Chapter 27: [Another Perspective] As a Peddler

Posted bytheredsargeantAugust 2, 2020Posted inFun Territory Defense

Note: This chapter is from the viewpoint of the trader named Bell.)

As we continued down the road, I looked back at my brother Lango as we talked.

“…I didn’t think that we would have run into so many obstacles when we were just trying to sell some spices and daily necessities to some far-flung village.”

 Hashima Village is an unnamed village in the middle of nowhere.
We called it frontier village because of its remote location.
Note: I am keeping ‘Hashima’ as the official name for the village for now, I didn’t know that it even had an official name.)

“We don’t even have anything to bring back from this frontier village, do we? We’re already in the red… we might be in trouble.”

 Lango complains back sympathetically.

 Normally, we turn a profit, but today I must be prepared to accept some degree of loss.

 My usual route goes passes through two cities, then goes around to one town and two villages, and then returns to the previous two cities.

 It is extremely profitable to take the first city’s luxury goods to the second to sell.
The clothes, condiments, jewelry, etc.
bought in the second city will sell reasonably well in the town I will visit afterward.
Then, after stocking up on the cheapest seasonings and commodities I can find in town, I go around to the two villages to sell those.

 A round trip usually takes around a month.

 If I wanted to buy something back from the frontier village, I would buy wood or hexenbiest skins, but unfortunately, they are not worth the money.
That’s why I only take money and refuse any attempts at bartering.

 The route makes a net profit of about five or six gold coins a month, so other peddlers tend to avoid it.

 In any case, half of the net income is taken by the merchant association.
After we pay the association, we still have to pay taxes to the marquis.

 In the end, we brothers are left with only a couple of gold coins.

 If we spend some money for ourselves, we will only be left with an amount fewer than two gold.
Using this money we’ll have to buy better items, repair the carriage, and pay the cost incurred by caring for the horses.

 Roughly, we only end up with a true profit of around a single gold every month.

 But this time, the carriage was damaged on the way, and I had to pay for repairs, an extra week’s accommodations, and higher escort fees for the extended time.
Also, because the carriage had fallen on its side, a lot of goods were damaged and could not be sold.

 This was such a huge loss that I knew that there would be no way to recuperate the losses on this trip.

 So, I decided to simply stock up on as many materials as I could, seeing as I wasn’t going to make a profit anyway.

 In the end, I bought two wagons worth of condiments, liquor, and daily necessities.

 He decided to try and sell them in the last stops on his route, and if they didn’t sell, he would try other local villages that weren’t on his usual route.

 When I arrived at the last village in my route with such desperation, I was puzzled by its unusual appearance.

“Hey, is that the frontier village? No matter how I look at it, that does not look like a village.”

 Air responded quickly.

”Yeah, I think so too.”

 As he replied, Air looked at me suspiciously.

 But what could I say, I didn’t have any idea of what was going on either.

 The village that I remember was dirt poor, some forsaken settlement at the outermost fringes of the kingdom.
It was so pitifully insignificant, that it had been ridiculed even among other frontier villages.

 But, somehow, a high stone wall had been erected where the village fence used to be, with towers on either side that look around three stories high.
I don’t know what they were made of, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t made of wood or stone.

 The turrets and walls are lined with large ballistas, and a drawbridge had been installed.

 Looking down… there is also a moat in front of the wall.

”You did take the right path, right?”

 Lango asked me that, but I couldn’t bring myself to an answer.
I knew that we are not on the wrong road, but I can’t tell whether or not this is the right destination.

 In a daze, our caravan moved forward, until it came to the end of the road.

 After all, there is a moat.
It’s also quite deep.
The ramparts look new, but they very solid.
The place had the atmosphere of a small fortified city.
From the top of the wall, villagers with a strangely familiar air manned distinctly unfamiliar ballistas.
Which were pointed straight at us.

 I idly remarked that the shape of the ballistas was abnormal was because of the shields mounted on their fronts.

