Chapter 51 – Frate’s Festival (4)
[Customer, I told you you just have to find the nearest branch of Anywhere company. Jeez…. If you just wanted to hear my voice, you didn’t have to come up with such a strange request. I would have picked up the call. Of course, I would do so if you paid me a bronze coin per second!!]
“We are currently at Frate.”
It was as if he could see Mycenae tilt her head in puzzlement by the tone of her voice. Artpe smirked as he continued to speak.
“Ajumma, you are in Frate right now. Right?”
[Huhk. How did you……]
Obviously, he had thoroughly searched Frate yesterday, and in the process, he became aware of everyone that resided within the city. He didn’t have to remember the record of strangers, but when he did find someone he knew, there was no way he would forget that person.
[How did you know that!? It seems you are pretty good at stalking too!]
“Stop spouting nonsense. You should ready the items I need then you should contact me. I’ll be waiting for you to contact me.”
[Aht. Wait a moment, customer…….]
Artpe ended the transmission, and he got up with a refreshed feeling in his heart. Maetel was giving him an odd look, but he knew she was going to start spouting some nonsense. He decided to ignore it.
“I’ll be a bit busy going around the city. Will you be ok?”
“Yes, I’m not tired at all.”
It was to be expected. If a city could bottom out Maetel’s stamina, it probably shouldn’t be called a city.
“All right. Let’s wake up Sienna, then we can head down.”
“Isn’t Sienna still too young? Since we will be doing something arduous, let’s let Sienna rest. The two of us can do it.”
A ridiculously thoughtful words had come out of Maetel’s mouth. However, Artpe knew why she was saying such words. Arte let out a sigh as she flicked Maetel’s forehead.
“Even if I sent out Sienna by herself, she would be able to take care of most of what we are going to do today by herself. So you don’t have to worry about it being too tough for her.”
“Artpe is an idiot who doesn’t know how I feel!”
The three of them ate soup and bread before they went out into the streets.
Artpe already knew the lay of the land, and he knew about the population residing within the city. The information was registered in his mind when he explored the city yesterday. Now he just had to gather information regarding the additional people that will come into the city. He also had to find where the trouble would start today within the city while gathering the items he wanted to acquire.
“Look at those women.”
“They still look very young. What is the world coming to?”
It was as the innkeeper had warned. When the three of them walked the streets, everyone’s gazes were on them. They appropriately took the precaution of wearing a hood, yet it hadn’t mattered.
“Heek. Why are they all staring at us?”
Sienna and Maetel were tense as they stuck close to Artpe. At this point, Artpe had no idea if they were sticking close to him, because they were afraid or they just wanted skinship.
Maetel tried to keep Sienna in check by acting this way, but she was becoming a role model for Sienna on how to act around Artpe.
Did she realize this fact?
If someone saw them, they would think they were sisters. Then there was Artpe, who was between them….
Of course, he would receive disapproving gazes.
Artpe desperately wanted a male member to join his party as soon as possible, but when he thought about the past hero’s party, he knew it was a dream that would be hard to achieve. His only salvation was Silpennon, but for some reason, Maetel hated Silpennon as if he was a bitter foe…..
He let out a sigh as he reassured them.
“It’s all right. I’m pretty sure not many people will approach us.”
Of course, it was true that it was hard to hide the appearance of the party members with a robe and a hood, but that wasn’t the only reason why they were the focus of everyone’s attention.
Maetel had two swords hanging from her waist, and Sienna had the Sledge Hammer strapped to her back as her main weapon. They were intimidating for most people on the streets.
It was said that beautiful flowers had thorns.
When the men saw the especially large thorns in the form of a hammer and long sword, no one was brave enough to approach the girls. Even if someone approached them, they would show the men the taste of their thorns.
“I did a cursory search of this place, and according to a reliable informant, something will happen here today. Let’s nip that in the bud, so we can enjoy the auction. That is our main goal.”
“An informant you trust······.”
Maetel had a sullen expression on her face. It seemed the citrus perfume from the day before still worried her. Artpe stroke her head as he soothed her.
“When we meet that trustworthy informant again, there is a high probability that she’ll be an enemy. That is why you don’t have to worry about her.”
“It isn’t as if you can’t fall in love with an enemy……”
“You don’t have much free time, yet you seem to be crafting a pretty decent novel.”
“I…I’m ok with having one more unni.”
At what point did their education go wrong? Artpe let out a sigh as he created his Mana Strings. He didn’t do a widespread search like yesterday. He expended a small amount of Mana, but at the same time, he increased the efficiency of his search. However, it was a fruitless effort.
“There are a lot of ships docked at the harbor.”
“The really rare items should be coming in today. They aren’t just coming over the ocean. They’ll be traveling here over land, and the Dungeon Merchants will be using their Teleportation magic.”
It would be disappointing if the Dungeon Merchants didn’t participate in such a large auction. They mainly traded within the Dungeon, but the Frate’s Festival was a market they couldn’t ignore. They could sell the loot they acquired in Dungeons at an exorbitant amount of price, and it was a great opportunity for them to stock up on items that would be required by adventurers, who explored the Dungeons.
“This is why Mycenae is here too. She’s probably choosing which items she wants to put up for auction.”
