Chapter 3-21 : The White Knight’s True Identity Ⅰ

 

“Baal”…?

I believe I’ve heard that name before…

「I’m sorry for interrupting. Adelbert-san, do you mind if I leave my seat for a minute? I’m sorry for asking suddenly.」(Sarasa)

When I raised my hand and interrupted the conversation, everyone turned their gazes to me.

「Ah, do you have something you need to do now? Of course, I don’t mind.」(Adelbert)

「Thank you.」(Sarasa)

I bowed to Adelbert-san, who looked somewhat confused, and stood up.

「Kate-san, I’m sure we still have some cookies made by Lorea-chan, so can you fill-up the teapot and serve the cookies?」(Sarasa)

「A, Alright.」(Kate)

The atmosphere is a bit tense because they are talking about a serious topic, so I hope cookies can lighten the atmosphere a little.

After asking Kate-san so, I left the kitchen.

 

◇    ◇    ◇

 

When I returned, the atmosphere in the kitchen wasn’t as tense as before.

It’s probably thanks to Lorea-chan’s homemade cookies.

「I’m back.」(Sarasa)

「Ah, Store Owner-san, welcome back.」(Kate)

「Store Owner-dono, where did you go?」(Iris)

「There was something I wanted to find out. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.」(Sarasa)

I bowed to Adelbert-san and sat on my chair.

「No, it’s okay. I heard a lot about you from Iris and Kate while you were gone and found out that you are truly a kind-hearted person. Let me thank you again for saving Iris’ life.」(Adelbert)

「Thank you.」(Katerina)

Adelbert-san and Katerina-san bowed deeply toward me at the same time.

「P-Please raise your heads! I did nothing special, really!」(Sarasa)

Uhh, I feel somewhat uncomfortable if older people bow to me like this.

「Sarasa-dono, you’re so humble… I feel so guilty for suspecting you earlier… I’m sorry.」(Adelbert)

Saying that Adelbert-san bowed to me again. Katerina-san then followed him.

「No, no, it’s okay, it’s okay!」(Sarasa)

While waving my hands at Adelbert-san, I glanced at Iris-san and Kate-san, hoping that they would help me.

Noticing my troubled face, Iris-san and Kate-san warned the two adults.

「F-Father, stop it! You’re making Store Owner-dono feel awkward!」(Iris)

「Mama, you too! Stop bowing like that!」(Kate)

「A, Ahh, pardon me. Alright, I won’t bow anymore but, Sarasa-dono, please tell me if there’s anything I can do for you. I want to repay your kindness.」(Adelbert)

「Me too. I have no power like Adelbert-sama, but if there’s anything I can help you with, please let me know.」(Katerina)

「A-Alright. I will let you know when I need help. Thank you.」(Sarasa)

Adelbert-san might be a low-ranked aristocrat, but I’ll be happy if he can lend me a hand when I need help in the future.

「So, Store Owner-dono, can you tell us what you found out while you were gone? Does it have anything to do with my family?」(Iris)

「Actually, yes. I’ve heard the name “Baal” before, so I went to call Leonora-san and asked her about him.」(Sarasa)

「Leonora?」(Adelbert)

「Father, Leonora-dono is an alchemist in the town of South Strugg. She is Store Owner-dono’s friend.」(Iris)

「I see. But, Sarasa-dono, how did you manage to go to South Strugg and come back in just a few minutes?」(Adelbert)

Adelbert-san nodded to Iris, but then he looked at me and asked with a confused face.

「Adelbert-san, do you know an artifact called a “Voice Box”?」(Sarasa)

「Voice Box…? I’ve heard that some rich aristocrats have them, but… Do you have one?」(Adelbert)

「Yup. Leonora-san and I have them, so we can call each other anytime.」(Sarasa)

「But aren’t they extremely expensive?」(Adelbert)

「Yes, but I can reduce the cost since I made it myself.」(Sarasa)

「Ah! I forgot for a moment that you’re an alchemist. You look very young, so…」(Adelbert)

「Ahaha, don’t worry about it.」(Sarasa)

Like Adelbert-san said, Voice Boxes are very expensive. Moreover, depending on the distance between the two devices, it will cost you even more.

Therefore, only a small number of rich people have them.

*TL : Sarasa made a Voice Box in chapter 3-1

「So, what did Leonora-dono tell you?」(Adelbert)

「Before that, I need to tell you about an evil merchant named Yok Baalーー」(Sarasa)

First, I told Adelbert-san about Yok Baal, the merchant who tricked many novice alchemists into owing him big debts.

He came to this village a while ago and tried to trick me into having a big debt by hoarding Ice Fang Bats’ fangs and trying to sell them at a high price to me. However, Leonora-san and I were able to outplay him and stop his evil deeds.

According to Leonora-san, after losing almost all of his fortune because of us, Yok Baal made a contract with another criminal group and ended up being killed by them because he couldn’t pay off his debt.

