Chapter 17 – Solicitation for Investment
“…I slept well…”
Tor awoke in a room in the inn, and then looked out of the window. The sky was completely dark now, and a few stars shone in the sky.
The guards had taken Wenz and the other members of Magic Centipede, and the twins were taken to the guild manager. And after some questioning from the city guards, they returned to the inn by midday. After that, he slept for half a day.
Just as he sat up, his stomach growled.
The guards had given him some light food during the questioning, but he hadn’t had a proper meal since morning.
And so Tor rubbed his empty stomach as he got out of bed.
“…So, why are you two here?”
He said to the twins.
They were absorbed in a board game. While he wasn’t sure if it was one person playing or two, they both looked serious. And when he looked down at the board, he saw that they had recreated and were studying his game against Euphie the other day.
They both turned to look at him.
“Should we go and eat dinner?”
“I’m full after watching you sleep.”
“I’m sure it was terrible. Now answer the question.”
He said as he combed his hair, and then the twins explained.
“The aftermath has been dealt with, and the orders were given.”
“It had to be fast, or the Ubaz Company might get burned down. And so some procedures had to be skipped.”
It was the time of year that the tax collectors started to move, so everyone’s mind was on it. And then this smuggling incident. And since people’s lives were starting to be affected by lack of money, there were many who held grudges.
As Magic Centipede, an Adventurer Clan, was responsible for the smuggling, the manager had been called in by the mayor and had to explain. So he couldn’t stay close to the twins.
In that case, it would be safer for them to be with Tor. And so he had them invade Tor’s room while he was sleeping.
“As this inn is often used by Adventurers, they opened the door for us as soon as we asked.”
“I think you shouldn’t rely on the locks in inns from now on.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
Once Tor had washed up, he decided to ask the twins, since they were there.
“Take me to a place where you can eat fresh vegetables. Also, a hot potague would be nice.”
“I thought Adventurers ate nothing but meat.”
“Your body is capital. You have to think of nutritional balance. Though, I don’t actually know much about it.”
“The study of nutrition? Yes, we haven’t studied that at all.”
And so Tor and the twins left the inn. The innkeeper looked at the twins with a conflicted expression. Yesterday, they had asked him to exchange some gold coins.
And as they walked down the streets, they got similar looks from the Durande passersby. However, the twins held hands and walked as if they did not care about the stares.
“Haran, Wenz, and the others involved in the smuggling were all arrested. It seems that Haran had prepared an escape route in the underground sewers in advance. And it was mostly thanks to you, that they were arrested, Mr. Tor.”
“So, you are Red Lightning. Even we knew that name. But why didn’t you tell us?”
“I didn’t get to choose that name, it was just forced on me. So it’s rather embarrassing.”
And even if it wasn’t, it was a name that revealed something of his fighting style. Tor did not want it to spread too much, or people would be able to prepare countermeasures.
“What will happen to the Ubaz Company?”
“It will have to pay for the damages. Two thousand and seven hundred in gold. But it’s more to set an example than a real punishment.”
“…So, you can pay that?”
“Of course, we cannot. Because business has not been going well.”
“For now, our assets and books related to lost items will be sold to the Ubaz Company at a low price, and then they will be auctioned off by the company. That’s how we will pay.”
“Ah, those books on your shelf.”
They were rare, and could be sold at a high price. And so in the right place, they would likely exceed a thousand in god.
In exchange, the twins would lose everything.
“But since we were in a state that was basically imprisonment, and had no hand in the smuggling, as well as the fact we offered information on their methods, we will not be charged with any crimes.”
“But even then, we have no choice but to close the Ubaz Company. We lost all trust, employees and funds. There is no hope of return.”
The Ubaz Company wasn’t the only thing that people didn’t trust anymore.
Tor ignored the looks of the people and sighed.
The twins had no money, trust or place to work.
However, they did not look like they were very sad about it.
“As for Haran’s intentions, he would use the money from the smuggling to start a new company in a different city, where his own underlings would work.”
“It seems like he realized that his trusted subordinates were not enough to maintain the Ubaz Company.”
“He could have just scaled down the size of the company, but his pride would not allow him to do that.”
Tor recalled the face of Haran, a man he would never meet again. He had always looked angry, but he still prepared an escape route. So he was capable of planning far ahead.
It was too bad that he was still a terrible leader.
“Here is the place.”
Just as the conversation about the incident had ended, the twins stopped.
If you didn’t know, it would look like an ordinary civilian house, but there was also a black board with a menu to the side of the door. But as it was halfway behind a potted plant, it was difficult to notice it.
It was surprisingly spacious inside. Green plants decorated the back of the store. There weren’t many customers, and so eight out of the ten tables were unoccupied.
The owner saw the twins and urged them to take the table in the far back. There was a partition there, so we would not have to worry about prying eyes.
They sat down, and Tor ordered a few dishes and then looked at the twins who sat on the opposite side of the table.
“What will you two do now?”
“We’ve had an offer for adoption.”
“By the manager?”
“Yes. He is an old friend of our parents, so he would look after us. Apparently, our parents helped him a number of times financially when he was starting out as an Adventurer, and he wants to repay them.”
Yes, the Durande manager was very concerned about the twins. And now Tor knew why.
The couple who ran the Ubaz Company really were of good character.
“But, it seems that you two aren’t eager to agree?”
Tor pointed out. And the twins looked at him with surprise.
“How did you know?”
“If you two stayed in this town and were adopted, your behavior would affect his reputation. I think then, that you would have acted a little more pleasantly.”
As they left the inn, Euphie and Mailey had ignored everyone they saw.
Even though the Ubaz Company would be gone, as long as they explained themselves to any trade partner, it might have been possible to continue living in this town, in spite of various inconveniences.
And once it was announced that they had helped in resolving the smuggling incident, it would be difficult for people to criticize them publicly, even if rumors continued to be whispered.
“Or I could accompany you now as you go around and visit everyone?”
“No, that won’t be necessary. As you said, Mr. Tor, we will not be adopted.”
“We have a suggestion to make, Mr. Tor.”
Euphie and Mailey said as they straightened their posture.
“Would you like to invest in us?”
It was so unexpected that he couldn’t help but repeat the word.
Euphie and Mailey nodded.
“You said that you’ve had a change of heart, and accepted the fact you will die in this world. However, you are still anxious.”
“In that case, since we are the ones who understand your anxiety, we can help you make a place in this world where you belong.”
“Our knowledge will be of use to you. We will not slow you down.”
“And since we know of the possibility, we will have no complaints if you suddenly go back to your world.”
As they called it an investment, the twins started to lay out the requirements. But Tor made them stop with a raise of his hand.
He folded his arms.
They were pretty girls, and still young. And while they had studied the art of self defense, it would not be safe once they left the town.
And so they would need a guard. But they currently had no money.
But they had a lot of knowledge. And with Tor’s ability to protect them, they may find some success out in the world. That must be what they had thought.
In fact, the conditions were not bad.
Live and die in this world. While he had decided this, Tor still had a feeling of anxiety that he could not shake. Perhaps staying with them for now would help rehabilitate him.
After turning it over in his mind, he made his decision, just as the drinks arrived at their table.
“Then we’ll continue as we are.”
“Yes, thank you.”
He raised his glass and Euphie and Mailey did the same for a toast.
“By the way, Mr. Tor. Do you think that I am Euphie?”
“Or do you think I am Euphie?”
“…First things first. I have to figure out how to tell you two apart.”