Translator: Nat Editor: Beansprout
「Well, by all means, I kindly look forward to hearing a favorable response.」
The merchant, who is a middle-aged man with a protruding stomach, bowed deeply and left the room.
「Although I don’t think I need to ask, what did you think of the Gulgord company?」
「No, rejected. I don’t feel like trading with someone like that.」
I drain the cup of tea that was on my desk and slam it back down furiously. Adolph sighed deeply.
「But, if you talk about merchants with status, most of them are middle-aged men. So……」
I interrupt what Adolph is saying.
「But it’s not like I commented because he was ugly or anything. Did you see his face? Clearly, he’s a greedy guy who’s rotten to the core.」
「I don’t think it’s appropriate to judge based on appearance.」
「Then, do you wanna bet? Whether he’s a virtuous person or a villainous person. I’ll take villainous and you take virtuous.」
「Well……in general, all merchants are greedy people. If they at least follow the conditions of the contract, we shouldn’t have any problems.」
「Then you should have just chosen a company from the beginning. I can’t trust that guy. That’s all.」
Adolph goes quiet, somewhat frustrated. He’s the kind of man who would speak clearly about what he wants to say to the point that it gets under your skin. If he clams up like this, it means he just doesn’t have enough confidence to insist on this company.
「But it can’t be helped, since we can’t just hold onto these goods for so long. We have no use for jewels and need to turn it into gold.」
That is the part that gives me a headache. In the end, we have to find someone to make a contract with. Is there no beautiful female merchant who would say something like ‘in exchange for my body, please trade with me’? If there was, I wouldn’t mind if the price was 10% cheaper.
「Next is the Flitch company. Compared to all the merchant families up till now, it has inferior size and history, and is a medium-sized place, but to make up for that I believe that they will take care in dealing with us. The one who came looks like……the one in charge of the eastern region.」
「Eastern region? You would put a person in charge of a rural area with few people?」
A merchant is an occupation where they need to be in an area overflowing with people and goods. In rural areas, it would be enough just doing business with peddlers; there’s no need to purposely put a person in charge.
「It is probably a person who newly appeared as the head……or perhaps he was a fool and useless in his former position, thus getting demoted to this area?」
「……Looks like we can expect a lot from this one.」
But appearances aside, it would be bad if we make a judgement based on our imaginations. For now, nothing will happen if we don’t meet them first. I hope it’s not a man with stinky breath though…….
After we had the servants leave, there was immediately a knock on the door of the room. It’s nice to be early, so I have a slightly better impression of you.
「It’s the Flitch company. Is it alright for me to enter?」
Ooh, it’s a woman’s voice. That improves my impression of you considerably.
「Please excuse me. I am here to present the evaluation from our company…………」
The woman who entered looked like a merchant and was wonderful. I didn’t think it was real but an actual young woman came, not to mention she was beautiful too. Her clothes are fancy but not gaudy, and she had a mature charm about her. While properly hiding her body, the slit on her skirt and the exposure from her neck to her breasts was perfect; her clothes cause a sense of womanliness to drift about her without making her seem too vulgar.
But the female merchant opens the door and freezes in place while smiling all around. I check my own appearance, but it’s not like my dick is out and it isn’t hard and popping a tent in my pants. Perhaps the element causing her to freeze is that?
「What’s wrong? Please hurry and come in.」
Adolph also has a dubious face as he urges her, but at that moment, Carla passes through the front section of the reception room. She glances curiously at the woman who opened the door and was frozen in place, then quickly shouts in a loud voice.
「Aaah—-!! It’s the ass woman from that time!」
Carla knows her? Ass woman……, ooh, I remember now! It’s the woman besides Lucy who I’ve also dug in her ass from a while back.
Right, it’s Claire. Didn’t she go to Stura when she ran away? I thought we would never meet again, but what a small world.
「An acquaintance of yours?」
「Yeah, a woman I’ve slept with before.」
「…………I will leave for awhile.」
Adolph sighs and gets up from his seat. Carla pushes Claire’s shoulder, shoves her in the room and gets her to sit on my interview sofa. At first, I thought Claire wanted to keep up her appearance and would politely decline, but Carla’s assertiveness and her large belly made her unable to resist, so she gave up and took her seat.
