“I never heard of any incidents where the Merfolk appeared alongside the Nagas. May I know the reason why?” Brendel asked as he stood by the side of the boat.
“That’s unrelated to you, Human!” Before Sani could speak up, the woman next to him coldly glared at him. She had a pair of slim arms, her body slim and looked really similar to a human girl. It was clear that she was not a Naga, but an authentic Merfolk.
Looks like she’s pissed off now.
The Merfolk were originally peaceful creatures, and never participated in any cases or robbery. If it was not for them facing a dire situation, they would definitely not break that code and appear here. It made her angry at the fact that the human used a straight face to ask that question. That guy is really dumb! I just hope there won’t be any rumors suggesting that we’re pirates now as well.
“Seems like you all are facing some troubles,” Brendel said with him keen perception.
“What are you suggesting?” Sani said with his brows arched.
“I was just wondering if I could help with anything.” Brendel curiously asked.
Sani hesitated for a moment, and was a little shocked. But as he did, Brendel realized that just how much trouble they were in to think so deeply about this matter. Normally, they would just decline straight off the bat. Brendel racked his brain to find a big event that happened in the Shining Sea back in the game, and could faintly recall the “West Ocean Battle”. But that happened way before the War of the Black Roses and the Battle only had a few forum discussions even till the end of the first volume.
This was a fight that happened on the borders of Aouine, beyond the involvement of the players and their battles.
Brendel thought for a moment and asked before the other got a chance to say anything, “How about this? We’re merchants. Our ship is mostly filled with cargo. If there’s something you all need, we can discuss business. I promise you that it won’t hurt your reputation.”
Even James could see that he was trying to curry the favor of the Grey Fins’ commander. However, he had another question in mind. The Grey Fins were an infamous troupe of pirates. It was unclear whether or not they could be trusted and, besides that, they were not even the strongest group in the Shining Sea.
“You’re right,” the mermaid spoke up. Her voice was melodious, like she was singing. However, the words were also laced with poison, “Didn’t you say we’re pirates? So what if we wanted everything on your ship, would you agree?”
She glared at Brendel as she completed her sentence. If he doesn’t comply, I will have to mock him till he does. But if he did… Seems like I may have to come up and meet him myself. But merchants are greedy, and they will probably come up with an excuse to decline.
However, she did not expect Brendel’s reply, “It’s not like that is impossible. We can come down to an agreement. I’m sure of it.”
The mermaid’s eyes widened, “Human! Aren’t you trying to make business? Is there anyone that does it like you?”
She was sure Brendel was amused with everything that happened right now, and could not help but ask.
“I heard that the battle among the Nagas is getting intense as of now. There’s a system in the wars of humans. If I put out money and invest in you to win this war, and if you so coincidentally win, you give us a cut from the spoils. And even if you lose, I will only lose my goods, but I still earned a favor from you. That’s a win-win situation for me, so why won’t I do it?”
Hearing him say that, the mermaid got wary. She arched her eyebrows and asked, “How do you know that we’re fighting a war?”
“He’s bluffing,” Sani sighed. He may be clumsy, but he was not stupid. The term ‘dork’ was just something Brendel and his friends from the game nicknamed him for that clumsiness. He pulled the mermaid to his back, afraid that she would expose everything to the human. I’ve never heard of such good terms in business. He must have something else to gain in this.
The mermaid soon came to her senses, and, between gritted teeth, glared at Brendel. I’ve never seen such a cunning human before. As they said, humans are devious creatures. Seems like it’s true!
The people behind Brendel was trying to suppress their laughter. Especially Carglise who realized at the moment that his Lord is really crafty. I heard that his fiancee is really good at managing finances and was a first-rate merchant. Seems like the two of them are really similar after all!
Amandina tried to warn, “My Lord…”
Brendel just nodded his head to tell her not to worry. She must be uneasy that we’ll be losing out in this deal. It is not a big matter to lose the cargo on the ship, but it will be a problem for me if I indeed agree to invest in this war.
Of course, he was just saying all that for fun. He knew that in the future, although they did not manage to unite the sea creatures, they were still alive even tens of years later. It just meant that they must have either won the war, or did not lose that badly.
Plus, even if he wanted to invest, Sani and the leader of the Grey Fins would definitely disagree. After all, she should be smart enough to know that nothing is free in this world.
“Alright,” Sani finally thought it through. “Do you have medicine on your ship?”
“Medicine? You have injured men?” Brendel received a hint in the sentence. There was no shortage of medicinal materials in the seas, but the Nagas lacked the alchemists to create them. It must only mean that they have a large number of casualties, and it would explain their use in Demon Whales and Mermaids. He immediately thought of the death of the queen in three years time.Maybe she died of an injury too serious rather than a sickness…
The queen was someone who awakened her Elemental Powers, and it was totally plausible for her to hold out for three years. The more Brendel thought about it, the more he felt his guesses were on point.
“You’re asking too much,” Sani said, displeased.