“You must be merchants, I presume.
I am the lord of this village, Van Nei Fertio.
If you are a merchant, please state your company and personal name.
If you are a guard, please state your affiliation and name.”

 The person who claimed to be the lord said this to us.
It was a young voice.
For a moment I couldn’t tell if it belonged to a man or a woman.
Note: I see we have the same problems.)

“Hey, brother,” I murmured, “Didn’t he just state his name as ‘Van Nei Fertio’ just now?”

 Lango nodded from behind I then replied back with a puzzled face.

“Could he really be the fourth son of the Marquis Fertio family? There’s a certain rumor going around…”

 When I asked that to my escorts, Air and the others all nodded.

“We’re based in the first city.
I’ve seen him a few times.
That’s the kid.
He is famous in the town because they just can’t stop talking about him.” (T.N.
Note: The ‘first town’ is likely the capital.)

 Indeed, I had heard of such a story.

 Since we siblings had only been in that city for a week at most, we had never seen the rumored fourth son of the Marquis family.

 No matter which angle you look at him from, he looks like a child of less than ten years old.

 Since he was a lord, there was no shortage of chatter in the first city about him, especially since he was the most approachable of the four sons.

 Apparently, he is a genius who can derive twenty things from a single piece of knowledge when other can only derive one.

 If he talks to a merchant, he will understand what kind of business you are doing with just a few questions, and he will even give you precise advice on how to do business and what products to sell.

 If he talks to the townspeople, he is friendly and shows responsibility and concern that you wouldn’t expect to see from a child.
It is said that when a child was about to be sold into slavery, he rescued him with his own money.

 I thought such rumor were just household tales, since rumors are exaggerated every time they spread through people, but I was curious when I heard that Master Van had left the city.

 Apparently, he was driven away and assigned lordship of a remote village, but I can’t understand why Lord Fertio would send his most talented son to some remote backwater.

 There are precedents for children of genius being alienated and neglected.
However, that is likely not the case as, even though he was sent to such a remote location, it is apparent that he has received an incredible amount of support.
After all, how else could such a huge fortress arise out of thin air?

 There are several possibilities, but there is no point in speculating about them here.

 Concluding my thoughts, I opened my mouth.

“My name is Bell from the Mary Trading Company.
The other merchant is my brother Lango.
The guards are from the B-ranked party led by the adventurer Air-san, the ‘Silver Spear’.”

“You are permitted to enter the village.
Welcome, we have been waiting for people like you.”

 In just a few moments, we were cleared for passage.

 The drawbridge smoothly lowered, connecting the road to the village.
Then the gate opened and allowed us to see the view inside.

 The view of the village inside was completely alien, nothing like what I remembered

 I don’t know what they were made of, but solid houses stood in regular rows, forming a beautiful townscape.

 The streets are still made of dirt, but the neat and tidy townscape still feels strange to me.
But when I saw familiar faces coming toward me, I knew that I was finally able to confirm that I had reached the correct location.

“Hello, thanks for taking the time to travel all the way out here.”

 Rhonda, the village chief, appeared and gave me a warm greeting.
Immediately, the villagers began to gather around us.

 We only come once a month, so the villagers always welcome us when we come.
Because it makes so many people happy, we always make sure to come here even though we generate only small amounts of profit doing business with these people.

 As I was talking with Rhonda and the villagers, I saw Master Van walking towards me.

”Hello, thanks for taking the time to travel all the way out here.”

 Being in the presence of a lord, I bowed at his greeting.

 Then we talked for a couple of minutes, and I became convinced that the kid named Van was a pure genius.

 To top it all off, I was told by the villagers that the transformation of this village was entirely due to Master Van and his men.

 I couldn’t believe it, but there was no reason for the villagers to lie to me.

 The villagers said that they saved the village from being attacked by a bandit gang, rebuilt the village’s defensive wall far more robustly, and even rebuilt the village’s housing.
On top of that, they say he designed and created everything himself, including those ballistas.

 The rumors about Van were true.

 And so, I became irresistibly curious about this mysterious and competent child named Van.

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