My decision didn’t sway one bit.
The next day at breakfast, Tomoe was wild in joy for the cooked white rice, miso soup, grilled fish, and side dishes making up a japanese meal, and after eating that with everyone, I was facing Iroha-chan alone.
…Mio was sticking to me a whole lot, but I somehow managed to be alone with her.
Mio hasn’t had the chance to cook lately, so I should think about a way to let her enjoy her time, too.
Anyways, I told Iroha-chan about what the Kuzunoha Company can do for her.
It may look like I am saying something cool, but it is basically getting the approval of the Empress, Sairitz-san, beforehand, and then have Haruka-san go in hiding in Tsige living in a way that won’t be tied down to her family. That’s the choice I can prepare for her.
At this rate, Iroha-chan will without doubt be used by the Osakabe household as they want.
I don’t know if it will be as the head of the family, or as a move in the political strife of Lorel though.
A girl that doesn’t seem like she is even out of middle school is being forced to kill her own mother with her own hands, and then be used around at the convenience of the adults.
That’s way too unreasonable.
Even that might have been pity that Haruka-san instilled in me at that tatami room prison.
Well, even if I am thinking about a variety of things now, in the end, I am still me.
Vivi-san, Tomoe, and the others seem to be worrying about me too.
Iroha-chan smiled from the bottom of her heart at my proposal, and rejected it.
“No, Raidou-dono. After meeting you, being saved by you, and passing my days together with you, I once again learned the meaning of my life. It is true that the imposition might crush me, it may be a heavy destiny, but I myself chose the place to offer my body and future. Thus, this is not my duty, but the future I wish for… I have truly been in your care in this matter. I -Iroha- will never forget this debt of gratitude.” (Iroha)
Lowering herself and placing three fingers of both hands on the ground, the young girl lowers her head deeply.
No, this girl is the same as me, or even more mature than me.
No, maybe it is more accurate to say that she has become an adult?
The unreliableness that I saw in her the first time I met her…has somewhat left her.
I kind of feel that way.
“Is that so.” (Makoto)
I ended up giving her a foolish proposal that would only make me feel better.
While holding a bit of shame in my heart, I nodded lightly to her words.
And then, what returned was a good and clear response.
She got me there.
“You have Izumo with you too, Iroha-chan. That’s why you can do your best, huh!” (Makoto)
A girl in love is strong.
I once again reconfirm the validity of these words that I often hear.
It is without doubt one of the causes after all.
“Feh?! Uhm…Y-Yes…” (Iroha)
What’s with that ‘uhm’.
She returned to the Iroha-chan that I know well.
“We had no choice but to hand over Ein-Khalif. That pushy part might fit as a head of the family, fufufu.” (Makoto)
That night, Ein-Khalif went to Iroha-chan instead of the Kuzunoha Company in a big gamble not knowing if it would go well or not.
He ate her self-defense sword, Hotarumaru, and made a pact with her.
Even if I were to bring it along with us, he would have simply been thrown into a random storage, and might not have seen the light of the day ever again.
Regardless of whether you tell me that you finally managed to go out from the dwarf village…
No matter if it were in my hands, it probably would have ended the same, and just thinking about it made me have no choice but to listen to what Iroha-chan said with a bitter smile.
Being able to heal the blade over time…there’s no way that’s the case, right? Moreover, it has already been eaten and doesn’t exist anymore.
Just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt.
“I-I’m sorry. At that time everything was so hectic, and I was desperate.” (Iroha)
“You must have been. I am not really blaming you. You managed to survive. That’s what’s most important.” (Makoto)
That word seems to have brought up complicated emotions from Iroha-chan.
For some reason, Iroha-chan is still staying at our lodging, but right now her household is in a big pandemonium.
Moreover, her mother is to be executed, and she is the one doing it.
However from what I heard before, Iroha-chan is not here because she wants to escape this, but the result of some sort of decision.
Then, this isn’t something I should butt myself into.
