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Chapter 17

Translator: Silver   Editor: Kaio

「Waiting to Infiltrate」 Part 2  

After discussing the arrangements for the infiltration with Ariane, Danka fixed his hood, pulling it once again over his eyes before sitting with his arms folded across his chest, and calmly closed his eyelids. It appeared that there was still a surplus of time before the infiltration.

“Well then, should I also try to finish taking care of some business…”  

While speaking, I stood up and shouldered my luggage bag. In response, Ponta who was purring from Ariane’s strokes let out a “Kyun!” on top of the table before getting up and jumping onto my shoulder

Although Ariane’s gaze was slightly envious as she looked at this scene, while glaring at me, she opened her mouth and said: “I understand your intentions, but…”

“I won’t run away from here now…”

She seemed to be worried about something, but when I tried to assure her, she shook her head as if to say that her concern was different.  

“I’m not worried about such a thing now. I wanted to say get back as soon as you can.”

After saying this, she turned away. Somehow or other, I seemed to have gained a tentative trust. With a nod, I said “I’ll be back soon” before leaving my seat. Ponta still took her usual reserved spot, and was wagging her tail back and forth judging from the signs transmitted from the back part of my helmet.

Leaving the stall village, I headed down the street and made my way towards an area lined with shops. The shops were already closed; the glow leaked from the windows and light from the sparse lamp posts provided the only sources of illumination.

When I arrived before the shop I had intended to visit, its doors were already closed, just like all the other shops in the vicinity. A wooden signboard with a sword and shield design as well as the name of the weapons shop engraved on it was hung above the store.  

“Ahh~, as expected, the shop has already closed~. It can’t be helped; I’ll have to come again tomorrow…”

While ascertaining whether the shop was still open, I heard a young man speaking to himself.

When I turned to look behind me, a man in his twenties who was sitting in a wagon that stopped on the street before the weapons shop had his head hung. Judging from his atmosphere and his appearance, he’s probably a peddler of some kind. The various types of luggage piled atop the wagon could be made out with the scarce light that shone from the street.

“Does Peddler-dono have business with this weapons shop?”

“Eh? Ah! H-hey there, Knight-sama!”

When I called out, the young peddler had a puzzled expression for an instant as he turned towards me. When he properly saw the silver helmet above my black cloak, he jumped off his wagon in a rush and bowed his head.

“I’m merely a travelling adventurer; there’s no need to be so formal. So, does Peddler-dono have business with this weapons shop?”  

‘Eh? Ah! That’s right. I planned to come here to stock up the weapons, but my arrangements for entering this town were considerably delayed…”   

The young merchant said so with a forced smile. This was surely a godsend. The weapons I collected from the kidnappers not long ago were a hindrance that couldn’t be helped.

“Oh, as a matter of fact, I came here wanting to sell weapons to this shop, but unfortunately it’s already closed… If Peddler-dono is fine with it, won’t you buy them from me?”

“Is it really true?! Um, and could you show me what sort of weapons they are…?”

“Of course. Though it’s the loot from when I subjugated bandits…”

With these words, I placed the luggage bag I carried on my shoulder on the ground, widening the hole.

At my response, the young merchant had an expression of obvious disappointment, after which he hurriedly covered up with a smile. Was it bad to say that they were goods taken from bandits?

I took out one of the swords from the bag and handed it over. The young peddler reluctantly held the sword, drawing it from its scabbard in order to check its condition.  

Thereupon, the smile the young man previously kept up for appearances changed, revealing a look of joy. But his expression, which can be completely understood, was much too honest for a merchant; as your customer, I can easily see it…  

The young peddler took out a lamp from the luggage carrier, relying on its light as he drew each weapon from their scabbards to examine their condition one by one.

“Did you really get these from bandits? These weapons are forged from nothing but considerably fine steel?! No repairs seem to be necessary; with a bit of sharpening they can be sold as is!”

Instead of bandits, they were taken from the group of kidnappers who took elves captive, but there’s no need to say that.  

Nevertheless, it seemed that bandits basically didn’t have good weapons that remained in such condition…probably because the basis of bandit factions was the joining together of those who went broke in order to loot and plunder.  

