“Payment? It’s not like that was a quest or anything.”
“We’ve gotta draw a line in the sand. You try tellin’ others that you did all this for free and you’re gonna find yourself in a heap of trouble.”
I had no choice but to follow along.
Arleaf’s father also understands the concerns Veno had.
“At any rate, this village ain’t exactly wealthy... we don’t even have the lump sum for the knowledge you’ve given us. Even if I were to use my store as collateral.”
“Umm, you can pay me with whatever you’re comfortable with.”
“And as I’ve said already, if I take advantage of you here, you’ll be in deep.”
That’s true. If we stick out too much, it’d be dangerous for us.
We can’t forget that there are still people after us.
There are even wanted posters posted in the tavern.
“Father, don’t shout at Yukihisa.”
Arleaf stands up for me.
Nice. You’re my breath of fresh air.
And she’s been looking up to me ever since the whole Bloodflower thing too. Damn, that feels good.
Whoops. I’ve been subconsciously ogling her.
Gotta stay cool and collected.
“... ugh. The whole village—and of course our family—is grateful to you. That’s why we can’t have you work for free. To take advantage of people is the beginning of corruption. So be considerate of us and make your demands. Don’t take us merchants lightly either.”
Arleaf’s dad annoyedly grumbles.
“So... what should I ask for?”
“Ah. There’s nothing we can give you that could ever make up for the knowledge you’ve given us. But what we can do is...”
He brings out a sack of coins and puts it on the counter.
“This is the money we’ve collected from selling the cure, plus donations from the villagers. That and you’ll have my Arleaf to make up for the rest that we owe you. Don’t go too crazy on her now. Think of it as a favor for me.”
What did Arleaf’s father say just now?”
I got the money part. But I’m not too sure about the next bit.
What about Arleaf now?
‘He shall use Arleaf to cover the rest of thy remuneration is what he said. Thou can use her to satisfy thy lust to thy heart’s content. How fortunate for thee.’
Oh, no, no, no, no.
Dumbfounded, I look over to Arleaf, who then blushes and casts her gaze downwards.
What the hell? You can’t just sell your daughter!
‘Think carefully. Thou may seem like a simpleton, but thou have the knowledge to cure Bloodflower. They must know they can milk thee for other secrets. Hence why he is entrapping thee with his own daughter. It is a dirty trick often used by humans.’
Maybe, but still...
What happened to drawing a line?!
‘Perhaps these are separate matters. They likely have the money they owe you. How cunning of them.’
I’ve just refused the proprietress’ offer for her niece. What am I going to do about this?
Arleaf’s father frustratedly curses under his breath, while Arleaf’s mother... peeps on us from the door.
What is this, some kind of movie? Was Arleaf’s dad ordered by his wife to sell their daughter and so he reluctantly offers her to me?
“Don’t get me wrong, boy! What I meant was don’t go crazy and working her to the bone! Don’t you lay a hand on her!”
“Uhh, working, like have her help me out to pay off the debt kind of thing?”
Oh, I get it. Yeah. That’s totally what he meant.
Man, was I surprised.
But it seems like her mom is still pushing for marriage.
Still, that could be convenient for me.
What am I saying though? I’m a wanted man.
If she’s affiliated with me, she’ll probably be wanted for being an accessory. I can’t marry her.
Plus, what’ll happen when Veno learns how to undo the spell?
Do I return back to Japan? Or do I stay here in this world forever?
I can’t say so for sure right now.
So it wouldn’t be fair to Arleaf.
‘That is surprisingly virtuous of thee. Especially knowing thy... fantasies and delusions of her.’
Shut up, Veno.
That’s a whole different thing. Yes, I’ve thought of us adventuring together, but that’s not even close to what you’re suggesting.
Arleaf’s dad agrees with an exclamation. It’s convenient for us both, I see.
I’ll take the negotiation tactics I’ve learned from working in a black company and use it on him.
“That said, though... I’m an adventurer and I don’t stay anywhere for too long. I wouldn’t want to impose upon Arleaf.”
“I-I know you’re an impressive adventurer, Yukihisa! I’m prepared to follow you to the ends of the world. So, please, take me in.”
New party member? Hey, are we getting a new party member?
... is what the gleam in Muu’s eyes seems to mean, but I want to say no.
“Uhh... well, while I’m still here in this village, you’d really help me out...”
“Only for the time being,” is what I implicitly said. Arleaf looks gutted while her dad has a beaming smile on his face.
Talk about jealous. Sheesh.
“I’ll follow you wherever you go, Yukihisa, and I’ll prove it to you.”
Arleaf shows how obstinate and zealous she is.
I’m not even that strong or anything!
“Well, uhh... for the time being then, let’s do our best together.”
While it’s true that I’m trying to make a living in this village, more often than not, the quests I do are from you guys anyway...
The payment I’ve received for the cure did thicken my wallet quite a bit, so I’ve still got money to stay for a while.
The problem is the cost of maintaining our weapons.
The crossbow and armor I have equipped are quite the specialty items, so I’d like to think the maintenance on it is on the expensive side.
If worse comes to worst, then we’ve gotta find out where we can get new equipment that’s easy to use.
And the biggest problem is when I really have to escape, I’ve got to part from Arleaf so that she’s safe too.
“Don’t you even think of laying your hand on my daughter, y’hear?”
Calm down, old man! I never said that I would!
