“How is it?” [Ryouma]
“Amazing… Thanks, boy!” [Victim 1]
“Who would’ve thought the day would come when slimes could be useful. The times are changing.” [Victim 2]
“I’m sorry, but these aren’t for sale…” [Ryouma]
As I tried to deodorize the affected street and stores as much as possible, the victims thanked me and gifted me various things. I thanked them and accepted their gesture, then I advertised my store and left the town.
When I was passing through the gate, someone stopped me. Just as I was wondering what was up, the owner of that stinky preserved food was currently riding a carriage and was in the meddle of being checked for passage.
“Thank heavens. I made it…” [Stinky Food Merchant]
“Is something the matter?” [Ryouma]
“I wanted to thank you for earlier. But when I tried to go back there, they told me that you’d already left.
This man along with the rest of the victims was taken by the guards. Of course, not to arrest him, but to confirm the damages received and to give due reparations. During that time, I cleaned the road and deodorized the stores of the store owners that came back first. This guy came last. Because of that we ended up passing each other.
“Ah, if you’re going to be leaving through this gate, how about accompanying me for a bit? You seem to be on foot, so if you’re alright with it, I can give you a ride.” [Stinky Food Merchant]
Technically, it would be faster if I went back on my own, but… this is a kind of fate too. If it’s just to show his gratitude, I guess I’ll accept his offer.
“Oh, so you started peddling 12 years ago, Mondo-san. I guess that makes you a veteran then.” [Ryouma]
“Ha ha, I wouldn’t go that far. There are a lot of people who’ve been at it for 30 or 40 years already, and I’ve just started being independent. Have you heard of Reetil? It’s a village on the bank of Ratoin Lake.” [Mondo]
“I’m not familiar with Reetil, but Ratoin Lake is the biggest lake in this country, yes?” [Ryouma]
According to the documents I received from the guild, a monster I need to train with lives there. There are many fishing villages on the bank of that lake and one of those is Shikumu Village. A party I’m acquainted with lives there.
“Shikumu is on the opposite shore of Reetil. I usually sell daily necessities to small villages like that.” [Mondo]
“…Huh? Don’t you sell food?” [Ryouma]
“You talking about shappaya? That’s something made by Reetil. Reetil is my hometown. My dad’s a fisherman, and because I wasn’t going to be inheriting the family business, they told me to at least find a market for the business to contribute to the village. Because of that they forced all these barrels onto me when I got back to the village.” [Mondo]
“I see.” [Ryouma]
“But it’s hard to sell because it stinks so bad. Even if you wash it and cook it or boil it, although the smell does get better a little, it still stinks. No one told me I couldn’t sell it, but it’s still frustrating…” [Mondo]
“I saw you back at the Saionji Company.” [Ryouma]
“You saw me? I tried selling it there, but the stench was – as expected – bad and they wouldn’t buy it. Well, I’ll keep at it and maybe I’ll find someone willing to buy it…. Oh, which way are you?” [Mondo]
A fork could be seen on the path up ahead. I’m going back to Gimuru, so I need to take a left here.
“I’m going right.” [Mondo]
“Then I guess we’ll part here.” [Ryouma]
“You’re going left, huh? Well then…” [Mondo]
The carriage stopped.
Then he suddenly started searching his luggage, and then handed me a barrel that’s been sealed tight.
“If you don’t mind, please take one with you. As a token of my gratitude and as a prayer for your safe travels. If you take this with you, wild animals and monsters will be less likely to attack you. Especially, the ones with a good nose.” [Mondo]
Personally, just letting me ride with him was already more than enough to show his gratitude, but since he’s giving it to me out of good will, I decided to accept it. Besides, it’s apparently also useful as a repellent. …That’s not an appropriate way to use food anymore, but…
Oh, maybe that’s why his dad forced him to bring these barrels with him…
“Thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you too for your earlier help. Please have a safe travel.” [Mondo]
I parted with Mondo-san, and when I couldn’t see him anymore, I ran back to Gimuru.
The next day.
I gathered some herbs along the way, so by the time I got to Gimuru it was already afternoon.
I dropped by the store, and they were doing well as usual.
But there were two reports different from usual.
One was that someone wanted an appointment with me. The person requesting it was Serge-san.
“Of course, it’s alright, but what did he need?” [Ryouma]
“He says it’s about a magic tool.” [Carm]
Ahh, about the music box. I wonder if something happened.
…I’ll think about it when after I meet him. For the mean time, let’s just meet him first. And the other one?
“A letter of gratitude and some goods to express good will came from the three working girls’ village.” [Carm]
A letter of gratitude? …Have I done anything to deserve that?
“They’ve been exchanging letters with their village regularly. The thank you letter is for your cordial welcome of their daughters. The goods have been stored in the second floor.” [Carm]
The second floor?
The room there is currently being used to inspect the laundry given by the customers. The laundry gets washed almost immediately, though, so that room has been pretty much unused all this time, but it is fairly big. If they had to store the goods there… Does that mean those three girls’ parents sent that many stuff?
Carm-san said he would call for someone to explain, so I went ahead up stairs.
“Oh~… This is amazing…” [Ryouma]
Mysterious jute bags were piled up in the second floor. And there weren’t just 10 or 20 of them. When I touched the bags it felt like a grain of some sort, but the smell coming from the ones at the back reminded me of… Sesame seeds?
Oily with plenty of nutritional content.
Although relatively easy to cultivate, it carries with it a strong fragrance that grows stronger with heat.
So it really was something like sesame seed.
The sesame seeds back at Earth can’t produce such a strong aroma before being roasted, but these seeds can.
