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290 Big Business Deal

 Rhode didn't recognize the wrong person. This fat merchant was indeed Matt, who he had met when they escaped from the wreckage of the floating boat when he first arrived in this world. To be frank, although this merchant was sort of troublesome, he was actually rather kind in nature. After they parted ways in Deep Stone City, they never met again. But, who knew they would actually reunite here.

Since they knew each other, the following matter was easier settled. Matt wasn't an unreasonable person, and besides, although he had never met with Rhode and the rest after parting, he ran business within Paphield and naturally heard the news of Rhode's Starlight. Furthermore, this incident was technically his men's fault, which was why Matt had no qualms in apologizing to Marlene on behalf of his men. Marlene, on the other hand, had decided to not pursue the matter further as she had once heard from Lize the incident when Matt, Rhode, and her escaped the Twilight Forest. Therefore, she was more or less aware of this fat merchant and since this man was sincere in his apologies, Marlene decided not to hold a grudge anymore.

This conflict had been put to an end almost immediately.

In the end, both parties decided to share the campsite. Matt naturally welcomed this invitation. Although this wasn't the first time that they met this fat merchant, Rhode and Lize finally had the chance to watch him display his strong interpersonal skills. Although, due to the previous conflict, Rhode and the rest were standoffish with the guards, Matt was not affected at all. He brought a huge warm smile to everyone and chatted about the recent good weather, shared his knowledge and experiences, and passed rare gifts to everyone at the end of their conversation. Then, everyone who was objective about the guards, finally changed their attitudes, not to mention the always carefree Anne, Lapis, and Christie who had always been afraid of strangers. They admired the exquisite art gifts they had received.

Matt wiped the sweat off his forehead and sat by the bonfire. Then, he sneezed after gulping down a mouthful of wine, which left him he feeling much better.

"I didn't expect you to be so capable," Rhode said. Matt smiled cheekily in response and tucked the wine pot back into his bag.

"I've got no choice, Mr. Rhode. People in this industry need to be amiable. If everyone feels good, it makes businesses much easier? Ah... I promise that such incidents won't happen again. I will immediately fire that bunch of useless idiots once we returned to the Trade Association! Goddamnit! They even dared to offend a Mage. They must be sick of living..."

"It seems like you're doing fine?"

"The ways of the world are never easy."

Facing Rhode's taunt, Matt let out a bitter smile and shook his head while letting out a long sigh.

"Life isn't easy nowadays. Ever since the floating boat got wrecked, I lost almost half of my assets and now the Silver Libra Trade Association is struggling. We hardly get by everyday."

"Oh?"

Rhode twitched his brows.

"I remember when the trade route was sealed off, many items increased in price. Could it be that you didn't earn a fortune from that, Mr. Matt?"

"I do want to earn a fortune from that," Matt said with a face full of hopelessness. He scratched his head as the wide smile on his face faded. This indeed was a huge trouble for Matt.

"If it went according to what you said, Mr. Rhode, the sealing of the trade route should be a good opportunity for me. Even though I lost almost half of my assets, at least I could earn back my losses with the other half. But the damned Trade Association actually used this chance to jack the price up! Do you think I dared do it? My gosh, I still have my parents and children to feed. I can't risk getting hanged like those idiots who went against the price!"

As a travelling merchant, Matt had always been sensitive to such incidents. From the jacking up of price, he had already sensed that something was off and because of that, he didn't get involved with business transactions.

Just as expected, although the rise in price was considerably small, Matt wasn't able to recoup his losses. He felt that he had earned much more than the corpses swaying on the hanging post; after all, there was no use of money if one didn't even have the life to spend it.

"So then, this time around..."

"Because Her Highness Lydia decided to hold the Midsummer Festival in Golden City, I decided to try my luck and see if I could make a windfall out of it. To be honest, I came to a partnership agreement with Golden City. You see... My chariots are filled with wine and spices for Golden City. The price of these commodities are two times higher than before... And I can recoup my losses if everything goes well."

Although Matt sounded optimistic, Rhode discovered that this fat merchant wasn't that confident, after all. Besides, he was also clear that business profits relied strongly on opportune timing. And if Matt was able to hand over all his inventory in a short period of time, perhaps he could recoup his losses. However, the stir from the Trade Association would force Matt to delay his plans and his losses would be even greater that way. This was why Rhode empathized even though Matt seemed optimistic when he explained. There were no signs of happiness in his expression at all. Even if he could make up the losses with this business deal, the future losses would still be huge. The fat merchant should be thankful that he hadn't hung himself while crying to death.

"Forget it; let's not talk about these depressing issues."

Matt realised that he sounded disheartening. He shook his head and let out a long sigh. He turned to Rhode and revealed a smile which said that these were things all men know.

"And about you, Mr. Rhode, we haven't met for a short while and you already have so many beautiful girls by your side. Sigh... I'm so envious. Although I heard rumors of Starlight when I roamed around Paphield, now I know that the rumors weren't exagarating at all. Haha, they even said... Forget it; it's nothing."

Although Matt didn't continue his sentence, Rhode was certain that Matt was about to mention things like "a pretty leader leading a group of beauties, what a beautiful sight..."

This wasn't unexpected, considering Rhode had also heard such rumors from time to time.

"But... Miss Christie looks adorable. Even Miss Gillian and Miss Anne are rare beauties. Mr. Rhode, from a man's perspective, I am really envious of you."

Matt definitely came equipped with the ability to chit-chat. Before the situation turned awkward, he hurriedly started another topic as he faced the little girl opposite him, who was fiddling with a crystal ball in her hand. That was the present Matt had given to her. There was a house within the crystal ball and a figure of a little girl. The four seasons of the inside world would change as one turned the ball upside down. This was a magical item, but it just provided some mere amusement. However, Christie didn't seem to get tired of it as she excitedly observed the world within the crystal ball.

"That's life for you." Rhode sneered without any change to his expression. Matt scratched his head and displayed a bitter smile.

"To be popular with so many beauties of my age is definitely too difficult... Mr. Rhode, you have to work hard. Oh yes, there's also Lize. From what I see, her attitude towards you hasn't changed one bit."

"Huh?"

Rhode puckered his brows. He looked at Lize on the other side of the bonfire, who was currently speaking softly to Marlene.

"Mr. Matt, what plans do you have after your business in Golden City?"

"Plans?"

Matt was surprised by Rhode's question.

"Hmm... Temporarily, I have none, as I will need to see the reaps of this trip first. If I can't even make a profit, I won't be able to do what I want to do. But if I get lucky, I will start from the very beginning again... Sigh, it has been awhile since I had such emotions. Thinking back to when I was a merchant apprentice... Sigh..."

An idea came into Rhode's mind. Then, he asked, "If that's the case, Mr. Matt... Are you interested in a big business deal with Starlight?"

"Huh?"

Matt stared blankly.