Kokugensou Volume 1 Chapter 1

Yuushing
Laverdy
Cookie

TLCs/Proofreaders/Editors:
Cyn
Maria Cazares (Not sure of your Discord name sorreh.)
Rei_hunter
Creed

Chapter 1 – “Real Fantasy”

One week has passed since I was transported from modern Japan to this countryside village, called Losgow, in a parallel universe. Since I was exhausted from working for a farm family, I was thoroughly weakened.

“Aaaah, damnit, why don’t they have faucets!”

From early in the morning, I have been drawing water from a far away well, and have gone back and forth several times to carry water into the barn.

My current job is to take care of the cows, which replaced agricultural machinery of modern times.

Once I replenished the cows’ drinking water, their feed was next.

I put a heaping portion of hay into the feed trough.

You could say that the fact that I needed to feed the livestock before I could receive my meal showed my status. In other words, I was below even livestock.

Since they knew that I would give them food, the cows let out a happy “moo”.

I gradually grew more attached to them as I took care of them, and you could say that they were cute, but my physical labor is severe, so I don’t have the time to play with you.

So stop licking me already.

I do like eating grilled cow tongue , but I don’t really enjoy being licked by a cow’s tongue.

“Haha…… really.”

It was fatigue after fatigue.

Pain after pain.

As for how I came to do live-in work at this farmhouse, the Rodd house, it was thanks to Louise’s introduction.

Since even a deadbeat like me could probably do something to help at the farmhouse, I was thankful, but after a week I was dead tired.

Furthermore, even though I’m supposed to be hired as a farmhand, for some reason I was always made to work dairy farming jobs, which I think is a problem.

As an exceptionally wealthy farmhouse in this village, the Rodd house kept pigs and horses alongside cattle. Since they didn’t seem to be a dairy farmhouse I supposed they were work animals.

Nononono hold on, I didn’t want to be a farmhand or a dairy farmer to begin with. It somehow feels weird when a person going on an otherworld trip goes on and does plain jobs like these.

The reason why these complaints surface is because the work is too severe. I thought that if I worked for a while, I would get used to the hard manual labor, but I just can’t get used to it. Thanks to the muscle pain upon muscle pain, my body hurts, no matter how much time passes.

I am clearly being overworked. Though, since there are no labor laws in this medieval fantasy, it can’t be help even if I complain.

Also, according to the father of this farm family, it’s not the busy farming season yet, so the workload is on the leisurely side.

The reason why it’s hard for me to complain about something like ‘the work is hard’, is because the husband, wife, and even their small daughter have much heavier workloads than me.

Even though it’s tough enough just drawing water and splitting firewood.

I really like fantasies, but I had never thought that there would be such hardships in everyday life.

One week has passed since I came to this Real Fantasy world. Through seeing and hearing things in the village, I gradually understood more about this parallel universe.

The small village I’m staying in, Losgow, is inside the territory of Earl Est, within the Silesie kingdom. Silesie kingdom is located inside of the Eula continent. I can’t affirm it, since there’s no map, but from what I heard about the land and climate, if compared to my original world, it would roughly be around the middle of France.

Although it’s far from ideal, this fantasy world has magic too, in place of modern science.

However, the ones who can use magic are only special people that possess magic power by birth, who are called magicians. Since the number of magician is low, if they don’t make a name for themselves as adventurers, then they would generally serve nobles or become government officials, it seems.

Finally there are some who can use holy magic and become priests of the state religion called the Asama Church. These people are mostly powerful or influential people.

In short, the life of the common people hasn’t changed at all since the old times, when they didn’t have magic yet.

From the viewpoint of a modern kid like me, the physical strength of the people who don’t use magic in their normal life in this inconvenient world is, it’s like they all possess a superhuman strength cheat skill.

If it’s like this, then how will I survive the busy farming season, I wonder.

My arms would fall off, maybe.

“Aah jeez, I can’t do it anymore.”

I laid down on the pile of hay.

Hay is an indispensable part of a farming family. It isn’t infested with insects, so it’s clean and feels good. I just want to leisurely fall asleep like this.

After ditching work, and then getting fired, even though I’m just a farmer, I will even get driven out of the village and die in no time at all, because this world is a harsh one.

Even though Louise saved me and extended my life, I’m gonna die just because of this, huh.

“No, if I give up then it’s game over.”

I rose up from the pile of hay.

I cheered myself up with a line from my favorite manga.

Then I picked up a tree branch and started drawing something like a plan on the ground.

I don’t even have paper or pen, so this will have to do. Rather than complaining by myself, trying to write it out like this will make it easier to connect my thoughts.

The theme is “Somehow make money using modern knowledge”. If I think about it, am I not a engineering student?

For example, rather than complaining about the lack of faucets, how about making it myself, even if it’s a primitive one.

It’s tough to make it by myself, but I can consult the blacksmith, sell the idea to someone who can make it, or something similar.

On the nearby river, there’s a water wheel for the miller, so I can use it as a water pump and draw water, can’t I?

For example, the well, just making a hand pump would make it easier to draw water.

While I was lost in thought, a blond-haired girl showed up.

“Aah, Takeru is ditching work again.”

“No no, I was doing some thinking.”

It’s Sara-chan, the daughter of this farming family.

She isn’t an especially beautiful girl, but since she has silky blond hair and beautiful emerald green eyes, she’s small and plenty cute, so it’s a feast for sore eyes, and just seeing her is enough to relieve my fatigue.

Sara-chan’s wearing an apron and a cape over her normal clothes like Heidi, really like a village girl in medieval times. Her appearance is really cute, but she’s a bit too noisy, even though she’s a kid, so it’s like a flaw in the crystal.

No, she’s noisy exactly because she’s a kid, isn’t she. It seems that, since I came to this house, an existence lower than her appeared, so she’s very happy and acting all bossy.

To be frank, it’s annoying.

However, since I’m already an adult, I don’t fuss over small matters like being bossed around by a little girl.

