Hey everyone! Chapter 92 is here!
I haven’t been updating the discord in a while, sorry about that. I’ll be doing it more from now on.
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Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
【”Marika? I was worried about you. You suddenly said you’d be going to Bashtar and then…”】
‘It’s good to see didn’t go in the end. She must have reconsidered at the last minute.‘ Thought Marika’s long-time friend, feeling relieved to see her well.
【”That aside…Just what happened, exactly?”】
Marika’s nails were polished like never before, her glossy red hair was as lively as a raging fire, and her white skin was so well moisturized it almost seemed like it was sparkling.
Even the clothes and necklace she wore casually were not the kind that one could hope to buy with an intermediate bureaucrat’s salary.
The woman suspected that Marika had become some aristocrat’s concubine in her absence.
【”Ah well, with the salary I get in Bashtar, this is nothing.”】
【”What… did you say?”】
The change in the woman’s eyes did not escape Marika’s notice.
Bureaucrats who were still young and did not have a proper career yet could not earn this sort of salary on their way up.
Some could get lucky and attain the position of assistant director with time, but by then, most women would be past their glory days.
If Marika’s story of being able to earn a director’s salary was true, then it was definitely grounds to move any woman’s heart.
【”I bet you’ve heard of Aibet’s amber water; it has reputation for making your skin beautiful. Don’t you want to be able to use that like it’s regular water?”】
The woman stared fixedly at the delicate and seemingly flawless skin on Marika’s forearm.
She wondered if she, too, could obtain such beautiful skin if she used amber water.
【”What about Rioberg perfume, or Aitenberg rings, earrings, and barrettes? What if you could buy all that without a thought? Think about it, how long will it take for you to be able to get that kind of money while working for the ministry of popular affairs?”】
Aitenberg jewelry was something that women of all ages longed for.
Seeing Marika show off these things like they were nothing made the woman feel visibly restless.
【”―― Join us and I’ll give you 50 gold coins right now to cover your expenses.”】
Like a housewife caught by a bait and switch scheme, the woman reflexively presented her right hand to receive the money.
【”Good, welcome aboard～～!”】
Within the next few days, a dozen talented and young bureaucrats from the kingdom of Jormungand, who had yet to make it, quit their jobs.
These bureaucrats were quite handy for the people above them, so their absence caused delays in many different places.
Some very plausible rumors claimed this was all due to the secret meddling of a woman who once worked in the tax bureau.
【”Let’s have a toast, Clodette!”】
【”Yaaaaaaaay! We can finally rest!”】
Meanwhile, Bashtar’s administration system was seeing an inversely proportional growth.
Clodette and Marika were also seen for the first time in a while in the evening streets of Bashtar.
They could finally take their long-awaited one-week break.
◆ ◆ ◆
Marius Ostmark was one of the ten leading merchants of Jormungand.
From his point of view, Bashtar was a nest of monsters, a garbage territory where there was little money to be made.
And yet, right now, he was reading a letter from that very same territory with a serious look on his face.
The writing of the letter had a roundish, feminine aspect to it.
『We will soon start taking bids for the Mithril of the Bolivia mine. Please contact me if you wish to participate.』
Answering a call to a place like Bashtar was not something worth considering for a leading merchant like Marius. But it was a whole other story if Mithril was involved.
Mithril was a metal that could be used to build magic tools or special armors for aristocrats. It was as rare and expensive as jewels.
Marius was aware that the Bolivia mine was once one of the biggest Mithril mines on the continent, before the great invasion 70 years in the past.
He would have normally laughed this offer off, thinking “So I’m to believe those fiendish monsters were exterminated?”
―― That is, if the lord of Bashtar was anyone else than Kurats Hans Almadianos.
Marius was actually working in cahoots with the marquis of Strasbourg, Albert.
That being the case, Albert had requested of Marius that he raise the prices of all goods distributed to Bashtar.
In a way, it could be said that Marius was responsible of a significant percentage of Marika’s stress.
For him, between the influent and wealthy marquis of Strasbourg, and the territory of Bashtar, which had been brought to its ruin by monsters, the choice had always been obvious.
It did not matter to him if he lost deals with Bashtar by refusing to budge on his prices.
On the contrary, he would have been happy to not have to deal with a remote territory like Bashtar any longer.
However, the situation had changed today.
Bashtar had just turned into one of the continent’s greatest treasure troves.
Marius would not be able to call himself a leading merchant if he missed such an opportunity.
【”Our company has to monopolize the rights to the Bolivia mine at any cost…!”】
Due to the wars perpetrated by the Asgard empire, the price of Mithril was on a steep ascension.
At the thought of profiting from such an enormous cash cow, Marius instinctively licked his lips in anticipation.
【”Find every company that has received this letter! We have to beat them to the punch no matter what!”】
Fortunately, Marius had a strong backer named Albert.
Due to how hostile Albert was towards Kurats, it wouldn’t be too difficult for Marius to put pressure on rival merchants.
He was going to make them bargain as much as possible and work in cohesion with them to get the ideal price for the Mithril.
This was also a chance to remind the self-important count of Bashtar that the prices were determined by the merchants, not himself.
No matter how rare and expensive it was, the Mithril would have no value if there was no one to distribute it.
Marius had great confidence in his own wit and influence.
However, if he could truly look ahead, his confidence would have vanished like morning mist.
Perhaps he would have been able to hear the piercing and malicious laughter of the business witch who was eager to repay her stress a hundredfold.