EDIT: I fixed the untranslated part.
EDIT2: Digger Armaments to Digger Arms Shop. Shoutout to Frederic Dutzke for checking: thank you!
Links also updated. And some corrections were done.
After that, our time ran out, and I walked out of the chapel into the town. For the meantime, I’ll have no choice but to do as they ordered, so I should go and get the… no, before that, I should check the store first. I should also make the bug repellant with the Eternal Darkness (Herb).
…Although to be honest, I actually just can’t get rid of this worry that’s tugging at me. If I don’t do anything, I’ll end up overwhelmed by fear and anxiety for the demon king, so as much as possible I want to distract myself from it.
Gayn also told me that they can remove all of the bad influences to put my mind at ease. They gave me a bunch of reasons to call me over so they can heal me. They were worrying, but they still believed in me, and talked with me. So, since they believed in me, I too should believe in them that they can really remove the evil influence of the demon king and I should just focus on the work I have at hand.
As I decided that, I went over to Digger’s Arms Shop to have the armor that broke in the trip this time, ah, but I guess it’d be more apt to say it broke in my duel with Shiva-san rather than the trip though. In any case, I went to have it repaired.
“Excuse me.” [Ryouma]
As I entered the shop, I noticed that there was no one there, so I called out. The store’s owner, Darson, then came out.
“Looks like you came back safely.” [Darson]
“Thanks to your goods.” [Ryouma]
“Did something happen to your armor? We just adjusted it recently though.”
“I need it repaired.” [Ryouma]
“Repair? Did you run into some trouble?” [Darson]
“The magical beasts didn’t pose any problems, but along the way, I met someone. We exchanged pointers, and my armor was ruined.” [Ryouma]
“You fought someone strong, huh?” [Darson]
“Yes. I learned just how weak I still am from this last trip.” [Ryouma]
“As usual, you’re not like a kid at all. Well whatever, show me your armor.” [Darson]
Ryouma brought out his armor, and as Darson-san stared at it with a gaze full of interest, he muttered,
“Ho… That guy you fought was pretty good, huh? He used a spear of some sort for his weapon, right? On top of that, he used magic as well.” [Darson]
“You can tell?” [Ryouma]
“After being in this trade for such a long time, I’ve come to learn how to tell things from a glance… I have to say though, that guy you fought with is amazing… There’s barely anyone who could pierce through the hard lizard’s hide so cleanly, you know? Was he someone famous?” [Darson]
“Yes, his name is Shiva Gardak.” [Ryouma]
Of course he’s famous, he’s the former knight-commander. As I quietly thought that to myself, Darson-san’s gaze jumped up from the armor toward me.
“The former knight-commander!? Why were you fighting with a bigwig like that!?” [Darson]
“We met along the way. One thing led to another, and well… we ended up sparring.” [Ryouma]
“Right… Well, whatever, if it’s the knight-commander, then I guess it makes sense. Anyway, I can repair this thing if you want, but it’s cheaper to buy a new one, so… What will it be?” [Darson]
Money isn’t really a problem right now.
“Just repair it. It’s only been for a year, but I’ve already gotten quite attached to it.” [Ryouma]
“Got it.” [Darson]
“Also, the thing I asked you before… How is it?” [Ryouma]
“Oh, right! I finished it as soon as you left the town. I’ll bring it out now, just wait for a sec.” [Daron]
At those words, Darson-san left and headed for the store’s inner rooms.
That ‘thing’ I’m referring to is the custom armor I asked him to make before. I wondered whether it would be possible to create an armor woven with the sticky slime’s high-durability thread, so I asked him to make one.
After waiting for a while, Darson-san came back with a box that was somewhat on the bigger side. Inside that box were a pair of light green shirts, two pairs of pants, and two mantles.
“These here’re the finished products. I asked a good friend of mine that works with armors to make these, but I can guarantee their quality. I can hand these to you with confidence.” [Darson]
As Darson-san said that, he took a sheet of cloth from the box, and pointed a knife at it.
