Develop 165

Chapter 165 Spear of Shouhyou

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 After finishing the daily training that was becoming routine for the three of them, I returned to the laboratory and resumed the brewing work that His Majesty had requested. While using the infiltration method for brewing was fine, making the remaining two barrels of liquor with a personal, small distiller was quite labor-intensive. I would prefer larger brewing equipment, but due to the restrictions of the permit for personal use, I couldn’t purchase proper equipment for full-scale brewing. So, I ended up buying a slightly larger distiller, and every day, along with Mei, we worked on distilling liquor. While there were some changes since the last time, like coming up with a new type of alcohol, this time the types of liquor we were producing were fixed, resulting in repetitive and monotonous days. And with that, my frustration grew more than before…

 ”Hey, Neil.”

 ”What is it, Mei?”

 ”Can’t you get someone else to do this work? Set up proper facilities, hire skilled craftsmen, and so on.”

 ”…I’ve mentioned this before. Obtaining official permission for brewing involves a lot of troublesome procedures. Besides, Father won’t allow any shortcuts in those matters just because I’m his son. And right now, we don’t have the resources to just set up a brewing facility in the settlement.”

 If it were only about the building, I could ask Ronim-san to build it on credit, but the Sincere Dwarves have already finished constructing the dormitories for the female slaves and have returned to Denar for the time being, as there is currently no work for them in the settlement. Moreover, we are already in debt for a considerable sum of money, and it wouldn’t be wise to request a large brewing facility only to call them back soon. Also, even if we set up a building, it would be meaningless without the necessary equipment for brewing. We simply didn’t have the financial means to establish extensive facilities.

 ”Mei, why don’t you find something that might serve as a change of pace?”

 ”My change of pace is my research. But right now, when I’m here, the thought of brewing is always on my mind, and it’s not much of a change of pace.”

 ”You’re really a shut-in, aren’t you? Get out, go outside.”

 ”I do go outside. Lately, I’ve been taking walks, especially to physically distance myself from the brewing. By the way, speaking of walks, I peeked in on the training once, and for a change of pace, you seem to be teaching quite thoroughly.”

 ”Well, yeah, there’s a bit of motivation behind it, but it’s also because of the content I’m teaching. Since it’s about combat and directly affects the lives of the three, I can’t cut corners.”

 If I casually taught and as a result, the three got seriously injured or, worst-case scenario, lost their lives, I would undoubtedly regret it. To maintain my own peace of mind, I had no intention of providing incomplete instruction.

 ”I see. Even when dealing with girls, you’re giving them quite rough training. I thought you were just being harsh, but there’s a reason behind it.”

 ”Huh? Currently, only Eurus is receiving practical training, and I don’t think I’m giving Seira particularly rough training.”

 ”Even if you mention names, I have no idea who is who. You know, the quiet one with short black hair.”

 Hmm? Seira doesn’t have black hair, and her hair isn’t short either. Moreover, she gives off a vibrant impression. Naturally, the description doesn’t fit Ranbaa either, so that leaves only one person…

 ”Huh? Eurus is… a girl?”

 ”You can’t be serious, Neil. Did you really think of that child as a boy?”

 Mei’s expression was genuinely surprised, and it didn’t seem like she was making a joke. It’s true that I did think she had a slight build from the first meeting, but given that she’s a ten-year-old child whose bone structure hasn’t fully developed yet, there wouldn’t be that much of a difference in physique between boys and girls. Also, considering that Eurus used “boku” (a male pronoun) to refer to herself, I had unilaterally assumed Eurus was a boy.

 ”I’m amazed. I knew Neil doesn’t pay much attention to people’s appearances, but I never thought you’d mistake someone’s gender.”

 ”Huh… really? Really a girl?”

 ”I can only see her as a girl no matter how I look. If you’re not convinced, why not just ask her directly?”

 ”Well, how am I supposed to bring that up? If I suddenly ask, ‘Is Eurus a girl?’ out of nowhere, won’t I be looked at weirdly?”

