TL note: this is the last section of the first volume. We want to take at least next week off this series to check and fix any mistranslation we might have left in the previous chapters before starting the next one.
Slave merchant and slave merchant – Part 4
Two weeks went by since the meeting with Lux.
In that brief time, Listina changed a lot.
Because of the illegal gambles scandal, three famous nobles were put on trial, and since they didn’t have an alibi, they were arrested, and every participant was properly punished along with them.
The minister of justice brought Amberg’s records and money laundering techniques to light.
Valeria was selected as a replacement, and after receiving all of Amberg’s properties, the royal family of Richtert promoted it to its new position.
That fact caused a big commotion.
A lot of people were skeptical when they heard that Valeria was an illegal company from the slums and some even protested, but apparently they played an important role in the operation, so there was no choice but to acknowledge the royal family’s decision, and things calmed down pretty soon.
After that, plenty of people started to call Valeria ‘the miraculous company from the slums’. The citizens finally started to look at it in a good light.
…Or rather, things looked like that, but if we were to take a peek behind the scenes, quite a lot had happened.
“The royal family’s influence is just absurd.”
Said Takumi cheerfully, while walking with Kunon and Karin.
The elf, instead, looked dead tired.
“I can’t believe you threatened the Fairstadt family and also the royal family of Richtert…”
“I didn’t threaten them. I just brought them information.”
Geiz kidnapped citizens from the former empire beyond the mountains, the island countries and allied nations beyond the sea, and the allied city-states where heroes gathered.
Slave trading was illegal in every country except for the former empire, so the diplomatic relationships with the ruler behind this scandal – meaning Richtert – would have been severed, and it was possible that a war might have broken out.
Takumi promptly sent those slaves home, and the disgrace that should have tainted the Holy Capital’s reputation was swept under the rug.
Thanks to that, the royal family wanted Valeria to replace Amberg.
Of course, the nobles and the other companies wouldn’t have just accepted that.
“I mean, I only added a ‘pretty please’ and they accepted, you know?”
“That’s what ‘threatening’ means, Takumi… Lux had ‘give me a break’ written all over his face, and he seemed so sick of the situation that I almost felt pity for him.”
“He reacted exactly like his sister. That’s why they’re so amusing.”
“While you enjoy those reactions, I worry about their stomach aches…”
Thinking that Lux might have breached their contract, Takumi informed him that he kept track of the whereabouts of each slave. If anything was to happen, everything would have been exposed.
“It’s incredible that a company from the slums could replace a major one, arrest all the rotten nobles at once, and lead the royal family and the other influential companies by the nose…”
Commented the elf while looking at the same, filthy slums she got used to seeing.
Takumi had planned to make Valeria influential in a single move, but he thought that it wasn’t necessary to relocate their headquarter.
It wasn’t only what Mirta wanted, but it would’ve also been easier for them to monitor the area, and it would’ve sped up the information gathering process, which would have been discussed publicly thereafter.
Valeria wanted to connect people and make them feel that something was really changing.
“Anyway, being a noble in the upper layers would only bother me, so I’d rather stay here.”
“I know, riiight~? There’re too few food stalls and shops in there! It’s shocking!”
Kunon always looked bored when people talked about the slums, but her comment was lively as she held the large quantity of food she had bought along the way.
“Kunon, now that you have your food, it’s time for your report.”
“Okaaay~! First, the rehab of the demi-humans we seized in the last battle is over! Those who still have the will to fight are getting trained to become part of the suppression team while our members observe and assist them, and those who do not want to fight anymore can become your slaves!”
She kept talking while eating.
Takumi started to assemble a unit composed only of demi-humans in case he needed military manpower.
Thanks to what he remembered from his former world, he produced weapons from his era and formed an armed force no weaker or less disciplined than those he saw back then, which divided demi-humans accordingly to make full use of their natural abilities.
When Kunon didn’t have to be their guardian, she was in charge of their training.
“The guys we already had aren’t a problem, but the new ones don’t know a thing about small arms. Elves aside, the other races don’t really use tools, you know~?”
“Elves hate guns and stuff like that, but I’ve already become used to them.”
Said Karin while touching the sniper rifle that was on her back.
“This is clad in wood, but the smell of metal is terrible…”
“But Karin, don’t you love it? You looked so happy when Takumi gave it to you, and you even slept hugging it every daaah! Give me back my food!”