I’m still curious where Leonora-san got all that information… It seems like she is not just a normal alchemist…

Anyway, although Yok Baal’s “Baal Trading Company” has gone bankrupt because of us, Leonora-san said that it’s still operating in South Strugg.

Apparently, Yok Baal’s son, Hou Baal, the man who wanted to marry Iris-san, succeeded his father’s business.

It is said that Baal Trading Company is doing really well in South Strugg. However, according to Leonora-san, they just looked like their business was doing well, but in reality, they were currently in a very critical situation.

「My friend said it’s impossible for Hou Baal to lend you 65 million reas with his company’s current condition. This is just my guess but I think he is trying to trick you. 」(Sarasa)

「Are you sure about that? When I met him, he looked like a nice young man though…」(Adelbert)

「Adelbert-san, there is no scammer who looks like a bad person at first glance.」(Sarasa)

「…You may be right…」(Adelbert)

Adelbert-san sighed with a regretful expression as if he was feeling betrayed.

I can understand his feelings. After all, he must have put a lot of consideration before deciding to sacrifice his own daughter to marry a man, but it turns out that man is a bad person.

「But why is that person aiming for my family? My father is just a weak aristocrat, and we barely have money.」(Iris)

Iris-san, who looked confused, asked me while tilting her head.

「Still, your family is an aristocratic family no matter how weak it is and no matter how small the region your family governs, so I think he still can make use of it somehow. I’m sorry to say this, but I think he is aiming for your family also because you are in need of money.」(Sarasa)

「So you mean my family is easy prey for him, huh…?」(Adelbert)

Adelbert-san looked so regretful. He clenched his fist as he said that.

「One more thing. I can’t say it for sure, but I think Baronet Kirk has a connection with Hou Baal. He probably gave out information to Hou Baal that your family has a big debt with him.」(Sarasa)

Somehow, I have a strong feeling that Baronet Kirk has a connection with Baal Trading Company. However, I don’t have much information about that. Even if I ask Leonora-san to investigate, I don’t think she can do much since Baronet Kirk is the lord of this region.

「I see… In any case, even if Hou Baal has money to lend us, I can’t marry my beloved daughter and leave the future of the Lotze Family to that scum!」(Adelbert)

「Well said, Adelbert-sama!」(Kate)

Kate-san looked very happy when Adelbert-san said that.

Iris-san and Katerina-san also looked somewhat relieved.

「But, Father, what are we gonna do to pay off the debt?」(Iris)

「Hmm… I don’t know… But after listening to Sarasa-dono, I don’t think accepting Hou Baal’s offer is a good idea. I don’t want to risk my family and my people.」(Adelbert)

Certainly, it will be bad if a man like him marries Iris-san and becomes the lord of the Lotze Family. He will definitely become an evil lord who doesn’t care at all about the people in the region.

「I feel like I’m also responsible for this matter…」(Sarasa)

「Eh? Sarasa-dono, you have nothing to do with this matter. It was my family who borrowed money from Baronet Kirk, and it was my own fault that I couldn’t pay off the debt.」(Adelbert)

「But Baal Trading Company went bankrupt because of me.」(Sarasa)

If Baronet Kirk really has a connection with Baal Trading Company, then I can’t say that I’m not related at all.

But there’s one thing I don’t understand… Why did Baronet Kirk suddenly ask Adelbert-san to pay off his debt at once?

If he didn’t ask that, he could make more profit in the future from the interest that keeps accumulating, right?

Is Baronet Kirk running out of money? Or… does he suddenly need a lot of money for some reason?

「Store Owner-dono, even if you really are related to this matter, you didn’t do anything wrong. 」(Iris)

「She’s right. You punished an evil merchant and saved many novice alchemists that were tricked by him.」(Kate)

Seeing my troubled face, Iris-san and Kate-san tried to cheer me up.

「You guys may be right… Thank you.」(Sarasa)

「Regardless of whether Sarasa-dono is related to this matter or not, I still have to prepare the money as soon as possible…」(Adelbert)

「I wish I could help, but…」(Sarasa)

「It’s okay. I appreciate your kindness.」(Adelbert)

I currently don’t have much money since I just spent it to buy materials. Even if I didn’t spend it, the amount was far from enough to pay off the Lotze Family’s debt.

If I sell all the artifacts, materials, and potions in my store at once, I will probably have enough money to help them, but I don’t think it’s possible to find people who want to buy them in a very limited amount of time. Besides, if I sell all the goods in my store and give the money to Adelbert-san, I won’t be able to continue running my store. Well, I don’t think Adelbert-san will accept such money though.

Iris-san is already like my family. I really want to help her, but… I wonder what I can do…

Hmm….. Oh, right. Before I can do anything, there’s something I need to confirm…

After thinking for a while, I turned my gaze to Adelbert-san and asked.

「Adebert-san, can I see the debt contract you signed with Baronet Kirk?」(Sarasa)

 

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