(edited by ganjz)
(Sponsored chapter by C.H)
Only one person has made it from a merchant into the aristocrat circle in Comer city and lives in the aristocratic district along with the nobles. Each of the building in the aristocratic district are huge that it can’t even be compared to the houses where an ordinary person can live. Just to make the gate, it was more expensive than the monthly salary of a commoner.
The flowers and trees that were planted in the garden were arranged by the gardeners, so they will be in their perfect state and won’t cause the owner of the house to be embarrassed by it. Along with those fancy mansion, there was the mansion which was inhabited by Mago Piett. Since he made a trading contract with Yu, the number of shops he has have been increasing rapidly and the stores not only expanded within Comer city but also to the nearby Samansa city and the fortress city Morigard.
As there are aristocrats governing in each city, each city also has an aristocratic merchant. These two, the aristocrat and merchant both uses each other to gain huge profit from their arrangements. Because of it, even when opening a small shop, local merchants won’t be silent when Mago’s group was growing.
So they went to use an underhanded method to interrupt him. Most of the best spots and land are acquired by regular merchants from lease or buying from others that are connected with them and using this way, they have no problem in issuing business licenses.
The most common thing was the merchants who have been doing business in the city for many years are harassing the new merchants. From installing a signboard that covers over the store, putting some obstacles so that people can’t pass in front of the store area. There came a point, where fire was set out in the night to destroy the shop and the culprit was never caught. These merchants got the nobility to back them up and even the soldiers only beat around the bush afraid of offending them. In other words, it was impossible if you want to catch them.
It was terrible when Mago first tried to open his business in the capital. He was asked for a back payment from the Finance Minister which he can’t afford it. When he refused to pay, one of his employee was killed by someone within that day. It was not surprising that the criminal couldn’t be caught. The next day, some employees were killed again and it continued until he lost the spirit and gave up in setting up business in the capital. Even if he insisted on it, the employees will run away and next will be his turn to die. Without people, there’s no way for the store to be running and the debt kept on accumulating.
Mago in the end, ran away to Comer city and slowly trying to get away from deficits by the profit gained in Comer city. To put it in simple words, his experience was miserable. From the place where he came from, they all know about Mago's story and how the finance minister's way of dealing with him.
“Do you know why you are in this kind of condition?”
“Do you understand now of what will happen to you if you disobey Ivory?”
“You will never be able to come back again! Hahahaha!”
“Haha, the employee who died for such person have a sad life.”
Mago swallowed his pride and fled to Comer city without being able to say a thing. Even when he arrived at Comer city, the minister of finance sends some people to keep harassing him like a snake.
When he opened a city at Comer city, the minister of finance ‘Bern merchant group’ opened a store not far from him. Mago tried to fight back and find some help from the court and was able to open his shop but it was far from fighting on even ground with the ‘Bern merchant group’ who was backed by the finance minister who governed one third of the Houdon kingdom. One by one Bern' stores were opened in the vicinity of Mago’s store, one after another as if they were aimed at him.
When he opened up more stores in Samansa city and at the fortress city Morigard, he borrowed some funds from Yu and he was afraid that there will be someone who will cause problem for him again but surprisingly nothing happened. Rather the governor of Samansa city, Cypriano, was cooperative with him. Mago became the favorite representative of Cyprian but he was also aware that at that time he was invited to a dinner by the Cyprian, it was not a simple diplomatic approach.
The Cyprians were all smiling with a hidden horror behind it. There was definitely something between Yu and the Cyprian King but what kind of deal was that, Mago was in the dark. However, it was easy to imagine how important it was due to the attitude that was shown by the Cyprians who were really incomprehensibly cooperative.
“Ho Ho, this is sweet.” Mago said so as he drinks a cup of tea.
Yu was sitting on the sofa and seemed to not care about Mago as he took a sweet cookie and handed it to Momo. When Momo put the cookie inside her mouth, Namari was standing by the wall staring at Momo with saliva and drools comming out from his mouth envying her.
Usually Namari gets to eat the sweet along with Momo but today Namari broke the promise with Yu and was now standing there as a punishment. Besides Namari, Marifa was also standing and took out a handkerchief to wipe the drool from Namari’s mouth and told Namari to endure it.
“What is it that’s sweet?”
“Yu, I have purchased a slave and I recommend it to you.”
After Yu left the adventurer’s guild, he headed to the slave market that was operated by Mago. Yu wanted to buy a few more slaves but Mago asked him to go to his residence as there’s something to talk about. If it was a normal talk, probably Mago can do it at the slave market, so he definitely had a special reason to bring Yu to his mansion.
“I understand about buying a farmer’s wife, but you don’t have to buy a child.”
“No way. I have a use for it.”
“Hoho… what kind?”
From Yu’s back, Namari was saying: “My family is with me.”
Marifa then scolded Namari, telling Namari to be quiet.
“Can you tell me more? Tell me about it.”
“It’s true, but.”
Mago then looked at Marifa and Namari.
“I wonder if there’s more that you can tell me? Speak up.”
“Oh, that’s it.”
Mago was still looking at Marifa and Namari.
