There were roughly eight or nine carriages that were parked and resting in a pretty wide empty space in the middle of the forest.
“…I think this should be enough.”
Nainiae parked the Iphalleta’s carriage next to other carriages, put on the mask that Iris gave her, and approached the people gathered there.
The people gathered there, who were engaged in loud chatter, all stopped talking and looked at Nainiae.
People, who had discovered Nainiae in maid uniform, all tilted their heads side to side with different expressions on their faces.
“A maid? She’s a maid, right?”
“What’s a maid doing here?”
“What are the mercenaries doing?”
“Hey. Hey. It’s not like an orc showed up. Why are you getting angry again?”
“What brings you here?”
Was it because of the mask that Iris prepared for her?
Thanks to the mask, Nainiae was able to avoid the worst first impression possible. Sighing in relief, Nainiae went straight to the point.
“By any chance, are you headed to Rainfield?”
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“In that case, will it be all right if we followed you? This is the first time I’m traveling to Rainfield, so I’m confused about the path…”
Having heard what Nainiae said, the people gathered in the open area all exchanged gazes and then looked at her.
“Are you alone?”
“No. There is another.”
Having heard Nainiae’s response, the people exchanged gazes again.
Some were shaking their heads left and right. It seemed like not everyone was in agreement.
In middle of it, a young man that appeared to be the representative of the group smiled like a good man and asked,
“Excuse me, but if the other traveler is a nobility, then we will have to ask the name of the family. Is that all right with you? It would be even better if you could show us an identification.”
“To put it bluntly, it could be that you are trying to scam us, you get it?”
Of the group, a boy that appeared to be the youngest of them all said it stingingly while glaring at Nainiae.
“Ugh. This runt is talking like this again. Excuse me, miss. Please don’t think of him too badly. You can see that it would be very bad for us if we ran into bandits. That’s the reason why.”
The man that appeared to be the representative of the group explained why he asked what he did.
Looking at it from their perspective, Nainiae and Riley were definitely more of unwelcomed guests than anything else.
They had no way of knowing who Nainiae and Riley were. To put it bluntly, she would have been at a loss for words even if she were accused of being a henchman of some bandits.
“I understand. We are the ones asking you for the favor of leading us the way, so I see no reason why we can’t show you something like an identification.”
Nainiae nodded as if she accepted the terms. She sent mana to Astroa’s leather bracelet and opened the dimensional space.
“That, that is?”
People who witnessed the dimensional space opened their eyes wide.
It seemed that this was their first time seeing it.
“My young master is inside the carriage at the moment, so I cannot introduce him to you. However, I believe you probably have heard of him at least.”
Having finished her explanation, Nainiae put her hand inside the dimensional space, brought out a badge that symbolized Iphelleta House and showed it to the people gathered.
“This symbol is definitely from a House of count…”
“It’s a symbol of Finn Iphelleta from Solia.”
“Ah! It’s famous for swordsmanship!”
“Yes. My young master was heading to Rainfield for a vacation. However, because I started this job only recently…”
Nainiae placed the badge back into the dimensional space and bowed properly.
“Please. Can you lead us the way?”
Could it be that all the training she received from Sera finally showed its effectiveness?
People exchanged looks with each other, mumbled ‘it’s probably fine,’ and nodded.
After talking to the group for a while, it became apparent that the carriages that were resting on the forest’s open field were not for people on a vacation trip toward Rainfield.
“We are not famous, so I’m not sure if it is worth mentioning this to you, but we are a small trading company that was established recently. We happened to have a business in Rainfield, so we are going there to sell goods that are in peak season.”
It was middle of summer. The summer’s heat wave was in full force.
Because of it, there were people from all over the world coming to Rainfield. If the group sold merchandise in Rainfield at this time, they would be able to make a good profit. That was the explanation by Reitri, the group’s representative.
“So, what you are saying is, you are going to suck on the honey.”
Having heard what Reitri said, Riley, who apparently came out of the carriage possibly due to boredom, mumbled as he got a piece of sandwich that the group was eating.
“Oh. This is tasty.”
Soon, he even took the group’s brown sugar beer.
Riley leisurely enjoyed the drink, but he felt a gaze glaring at him from the side. Riley turned toward the gaze and narrowed his eyes to glare right back. It was a ‘what are you staring at?’ look.
“You got something to say?”
Riley asked. The trade company’s boy asked with his eyes strained,
“You are supposed to be a nobility from a count’s House. Don’t you have any conscience?”
“What is this kid talking about?”
Riley chewed on the sandwich as if there was nothing wrong, turned his head, and asked.
“Ahah. My apologies. Horai, this rascal is still young… Also, he grew up in a city without any nobilities, so he is not used to this kind of things. Please understand…”
Having heard Reitri’s voice trying to mitigate the situation, Horai, the red-haired boy with a stern look in his eyes next to Riley, got up abruptly with a frustrated look on his face.
“Uncle! Are you a sap? A tool? You are a merchant. What are you going to do if you give everything away for free? If you give something, shouldn’t you receive something in return!”
“Uncle… You don’t know anything! Damn it!”
The body yelled and turned around. With his teeth locked, he started running.
It was an exemplary behavior for of an immature child.
Reitri hurriedly got up and put forth his hand, but he scratched his head awkwardly after looking at Nainiae and Riley.
“I’m sorry. He is still young…”
“Indeed. It shows.”
Horai tripped over a rock and fell while he was running. Watching this, Riley cracked a smile and mumbled.
“He is like that because he is the type who only believes what he can see immediately in front of him. Does he know that his uncle is doing business right now on making connections?”
“Haha. Was it…obvious?”
“It’s a basic foundation for merchants, so…”
A few sandwiches and a few glasses of brown sugar beer…
With just those, Reitri was being given an opportunity to make an impression to the Solia’s Iphelleta House in person.
