Develop 220

Chapter 220 Source of Anxiety

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 Today was the first heavenly week of Flame Star, and a day had passed since I received reports that the monsters had disappeared from the nearby forest.

 As for me, I was still facing a large number of documents in the office, but the only difference was that the contents of those documents were about suspending operations in the settlement and selling the stores.

 It all started yesterday when the news that “the monsters had disappeared” spread throughout the settlement in no time.

 The disappearance of the monsters was a sign of an impending attack, and at this point, it was impossible to keep the attack a secret any longer. I gathered representatives from each firm at the mansion and explained the situation.

 Facing a crisis presented suddenly without any prior explanation, the reactions of the gathered representatives were varied, but I tried to explain as much as possible in front of these people.

 Fortunately, the construction of defensive positions had been completed at the end of the previous week, so I emphasized that part while trying to calm the people’s confusion. However, it wasn’t going to be easy to succeed that easily.

 No matter how much I’m praised as a prodigy, all of that is just the result of alchemy and magic tool development, with no contributions to the defense of the settlement. It’s unlikely that anyone would entrust their life to a youngster who just came of age a year ago and hasn’t even taken over the family business yet.

 As a result, there are mountains of documents wishing for the closure of the business and the sale of the store, and most people left the settlement yesterday without waiting for the documents to be stamped.

 ”Ah… maybe I should have explained things beforehand.”

 ”No, I think keeping quiet until the last minute was the right decision in this case.”

 Diana, who was next to me, responds to my muttering.

 Because it was too much for one person to handle all these documents, she quickly brought a chair from another room and had her help me check the documents.

 While I confirmed the contents of the documents myself, I would just quickly check the ones that Diana had already reviewed before stamping them.

 ”If we had explained early on, many people would have left the settlement, and the completion of the defense fortifications would have been significantly delayed. If that had happened, there would probably be no one left in the settlement now willing to stay and participate in the defense.”

 Currently, there are about a 100 people left in the settlement.

 Half of them are non-combatants, and the other half are the people who will participate in the defense this time.

 The reason there are that many capable fighters left in the settlement is slightly different.

 Upon hearing about the monster attacks, Alex from the Spear of Shouhyou contacted headquarters to request reinforcements.

 If there were defense fortifications and the only thing lacking was personnel, then defense might still be possible with reinforcements.

 Of course, this was not just out of goodwill, and a certain amount of money had to be paid. Fortunately, there was plenty of funds available, so I gladly accepted this offer.

 More magicians were sent to the settlement, making a total of 35 people from the Spear of Shouhyou, 13 people working individually like Harmon-san, and 4 sl*ves led by Niya-san and Niya-san herself, totaling 53 people participating in the defense this time.

 Diana, Lewya, and Gaadhir-san are not included in the count for the defense at the defensive position but are responsible for the inner defense in case monsters break through and invade the settlement.

 Additionally, the sincere dwarf Ronim-san and their group have stayed in the settlement and agreed to participate in the defense within the settlement, even though they are not combat personnel.

 Initially, they had agreed to participate in the defense at the defensive position, but Alex-san insisted that “amateurs would only get in the way,” leading to some conflicts between the Spear of Shouhyou and the sincere dwarf. Eventually, things settled into the current arrangement.

 Other non-combatants are supposed to take refuge in the mansion, and I am also expected to take refuge there with them. However, I have no intention of doing so.

 I am trying to persuade those around me to let me participate in the defense, but because of this busyness, I have not been able to confirm whether it is okay to use that sword with the earth spirit or water spirit yet. Until that is clear, it is a problem before persuasion.

 ”Hey, Diana.”

 ”What is it?”

 ”…Never mind, it’s nothing after all.”

 ”I see.”

 It’s no good, it’s hard to talk. Lately, I just can’t seem to get the right distance with Diana.

 The fact that Diana’s behavior has become strange since Lucena-san came to the settlement is also related, but the main reason is probably the difference between Diana a year ago and Diana now.

 I wondered why Diana, who had seemed disappointed in me before, had changed her attitude so dramatically. Even if I couldn’t pinpoint the reason myself, there must have been some trigger for her to change her demeanor.

 I was tempted to ask her directly several times, but each time, I gave up at the last moment, thinking she wouldn’t straightforwardly tell me.

 Normally, Diana would have probably probed further when I started to speak, saying something like, “I can tell you’re curious, so please ask directly.” However, despite our repeated exchanges, Diana didn’t pursue the matter further and seemed to avoid talking to me now.

 As I grappled with these feelings, dealing with paperwork, a knock came at the office door, and Diana rose from her chair.


 ”It’s Lewya. I’ve brought a guest for Neil.”

