Chapter 131 The Visited Change and a Momentary Peace
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
It had been a week since the human slave traders arrived at the pioneer settlement and took away that trio. The settlement was expected to become busy with the revelation of the person behind the trio, but contrary to expectations, it was gradually regaining peace.
There were several reasons for this. First, there was no confirmation that the client this time was someone close to Viscount Hedmar. In most cases, the requests came from individuals associated with Viscount Hedmar, but it couldn’t be determined if the client this time was one of them.
As Gibbett-san also mentioned, there were many people who wanted to know the secret of growing crops out of season. So, it wouldn’t be surprising even if the request came from someone else.
The second reason was that even if Viscount Hedmar was involved, we had no means to deal with it. In the Empire, clandestine battles between nobles were a common occurrence, but unfortunately, I had never fought against a noble before.
It wouldn’t hurt to gain experience from this, but surprisingly, it was my father who put a stop to it. When I first reported this matter, I was prepared to be completely left to my own devices, but the letter I received from my father said something like “I will handle this matter here.”
Perhaps my father felt unsure about leaving it to me when dealing with a noble, or maybe he was trying to use it as leverage to gain some favor from Viscount Hedmar. I couldn’t understand my father’s thoughts, but in any case, the matter concerning Viscount Hedmar was left in my father’s hands, and I once again focused on the operation of the settlement.
However, there was still a possibility that more people would be sent to the settlement, so we had to continue handling that aspect ourselves.
So, while the fundamental problem hadn’t been resolved, several changes had occurred in the seemingly peaceful settlement.
A week ago, two residents of the settlement left, and in their place, ten new people joined. The two who left were Iko-san and Mio-san, who left the settlement accompanying the slave traders when they departed. However, it wasn’t a final farewell. They said they would come back to see Niya-san and others on occasion, so there was no tearful farewell. Everyone sent them off with smiles.
As for the ten people who joined to replace them, they were all slaves purchased from the slave traders. I didn’t become completely free of guilt or resistance towards buying slaves, but I decided to change my perspective slightly.
Refusing to buy slaves wouldn’t change their fate, and if they were to be sold elsewhere and suffer, it seemed that being treated as slaves but working in the settlement would be a happier choice. I actually thought that the treatment in the settlement was much better than the treatment of regular slaves, and considering it as getting labor in addition to helping people eased my mind considerably.
Now, regarding the slaves, four of them were selected from the slaves with combat experience, led by Niya-san, who mainly operates outside the settlement. The reason there were only four was that Niya-san had no experience commanding more than that number, so the plan was to start with four and gradually increase the size.
As for the remaining six people, the surprising thing was that it was not I who bought them, but Moona-san. Moona-san had been thinking of someday owning her own brothel even before the disbandment of the unit, and she decided to have her own brothel in the settlement with this opportunity. She went as far as purchasing an empty house and commissioning the modifications to the Sincere Dwarf. Her dedication was remarkable.
Moona-san, who finds joy in bringing happiness to others, was eager to provide services to the customers. However, there were limitations to what she could do inside the carriage, and Niya-san had cautioned her against excessive services. Moona-san had been accumulating frustration, and it seemed that she had a strong reaction to it.
By the way, one of the reasons she purchased slaves was to fill the void left by Iko-san and Mio-san. However, the main reason was her concern for the future of the young women who would be sold as slaves. She couldn’t leave them alone in that situation. Instead of unilaterally purchasing them, she approached the female slaves and asked if they would like to work in her brothel. Those who agreed were then purchased, resulting in six new women joining the pioneer settlement.
I was worried about her financial aspect, considering the purchase of the empty house and the six slaves. However, Niya-san had been saving money for five years, even after the disbandment of their unit, and it seemed that the accumulated amount was substantial enough to cover the expenses. It included the five years’ worth of earnings from the unit, which would serve as the income for the brothel. So, there was no need for me to worry.
However, it turned out that the funds were still insufficient to support the six slaves and the renovation costs for the empty house. Moona-san borrowed money from Niya-san and Momoka to cover the expenses.
Now, the brothel, which filled with Moona-san’s heartfelt intentions, was in progress. Moona-san had strong convictions, and she repeatedly worked on the renovations. But it would take some more time before the brothel could start operating.
