Serge-san, Pioro-san, the duke, the madam, and I talked while enjoying the delicious food and liquor.
I’ve done a lot of things in this past year, and the others have similarly been busying themselves, so there was no end to the topics we could talk about. And neither was there an end to the things I wanted to ask them. After eating we spent more time talking together over tea.
“I knew about the waterproof cloth, but who would have thought that Ryouma-kun would also be involved with the others?” [Reinhart]
“So that music box is something Ryouma-kun came up with, huh.” [Elize]
“Thanks to him, the Morgan Company’s name has gotten even more famous. Pioro, I believe you too have benefited from him, no?” [Serge]
“Are you talking about the ‘Barley Tea’? It’s steadily making a name for itself as a new luxury product. It won’t be until next year when we begin advertising them officially, but the market is responding well so far to our trial phase. We owe Ryouma for going out of his way to provide the raw materials and a supplier.” [Pioro]
“I’m glad to hear that everything is progressing smoothly. It just so happened that some of the employees working in my store come from a place that grew barley that I was able to provide you a supplier. It was merely a lucky coincidence.” [Ryouma]
“By all means, I would wish for nothing more but to have a smidgen of that luck of yours. Unfortunately, lady luck isn’t someone you can find just by pursuing her.” [Pioro]
Indeed. My luck has turned for the better since I came to this world. Of course, there are still times when i think my luck is poor, but such times are rare occurrence now. I’ve received several divine protections from the gods, and… In the first place, just being able to talk to them regularly already makes me a lucky man. More so than your average man. If luck were a skill, mine would probably have long hit the max level.
“I’d heard Vyezen Village was struggling because of its location, but with this, it looks like they’ve finally hit the jackpot.” [Reinhart]
“As long as they have no qualms, I believe it’s fine if Saionji Company continues to purchase their barley. I’m also thinking of completing the necessary tools and manpower in order to support the production of barley tea.” [Serge]
“We can increase the barley at the village, process a part of that barley, and sell that to the Saionji Company. Hopefully, things will go well. It’s not much, but I’ll offer my support too.” [Elize]
“Oh, my~ If Your Grace is going that far, then as the person responsible for the Saionji Company, I’ll have to do my best as well.” [Pioro]
Although it seems like they’re just chatting lightly, from time to time, I feel something off about their conversation.
There are probably some hidden meanings veiled behind their words, but I can’t really figure it out.
My turn to report came, but I just reported normally.
For example, I talked about the abandoned mine that was left to my management or about the slimes.
“Recently, I was able to tame a weed slime and a stone slime, which can completely mimic a weed or a stone. Since then I’ve been helping them increase their numbers. It’s easy to get feed for them, so they reproduce quickly, but unless you know beforehand that they’re slimes, there’s really know way to tell them apart from actual weed or stones. After thinking about the weeds and stones that I gathered for them to feed on, I realized that I might be able to use them as part of the mine’s security, given that they could easily blend into their surroundings wherever there’s weed or stones. But pretty much everywhere fits that bill.
To be more precise, I’m thinking of increasing their numbers and planting them all over the abandoned mine to inform me of any intruders. Unfortunately, as quickly as they reproduce, there’s simply not enough of them just yet. There were a lot of monsters that settled down in the mines in the past six months, so I’m thinking of trying out my idea at the eastern tunnels. In an experiment with the rimel birds, I found out that as long as I was in close enough to be able to communicate with the slimes, I would be able to grasp the location and number of the intruders. I think the slime security system has good prospects.” [Ryouma]
“You’re as devoted to slime research as ever, I see. If you can tell the location and number of the intruders without alerting them, then you should also be able to trap them.” [Reinhart]
“Yes, you’ll likely be able to do that if you use the slimes for security… I also have my familiars take care of the garden security, but those kids just attack intruders on sight. It’s amusing how different they are from your slimes.” [Elize]
She’s saying that so cheerfully, but if I recall correctly, her familiars are wolf-type monsters. The one she showed me before was well-trained and docile, but it was so big it could easily carry the madam’s body… I feel bad for the invaders of the duke’s family, but if those guys attack on sight, I don’t think even bones will be left.
Not that I was planning on it or anything, but I made sure to make a mental note never to trespass the garden.
“How is the store doing?” [Reinhart]
“The store is doing well too. There hasn’t been much rain lately and it’s been getting colder too, so working with water is a lot more difficult and the laundry doesn’t dry. At the very least, there were a lot of customers complaining about that. Thanks to that we’ve been frequently updating our best selling days for this year.” [Ryouma]
“Yes… This time of the year is really harsh on child servants.” [Elize]
The duke and his wife always listen to my stories patiently.
Serge-san and Pioro-san too. That’s why I try to be as thorough as I can when talking to them.
The festival in the summer, the training with the adventurers guild, and the Monster Tamer Affinity Diagonsis.
The various people I met from the troupe of traveling entertainers, the new head of the government office, the man at the adventurers guild talking about his friend.
I talked about everything I could.
The four adults happily listened to my stories with a warm smile.
But when the conversation turned to my goal of going to the Great Shurus Forest…
“…” [Reinhart, Elize, Serge, Pioro]
As expected, they gradually became more worried by the minute.
After I spoke about how I rescued a missing person a few days ago, the expression on their faces worsened.
“Ryouma-kun. From your expression, I think you have an idea of what we want to say.” [Reinhart]
“Yes, more or less.” [Ryouma]
“Then I’ll say it frankly. Hiring criminals isn’t recommended even if they’re former criminals. …It’s true that one reason to commit crime is ‘I don’t have a job, so I can’t eat.’ There are indeed people who won’t commit a crime if they have work. I won’t deny that.
