The First Robbery
“Grey, leave for Straheim with that merchant and one servant,” my stepmother happily commanded. Judging from her mood, Giresse had probably handed her quite the sum of money.
Giresse had visited last night, asking to meet with the head and my stepmother, after which she handed down this order.
For some reason, my father fiercely rejected the idea of me traveling to Straheim. However, he couldn’t go against my stepmother, so he eventually prevailed after adding on the condition that I return in three weeks.
I followed after Giresse and left the mansion, where we saw a crowd gathering around the well in the middle of the streets.
“Amazing…” someone muttered.
Everyone had their sight stolen by the water rushing out.
I set that up for free, you know.
It wasn’t that I was trying to show off, or anything. As long as it was set up in the mansion I didn’t really care.
“Grey-samaa!” a young girl in a maid outfit yelled. Standing in front of the carriage, her face was full of smiles.
So the servant was Satella. My stepmother did always drive out anyone she didn’t like at the first opportunity. Well that’s how it is. Still, I could freely go to Straheim so it’s a bit bittersweet.
“Fumyuu, Grey-samaa,” Satella purred, clinging to the back of my neck. She’s become quite attached to me after the incident at that well. Now, she was calling herself, 『Grey’s Personal Maid』.
“You’re so popular, Grey-kun,” Giresse teased
“Listen here,” I said.
“Well, don’t be so embarrassed. Now, we’re running short on time so let’s depart immediately.”
“Yeah sure.” I nudged Satella off of me and climbed into the carriage.
“I’m glad everything went well in the end. To think that Baron Rais would be so opposed,” Giresse said.
“I was surprised as well,” I agreed.
I couldn’t figure out his reasoning, but he was the kind of guy who wouldn’t lift a single finger to my stepmother’s abuse. It was probably along some vein of self-protection.
“But now we have to plan for what’s to come,” Giresse said.
They might have felt something was off. If so, it would be much more difficult to leave the family once I turned 13.
In any event, I absolutely refuse to be pushed around by that stepmother of mine, Cliff, and Linda for the rest of my life. If they didn’t allow me to leave the family, I’d flee the empire.
“By the way, that 『Hand Pump』has had quite the effect,” Giresse said.
“I’m glad,” I replied.
Satella lurched forward, beaming. “Grey-sama, were you one who created that device!?”
“No, I just put forth the plans. Also, Satella. You can’t tell this to anyone, okay. You too, Sebastian and Dom. Got it?”
“Yes!!” they replied.
After that event, Satella began to follow my orders pretty obediently. She shouldn’t spill anything no matter what happens.
“You’re really amazing. So amazing that I need to know… where did you get this knowledge?” Giresse asked.
Giresse’s smile changed after throwing out those honeyed words. That was probably what he really wanted to know.
That was something I didn’t want to touch on, however. Giresse was someone who I wanted to do business with going forward, so I had to make things clear. In the end, Giresse was just a youngster trying to appear smart from my point of view, so it should be easy.
“Who knows? But what I do know is that this information brings profit. Should I beat this into your head like last time or should I make you experience it with your body?” I threatened.
Because of my sudden shift in tone, Giresse gulped in response. As I thought, just a youngster. You’re supposed to keep a poker face.
“S-sorry,” Giresse said.
“Let’s see, let me correct your thinking. Do you understand the importance of the 『Hand Pump』?” I asked.
If he thought its only use was to draw water from a well, he was fundamentally mistaken.
“The importance of the 『Hand Pump』…” Giresse trailed off in thought with his hand placed on his jaw.
“What can it do other than draw water from a well?” I hinted.
Hm. This could make for an interesting thought experiment if I included Satella as well.
“It’s a device that draws water from the well. Consider this. What else can it do?” I asked Satella.
“Umm……” Satella groaned, folding her arms. She was imitating Dom, but it wasn’t a good imitation by any means of the imagination.
“What about the functions of the device?”
“Functions? It draws water from the well?” she replied.
I see, they’re thinking too much about the “well” so they can’t grasp such a simple thing.
“Detach yourself from the concept of a well.”
“You can bring water from a low place to a higher place,” Satella said.
As I thought, children are more flexible in their thinking. They don’t have any preconceptions, so they can reach this conclusion much more easily.
“Bring water to a higher place…” Giresse said. His face paled and then suddenly flushed. His eyes widened to the size of saucers as he stared blankly at Satella.
“Hahaa! I’m an idiot! Why didn’t I realize such a simple thing!? This is amazing!” he exclaimed.
That’s right. The importance of the device is that it can bring water from a low place to a higher place. In short, it’s pumping water. It’s manual, of course, so there were a few tricks I needed to apply.