“Aah, right, it has been mayhem since arriving at Kannaoi, but did you read the documents I gave you before?” (Makoto)
“! Yes. The many villages that we stopped by on our way to Kannaoi. The difference between what I have heard and confirmed, with the actual state of affairs confirmed by Raidou-sama and the others… It was a truly mind-opening experience.” (Iroha)
The topic changing was something that Iroha-chan was grateful for. Her body tilted slightly forward.
“What I gave to you may not be the truth, you know?” (Makoto)
“Just kidding. I won’t teach you in such a way this time around.” (Makoto)
“But you know, at times you will have to doubt the things that you have heard. That’s why, assess the people you can trust, people you can rely on. Or maybe raise people like that. It is truly an important thing -for the Iroha-chan from now on.” (Makoto)
No matter how beautiful of a front the hyuman society…no, the society as a whole creates, it is not assured that that’s exactly how it is.
There will always be an other side to the system, people that will create one. There will always be people who will go the outlaw path.
If it is on the level of a city in a country, it will always be the case.
“…I will keep that in mind.” (Iroha)
“It is not like the villagers or the village chiefs lied because they wanted to. They must have simply wanted to keep an insurance so that even if they get taxed heavily, they will still be able to face the next year.” (Makoto)
“Meaning that the feudal lord is not being trusted?” (Iroha)
“It is a bit different. Of course, if it were a widely-known wise ruler, and the tax were to be exactly as stipulated, they might have spoken a bit more truthfully. But even with that, I don’t think they would have revealed the exact numbers of the village.” (Makoto)
“Why-na no desu?” (Iroha)
“They have their own rules after all. You could even call it their lifestyle. Even if their harvest is a 10, telling the government and officials that it was an 8 is one of their ways of survival.” (Makoto)
In reality, the suspicion of the village was quite strong.
What Iroha-chan was told compared to their actual harvest and what they had stored for emergencies was quite different. They only reported 60% of it.
That has a lot to do with the relationship between Kannaoi and the villages until now.
It is not to the point that the Ministry of Justice itself is being hated, but the impression they have of the government officials at the end isn’t that good.
They have been taking quite a lot of bribes.
Until there’s some drastic reformations, there will never be a day when they report a 10.
I think that even an 8 would be on the good side.
“A survival strategy, you say.” (Iroha)
“It means that no matter how great of a big shot, inspecting strictly the villages to the point of stripping them down would be going too far. If the ones in control have a grasp of at least the amount of people, I think there can be a variety of ways to do things.” (Makoto)
Feelings and law are things that are difficult to draw a line to.
The words ‘it is important to seek the correct and the optimum’ are just kind of escapism.
“The incident this time will make Kannaoi busy for a while. Even so, the protection and teamwork with the neighboring villages will become of utmost importance for the future of the city.” (Iroha)
She really is one level-headed girl.
“But the villages had their respective problems, and their personalities and their form of relationship with the capital differed. I am by no means a chosen genius-desu. I definitely cannot answer everything correctly.” (Iroha)
Iroha-chan and Haruka-san have a difference in their very aptitudes to begin with.
There’s no need to put yourself down.
You are thinking by yourself plenty well.
“I don’t have the strength and charisma of my mother. That’s why I will do this slowly.” (Iroha)
Iroha-chan overlaps herself to the image of her mother as she said this strongly.
“Slowly. By the time I die, I would like it if the people can come and go from the villages to the capital without any worries, and are able to report an 80% of their harvest.” (Iroha)
“That’s a great goal.” (Makoto)
Iroha-chan was looking at me with the same eyes gazing far away that Rembrandt-san sometimes shows.
“I will offer my body to Kannaoi and Lorel… Together with Izumo-sama.” (Iroha)
“Yeah, I heard your resolve just a few moments ago.” (Makoto)
One that would be hard to believe came from a young girl.
“Actually, at that night, I announced it to the Ministry of Justice house. That I would accept all the decisions of the household.” (Iroha)
“The marriage with Izumo-sama is most likely already settled, so there was a bit of self-interest there. But I told them. No matter what it is, I would accept everything.” (Iroha)
Heavy. That’s too heavy.
