The next day I’m allowed to leave work early in the evening, so I visit the Dauphin once before heading down to the castle with Neurath and Schunzel. On the way, we go around the sites that were destroyed in the last battle, asking about the state of reconstruction and whether there are any materials or medicines that are missing. We also buy some scrap wood to use as firewood.
Some people sometimes misunderstood that all the buildings in Europe were made of stone in their previous lives, but in fact, many of them were made of wood. The Great Fire of London in 1666 is the most famous example, but other cities have also suffered more or less from fire or war. As for the Great Fire of London, the mayor of that time was responsible for the lack of tension.
And as was the case after the great fire in Japan, the price of lumber skyrockets after many buildings are damaged. This is the pattern in all parts of the world. I know it’s a good time for merchants to make money, but they can’t just leave it at that.
When I showed up at the lumber guild and asked to speak to them… some of the guild members were very insistent that I stay out of their way… but their attitude changed when I told them who I was. I’m a nobleman even at my age.
I told him that His Highness the Crown Prince would be concerned about the progress of the construction and he promised to give us the amount he’d bought up. I don’t like this way of doing things, but it can’t be helped because the victims will be more inconvenienced if we take too long.
I told them that in return I’d ask them to repair or rebuild the old stables in the near future, and they seemed to agree. I also explained loudly to the reconstruction workers outside the guild that the guild has promised to restore the prices.
Afterwards, you visit Mr. Biersted’s shop and take a rest. I ask Mr. Bierstead for what he wants and receive what he wants, and I also ask him about the Commerce Guild.
“Is there still a disruption in some of the distribution…”
Yes, though things seem to be slowly picking up. There are those who fear another attack by the Demon Army.
I put down the pen I’d borrowed to write a report on what had just happened in the town and thought to myself. It’s true that I can understand your fear of another attack by the demon army.
But even if we have no choice… the capital is a consumer city. With fewer merchants coming to King’s Landing we’ll be left with more food and other supplies. We need more merchants.
“Is a two-horned bicorn horn worth anything in a provincial city?”
“There’s a lot of…”
It’s not a service, but we can’t use it all anyway, so I suggest that we share the horn of the bicorn with the merchant who brought us the supplies we need. He replies that some of them might come if they get extra.
We’ll arrange to sell the antlers by weight, depending on the cargo. Mr. Biersted has agreed to make a proposal to the merchants.
“And there are rumors that the kingdom will soon be sending out troops.”
And then she’s looking at me. I guess that makes two of us.
“Is that how you make your money?”
“When people move, there’s always a place to make money.”
I’m chuckling at the merchant’s line. Not only do they go where the customers are, they go where the customers will be. I wonder if this world will soon develop commercial methods to create customers.
“Good luck with that.”
I guess so.
He admits that his departure is imminent by not denying it, though indirectly. But a well-informed merchant would have realized that the Marquess of Cortlezis’ eldest son has joined the demon army and his second son and the Marchioness have never left their lands, so there’s bound to be some trouble. I’m sure he’s just checking.
“I’m in the position of asking for a lot of things, whether they’re profitable or not.”
I know this is a very strange order.
It’s not funny.
Maybe. I just asked for transport. I’d have used something from Zehrfeld but the merchant company that handles the territory’s transport was busy with something else and I got caught off guard and had to get it from another territory.
“And while we’re at it, let’s get you ready to make another profit.”
I don’t know.
“I want you to buy grass for fodder from the Marquess of Koltoretsis and the surrounding area. One merchant company at a time.”
Warhorses are naturally large and have a big appetite because of their physical strength, but this is not an amount that can be ignored. The amount of grass alone is more than 15 kilograms per day per horse. A cavalry of 100 horses requires 15 tons of grass a day. That’s enough grass for 250 men if we assume one man weighs 60 kilograms. There’s no way we can get it on the spot.
Good quality feedstuff is better for the horse’s motivation, and if it’s rotten, the horse will get sick. It is better to arrange good quality fodder ahead of time. And if they are rotten, they will be in bad shape.
If we seize the manger first, we might be able to exchange the manger for human food depending on the situation and even if the Marquis of Cortlezis plans to siege the castle… But that’s not something we should tell anyone.
“I wouldn’t mind if you bought it from our neighbor, Farlitz…”
If they were planning military action, they wouldn’t sell it. That in itself is war preparation information for the Farlitzes. That’s what I’m saying, and I think Mr. Bierstead understands.
Yes, sir. I’ll let your merchant friends know as well.
“There are many nobles who want to have a relationship with the Viscount, so if we tell them about the horn of the bicorn, more of them will be willing to cooperate with you.”
“I’m not trying to be famous.”
