Flame Kingdom – 20.1

(Small Love Song)

“Oh, my? It seems someone unexpected has come, please come in…”

Erika, who smiled like a flower, offered the man the seat. However, on the other hand, the man who entered the room and sat on the chair staring at Erika with a frowned gaze.

“… Long time no see, your Excellency, Duke Flame.”

“Indeed, I’m glad that Earl Baden seems to be healthy…”

Hearing Erika words, the man with a straight nose, Earl Baden who had territory adjacent to Terra, looked around the room.

“I’m happy that your Excellency also seems to be ‘healthy.’ But still… What’s wrong with this dull room… I don’t see any furniture or painting. At least put one vase, it would make it looks better—…”

“… Does Lord Baden come here just to voice his opinion about my room?”

“—Fuh… As usual, you’re not cute at all…”

Saying that Earl Baden glared at Erika-sama.

“… Let me go to the point. What is your aim by canceling the purchase of the wheat this year?”

Erika was looking relaxed despite the fact that Earl Baden keeps looking at her with full hostility. She inhales the aroma of the tea from her cups and drinks it in a comfortable manner.

“Well, it is what it is, Earl Baden. I’m thinking of canceling the purchase of wheat from Lord Baden and buy them from another source…”

Terra was a place where crops didn’t grow. However, Adjacent to Tera, Baden territory was fertile and productive land. Since it would be next to impossible to produce the necessary amount of wheat within Terra, it was essential to buy some from Baden territory.

“Hohou… Have you forgotten my kindness of selling wheat to you?”

“Kindness? Please don’t joke like that, Lord Baden. Up until now, I’ve been buying wheat from you with a markup price, no? And you called that, kindness?”

“… What do you mean?”

“Just like I said, do you think I don’t know that I’ve been buying wheat from you double the market price…?”

Erika put down her cup of tea and turn a sharp gaze at Earl Baden.

“Of course, I won’t blame you for that, and I acknowledged it is your skill to accomplish that… However, isn’t it a bit of contradiction for you to complain at me? I don’t think you have the right to do that, no?”

She took a deep breath.

“… Let see, was it ‘a company that sells wheat to Terra is prohibited from doing business in Baden territory’? Don’t you think that was a bit overkill?”

“… What are you saying…”

“Certainly Terra was a territory with low consumption. It was not an attractive territory where merchants would enthusiastically do business with… I wonder, how many times I was told ‘We don’t have any stock right now…’ or ‘There’s no time for us to spare to go to Terra…’ and many other reasons…”

She then shrugged.

She shrugged, just like how Kota-sama usually did…

“… I guess, using that method could also be counted as ‘business strategy,’ am I right?”

Earl Baden? She asked…

When Erika said that, Earl Baden grinned…

“… H-Hahahahaha! That was indeed an interesting story, Duke Flame. I see I see now… Then does that mean Terra won’t need wheat from Baden territory anymore? Very well, from now on, we will not conduct any trade with Terra anymore!”

Bam, Earl Baden stood up from his chair while slamming his fist on the table. Just like that, he went toward the door while looking angry…

“… Ah right, Lord Baden. Is your wheat storage disposal management would be alright this year?”

“… Disposal, you said?”

“That’s right… I’ve talked with some merchants that came to Terra. They said, ‘we’re not going to buy wheat from Baden territory anymore…'”

“… What did you say?”

With his hand on the door handle, Earl Baden turned around and looked at Erika in confusion. Looking at his face, Erika smiled…

“The merchants even agree happily with that you know? They said, rather than having Terra hating them, it would be a small price to pay by not do any transaction with Baden territory…”

Hearing that, Earl Baden’s expression turned pale. He hurriedly let go of his hand from the door handle and run back to the table where Erika sat.

“Y-You bastard! Are you trying to threaten me?! By asking the merchants to stop trading with Baden territory?!”

“No way… The merchants themselves who decided that you know? I just merely said, ‘I don’t want to buy any wheat from Baden territory…’ But well, to tell you the truth, the Baden territory wheat was not really suited for my palate…”

After she said that, the sound of the tooths being gritted could be heard, then silence followed… Heavy air flows in the room.

“… Fine then. I will sell wheat to you using the market price…”

Before long, Earl Baden began to open his mouth…

” You’re going to sell it to me, you said? Did you perhaps misunderstand something? I didn’t say ‘please sell it to me,’ you know?”

“…The same value as I bought them then…”

Saying that Earl Baden glared at Erika-sama as if he wanted to avenge his parents. In response to his gaze, Erika-sama looked at him with a cool glance…

“I will buy them half the price of the market price…”

“D-Don’t joke with me! Half the market price you said! There’s no way I could agree with such a bad joke!”

“Up until now, I’ve been buying from you twice the market price, no? Why not use this opportunity to return your profit to us a little bit? But anyway, if you don’t want to, I don’t mind… Terra could just buy wheat from another place…”

Go ahead and sell your wheat at another place, okay? Erika said that while smiling…

“… How long…”

“Yes?”

“I’m asking, how long are you going to wait for the reply!”

“Let me see… The sooner, the better… After all, there’s also some procedure that we need to do if we want to buy it from another place, time is the essence…”

“…”

“…”

“… You demon.”

Earl Baden murmured that full of hatred…

“Oh, my? This is ‘the art of doing business,’ no?”

Erika-sama floated beautiful smile after saying that…