An unpleasant feeling like the one when I met Haruka-san, as if my chest and throat were being held.
“I am sorry! I didn’t intend to have you make such a painful face! I was trying to say that I would do my best in the things that will be decided from now on, so until that happens, let me be free, which is the selfish thing I wanted to spit out to throw all the job onto them. It was supposed to be a funny talk.” (Iroha)
Iroha-chan saw my face cloud a bit and hurriedly corrected herself.
But even if that’s really the meaning of it…those words of hers will by no means be a joke.
“…No no, if it is about funny talk, the bunny Iroha-chan would be most destructive.” (Makoto)
This girl can do pretty crazy stuff with just the word of Tomoe.
“Fuoo! T-That’s, I was swallowed by the atmosphere…” (Iroha)
We didn’t make her drink a single drop of alcohol, okay?
“Even though it is a situation like this, you are being considerate to the feelings of a mere merchant like me. As expected of the Princess of the Ministry of Justice household!” (Makoto)
“Is there anything that this princess wants me to do?” (Makoto)
‘I am free’.
‘That’s why I came here’.
There’s no way that’s the case.
There’s no way this princess, who showed such resolve and experienced such a crazy incident, would pass her day together with us.
There’s not much someone like me can do for her.
But if it is something I can do.
If it is something only I can do in the time I am here.
I would like to offer it to this girl who was able to push me with that resolve despite that small body of hers.
“…So you saw through it-na no desu. Raidou-sama is incredible-desu.” (Iroha)
Not at all.
I am not as amazing as you.
Just like Rinon who is in Tsige living the best she can.
The children of this world are strong.
It is not like everyone is like that, but it moves me.
“I have somewhat of an idea what one of those wishes is. Want me to guess it?” (Makoto)
“No! Let me.” (Iroha)
“As you will.” (Makoto)
I return to my performance-like tone.
Well, one of those must be that. Izumo, right?
That lucky bastard.
I will train you to a level that is worthy of Iroha-chan.
“Uhm, you see, about the students of the Rotsgard Academy that for some reason came to save me, the students of Raidou-sama…” (Iroha)
“Fumu fumu.” (Makoto)
“Can you please let Izumo-sama remain here for a few days?!” (Iroha)
“Figures. Understood.” (Makoto)
She is beet red.
She is already on the verge of exploding.
I wish you happiness!
Just in case, I will confirm with Sairitz-san if it is okay for these two to be together.
“The place they are staying is actually here, so when this talk is over, go ahead and take your sweet time with him.” (Makoto)
Should I put someone on them just in case?
Considering the tragedy from now on as well as the pissed off people.
Yeah, I at least hold the emotions of wanting her to have happiness here, you know?
Now, I don’t have an idea of what else she would want.
Something to do with the dungeon?
I did drag the mercenary group out after all.
“About Ein-Khalif which we were talking about before…!” (Iroha)
I completely forgot.
What does she want to talk about involving that useless sword?
She was thinking about a whole lot of things it seemed, a good while of silence passed and I ended up letting out a questioning tone.
“It is the lost sword of the Wise and swordsman, Iori, but for some reason, I am currently in hold of it.” (Iroha)
Thinking back to it, 80% of the fault falls onto that useless sword.
It is apparently a sword used by a legendary swordsman, moreover, that person is a Wise, and Iroha-chan is a big fan of his.
Is it that?
Something like the Masamune, the Muramasa, the Kanesada, or the Magoroku?
A situation where they go ‘I have obtained the famous sword of that one historical person?!’.
I personally only thought of it as ‘Don’t go eating the Hotarumaru that might be that Hotarumaru, you useless sword’. <Hotarumaru is an actual japanese sword.>
It is not like that useless sword can transform into a person.
…It can’t, right?
Like, a swordsman in hiding protecting the princess transformed into a sword.
That’s bad, that’s a situation Tomoe would love a whole lot.
That damn Ein-Khalif can just stay as an useless sword like the useless sword it is.
