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「Please give my husband my regards.」
Thanking the lady for the tea and snacks, we made our way to the door.
Thanks to the tea, my body had warmed up quite nicely.
While we had been enjoying the snacks, the lady asked a lot of questions about my outfit, but I simply claimed it was rain gear.
When we got outside, the rain continued to pour.
We didn’t stay too long, since we didn’t want the rain to stop on us. If it did, people would most likely go to the docks, so we decided to hurry and take the short way out while we still had the chance.
Luckily, there was still no one at the docks when we got there, so I quickly summoned the Bears and had them leap onto the river as soon as we were both on them.
This was Sanya-san’s second time doing this, so she wasn’t as scared.
The Bears crossed the river just like before, not being slowed down by the rapid river at all.
Just as we finished crossing the river, the rain began to thin out.
Phew, that was close; if we had taken any longer it could have been dangerous.
「Yuna-chan, let’s head straight back to the shop. We still have time till noon, but I think it’s best if we get it there as quickly as possible.」
She was right; better sooner than later.
We didn’t really need to bring Ruimin with us, so we went straight to Dogrude-san’s shop, where that rich-looking carriage from yesterday was again.
That merchant must be here as well then, right?
He was the type of person I really didn’t want to get acquainted with.
Sanya-san and I carefully entered the shop and were met by the young shop clerk from yesterday cleaning the shop.
「You’re the ones who were here yesterday! I heard about the situation from the boss. Could it be that you have the painting?!」
The young man just beamed at us.
「Yes, we do. We would like to meet with Dogrude-san straight away; would that be fine?」
Sanya-san went straight to the point.
「Of course. Letobell-sama is already here to pick up the painting.」
I knew it, that merchant really was here.
He seemed to have a bad attitude, so I wondered if this would end smoothly.
The young cleck knocked on the door leading to the back.
「Hurry up and hand over the bracelet to my master.」
「Like I said, please wait until noon. That was the agreed deadline.」
「How could anybody possibly bring back the painting in this rain? The boats can’t even move, much less cross the river.」
「I asked some adventurers to fetch it for me.」
「Even adventurers can’t cross such a rapid river.」
We could hear people arguing on the other side of the door.
The young clerk opened the door and called out to get their attention.
「The people from yesterday are here. They brought the painting back with them.」
The young clerk gestured us in, so we slowly entered.
Inside, there were three people. Dogrude-san, the merchant we had already seen yesterday, and an old man with a long beard.
Emm… Why three people? Who was this old man?
「Why are there an elf and a bear here?」
「They are the adventurers I mentioned. Sanya-san, is it true that you two have brought the painting?」
「Yes, we do have it with us.」
Sanya-san then looked at me. Oh right, I had the painting.
I took out the wooden box from the Bear Box and laid it on the table in front of everybody. Dogrude-san immediately stood up and opened the box to confirm its contents.
「Yes, that’s the painting. Thank you very much for getting it for me.」
「That can’t be!」
The merchant also stood up and looked over the painting like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
「But couldn’t this be forged?!」
「The artist’s signature is right here, isn’t it?」
The man tried to call it a fraud, but Dogrude-san was quick to silence him.
「In this case, you have no need for the bracelet anymore, right?」
「Dogrude, can’t you simply sell me the bracelet instead?」
The old man finally spoke up.
「Master, you do not need to make such a request!」
「Rodis, Dogrude-san kept his promise. The deal was for the bracelet to be given only if he failed to provide the painting until noon. It’s over.」
The old man replied calmly.
「Trust and contracts should be very important to all merchants. Dogrude followed through with our agreement, and delivered the painting before noon. That means he has completed the contract. I cannot ignore that fact just because I want the bracelet. That would destroy the trust we have with each other. Therefore, the only way is to obtain a new contract to purchase the bracelet.」
The angry merchant realized there was nothing he could do and bowed at the old man before sitting back down.
「How about it then, I wouldn’t mind paying for the bracelet, no matter the price. In fact, I can easily pay double what you got it for.」
「Sorry, but it has already been agreed that we will be taking the bracelet.」
「What? Who do you think you are?!」
The angry merchant burst out again and gave Sanya-san an evil glare.
Well, he would have gotten the bracelet if we hadn’t brought the painting, so he most likely didn’t feel very fondly about us.
「I am the older sister of the bracelet’s real owner. We came here to buy it back.」
Of course, Sanya-san had no intention of stepping down from just a simple glare.
「It’s your sister’s bracelet, you say?」
「That’s right. My sister may be trouble, but even so, I can’t allow others to take her bracelet.」
The old man stroked his beard and thought for a bit, gesturing the angry merchant to sit back down.
「So, you won’t let me take it even if I pay for it?」
「That’s right, I cannot allow anybody else to take it.」
「Do you even know who you are speaking to?! This is the great merchant, Letobell-sama.」
The younger man spoke up once more. Oh, so the older man was Letobell.
I had been sure that it was the angry guy.
「Rodis-san, this is Sanya-san, the guild master of the capital’s Adventurer Guild.」
「The guild master of the capital’s Adventurer Guild?!」
Sanya-san took out her guild card to prove her status, immediately shutting up the angry man.