Claire definitely does not have feelings for me. Rather, it is not an exaggeration to say that she has hatred for me when we parted, but still, it’s more fun to talk to her than some unknown stranger of an old man.
「After that, various things happened to the both of us but……is your ass okay?」
「Is anything dripping out?」
It seems Claire thought about her choice of words for a second, but when she becomes defiant like this, business talks and everything else is finished, so she didn’t correct her way of speaking to something more polite.
「Haa……when I heard that I was summoned by a promising new Goldonian noble, I was excited, but why did it turn out like this……」
Claire drinks the tea on top of the desk with a look of resignation. Her actions are rude but her behavior is elegant and refined.
「I was also surprised that you became a merchant.」
I also loosen my clothes and relax my posture. I was told that if I dealt with things in an unsightly appearance, it would become a rumor and I would lower my own dignity, but I don’t believe that I need such formal appearances with an acquaintance of the past.
「Since that time, I’ve had a difficult time, to the point that I vomited blood……. At that time, because you returned the money to me, I really didn’t become something pathetic and for that, I wanted to thank you.」
Claire lowered her head.
「So how did you become a merchant?」
Carla seems to be interested in the success story of her previous acquaintance as well. Even though she was demoted, it is not normal for her to be part of a mercantile house as well as be in charge of an area. To unite everything together, from the branch stores within her territory, the contracts with the peddlers and the enclosures of craftsmen using her own discretion and financial ability, those individual storekeepers don’t even come close to reaching her level. It has been two years or so since she has separated from me and climbed up to where she is now, which should make for an interesting story.
「…………Do I have to tell you?」
「I want to hear about it.」
Claire resigned herself and started talking with a not-so-enthusiastic look.
「You see, Stura is a place where the merchants are powerful, and the government has little influence. Even in the Arkland war awhile back, the merchants wanted a base on this side of the river and put pressure on the government.」
I see, the merchants are the ones who move the country.
「That’s why I thought I needed to become a merchant if I wanted to rise up in this place. I was accepted into the company by the current branch manager and……geez I’ll say it!! I became his mistress and he had me look after the store! You’re satisfied with that right?!」
I urge her to continue, as Claire finishes drinking her tea and keeps speaking.
「I was just a store clerk, but I burrowed through many different scenes of carnage, and even won several bets. Naturally, I had to work hard as well. I didn’t know a single thing about being a merchant after all. Recently, I haven’t been getting much sleep, and I don’t know how many hundreds of books I’ve read either.」
That’s true, since Claire used heavy eye makeup. She might have been trying to hide the bags under her eyes.
「I used the weapons exclusive to women too. I got on top of influential people and important customers, and even slept with each and every person within the company that I needed to, and it was a hell of a lot of work.」
「Using your ass?」
「Naturally it was properly from the hole in front! The only ones interested in digging someone in the ass are you guys!!」
Claire has gone through quite a bit to get where she is now.
「Every night I would swing my hips on top of fat guys and after they slept, I would study until the sun came up, and was finally able to get them to entrust a piece of land to me.」
「It’s a remote region like this though.」
Carla, with how things were going, you’re supposed to applaud her efforts.
「That’s right! Although I am still happy. If I’m in charge of an area, then my authority and responsibility increases. If I can succeed here, I’ll become an influential merchant and it won’t just remain a dream for me to go independent.」
I’m not too familiar in regards to being a merchant, but it seems Claire is dead set on rising up to form her own mercantile house eventually.
「I thought it would be a good opportunity to connect with an influential noble in this area where there is little demand too……」
「Well, I’m sorry about that.」
「Haah……Then I’ll be returning. It’s not like we’re acquaintances or anything, but I hope that you don’t make rumors out of the time you used my body or that I was a bandit in the past.」
After saying that, Claire got up from her seat, but I stop her.
「Why are you going back? We didn’t even talk about anything yet?」
「What do you mean why……? You won’t talk money with me when I was a bandit right?」
「Is a merchant someone who decides the results of things before listening to what the customer has to say?」
「In most cases, that’s how it is……」
Umu, next time I need to talk to a merchant, I’ll leave it to Adolph. I speak after recollecting myself.
「I didn’t say that I won’t make a deal with you.」
Claire opened her eyes wide.
