Chapter 005: Bargaining with the Merchant
Lute, 5 years old.
This morning, the regular reading, writing, mathematics, general knowledge and history lessons began.
However, I had been joining the lessons since I was 3, and was already able to easily do everything.
Because of that, I helped Elle-sensei assisting and teaching kids who were falling behind on their studies.
One of those who fell behind was, the same age as me, Snow.
She was quick at remembering how to read and write, but seemed to be poor at arithmetic calculations.
「The plate on the left has 5 loaves of bread, the plate on the right has 12 loaves. So all of them together, how many loaves are there?」
Bending her tiny white fingers, she started calculating.
「Wrong. The answer is 17.」
Since she turned 5, she had been tying her long hair in a ponytail.
Her dog-ears flopped sorrowfully.
It seemed that Snow was still bad at calculating things beyond what her hands allow.
While patting her sorrowful head, I consoled her.
「Don’t worry! I’ll be with Snow until you can do addition. But since it’s Snow, you will be able to do it soon!」
「It’s a promise… so cheer up! So… I’ll bring out the next question… The plate on the left has 3 loaves of bread, the plate on the right has 5. So, all of them together how many loaves of bread are there?」
「Uhh, uhh… 8!」
「Correct! Snow is a genius! Excellent, excellent!」
According to Yamamoto Isoroku: show them, tell them, have them do it, and then praise them; otherwise, people won’t do anything. Making them lose the will to learn is the absolute worst.
Let’s just leave aside my splendid facade.
My real intention in praising Snow was to make her white face clearly redden.
Her tail was also happily wagging left and right.
It was so cute, I developed a habit of quickly praising her.
「Well then, I’ll bring out the next question.」
「Yeah! I’ll do my best so I can do addition properly!」
Snow said while innocently smiling with her whole heart.
Aaaah, so cute! I wonder if I had a little sister or daughter in the previous world they would be this cute.
Actually, what I had in the previous world was a little brother. And not to mention marriage, I was killed before I even got a girlfriend…
Just now, I once again patted Snow’s head.
Not showing any signs of dislike, she narrowed her eyes with a pleasant feeling.
After having finished with the lessons, the 5 to 6 year old kids helped with sweeping, laundry, dishwashing, and cleaning the peacock cage in the afternoon.
After having finished with the chores, all that remains was free time.
During free time, i continued training on how to economize my consumption of magic in the boys’ room.
Tired with practice, I thought about raising money to buy magic liquid metal.
The most plausible thing right now, was making mayonnaise.
This world doesn’t have mayonnaise.
If it’s that seasoning that spawned the word『mayo lover』, selling it should certainly become a hit.
There are eggs, vinegar, and oil, so making it wouldn’t be difficult.
The problem was the lack of initial capital.
No money with to earn money with… the『key to the safe』, to speak off.
Opening the safe requires a key, and the key is inside the safe—something like that.
「Should I sell mayonnaise recipes to the restaurants in town?」
But the age where I was allowed to go to town was 7.
The age to start earning money was also 7.
It would not be good unless I waited for another two years… right?
As I worried endlessly about it, money-making talk dropped in from an unexpected place.
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After lunch, I was called on the way to gather firewood with Snow.
「Lute you came at the right time. I was just going to call you.」
「What can I do for you, Elle-sensei?」
「To be honest, someone came and wanted to see you Lute. Can you come to the reception office?」
「Umm… is it my parents who abandoned me? Or… a relative came to pick me up?」
Elle-sensei had an unpleasant face.
For some reason, Snow’s face looked like she was about to cry.
It might be cold, but i did not particularly want to meet my real parents who gave birth to me in this world.
Although I lived only for 5 years, just living in this world is really hard.
I think my parents had probably some reasons for it.
So, i did not really have a grudge.
I merely asked because there was not anyone in particular that came to mind who might wanted to come see me in this world, but…
Never expecting to receive such an attitude of pity from these two, I was bewildered by their reactions.
As an adult, Elle-sensei recovered faster and began to talk.
「Lute, I didn’t mean that the person who came are your parents or relatives. I’m sorry for putting in a strange way like that and making it a misunderstanding.」
「It’s ok. I was only worried when i heard it. I dont think i particularly wanted to meet my parents now.」
For some reasons, Snow sadly hanged her ears and tail down.
