Extra chapter thanks to my Patreons~
(247) Collecting information with Neete
And so, after returning Sheena No.3 to My World, I set off along with Neete to the town of Hanmuno.
That bastard Fuyun turned obedient the instant Neete held onto the reins.
“Master, what would be our back story?”
“My relationship with Master. We definitely can’t go with homunculus and Master, right?”
That was true, there was a chance we would be asked at the gate.
In that case, it would probably be best to think of a back story in advance.
“Can’t we go with brother and sister oil peddlers?”
“We don’t look alike though. Our hair color is completely different as well.”
“Then, a young master peddler and his apprentice.”
“But won’t we be discovered immediately if we go with being a young master peddler and his apprentice but we’re not from a famous company?”
“Uh … then what better choices do we have …”
“Why not go with our usual?”
Neete said and took something out.
It was the slave collar that Haru had on her.
Neete fit it on her own neck.
“All right, then from now on I am Master’s slave ― ah, perhaps I should call you Master?” (TL: Neete usually calls MC by Master(English) and she switched to call him Master(Goshujin-sama), the term slaves/maids use.)
“You … illegal slaves are not allowed.”
Naturally, the collar was not locked so it could be easily removed.
“In that case, we only have one choice.”
Neete said and grinned.
She probably planned to do so from the beginning.
So that’s the town of Hanmuno. I imagined a browner image since I heard it was a town in the wilderness but it was somehow completely white.
The city walls were completely white too.
There was a queue formed by quite a number of people at the entrance so I joined the queue with my carriage.
There was a surprising number of human traffic considering there were rumors of a war happening. Or perhaps it was because there was a war? There were many horse carriages heading northwest. They were probably delivering war supplies to the border town.
Incidentally, although I referred to them as horse carriages, a vast majority of them were not pulled by horses. Most of them were pulled by camels or a dinosaur-like animal.
Since the north side was a desert area, they do not normally utilize horses to pull goods. In fact, the carriages were shaped a little strangely.
They had wheels but the base of the carriage had something like a sleigh.
I guessed that once they reached the desert, they would remove the wheels and travel using the sleigh.
It reached my turn as I was feeling impressed by their knowledge of the desert.
“Yes ― the war started and I didn’t know where to head to.”
“I see ― what about this girl?”
He looked at Neete beside me who was pulling the reins.
Yup, they asked that question after all.
” … My wife.”
In the end, we decided that it would be strange if a man traveled with a woman that was neither a slave or his wife ― so since we couldn’t go with slave, we decided to act as though she was my wife.
Neete’s left ring finger was fitted with a silver ring I made.
“You’re married? Your age difference is quite large.”
“Of course, they say that the newer the better, for both tatami and wife! We’re deeply in love! We can’t be separated for a single moment!”
That line about tatami and wife is something the husband would say, not you!
And the guy must definitely be a useless person if he ever says something like that.
Moreover, the people in this world probably don’t know what a tatami is.
However, even though he couldn’t catch the meaning of the words, he seemed to have caught the nuances of it. Furthermore, Neete stuck close to me and stuck her tongue out slightly.
After that, the unfriendly soldier stared at our faces and wrote something on his parchment. I hope he didn’t write anything strange.
“Oil huh, let me check.”
The soldier circled around to the rear of the carriage and verified the goods. Naturally, I was not lying. There were a large number of oil pots placed in the loading platform of the carriage.
If we planned to act as peddlers, it would be strange if we didn’t have any goods.
They were all created with Oil Create so I could guarantee their quality.
“Three thousand sense for everything.”
He suddenly called out a price.
Town entry tax? Just as I was about to take out the money,
“We are the ones paying. We will purchase all of the oil for three thousand sense.”
“Please wait a minute! I was planning to sell this at the trading post.”
“Oil is needed for the maintenance of equipment during the war. You should be thankful we do not take them forcefully.”
After saying that, the soldier passed me three bunches of ten silver coins and forcibly removed the oil from the carriage. Then, with a ‘You can enter’, he ushered the empty carriage in.
Fuu, this went just as planned by the pirates.
After the soldiers forcefully buy our oil, and at an exceptionally low price, they would probably not bother us any further. After all, they would be troubled if they investigate us poorly and we ask them to return the oil.
Although selling that large quantity of oil and pots for just three thousand sense was way too cheap, it was still 300,000 yen. That was more than sufficient profit. The magical power I used to create the oil would recover in just a day so my cost was zero. And Sheena No.3 made the pots. Maybe it was to be expected of an Automata as she was capable of creating pots that were of excellent shape even without a pottery wheel. The clay used to make the pots were made in My World as well. In other words, that cost zero as well.
“Now then, let’s focus on gathering information.”
Now that I thought about it, that was the first time I gathered information on my own even since Florence. That time, I couldn’t even tell left from right but after Carol became my companion, I left all the information gathering to her.
In order to gather information, it should be the tavern right? No, perhaps the Adventurers Guild would be better?
Haa, if I knew this was going to happen, I should have followed Carol as she gathered information. Actually, I did accompany her a few times but I would impede her whenever I did so and we would end up with no decent information.
Right, I recall Carol commenting that one should go to the trading post and market if they want to gather information.
I assumed that the tavern would be a source of information but it was true that by knowing the changes in the assortment of goods sold at the market and the price, we could gather some useful intelligence.
First of all, I pulled the carriage to a secluded area and kept it in My World.
