Chapter 4-3 : The Visit Of A Researcher Ⅱ
「Salamanders…? Are you sure?」(Sarasa)
「Yes. I want to study Salamanders this time! I heard that one of their habitats was a volcano not far from here.」(Nord)
「Well, that’s true but we killed one there a while ago. I don’t know if there are other Salamanders on that volcano. They rarely live in groups after all.」(Sarasa)
「Yes, I know. Leonora-san told me. Don’t worry, I’ve done some research on another Salamander habitat far from here. I came here because I want to learn about the caves they live in.」(Nord)
「Is that so? But why didn’t you do it when you did research on that ‘other habitat’?」(Sarasa)
I don’t know where the other habitat he talked about is but if he wanted to study their caves, he could have done that in that place, right? He didn’t have to go all the way to this remote area.
When I asked that, Nord-san made an awkward face.
「Yeah, you’re right, but the thing is… The people who escorted me were injured before I could learn about the cave there. I tried to look for other escorts but none of the people living in that area wanted to be my escort.」(Nord)
They were injured…? And no one who wanted to be his escort…?
I have a bad feeling about this…
Leonora-san said I didn’t have to listen to him if he made unreasonable requests, so…
Seeing my doubtful expression, Nord-san flusteredly waved his hands.
「Ah, it’s not like what you think! It wasn’t a big deal at all. Besides, I paid those people really well. I won’t ask unreasonable things either, so you don’t have to worry. However, you see… you need the proper equipment to go to the volcano, right? That equipment is very expensive. I make money from my research but I’m not rich enough to buy it.」(Nord)
Does he mean Heatproof Coats?
Well, without them, you won’t be able to reach the top of the volcano after all.
「Besides, I want to investigate the cave, so it’s better if there’s no Salamander around, right?」(Nord)
「I see. I’ve killed the Salamander on that volcano and I have the equipment needed to go there. That’s why you came here.」(Sarasa)
「So… You want me to be your escort? But…」(Sarasa)
「No, no. I knew it would be difficult to ask you, an alchemist, to be my escort. But… Can you at least introduce me to Collectors who might want to do this job?」(Nord)
「Well, I think I know some people…」(Sarasa)
Normally, you wouldn’t be able to beat a Salamander alone. You’d need some people to help you.
He knew that I killed a Salamander, so he would naturally think that people, most likely Collectors in this village, helped me.
Well, he was right. Iris-san and Kate-san are Collectors. However, I don’t think they want to return to that place even though we killed the Salamander.
Lava Lizards are not that dangerous but there’s the possibility that Hellfire Grizzlies have returned to that volcano.
This job seems to be quite risky…
「Hmm… I can introduce them to you but it’s up to them whether they will accept this job or not.」(Sarasa)
「Of course. I can’t force other people. However, I’ll do my best to negotiate with them! Thank you, Sarasa-kun!」(Nord)
Nord-san smiled and thanked me but I couldn’t help but smile back awkwardly while feeling a bit worried.
◇ ◇ ◇
After Nord-san left my shop, I called Leonora-san with my Voice Box to confirm if his letter of introduction was genuine.
「Ah, Sarasa-chan! I bet you called me because a weird researcher visited your shop.」(Leonora)
「Eh? Since you know about it then Nord-san is really your acquaintance?」(Sarasa)
「He is. He’s the type of person who will forget everything when he’s doing research. If he asks you something impossible, you can refuse firmly, but if you think you can help him, please do whatever you can to help.」(Leonora)
「Alright. I just wanted to confirm that. I’m sorry if I’m bothering you.」(Sarasa)
「You’re not. Well then, I leave him to you.」(Leonora)
Saying that, Leonora-san hung up the Voice Box.
Alright, now I can be relievedーー No, I can’t…
No matter how I think about it, for some reason, I feel like that person will bring us trouble.
I hope my hunch is wrong…
Well, since I agreed to introduce him to Iris-san and Kate-san, I can’t just turn him down now.
