Thursday, December 4, 2014

Volume 2 - Chapter 10 - Trial and Tribulation (Last/Down)

“Thanks for hosting us for dinner. We’re going to try and clear up any misunderstanding, my brother shouldn’t bother you again, provided that there isn’t any reason to.”

“Sorry for the coarse meal and for troubling you.”

“Likewise, and if you call that meal coarse, I will have to visit you for a proper meal!” Mikhal mounts the horse that was prepared by his cavalry, a rider hands him a partially hooded lantern hanging from a rod after he’s properly mounted. “See you again soon.”

*hiin* *da ka ka*

His horse whinnies softly, after he gives it a quick tap with his feet, before walking leisurely on the dirt road. The lantern’s light sways in rhythm with the hoof steps, with the sides of the lantern hooded to avoid agitating the horse with its light.

As soon as the riders are out of sight, De’muel turns to Mak’ra. “Gather everyone and the Captain, she can relay any information to the escorts later.”

* * * * *

“Okay, chances are, the apothecaries here are somehow involved with us being unwanted within the Merchant Quarters. Thoughts?” De’muel lets his eyes drift over his younger brothers and sisters inside the crowded sales tent.

“Why don’t we just confront them?” Mak’ra makes a difficult face with a hint of anger showing.

“Because we are in foreign territory. Actually, consider ourselves in hostile territory. As we have seen, some of the people here are out to get us.”

“I agree with that assessment.” The Captain voices her agreement with the bull-horned youth’s reasoning. “I wish we had brought more escorts to be honest. A squad or two shouldn’t be a problem, but we don’t know how many troops they will come with the next time. We can’t always be so lucky and hope to run into that knight every time.”

The people present nod their heads in agreement.

“Umm… I ah… think it’s more than the apof-thecaries, maybe aumm… Guild or maybe ah… the… umm… noble is involved.”

Everyone turns around to look at the youngest member of the group who’s timidly trying to get her point across.

“Explain, Carna.”

“Bell-sensei taught us in the ‘Baggaged Traveler’ class that… um… if there are diffi-fi-thiculties across the chest, um… no, the board, that usually means soneone with power and inf-thluence are behind it.” The lean, muscular girl with white hair, rabbit tail, and ears struggles her way through the explanation.


“Right! She did say that! And that if we encounter that, get away if we can, since we could be in danger.” One of the youths hammers his fist into his palm.

“Hmm… We are trading under the protection of the King after all, we just need to be careful not to be caught off-guard and we should be fine.” De’muel crosses his arms. “But you have a point… since we were able to sell to Mikhal with no problem, someone must be doing something behind the scene within the Merchant Quarters.”

“De’muel-ni, why must we trade inside the Merchant Quarters?” Laum’s tail sways in curiousity.

“Because that’s where trade happens?” The bull-horned youth tilts his head and responds without much thought.

“But what about the marketplace?”

“The what?”

“The marketplace, when we were entering the city, there was a marketplace for produce. The Merchant Quarters is the ideal place to sell in large quantity or if you want higher quality. But the marketplace is where the serfs and servants go to for the day to day purchases. At least that’s what that knight was saying during dinner.”

A few of the others nod as well.

“The senseis said they and other immortals shop at the Merchant Quarters.”

“Um… De’muel-ni, we aren’t selling to the immortals, at least not directly.” Mak’ra gives him a quick reminder.

De’muel brings a hand up to his face as he drops his head. After a moment, he raises his head with a smile. “That’s why you are all here, okay, let’s try the marketplace tomorrow then. We will go check it out on our way to deliver the purchases.”

“What about those other stuff, nii-san?”

“What other stuff, Kalmi?”

“The earthnuts and their roots, they will keep for a while… but I don’t recall you trying to sell them to Sir Mikhal earlier. Can we cook with it?”

De’muel looks at Mak’ra, Mak’ra looks back at De’muel. They both realize the other has completely forgotten about them due to their other worries.

“Actually, we need to cook with them.” Laum moves his mouth left and right. “Those knights were licking their bowls clean after their second helping, like th-”

“Like they never ate it before, even the potherbs they wanted seconds!”

“Yeah, what Kalmi just said.” The rat-tailed teenager nods in agreement with his partner.

“Um… I think what they mean is um… ‘samples’.” One of the other demihumans offers.

“Good point, I brought them along because I haven’t seen them sold here the last time we visited. I’d forgotten all about it to be honest. Okay, you two are free to do what you think is best in order to promote them. Is there anything else?”

