While the construction of an external guesthouse managed by Liana was underway, a smaller house was also being built parallel to the three already built houses.
This house was the one where Gaadhir-san and his family were going to live, which I had requested to Ronim-san after the meeting.
I am planning to keep the rent within one gold coin per month, but the final decision will be made after I see the actual house.
Although I have told Ronim-san and the others about the house in which people can live with only one gold coin for the rent, it is a very rough plan, so there should be no problem. Nevertheless, I have been checking the progress several times, and even taking into account the fact that this is their profession, I'm impressed by the dwarves' construction skills
Even if considering the fact that these are professional workers, the speed and quality were overwhelming compared to the wooden buildings built by the slaves.
While I was thinking such impressions and looking at the situation from a distance, Ronim-san approached me from the direction of the guesthouse under construction and greeted me.
"Oh, Master Neil, are you also here to check on the progress?"
"Yes, I thought I should check for myself this time."
"Hahaha, sorry about that. Some of our guys were a bit too enthusiastic. We should have listened to your requests first before starting the construction."
"No, thank you for building such a splendid house. One of them has already been sold, so I'm grateful for that."
Yes, as a matter of fact, one of the three houses had already been purchased and the ownership of the house had been transferred from me to the buyer.
Who in the world had decided to buy the house instead of renting a single-family house in the undeveloped area?
It was Mei who decided to buy the house for herself, as she didn't like the idea of staying in a room in the mansion, so she decided to buy the house for herself, paying 500 gold coins in one lump sum.
Next time, we are planning to go to the city together to buy some larger furniture that cannot be sent via the item box.
"Compared to the three houses before it, this one may be smaller, but the building material remains the same, it's still bricks."
"This is a new frontier area, so it's better to make the outside sturdy in case of a monster attack. The interior walls use slightly lower quality materials, but that shouldn't be a problem for living However, I've had many clients who have given me detailed orders, but hahaha... this is the first time I've been asked to build a house that can be lived in for a single gold coin."
As Ronim-san chuckled with delight, I felt remorse for only giving vague instructions.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't think of anything else to say."
"Hey, no need to apologize, I heard that the Gaadhir and the others were going to live here."
"Yes, that's the plan, but it's up to Gaadhir-san and his family to make the final decision."
"Oh? You mean there's a possibility that Gaadhir-san will look at the house we built and reject it as not worth paying a gold coin to live in?"
"No, no, no! That's not what I mean! I think Gaadhir-san has his own taste. And then there's the timing and other factors-"
Ronim-san gives me a strong reaction, but when I hurriedly explain myself, the fiery atmosphere that he had on instantly disappears.
"Hah, don't get so flustered, it was just a joke. If you get worked up over something like this, you won't be fit to rule."
"Y-yes, you're right..."
"It may seem strange coming from me a dwarf but wouldn't it be easier to live a little more like a nobleman?"
It is really strange to hear such advice from a dwarf who hates nobles.
"By the way, what are you going to do next after you finish the current request? There are still a lot of things missing in this settlement, aren't there?"
"That's the thing, But I'm afraid, we're a little short on funds..."
"What, are you running out of money already?"
"No, we've got some money left over, but we don't know what might happen in the future and we might need money suddenly, so we'd like to keep a certain amount of funds."
"Hmm, as long as you pay me the money properly, you can pay me later, and I won't charge you any interest."
"We've earned quite a bit since coming here, and with the reward for the house and inn we're building, we'll have plenty of surplus. Even if we have to pay the expenses later we will have enough change to cover them."
"I appreciate the offer, but I feel bad about it."
It is an attractive offer, but I feel a little uncomfortable because it is like taking on a debt, even if there is no interest on it.
Moreover, unlike at first, the materials are now being sourced from the Sincere Dwarf, and from Ronim-san's point of view, they're not gaining anything but losing until the payment is paid, so I feel bad and try to refuse. But then Ronim-san suddenly opens his eyes wide and comes closer.
"What are you saying? Why are you so sorry? As a noble, shouldn't you be delighted to take advantage of others?! With that attitude, you'll just end up as prey for the cruel and heartless nobles!"
"No, 'but'! What's your response!?"
Why am I being lectured like this?
I am aware that I am not behaving like a noble, and I don't particularly aspire to be one. But still, this is a bit shocking.
"Sigh... listen, I did not make this offer in good faith. Master Neil pays us well, and there is no deceit or malice in the contract, we feel comfortable working with such a valuable partner, and we want to have a long-lasting relationship with you, that's why I'm making this proposal."
"So I'm going to ask you again. Do you accept my proposal or not?"
Um, then I'll take you up on your offer... no! I mean, I'll accept!"
"Good, that's settled."
As soon as I used a meek choice of words, Ronim-san's gaze sharpened. I hastily corrected myself and he nodded in satisfaction.
"So, do you have any idea what you want us to do?"
"To be frank, we lack many things and don't even know where to begin."
What this settlement needs above all is the manpower to defend the settlement now and in the past, and we have built a building to welcome them.
Of course, we want other skilled individuals besides warriors, but if we start seeking out everything we lack, we'll never be satisfied. Therefore, we've been focusing on attracting people who can help defend the settlement. With the construction of the guesthouse, we'll also have a barracks available, so we'll be ready to accept the most in-demand talent.
"Ah, but there might be people like Gaadhir-san who want to come with their families, so maybe we should build a few more houses for those who can't stay in the barracks."