(Tl note: I know this conversation kind of confusing. The first part is Mago who is questioned about Yu who is buying Marifa a.k.the farmer’s wife, and Namari a.k.the child. The second part is about Mago who is interested about Yu’s secret and try to learn about it from Namari.)
“Marifa, Namari, you guys should wait outside.”
“Eh, why? Why?”
“Namari, let’s just do as master said.”
While leading Namari who was whining out of the room, Yu pointed at Momo towards Marifa's direction as he ordered Momo to go out of the room too. Mago can only watch as Marifa leaves the room.
A woman who hid her face with a hood and a scarf then came in from another door, the door that Marifa used earlier to get out of the room. She came in along with a C rank guard that was used to escort Mago.
“Yarumira, sit down.”
If one wants to guess Yarumira's age according to her voice, she would probably be in her teens. She seemed to be talkative if it wasn’t for her injured throat.
“Well, Yu-san, this is one of the person that is shielded in my house because she has an important information about the minister of finance Ivory. The minister of finance Ivory, can be said as holding one third of the power in Houdon kingdom. No, right now half of the noble are in his faction. Those foolish aristocrats whose eyes were dazzling with gold, they were adding up the huge financial resources of the minister of finance power. They also have some mercenaries hired using that money. Previously, the ‘authority leaf’ that Yu-san fought with, was one of them. You perhaps already knew already.”
(Tl note: authority leaf was Yu opponent when he first met with the fairies and dryad)
Although Yu was surprised that Mago knew about his previous dispute with the ‘authority leaf’, he wasn’t upset about it.
“Among them, the ‘Lawrence Crime Organization’ is the most troublesome one, this is the group that is supported the most by the minister of finance. Those who becomes a part of the organization are thugs and criminals that live in the slums of the kingdom. The minister of finance organized them into a violent group. After all, whatever you do, it is best if you don’t get caught with them.”
Yarumira’s hands were clenched strongly as Mago told the story.
“Do you know what did the Lawrence Crime Organization do? What will happen to those that doesn’t obey to the minister of finance? They don’t even let the women go and even the young ones, it is better, if you understand what I mean. Yarumira, show your face to Yu-san.”
“Are you not listening to my words?”
Yarumira kept quiet for a while but slowly removing the hood and scarf that hid her face. It was a face of a woman which was disfigured and melted. There was almost no hair, cracked skin and the right eye can’t be opened. It was even hard for her to speak well because her lips were almost coalesced.
“Yu-san, Yarumira is only fifteen years old. An ordinary girl who will be enjoying one’s first love and life. Yarumira's father, Chelsey was a merchant, the same as me and can be said as my rival. Chelsey was asked for money by the Lawrence but as he has a strong sense of justice, he refused to pay the money. Of course, the Lawrence didn’t stay still as Chelsey’s employees were killed one after another in less than a week. Naturally the Lawrence's guys can’t be caught by law and even accusing them was impossible. Chelsey's body was found in this tragic state not long after. At that very same place, his wife's body was also found.”
Mago poured wine into a glass and drank it all at once. Yarumira can only listened silently to the story but tears fell down from the remaining opened left eye.
“There was …Chelsey's wife… in front of Chelsey… oh, sorry… I got a little excited. Lawrence didn’t have the time to kill Yarumira and when we arrived at the scene, her face was already damaged by a strong acid.”
After that, Mago told the remaining of the information about the minister of finance that he knows to Yu.
“Is there more or that’s it?”
“Yes, that’s all the information that I know. Yu-san, do you think that this information is pricy?”
“I don’t need money, but could you fix Yarumira’s face?”
The one who shown a reaction to Mago’s word was Yarumira. Mago’s guards were calm as if they had knew this in advance.
Yu stood up from the sofa without replying and approached Yarumira. He pushed his palm to cover Yarumira face.
Involuntarily Yarumira tried to dodge the hand. She didn’t want her ugly face to be seen by anyone moreover, by a boy that was around her age.
“Yarumira, please be quiet!”
With Mago's words, Yarumira now accepted Yu’s hand to be placed on her face. Looking at her, Yu’s eyes didn’t show any fear or disdain. There wasn’t even a look of curiosity. Yarumira was drawn to his eyes as he was looking at her normally. Yu’s palm got warmer and it was transferred into Yarumira’s cheeks and spread through her face.
“Yarumira’s face is fixed.”
Yu was the only one that was calm after that and sat down back on the sofa, away from Yarumira. One of the guards handed a hand mirror to Yarumira quickly. From the day her face was damaged because of the acid, she never looked into the mirror. She was afraid that when she looked at the mirror, her disfigured face will haunt her. The closed right eye, the lips that were stuck together, the head that was almost without hair.
“oh… ah! My lips! My hair! My face! My eyes! It has all been restored, my looks.”
Yarumira then cried out as tears fell down endlessly from her eyes. She kept on looking at the mirror without wiping away the tears.
“The hair is a service.”
Yu talked casually as he ate a cookie and put a sweet into his mouth. He poured tea and looked at Mago indicating that he has done his part.
“Yarumira, are you satisfied?”
“Ha? Ah, sorry. I was too pleased.”