I retorted to her, not out loud but only in my head, that ‘your parent probably only named you Sara because of your silky (sarasara) blond hair, didn’t they

“Huh, Takeru you can write sacred letters?”

“Of course I can, it’s only letters……”

Somehow, Sara-chan was surprised at the diagram and text I drew on the ground.

“Amazing, you can write sacred letters, so Takeru is a scholar-sama!”

“……Sacred letters and scholar you said, what are those?”

From the details I heard from Sara-chan, the letters I can write naturally are a higher form of letters called Sacred letters, and they’re used in official documents, it seems.

I see, this is the ‘language cheat’, huh.

If one was transferred to another world and couldn’t understand words or letters, they wouldn’t be able to live, so as a plot device, they were usually given the power to understand the native language.

I thought I couldn’t do anything, but to think that I was equipped with a hidden skill like this. It was sobasic that I didn’t realized it.

To be able to freely read and write in a world with a low rate of literacy is already enough skill to do a respectable job, especially people who can write sacred letters, who are respected as intellectuals and called scholars.

When the farm isn’t busy, Sara-chan gets taught by the only scholar in the village, even though it’s only the lower form of letters, it seems.

These sacred letters are used all over the world by the Asama Church and so on; they’re like Latin and Greek in my world.

Low rank letters are regional language like English and France, huh.

I tried writing a single word with the low rank letters used by Silesie Kingdom, and it was possible.

It’s mysterious, I think of Japanese, but I can naturally translate and write it like I’m multilingual.

I thought ‘oh crap maybe I can’t write Japanese anymore, since I used low rank letters’, but it turned out that if I was just conscious of it, I could still write kanji, so I was relieved, but maybe I will forget it if I don’t use it sometimes.

“So smart, Takeru is a scholar-sama, so why are you doing chores at a farm house? Are you stupid?”

“So am I smart or stupid, which is it?”

If I’m a scholar, then I can immediately work in the village’s administration office, so I better quit doing this shitty job and go there, or so Sara-chan told me.

She will introduce me to her sensei, who is in the village’s administration office, it seems.

Since I was able to converse normally after being transferred here from Japan, I didn’t think that being able to write this world’s letters could get me a job.

I want to thank Sara-chan for teaching me this.

But hey, Sara-chan, you speak ill of this farming job even though you’re a farmer’s daughter, what are you parents gonna do with you.

I informed everyone of the Rodd house that took care of me about my resignation.

Thank you for you work, they said, and then they handed me the pay for this one week of work.

By the way, the pay for one week worth of labour that was in the palm of my hands was 7 small copper coins.

2 small copper coins equal 1 big copper coin.

If I were to convert it to Japanese yen based on the market price here, 1 small copper coin is about 50 yen. So with three meals and a living place provided, one week of back breaking labour only gets me a mere 350 yen.

No matter how poor a farmer is, isn’t this wage too low?

The labour cost is too cheap. In Silesie Kingdom, there’s no Labour Standard Bureau or Minimum Wage Act.

“Well isn’t it good that you got another job.”

“Yes, thank you very much.”

The missus of the Rodd family said so and sent me off with a relieved face.

They didn’t show it, but it seems that the Rodd house hiring me was just them doing their duty by replying to the request of the influential female warrior Louise.

Well, it wasn’t even busy farming season, so of course they wouldn’t hire a part-timer.

Even though it’s just 1 small copper coin for one day of helping out with farm work, my labour was still nowhere near enough, it seems.

This is just their way to discreetly get rid of me.

Well, if I can’t get this scholar job, then I won’t be able to live in this world.

While realizing the feeling of danger once again, I followed Sara-chan to the village’s office.

“Sensei~, I’ve brought the scholar-sama along.”

Small shops and an inn were lined up side by side, and the office was in a corner of the village square.

It is firmly made with stone, a remarkably splendid building in this village. It even has a proper name plate with ‘Losgow Village Office’ on it.

Once I come inside, I see that it even has proper wooden flooring. In this Losgow Village, just having a wooden floor is enough to make it an extravagant building already.

By the way, even for the Rodd family that has plenty of farmland, more than half of their house is still dirt floor. Everywhere else has stone and plaster for flooring, but it gets cold in the winter, so they cover the floor with straw.

Just having wooden floor is already a real luxury.

However, inside of that most extravagant building in the village was only one girl.

Uum, that’s a girl, right?

The person who was sitting at the table while writing something was wearing snug male clothing.

What she was wearing couldn’t be seen as anything other than a black suit that modern office workers usually wore, but it wasn’t that efficient of a design.

Even the neck is buttoned, and the vest is worn formally, so it looks swelteringly hot. It’s an attire that gives off a feeling somewhere between that of a medieval noble and a gentleman.

It was clearly different from the plain clothes of the village people. Considering the pretty button made with a gemstone, or the beautiful embroidery, or the firm sewing line, it may possibly be the official uniform of the country.

She’s a personnel of the village hall, so I guess that is the bureaucratic uniform.

It’s just that, despite being dressed up in formal clothes, I could only see her as a beautiful lady with short brown hair.

“I’m a man.”

Probably figuring out what I was thinking by my gaze, the beautiful person wearing men’s clothes raised their delicate face and said so with a gentle voice that sounded like ringing bells.

What a slender chin. Is this guy a model? He’s way too pretty.

The government official presenting himself as a man looks just over 20 years old. It wouldn’t be strange for a pretty young boy to look like a girl, but it’s impossible for an adult man to look like nothing but a woman…… in my opinion.

image00235.jpegTL note : Beautiful enough to be banged. Heh. – rei_hunter

Of course, this is a fantasy world, so anything could be possible.

“Umm, hello. My name is Sawatari Takeru. This is the first time we meet.”

“My name is Lyle Laertius. I am serving in this region as a secretary.”

Even though he already looked sharp, he adjusted his collar, even without the need to, and responded politely.

“Secretary?”

I wonder what kind of official post a secretary is.

“Yes.I am also a teacher, and the one teaching Sara-chan letters.”

“Then, I will call you sensei.”

When I said that, Lyle-sensei raised the corners of his mouth just a little bit.

