Eda looked around with determined eyes.
"Were you told that there would only be 20 people coming?"
'I heard it was 30', 'me too', 'same here', voices came after another.
Adventurers who were in far away spots also joined.
"Then has anyone seen these additional ten people who were supposed to join us later?"
'Nope', 'ain't seeing anyone coming', the adventurers spoke.
"So how come there's only 20 people! Is anyone aware of the reason."
After a moment of silence, an elderly adventurer spoke up.
"I went to ask Nichison. Why's there only 20 I said. Then Nichison said this. '<Thousand Shoots> Eda is gonna join the group. Eda can use <Recovery> and <Purification>. We can do away with ten people since Eda has promised to cast <Recovery> on the wounded'. So Nichison said."
"So Nichison told you that I promised him to cast <Recovery> on the wounded?"
The elderly adventurer glanced at Nichison.
"Yeah, he did."
"I never made that promise! I simply cannot!"
Eda gathered attentions of the surrounding people with an especially loud voice.
"Because, I have made an agreement with Vouka town lord to always charge one gold coin per <Recovery> and one big gold coin per <Purification> if anyone asks for it, it was done to protect the temples, medical practitioners and to keep my promise with Guide Skalabel-sama. I cast <Recovery> on my escort companions for the sake of my own survival! But it's a different story with Nichison and his employees!"
Eda waited until the adventurers have digested her words before speaking to Nichison.
"Nichison. Did you really say that I promised you to cast <Recovery> for you?"
Nichison being a life-hardened merchant. He spoke brazenly without a hint of nervousness.
"Oh no no, please. Of course not. But I believed in Eda-san, famed for her merciful nature, that she would not overlook the wounded."
"So you lied about me making a promise. A lie you spoke of."
"Not at all. I was just too believing in your kindness."
"So when are the additional ten people going to join us?"
Even Nichison couldn't immediately reply this back. Then he spoke.
"They are not coming."
The adventurers jeered fiercely all at once.
"Why won't they."
Eda's low voice resounded terrifyingly.
"Because I considered twenty people are more than enough now that we have Eda-san."
"Haven't you forgotten something? 30 escorts for 15 wagons were the conditions on the quest you posted at Vouka's Adventurer's Association. Unilaterally altering that is a breach of contract."
"But we did manage to get this far. Which proved my good insight as a merchant."
"Some of us here were injured to make that happen. Some might have lost their lives even. Or it doesn't matter to you if a few of your escorts died?"
"I-I never said that!"
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Eda stopped responding to Nichison and spoke to the adventurers.
"Keep what you just saw in your memory! And please testify once we got back at Vouka Adventurer Association! I will personally make sure that we all get paid for this quest! I will file a complaint regarding Nichison afterward!"
"H-hold on there Eda-san. What are you--"
"However! We're gonna safeguard this caravan to Vantaroy regardless! That's my pride as an adventurer! Dontcha ease up on the escorting job now! Ya hear me?!"
"But of course!"
"Leave it to us!"
"Good, then, let's all get back to setting up our camps! Gather around the leader of your group! Decide on nightwatch turn!"
Nichison went back to his wagon with an indignant look on his face. As he drank water from a flask, a gray haired veteran adventurer approached him.
"Nichison. You look irate."
"What's with that Eda girl anyway. What's even <Saintess of the North> about her. She's nothing but a thug."
"Is that how you saw her."
"I originally intended to introduce her to some bigwigs once we arrived at Vantaroy, no more. I'll never employ such a barbaric woman ever again."
"Where do you plan on going after this."
"What are you going on about now. This caravan is heading straight for Vantaroy--"
"You know that Herb Saint Entourage made a stop at Vantaroy on their way back to the Royal Capital, yeah?"
"Of course I know. How would they go back to Royal Capital had they never passed Vantaroy."
"Didn't you hear about how Herb Saint-sama healed Vantaroy townlord's bedridden mother with his <Purification>."
"I have, what about it."
"And did you know how Herb Saint-sama took Vantaroy's town lord's hand and personally asked him to take good care of Eda?"
"As far as I'm aware, Vantaroy's townlord has sent three envoys to Eda thus far. They were checking if she's in trouble or needs something."
"Are you speaking the truth."
"Your merchant networking needs some works."
"Those matters are unrelated to my line of work."
"Once this caravan arrived at Vantaroy, Eda will undoubtedly receive a warm welcome from the town lord."
"What do you think she's gonna say to the town lord then?"
"The escort quest this time is only for the trip to Vantaroy. But you're probably not going to find anyone you can hire to escort you back to Vouka if Vantaroy's town lord gives his orders to the town's Adventurer Association."
"Even if he never gives the order, you're unlikely to hire your current escorts again. You saw Eda's magic bow rapid shooting earlier didn't you? A few of us got saved by that. These folks here have recognized Eda's skill. They ain't gonna work for someone who troubles her."
"Hmph. Who cares about this bunch."
"You're not thinking you're gonna save cost of hiring escorts on the way back, are you."
"Forget 'bout that, you don't even know this stuff's gonna sell at Vantaroy."
"Of course it's going to!"
"Even if Vantaroy's town lord bars your from doing business?"
Nichison's face turned pale.
"I'm just sayin' this for your own good. Apologize to Eda. And make sure to promise her you're gonna hand over the quest completion coin. Besides, Chaney Company would cease all dealings with you if you antagonize Eda."
"W-what did you say."
"I know you just opened your store at Vouka recently, but you ought to at least find out Chaney Company and Eda's relation. Have you ever been brought to Chaney Company's special reception room?"
"Special Reception Room? You mean that gorgeous building beyond the garden? No no, of course I haven't. Isn't that reserved to welcome nobility?"
"Apparently Eda gets brought there whenever she goes to Chaney Company."
"Besides, the biggest contributor that helped propel Chaney Company's rapid rise to fame was due to <Willard> selling everything they obtained in Dungeon Ninae's last floor to them."
"What is this <Willard>?"
"Geez, you're asking that part? Fine, listen well."