Chapter 96: That time when we bought cows1
It’s been seven days since the fool’s subordinate got attacked by a bear. We arrived at Corundum in the morning so everyone went to their favorite place to have breakfast while leaving the unloading to the subordinates. As for me, I immediately went to the catfish-mustached merchant’s inn and informed him that the goods were being brought into the warehouse and that Alban-san had died.
He was a bit surprised but he didn’t seem particularly shaken.
「Please ask your two subordinates for further details. Well then, I’ll be waiting at the warehouse so please bring a carriage over」
It would have been fine if I just entrusted it to my subordinates but instead of just hearing about it, I wanted to see firsthand his reaction when he hears that someone died so I can relay it to Caam-san.
After a while of waiting, a carriage arrived in front of the warehouse so we loaded in the coffee as well as the luggage of the remaining two subordinates.
Then it was time to negotiate.
「Let’s review the changes, shall we? Apart from the price we agreed upon before, we will be adding the necessary expenditures to get to and from the island. We both have confirmed that there is almost no calculation error for this part. That said, there was no longer a need to provide one person’s share on the return trip but that will only deduct three meals a day for a total of 18 for six days…… May Alban-san’s soul rest in peace」
I don’t know much about him but I said a prayer to keep up the act. After that, I received the amount agreed upon, returned 18 meals worth of money then said the customary line.
「If you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us」
I bowed after saying that, then the catfish-mustached merchant rode his carriage and went towards the gate.
「Good grief. I wonder if he got those three to come along at the behest of some bigshot from somewhere. Well, the hundred bags of coffee beans this time were really profitable so I should thank Caam-san when I can」
I had gathered all of the islanders in front of me.
「Right about now, the merchant Nils should have already arrived at the port city. Once they have settled things, we will finally get some money. We’ll use a part of it to pay the craftsmen from Corundum but I think we’ll use the rest to finally buy the long-awaited cows. Of course, we’ll get a pair so we can breed them. However, we still can’t afford to pay wages for islanders who were former slaves and we don’t have anywhere you can spend it here anyways so please bear with it for a while」
「We don’t really mind though……」
That lone response came from their representative.
「Just buying the cows won’t decrease dissatisfaction though so I’m also planning on buying other necessary items. What do you guys want? You’ll be paid in kind instead of money」
That was what several men immediately cried out.
That was quick. I’m actually a bit surprised how quick that came out.
「It’s almost time to harvest the wheat so we’re going to store a bit more than usual but the rest will be made into liquor. Because of that, we’re going to buy liquor but not as much as we did before. Anything else?」
After I said that, everyone started discussing among themselves and several opinions started to come about. Then finally, they were able to organize a list and the most important items were written at the top while the least important ones were at the bottom.
「Alright then. When we have some extra money, we’re going to buy the things on this list starting from the top」
A cheerful man replied for everyone. We could probably make some liquor right now using coconuts if we have sugar but they’ll probably want to drink liquor that’s not available on the island from time to time.
「Captain, I have a question」
「What is it?」
「Last time, we asked the merchant to deliver the livestock to us but I’d like to save money so I want you to handle transporting it. Is it possible?」
「……ships can more or less handle sheep and the like but larger livestock are going to be harder. And wouldn’t the added stress make it more difficult to milk them?」
「Caam, just bring a cow that’s not being milked because it’s about to give birth. It’ll turn out fine if we just let it relax once it gets here. Don’t worry about it. I’ll just come along to the port city」
After Enomoto-san said that, it was decided that we’ll be leaving the cattle to him. The only problem left is the ship.
「Would it really be alright, Captain? You’ll be dealing with a lot of fodder and manure you know?」
I tilted my head while asking as I faced the captain.
「……Y-yeah. If we tie it on the deck, lay down some straw to let it soak in, then wash it off right away then maybe……… Even better if we can get Caam-san to help clean up with his magic when we get back to the island」
「Then it’s fine. Can you put ten adults in a small boat and lower it down with a rope?」
「What? Haa. We pretty much can」
「A cow is roughly the same weight as ten adults so I guess you guys would be fine carrying it in and dropping it off right?」
「Iyaー, as expected of our strong sailors. I’ll leave it to you guys okay?」
I tapped the captain’s shoulder while having a huge smile on my face. I heard one of his subordinates saying that was pretty nasty of me but it’s better if we spend as little as possible.
I actually wanted to just go with the captain who brought the heroes to the island before so he’ll get a stomachache from all the stress but I’ll give up on that.
I’ll just leave it to sitting across the table from them, serving them some tea with a smile, then talk about recent happenings as we drink. His stomach will probably still get affected if he’s guilty.
「Well then, once the preparations are ready, please depart for Corundum. We will be purchasing a variety of things so it would be great if you can start loading in the cargo once you get there. Because of that, please take your time getting ready. With that said, let’s take care not to have any mishaps in our work today as well. We don’t have any coffee left so I should get them to harvest more today」
After I said that, I went and harvested more coffee than usual then transferred to Corundum in the afternoon to go to Nils-san’s place.
