Since morning, Ryouma had been strenuously working to prepare for the store and the party.
At a time right before noon, a carriage was heading towards Ryouma’s store. Inside this carriage were five people.
They were the members of the merchant guild, Grisela, Pioro, and Serge. And along with this three members, Serge also brought his subordinates, Karma Norad and Karla Norad.
These two, Karma and Karla, are twins. Today, Serge brought them for the purpose of introducing them to Ryouma as his future assistants. But what Serge doesn’t know is that these two are actually stressed out and anxious over what’s to come.
Although these two twins are young, they’ve been picked up by Serge and have been serving him as his right-hand men for a long time.
This kind of people, who could be said to be experts, have been ordered to go to Ryouma’s store to help him out as his assistants. But while it may be true that these two are happy that they are being trusted with work, at the same time they can’t help but feel worried when the store that they have been told to go to is a laundromat whose future prospects for profit normally aren’t bright. On top of that, they aren’t being told to handle the store. They are being told to support the manager who happens to be an 11 year old kid.
When you think about it, it’s only natural for an 11 year old kid to need assistance in managing a store. There’s no way that an 11 year old could possibly handle a store by himself. The life of a merchant isn’t that easy.
Actually, in order for Serge to get the trust of these two, he informed them of Ryouma’s close relationship with the duke. But it was because of that, that these two misunderstood and has assumed that Ryouma opened the store as a noble child’s toy.
Amongst the children of the nobles who received educations as nobles, there are some amongst them who consider the lives of the commoners to be easy and wish to imitate it. And then amongst those, there are those who are spoiled by their parents and are able to use money as if it were water and are able to use that money to play commoner.
Naturally the businesses of those pretend commoners see little success. Even if one were to provide them with an exceptional assistant the business will most likely fail. To begin with the gap between the sense of values of a noble and a commoner is simply too big a gap to bridge.
In such cases the one at the most disadvantage is the person in charge. If one listens to the advice of the children too much and the store gets shut down, the one to take responsibility is the person in charge. And in these cases there are those who have been made to pay reparations.
Although there are also cases where the parents of that child won’t pursue the matter and ask for payment. The thing is even if you say that it was just a child’s toy, the fact that a store handled by one was closed, will cause that person’s reputation within the guild to plummet.
Alternatively, if one were to just ignore the children’s opinion and go with whatever the person in charge wants. Even if the store were to flourish, there are cases where the parents would come and take the store away because the children’s wishes weren’t fulfilled. So with all this in mind, this kind of job is very difficult.
“We should almost be there, right?” [Pioro]
“Yeah. Just two more corners.” [Serge]
Hearing the words of their superior, the two children couldn’t help but think about how close they are to what might become their graveyards as merchants. Because of that their hearts sank and their countenance visibly darkened. They hung their heads down, and like that they continued to wait until the carriage stopped. But when Serge spoke up another time, they steeled their hearts and looked out the window. What they saw shocked them.
“I can see it! Over there!” [Serge]
“Ho Ho, not bad at all kid..” [Grisela]
“Wow! What a splendid store! He was actually able to make this in one week? Amazing~” [Pioro]
“Sister, this…” [One of the twins]
“Yeah…” [One of the twins]
What spread before their eyes may have simply been a white square building with some windows here and there, but the surroundings were covered by a bright green lush along with some flower beds here and there, giving off a strong sense of cleanliness. As the splendor of that scenery unwrapped itself before the eyes of the guild members, they couldn’t help but leave their mouths agape. While Karma and Karla suddenly felt as if a ray of hope had just thrust itself into their dark and dreary future.
When they entered the store, the first thing that caught their eyes were the four statues of the gods on the shelf near the ceiling.
The warm atmosphere the wooden interior exudes along with the simple but lovely reverse L shaped counter, complemented by other furniture, struck the five with admiration. But as Karma and Karla felt their future getting brighter, the next instant crushed their hopes.
“Welcome to the Bamboo Forest Laundry Agency!”
As soon as they had entered, Ryouma quickly came out from inside.
Karma and Karla’s first impression of Ryouma was that of a normal kid with an honest and a decent face. Unfortunately, though this might be poorly put, Ryouma also looked like he had no ambition, and his docile impression wasn’t the kind that suited merchants. If it was just one of the neighboring kids they wouldn’t care, but as they thought that this kid was going to be their boss, they couldn’t help but grimace in fear of their future troubles.