“Also, I am a man, so I sincerely ask you to not make that mistake.”

“Ok……”

If you repeat it so much, it decreases your credibility even further.

Even for a Caucasian, he’s way too fragile, and his skin is too smooth. Maybe he’s so beautiful because he’s an elf.

But, his ears aren’t pointy, so he must be human.

His skin is so white and transparent that you would think that he hasn’t ever been under the sun, since the day he was born. I really want to ask what kind of perfume he uses…… but I will drop that matter.

I don’t know his circumstances, but he himself is claiming to be a man so persistently. If I stir things up in a bad way, I might offend him.

My livelihood is depending on this Lyle-sensei.

“Lyle-sensei is sooo amazing, he’s a secretary that was dispatched from the Kingdom Central, and to tell the truth, the mayor is nothing but small fry compared to sensei.”

Sara-chan, who was standing next to me, boasted as if she were talking about herself.

“Ahaha, Sara-chan. You’re exaggerating.”

He has a rather stiff expression towards me because this is the first time we meet, but I guess he can smile towards his pupil, Sara-chan.

I thought he was beautiful, but his cheerful smiling face is also cute.

Looking at how he chided Sara-chan but didn’t strongly deny her, It must be true that the occupation called secretary has a higher rank than the mayor.

Ok, so he’s an influential person, I’ll do my best at flattering him.

“Secretary Lyle-sama, umm, I…… No, I have a bit of confidence in myself as a scholar.”

“Alright, I’ve never heard the expression of “having confidence as a scholar”, but if you say so, let’s try testing your abilities.”

As expected of a teacher. I am immediately getting a test.

It seemed that Sara-chan had bitter memories of tests, so she looked at me with a sour expression while I took the test.

I also hate tests, but I was sick and tired of taking care of cows, so I desperately listed down all the characters I knew onto the starchy paper I was handed.

Ok, pencils down (actually, it was a quill pen rather than pencil), the written test is finished.

“Wow……, this is interesting. Excuse my impoliteness, but I hadn’t thought that such a young person could write this much. Where did you learn the sacred letters?”

“Umm, it seems that I was somehow transferred here from somewhere, but I have no memories.”

Thinking that he won’t believe me if I said I came from another world, I feigned losing my memories for now.

This is also just a parallel world theory.

Even if I were to tell the truth, I might be treated like a madman. I need to proceed with caution.

“Oh, so Takeru-dono is a lost person. This is rare indeed. It’s no wonder you have such an oriental name.”

“Umm, what exactly is a lost person?”

It couldn’t be that it’s just a person who simply lost their way.

“A lost person is someone who gets transported from a place that is unthinkably far away. It is said that the cause could be the spontaneous discharge of summoning or teleportation magic, but there is no accurate theory yet.”

“So, do you know the details?”

Even then, learning the existence of summoning and teleportation magic is a good harvest.

“Teleportation and Summoning magic are rare themselves, and when you talk about them going berserk, that is an ever rarer phenomenon. From what I’ve heard, it seems that there are people whose memory gets clouded or lost completely, or they gain mysterious knowledge when being transported, but if that happens, it becomes difficult to search for the cause.”

“Is that so…… You sure are well-informed.”

Upon asking, I learned that Lyle-sensei, who had deep knowledge about magic, was an intermediate level magician himself. Well, no wonder Sara-chan was saying that he’s an excellent person.

I let myself be deeply impressed by his extensive knowledge.

However, according to sensei’s story, is seems that generally, a lost person isn’t just someone who came from a parallel universe. Anyway, if that is true, I can assume that I’m not the only person to have ever been transported to another world.

“Um, Lyle-sensei, please, could you please hire me?”

I cannot let this opportunity escape.

No matter what, I need to have sensei teach me.

“I can handle all of the jobs we get at this village hall by myself, but Takeru-dono is a precious lost person…… Since we’re both scholars, I will appoint you as assistant secretary.”

“Thank you very much.”

Just like in a western movie where a sheriff lightly hires a wandering gunman as a deputy, I was appointed as the assistant of a secretary.

My heart was pounding furiously. Upon hearing more explanations, a secretary isn’t like a sheriff. His role isn’t a village’s official, but a government official.

Even as the simple assistant of a secretary, I can become a proper bureaucrat. To appoint me on the spot on his own, is that even allowed in this administrative organization?

Despite being in the village hall of this remote village, doesn’t secretary Lyle have too much authority?

I wonder what kind of person is he.

An assistant secretary’s job is pretty boring.

As an assistant of secretary Lyle, making official documents and clean copies of detailed reports is my job, but the amount isn’t that high.

Losgow village is a settlement lying at the foot of the Ye mountain range with a population of 200 at most.

There’s a country governed iron mine near the village. Living there are the mine workers andblacksmiths, or wandering adventures like Louise, but even combined it still isn’t over 300 people.

The village is really like a miniature garden.

Making the official documents for such a village doesn’t amount to much.

I now understand why Lyle-sensei would have too much free time and become a private tutor for kids.

However, there are also benefits of doing this boring job of writing documents.

As I investigated and wrote all sorts of reports for the king and feudal lords, I was finally able to learn about the geography and characteristics of this village Losgow.

I thought it was in a very remote area, but when I studied the geography, the distance from the village to the royal capital could be covered in four days by stagecoach, so it wasn’t that far.

Eventually, I would like to go to the royal capital, Silesie……

However, what bothered me more was……

“Secretary Lyle, I see that our village has hot springs.”

As a Japanese who likes baths, I cannot overlook this.

“Although you need to dig with a shovel if you want to go in the hot spring.”

It seems that it’s not something convenient like hot water gushing out, but there’s a place along the small river at the edge of the village where hot water gushes in, and if you wanted to bathe, you would dig a hole with a shovel and make your own bathtub.

That’s kinda weird. I guess it would look like an outdoor bath on the river bed.

“Ok, then should we go together sometime?”

“Eh? ……No, for me it’s somewhat, I don’t really like getting in with other people.”

