Volume 3 Chapter 5
It’s been two months since I’ve parted with the Jamil Household.
Around the time when the sun had set, and the sky darkened, the screams and angry voices of men can be heard coming from a corner of the Town of Gimuru. Those voices came from the men who attacked Ryouma, but was quickly subdued by Ryouma’s counterattack.
“Run! We can’t win!” [Ruffian Boss]
“This brat – gyaaa!!!” [Lackey 1]
“Guga!?” [Lackey 2]
“Ku…” [Lackey 3]
“Morons! Didn’t I tell you to run?!” [Ruffian Boss]
One of the assailants, sensing they couldn’t win, told the other three men to run. However, the three men, whose leader had not yet fallen, ignored their leader’s order in their rage, and they went after Ryouma. As a result, their arms were broken, their legs crushed, their chins smashed, and their consciousness taken.
“W-Wait! We surrender! We won’t get in your way anymore!” [Ruffian Boss]
“I am truly sorry, however, I no longer have any intentions of listening to such excuses. People like you have recently increased, so if I let you off with an apology, my troubles will never end.” [Ryouma]
“No… Gek…” [Ruffian Boss]
In a flash, Ryouma had knocked the man out.
“And case closed.” [Ryouma]
As Ryouma looked around him, it could be seen that there were already 13 men lying around him, groaning. Their limbs crushed.
“Seriously, how long is this going to continue for?” [Ryouma]
A few seconds after Ryouma had whispered that, four men ran towards him from a distance. These four men are all guards of the Town of Gimuru.
“What’s with all the commotion!? – Is what I’d normally ask, but as expected, it’s you, huh, Ryouma? I won’t ask anymore, are these today’s criminals?” [Guard 1]
“Yes. Thank you as always.” [Ryouma]
“Yeah. Tie up the ones who aren’t injured much! As for the injured ones… are you going to do it today as well?” [Guard 1]
“Then do it quickly.” [Guard 1]
Ryouma took out a heal slime, and together with it, he used ‘High Heal’ on the limbs of the ruffians. Under the power of healing magic, the broken bones were quickly healed. As soon as the healing completed, Ryouma handed over the criminals to the guards.
“7 people… adding them up, that totals to 12 bones… It’ll be quite costly again.” [Guard 1]
“A ‘High Heal’ goes for 1,000 suits per cast. It takes 6 casts to heal a bone, so with 12 bones, that will total to 72,000 suits. As service, I’ll shave it a bit, and settle for 70,000 suits.” [Ryouma]
The man’s face stiffened.
“I know it’s needed, but it’s still terrifying.” [Guard 1]
“The ruffians have decreased quite a bit since I’ve started doing this, but there’s still quite a few coming… If these sorts weren’t around, I wouldn’t want to do this either…” [Ryouma]
“At any rate, I’ll have you come to the guardhouse first. After all, we need to pay you.” [Guard 1]
Recently, Ryouma has been the target of some ruffians. It was as if they were waiting for the Jamil Household to leave. And the day right after the Jamil Household had managed to return home, the ruffians’ activities suddenly started to increase tremendously. Ruffians like these ones have been coming quite frequently since a month ago.
When the ruffians came to realize how difficult it was to find fault with the store, they started fabricating and spreading ill rumors. However, with the store’s steadily built-up reputation, along with the help of Grisela and Serge, the rumors were quickly put to rest. Having realized that not even their fabricated rumors had taken effect, the ruffians finally decided to do things directly.
Since then, a lot of ruffians attacked the store at night, while others tried to ambush Ryouma. But with the slimes, Fei, Li Ling, and Ryouma all working together, the ruffians were unable to win. As for the damages – such as when the ruffians tried to forcefully push their way into the store – it was only on the level that could easily be fixed with some materials and magic.
Of course, those expenses were more or less covered by the guards after the criminals were caught. Moreover, since right from the start Ryouma had used magic to build the store, the damages were fixed at little to no cost, causing the compensation to become a part of the day’s profit instead.
Speaking of which, the ruffians who broke the buildings were made to pay the repair expenses. When they didn’t have enough money to cover the bill, the guards covered it for them in advance. Of course, this isn’t free, but an advance. So the guards made the ruffians work as punishment until they were able to pay it back.
A lot of the ruffians have been caught since they started attacking, but they still didn’t give up despite having no other choice left but violence. Because of that, Ryouma has been the target of their attacks nearly every day. In response to this, Grisela, Serge, and even Wogan huddled together to discuss the issue. They then decided that all the assailants who have been injured or poisoned by the poison slime will have to receive treatment from the heal slime or an antidote, causing them to have a long list of medical expenses. With this, the risks will be higher, and the assailants will now have to think twice before attacking. This is something they decided after taking into account Ryouma’s strength and the store’s defense.
