The Man Picked up by the Gods – Volume 3 Chapter 216: Reflection and Invitation (2/2)

“—Something like that, I guess.” [Ryouma]”

“I don’t really get that last part, but either way, it’s good that everything’s going well, and you also seem to be having fun.” [Carm]

Now that he mentions it… There are some problems and things I’m worried about, but yeah, it doesn’t feel bad. When I think that, I feel like doing it all the more.

“Just make sure not to push yourself too much.” [Carm]

Carm-san smiled and went back to his own work.

After seeing him off, I went through the remaining letters and documents, and wrote my replies.

Recently I’ve started to think about how convenient emails are.

The fastest way to discuss something is for everyone to meet up and talk, but everyone is so busy that the schedules just can’t match.

In that regard, letters that can be read at anytime is the most logical way to communicate.

An evolution of that is email, which allows people to send and receive mails instantly.

It’s been awhile since I’ve longed for a modern convenience…

 
 
 

As I continued my work, before I knew it, a lot of time had passed, and the setting sun was already upon me. Normally, I would take a break here until it was time to end the work day, but…

“Boss~ You have a guest~” [Maria]

“Please let them in.” [Ryouma]

The people visiting me were the florist, Pauline-san, and the butcher, Zeke-san. Their daughter, Leni, and their mischievous son, Rick, were with them.

“Hello, Ryouma-kun…” [Zeke]

“Zeke-san, is something the matter? You seem even more exhausted and thinner than usual.” [Ryouma]

“Ha ha… It’s true that I’ve been really busy lately, but it’s calmed down a little now, so I’m fine. Once the winter gets into full swing, the number of spoils will go down too, and I have Pauline to help me.” [Zeke]

“It is winter, after all. I suppose there’s not much to sell?” [Ryouma]

“Flowers can be made to bloom by force through magic, and there are those that bloom even in the winter, but those are a bit expensive. Customers don’t really drop by the store even if I open. But enough of that, thank you once again for agreeing to look after our children.” [Pauline]

“Don’t sweat it. I’ll be going with you, so my employees will be the ones taking care of them.” [Ryouma]

As I said that, I glanced at Maria-san, who brought them here.

“Just leave it to us, Boss~ Back at the village, we were always the ones taking care of the small children.” [Maria]

“Thank you. You’ve really helped us. Normally, it would’ve been fine if it were just me or my husband, but…” [Pauline]

“They said that there had to be a representative for each store…” [Zeke]

Three days ago we had a conversation. It was the day after my blunder at the Craftsman District, and a letter was delivered through the merchant guild.

“With the worsening of the public order of Gimuru, the stores have also been negatively affected. ‘As such, let us, store owners, gather together, so that we can exchange information and work together to come up with a plan…’ Or so it says. The sender is the Association of Mid-Sized Stores of Gimuru. Was this association put together just recently?” [Ryouma]

“Probably. We’ve never heard of them until now.” [Pauline]

“But it is true that a lot of problematic things have been happening recently. I’m sure there are people who felt threatened by that and started raising their voices.” [Zeke]

It’s not unusual for managers to gather and hold an assembly. Of course, not just anyone can participate. There are conditions, but since they’ve sent us a letter, I suppose that means we qualify.

But when I inquired about them at the guild and found out that they didn’t have any known history, I became wary. Still, just as these two say, it is true that the town hasn’t been in good condition, and that it’s possible that there are those who’ve felt threatened by that, and as such have decided to call out to others. The person in charge at the guild also told me that during my inquiry. And so I figured that this too was me being needlessly apprehensive, and in fact, this was truly just a newly found association.

 
 
 

…Or so I thought.

“…” [Ryouma]

There were about 50 people. And as one might expect from store owners, it was a gathering of well-dressed people. The moment I entered the large meeting room at the merchant guild, I immediately thought to myself, ‘this is bad.’

I did have an interest in the contents of the meeting, and I did come, thinking that it would be a good idea to meet with other store owners from the same region, but the moment I entered the room, I felt like taking a u-turn and going home. In fact, I think I should go home right this instant.

But while I was thinking that…

“Ryouma? You came too?” [???]

“Huh? Ah, Darson-san!” [Ryouma]

The person who called out to me was none other than Darson Tigger from the Tigger’s Arms Store, who has always helped me out in my adventurer work.

