Develop 208

Chapter 208 Rumors and Troubles

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 After the meeting with Kuune-san, I had meetings with representatives from each firm and worked hard to establish defensive positions.

 Although most of the representatives from each firm accepted the job willingly, without a single unpleasant face, seeing it as an opportunity to establish connections with nobles, there were naturally some who tried to take advantage of our weakness and negotiate contracts that were advantageous to them.

 Even after the meetings with such individuals were over, there were still related paperwork waiting for me, and there was hardly any time to rest.

 I ate a quick meal with one hand in my office, and didn’t even have time to soak in the bath, only washing my body. Before I knew it, it was already time to go to bed, as I busily worked.

 ”I’m hungry…”

 Perhaps because I hadn’t eaten a proper dinner, I felt hungry at an odd time. Unable to sleep like this, I decided to take the secret passage and head to the dining hall.

 If it was just about having a meal, I could have asked Diana or Lewya, and they would have relayed the message to Narsht-san to prepare the food. However, after a series of unfamiliar meetings, I was mentally exhausted and wanted someone I could talk to without hesitation.

 Walking down a street where most shops were closed, I arrived in front of a dining hall.

 The operating hours had already passed, and there was no sign placed in front of the dining hall. However, I could hear laughter from inside, and I was compelled to enter by the sound.

 As I entered, a man sitting at a table noticed my presence and called out to me.

 ”Hey! Isn’t that Nick? Are you done with work today?”

 ”Yes, are Harmon-san and the others having a drinking party again today?”

 ”Yeah! I got some good meat today. Have some too.”

 Saying that, Harmon-san smiled warmly at me. He was a regular customer whom I had gotten to know since I started disguising myself and coming to the dining hall.

 By the way, Nick is my alias, and you might wonder why I chose a name that resembles my real name (Neil) even though it’s a fake name. When I started coming to the dining hall while hiding my identity, I had no intention of talking to anyone other than Narsht-san or Gaadhir-san, who occasionally came to the dining hall. So, I didn’t need to come up with a fake name.

 Whenever someone tried to talk to me, these two would intervene, and I could continue going to the dining hall without any issues.

 But perhaps because there were no issues, I became careless.

 One day, Gaadhir-san almost slipped and called me by my real name in the flow of conversation.

 ”So, hey, what about Nick?”

 Since then, I became known as Nick and got along well with the regular customers who had become familiar faces.

 ”Boss! I want to order Zanash’s meat dish for Nick too!”

 ”Don’t order on your own. Since when did you become an employee here… Welcome, what would you like today?”

 ”Something light, please. I just want to satisfy my hunger a bit before going to bed.”

 ”Hey Nick, why a young man like you asking for something light? What a weakling. A real man should eat heartily, or you’ll collapse someday.”

 ”No, if I eat like that right before sleeping, I’ll get esophagitis, so I’ll pass.”

 ”What’s that? I eat my fill every day and sleep, and I’m still energetic.”

 ”Don’t compare him to a musclehead like you. Besides, isn’t Nick a servant? If he starts eating like us without doing any physical work, he’ll just end up getting fat.”

 Harmon-san’s comrade, Dominic-san, gave me a wry smile in response.

 As “Nick,” I work as a servant in the mansion, surrounded by women and feeling out of place. I’m supposed to take breaks at Narsht-san’s place, who is also hired by the same master regularly.

 ”Hey, Nick, what’s been going on at the mansion today?”

 ”Huh? Why do you ask?”

 ”Well, when I returned from hunting today, there was a strange stir at the settlement, a weird feeling. I heard that people from each firm were summoned to the mansion. Even though they’ve been too busy to meet before, what’s going on all of a sudden?”

 ”Ah, well…”

 To avoid causing panic, I hadn’t informed the members of the firm who had promised to cooperate about the possibility of a large-scale attack. I’d been conveying the message that we should prepare for the future.

 Although preparation is crucial, if we were to suddenly start building defensive positions in a panic, it would be natural for people to feel uneasy and suspect that something had happened.

 However, I couldn’t disclose the truth and was struggling to figure out how to respond as “Nick.”

 ”Harmon, don’t get involved any further. It won’t end well if you stick your nose into noble business.”

 That’s what Kilk-san, who recently joined Harmon’s group, interjected.

 However, he would likely deny it if I said it in front of him, so I’m not sure about the actual relationship.

 The other five people talk to me relatively well, but it seems like Kilk-san wants to keep his distance from me, so I haven’t been able to speak to him much.

 ”Even the servants are forbidden to talk about some things. Don’t get us into trouble by prying any further.”

 ”But it’s free to ask, right? If you can’t talk, then you don’t have to. So, what’s the deal?”

 ”Um… sorry, Kilk-san is right, I can’t really say it myself.”

 ”Hmm, I see. So, if you can’t talk, it means something really serious is happening that can’t be leaked to the outside, right?”

 Oh no, I messed up.

 I should have just gone along with Kilk-san’s cover and said, “I’m just a servant, I don’t know anything,” but I panicked at my mistake.

 ”Ah, um, Harmon-san.”

 ”I understand, I understand. Don’t worry, I won’t touch upon that.”


 ”Yeah, that’s why, right? Come on, give it a try. It’ll be easier if you just let it all out.”

