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Chapter 14 – Gimme A Break
The location of the attack was quickly found.
At the end of a gentle curve in the road, an old wagon had plunged into the grass on the side. The wheels on one side were broken and tilted, and wooden boxes were scattered around it. All of them were broken, shattered, burned, and some were still smoldering.
There was a corpse with its palm struck against the wagon with a knife; perhaps they were in the middle of interrogating the victim. I wondered if the cut on the neck resulted from the work being interrupted by our arrival.
If that’s the case, I’m sorry.
I pulled the knife from the corpse’s hand and laid the collapsed body down on the grass. I wiped the blood from my hands and clasped them together in front of my chest. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more I can do for this person.
The horse was still alive, but it was tied to the wagon and neighing in frustration because it couldn’t escape from it. From the looks of it, the horse’s tail was burnt off, but it didn’t seem to have any serious injuries.
When I released the restraints with pity, the horse took one look at me, snorting, and then ran off somewhere.
When I looked, I saw that the hat that the dead man had been wearing had fallen off. What appeared from underneath was a pair of dog-like ears hanging high on his head. That being said, his mouth and nose also seemed to stick out a bit…
So there are beastman in this world too, huh? There are magicians, heroes, and dwarves in this world, so of course, there are.
“But why did they kill him…?”
Myrril silenced me with a hand gesture. He told me to lower my posture by moving her palm up and down. And then, uh… under the carriage, huh? Do you want me to take a look?
As instructed, I quietly looked in and saw two eyes in the darkness of the tilted carriage. Whether it was anger, hatred, or caution, it gave off a dull glare.
I may have let my guard down. But I also felt secure knowing that I had a gun. I may have been overconfident since I had just wiped out a dangerous enemy, believing that I was capable of handling it.
In the end, I couldn’t avoid the small lump that suddenly rushed at me, and I was flung away and rolled on the ground. I was hit by a blow, which was probably the most powerful blow I’ve ever received, right in the midsection. I choked and couldn’t speak.
I could see Myrril rushing towards me, looking bloodthirsty.
I gestured to Myrril that I was okay. It was painful, but that was all. After everything was over, I finally realized how stupid I was. If that thing had had a blade, I would have been dead for sure.
Myrril points her gun at the person who attacked me. There was no bullet in the gun, but it seemed to have been a threat.
It was a small creature, about the same size as the dwarf Myrril, crouched low and growled. On its arms and legs were the remnants of broken chains and shackles. It was dressed in a tattered cape, with dirty, tangled hair and a beastly body odor, and on its head were pricked-up dog-like ears.
“A werewolf? …no, the color of your hair, do you have Fenrir’s blood in your veins?”
The dog-eared person, who was wary of us and tried to get away from us at once, turned around and walked into the microbus.
In the confusion and fear of the dimly lit bus, the dog-ears ran around as fast as it could, flailing its arms and legs, and hit its head on the steel railing, causing it to stretch.
“Hey, is that fellow okay? It sounded really dull.”
“It reaps what it sows! I thought Yoshua had been killed; it shortened my life!”
“…oh, I’m sorry. I’m fine now. I was a little too careless.”
“Good grief. I’ll keep an eye on it. Yoshua, go and see if there are any more survivors!”
“Yeah, but don’t kill it, okay?”
“I won’t kill it! Now, just move fast!”
While I was checking the surroundings for survivors, Myrril washed the beastman’s wounds and gave the first aid, then applied herbs and wrapped a clean cloth around it. The cloth and water were all part of the luggage that was in the carriage. It didn’t matter; the owner was dead anyway.
There was one middle-aged man, the first beastman we found, and two slightly younger men who looked like guards. They were all killed, decapitated, and the two younger ones, in particular, were badly damaged, their bodies burnt to a crisp.
In a shattered wooden box, there were six young ― or maybe infant ― boys and girls with shackles and collars. They were breathing but weak and unconscious.
