Chapter 78: That time when we had a negotiation and the hero’s report
I welcomed my long-awaited craftsmen to the island.
There were no particular problems with the carpenters, mason, and woodworker but the blacksmith needed a dedicated facility for him to be able to work.
「The fuel isn’t a problem and I already have the tools I need but I won’t be able to do anything without a furnace」
Because of that, I immediately assembled a furnace in the hut that was hurriedly constructed in the industrial district.
「I’ll fix your tools first」
That’s what I was told but the only thing that needs fixing is my machete.
「This is the only one I have that needs to be fixed」
I brought over my machete and showed it to him.
「The thing’s beaten up. The blade’s been chipped all over the place, and it’s been sharpened down to nothing. I’ll have to reforge it again and polish it up」
「I’ll leave it to you」
I said that as I left him to do his work.
He started up the furnace, heated the blade part of the machete, used his hammer to remove all the imperfections, then polished it.
「Don’t worry about it. Just give me the tools that need fixing」
After saying that, he went back to working on the other tools he was entrusted with. I guess it’s fine to leave him be. Even the other craftsmen were doing their jobs without any problems so I can go back to my work.
I’m thinking of extending the road to the western part of the island. That way, we can easily access the coffee trees. We can also gain access to the olives that are nearby to the south. The only question is whether the road should go along the coastline or through the center of the island.
Considering that cutting through trees and removing the roots would take time, it would probably be easier to just lift the soil along the shore to create a path. There’s also that strange cocoon in the southeast part of the island but I hope we’ll be able to find some while we’re exploring the southwestern area.
The estimated circumference of the island is about 150 kilometers. Even if we divide the island into four, it’s still going to be around 40 kilometers away. If I go at a pace of 5 kilometers each day, it would take 8 days to get to the south. It would take even longer to make it go west. There’s nobody else who can do this other than me. This will be a lonely struggle, won’t it?
The next day, I told everyone that I’ll be moving alone for a while to build a road to harvest the coffee that’s at the western part of the island.
Instead of having the islanders farm the coffee, we could just keep giving rabbit meat to the harpies but we’ll eventually need to make this road. That’s why it would be better to start building it early. I don’t need accurate surveying since it would already be enough just to have a passable road there with our current circumstances. Our population won’t increase yet anyway. It can’t be helped if it increases but I won’t purposely do it yet since we still have food problems. If it looks like there won’t be any problems based on this year’s harvest, we’ll try to increase it.
When building the road, I picked out the flattest area I could. Even if I needed to make a curve, I purposely do it where it’ll just be a gentle one.
I kept an eye for places that I needed to clear out and made sure that I was at least 10 meters inland, away from where the dirt and sand meet. I raised the soil at regular intervals while marking where the road’s shoulder should be. I also leveled the uneven surfaces and removed the large stones. This should be good enough for now.
Huh? It won’t need to be maintained that much you know? The only thing that will need to be maintained is the cobble paving once I add it. Just driving stakes on the ground and connecting them with ropes would be enough. I didn’t really pay attention when I was exploring but I’ll be able to finish quickly if it’s just this much.
I don’t need to worry about the elevation difference, or how I’ll lose a couple of centimeters a kilometer away because the angle is off after all. If I needed to do accurate surveying, I would have needed to pay attention to those things as well.
Apart from that, we still have the problem of how to transport the harvest.
Should we buy a horse and use it for transport or just harvest the coffee then use transfer magic to transport it once a certain amount has accumulated? Either way, we’ll need quite a lot of personnel no matter which choice we go with so we should also consider negotiating a long-term deal with the harpies. It would be great if we could negotiate using meat, wheat, fish, or potatoes but…… Well, it’s pointless if it’s just me speculating so I’ll go and negotiate with Chiarore-san.
A few days later, I walked all the way to the south of the island but there wasn’t a place in particular that caught my attention. Unless I was feeling sleepy, I continued to lay out the road so I was able to finish the road to the south. While I was at it, I decided to raise the soil a bit at the area that I deemed to be the southernmost point of the island as a landmark. It’s really great to be able to do this earlier than I had planned. I should continue to finish up the rest of the road at this rate.
I transferred to the hot spring in the mountain while carrying a deer that I had hunted in the morning.
I completed the preliminary inspection of the road that the carriage will travel through to the east so I was on my way to negotiate the collection of the coffee fruit with a gift in hand.
「What’s up, Caam? What’s with the meat?」
Facile must have seen me holding a deer so she approached me.
「I have something to ask of your father so I brought this along as a gift」
「You’re bringing meatー!? That’s the same one we ate a long time ago right?」
「That’s right. So, is your father around?」
Well, he probably is. They don’t hunt more than what they need for the day so I can only imagine that he’s flying around somewhere.