As usual, I entered the warehouse and called out to a worker nearby. I heard that he came back in the morning and the merchant who bought coffee had left the town by noon so that’s why I’m here. It seems like he was in the middle of resting.
I knocked on the door then entered when I heard a reply.
「Thank you for the other day. I figured you would be back today so I came to visit」
「No problem. It was my pleasure. The coffee has yielded me quite a profit you know?」
Nils-san forcibly made a smile but his face looked tired.
「I know you’re really tired but I’m here to get our pay. We’ll use that money to buy some things」
「Hahaha…… Transfer magic is so convenient, isn’t it? In fact, it’s so convenient that I want to learn it. Ah, please forgive my grumbling」
It’s not like this is our first meeting and I don’t particularly mind so I’ll just ignore that complaint. I guess it is quite mentally exhausting to travel by boat. I should have expected this to happen when I visited as soon as he got back.
While I was thinking that, Nils-san came back with documents and the proceeds and put them on the table.
「Here is the money we received from the merchant we did business with. As you can see from the documents, these here are the necessary expenses plus the labor costs and this here is the price per bag. Since this is Caam-san’s suggested price per bag, this is the difference. And when adding a ten percent profit to that, the final sales of a hundred bags is this」 3
Hmー, even though it looks favorable to me, I guess they are still making quite a profit from this. He had a huge smile on his face when seeing the numbers on the document after all.
「I see. Since it’s just ten percent, it’s easy to calculate. Well, considering that huge smile, it seems like you are making quite a lot of profit from this but I won’t ask for the specifics. It’s fine as long as we can sell coffee so I look forward to working with you again in the future」
「I look forward to it too」
「Anyway, these are what I am thinking of buying. After taking the amount that I’ll be needing to pay the craftsmen that we invited from this city, I want you to use the rest of the money to buy the things from this list」
After saying that, I gave the list to Nils-san.
「I see you want to buy cows. Do you want the merchant to deliver it to the island again?」
「No, I want to save as much money as possible so we’ll bring it back ourselves. We don’t have much knowledge about transporting large livestock but we’ll manage somehow. I’ll leave it to you to decide where you’ll get it from though it’s unfortunate that I can’t appoint the merchant who gave us a free hero from last time」
「I don’t know what you’re thinking but you’re making a terrifying smile you know?」
「I just want to get revenge for the other day by thanking him for his hard work and serving him tea with a smile on my face. That’s all. I won’t lay a hand on the captain and his crew who are innocent. I’ll just smile and be mature about it. Maybe some small talk about what happened to the hero too like the misunderstanding that caused me to get attacked. We managed to reconcile though so I sent them back to this port city because I happened to be going here anyway. Just stuff like that」
「Haha. That’ll give him a stomachache, wouldn’t it?」
「It’s just a teeny tiny bit of revenge you know?」
We negotiated while looking at the things written down on the list and decided to immediately scrap the bottom half of it.
「Ah, I forgot but the merchant who ordered coffee wasn’t particularly shaken when I told him about Alban-san’s death. It seems like they really had nothing to do with each other and were just traveling companions」
「I see. It doesn’t really matter to me. If the number of people like that becomes too much, we can just bring Oda-san here instead of having them come to the island」
We continued chatting after that. We talked about how the taste of coffee was really slightly different or how they got hooked by the fragrance of the soap made from the island that they brought it home with them.
「I want to talk more about that soap」
Nils-san lowered his voice and his eyes looked like a predator that’s seen prey.
「Don’t you have those here?」
「We do have some but just like how it was with yours, they are kept a secret and the techniques don’t really get out. And since they are made privately, they are the only ones who reap the rewards」
「I guess it’s pretty expensive then. I don’t mind selling the finished product but we don’t have enough manpower yet and we are only making enough to meet the island’s demand. Even if we were to put all our effort into making it, we would need to rent an empty house over here and hire people to produce it in small quantities」
「Let me do it. We’ll split the profits 50-50. How about it?」
He immediately brought business into the conversation. Guess that’s to be expected of a merchant.
「There’s a high demand for it, right? Ten percent」
「The demand is really high among the upper class. It’s honestly a premium item. It also takes time and effort to make essential oils. Eighty percent」4
「If you’re willing to provide essential oils then that’s good as well. But even so, when the island has developed, we can also sell it ourselves you know? You might be fine with that but we probably would have already gotten more than enough of that manpower after about five seasons cycles passes」
Nils-san was really troubled.
「I was joking. I’m not that interested in money. If you’re willing to do me a favor in the future, I’m even willing to take a 50-50 split」
「You…… You’re so naive that I really want to scold you. I thought this was going to be a fun negotiation」
「I’d like to avoid troublesome things. I really just wanted to live a leisurely life in my hometown, you know? Despite that, I suddenly became a Demon Lord……」
I breathed a sigh as I pushed on my eyebrows.
