Day 9th, 8th Months, the Year 2812, Western continent calendar: (Towards the peninsula 8)
While gazing at the tea that the maid had prepared, Ryouma narrowed his eyes.
“Please enjoy it. It is made with the specialty tea leaves of Kirantia.”
The high-grade tea leaves were being carefully processed. The mellow fragrance when the tea was being poured from the teapot into the cup entered Ryouma’s nose.
Matching with the cookies presented, the way the tea was served was indeed a masterpiece.
“This is… Delicious! The tea leaves are great, but the way you brew it is perfect! Furthermore, it fits perfectly with the sweet cookies… I can tell that the one who prepared all this has reached an expert level.”
Although he could not properly word it like a gourmet enthusiast would, Ryouma’s tongue had good taste in general.
There was also the fact that his grandfather was a hobbyist when it came to tea.
Besides, delicious things are delicious no matter who eats or drinks them.
Not only that, the sisters, who tried it, also widened their eyes in amazement.
“Oh, my! Do you understand it? It seems like Baron-sama has a very refined taste.”
Simone smiled with admiration.
“Refined is it? Well, for me, at least I can judge if it’s something delicious or not.”
“I see… It seems like the other world is a great place is it not?”
Ryouma desperately suppressed his surprise. He couldn’t declare the truth of her words right then.
(This woman… How much does she know?)
“What do you mean?”
Ryouma asked such question without changing his complexion.
“I did not think it was something that needed to hidden… From the way Baron-sama displays refined conduct, resourcefulness, and ingenuity… It was not something an ordinary commoner should have. And no matter how much I probe, I cannot find anything about your past. There is no information of you before your guild registration. Naturally, such a thing is impossible to happen… Even if I cannot grasp the full knowledge of it, with my intelligence network, I should get at least a little bit of information. Even if the target of such an investigation was a royal family member. Yet, you are different, nothing comes out even after investigating you as deep as I could… It is as if you had appeared in this world all of a sudden… see? Not only that, Baron-sama registered at the guild within Ortomea Empire’s capital city. Perhaps, you were summoned by Ortomea? That is what crossed my mind.”
“I see… Since you’ve uncovered that much, I guess there’s no point in hiding it.”
Ryouma said those words while showing resignation.
(Damn it… This is bad, I guess I have no choice but to kill her… Although I wouldn’t want to kill a woman if I had a choice…)
It was not like Ryouma wanted to put on airs. But, he did not have the distorted hobby of happily killing women either.
(But then again… She’s good… Her intelligence network that is…)
Since Ryouma’s past couldn’t be investigated, she had predicted that Ryouma was a summoned person.
This meant that she had absolute confidence in her intelligence network.
“Well… To be honest, I was not entirely sure when I said you were an otherworlder. I do think that the possibility is high, but… Usually, a summoned person would be unable to escape, since the summoner would put a Geass magic immediately on them.”
“I see… So then, since you know that much, what are you going to do? Are you hostile towards me?”
Thirst for blood surged from Ryouma’s body.
Of course, this was an attempt to threaten her. If he was seriously going to kill her, he would have silently thrusted his hand into her throat.
A few seconds passed, and it seemed that Simone also understood Ryouma’s intentions. Despite having been showered by Ryouma’s killing intent directly, she did not show any reaction.
“No… I have no such intentions. I am speaking honestly like this because I wanted to show you the value of our intelligence network, and also as a proof that we do not hold any hostility against Baron-sama.”
It is true that talking honestly about the information one holds about one’s opponent shows that the former doesn’t bear hostility.
If Simone had any hostility towards against Ryouma, she wouldn’t have disclosed such information.
“Hoohou, I see… For the sake of talking heart-to-heart is it?”
Ryouma then erased his murderous aura.
“As expected… You are so strong, to the point I was unable to move my body…”
“It seems you still had some room for it though?”
“That is because I knew that Baron-sama was not serious…”
Simone showed a mysterious smile, just like a mischievous child would.
“I see… But, it seems like the person hiding behind the wall does not think the same as you though? I can feel their presence, you know?”
“It couldn’t be helped. Since I also have considered that this might have been some devious scheme by Mistel’s henchmen. Please excuse me for that…”
Saying that, Simone bowed her head deeply.
Along with that, the strong presence from behind the wall disappeared.
“Is that the man who guided us before?”
“Yes, he is my aide and also bodyguard… Ah come to think of it, I also should apologize for having taken the swords as well.”
“I don’t mind. I’m not someone who’s obsessed with such a thing, and as a side note, you can relax.”
Listening to Ryouma’s words, Simone sat on the sofa, relaxing her body while showing a bitter smile.
“Then, let us start our negotiation shall we? I have grasped some of Baron-sama’s intentions by coming here. Baron-sama wants to purchase some supplies until the Wortenia peninsula becomes self-sufficient. Am I right?”
Simone’s eyes were smiling. However, her aura and behavior changed completely the moment they began the negotiation.
Her gaze turned sharp like a sword.
“Indeed… You’re right, and in the future, I’m planning on performing trade by making a port in the peninsula. In the time to come, I want to leave the selling and procurement of goods to the Christoph firm as our exclusive partner.”
Hearing Ryouma’s statement, Simone’s expression changed.
She probably did not consider that far.
“That is… Indeed a magnificent plan… If it can be realized, the peninsula would be able to obtain a very abundant financial resource and not some semi-permanent wealth… Why did you ask us for help?”
Simone’s voice was trembling. It couldn’t be helped.
If Ryouma’s story could be made into a reality, then the Christoph firm that would be helping him would be given special privileges and would be able to garner a huge fortune that couldn’t be compared to the other firms’ current businesses.