With this technology, you can bring about water’s blessing to the land where water doesn’t flow. As a result, you can supply plenty of water to the barren land and farmland that’s scattered about the Millard territory.
“It seems you understand now,” I said.
I should probably go back to acting like a child. This is my gift to him in exchange for not letting him pry deeper into my matters. I have no intention to concern myself with any idiot who can’t understand that. If he still tries to pry deeper, then I’ll cut ties with him when the time is right.
“Ah, truly, you’re amazing,” Giresse said.
In response, Satella puffed her chest out in pride. No, why are you so proud of that?
Suddenly, the carriage grinded to a halt. According to Giresse this trip should have taken about a week, and yet not even a few hours had passed.
Oh, right. I’ve had Analyze Environment turned off this whole time. Let’s turn it back on and have a look around.
There was an armed band of people surrounding the carriage. Bandits and thieves, huh. About 10 people. Their entire bodies were covered in cloth so I couldn’t say for certain but guessing from their physiques they were children of about 14, 15 years old.
Although they were children, each and every one was decently powerful. The leader-looking guy in the back especially.
- HP: F (18/100%)
- MP: G (1/100%)
- Strength: F (74/100%)
- Endurance: F (34/100%)
- Magic: G- (4/100%)
- Magical Endurance: G- (22/100%)
- Agility: F (8/100%)
- Luck: G- (40/100%)
- Drop: G- (10/100%)
- Wisdom: G- (9/100%)
- Growth Rate: E
The rest of the people surrounding us averaged G+ stats as well.
In comparison, the adventurer-like bodyguards also averaged around G+ stats. In terms of numbers, the children thieves were superior.
Jeez, the timing of this attack is so bad it’s like they were intentionally aiming for me.
“Giresse-san, Satella, please stay in the carriage,” I said.
“Grey…sama?” Satella said with an anxious face.
I peeled her off of me and handed her to Giresse before exiting the carriage.
Immediately after I exited the carriage, I casted the middle rank, wind series magic 『Wind Armor』on the adventurers, Giresse, and Satella.
Wind armor was a spell that enveloped the body with a thin layer of wind. I tested it before, and I couldn’t even make a dent on it with my copper dagger, so it should be able to ward off bows as well. With this, nobody should die instantly.
“Oi, young master—” one bodyguard started.
“I will deal with them. Please be quiet,” I cut him off with my right hand before facing towards the thieves. “What’s your objective?”
Two in the front and one on each side. Two archers on standby with bows ready. I’ve got them captured; I can immediately dice them to pieces if I choose to.
“Leave your money and food. If you do as I say, nobody will get hurt,” Judo said. He was wearing a tea-colored robe that completely shrouded his face, which was wrapped in white cloth that made him look like a mummy. Since he’s covering his appearance, he most likely intends to let us go. And that voice. He’s definitely not an adult.
Hm, I’ve gotten a bit interested in this.
“How much?” I answered.
“There’s no point talking to a kid. Bring out the owner of that merchant van.”
A kid, you say. You guys are kids as well. Also, merchant van? Are they talking about a merchant’s caravan?
“I’m representing the owner right now. I’ll do the talking.”
“100 gold,(1 mil copper)” Judo demanded.
“Oh, is that amount good enough?” I said as I took out a pouch full of 100 gold and threw it to the ground. “You can confirm it.”
One person carefully picked up the bag and checked its contents, when his eyes widened in surprise.
“H-hey, there’s really a hundred gold in here.”
“You’ve confirmed it. Now let’s start the transaction,” I said.
“Of course. What kind of idiot would give out this much for free?”
Perplexed, the thieves (bandits?) look at each other.
“Nii-chan, we’ve got no need to talk with this crazy brat. Let’s hurry up and run with the money!” a female thief advised.
“I didn’t expect to be called a crazy brat. Well, if you’re not going to accept the transaction, then leave the money on the ground. If you run away with the money, I’ll consider you all simple thieves.
I’ve got no interest in robbers, regardless of who they are. Still, considering how unfair this world is, I’m a bit cautious of immediately eliminating them. It’d be a waste if there were anyone among them that could stimulate my brain. However, if they were just thieves, I’d turn them in without further thought.
“Like you even worked for that money!” she yelled.
“Even if that were true, it’s still my money. What does that have to do with this transaction?”
“It’s a matter of trust. If that money isn’t yours, we’d be turned in as thieves anyways,” Judo explained in her stead.
“Hm, that’s true.”
There’s a lot of flaws in that argument, but they do indeed have a point. Trust is very crucial when doing business.
“Can I add something?”
Before we do any transactions, there’s something I want to know.
“What will you guys do if the transaction goes south? There’s women and non-combatants in this carriage. Are you going to rape and kill them?”
