Chapter 16: The ring is in the amber
Rumors quickly spread.
The next day, when I tried to exit to open the shop, I saw a mass of people lined up in front of the shop consisting of Adventurers Guild executives, merchants, craftsmen from various guilds, bureaucrats and even aristocrats.
“Ah ―, are all of you here to request for medicine … or I suppose not.”
The clothes they wore were made of high-quality dyed fabrics with gorgeous embroideries. A conservative estimate would likely still not fall below 50 Peryl.
They all looked at one another. And as the representative, an Adventurers Guild executive who was almost 2 meters in height approached me.
“Red-kun, I wish to ask one thing. In your home, is Lit … is Zoltan’s hero, the Adventurer Lit, really living there?”
“It’s true. I live together with Lit and she helps out with the shop.”
The central pillars of Zoltan were astir.
“I wish to speak to Lit.”
“I do not mind but we are currently preparing to open shop so please speak to Lit after she is done confirming the stock.”
“Wha, you bastard! Do you intend to make us wait!?”
“Lit is my staff. She is currently performing a critical task. It would be a different issue if we are talking about life and death matters but I believe your topics will not be affected by waiting for about 30 minutes.”
“Are you sure you can make that decision on your own? Don’t you think you should first consult Lit and ask if she really wants to make us wait?”
“It’s because I understand Lit very well.”
” … That’s some confidence you have there Red-kun. I never knew you had that side to you.”
“I am surprised to hear that you are aware of a D-rank adventurer.”
“I remember the faces and history of all adventurers who are enrolled in the guild.”
The executive said without a change in his expression. His gaze was cold and a regular adventurer would probably be trembling from that look of despise.
I could imagine that he was a skilled adventurer when he was still active.
Well, as a companion of the arena wrecking Danan with his eye expressions that could kill, that gaze was not a big deal to me.
After glaring at me for about a minute, the Adventurers Guild executive showed an impressed expression.
” … All right, I’ll wait for a while.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
I could still hear complaints but I acted like the conversation was over and went back into the shop.
After about 20 minutes, Lit came out from the storage holding a basket with the medicine meant to restock the shop.
It was sad to see that there was not much to restock as a single basket was sufficient.
“Thanks for the hard work, I’ll line them up for display.”
“It’s all right, I’ll do it to the end. The top brass are here right? Just let them wait.”
Lit stuck her tongue out.
I gave a wry grin and counted the change we had at the counter.
I confirmed the number of common bronze coins, quarter Peryl silver coins, and Peryl silver coins.
“Great, I’m done. Now then, I’ll quickly reject them and come back. I work for this shop after all.”
“Yeah, I’ll be troubled if Lit isn’t around so finish up quickly.”
Lit turned to look at me and showed a wide smile.
In exchange for Lit who left towards the people waiting outside, a skinny small man entered the shop.
It was a face I saw outside just now.
“Thieves Guild if I’m not wrong.”
“You sure are knowledgeable despite being D-rank.”
The skinny small man might seem insignificant at a glance. However, packed within that body was the experience of slipping away from numerous fighting scenes and his eyes that always gazed steadily at a person’s hands and feet instead of a person’s eyes was the trademark of a fierce and excellent coward who has constantly experienced being in risk of betrayal.
The Thieves Guild was an association that presides over the underworld. In other places, they were called mafia or gangs while in the East they were called yakuza.
It may be a criminal organization but their front was that of a legal organization meant to prevent pick-pocketing and robbery criminal organizations from getting out of hand and have brazenly established power in a corner of the political center.
Well, whether it was a necessary evil or a mere evil was not something I had to be concerned with.
The Thieves Guild makes quite a number of requests to the Adventurers Guild. They probably have sent requests for Lit to resolve when problems occurred.
Or perhaps they have been sending requests to Albert all this time but since Lit wasn’t around any longer, they were concerned if Albert will have to accept other requests. It was well-known that Albert was intimate with the Thieves Guild Leader Gorga.
That was probably what I had to take into account at that moment.
“The others seem to wish to persuade Lit but she is a hero. She can obtain whatever she wants. Neither I nor them can prepare compensation that can change a hero’s will. That’s why it is a waste to speak to Lit.”
She can obtain whatever she wants huh … this man seems to know something about Lit.
“And so you came to me?”
The Thieves Guild man grinned with the corner of his mouth raised as he took out a chest with a key from his chest pocket and opened it in front of me.
Within it was a single Elven coin made from unstained Elven platinum sitting on top of red silk.
Elven coin was the highest form of currency on this continent, equivalent to 10,000 Peryl.
Those rare coins were made using Elven platinum (Elf White Gold) and were currency made during the Elf Age, the refining method has now been lost. In other words, it was impossible to counterfeit it and impossible to create in the mint of any single country.
Tougher than steel and resistant to heat, acid, and corrosion. More importantly, if you hold this coin in your hand and utilize your Divine Protection, in exchange for the coin turning into lead with no value, it will bestow the power to raise the level of your skill belonging to your Divine Protection by one for the short duration of a minute.
