74 Episode 74 "Hegemony negotiates with travel mercha...

"So you are the Wandering Merchant.

 We are in the tent of a trading post.
 Lysette and I were meeting with Menes-Nairis, the Wandering Merchant.
 Menes and I are sitting across the table from each other, and Lisette is standing beside me.

 Menes is a small girl wearing a hood and a scarf.
 She seems to have come here on a small horse with all her belongings.
 She announced that she was armed and accepted to be disarmed. As a gift, she offered a feather ornament that she had purchased in the south. She seemed to be paying a lot of attention to me.

"First of all, I would like to thank you. "King of the Frontier.

 Meneses, the merchant, stood up and bowed.

"For giving me this opportunity to meet you. I can't thank you enough for the opportunity to meet you and for making this place possible.
You mean the trading post?
That's right. There are few places in this turbulent world where anyone can exchange goods with permission.
So it's a good place for a traveling merchant.
"We merchants live most of the year on the road. Depending on where we go, we may be haggled over or charged high prices for our goods. This is the first time we have found a place like this where anyone can join and the price is cheap. I'm really grateful for that.
I've come all this way. Now that you're here, why don't you tell us about other places?

 When I asked him to sit down, Meneses sank into a chair.

I've heard that the merchant is a man of knowledge.
"That's true.

 Meneses the merchant nodded.
 I gave Lisette a look.
 So far, so good.

 On the way here, I heard stories about traveling merchants.
 They've been all over the continent. They know every town.

 There is no Internet in this world. No newspapers, no mail.
 So information is exchanged mainly by word of mouth. The only way to get information about other lands is to ask traveling merchants and minstrels.

 However, they also acquire information on this frontier as a matter of course.
 It is better to think that our information will be passed on to other lands at the same time as we obtain information about other lands.
It would be easier to understand if you think of her as a "gossipy aunt (though still young) of a businessman.

 Anyway, be on your guard.
 The best way to deal with a traveling merchant is to avoid giving him unnecessary information.

"Indeed, we traveling merchants are known as experts.
In these turbulent times, it's hard to get from one city to another.
Talking about unfamiliar lands and places is an essential spice for business.

 Meneses, a traveling merchant, sipped his tea.

For example, humans and sub-humans trade indiscriminately here. Any merchant would love to have information about such a place.
I don't mind if you tell me.

 I've always declared it to Princess Sylvia.
 It would be worse if no one came.
 I'm hoping that the merchants will spread the word about this place by word of mouth.

I'm glad you said that. I also don't want to make enemies with the King of the Frontier. That's why I asked for permission in advance.
That's very thoughtful.
I don't want the merchant to be punished for leaking the secret of the wall.

 Meneses, the merchant, chuckled.

I was surprised. I was surprised that the partitions and tables in the trading post were moved.
It's a permit, though.
I'm sure they'll want to hear it. There's something surprising about the frontier. Of course, I don't mean to embarrass the King of the Frontier. If you wish, I can tell the other traveling merchants not to divulge any information about the frontier to anyone else.

 Meneses, a traveling merchant, leans forward with his hands on the table.

You have built such a wonderful trading post. Considering his debt of gratitude, the traveler will keep the king's secret. It's only natural. Of course, since you're going to silence all the traveling merchants, you'll have to make a reasonable exchange...
No, the fence is not a secret.
Go to ......?
You can tell me if you want. You can tell me if you want to, because the Kittle family knows about it.

 I'm not sure what to make of that.
 The Ten Wise Men probably know about it as well.
 I'd be grateful if they would be wary and stop messing with the frontier and Kittle's territory.

 I've been using the Soldier of Will on a daily basis lately.
 It's a soldier, a clothesline, a babysitter, a trading post permit, and a table at a maid cafe. There is no way to hide its existence now.

"Are you sure about that, 'King of the Frontier'?

 But Menes, the traveling merchant, looks as if he's about to see something incredible.