 ”Well, um…”

 ”We’ve come this far, so it won’t change anything if you talk now. Come on, come on…”


 As Harmon-san grabbed my shoulder and started to get involved, Narsht-san intervened by hitting Harmon-san’s head with a tray, causing him to back down quietly. It seemed that Harmon-san couldn’t go against Narsht-san’s words, perhaps because he had a weakness in having his stomach grabbed.

 After chatting casually with Harmon-san for a while, Narsht-san brought the food and placed it in front of me.

 ”I apologize for the simple meal… Please enjoy.”

 ”Ahaha… Thank you very much.”

 Even though I am currently hiding my identity, I feel a resistance to using casual language towards me. Narsht-san’s tone was a bit blunt and formal, so I smiled wryly as I took a bite of the food served.

 The dish Narsht-san had prepared was simple steamed vegetables and thinly sliced bacon. The vegetables, being fresh produce from the frontier, had a strong flavor and were not bland at all. And with the bacon in between, it didn’t become monotonous.

 As I chatted with Narsht-san and Harmon-san, a fork reached out from the side and snatched my bacon away.

 ”…It’s rude to take food from someone else’s plate, Wen.”

 The one who was snatching the bacon was Wen, and while munching on the stolen bacon from my plate like a sheep grazing on grass, she looked at me and said.

 ”The meat will go to waste if it gets cold.”

 ”Don’t you still have your own food? Eat that.”

 ”But it looked so delicious.”

 ”Sigh… I hope you’re not the type of customer who sneaks around the dining hall stealing other people’s food.”

 ”Don’t worry, Nick. The customers are actually more interested in watching Wen eat everything so enthusiastically.”

 ”Well, I hope that’s true…”

 It made me anxious to think that Wen might start assuming it’s normal to receive food from me, but it would be better not to force her to stop as long as the customers find it amusing.

 What concerned me more was the person sitting next to Wen, an earth spirit nibbling on vegetable sticks as if she was unrelated to everything.

 Since becoming corporeal and gaining a physical form, the earth spirit became able to sense things that it had been unable to sense before but also developed an interest in the taste of crops. One day, Wen brought the spirit to the dining hall, where she tasted crops with her own mouth. Since then, she has become fascinated with improving the taste of crops. I provided a separate plot for experimentation, focusing on cultivating crops with enhanced flavor.

 However, since taste was an unknown concept for the spirit, she had no idea how to make the taste better. So, day after day, she would have Narsht-san cook the vegetables it grew and compare the flavors, experimenting and making mistakes. But recently, incidents related to the earth spirit have been occurring frequently.

 Although she was wearing servant’s clothes, the color was different from her normal clothes and doesn’t seem to show any signs of working at the mansion. She appears out of nowhere and only eats at the dining hall. No one finds this suspicious.

 And why is she wearing clothes different from the other servants? And why doesn’t anyone from the Atmiras Count’s household complain about the fact that he’s slacking off?

 Could it be that the clothes are just a costume and this person has no connection to the Atmiras Count’s household? Or perhaps this person is of a status that allows them to not work?

 Speculation leads to more speculation, and now a rumor has spread throughout the settlement – the girl in the brown servant’s clothes is an elf.

 I’ll say this upfront, but there is absolutely nothing elf-like about the appearance of the earth spirit.

 However, the reason why rumors spread that the earth spirit is an elf is because the people of this world are not familiar with the existence of elves.

 When people hear the word “elf,” they typically think of long ears, blonde hair, green clothes, and a well-defined face.

 But in this world, there is no template that says “this is how elves should be.” This is because elves are considered rare beings who, if seen even once in a lifetime, are believed to bring immense wealth in the future. As a result, they rarely come into contact with humans.

 Therefore, there are very few people who know the details of what elves actually look like. Most of the individuals who claim to have seen an elf are either simply mistaken or are making up stories to gain attention. Even if someone claims to have seen an elf, they are not trusted and cannot prove it.

 There are various theories about the appearance of elves, ranging from looking exactly like humans to having a monster-like appearance with wrinkled and droopy skin due to living for hundreds of years.

 Furthermore, although the earth spirits have the appearance of children around ten years old, their arrogant attitude and the way they refer to others as “men,” “women,” or “humans” indicate a consciousness that they are different from humans. Due to the lack of knowledge about the true appearance of elves and the behavior and actions of the earth spirits, as well as the fact that no one knows what an elf actually looks like, rumors spread that the earth spirits are elves.

 If such rumors spread, it is only natural that villains who aim for elves would appear. However, as expected, humans cannot match the extraordinary power of the spirits, resulting in countless badly injured individuals.

 There have been occasions where I scolded the earth spirit for going too far, but she never listen and believe that there is nothing wrong with retaliating against those who approach them with malice and force. Currently, there is no end to the humans who are on the verge of death after being defeated by the earth spirit.

 It would have been fine if the matter ended with those who laid their hands on the earth spirit getting what they deserved. However, many people and things unrelated to the conflict between the two sides are being affected, and reports of damage related to the earth spirits are coming in every day. This has left me with a headache.

 However, it’s not all bad. The attention drawn by those who have evil intentions towards the earth spirit ensures that Lewya, the true elf, is not suspected. And it’s a good thing that the earth spirit, who can handle any situation on her own, is being targeted, as it allows us to eliminate the threats that have been lurking.

 Nevertheless, because some humans are tempted and end up approaching individuals who appear to be elves that suddenly appear before them, I can’t help but worry and wish that the earth spirits would exercise a little more caution.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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