It was something that the general public and even merchants don’t use in transactions.
It was only used in transactions between countries so maybe it should be categorized as a treasure instead of a coin.
When I was traveling with Ruti and the others, we usually used it as a doping tool when fighting against strong foes … of course, that applied to the companions apart from myself but as I could only use common skills, it would not make a huge difference to raise them by just a single level.
Well, that is to say, even though it was something I had not seen for a while, it was not something precious to me at present. I could find quite a few if I delve into the depths of ancient Elf ruins. Although there are not that many adventurer parties that are capable of that.
However, even if he was an executive from the Thieves Guild, he would never imagine that I was familiar with the Elven coin. The man took my expression as an expression of surprise and continued talking proudly.
“It’s natural that you would feel shocked. This is a miraculous item that ordinary people will never set their eyes upon in their lifetime. This is an Elven coin. I believe you have at least heard the name.”
“Yeah, I know about it.”
“Then the conversation will be quicker. Will you cut ties with Lit for this? With this money, you can stop working in this small shop and enjoy a life of comfort with servants. What say you? As for Lit, it would be for the good of the world that she continues working as an adventurer and it would be better for her too. You would be happy, Lit would be happy, and we would be happy too. Everyone would be happy. If you want women, I can prepare those for you. I’m talking about beauties that would make a shiver run up your spine just by her touch. Can you imagine it? She’s a 50 Peryl silver coins a night girl. Not those semicircle quarter Peryl mind you, 50 of those round Peryl silver coins.
This man was probably a barker for the red-light district when he had a lower rank in the past. He was a master at talking continuously in a clear voice.
“Lit is priceless. I would not do it even if you offered me a thousand Elven coins.”
“Wha, you …”
I lowered my voice so that Lit would not pick it up with her extraordinary hearing.
“Compared to a 50 Peryl a night woman, Lit is infinitely better.”
He probably won’t be able to find any way to retort my words.
The Thieves Guild man clicked his tongue lightly and locked the small chest before keeping it in his chest pocket.
“To not be moved a slight bit by 10,000 Peryl, you are either a big deal or an idiot.”
“I am certain that the Thieves Guild can offer me 10,000 Peryl because the value of this is beyond that, right?”
The man frowned.
“That’s right. Seriously, as expected of the man Lit chosen, you have guts despite being D-rank … well, contact us whenever you have a change of heart. We accept price negotiations.”
“I don’t need it so give it up.”
Nevertheless, the man still placed his business card with his name written on it on the counter and left the shop.
The turmoil outside would not settle despite Lit’s firm rejection as the other party was not willing to give up.
“Is this because of an issue in the remunerations!?”
“We will treat you better than before.”
“I don’t need it.”
“We’ll prepare a special rank.”
“I absolutely refuse.”
“If you want a man, I can offer my son.”
“”What are you talking about.””
The last person was retorted even by his surroundings so he dejectedly fell back.
“Ah sheesh, for god’s sake!”
Lit finally could not take it anymore and shouted.
“I have made a lifetime employment contract with Gi … Red! I retire from adventuring! If you harass Red or try to banish Red from this town, I will leave with him!”
What’s with lifetime employment contract. Well, it seemed like there were those who insinuated that they would obstruct my shop. It looked like that ticked Lit off.
After listening to Lit’s outburst, they finally confirmed their doubts and got to know me so the Zoltan big shots gave up and left.
The indignant Lit came back and showed an awkward look when she saw me.
“You heard what I said outside?”
“You shouted that loudly after all.”
” … Are you angry? They were too persistent and said strange things so I inadvertently.”
I beckoned Lit over.
Lit came close while looking slightly uneasy.
I gently raised my right hand.
“Give me your hand.”
Lit stretched her hand out like she was told and I wrapped both my hands around hers and grasped it.
“It’s a present.”
I slid what I wanted to give her for her first payday into her palm.
“It might be a cheap item to Lit but this is the down payment for the lifetime employment contract. Of course, the down payment will be appropriated at the market price upon payment of the remaining payment.”
“Wa! An amber bracelet!”
On Lit’s palm was a bracelet with a single amber featured on a leather band. Even if I was being modest, this was not something that adventurers would consider expensive but …
Lit stared at the amber.
An amber was a jewel made from fossilized sap. As it was originally liquid sap, there might be tree bark or flowers contained within when it underwent fossilization.
The amber I gave Lit had leaves shaped like a ring contained within.
“Down payment huh …”
Lit smiled and jokingly placed the amber on her left-hand ring finger.
“I might actually misunderstand if you give me something like this.”
Perhaps she was embarrassed with what she said as Lit concealed her mouth with her bandana.
“Misunderstand? Then there is something I would like to buy while you are having that misunderstanding … please let me know what kind of gem do you like.”
Ah, shit, don’t get that red. I would become embarrassed too.
” … Nothing in particular, I would love anything Red chooses.”
The troublesome thing is that Divine Protection doesn’t give romance skills.
As veteran swordsmen, we exchanged clumsy and innocent words … but nevertheless, I held this time dear to me.