Aah, he made an unpleasant face. Well, as expected, there’s no way he would get in with me.

Lyle-sensei needs to hide the secret of his body, after all.

If I meddle there too much, it will spoil the mood of his Excellency, the secretary, so I’ll stop here.

Anyway, that wasn’t what interested me.

“Secretary Lyle, is there sulfur at the hot spring?”

“Ooh, you sure know your stuff. In the vicinity, there are areas where the sulfur is exposed.”

That’s right. Hot springs always come with sulfur…… well, I guess you can’t say that, but if there’s a hot spring, that means that the volcanic is active and in many cases, sulfur mines form naturally.

Lyle-sensei, who was a man of immense erudition and had a vigorous thirst for knowledge, was also a elementary level alchemist and had previously done some field work to research the minerals around here.

I will ask about the exact place afterwards.

“There isn’t also a saltpeter mine, is there?”

“Saltpeter, you say? There isn’t any around these parts. If you really wanted some, you would need to order some from the royal capital, or otherwise make some yourself.”

If I ordered saltpeter from a distant place, it would probably exceed the budget I have for my plan.

Well, it’s not as if it’s limited to mineral deposits. Saltpeter can be harvested from fermented animal excretions, if I remember correctly. You should be able to make it by boiling down the  soiled dirt from livestock and human’s toilet.

If I could gather sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal, I should be able to make gunpowder.

“Are you maybe…… planning on making black powder?”

“Ooh, so you noticed.”

As expected of an alchemist. It seems that gunpowder isn’t that popular in this world, but he knew about it.

Hmmm, I was expecting a development where I quickly made gunpowder and impressed everyone, but maybe there are even places where the use of gunpowder is popular.

I was kinda hoping to sell it as my ownriginal technology.

I have no idea about the state of affairs of this field, so I would like to learn more from Lyle-sensei.

“I haven’t made gunpowder before, in fact, I’ve never even seen it before. I only know that it was written in a historical book, that it has been used in a distant empire’s war before.”

“I see, so it has been used in a war.”

So if Lyle-sensei, who knows about gunpowder, hasn’t made it before, it should mean that it isn’t being used in the Silesie Kingdom, right?

Even if it were invented, it must mean they haven’t realized its potential.

If that’s the case, my ownriginal plan might still work.

I was afraid of having my idea stolen, but I decided to tell everything to Lyle-sensei.

I’m really indebted to him, and if it was Lyle-sensei who copied my idea, I wouldn’t really mind.

“Actually, I’m thinking of making a huge bombs with gunpowder and selling them to the iron mines. Do you know about explosive blasts?”

Using the back of a scrapped document as a memo pad, I explained it using simple diagrams.

“I see, so you let it explode and open holes in the hard bedrock. What an amazing idea…… I’ve never heard of such a method. Takeru-dono, did you come up with this?”

That’s right, it is my ownriginal technology.

Well, if you had gunpowder at your disposal at a mine, anybody who knows a bit about engineering could come up with this idea.

So Lyle-sensei, if you looked at me with those sparkling eyes of respect, I’ll get embarrassed, so please stop.

There’s no way I could say that it’s knowledge from another world.

Of course, manufacturing will take time and effort, and I don’t know yet if it would sell, but if all goes well, it should be profitable.

“Lyle-sensei. If you would like, could you help me with creating and selling the gunpowder products? I will give you compensation for your efforts.”

“Yes, I don’t mind at all. I was just bored as well, and I am deeply interested in making gunpowder. I don’t really need money either.”

Lyle-sensei is the type that wants knowledge more than money.

Well, he is more important than the mayor. I guess he’s not troubled by money.

Of course, I want him to help with the production, but the rights to the iron mine don’t belong to the feudal lord of this area, but to the Silesie Kingdom. Therefore, I want to use the reputation of secretary Lyle, who was dispatched by the Kingdom central, when I sell it to the mines.

It should go more smoothly than if a questionable person like me went by himself.

For now, I decided to go check the sulfur collecting site, as well as the hot spring by the riverside.

It’s boring going alone, so I decided to invite someone.

First candidate is Lyle-sensei, but he declined the naked bonding between men, so it falls to Louise, huh.

Now that I think about it, ever since I became assistant secretary, I have been meeting Louise more often.

Lyle-sensei rented a room in the only inn in the village for me to stay in as my official residence.

This Losgow village’s inn even has a bar, and it function as an adventurers’ guild as well. Well, since it’s a small village, the inn has to do everything I guess.

I easily finished up work just past noon today as well, and when I went back to the inn, I saw Louise drinking the speciality wine of Silesie there on her own. On the table was a wooden plate piled with roasted lentils, which was probably a snack to go along with the wine.

It looked delicious.

“Yo~, if it isn’t assistant secretary Takeru-dono.”

Louise raised her glassed that was filled to the brim with purplish red wine and smiled at me.

“Geez, please stop teasing me, will you.”

When I first told her that I became an assistant secretary and started living here, she congratulated me and treated me to some meat she hunted (dog meat again).

After hearing that the secretary Lyle, who is respected as the village’s great teacher, calls me, who is younger than him, by ‘Takeru-dono’, Louise laughed like she never had before.

Of course, I knew that such a formal way of calling me didn’t suit me at all, so I blushed as a result.

“Fufu, sorry for teasing you. I’m just happy that you’re able to live properly now. How about we drink together. Otherwise, I could also get you some crazy dog meat right now.”

“Well, other than that, would you go to the hot springs with me?”

I had thought that dog meat tasted good at first, but I got tired of eating it so I would like to decline the offer. I decided to invite her to the hot springs instead.

“Hmm, the hot spring, huh. For me it’s a bit…..”

“So it’s no good?”

She doesn’t seem to be very eager. Maybe I should have asked after she drank more alcohol.

There’s a chance that she saw through my skillfully hidden secret intention of bathing together with the beautiful and fashionable Louise.

“The hot spring thing, I still don’t really get it.”

“Eh……”

I would understand if she didn’t want to get in with me, but what does she mean with she doesn’t get it?