“Moreover, I made a pact with it without the permission of Raidou-sama!” (Iroha)
Yeah, that was mostly the useless sword’s fault.
I see, even if he has become the dog of someone, that in itself is good, huh.
He is in a good position.
A girl of decent age has tears cascading from her eyes and raising a weird cry.
This is quite the sight.
“Uuuuuh, how much would it be?!” (Iroha)
Right, I am a merchant.
I was completely in the mindset that I had given it to her.
Even though this was something given to me by a dwarf through Beren, this was a bit of an oops from me.
‘It is an useless doggy that’s not properly disciplined, but please raise it with patience, okay?’, is the kind of feeling I had from this.
“The price of Ein-Khalif, huh.” (Makoto)
“It is probably one of the top three most famous swords even in Lorel! But I just can’t return it to you now that it has gotten to this point! Moreover, the party in question is Raidou-sama who I owe so much! No matter the case, I plan on accepting any price you ask-na no desu!” (Iroha)
I don’t know the price of a katana, but if we were to judge by the worth of the strong weapons in Tsige, it must be quite expensive.
“Might as well just gift it to you in celebration of your marriage with Izumo…” (Makoto)
“Uhm, in Lorel, gifting a weapon as celebration for a marriage is a bit bad… Moreover, if it is Ein-Khalif level, it will certainly be bad.” (Iroha)
A rule of the country, huh.
I thought that was one rare instance of mine getting a good idea, but it was shot down.
“In that case…” (Makoto)
“I understand full well that it isn’t something that you can put a price on, and yet I still ask you of this.” (Iroha)
It truly is just a pain.
Ein-Khalif, the fact that he hasn’t said a single word in all this time is also one of the points of why he is one pain of a guy.
“…Then, Kannaoi’s…” (Makoto)
“Can you tell the Kuzunoha Company about the things related to the Wise culture?” (Makoto)
“Things like sake, spices, cooking, clothing, metal manufacturing; the influence of the Wise is pretty heavy on this city, right?” (Makoto)
“Please leak that type of information to us in this long lasting exchange along with the recipes and other things included. Of course, we won’t do business with the use of that knowledge in Lorel.” (Makoto)
I went pretty big in my request there.
There’s a lot of people like Tomoe and Mio who are interested in the things in this city, so if they are interested, it would help out if we were to be told the way of making them in an amicable manner.
That’s uhm…meaning that you will continue having a relationship with Kannaoi-na no desu?” (Iroha)
“Of course. If you need something, just call, and the person in charge will be there at once.” (Makoto)
Iroha-chan’s eyes were wide open.
As expected, passing on the city’s noted products along with their manufacturing method to a merchant is way too excessive.
But it is hard to put a specific price, and there’s a lot of things I want in Kannaoi, but it is not like it is just one thing.
If I had to put it in words, it would be that I want a variety of daily use products.
But even if I were to list every single one of them…it would be way too much of a pain, and it wouldn’t end up in that much of a price.
It would probably be an amount of money that a single rare weapon in Tsige would easily exceed the price of if it were to come out in an auction.
It is as if I am being told to use all 10,000 yen in a candy store.
Just imagining it is a pain.
Well, I have no choice but to take everything.
If we have the original method of making, we can just add it to the current research of Asora, and simply localize the parts that are bad, and everyone should be able to have it easier.
“What may it be?” (Makoto)
When I enter a negotiation, I end up being polite. This must mean that I have grown as a merchant in a sense.
A habit of sorts.
Rembrandt-san trained me quite a bit after all.
‘Things are not the only products’, this time’s demand had much to do with what I have learned from that person and the general concepts.
“I am sorry, but do you know arithmetic?” (Iroha)
For some reason, she is looking at me as if I am pitiful.
For some reason, the useless sword is also directing that strange feeling to me.
By the way, Tomoe and Mio were super happy and going ‘yahoo!’ when a promissory note with the crest of the Ministry of Justice household had been given to us the other day.
If I think about it as the price to get rid of that useless sword, I would say I made a really good purchase!