If it were a trader with little to no power, such a plan would be deemed impossible. However, inside Simone’s mind, the appearance of a port being built on the Wortenia peninsula clearly emerged.
“However, to do that, a lot of time and money would be needed… Furthermore, this is not something that can be left halfway through. In other words, as you provide some funds, we would also share the same fate.”
Ryouma’s proposal was talking about the future.
In order to get there, he needed to make a town on the peninsula and secure trade routes.
It was a proposal that would take many years.
If she went along with his plan, then it would be the same as betting the fate of the Christoph firm on Ryouma.
But inside Simone’s mind, she had already made her decision.
Even without Ryouma saying anything, she was planning to offer some funds.
“Fine by me… That was actually my intention from the beginning… Though, I did not think it would be this big…”
“I see… As expected, the firm seems to be barely standing, eh?”
Ryouma stared at Simone with inquisitive eyes.
Her store was indeed filled with expensive and old furniture that one could see was inherited for many generations.
With such an appearance, it was hard to believe that the Christoph firm was facing some sort of financial crisis.
But then again, that was only a facade.
That is because there couldn’t possibly be a future for a business firm that had lost all of their business partners and were also unable to find new ones.
“Indeed… Since we still have some assets we will still be able to stay alive for a while, but in this state, it would be great if we managed to survive for another three years. We had to make the decision by then. Either abandoning Epiroz city and finding a new base, or finding a new source of strength, enough to compete against the Earl and the Mistel firm.”
“I see… I guess we need to know about each other more, eh?”
Simone nodded her head in response to Ryouma’s statement.
“Indeed… We should talk more about each other…”
Ryouma then talked about his plan and future prospects.
After that, he needed to show Simone that he had the power to realize it.
“By the way, how did you get Kirtantia’s tea leaf? Kirtantia is a major power located in the western part of the continent. That means it would demand a considerably long time to establish this trade, either using the sea or the land route, am I right?”
After explaining his present condition to the Christoph firm, Ryouma asked Simone the question that he was most concerned about.
Goods carried from a great distance are expensive, because the transport fees are also included in the price.
Despite being in dire financial problems, the Christoph firm was using expensive tea leaves.
Furthermore, it was from Kirtantia. Here Ryouma felt some hidden intention.
“So you have noticed… This tea is something that I ordered from Fulzad the other day.”
Saying those words, Simone spreaded the map of the continent on the table.
“Do you know the port town of Fulzad that is located in the Mist Kingdom?”
“Of course. I’ve been there once.”
Hearing Ryouma’s words, Simone nodded while pointing her finger to the left end of the map.
“The tea that is currently being served is the best product from Kirtantia. It is one of the best products traded at a very high price in other countries… This tea leaf is produced in a city located in the northwest part of Kirtantia.”
Her finger pointed to a mountainous city, a little distance away from the coastline.
“The tea leaves produced there are then transported to the nearby trading city, Lorcana, from where they are shipped to the east by sea.”
Having said that, Simone’s finger moved from Lorcana to the south of the continent and then towards the port town of Fulzad.
Lorcana’s location was in the northwest corner of Kirtantia. It was obvious that this route would mean making a long detour.
Considering the distance, they would need to sail around nearly two-thirds of the western continent. <PRN: they made a “U” around the continent.>
Ryouma then stared at Simone suspiciously.
“Have you noticed?”
“Why did they go through such a roundabout route? No wait, I see! It was because of the Wortenia peninsula, huh?!”
“That is right. The reason for the detour is the Wortenia peninsula… That place is the biggest reason why the north cannot be used as sea route.”
Even before the pirates appeared, the northern sea route was being avoided by sailors.
The reason was simple. It was because there was no port on the peninsula for resupplying the ships.
Of course, that was natural since there were no people there. But because of that, it would also be hard for sailors to ask for help in case of an emergency.
One could not know what would happen in the ocean.
Even in the coastal areas, there were monsters that inhabited the sea, and there was also the problem regarding storms.
It would be hard if by some chance the rudder or some other part of the ship broke because of it.
If that were the case, there would be no choice but to go ashore and wait for the repairs to finish.
It took around seven to ten days to sail around the peninsula by a normal ship.
Considering the dangers, it was natural for seafarers not to use the northern route.
“Furthermore, there are pirates who have strongholds there. With so many additional hazards, it was obvious for the northern route to be abandoned.”
“In other words, by building a port town for the re-supplying of ships and suppressing the pirates that have made their stronghold on the Wortenia peninsula one can make huge profits… Simone, you told me this story about the Kirtantian tea… Was it because you’ve planned to build a port town on the peninsula from the beginning?”
“Yes… If a port was built on the peninsula, Kirtantia would not be the only objective. Trade with Ernestgora and others would be possible as well… if that happens, the peninsula will turn into a mountain of treasure.”
Saying that, Simone’s eyes shined mysteriously.
She was about to stake her whole fortune and future and bet on Ryouma’s plan and ideas.
“I see… Turns out, this is not me testing you, but you testing me instead, huh?”
This talk was to see if he could understand her plan, and whether or not he would lend her his power.
And if by any chance Ryouma was a fool, she was ready to leave Epiroz.
“To be honest, I never expected Baron-sama to understand up to here. If by any chance Baron-sama thought the same things as I did… I had decided to venture the whole of our Christoph firm.”
“Did I pass your test then?”
Hearing Ryouma’s words, Simone smiled gently and presented her right hand.
“Of course. Please, by all means, lend our Christoph firm your power.”
Her smile was not only solemn, but also beautiful.
It was the face of a noble warrior who was ready to fight.