After the meeting with the guild masters, I went back to the security company, where I found out that the slave merchant, Orest-san, was waiting for me.
And right now, I just got off our carriage and am standing before a restaurant.
How did we get here? Well, it’s nothing special, really. Orest-san just invited me out.
I had tea and snacks with the guild masters after the meeting, but I haven’t had proper lunch yet, so before I knew it, our conversation led us to eating out together.
“Let’s go. I’ve already reserved us some seats.” [Orest]
“Wait, you actually got a reservation before inviting me? What would you have done if I refused?” [Ryouma]
“The reservation didn’t go to waste, did it? So, all is right.” [Orest]
No, that’s not the problem, but I guess there’s no point arguing about it.
And of all the places he could have picked, he just had to pick this one, didn’t he?
“Welcome, Moulton-sama. You have a reservation with us.” [Door Boy]
The door boy at the front of the store bowed, and then opened the door behind him with polished movements.
At that, Orest-san entered with familiarity, while I returned the bow of the door boy before following him in.
The store was furnished with high-quality carpet and expensive furniture, painting a gaudy picture, but it was not so thoughtlessly designed to be mistaken for a mere collection of expensive articles. There was a sense of unity and refinement to the design that engendered a calming atmosphere palatable for a meal.
…But that was only a given. Because this was Gimuru’s most expensive restaurant – what’s more a super famous one that even I know of. As one might expect, it had a dress code, so I’m really glad that I had a suit tailored for me before.
“This way please.” [Owner]
While I was thinking that to myself, Orest-san spoke with the owner of the restaurant inside, and he even personally led us to our room.
“…Please, enjoy your stay.” [Owner]
We took our seats, and after ordering our food and a brief explanation of the bell, the owner left. Finally, I could relax. Orest-san didn’t miss that.
“Are you bad with places like this?” [Orest]
“I’m just not used to them.” [Ryouma]
“Really? And yet you appear so dignified, why is that?” [Orest]
“I’m just putting on a front. It would be too pathetic to be overly flustered.” [Ryouma]
I took a sip from the glass of water on the table, and after moistening my throat, I asked.
“By the way, why did you invite me to eat?” [Ryouma]
“To deepen our friendship, of course. It’s been awhile since we last met at my Gaunago store, after all.” [Orest]
“You went out of your way to Gimuru for that?” [Ryouma]
“There’s an assembly that’s regularly held in Gimuru. I intend to participate unless some special circumstance prevents me.” [Orest]
“An assembly… Come to think of it, I’ve heard about that a couple of times. Serge-san, Grisiera-san, and Pioro-san mentioned it too.” [Ryouma]
“You’re informed, I see. Those three will also be participating if their schedule permits them. The participants of the assembly are former and current managers of various industries. The goal is to exchange information, and occasionally, cooperate.” [Orest]
An assembly involving people on the level of Orest-san, Grisiera-san, Pioro-san, and Serge-san, huh.
“Sounds like an amazing assembly.” [Ryouma]
“All the participants are veteran businessmen. I’m participating as a successor to my father. It’s an enlightening experience every time. If you’d like, why don’t you participate?” [Orest]
“Participate? Me? There’s no way I’d be a good fit for a gathering of big shots like that.” [Ryouma]
“There aren’t any clear requirements to the participants. As long as there’s an invitation from one of the participants, you can attend. Of course, it’s another question whether you’ll be acknowledged by the other participants or not.” [Orest]
Isn’t that the important part?
“You know a lot of people there, so I’m sure you’ll fit right in. You seem to be acquainted with the owner of this restaurant too.” [Orest]
“We’ve had some dealings in the past.” [Ryouma]
Because of that the owner is familiar with me to some extent.
When I told him that…
“That’s great. Don’t you know, Ryouma-sama? The owner here is famous for not agreeing to anything unless he thinks the deal is 100% worth it.” [Orest]
I had no idea.
But from what I’ve heard, the owner of this restaurant is also the manager of that luxury inn that the duke brought me to before, so he probably remembers me as ‘that kid with the duke’s family’.
Of course, I never planned on proposing anything that might disadvantage him, so he’d probably acknowledge me unless there’s a problem.
“If it’s all the same to you, can I inquire on the details?” [Orest]
“I made the same deal with other places too, so I don’t mind, but it’s a deal pertaining to garbage.” [Ryouma]
It wasn’t exactly a topic befitting a luxury restaurant like this.
“It’s fine. We’re in a private room, and I personally don’t mind. In fact, I’m all ears for any new project of yours.” [Orest]
Alright, then… Wait, he already knows about my garbage processing plant project? He sure is fast, as usual.
“My proposal was about the purchase of food ingredients that would just be thrown away. Food ingredients have an expiry date to them. Once they’ve spoiled, they can’t be eaten anymore. However, there are cases where they’ve merely discolored due to oxidation, and sometimes, even if they’ve spoiled, you can just cut off the affected portion, and eat the rest. But of course, ingredients on that level can’t be used in the restaurant. Especially, at a luxury restaurant like this.” [Ryouma]
“So I suggested to buy those ingredients instead of just throwing them away. To prevent hygienic problems and to prove that we have no intention of disadvantaging the food industry, we will neither be reselling the ingredients nor selling food made from them; furthermore, we won’t be transferring them to anyone either. That about sums up the main poinst of our deal. ” [Ryouma]
Since they would just be throwing away those ingredients anyway, my proposal to purchase them was better than nothing.
As for me, I would be able to get ingredients that were almost expired at a low price.
