With a deep breath, Mariela stretched. After lunch, she brewed superior potions, several superior-detoxification potions, some self-made potions, a few prototypes, and a stamp with hermetic and anti-degradation magic.
“I’ve saved this potion for when I’m tired! An improved potion, a delicious potion!”
Mareila gulped the basic potion which had been modified to have a sweet taste.
“Hmm, cough! Eww~, disgusting!”
Thinking that it would be easy to drink a sweetened potion, Mariela had mixed it with dried apricots bought from stalls and some paste of sweet fruits that she had collected in the forest yesterday. However, right after the sweet fruit juice stirred her tongue, the harsh, bitter taste of the fruits and medical herbs permeating her mouth and viciously leaked down her throat. It was a foul taste that exceeded the recovery potion’s.
“Here you go,”
Sieg who had unexpectedly returned offered her tea. It was delicious. Nevertheless, this ‘delicious potion’ was a complete failure, but next time, Mariela was confident that the method would succeed. While Mariela who still hadn’t reflected on her errors drank tea, Sieg stored the potion in the wine box that she had received from her master and cleared up the rest of the ingredients and equipment.
Hearing that Vice-Captain Marlowe had arrived, she carried the wine box with the potions and headed to the vice-captain’s room. Captain Dick and Vice-Captain Marlowe were already waiting. After Sieg handed them the potion box, they checked its contents through a potion appraisal with a magic tool.
As potions deteriorate over time, such magical appraisal tools were often installed in tool shops selling potions. It was a simple tool that roughly classified a potion’s type and degree of degradation and was not very expensive.
“This is fantastic. There is barely any sign of deterioration; it’s as if they were freshly made.” Vice-Captain Marlowe raised his voice in admiration.
( I guess so. I just finished making them, after all.)
After confirming all the details, Vice-Captain Marlowe finalized the receipt and a few documents before handing them to Seig on a tray.
“Here is the payment for the basic and intermediate potions as well as a formal receipt for the advanced-rank potions.”
The total sum of intermediate-rank or lower potions was 12 gold coins and 6 large silver coins. For Mariela, it was still a tremendous amount of money. She signed the document where she had been instructed. Mariela wondered if these documents had been prepared by Vice-Captain Marlowe. She didn’t know the proper trading regulations, so she would be troubled if she was asked to perform them. Because he had said, “It doesn’t matter,” Mariela appreciated it.
“The advanced-rank payment will be given to you after the customer pays. By the way, is it really okay to hand it over so cheaply?”
Vice-Captain Marlowe asked for confirmation The price of the intermediate and lower-ranked potions was relatively cheap. Depending on the sellers and method of selling, higher ranking potions that hadn’t appeared in the market for over a decade now cost a tremendous amount of money.
“ I do not mind it if you use it properly. Please tell the other party that I await their next purchase.”
Mariela had no problem at all even if it they were priced equally to intermediate-rank potions. She would feel guilty if she sold them for a high price. They were a little expensive, so Mariela was thankful that they bought them in bulk.
“Hmm? More? How much can you hand over?”
I will be making them non-stop! The moment that line was about to leave her mouth, she changed her mind and smiled while answering “I will have many of them.”
Although making potions was a pain, materials for potions were easy to obtain. Mariela would like to have a workshop like Gark’s herbal shop that had shelves full of various materials and try to trim them down. Just imagining it, Mariela shivered in excitement.
It was not easy to open a potion store, but it seemed fun to receive coins directly for each potion sold.
Mariela stated that she wanted to open a drugstore when asked about her future plans by the vice-captain.
“If you want to open a drugstore, you would first need to go to the merchant guild. Then, you would need to register as a pharmacist so that you could arrange your house and store location.“
Mariela heard some useful information. She planned to go tomorrow.
“We had a good deal today. I will go dr—; I need to deliver the potion soon… later!”
(So, this is the first thing captain Dick says after finally opening his mouth.)
Captain Dick held the box containing the potion and followed Vice-Captain Marlowe.
“Sieg-san, we need to talk.”
After finishing dinner and returning to the room, Mariela asked Sieg to sit down and cut right to the point.
“Labyrinth city has more slaves than any other city, but it still seems rare that a normal girl like me has one following her.”
Labyrinth city was a solitary island blockaded by a steep mountain range and the devil’s forest. Traffic by the general public was extremely low as monster floods remained prevalent. To prevent monster floods in the labyrinth, regular suppression was performed to prevent flooding, but a few lives were still lost each time.
Births by prostitutes and slaves were encouraged, and children born this way were raised in orphanages. However, most of them without any backgrounds made a living as adventurers or soldiers upon reaching adulthood. No matter what they chose to become, they would end up as members of these endangered suppression teams.
Armies were also dispatched from the frontier border jurisdiction of the labyrinth city, and there was also a compulsory dispatch for senior adventurers from the adventurer guild of the empire, but despite all that, they were still insufficient to thoroughly subjugate the monsters.
It was also important to secure food because the city could not produce the necessary amount within the city walls, so wheat fields sprawled outside the castle walls where demons often appeared. Although the guards performed regular checks and exterminated stray monsters, there was no ordinary citizen capable of farm work in such dangerous places.
In order to compensate for the shortage of manpower, the labyrinth city was sent slaves from around the empire. The concentration of slaves was higher than any other town in the neighboring countries, but since it was a place where the probability of death was extremely high, many of the slaves were “human rights-lacking” people like criminal slaves or lifelong slaves.
