Why I Quit Being the Demon King Chapter 18

4. Accepting a Request (5)

“Where on earth did you hear such a story?”

“Young men traveling on a merchant wagon were chatting in a tavern, and their words reached my ears through several others.”

It was in fact about themselves, but knowing that Solus’ son, Varius, was not present, they boasted confidently.

“Let’s go elsewhere, Alex. If not a fir, then a pine or a spruce. Where is the Hollypine family located?”

“I will guide you.”

Alex cautiously collected each gem with gloved hands, deliberately dropping one to roll towards Solus.

The most valuable gem Alex had was a diamond the size of a thumb joint, seemingly worth a thousand gold on its own.

“Pardon me.”

Alex lifted the diamond and placed it back in the pouch.

“A shield… I happened to acquire one recently.”

Unable to hold back, Solus eventually spoke up.

“A shield? So, it’s made of scales?”

“That’s right.”

“I’m particular about color. If it’s not blue, I’m not buying.”

“You mean a Blue Dragon’s scale? That is…”

“If you can get it, buy it. If not, forget it.”

Deus spoke and urged Alex.

“Keep the jewels safe. We need to visit other houses quickly, before they’re all sold out.”

Solus struggled to calm his nerves as he watched his gems dwindle.

Old noble houses often had poorer financial states than they seemed due to maintaining appearances.

It was a matter of pride.

The Hollypine family was one such noble house, employing only top-tier knights and magicians.

They owned several airships, and recently, one had crashed due to a fire.

Obtaining the dragon’s fluid was good, but turning it into weapons required a hefty sum.

Only the diminutive blacksmiths dared attempt to process a dragon’s body.

With a bit more money, they could transform all the dragon’s fluid they had into weapons.

The idea made the customers before him seem all the more like an opportunity.

One dragon’s relic given to a contracted hero would not make them a competitor.

“Wait and see. Why such haste?”

“I just dislike waste.”

“A Blue Dragon’s shield? I can get it. But it will take time…”

“If you’re thinking of buying from somewhere else, forget it. Going direct is faster.”

“No, that’s not it. I have a few raw scales right now.”

“Really? Then that would be faster. I’ll knock off the processing fee and offer to sell, how about that?”

“It’s not easy to process a dragon’s scale.”

Deus chuckled at Solus’s comment.

“Don’t worry. I deal in weapons, after all.”

Solus forced a smile upon hearing his words.

Indeed, he seemed a low-level merchant, and now it was clear, he was one of them.

Contracted heroes and nouveau riche.

It was a story that had a certain appeal.

“Fine, we’ll do it that way. But don’t expect a bargain. Dragon relics have their own unique value. Just as one wouldn’t price a painting by the cost of paint and canvas, so too do we only sell dragon scales to those who recognize their worth.”

“Is there something wrong with it? Why all the babbling?”

“What do you mean by that?”

“If it’s a troublesome item, we’ll pass.”

“That’s not it. Just wait a moment, and we’ll determine a fair price for you to see.”

Solus quickly summoned a servant and whispered instructions.

After the servant departed, Solus offered tea to the three, engaging in various conversations.

However, among the three, only Zik conscientiously replied, while the other two treated the conversation casually.

.time for a cup of tea passed, and the servant returned with a tray covered in black silk.

Dragon scales were typically the size of an adult’s palm.

The tray was large enough for two to dine, but the servant carried it effortlessly as if it were light.

Setting the tray down on the reception room table, the servant stepped back a few paces.

“Before you view this item, you must swear an oath,” Solus said, looking at the group.

“An oath?”

“If word gets out that our family has the materials to make dragon weapons, people from all over will come and bother us. You must not spread rumors that you acquired dragon scales from our family.”

“That’s fine with us. Our warriors here, excluding the other chap, would also appreciate not having more dragon-geared competitors. But rumors do spread quickly, don’t they?”

“Simple rumors are fine to spread widely. Our family is already associated with far more than that.”

“Alright, I understand what you’re saying.”

“Since you run a trade company, it’ll be quicker to write a contract. If you speak of acquiring dragon scales from us to others, you’ll owe triple the transaction amount in damages.”

“Understood. Alex, draw up that document.”

“Yes, my lord.”

While Alex was preparing the document, Solus unveiled the silk.

At the sight, Deus let out a soft gasp.

It was indeed a dragon scale, partially processed and nearly ready for mounting onto a shield.

“Shall we make a deal? As I mentioned before, a dragon relic’s value isn’t based solely on its use.”

“What price do you have in mind?”

“One hundred gold. Per piece.”

One gold was equivalent to half a year’s income for a commoner.

Senior officials equivalent to a city’s nobility earned an annual salary of around twenty gold.

