I started making breakfast after I woke up in the morning. While we have food now, flavouring commodities such as salt are still lacking. I need to think of something to find these things, but they should be quite expensive. The price of salt is higher in regions where it is colder. That applies to the place it is manufactured and transported from. Therefore, the salt in the north should be very expensive.
Being expensive, however, isn’t a problem. The important thing was that merchants didn’t come here.
I need to think of something to get merchants to come. However, the north is basically considered desolate land. Add the refugees left after the war that just ended, and there shouldn’t be any merchant who’d take the initiative to come here. But, the fact that a branch of a company was at that city means merchants did go there.
Therefore, I need to do everything I can to get merchants to come here. The biggest challenge right now, though, is what can this town produce?
“My, my, I apologise… Hehe… Hehe…”
I specially called someone over this time for breakfast, and that’s the record keeper of the town. He sat in his chair nervously. He looked at the pile of good and eating utensils on the table in front of him with a dry smile. Leah sat next to Veirya and looked at him somewhat fearfully. The man sniffled. He didn’t dare to dig in.
After tidying up the kitchen, I sat down next to him and then said, “Dig in. I didn’t call you here for any business today. Firstly, I wanted to thank you for looking after and maintaining the town in our absence.”
“It is my job. It is my job.”
The military’s cheese tastes similar to tofu, except that that it’s not as tough as tofu. Take out a bowl, place it in the pot, add some boiling water, and you have yourself a delicious breakfast. I ripped up bread and tossed it in beforehand. While I was at it, I threw in a few pieces of meat. I let it boil and the resulting congee was our breakfast today. Veirya and Leah already had one bowl each, but it seemed that the man didn’t dare to have any. He looked at the bowl in front of him, but didn’t dare to dig in.
I picked up a piece of bread in front and put it in his hand. I pat him on his shoulder then said, “This was Lord Veirya’s idea, as well, so you don’t have to worry. Just eat. We brought back a fair bit of food this time, enough for the entire town to eat for a long time, so you don’t need to hold back. Consider this my thank you, too.”
“All right. All right. Thank you, Lord Veirya. Thank you very much.”
The man gave Veirya a firm nod before carefully having a mouthful of the boiled congee. I then looked at him and asked, “Of course, there’s a second important matter. I wanted to ask what commodities this town produces. Are they things that can be sold, such as agriculture stuff or cheese or something worth money?”
“We do. We used to produce fur. We could be considered a place that produced high-quality fur. A fair number of people came here to purchase fur in the past; however, nobody came here to buy fur afterwards, due to the war. Too many soldiers came, as well, and they damaged the interior of the forest, causing us to gain very little from our hunts for the last two years. After that, the hunters went to hunt demons. They actually captured the child of that succubus from two days ago, too. Her child was thrown to its death.”
A flash of light appeared before I could speak, and next thing I realise is that Veirya’s sword was up against the man’s neck. The fright nearly caused me to throw my bowl away. The man couldn’t even react before he realised what happened. When he realised what happened, he blanked out from fear and almost fell down.
“D-Don’t… I won’t eat… I won’t eat…”
The man looked at the sword before him with a dumbfounded look. He was so scared that he couldn’t utter a concise sentence. Veirya pressed her sword up against his neck, while still holding her bowl of congee in her left hand. Her gaze was cold and emotionless. Nobody would perceive it as her threatening someone, but genuinely wanting to behead someone.
I grabbed her sword. She shifted her gaze onto me and sternly said, “They killed a kid.”
“It was a succubus!! A succubus, not a child! It wasn’t human!!”
The man fearfully quaked as he screamed. He desperately tried to explain himself while looking into Veirya’s eyes.
“It’s all right. It’s all right.”
I pressed my hand down on her sword and then said, “Veirya, calm down…”
Veirya looked at me with her somewhat puzzled gaze. She withdrew her sword, nonetheless. Veirya withdrew her sword as fast as she drew it.
It would appear that she held no resentment towards him, and drew her blade solely because she said she would protect Leah, and hence, was particularly sensitive about the topic now.
Veirya and I looked at Leah by the side. I then looked at the man next to me and said, “I have a kid here, so don’t talk about such a bloody topic.”
The man nodded like a madman, Veirya raised her bowl up to finish her congee, after she sat back down. She then got up and gave herself another serve. I looked at Leah. Despite being a little shocked by the news that the daughter of the succubus was thrown to her death, Leah was now evidently calmer. She wasn’t as shocked as she was yesterday. It appears Veirya’s sword draw from before calmed Leah down a fair bit.
I pat the man on his shoulder and said, “Third, are there any festivals in this town during winter? There is a famine and refugees outside at the moment, so it would be good for the town to relax a little. We’ve also got a decent amount of food this time, so we can use some of it to hold a celebration or festival event, right?”
“Ah… no, no. We do not. We dare not. We dare not…”
“Just speak normally. She didn’t intend to kill you just now. It was just that you scared Leah.”
I filled up a bowl for him. Honestly, that was my portion. Otherwise, the remainder wouldn’t be enough to be split between Veirya and Leah. The man finally gradually calmed down. He then looked at me. His eyes were still somewhat akin to a rat that was discovered. He looked like one to begin with, and now he was virtually one.
“We… do… We originally had a Fire Torch Festival, which is held on the first snowfall each year in winter.”
“Let’s hold it this year then.”
I nodded then continued, “Have the townsfolk tidy up and prepare for this year’s Fire Torch Festival. The timing might be off, but just ignore it. Let’s go with that.”
“All right. I shall go and inform them now. I shall go now.”
“Wait. One more thing. Veirya won’t kill you, so why do you want to run so badly…?”
Okay, that’s not fair of me to say, because she really might have killed him back there. Veirya doesn’t know how to threaten someone. When she draws her blade, she’ll kill for sure. If I didn’t stop her before, the next thing she would’ve done was slit his neck.
“Reorganise the hunters. Have them enter the mountain and forests to check them out. Focus on acquiring primarily fur. Put the demons aside, as the war has ended and the Demon King is dead. The demons, therefore, no longer have a leader. If there are demons that harass us, then Lord Veirya will deal with it, so it’s no longer your business.”
The man gave firm nods, and then quickly got up to leave as if he was praying to get outside the entire time. I sighed, and then hopelessly said, “Take your time. It is not as though the townsfolk here have only resented demons for a day or two, so it’ll take time for them to get over it too. Distract them with something else. Let them focus on earning money, so that they don’t think about killing demons anymore.”
Veirya nodded her head gently. Leah looked at me. I scrubbed Leah’s head then with a smile said, “Leah, don’t be scared. Papa will protect you. Papa will protect you.”
Leah gave a firm nod, “Uhm, Leah trusts Papa!!”
Just when I wanted to say something, the sound of horse hooves came from outside. It’s forbidden to ride horses inside the town up to here, so it must be an outsider. Just as I went to stand up, Veirya quickly pressed me down onto my seat and pressed her left hand onto her sword handle. She coldly said, “The person outside is wearing military gear. It’s a soldier. Hide up.”