“As I’ve said before. There’s no danger to those who don’t resist; we’re not that low, you can return unharmed.”
I’ve got no complaints about that. My curiosity is sated.
“Okay. Then I’ll give you something to trust.”
I locked on to every tree within a five-meter radius of the carriage with Analyze Environment.
With a snap, every tree around us turned to pieces in an instant and fell to the ground. This was the power of the high rank master class magic, 【Whirlwind】.
“Wha-?” one thief said, whereas another one began screaming in fear.
Some couldn’t stand anymore and fell to the floor. Others cradled their head and shivered in fear. Judo, however, stood stock still, albeit his legs were slightly trembling.
“Now. Do you understand what I mean by transaction now?” I asked.
“I understand down to my very bones,” he nodded as he began to sweat like a pig.
“So are you more open to the idea now? If not, leave the money and get out of my sight. There’s no second chance; you’re dead the next time I see you.
Judo folded his arms and looked to the heavens. “I’ll do it,” he squeezed out between gritted teeth.
“Are you insane!? This guy’s not human! He’s a monster wearing the skin of a kid you know!?” the girl who looked like his sister said, grabbing his collar and shaking him.
“Either way, if we don’t have this money we’ll starve to death. We can’t go back anymore. Didn’t we steel ourselves last night?” Judo said. The girl could only stay silent in response. She released her grip on Judo and fell to the floor powerlessly.
“It seems you’ve come to a conclusion. For the specifics… Giresse-san, could you serve as a mediator?”
“You’re so…” Giresse trailed off.
I turned around and shrugged at him. Among everyone, he was the only one who had seen my magic before and thus wasn’t that surprised.
“So you’re from the village, Tote……” I noted. From what Judo said, I wasn’t entirely uninvolved. Rather, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that my parents were the cause of their peril.
Tote was a village located in the northwestern reaches of the Millard territory. It was a prime location for monsters to attack. Moreover, the tax levied on them was exactly 50%, yet the Millards didn’t care at all.
This year, there were several people who sustained heavy wounds for the goblin assault, which limited the amount of people who could do field work. In addition, the goblins burned many rye fields, destroying a third of the fields in their assault. The villagers, knowing that they wouldn’t make it through winter, pleaded for a tax reduction and sought to talk directly to the Millard head, but they were refused.
They then turned to appeal towards the decision-making committee of elders which was located in the empire’s capital, but there too they were refused. So knowing that many were soon to starve to death, they talked among themselves last night and decided to steal money and goods. It was a hopeless situation.
“Grey-sama……” Satella smiled bitterly, pulling on my sleeve. To calm her down, I caressed her head.
Now, what should I do…?
They weren’t people I could associate with if I wanted to leave the Millard family safely. But, I already boasted about the transaction and all, so there was no way I could stop everything now. That’s what being a member of society was about.
“Wait a minute. You’re named Grey?” Judo’s sister pitched forward and asked. Well, they’d find out even if I tried to hide it.
“Yes. I am Grey Millard, the Millard head’s son.”
“Don’t fuck with me. So you’re saying that money was wrung out of us!!?” she yelled.
Other than Judo, all the other thieves looked at me with hatred in their eyes.
“Grey-kun, you have no need to deal with these rude idiots. They deserve a pitiful death,” Giresse said in an unusual outburst of rage.
“The hell!!!?” Judo’s sister raged as her hand gripped the handle of her sword.
Certainly, I can more than understand their pain as someone who faced my stepmother’s hindrance at every step. Still, there’s a line that should never be crossed, and those who cross that line can’t be helped anymore. Or at least that’s how I feel. So if she decides to draw her sword, then we’re done.
“Stop it!” Judo yelled.
“Why!? He’s a son from the Millard family, right!?” his sister pleaded. “That money was also—”
“I also think there’s no need to help such rude people!” Satella added coldly. Her gaze dropped, tears pooling in her eyes as she trembled in rage.
“Kids need to shut up!”
“I will not. Especially when you don’t know a single thing about how much abuse Grey-sama received in that mansion!!” Satella stood up and said with tears in her eyes, her voice much louder than before.
“Being Millard citizens, shouldn’t you have least heard a rumor or two? He is Grey Millard, the step son of that greedy and ill-natured woman; he’s basically just a stranger in her eyes. You think she’d give a mere stranger a hundred gold?” Giresse added.
“Then where did that money come from!?” Judo’s sister demanded.
“That money resulted from trading with me. He earned it himself.”
“What? There’s no way a child could earn a sum as large as a hundred gold!!”
“That’s why you’re stupid. Especially after spouting such vulgarity despite seeing that display of power,” Giresse said, forcing them to swallow their own words. “You guys are thieves who tried to steal our money and goods—the enemy of us merchants. Originally you would be hanged. Despite this fact, you would dare to call him a thief? Ridiculous.”
