A Harem in the Fantasy World Dungeon Volume 4 Chapter 1 Part 7
「No no, it is quite all right. Feel free to visit my store anytime you want. Now then, please, have a seat.」
「Thank you. Do not mind if I do.」
Alan-san’s servant then brought herbal tea with him, but instead of bringing three cups: one for me, one for Roxanne and one for Alan-san, he only brought two cups, which he then placed in front of me and his employer, not giving Roxanne as much as a passing glance, which was a very rude thing to do. Even if he realizes that she is a slave, she is no longer the property of this shop, but my companion, and I am not going to allow anyone to disrespect her like that!
「First of all, allow me to say that ever since I bought her, Roxanne has been a very good and reliable companion to me, both during the battles in the Labyrinths and in the matters related to daily life outside of it. Because of that, I have decided to come here again to buy myself someone who could join us as another member of our Party.」
I started the conversation with such a statement where I have purposefully placed emphasis on the words 「very good」 and 「reliable」and also made sure to say them before the servant who brought us tea could leave the room so that he could hear what I was trying to communicate loudly and clearly: I am not interested in selling her. Not now, not never. You hear that, you servant asshole?!
「I see. That is a wonderful thing to hear indeed.」
Alan-san replied with a faint smile on his face as his servant left the room in a hurry. Okay, now that we got that out of the way. . . it might not be a good idea to be so open about my intentions right from the get go, especially when talking to a merchant out of all people, but since my purchase this time can definitely be classified as a very specific one, then I think this one time being completely honest with him might actually be to my advantage.
「Now, in regards to my next purchase, there is something that I would like to ask you about first?」
「Oh, and what that might be? Go ahead, I am listening.」
「Would it be possible for me to buy a slave who has a Master Smith Job here?」
「A Master Smith slave, huh? In other words, you are looking to buy a Dwarf. I assume it would be for the purposes of blacksmithing and Skill Crystal infusion?」
「Yes, that is correct.」
I nodded my head at him. I do not know if he is naturally so observant and able to draw conclusions or is that something he aquired after the years of working as a Slave Merchant, but having him read me like an open book, while definitely uncomfortable, was a necessary evil that I have to put up with in this case.
「I see. Yes, if it is smithing that you need then it definitely makes sense that you would like to obtain a blacksmith slave for yourself. However, I am afraid that I will have to cool your enthusiasm down a bit.」
「Why is that? Is it impossible to get your hands on slaves with a Master Smith Job these days?」
So, making the purchase of a slave with such a specific Job is a no-go after all, huh?
「Oh no, it is nothing as dire as that. But, well. . . while not impossible, I would say that it is quite difficult. Before we continue, I feel inclined to ask, and I hope you will understand that I am not trying to be disrespectful: are you aware that the process of fusing Skill Crystals with equipment and weapons tends to fail more often that succeed?」
Alan-san asked me that after he made a brief pause.
「Yes, I am fully aware of the risk that this process involves.」
「Good. That fact will not change just because the Master Smith is a slave, but there is an entirely different problem related to it. Namely: when failures begin to pile up one after the other without even a single success to speak of, how do you think most masters react? That is right, the most common reaction is that they begin to doubt the abilities of the Master Smith slave. There are many nobles and wealthy city-dwellers who have their own slave-blacksmiths in hopes of having them smith them the highest quality weapons and then infuse them with Skill Crystals. . . but more often than not such business transactions tend to not end up all that well for either side. . . or both of them.」
The fusion of Skill Crystals often fails. If I remember correctly, I talked about it with Roxanne, and it was then that I knew that some of the blacksmiths use that fact to their advantage so that they could commit frauds and prey on the people who are unaware of that fact., and that is probably the reason why most of the smiths are reluctant to take the Skill Crystal infusion commissions or are outright refusing to accept them altogether. And since the chance of failure remains the same no matter if the Master Smith is a slave or not, then it might as well be that the slave that I will end up buying will not be able to make even one fusion a successful one. But since I understand the risk involved with the process of fusion, then the least I can do is to not get unreasonably angry at the Master Smith, even when the failures do end up piling up.
「Is that so?」
「Yes. I am afraid that it is so indeed. Of course, Dwarves themselves are aware of that better than anyone else, so when Dwarven Master Smiths become slaves, they will usually change their Job to something else in order to prevent getting themselves abused over their smithing abilities.」
「And that is why there are no slaves who are simultaneously Master Smiths?」
「I would not say that there are 「no」 slaves like that, but they have definitely became more of a rarity in recent years. Also, I am afraid that I have to inform you that because of that the price of the individual Dwarven Master Smith slave tends to be quite high, definitely higher than that of your ordinary slave.」
So that is the exact reason why they are so hard to come by. Well, I cannot say that I do not understand where they are coming from, because when you stop to think about it for a moment, then it definitely looks like all that awaits Dwarven Master Smiths once they become slaves is nothing but a downward spiral of misfortune due to the people who paid a lot of money for having their Skill Crystals fused to their equipment and weapons getting increasingly angry when they were keep on spending money without getting any tangible results back.
With Dwarven Master Smiths, it looks like everything seems to be boiling down to the bad reputation they get for their increasing failures. Due to this bad rep, more and more Master Smiths tend to hide the fact that they are Master Smiths, and it would not surprise me if it also discouraged ordinary Dwarves from becoming regular smiths, a Job that is pretty much synonymous with your usual image of a typical Dwarf. Because there is not much of them in supply and the demand for their services continues to exist, their prices and the prices of their services continue to skyrocket into unimaginable sums of money. You would think that this is going to be it, but no, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Even though the services of Master Smiths are expensive as hell, it does not mean that the probability of success increased. Actually, it is exactly the other way around: prices keep getting higher, while the amount of failures stays relatively the same, not even dwindling for a little bit. With every consecutive failure in the fusion process, the master’s dissatisfaction only grows, because let us face the ugly truth here: no one wants to keep someone who is not going to be cost-efficient around. If something is going to cost them an astronomical amount of money, then it is a given that the masters of the Master Smiths would expect the investment they made with them to start paying back at some point, only to be repeatedly denied that expectation, and that leads us to the bad reputation, which grows bigger and bigger with every accumulated failure. And that is how the circle of their suffering continues to go round and round.
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Harem in the Fantasy World Dungeon
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