Chapter 63:

Chapter LXI – His lingo is discussed upon.

His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)

45th of Summer, 5859
City of Casamonu, Casamonu

Today was a day, one which had gone unremarkably up until now for Count Leon. He had woken up, had breakfast, hadn’t brushed his teeth because dental hygiene hadn’t been invented yet, and sat in his office to await any news on the siege of the Earlywatch estate.

Oh, only if he had captured that traitorous scum by now! Leon counted on giving Baha leniency in sentencing in exchange for Baha giving him the details on where and how the fugitives operated. Then, instead of bothering to individually protect all the plantation owners angrily petitioning him, Leon would strike at the heart of darkness within Casamonu and finish this little insurrection once and for all.

Of course, things had gone a bit pear-shaped now, with there being no report yesterday from Sir Korvus. This wasn’t unusual, there previously hadn’t been any reports on days where nothing of import had happened, but Leon expected a letter of gratitude for the cannons at least. Had the men of Sir Baha somehow managed to stand firm against the metal beasts spewing fire towards them? It seemed so. Maybe Sir Korvus hadn’t sent him a report out of feeling shame for his failure to break the mansion’s defenses. You’re supposed to send reports especially when things are going bad, for Its' sake! Sir Korvus was definitely going to receive a stern lecture from Leon when he got back.

Knock, knock! Count Leon didn’t move an inch from his comfy position upon hearing the knock. He was leaning back on his sofa, boots lying on the table in a matter most unbefitting of a man of his stature. “Who is it?”

The voice behind the door was familiar to Count Leon. “Hilmi, sir. There’s a dwarven lord who wants to see you. Should I let him in now?” It was that of his servant, ever faithful unlike his uppity vassals.

Dwarves were a whole another matter, a matter which the count would reluctantly have to deal with. Those little hairy manlets… Leon quickly fixed his posture on the sofa. “Let him in.” He had received a letter from the dwarves stating that they’d send a diplomat to discuss issues, but Leon had long forgotten it due to how preoccupied his head was from all the fugitive business happening. The count didn’t remember for what the dwarf wanted to meet him either.

Before the dwarf came into the count’s sight, he could already hear the dwarf’s arrival from the clangs of heavy metal coming his way. Then came the dwarf themselves: encased in full steel, with a large warhammer strapped to their back. The dwarf immediately squinted their eyes upon entering the room “Could you close the curtains? My eyes aren’t used to so much sunlight like you humans seem to like for some reason.”

Count Leon’s servant quickly got to closing the curtains for the dwarven diplomat. The count himself began with pleasantries. “It is very nice to meet you, Sir…” He realized that he had forgotten the dwarf’s name.

Lady Whitebeard.” One could barely see the dwarf’s brows furrow in anger through her flowing white hair. “Have you ever seen a dwarven man with such a well-groomed beard? I don’t think so, those brutes wouldn’t know what a brush is if one hit them right in their face.”

“Please, do excuse me…” Leon added a couple more words of reluctant apology to make up for his mistake. Meanwhile, his nervous eyes were focused on the giant warhammer that the small dwarf was carrying on her.

Openly carrying around an implement of war into the presence of a noble was definitely not an acceptable practice in human etiquette. Thankfully, Hilmi had taken up the job of removing it from her. “Madame, your hammer-”

“What’s up with my hammer? Everywhere I go they want to take it away. Let it be known that one does not simply separate a dwarf from her steel, unless it is taken from her cold dead hands!” Whitebeard quickly took a seat in the room, making herself comfortable despite being in the presence of someone which, technically, was her superior. “Do you have any beer?”

“N-No… We have wine, madame. Would you-”

“Of course not! Human wine tastes like piss. So does your beer, but at least it’s a tastier flavor of piss.”

Count Leon gazed up to the ceiling, trying to hide his annoyance. This is why he didn’t like dwarves. Proud, standoffish, and without regard for nobility… A combination of all the traits he hated as a respectable member of high human society. He wondered how their society hadn’t fallen into a society of barbaric anarchy with such disagreeable traits. They are like the slightly more civilized cousins of the darkskins… Very slightly. A tiny little bit. “I am quite curious as to why an esteemed dwarven gentlewoman would make her way here today.”

“Esteemed? My term is running out in a week, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m not reelected due to having spent a big chunk of my term by wasting my time wandering on the surface world.” A few grumbles came from under Whitebeard’s aptly white beard. “The reason why I had such a delay is also the reason why I have made my way here.”