「He is~. Want me to call him?」
「I want to have a proper conversation with him so you don’t have to ask him to come. Just go home first and let him know I’m coming」
After saying that, she immediately flew away.
Well, from what I could see, their houses are just a pile of branches so it’s not really that different from where I am. It should be the one close to where Facile dropped stones at me right? Now that I think about it, I should have asked for directions. My bad, I didn’t think about that.
In the meantime, I just went to the place where their nests were and waited for Chiarore-san.
「Oh, it’s the Demon Lord. What brings you here?」
I already introduced myself before, didn’t I? Did you forget perhaps?
「Hello. I came because I have something I want to discuss. But first, here is a gift」
「I appreciate it」
After saying that, we dropped off the meat at their storage place before I continued.
「It’s about the red fruit we talked about a while back butー」
He stopped me in the middle of my sentence.
「Is this going to be long? If it is then do me a favor and summarize it」
I contemplated for a while and decided to just go with the main points.
「That red fruit has become essential for us. Our village is located on the opposite side of the island so I want you guys to harvest it in our stead. If you do that, we’ll exchange it for meat」
「How much do you need?」
「We’re not sure yet but for the meantime, we’ll just get 5 sacks that are the same size as last time」
「Is that all you need?」
「Yes. We still have a lot left from last time after all」
Since one sack is 30 kilos, if we have 5 sacks, it will be enough until it becomes popular in that town.
It would be great if a merchant wants to buy it but I’m still worried about how popular it will be or if people will like it. We’ll manage somehow if we run out of supply but with this, I’ll be able to tell the lady from the town guard that we’ll be able to proceed earlier than planned.
「I want Chiarore-san and the others to have enough to eat though. Will everything be alright?」
「Don’t worry about that. We have quite a large supply. And besides, we don’t need a lot. Taking a hundred or two of those sacks won’t cause us any problems」
「Thank you. However, I’m still not sure if any would get sold. And besides, I would feel bad for having you transport it to us all the time so let’s negotiate again once we need more」
「Do you really need that much!?」
「We might actually need a hundred or two you know? It’s something that’s only available on this island as of this moment after all. Because of that, once we need a hundred sacks of the stuff, we’ll build a hut near the forest that we’re going to use as storage. That way, we’ll be able to use wagons to transport them」
「Muu. If that happens, we’ll run out of food once there’s no more meat」
「I’m also keeping that in mind. We’ll make a separate fenced area that’s reserved for your consumption. We will also continue to trade your excess supply for meat. It will be fine if we do it that way」
「As expected of someone who became a Demon Lord. You’re pretty smart」
Hmmー. I’m conflicted when people call me smart for saying something pretty normal.
「We’re breeding rabbits and pigs at the moment so once their numbers increase, we can use them to trade for that red fruit. We’ll use the meat we get from the livestock in exchange for the fruit that you harvest. Is that alright?」
That was quick. You should probably think about this a bit more you know?
「Then, how about we go with the rate of 1 sack for half its weight in meat?」
「I’ll leave it to you」
You answered too quickly again.
「Uhm, since Chiarore-san’s tribe’s food is connected to your survival, are you sure you don’t want to think about it some more?」
「I don’t think you’re a bad guy so I trust you. You brought meat just to talk with me after all. Based on the rate you said, the meat you brought is worth about 3 sacks, right? If that’s the case then I have no complaints. Also, I’ve heard from my people that you are raising pigs and rabbits for eating so there will be plenty of prey left in the forest for us to hunt. That’s why we don’t have to worry about the red fruit being taken. If we get betrayed, we’ll get betrayed so what’s there to think about?」
After saying that, he started laughing as he flapped his wings.
Everyone says I’m completely naive and kind but what will you do if I actually do betray you? Well, since they can fly over this vast island, we can get them to help us transport light objects or have them carry our letters in the future. That’s why it’s a good idea for us to maintain our friendly relationship.
「I see. Then we’ll go with six sacks instead of five. In exchange, I’ll give you another similar-sized deer」
「Umu. It’s better for us to get the whole thing so that would be great. Everyone’s preference differs depending on the part so if there are enough legs and body parts to go around, there won’t be any quarrels or fights」
「Well, I’ll leave it to you」
「Umu, alright. Forgive me but you should write down what we just discussed. It would be bad if I forgot after all」
「I was already thinking of doing that. If what was promised has been written down on paper, we’ll be able to avoid problems later on」
It’s just a contract but he’ll probably understand it better if I call it a promise. I wrote the contents of our discussion on a piece of paper, signed it, then gave it to him.
The contents are simple.
・When Caam asks for the red fruit, bring it to him and he will exchange it with meat equivalent to half of the weight of what was brought.
・Secure a place in the forest where the harpies will get the red fruit for their food supply that won’t be touched.