 A guest? Judging by the fact that Lewya wasn’t using her usual public tone, it didn’t seem like an outsider. But if that were the case, she wouldn’t have referred to them as a “guest.”

 Diana and I glanced at each other, then she slowly opened the door to peek at the guest through the crack.

 ”You girls are――”

 Before Diana could finish, the guest peeked through the crack and greeted me.

 ”Hey there, Neil-sama, long time no see.”

 ”Huh? Iko-san!?”

 It was Iko-san, who had come to the settlement with Niya-san and others, then left after the incident with the suspicious trio.

 ”N-Neil-sama… It’s been a while…”

 Following Iko-san, Mio-san, who also left the settlement with Iko-san, appeared. I stood up from my chair to welcome them back.

 ”Welcome back. But why the sudden return? Did you hear about the attack, or…?”


 ”Um, who’s that man over there?”

 When I approached the two, I discovered a man on the other side of the door who had stiffened his whole body.

 ”Hey Thor, come over here. In a sense, you’re the star this time.”

 ”Well, but…”

 ”Oh come on! Stop dawdling and come over here!”

 Thor was also pulled into the office by Iko-san, who had grabbed the man’s arm.

 ”Neil, this person is the young master of a firm that mainly deals with clothing and cosmetics for ladies, called ‘Lady’s Grace.’ He actually wants to open a store here.”

 ”Oh, is that so? I don’t mind him opening a store, but…”

 There used to be a fashion firm before, but they had already stopped operating and sold their stores. So it was much appreciated that a new fashion firm was willing to open a store here.

 ”But there are predominantly more men in this settlement, and female customers are scarce.”

 ”It’s not like we only deal with women’s products, so it’s okay, right, Thor?”

 ”Huh? Oh, yes!”

 ”From what I heard from Moona, there are many brothels in the settlement, but there are no stores selling clothing or underwear for pr**titutes. You have to go to the city if you need them. We do sell cosmetics for ladies though.”

 ”…But, beside Moona-san’s place and one other store, most of the brothels in the settlement have closed down.”

 Most of the brothels that operated in the settlement have ceased operations and left the settlement. The only ones left are Moona-san’s shop and Toys of Preference.

 ”But if we can get through the attack safely, we’ll be fine, right? I and Mio will help, so if you can help us with the cosmetics for ladies, we would be happy.”

 ”Why do you both support Thor-san so much?”

 As I puzzled over the relationship between Thor-san and the others, Iko-san grinned and placed her hands on Mio-san and Thor-san’s shoulders.

 ”Actually, these two just got married.”

 ”Wow, really?”

 ”Well, Mio left the settlement partly because of Thor, but as soon as they got married, she started missing Niya and the others.”

 ”I-Iko-chan… That wasn’t part of the deal…”

 ”I see, so they want to set up a shop together in the settlement.”

 ”Yes, as her big sister, I wanted to fulfill my sister’s wish as much as possible.”

 I understood. It’s good for the settlement’s defense to improve, and it’s also good to meet the needs of the women there.

 ”Understood. If you two are joining the defense, I’ll take care of arrangements for the ladies. We’ll provide a shop space that another fashion firm used before, free of charge.”

 ”Yay! Oh right, Niya probably told you too, but for this defense, Momoka…”

 ”Oh, I understand. We don’t plan to have Momoka join the defense. She herself said she wouldn’t be much help.”

 ”Well, that’s a relief. She tends to do reckless things at the last minute.”

 Iko-san said anxiously, making me a bit worried too. Just then…

 ”Don’t worry.”


 Mio-san, who had been listening silently to our conversation, spoke up.

 ”If we defend the settlement properly, there won’t be a need for Momoka-chan to participate… Right…?”

 Basically, if Momoka were to break her promise and join the defense, it would be because she’s worried about it.

 So, as long as we defend properly, Momoka won’t have to worry.

 ”Okay, yeah, that’s right. If we protect ourselves properly, we won’t need to worry about anything. Alright! Neil-sama, I’m going to go out for reconnaissance right away!”

 ”I’ll also… go to Niya-chan’s place…”

 Iko-san and Mio-san left the office with Thor-san, and as I watched their backs with admiration, I also reconsidered my thoughts.

 Thinking that I should wait for an opportunity is too passive.

 In order to make our defense more secure, I should take action now, even if it means dropping everything else.

 ”Diana, let’s take a little break. I’ve finished what I wanted to do.”

 ”Neil-sama? What’s gotten into you–“

 ”I’ll be back after it’s done!”

 I don’t know how helpful I will be in this defense mission.

 But rather than waiting in the mansion, I want to do what I can, so I start running.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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