From the looks of it, all of them, including the dead adults, were beastman. I carried them one by one to the microbus and waited for them to recover until morning.
“I don’t understand. What are these children doing to deserve this kind of treatment?”
“Don’t look at me like that. I think they are cute and I want to help them. What I don’t know is whether they’re really something worthy enough for the elite of the kingdom to come and kill. That’s what I mean.”
Myrril remained silent and refused to speak. I’m sure there’s something she wants to talk about but can’t. I got out of the microbus and called Simon after taking a look around.
“Hey, brother, I got the art dealer’s appraisal. Surprisingly, it’s not that bad.”
I’ve never thought about the artistic value of armor and stuff, so of course, I don’t know how much is reasonable.
“Four swords and four sets of armor cost roughly 15,000. Vases, carpets, dresses, shoes, and clothes are all 3,000.”
“Is that… cheap?”
“Except for the sword and armor, they have almost no artistic value. The detailing isn’t bad, but it’s not well preserved.”
That’s right. It’s been in use for a long time. The materials used may be good, but the fabric and armor are still covered with sweat, cosmetics, sebum, and body odor.
In the first place, artistic value includes the historical lineage and production background in which it was developed. The design and evolutionary path accumulated in the other world does not exist in my original world. It’s no wonder that mutant objects with no backward and forward relationship ― and antiques with no advanced features ― are not evaluated.
“It’s almost like the price of the material.”
“I can’t make a judgment on that, so I’ll take your word for it. Considering our past and future relationship.”
I agreed but pointed out that I wasn’t accepting it unconditionally. Simon shrugged his shoulders and snickered. It pissed me off.
“Okay, okay. I’ll give you a concession on the selling price. Two AKM for 8,000, 3,000 rounds of ammunition and six spare mags for 5,000 including the cleaning kit, a handgun for 3,000, and a luxury Japanese car for 2,000, for a total of 18,000.”
“I see. I see. I guess I no longer need to do business with you. All right, I’ll find someone else.”
“Wait, wait, wait. Just hear me out.”
Simon waved his hand hurriedly when I glared at him in annoyance. I don’t know anything about the actual price of weapons, but I can tell that the price is inappropriate.
The same goes for the buying price.
“I’m serious. Choose now. You can either keep doing business with me, or we can end this right here.”
“Yeah, assuming you have a choice. You’ve been transported to a strange world, and somehow you and I are bound by a red thread of fate. I know the circumstances.”
I stared at him, still hiding my agitation as to how he knew. To appease my gaze, Simon held up his hands and smiled.
“It’s true. I’ve heard it before. I heard that my father made a lot of money when he was still alive. But, well, the customer was eaten by a monster and died. The last deal was to send the body back home in exchange for all his money.”
“…So that means a corpse…”
“Yeah. You can come back here. The guy went over this and that, though. There was no other way to get back.”
I see. So the kingdom’s people lied to the heroes who were summoned.
I don’t really think anything about it, as I’m just going to go back to being an office worker when I get home, but I am sorry for the loss of the heroes. Well, it serves them right.
“Why did you bring this up now? You’ve got a much different attitude now than you did the first time we met, don’t you?”
“…Yeah, it was my father’s dying wish that I should be careful when making my first deal.”
“Don’t make me laugh. So, what’s it about?”
“It can’t be helped. I heard that story 15 years ago when I was just a kid!”
“Yeah. The first time we made a deal, the weed blew your head off.”
“Yeah… Well, yeah, that’s true. No, even before that, when I heard my dad’s story, I thought it was just some drunken nonsense.”
That’s true, too. I wouldn’t believe that a gate to the other world was opened to connect with a business partner. No one would believe it.
“…Well then. I’d like to have a long and happy business relationship with you. In order to do that, I need you to be successful in that world. I’ll do everything I can to accommodate you, and we’ll have a mutually beneficial relationship.”
“The only thing between you and me is the exchange of money and goods. That’s what you said, right?”