Naturally, their intelligences and personal qualities were low. They were insufficient or dangerous for the general public. Most of the time, they were controlled under the guidance of ‘professional skill holders’ to accomplish their duties in the ‘Food Production Bureau,’ ‘Deprivation Army,’ or ‘Mine’ at the frontier border.
A small number of rehabilitabled ‘good’ people were ‘traded’ to the private sector, but because supervisors were necessary without having to take expensive ‘professional skill holders,’ it was important to have multiple labor forces where even slaves had a hierarchy. Many stores such as large shops, ‘shops of the night’, and residences of aristocrats often collected slaves for ‘entertainment,’ while small and medium-sized stores who needed surveillance would employ slaves as well? Senior adventurer viewed personal slaves like mere luggage holders, so they weren’t often seen.
Therefore, in a town like labyrinth city, it was a rare thing for a seemingly normal girl like Mariel to have her own slave.
Ms. Amber had said, “It’s rare for someone to come to Labyrinth city, even more so when it’s a girl. Sieg is a pretty good guy. Seeing you living under the same roof with a servant like that makes me curious about your relationship.”
It was not a good thing for them to stand out since Mariela had to keep her potion-making ability a secret.
She told Sieg, “With that said, I want you to behave normally with me from now one. Also, we need to decide a background story for our relationship.”
Mariela declared, not allowing any objections.
“Master, a background story…?”
“Uh uh! Didn’t I tell you already? No more honorifics! Call me Mariela! Using ‘Ms’ is not allowed! How about we act as siblings who originate from a small village inside the magic forest? ”
“Brothers and sisters…, but we don’t look alike…”
“Well, how about childhood friends who are as close as siblings?”
“Do childhood friends live together? Doesn’t the fact that I don’t use honorifics make us look like a couple?” (Tler note: I ship)
(What are you talking about, Mr. Sieg?)
Sieg revealed a faint smile.
He thought, hmph, don’t you ridicule me! Think of me as your senior!
“We are childhood friends! I’ll treat you like my brother! Alright!? Sieg!”
When Mariela, who had turned red, complained, Sieg smiled.
“Alright, Ma-Ri-El-A,” Sieg said.
Mariela wondered why Sieg emphasized her name.
With Sieg’s real background of originating from a village in the forest, Mariela appropriated the same story for herself.
“Let’s go with this story, I, Mariela, followed my childhood friend, Sieg, who had become a slave into labyrinth city. Now, I sound like a protagonist, and it feels as if we’re about to start an adventure! Well, I can’t find any though.”
Saying that, Mariela thought it was a nice story. Sieg blew up guffawing.
This was the first time Mariela had seen Sieg laugh. He looked like he was having fun and all.
Because Mariela didn’t understand why he laughed, she got pissed and said, “I will take a bath, so go to the cafeteria” and kicked Sieg out. Because Sieg was now a childhood friend, it was natural that he take a seat elsewhere while she bathed. Yup, that wasn’t strange.
“Good morning, Mariela.”
“Good morning, Sieg.”
The day began with a natural greeting.
They went down to the dining room and asked Emily for breakfast. Today, Emily had her hair divided into two, forming a circlet around the top of her head where the two sections met. Mariela guessed that she’d tied it herself because Emily’s hair was a bit messy, and the height of the knot was slightly off shifted higher on the right. When Mariela re-tied it, Emily said, “Thank you! I’ll serve you a delicious breakfast today!”
As the master of the inn, Amber stayed up until dawn to finish her work, so Emily had to get up early in the morning alone and prepare breakfast for the guests. She was very clever despite being only ten years old.
“Because there are bad customers, even Dad is awake until everyone’s work finishes. Thanks to Dad, everyone said it was safe! So, Emily is doing my best too!”
Despite her intelligence, she still couldn’t tie her hair well. After saying this, Emily ran to the kitchen.
What a great child! As Mariela was musing on Emily’s impressive qualities, Lynx came up. He had a headache and felt a bit lost.
“Emily, give me a large serving!”
He shouted into the kitchen and sat at Mariela’s seat while scratching his stomach and yawning.
(You’re already an adult. Act a bit more refined.)
“I went with the Captain yesterday and came back late”
Mariela guessed they were escorting potion transportation.
As Mariela ate breakfast, Mariela asked about what he had been doing while the black iron transport team was stationed in labyrinth city.
The first day upon arriving was a basic holiday and would be used to repair armored carriages and rest themselves and the Raptors. The second and third days were divided into two parts: the purchase of goods to be transported to the imperial capital and the negotiation of the goods to be loaded next time, which he had already done. Today, the fourth day, they would prepare to buy supplies and leave for Imperial City again early tomorrow morning.
Running through the devil’s forest required three days, from the forest to the imperial city took four days. Adding another four days for rest and stocking, a round-trip was around eighteen days.
“That’s terrible; come back safely.”
“ Oh! However, since this time there is a ‘secret weapon,’ if it goes well, I will come back at dusk after only sixteen days.”
Lynx whispered something into Mariela’s ear so no one else could hear. When Mariela mentioned that she intended to open a drugstore, Lynx told that he would visit her when he returned.
(Lynx was a traveling monk? How?) (Tler note: this is a joke)
(*Editor note: Would he bring cookies?*)
Upon parting, Lynx tapped Sieg’s chest for some reason. Sieg nodded, staring at Lynx. Mariela wondered why Lynx did that. All she could do was tilt her head in confusion while trying to devise a reasonable explanation.