「I’m sorry, Lute… The one who wanted to meet you is a merchant acquaintance of Sensei.」
Why did a merchant come to meet me?
Ah, right… I’d probably understand immediately when I meet up and talk with him.
「But don`t we have to gather firewood after this?」
「Since we still have a little surplus, it’s good for today. Snow-chan, can you go and help the other children?」
「I understood, Sensei.」
Snow returned obediently into the orphanage according to Sensei’s instructions.
I parted with Snow and went with Elle-sensei to the reception office.
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I often went in the reception office for cleaning.
There were 4 chairs around a simple table.
On a nearby office desk, there were stationeries, such as inkwells, neatly kept.
Sometimes, there were also some wild grass flowers that the kids had collected and arranged in the flower vase.
The merchant was already seated in a chair drinking tea. For some reasons, there was a Reversi set in front of him.
The set belonged to Sensei.
The grooves, making up the grid on the wooden board, were all crisp, and the stones were also perfectly formed.
A present made with feelings of gratitude for every day by the kids of the orphanage including me; it was definitely well-made. I could recognize it with a glance since it was something I was used to see.
These two had already finished one game, the surface of the board was filled with white’s victory.
I sat with Elle-sensei in front of the merchant.
The merchant was a man in his late 20s.
Having short cut light brown hair, his moustache was also shaved clean.
He gave off a sense of cleanliness.
If he was clad in a business suit and sat in a leather sofa, he would look like a『capable young IT enterprise company president』
He offered a handshake.
「Nice to meet you, Lute-kun. I am a merchant going by the name Malton.」
「My name is Lute. Nice to meet you, Malton-san」
「As Elle-sensei said, your response is reliable beyond your years.」
Well, that is because my mental age is 32. Probably older than you. Leaving those words unsaid, I replied with a suitably childlike smile.
After we exchanged greetings, Elle-sensei proceeded with the discussion.
「As I said earlier, Malton-san is my acquaintance. Today he happened to be passing through the town so he went over for greetings. But after seeing Lute-kun’s『Reversi』, he asked me to have a chat with you.」
Not really grasping the meaning, I gave a vague answer.
Malton talked details with a smiling face.
「I really only came to meet with Elle-sensei but I saw the other kids playing Reversi, you see. My merchant instincts shouted『This will certainly sell well!』」
Then the merchant elaborated on the reasons why he thinks it will sell.
In short—when people travel in horse-carriages, the driver, who handles the horse, would be busy, but the people inside were not.
Only an agonizing spare time is given while being jolted around.
But if there’s Reversi, they can spend the time playing carefreely.
Tentatively, in this world there is a game similar to chess. But since the rules are complicated, it was mainly played by elderly upper-class men who have a taste for culture.
But Reversi had a simple rule that anyone curious could easily remember.
He declared that it would certainly be well received, even by nobles.
Malton-san wanted to buy the rights to Reversi from the developer so he called me out.
I’ll examine his story on my own while verifying it myself.
But because a question sprang out, i asked.
「May i ask you a question?」
「What is it? I will listen to anything.」
「Why did you ask for permission? You could easily make it in silent and sell it.」
Copyright does not exist in this world.
While it may be true that the idea could be stolen, there was no law to be violated.
Malton smiled ironic and opened both hands.
「It’s true that cheating is an everyday occurrence to merchants. But it could be easily understood that if I would steal from a child and make money out of it, i would be struck down by others in the same trade and the trust in me as merchant would receive a huge blow. Losing trust as a merchant is the same as falling to ruin.」
Malton turned his eyes that were filled with passion toward Elle-sensei.
「Moreover, I’m in El-sensei’s debt because she saved me with healing magic after i was greatly injured in an accident. I cannot deceive the child of my life savior.」
I’m convinced of that reason.
But, this fellow did not just turn a passionate gaze towards Elle-sensei only because of a favor. As man, i understood that.
Elle-sensei has beauty and character filled with love so much that she opened an orphanage.
Even her chest and style is outstanding.
No man exists that would not fall for such wonderful woman.
However, I can’t stand letting this riajuu (one-sidedly decided) that looks as if he would say『I am not troubled by women』take her as wife.
For Sensei, it absolutely has to be someone who is more honest, who doesn’t fool around, who has more financial strength, and a trustworthy person whose character is not inclined to violence.