“Hmph. Should be alright then. You’ll find out how scary she can be too, Cohgray.”
Arleaf’s dad muttered smugly, but what does that even mean?
Arleaf herself trembles with anger, showing her bloodlust for her father again.
“By the way, Cohgray, you feelin’ peckish at all? Why don’t you stay for dinner?”
“... Father, you’re just—”
“What? You can’t hide it from him forever. You might as well show him now.”
“You’re the worst.”
“You can’t back out of this one. This ain’t only for Cohgray, but for you too, Arleaf.”
Umm... I haven’t had a say in this at all. Aren’t you guys getting carried away?
I look over to the back of the shop and see Arleaf’s mother visibly sigh.
What? I don’t understand at all what’s happening.
“A showcase of our daughter’s finest home cooking. You’re excited too, eh?”
He presses me with a threatening look.
For whatever mysterious reason, I guess Arleaf’s family is treating me to dinner tonight.
“Thank you very much for saving my life. I apologize for not having an earlier moment to thank you directly.”
Arleaf’s mother politely bows and greets me before showing me to the back of their store.
“Oh, not at all. I’ve only done what I ought to. How have you been feeling since then?”
“I would even say better than before.”
“That’s really good to hear. I’m glad the proprietress is feeling better too.”
I break the ice with the proprietress and her huge change.
“I am doing no worse than her for sure, haha.”
Hmm... I don’t think Arleaf’s mom changed nearly as much as the proprietress did.
I think she’d be better off not to, actually.
She’s swelling up like a balloon... any more would be bad.
“But Mr. Cohgray, it seems you are quite adept at alchemy as well. What a clever boy you have.”
Arleaf’s mom pets Muu as she speaks.
With Muu around, I seem so much more skilled at medicine than I actually am.
In reality, Muu’s just a weird chemical reaction that I’m using as my adventuring buddy.
“Good grief... my husband and him barking orders sure brings us trouble though. Arleaf, too, for my husband’s sake...”
For your husband’s sake... what?
Could you perhaps give me a proper answer?
“Like I said! Keepin’ it a secret won’t do nobody no good. You get it, don’tcha?”
Ah. Arleaf’s mom stares daggers at her husband.
What is happening?
I thought Arleaf was just cooking for us.
‘They must be scheming to poison thee. Well, not that it would be effective.’
Surely that can’t be it, Veno.
Their expressions don’t match up. And Arleaf herself seems to be bothered too.
It just seems like her dad’s going nowhere with that.
‘Aye... but something is up. Consider my curiosity piqued.’
Seems like Arleaf’s in the kitchen and caught up in cooking.
“Cohgray, come check over these ingredients here!”
While Arleaf is distracted by her dad, I look over the ingredients.
Veno’s knowledge kicks in.
I’ve been to various taverns and inns for meals since I’ve come to this world.
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t know of about.
There’s meat that I’ve cooked with, veggies that I’ve had at the tavern, some regular-looking ingredients, and a loaf of crusty bread.
Yep. Nothing special about this at all.
Seeing that I’ve finished looking, Arleaf’s dad nods at me, clueing me to look at her cooking.
While displeased at this situation, she starts cooking as she’s been told.
She looks like she knows what she’s doing.
“Goodness... it’s embarrassing how you cling onto your daughter.”
Arleaf’s mom begins to chastise her husband.
“It’s the truth. But don’t go pokin’ the bear.”
Arleaf’s mom lets out a big sigh, seemingly like this is a long-standing problem.
“Let’s do this later instead. So, Mr. Cohgray, where did you learn medicine? Perhaps... you come from a prestigious family?”
As expected, they keep inquisitively prying.
They’re essentially handing their daughter off to me, so it’s only fair they’re concerned.
“Umm... I had someone who knows lots about this subject. He taught me everything. I’m just from an average family.”
Not a single word of that was a lie.
That’s a life pro-tip I’ve learned from working in that sweatshop. Hide your secrets amongst truths.
Like how a job opening would advertise how cozy and spirited the workplace is, you’ve got to make your shortcomings look like your strengths.
While it’s true how the veterans would be all friendly with each other, the newbies often get ostracized and get forced with more work.
Create a façade of truths while glossing over what you want hidden.
You’ll have more people believe you than you’d think.
As long as there are suckers, there will be people tricking suckers.
In this case, the someone who knows lots about this subject is Veno, but I don’t have to say whether or not he’s human. I’ll mislead them to think that I’ve learned all this beforehand, while the truth is that Veno had just been teaching me each step of the process one by one.
They don’t need to learn the whole truth.
At any rate, I can talk my way out of this.
Plus, they’re normal people so this whole thing is a piece of cake.
‘One would say thou possess quite the silver tongue. Thou seem quite excited to cheat them too.”
I want to refute him.
Is Japan really better than this world? I can’t say...
There might be a sword hanging above my head, but I’m starting to think this isn’t all bad.
At any rate, it’s great that I don’t have to work overtime and that I sleep well.
“Is that right? You must have had a great mentor then.”
“It’s all thanks to him that we could eradicate this illness...”
‘I would love to give him our thanks then.”
For some reason, I sense Veno all puffed up with pride.
‘How dost thou like mine knowledge now?’
Yeah, yeah. You saved the day, but don’t forget I’ve been dragged into this by you. So, please, be quiet.
If they pry any more than this, it’s gonna get a little dicey.
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