Although he could not be certain about it, and even if that was not possible, this was an opportunity to have a conversation with a nobility. To Reitri, it was certain that this was a profitable business.
“I see that you have one…two…three… Huh? Weren’t you going for a big score? These carriages aren’t all that big, and there aren’t many carriages either. What do you plan to sell in Rainfield?”
Having counted the number of carriages with his fingers, Riley turned to Reitri and asked.
“Ah, they are umbrellas.”
Having heard Reitri’s response, Riley, with his head tilting side to side, asked back,
It rained endlessly in Rainfield. It didn’t skip a day for many long years.
If Reitri was going there to simply sell umbrellas, Riley could say with certainty that it was not going to be a particularly good choice.
“Yes. It’s not just an ordinary umbrella. It’s made to be a little special. It could be considered as an invention. That would make it easier to describe it.”
“Is that so? An invention…”
“Would you like to see it?”
“No. It’s fine. It’s not like I’m going to buy one.”
Reitri had a bright look on his face in excitement for the opportunity to show Riley his umbrella, but hearing Riley refuse so leisurely made Reitri to sulk.
“What about guarding?”
Riley asked Reitri who had a disappointed look on his face.
It was because he didn’t notice anyone around the carriages that looked like mercenaries or knights.
“By any chance, are the ones on the outer perimeters all you have? Four… No. About five people?”
Riley looked toward the outer perimeter of the open area after widening his senses. Looking at the direction where Horai ran toward, Riley was asking about the guards. Having heard his question, Reitri responded awkwardly,
“This is my fourth time traveling with them. How should I say this? Quality over quantity? It feels like they are each worth a hundred guards. Instead of traveling around with many guards, I find this to be a far better arrangement. I can save on food as well.”
Having heard Reitri explaining while scratching his head, Riley mumbled with a mischievous look on his face,
“Each worth a hundred guards? I’m not sure?”
Riley soon turned his gaze.
His gaze met with Nainiae’s, and Nainiae turned her head side to side, blinking her eyes and wondering what it was about.
“To claim that they are worth that much, I think they allowed our carriage’s approach too easily. Isn’t that right?”
Having heard Riley’s question, Reitri flinched as if he just got stabbed right at the weak point.
Riley asked because there was no sign of any guards while Nainiae drove the carriage toward where the trade company group was resting.
“Where could they have gone?”
It was when Reitri mumbled on in panic.
Footsteps of approximately four people could be heard.
“…Hey!! Mr. Reitri!!”
Everyone’s gaze, including Riley and Reitri’s, were turned toward where the voice was coming from.
“Uncle! Uncle! Take a look at what Basil hunted! Look!”
Horai, the one who ran off with gritted teeth, was among the footstep sounds.
His face was full of excitement. How he was talking seemed like he just saw something intriguing.
“Mr. Reitri, I think this place is no good. In this area… I think there are ogres roaming about. I killed one that was coming this way, but if there is a partner, another bastard might come this way.”
Riley narrowed his eyes after observing the appearances of the people coming with Horai. It was because there was another boy, who was walking in front of the group, holding the head of a monster.
It was an ogre’s head.
“So, I think it would be best if we got ready fast and get goi-…”
The boy, who had the ogre’s head on his right hand, quickly turned over the head to the back and moved his hand toward the spear that was hanging on his back.
“…What’s this? An unwelcomed guest?”
Noticing the boy’s words and behavior, Nainiae, who was standing by behind Riley, narrowed her eyes and focused mana.
Nainiae was going to make a preemptive strike against the boy using a wind magic if the boy tried to swing that spear to Riley or didn’t let go of it within three seconds.
“Ah Ah! No! No! They are guests!”
Reitri hurriedly got up and waved his arms around.
The boy let go of the spear and sighed.
“What’s this? I was worried that something happened while I was out killing an ogre.”
“No! Basil! These guys are unwelcomed guests!”
“What? They are?”
Having heard Horai’s words, the boy was not sure what to make out of the situation. He looked at Reitri again.
Reitri immediately said that was not the case. Reitri came right up to Horai, made a tight fist, and gently nudged the top of his nephew’s head.
“They are guests! They are from pretty high nobility!”
The boy with the spear was laughing from looking at Horai in tears after getting a nudge from Reitri. Having heard what Reitri said, the boy tilted his head side to side and asked,
“Ah, now that I think about it, I haven’t made introductions yet.”
Reitri was nudging Horai’s head again, but he got a grip and started to make introductions.
“This is Mr. Nara Basilisk, the representative of the Lightning Boulder mercenary group. He is currently guarding our trade company group.”
Reitri finished introducing Nara Basilisk, the boy with a spear. Reitri turned his head to introduce Riley.
Reitri was going to introduce Riley, but he stopped talking.
It was because the boy named Basilisk spoke first.
Having heard Reitri’s question, Basilisk pointed to the badge on Riley’s clothes and narrowed his eyes.
“That symbol. It’s the symbol of Iphelleta House, a House of count, right?”
Riley, with a ‘so what’ kind of look on his eyes, tilted his head side to side and asked back,
At that moment, Basilisk moved his hand toward the spear on his back.
Noticing this, Nainiae used Blink, a close-range teleportation magic.
Nainiae, who appeared in front of Riley in blink of an eye, widely opened the eye on the side that was not covered by the mask and had her right hand raised.
Basilisk drew his spear in an instant and was in a stance to thrust the spear. Basilisk murmured someone’s name.
Riley, who furrowed his brows, asked back.
Basilisk asked again by saying the name of someone.
“Ian, the mercenary hero… I heard he is currently residing there. Is that right?”
Having heard Ian’s name being abruptly mentioned, Nainiae, who was shielding Riley’s front, narrowed her eyes.