"Think about it! What if some other country takes it?
"...... would be a disaster.
What if another country uses it to attack us?
...... There's nothing we can do.

 Because unless I give them magic power, they're just a wall.
 It's hard to carry them around, and there's nothing you can do if another country takes them (・・・・・).

"............ Brother Shoma.
What's the matter Lisette?
It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're going to be doing and how you're going to do it.
Yes, I do.
Before you know it, the frontier has built up an amazing army. ......
It's only good for defensive warfare, though.
If it could be used for offense, it might end the war.

 Me and Lisette whispering in each other's ear.
 Across the table, Menes, the traveling merchant, is trembling.
 He opens his mouth to say something, looks at me, nods, and then slumps his shoulders.

He is not afraid of leaking information about himself. He is not afraid of his information being leaked. ...... I'm impressed that you are so confident.

 Meneses banged his head on the table with a thud.

I'm ...... sorry that I would offer an unfair deal to a man who has such a great vessel!

 Clang, clang, clang!

 Meneses, a traveling merchant, hit his head on the table again and again.

"Wait, wait, wait. What's wrong?

 Why are you apologizing so hard all of a sudden?
 Stop banging your head against the table. It's hard. It's a fence!

It seems that this person was trying to negotiate with you in exchange for keeping the information about the Soldier of Will a secret.

 Lysette whispered in my ear.

"Traveling merchants travel all over the continent. If they were serious about spreading the information, it could spread throughout the country.
"How can we negotiate with ...... in exchange for keeping the information about the Soldiers of Will secret?
You seem to have thought it was a military secret.
I've already used it on Princess Sylvia and on Touki-Housset.
Military matters are beyond the knowledge of a traveling merchant.
We use them for shelter from the rain, for drying clothes, for babysitting.
I'm sure you have no idea.
"I see. ...... Hey, it's Menes, the traveling merchant.

 When I called out to him, Menes, the traveling merchant, looked up.
 He has teary eyes and is shaking.
 He's really frightened.

"What did you think my walls were?
I thought it was a golem for the king to rule over the subhumans.

 ...... Does it look like that from the outside?
 I'm just trying to get all the subhumans to help me improve my living conditions.

I'm just trying to get the subhumans to cooperate with me to improve their living conditions." "If you're the king of the subhumans who have never been obeyed by anyone other than the first Dragon Emperor, you must have great military power. In the event that you've got a lot of money to spend, you'll be able to take advantage of it. ...
It's easier to spread information if you're a traveling merchant traveling around the continent.

 I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one.
 You really look like you're about to cry.

"What did you want from me?

 I asked.
 Menes the Merchant's proposal was not even a negotiation.
 I mean, if I really wanted to keep the information about the fence to myself, I could've killed him to shut him up.
 What is it that you want so badly?

If the traveling merchant wanted to keep the information about the wall secret, he could have killed him. In exchange for the traveling merchant keeping the information about the wall secret or spreading rumors that it doesn't exist and is a hoax, we would like to have a place to do business in this trading post.

 Menes, a traveling merchant, murmured in a fading voice.

...... As I said earlier, a traveling merchant lives from town to town. Since we are basically strangers, we are in a vulnerable position in any town's market. Therefore, it is a relief to have a space to sell your goods here every time. Even if you are charged a high price for a place in another town, you will have room to negotiate. If you can't do business elsewhere, you can always come here.
So that's it.
We merchants are wanderers. We are wanderers, and we desperately need someone who will treat us as equals. ......
Why didn't you just say that?
...... What?
I'll at least give you some space to sell. I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm sure no one will complain if you treat the traveling merchants as my guests.
"Oh, really?
But you'll have to provide me with information in return.
...... information?
What you've seen and heard during your travels. Events. Information about people and places. Every time you come to this trading post, you will tell me that information. If you lie, you will be disqualified from the trading post. How about this?

Are you sure that's what you want?
No, no, no. I'm really grateful.

