I ate with Zeff-san and Camil-san for lunch, then we went our way to meet someone. The place we headed to was a lawless area where even more miserable shacks and temporary housing could be seen.
“This place sure is a lot worse off than the others.” [Zeff]
“I heard we need to meet someone influential in order to build the garbage processing plant. What kind of person will we be meeting?” [Camil]
“Popularly known as ‘Trash Hag’… She’s been making a living for the past few decades picking trash in Gimuru, so if you need to talk about garbage, then she’s the person you’re looking for. She’s also well acquainted with the children and the garbage collectors. She’s quite prideful about garbage collection, however, so she can be a bit moody. I met her recently too, and…” [Ryouma]
“If it isn’t the rich boy.” [Trash Hag]
We turned to the voice that suddenly called out, and speak of the devil, the garbage grandmother was right there, carrying a jute bag over her bent back.
“Ah, good afternoon, Garbage Grandmother. Are you on the way back home from work?” [Ryouma]
“There was still some time until our appointment, so I was taking a walk. I can’t believe you’d actually go all the way out here just to meet an eccentric old grandma like me.” [Trash Hag]
“As I’ve mentioned last time, it’s a huge help to have the advice of a specialist when entering a new industry.” [Ryouma]
“Are those two behind you related to your business as well?” [Trash Hag]
Right, I should introduce them.
“They’re Camil-san and Zeff-san. They’re helping me with my work.” [Ryouma]
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” [Camil]
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance, ma’am.” [Zeff]
“A pleasure indeed. Feel free to call me Trash Hag. Everyone around here calls me that.” [Trash Hag]
When she told them that, they visibly became troubled.
For normal people with some degree of propriety, calling an elderly person they are meeting for the first time ‘Trash Hag’ would certainly make them hesitate. I understand exactly how they feel, unfortunately…
“She refuses to say her name no matter how much I asked. As such, I’ve taken to calling her Garbage
“I see. In that case, we’ll refer to you as Garbage Grandmother too then.” [Zeff]
Like that we concluded our conversation there and moved to her house.
In order to build a garbage processing plant, we would be needing the help of garbage collectors. What point was there in having a garbage processing plant if there was no one to bring the garbage to it? Hence, another problem was negotiating with the people currently working as garbage collectors. After all, we will essentially end up becoming enemies with them since we will be contesting their livelihood.
I’ve considered hiring them, but I doubt all of them would respond positively, and sudden changes do make it more likely for sparks to flare up. Because of that I’ve decided that my garbage processing plant and garbage collectors will only target the places that the slum people find difficult to reach.
In the future, I do intend for my garbage processing plant to cover the whole town, but for now, it would be best not to get in each other’s way and slowly build trust.
“What kind of places would allow us to avoid the current garbage collectors?” [Ryouma]
“Hmm… For starters, the western side of town, the Craftsman District, is definitely out of reach for us. Amateurs have no business fiddling with the work of craftsmen, and some knowledge is needed in order to properly handle the chemicals they use. Because of that the craftsmen take responsibility for their own garbage and have arrangements already made to deal with them.” [Trash Hag]
In other words, industrial waste. It’s probably fine, but I better make sure beforehand that we can dispose of them properly and have a safe way to transport them.
“The adults also don’t frequent the eastern side of town, the residential district. Those parts are under the jurisdiction of their association, and matters regarding garbage are handled by them. It’s a rule of ours not to poke our nose there. People don’t like seeing poor people like us as is. If we start causing trouble just to gather garbage, our standing will get even worse. If it’s just enduring some bad looks, the small children can go, but at most, all they can get are the small garbage on the wayside. They’re not allowed to get the garbage gathered by the association. That’s a taboo.” [Trash Hag]
“The people here often frequent the Business District to the south. That district has plenty of inns and restaurants, so garbage is easy to come by. The store people would throw their garbage at one of the designated places, and we would come to pick those up. Lately, there have been people who would go to the store directly and wait with their cart at the back. It’s quite a hassle, really. If they’d just asked like you, I would have happily told them, but because of them even we’re getting caught in their mess.” [Trash Hag]
The slum people follow their rules to avoid being a nuisance to the town people as much as possible. They didn’t ask for it, but I might as well do them some good and leak word of that through the merchant guild.
After getting some information from the expert, Garbage Grandmother, I promised to drop by again, and then went back to my store to deal with some documents. There wasn’t much work to do at the store since I’m at Gimuru, so there’s no room for them to pile up, and on top of that, Carm-san is also working hard. Because of that most of my job at the store is merely to drop by, check the documents, and sign them. Frankly, it’s so easy it might as well be break time for me.
In my spare time, I got some secondhand clothes for the kids, as well as some clothes that might fit the goblins. I also spoke with the employees who were in their break time. After some rest, evening came, and it was time for me to do my last job for the day.