Editor: Areth Kyntaul
“Your Majesty, due to the famine in the north, the number of wandering bandits and refugees has increased a fair bit this winter. They are trying to enter the south and cities nearby. As they come, disputes between them and the cities have started. Your Majesty, in my opinion, I think it is time to commence disaster relief activities.”
Queen Sisi stretched her hand out and tossed the steak in front of her to a side of the carpet.
Two human ‘dogs’ crawled over and desperately used their mouth to snatch it.
She looked at the messenger before her and giggled. She gestured with her finger for the person next to her to come over, and to bring water with fragrance added to it for her to wash her slender fingers. She then wiped her hand and with a smile asked, “Do I have to handle so many things? Is disaster relief my job? If I have to personally deal with such matters, what am I keeping all those lords for?”
“The lords do not have much food to distribute, as this situation was caused primarily by the army collecting too much food during the war. In some territories, the people have even robbed the lord’s residence and supply warehouse. Therefore, you must personally step up and take control, Your Majesty.”
Queen Sisi giggled as she replied, “No, no, no, I don’t want to do that. I’ve just returned to my own home and haven’t enjoyed myself, yet. I don’t want to deal with these things. Don’t we happen to have some armies there, which have yet to retreat? If that’s how things are, just kill the violent citizens. Kill them and there will be no more refugees. Oh right, as for the other places, yes, yes, Achilles. Achilles.”
“Your Majesty, what are your orders?” A male came in from outside and went down on one knee in front of Queen Sisi.
The young man was very young, around just twenty. He had short light-blonde hair that was slicked back neatly. His young face was clean and clear. His black eyes were particularly firm. He pursed his blade-like lips into a graceful smile. He looked at Queen Sisi before him with a serious look.
“Aren’t you from the chamber of commerce? Since you are, you should have sufficient supplies on hand, right? I trust you all, so you can take care of the disaster relief. Of course, I know that you’ll all benefit from this in your own ways, so I won’t have to worry about anything, then. However, the nation is in a tight situation, so don’t you merchants take too much.”
“You need not worry. I am the representative of your chamber of commerce, so I will serve you. We will not do unscrupulous things for money.”
Queen Sisi looked at the gentleman before her with a curious look. She then laughed and kicked the ‘dog’ by the side. She laughed as she said, “Interesting. Very interesting. Very, very interesting. I don’t believe you. You don’t pursue money when you’re a merchant? How very interesting. All right, all right, I don’t believe that nonsense, so you don’t need to say anymore. Just go help out for me. Oh right, I suddenly thought of her. Is Veirya also in a stricken region?”
The messenger by the side nodded and then replied, “Yes. However, I have not received any reports from Lord Veirya’s territory saying they are suffering from a famine. It seems that the food issue there has been solved. But… Mmm… I am honestly really perplexed too. Lord Veirya’s territory had been levied once already, so logically… there should be no spare finances there… Yet Lord Veirya’s territory is the only territory in the north with no reports of a famine…”
“Veirya is talented at administration, now? She distributed the food on hand perfectly?” Queen Sisi revealed an astonished look. She laughed with excitement and curiosity in her gaze. She licked the corner of her mouth as though she was enjoying a magnificent wine.
Smiling, Queen Sisi said, “I am very curious as to what sort of change Veirya underwent. She was just a murderer, who killed without hesitation. How did she suddenly become an expert in administration? I am very curious… Oh right, speaking of the warrior, what are the heroes, who performed excellently during the hunt for the demon king, doing? It’s time we eliminate them. Also, make sure you have a reason for the people to hate them. I think using the famine at this time as a reason is a good idea.”
“What about Lord Veirya then?”
“Isn’t Veirya doing a good job? Spare her this time. And honestly, I really like her. Keep surveillance on Veirya. It’s not too late to kill her when she changes and becomes a threat.
I looked at the two women sitting in front of the table blankly.
One woman’s long elven ears twitched a little as she continued to pick up the beans in front of her and put them in her mouth.
Veirya kept a composed look. She sat straight up in her chair and looked forward quietly. I found some odd leaves I used to imitate tea for them to drink. It looked like the two of them quite liked this sort of drink.
I never imagined someone would come and look for Veirya today, and the visitor was someone I was familiar with.
‘She can be considered someone I’m familiar, right?’
She was the scout and archer for the warrior’s small team, the elven warrior Lucia. Lucia seemed to be planning to return to the elves from here, so she came here to visit her comrade.
But they seemed really bored together.
Veirya didn’t take the initiative to speak, while the elf didn’t say any more, after she said all she wanted, instead, beginning to drink tea and eat the beans.
I stood next to the two of them but didn’t sit down.
Lucia looked at me. Her long ears twitched and she said, “Long time no see.”
“Long time no see, Lucia.”
Lucia then burst out into laughter and looked at me saying, “Don’t call me Lucia from now on. My actual name is Lucilia, in the elven language. They shortened my name to Lucia because they felt it was too long. But, to be honest, that was the name of an extraordinary elf in ancient times. She was an excellent assassin, who was called the ‘Elf of the Winds.’ I am very honoured to be able to use her name.
“Mm… Hello, Lucilia.” I politely called her by her proper name, and she nodded cheerfully.
She looked at Leah, who was next to me and revealed a cheerful smile.
“Long-time no see, Missy. It looks like you’re doing quite well, huh?! Veirya doesn’t know how to look after people, but you look much healthier!” She said.
‘Leah isn’t particularly afraid of Lucia, as she didn’t do anything offensive to us. Actually, she helped us out a lot.’