Anyway, I think I’ll wait and see for now.
◇ ◇ ◇
The next day, Iris-san, Kate-san, and I were waiting for Nord-san in the drawing-room that was recently built in my shop.
Well, it wasn’t actually ‘built’ though. It was a storeroom to store wood and other stuff that was on the other side of the shop floor. It was in the same building but could only be accessed from outside.
I asked Geberg-san to make a door so that we could access it from the shop floor.
I decided to turn that storeroom into a drawing-room because I thought we would need one. I don’t want to make my guests sit at the dining table like when Adelbert-san and Katerina-san came to visit.
We have a table in the shop floor that we usually use to have tea parties, but it is very small. Besides, we can’t talk about things we don’t want others to hear there.
「The ecology of monsters, huh? I never knew there were people who did research on that.」(Iris)
「Me neither. Store Owner-san, what kind of person is that researcher?」(Kate)
「Hmm… He’s weird but he’s very ambitious.」(Sarasa)
He’s a passionate researcher but his untidy appearance makes him a bit suspicious.
「W, Well, he’s Leonora-san’s acquaintance, so I don’t think he’s that weird though…」(Sarasa)
However, according to what I heard from Leonora-san, I think that man is the type of person who is very hard to deal with…
After waiting for a while, Nord-san came to my shop and entered the drawing-room.
Just like yesterday, he has untidy hair and clothes.
He stayed at Diral-san’s inn because it was the only inn in this village.
Diral-san hates dirty people but she doesn’t seem to hate messy people.
「Nord-san, please take a seat.」(Sarasa)
Nord-san sat on a chair and turned his gaze to Iris-san and Kate-san.
「So, are these two the ones who helped you defeat a Salamander?」(Nord)
「Yes. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to defeat it.」(Sarasa)
「I see. Nice to meet you. My name is Nordrad Evans but you can call me Nord.」(Nord)
「And I’m Kate.」(Kate)
「Just to be clear. We indeed helped Store Owner-dono kill a Salamander, but she did most of the work. If by any chance we encounter another Salamander, don’t expect us to kill it.」(Iris)
Iris-san said that in advance so that Nord-san didn’t expect too much from them.
I thought Nord-san would be disappointed but he smiled and nodded.
「Don’t worry. I understand. Of course, I won’t ask you to fight a Salamander. I won’t ask you to protect me with your life either. I’m a researcher but I train every day. I wouldn’t be able to travel from place to place to do research if I can’t even beat weak monsters or bandits along the way, right?」(Nord)
「As long as you don’t get surrounded by a flock of monsters, I think you will be fine, but… Do you really need an escort…? Your body looks pretty well trained.」(Iris)
「Oh, you can tell?」(Nord)
While smiling happily, Nord-san stretched his arms to the side and made a pose like a bodybuilder, showing his slender yet muscular arms.
I know he just wants to show his muscles but it’s not a very pleasant sight to see…
Fortunately, he lowered his arms without taking another pose.
「I’m quite confident in my skills but I will forget about my surroundings when I’m too focused on doing an investigation.」(Nord)
「So you need people to protect you while you’re investigating?」(Iris)
If you concentrate on something, you won’t be able to keep your attention on your surroundings.
Well, I can understand that. After all, I do that too sometimes.
Even if you can run quickly, it’ll be meaningless if you get ambushed.
However, you will have a sense of security if there are people nearby protecting you while you’re doing your thing.
「I see. Alright, I understand the job. However, it depends on how much you will pay us whether we will accept it or not.」(Iris)
「Of course. Well, I can’t give you too much, but…」(Nord)
Nord-san put his hand on his chin and started thinking.
Since they won’t hunt monsters, they won’t get any money from selling materials. Moreover, I don’t think you will make a lot of money from this kind of research.
I thought Nord-san would offer a cheap reward. However…
「How about twenty gold coins per day for each person?」(Nord)
「Twe… Sir, you just got yourself two reliable bodyguards!」(Iris)