The Devil Verse
Verse, the merchant, was a devil. It wasn’t a metaphor and that I thought Verse was a merchant through and through. She was literally a devil.
A devil was an entity with the same appearance as human beings, while also having the traits of Demons, enemies of humankind living in the ruins. Devils had peculiar powers and they were treated as slaves, despised by humans.
I didn’t think they were beings of ‘dirty blood’, nor were they lower than humans. However, following the teachings of the Imperial Church, a devil was by no means a human. It was a given that they should be persecuted.
“But why did Verse become a merchant in the Imperial Capital?” Philia asked me.
Normally, Verse should be a slave, so she should’ve not been able to become a merchant. Many humans and devils’ mixed races were not enslaved, but full-blooded devils usually were. Moreover, Verse didn’t hide the fact that she was a devil.
The reason for that was me.
“Verse is my ‘slave’.”
“It’s the formal title. A devil can’t escape from slavery under the empire’s law. But as long as she’s technically someone’s slave, then it’s enough.”
Initially, Verse was an ordinary slave who worked under an aristocrat, a master who treated her badly. I was a student at the magic school at that time, gambling against Verse’s master and got a big win out of it. I got Verse in return for the victory.
Verse stared at me and smiled.
“Solon-san freed me, and he made a place for me to stay.”
“I thought Verse was talented.”
“So I became useful for Solon-san.”
It would be a lie to say I didn’t want to help a girl in trouble. But I also had another reason to do that, Verse’s appraising ability.
Perhaps because she had demons’ traits, she could identify the true value of treasures obtained from the ruins, gauge someone’s magic talents, and provide us with the best tools.
A merchant I trusted had taught Verse, and eventually, she opened her own store. The money I earned as an adventurer was used for an investment that time.
She paid me back more than double the value of my original investment. As I thought, Verse the female merchant has succeeded.
“Is your business still doing well, even after I quit The Knights?”
Verse’s business relied heavily on The Knights of Saint Sophia. The main income of Verse’s store’s sales came from selling the treasures obtained by The Knights and delivering supplies based on The Knights’s demands. I was worried Verse’s business would suffer loss after I was exiled from the knight order.
But Verse was laughing, nodding, “Yes. I’m still in business with The Knights of Saint Sophia.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, Cleon-san knows it’s better to continue business with me.”
It seemed Cleon didn’t stop the partnership with Verse just because Verse was my slave. That meant Verse was still an important source of information for The Knights’s higher-ups.
“My business won’t fail. I promise to continue helping Solon-san.”
Verse extended her right hand towards me, signaling for us to shake hands. I held my hand out.
Verse was an important partner for me. I never intended on treating Verse as a slave, so I treated her as an equal.
Anyway, my left hand was still holding Philia’s. Philia muttered, “It must be nice. I also want to help Solon as soon as possible.”
“A disciple doesn’t have to think about being useful to the instructor,” I smiled and said to Philia.
Seeing that, Verse asked us, “I’ve been wondering since a while ago. Why does Solon-san use honorifics towards your student?”
Oops. I was careless. I intended to hide the fact that Philia was a princess, but I subconsciously used honorifics towards her. Verse looked at us amusedly.
“It didn’t seem like you’re just an instructor and a student. I think you’re an aristocrat…”
Verse smiled and said nothing more. I didn’t want to tell her Philia’s identity, but she still noticed. Even if Verse knew Philia was a princess, she was someone I could trust so it wouldn’t be a problem. Still, it was better to hide it, just in case.
“Well, what business do Solon-san and his cute disciple have with me?”
“I’m looking for a magic wand for this girl. I thought I could choose the perfect one if I was with Verse.”
“So you’re teaching her magic.”
“She’s my disciple.”
Verse took a closer look at Philia and said, “I may sound insolent, but I don’t recommend teaching magic to this person.”
“Why not?” I asked her, surprised. Philia has a talent for magic, and Verse should have known. So I didn’t think there was any reason not to teach Philia magic.
But Verse shook her head.
“A human with devil’s blood can’t control magic,” Verse the devil said in a low tone.