Darson-san tried to cut the cloth several times, but no matter how many times he tried, the blade couldn’t pierce through. The cloth could neither be torn nor cut.
“These were created with two pieces of clothing that were woven from the thread you brought. Everything in this box was made like this. It was hard to cut through the cloths, so it took a lot of effort to make, but the result is excellent.
These look like normal clothes from the outside. And though they’re meant to be worn beneath an armor, their actual quality is closer to that of a chain mail. It possesses extraordinary defense for inner armor.” [Darson]
I took out one of finished products from the box.
“You made the inner part out of silk?” [Ryouma]
“The cloth’s durable and it doesn’t feel all that bad to touch, but it doesn’t absorb water or moisture. So I thought about it, and I decided to create the inner part out of silk.” [Darson]
“I see, thank you. With this I won’t have problem even if I passed through a grove.” [Ryouma]
“A grove? Even wolves or goblins wouldn’t be able to pose a problem to you with that.” [Darson]
“With these and the repairs, how much is everything?” [Ryouma]
“Hmm… 13 small gold coins.” [Darson]
That’s actually pretty cheap considering I had it ordered.
“Is that alright? You’re repairing my armor too, so…” [Ryouma]
“It just took time to cut those cloths. No special processes were required. Besides, craftsmen love working with strange materials. So 13 small gold coins is enough.” [Darson]
“I see, thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
I took out a pouch filled with money. And from it, I took out 13 pieces of small gold coins. After I paid the bill, I took the clothes, and went out to town.
Next stop is my store.
When I got to the store, people went in and out like buzzing bees. Busy as always, I thought.
“Good morning–“ [Ryouma]
“Ah, Boss, ~Good Morning~” [Maria]
“Mornin’, Boss.” [Fina]
“Welcome home.” [Carm]
Entering through the store’s employee-use entrance, I went to the employee’s break room. There, Maria-san, Fina-san, and Carm-san greeted me. They looked somewhat startled at my presence.
Every time before I would leave, I would tell them when I planned to leave and when I planned to come back. This last trip was the same. Only, I was supposed to come back a month later, so their surprise is because I came back so quickly.
“I finished my task much earlier than expected, so I came back early. I’ve only been away for a month, but did any problems occur while I was gone?” [Ryouma]
When I said that, they said that nothing in particular happened. But it would appear that there’s something bothering them.
“Actually, Celma-san’s been out of it lately~…” [Maria]
“Celma-san? Is her health poor?” [Ryouma]
“I don’t think she has any ailments. She’s making delicious meals for us as always, and she’s always cheerful in the mornings. Just that… once work finishes and during our rest days, she would become lifeless.” [Fina]
…Is she worried about something? I’m not particularly good at giving advice regarding worries, but if she has some worries regarding her work, I might be able to help…
“I guess I’ll talk to her for a bit.” [Ryouma]
“I don’t know if I can help, but if it’s something related to her job, then I might be able to do something. I do need to act like a proper boss now and then after all.” [Ryouma]
After I said that, I left the breakroom, and went over to Celma-san’s workplace, the kitchen.
Erasing my presence, I stealthily took a peek at the kitchen. There, Celma-san was standing, mixing the soup as she pondered something to herself undecidedly.
“Good morning, Celma-san.” [Ryouma]
“Eh!? Oh dear me… Boss, welcome home.” [Celma]
“I’m home. By the way, is something the matter? You don’t seem to be in high spirits…” [Ryouma]
“Oh, no, no… There’s no such thing. I’ve just been thinking a lot lately ever since I received a certain letter.” [Celma]
As I was wondering how far I could meddle in her problems, the person-in-question herself spoke.
Apparently, the boss of the lodging Celma-san used to work at sent a letter through the merchant guild. Ever since reading that letter, she’s been reminiscing the past.
The workload was much bigger than here at the store, but Celma-san loved cooking for people and hearing them say how delicious her cooking was. Celma-san’s face as she spoke of the past was a truly beautiful smile.
