Chapter 129 – The Pride of a former Paladin and the power of a merchant

“Hey, Albus.”

While I was storing leftover food and cleaning cooking utensils, Clarice spoke to me.

“What is it?”

“What kind of ruins are these, the ruins of the Temple of Totoi?”

I was a little surprised that Clarice was also interested in ruins without mana earning, but it seemed that Clarice’s interest was more in the history of elven persecution.

“This place used to be a temple of the elves, didn’t it?”

“Yes it did. This was originally the temple of the elves. But 200 years ago, during the Elven Wars, it was converted into a camp for the elves by the humans.”

At that time, this place was called “Totoi Prison”.

Incidentally, it was about 400 years ago that the elves began to live here and built a temple, and even before that, dwarves were said to have lived here.

Therefore, it is said that there are countless abandoned mines that were dug by dwarves in the past.

The story goes that the elves originally took this land from the dwarves.

However, I did not dare to tell Clarice this story, as it may have been made up by humans to justify their invasion.

Talking about elves and humans: ……

Our current country, the Empire of Aul Nostalucia.

When the Norn Empire, its predecessor, invaded the Western Continent, this Totoi Temple was considered as a base of control for the northern area of the Western Continent.

Because of its location on a high plateau against the mountains, it was initially a base of resistance for the elves.

However, the stronghold quickly fell due to the onslaught of humans.

The armies of the Empire of Norn used the Totoi Temple as a base from which to attack, occupy, and destroy one elven village after another in the northern part of the Western Continent.

In doing so, they built camps for the elves here, imprisoned them, and used them as bases for slave traders to sell the elves off to various regions.

It was about 150 years ago that the Norn Empire was overthrown by the Nostalucian Peace Alliance, led by the Imperial House of Nostalucia, which is said to have existed for about 1,000 years.

Since then, this site has been maintained and preserved as a place where the history of the past mistakes committed by the empire is engraved.

Although it is newer and smaller than the Earth Ruins, it is said that there are several layers of underground prisons.

Incidentally, the part we now call a prison was originally the living quarters of the temple priests, and probably used to be the dwarves’ dwelling place in the past.

“But that doesn’t seem right, does it?”

Clarice, who had heard the gist of the conversation, voiced her doubts.

“If it was “a past mistake committed by the Great Norn Empire” that the elves were blamed and then sold into slavery, why are the elves still treated as slaves in this country?”

Surely that is a natural question.

Although the information board at the site of the Totoi Temple plausibly says something like ‘To prevent a repetition of the history of killing and rape, …….

However, considering the slavery of the elves that continues to this day, it was obvious that this was nothing more than a front.

That’s, well, I guess that’s what they really mean and what they’re trying to do. I’m talking about the fact that it’s easier to dodge the people’s complaints when there is a race of people who can treat them as lower than themselves because of their status as slaves.

“That’s well. I guess that’s make sense. It is easier to dodge the people’s dissatisfaction when there is a race of people who are slaves and can be treated as lower than themselves.”

When I was traveling with Ryan, there was a nobleman who said such a thing in a proud manner.

“I’m against the system myself, but at the end of the day, this country hasn’t changed much since the days of the Norn Empire. If you really want to make a difference or change the status quo, I guess you have to become a person of immense power with the ability to influence the nation.”

Right. For example, he’s a big merchant with thick connections to powerful royalty and dukes, and a level of power that allows him to meddle in national policy. ……

It is difficult for those who have been integrated into the system, such as “Jero” and “Paladin,” to stand up to the powers that be.

“I see, so Albus is really trying to get there now.”

“Hmm. ……”

When she says that, I’m a little at a loss for words for the quintessence.

If we go that far, the quandary would be too high a goal.

At best, the goal of an ordinary merchant aiming to become a “big merchant” would be to have a powerful local aristocrat as a customer and gain influence in the local community.

“……”

But when you get down to the vague “big merchant who makes everyone happy” that I’m aiming for, you’ll find ……

I am sure that beyond that point, there may be a view like Clarice describes.

If I ever make it to that level, maybe I’ll ask the King to pass a law like the ‘Elf Slave Prohibition Law.

When I said that, Clarice started to tear up a little again.

In my own way. I understand the weight of saying these words in front of my sister-in-law Clarice, as I am married to Mitra, a half-elf.

Now that I’ve said it, I have to aim for that as far as I can.

“Then, until that day, I will guard my brother-in-law with all my might.”

Clarice, wiping away her tears, thrust her fist toward me as she said this.

“Oh, please.”

I said it, but I knew it would not be a half-hearted effort.

“Become a great merchant ……?”

The more I thought about the specifics, the much higher my goal was.

→→→→→

“Speaking of which, ……”

After returning to my room at the inn.

I suddenly remembered something, so I spoke to Clarice.

“To continue what I was saying earlier. I heard that when the war with the fish scale tribe in the southern islands ended a few years ago, there was a great deal of discussion about this issue. At that time, as I recall, the Paladin of that time opposed the enslavement of the ichthyosaurs so much that they were eventually forced out of his position.”

As I said this, Loloi and Clarice looked at Burgess at the same time.

Burgess was scratching his head, looking a little annoyed.

He was a hero of the Fishermen’s War.

“Well, I guess that’s what happens when you’re hailed as a hero of the Fishermen’s War, but you start saying things that aren’t good for higher ups.”

Ryan and the his friends onece laughed at it, saying, “If only he’d kept quiet, he could have had enormous wealth and fame as a war hero, but he’s a fool.”

And at first I was confused because I couldn’t reconcile the rumors of the Paladin with the image of Burgess chasing after a woman’s ass.

But now I understand.

Burgess would probably do it.

He cared about Arcana and the others and couldn’t abandon Mitra and Clarice. ……

The reason why he could not abandon Arcana, Mitra and Clarice, was probably because of his own pride, that he wanted to protect at least those within his reach, regardless of whether he had the title of a paladin or not.

That is why.

After defending the homeland he was supposed to protect, he may had now been unable to overlook the fact that the fish scale tribe, which had been his enemy until then, had been reduced to the position of “slaves”.

No, perhaps he did.

It’s too unthinking and clumsy.

But somehow I thought that was Burgess-like.

“Well, in other words, one Paladin’s voice didn’t overturn the current slave culture in this country. If that’s the case, Albus, how do you propose to fix it?”

Burgess asked, a little teasingly.

Perhaps there is some self-mockery in that, ‘I couldn’t change anything myself’.

“It seems contradictory. I guess the best way to do that would be to improve my status and power as a merchant.”

In other words, it’s ‘this’ that I’m doing now.

The Western Continent Merchant Guild oversees the entire Western Continent.

A few days ago, I was personally summoned by the head of the guild, a man named Marcus.

I was suddenly asked to take part in a stocking job in the village of Poppo in the north.

There were many things that concerned me. But I decided to take the job because the benefits of success were great.

While expanding my own business, if I could gradually become involved in the miscellaneous affairs of the guild in this way and gain not only mana but also position, prestige, and power, I would be able to ……

Eventually, he may be able to have various connections with the royalty and nobility, such as governing the House of Lords, the upper organization of the guild.

In the process, if he can further expand his own business with the rich nobles to gain a large amount of mana and eventually rise to the position of a patron of the central nobility.

I would then have a considerable say in national politics.

It’s a dream come true.

In order for a merchant to gain power, he still needs a “profitable business” and “power” to attract it to him.

And beyond that, “a large amount of mana” would be an essential element.

In short, the merchant’s power is “the power of gold mana.

” …… I see.”

Not sure what he thought of my answer.

Burgess broke off the conversation there and lay down on the bed.

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