In this world, it’s legal to injure your assailants provided that it’s under the pretext of self-defense. That’s why the ruffians can’t complain. In fact no one would complain even if they were left alone after being injured. But if you do heal them, then you’ll have the right to demand payment from them for the medical bill afterwards. Beating someone up, and then charging them medical bills? No matter how you look at it, this is clearly extortion. However, since it’s self-defense, it’s still barely legal according to the laws of this world.
Ryouma wasn’t happy with this kind of method, but while the current situation wasn’t a problem for Ryouma, at the rate it was going it would eventually become dangerous for the employees except for Li Ling and Fei, so Ryouma had no choice but to agree.
As a result, Ryouma has been plucking apart the ruffians who have either attacked him or the store. And right after incapacitating them, Ryouma would then heal the ruffians, and then push a huge medical bill on to them. Thanks to this, a rumor started to circulate amongst the ruffians that a legal but ludicrously high medical bill was being pushed on to them, causing the number of assailants to greatly decrease.
“Here’s the payment for today. 70,000 suits all in all, please confirm.” [Guard 1]
“The amount’s correct, thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma gave his thanks after he received the payment for the medical bill at the guardhouse.
“Don’t mind it. It’s not like it’s hurting our pockets or anything. All we’re doing is just shouldering the debt momentarily. We’ll have those guys properly pay up later. Besides, this is also beneficial to us. All the ruffians have been going to you, so lately, they haven’t been bothering other people much. Moreover, there are also those who have started to reform while under forced labor, so this really isn’t a bad thing.” [Guard 1]
“Hearing that makes me relieved. Thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma gave his thanks one more time, and then he left the guardhouse.
“Good work.” [Guards]
“Thanks for today.” [Guards]
It’s become a routine for Ryouma to be attacked while on the way home, and have to go to the guardhouse. As a result, the guards at the guardhouse and the northern gate have somewhat become acquainted with Ryouma. Like this the guards would wave and call Ryouma, while Ryouma would do the same back as he went on his way home.
Around the same time, at a different place, inside a room.
Within the dimly lit room were two figures. Those figures were the guild master of the tamer guild, Matthew, and a suspicious masked man.
“It seems that boy’s store is still in business… What’s going on? I believe I ordered you to crush his store, but…” [Matthew]
Said Matthew as he sent a glare at the mask man. The masked man bowed deeply.
“My apologies. I did not expect this result as I hired skilled bouncers, but that boy was stronger than I had anticipated…” [Masked Man]
“Incompetent fool! It’s only a brat! What the heck have you been doing!? I’ve been giving you money after money, and yet you have no results to show!?” [Matthew]
The man bit his lips. This man was an expert who would take dirty jobs, put up a plan according to the client’s wish, and execute it. People who work at this field will do anything for money, but there are also those who had a sense of aesthetics or pride. This man was that type. He had took pride in his work. But right now, that pride is being trampled on, causing him relentless throes of vexation.
The man has been taking jobs from Matthew for a long time. This time was also the same. He received a payment, and as soon as the Jamil Household got home, he hired some men and went after Ryouma’s store. However, he hasn’t been able to bring out a single result.
At the start he may have simply been adopting a wait-and-see strategy as he randomly chose people, but right now is different. He has been calling skilled people from other towns, paying them, and ordering them to attack. A regular store would have long folded by now.
But until now he hasn’t been successful. There are three reasons behind this. One, Ryouma is protected by several influential people making it difficult for his men to move. Second, Ryouma himself was simply far too strong. And lastly, in order to hire people it’s needed to pay up the appropriate amount, but Matthew hasn’t been paying.
“If we don’t hire an expert now, then…” [Masked Man]
“That again!!? I believe I’ve informed you that I will NOT be releasing more money than that! Any more than this won’t be appropriate for a little kid like that! If you think you can exploit money from me like this, give it up!” [Matthew]
“I don’t have any other methods aside from this.” [Masked Man]
“This useless bastard… To begin with, why is that boy’s store still open? Even though he’s been using such a low-class magical beast like a slime… Oi, could it be? Is that boy’s store actually profitable? You could investigate at least this much, right?” [Matthew]
When the masked man heard that, he couldn’t help but wince back at Matthew’s incompetence.
This masked man and Matthew may not have a deep relationship, but they have been working together for a long time. Because of that, he had a good grasp on Matthew’s jealousy. And he couldn’t help but wonder, why? Why is it that Matthew won’t even bother to investigate the matters surrounding the people he wants hurt?
“Are you not aware? And here I thought you wanted him hurt because of his store’s profits.” [Masked Man]
Of course, that was not the masked man’s true feelings. He’s already fully aware that this man, Matthew, is doing this out of jealousy, and had said that as sarcasm.
Until now it was the masked man who had been responsible for putting together all the plans, and Matthew has not done a single thing till now except give approval. The masked man knew that as well, but he asked that only to put a stop to the conversation.