“Hm?” Leon was about to slam his head onto the desk the moment he realized the reason for the dwarf’s visit. He had gotten tired of being asked about the fugitives by now, considering there was always some concerned git in his office yapping on about the “barbarians” coming to “end civilization” or something. Really, he didn’t disagree with the fact that the fugitives were a menace to society, but he also couldn’t exactly easily exterminate such a vague threat. All he knew was that the fugitives had attacked a copper mine once, and now they had begun attacking plantations. He didn’t know whether there was one group, two groups, or if all slaves had simultaneously caught a severe case of hysteria. Nor did he know whether they were a large group sending smaller parties, or a small group making surgical attacks every day, or whether they were led or funded by any of his political rivals. For all he knew, Leon was currently being targeted by a conspiracy of petty landowners looking to dethrone him by creating an excuse by themselves by letting their slaves escape.

Grand conspiracies aside however, Leon had a dwarf to deal with at the present moment. “You see, I had lots of time to check the temperature of the county on my journey. First it was the slave uprising in Azdavay, then I heard about a copper mine being burnt down, and by the time I approached the city here I’ve seen burnt down plantations with my own two eyes. Of course, while we dwarves are against the exploitation of labor, we are also against sticking our noses in other’s business unlike you humans with your noses stuck everywhere.”

I don’t think you are tall enough for your nose to reach any business in the first place, added Leon while he was trying his best not to fall asleep while hearing to the same complaints he had heard from everyone else.

“However, as the Lord-Incumbent of Trade, my concern has to lie within the state of commerce between our realms. I know that humans, since they are so tall, have their brains higher up which means that you sometimes have trouble with blood reaching there. Still, I do hope your brain is working hard enough to see that travel, and trade, has become quite the chore. By the Ones Who Dwell Deep, I was basically extorted by the caravan masters! Do you know how expensive travel has become now that they are scared to go outside of city walls?”

Yes, Leon did know how terrible things were. Even if, at most, there were one or two plantations being burnt down now and then, the mass hysteria caused by the fugitives had done more than enough damage to the economy. Every day, every single damned day, his steward came in with reports of merchants withdrawing from the city, with reports of guild masters complaining about not getting any materials, with reports of adventurers coming back with nothing… What was the count supposed to do?!

“Yes, I do know how terrible things are. Even if the situation isn’t as terrible as you’ve heard it, the rumor mill has been running on full speed.”

By now, Leon had even heard that the peasants in the rural areas had begun forming their own militias in fear of the fugitives. Normally such a move was quite the threat to the order in his county, armed peasants were quite the revolting sight, and it was a threat that he’d have sent his own men to crush. Some of the local lords had done so with their own forces, some had let them be, and some lords were (unbeknownst to Leon) dead from the battle that had happened around the Earlywatch estate. Things were not okay, they definitely weren’t.

“We are currently conducting a special military operation in order to find the base of the fugitives and end their terror once and for all.”

“Oh, are you?” Whitebeard raised her brow. “How has that gone? I have visited a few of your vassals along the way, and it’s not going the best from what I hear. The slaves are still escaping to who-knows-where.”

“The operation is still ongoing.”

“Indeed. The operation is still ongoing without much success. So has our business in Casamonu, and the dwarves will have to withdraw lest they incur great financial loss. I originally set off to observe the situation in Azdavay, but now I am here to warn you instead.”

Leon had enough. His fist came slamming down on his table. “And what am I supposed to do?!”

The dwarf shrugged. “I know not. Sticking my nose in your business isn’t my business. The copper from Mount Curry is very precious for us, and selling the copper to us is very precious for you. That is the extent of our relationship.” Whitebeard rose up from her seat. “Disappointing. I was at least hoping to taste a mug of your beer, but all I got was a mugful of disappointment.”

Leon sobered up upon seeing the dwarf stand up to leave “Wait-”

“Do not waste your time pleading with me. I’ll not have any authority on such matters in a week, the only thing you can do is pray to your deities that the next Lord of Trade has more patience. However, I doubt they will.” Whitebeard waved goodbye, closing the door behind her.

Count Leon froze in place for a while, unsure whether he should chase after the insolent dwarf. Still, he was too tired to do so. “Argh…” He finally put his chin on the table, his arms spreading out on the table in resignment. “Hilmi, do you know what just happened?”

Hilmi had completely zoned out during the conversation. “What, sir?”

“Of course you wouldn’t know… We just lost our biggest source of income. Get me something to drink.”

Much to the dismay of Count Leon, things were about to get worse. He heard another knock on the door.