“Alright. Let me guess. I heard that the seas are rich in miraculous medicinal materials, and treating normal injuries should not be a problem for you guys. My ship may have some medicine, but it can only cure small wounds and ailments. But I do have something that may be of use to you guys.”
“What is that?” Sani asked.
Brendel took out a small and transparent bottle. It was Amman’s most precious gift to him-- Holy Potion No.1. There was not a lot of these manufactured, as it required the best alchemists and the Pope of the Holy Cathedral spending several months to create it. The two bottles with him now may be the only ones left in this world. Brendel wanted to bet on it, that if the injured person was indeed the queen. If it was, then the investment would pay off. But if it was not…
But he already took it out and would definitely not pout and keep it back. Sani took the bottle and eyed it curiously. He recognized that it was a Holy Potion. But the Nagas had gotten a lot of these from robbing the merchant ships. They had used it before and it did not have any effect and… looking at this small bottle, he was thinking that the effect would be even worse.
He was about to raise his head and ask when the Mermaid behind him snatched the bottle out of his hands. She pulled out the cork and sniffed and was startled. Immediately, she sealed it once more and moved towards Sani. Sani stifled as he noticed something was definitely wrong. She may be a little simple-minded, but her knowledge as a witch must have told her something invaluable.
“What’s going on?” He asked.
“I- If I’m not wrong… This is the Holy Potion No. 1,” her voice was trembling as she spoke softly.
“What’s that?” Sani asked again.
“We could say it like this… My Lord, this tiny bottle could easily be used to purchase half of the Shining Sea,” the Mermaid replied in an odd tone.
“Ah!” Even Sani was dumbfounded. He immediately felt that he did not just receive a Holy Potion, but a grenade. This was not the first time he raided a ship, but it was the first time he was such a precious treasure. After all, they would pick their targets and will avoid those big merchant ships and Royal boats that may have had priceless treasures like this. After all, they were not easy targets.
“Can it cure…?” He could not help asking.
“That’s enough! It won’t even require that much! Just a little is enough, “The Mermaid said in a cheerful manner.
Sani immediately silenced. He raised his head to look at Brendel, “Human, are you really giving this to us? I must have you know that we can’t afford it!”
“It’s fine,” Brendel said as if he did not care. “As I said, I’m investing in your war.”
How can you invest in a war? Sani was really confused He never met someone who did business as Brendel did. But after a while, he asked sternly, “Then...May I know your name?”
“Just call me Brendel. I am currently on a mission, and it isn’t too convenient for me to reveal my family name.” Brendel said. It was a half-truth, half-lie.
“I understand. I will repeat once more. In my name, Sani, as long as any ship bears the flag with your insignia on it, they will be under the protection of the Grey Fins. And if anyone were to attack these ships, it will indicate war on us as well. And of course, we will retaliate.”
Sani’s overwhelming voice resounded across the ocean surface, and that paled James' face. Sani may have only repeated his sentence, but it was held a different meaning. His promise is now more official. If he held true to his promise, it would mean that there is no chance for Brendel to be raided by pirates in the future. And as long as the Grey Fins exist, so will this promise last.
As someone who lived on the seas for some time now, James obviously knew what that meant. Aside from the large merchant ships and those that came from royal families, the ordinary ones have a 50% chance of being raided and would have to bear huge losses. But as long as the promise holds, Brendel’s subordinates would definitely be on good terms with the big names from Ampere Seale in the future.
But that was if Brendel was interested in business--
Sani glared at Brendel, “If your goods are really that miraculous as they say, then I promise you that, as long as you don’t harbor any ill intentions against the Grey Fins, you will always be our friend.”
In other words, if Brendel’s words were to be a lie, the previous promise would be nulled as well. Sani did not come to a conclusion immediately. He did not believe that someone would just benefit someone to this extent for no reason. Since the Mermaid behind him confirmed that the bottle was worth half the Shining Sea, then it must be worth that much. And he did not think someone would just give up that much wealth away.
All will be revealed with just some tests. He gestured at the others, and submerged back into the water with the Mermaid, leaving only a trace on the ocean surface.
The remaining Nagas waited until all of them disappeared from the ocean surface, before notifying Brendel and co, “Human friend, Lord Sani ordered us to protect you on your journey.”
Brendel nodded. Instead of calling it protection, why not call it surveillance? But if the Holy Potion No.1 really works, these Nagas would definitely deliver us safely to Ampere Seale. Not like they can do anything anyway. Thinking back, what was the huge scar on Sani’s left shoulder? I don’t remember seeing it the last time I met him. He must’ve gotten it during this battle.
He initially wanted to point that out to Sani, but he decided not to. After all, a life and death experience was really precious to a warrior.
Looking back, this favor he bought was not a big one. But becoming friends with the Grey Fins was indeed unexpected. He looked up to see the sailors pulling up the sails and prepared to continue their journey while James was standing by the side, saying amusingly, “My Lord is really good at dealing business.”