Chapter 118: Meeting A Crook Again
“Then how about the two of you decide on a name and a signboard for the company and I will go and see if I can do something about the location. I know someone who might be able to help with securing one.”
Realizing their negotiations came to an end and the three girls reached an agreement, Nisha naturally wanted to do her best as well and made a proposal.
“That doesn’t sound too appropriate. Didn’t you already agree to give us a large amount of gold as a loan? We should figure out the location ourselves.”
Afraid that the younger girl they considered as a sister would take on even more burdens for them, Lydia spoke out and tried to dissuade her.
“Nonsense, isn’t it fine for me to see and try to make an effort for our business venture? It just happens that I know someone who has some experience when dealing with real estate before, maybe he can give us some advice. It’s not anything definite yet.”
Of course Nisha had her own plans when she excused herself in this manner. If the man she was thinking of was able to offer advice, great; if he had the capability to take care of the problem straight away, why not settle everything at the same time?
Annabelle and Lydia did not completely trust her innocent sounding words either, they clearly knew what a little devil this girl could be. But in the end, there was no particular reason to refuse either.
“Okay, do what you want. Just remember to keep things in moderation.”
Giving in to the dragon, Lydia waved her hand and repressed a sigh, clearly knowing the coming trouble she had to settle soon.
“Right, before you go, can you give me an undamaged scale of yours? I don’t know whether or not you still kept one.”
In face of such an usual request, Nisha did not need to think about it. Straightforwardly, she took out one of her scales grandfather Eldrin collected for her after the fight against the [Bloody World Hellhound] back at the Hunting Grounds in the past. Although most of them had some tears or already broke in half after being clawed at by a rank seven monster, some of them also got pulled out directly without being damaged.
Seeing the serrated surface of the scale Annabelle accepted it right away, admiring the gradual change from absolute darkness at the root to a fiery red in the tips. Compared to all the scaled monsters and beasts she had seen while wandering about in Thurgau either while working as a maid or learning to be a merchant in the past, this single plate represented the most beautiful and awe inspiring exemplar. Truly befitting to be the armor of the beast race hailed as the strongest, the scale of a dragon.
“Why do you need one anyway? I still have some left, you can have them all if you want.”
“No need, I just want to reference something, it’s still only an idea at the moment. Go ahead and meet up with your acquaintance, we will prepare the documents and the shares until you come back. Tomorrow we could also go to the Merchant’s Guild and register when everything is in order.”
Taking the scale from her sister, Lydia saw Nisha off and instructed a passing maid in front of the dining room to inform Galan to rejoin them, fully convinced to get everything ready and wait for good news from the dragon regarding the situation of their store.
In response, the elf did not speak superfluous words either and asked for a carriage to be prepared for her.
One must know, the young mistress asking for a carriage happened to be a rare occasion, the young elf usually liked to stroll around on her own and walk with her own two feet. Other than some bewilderment and silent guesses what matter occurred on this day, the servants still hurried to prepare one.
Seeing the driver filled with anticipation to know the goal of their short journey, Nisha couldn’t help it and giggled, simply akin to silver bells ringing. Instructing him to drive towards Baron Alestar’s mansion, the elf relaxed in the cabin and waited for their arrival.
As a driver, the servant actually needed to stay informed about the various changes in the surrounding neighbourhood, yet it was pure chance that he had heard about the so called Baron Alestar. A newly appointed noble who had yet to decide on the name of his house, how was this character qualified to meet with the young lady of their house? But no matter what, a command was a command and he had no right to question the decision of their master, hence the driver did his best to arrive as fast as possible.
Luckily they encountered no obstructions and the grand horse drawn carriage soon arrived in front of an extremely small and dilapidated mansions in the utmost borders still counted as the royal district.
“Young Lady, we have arrived.”
Taking a glance around the driver wanted to see if he could spot a servant belonging to this newly established house, yet he found no one. Opening the door himself and helping the elf to step down, he awaited further instructions.
“Haha, the place does look like him, we’re definitely at the right place.
Thank you for the service, Symes, I will return on my own. You can go back and look after your son, I hope he gets well soon.”
Touched that the lady even remembered his name and how his son contracted a nasty cold before, he beamed with admiration for the young lady and turned the carriage around to leave, taking her word as law.
Nisha on the other hand swiftly walked along the barren front lawn and approached the door carefully, retrieving the metal board she had been gifted by Alestar on the previous occasion.
And sure enough, as soon as she opened the door a butler, much younger than Galan who the elf was used to, opened the door and looked at her suspiciously. As a team member that worked formerly under the new baron in a different position, he immediately sensed the card she prepared but most likely did not believe a young girl such as Nisha could possibly hold one.
