Chapter 32: What One Man gets Tricked Out of is Another Man’s Treasure
The chill in the air is cold enough that icicles should start forming.
I sneak a look around.
The differences in everyone’s expressions are amazing.
I’m not sure what kind of face I’m making, but Jetsom looks slightly bored and irritated, Ossan is trying to keep a polite business smile, the Baronet’s haughty look seems to be frozen in place, and Dobin is smiling his angelically demonic smile.
I don’t know much about these types of situation, but it’s clear that the power balance has suddenly swung from the Noble-sama’s side to Dobin’s.
So, what are we, the forge people, doing here? Being add-ons? I am super uncomfortable with the atmosphere here. Is it ok if this mob-chara sneaks out the side door?
The adults in the room are completely ignoring me, so I miss the chance to appeal to leave.
I don’t think I would have been allowed to anyway.
“The best … forge you say?”
The Noble-sama recovers himself, and he narrows his eyes, glaring at Dobin.
“Don’t joke around with me. As if Helward’s forge would allow some demihuman to represent them!”
Hahaan… it was like that after all. He’s completely ignoring me, an unknown female (in this situation I’m thinking of myself as such, huh?) smith, and going after Jetsom because he’s a demihuman.
Well, if it wasn’t obvious, this guy had the potential to be a racist from the beginning.
Ah, well Dobin is a demihuman too, isn’t he? And Helward himself is a half-demihuman, right?
Is this Noble-sama ok with not understanding the state of affairs like this? He totally doesn’t get that Nyl City is a city that is over half demihuman. Or like, why the hell did he even come to a city like this to do business anyway with such a huge prejudice?
Dobin’s eyes are slightly widened, giving an impression of half-shock and half-pity.
It’s such a drastic change from the perfect smile covering up that dark aura. This guy … he’s totally been putting on an act the entire time! I bet every move he was making was calculated. He could win the J Academy Awards for Best Actor!
“Oh my, what are you saying, Sir Baronet? Could it be you came here without understanding our city’s finest artisans?”
Ah … ruthlessly going after the weak point. Though I don’t know much about this halfling, for some reason it just feels like that ruthlessness is very much like him.
Anyway, the Noble-sama couldn’t say anything in response to that statement, so he was left going *paku paku*, open and closing his mouth wordlessly while his face continued to change colors.
“Even though we have run ourselves ragged to give dear Sir Baronet the best our city can possible serve, even bending over backwards to reduce the price astronomically, if they’re not to your liking than it can’t be helped.”
Dobin heaves a huge sigh of regret.
“I-if it’s truly the best that Nyl City can provide, it can’t be helped. For a discount, we’ll have to take them!”
Now that the Noble-sama has realized what forge made the blades, he’s backtracking huh? It’s quite the amazing turn around. Even though he’s struggling to avoid losing face, he is unexpectedly quick to go back on what he’s said.
Hm? If a stuck-up Noble-sama would go to this extent, could it be that Helward’s forge is actually super famous? I had thought it was just a good forge in this city.
Ah … right now, Dobin isn’t saying anything. Are we just going to let the Noble-sama flounder … Oh?
It’s very slight, but I see Dobin glancing slyly at Ossan. The Noble-sama over there, with his eyes swimming all over, has no way of noticing.
A quick look of exasperation darts over Ossan’s face, but he puts his business face on and suppresses a sigh.
Ossan cleared his throat to get the Noble-sama’s attention, and then said,
“This isn’t a laughing matter, Sir Baronet. Not only did you insult the only smith of our forge that has surpassed the skills to be permitted to sell blades under Helward’s name, you also insulted a Master Bladesmith who came to exchange forging techniques.”
Eh… who’s that Master Bladesmith you’re talking about? It’s the first time I’d heard of this information exchange program, too!
Of course I say nothing and try to keep a poker face through the web of lies.
“You might not be aware of it, but even if we’re Unaffiliateds, a Master’s forge still has its pride. After having agreed to reduce our prices by over half, you then insult us to this extent by asking us to reduce the price further. We will not be selling you these swords.”