"Building houses for soldiers and their families? That may be a good idea, but if we're talking about for the soldiers, we should also make some improvements to that barracks."
"Is there a problem?"
"Actually, that barracks is fine during the day, but at night, the drafts are terrible, and I've woken up a few times from the cold. We're strong enough that we don't have a problem, but other races might catch a cold."
"Is it that bad?"
"Yeah, yesterday one of our young ones was so startled by the cold wind that he jumped out of bed with his head banging against the wall of the room. He said he was blown about by the wind, but if that really happened, the wooden shack would have been blown to bits. Well, he might have been exaggerating, but the drafts are really bad."
Hmm, a draft, huh? but thanks to Wen, the inside of this settlement is kept at a comfortable temperature, and when it does blow, it's only a gentle breeze... wait, people are being blown away?
'I-I'm truly sorry!'
One unpleasant possibility crossed my mind - could it be that the gusts of wind blowing into the barracks at night were caused by Wen? As I suspected, it was indeed her doing.
Wen had kept her promise not to appear when people from outside came to the settlement, but because I renewed the contract with the Sincere Dwarf without thinking about Wen, Wen also stopped appearing, and as a result of trying to keep her promise to me, Wen started to appear at night so that Sincere Dwarfs people would leave the settlement.
At first it was just a slight gust of wind, but it gradually increased its force and escalated to a gust of wind that blew people away last night.
This was completely out of my control, and I apologize to Ronim-san and the others on behalf of Wen.
"Master Neil, there is no need to apologize so much, because as I said before, we are sturdy people, and no one was hurt or got sick."
"But one wrong move and you could be seriously hurt."
"You stopped it before it got to that point, so there's no problem. Your apology for your oversight is enough. Besides, it's impossible to completely control a spirit like Wen.
I slowly raise my head in response to Ronim-san's words, and he nods his head as if to say that's all right. Then he turns his gaze to Wen, who was floating behind me with a guilty expression on her face.
"But to warn the spirits and urge them to reflect on their actions, it seems that they like you very much."
""I'm not sure why I'm so close to her, but that's about Wen. So, Ronim-san... about Wen..."
"I understand. You probably wants us to keep quiet about Wen's physical manifestation. If weird people hear about a spirit inhabiting a place, they might gather around, and that would make our job difficult."
"But it can't go on like this forever, can it? Although her existence is concealed now because there are few people in and out of the settlements, there will come a time when she will be found out. If you don't do something before that happens, you'll be in trouble."
Ronim-san was right, there were few people coming and going, and most of them were like relatives, so they were able to hide Wen's presence by simply making a verbal request, but there was no way that such a measure would work forever.
The surest and easiest solution would be to prevent Wen from materializing, but since she tried to get rid of the Sincere Dwarfs people, it seems that Wen wants to be seen in public.
Forcing Wen to do so would be a risky thing to do, because it would be a displeasure to Wen, and in a sense, it would be more risky than if Wen's existence were exposed to the outside world.
Therefore, I had to find a way other than preventing Wen's materialization, but unfortunately, there was no easy way to come up with such a way, so I have to put it on hold for now.
"By the way, is there any meaning to the fact that the spirit has taken on the form of a young girl?"
"Probably not. Her appearance changes with the amount of magic power she has, and until recently she was about the size of the palm of my hand."
After infusing my beloved sword with magical power, Wen had temporarily shrunk to a size that could fit in my hand due to a lack of magical power. However, after some time had passed, and her magical power had recovered, she had returned to her form as a teenage girl.
"I see, but seeing a child of this size reminds me of the daughter I left behind in Denar...Ah!"
"Oh no, I forgot too, I promised my family I'd be back in two weeks at the latest."
"It's already been more than two weeks."
"Oh dear, I'm so clumsy. I will definitely get scolded by my mother, but more importantly, my daughter will be furious."
Ronim continued to repeat how clumsy he was as he wandered around.
The other people also looked troubled, as if they had also promised to return to their families soon.
"Should I inform your families that your work has extended through Harvest Hoe?"
"No, we promised to return in about two weeks, and we also promised to spend the year-end with our families. So we can't break that promise...but we also promised to take on Master Neil's request, so I don't know what to do."
"In that case, you can postpone my request until next year. There's no deadline, so it's fine."
"Really? That's a relief!"
While Ronim-san was happy that he was saved, Larnan-san approached him and talked to him.
"Ronim, not everyone needs to leave, only those who have promised to return to their families should go, and the rest can continue with the work."
"Oh, that's true. But I can't leave the staff here without a representative."
"Don't worry, Master Neil doesn't mind as long as we get the job done right. What do you think, Master Neil?"
"I don't mind. Rather, I'd appreciate it if the construction will progress while you're gone."
"Well, then we'd better get back to the city. Larnan, can you cover for me?"
"Sure, that's what I'm here for."
Thus, some people including Ronim-san temporarily returned to Denar city to fulfill their promises to their families.
In order to please me, they tried to buy a large amount of the booze that we had made in the settlement as a souvenir, but since Mei and I were the only ones who made the booze, there was not enough left, and a battle broke out between those who were going back and those who stayed behind, with the latter winning by force in the end.
The people who stayed behind were in a bad mood because they couldn't drink much that day, and Mei and I devoted ourselves to brewing booze for a while to make them feel better.
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