In the middle of Harvest Month, when it was still cold, I was driving the reins of a horse on the carriage.
"Are we really going to accept this request?"
Larnan was sitting next to me and I said without trying to hide my annoyance.
"You're being too cautious, Larnan. We sent the contract stating that we would accept the request under these conditions, and they accepted it. We can't back out now."
"Don't be so indecisive, Larnan! Have you forgotten our firm's name?!"
"The Sincere Dwarf (Toku jitsunaru shujū)" - that's the name my great-grandfather named the firm when he started it.
Toku jitsunaru (篤実なる) means sincere and honest, and "Shujū (侏儒)" is an old name for us dwarves, when we lived in a different world from this one.
"We are not like the nobles who break their promises. We will fulfill our end of the bargain, no matter who the client is, understood?"
"...Yeah, I guess so. But you didn't really intend to accept this request either, did you?"
I answered nothing to Larnan's question.
Yes, Larnan is right, I had no intention of accepting this offer.
When Gibbett, an old acquaintance, had asked me to take on a job from a noble, I was furious. I couldn't believe he would bring such a request to us.
But Gibbett insisted again and again that I should at least listen to him, and I did, but that was a mistake.
According to him, the location of the request was in a settlement. Many contractors had already declined due to the danger associated with settlements, particularly the well-known one located in the inland of the kingdom.
Speaking of settlements, there is a well-known story about a settlement in the inland of the kingdom, which is like a battlefield because of the daily battle with the monsters that appear from the center of the labyrinth.
Because of this, the settlements have a strong impression of danger, and no sane person would ever think of going there.
But according to Gibbett, the client's place is not so dangerous and there are only a few problems related to monsters on one hand, which is more worrisome for the contractor.
Nonetheless, other firms were still hesitant, as they were more comfortable dealing with the well-established measures in place in the kingdom's settlement, which had years of experience dealing with monster attacks.
Still, the client's frontier area has little experience of attacks by monsters, and it was obvious that the client would face some unexpected situation every time a monster attacked the area.
If a monster attack occurs in the middle of the request, there is a possibility that we may be harmed by the contingency, which is much more dangerous.
Next, regarding the scope of the request, it is not a task that can be completed in a day or two. As the number of days increases, the likelihood of encountering unforeseen situations mentioned earlier also increases.
So, it is understandable that other firms may not be willing to take on such a request. It's also understandable why Gibbett brought this noble's request to me, even knowing that it might make me angry.
Well, we Dwarves have strong bodies that rival even those of monsters and with a good weapon, we can handle two or three monsters on our own.
If it is such a Dwarf, he must think that we would accept the request of the settlement without hesitation.
Certainly, there is no problem in working in the settlements, and we are confident that we can protect ourselves even if something unforeseen happens.
The problem, however, was the fact that it was a commission from an aristocrat.
Gibbett said that the client was not a nobleman like we think, but noblemen are people who prey on the goodwill of others, deceiving them for their own gain, so we can't just trust Gibbett's word.
Gibbett is a good judge of people, but he is dealing with people who make their living by deceiving others, and it is possible that Gibbett is being manipulated by them.
So I could not take Gibbett's word for it no matter how much he says that his client nobleman is different from others.
But I could not reject it out of hand, and I was troubled about what to do, and I decided to make a condition.
It was a condition that was obviously unreasonable to anyone's eyes, and some people might even get angry at me.
Gibbett also said that it was too unreasonable at first, but I reminded him that if the noble is truly a good person, they wouldn't react violently to such a condition, so, Gibbett's fellow became silent.
In the end, Gibbett took the request back with the condition.
At that time, I thought the story was over with Gibbett taking the conditions back to the client. However, a few days later, Gibbett informed me that the client had accepted the conditions.
Even Gibbett, who sent the request under those conditions, was surprised, but what was even more unbelievable was that the aristocrat accepted those conditions as they were.
I had expected to have to push back on the conditions multiple times, and even then, I never thought they would be accepted outright.
As a result, I managed to persuade the people who were complaining, and am driving the carriage to the settlement that I was requested.
"Hey, don't go sighing like that. You're not exactly radiating enthusiasm?"
"Shut up, we're almost there. Even if we don't wanna go, we'd better keep our head down so they won't think we're just another bunch of dirty-looking guys."
"Got it. You guys heard that!?"
Larnan shouts behind him, and a sparse, unenthusiastic reply comes from the back of the carriage.
Despite my uneasiness, I continued to drive the carriage towards our destination.