“I see… Well, for the meantime, it’s good to know that you’re not sick.” [Ryouma]
This isn’t something I can help. I can’t tell her to stop thinking of her former work. There’s no meaning in saying something like that.
Besides, I’m not that much different from her. Ever since I’ve come to this world, there were times when I thought back to my previous world as well. It’s not really much different from wanting to reminisce from time to time. She’s not causing problems in her work either, so there’s really nothing for me to say.
“Sorry for worrying you, Boss.” [Celma]
“Don’t sweat it. After all, it’s not something you need to apologize for. That aside, please do tell Maria-san and the others. They’ve been worrying about you, you know?” [Ryouma]
“Oh, they were? Hehe… then in that case, please tell then in my stead, Boss.” [Celma]
“You want me to tell them?” [Ryouma]
“I just thought I’d make another dish for them. If I work now, I should make it in time to serve them another dessert before break ends. I need to do my best for everyone’s sake.” [Celma]
Celma-san said those words with the same smile she showed me when she was reminiscing of the old days.
So Celma-san’s the type to speak through her actions rather than her words.
“I understand. Please do your best, Celma-san.” [Ryouma]
As I said that, I left the kitchen, and went back to the breakroom. There, I told the others what Celma-san told me.
“So that’s how it was.” [Carm]
“So she wasn’t troubled or anything.” [Fina]
“That’s great~” [Maria]
It’s really good to hear that nothing was wrong. I also understand now just how good the relationship is between these employees of mine. That’s another plus.
After all, when the relationship in the workplace is bad, or even when the relationship isn’t bad, but just that the employees don’t care about each other… then small problems are bound to ensue. Those small problems would eventually lead to making quarrels amongst them more likely.
On top of that, such an environment would pile up stress on the employees, causing them to be more prone to mistakes and to be unhappy at their work. Moreover, they’ll be more likely to fall sick physical or mentally.
Above all, this world hasn’t progressed much in its machineries compared to my previous world. Which goes to mean that labor force is pretty much equal to manpower. And because environment and motivation are important factors in improving a worker’s efficiency, just raising the salary won’t be enough.
My store is doing great at handling its employees. I’d like to keep this up.
For that reason, I want Carm-san and the others who are in charge to do their best. Of course, I’ll be doing what I can as well.
I pondered on the different welfare benefits I could provide, and the first thing that flashed through my mind were bonuses, salaries, and summer vacation? Is there something like that in this world? Hmm… Although it’s good to be enthusiastic, I’ll need to ensure that the things I come up with match with the common sense of this world.
Suddenly, it hit me. Fina-san and the others left their homes to earn money, right? And yet… they haven’t gone back to their village in this whole year at all? Is that really ok?
It’s a good opportunity, so I might as well try asking them. If they do say that they want to take a vacation and visit their home, then it won’t be a problem since I can work in their place after I get my inheritance. I’ll be treating it as paid vacation, but I wonder if it’s alright to give them money for the trip as well.
“Right. Fina-san, Maria-san, mind if I ask you two something for a bit?” [Ryouma]
“What is it?” [Fina]
“Please ask us whatever you want, Boss~.” [Maria]
“Jeanne-san and you two left your village in order to make money, right? Do you have any plans of going back to your village?” [Ryouma]
The moment I asked that, the two of them immediately looked at each other, and panicked. Then with a docile expression, they answered.
“None… as of now…” [Maria]
“None of us three have any plans of going back. Umm… Boss? Are we being fired?” [Fina]
Eh!? Why did they take it that way!?
“You’re not. You’re not being fired at all. I’m just asking since I’m worrying whether it’s alright for you three not to bring home money to your family and see them. After all, you three are working out here to provide for your family, right?” [Ryouma]
I answered immediately, and the two seemed to have calmed down, breathing out sighs of relief. After that, I asked Carm-san to explain to me why the two had that sort of misunderstanding.
First off, this world does have its postal service, so people who leave home to work are able to communicate with their families via letters. And through the merchant guild, though they do have to pay a fee, they are also able to send money back home.