“These ingredients are either used as feed for my slimes and goblins, or for my research in preserved foods. In that regard, it’s less for my Garbage Processing Plant project, and more for my personal hobby and convenience. These ingredients are being stored in a specialized storage room near my garbage processing plant.” [Ryouma]
Although this deal can’t bring any profit, it is able to reduce the food expenses, so it’s a huge boon to someone like me with a lot of familiars.
There are ingredients that just can’t be eaten, like the ones that are completely spoiled or the ones with mold, but as for those that have yet to reach that stage, they could still be eaten when properly processed, so throwing them away is a waste.
This was also how I saw things back in my previous life. At one point, I thought it was common sense, but my subordinates couldn’t believe it when I shared that perspective with them. I can’t remember anymore why we even ended up broaching that topic, but the fresh grads said, ‘we’re not at war anymore,’ and some even asked if I was just poor.
Now that I think about it, why am I even bringing this up in such a luxurious restaurant? Now I’m getting embarrassed.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.” [Waiter]
The waiters came with our order with such exceptional timing that I couldn’t help but wonder if they intentionally timed it.
They brought our food on a cart, and with polished movements, arranged all of the dishes on our table. It’s a luxury restaurant, so I thought the food would be served in courses, but apparently, that’s not the case.
There were many appetizers served in a lovely manner on small spoons, a salad with fresh vegetables – something that’s hard to come by in this winter – a mushroom soup that released a mellow aroma – do note mushrooms are rare here – and high-quality steak. Yes, this is luxury alright.
After the waiters finished arranging everything, they quickly excused themselves.
“This restaurant is frequented by people with influence. Especially, these private rooms. The conversations that take place here are usually of the confidential sort, so the waiters excuse themselves out of consideration.” [Orest]
“I see. That’s why they left all the food, and then left just as quickly…” [Ryouma]
Wait, did he read my mind just like that!?
“It was written on your face. But enough of that, shall we?” [Orest]
Food like this certainly shouldn’t be put to waste. He went out of his way to bring me here, so I should help myself with gratitude.
And so, I started with the appetizers.
“Is it to your liking, Ryouma-sama?” [Orest]
“Of course, it’s delicious. And luxurious.” [Ryouma]
The ingredients used in these dishes, such as the fresh vegetables specially made with magic, don’t have a set price, but because of the so-called ‘market price’, even if they’re estimated to be affordable, the actual price they’re going for is 10 times higher.
It’s dishes that use ingredients like those that are the main purpose of the wealthy people that come here. I’m surprised that there are people who eat food like these matter-of-factly all the time, but… It really is delicious.
“I’m glad that you like it. By the way, was I of any help last time?” [Orest]
“! Oh, right, I’ve yet to thank you for that.” [Ryouma]
Actually, I needed his cooperation for something just some time ago, and he proved to be a huge help.
“Thank you so much for advising me despite the abruptness of my request. Thanks to you, the crime-prevention systems in our houses, stores, and even the public order of the town itself as a whole has greatly improved.” [Ryouma]
“That’s good to hear. Though I have to say I was really surprised when you suddenly sent a letter, saying that you wanted to purchase criminal slaves.” [Orest]
“I’m really sorry about that. At the time, the public order in town suddenly dropped, so I panicked and was at my wits’ end… It’s truly shameful how inexperienced I still am…” [Ryouma]
“There’s nothing to apologize for at all. In my opinion, your decision was calm and rational. Employing criminal slaves – slaves made slaves because of a crime they’d committed – and making them talk about their modus operandi and how they think to come up with a method to prevent crimes was brilliant.” [Orest]
I remembered hearing about a criminal in the States that was hired to serve as a security advisor, so I wanted to give it a try, but unfortunately, there were legal issues and conditions to the purchase of criminal slaves, so I couldn’t purchase any, but Orest-san asked them my questions instead, and then sent the information in the form of a document. His efforts were a huge help, not just personally, but to the town as a whole in improving the public order. Without that information it would have taken much longer to improve the public order.
“Personally, nothing could be more agreeable than to make you indebted to me, so please feel free to seek my help if there’s anything at all.” [Orest]
Is that something you’d normally say to a person’s face?
“Since the public order has improved, how have you been recently? I heard that you lived in the forest before. Do you enjoy living in town?” [Orest]
“That sure is abrupt, like a father asking his son if he’s enjoying school… But, yes, I am enjoying life in town. My personal life and the management of the store are both in good order, and as misleading as this might sound like, thanks to the issue with the public order, I was able to get to know people that I otherwise wouldn’t have.” [Ryouma]
Like the owner of this restaurant, or the manager of the clothing store that tailored the suit that I’m wearing now.
The deal with this restaurant’s owner I mentioned just now, while the manager of the clothes store, I contacted to prepare clothes for my employees working at the security company and the garbage processing plant.
There were also others, like the townspeople I’ve already been acquainted with… I also connected with the young delinquents in a different sense, but you could say that we’ve gotten close.
I talked about all of those one after another, even the specific details, and the time went by in a flash. Before I knew it, most of the food had already been eaten.
“Ah, my apologies. I’ve been talking this whole time.” [Ryouma]
“Don’t worry. I’m the one who asked, after all. Besides, just as I’ve told you when we met before, I enjoy hearing other people’s stories.” [Orest]
Come to think of it, he did say something like that, didn’t he? There was a lot of unnecessary information at the time, so I’d pushed it all into a corner of my mind.
“Since we’re here already, if it’s no trouble, how about listening to my story? I was serious when I said I wished to deepen my friendship with you, Ryouma-sama.” [Orest]
“Of course. I’m all ears.” [Ryouma]
It would be great if I could understand this incomprehensible person even a little better.