Everyone present looks at each other, seeing no further issues, De’muel gives out some instructions. “Okay, finish your tasks and get some rest. Mak’ra, you and a few others will hold the fort. The rest of you, we are going to go make our first delivery tomorrow and check out the marketplace, make sure you are well-rested and prepared. Captain, please send some escorts go with us tomorrow.”

The Captain gives a nod before exiting the tent, everyone follows her and exits shortly after. The various tasks get completed one after another in quick succession as they try to make time to get as much rest as possible.

* * * * *

Sammy pulls a cart into the marketplace just as the shoddy looking shops are being opened, on the left, right, and further in the rear, are the escorts. The cool, slightly clouded sky shifts from the deep blue of the breaking dawn into a shower of white, golden light, as the sun peeks over the mountains in the north. The few pedestrians on the paved road simply moved to the side before they curiously look at the unusual group of demihumans. Likewise, the shopkeepers give them a curious glance before returning to their work.

De’muel gives a nod to everyone before stopping the cart in an alleyway, letting some of his siblings off. Kalmi and two others let go of the barrels they were holding onto tightly and start getting the various things ready. Captain Vera stands guard at the front of the alleyway while an escort stays in the back, the last escort is on the main road, keeping an eye out for the “sellers”.

“Sir, can I interest you in some of these goods?”

“Young Miss, what do you think about selling something new and delicious in your stall?”

“Mister! Hi! I’m a trader from around Feia, we have various goods for sale that might be just the thing for your stall!”

“Good morning, Miss…”

The various teenagers that were part of the “Baggaged Traveler” class start putting their training into practice. Rick had previously taught them some tricks of diplomacy he’d picked up from his family, ranging from flattery, reverse psychology, bluffs, and so forth. Bell had spent quite a few days on lessons in regards to theory of sales, the methods of reasoning, and persuasion. Kun on the other hand taught them something more basic, how to exploit the basic instincts of all living things, how to entice someone, in this case, with hunger. These teenagers approach the shopkeepers one by one, with little success.

The smell of something fragrant and earthy fills the air, mixed within it is a separate smell of citrus. One of the teenagers is carrying a mug and a bowl toward one of the shopkeeper he had convinced to try some of the goods. In the bowl is a small portion of potage - made with earthnuts, a little root vegetables and herbs - with a slice of egg, cut length-wise, on top, while in the mug is tea.

The middle-age shopkeeper wearing a bandana over her brownish-blonde hair smiles at the teenager with rabbit features, readily accepting the bowl and mug before placing them onto a nearby counter of her stall. After setting them down, she gives the bowl a quick blow to cool it before drinking it slowly. “This has depth and flavour, needs touch ma salt, but seems nic’ and thick, starchy too, so it be pretty filling.” She picks up the piece of egg before chewing it slowly, her eyes looks back and forth. “This… shoulda need more salt, right? The size of th’s egg is pretty big… But… that subta richness would be overpowered…” *butsu* The woman grumbles to herself as though in an argument.

Carna looks on, hesitating to interrupt her. Finally finding her courage, she picks up the mug and silently offers to the grumbling woman who absentmindedly takes it and drinks a sip.

“Ehhhh?!” The woman’s body has goosebumps from the unexpected rush of flavour, the sharp citrus scent waking her mind up suddenly. “Is this some sorta new herb’l concoction?!”.

The rabbit-tailed girl shakes her head. “No, it’s just tea.”

“Tea? You mean like those herbal tea for when ye be sick?”

“No, miss. We drink it all the time, it’s just leaves and occashionally flowers and honey gets added.”

“Alright, hon. Ya’ve got me interest. I can’t believe that it’s just leaves though…”

“Umm… follow me miss, my brothfer can explain this to you.”

“’K.” The woman turns to one of the other shopkeeps next to her stall. “Oy! Harold! Look after my shoppe for a weebit! Going’a check out these kids’ stuff. Some of it seems to be interestin’!”

“Ay, Clair, you’ve got it boss!” A younger looking man hollers back before he resumes readying his stall.

The woman’s intention is to merely humour the poor girl, she didn’t expect to actually become interested in the products. The potage was nothing special, it might be worth buying if it’s nice and cheap. The egg is larger and has a richer flavour than the small eggs they’ve got here in the kingdom, it would certainly attract the nobles and high society, it will again depend on the price though for her to buy it. But the tea, it is like nothing Clair had ever drank before. There are the herbal fortifying concoctions, but they tend to taste terrible. There are some herbal salads with a similar, but weaker, citrus flavour; but they don’t have the awakening effect. She knows that there’s nothing like it within a month’s distance of the kingdom, since she’s a retired, respectable peddler that had settled down after getting married. But she couldn’t give up her merchant’s spirit, which is flaring up right now. If this is indeed just leaves, then depending on the price, this might be a hidden goldmine.