“No, this is your punishment for talking nonsense… Also, I slept with it only to get used to the smell!”
Exclaimed the sulky elf while eating the fruits she snatched. Getting used to that smell had been hard for her.
“By the way, how are things going for Amberg?”
“You mean what was Amberg, right, Karin? We are managing everything now.”
Since their staff and leaders were arrested, the company was essentially disassembled, and to avoid a disaster in the national politics, Lux and the royal family ordered Valeria to take over right away. Of course, Takumi already dealt with that.
“Well, the one with the report is waiting at Valeria.”
“…To be honest, I’m not glad to hear that.”
“I’m sure you’re thinking about a lot of stuff, but he’s still our colleague. I won’t tell you to get along with him, but try at least to not pick a fight, okay?”
Takumi patted her on the head as she wore a sour expression.
When they finally arrived at Valeria’s headquarter, they exchanged a brief greeting with the man behind the reception desk and headed straight to the office.
“Ah, welcome back, Takumi.”
Mirta was waiting there, and…
“Oh, Mister Takumi. Came back already?”
A skinny man on his thirty greeted them.
“Who is he?”
Asked the two demi-humans in unison, and he stood up flustered.
“That is rude! Lady Kunon, Lady Karin, did you forget about me?!”
“How can I forget someone I don’t know?”
“Wait, do we know each other?”
Seeing them tilting their heads, Takumi decided to formally introduce him.
“Girls, he is Geiz.”
“…What? No, Geiz looks more like… a fat pig.”
The skinny man couldn’t help but smile bitterly at the elf’s remark.
“You see… Work kept piling up and I ended up losing some weight… Who knows what Mister Takumi would do to me if I fail to meet my duties…! No…! Aaahhh!”
“Don’t freak out like that, man. You have to report something, right? Are things going well?”
“A-Absolutely! Everything is going exactly as you wish!”
Both his weight issue and behavior seemed fixed, and even though he looked scared, he was determined.
“I-I will now… report in detail the Amberg’s management.”
After all that chaos, Takumi wanted Geiz to become Amberg’s manager.
It was hard to deal with him, but he was really proficient at his job.
Even though he didn’t have much manpower in Valeria, he managed to keep the business growing while secretly dealing with Amberg, expanding his network to other countries, and gathering more and more customers.
He optimized his few resources so much that he could achieve amazing results, and that showed his abilities.
“The company is running smoothly, but given the complete change in management method and company’s objectives, Amberg’s old clients will need time to get used to this change… Still, after things settle, I believe Valeria can expand its business.”
“How much time is needed, in your opinion?”
“Two months… no, since we are partners, we can do it in one. I already drafted a plan for our new business and commercial development, if you want to see it…”
Karin had a complex expression while seeing the man behaving like that.
“I… can’t believe he’s that Geiz… what about you, Mirta?”
“Ahahah… I felt the same way while we talked before…”
“Well, I’ve changed! I will now work myself to the bone as an underling of Mister Takumi! Because if I do not, next time… my life will… Aaaahhh!”
“Geiz, you’re starting to be a pain, so this is enough. Things are going well, so Lux won’t have any complaints. Now leave.”
“Yes… If anything happens, send a messenger! I shall fulfill any and all of your requests!”
The arrogance he had before disappeared, and after he bowed repeatedly to Takumi, he left the room.
“Did you… brainwash him or something?”
“Since he was so ambitious, I had to be a little hard on him. I annihilated him psychologically, and, when he came back to his senses, he was like that.”
“Ahahah… I don’t want to know what you did specifically, but please, never do that to Valeria’s members…”
“C’mon, let’s see it positively. If there aren’t problems, I don’t act, but when something happens, I can do whatever I want as long as my leader can’t see, right?”
“No, you can’t! It doesn’t matter if I see you or not, just don’t do that!”
Mirta stretched on her tiptoes and hit Takumi on the head exactly like a mother scolding her child. It was a good thing that she wasn’t holding back anymore.
“Anyway, we have pretty much everything we need for now. We have the necessary funds to act and the power to influence the nation, so Valeria will be acknowledged by everyone… The next move is to strengthen Valeria’s foundation.”
“Strengthen the foundation…? Are we going to build something?”
Asked Mirta, and Takumi nodded.
“I’m talking about our image and individual power. You became the leader of a major company, and that’s good, but I’m a former slave, like Karin and Kunon, two demi-humans, and I don’t have a family name. It’s obvious that people would think we’re shady.”