「If we’re talking about where we originated, it would be unnatural for me to be called a noble too.」
It may be an interesting discussion to see whether the status of a slave or a bandit is higher. This is a good opportunity, maybe I should also present my success story to Claire.
「If you talk about your personal history, you’ll seem old.」
I’ll tell her about the incident where Carla acted like a pervert and exaggerate it about three times then.
「I see……There was such a side to an incident like that.」
Claire was surprised when she accurately grasped what was going on, from the coup in Goldonia to the Arkland war.
「Well, it’s required for merchants to understand the current state of politics after all.」
Although it appeared as though my story about the war was exaggerated, it also acted as something to lift morale.
「Ash was dominated overwhelmingly after all……. Of course I know you’re strong.」
Claire looks a little sad. It seems that even with the passing of time, the fact that I sliced her beloved Ash couldn’t be erased from her memories.
「I’m not too worried about that anymore. I was able to advance to where I am because that happened……after having slept with so many men, I no longer have the qualifications to scold Ash’s killer for what he’s done.」
I approach Claire, who is looking down, and hug her shoulder, and just when I was about to give her a kiss, she pushes my shoulder away.
「Well, now that everyone’s back stories are out of the way, why don’t we start discussing business?!」
Unfortunately, it seems she won’t let me taste her yet.
「We already have a list of items to be sold. Now, we just need to determine how much extra will be added on top of the amount of gold that was presented earlier.」
Adolph has returned and has begun to hold negotiations with Claire, while Carla is taking a nap as she gently strokes her belly. It was hilarious how Adolph had to make sure Claire and I weren’t having sex before timidly coming back in.
「I’m sorry, but our company prices are at a comparatively high rate so if possible……I don’t want to perform any corrupt practices. Thus, the most I could add on would only be something like a courtesy charge.」
「Then your price may not be as competitive as the other companies, right? Plus, we’re a big customer so naturally we have many firms waiting for our business.」
「Well, that’s troubling. But for a company to buy these items at a higher price, will you be sure that they are a decent firm? Perhaps it is better if you confirm again if they may be a firm of swindlers.」
What an intense back-and-forth negotiation. If possible, I would like to enjoy some alcohol while watching, instead of this tea.
「I won’t be able to add anything further, but maybe you could purchase an item from our company at a relatively lower price to counterbalance the deal.」
「I appreciate the offer, but you don’t offer discounts on grain, right?」
「Grain has certainly shot up in price, and our company has not been able to stock up decently so it can’t be helped.」
Since it has been brought up, grain has definitely seen a huge increase in price lately. We bought it at a fixed price so the damage is small but because our population is increasing, we may not have enough if we were to consider the upcoming winter.
「If I may offer some advice, the items you are purchasing are weapons and armors, as well as items used in the army; there are many bulky items so transportation may be difficult. Please take that into consideration as well.」
「Your territory seems to be safe so I don’t believe that costs need to be expended for escorts though.」
「You won’t be able to pass through the Treian kingdom, so you’ll have to go around from Goldonia, right?」
Adolph and I stop moving. We both know about the current affairs with Treia, and how those items have been plundered from them. If that load is transported via the route through Treia, then there is a high chance it would get confiscated by them. If the shortest distance by boat is not taken, then the cost for using transport carts will also stack up, and the risk of encountering bandits and monsters will increase.
「So we will carry the weapons and items of that kind, so please charge an extra fee in proportion to the amount……」
Adolph is quite the excellent talker but sometimes he can be too nit-picky and annoy the hell out of the other party. In this case, you should not be asking for so much.
「Adolph, that should be enough, right? Why don’t you yield a little for the beautiful lady?」
In the future, I want Claire to be a trustworthy party I can continue to conduct business with. I don’t want to have such tedious one-shot negotiations with different people every time I want to do business. Besides, if we yield a little, I might get something juicy in return later.
「The price is fine as it is. However, we will be the ones to escort you to the river. In return, you can add whatever you want on top.」
This isn’t just saving on costs. I can brag that it is safe within my territory, but I can’t say the same for Erich’s occupied territory. If by any chance Claire loses the cargo, she’s done for. It may be a minus for us in terms of expenses, but it will also act as the perfect opportunity to get in some marching training.