 ”How about checking her private parts during combat training? See if there’s anything extra down there?”

 ”Are you telling me to be a pervert? And what would you do if I actually took that seriously and acted on it?”

 ”I’d report it to Diana.”

 ”You’re merciless even when you’re the one suggesting it…”

 While Mei and I were having that kind of exchange, a knock sounded on the door of the laboratory, and Lewya’s voice came from the other side.

 ”Neil, it’s Lewya.”

 ”Hm? What’s up?”

 ”There’s a visitor who wishes to meet with you just now.”

 ”A visitor? Who and from where?”

 ”They said they were Alex from ‘Spear of Shouhyou.’”

 Speaking of the “Spear of Shouhyou,” it’s a major firm that specializes in dispatching personnel, much like the “Banrai no Senpu (Battle Axe of Ten Thousand Thunders)” Gaadhir-san used to belong to. Why would someone from there have any business with me… It’s probably just a sales pitch for their personnel. The only point of contact with the settlement right now is Harvest Hoe, and since Gibbett-san is being quite meticulous in selecting personnel, it’s unlikely that any proposal made to Harvest Hoe would be successful. They must have come here to directly pitch their services. While we do need more manpower, Gibbett-san is adamant about only hiring personnel he has vetted, leaving no room for negotiations. So, I was considering sending them away when an unmistakable sense of déjà vu washed over me. Right, the same feeling I had when His Majesty visited the settlement in disguise. I was thinking similar thoughts back then, too. This déjà vu feeling intrigued me, so I decided to ask Lewya for more details about the visitor.

 ”Did that person say anything else?”

 ”They mentioned having a letter of introduction for Neil-sama, but oddly enough, they didn’t know who the introducer was.”

 ”An introduction letter from an unknown introducer? Isn’t that quite suspicious? Even just by listening to it, isn’t it really doubtful that it’s from the ‘Spear of Shouhyou’? …But, I’m curious about that letter. Haven’t you received it?”

 ”They said it’s something important, so they want to hand it directly to Neil-sama.”

 Is it really something that important, or is it just a lie to get a face-to-face meeting with me? I have no confirmation, but I feel like it’s more likely the former. It’s unlikely that someone would try to fool a noble with a fake introduction letter just to get a chance to meet. Even if they manage to meet, it’s pointless if it doesn’t lead to anything afterwards. So, they wouldn’t resort to lying just to create a bad impression. After pondering for a while, I decided to meet with this person named Alex from the “Spear of Shouhyou.”



 ”It’s a pleasure to meet you for the first time. My name is Alex, and I’m affiliated with the Denal branch of the ‘Spear of Shouhyou.’ I’ve heard of Master Neil’s esteemed name for a while, and I feel honored to finally meet you in person.”

 ”Um, yeah… Thank you.”

 Upon meeting, Alex began with the usual pleasantries. He appeared to be in his late twenties to early thirties, with a very well-structured face. While he was unarmed for this meeting, he wore light armor that seemed comfortable to move in. His well-built body didn’t quite give off the impression of a salesperson. Considering he’s heading to the settlement, perhaps he was appointed to negotiate with fighting mercenaries instead of ordinary staff members.

 ”Um, I heard you brought a letter of introduction from an unknown introducer?”

 ”Yes, here it is.”

 I received the offered envelope and first checked the seal. There was no special insignia, and I couldn’t gather any information about the introducer from it. With no other choice, I had to inspect the contents, so I broke the seal and took out the letter to read its contents. The letter had only one word, “hire,” and in the bottom right corner, there was the name “Gras,” which was a pseudonym His Majesty often used.

 Just as I suspected, given the timing, this was likely a confidential letter from His Majesty. If he were to take action shortly after returning to the capital, now would be a suitable time. But what’s this? The content is too concise, and the order to hire is quite vague. Indeed, we need more hands, but simply hiring personnel won’t solve the problems. What’s needed right now is a way to control the noble families who will inevitably intervene when the existence of the elves is revealed. If our adversaries weren’t nobles, it would be enough to increase the security personnel, but when nobles use their power to intervene, it becomes a very complicated matter. His Majesty should understand that, but as always, I can’t read his thoughts. With these thoughts in mind, I decided to question Alex.