Achyaa … the Noble-sama’s face is turning an amazing shade of purple. See, this is why you follow the rules when making a commission. If you never insisted on meeting us, you would have gotten a great surprise when you finally noticed Helward’s mark, right?
Or like, doesn’t Dobin have a really bad personality? He should’ve told them who the forge was at least, if we were going to meet …
Oh. I see.
He wanted Baronet Mucal to insult an internationally famous forge. Noble-sama won’t be able to live this one down, huh? He’ll forever be known as a Stupid Noble who ruined his chance to buy amazing swords at a low price.
I have decided that I don’t want to make Dobin my enemy. Someone like me will be swallowed into the halfling’s flow.
“B-but, I’m doing you a favor, aren’t I? After all, we’re offering to buy these swords even if we’re not satisfied! Or are you saying you’ll be fine even if these swords remain unpurchased?!”
Ooh, the Noble-sama is starting to get desperate.
Dobin starts, as if just remembering something.
“That’s right, another Noble-sama heard that swords from Helward’s forge would be passing through and expressed an interest in them, so Sir Baronet has no need to worry about the matter.”
“Don’t joke with me! Isn’t this MY commission?! Do you think you can get away with selling the things I commissioned to someone else?!”
“What are you talking about, Sir Baronet? Since you aren’t willing to pay the price agreed upon by the commission contract and the commission-takers are not willing to compromise further, the business with your commission is now over. Should Sir Baronet wish to make another request to purchase them with the Guild as the mediator, we are more than happy to take your duty. However, as another Noble-sama has unexpectedly heard of this and already made that request, we are obligated to first entertain them. Should they refuse to purchase, we will contact you again, Sir Baronet. Minerva, please escort Sir Baronet and his entourage out.”
The stern-looking woman shows the protesting Noble-sama out.
… No, it’s not that the other Noble-sama “unexpectedly heard of this,” right? This is 100% something that Dobin orchestrated, right?! What the heck is this kind of political power play?!
The world of merchants is heavy…
“Mou~, bringing in a guy no swordsmith would ever sell a sword to, what were you thinking?”
Ossan started complaining with a playful tone shortly after the door closed behind Minerva and the Noble-sama.
He’s right about that. No swordsmith would want to sell a sword to a man who can’t understand its value even if he was holding it. But complaining to Dobin-sama is a bit … well, I wouldn’t do it.
“It’s not like you didn’t get your revenge. Tch. Bringing in some unknown, female smith … if I had known I would have brought Pulman-jiji in for appraising in front of the commissioner. If that Noble wasn’t so stupid and asked about her, I really wouldn’t have known how to reply. You were really making me sweat.”
Despite saying that, Dobin-sama doesn’t really look all that agitated, playing leisurely with his cufflinks.
Jetsom tilts his head, staring at Dobin, and asks,
“Vice-Guild Master, what was this situation all about?”
EHHHH. Vice-Guild Master?! This evil scheming halfling is-?!
“Ah… the Stupid Noble just recently inherited his grandfather’s baronetcy, and wanted to earn enough recognition to be awarded peerage, like. And since he heard all the Noble-samas with peerage had their own personal militia, he wanted to get one together, like. And then he’d need swords, like. And he heard that Nyl City’s swords are easiest to use, like. That was the extent of the Stupid Noble’s reasoning.”
Dobin, er, Vice-Guild Master, answers way too casually.
No, what is that? Just because other people had militias that Noble-sama wanted one too? What is he, a little kid?
“Not that, right Dobin-kun?”
Ossan grins broadly at the Vice-GuildMaster.
The Vice-GuildMaster lazily waves his hand.
“Ah … getting entangled with a Stupid Noble just smells of trouble. Just by looking at his face, you can tell he’s the type that will never be satisfied. If you do him a favor, he’ll entangle you into all sorts of political messes. The Guild says “no thank you” to that. And anyway the Stupid Noble made a huge fuss when making the commission, giving everyone involved all kinds of trouble … well, with this kind of insult, there’s little chance he’ll come bothering Unaffiliateds again.”
Ossan sits on the couch nearest to where we were standing.
