Kogurus was a big town. Area-wise, it's about as big or a bit bigger than Vouka. Complete with a rigidly built front gate and solid outer walls.
Gido the coachman had a talk with the guard, then they just let both Lecan's group and the wagons pass without paying tax.
The town's bustling.
With lots of shops around.
The wagon halted after advancing a little.
"Lecan-san. You have accomplished our contract. And with that also your escort duty. Thank you very much."
"Where's this Zaikaz Company?"
"All of it."
"All the stores in this town belong to Zaikaz Company."
"Our headquarters are located a bit further in the back. Please follow after us, we will pay your reward there."
Gido drove the wagon off.
They eventually got to an area filled with prosperous-looking houses, the wagon continued inside.
And then they stopped at a mansion that didn't look like it was made to do business at all.
It's no commoner's house. It's built like that of a noble.
Gido showed something to the guard, then they opened the shut gate.
There's a side gate next to the main gate, with traffic of people going in and out. This looks to be quite a busy mansion.
After idling for a while in the waiting room, they were led to the present family head's room.
There, Lecan, Nike and Eda met face to face with Zack Zaikaz.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Have a seat. You must be Lecan."
"I'm Zack Zaikaz. Why don't you introduce the other two to me."
Zack is an old gentleman of quite an advanced age, sporting a skinny and bony figure, he's got an aura like that of a bird of prey. An old man with a very distinctive persona.
"The one sitting on my right is Nike, on the left is Eda."
"Fumu. <Nike the Comet Cutter> and <Eda of Thousand Shots> and then, <Overlord Lecan> huh. Dovor."
Dovor is standing to the right behind Zack. He's probably also acting as Zack's bodyguard.
"Quite an entourage you got there as escorts."
"My deepest apologies."
"It's fine. That's how much it's worth this time. And besides, I was just thinking of having a look on Lecan myself."
Dovor replied not with word, instead he put his right hand on his chest and lightly bowed.
"Now then, first an apology is in order. Lecan. Nike. Eda. Our employees, Nozz, Ritz, and Numes had assaulted you in an attempt to steal your valuable equipment. I must apologize for that. Oy."
With Zack's order, a person who appeared to be a butler standing by behind his left put three small bags in front of Lecan, Nike and Eda.
"Each has three gold coins inside. One is your reward for this quest. The second one is an apology for our blunder this time. And the last one is the value of those three's belongings."
Normally, the belongings of those who made an attempt at someone else will fall to those who got attacked by them. Per Dovor's suggestion, they agreed to calculate the share for later this time.
"T-three gold coins."
Eda was in shock.
It's probably the largest sum of money she's ever seen in her life yet. Lecan is not too well versed in the market price, but normal escort jobs probably give one silver coin if meals are included or at most two silver coins. Three gold coins are worth as much as 150 or 300 days of labor.
"I hope we can bring this matter to a close with these. Bring the tea in."
The butler walked toward the door soundlessly and called outside, then four maids entered the room and put some cake and tea before Lecan's group before leaving again.
"Have a sip."
Lecan appraised the tea without warning.
"Now this is a surprise. You can use <Appraisal> huh. And without Preliminary Chant even. Lecan. Just who are you?"
"I am me."
"I see. So did you find out the quality of our tea with <Appraisal>?"
"I see that it's made with a tea leaf called Chimney, but I've no clue about tea quality or anything."
"Hou? Then what did you find with <Appraisal>?"
Lecan took a sip of the tea before giving his answer.
"I found that this had no poison mixed in."
This is practically a declaration straight to Zack's face that he is someone who would serve poison to his guests. Dovor and the butler had a stern look on their face for an instant, but Zack himself reacted differently.
"Fufu. Fufufu. Hahaha. HA HA HA HA."
He giggled at first, but soon couldn't bear it any longer and laughed out loudly.
"Pardon. That was some good laugh. I see. So that's how you're gonna introduce yourself."
Nike is quietly sipping her tea and biting on the cake like she's got no interest in Lecan and Zack's conversation.
Eda has finished her share of cakes, and is now glancing at Lecan's.
"My plans have been overturned because you showed up at Vouka."
Lecan sipped his tea once again without replying to this.
"This Dovor here was working away at a distant land, but I had to call him back to settle the affairs at Vouka. I have been informed on the gist of things, but Lecan, there was nothing about you."
Lecan kept silent.
Eda reached out to Lecan's cake.
"It was you three who undertook the job to escort Chaney Company's wagons to Vantaroy, was it not."
"You defeated <Bufuz of Crushing Hammer> and <Jiba of Evil Eyes> along the way, and got Bito the Magic Beast User arrested. Those three had had a long association with Zaikaz Company. We lost so many valuable pieces at one fell swoop."
"Sorry about that."
"Fret not. They have committed the crime of raiding wagons, naturally they have to be arrested and face the punishment. I just cannot fathom why would they resort to such folly."
"What a mystery."
"We also heard a piece of info about a certain wandering adventurer escorting Chaney Company's wagon even before that."
"Apparently he was a big man dressed in black, with terrifying swordsmanship and extraordinary out of this world nimbleness."
"Just where did you obtain that information."
"Fumu. You got to pay up one gold coin if you wish to know the answer to that question."
"No need then."
"Fufu. Apparently, the coachman of that wagon, a man called Eifun, was a secret agent from somewhere. His identity was seen through, and he got his right arm cut before getting caught."
"This must have been the doing of that big man in black as well."
"I cannot believe how Chaney would trust an enemy spy to hold an important position for so long. Is he even aware how much of his company's secrets had been leaking out just from that alone."
"I know not whom this Eifun worked for, but he must have given his all to accomplish the duty given to him by his master. It's a great shame that this has gotten to a point for such a man to have to die."
"He's not dead yet though."
Lecan was fully focusing on Dovor during the whole exchange. Dovor's expression turned stiff and he let out a stabbing killing intent for an instant in the middle of the conversation, but he got his calm look back in the next instant. Yet that was enough to tell Lecan what he wanted to know.
Lecan drank up the little of his tea left.
"Now then, is that all you have to say. We'll excuse ourselves here."
"Now now, hold your horses. There's still some things I need to talk to you about. We'll prepare a refill for your tea."
Lecan looks at the cake dish in front of him. It's empty. Eda has eaten the content.
"Can you make that with the cake too."
"You needn't ask."