Dream Life Vol II Chapter 3: “Negotiations”

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 The Merchant Guild was located next to the mercenary guild, with a dozen or so wagons parked around it.


 In a city like Kilnarc, wagons can be left with the Merchant Guild, so that the guards do not have to watch over the wagons.



 Men in tunic-like merchant attire were busily moving in and out of the guild.


 We waded through the waves of people and entered the guild.



 Guy caught a young man who looked like a guild staff and told him we were looking for a northbound merchant caravan.


 He pointed to some merchants and told us, “Those people are the northbound,” and Guy went to negotiate with the merchants.


 After talking with a few merchants, he brought a man with a receding hairline in his mid-thirties.



“This is Norton. He is leaving for the north tomorrow morning, and he has permitted us to accompany him.” (Guy)


“My name is Henry Norton. It is an honor to be with the son of the famous Lockhart family.” (Norton)


“My name is Zacharias Lockhart, and it was my pleasure for allowing us to accompany you.” (Zack)



 I wondered what I should do.



(Maybe I shouldn’t be so bossy, but it seems strange to be humble, and I wonder what the best response would be…) (Zack)


“Norton says he needs the approval of the mercenaries who will be escorting them. I’m on my way to see them now. What do you wish to do for the moment, Master Zack.” (Guy)



 I wondered what to do.



(It would be better if we met before the journey, but if he sees us and the fee increases… No, it’s better to do it now than to be asked tomorrow morning. Right now, we can still call out to other merchants…) (Zack)



 I replied, “I’ll go with you.”



 The destination was a nearby inn, so I followed Norton and Guy.


 When we entered the inn, Norton went to call for the leader of the mercenaries.



 Immediately, a strong human male of about 40 years of age appeared. The man was about two meters tall and stout, with the air of a mercenary with a long history of combat.


 However, when he saw us, he made a blatantly unpleasant expression.



“Norton, this is not part of the contract? I thought we agreed not to add any more baggage to the contract. Obviously, these guys are baggage.” (Mercenary)



 Norton just kept his amicable smile,



“Byron, it’s not polite to call them baggage. This is Guy Jakes, the squire of Govan Lockhart, the Lionheart. And also, a fourth rank adventurer and healer.” (Norton)



(Lionheart? Is that Grandfather’s title? I’ve never heard of that before. I’m afraid he’s going to refuse to go with us if we don’t do something about it.) (Zack)



 Even after Norton explained this to him, the mercenary called Byron did not change his dour expression.



“Certainly, this man can do it. The woman could be useful as a healer, too. But I don’t want to take a nobleman’s child with me. Not only will they be useless, they will act selfish and slow you down.” (Mercenary => Byron)



 Guy almost lost his temper at those words.



“Take back your words! Master Zacharias is the grandson of the former lord, Master Govan Lockhart. It would be disrespectful to treat his family on the same level as the son of a typical noble.” (Guy)



 Byron and Guy glared at each other, and Norton’s amiable smile was beginning to falter.



(Guy gets mad when people make fun of me or my grandfather. …But this Byron guy doesn’t seem to be as flat as he looks. He has been a mercenary until he is old enough to be called a veteran, and he is leading his men at every turn. Then…) (Zack)



 I decided to make a scene to convince Byron.



“Byron. You said I’d be a liability, but how do you know that without seeing what I can do?” (Zack)



 I figured this guy was more calculating than he looked. He didn’t want us to go with him, probably because he thought we would be too risky.


 If he was forced to take on the task, he would agree to go with us, but only if we reduced his perceived risk.



(If the man was as he appeared, it would be more dangerous to work with him. In that case, he could be the clown in this farce, making the other merchant caravan take us in.) (Zack)



 Byron only snickered at my words and didn’t even try to play along.


 People began to gather around us to see what was going on, and men who seemed to be Byron’s subordinates also gathered.



(He can’t act stubborn and bullish now that his subordinates are here, huh? There are some men who seem to be short-tempered, so I’ll let them take part in my plan…) (Zack)



 I call out to Guy and provoke Byron’s men.