It’s also inexcusable to do ecchi things immediately after going steady.
I won’t even allow hand-holding.
It has to start with a date, together with me joining in.
Then I will confirm sensei’s and her partner’s compatibility.
If he does not meet my expectations, he is rejected.
Once they’ve been going out for a year, then I’ll allow holding hands.
Of course, that’s only when I’m present.
If he does it at any other time, I’ll tie him up and separate him from Sensei! Absolutely!
—That was the conclusion I had gained from the『chronicles of when a husband candidate goes out with Sensei』that had been going round my head the most in my life 5 years after I was born.
It felt as if I was her father.
If I refuse him on the matter of Reversi, he would come to the orphanage over and over again to get closer to Elle-sensei… With that as an excuse, it would be troubling.
I said my conclusion with a bit of hesitation.
「I… understand. I’ll sell the rights to Reversi to you.」
「Thanks! Lute, you won’t be making a mistake in trusting me.」
I only sold it to you because you’re going to go back and forth over and over again to get closer to Elle-sensei and will be a bother. But of course, I did not say that out loud.
Malton continued talking in a good mood.
「Although you are Reversi’s developer, you’re still 5. Will it be okay to leave the contract confirmation and signing to Elle-sensei?」
「I understand. Certainly, it’s not right to leave it to a 5 year old child.」
「On my pride as a merchant, I assure you that the royalties for Reversi and the contents of the contract is fair and without falsehood. However, if Sensei has any complaints regarding it please tell me right away. The two of us shall spend time together and work out the details.」
Yo, do you be thinkin I be bout ta forgive you if yo ass is goin ta be ridin’ solo wit mah Elle?!? Don’t git carried away or I be bout ta punch all up in yo’ ass ta yo’ back of yo’ teeth!!!
I yelled an Osakan-Yakuza like lines in my heart.
「No, I’m not worried. I have faith in Malton-san after all.」
Elle-sensei answered with a soft gentle smile.
「Well then, by noon I will prepare the money and the contract document. Then—there’s one other thing I wanted to talk about, is it all right?」
Malton asked Elle-sensei for permission.
She nodded silently.
Don’t even think of saying something like “let’s get married”! That will be a declaration of war! Elle-sensei is not so cheap as to be handed over to some nobody who popped out of nowhere like you!
「If it’s okay with Lute-kun, would you like to come with me as an apprentice?」
Receiving a reply outside my expectation, my mind lagged a bit.
Malton seemed to interpret my reaction as surprise at receiving an unexpected fortune.
With the composure of an adult, he continued with the explanation.
「I heard about you while playing Reversi with Elle-sensei. You have shown excellence since you were small, the first genius from this orphanage. At first I thought, “you’ve gained sensei’s favor, huh”, but I felt there was something more than that when I talked with you. If you study under me for ten years, you’re going to go places in the mercantile world. So, won’t you become my apprentice?」
「Merchant… is it?」
「Of course, I’m not going to force you. But, you have that talent. It’s me who said it so there’s no mistake.」
The merchant declared that with total confidence.
Hearing those words, Elle-sensei put on a worried expression like a mother during a parent-teacher meeting.
「If I’m not mistaken, Malton-san’s specialty is in magical devices, right? Truthfully… Lute-kun has had an interest in magic for a while but no talent in it. With that as trigger, if he starts developing a dangerous admiration for magical devices….」
「That’s all right. I will rein that in myself. Furthermore, I had also wanted to become a mage when I was Lute-kun’s age. Excitedly exclaiming that 『I am going to be like one of the Heroes of the 5 Races』. Though, I was immediately discouraged since I had no talent. But I didn’t give up and took up work related to magical devices like this. Rather, I consider that frustration as the key to my current business successes. In fact, after hearing that I, wanted to have Lute-kun as my apprentice even more.」
「Malton-san is a specialist in magical devices?」
「That’s right Lute-kun. How about it? Did I awaken some interest to become a merchant in you?」
「If that’s the case, do you deal in『magic liquid metal』!?」
A complete change from my unchildlike quiet attitude earlier.
I leaned on the table with stars twinkling in my eyes.
At my change, Sensei and Malton exchanged glances.