If one were to give an easy analogy for the man called Matthew, then he’s like a kid who received a toy called authority. He desired authority, then upon receiving it, he wanted to use it. And Matthew would use those two toys of his, authority and money, to eliminate anyone he didn’t like. He was that kind of man. That’s why, perhaps… it’s useless to think of a reason.
Matthew may not be a person who could be said to be above others when it comes to ability, but he was able to accumulate money and build connections through his position and authority. Matthew used those tools to slither his way to the good graces of those above him. And through bribery, he was able to ascend to an even higher position. It was through repeating this sort of unscrupulous method that Matthew was able to take the seat of a guild master at a tamer guild’s branch. Moreover, there were also plenty of times when Matthew would use the masked man to deal with future rivals.
“Hmph! Why must I be concerned about a brat like that? Besides, I do know something! Even if it’s just a rumor I hear from time to time, I do know that he washes clothes cheaply, and a lot of customers come to his shop. In fact, he’s even hired people. So I know that there’s no way he could make a profit. Even if he does, it’s probably a laughable amount.” [Matthew]
At such a response, what else could the masked man do? Nothing. There was nothing else but disgust.
“It’s certainly a miniscule amount from Matthew-sama’s perspective.” [Masked Man]
When Matthew heard that, he couldn’t help but twist his face in delight. However the next words, were like a downpour of cold rain.
“But to small creatures like me, a store with enough profit to make a branch store can’t be called small.” [Masked Man]
Those words were clearly sarcastic. He might lose a good customer because of this as Matthew was a high-paying customer who would bring out money at the pettiest things. However, he’s too stupid.
So far the masked man has had no problems with the people he has arranged. Each time, the men he has hired was always able to accomplish the job given. However, Ryouma was not a normal boy. Therefore, a normal method which worked for normal people couldn’t work on him. So the masked man offered a change of plans, but Matthew wouldn’t have any of it. That was the biggest reason they failed. And that failure hurt the masked man’s pride.
If someone with the ability were to investigate Ryouma’s background, then one would find out that he is someone who possesses connections to several influential people. The guild master of the adventurer’s guild, the guild master of the merchant guild, the president of a leading firm in the country, and even the duke’s household. For someone to lay his hand on a person like that, he must either be uninformed, or someone who possesses unyielding confidence. Matthew is the former, and the masked man is the latter.
Even if he were to go against the duke’s household itself, the masked man is confident that they won’t be able to catch him, but Matthew can only get in the way. If the masked man were to continue to associate himself with someone like Matthew, then he might just trip. At this rate, the risks won’t match the reward. If Matthew were to do something like this again, then… it might be better for him to resign.
“Branch store!? What’s the meaning of this!? I was told that his laundry services were cheap! There’s no way he could make a profit with that!” [Matthew]
“It’s true that’s he’s making a lot. In fact, the branch store seems to be a story from way back. And while it’s true that he charges at a low price, a lot of customers come every day, you know? A single person might only pay 10 suits, but with a 1000? Then that’s 10,000 suits. And because it’s cheap, there are plenty of people who become regulars. Moreover, as long as people live, there will be laundries every day. In other words, he’ll never run out of business. It’s a really well-thought-out business plan.” [Masked Man]
“True, true… that’s definitely true. However! There shouldn’t be any way for him to deal with that many laundry! Otherwise his employee expenses would pile up!” [Matthew]
The masked man blatantly sighed.
“That store can wash over a thousand laundries every day. Who, no, what do you think is washing those?” [Masked Man]
“Huh? It’s a person of course! That’s why I’m telling you it’s not possible, because his expenses will pile up!” [Matthew]
“True, if it was a human, then his expenses would definitely pile up. However, what’s washing the laundry is not a human, but a slime.” [Masked Man]
“Slime… you say? You, what are you saying?” [Matthew]
“It’s exactly as I have said. That slime you’ve been making fun of is what’s washing the laundries, so there’s no problem with expenses. That’s all. I have nothing else to say to you.” [Masked Man]
As the masked man said that, he took out a bag, and tossed it to Matthew.
“Huh? Money?” [Matthew]
“It’s my portion of the money you have entrusted to me until now. I’m withdrawing from this request.” [Masked Man]
“What!? Wait! Now you’re telling me that YOU’RE withdrawing!?” [Matthew]
Without paying attention to Matthew’s panicked, angry voice, the masked man admonished Matthew with a voice that carried a tinge of disgust.
“I’ve returned the money I’ve been entrusted with. You should quickly stray your hand from the boy called Ryouma. That is not an opponent that you can manage. If you listened to me, then it might have still been possible, but…” [Masked Man]
As the masked man finished saying that, he quickly used space magic without even giving Matthew the time to stop him. The masked man vanished from the room, Matthew was left all alone. A few seconds passed, and a vein bulged from Matthew’s forehead. In his rage, Matthew kicked a nearby chair, and briskly strode out of the room. In his eyes glimmered hate and jealousy far more intense than before.