“Boss, I’ve brought Jane-san.” [Carm]
“Thank you, Carm-san. Can you tell me what all these are for?” [Ryouma]
“Sorry, Boss. When we told our parents that the store we’re working at is a good place, they went and did this on their own. These should be filled with wheat and semisa. They sent them here both as thanks and as a gesture of good will to the owner and to thee people working here…” [Jane]
Jane-san chose her words. I know it’s from her parents, but…
“It’s bribery, in other words.” [Jane]
“Uwaa, talk about blunt.” [Ryouma]
Looks like she gave up racking her brain for a better term. It’s good that she’s honest, but the way she says it makes one want to throw those words back at her.
“Is this normal?” [Ryouma]
“Sometimes. When parents want their children to have an acceptable workplace… After all, not all bosses are nice. Especially, when the subordinates are women. Parents can’t really help but worry. They give gifts like this to ensure that good workplaces remain good and the bad ones do change. That’s about it.” [Carm]
“Hmm… Well, that’s understandable. And since I’m not a parent, their protective feelings are probably even greater than mine… But if they give us this much produce, then wouldn’t they suffer a loss?” [Ryouma]
In the first place, Jane-san and the others left their village to make money. I can’t believe their parents and their village has much leeway financially.
When I asked that to Jane-san, she says that this much won’t cause a problem.
When I asked for the details, she told me that their village is northeast of Gimuru. Their village is situated near the border and was a reasonably rich farming village until 10 years ago. Their main products include wheat and potatoes, and they also deal with semisa and vegetables.
Most of the produce harvested in the village are transported across the border and sold there, but 10 years ago, the territory across the border started a plan to develop their farms, and since then their contract with them has been getting smaller.
The plan was brought forward by a man who couldn’t inherit his family’s headship, being the second born or later, and with the financial assistance of the feudal lord, they were able to hire specialists and turn the agriculture development plan into a huge success. Currently, that area has become a well known grain-producing land in that territory.
Compared to them, the village of the three working girls has lost much of its profits. The villages neighboring them already had their own source of produce and didn’t have any coin left to purchase from them. With no place to sell their produce, the youth of the village had no choice but to leave the village and make money outside.
But since the only problem was that they couldn’t sell their produce, they had more than enough to eat.
“The amount of produce taken as tax and the amount eaten by the villagers doesn’t really change much, so all the unsold produce are just left there to spoil in the village. Ah, but I can guarantee the quality of these!” [Jane]
“Since you have so much produce, why don’t you reduce it? You’re sending people away anyway, so shouldn’t you have less people working on the fields?” [Ryouma]
“Because it would be a problem if we didn’t have any stocked up in case of a bad season, and also because there are a lot of people who want to protect the fields that have been with the village for generations. In the village, we each contribute money so we can procure magic tools and cattle to use for farm work. We can also use the excess wheat as feed. Saying that we can just reduce the production rate to make just enough makes it seem as if all the effort we put into farm work is nothing but a waste.” [Jane]
I feel like she’s starting to complain.
Anyway, it seems sending all these back will just result in them being thrown out.
“…Alright. But the next time you contact them, please inform them that they don’t need to send me these stuff. Whether they send me these things or not I’m not going to change how I treat you. And as long as the person is willing to do a proper job, I can accept other people from your village as employees.” [Ryouma]
I don’t mind hiring employees due to their connection, and I will be needing more employees if I’m going to be putting up a branch store. I still need to consult with Carm-san, but as far as I’m concerned, as long as the person is willing to do the work, then it’s all good.
Besides, I’ve also taken full advantage of my connection with the duke’s family and the Morgan Company and the guild masters, so I’m not exactly in the position to find fault with others that take advantage of their connections.
“Do note that they must do the work properly and not cause any trouble. Understood? I will not give preferential treatment to someone just because you introduced them to me. I also won’t favor someone just because everyone is acquainted with the person. Though I will accept consultation if the person in question has some kind of special condition that needs to be taken into consideration.” [Ryouma]
“Of course! That’s more than enough!” [Jane]
“That’s good then. What do you think, Carm-san?” [Ryouma]
“As long as we observe and interview them thoroughly, it should be fine. Just as the boss has said, we do need to hire more people eventually, so it would be a huge help if we could get people whose origin has already been confirmed.” [CArm]
“That’s good to hear. By the way, can you assess the value of all these?” [Ryouma]
“I’ve already assessed the value and have prepared everything in writing. If you need a more precise assessment, however, someone that deals in food goods from the Merchant Guild should be able to provide it.” [Carm]
“I see. We can just go with your assessment. Can you prepare the appropriate monetary value when the girls contact the village next? I don’t want to accept all these for free.” [Ryouma]
“Very well. We’ll deal with it that way.” [Carm]
“Wait a moment! …Does that mean you’re going to be buying all of these? Please don’t! Our parents sent all of these on their own accord.” [Jane]
“But wouldn’t it be a waste to just send them back? After all, you have more than you know what to do with. We’ll use it for the food in the store, so don’t worry about it.” [Ryouma]
“Then, at the very least, please purchase everything at a low price.” [Jane]
“Then I’ll purchase everything at cost price plus shipping fee. That’s good enough, yes?” [Ryouma]
“I think it’s fine.” [Carm]
Carm-san submitted a compromise proposal. Meanwhile, Jane-san muttered to herself, “Is this really alright?”
Although the one benefiting from this the most is their village, as far as I’m concerned, I was able to acquire a new place to source new employees from.
Tl Note: Count this as two releases.