Valeria was going to draw a lot of attention now, and if some of its workers had obscure origins, it would’ve damaged the company’s image.
“But haven’t you said that you like who you are?”
“I like the idea of being a former slave, yeah.”
“I don’t understand how you can like that…”
“Well, it takes all sorts to make a world. Anyway, we need to increase our individual power.”
Hearing his answer, Mirta brought her hand to her chin.
“Uhm… Thinking about it, if you had a family name, you could accept a noble title, right? In that case, you might use a military exploit to earn the title of knight, buy a land and rule a little region… then, if Richtert’s eminent clergymen start to consider you a worthy noble, they might grant you the right to speak freely…”
“Wow… You’re pretty knowledgeable, Mirta.”
“N-Not really! Dad was way more informed than me! He was in good relations with the Fairstadt family, so I learned good manners and a few other things when I was a child.”
She waved her hands flustered while Takumi started thinking about her words.
“Why not, let’s do everything.”
“Eh? What do you mean…?
“I mean what I said. Earning the title of knight, buying lands, being acknowledged by the clergymen… Let’s do everything.”
He bent his lips in a confident smile.
“It will be boring if we don’t try the impossible, don’t you think?”
Afterword (May 30th 2017)
Greetings, I am Fujiki Ushiro, the author of this novel.1
It has been a long time since I started my career with “Danzaikan” back then in 2015.2
I’ve never been so visible as a writer like now.
Since I had a lot of time after winning a prize for the last publication, I started to write a new series.
Truth is, after Dainzaikan I wrote something I wasn’t satisfied with, so I changed my plans, and this is the result. It made me think.
Anyhow, after a long time I could release a new book, so let me talk a bit about it.
When I started to write Saiteihen, I wanted it to be about a slave merchant with a lot of dark elements and a wicked, gruesome story, but my editor scolded me, and we lightened up the atmosphere… even though I was against it.
I am sure you can understand it from my words, but light stories aren’t my forte, that’s why I was quite surprised when I finished this.
“What?! No entrails flying around?!”
“I can’t add the main character’s true personality in the characters’ introduction?!”
“A place where people avert their eyes from slavery is inhuman!”
I tried to keep such notes in front of me, but I wanted to create a shocking setting, so the cute girls, which I didn’t even plan beforehand, served to maintain a balance.
In the end, this became a story about a guy who reincarnates in a slave and refuses any superpower to live in the world only with his own abilities.
The protagonist of this story is someone who has lived in a world that was too easy for him, so he decides to try living in a hardcore one.
This was the hardest part to write for me. Since he doesn’t have superpowers, I had to think about realistic ways to make him resolve various situations.
He isn’t peerless but uses his head to move people in a way that makes him appear as such.
I didn’t write anything about his former world, but someday… I mean, I’m thinking about it and hope to specify it in the next volume.
I want to highlight the girls who follow our protagonist, the black-haired elf and the upbeat werebeast, which I came up with.
The elf is the result of a revelation: “What if I give her the opposite image of a common elf? Same glossy and silky hair but black instead of blonde!”
The wolf-girl should have had ups and downs, and I wanted her to have expressive ears and a tail to wag when she’s happy. She should’ve been lively, and I imagined her showing her canines while talking in a mischievous way. I wanted her to appear human but also animal at the same time. Her petite size helps to picture her as innocent as well as give impact when she set her bottled up feelings free…
I won’t digress too much on her because I don’t have much space left, but know that I love her.
I also want to develop the other slaves, and I really hope you will like them.
I’d love you to pay attention even to the other characters surrounding our protagonist, included the slaves, the cry-baby leader and the serious-but-soft captain of the guards.
I don’t want to limit this to girls only, but also to a certain dandy… oh dear, I’m running out of space.
Thank you for your support.
I apologize to the responsible of this project for my selfish requests and the hardships he went through due to me. I might be a nuisance again in the future, but I’m looking forward to work with you again.
A heartfelt thanks to Yuzuka3, the illustrator, for the many great images. The captain of the guards’ one has left a deep impression, but each and every one of them conveyed perfectly what I had in mind. The beast-traits you drew are astonishing. If we ever get the chance to meet, I’ll prostrate at your feet.
Many, many thanks to all the people who helped me realize this volume.
As last, let me thank you, dear reader, for reading my work.
I really hope you enjoyed it.