“Ah … Baronet Mucle … that’s a title from Fernett, huh? Yeah, I would have you excuse us from that country’s politics in the future. That aside, I hope you aren’t seriously just trying to pawn off our swords onto any old person who came by. Though we took this absurd commission because you were the one who offered it, these are technically still masterworked swords, you know. If you had actually planned to sell them to that foolish person who has no appreciation for our blades …”
“Yes, yes, I’m aware. We wouldn’t do something as foolish as to sour our relationship with Master Helward. The Noble-sama who came forward hoping to purchase them in case the deal fell through is a man who lives by the sword, so there is little concern there. He is a Knight Captain who gained his title through his abilities with the sword, after all. If there’s any concern…”
Here the Vice-GuildMaster frowns and peers over at where I am still standing next to Jetsom.
“Even if the lady over there is a Master Bladesmith, if the buyer doesn’t know about her it’s pointless, you know? And he’ll be even more suspicious because she’s a woman. Tch. I’d like to send for Pulman-jiji now to act as an appraiser, but he’ll take at least 30 minutes to make it, and the Knight Captain has actually been waiting next door all this time … My word, you’ve truly overstepped your bounds this time.”
The Vice-GuildMaster glares at Ossan, but because of his childish proportions it’s not that intimidating.
“That’s what you get for making sneaky plans without telling your accomplices. If this Noble-sama has any sense about swords, there won’t be any complaints. I can tell you don’t believe me about her being a Master Bladesmith,” – well, duh, because I’m not – “but let me tell you, her steel swords, at least, are comparable to Helward’s.”
The Vice-GuildMaster and Ossan stare at each other for a bit, but then the Vice-GuildMaster closes his eyes. Ossan grins, like he’s won.
The Vice-GuildMaster sighs and taps his Communication Orb.
“Minerva, show Sir Knight Captain in.”
In contrast with Sir Baronet, Sir Knight Captain was dressed much more simply. Or rather, he was in armor.
As expected of a Knight Captain.
It was still more extravagant than the armor a normal adventurer would wear but, how do I say it, compared to Sir Baronet’s gaudy appearance, the extravagance was directed towards quality rather than showiness.
Well, you’d still notice him if you passed him by on the streets of Nyl City.
When I think that the clothes I first wore attracted the same kind of attention … ah, no good. It’s too embarrassing!
Sir Knight Captain entered the room with one other man, probably his subordinate.
Fumu. A Noble-sama DID give off the feel of being someone who was accompanied by a servant or similar follower, no? So I suppose there’s little surprise there.
“Good morning, Vice-Guild Master. I thank you for entertaining my unreasonable request.”
“Not at all, Sir Knight Captain. Well, the request came at a good time, since the previous commissioner did not seem willing to follow through. It was unfortunate. I don’t understand why the Sir Baro- er, I mean the previous commissioner wouldn’t try to keep such a opportunity, but I suppose it couldn’t be helped.”
The Vice-GuildMaster shook his head regretfully. Oi. That slip-up was on purpose, wasn’t it? This halfling really has no intention of letting the Baronet live this one down.
Sir Knight Captain laughed. Hm? Is it just me or does he have kind of a strange tension building up?
“Well, for it to give me such an opportunity to purchase swords made by a Master’s forge, I am grateful. It is usually unheard of for so many masterworked swords to be sold in a set.”
The entire time Sir Knight Captain’s been speaking, his eyes have been glued to the sword rack.
The Vice-GuildMaster definitely had no problem getting him to want to purchase the swords in case the deal fell through. I bet all the info he had to leak out was, “There’s a commission involving Helward’s forge,” and Sir Knight Captain probably came forward to find out more about it himself.
“So, um, what was the price these swords are going for?”
Even while asking about the price, Sir Knight Captain’s fingers have been twitching, like he wants to try out the swords.
“200,000 ecrue a piece.”
Eeeeeh… I’m sure my face showed my surprise, but I couldn’t help it. I can’t believe Dobin – are all merchants like this?
Sir Knight Captain didn’t notice anything wrong. His mouth was wide open.
The Vice-GuildMaster calculatingly tilted his head.
“Is there a problem?’