I’ve complained a bit, but I guess it’s a little late for that now. I’ve made arrangements for the letter I’ve written to be delivered to my father in the palace, and then I’m off to Rafed’s shop. The way he greets me is as exaggerated as in a stage play, but I’m afraid I’m getting used to it.
Rafedo offered me some tea, so I said I’d take his.
That’s an unusual tea.
I see. This is a fine tea from Reslatga.”
I got an indescribable look on my face when I heard the name of the country. I can’t help asking more questions.
You still have contacts.
“Relationships between merchants are surprisingly difficult to break. Besides, the Viscount’s information will please them.
I guess it’s not a bad thing that you didn’t hide it, but you shouldn’t say such a terrible thing so openly. I can live with the fact that you’re buying information about other countries with my story.
“Do they have stories about me in other countries?”
“In Reslatga, they’re trying to figure out how to make him happy. And in Salznach, I hear the hero is furious with the Viscount.”
Why are you doing this again?
“I don’t know the details, but I’ve heard rumors that the Viscount’s fighting style is cowardly and beneath the dignity of a nobleman.”
“You’re not wrong, though.”
At least, I’m aware that I’m not an orthodox person. I also admit that I’m not usually aristocratic. To tell you the truth, aristocratic etiquette is a pain in the ass.
Even in the Middle Ages, etiquette was a pain in the ass. In late Muromachi period in Japan, there were even rules like “When eating rice cakes, you must eat with your back rounded, and when eating rice noodles, you must eat with your back straight”. and so on… and there are even some manners that make you wonder what they mean.
And they laugh at those who don’t know or don’t follow the manners that they have decided for themselves, calling them ignorant of the world. I really think that the reason why Nobunaga Oda didn’t want to stay in Kyoto for so long was because he didn’t want to be bothered with these manners, but that’s a side note.
“Why do you think you can travel like this to defeat the Demon King, don’t you know how much I appreciate the peace of mind of being able to leave my home country and travel without any worries?” he said, his voice unusually rough, making the other pale.
“Thanks, but my back’s itching.”
That’s exactly what I’d say to Rafed. He’s a low-brow when it comes to other people. Don’t worry about my reputation.
But being confronted by a really angry Mazel… that might shorten your life…
“After that, I heard that Rugenz-sama wants you to show an orthodox fight against the demon army and Felli-sama isn’t confident that he can beat the Viscount, but he’s sure he can beat you.”
“I’m starting to feel sorry for them.”
What’s with that concentrated attack? I’m sorry you lost… and the heroes beat you to a pulp. I’m sure they’re mob characters too. I’m not sure I can beat Feri one-on-one.
My back is really starting to itch, so let’s change the subject.
“Is there anything else…”
“I hear the Viscount is a potential fiancee of the saint Laura. Thanks to this, church officials from other countries are scrambling to find a way to contact the Viscount.”
“Still talking about it… Wait, is that a recent rumor?
I guess so.
I don’t know if it used to be that way, but it’s that way now. No, that doesn’t make any sense. I’m sure the top brass in my country already know I don’t want to do this, and it’s hard to imagine intelligence services in other countries being that incompetent. So someone’s probably spreading this rumor on purpose.
I’m sure the Vine Kingdom denies it.
“I don’t think you’re denying or affirming anything.”
I put down my cup and thought about it. Neurath sees me and calls out to me from the side.
Can I help you?
Hmm, I was wondering what you were thinking this time.
After all, the Dauphin took advantage of the dueling trials. I think he’s behind this rumor too. but he’s not an easy lord to deal with.
If so, what would be the purpose of this? First of all, it could be a simple way of repelling Laura’s engagement proposal, but I think that’s a bit weak. Then it could be something to do with Mazel the Brave.
No doubt some will try to arrange a marriage or something for Mazel. But we’ve already made it clear that the Kingdom of Vine has a hold on her. Then that’s their main purpose, isn’t it?
I don’t understand. Just pack up your questions, tie your mouth shut, and put them in a corner of your brain cell. Priority number one is what you’re asking me to do.
“Well, I’ve got a favor to ask of you, then.”
I don’t know.
A little jewelry.
I’ll explain its purpose since you seem to misunderstand. What’s that sorry look on your face?
“I should remind you, I’m a member of the Count’s family. If you’re looking for a gift of jewels, I’ll leave that to my merchants.”
That’s true. Yes, sir.
I don’t know which way to look at it, but I have a feeling that Rafed is not going to be happy if we let him take care of our gifts. Or he’ll buy something from another country that’s too expensive and call it an investment.
I’ll nail them to the wall for now, and ask them to get back to me as soon as possible with the requested items. It’s better not to use it, though.