Nainiae stood there vacantly for a moment before tumbling and following Riley who was walking toward where Reitri was.
It looked like Reitri was not thinking about heading out yet. He had left the ropes that tied the horses as they were. Reitri was looking around the other merchants in his group that he was leading. Having heard Riley’s voice calling him, Reitri turned his head.
“Ah, Young Master Riley.”
It seemed that Reitri had also cried during Isen’s funeral. His eyes were red. Reitri rubbed his eyes and welcomed Riley.
“Have you had a pleasant conversation with Commander Nara? He must be very sad because of what happened to Mr. Isen. I hope that his heart is not hurting too much.”
Actually, Reitri appeared to be suffering from the loss much more than Nara. Riley peeked a smile and walked closer to Reitri as he said he had something to talk about.
“Something to tell me?”
“I would like this to be just between us.”
“Just between us?”
Reitri tilted his head to the side. He looked around what the merchants were doing. Thinking it would be all right, he nodded.
“Yes, well… All right. It’s just… Before we do, just for a moment…”
Reitri asked Riley to wait for a bit. Reitri waved at a boy who was busy running around other merchants. Reitri shouted,
“Um? What is it?”
“I have something to talk about with Young Master, so I’ll be gone for a bit. Handle the wrap up work well!”
“I got it! What about dinner?”
“Start without me!”
Reitri told his little brother Horai that he should start eating dinner first. That was all he wanted to do before taking his leave. Reitri turned to look at Riley and said,
“If you want to have a private conversation, inside the carriage would be good, right? I’m thinking about a soundproof carriage. Would that be all right with you?”
“It doesn’t need to be soundproof. Instead, I would just prefer a nice carriage? While you are at it, a carriage with the best bed… I would like to be in your debt for the night and use it as a hotel.”
“The interior would be more important than the exterior size. Since I don’t know about your carriages, I’ll leave it to you to decide.”
Riley was listing features he wanted in the carriage. Having listened to them all, Reitri scratched his head and asked carefully,
“Will that be all right with you?”
Reitri asked again because he wondered if it would be all right to not have the soundproofing. It was because Riley said earlier that he wanted the conversation to be just between him and Reitri. Meanwhile, the maid who was standing behind Riley took a step forward.
Nainiae smiled softly and asked. Reitri realized why there was no need for soundproofing and nodded.
“Yes. In that case, I will.”
Following Reitri’s lead, Riley got to the best carriage and walked inside. When Riley and Reitri were walking into the carriage, Nainiae said,
“I’ll bring you dinner as soon as it is ready.”
She added and said to enjoy the dinner while having the conversation as she closed the door and cast soundproof magic.
“The bed looks nice. I’m satisfied.”
“I’m proud to know that the Young Master of Count’s Family is satisfied with the bed.”
For the conversation, Reitri brought out a desk and chairs and offered the seat to Riley.
“So, what is it that you wanted to talk about?”
The topic could be something trivial or serious. Regardless, it looked like Reitri was ready to listen attentively. He brought out a paper and pen from his pocket.
“You still have that habit.”
Watching Reitri bringing out a paper and pen from the pocket, Riley smiled and muttered.
Reitri smiled awkwardly and said,
“Information is the lifeline for a merchant, so…”
“Well, I am not saying it is a bad habit. However, today will be an exception. If you are planning on using it to organize the thought, that would be all right, but if you are going to summarize and write what we are about to discuss, then I cannot allow it.”
Reitri opened his eyes big.
“Uh? Is… Is it that serious?”
Riley was implying that what they were about to talk about was so heavy that he could not allow Reitri to write any of it down. Having realized this, Reitri gulped.
“If it is something that will put my life at risk just from hearing it, then I would like to refuse beforehand.”
“I don’t know if it will put your life at risk. I’m going to tell you this because I think it might help you. I also have a favor that I want to ask from you.”
It was a give and take… What Riley wanted was a trade with Reitri.
“I am certain that this will not be a losing business for you at least. Since I am the one who proposed the trade, I’ll tell you the information. You can decide afterwards if you want to take on the favor or not.”
The moment to make a decision came. As a merchant, Reitri fiddled with his chin and took a moment to think hard about this. He nodded as if he understood.
“All right. Let’s hear it first. Since I’m acquainted with you, Young Master, if you are going to tell me the information first, then I have no reason to avoid it.”
It was possible that Reitri could take his leave right after hearing the information. However, Riley knew Reitri was not that kind of a man. That was why Riley was telling him the information first.
As for Reitri, he was aware that Riley was not some nobody Young Master who would give him useless information and take advantage of him. That was why he accepted the trade.
“Duke Philisneon Family of Solia… You know about them, right?”
“Of course. I also know that they had the end of the year banquet amongst the nobilities of the Solia there. The most talked about subject was most likely… the Solia’s border which was threatened recently.”
“You know about it? Where did you hear about it?”
Riley was surprised by Reitri’s answer. Reitri shook his head and said,
“No, that was just my guess. After all, that’s what’s happening in Solia right now.”
Riley thought inside that not everyone could be merchants. He got to the main point.
“What about their Princess. Do you know about her?”
“Ah, that mystery princess? I am not sure?”
Reitri tilted his head to the side.
“Nothing is officially known about her. Rumors say she is the ugliest woman of the century or the stupidest woman of the century… Well, there are full of rumors like that, but I have never seen her in person, so I am not sure.”
“Is that so?”
