Although reluctant, Harum finally agreed to the trade. The rest of the discussion was quite short, as I only needed to tell them how to get in touch with their “buyer”. Faurch watched over the entire exchange with a subtle smile. He remained quiet throughout the rest of our discussion for some reason.
“Would you like me to escort you to the library?” Faurch says as we exit Harum’s office.
Even at the end, Harum looked like he was about to have an aneurysm. He may irritate me, but I admit I was part of the problem. Maybe I should give them the slime gel as a gift to put us on good terms again… that is, if we were ever on “good” terms to begin with.
“Sure,” I say focusing on the task at hand
While I still have this library at my disposal, I should do what I can to learn as much as possible.
“Oh, I just remembered. What was that thing you were talking about with Harum? Something about ‘look at their hands and learn about them’?” I ask curiously
“Hmm? Have you become interested in learning the ways of the merchant?” Faurch teases looking slyly at me
…That might not be such a bad idea. It would make for a good cover if I became a traveling merchant. I could go anywhere and dig for info without looking suspicious. It would also be a good excuse for why my party is so strong. I could always just tell people “I hired the best people I could afford to protect my wares” or something like that.
“…Pwahahaha! You certainly are an interesting one aren’t you” Faurch says bursting into laughter at my side
“…? What are you laughing at? I haven’t said anything yet!” I rebut
“Usually when an adventurer is asked ‘do you want a life bound by profit, and loss?’ they are quick to respond ‘of course not!’ It simply isn’t appealing for most to go from making one’s wages playing hero, to doing so by analyzing supply and demand.” Faurch says looking into the distance
After a moment, however, he looks at me and smiles.
“You, however, thought about it seriously! I’ve seen adventurers so in debt that they had to sell their only sword, and even then they wouldn’t become merchants! I suppose they all want to make money in a more simplistic fashion.” Faurch says happily
He continues to stare into the distance as if remembering a distant memory.
“Oh, yeah. I hadn’t thought of that yet.” I say
“Hm? What was that?” Faurch ask
“I hadn’t thought of the money thing yet. I suppose that is another good reason for it isn’t it?” I say continuing to ponder
Perhaps I really should start peddling. If nothing else, it would give me a good capital to fund my escape if I get discovered.
“Seriously? Pwahahaha!” Faurch begins to laugh furiously, so much so that he begins to tear up
Did I say something funny?
“Miss, I must thank you. I haven’t laughed like that in ages. Please let me apologize for my rude behavior, for laughing at your actions. You remind me quite a bit of an old friend of mine.” Faurch says wiping the tears and showing a great smile
“…If you’re truly sorry, then answer my initial question. What was that thing you were talking to with Harum about people’s hands and learning their past?” I say looking away from him
I don’t want it to show on my face, but I’m not mad at him at all. I don’t think anybody could see how happy he is right now and still be mad.
“Why of course.” He says bowing to me
He reminds me a lot of Gero in many ways. I suppose least of which, is that I know nothing about him in the end, yet… I trust them both on some level instinctively.
“Ahem. The first rule of being a good merchant is to learn as much as you can about those who hold money. A good place to start is in the hands that hold the very money itself. Much can be learned about a person from their hands you see. A swordsman will have rough hands with many scars, a merchant will have hands calloused by years of writing contracts, and a noble who has not seen war will have pristine hands. Your hands are a reflection of your past and as such, are a great place to start when learning about a new trade partner.” Faurch explains
“Hmm? So then what do my hands say about me?” I ask absent mindedly
“Quite a bit,” Faurch says in a tone that sends a strong chill down my spine
What was that? Wait, did I just ask a dangerous question?! Does he know abou-
“We’re here. Please enjoy the selection of books at our disposal. Please excuse the disorganization; we haven’t had the time to organize after our resent large acquisition.” Faurch says stopping before a door, and opening it for me with a smile
“…” I stare in silence for a moment as I ponder his previous statement
…He wouldn’t be so nice if he knew, would he? The people of this world despise the Maou. Kera and Kiel are both weird even for the people of this world, and I doubt even they trust me completely.