“Guy, let’s not do this. This man cannot even measure a man’s strength. Mercenaries led by such a man cannot possibly be good. It would be much more dangerous for us to work together. …Norton, I’d like to take you up on the offer, but let me decline…” (Zack)



 One of his men, not Byron, took up my taunt.



“Don’t ignore me! Captain, is it okay if I strangle this cheeky brat?” (Mercenary)



 At that moment, I was watching the scene and beginning to make some preparations.


 Guy glanced at me and then reacted to the young mercenary.



“You threaten to strangle him! You!” (Guy)



 At that moment, the attention of everyone there turned to Guy for a moment.



 I waited for that moment.


 I took advantage of the moment and, pulling out the kunai from my waist, jumped into Byron’s bosom.


 Byron was alert to Guy’s outburst, but he was not paying attention to me, who was about five meters away.



 I had secretly used my Magical Combat skill to strengthen the instantaneous strength of my legs and made an explosive move, a so-called [Shukuchi].



 Seeing me out of the corner of his eye, Byron reacted. However, the fact that he looked down on me as a child, I succeeded in getting into range.


 Then, I stopped with the tip of the kunai’s blade touching the skin over his heart.


 Everyone, including Byron, froze in place.



“You can’t keep up with this level of movement… Guy, we’re the ones pulling them up!” (Zack)



 In response to my words, Guy said, “Understood. Master Zack,” with a satisfied expression.


 I bowed to Norton and turned for the inn.



“Wait!” (Byron)



 Byron tried to stop me as I walked towards the inn.


 I didn’t turn around and replied in a displeased tone.



“You don’t deal with children like me, do you?” (Zack)


“Wait! I can’t let you go back like this.” (Byron)



 I turned around slowly.



“What? Do you plan on having a serious fight with a child?” (Zack)


“I can’t keep doing this job if a kid ridiculed me. Let’s see what Lionheart Govan’s grandson can do?” (Byron)


“Is that really necessary? You’re the one who said I was a liability just by looking at me. If you don’t at least admit that you were wrong, then I have no reason to be here.” (Zack)



 Byron whispered, “Damn, you’re a sly little kid.”



“I apologize for what I said earlier. I’d like to have a meeting with Master Lockhart.” (Byron)



 He even changed his tone and bowed to me.



(If I show him my magical abilities, he will agree to have me accompany them…) (Zack)



 With that in mind, I accepted his apology.



“I accept your apology. I’m still a novice swordsman, even on hand-to-hand combat. Perhaps it would be better for you to see how good I am at magic.” (Zack)



 Byron muttered, “You’re a magician…” but he quickly gave a small nod of agreement and bowed his head, “I’d like you to show me at the guild’s training grounds.”



 Beside me, Liddy looks annoyed, and beside her, Sharon is frozen in a daze.


 With Byron, several of his men, and a few onlookers in tow, we headed for the mercenary guild’s training grounds.



 Mercenary guild branches often have training grounds the size of a small gymnasium attached to them.


 The Kilnarc branch also had a training hall about 30 meters square, where several mercenaries were working out.



I asked Guy, “Is there anywhere we can shoot magic?”



“There is a place to practice archery, so that should be fine.” (Guy)



 After that, Guy bowed his head and said, “I’m sorry for what happened earlier. If only I was stronger…”


 I laughed and said, “That was nothing.”



“If possible, it would be more convenient for the future if word got out that the Lockhart family’s second son was useful there. It was a good opportunity. You realized my intentions along the way, didn’t you?” (Guy)



 He chuckled and gave a small nod.



 The archery range was a simple area with a wooden target planted over a mound of earth placed in front of a wall.


 Sharon and I stood about 20 meters from the target.



 I whispered to Sharon, “Would you be willing to shoot [Air Hammer]?”


 She looked surprised and said, “Just the [Air Hammer]? Not the [Swallow Cutter]?” She asked back.


 I smirked.