Clair dutifully heads to the alleyway following Carna’s lead, who in turn stops to address the fox-eared escort standing in front of the alleyway with her arms crossed.

“She is a shopthkeeper and would like to ask De’muel-ni some queshtions.”

“Understood.” The Captain nods once before returning her cold gaze toward the main street.

The shopkeep can’t help but raise an eyebrow, she didn’t expect the guard to be demihuman too, aside from the girl. Then again, she was too busy working on her stall to notice the cart full of demihumans that stopped inside the alleyway. The white, round, fluffy ball is tied to the reins of the cart, no doubt that it’s the mount, but she’s surprised someone would actually spend the time and effort to train and make equipment for the beast.

“Nii-san, Miss… um…” Only now did Carna realize she never asked the shopkeeper for her name.

“Just call me Clair.”

Carna shyly nods toward the shopkeep in thanks before continuing. “Miss Clair has some queshtion for you.”

*da ei ei*

De’muel gets off the cart, occasionally squeaking with his movement, before giving a reply. “Okay, I’ll take it from here. Hello, Miss Clair. What can I help you with?”

The woman watches the white humanoid cotton ball go back onto the main street before turning to the figure before her, her eyes couldn’t help but drift up toward the set of bull-horns on the youth’s head.


De’muel coughs politely, snapping the woman back to reality.

[T/N: “Hey lady, eyes down here”, blame the ED for tempting me]

“Right, before buy’ng anyting, I would’ike to know whais this “tea” of yas. Ah’ve traveled quite the bits back in me days. Hadn’t seen ‘nything quite like it.”

“Tea is just… tea? Umm… give me a moment. Laum, mug of hot water and a pinch of tea leaves in a bowl!”

“On my way!”

*sha da ei ei*

After a mix of sounds with utensils bumping, cart squeaking and water splashing, the rat-tailed teenager walks down and hands over the requested material. He gives a quick bow to the shopkeep before going back onto the cart. Clair’s eyes follow the tail until it finally disappears completely.



De’muel coughs politely again, getting Clair’s attention. “See these here?” The youth holds out the mug of slightly steaming water and tea leaves, letting the shopkeeper inspect them. The woman grabs one of the leaves, giving them a rub before putting it back in the bowl. Turning toward the mug, the woman produces a flat stick of some sort from within her shirt and used it to flick some water out of the mug. She nods at the youth, satisfied.

He then hands them both to the woman. “Just pour the water into the bowl.” The woman does as the youth asks, tilting the mug of water into the wooden bowl of leaves. Slowly, the leaves unfurl as the liquid turns from colourless to a light golden brown. The sharp citrus aroma drifts up to her nose, causing her to smile unconsciously.

“How much be it for this tea of yas?”

“A gold a bag, 60 silvers for half a bag, 40 silvers for a quarter bag. A bag can make 600-800 mugs.”

The woman narrows her eyes. “This be ya best price?”

“We will be happy to give some of our others products to try, to go along with your purchase.”

Clair’s eyes narrows further before breaking into a smile. “Who is ya master that’s ye apprentice under?”

“Eh… we don’t have a master, we were taught in an Academy near Feia though.”

“Academy eh? Ah, the one them guards been talking about. Okay, I will take a bag. Who else be buying from ye?”

“Thank you for your purchase.” De’muel smiles back as a sale finally happens after so long, Mikhal doesn’t count really as he was already obsessed with the tea. “Ah, we are currently on our way to make a delivery to Mikha… I guess I should get used to calling him Sir Mikhal huh… we will be doing that after we are done here in the market.”

“Sir Mikhal eh, the bastard son of that hedonist pig Donavic, no idea how such a good wee kid come from sucha father.”

De’muel can only twist his smile wryly before redirecting the conversation back to the business at hand. “We will make our delivery here later, is sometime around noon alright? Would you want to pay then or pay now?”


The woman quickly drinks the bowl of tea in her hand before handing both the bowl and mug back to the youth and puts away her stick. “Cha, no problem at tha’ time.” The woman reaches into something under her long blouse as she loosens a string near her waist with her other hand, producing a single gold coin. She rolls the coin on her fingers before expertly flicking the coin in the air in De’muel’s direction, who catches it with both hands. “Good to be doing business with ye.” She offers her hand, which the youth shook with a smile on his face.

