“Hey, this is pretty good.”
Said the unrivaled beauty as she stuffed her cheeks full of jerky.
For whatever reason, I was saved by this girl and now the two of us are eating lunch together.
… I wonder, what exactly is this child.
The route I was assaulted on is a shortcut well known amongst peddlers. The route is an ancient and unused highway. All that’s nearby is a collapsed country.
The merchant’s guild would like to restore it; however, between the bandits and monsters, repairs aren’t proceeding as planned. Because of this, the path is rugged and casualties from attacks are high.
I was in a rush so I had no choice but to take this path… And just as I thought, I was attacked. If this girl hadn’t been passing through, I would surely be dead.
I knew a little magic and believed it to be enough, but those three were skilled to the point that my only option was to flee. Even so, those three were sent flying with a kick as if they were children. This girl… Exactly what is she? Her age seems to be around 13-14…
“Thank you, to even go so far as to lend me your clothes.”
“I-It’s fine. It’s good that the size fits you well.”
The clothes are one of my products, a set of mage clothing. The girl said she had no clothes, so I had given her a set.
It’s true that she’s my savior, but without them, I’m troubled about where to look.
… It was quite the nice physique.
Due to my nature as a merchant, I’ve travelled across many countries and I had met many beauties. Occasionally, I had even “bought” some of them.
I believed that I had met many beautiful women; however, this girl in front of my very eyes… To give my honest impression, there was nothing that could be compared.
Out of all the women I had seen, she possessed the most exquisite face of them all. I had never considered myself a lolicon, but it may be time for me to reevaluate that belief.
And so, as we ate our meal, I came to find her act of licking the salt and oil off of her hands as attractive. Despite that, I found her to be quite androgynous, or maybe it would be better to put it as unladylike or open… That is also…
“…? Is there something wrong?”
“No, nothing of concern.”
If I stare too long,I feel I’ll drown in those scarlet eyes. I forced my gaze away; however, it felt rude, so I shifted my gaze to her forehead.
Even though our eyes don’t meet, it is a line of sight that gives the impression of “He is looking at my face.”
“By the way, where is this carriage headed?”
“It is headed for a town called Alrescha”
“… Does that place have a stable climate, delicious food, and good public order?”
“If you’re just talking about this country, it’s on the better side in my opinion.”
It is a town on the coast, so while the breeze is salty, it is pleasant all year round.
Being on the coast has caused trade to prosper and the seafood is always fresh. The town is also an important region to the country, so public order is well-maintained. If I had to fault something, it would be that the lord of the region is a womanizer.
When I explained all this to her, the silver-haired girl thought for a little before she replied and said, “…Sashimi sounds good. If it is fine with you, could you give me a lift there.”
“Sure, with pleasure.”
I couldn’t turn down my savior, even if I wanted to.
On top that, to be able to travel with such a beautiful girl, it would make more sense for me to ask her to accompany me.
“By the way, I didn’t quite catch your name. My name is Zeno, Zeno Kotobuki.”
“Ah… Oh yeah, a name…”
“…? Is something wrong?”
Did I ask a strange question?
The girl ruffled her beautiful silver hair while making a troubled face.
… Is there some reason why she can’t reveal her name to me?
Being in this place without any clothing, it’s hard to call that natural.
I won’t pretend to know what’s going on, but I’m sure there must be a good reason for all this.
To not be able to immediately state her name, there must be a troubling reason behind it.
I don’t know anything about the other party’s background. This means there’s a large amount of uncertainty, a major burden for any merchant. Disregarding the looks, I can’t get a read on what’s inside.
… But she’s my savior.
A merchant is someone who always remains cool, yet never forgets courtesy.
The other party protected my most valuable asset, my life. She even saved my cargo.
Before even going into profit, she’s my greatest benefactor. If she doesn’t want to talk about it, it’s fine not to ask. Let’s end the discussion here.
“It’s long, so just call me Arge.”
“… I understand.”
Judging from the flow of the conversation, it’s easy to imagine the name she just told me is false.
Even so, I silently accepted it.
What’s important is that the girl in front of me, my savior, struggled to answer my question, even though it must have been difficult for her. Even if it is not the truth, I only have the right to accept it.
In this way, my mysterious savior and I spent several days together until we arrived at the town of Alrescha.
After this, my path and hers would cross multiple times. For our fates to be drawn together in this way, I had no way of knowing it at the time.