This was five times that amount, a sum beyond the reach of commoners in their lifetimes.

“Fine, let’s buy six pieces. Alex, make the payment.”

“Yes, my lord.”

They didn’t carry six hundred gold coins.

Naturally, Alex pulled out a bundle of jewels to calculate their worth.

Solus called for a jewel appraiser.

After a rather tedious negotiation, they agreed on a value equivalent to six hundred gold.

About one-tenth of their jewels bought six dragon scales.

After the purchase, the group swiftly left the Hollypine mansion.

To Zik, everything that happened within the walls of Hollypine felt like a dream.

He knew of the Hollypine family, one of the most famous houses of warriors on the Horsse continent, with a power comparable to a duchy.

Deus’s identity became an enigma, having traded on equal footing with the head of the family and defeated a dragon in Jorix Castle not long ago.

Just facing a dragon with only his butler, Alex, was remarkable enough.

“Curiosity…?”

“You have many questions, right?”

“Yes.”

“Live with just curiosity. Knowing too much can hurt.”

“Yes, right.”

Zik nodded in agreement with Deus’s words.

The son of an F-grade warrior who hadn’t reached C-grade met a D-grade companion.

One must be thankful for the good fortune that comes their way.

Pushing too hard to discover its source might turn that fortune into resentment.

“I understand now.”

Alex spoke up this time.

“What ‘understand’?”

“The Blue Dragon’s scale will prove as evidence.”

“Oh, that thing?”

“It’s because of that thing we came all this way, right?”

“You speak as though you’ve caught on to something significant when it’s all so obvious.”

“I just wanted to be the protagonist of the conversation for once.”

“Enough foolish talk. Let’s return to our beggar guise. Those Hollypines are likely on our tail already.”

“That’s correct. Shall we flee at full speed towards Jorix Castle then?”

“Take good care of Zik.”

“Don’t worry. I am a butler, after all.”

The three rode for several more days until they returned to the hotel in Jorix Castle.

Upon arrival, Julem appeared as if she had been waiting for them.

Zik was stunned by the sudden appearance of the blonde beauty from thin air.

“Who is…?”

“What did I tell you?”

“That it hurts to know too much.”

“Things will become clear in time, so for now, just accept what you see.”

“Yes, Lord Deus.”

Zik calmed down as Deus spread out the dragon scales on the coffee table.

“How about it?”

Julem’s face turned troubled as she examined the scales.

Whether the scales belonged to a dragon they were currently searching for or one long deceased, it was still the corpse of a kin.

Julem lifted the scales, one by one, gently stroking their surfaces.

“Dragon scales grow by forming patterns unique to the year’s climate and mana fluctuations.”

“Like the rings of a tree.”

“Similar, yes.”

“And?”

“This one was born 521 years ago. The year of death… this year.”

“This year? Are there other Blue Dragons that died?”

“No, there are not.”

“Bingo.”

Deus snapped his fingers with triumph as he looked at Alex.

At that moment, Julem dampened the mood.

“But it’s not that one.”

“Why not?”

“42 years ago, during the great famine, it was away from the Blue Sapphire Gorge and lacks those marks. These are the scales of another dragon.”

Julem’s revelation only deepened the confusion.

“But you said no other dragons died this year?”

“Right, not as far as I know.”

“What do you mean?”

“It means things are happening to the dragons in places I’m unaware of.”

Dropping the scale, Julem’s expression turned gloomy. She vanished into another dimension without a word.

Deus watched her fading wraith and spoke.

“May I keep the scale?”

No answer returned, and Deus asked Alex.

“That means I can take it, right?”

“Silence implies consent, I suppose.”

“Then let’s get a shield crafted. Doomforge will surely make something worthwhile, won’t they?”

“You severed ties with them, yet you use them so freely? Just like with that Calberos situation.”

“I may have renounced my duties, but I never relinquished my rights.”

“Indeed, so it is… I understand.”

“Good. Send it their way fast.”

“Shall I visit personally? A shield, you say?”

“Yes. Even better if it can block attacks on its own. You know his capabilities.”

“I’ll add that option.”

Alex pocketed the six scales and hurriedly exited the hotel.

Watching the frenzied pair, Zik could only repeat to himself:

“I’m not curious. Not curious at all.”

Deus then turned to him.

“Go home. Your siblings must be waiting.”

“Oh! Yes, Lord Deus.”

Rummaging in his pocket, Deus found only two silver coins; Alex managed all their funds. Flicking one towards Zik, he said,

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Buy something sweet for your siblings.”

“Thank you, Lord Deus!”

With a beaming smile, Zik darted out of the hotel.

After the others had departed, Deus leaned back on the sofa, gazing out the window.



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