Leah shyly held my hand and with a shy smile replied, “Uhm… It’s all thanks to Papa…”
“Ooohh, it looks like you’re a meticulous and gentle man. If I was a human, I would probably really like you. Unfortunately, you’re with Veirya, right now.”
Lucia leaned over toward me happily and scanned me. Her long ears twitched with joy. I noticed Leah’s aura becoming a little off and quickly cleared my throat to change the topic, “Are you here for any other business?”
She turned her head to look at Veirya and answered, “I actually came here to speak to Veirya about something. Veirya, you’re a lord, now. I want to purchase some food to take back. May I ask how much you can sell to me, now? Ah, don’t worry, I’ll pay with cash. I just got my reward, so I’m really rich now. I just really want to buy some food to take back.”
“How much do you want?”
Veirya spoke out before I could.
‘It looks like she cares for her companion despite being expressionless.’ That would explain why Veirya planned to help her as soon as Lucia made the request.
Lucia touched her ear, and replied, “I want about twenty bags of food. Twenty of those woven bags you humans use. Twenty full bags of food, paddy. You don’t need to grind it. Twenty bags isn’t much for you humans, is it? I want to buy some to take back and eat. I’ve gotten used to eating humanity’s food, so I want to eat a staple food now, too.”
I looked at Veirya shocked and softly asked, “Veirya, we don’t have much food in the town. That’s like our total. If we sell all of it to Lucia, what are we going to do?”
Veirya didn’t think it through properly. Our food was scarce to begin with. If we sell it to Lucia, we’ll be doomed.
‘This is the food the town needs to get through this winter. I urgently want to turn this stuff into money that can be used for normal trading, but definitely not through this way. You can’t eat money. The economy should not be prioritised in this difficult situation.’
“We’ll just go and buy food from elsewhere. Don’t we have money now?”
Veirya wore a look like it was a matter of course.
I paused for a second before asking, “Why didn’t Lucia go and buy food from somewhere else?”
“That’s because this place is on the elven border. It’s natural for me to choose to buy food to take back from a place nearby. Moreover, I was Veirya’s comrade, so, of course, I want to do business with someone I’m familiar with. Your human merchants may con me, otherwise.”
Leah wore the same look as Veirya did. Veirya nodded then looked at me and said, “I’ll leave it with you, then. Heading south, it takes about a day to reach a town. Buy some from there to bring it back and it will be sorted.”
“Just go. You have no right to refuse me. The city to the south will have food. I saw people selling food when I was stationed there. You go and buy it.”
“The problem right now isn’t whether there is food or not, but whether we sell it or not!! Our town needs this food to get through winter. If you sell it to Lucia and the others don’t sell food to us, what are we going to do?”
“You, go and prepare then.” Veirya cut me right off.
I was speechless, too, since I was just her loot. I was just a mere slave after all. I couldn’t refuse her commands… So I had no choice but to follow them.
‘It looks like Veirya’s relationship with Lucia is really good, which is why Veirya agreed. I really should explain to Veirya that not everything can be bought. The cost of food increases a lot in winter. Plus, even if we go into the city, there’s a chance that the food merchant will not be willing to sell so much, isn’t there?’
They’re different to other merchants after all. The only way they make money is by warehousing food for times of scarcity, because, the price of food is relatively fixed most of the time. Lots of people purchase food, too. Lots of people get their food from other sellers, once sellers raise their prices, so the only way food merchants can make money is by hoarding food for times when food is scarce. That way, they’ll get to set the price as they please. To ensure a steady supply, they won’t make the price too outlandish either.
But as long as they’ve hoarded food, they’ll get to choose how much they sell it for. They raise the prices a lot during winter when food isn’t produced. Further, as storing is the only way to make money, the sellers won’t easily sell large volumes of food privately. If you do want to buy food that way, it’d cost you even more.
But it’s pointless for me to argue since Veirya has already agreed. Veirya sold food to Lucia without my permission.
Lucia soon got her food. The food was all of the town’s food, but she left us with sufficient money. According to the Record Keeper, this was about what it cost to buy food in winter.
Lucia cheerfully loaded up the food and left the small town, without pausing for a moment.
I watched her leave. I’m more concerned about Lucia’s aim, at this time, than the empty food warehouse. I just didn’t have any proof or a conclusion yet.
I looked at the bag of money before me and gently fumbled through it. I then looked at the remaining food and sighed hopelessly. I said, “It can’t be helped. Since Lord Veirya has given the order, I have to carry it out no matter what. But this amount of money is about right, yeah?”
“Uhm. She just handed us this money and then we delivered the food to her in batches as per your orders.”
“The point of delivering the food partially in batches is to avoid leading to a panic. This should do. But Lucia prepared the exact amount so we didn’t even have to give her change, and that perturbs me.”
I knocked on a gold coin. I then carefully put the gold coins into the bag and put it away. I said, “I’m going to that city now to purchase food.”
“I do not think you will be able to purchase any.” The Record Keeper sniffled, then explained, “A famine outbreak has just started so lots of starving people are fleeing. The cost of food is very expensive, right now. Many sellers are not willing to sell at this point in time… I do not think you can buy the amount of food we previously had with this much money…”
“So there’s a famine in the nearby territories? Does Lucia know the reason?”
“Yes, there is a famine outbreak in the north because the soldiers took too much food. As for whether or not that elf knew… I am not sure…”
“Why didn’t you tell me?!”
“I thought you knew…”
“How would I know about the things nearby…?” I nodded and then told him, “I’ll find a way to deal with it. Although I’m very displeased with this order, but what can I do? Lucia might’ve planned this… She might be planning to leverage the situation to make a good deal of money… Veirya… far out, she… sigh…”