 ”How did this introduction letter come about?”

 ”I received it from a superior, who said it’s a ‘letter of introduction from a certain individual.’ They seemed to avoid revealing the person’s identity, and I haven’t been informed of the details. However, since it’s something of great importance, they asked me to hand it directly to Master Neil.”

 If they’re hesitant to let just anyone handle His Majesty’s letter, then it’s likely that the person above Alex knew who the letter was for. While “Spear of Shouhyou” is a major organization, having someone from a company directly connected to the Empire’s Emperor… Well, in the case of His Majesty, he’s known to go out incognito all the time, so it’s not as surprising.

 ”If it doesn’t inconvenience you, could you tell me who this ‘person above’ is?”

 ”The person in question is someone named Melgis, who currently bears the title of ‘Shouhyou’ as the pillar of the firm.”

 A person with a title, huh? If that’s the case, there’s a possibility that His Majesty might have taken an interest and made contact. But, as always, I can’t fathom His Majesty’s intentions. Surely, His Majesty wouldn’t go to such lengths just to introduce personnel. There must be something more to this. However, even if I understand that, since His Majesty is ordering me to hire, I have no choice.

 ”Understood, I’ll go ahead and hire some personnel from your side.”

 ”Thank you. Now, could you please tell me the kind of personnel Master Neil is seeking for the settlement? We can introduce not only personnel suitable for security and development, unlike the ‘Banrai no Senpu (Battle Axe of Ten Thousand Thunders),’ but also various specialists.”

 Hmm? Mentioning ‘Banrai no Senpu (Battle Axe of Ten Thousand Thunders)’ here—does that mean they’re aware that we hired personnel from them through Gibbett-san? Maybe it’s just a comparison since they’re competitors, but it’s possible they knew about this before they came here. Maybe they were already planning to pitch their personnel to the settlement and had done some research. Are they considering the settlement a good market because it’s in dire need of personnel, or is there some other ulterior motive? Given the situation with Viscount Hedmar, I can’t help but find everything suspicious.

 ”Master Neil, is something the matter?”

 ”Oh, no, sorry… We need a considerable number of personnel for the settlement, and I was pondering over what to do. Um, let’s see, we need security personnel the most… Oh, by the way, do you have any personnel familiar with brewing?”

 ”Yes, we do.”

 ”Really? You have some?”

 ”Strictly speaking, they are not affiliated with our firm.”

 Even if they have specialized personnel, they must be referring to outsiders. The personnel dispatch firms also have a role as intermediaries, receiving requests from clients and assigning the appropriate personnel to fulfill those requests. Especially for larger firms, they often can’t fulfill all their requests with their own mercenary staff due to the high volume of assignments, so they take on the role of intermediaries in such cases. While ‘Spear of Shouhyou’ does a wide range of work, their main focus is still on security and combat tasks, much like ‘Banrai no Senpu (Battle Axe of Ten Thousand Thunders).’ Most specialized requests are likely handled through external personnel introductions. Since we don’t want to recklessly bring in outsiders to the settlement, even if we decide to hire, we want to narrow it down to individuals known to be affiliated with ‘Spear of Shouhyou.’

 ”In that case, could you please have someone officially affiliated with your firm handle the hiring?”

 ”May I ask for the reason?”

 ”I know that rumors about the settlement have been spreading in the city, and I assume you’ve heard some of these rumors as well. The settlement is harboring a secret that we don’t want outsiders to discover. In order to prevent those who seek to uncover it from entering the settlement, we can’t hire personnel whose backgrounds are unknown.”

 ”I see, understood. However, please be aware that our pool of suitable candidates might be limited under those conditions.”


 After that, I discussed further with Alex and decided to hire several security personnel from ‘Spear of Shouhyou’ for the settlement.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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