Also, it’s normal for such workers not to go home unless the reason is because of a life-endangering illness or a funeral service. Because of that the question “Do you have any plans of going back to your village?” was interpreted as, “Is there anyone among you who wouldn’t mind retiring?”
“My deepest apologies for surprising you two. I don’t have any intentions of dismissing either of you, so please rest assured. In fact, I wish for you all to continue to work with me in the future. I was just wondering whether it’d be a good idea to create an opportunity for you three to visit your home once a year.” [Ryouma]
They seem to have finally understood when I said those words. Although they were still quite shocked when they heard that on top of being given a long leave, their travel expenses would also be paid for, they were indeed happy to have the opportunity to meet their relatives again without losing their job. After all, even though it’s accepted in this world that going home isn’t possible unless one loses their job, they still can’t help wanting to see their families, right?
After having lunch together, I discussed the concept of paid vacations and salaries with Carm-san.
As a result, it was decided that it’ll be possible for the employees to file a vacation leave ahead of time, in which they’ll then be allowed to leave for a significant period of time. And with enough money provided to allow one to stay at the cheapest inns – although no food is included in the calculations – and the least amount of days required, the employees will have a much easier time visiting their families.
Continuing, I asked him regarding the status of the store.
The other stores don’t have any problems either. If there’s anything to take note of it’s that the adventurers have frequently been requesting for branches of the laundromat to be put up in the other towns as well. Because of that, Caulkins-san and his group proposed to use lure away the other researchers that are still researching slimes.
Slime researchers are mostly ignored, so there are very few amongst them that have confidential information. Because of that, there shouldn’t be any problems in luring them away to work for my store.
Moreover, because of the poorness of communication technology in this word, there are many people in the towns that we don’t have a branch in that don’t know about our store. And even those that do know about store don’t know about the usefulness of slimes. Although there are many people as well who think that some slimes can be used, the image of slimes being weak and useless is just too deeply ingrained into the minds of the masses.
But that also goes to say that this is an opportunity to lure away those poor slime researchers that are still being given the cold shoulder. And by luring them away, we’ll gain new manpower for the new branch stores. After teaching the promising ones amongst the new employees, we’ll be able to raise some new demon slave practitioners.
There’s no reason for me to refuse, so I agreed and approved of the plan of luring away slime researchers in order to prepare the new store branches.
“…It’s almost time to close the store.” [Carm]
I hadn’t realized it until Carm-san mentioned it, but apparently we had spent a long time talking about the store’s welfare programs and other matters.
After closing the store, and after finishing the work that needed to be done after closing the store, I went to the merchant guild.
I’m heading to the guild to deposit the income of the store.
The guild also works as a bank and as a money-exchanger. It’s also possible to create an account under one’s personal name as a merchant or the name of one’s store.
My store has its own account. Because of that Carm-san goes along with Fei-san and Li Ling-san to deposit the money at least three times a week.
The only money in the store are the copper coins used as change and the employees’ salaries. As well as the funds stored in the store’s treasury to be used to replenish the miscellaneous goods of the store when necessary.
There’s no other way to deposit the money, but to carry a large, heavy bag filled with copper coins. But when I’m around, I can simply tuck away the money in my ‘Item Box’, making transport a walk in the park. And more than anything, with the money hidden in my ‘Item Box’, there’s no danger of dropping the money or being stolen from. Because of that it’s usually best for me to carry the money myself.
“Every time I do this, I feel like the security guard of a bank’s armored transport car… There’s no danger in dropping the money, but I should hurry up and deposit this.” [Ryouma]
I hurried my pace as I muttered that. When I got to the merchant’s guild, I deposited the money. And then I went back to the house that I haven’t been in for about a month now.
I had made a wall out of a steel plate and boulder to block the entrance and prevent magical beasts from settling inside the abandoned mine. It’s a bit of a hassle that I can’t go rest immediately whenever I get back, but… well….
As I thought to myself the usual things I would think of whenever I returned, I finally arrived to my house.