“[Air Hammer] is better because it’s flashier… and I don’t want to show our original magic as much as possible.” (Zack)



  [Swallow Blade] is an original magic spell and can change its trajectory. According to Liddy, tracking magic is not common, so I was trying to avoid showing it to others as much as possible, including in the academy.


 Sharon didn’t seem to understand my intentions very well, but she nodded her head, placing her trust in me.



 Once the crowd was assembled, Sharon began to recite the incantation.



“O Wentus, God of Wind, who commands all the winds in the world. Grant mine thy a swallow-winged blade that dances in the heavens, I offer the power of mine life to thee as payment. Crush mine enemies, Mallet of air, Air Hammer!” (Sharon)



 The power of the spirits gathers around Sharon, and a gust of wind dances around the shooting range. Immediately thereafter, a mass of air struck the target.


 The target for shooting was hit by the mass of air and blown away from its base. It also blew away part of the mound, creating a small cloud of dust.



 Byron and the onlookers were amazed at the magic of the ten-year-old girl.



“Well done, I guess it’s my turn now. ” I said, patting Sharon’s head.



 I let Sharon, who seemed happy to receive my praise, back down, and I cast the Air Hammer spell in the same way.



“O Wentus, God of Wind, who commands all the winds in the world. Grant mine thy a swallow-winged blade that dances in the heavens, I offer the power of mine life to thee as payment. Crush mine enemies, Mallet of air, Air Hammer!” (Zack)



 Putting more magical power than usual, I drive the air hammer into the wall with a force that is as strong as Sharon’s.



 The sound of the hammer hitting the wall and shaking the wall echoes inside the training area, which is roofed so that training can be conducted even in the rain. My magic hit the wooden target, chipping away more than half of the soil and sending the entire wooden target flying.



(I may have put more power into it. …It didn’t damage the facility, so that’s okay.) (Zack)



 This time I put enough power into it to blow away a medium-sized bear.


 My Wind Attribute Magic level is 23. I am not a novice, but I am not a high-class magician either. There was a reason why I was able to achieve this power.



 This magic called [Air Hammer] is an attack magic that releases compressed air at once, striking the target. In other words, what determines the power is the amount of air and the compression rate. Since the amount of air depends on the magical power input, I decided to increase the compression rate.



 I envisioned a compressor plus an air reservoir-receiver. Furthermore, I imagined the air reservoir-receiver as a tube, which is released in front of the target.


 This means that high-pressure air is pushed out into a small area, making it more powerful than a normal one.



 When the cloud of dust subsided, a large gouge in the ground could be seen, eliciting gasps from onlookers. More people gathered in the area to see what had happened.


 Byron was speechless as well, shaking his head.



“By the way, I’ve been in real combat before, and so has Sharon here. Well, wolves and goblins, at least.” (Zack)



 Byron finally came to his senses at my words and dropped to one knee and in a theatrical tone.



“It was Master Zacharias, wasn’t it? I’m sorry for what I said earlier. If you’re a magician of this caliber you would not slow us down. Furthermore, the divine speed of your footwork just before. As expected of the one who draws the blood of the one who is called Lionheart. We would like you to work for you, by all means.” (Byron)



 I felt uncomfortable with that gesture.



(It’s quite theatrical. What’s the purpose? Is he trying to cover up for the mistake he made earlier when I entered his range? It’s possible that I am a genius with my grandfather’s blood in my veins, so it can’t be helped. Well, if he’s this smart, it’ll be great to go with him.) (Zack)



 I hold out my right hand to Byron while I say.



“Just call me Zack. And no need for honorifics. Guy, I wouldn’t mind going with Byron, but I’ll leave it to you to decide.” (Zack)



 Guy responds, “I have no objection if you approve of Master Zack’s help,” and gives me an impersonal smile.


 Byron hesitantly took my right hand. I shook his hand and looked at Guy. He gave a small nod.



(Guy seemed to think I’d done well.)



 After the onlookers left and Byron, Norton, and Guy had a quick meeting, we took to the streets again.



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