TWEM Vol. 4 Chapter 16 Part 1
Chapter 16 – Result of the Investigation
——The next morning, I went to the royal castle alone.
“Good morning, Dillan. How did the investigation go?”
“We captured and interrogated Count Balazel yesterday, and he confessed to everything. At first he tried to play dumb, but when we showed him proof of the hidden passage leading from his house to Cobra’s hideout and the documents that came out of his house linking directly to the hideout, he caved in.”
“I see…but why did the Count have an underground passageway that connects to Cobra’s hideout?”
“That hideout is a building registered as a warehouse…it used to be a warehouse for the trading company. Cobra is an organization that moves from one base to another, and this one just happened to be that warehouse. Well, I guess they never thought anyone could ever discover their hideout in the first place.”
Oh, so that’s the reason.
“What a letdown…speaking of which, what about the other trading companies that were in league with him? Even though the Count was controlling them, they must have done a lot of shady things as well, didn’t they?”
“Yeah, Count Balazel——Almuth told me all about that too. We are going to capture them all today.”
“Oh okay. And their punishment?”
Dillan thought about it for a moment and then opened his mouth.
“Ummm…Almuth is pretty much set for execution. Whether or not the Count family will remain and keep its title will be determined after we thoroughly investigate the family. The representatives of the business associations and any staff involved will be sent to the mines as criminal slaves. Since Cobra’s top executives are the only ones left alive, they will be executed after extracting as much intelligence as possible from them.”
“Well, that’s fair enough. But what about their business associations? Seven heads up on a stake means seven seats up for grab, how are you going to deal with that?”
“Yeah. If they have legitimate and innocent successors, I intend to allow them succeed their businesses, since the upper management of all the merchant associations are so deeply involved and culpable, there’s hardly anyone that they can be entrusted to otherwise…that said, if I were to go ahead and take them all down regardless, it would have a catastrophic impact on many people. Originally, I was going to seize some of the concessions as punishment, but if the government were to recover everything, it would make us look bad, as if we were confiscating all their properties, so I’d like to leave them in the hands of someone qualified…”
Dillan glanced at me as he said this.
“Nope, no way I’m doing it. I’d rather grow my own business instead.”
“Hmm, I see…”
“What about other trading companies?”
“Mmm, well there are not that many trading companies that I can say for certain are trustworthy after all. Although there are few, if I allocate all those rights and interests to them, it will only lead to needless trouble, and the rest are small-time, or relatives.”
I see, there seem to be a lot of problems, such as not having the know-how to run a great merchant association, or receiving criticism regarding the act being the same as seizures.
“Well, we could make up some random merits and distribute the concessions to the ones we deem trustworthy. Now if we distribute them so as not to upset the balance of the Chambers of Commerce, doing that would pretty much mean that it’d largely still be run by the state…I just thought that with Haruto, very few would complain.”
Hmmm~, would a trustworthy trading company solve the problem?
I then remembered that a certain someone was now here in the royal capital.
“How about Mr. Bacchus?”
“Oh right, you did mention he was an acquaintance of yours. I didn’t really consider him an option since he practically has no association with the royal family…”
“Really. Well, I can assure you that he’s someone you can trust.”
Dillan and Rubel looked at each other when I said that.
“…All right, since you have that much faith in him, I’ll trust you. Can you handle the negotiations?”
“Sure thing. Are there any conditions he should be aware of?”
“Well…I can allocate up to three trading companies to manage in its entirety. However, he will be required to hand over 20% of the sales for one year to cover the interests that were to be seized.”
I nodded my head anyway, because I could not judge whether the amount was too much or too little.
“Well, I’ll go talk to Mr. Bacchus about those terms.”
I got up and was about to leave the room when Dillan held me back.
“A moment, Haruto.”
“How are things going with Iris?”
“…What’s with you all of a sudden?”
Dillan asked with a serious face.
“…So no kid yet uh?”
Y-You kidding. Iris is only 14 years old. No way in hell I am touching her.
Rather, didn’t he say they were expecting a baby, as well? Amalia’s belly is getting pretty big, from the looks of it.
“And don’t forget Iris hasn’t come of age yet, right?”
“Rest assured, Iris’s birthday is just around the corner. She’ll be fifteen then.”
Nice, that’s my cue to change the subject.
“Oh really. We better make it one to remember then.”
“I trust you’ll invite me, won’t you?”
“You bet. I’ll be on my way now.”
“All right. Later.”
Well, that was a smooth exit.
I thought to myself as I left the castle with Zebas seeing me off.