The woman takes another look at the youth’s horn before walking out the alleyway. There are some shopkeepers that are looking intently in her direction, ranging from curiosity, suspicion, envy, all the way to hostility. She is well known within the market, has been since she started working, to pass the time, now being the wife of a city guard.

Her reputation as a peddler was good and it followed her all the way here. But it was a few years before the appearance of the Immortals that she made her name, where she bought an excessive amount of salted mutton. She learned from banter with farmers and poor scholars alike and arrived at the conclusion that meat will become scarce later in the year, thus stocking up on the goods ahead of time. She made a small fortune this way, which her husband boasted about. She took on similar opportunities throughout the years, earning her the respect of many and the ire of her competitors.

Those that looked favourably upon her eventually ended up calling her “Boss”, likewise, she treated those that treated her well for her ability with kindness, offering advice and help on numerous occasions; one such occasion is now as she heads to toward the one known as Harold.

She’s well aware of the reason for the steep discount on the tea’s bulk purchase price, it is to influence the selling price of tea by the resellers. By making it 40 silvers a quarter bag, it means that resellers can sell it at a price at under that to make a profit. Since they already get a steep discount when they buy it in bulk, it’s a win-win for the wholesaler, reseller and the customers. Not to mention, promoting other products instead of giving more discount when asked for. This means that whoever is behind the pricing must be someone with a remarkable level of foresight.

[T/N + ED: For those that don’t understand it, the price for one bag of tea is 1 gold, the price for the quarter bag is 40 silvers. Using the quarter bag price, it would be 1 gold, 60 silvers for a whole bag. A regular person would not buy in bulk. Since the reseller gets the bag at 1 gold, they’ve a 60 silver range to work into their profit as long as they sell at a price where it’s less than 40 silver per quarter bag, thus customers will buy it from the reseller instead of the De’muel and company as the reseller would be cheaper to purchase from -ie, buying 1/16 bag at 9 silver would be cheaper for the customer, while the reseller would still make a nice profit. Additionally, due to storage reasons, a regular person isn’t going to be purchasing bulk amounts in any case. There’s also the problem of consuming it all before it expires or insects/molds gets to it. A merchant holds onto a larger quantity for less time than a consumer.

The quarter bag is the base price, not the whole bag - thus the wholesale bag is a steep discount to incentivize bulk purchase for resellers - no further discount is available, but further bulk purchase gives ancillary goods - tying in all their products.]

* * * * *

*don don don*

De’muel is knocking on a worn out door of a modest house made of stone with a small courtyard and garden. Although it is must better than the small wooden houses used by the serf families within the region, it doesn’t appear to be a house intended for a noble. “Hello? We have a delivery for Sir Mikhal.”

*ta shi ta ta*

“Give me a minute!” A distant, chime-like, voice answers from within as sounds of movement leaks out through the door.

*gacha* *kara*

The sounds of latches being unlocked is soon followed by the door opening. A petite, youthful looking girl - with blonde hair that reaches the middle of her back, clear blue eyes, and full figure - greets the youth. “Sorry, you said you have something for Mikey?”

De’muel tilts his head for a moment, wondering who Mikey is until he realized it’s probably Mikhal’s nickname.


The youth clears his throat as he reorients himself. “Yes, hi, I’m De’muel. We are delivering the goods he purchased last night. Would you like us to move them to the pantry?”


De’muel scratches his head as he comes to the conclusion Mikhal probably forgot to mention it to his wife. “Sir Mikhal ordered some food and tea from us, unless you would like us to move it elsewhere?”

The girl tilts her head to the side while putting a finger on her chin, looking upward. “Ah! Is this the tea Mikey said he had while out on that mission?” The girl gives a radiant smile before guiding De’muel to the kitchen that’s just further into the house.

The house is plain, but full of warmth and charm. The furniture is well-worn, but is clean and tidy. The old wooden floor looks even more worn-out, but it looks to be well taken care of. There are a few vases with flowers here and there with a fur rug between two large padded chairs before the fireplace in the living room. Inside the kitchen is a metal, wood-fired stove that’s being used, with several pots of water being boiled, it looks like she’s just getting ready to make brunch when they arrived.