“Well then dear! Let’s start by eating the delicious sweets in town! Sweets~”
“Why are you here! I have gotten into the town so you can return to your work in My World.”
“But dear. Our setting is a newly-wed couple who can’t separate for a single moment. In that case, if the soldier who knows that see us married couple travel separately, he would become suspicious of dear and report you.”
” … You intentionally chose to act as newly-weds for that sake right?”
“Of course! You only realized it now? Dear is surprisingly absentminded. Does that mean it will be sometime before you assault this wife’s rear entrance?”
I want to whack her. I want to whack her but I would be in trouble if onlookers reported my actions to the soldiers so I restrained myself.
“By the way, do you know how to gather information?”
“Of course ―”
“Not at all!”
Well, I’m not surprised.
Well, acting as a young married couple would make our targets speak a little more freely as compared to a single strange man gathering information on his own.
“In the first place, what information should we gather?”
“You don’t even know that! Well, it’s my bad for not explaining to you.”
I told to Neete.
Now, our priority was information on how to leave this country.
Then, the next information I wanted was information on the Demon Lord Army.
Along the way, I wish to investigate information regarding the surroundings of this town.
For that sake, our first destination was the market.
After following directions to the market from a passerby, I found that there was already a large crowd gathered there.
“There are plenty of fruits. Furthermore, they are quite cheap.”
They were at war so I imagined the price of food to go up but not just the fruits, there was also a vast quantity of tubers and the prices were fairly cheap. Deijima’s market raised prices due to a shortage of goods but it seemed that they had a lot more leeway here.
“Neete, what do you want to eat?”
“Really? Then, aunty. Do you have any fruit that is sweet and can be eaten raw?”
Neete asked the aunty selling fruits in a friendly tone. She totally doesn’t fear the unknown.
During that time, I browsed the dried meat that the next street stall was selling. That was something Haru likes so I was thinking of buying a few and keeping them in my item bag.
I did give Haru and party plenty of money but it was the combination of treasurer Carol and no-nonsense Haru. They were probably considerably thrifty for their journey and would likely not buy snacks.
The meat was surprisingly cheap but it seemed to be monster meat. Due to the sea blockade, they only had small fishes despite being close to the sea.
“Does tubers make up the majority of the crop here?”
“That’s right. We had wheat as well but because we are unable to import at the moment, we are selling the tubers that grow wildly in the forest.”
“Forest? There’s a forest nearby?”
“There is. It is called the Great Forest located east of here which is the territory of the Dark Elves. The tubers, fruits, and vegetables harvested from the forest are sold to this town so our granary is well-stocked.”
“I see ― Ah, I’ll have this tuber.”
I paid five sense and bought ten of the taro-like tubers.
The lady mentioned regretfully that they would taste great after frying with oil and after I secretly passed her some oil as an information fee, she didn’t charge me for the tubers.
“Thank you, actually around these parts, we used to squeeze oil from cactus but all those oils have been collected for military use. This really helps.”
“I see ― I guess war does use that much oil.”
“No, we have experienced small skirmish wars in the past as well but this is the first time we encounter such shortage of oil.”
So it’s different.
In that case, there’s a possibility that they are carrying the oil to another town to sell it for a higher price. Also, I’m glad I didn’t bring that pirate child to the officials. If I did, they would make the young boy create oil every day until his MP runs dry once they found out he possess the Oil Create skill.
“Dear, I’ve decided!”
“Hey now, your young wife is calling you.”
The lady commented so I ended the conversation while feeling a little shy and returned to the original stall.
Neete held a lemon in each hand and showed them to me.
“Lemons are sour though.”
“These are lime, not lemon.”
The shape was certainly more similar to lime than lemon but the color was yellow.
“Dear, the limes are sweeter the yellower it is.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, give it a try.”
I paid and the stall’s aunty cut both the lime for us.
It wasn’t that sour and, in fact, it was actually sweet. It was completely different from the lime I know.
“Was this harvested from the Great Forest to the east as well?”
“Yes, that is correct. Dark Elf-sama delivered it to us. I’m truly thankful.”
“The Dark Elf did?”
“That’s right. The Dark Elves-sama have lived in the Great Forest to the east since long ago and they come down to sell fruits and tubers and purchase hunting tools and raw materials for medicine before they return.”
Ho, so that was why the prices of fruits and tubers were so cheap even during the war.
I assumed they were not that interested in humans since they decided to remain neutral but they surprisingly coexist and prosper with humans.
“By the way, I am a traveling merchant but have been embroiled in the war. Do you know any method of leaving the country?”
“Method to leave the country huh? Prince-sama has announced that the war will end shortly.”
“The war would end shortly?”
“They are just saying that. We would be uneasy if they announced that the war would never end.”
I guess I shouldn’t hold excessive expectations for the war to end.
Are there any other ways? I thought to myself.
“Oh right, there is a way to leave the country. You can always become a mercenary to attack the enemy army. You will be able to cross the border legally to the Shiraraki Kingdom if you do so. Since Gagaria is gathering all the mercenaries in the kingdom.”
“Ah, so there was such a method too.”
“That was a joke, a joke. No number of lives would be sufficient if you do that. Please treasure your cute wife.”
The lady said and passed me a lime.
So kind of her, or so I thought.
“Here, one sense please.”
And she diligently billed me for it.
Well, I considered it an information fee and passed a copper coin to the lady.
“And a bonus for you.”
And she passed me another lime.
“That’s great, dear.”
“Yeah, let’s eat it later.”
The lime was certainly sweeter and tastier than what I knew.