“Hohho, I know the feeling. But, since you have no use anymore for me, please go away immediately.”
“Ah, don’t you believe what I’ve told you? Do I have to leave the house? Right now?”
“Didn’t you understand what I said?”
“Why? I wouldn’t cause a problem by staying here. Why?”
Yarumira's eyes are widened as she stared at Mago. The other party however ignored her existence and didn’t even want to look into her eyes.
“Why? Do you think that I am hiding you in my place for too long is without any danger and risk? I am your father's best friend; you can say that but it is wrong. In business, personal feelings are second. Moreover, aside from Yu-san here, no other person can heal your face by using high level magic. Even if they can do it, the news of your face has been fixed will spread and someone will find you sooner or later.”
“Lies! Mago-san isn’t someone like that!”
“Like what? There’s no way you will say that I was like a father for you right? I am kind but that’s it. Oh yeah…”
Mago then took out a small cloth bag from his pocket and threw it to Yarumira.
“It is small change but I think it will allow you to live. Take it and go.”
Yarumira face was drowned in tears. A while ago it was happy tears but now it turned into tears of regret and remorse.
“This, I don’t even need this!”
Yarumira picked up the cloth bag and threw it back to Mago then left the room. Outside the door, Namari and Momo were surprised seeing Yarumira coming out and will looking at the heavy atmosphere in the room. Marifa who had good ears on the other hand understood what had happened inside the room.
“Mago-san, I will make sure her safety.”
One of the escorts winked while picking up the cloth bag that has fallen at Mago’s feet.
“Go, and don’t say anything useless.”
The escort then went out with a smile. After the escort that was usually protecting Mago was gone, only Yu and Mago were left in the room.
“Hohho, Yu-san is still sweet. You can easily follow up my acting in secret. I believe that kind degree of information, Yu-san already knew about it.”
“Me? Sweet? I don’t understand. Mago, you’ve also opened a shop in the capital and you probably have a relationship with Yarumira, or Chelsey?”
Mago poured the wine into his empty glass and drank it all at once. Yu immediately stood up and left the room.
“Yu-san, where are you going next? Aren’t you going to have lunch with me? I know a good place”
“I’m eating at my home. With that kind of face, I’m afraid you can’t go out to eat.”
Wondering about Yu’s answer, Namari and Momo tried to sneak a peek at Mago.
“Wow! Old man, you’re crying? Are you hurt somewhere?”
Sitting alone in the room, Mago's face was crumpled and undignified with tears and a running nose.
A carriage was running along the road, leaving the Comer city towards the east. Inside the carriage, Yarumira hasn’t stopped crying.
“Yarumira, you should stop crying.”
“No…in the end, they left me. I am alone. How can you understand my feelings!”
“Right now the big cities and capital is too hectic. We are going to a small country but it is peaceful. Oh yeah! How about you try to drink? Yarumira is already fifteen and probably will be okay to drink liquor. How about it? Want to go to a tavern? I think you can forget about it and have fun.”
“What fun! Just leave me alone!”
Yarumira’s head was full of thoughts. Firstly, Mago gave her a living place where she could hide and avoid people’s eyes. Secondly, he helped her to fix her face. Even if she was asking a priest who can use high level magic, this kind of treatment wasn’t guaranteed and the influence of minister of finance was too wide spread. Mago finally managed to return Yarumira’s original beautiful appearance even after she gave up. Everyday her thoughts were full of desperation and Mago has to encourage her. She even considered Mago as her own father and yet...
Yarumira that left Mago’s mansion soon caught up by Mago’s escort which came chasing later. Along with the horse-drawn carriage that was prepared beforehand, there was a set of Yarumira’s luggage inside and it was clear that Mago has planned this beforehand.
“Don’t say that. We’re heading to a nice place. No matter what, the minister of finance didn’t have any influence there.”
“Tell me, is there such a place?”
Not answering Yarumira’s question, another escort began to speak.
“Master is really indebted to Yarumira’s father. He is more than an acquaintance and on friendly terms with Mago. When he found out that you are in danger, he sent us out immediately and was overjoyed when he saved you. Yarumira, I also forgotten about this thing.”
The escort then passed a cloth bag. It was the same cloth bag that she threw back to Mago. The escort said that it is better to check the contents and Yarumira opened the bag while being upset.
“Oh…oh… this is… lies… this…”
Yarumira never shed so much tears like today. Inside the small cloth bag, it was filled with white gold coins. Even if she lived normally, it won’t run out even after a lifetime.
“It was my selfish request so please listen to me. If the minister of finance knows that you have regain your original beautiful appearances, we are afraid that he will definitely ruin your face again. Master, wants to send you to a remote place, he wants you to grasp happiness. Even if no one knows when is the day, we are told to protect you and not coming back before you have settled down.”
While listening to the men, Yarumira hugged her own knees.
Another cry has broken out inside the carriage but this time it doesn’t contain any sorrow. Yarumira hugged her knee closely as she thinks of the man she adored like her own father and wanted to thank him.
It was a sunny day and with such a fine weather, a girl who will be happy from now on advanced within the carriage.