「And if possible, I want to keep as much of the origin of these goods a secret. Especially from the concerned parties from Goldonia.」
I’ve shown this stuff to a bunch of people so it isn’t top-secret, but it’s not something I want everybody to know about.
「Yes, naturally I would not blabber about a client’s information.」
Unlike how she was speaking previously, she is now using a manner of speech suitable for nobles. That may be her way of doing things.
「This is a different issue, but Fi……Fe……does the Fletch company produce its own weapons and armor?」
「It’s the Flitch company.」
「We do not produce our own, but many of the artisans do. If you so request, we will prepare them for you.」
「We want to have compound bows. It’ll be a considerably large amount so if you can make them, please let us know.」
At the moment, we have given out all available bows gathered to the bow cavalry unit, but their sizes and design were all different so the shooting range for each one was dissimilar as well. For practicality, I want everyone in the army to have the same kind of equipment if possible. Considering the tribes that we absorbed, we will need close to 5000 bows, and it’s not an amount that Adolph or I can scrounge up from individual storekeepers or peddlers.
「Bows, is it? I understand. Depending on the amount, I will talk it over with the head office, so could you let me know the rough estimate of what you need?」
「……I will pass it along to the head office. However, if you’re talking about the newly created compound bows, it is a considerably high value. No matter how much you lower the price, you will still need to pay quite a bit.」
Hmm, I’ve already sold the goods and earned some capital, but is it still too early to purchase a large amount of items? In addition, the bow cavalry are still in training so I can’t immediately dispatch them to the battlefield either.
「I see. Then shall I buy them at a smaller denomination and have them sent to us on a continued basis?」
In this case, we can prepare other goods to be sold; we can expect harvest and head tax next year as well.
「By all means, that is fine with me.」
Claire’s face lights up. Instead of having to pass it off to head office, she must be happier to handle the business in her commercial area herself and have it lead directly to profit.
When I glance slightly at Adolph’s face, he remains silent but gives a small nod. It looks like he doesn’t have a problem with these terms.
「My goodness, Hardlett-sama is weak against pretty ladies.」
Adolph probably understands that when I conceded to the generous conditions, it is just a loan for Claire.
「Well, I hope that we can work together in the future, Viscount Hardlett-sama.」
Claire bows deeply. From my point of view, I can clearly see the valley between her breasts, but it is definitely her intention for me to see. Even though I knew her intentions, my member still starts to harden.
「Since I believe that we will continue to do business together in the future, if you don’t mind, will you let me set up a shop here in Rafen?」
That is convenient for me. Claire, being the person in charge of the area, will not be staying permanently, but I’ll greatly appreciate it if I can contact her whenever I want.
「Then, the monthly tax rate is-」
「Don’t worry about it. Do as you want.」
「-!? Thank you very much. I appreciate the special favor you have granted me.」
Claire expresses her thanks with smiles while Adolph glares at me. It seems I need to do something at the end. Good grief, negotiations are difficult. While being pierced with two opposing stares, Claire and I sign the contract.
Sets of Armor 2000 gold
Jewels 10,000 gold
Ornaments 8000 gold
Grain 2000 gold
Bows (500) 2000 gold
Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 20 years old. Late Autumn.
(Traditional age reckoning)
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Viscount. Feudal Lord of Arkland Southeast Area. King of the Mountains
Troops Commanded: Eastern Independent Army 2000, Private Army 2300, Bow Cavalry approx 1500 (in training)
Assets: 18500 gold (-600 Continued expense for military preparations and domestic affairs) (+16000 profit on sales)
Weapons: Dual Crater (large sword), Large spear
Family: Nonna (wife), Carla (pregnant concubine), Mel (pregnant concubine), Rita (imitation maid), Catherine (lewd), Sebastian (butler), Yoguri (house guest), Luna, Ruby
Children: Sue (daughter), Antonio (son), Kuu, Ruu, Rose (foster)
Capital: (Melissa X Maria), Miti, Alma, Kroll
Subordinates: Celia (adjutant), Irijina (private army commander), Pipi (follower), Leopolt, Adolph (domestic affairs official), Schwartz (horse)
Sexual Partners: 50, children who have been born: 7