan, then there’re escorts too. He will be fine, right? 」
「I’m sure he will be back safely. It’s alright. 」
If he played his cards right, he would even gain a monstrosity of an escort. There would be zero danger if he did that.
「Come to think of it……, why did you send Kyrill to Nagras? 」
「It isn’t anything important~yon. It’s just to bring, someone, here~nii. 」
Just as Marrieda said so, there was a light knock on the president’s room. The young man who had been given permission to enter gave his report.
「Kyrill-sama from Rovell and another companion of his wish of a meeting. They have no appointment in advance, how should it be handled? 」