「At any rate, we’ll sort out the details on another day. You’ve already seen the product so it’s fine right?」
I stopped pressing on my eyebrows and went back to my usual self.
「Let’s go with that. We can make it official with some documents by then. I’ll have the items you requested ready as soon as possible」
With that said, we parted and I went back to the island.
I sent the captain and the others to Corundum while promising that I will bring Enomoto-san there after five days. As we discussed before, they brought along with them a harpy to see how they would fare as their lookout.
「Ah, there’s the ship. Let’s go」
「Alright. I’ll send it back right away if the cow’s not good enough」
「Got it. I’ll leave everything to you since you’re more knowledgeable than me when it comes to this」
With that said, we went to the ship to meet up with everyone.
「Good work. How did the harpy do?」
「They were excellent when it comes to keeping watch but they can’t really do much else. They were able to spot a merchant vessel passing through the sea route from the top of the sail where nobody else could so we would have been able to react quickly if they were pirates」
「If that’s the case, I guess I should get Oda-san to come up with something they could use as a weapon when thrown from the sky」
「We’ve also already brought in the requested items in the presence of one of Nils-san’s staff so all that’s left is to bring this document there and pay for it」
The captain took a paper out from his breast pocket and gave it to me.
「But before that, the cow! Hurry up and show us the cow」
「Ah, that’s right. They’re over here, Enomoto-san」
The captain led Enomoto-san to the stern of the ship where the cows were tied to.
「Hmmー. Well, they’re still young so there’s some promise. They’re alright. And there are two of them as well. Excellent. Well then, it’s fine if I look after these guys right? Take me to the hot springs when we get back okay?」
「Alright. We can even discuss making your coastal hot spring house and the drainage you know?」
「You do get me, don’t you? If that’s the case then I’m completely satisfied」
After saying that, he started talking and patting the cows to calm them.
「Thank goodness. If you weren’t satisfied with these cows after we’ve come this far……」
The captain breathed a sigh of relief.
「Was it hard to bring them on board?」
「Yes, really hard」
「Thank you for your hard work. Well then, I’ll leave the rest to you」
As the cow mooed, an odd smell drifted across the deck. I ran away towards Nils-san’s place.
This exchange has become so common that I even got greeted by the other workers who were around.
「I drank cocoa for the first time the other day and it was really good. I even brought some back home to give to my kid and he loved it」
「That’s good to hear」
「The wife kept grumbling about the sugar though」
「Haha, it’ll be bitter without it after all. Well then, I should go and meet up with Nils-san」
After saying that, I went to Nils-san’s room
「Sorry but let’s get down to business right away」
He seemed really motivated. The documents were already prepared and all I had to do was sign them. It was that profitable huh? Was 50% still too low?
「These are the goods. There’s mint, lavender, and chamomile. There are no roses on the island so we couldn’t make rose oil but I think we can pretty much make the basic stuff」
Nils-san started smelling the soap I brought.
「Can I try it?」
「Sure. I don’t mind」
After saying that, he called out to his employees of both genders including one who looked like a secretary, and got them to wash their hands at the well in the back.
「Ohー. What a nice scent」
「It can clean dirt just as well as regular soap」
「This one feels cool and refreshing」
Those kinds of comments could be heard all around.
「Nils-san, this is a luxury item, isn’t it? What’s happening?」
「Those are made by Caam-san. I asked how they’re made since I’m planning to open up a new business venture」
Hearing that, they all gave me an annoyed look. Hey, I did nothing wrong okay?
After the sampling was done, we all went back inside. Once the other people left, we began the explanation.
「It’s simple. You shave off a bar of soap, make a strong brew from fragrant flowers, then take the potpourri used to make the tea and grind it together with the soap shavings. Add the essential oils into the soap potpourri mixture as well as some honey then slowly add in the tea until the mixture has a similar softness to your earlobe. Once that’s done, you put the mixture into a mold and let it dry in a cool and shaded area」
「This isn’t a detailed recipe but it outlines the general points of how to make it. Burn it if you don’t need it. Also, it’s not a perfect formula so please continue to study it okay?」 6
「Understood. Well then, please sign here」
While I do trust him, I still read the contract carefully and reviewed it several times before signing it.
「Alright, it’s done」
「I hope it succeeds」
「I hope I don’t get stabbed in the back for having a monopoly on this……」
「Have you experienced that before?」
「Something similar happened a long time ago」
「……well then, I’ll be taking my leave. Take care」
I didn’t ask him to elaborate. It seems like Nils-san was quite reckless when he was younger……
「Hahaha, please pray that I don’t get killed」
「Then why don’t you increase the number of security you have? What happened to the adventurers who were with you the first time you came to the island?」
「They just happened to be going to Corundum so I was able to hire those guys for cheap」
「Ahh…… Then please be careful」
「I got it. I also wish you the best of luck. If I need anything, I’ll pass a letter on to the manager」
「Alright. I’ll be taking my leave」
After saying that, I went back to the island. With the things we bought, we can now make butter and cheese.