It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (18/60), enjoy~
Chapter 68 – Let’s Get Along! (Intimidation)
“We are not bandits. We are the liberation army working to liberate all the people controlled and oppressed by the Holy Kingdom. Therefore, we will not kill you who are not soldiers of the Holy Kingdom, and we will not unilaterally take your cargo. I hope you understand that first.”
Melty smilingly explains our position to the leader of the Pence Trading Company ― the fat old man who just fainted. The three people at the negotiating table are the fat man, Melty, and Danan.
Since Sylphy is a royal family member, it would be problematic for her to sit in on these negotiations with a single merchant. Therefore, she should be watching the situation from a distance.
Me? Actually, I’m sitting at the negotiation table too. I’m just a normal human in appearance. So I was placed in this seat after removing the slave collar in the hope that I might be able to relieve the tension of the other party, even if only a little.
“U-um… but, this cargo we’re carrying is for supplies to the fort ahead…”
“Yes, I understand. It’s a fort on the territory border, right? We already occupy it, so the cargo won’t have any place to go anyway.”
“You can’t believe it? The fact that we’re in this position is more than enough proof.”
The fact that we’re in this position proves it. If the Holy Kingdom army in the fort is still alive and well, there is no way we can relax in a place like this, right? And that’s what Melty is saying.
“You have to see it with your own eyes to be convinced. Yes, I understand that. You don’t have to worry about it because it will be taken care of. But for now, it’s your load.”
The merchant’s uncle has become so confused that he’s almost turning into a talking machine. Well, of course. If I were in his shoes, I’d do the same. I mean, Danan is sitting in front of him, a very strong and stern man, and 400 soldiers surround him.
It would be impossible to maintain a normal state of mind. At least, if I were in the old man’s position, I couldn’t.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of money in circulation under the rule of the Holy Kingdom. So we would like to pay you with this.”
With that said, Melty placed a small cloth bag on the desk, opened her mouth, and spread its contents out on the table. There was a hard clinking sound.
“These are precious gems polished by the elves of the Black Forest. What do you think?”
“T-this is… Can I hold it with my hand?”
“Yes, feel free.”
The merchant took out a handkerchief-like cloth from his pocket, picked up one of the large red gems, and began to look at it closely. The polished gem was made by an elven jeweler. The payment was a raw gem. Everyone was happy to polish the gems. Yes.
“Isn’t it nice?”
“Yes, of course. It is a fine item.”
Then the two began to exchange arguments. The merchant’s uncle seemed to recover his pace as he negotiated.
“This is the total price.”
“That’s too cheap. That’s not enough.”
“That’s way too cheap. It’s an elven item, you know? Give us more.”
“The gem is indeed of good quality and artistry, but there is no proof that it is an elven product. This is about right.”
“That would be the same for all gems. There should be no doubt about where we come from, right? If so, the origin of this item is obvious. That’s about it. I don’t think you should be too greedy. That is the final decision.”
“Ugh… I understand.”
In the end, Melty seemed to have pushed through. I wondered if eight polished elf gems for five carts worth of supplies was a fair price or not. I have no idea.
“Where should we take this stuff?”
“Right, we’re heading to the fort on the western territory border.”
“You’ll have to carry it there. You’ll have to accompany us.”
“The fare will be charged.”
Melty adds one more gem to the frozen expression of the merchant’s uncle’s hand. You can get a gem just for carrying it; that’s a great deal! We’re headed to a battlefield, though!
“O-oh… I see, so you guys already have the west fort under control, huh?”
The merchant’s uncle smiled wryly as he said this, though he looked pale.
“No? We’re going to conquer it now.”
“U-uh, how about us?”
“You’ll follow us, okay?”
Melty smiles. It’s scary! I feel a strong will to kill if you refuse here!
Ah, the merchant’s uncle’s face was beyond pale and turned grey… and he glanced at his colleagues and guards, who all wore despairing expressions. That’s right, that’s what I would do if I were in their shoes.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you guys don’t get caught up in the fighting.”