“Well, I don’t understand why you would go through the trouble of digging up a hole along the river, just to get into hot water. If you wanted to clean your body, you could just wipe it with a warm wet towel.”

“Hm~m, I see.”

It seems that the idea itself of getting into a bath isn’t that popular in these parts.

I guess you would say that the culture is different.

Well, Lyle-sensei wasn’t denying the act of going into the water itself, so I guess it depends on the person.

As I was about to give up, thinking it was pointless to forcefully invite her…

An adorable voice I’m familiar with came from under the table.

“If you are going to the hot spring, then why aren’t you inviting me first!”

“Uwah!”

Sara-chan, with her familiar silky blond hair, popped out from under the table.

image00236.jpeg

Hey, you surprised me and made me bang my thigh against the table!

What are you going to do if the old wound of the crazy dog bite opens up?

Even when I shook the table, Louise had put the wooden plate on her arm and the wineglass in her hand, and she continued eating the roasted beans. How skillful.

It seems that I was the only one surprised by Sara-chan’s sudden appearance. I wonder if suddenly appearing from under the table is a popular part of this world’s culture.

“If it’s now, I could give Takeru the special, special, special~ privilege of inviting me to the hot spring. What do you think?”

I would invite you even if you didn’t overbearingly puff out your chest like that.

“Hmm, well I could take you if I had permission from your parents…”

If it’s the hot spring near the sulfur mine, it’s not that far away from the village, so it should be fine to take kids there.

There doesn’t seem to be a danger of monsters appearing on the way, so I have no objections to taking her along.

It’s just that, if she wanted to come along, I would like her to get permission from her parents first.

“Hey, you’re treating me like a kid, aren’t you? How dare the likes of a former servant act so important.”

“Well excuse me.”

Sara-chan continued sticking out her nonexistent chest and raised her chin.

I’m sure she’s trying her best at acting big, but it sure is cute when a kid does it.

However, it is exactly because I’m a former servant that I need the parents’ permission to take their kid out.

I don’t want to generate concern and be treated like a kidnapper.

“If you need Sara’s parents’ permission, I’ll get it for her later, so go take her already.

“Ah, I see.”

Louise told me with a disappointed look on her face. I guess if Sara-chan were to act violently, it would get in the way of her meal. Even if there were no other important guests around, making a fuss in the drinking area would cause trouble.

Leaving Sara-chan aside, if big sister Louise, who I’m indebted to, says so, I have no choice but to take her along.

Saying “Ok, then it’s decided!”, Sara-chan guided me to the hot spring by pulling me with her small hand.

With a shovel and stiff towels in our hands, we arrived at the river bed hot spring.

Certainly, there was steam silently rising from the small, shallow stream.

The distinctive smell of rotten eggs wafted towards me, so it is clearly a sulfur spring. It seems that I can not only expect an effective hot spring, but also to harvest sulfur.

“Come, start digging. Diligently dig a hot spring for me~”

“Yeah yeah.”

I wonder if I’m still a servant of the Rodd family.

Well, I have an obligation towards Sara-chan for introducing me to Lyle-sensei, so I dug a huge hole, just like she told me.

It was interesting how warm, white, cloudy water rapidly gushed out as I dug with the shovel.

Digging holes becomes a habit after doing it for a bit. It felt like I’ve been digging for a long time, and I didn’t suffer at all. My body movement felt extremely light. Maybe I put on some stamina thanks to the severe farm work. If you think like that, that hard work wasn’t for nothing.

Even if I broke into a sweat, I can get into the hot spring immediately, so that’s not a problem.

“Lyle-sensei was saying that the hot spring makes your skin beautiful~”

“I agree, I think this will be effective.”

To know about the effects of a hot spring in this age, Lyle-sensei is too amazing.

Maybe she…… Oh, I mean, he is actually also a modern person who was transferred from another world.

Hmmm, it’s scary how likely it is for that to be the case, if you think about it.

Next time, I’ll try nonchalantly asking him about modern things to confirm it.

One thing that I can say is that Lyle-sensei’s fair white skin could be due to the hot springs here.

That means that if I just lurked here for a long time, then maybe I can encounter the precious scene of Lyle-sensei entering the bath.

“Takeru, you’re thinking of something no good right?”

“Arara, you can understand, huh.”

Well, since Lyle-sensei is a man, even if I see his bathing scene by chance, it won’t be that much of a crime anyway.

Or rather, it should be fine for men to enter together, but somehow I feel a strange guilt.

“Well, whatever. Let’s get in quickly.”

“Um…… It may be too late asking now, but is it really ok for us to go in together?”

Even if Sara-chan is still a flat-chested child, it still feels a bit awkward.

Getting in the same bath can’t be helped, though, since it would be too troublesome to dig a second hole.

“Is Takeru the kind of person that gets aroused by looking at naked children?”

“…… No, if you put it that way, I guess I don’t.”

“Mom told me to be careful, since there are people like that, but if you’re not, then it should be fine.”

“Y,Yeah, I guess so……”

Since it would be troublesome to be misunderstood as a lolicon and get reported, I feign tranquility.

Sara-chan peered into my facial expression with investigating, upturned eyes. It doesn’t seem like she’s taking caution from a lolicon, and Sara-chan’s pink lips, which had a good complexion, turned into a smile.

Is this…… Maybe I’m being teased by Sara-chan?

What’s a proper adult doing, getting teased by a 12 year old?

Just when I thought Sara-chan was starting to put pressure on me by staring my way, she suddenly took off her clothes and got naked.

Uwa, so in this world, you don’t put on any undergarments under your clothes. Once she removed the cape and apron and took off the simple one piece dress, she was stark naked.  

I wonder if she didn’t put on undergarments because she was a kid from the countryside. Or is this maybe normal in this world?

Hmmm, I don’t have anyone to compare with, so I have no idea.

However, leaving that aside, my heartbeat is fast. Calm down, don’t get flustered by seeing a naked child. The hero that came from another world will not be flustered!

“Takeru…… even though it’s ok, I’ll still get embarrassed if you stared at me so much.”