“Not just other merchants like myself, but I think other nobilities also probably don’t know about her. She is that kind of person. Only her gender is known… Ah! Now that I think about it, according to what I have heard recently, she made an appearance at Iphalleta Mansion during the announcement of the successorship…”
While Reitri continued, he said ‘oh no!’ inside and glanced at Riley to check on his mood.
“As for the successorship… It is unfortunate.”
“No, it is fine. I never wanted the successorship anyway.”
Riley acted like it was totally fine and went back to the main point to talk about the Princess Reutrina Philisneon.
“Actually, she seemed like a brilliant woman. As for her face too, well… she didn’t deserve the rumor about being ugly.”
Having heard what Riley just said, Reitri was going to move the pen, but he realized what he was up to and put the pen down. Reitri scratched his head.
It was to commit what he had just heard to the memory.
“… It’s just that…”
Wondering why Riley was adding more to the story, Reitri tilted his head to the side.
“She was until a few weeks ago.”
“Now, as the rumor said, she became a fool.”
Riley said with serious look on his face. Unable to comprehend what he just heard, Reitri had puzzled look on his face.
“Big change won’t be felt immediately from the outside, but eventually, because of this, the Duke Family will crumble.”
Reutrina was one of the purple people. She had the ability to read other people’s minds and use it to control people. Now, she had suddenly become a fool and so this would result in the Duke Philisneon Family’s downfall.
“Practically, the Duke’s Family was able to stay in power because of Princess Reutrina. This is no exaggeration.”
She probably had the Duke’s Family in her grasp with her power. Now, with her missing from the picture, the family was going to falter for sure. It was as obvious as watching the fire spread.
“Is she that important? To think that the family will falter without her… Even if she was a mysterious figure…”
“You are free to believe it or not. It’s just that it will be good for you to pay attention to the Duke Philisneon Family.”
If what Riley said was true, this could be a huge opportunity for Reitri.
It was because there could be a huge profit to garner from carefully checking the merchants and goods that were connected to Philisneon Family.
“I’ll keep this in mind.”
Although it looked like Reitri was not sure about this, he was, actually believing most of what Riley had said just now.
The Tess Merchant Group case that Riley had told him about last time was not a lie either and Reitri had certainly reaped a big profit from that.
‘All right. With this, I have two insurances.”
Riley muttered inside while watching Reitri who was nodding as he supported his jaw with his hand.
The reason why Riley leaked the information about Philisneon Family was not just about helping Reitri.
Nainiae had a surveillance magic cast on Reutrina, but he was not feeling easy about this with just the surveillance magic. Riley told Reitri about Reutrina, one of the purple people, so he could watch her through two layers of surveillance. It was installation of this trap that Riley was after.
“Well then, what is it that you want to ask me to do? If it is something our merchant group can do, we will help you as much as we can.”
Reitri had organized what he had just heard about the Phillisneon Family. He locked his fingers between his hands and asked about the favor that Riley said he was going to ask for.
“I want to ask you for information.”
Just like how he had given Reitri information, Riley also wanted information in return. Riley went straight to the point.
“It’s about the Karuta desert’s sand.”
“It’s because of an epidemic, right?”
Riley asked with serious look on the face. Reitri nodded to say he was right and directed his gaze toward the sand in the desert outside.
“It’s definitely an epidemic. Actually, I was concerned as well, so I had some people ask the Ansyrium’s Magic Tower and the researchers of the Rainfield to investigate, and… It is definitely an epidemic. It is quite long lasting and it has that foul stench and is highly acidic… It is definitely poison.”
Riley nodded after hearing the explanation and said that was the information he wanted.
“I need information about what made the desert to rot. To be precise, I need information about that epidemic.”
“Information about the epidemic…”
Reitri started to fiddle with his chin. While he was organizing his thoughts…
They could hear someone knocking on the door.
“I brought dinner. May I enter?”
Reitri did not respond. He was thinking hard about what to say first.
Reitri was thinking so hard that he didn’t even hear the knock, so Riley responded instead and told Nainiae that she could come in. Nainiae opened the carriage’s door and walked into the carriage with dinner on the plate for the two people.
Nainiae glanced at Reitri who was in deep thoughts while holding his chin on his palm. She carefully placed the plate down and glanced at Riley.
“Just wait here.”
With her gaze, she was asking if it would be all right for her to stay here. Riley gestured to say she could stay and she might as well sit on the bed and wait. Riley started on the dinner on the table and waited for Reitri to finish organizing his thoughts.
“… Ah, when did the dinner come?”
It seemed he was finally done organizing his thoughts. He finally found the dinner on the table. Surprised, he also found Nainiae who was sitting on the bed and greeted her by lowering his head.
“Ah… Thank you, Ms. Nainiae.”
“The merchants prepared the dinner. I only brought it here. I should be the one to thank you for your generosity.”
“Well then, I’ll gladly eat it. It’s just that, before I do…”
Before eating the dinner, Reitri decided to tell Riley the information he had asked for. He carefully opened his mouth.
“Young Master… This may sound really… It may sound like a bizarre tale, but…”
“By any chance… If epidemic is alive and moving… would you believe it?”
“Epidemic is alive and moving?”
Nainiae tilted her head to the side and asked.
“Yes, honestly, it is hard to believe. It is a very strange story, but… It is a rumor that’s been going around recently and its credibility had been rising too.”
“What’s making the rumor’s credibility rise?”
“Only few know about this, but… I heard that some people saw the epidemic moving.”
“People saw it move?”
“Yes. I heard that the people who witnessed the epidemic didn’t live long. I heard that they said the following before they died.”
Reitri could not look more serious. He continued.
“The epidemic was breathing out black breath. It said, ‘please, I beg of you. Kill me.’
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