The merchant visiting us today was brought to our farm in an unconscious state.
I asked Belena and Orkubo, who went to meet him first.
“Are you sure you didn’t do anything to him?”
Both of them react violently to my question, saying in their defense;
“We didn’t! We didn’t do anything at all! He collapsed on his own!”
“We tried to be as calm and welcoming as possible, but we don’t have an inkling of an idea what caused his sudden collapse!”
Well, I can pretty much guess what caused it.
After all, Orkubo’s aura is becoming more and more dignified lately.
Those who are faint of heart would probably lose consciousness just by approaching them. That’s most likely what knocked out our merchant in question, too.
The demon merchant has a lanky and seemingly sensitive appearance. And though his groomed hair is already gray, he’s not as old as he looks.
“Oh, dear! Pardon my rude behavior. Blacking out certainly wasn’t on the list of things I intended to do on my first visit…”
He’s shrewd. He managed to grasp the situation right away as soon as he woke up.
“Please, it’s all right. Nice to meet you. I’m the owner of this farm.”
“And I am Shax, president of Pandemonium Trading Company, sir!”
We shook hands firmly, then I expressed my thanks for his business mediation and briefly explained how this farm came to be.
Our light-hearted talk helped ease the tension in the air.
“Since you’re already here, allow us to show you around.”
Then, right when I was about to entertain Mr. Shax and give him a friendly reception…
A gorgeous girl came running towards us with tremendous energy.
It was Letasreit, princess of the ruined Human Kingdom.
Well, the word ‘gorgeous’ is now limited to the person herself as the work clothes she wears are mediocre and simplistic.
“Hey, Saint! You promised to seed my field today, didn’t you? What are you dawdling around for? Come on, hurry up!”
By the way, Letasreit thinks that ‘Saint’ is my name.
“Didn’t I also tell you that I can’t because we have a visitor today? Why don’t you go help Gobukichi’s group for now?”
“No way! If the seeds are planted late, the harvest will also be late! It’s most disrespectful to make the princess of the Human Kingdom, Letasreit, wai- Mmbh!”
Once again, Platy appears out of nowhere, punches Letasreit in the gut, and takes her unconscious body away.
Our farm has no other means of seeding than by “The Hand of Supremacy,” and I alone am responsible for it at present.
Whether that’s a good thing or not is a question for another time.
“I’m sorry you had to witness that soon after you regained consciousness.”
“I-It’s nothing, sir… However, didn’t that gracious lass wearing odd clothing look like the princess of the former Human Kingdom?”
“Could be just an accidental resemblance, haha…”
Letasreit’s existence is being kept a state secret for the meantime, so I’m going to pretend I know nothing about it.
I began taking Mr. Shax for a field trip around our farm.
We first went to Batemy’s tailoring room, where she makes the clothes that got him involved with us.
“Hello, we meet again.”
“So, you’re really the designer behind those magnificent garments!”
Batemy and Mr. Shax seemed to know each other beforehand and exchanged a short greeting.
Soon, however, his eyes were fixated on something else.
It was Batemy’s sewing machine that kept making mechanical sounds as she continued to press on the pedal.
“What’s that? Is that tool used to sew the stitches that make them come out so neat and evenly spaced?!”
“What a magnificent tool! Would you be willing to let us market that in our company?” suggests Mr. Shax.
Belena then negotiates on my behalf.
“This is the rough estimate of its price if the sewing machine is sold in the Demon Kingdom.”
“What?! You could buy an entire country with this price!”
“It’s a handmade product made by Lord Saint. Plus, the utility, scarcity, and cost of materials are taken into account, after all. Oh and, because it’s made entirely of mana metal.”
“Why is it made entirely of mana metal?!”
Their negotiation broke down.
Next, we went to the elves’ workshop.
Since they started selling their work after Batemy’s clothes, it would be good to show him the workshop where they make their crafts.
Mr. Shax is even more shocked at the sight of the elves at work.
“So, the elves made all those wonderful crafts! No wonder they were all of high quality!”
“Um… Is it really that rare for elves to make crafts?”
Mr. Shax’s excitement is so bizarre that I can’t help but ask him.
I’ve heard that elves as a race excel at making tools small enough to fit in their hands.
If that’s the case, building a workshop for them isn’t all that rare, right?
“Elves are prideful as people of the forest and feel that it is insulting to work under a roof.”
Apparently, Mr. Shax once tried to recruit craftsmen to start an elf workshop funded by their company, but to his surprise, no one joined.
“The elves said that they’d rather be bandits than be hired by the demons. In fact, there was no end to the number of them who became bandits! And yet, here they are, working meekly! Is it because of your character as the owner of this farm?”
“Oh, I’m sure it’s nothing like that. Hahaha… Ha…”
In reality, we caught them red-handed in their banditry and forced them to work for us as compensation.
I was about to explain that to Mr. Shax, but then someone grabbed me by the shoulders.
It was one of the elves in the workshop.
“I’d like to have a moment with you, Lord Saint…” says Aileron, the former head of the bandits.
I wondered what was going on, but after saying a few words to Mr. Shax, the two of us went outside the workshop.
“…Don’t tell me that pompous-looking demon is the president of Pandemonium Trading Company. Is he really the one acting as the intermediary for our products?”
He came to tour around the farm today, so why don’t you show him in person how passionate you are about your crafts?
“You do remember that we were bandits before we came here, right?”
“We were wanted by both the Demon and Human Kingdoms for stealing left and right. That’s why we sought refuge in the hinterlands of this remote place!”
…It can’t be.
I’m beginning to understand what Aileron is trying to say.
I didn’t want to, but my brain still did.
“Don’t tell me you guys used to steal from his company…”
“It’s a big business, after all. Granted that we only targeted corrupt merchants, we still caused them indirect damage in some way, you know?”
Hey now, hold your horses right there…
Isn’t that bad?!
“What if he finds out you’re a bandit and demands compensation?”
“I don’t think our cover’s been blown, at least not to the point where he’d find out right away after a mere face-to-face meeting…”
But if he does find out, things are bound to get ugly.
It’s best they avoid contact with each other as much as possible…
“Is your conversation perhaps over?”
Mr. Shax, seemingly tired of waiting, came after us, shocking both me and Aileron.
He had a beaming smile on his face.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk to the elf in private. A more intimate relationship with her will prove beneficial for our future transactions!”
“I-I firmly refuse.”
Without knowing the truth, Mr. Shax’s notion of elves being hard to please grew stronger.
The trip around our farm surprised Mr. Shax in many ways.
“What a wonderful place this is! It’s like a treasure trove! I hope you’ll keep doing business with us!” he says as he takes my hands and shakes them violently.
I could feel his excited energy from it.
But then, another intruder arrives.
“Oh, it’s you, Prince Arowana.”
“Lord Saint, I’ve come to hang out again!”
Prince Arowana, Platy’s brother and the prince of the Mermaid Kingdom, has been visiting us quite often lately. We just don’t bring it up.
“My word! Even merfolk frequent this place?!” says Mr. Shax, keen as an eagle. “I’ve been looking for someone to help me expand my business to the Mermaid Kingdom. What do you say, sir? Could you introduce me to an influential person in the Mermaid Kingdom?”
He draws close to Prince Arowana, all chummy.
An influential person? That can only mean…
“Hmm, well, in that case, there’s only one person I can think of…”
“Who would that be, sir? I’m open to anyone who can help me take the first step!”
“It’s my father, the Mermaid King.”
When Mr. Shax realized that the person in front of him was the first prince of the Mermaid Kingdom, he immediately got down on his knees and asked forgiveness.