“That’s right! It’s ridiculous!” Satella chimed in.
The other adventurers just looked on in bewilderment. The conversation had gone so off the rails they couldn’t even follow it anymore.
“I’m very sorry. It’s just that we were attacked by goblins and have nothing left now. Please understand.” Jude said.
“Understand? Understand what? Don’t blame everything on your own misfortune!” Giresse raged.
“Giresse-san?” I asked.
After a short while, he stiffened up.
“My bad. I got a bit carried away there.”
“I don’t mind. Now, what should we do… ”
The simple-minded Tote villagers who up until now were warped in rage finally cooled down. As if they finally realized what position they were in, blood drained from their faces and they hung their heads in shame. They would have normally been hanged, after all.
However, if I turned them in, there was a possibility that soon or later my father and stepmother would get word, so I couldn’t risk that.
Moreover, every one of them was underage. Blaming everything on your own misfortune was a common thing that children did. I wasn’t so childish that I would fault every little mistake a child made.
“I’ll return the money. I’m sorry,” Judo said, snatching the pouch from another before handing it to me.
Goddammit. That’s why I hate children. I couldn’t read what they would do next, almost as if they were aliens.
“If we don’t have that money—,” one thief cried. In response, Judo stood his ground.
“Sit down,” I quietly commanded, spitting out a sigh. Despite that, Jude still began to leave the carriage.
“I said sit down!!” My voice shook the carriage, and the attackers cowered in fear. Judo, as well, stopped in place. “You shouldn’t be so insulting as to throw away a deal that was as good as done. Sit down.”
Their imprudence was probably the result of their lack of education, rather than their young age. How annoying, I’ll have to fix that going forward.
“I’ll give you a path where you can live. But before that, there’s a few conditions you must follow.”
“W-what conditions?” the once raging sister asked fearfully. Her temper had flipped on its head, which made me want to ask her why she was so scared now. As I said, I can’t understand how children think.
“Once I turn 13, I’m leaving this land. You can’t say a word about me until then,” I said.
“What happens if we do?” she asked pensively.
“Once you do I will immediately disappear. Any support you had would disappear forever.
At worst I could always flee the empire. I could also teleport back to the 『Ancient Forest』, so I wasn’t that concerned.
“Grey-samaa!” Satella yelled impatiently. On the other hand, Giresse’s reaction was the complete opposite.
“No, that’s just one of his options. We in the Commerce Guild could also make a place for him. At the very least, it’s much better than him disappearing completely from this remote location. I approve of this.”
“Well I don’t!”
“Don’t worry, Satella, if I leave I’ll be sure to take you with,” I said.
I wasn’t so stubborn that I would leave her in the hands of my stepmother. I would take her with me no matter what methods I had to use. It was my responsibility as an adult.
“…Truly?” she asked.
“Yeah. I promise.”
I gently caressed Satella’s head as she burst into tears and turned back towards Judo.
“I’ll say it once more. Sit down. We can talk after that.”
After taking a few deep breaths, Judo sat down on the ground as well.
“I understand your situation. To summarize, what you guys need is plenty of food and medical supplies, am I right?
They’ve finally calmed down. Well they wouldn’t be children if they had done so sooner.
“How many people are in your village. How many can’t move?”
“There are about 3000 people in the village. 35 people suffered injuries at the hands of the goblins and are currently recuperating.”
3000 people….That’s a lot.
On Earth, the average person needed about 330g of carbohydrates a day. Of course, that was the optimal amount, so the amount needed to prevent starvation was bound to be lower. Still, I should at least try to give them 300g a day. So to feed 3000 people, I’d need 90kg of carbohydrates a day. There was about 60kg in a sack, so about a sack and a half per day.
“Giresse-san, how much is a sack of rye?” I asked.
“At the marketplace you could get one for 3000 to 4000 copper. However, I could supply you one at 2500 copper.”
That would make 100 gold, or a million copper, net 400 sacks. According to my calculations, 400 sacks would feed everyone for over 260 days.
It was plenty for an emergency.
“Then use that gold to get 400 sacks of rye.”
“Will do.” Giresse said.
After my command, Judo’s sister meekly handed Giresse the bag of money.
Now I had to focus on some basic agrarian reform. The decision-making committee of elders supported the head of my family, aka my stepmother. If I didn’t do anything about this fact, Tote had no future.
“Let’s see, I’ll have Judo and his sister come with me to Straheim. Everyone else should go help out the village by hunting or something,” I said. “Let’s get food to the village as soon as possible.”
“Thank you…very much,” Judo said.
All the children bowed to me in unison.