Chapter 56: That time when I obtained the long-awaited bedding
「Captain! There is a smoke signal coming from the island where the Demon Lord was subjugated」
「It might be victims that were left behind. We can’t enter the bay so use the dinghy to check it out. If things look dangerous, you should immediately come back. I’ll go and inform the merchant about it」
「Roger! You guys make preparations to lower the dinghy! A Demon Lord might be there so the mercenaries should prepare as well! We were ordered to return if things get dangerous so be careful! Alright, we’re changing course!」
With that said, the sailors on board began moving hurriedly.
「Merchant-dono, I’m sorry about this but we have confirmed sightings of a smoke signal being raised at the uninhabited island that’s nearby. We can’t just overlook that so I’m letting you know that we’ll be anchored here for a while」
「I don’t mind it. I’m treating this as just a leisurely trip by boat after all」
「I’m thankful for your consideration」
After reaching the cape, I looked at the sea and it certainly seemed like the ship’s bow was facing in our direction. A short while later, the ship’s sails were folded and a smaller boat was dropped into the water with several armed men on it.
「Are they already back for another subjugation? I’ve only been here for six days though」
「I can’t really say……」
「Well, just like what I said earlier, if I die, please have everyone board that ship home」
「……understood. To be honest, I’m living a much better life now than before I was a slave, so it would be a waste to return but I’ll ask everyone who wants to stay and who wants to leave」
「I’ll leave it to you」
We continued gazing at the small boat for a while and as they got closer, I saw that there were a total of eight people on the boat, six were the armed men while the other two were rowing it. Now then, what should I do? Should I call out to them while waving both hands?
「We’re about to reach it soon but that person standing at the coast… He looks like a dark skinned demonkin you know? Is that a new Demon Lord I wonder?」
「If that’s him, then I think we would have been attacked by now. That human beside him would also have already been killed a long time ago. Despite that, the two of them are just standing there and waving their hands. They probably just got stranded there」
「If we get attacked, you guys retaliate with magic and buy us time to run away」
「A demonkin speaking our common language? Is it a trap?」
「He looks really happy for someone who is laying a trap then. You guys really don’t think they just got shipwrecked there?」
「O~i! O~i! They did notice us, right?」
「Yeah. They were looking at us so I think they did.」
Once the small boat was a bit closer to us, they stopped and the leader of the armed group spoke to us.
「Are you guys stranded here? If so then we’ll help you out but we cannot trust that demonkin! If you want to be rescued then we’ll have to tie you up until we reach the main continent! Are you alright with that?」
「We aren’t stranded here! We live here! We wanted to exchange our goods, so we raised up a smoke signal to call you guys here! If it’s okay, I would like for us to begin the negotiations!」
After having that exchange, the mercenaries and sailors started to discuss while standing on top of the boat.
「Wait a moment!」
After a person wearing a robe who looked like the group’s magician said that, he began doing some kind of chant then started moving his mouth as if he was talking to somebody. Once he was done, his robe fluttered a bit, and after a short while, something that looked like a fireball was launched from the ship as some sort of signal.
「That ship is a cargo vessel and our client is currently on board! We asked him and it seems like he has agreed to discuss a trade with you. That fireball earlier was his response so if you go to the ship, you’ll be able to speak with him!」
Are they making me go there instead since they can’t guarantee their clients safely if he comes here?
「Well, I’m off then. If I don’t come back, just do your best to survive until the next ship arrives」
「Eh? Maou-sama!? Wait aー」
Before he could even finish what he wanted to say, I replied to the mercenaries.
「Okay! I’ll go with you since I really want to see this through! So, how do you want to do this?」
「Swim over here! Once you’re here, we’re going to restrain you!」
It doesn’t seem like they’re going to disembark… They really don’t trust me, do they? Well, I guess that should be natural. I’m a demonkin after all……
Leaving that aside, I entered the water and swam using the front crawl stroke until I reached the boat.
I tried to lighten the mood but they were a tough crowd. I noticed that one of the mercenaries had already prepared a rope so I tried to ask while smiling.
「Should I place my hands in front? Or would you prefer that I put them behind?」
He said that in a low voice so I turned around, put my wrists together behind me and quietly waited for them to get tied.
「Oi, I was right so you owe me a drink now」
「Tsk, I guess it can’t be helped」
It seems like I became the subject of a bet. Well, I don’t really feel like getting mad at this point so I’ll just behave myself.
As the boat went back towards the ship, only the sound of the paddles rowing could be heard.
「Oi demon, why do you want to negotiate a trade with our client so much?」
「Well, we’re severely lacking a lot of things after all. Food, tools, bedding, we don’t have enough of everything. That’s why I want to find a way to obtain those by any means. My top priority is going to be the food though」
I’m not sure if they got ticked off by me saying “by any means” but the boat was suddenly filled with a murderous aura.