As I become more and more confident of the fact that he must have been referring to something else, the chill begins to recede. I’m becoming paranoid, aren’t I?
“I will try to manage. Shall I simply leave when I am done or do we have further business?” I ask staring into the room
It’s a mess in there! Disorganized is a complete understatement! Apart from the books stacked randomly all over the room, it’s obvious that by moving so much in here people knocked some books off the shelves onto the floor as well! What in the world did they have such a large need of books for? It doesn’t even look like anybody has been in here to read any of them.
“Guhuhu… I suppose that’s up to you” Faurch says as he walks away leaving me with the books
…Why do I feel like I was somehow tricked into cleaning this mess up? I’m not going to do that.
“Well… better get cracking I suppose.” I say as I walk over and sit in the only chair in the room
At least… I think it’s the only chair. It’s the only chair I can see that isn’t covered by books. I ponder over where to start and decide to just start with the first book I think will be relevant. I pick up several books from around me and look at their titles to choose…
I pause for a moment and then look at a few more book covers.
“…Oh no.” I say as I place my head in my hands
It seems that in my hurry to gather information I forgot one major factor… I can’t read this worlds language! Dang, it!
I can’t go and get somebody who can read! It would simply look too suspicious. A “noble” comes and accepts a quest on behalf of a country, apparently speaks their language, and yet can’t read? I’m already worried about these merchants being too bright for me to deal with. I can’t go around adding even more suspicious factors to my cover story.
Disappointed at the waste of time I get up to leave. I trudge past the books and make my way to the door. However…
“Hm? Is there a problem miss?” A young girl in a maid outfit ask as I open the door
“Wha… um… no, no problem at all. Heh, heh, just um… wanted to know if this was all of them…” I stammer out as the young girl stares at me innocently
“Oh, yes it is! It is very impressive that you want even more books! I couldn’t read all those in a lifetime!” The girl responds with a big smile
My heart hurts a little bit from lying to such an honest person… and my pride hurts a little when I realize from her statement that she can read. I thought that servants never learned to read?
“Is it common for servants to be able to read in this country?” I ask attempting to keep a noble air about me
“Hm? Oh! Oh, nononono no! I apologize for my rudeness! I didn’t mean to brag!” The young girl says as she blushes and shakes her head furiously
“…Just answer my question” I say in return
“Oh… um, well the merchants taught me to read so that I can help with the shipment orders. Everybody in the manor is required to be able to handle business on their own before working here.” She says after bowing
That’s pretty efficient actually. It means that those with the ability to decide what and how much of something to trade can continue to do so, without being locked up on any one customer. With the servants going around handling the basic orders, those with the knowledge to trade efficiently can do so on many deals at the same time.
“Hmm… that’s interesting” I say as I ponder further over the benefits
“Ah, thank you! Please enjoy your books!” She says as she bows again and holds open the door I just went through for me.
…Dang, I got distracted and forgot to escape.
“Well… um… thanks.” I say attempting to find another excuse, failing completely
I walk into the room again and close the door behind me… I’m just going to have to wait in here long enough to pretend like I found what I was looking for aren’t I?
I look around the room again, looking for something I can distract myself with while I wait.
“Hmm… that actually looks like a pretty good spot to take a nap.” I say spotting a hidden alcove carved out of books.
It seems that when people were putting books in here this gap naturally formed. Since you can’t even really see it without looking hard, I guess nobody thought to fill it with books.
What’s the harm in catching up on my sleep a little? I hardly even felt like I got any sleep last night. Since I got so caught up in eating I didn’t get to sleep until quite late into the night and even then, Learn squirms around while sleeping so it wasn’t very good sleep.
I clear the stray books that lay in the area I found. I also found a strange large cushion buried nearby. It’s quite easy to make the area semi-comfortable luckily.
“Oh better make it look like I fell asleep reading something in case someone comes to check on me,” I say finding a book with a monster depiction on the front
I lay down and place the book on my chest. I can’t help but smile at the fact that the situation is peaceful enough at the moment to allow me an afternoon nap. I drift off to sleep unnaturally quick with a smile still plastered on my face.