“Darson-san, you came too?” [Ryouma]

“Well, I am making quite a killing myself. These are?” [Darson]

“Oh, please do excuse me, this young man here is my assistant-manager and assistant, Carm-san. And this lovely married couple are my friendly store neighbors, Zeke-san and Pauline-san.” [Ryouma]

I also introduced Darson-san to the three of them.

There were many people who saw our introductions, and there was someone among those who’s worked with Pauline-san before, and then there was another that the three of them were acquainted with, and before I knew it…

“Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve heard so much about your store.” [Merchant 1]

“To be at such a young age and yet possess such an amazing store, you have my admiration! I’ve always wanted to meet you!” [Merchant 2]

“I hear you’re acquainted with the duke’s family too.” [Merchant 3]

“What good luck to be able to meet you here.” [Merchant 4]

“We too would like to be acquainted.” [Merchant 5]

…I was at the center of the store owners.

And then as I cheerfully dealt with them…

“My apologies for having kept everyone. It is already time, so if it’s alright, I would like to start this meeting.” [Man]

…A man entered the room and announced that.

Looks like it’s time for the meeting to start.

28 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I would not be surprised if this was a elaborate robbery. Where they either tried to rob people’s stores while they were away, or tried to capture the owners and force them to hand over ownership of their stores, or both. But I guess that would not happen unless there was an organized group behind th… hmmm… If there is a group then it would be whoever caused this whole mess to get this bad. I am not sure if they would have the manpower or not given the vast majority of people who migrated to the area were labors who were uninformed, unless they hired a bunch of those people taking advantage of their desperation.

    Well one way or another we should find out the situation soon.

    1. Not by force, since they are meeting in the actual Merchant’s Guild building, but probably one of those shady pyramid scheme seminars, where they pressure you (through complicated language) to sign something that looks harmless, like agreeing to receive their newsletter, but it turns out you signed up for one of their paid subscriptions, or signed over some property. Most likely you think you’re unionizing, but you really only signed over a portion of your profits to a third party, with no option to quit.

    2. Could be, but it is held at the merchant guild. The guildmaster would know if something suspicious would happen since she is good at reading people. Plus this involves a lot of guild members. I can imagine the people demanding reparations if the guild is involved. My guess is that they are going to do a brainstorming session of like-minded individuals.

    3. This is really look like a shade meeting since the merchant Guild doesnt have any information about it

    1. This reeks of a pyramid scheme…I’m quite certain the friendly neighbourhood store owners will be one of the first to fall for it.

      How will Ryouma deal with this, I wonder?

  2. I’m guessing it’s like when you walk into a building for a job interview, and notice the atmosphere of trying to sell you something, that means it’s actually a pyramid scheme.

  3. So mobsters, loan/land sharks or black company which it going to be and how Ryouma going to beat them down

  4. The guildmaster is too smart to let a grifter or a loan shark get involved with so many business owners (aka guild members). I can see this as a chance for Ryouma to establish new connections, but be wary at the same time. Greed plays a part in business, but you will get played if it controls you. This is one of the basics in investment. I doubt anything dubious will happen if the store owners are established veterans rather than noobs.

  5. something tells me that I’ll probably be skimming through the next few chapters to avoid getting angry. I’ve been informed that getting angry isn’t good for my situation.

  6. I think after hearing what the organizer said he would do the following:
    1) Disagree to what the organizer said and silently left the room with / without the others. Then plot to help others in need.
    2) He tries to said what he thinks via helping others, gets majority disagreement and then the merchant guild master tries to help him.
    What do you guys think?

  7. Out of all the comments here, it’s odd that nobody has brought up the fact that the yakuza started showing up not long ago. I’d long assumed they’d end up being a thing in this arc, and the whole ‘burning the store’ and ‘the culprits seemed like professionals’ seems pretty mafia-esque to me. Plus I remember someone (Either Carm or Serge?) mentioning at the time that the yakuza were trying to reduce public order and that it’s hard to get rid of them because they’re very professional about the front-jobs they do.

    1. This is what I’m thinking too! It’s gotta be some kind of setup to screw over town shopkeeps. Massive shopkeep gathering usually fishy if the merchant guild master or the town lord isn’t the host… and that’s when the person in charge isn’t corrupt (like the merchant head and the duke household are cool people).

  8. Why doesn’t the big merchants there? Looks like this is a kind of trap. If it is then it’s natural the big wigs are not invited, coz ‘they’ can’t make an opponent out of the big merchants. So they take the mid and small merchants. Thanks for the chapter desu~

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