「You better not do anything weird. I don’t want to be covered in filthy demonkin blood after all」
「Oh, what a coincidence. I also share the same sentiment since I don’t want to be killed」
「Stop it you two」
After a while, we finally reached the ship. There was a rope ladder for people to use to go up to the deck but since both my hands were tied behind my back, I couldn’t climb up. Because of that, they had another rope dropped down and tied me with it so that they could pull me up. They’re treating me really horribly but if it’s for the other islanders’ sake, this much isn’t that big of a deal.
「So you’re the demonkin who wants to trade. Don’t forget that we can kill you anytime if we notice you doing something weird」
Once I reached the deck, I was told that by the ship’s captain then was tied to a chair that they prepared beforehand. I was also surrounded by the sailors with their swords pointed at me. I’m actually scared, to be honest, but isn’t their reaction when encountering a demonkin way too exaggerated? Well, I don’t really have any other agendas aside from negotiating a trade so I guess it’s fine.
After being glared at for a while, a lanky man wearing flashy clothes stood up and started talking.
「Nice to meet you. You don’t seem to have the same impression as the Demon Lords I’ve heard from stories, so you must be just an ordinary subordinate demonkin, I presume? As for me, I consider those I trade with as a potential business partner so I try to get to know them first but…… I would like to ask first, what exactly is it that you want?」
「To put it simply, my top priority is food. I’d like to obtain wheat or potatoes if possible. I would also like fifty-one bedding sets if you have them. If you have plenty to spare then I’d like to take sixty. If not, then at the very least I’d like to have at least five. If you don’t have any at all, I don’t mind buying the ones being used by the sailors so I would ask of you to help me look for some humans who are willing to sell theirs. I can pay with money but I don’t want to use it as much as possible so I’d like to try offering a trade for those goods first. I still have other things I’d like to acquire, but I’ll just stick with the ones I mentioned for now」
The merchant folded his arms and looked like he was thinking of something. After that, he asked.
「I can understand you wanting to procure food but what do you need fifty-one bedding sets for? Also, for what reason are you so desperate that you would even be willing to buy at least five that are being used by the sailors?」
「There are 51 people living on that island including me. Five of those are children. That’s why I at least want to guarantee the bedding that the children will use」
The merchant started groaning in a low voice while his arms were still crossed and after another while, he asked another question.
「I want you to answer my question honestly. If you do then I’ll consider your proposition. I’ve heard that the Demon Lord that was living on that island had recently been subjugated by the hero. Is that still the case or is there a new one?」
I have no choice but to brace myself for this.
「……there is new one」
Everyone around started making a commotion.
「I see…… Is that Demon Lord, you?」
He was able to come up with that conclusion as expected.
They got even more agitated with some trying to attack me but they were stopped by the others.
「Why is it that you are willingly putting up with our treatment then?」
「It’s for the sake of the humans living on that island」
「Stop lying you damned demonkin!」
Hearing my reply caused one of the sailors to say that and then try to cut me with his sword, so I reacted by making the chair I was tied to fall to the right side. His sword got deeply stuck on the ground, so he was probably seriously trying to kill me. Fortunately, my feet weren’t bound so I was able to maneuver myself to avoid the strike.
Iyaー, this is no longer a laughing matter, is it? Should I give them a little warning?
「Someone restrain this fellow. I absolutely don’t have any intention of settling this violently so anyone who tries to attack him again will have to answer to me. Do you understand?」
With that said, the sailor that tried to attack me with his sword was taken inside while the others returned me to my original position.
「I’m terribly sorry about that. There are a lot of sailors here that are quick to pick fights after all」
「It’s okay, I don’t mind it. I’ll let it pass since I didn’t die but I might just retaliate the next time I get attacked」
「Oh!? What was that you bastard!? You guys heard that? Even when he’s like this, it seems like this bastard can still fight back if you attack him!」
「What can someone tied to a chair do! Let’s see you try it then you bastard! Watch how I become a hero with this!」
After saying that, another one tried to attack me. My hands were still bound, so I just made an 【Obsidian Kunai】 float, then launched it at the speed of a pitch from a high school baseball club pitcher. It went straight through his instep and got stuck on the deck.
Hearing one of their comrades scream in pain caused their bloodlust to grow even stronger so I made around thirty more 【Obsidian Kunai】 to keep them at bay. I was in a hurry so they don’t really look like kunais though. Haaー, I can only sigh at this predicament.
