“…Huh. The air here has kind of changed…”
Ryouma took a carriage from Fatma Territory and safely arrived at Gimuru.
It’s been roughly a month since he was last here, but it felt less nostalgic and more different.
There were more people passing to and fro, but it felt desolate.
“Wait!” [Guard 1]
As he was walking toward his store, a voice suddenly resounded, and he turned to it. There, he saw three guards chasing after a man.
Was the man so brazen as to snatch a purse in broad daylight?
“Got him!” [Guard 1]
“Damn it! Let go!” [Thief]
One of the guards was really fast and was able to catch up to the criminal immediately.
“Watch out!” [Guard 2]
“Uwaah!?” [Guard 1]
“Heh! You donkey!” [Thief]
“Don’t let him go!” [Guard 2]
“Yeah!!” [Guard 3]
The first guard was able to catch up to the criminal, but his pin was too weak, and the criminal was able to take out his knife.
Because of that the criminal was able to hurt his face and loosen his hold on him.
Fortunately, the other guards were able to secure him.
“Are you okay!?” [Guard 2]
“U, uu…” [Guard 1]
His life doesn’t seem to be in danger. There’s just a lot of blood because he got wounded on the face.
Maybe I can use my healing magic on him.
“Excuse me.” [Ryouma]
“What!? Can’t you see we’re busy arresting someone!?” [Guard 2]
“I can use healing magic. If you want I can treat him.” [Ryouma]
“Healing? Sorry! That would be a huge help!” [Guard 2]
The guard gave permission, so after examining the wound, I cast the intermediate spell, High Heal.
The wound wasn’t that deep despite the bleeding, so just casting the spell once was enough.
“How are you feeling? Feel anything off?” [Ryouma]
“Yeah, I’m fine now. There’s no pain.” [Guard 1]
“That’s great.” [Ryouma]
After confirming that the guard has recovered, this time the other guard called out.
“Thanks for the help, Kid. And sorry about earlier.” [Guard 2]
“Your coworker was hurt, so it can’t be helped.” [Ryouma]
“Nah, getting hurt is normal for us, so that’s no reason to treat a citizen we’re meant to protect so roughly. Especially, someone who would offer to help treat our wounds. This sounds like I’m making excuses, but I’ve been in a really bad mood today.” [Guard 2]
This guard seems really honest.
“In that case, can I ask you something?” [Ryouma]
Ryouma spoke about how he was away from town for a while, and now that he’s back, the air about it seems to have changed.
“Have you seen the new town built by the south?” [Guard 2]
“Yes. It’s just the outer walls for now, but it seems construction has been progressing quite well.” [Ryouma]
“Yeah. Well, it’s good and all that the construction is progressing, but the town has been overflowing with laborers looking for work… Look, over there, and there too.” [Guard 2]
The places he pointed at were all narrow alleys. The laborers there were either seated by the wayside or sleeping altogether. Some of them were scavenging for leftovers from the restaurants and were chased away.
“Just a street off the main road, and it’s that bad?” [Ryouma]
“There were more people last month, but it wasn’t this bad, right? Apparently, way more laborers came than expected. Because of that there’s been a rapid increase in fights and problems. We’ve also hired more people to try and deal with them all, but even with the fresh recruits that know nothing, we’re still packed with work from morning to evening.” [Guard 2]
I bowed to the guards as one of the people they were serving to protect.
“I see… Thank you for answering my questions despite your busy schedule. Good luck out there.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you. You take care too. Make sure you get back before it gets dark.” [Guard 2]
Like that I parted with the guards and headed for the store.
When I got to the store. I entered through the employee only door, but…
“Who are you? Only related personnel may enter through that.” [???]
A man I didn’t know called out to me.
I would like to ask him that same question, but I didn’t and just told him that I was in fact related personnel, and explained my circumstances and asked to see Carm-san.
He seemed to have an inkling what I was talking about, so he peacefully allowed me in.
“Welcome back, Boss!” [Carm]
And I was able to safely prove that I was the boss.
“Sorry about earlier. I’d heard that the boss was a child, but I thought they were joking. And even if they were telling the truth, I thought it would be someone a little bigger and more adult-like.” [???]