The disappointment upon hearing that the weapons were taken from bandits was probably due to the fact that they very likely weren’t superior quality goods.

When the young man finished briefly appraising the weapons, he folded his arms in front of the weapons arranged in a line and let out a groan as he looked at them.

“Hm~m, the fifteen over here are high quality weapons in good condition, but the one over here is of even higher quality than the rest…”

The sword the young man was holding, if I’m not mistaken, was the one that the incompetent man had carried. Although incompetent, he seemed to have had the best sword.

One only had to look at the workmanship of the sheath and the brilliance of the blade to draw a clear distinction between the other swords.

At any rate, he didn’t notice that as he was engrossed in deliberation, a fretting voice escaped from him. Had he hidden that earlier piece of information, he probably could have bargained for a cheaper price and sold it at a markup elsewhere…

I wondered, can this person become successful as a merchant?   

“When you add it all together, with the amount I have at hand, I can’t afford to buy everything…then, how should I narrow it down…hm~m.”

“How about 10 seok apiece, 150 seok altogether, Peddler-dono?   

As there will be the infiltration operation after this, I didn’t want to bring along an excessive amount of miscellaneous baggage. I’m not bothered with getting less funds in an unfavorable bargain  since I’m not worried about money right now.

“Eh!? Isn’t it 30 when you normally buy one?!”

“…Merchant-dono, it’s best to keep silent about such facts…”  

When the young merchant spewed out a much too honest price for each sword and I offered some candid advice, he panickedly covered up his mouth with his hands.

It was even fun letting this good-natured merchant make a greater profit.  

Since I wanted to dispose of all the goods onto this merchant right now, the price wasn’t a problem, and I once again suggested the price of 150 gold coins.

“Thank you very much! Well~, recently the area around the northern border frequently reported damage due to monsters, so I came here planning to sell weapons and things such as high quality metals.”

“Hmm, I see. That being the case, when I advanced from the highway through the town of Rubierute some time ago, I heard that recently quite a big-shot had appeared. At the time of preparation, people would be willing to purchase fine-quality weapons at a good price, right?”  

“Is that true!? Thank you for the valuable information!”

The young man was all smiles with joy as he gave me a look filled with gratitude, piling up the weapons in his wagon as it is and, in high spirits, he pulled his horse to head towards the nearest inn. The sight of him time and time again looking back on the way there, bowing his head, made me feel that I wanted to continue to support him in spite of only meeting for the first time.

Ponta appeared to be bidding him goodbye as her fluttery tail stood up and wagged back and forth. I am of the impression that if the circumstances allowed for it, even spirit beasts would become attached to him…

While having such thoughts, I deposited the 150 gold coins inside my now lighter luggage bag and returned it to my back before starting to walk back.  

Since Ariane and Danka were still at the stall village, I’d better join up with them ahead of time.

I returned to the stall village to the same place that Ariane and Danka were sitting at before and sat down at the vacant seat.

“You’re unexpectedly fast. Have you already finished your business?”

Ariane asked while she used her additional newly ordered skewered meat as bait to lure in Ponta.  

Danka’s eyes remained closed, his arms still folded.

“Yes, I was able to sell the loot from those guys at a good price.”  

“I’m amazed. The so-called business that you had to take care of was…”

When I informed her regarding the contents of my business, Ariane had an astonished expression as she stared at me. When the nearby gluttonous Ponta jumped down onto the table, tempted by the bait, Ariane captured her, roughly rubbing the fur on her belly, and pulled her into an embrace.

While watching such interactions, we engaged in lighthearted idle chat as we waited for the time to pass.

The night had advanced considerably; in succession, the surrounding stalls were in the midst of ending their operations. Danka, who’d been asleep till now, abruptly stood up and exchanged a look with Ariane.

Ariane nodded and quietly left her seat.

“Let’s go”

As I left my seat, Ponta, who’d been sleeping unnoticed on the table, lifted her head and hastily ran up to me. After picking her up and placing her on her usual reserved seat, I held my luggage under my arms and, with Danka taking the lead, followed after him.

Well, it would be nice if it ended uneventfully──

While I muttered such meager wishes, I made my way through the middle of the dark street that was nearly devoid of people.

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