Her title carried a lot of power even among merchants it seemed…
「It appears that I will have to give up this time around.」
Sanya-san looked relieved when the old man said that.
With this, the bracelet was secured.
「Master, are you really okay with this?!」
「There is no benefit in going against someone of her status.」
「Thank you for being understanding. Still, I have to ask, why do you want the bracelet that badly?」
「I heard that the wearer of the bracelet will receive the protection of the wind.」
「That’s true, but if you are not blood-related to the family, the protection is minimal.」
「I did some research about it, so I am aware of it. But it still does have a slight effect right?」
「Yes, that’s correct.」
「I wanted to give it to my granddaughter. For merchants like me, bad things may happen to my family, so I wanted to give my granddaughter at least some protection.」
「I see. As I said the protection would be minimal, so she won’t be missing out on much.」
「Yes, I understand that. Well, please do tell your sister to never leave it behind again. There may be others like me who will want to get their hands on it.」
「Yes, I will lecture her about it.」
Unlike the angry man who was with him, the old man seemed like a nice person.
Well, he did seem a little strict on the rules, though.
「Anyways, Dogrude, what about my other request?」
「I’m sorry, but I couldn’t procure it.」
Despite the fact that Sanya-san and I hadn’t left yet, Letobell-san started talking about something else.
We didn’t get the bracelet yet, plus they didn’t tell us to leave the room, so we decided to stay.
「I tried asking about it through all of my connections, but nobody was willing to sell.」
「You couldn’t do it, even by using my name?」
「What a useless fellow you are.」
The angry man mocked Dogrude-san.
「You shouldn’t say that. You couldn’t get it either, after all.」
「Well, that’s true, but…」
It looked like there was still something else the old man wanted badly.
「All the people who have one, personally received it from His Majesty, so they aren’t willing to sell it.」
「What about finding the artist? If we know who the artist is, we could just ask them to draw another one.」
Oh, they seemed to be talking about another piece of art.
This old man sure loved his art.
「The problem is, I only know that they are a bear. Those who know the identity of the artist refused to talk about it.」
Sorry, did I hear that right just now?
The artist was a bear?
「Yes, we know that, too. It says so on the picture book itself, after all. That is why, you were asked to find the artist!」
The angry man yelled at Dogrude-san.
「Rodis, lower your voice.」
「It wasn’t possible for my connections but to think you failed as well…」
「I am very sorry to disappoint you. I tried my best.」
「There is no need to apologize. I’m just sad that I can’t give the bear’s picture book to my granddaughter.」
Listening to the conversation, I finally realized that they were indeed talking about me.
The bear’s picture book was the one I had drawn.
「Yuna-chan, don’t you think that the bear’s picture book is…」
Sanya-san nudged me with her elbow and whispered to my ear.
Yes, I also knew that by now.
The bear’s picture book that the old man was searching for must be from me.
「An acquaintance of mine from the capital showed me the picture book. It was wonderful that I immediately asked if I could buy it off him, but he refused. Also, when I asked for the identity of the artist, I was told that His Majesty had ordered for it to be kept secret.」
It looked like His Majesty had kept his promise and adhered to my weird request.
Amazingly, everybody followed his order, even with how weird it was
「But wait, if the artist is a bear…」
The old man’s gaze turned to me.
「Oh right. A bear could be…」
Dogrude-san also looked at me.
「Who else could use a weird name like “Bear”?」
The angry man also looked at me.
Finally, Sanya-san turned to me as well, completing the picture of everybody staring me down.
「Um, why is everyone looking at me like that?」
「Who are you, if you don’t mind me asking?」
「I’m an adventurer.」
「Do you know anything about the bear’s picture book?」
It would be easy for me to deny it, but there was something that told me I shouldn’t.
「Do you really want the picture book that badly?」
「An acquaintance showed it to my granddaughter once. She really liked it, so it pains me to be unable to get her a copy of her own」
The old man looked really sad when he said that.
The reason he wanted the book wasn’t so that he could resell it; he wanted it so that he could give it to his granddaughter.
Yeah, the old man didn’t seem like a bad person at all. The bracelet had also been meant for his granddaughter’s protection and not his own gain.
Being sure of that was finally enough to make me decide on bringing out the picture book.
「Do you mean this, perhaps?」
I pulled out a bear’s picture book from the Bear Box.
As soon as the old man saw the cover, he reached for it.
「That’s right, this is it!」
The old man cried out after he took the book.
「Could it be that you are the artist?」
He looked back and forth between the picture book and me.
I had planned on staying quiet at first, but because of his sincerity, I answered him honestly in the end.
「I’m sorry, but could you please give it to me? I will pay you, of course.」
He said he would pay for it, but I didn’t have any plans on selling the book in the first place, so I wouldn’t mind just giving it to him. Not just yet, though.
「How much are you willing to pay for it?」
I asked him, because I was curious about its value.
Nope, still not finished.
At this point, I’m honestly not sure if I can promise ending it in the next one.
We need to get the picture book out of the way first, after all. w
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