Anyway, there haven’t been many significant changes, and things are mostly the same as they were a week ago. If there is anything that has changed, it would be something very personal. I started practicing self-training in the area of the pioneer settlement where I had previously cut down with my beloved sword.
After getting a new sword, my flow of magic was slightly different from my previous sword, and I made a mistake in adjusting the power of magic when I jumped out of the window, ending up rolling on the ground in a clumsy manner. To avoid such embarrassing situations again, I have been practicing self-training here to get a sense of the new sword. That’s the official reason, but in reality, my mind is still occupied by the matter of Viscount Hedmar, and I can’t concentrate on intellectual work at all. So, I thought of moving my body to empty my mind and make it easier, but…
”Sigh… It’s no good. I can’t concentrate at all.”
As I’m tangled up in various thoughts like this, I haven’t been able to clear my mind at all. After hearing that conversation from Ronim-san, I was genuinely surprised when the trio mentioned Viscount Hedmar’s name. And thinking that Zora’s real parents might be targeting the secret of the pioneer settlement, I felt a complicated mix of emotions.
I considered asking Ronim-san again about Zora’s parents, but he didn’t seem eager to talk about it either, and I hesitated on how to approach the subject, so I ended up not asking.
Suddenly, I was called from behind, and when I turned around, Momoka was standing behind me, seemingly out of nowhere.
”Oh, what are you doing here at this time? It’s still early for lunch, and aren’t you working?”
”Diana told me that there’s no more work for me today. She said that if I work any more, there won’t be enough work left for Zora.”
”I see, that makes sense.”
The reason why Zora’s name came up here is because, as a punishment for sneaking into my laboratory in the middle of the night, Zora has been helping with the work in the pioneer settlement. I had been so focused on the trio that I overlooked what Zora had done, and it wasn’t a matter that could be resolved with just a lecture. After much consideration, I decided that Zora would assist with the pioneer settlement’s work for three weeks without pay.
”I thought I’d come and help if there’s anything I can do since I have free time.”
”So, that’s why you came to me. But, well, unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can help me with in my current tasks.”
The tasks I have on hand are paperwork related to the pioneer settlement and alchemy-related research, but there wasn’t any work that Momoka could help me with.
”What are you doing, Master Neil?”
”I’m currently training with my sword. I wanted to move my body a bit and change my mood.”
I actually wanted to practice magic control, but it would be dangerous to do so in a state of lacking concentration. So, I decided to swing my sword and try to brush away distracting thoughts.
”If you’re training with your sword, shall I be your sparring partner?”
”Huh? Momoka, are you sure?”
”As long as I don’t use my abilities, I’ll be fine. I’m not so fragile that I’ll break from a little movement.”
”Well, I did have concerns about that as well.”
My biggest concern was whether Momoka had enough skill to be a suitable practice partner with the sword. If I pointed an unsheathed sword at someone with limited experience, injuries would be inevitable, and in the worst case scenario, even lives could be lost. Although Momoka is referred to as a combat clone, her usage has been more like a disposable special attack weapon, so I honestly doubted her swordsmanship.
Despite my worries, Momoka unsheathed the sword hanging at her waist and stood in front of me.
”I’ll just be on the receiving end, so come at me with all you’ve got.”
”Come at you with all I’ve got… Are we really going to do this?”
”Don’t worry, receiving is my specialty. No need to hold back.”
”Even if you say that…”
I looked at Momoka, standing in front of me without any signs of preparing to defend, with a skeptical expression. Even though she told me to come at her, she didn’t make any moves to wield the sword, and her right arm holding the sword was hanging weakly. It seemed that Momoka had no intention of backing down, and reluctantly, I took a stance while feeling less enthusiastic about it.
”Alright, here I go.”
While Momoka responded, she didn’t show any readiness to defend. After hesitating for a moment, I slowly raised my sword and swung it downward with enough speed to stop just before contact. Momoka’s right arm moved with a subtle gesture, effortlessly deflecting the swung sword. Even though it was quite slow, witnessing her fluid and efficient movement in parrying the sword, it seemed true that she excelled in receiving attacks. With cautious observation, I began my sword training, step by step.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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