・If the situation changes or there’s something you are not sure about, immediately ask Caam.
I also wrote on another paper our exchange of six sacks of the red fruit for 2 deer. This much should probably be enough.
As I thought of that, Ryuze-san brought us some tea. To be honest, I didn’t think they had a custom of drinking tea. I don’t even know where their kitchen is in this place.
「It’s fine. You were talking about work after all」
It certainly was about work but I didn’t think our conversation would take so long that we’ll need refreshments. Well, she went through the effort to make this so I guess I’ll just drink it.
A bitterness that was on a different level from tea and coffee spread in my mouth. I think it probably is also acidic and has a harsh taste.1
「Hahaha. It’s going to be bitter unless you’re used to drinking it. I hated it too when I was a kid. It’s made by boiling short branches」
It reminds me of the senburi tea and megusuri tea that my grandparents drank. It was boiled using those small Nanbu teapots. Considering that they’re a tribe that mainly eats meat, I think they drink this to make up for the other nutrients they need. While thinking that, I drank the rest of the tea while enduring its taste with a smile. 2
The Hero’s Report
Ten days after they parted ways with Caam in Corundum
「It’s a pain but I’m going to the castle. Caam-san told me he doesn’t mind how I do it so I’ll give them a proper report」
「Even if he said that, he’s our benefactor so shouldn’t we help him out?」
「I was already thinking of doing that. I’ll try to choose my words so that it would be favorable for him」
「Alright. It would be great if I could go with you though」
「Only heroes…… or more like the people taken against their will, can meet with them so it can’t be helped」
「Don’t look so gloomy. Like what that guy said, if anything happens, you can just go back to that island. Although I can’t really tell you not to worry, it’s fine for you to rely on us too」
「That’s right. Let’s have fun drinking like before」
「Thanks. I’m off」
I went to the castle and was immediately let through when I said that I was there to talk about what happened to the Demon Lord. After waiting for about 5 minutes, the important-looking old man came out.
「Let’s hear your report」
He’s completely become the princess and the king’s representative when it comes to these things.
「Regarding the rumors about a Demon Lord in the island, there were demonkin there, but there was no Demon Lord」
「……I see. Go on」
「We asked all of the demonkin to cooperate and searched them for the Demon Lord’s sigil but we didn’t find it. In addition to that, humans were living there and they were developing the island together with demonkin. It was the demonkin who were leading the development but they weren’t oppressive and everyone got along well」3
「……I see. It’s unacceptable for the demonkin to be taking command but it’s great that there was no Demon Lord. The quest was to defeat the Demon Lord but since there wasn’t one in the first place, we won’t reward you. Are you fine with that?」
「Then, I shall retire」4
After saying that, the old man was about to go back inside but I stopped him.
「One moment please. I would like you to listen to my request」
「What is it? If it’s not something within my scope of responsibility, it will take five days to get a reply. Is that fine?」
「I don’t mind」
「Then go ahead」
「I’m thinking of honing my skills so I would like to take a break from taking Demon Lord subjugation quests. To that end, would it be alright if my comrades and I travel around the continent for a while?」
「In that case, the monetary allowance the kingdom provides you will be temporarily halted. Is that fine?」
「Then let’s end this meeting. Report to me when you get back」
After saying that, he was finally able to go back inside.
It was already evening by the time I was done so I went to the crowded tavern we frequented.
「The princess didn’t show up again. What’s even the point?」
「Watch what you say, you don’t know who’s listening. Rock might be fine but the rest of us are expendable」
「My bad, my bad」
「So, how was it?」
Everyone stopped drinking and waited for me to speak. Because of that, I told them about my conversation with the old man.
「I see. It would certainly cause all sorts of problems if they just let the summoned heroes play around」
「But I told them I want to improve my skills you know? That reason should be more than enough. I’m not sure though」
「Still, there are other heroes so they might think you’re lacking since you want to improve your skills」
「You think so? Instead of having them compete with each other, I think the reason they have a lot of heroes is so that they can send them to all sorts of places to defeat strong Demon Lords. That’s why a newbie like Rock keeps getting asked to subjugate Demon Lords even though there are stronger senior heroes」
「You have a point. They can use them for diplomacy as well. I don’t really understand how the higher-ups think」
「Well, that’s not something we should be worrying about. Oi, Rock. Start drinking already!」
「Ah, that’s right. Excuse me! Mead please」
「That’s really the only thing you drink, isn’t it?」
「I can’t help it since the others are hard to drink. And besides, you know I’m not a great drinker」
「Yep. Just two beers are enough for you to get wasted after all」
「That’s right. That’s why I drink a little at a time」
「So, what are we toasting for?」
「Ahー. How about for we have a toast for the start of our journey?」
「Let’s go with that」