“No, no! I was just surprised at such a low price!”
Sir Knight Captain regains himself quickly and says that real fast. Is he afraid that he’ll lose the deal? Sorry, an honest man like yourself is being played by a devilish halfling.
“Ah … well, even if the price is low, well … you won’t mind if I appraise the swords myself?”
Oh, Sir Knight Captain’s finally pulled himself together. After all, the price is so low it wouldn’t be strange if there was something wrong with them. It would be stranger if you didn’t worry about being ripped off.
“Go ahead, take your time.”
The Vice-GuildMaster puts on a (false) smile and calmly leans back, crossing his legs.
Sir Knight Captain takes up one of Jetsom’s swords from the rack. His eyes glitter with delight as he looks up and down the length of the sword. Finished looking it over, he suddenly takes a fighting pose and swings it once, twice, three times.
“Hah… this truly is a sword that came from Helward’s forge. Other swords just can’t compare …”
I glance over at Jetsom. Though his face doesn’t show it, I can tell he’s very happy that his sword is being praised.
… Jetsom, your tail is wagging slightly.
With a satisfied smile, Sir Knight Captain slowly replaces the sword, but as he’s withdrawing his hand he stops. Something flashes through his eyes; anger or confusion? He reaches for another sword.
“There are swords with a different mark. Why is tha-“
The Vice-GuildMaster stiffens a little, but he keeps up his carefree facade.
“Due to the unreasonableness of the previous commissioner, the smiths at Helward’s forge enlisted the aid of a traveling Master Bladesmith.”
Like I said, who’s this Master Bladesmith! I tensely retorted that in my mind, but I too am worried. What’s going to happen …?
Everyone in the room is now looking at Sir Knight Captain. He hasn’t said anything after that. No, forget about not saying anything, isn’t he just standing there, frozen?
He finally moves, removing the sword from the rack and giving it a swing without even taking a stance.
Now he’s channeling magic through it.
What is he doing? I can’t read his face.
Sir Knight Captain lets out a breath, cutting off the magic and dispersing it from the sword.
“The magic flow is smooth, even if it’s a patterned steel …. Sevin, draw your sword and hold it out with both hands.”
Sir Knight Captain orders his subordinate in a shaky voice.
Clearly confused, his subordinate does as he’s asked, holding the sword straight out in front of him at mid-level, level with the ground.
Sir Knight Captain takes a stance then …
With a yell, he swings and –
– bisects his subordinate’s sword.
The terrified subordinate aside, the Vice-GuildMaster has half-risen from his chair and Ossan and Jetsom have visibly tensed at the unexpected action.
Sir Knight Captain’s voice leaks out as he holds the sword up to his gaze, hands trembling a little. Suddenly, his eyes land on me.
“You, were you the one who forged this flower blade?”
“How could you tell?”
“You were the only one who wasn’t surprised at the result from cutting the other sword.”
“No, I’m plenty surprised. Even if a sword has the potential to cut through steel, without the corresponding ability it’s impossible after all.”
Or like, there’s someone who can actually cut through steel?! I’ve read too much manga and watched too many movies and anime, though, so maybe that’s why I didn’t react as much. After watching and reading all those stories, you start believing that those types of things are actually possible somewhere…
I’ll admit I was biased against him at first, since he had minor nobility, but my opinion on Sir Knight Captain has now been greatly improved. At least, as a swordsman he must be one of a grade far above the average. Not only are his skills like some legendary swordsman, he is well-versed in the quality of swords. After all, if you don’t become at least somewhat knowledgeable about the tools of your trade, you’ll have a difficult time in a pinch. As expected of a man who gained his title with his own abilities.
“Even if it was because you were appraising it, to do such a thing with unpurchased merchandise is a bit …”
The Vice-GuildMaster’s voice cuts disapprovingly through our discussion.
“My apologies. May I ask how many of each sword there are?”
“13 with Helward’s mark, and 12 with the flower mark.”
“I see. And the price is 200,000 ecrue, correct?”
Sir Knight Captain smiles, though he seems to be trying to control himself.
“The Carnus Militia will certainly purchase them!”