After the girl shows him the way to the kitchen and the cellar, the youth goes back outside to give instructions to his siblings, whom carefully starts to move the barrels into the cellar while bringing a few bags to the kitchen.

“Would you like something to drink? Where are you all from? It’s rare to see so many demihumans all together. Ah wait! Are you people from that Academy that saved Mikhal?” The girl cheerfully asks in a talkative manner.

“Yes, but it was our teachers that saved him.”


The girl suddenly rushes forward and gives the youth a big hug, wrapping around his torso and pinning his arms. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

De’muel’s face turns red slightly from embarrassment, but he couldn’t break the embrace as the girl is surprisingly strong. His siblings couldn’t suppress their smiles as they continue their work.

“Um… You’re welcome.” The bull-horned youth finally managed to squeak out a weak reply.

The girl finally lets go. “You people have to stay for brunch! I was making it just now, anyways.”

“No, no. It’s alright, we still have more deliveries to make.”

The girl pouts cutely, causing De’muel to want to question himself. “Umm… Actually, someone can stay for brunch. Let me, eh… get him right, I will be right back.” The youth heads back outside as his siblings couldn’t resist a chuckle at his awkwardness. De’muel can only roll his eyes at them each time. A moment later, Laum follows behind, holding various utensils and tools.

The girl busies herself talking with his other siblings while she tends to the fire in the stove. Seeing that he’s back, she dusts herself off before facing the newcomer. “My, that’s certainly a unique hairstyle.”

Laum smiles at the compliment, “it certainly helps when I’m working.”

“This is Laum, he’s a fellow student at the Academy. His strongest point is cooking, so I will be having him teach you how to cook some of the goods, since we are giving them away as samples to go with the purchases.”

The rat-tailed teenager with the rattail waves a bit before putting his tools down on the kitchen table.

“Hi, Laum! Pleased to meet you! Oh, you can just call me Marie by the way, I guess I forgot to introduce myself.” The girl gives off a small laughter before resuming. “I’m Mikey’s mom, here, let me help you with those. Oh, I have these tools too, let me get them out.” The girl goes through her drawers getting the various items to match the ones on the table.

De’muel’s eyes bulged at the revelation, barely recovering in time before the girl turns back toward them. His siblings likewise nearly lost control of the barrels they are moving. Laum looks between his siblings in confusion in the meanwhile.

After completing their tasks, the demihumans bid their farewell, leaving Laum and an escort behind. Marie thanks them all, and hugs each of them in turn, including Sammy which cause a chorus of *kero*.

* * * * *

*gakon* *gakon* *kan*

“Lorine! Get all the kids inside!”

Hmm…? What’s that noise?


I let out a yawn before licking my lips.

Eh? EH?

My mind clears up upon recognizing the scent of blood. There are also the scent of the clawed rabbit, and there seem to be many of them. I look around the usual room, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone here. Usually the brown-haired man or the girl would show up, looking at some skins or doing something else, occasionally getting me some delicious bread to eat.


A sharp scream pierces the air. A scream I’ve heard before, following my nose and ears, I rush outside of the room. A scene of chaos unfolds before my eyes, men with pitchforks, sharp curve thing on stick I haven’t seen before, hoes and shovels are fighting with tens, if not hundreds of those clawed prey.

[T/N: If you haven’t figured out by now, anything that Gui can kill and eat is considered prey to him.]


I turn around and jump away just in time to avoid a claw that was coming at me.


I growl at the prey that dares to try and attack me in surprise and starts fighting back.


  1. Gui just can't catch any sleep, can he?

  2. Thanks for the chapter.
    Special thanks for the explanation of how the tea bags are priced since I didn't realize any of that from the original explanation.

  3. There is a typo with half a bag being repeated twice, when the latter should have been quarter bag.

    Was really confused on that part, and thought that it was one of them didn't belong, which was later ratified from a few exerts below it.

  4. The rat-tailed teenager with the rattail waves a bit before putting his tools down on the kitchen table.

    Maybe its just me, but this seems a bit redundant.^^

    1. it's... a horrible pun that messed with me when it appeared the first time.

      Rat-tailed == with a rat's tail
      rattail == hairstyle

      I try to stay faithful to the devices used in the original... even when they make me facepalm.

    2. japanese web novels. It just is not the same without some facepalms

    3. I never even knew there was a hairstyle called "rattail"... but you're right.
      "Rat-tailed teenager with the rattail hairdo" would sound strange as well^^

    4. Now that part with the girl complimenting his hair should make sense... since it's likely you skip/went wtf on that part :P


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