“Excunts meee!”

Looking too much in a mixed bath is a breach of etiquette. I also quickly undressed and got into the natural bathtub.

By the way, I had thought that Sara-chan’s chest was flat, but there was a bit there. It was puffed out to the size of a small bowl.

Resting on the tip of the slightly expanded chest was the appearance of a sakura colored flower petal, and her skin was very glossy. As expected from a kid, her crotch was still smooth.

Hey now, what am I doing, getting serious and calmly observing Sara-chan’s body. That’s dangerous in various ways. I’m being way too conscious, although I don’t have lolicon tastes. Maybe it’s because I saw a naked body for the first time in a while.

No, wait. Rather than a while……. Isn’t this the first time I’ve seen the naked body of a girl?

Well, whatever, if I think anymore, I’ll get sad. The reason why I can’t find any memories of girls is probably because I lost the memory. That’s right, that must be it. Let’s get in the bath already.

The hot water is cloudy, so once I’m in the water, it should be fine, even in the unlikely case of me getting lively.

I would like you to not ask what would get lively.

“It feels good~”

“Uuuun, I feel alive again.”

For Sara-chan, I guess it stops at just feeling good.

For me though, this is the first bath in half a month.

Climate-wise, it is dryer here than in Japan, so it’s fine to just wipe my body with hot water.

“As I thought, a Japanese person needs baths~!”

I thought that deep in my heart. Or rather, I shouted it out.

Japanese need baths, it’s the laundry of the soul.

I decided to come frequently to get in.

“By the way, don’t you use something like soap?”

“Soap is the thing that makes bubbles, right? I’ve never used something expensive like that.”

Now that I think about it, there wasn’t anything like that in the only grocery store of the village.

Although it’s sad that the fabric is so rough, to think that there are towels but no soap.

“Sara-chan, if I had soap, would you like to use it?”

“If I said I wanted it, would Takeru buy it for me?”

Oh, she already knows how to entice a man at this age? She grasped my hand and my pulse went up. What a scary kid. Maybe she has expectations of my now assistant secretary salary.

If you carelessly think that Sara-chan is still a kid, she will sometimes take actions like an adult woman.

This world’s average life expectancy is low.

I heard you become adult at 15, so at 12, you should still be a kid, but maybe they are living fast in proportion to how fast you become an adult.

I had never thought that I would be solicited for something from a 12 year old girl.

It’s a scary world here.

“If it’s just soap, I’ll try to get my hands on it somehow.”

I won’t say that I’ll buy it, but if it’s just soap, I could try making it.

“Hee, if it’s just soap, huh?…… As expected of a scholar-sama, you talk big.”

I somehow earned respect.

It seems that in Sara-chan’s mind, there is a diagram that says scholar = important just like Lyle-sensei.

Compared to sensei with his extensive knowledge, who is not only a magician but also an alchemist, I am nothing but a quack with incomplete modern knowledge, but I would like her to wait with high expectations.

If I’m not mistaken, you should be able to make soap with animal fat and the alkali products from ash. I can gather the ingredients quickly.

If it’s regarded as such a high class product, maybe I can even sell them.

“Now you want to make soap? Even though we’re in the middle of making gunpowder, you sure come up with all sorts of ideas.”

Today, as usual, I went to the town hall from the inn to work, and when I started talking about making soap in the break time, Lyle-sensei was astonished.

It’s just that, while thinking about making gunpowder, all sorts of ideas started popping up, and I couldn’t stop them.

When I actually gathered the ingredients and tried making it, several problems arose from the practicality side, so I will have Lyle-sensei help me with that part.

“If I remember correctly, I heard that there are cities where soap is made from olive oil or rapeseed oil. I don’t really understand the alkalines Takeru-dono is talking about, but it’s true that they are solidified by using lye and quicklime.

“As expected, I can’t get my hands on olive oil, but I think you can also make it from monster fat.”

If it comes to animal fat you can get for free in this Losgow village, there’s only monster fat.

There are three main kinds of monsters living around the village, and they are the crazy dogs, the grey rat-men, and the vampire bats.

When the monsters grow too numerous, a quest is put out in the adventurer’s guild and Louise-san goes hunting, so I have her share the prey and I squeeze out the oil from the fat.

I’ve tried saponifying that oil by mixing it with lye, but it’s been a series of failures until now.

I was able to make something soft that resembled soap, but it hardly bubbled and it gave off a clay-like stench. Even if I dried it, I don’t think the smell would come off.

I won’t go as far as making a high class product like the ones with olive oil, but if I could make a cheap soap that normal, common people could use, it would definitely sell. The basic idea shouldn’t be wrong, but all that’s left now is to keep repeating the trial and error process.

“In other words, Takeru-dono is telling me to help with making the monster soap.”

“Well, if you put it frankly, that’s what I want to say.”

Once I figure out the manufacturing process, I should be able to make a wooden frame and mass produce them, but as expected, I would like the help of an alchemist for the precise experimentation.

When I humbled myself and put my hands together, Lyle-sensei started laughing like fufufu.

“Even though we still need to gather and mix the ingredients for the gunpowder, Takeru-dono really treats people roughly.”

“I’m so sorry, I will do the tough process like making the saltpeter, so please.”

While he even offered me a job, I am only causing trouble for Lyle-sensei. I can’t let the delicate sensei do heavy manual labor, so I will have to do my best in that area.

“No no, it’s just a joke. I am very happy if my skills are useful. There wasn’t anybody in this village that I could talk about alchemy with, and if Takeru-dono hadn’t come, I would’ve never thought about trying to make soap or gunpowder.”

Even though it’s troublesome, he gave me advice with a smile, and even helped me with the production, I’m sure that a better person doesn’t exist.

Hey now, I’m going to get used to this!

When I asked to please let me wash his back at the hot spring to show my gratitude, he immediately rejected that proposal.

It was just a light joke, so please don’t pull back with such a serious look, sensei.

For now, I’ve completed a decent prototype explosive that can be used for mine blasting.