 It's really hard to get information in the middle of nowhere.

 The only sources of information are rumors and what Princess Sylvia, Princess Renesmee, and General Hulka tell us. There's almost no information about King's Landing.
 Right now, Grand Governor Kittle is missing, but I don't know if he's dead or alive, and I don't know how the Ten Sages are working.
 The Harpies are sent out on reconnaissance missions, but in the end, they just watch from above. They can't get much information.
 It's quite stressful for me coming from a world full of information.
 It would be great if a traveling merchant could be a source of information.

"Okay, okay. If you're willing to set up a place in this trading post, the traveling merchant Menes-Naeris can be a source of information for the King of the Frontier.
"Ah. This is a contract of equals.

 I shook hands with Menes, the traveler.

By the way, ......, just out of curiosity, how do you traveling merchants get around the country? I'd be very grateful if you could tell me how you travel between the governor's territories and how you get into the royal capital.
...... As expected of the 'King of the Frontier', you're very clever.
I'm supposed to pay for the information up front. He wants us to find out if the information is correct before he decides how to treat us. That's the king of the frontier. Otherwise, he wouldn't be the king of the subhumans.
You're too afraid of me, aren't you?
Let me tell you about ....... I will tell you everything about the traveler.

 Then Meneses told me about the traveling merchants.
 He told me that they were the people of a lord who had been crushed in the war that followed the death of the Dragon Emperor.
 That our ancestors, who were relocated to thin lands, started traveling merchants in order to survive.
 The wisdom to survive while traveling has been passed down from generation to generation.

...... In some cases, we may not be allowed to enter a town. In some cases, we are not allowed to stay in the town, such as during wars or political upheavals. That's why we've been handing down places to stay in case of emergency for generations.
It's not easy being a ...... traveling merchant.
It's hard work, isn't it? They are taught by their parents right from birth about caves to stay in when they can't reach a town, forests that are relatively safe, and ruins where they can take shelter from the rain.

 ...... Hmm?
 What did you just say?

Yes. You may not know this, but there are old ruins all over the continent. You may not know this, but there are old ruins all over the continent, and there is no way for a ...... traveling merchant to know what they were used for.
Do the Meneses know where they are?
Their lives depend on it.

 Meneses the merchant replied as if it were nothing.

We stayed at several ruins before we came here. We stayed at several ruins before coming here, but we only spent the night at the entrance because it is said that there are demons in the back. When the demons make a lot of noise, it can be hard to sleep. ......
"What if I told you I was going to conquer the demons?

 I said.

What if I told you that I was going to kill the demons in the ruins, would the traveling merchant clan be on my side?
"Yes, yes! Of course they would!

 Meneses the merchant's eyes lit up.

If you do, we, the traveling merchant clan, will be happy to serve the King of the Frontier! We, the wanderers, will have a place to rest. But we can't let the ...... "King of the Frontier" take so much trouble. ......
Don't get me wrong. Don't get me wrong, I can't slay every demon on the continent.

 I held my knees so as not to let my inner turmoil get to me.
 I noticed that Lisette was holding my hand. Her fingertips were trembling.
 I guess Lysette could tell.
 What does the information the merchant has about the ruins mean to us?

I'll just deal with the ones I can get my hands on. Of course, this is assuming that you trust me. I'm offering you a secret that traveling merchants have been holding on to for years.
"...... Yes.
So I'll just take you to the caves and ruins nearby.

 I look at Meneses the merchant and tell him.

"Just the ones near the frontier and in Kittle's territory. Tell me the location of the ruins you're using for shelter. I'll try to see if I can defeat the demons there. After you see the results, you can decide if you trust me or not.
Oh, ......, the King of the Frontier.
I'm not going to force you. It's your decision.

 There was a moment of silence.
 After a few minutes, Meneses opened his leather bag as if he was ready to go.
 He then showed us a parchment with a simple map and a few markings on it.