…I wonder what he will say again on her birthday.
I headed straight for the Bacchus Trading Company, Perdis royal capital branch.
I passed by the Ashtaroth Trading Company on the way and saw that it was thriving again today.
I knew that if I showed my face, I would get in the way, so I proceeded onward, looking at them from a distance.
It took about ten minutes to walk from our store to Mr. Bacchus’s chamber of commerce.
“As gigantic as ever.”
It is as big as our store, and it’s thriving as well.
The manager of this store is Mr. Gulliver, with whom we traveled together. I always buy rice here, and he gives me quite a discount.
And it seemed that Mr. Bacchus had some kind of business and was in the store right now.
I entered the store and approached the female clerk at the counter. I’ve never seen her face before, so I guess she’s new.
“Yes. How may I help you?”
“Sorry to bother you, but is Mr. Bacchus around? I need to talk to him.”
“Oh the director? I’m afraid I can’t let you through without an appointment…”
I have to make an appointment…I guess, that’s normal if one is to meet the director of such a great merchant association.
“Uh, I don’t have an appointment per se…but could you tell him that Haruto is here to see him on behalf of His Majesty, can you do that?”
At the mention of His Majesty, the clerk started staring at me suspiciously.
Well, I’d be suspicious too.
The clerk looked troubled and withdrew to the back of the store, where Mr. Bacchus seemed to be.
“Director. There is a man here asking of you, says he’s here at the behest of His Majesty.”
“His Majesty? Is it a messenger from the castle?”
“Not really, he doesn’t appear to be a soldier or an official, but more like an adventurer…”
Then the clerk from earlier and Mr. Bacchus came out of the room.
“Master Haruto! I can’t believe it’s you! It’s been a while.”
“Yeah it has. I’m glad to see you’re doing all right.”
Mr. Bacchus was staring at me in wonder.
Mr. Bacchus explained to the clerk who was looking at her boss’s reaction curiously.
“This man is Master Haruto, the one who saved me and the manager, Gulliver, from monsters before. He even patched us up afterwards, it’s thanks to him that we are still alive.”
“I-Is that so? Please excuse my rude behavior.”
“Please, don’t worry about it, you’re just doing your job.”
I said this to the clerk who bowed her head to me.
Mr. Bacchus looked at me and said heartily.
“Look at you, you went ahead and became an even more bigshot adventurer than I thought. I knew you would eventually make S-rank, but who would have thought that you’d go beyond that to reach the unprecedented EX-rank…”
The customers around me seemed to notice these words, and their gazes were drawn to me.
“…Can we talk inside, is that okay?”
“Sure, of course. Please come on in.”
Mr. Bacchus took me to the reception office inside.
After tea was served and we had settled down, I broached the subject.
“I came here today to see you Mr. Bacchus.”
When I explained as much as I could tell him about the situation surrounding the subject, the concessions of the chambers of commerce, and the conditions under which they would be granted, Mr. Bacchus groaned, “Hmmm”, and turned his head over and began to think.
“I can’t believe it, that trading company…considering these conditions and the expansion of our business——”
For the next few minutes, Mr. Bacchus mumbled to himself, but then he suddenly looked up.
Next thing, he wore a big smile on his face.
“By all means, I accept the offer! If you don’t mind, I’d like to send some personnel…I think it’s probably better to speak to His Majesty directly about this.”
“Yeah, that would be better.”
“All right. Thank you very much for bringing such a mouth-watering deal my way…by the way Master Haruto, your trading company seems to be doing very well.”
“Ha-ha-ha, thanks to you.”
“That toilet seat is so innovative, it’s a shame we can’t buy more of them. Nothing less from Master Haruto, I guess.”
“It’s a bit embarrassing when Mr. Bacchus compliments me on business.”
“Do you have any other revolutionary products?”
“Yeah. The prototype was completed without any problems, so we’re going into mass production——though I can’t tell you what kind of product yet, okay?”
“Ha-ha-ha. Was I too obvious?”
Mr. Bacchus laughed broadly.
“Well technically, we’re business rivals after all…oh and, about the toilet seat, I can give you some as gifts if you don’t mind?”
“Eh, are you being serious?”
“Sure, when I think of how much you’ve helped me out, it’s the least I can do.”
I said and took out ten of the ones for the nobles from my dimensional storage and handed them to him.
“Don’t worry about it…okay then, my business here is done, I better be on my way. I’ll let Dillan know and I’m sure he’ll send you another messenger.”
“All right. Thank you very much for today.”