“Thank you for inviting me today, Ryouma. I’m really happy to have been invited.” [Pioro]
“This store gives off such a good feeling, I guess we can expect much from you in the future.” [Grisela]
“You’ve finally completed your store, congratulations.” [Serge]
“Thank you very much. Speaking of which, these are…?” [Ryouma]
“Oh, right. I almost forgot, these are the two assistants I was planning to give to Ryouma-sama.” [Serge]
“Karma Norad.” [Karma]
“Karla Norad. It’s a pleasure to meet you, please take care of me and my younger brother.” [Karla]
“Thank you for your courtesy. My name is Ryouma Takebayashi. Please take care of me as well.” [Ryouma]
The two breathe a sigh of relief in their hearts as they noticed that Ryouma didn’t act haughtily. Unfortunately though, while it did not show on their faces, anxiety continued to stir within their hearts.
But in the next instant they couldn’t help but let some of their anxiety show when Ryouma acted rather vaguely in response to Serge’s introduction.
“Even amongst my subordinates these two are quite exceptional. You could consider them my right hand men. I believe they will be able to serve Ryouma-sama well.” [Serge]
“Oh? They are Serge-san’s right hand men? That’s …” [Ryouma]
At that the two let it slip.
“Is there a problem?” [Karma & Karla]
At those twin’s words, Ryouma hurriedly rationalized.
“No, there are no problems. I was just quite surprised as I hadn’t expected Serge-san’s right hand men to be the ones coming as my assistant.” [Ryouma]
Having been convinced by Ryouma’s answer, at their last murmuring the twins asked another question.
“Is there anything inconvenient about us?” [Karma]
“If there’s anything, then please let us know. After all Ryouma-sama will be our superior from now on.” [Karla]
“While there are no problems in regards to the job. I believe you two are overqualified. Work in the shop isn’t difficult and because of that you two won’t have plenty of opportunities to use your abilities. If I may as to be so blunt, your abilities are wasted here, and so I believe it would be better for you two to work at a more suitable environment.” [Ryouma]
Actually all Ryouma was looking for was someone who would serve as a receptionist and another to carry the clothes. So when he saw Serge bring some exceptional merchants with him, he couldn’t help but think it to be a waste. But at the same time, because of what Ryouma said, the two couldn’t help but to feel down.
Although Ryouma said what he had said out of concern, if someone were to tell you that your abilities weren’t needed, it’s only natural for you to feel down, right?
Seeing the downtrodden look of the two, Grisela and Pioro asked Serge.
“Serge, did you properly explain to these two?” [Grisela]
“Aren’t these two misunderstanding something?” [Pioro]
Serge, having just realized, quickly went to the twins to explain. He then explained that Ryouma’s store isn’t a noble’s toy, and is in fact a business endeavor expected to make a huge profit. So much so that even the head of the merchant guild, Grisela, and the president of another large store, Pioro, were interested. As the twins came to understand the situation, they couldn’t help but shiver at the honor of working here and the amelioration it will bring to their future. As Serge-san finished explaining to them, they turned towards Ryouma, and with great vigor, apologized.
“Please excuse our previous behavior!” [Karma & Karla]
“Because of our inexperience we were unable to fully comprehend Ryouma-sama’s true motive.” [Karla]
“I’m truly sorry for my behavior until now.” [Karma]
“There’s no need to be like that, it’s not like you’ve done anything rude in particular. Besides I understand just how unusual it is for a child my age to hold a store. Also, I too know just how absurd the nobles’ children can be.” [Ryouma]
“You two can stop now. If you guys apologize it will just trouble Ryouma instead. Ryouma really looks like he doesn’t mind so if you really feel sorry just work to the best of your abilities as an apology.” [Grisela]
“Understood!” [Karma & Karla]
When he saw that enthusiasm, Ryouma chuckled.
“But no matter how enthusiastic you are… just like I said a while ago it’s really not that big of a job, you know?” [Ryouma]
“A job to this extent will definitely make a lot!” [Karla]
“We can also take care of the account book and manage the expenses.” [Karma]
But even if they say that, to someone like Ryouma who knows a little of Japan’s ridiculous earning calls and accounting, such things didn’t seem complicated at all.
Moreover, though Ryouma’s store may have plenty of income, the only expenditures his store really has are the bags and daily necessities bought from Serge’s store. Compared to other stores, the accounting here is far simpler.