Negotiation with the Union


 

「…A snake quelling ritual?」

 

There is a white-colored mansion that’s owned by the 『Union』that is made up of slave merchants.

 

Inside a room of that mansion, I faced Fedor, the one who hired me for the job this time, and explained to him what happened in the Titis forest and what I learned from Suzume.

 

His originally thin eyes narrowed even further as he glanced next to me from time to time.

 

Suzume was sitting there anxiously with two of her horns exposed.

 

From her point of view, it’s like she jumped into the den of the hunters who were after her herself.

Whenever Fedor looked at her, her body trembled and she would grab a hold of my clothes.

 

As Fedor observed her behaviors, he continued to speak,

 

「So the king of snakes appeared since she was not able to perform that ritual?」

 

「Judging from the situation, I think that is correct」

 

「Hm…I see.
That means I had indirectly woken up the king of snakes」

 

Fedor put his hand on his flabby chin.

 


As the result of the hunters pursuing her, Suzume could not procure the food required for the ritual since she had trouble exiting the village.

Like Fedor said, the union should be the ones who are most responsible for the appearance of the basilisk this time.
I reported the incident as if I was saying that to him.

 

Fedor stared at me.

 

「That aside, the king of snakes was for sure defeated, right?」

 

「I am sure that the beast and the blighted part of the forest were both swallowed in flames.
Since Perry from the 『Scythe of the Grim Reaper』took three of the basilisk’s limbs and I took two of them as well, the beast’s movement had become dull.
Therefore, it’s hard to imagine that it could escape from that fire」

 

However, I did not double check for its corpse, so I cannot say for sure that it was defeated, I added.

 

「Because I wasn’t even there」

 

「What do you mean?」

 

「I was poisoned by the king of snakes in the middle of the battle.
It was Suzume who came to my rescue when I was in grave danger」

 

「Ohh? A kijin saved a human, you say? I heard that the king of snakes’s poison is so strong that it can erode the earth, so just how did she save you from that?」

 

「With this」

 

I showed Fedor the fruit of the Jiraiaooks tree.

 

Fedor looked at the yellow fruit, then he looked at Suzume.
When she noticed his gaze, her body trembled again. 

 


「Are you saying this fruit is the miracle cure for the king of snakes’ poison?」

 

「This seems to be a secret of the kijins that had been passed down for generations.
Thanks to that, my life was saved.
I owe it to Suzume.
It wasn’t just the poison, she lit her own village on fire to defeat the monster even though she knew that she would lose her home」

 

I looked directly at the slave merchant’s eyes as I explained.

 

「So, Suzume did not only save me, she saved all of Ishka.
Since my motto is grudges should be repaid with grudges, and sincerity should be repaid with sincerity, I will use my life to protect her well-being.
I would like to ask you to back me up on this as well」

 

「You want me to protect this kijin as well? I’m sorry, but isn’t it possible that she was lying to you? She might be faking her way to get into Ishka with some kind of goal in mind」

With that, Fedor stared at Suzume.
Her body jumped three times.

 

「I wonder if the reason for the king of snakes’ appearance was actually because of a ritual that wasn’t performed.
I have never heard of the method of keeping demonic beasts sealed by offering food and dances.
It’s more believable to think that the kijins were the ones who summoned the beast from the depths of the forest with some kind of secret technique they possess」

 

「Hm.
If you have such doubts then it can’t be helped.
If possible, I would have preferred to not have you as an enemy…It’s a shame」

 

With that said, I motioned Suzume to stand up.

 

The guard behind Fedor became alert and put his hand on the sword by his waist.

 

In the room right now, there was me, Suzume, Fedor, and two of his escorts.
Only his two escorts were armed.
I left my weapon at the reception of this building.

 

In addition, this slave merchant had more than a dozen soldiers hidden in the ceiling and behind the walls.

 

If he wanted to, he could easily eliminate me and capture Suzume…It was crystal clear that he had thought about that.

 


Of course, I had never been so kind to tell him about my trump card, my soul equipment.

I was not lying when I said I didn’t want to turn the union into my enemies, but it would be a different story if they turned hostile against me. 

 

The fight will start when his guards pull out their swords.
I watched the guards in front of me with that in mind.

 

Then-

 

「Wait」

 

Fedor raised his hand and signaled his guards to halt. 

The guards removed their hands from their swords immediately in a hurry.

 

「My apologies, Sora, but let’s not jump to conclusions here.
I was just stating a possibility in the worst-case scenario.
We merchants have to be careful.
We can’t decide on things so quickly without thinking about them first」

 

「You’re right.
That was rude of me as well.
However, I have to say that protecting Suzume will not hurt Fedor or the 『Union』 at all」

 

「Oh? And the reason for that is?」

 

「The achievement of discovering the king of snakes and defeating it belongs to Perry and his clan,『Scythe of the Grim Reaper』.
The one who hired me to take them to the forest was you, Fedor.
Including the achievement of quickly discovering the blight, they are all big deeds that the country will praise you for.
Also, because of the basilisk and the blight’s influence, the forest and the water source may have become contaminated, but you have found the solution to that as well」

 

「I see.
The fruits of that tree」

 

「Yes.
There will be some who will criticize you for protecting a kijin, but if you are obtaining the valuable method of how to cure that poison for it, those people would not have too much to say.
Moreover, curing poison with this method will not work just for this time, it could be used for future occasions as well.
If it can cure the poison of the king of snakes, it would be able to deal with pretty much all of the poisons out there.
If you’re the one who brings such an antidote to light, not only adventurers, but also royalty and nobles from all over the world who are scared of being assassinated by poison will want it.
『The Union』will pretty much have a money tree」 

 


「Hoho…」

 

「You won’t be able to avoid the responsibility of the king of snakes’ appearance because you obstructed the ritual, but there’s no need for anyone to find out about it in the first place.
I wouldn’t let harmful information about my allies leak out.
Especially if you aid me in protecting her, that secret will be entombed forever」

 

On the other hand, if Fedor and the union will not become my allies, that information will spread as far as it can.

 

If that happened, even the union would not get away with it.

 

The appearance of the king of snakes was a huge incident that threatened Ishka’s existence.
Fedor should know that it’s not something he can get away from by just saying he didn’t know.

 

Of course, I would be blamed for taking part in that, but my share of blame will be like a mosquito bite compared to the damage they will take. 

 

Like that, I used many different words to repeat myself, but I was only saying the same thing to him in the end. 

 

That is, leave Suzume alone.

 

In exchange, I will let them have the achievement of subjugating the king of snakes and help them cover up the things that would be inconvenient for them.
If they don’t leave her alone, then we will be enemies.

 

I will go against all of the slave merchants out there.
Even if I don’t say that out loud, Fedor should be able to read between the lines and understand that. 

 

Now then, just which way will my words move the scale of interest in this slave merchant?

 

I wondered as I waited for Fedor’s answer.

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