“True. There aren’t any age restrictions in having businesses, but anyone would be hesitant to believe a child is the boss.” [Ryouma]
After confirming each other’s identity, we were kind of able to reconcile. We weren’t particularly quarreling, so it was a bit weird, but anyway, this person talking to me as if we’re really close is Yurdum.
He’s a 20 year-old human with blond hair and a light-hearted personality. He claims to be a martial artist and appear to have a trained body. He’s less muscular and more lean, however, as if all the unnecessary parts have been whittled away, kind of like a boxer’s body.
Apparently, he’s been traveling around the country to test his skills, and found himself in Gimuru along the way. It was then that he happened to see our chef, Shelma-san. She’d gone out to buy some ingredients, but unfortunately got caught in some trouble.
He helped her and she brought him to the store, where she then explained the situation to Carm-san and the others. Carm-san wanted to increase security just in case since the public order was worsening, so after discussing the matter with Ox-san and Fei-san, he called out to Yurdum-san.
“Thank you for always protecting the store, Carm-san. Yurdum-san too, thank you for helping out.” [Ryouma]
“Well, it is my job, after all.” [Carm]
“In my case, I ran out of money, so this was perfect timing. The treatment is great too, the atmosphere in the store is great, and I have someone I can spar with too. It’s the perfect environment as far as I’m concerned.” [Yurdum]
“I’m glad to hear that.” [Ryouma]
“Speaking of which, I hear you’re pretty strong, Boss… And from the looks of things, it seems the rumors weren’t exaggerated. How about one round?” [Yurdum]
“What’s the matter?” [Yurdum]
“No, I look weak, so I was surprised that someone would actually ask for a fight.” [Ryouma]
“Yeah, given your age and your body, you might look weak a first glance, but I was watching you earlier when I was at my post. As a martial artist who’s crushed many dojos, I can more or less tell someone’s ability from the way they move.” [Yurdum]
Oh, that sounds reassuring!
“The air about the town was weird when I got back, so I was a little worried… Carm-san, how is everyone doing?” [Ryouma]
“Fei-san and Yurdum-san are around, so there’s nothing to complain about regarding the store’s security. Everyone’s full of energy. But of course, they do have to go out when buying stuff, so they do get anxious then because of the worsening public order. The number of incidents have also increased, and there was even an arson case a few days ago at the Morgan Company.” [Carm]
“Huh!? Serge-san’s place?” [Ryouma]
I asked, surprised, and Carm-san solemnly nodded.
Carm-san and Carla-san, who’s in charge of the second of the store, were both from the Morgan Company and were introduced to me thanks to Serge-san. Having his old nest set on fire must have rattled him.
“The Morgan Company has also prepared security in the evening, so the fires were quickly dealt with, but it was a really brazen crime. Apparently, several people filled a jar with oil and threw it and lit it with a fire spell. The criminals escaped during the chaos and haven’t been caught yet. The Morgan Company was by no means lacking in security, so it’s suspected that this might be the work of professionals with a very detailed plan… Because of that there’s a lot of unrest in the city right now.” [Carm]
“But of course.” [Ryouma]”
The Morgan Company is a very famous store.
It has a trustworthy name, it has a brand, and its store in Gimuru is the main store.
A lot of people use their services, and even if that wasn’t the case, it’s still a store that’s well known. And yet someone tried to burn that very store.
If this were my previous life, the media would have surely flooded the place.
“How is Serge-san?” [Ryouma]
“He’s safe. He ordered the security to prioritize people over goods, so none of the employees have been hurt either.” [Carm]
“I see. That’s good then.” [Ryouma]
Still, it’s concerning. The town’s circumstances have changed quite a bit, so I’d like to get some advice.
“Carm-san. Are there any urgent jobs?” [Ryouma]
“There are some documents I need you to check, but I’m sure you must be tired from the long trip, so they can wait until tomorrow.” [Carm]
“I see! In that case, I’ll excuse myself today. I got some things from Fatma, so I’ll be dropping by Serge-san’s.” [Ryouma]
“I see. Please send him my regards.” [Carm]
“Sure thing. By the way, I brought souvenirs for everyone. I’ll bring them tomorrow once I’ve organized them.
Good bye!” [Ryouma]
I left the store and hurried to the Morgan Company.