Mycenae contacted him at the exact moment when he talked about her. He wondered if maybe she was the one stalking him. He was a bit nervous as he raised the communication device to answer her.
[As a veteran merchant, I’ve rarely had to say these words….. However, I think it’ll be a bit tough for me to acquire those items.]
“Are you really a veteran merchant, ajumma?”
[You really are able to say such rude words without batting an eye! However…. Koo-ooooooh.]
After a brief amount of time had passed, she spoke with a voice drained of energy.
[The artifacts and the potions of evil origins are strangely out of stock. I contacted the headquarters, and they are also out. Usually, such foul items have a limited market… Even the really useless ones have all been sold. However, the really powerful ones are being auctioned today…. Ah. The Death Knight’s helmet, and the Blood Gold Halberd I purchased from you will be auctioned today!]
“Ajumma, you are my exclusive merchant, yet you aren’t being of much help to me. Shall we nullify the contract?”
[If you really need such evil artifacts, you can purchase them at auction! There will be a lot coming out today!]
‘There is a high probability that something will occur at the time of the auction.’
Artped didn’t give any additional explanation to her. Instead, he asked her a question.
“So do you have items like the Obsidian of Greed?”
[······oh my. The timing of your request is quite strange. All the Dungeon companies including the Anywhere company is out of that item.]
When he heard those words, a lightning struck within his head.
“······could you repeat that?”
[All the companies are out of the Obsidian of Greed. The companies gradually ran out in order. Yesterday, the last two Obsidian left in the Anywhere company was sold. I don’t know who bought it, but they paid a premium price for them. They purchased each of them for the obscene price of 10,000 gold.]
Artpe thought about it. This meant that he didn’t have to make preparations for other possibilities.
No matter how he thought about it, it seemed the main plan of the Demon King’s army was to use a curse!
Shit! No wonder!
Since the plan had failed last time, the Demon King’s army must have done a thorough analysis on why their plan had failed. Now they had gotten rid of the main component that had interfered with their plan!
It was a very cute tactic!
‘The number of artifacts with evil origins is abnormally in demand. The curse has to be connected to the items. This means it might be a curse related to a human’s greed, and the desire to slaughter others. No, wait a second. Now that I think about it….’
Artpe recalled the conversation he had with Etna yesterday. What was the topic they discussed with each other?
She said the Frate’s Festival was being held after a 3 year hiatus. Didn’t she say the artifacts that were strengthened through blood and tears shed in Diaz would be featured as part of this event?
Artpe had brought up the topic first, and the flow of the conversation had been very natural. This was why he hadn’t paid much attention to it. However, he remembered that she kept sighing as she showed regret when discussing the topic.
If so, the underlying cause of her behavior hadn’t simply been about what she had experienced up until now in Diaz. It was an emotion born out of knowing the plan that was being hatched here. He had thought her behavior arose, because she was overly humane. However, this new theory was more complling to him.
All the cursed, lamenting and evil artifacts were gathered in this festival. Then there was the curse prepared by the Demon king’s army…..
‘The thing that immediately comes to mind is the strengthening of a curse. Or maybe it might be a charm. Either way it’ll rile up the emotions of the people. If it activates within this city full of desire……’
The only thing that would arrive would be a festival of death and madness. The people excited about the revitalization of Diaz’s economy would all tremble in fear.
Since the plan had exquisite timing, he couldn’t tackle it. Artpe wanted to compliment the Demon King’s army, since they outdid themselves this time.
However, he would have done so only if he still held the position of Four Heavenly King!
[Customer? Customer? Please answer me! You have the honor of being able to talk to me directly, yet you seem to not realize the worth of having such an access!]
“Thank you for the good information, ajumma.”
[I’m not an ajumma! Please call me Mycenae!]
Mycenae’s voice immediately melted.
[Look at how nice that is.]
“Since I’ve received good information from you, I’ll give you a good piece of information to you as a bonus.”
[Oh my. You are even able to abide by the ethics of commerce.]
“You should withdraw all the items you submitted for today’s auction.”
[You tricked me, you charlatan!]
“I warned you.”
Artpe ended the connection. It was up to her to make her own choices and actions now. The only thing that was important to him right now was finding a way to stop the disaster that was going to occur today using the information he just learned right now.
“Etna said I should get out of the city as fast as possible.”
Maybe, this was Etna’s way of asking for help. Since she couldn’t go against the will of the Demon King, she had searched out Artpe, who had high amount of magical energy and knowledge. Maybe, she wanted him to recognize her secret signals, so he could stop the Demon King’s plan.
Maybe, he was reading too much into her actions.
It didn’t matter which scenario was true.
It didn’t change what Artpe had to do.
“Originally, I wanted to solve this in a lawful manner, but I have no choice now. Let’s go, Maetel and Sienna.”
“If you aren’t going to use a lawful method, how are you going to solve this, Artpe?”
Artpe grinned as he gave an answer.
“I’ll use the way of the hero.”
“The way of a hero is an illegal method!?”
“This is unexpected.”
Maetel replied in shock, and Sienna giggled.
Artpe ignored them as he valiantly walked forward.
His destination was already decided.
It was the main square of Frate. It was where the Frate’s Festival would take place. There would be countless people gathered there. It was where the artifacts and greed was all gathered.
The auction house would be at the center of the Demon King army’s plan.