But there’s no reason for ‘you yourself’ to do it. And there’s not much point to it even if you do put your plans to action. Society is harsh to criminals. Even former criminals.” [Reinhart]
“Ryouma-kun, I’m sure you mean well, but the risk is really high. There are also people who won’t understand your feelings of wanting to prevent criminals from committing a crime again. If anything happens, you’ll jeopardize your store, which has been going so well.” [Elize]
“I share their sentiments. Just as His and Her Grace have said, the risks are high and there are no rewards. You’d be fortunate if others merely saw you as an ‘eccentric’. In the worst case, people will think you’re up to no good, plotting something after gathering a bunch of no gooders. Regardless if you mean well, Ryouma-sama.” [Serge]
“Unfortunately, that’s simply how companies are…” [Pioro]
As expected, what they’re saying isn’t that much different from what Carm-san pointed out and from my own personal thoughts.
“You’ve already spoken about it to Carm?” [Serge]
“He possesses an abundance of knowledge as a merchant and always kindly listens to the things I say, so I’m always relying on him.” [Ryouma]
“You’re so deadset on your plan that you would not change your mind even if a subordinate of yours were against it? Why go so far?” [Pioro]
Pioro-san couldn’t understand my standpoint and asked that question with emphasis.
“The reason why I started thinking about this is exactly as I’ve told you earlier, but I’m not so sure of the exact reason myself. If I had to give one, though…” [Ryouma]
“If you had to give one?” [Pioro]
“I just want to give it a try.” [Ryouma]
He leaned toward me, perked up his ear, eager to hear my answer, but when I finally gave it, he only became even more confused.
The other three adults also looked at me with eyes wide-open, an expression of disbelief on their faces.
“Wait a moment, Ryouma-kun. What do you mean you ‘want to give it a try’? That’s it? That’s your reason to try this high-risk-no-reward plan that’s too big of a burden for one person to carry?” [Reinhart]
“If I were to give my honest thoughts on that matter… Yes.” [Ryouma]
Carm-san… These four people in front of me… They have every right to be against my plans.
Even if I were to try and hire former convicts to prevent them from committing another crime again, I know that it won’t have that big of an effect to society as a whole if it were just me.
There were companies that did similar things in my past life, but they did it because of the policies implemented by the country.
A country that far exceeded this country be it in people or material wealth.
Even if I tried to implement something similar in this world, it won’t have that big of an effect.
My efforts would be no different from pouring a filled bucket into an ocean. They’re right when they say that all I’m doing is needlessly risking my business. That’s how anyone would see it.
But that’s exactly why I feel this way.
Even though these are my feelings, it’s hard to completely understand them even for me.
But when I think back to my actions since coming to this world, this is basically what I’ve been doing ever since.
“How should I put it… Everyone is aware that I’ve been living at the Forest of Gana until I left with the duke’s family, right?” [Ryouma]
The four of them nodded.
“My life until the Forest of Gana was full of difficulties, so I won’t talk about it, but it wasn’t anything good.” [Ryouma]
When I said that, the four adults, especially the duke and the madam, made a bitter expression.
“The reason I started living at the forest was because I didn’t want to interact with other people anymore. I could live by myself, so I decided to ‘live freely at the forest’.” [Ryouma]
I didn’t want to go to a human village, so I started living leisurely in the forest and support myself.
During that time I also became interested in the slimes and began researching them.
But as time passed, I grew curious of the outside world.
It was then that Reinhart-san and the others came and I left the forest.
“I was interested in adventurers since I left the forest, so I registered myself at the adventurers guild. I wanted to retrain myself, so I parted with everyone and started living by myself. In order to ensure my livelihood in case something bad happened, I opened a store, but I wasn’t really interested in expanding it.” [Ryouma]
‘Live as you wish’
Just as Gayn and the other said. I’ve lived an easygoing life. Freely. Just like the way I wanted it.
This is how I’ve lived since coming to this world. And this is the only thing I can say with confidence.
“‘I want to give it a try’… These feelings appeared within me, so I believe I can do it. I’m not going to push for it so hard that I would sacrifice anything just to make it a reality, but I want to take things into a better turn now while I’m still young… Is that too childish of me?” [Ryouma]
“Where are you being childish!?” [Pioro]
“If you’re saying you want to do it because you want to, then perhaps. But Ryouma-kun, when it’s you saying it, I feel like it’s not so childish after all.” [Elize]
“Were you not planning for your old age before?” [Reinhart]
“Ryouma-sama, I keep forgetting it whenever I talk to you, but right… You’re still just eleven years-old. A child who acts like an adult…” [Pioro]
It’s rare for us to have teatime. So it’s good that the atmosphere isn’t so grim anymore.
“Whatever it is that I’m planning, I won’t change the store’s policies on a whim. I’ll talk to everyone first and only then will I put my plans into action.” [Ryouma]
I finally have kind people who are willing to lend an ear to me and help me. It would be a waste if I didn’t rely on them now.
“…” [Reinhart, Elize, Serge, Pioro]
“Huh? …Why are you all looking at me like that?” [Ryouma]
For some reason, everyone was making a shocked face. Moreover, this was the most shocked they’ve looked this whole day.
…Did I say something weird?
Tl Note: This is a full chapter and is basically a double release, so this will be counted twice against the queue.