「Why must you keep on interrupting our discussion? I’m going to get angry you know?」(Caam)
「Wellー, I actually want to have this privately, to be honest」(Merchant)
「I wanted the same as well but I just quietly obeyed what you asked of me since I want to gain your trust. That’s all ruined now though」
「It’s now fine for you to put down those floating things so can I can restart my questioning?」
「I would have done so even if you didn’t say anything」
「At the very least, I’ll guarantee that there will be no further obstructions while we are negotiating. Even if I look like this, I’m still a merchant after all」
「I would appreciate that」
「Now then, as for my next question, why is it that you want to guarantee the children’s bedding at the very least?」
「I have children of my own so I want to keep the children cheerful and happy if possible. I don’t want them to sleep on beds with just laid out dried grass anymore. As for the adults, they’ll just have to bear with it a little more」
「I understand. I can sell you food but not bedding since I don’t have any. I will convert the goods you’ll present into money then I’ll try to see if there is anyone from the sailors willing to sell their bedding. I can even sell the ones that are being used by the mercenaries I hired if it doesn’t work out」
While we were having that conversation, I noticed that the merchant kept looking behind me. I was kinda curious so I tried looking around and saw the others slowly creeping in while grinning. They probably got closer while concealing their footsteps.
Good grief, I’m getting really sick of this. I’m not really sure where exactly they are so I just made a stone slab that’s 10 cm wide and three meters tall float 3 meters above my back that I can drop any time.
Why do you guys sound amazed? That’s just how desperate I am okay?
「Thank you very much」
「So, what is it that you can offer?」
「Two adult deer and 1 wild boar that has already been processed. There’s also a bear’s skin. The meat was obtained by our hunters this morning so I guarantee that it’s still fresh. We’ve already dealt with the innards as well. Also, we have sugar that we made from boiling palm tree’s sap, salt made from sea water, a bunch of thumbnail-sized bittersweet fruit, and a bit of honey. We have fish too but since you’re traveling via sea, you probably have plenty of those in stock. It hasn’t even been six months yet since we started staying on that island so we don’t have much in terms of preserved food. We wanted to make regular dried meat but we didn’t have enough salt as well as a place to dry the meat so we just tried a different method for preserving meat which was smoking. Well, it has only been a few days since we started with that so it’s not dry yet. If we add that then I can offer you some more meat」
The merchant in front of me didn’t say anything so I continued.
「We also have some lumber from cutting down some trees since we started cultivating a field. If you have some use for them, I think they would float on the sea so you can just tie them with a rope and pull them along with the ship. That’s all that we have right now but if we manage to obtain wheat or potatoes, we plan to plant them in order to produce them here. I could also sell you some information since I know a method to make strong liquors. If you give me some time, I’ll go home and get some samples to prove it to you. If you don’t find anyone who is willing to sell me their bedding since I’m a demonkin then I guess I’ll just use transfer magic to go home and use my own funds to buy the children’s bedding」
「Hmmー. Can I ask another question before we continue? Just now you said you are able to go back home, so why don’t you just buy and sell the things you want there? Do stores in your home town not sell a lot of goods by chance?」
「I wanted to see how far we can develop that island by just relying on the things we find there. It would have been simple to just rely on money at first but I just went with this method since I thought that it was necessary in order to properly manage my territory. Also, I want to try to increase the number of demonkins and humans living on that island, so just trading with fellow demonkins wouldn’t really help with that goal. The humans that are currently living on the island were the slaves given to me when I became a Demon Lord. I freed them from their slave status and I brought the bare minimum supplies for all of us but it’s going to be tough to bring wheat enough for fifty people every time. I have one sack’s worth of wheat that hasn’t been grounded into flour yet but even if we sprinkle that into the newly cultivated field, we still can’t harvest it right away. That’s why I also want to get potatoes since if we plant them now, it won’t take that long for them to be ready for harvest」
「Nnー, I see. I’ve also heard that there is some kind of limit to that transfer magic, so you probably can’t bring a lot, can you? I understand. For the time being, how about we cross out the things that you would need for your day to day lives on the list of things you offered for trading?」
「I would appreciate that」
「Don’t mind it since I also get something in this deal. Even though I had to take a slight detour, I get to have a good relationship with a potentially great business partner」
「I don’t know the value of meat though. I haven’t had many experiences in these kinds of dealings after all」
「I see…… The value of human’s and demonkin’s currency is about the same right?」
「More or less……」
「Well then, shall we check on the goods first? Captain, I apologize in advance but I want you to take me to that island」
「Please be careful when entering the inner bay because as far as I can tell, there’s a shoal surrounding the bay」(Caam)
「Gotcha. We’ll also be taking some of that fresh meat you have. The crew is getting tired of eating dried meat after all」 (Captain)
After saying that, they opened the sails, raised the anchor, and had the ship enter the bay.
By the way, I was still tied to the chair the entire time.