Chapter 2-23 : Business Rival Ⅳ (part 2)
「As long as they follow the rules, merchants can use any method they want in their business.」(Sarasa)
「Even though it would trouble the local alchemists?」(Lorea)
「Well, normally merchants won’t take the risk to compete against alchemists. After all, alchemists are in a higher position than merchants in this country.」(Sarasa)
「So that means, that merchant isn’t normal?」(Lorea)
「Yeah, you can say that.」(Sarasa)
If their goods were alchemy-related materials, their main customers would be alchemists, and if they broke the rules, the alchemists around them would most likely refuse to do business with them and they would have difficulties in selling their goods.
Therefore, I don’t understand why that merchant broke the rules… Did he want to pick a fight against me…?
「So, Store Owner-dono, what will you do? Ignore that merchant or fight back? You’re not going to ignore him, right? Right!?」(Iris)
「Umm… Let me think for a moment.」(Sarasa)
Honestly, I prefer to ignore him because it’s less of a hassle. My profit will decrease if I ignore him but I don’t think it will be a problem.
However, that merchant dared to mess with me, who is the local alchemist in this village, and that kinda pissed me off.
He only purchases Ice Fang Bats’ fangs for now, but if I ignore him, I’m afraid he will continue to do whatever he wants in this village.
If I don’t want to lose profits, I should choose to fight back, but the problem is I have to work much harder than usual.
Ah, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I hate working, okay?
The thing is, if I go to the cave to collect Ice Fang Bats’ fangs every day, I won’t have enough time to make potions and artifacts in my workshop.
「Umm…. How about we decide by majority vote? First, who agrees to fight back?」(Sarasa)
Iris-san, Kate-san and Lorea-chan immediately raised their hands.
It was decided so quickly.
「Store Owner-dono! I just can’t forgive anyone who messes with a kind person like you!」(Iris)
「That’s right! If you want to do business, you have to think not only about yourself but also about the people involved!」(Kate)
「Ahaha… How about you, Lorea-chan?」(Sarasa)
「I don’t want that merchant to cause trouble for my dad and… Gretz onii-chan in the future.」(Lorea)
Hee… Lorea-chan is always cold toward Gretz-san, but it looks like she does actually care about him.
Well, Gretz-san is like an older brother for Lorea-chan after all.
「Alright, it’s decided then. Iris-san, Kate-san, would you guys help me?」(Sarasa)
「I will ask Andre-san and his party members for support as well.」(Kate)
「Thank you. I’m counting on you.」(Sarasa)
Iris-san and Kate-san looked excited for some reason.
Now that it had been decided, we began to take action.
◇ ◇ ◇
With Andre-san and his party members’ help, we spread information saying that I’ve raised my purchase price for Ice Fang Bats’ fangs to the same level as that merchant’s, and after that, many Collectors, who had been selling their fangs to that merchant so far, started selling them to me.
It looked like they prefer to sell their fangs to me over that merchant not only because I’m an alchemist, but also they feel indebted to me and Andre-san.
Thanks to people who always spread information about my store, the number of new Collectors who visit my store is steadily increasing.
However, several days after I raised my purchase priceー
「Store Owner-dono! That merchant raised his purchase price as well!」(Iris)
ーsuddenly, Iris-san opened the door of the store and told me that with a loud voice.
「Oya oya~? So he chose to compete against me, huh? Looks like he’s not smart enough to predict what will happen to his business after trying to beat me! Khu khu khu khu!」(Sarasa)
While resting my elbow on the reception desk, I smirked like a villainess and made a cool pose.
I wish I had a mirror right now to see myself.
「….Store Owner-dono, you look scary…」(Iris)
「That smirk doesn’t suit you…」(Kate)
「I-Is that so…?」(Sarasa)
It seems like acting like a villainess doesn’t suit me. I think it’s cool though…
「A-Anyway, how much did he raise his purchase price?」(Sarasa)
After I returned my facial expression to normal, I asked Iris-san and Kate-san.
「It seems that his purchase price is now about 50% higher than yours. However, I don’t think he really pays that high. Well, I’m not that good at this kind of stuff, so I don’t know exactly though.」(Iris)
「I see… Even if he doesn’t actually pay 50% higher, the fact that he pays higher than me hasn’t changed, and I think paying more will only make him lose money… Just what exactly is the reason that made him want to purchase Ice Fang Bats’ fangs so desperately…?」(Sarasa)
If he just wanted to purchase Ice Fang Bats’ fangs, why didn’t he go to another town where he could buy the fangs more cheaply?
Is the supply of Ice Fang Bats’ fangs running low in other places…?
No, it can’t be the case. The population of Ice Fang Bats is quite high after all.
「Store Owner-dono, actually… We overheard that merchant talking about you and saying,” They’re finally suffering, huh? Looks like it will be over soon”.」(Iris)
「Eh? Suffering? What does it mean?」(Sarasa)
「Store Owner-san, it looks like that merchant thinks that you’re in trouble because you can’t purchase as many Ice Fang Bats’ fangs as usual.」(Kate)
「Actually, we have been selling a few of our fangs to him recently, hoping we can get some information about him. Fortunately, it seems like he has no idea that you can collect Ice Fang Bats’ fangs by yourself.」(Iris)
I knew it. He has been targeting me from the beginning.
But why? Why me…?
I don’t remember doing anything that can make someone hate me.
No… I think I did…
I once spread information about the scamming alchemy store in South Strugg. (chap 1-13)
The alchemist who is the store owner was probably in trouble because the number of customers was decreasing and could no longer scam people.
If that was really the case, then the poster I made at that time worked really well.
It’s a good thing, but instead of learning a lesson, that person was planning to give me trouble, huh?
If my reasoning was true, then there was the possibility that that merchant was connected to that scammer alchemist.
But, wait a minute…
I don’t think taking revenge on me is worth the risk.
The risk is high because there’s the possibility that they would end up making other alchemists their enemies. After all, they have broken the rules and on top of that, they scam people.
Besides, I don’t think that the scammer alchemist has enough money to support the merchant to keep purchasing fangs at a very high price.
Umm…. Oh, well. Whatever.
It doesn’t matter who my true enemy is. I just have to strike back!
「Iris-san, Kate-san, tomorrow, I’m going to start the plan I have told you.」(Sarasa)
「So you’re going to start hunting Ice Fang Bats from tomorrow on?」(Iris)
「Yes. Will you both go with me?」(Sarasa)
「Of course we will!」(Iris)
「Should I ask Andre-san and his party members to come as well?」(Kate)
「Honestly, I have no idea how many people we will need, but I think it’s better to have Andre-san with us.」(Sarasa)
We need people to carry the luggage and collect the fangs from the corpses. We also need to do something with the corpses after collecting fangs.
I don’t know exactly how we will do it, so I guess I will figure it out during the hunting tomorrow.
「Lorea-chan, you will be managing the store by yourself for a while. Can you do it?」(Sarasa)
「Yes, you can leave it to me. If someone brings materials I don’t know, I can just turn them away, right?」(Lorea)
「Yes, unless they are our regulars.」(Sarasa)
Recently, we have been conducting margin transactions with our regular customers.
Specifically, when I was away and there was a regular customer who wanted to sell materials that Lorea-chan didn’t know, Lorea-chan would store their materials first, and pay them the next day after I assessed the stored materials.
Lorea-chan is a fast learner and has learned many kinds of materials, so I don’t think I need to worry about my store while I’m gone.
「Alright then, let’s do our best starting tomorrow!」(Sarasa)