She said with a smile, but I think that for them, standing on the battlefield with us would be fatal in itself. If the Holy Kingdom’s army saw them, that would be a problem in itself, and if they saw them bringing in supplies after we had conquered the fort, that would be completely out of the question. There’s an excellent chance they’ll take it as an act of self-interest.
“You’re Pence Trading Company, aren’t you? We’re counting on you. Let’s be happy together with us…”
And then Melty gave a most exquisite smile to them.
“So what’s it all about?”
“I think it means that they’re all in this together, and we can’t let them get away with it.”
“Hmm, so that’s it.”
After the negotiations, we started marching again, and after gaining some distance, we decided to set up camp. We set up camp in the grasslands beside the road, and now it was time for dinner. Today’s meal was barley porridge made with vegetables brought by the merchants we had met during the day and Gizma’s meat that I had sneaked out so that they wouldn’t find it.
They also brought a large amount of salt, so there was plenty of salt in it. It was quite delicious. The merchant and his guards are eating the same thing, but the mood over there is like a funeral. I can understand why. Yeah.
Melty will be serving drinks later, so they can drink today and forget about the pain.
“I think she’s trying to use Pence Trading Company as a foothold to advertise our power.”
“Hmm. And maybe she’s trying to use Pence Trading Company as a springboard.”
“Merchants have a lot of connections and a good ear, don’t they?”
Melty is probably aiming for Pence Trading Company’s connections and information network. The one who was negotiating with Melty today was a mid-level manager at the Pence Trading Company’s Miline branch in the city of Miline… in other words, he was a section chief, a subsection chief, or a lead manager on-site.
So Melty is trying to use him as a foothold to get into the Pence Trading Company.
“What is the size of the Pence Trading Company?”
“I don’t know. But, I don’t think a merchant company that delivers goods to the military is a weak small business.”
“That’s true. Normally, the most powerful local merchant association would be used.”
Sylphy nodded to Isla’s opinion.
I see. Well, it’s true that when they have branches across the city, it’s a sure sign that it’s a big company. Even in Japan, a store with branches in several cities has its own power, and I suppose it’s not that different even if the world is different.
“Well, if we leave it to Melty, she’ll do fine.”
“Is that what you want, Sylphy?”
“She’s the right person for the right job, Kosuke. I can do some things, but I don’t think I can compete with Melty in that department.”
“Hmm. It’s best to let her do what needs to be done.”
I decided not to think too much about this matter. If I poked around in the bushes, a snake might come out. And that snake is not a poisonous snake, but a giant snake that could swallow me whole. Yeah, let’s not get involved. Knock on wood, knock on wood*.
[T/n: It’s the English phrase “knock on wood” to prevent bad luck.]
After meeting Miguel and the others from Pence Trading Company on the first day, we had no trouble getting to the west fort… We made the first one as Alpha Fort… so we’ll make this one as Beta Fort. We arrived at Beta Fort.
The closer we got to Beta Fort, the more pale Miguel and the others became, but when we got within striking distance, their complexions returned to normal. Their expressions seemed to be calm. I wondered if they had reached enlightenment. Or had they regained their composure? Maybe they’ve gotten used to working with us for three days.
“So, this time we’re not fighting at night; we’re going in head-on?”
“We’ll have to show them what we are capable of.”
I muttered to myself as I watched the crossbow soldiers engaging the enemy on the defensive wall of Beta Fort in front of me, and Melty, who was also watching the battle, answered in a calm voice. Incidentally, beside him, the mid-level manager of the Pence Trading Company turned pale and trembled like a puppy.
Approximately 200 soldiers are guarding Beta Fort. In contrast, we have a force of about 400. Suppose the difference in strength is twice as large. In that case, it is usually more advantageous for those who defend themselves by staying in the fort…
There was a very strong wind that kept blowing behind us. Because of this wind, the enemy’s arrows can’t reach us, and the bolts from our crossbows are flying fast and furious. The hit rate seems to be dropping, though.