Extremely curt, he did not act in the manner of a regular servant at all and suspiciously eyed her.
“Please send my regards to Baron Alestar and tell him Nisha has come to visit.”
Regardless of his suspicions and mistrust, the dragon managed a brilliant smile, thinking about ways to exploit the poor man in question in the best possible manner to help her siblings.
Not even inviting her in, he closed the door again and went to find his new master, reporting about the visitor.
Taking the chance to appreciate the refreshing bleakness of the dead garden and broken down garden furniture, black lines started to appear on the elf’s forehead.
If I can tell this is a facade from simply walking up to the door, who is supposed to get fooled at all?
Fortunately Nisha did not have to wait long before a familiar appearance peeked through the crack in the door, and then flung it open.
“Look who’s here! I don’t know whether I should call you a calamity or a bearer of fortune, anyway, come on and enter my new humble abode.”
Based from his tone, Alestar was only jesting for a bit and did indeed invite her in, however his somewhat familiar shape also had some differences. The most prominent change had to be the knife scar threatening to blind his right eye, running down from his right temple. Furthermore he also started to grow grey strands of hair, the wrinkles in his face increased and his overall stature resembled a man who was ten turns older.
Leading her into the little building - at least compared to the mansion she currently lived in - Nisha realized how different this house was governed.
None of the servants paid any particular attention to them or greeted the head of the house and after they arrived in the single reception room, Alestar had to prepare the tea himself, pouring each of them a cup.
“Come on, I can guarantee the merchant who is missing this batch of tea herbs would guarantee they are top quality.”
Smiling slightly, he raised his own cup and tasted the tea, completing his performance as an elderly person. Nisha did not remember Alestar to be such a mellow person.
The dragon trusted him at least enough to not check her own serving for poison before taking a sip, yet she kept her gaze on the new scars the other side had.
“Did you call me a calamity because you got those for being related to me?”
Gesturing towards the scar, Nisha felt somewhat ambiguous. She had only talked to Alestar a single time and received the card from him, yet obvious changes happened and he somehow became a baron. The elf had learned of this matter in a random conversation between similar situated noble ladies gossiping and seeing him once in the noble district. Where exactly the connection to herself laid turned out to be a question Nisha could not answer.
“You mean the little cuts? No, it can’t really be said you are responsible for that, your arrival only set some things in motion which turned out to be a opportunity I could not refuse.”
Chuckling to himself due to knowing the truth of the matter and who he replaced, Alestar did indeed not seem angry or resentful towards the elf.
“Without you getting introduced to the thieves guild, how could I have had the chance to become Sir Alestar, baron of a barren field and some poor sods trying to cultivate them in a godforsaken corner of the countryside instead of Alestar, the crook and bone breaker?
Well, not that the crook part changed much, but you can see, I’m climbing the social ladder.”
Snorting in his tea, he almost emptied the cup by now. Clearly he was truly fond of this blend.
“It’s nothing serious anymore anyway. In my profession, scars like these count as badges of honor instead of being seen as horrifying.Because it means I put the bastard who tried to kill me under the ground, that’s why I’m still alive and kicking with a scar instead of a cut throat.
I don’t think you came to hold a housewarming party though, I’m afraid my new servants are not quite up to par yet to entertain a young lady like you.
Tell me, what do you want?”
Although Alester downplayed the title of nobility quite a bit, in his heart he felt a true sense of achievement by addressing himself as Baron. Unless a thief reached the highest echelons of the [Thieves Guild] or made outstanding contributions, obtaining a peerage remained simply a pipe dream. Without the influence or connections to ward off retaliation, the King’s Guard would soon come knocking on their doors otherwise, which usually meant a quick process and an untimely ending due to being hanged at the gallows.
As such, even if only work related, the old crook already surpassed almost all of his peers in the same generation, making a huge step forward.
“Don’t keep that guilty look on all the time, just tell me. As long as I can do it, I will always give you a fair price. Money is the king, in the end.”
Underneath the mellow and elderly guise, Nisha managed to discover a glint of his old ferociousness. At least when he spoke about business, he still had the same air of a rogue about to snatch a fat merchant’s purse.
“Since you insist, I will not hide anything. The reason I came to find you is not only because of me, but also my two sisters. We want to start a business venture together and acquired some capital. Now we are looking for a suitable location to build our store. The first person I thought who could help us was you, therefore here I am.
You do still work in the protection business, right? Do you know of a suitable location?”
Since Alestar seemed willing to cooperate, Nisha added a few more details afterwards, describing their requirements and price range. Starting off low, the dragon did not mind spending any amount of gold, yet she didn’t want to be swindled by this crook either.
Unfortunately the new baron only returned a helpless and apologetical face when he heard her out.