「Of course I do, but….」
「Can I sell Reversi’s rights for some of those now?」
「About the amount, how much do you want?」
「As much as you have.」
「 …Right now, I have a whole barrels in my shop, but to sell that for these rights…」
Malton immediately compared the profits from Reversi with the magic liquid metal and replied.
After selling Reversi other people will immediately imitate it.
This is a world without copyright after all.
So even though he could sell it, it was not going to earn him big money.
「Then I’ll give you ideas for improving my Reversi, and the way to be able to monopolize its sale. Please append the fees for those ideas to the contract.」
「Ideas for improving Reversi a side, is there a way to monopolize sales!?」
「Yes, there is. First, contact some well known noble, royalty of a small country, or some elite member of society. In exchange for a cut of the profits, have them brand an official seal on the Reversi board.」
「Having an official seal shows the support of a well-known person. With this, even if someone can make fakes, their numbers will decrease sharply. At any rate, forging an official seal means committing a crime.」
In comparison to having a criminal record, making forgeries isn’t just worth it.
Furthermore, there’s the danger of being discovered in one shot when prompted to confirm.
There are no merchants who wanted to get involved in that, I think.
「I-I see certainly if it’s like that….」
「There are other benefits too. Publish the fact that a well-known person uses it. Then, everyone will want to buy Malton-san’s Reversi. If a famous person uses it, people will have more faith in it. Above all, it’s human nature that they will want to own the same thing.」
In other words, it was a proposal to『create a brand』.
According to a certain well-known person,『A brand is a tool to aid people who don’t understand what is a『good thing』in making a decision』.
Although the concept of『brand』is weak in this world, it’s not hard to propagate. Next, I propose some points of improvement for Reversi.
「Firstly, if you market it for use when travelling inside a carriage, the board must be made out of cloth so as to not interfere with the luggage. The cloth for the board will have grid lines drawn in black thread, the pieces will be sewn together from black and white cloth with a not-so-sharp slipstitch on the surface.」
「For the rich and well-paying clients: the board must be sturdily made with legs attached. The stones must also be made out of marble flakes while the black and white sides each prepared separately in a single color—that would make it feel extravagant.」
「For common folks: the board made should be 2~3 centimeters thick while the middle is cut down in half. Attach metal hinges at the bottom side so it can be folded. The reason for this is because it won’t be a hindrance in small houses. And don’t forget to change the materials for the pieces into wood. It’s easier and less expensive to mass produce compared to making it out of stone.」
「Also, if you use wood, you can make the pieces not only in square shapes, but also hearts, clubs, stars and such for special editions and limited editions. Furthermore, there are not only symbol shapes, but also pink slime, black and white rabbit, or other animal shapes. The colors are also not limited to black and white, but you can also make red, pink, or blue and white ones. In addition, wrapping it in a sack so it couldn’t be seen, concealing which secret edition is contained inside—」
「W-wait! I’m putting the ideas together in a memo! Wait a little bit!」
Malton, without even a shred of his adult composure earlier, took out a memo, pen, and inkwell in confusion.
Even though he was in front of Elle-sensei, he put down the ideas raised since a while ago in a memo while breathing roughly in excitement.
Different from several minutes ago, the color in his eyes changed as he took out a memo and jotted down on it. I gave off an excellent mature atmosphere waiting for him.
As I thought, this guy is no good. He’s not gentlemanly enough to be Elle-sensei’s partner.
When it was good to interrupt him, I called out.
「Is this still not enough for the magic liquid metal?」
「N-no, it’s quite enough… If the plan goes well, the transfer fee earlier, for the rights to Reversi, can pay for it by itself. And Lute-kun, you need Elle-sensei’s consent before you can use all the money you’ve earned, right?」
「Thank you for the pleasure of having business with you. The payment will include the method to monopolize Reversi and ideas for its improvement.」
What comes after is the scary part of having bad loans to merchants.
「In that case, there’s no problem if the ideas for other the toys, besides Reversi, are put in a separate proposal, right?」
「…Are you sure you’re really a 5-year-old kid?」
As if being in the presence of something beyond his knowledge and common sense, Malton asked me timidly.
On the other hand, Elle-sensei simply became flustered at my machine-gun speech and Malton’s sudden change.
Covering for Sensei who became like that, I delightedly arranged the contract contents, money amount, and magic liquid metal delivery time.