I packed a jute bag full with gunpowder and connected a fuse made with paper rolled with gunpowder; it was an extremely simple explosive. When talking about mine blasting, dynamite is famous, but making nitroglycerin without preparation is very dangerous. Black powder should be enough already.

The hard process I had to go through to finally complete the bomb would take too long to tell, so let’s skip it.

Aaah, but can I talk about one difficulty I encountered?

Leaving sulfur aside, making potassium nitrate was hard. Since the ingredient is, to be frank, dirt containing human and animal excreta.

Originally, you would make a saltpeter hut and bury the excreta together with grass, and wait until the saltpeter is made by the microbe’s activities, then harvest. It doesn’t have to be excreta, even corpses work, but anyway, the point is, it stinks.

However, refining using this method will take at least two to three years. I can’t wait that long so I didn’t make the saltpeter hut, but used the Rodd family’s animal pen’s dirt to extract potassium nitrate for the prototype.

I can’t even begin describing the odor of the process of boiling down the poop dirt again and again……

Even then, the manure of livestock is surely better. Actually, it would be obtainable from the dirt of human toilets, but I learned of the cruel toilet circumstances of this world.

In medieval Japan, cesspools and special locations where you could do your business had been established since long ago, but it seems that they don’t use human excrement as a fertilizer in this world.

In other words, it’s a nasty story, but they mostly do it in pots and once it piled up, they would randomly throw it out in the back street…… I can’t get saltpeter if it’s like this.

Ahh, that reminds me, but when I came to this world, the bathroom was the toughest on me. Since there’s no toilet paper, they use leaves to wipe their buts. Leaves! I was singing “Micchan michi michi” when I was a brat, but I would’ve never thought that I would actually have to wipe my but with leaves.

I really wanted toilet paper, so I consulted Lyle-sensei about making paper. Turns out, it seems that there are also proper paper making techniques in this world. The quality is bad, but now that I think about it, we also use paper in the town hall.

However, the paper’s quality is bad and it’s stiff, so for really important contracts, we would use parchment with higher preservation qualities.

When I asked why proper paper isn’t generally widespread, it seems the reason isn’t a technical problem, but because of the chronic shortages of the ingredient, wood.

Maybe because the atmosphere is generally arid, it’s not like my homeland Japan, where trees simply grow again when cut down, and when they lumber, the mountains go bald.

It doesn’t seem that the people of this world do afforestation, so the more you went towards densely populated areas, the wider the wasteland spread, and this resulted in a wood shortage.

Even if I knew the manufacturing process, if there’s a shortage of ingredients, I can’t do anything, even with my modern knowledge.

As expected, I need the power of money.

By the way, when I asked Lyle-sensei what he did after the bathroom, he replied with a red face “with water magic……”.

How unfair, I had Lyle-sensei examine me, but it seems I have zero magic competence, so that direction has dim prospects.

It seems that if I used magic tools or magic gems with magical power stored inside, even someone like me with zero magic competence could use magic, but such things have a extremely high price.

As expected, even in this world, it’s all about money money money.

Now, let’s return to the main story.

…… and just like that, with bombs with fuses attached in hand, Lyle-sensei and I had come to the iron mine deep in Losgow village in order to earn money.

Even though I’ve been hearing that it was a national mine, it was smaller than I thought. It’s to the extent of just a few caves being opened.

In those tunnels, of which there were a few, there were workers carrying minerals in small freight cars. All the workers had worn-out clothing and had iron chains attached to their legs.

“Is that what I think it is?”

“Slave miners. They are an essential part of mines.”

Slaves, I have seen them at last…… When I see things like this, I can’t help but think that this is a medieval fantasy world.

A number of slave miners are transporting the excavated minerals in trolleys.

The ones throwing out the earth and sand from the tunnels using small wagons are also slaves, and there are soldiers holding long clubs surveilling their movements.

The chain on their legs is probably to rob their freedom and to make it difficult to run away.

“……”

“The working conditions of a mine are severe, so a disposable workforce is essential. Were there no slaves in Takeru-dono’s country?”

As if worrying about me as I sunk in silence, Lyle-sensei spoke to me. Did I have such a bad complexion, that I made him worry?

Having people who were robbed of their freedom and working in the worst labor conditions right before my eyes, to tell the truth, I was lost for words.

Seeing the normally nice, calm Lyle-sensei calmly accepting slavery made me wonder if that is a given in this world.

However, since I come from an age where slavery had long since been abolished, the sight of the same humans having their basic human rights robbed and being exploited was a shocking sight. They’re not even criminals.

According to Lyle-sensei’s explanations, slaves aren’t criminals, but usually are people who fall into an unpayable debt.

If I had been broke and had taken on a debt, there’s a chance that I may have also turned out like that. The thought made me shudder.

Right now, I am living in a society supported by a workforce of slaves.

I am aware that, in order to live, this is something I have to put up with.

Therefore, I will burn this sight into my mind. Lyle-sensei waited silently as I gazed at the slaves.

“Excuse me sensei, I took up your time, let’s continue.”

“Takeru-dono, over there is the governor’s residence of this mine.”

Near the entrance of the mine was something like a small village.

There are miserable shacks where the slaves live, row houses where the soldiers and engineers live, and there are even blacksmiths to smelt ores and process metal. In that shabby, small village, the biggest building is the residence of the mine’s governor.

It is a firm wooden construction, and when I was led inside by a maid, I see the parlor had wooden flooring.

All the furnitures are sturdy and made of wood. There are stuffed monsters from the vicinity being lined up for display, and even the wall is decorated with brightly colored tapestries.

There are iron knives and long swords, and even a decorated halberd and plate mail, maybe made by the blacksmith at the mine. As expected of a world with adventurers, the products look more solid than I imagined.

Maybe the village’s blacksmith is more technically advanced than I thought.

I can’t think of it as nice taste, since the decorations are too unrefined, but maybe they also act as merchandise samples. Displaying this much merchandise, maybe being a governor of a national mine is pretty profitable. Even the pro adventurer Louise doesn’t have such good equipment. I can expect that my business partner has amassed quite a fortune.