“That’s right. That’s what I’m saying. I’m telling you, you’ve got to hear me out.”
Simon pointed with his thumb at the precious metals that were still hanging around his head and neck.
“I’m willing to deal in precious metals and gold coins, if not dollars. According to my father, your coins, especially the gold ones, are less impure. So even if I buy it for the price of bullion, it will be worth more than the value of the currency there.”
“I don’t know how much times have changed here between your father’s time and now. Don’t you think the price might fluctuate?”
“You’ll have to judge for yourself. It’s a gold coin, like this one, called the Common Continental Gold Coin. I don’t know if it’s an angel or a goddess, but it’s got a profile engraved on it.”
Simon shows the OK sign with his thumb and index finger.
“I’ll give you five hundred dollars for each one, as long as the gold content hasn’t changed.”
Fifty thousand yen worth. That price tag is probably a big rip-off anyway. At the very least, Simon’s side would be able to triple the price.
I’ll check with Myrril later to see what the gold coin is worth.
“Well, I’ll think about it. Including the rate. Is it just precious metals and gold?”
“I can take the silver coins, too. But I don’t recommend it because the bullion price is much lower than the value of the coins there. I don’t think copper is worth it, so don’t give me that.”
“All right. Then let’s hear the price of the precious metals. And what about the additional amount of loot I gave you?”
“…Oh. I would have been very happy if you had forgotten about that. Well, no matter. The jeweler said 25,000, but I talked to the art dealer, and he said it was more like 300,000.”
“Okay, give me 200,000 in cash. The rest is…”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. There’s no way I can move that kind of money from right to left. I’ve got the real thing here. If you don’t wait for the right time and put it up for auction, you won’t even get half of it.”
“I can’t wait that long. I’m in the middle of a life or death struggle right now.”
“I can make payment in kind…”
“Ten more AKM and 10,000 ammunition, two sniper rifles and 2,000 ammunition, an M2 heavy machine gun with five spare barrels and 10,000 ammunition, two M79 grenade launchers and 100 grenades.”
“…..Which country are you going to war with?”
“It’s the strongest and largest country in this world. I sold a fight against the king of that country and the heroes that he summoned. Sooner or later, there will be a war. First, no doubt, with a national army.”
“Is it inevitable?”
“As much as I’d like to, yes. I’ve already killed the third prince.”
Simon put his hand on his forehead and looked up at the sky.
For this guy, I’m not sure if it’s troubling or gratifying to know that his business partner could die at any moment. If I die, he can pawn off the precious metals I have, but if I’m still alive, there is the possibility of a steady stream of business… in the future.
“I’ve got ten assault rifles, two sniper rifles, one heavy machine gun, and two grenade launchers. I can’t guarantee the M2 and M79, but I’ll get them anyway. What else?”
“Bring some rations or food storage and a gross box of food and mineral water. I’ll also need ten blankets or sleeping bags, two flashlights, extra batteries, and enough medical supplies to last a medic.”
“That’s… well, I’ll have some of that tomorrow. For now, just take the ones available. …Well then, have a good day.”
The white light disappears, and I let out a sigh. He gave me a cardboard box, two blankets, and two large cans. I knew immediately what was inside the box. The cans had something written on them, but there were no pictures, and the words were not in English, so I couldn’t read them. Is this French?
When I turned around, I saw Myrril, who had gotten off the bus, looking at me suspiciously.
“Yoshua, what’s wrong? Do you have a stomachache? I can prepare some herbs for you if you want.”
The dwarf girl’s belly made a small sound as she reached for my forehead with a worried look on her face.
“T-this is not the way it works…”
I patted Myrril, who was turning red and trying to explain herself, and pressed the object Simon had handed me into her hand.
“Let’s eat. I can’t guarantee the taste, though.”
“That’s quite a big box. What’s this?”
“MREs, military rations. In my world, it was called MREs, a substitute for food that refugees on the verge of starvation would hesitant to eat.”