The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary

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Chapter 179

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Chapter 179, From Negotiation to Departure

“I see. I more or less understand the situation now.”

Having listened to their story, Ritz said and looked between his party and Loren’s.

“In addition, I’d like to propose that we do something about the thing nesting inside that Great Tunnel.”

The dwarves looked happy hearing Ritz’s words, while Loren and Lapis looked troubled. The difficulty level between attacking only whatever attacked them first and looking for the cause of Great Tunnel’s blockage and eliminating was different. The latter was much more difficult, of course.

Carefully choosing words so that it didn’t sound offensive, Lapis asked:

“May I ask why you would deliberately pick a more troublesome path?”

Ritz nodded solemnly and announced his reason to everyone:

“We use that tunnel very often.”

“…Please pay, Ritz.”

Lapis immediately cut in with a cold, sharp glance directed at Ritz. He was at a loss for words and couldn’t say anything.

So, Ritz party used that tunnel quite often, and they would be in trouble if whatever blocked it wasn’t removed. With Loren party here, they had an unlikely ally, and seemed to think that even if it might be a bit troublesome, now was the perfect time to pin down the blockage and remove it. And as they shared the same purpose of going through the tunnel, they wanted to make Loren party work for free. Lapis immediately realized their intention, and it couldn’t be helped that her eyes turned cold.

“Oh, come one. Don’t you guys also need to go through this tunnel? We should work together to find the cause of this blockage and…”

“Please pay.”

“If we work together, the fee…”

“Whatever, please pay.”

Ritz tried to persuade, but Lapis resolutely refused to yield. Loren watched them attentively: it seemed like this would drag out for quite some time. Close to him, Gula and Nim secretly started a conversation for some reason.

“One copper rank, and two iron ranks, right? Our party shouldn’t cost that much.”

Gula counted with her fingers and said, but Nim shook her head:

“We’re buying Loren’s and Lapis’ actual capabilities. Being their companion, your capability must also be worth considering. However, the amount you demand is quite expensive. We would like a sum that is kinder to our wallet.”

“Well, we’ll give you a discount then… How about this much?”

“A higher discount, please. At least this much.”

“Hm, that’s tight.”

The two of them somehow had completely immersed themselves in the negotiation, and all eyes were on them. Nim noticed the attention and said with a composed face:

“We’ll have to pay them anyway, so it’s faster to decide the rate quickly.”

“As expected, negotiating with elf-oneechan here is really fast.”

Gula said with a smile. Only Loren and Lapis knew that she probably was older than Nim. It wasn’t something to share around to begin with, but if they told the others that Gula, who had just called Nim ‘oneechan’, was actually an Evil G.o.d, no one would ever believe.

“Err, Nim…”

“Ritz, what Nim said is true, I think.”

“Yeah. It’ll give us a bad impression if we drag this out. We should just pay them happily.”

Loren watched Jack and Quartz went back-and-forth with Ritz. It seemed like they would get something extra somehow or other, so he just left the negotiation to Lapis and Gula. Instead, he turned towards Dig, who was watching over the whole thing:

“Four silver ranks, two iron ranks, and one copper rank. That means seven adventurers in total. Will you guide us?”

He would have two adventurer parties to escort him through the tunnels now. Normally, this would be overpowered, but considering the blockage in the tunnel, it was a luxury to have multiple parties, one of them silver ranked no less. Of course, Dig had no complaints this time.

“Well, yeah. It’s also a problem for us if the tunnel is closed forever. If you guys can remove the blockage, we’ll guide you. We’ll even pay you.”

“Can’t you just not charge us?”

As Lapis would pay for their party’s guidance fee herself, Loren thought it would be better to not charge her instead of paying the whole party. Dig immediately nodded at his proposal:

“It’s fine for us too. We’ll guide you.”

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The next steps were defined as soon as Dig gave his approval. Normally, they could reach the demons’ territory in half a day via the Great Tunnel, but as things were now, it was unsure how long the trip would take. Dig needed to make some preparations, so Loren and the others stayed in the small shed on standby while the dwarves scurried around getting things ready for him.

It also depended on the type and quality, but you could buy a decent amount of headache medicines at pharmacies in towns with one silver coin. It was definitely way much cheaper to pay with them. As dwarves didn’t have the habit of taking medicines, pharmacies were all but non-existent to them, and they had no intentions to make medicines themselves. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Lapis was single-handedly responsible for their medical supply. It was only hangover medicines at first, but now she also provided them with other medicines.

“This… is not something to tell the others. But you don’t seem to plan to pay with meds this time.”

When supply increased, relative value would decrease. If value decreased, Lapis would need to increase the variety and quant.i.ty of the medicines she traded. Lapis, being a demon, would never share something with others if that resulted in her loss.

Nevertheless, what she had prepared this time weren’t medicines, but ores. As they were taken from the facility she was using as her base, they wouldn’t hurt her pocket, but Loren thought medicines would be less bulky and cheaper.

Lapis answered with a wry smile:

“Since I became an adventurer, I’ve been using the medicine supply for myself, so I don’t have any extra left. I should have stocked up in town, but I forgot to.”

If she paid with medicines this time, there wouldn’t be enough for their party to use, and it would be a big trouble in case of emergency. That was why she chose to use some ores at her base for this trip.

“The medicines you guys make and the ones we make…”

“They’re almost the same. Humans probably have more types, though.”

Even though they weren’t as indifferent towards medicines as dwarves, demons still had tougher bodies than humans. They had high tolerances to injuries and diseases, so their pharmaceutics wasn’t as advanced as humans, who used medicines more often.

“It’s a cla.s.sic example of ‘having greater abilities doesn’t mean making progress in everything’.”

“It’s better to not need medicines at all, I think.”

From the point of view of an ex-mercenary like Loren, not needing medicines was an ability that he was honestly jealous of. Soldiering was a trade inseparable from injuries and illnesses. Armies usually had military physicians travel with them, but mercenary companies didn’t. Not to mention that for them, keeping an inventory of medicines and bandages was also a big burden, both to their wallet and their head.

“I think I should try to follow your practice of using medicines to treat minor injuries and ailments.”

“Should you?”

Only

“Shouldn’t I?”

They said and somehow turned to look at each other. As if it was being timed, Dig’s preparation finished right then. He then called out to Ritz and asked him to gather the others, which he did by firing the departure signal to catch everyone’s attention.

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