“Is this also spirit magic?”
“That’s right. Isn’t it pretty good?”
Sylphy looked proud of it. The spirit magic of Sylphy causes this huge wind that is blowing behind us. It seems that the spiritual power of the wind is strong in this area of the plains, and Sylphy says that it can keep blowing like this all day long. Spirit magic is impressive.
“Well, if the attack can’t reach them, then so be it.”
If I were to be shot at from out of range, even I would stop fighting back and concentrate on defense. But that’s a bad idea.
The Harpies flew out from behind the left side of our formation, soaring into the sky at great speed under the influence of Sylphy’s big wind. Then they dropped the bomb. There was a loud noise as if lightning had struck, and the walls and gates of the castle were half destroyed.
“Their aim was a little off, wasn’t it?”
“It’s probably because of the wind. Look, the second bomb is falling.”
“Wow… My God.”
The first blast confirmed the location of the impact, and the second blast compensated for it, destroying the gate completely. Aside from the uncle, who is positioned at the right rear of the camp, how do the people of the Pence Trading Company feel as they watch this battle… or rather one-sided overrun?
“The Holy Kingdom’s army without mages is fragile.”
“Mage troops are the tiger cub of the Holy Kingdom’s army, after all. It’s unlikely that they are deployed in the rear territories.”
“How can there be none at all?”
“Hmm, if there are any, it is either in the capital or in the northeast near the mainland of the Holy Kingdom.”
“I’ve heard of the Holy Kingdom’s mage corps from time to time, but are they that strong?”
To be honest, I’ve never seen their magic itself, so even if someone told me about the tiger cub’s mage corps, I wouldn’t have much of an idea.
“I’ve heard that the strength of each mage in the Holy Kingdom is not great, but I heard that there is a powerful magic called chorus magic in which multiple people chant the same magic, which is troublesome.”
“Hmm, yes. The magic power of each of them is less than a third of mine. I can take on up to five of them.”
“But if ten people use chorus magic, my magic barrier will be broken, and I will be defeated. The other side’s magic barriers will block my attacks, and I won’t be able to defeat them.”
“In other words, the more people there are, the more vicious they become.”
“Hmm. The more this increases to fifty, one hundred, two hundred, the more powerful it becomes. And they will launch a series of wide-ranging destruction magic from within their powerful magic barriers.”
“So it’s like a moving fortress.”
“Right, a moving fortress. Let’s see which one is stronger than my ability.”
If they are a moving fortress, then I am also a moving fortress. My defensive abilities are probably second to none.
While we were talking about this, the war situation was tilting more and more in our favor. Our elite troops rushed into Beta Fort, whose defensive capabilities had been temporarily paralyzed by the bombing of its walls and gates.
Few arrows were fired to intercept them, and the Beta Fort allowed two hundred elite troops to enter. The enemy had just been beaten to a pulp in a one-sided battle of arrows and then bombed. For a while, the sound of metal clashing against metal, shouting, and screaming continued to echo. Eventually, it ended, and a battle cry was raised.
The flag of the Merinard Kingdom was raised above the defensive wall, as the gates… had been completely destroyed.
“Another victory, huh?”
“Hmm, well deserved.”
Sylphy muttered with deep emotion, and Isla nodded with a natural look. At the same time, I was feeling indescribable. A lot of people died again today because of the weapons and bombs I made. Sylphy and the others seemed to be proud of me, but as a person who had been educated to respect peace as a matter of course in Japan, I had some thoughts.
However, living and dying is a fact of life on the battlefield. These days, I try to think that the Liberation Army soldiers did not die because of the weapons I made. I’m sorry for the soldiers of the Holy Kingdom, though.
“Once the cleanup is done, we’ll go inside. Prepare yourself, Kosuke.”
Because I might go hoek again, right? I understand. The uncle of the trading company, do your best and stop trembling, too, okay?