266 Idle Talk Afterwards
I took a deep breath and pepped myself up before opening my store today.
This place has a good foot traffic, with mercenaries around as well as points of interest to both tourists and merchants.
I have my store open in such an ideal place.
My name is Aryl. A start-up merchant. The only reason a new face like me could have a store here is because of a certain black haired black eyed young man whose name I don't even know.
The chairman himself has become my backing through an agreement he made with the chairman.
Not only that, the chairman even provided the fund, location and registration for me.
His reason is a very understandable one. Which is.
<<I cannot bear the thought of that enigmatic man and his fathomless ghastliness dropping by again. That's the only reason I went this far. I'll lend you as much aid as I could if it means getting that man off my back forever.>>
After hearing that, I renewed my determination to grow my business even bigger.
I can't possibly fail after so much preferential treatment like this, and more importantly, I won't forgive myself if I fail with a store this nice.
"Let's do this! Aryl Store at the merchant town! I'm gonna make a name for myself~!"
I'm not the only one here. I mean, I manage this store by myself. But it's just been opened, so I don't have branch stores yet.
However, I have a bodyguard. Yep, this is a new store. As such, problematic customers often come to make a mess thinking it's an easy target.
If not for a bodyguard, a store managed by a small girl like me would get crushed in no time.
"I'll be counting on you today once again. Randolf-san."
"Yeah. I am sorry that I only sit around in the corner."
The chairman himself offered Randolf-san to work as my bodyguard. For the same reason as earlier.
"But will the association be all right without you? Isn't the chairman being too generous?"
I could make a small talk with Randolf-san after a few days, but it was so awkward at first. The pressure from his big body was just too much.
But over time, I found out that he's a gentle man, so chatting came naturally.
"There is no issue. They hire plenty of bodyguards as strong as me. Rest assured."
Thanks to him, there hasn't been a single incident here. After all, those who are familiar with him freeze up the moment they saw him while those who don't withdraw after a glance.
Thus my business is going smoothly.
The variety and quality of goods I have on sales have been getting good words of mouth too lately. Five days for work and two days for rest. A day for stocking up while another for me to take a break.
I'm planning to keep this up until I can afford to employ more personnel.
The chairman said so too.
<<This is the best possible aid package I could give you, the rest depends on your skill. Work hard. I will not meddle any more. Well, I would still help when the situation looks dire. But prepare yourself for the end if it comes down to that. Make sure to look for a place of employment beforehand.>>
His word may sound strict, but even then he still intends to help me till the end, due to the reason above.
However, I wouldn't have walked on this path of mercantile if that was enough to reassure me.
Once I'm done with the morning preps, I stand up in front of my store and speak up my first pitch today.
"Aryl Store! We're open for business today! We await your patronage!"
『And thus Aryl Store is steadily gaining customers to the point of opening branch stores, but that is a story far in the future.』
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Around ten men are glaring at documents in their hands. They're having a meeting to discuss about the intel gathered that day.
"Chairman Eltros. What is your order? Where should we pass this report to?"
"Sell it to the guards, the top level personnel. They will bite at this intel on the bandit gang for sure. Make an offer to the merchant association as well. That man will make good use of this."
This place is an Intelligence Guild. Although it's neither a formally recognized organization nor is it a crime syndicate.
Eltros has completely rebuilt the entire organization from the ground up.
They gather intel of all kinds using manpower from the old organization and new recruits and sell the information to those who find it worthwhile.
The effort taken to get to this point was enormous. It's also a clean organization that dabbles in zero crime.
(If he comes back and finds even the tiniest 'blemish' of wrongdoing here, I will definitely without a doubt be the first in line for 'disposal'... In order to avoid that...)
Eltros is frantically managing this organization out of fear for his life by the hands of that man.
Thus he's doing good deeds driven by impure motives. Those who control information rule the world.
However, Eltros's caliber is barely catching up to this line of work. Yet it also means he's safe so long as he can keep up.
The organization itself isn't that big, but it's been gradually gaining reputation.
The width of information they gather is also expanding, from 'trade', 'mercenary', 'guards', 'government', 'public', and even a bit of 'foreign nations'.
And naturally, that includes all types of 'syndicates' that find themselves in this commercial town.
"Lure out the bandits with a decoy we send out. Crush some and let some go back to their lair. We can then smash that lair with a combined force of merchants, mercenaries and guards."
"Understood, chairman. I'll go make the preparations at once."
The meeting was adjourned. The executives from different divisions left.
"Haa, hopefully things calm down a bit now."
The biggest topic recently is about a newly formed bandit gang. They're a top priority target due to their scale.
"What am I even doing... This makes me like... No, I shouldn't think too deeply... I don't wanna die. Not like that, never..."
And thus, Eltros is making the commercial town better bit by bit while constantly under torment.
"Next up is about a crime syndicate that's been throwing their weight around after making it big... My head..."
『Eltros has remade the organization anew. Their scale gradually gets bigger over time, until they become known as an external Intelligent Agency highly valued by both the kingdom and the empire. Eltros is still none the wiser on the 'weight' of such responsibility at this point of time.』
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