Then the door opened, and a half-naked muscular man entered.

It was a smooth headed man in the prime of his life, he’s way bigger than the female warrior Louise. What’s with this bodybuilder?

“Looks like I’ve made you wait, I’m the governor of this mine, Nattal Dacole.”

Eh, this person is the mine’s governor? Since he’s half naked, with only plain fustian pants on, I thought a miner entered here by mistake.

Nevertheless, this Nattal guy, he’s pumping with muscle. With bulging biceps and a bald head, he looks like a tasteful old man, as well as the main character of a Hollywood movie.

Seeing me admiring and staring at his bulging biceps, he lowered his head to apologize, he probably misunderstood something.

“Sorry for having such an appearance in front of a guest. Since I just got out of the site……”

“No no, we’re the ones who have to be sorry, for showing up suddenly…… well, I’m, no, this one is called Sawatari Takeru. Nice to meet you, your Excellency governor Nattal.”

I also panicked, bowed deeply and introduced myself.

He told me to ‘drop the your Excellency’ as he embarrassedly rubbed his nicely shaped smooth head.

This mine governor Nattal can even honestly bow his head to a seedy looking youngster like me, huh.

A middle aged man, furthermore, a man of influence, being so courteous to me, I feel very obliged.

I can see that, together with his half naked muscular body, he also has an respectable, unaffected, and sincere attitude. Even though he’s the governor, he also works on site, what a good guy.

Secretary Lyle and governor Nattal are both government officials stationed in this village, so they already knew each other, it seems.

Nattal had already been informed beforehand that I will come here to sell explosives. His polite responses, which seemed to be on purpose, could be him using his wiles to get the business discussion going smoothly.

Still, even if I am to put up my guard, I can’t help but having a favorable impression of his frankness. Furthermore, Nattal, with his beautiful bald forehead, was a refined looking old man, greatly resembling Bruce Willis.

I’m weak to beautiful women, but I’m also pretty weak to cool gentlemen.

“Well then, let’s get to the point, can you show me this bomb thingy?”

To show him the performance of the bomb, I blew a wall, where they were going to dig a new tunnel, to smithereens.

Even though I prepared a long fuse and let it explode after getting far away enough, if I handled it badly, the violent shock wave may have burst my eardrums. I’ve went and made a fearsome thing, even if I do say so myself.

After looking at the big hole opened in the wall, I know that black gunpowder is already enough, just as I predicted. It exerted a detonation force just like I calculated.

Probably excited by the explosion he witnessed for the first time in his life, Nattal threw both of his hands into the air and screamed ‘Wooooooow!’.

It’s an honor that it’s been received happily. Looks like it was a good demonstration for the business partner.

“How was it?”

“Takeru-dono, was it? You’ve made a wonderful thing! This bomb thingy, if you use it wisely, you can cut down a lot of time and labour in one shot, this will really help.”

While touching and examining the gaping hole made by the explosion, he’s collecting the ore that was blown away by the shockwave and checking them one by one.

Would be nice if Nattal likes it and attaches a high value to it.

“For 1 bomb, how about 1 silver… no, gold coin?”

“Well that’s……”

I gulped. One gold coin is worth about 10,000 Japanese yen. If the bomb for mine blasting can be sold for 1 gold each, it will be a pretty profit according to my calculations.

I didn’t think it could be sold at this high of a price.

No no, how can I sell it just at the asking price. Gunpowder and bombs are rare merchandises in this world, so maybe I should raise the price more……

“Please don’t raise it more than this, since we’re comrades working for the same country, I told you the absolute highest price I could pay in good faith.”

“Hahah, as if!…… Well then, one gold coin please.”

I laughed while breaking a cold sweat. By seeing my facial complexion, he already knew what I was thinking, it seems.

As expected of a veteran governor, he’s perceptive even in negotiation.

“Also, there’s a condition for buying at one gold, I want to pay later.”

“Erm, what do you mean by that?”

“It means that I’ll be troubled if I bought defective products. Deliver me the qualified products and I’ll pay you for that portion. I heard the rumour in the village you know, you lot have experimented in the vicinity and failed a lot, right?”

“Aah, well, that is true, yes.”

I looked at Lyle-sensei next to me, and he was wearing a wry smile.

Well, it’s true that while experimenting until we succeeded, there were a lot of failures like the bomb only producing smoke and not exploding, and so on. Even with the intention to mix them with the ideal ratio of 75% saltpeter, 15% charcoal and 10% sulfur, there will be some scattering, which may lead to failures that won’t detonate. That was to be expected since it’s the work of an amateur.

Now that I’ve gotten used to mixing the components, I shouldn’t make too many mistakes, but you never know with gunpowder. Indeed, I should also think of the probability of failures.

I don’t intent to sell defective goods so there’s no problem with him paying later.

“There’s one more condition.”

“Yes.”

I reflexively wanted to complain ‘there’s still more?’, but since he’s a partner that will pay 1 gold coin for the bombs, so I patiently endured.

“This Losgow mine, despite being small, it’s still a mine owned by the kingdom, so selling bomb for us…… you know what that means, right?”

“Erm……”

Even if you speak in that suggestive tone I still don’t know.

Being unable to watch me standing dumbfounded, Lyle-sensei whispers into my ear.

“It’s the monopoly contract for Silesie Kingdom. Well I don’t think there’s anywhere else you can sell bombs, so isn’t it fine?”

Hmm, I see. Well, it’s just as Lyle-sensei said. Lyle-sensei is also the kingdom’s secretary, I thought about my position and agreed to the contract.

“Well, if you agreed to sign a monopoly contract with us then, you can sell it at the sites that need bombs too, like other national mines or public-work projects. I won’t put you at a disadvantage.”

“Well then, let’s go with that.”

While bowing, I reflected on how thoughtless I was.

Even though I produced bombs, I didn’t think about expanding the market channel at all.

Since this is just the countryside, letting the chance of selling to other regions of the kingdom escape is a waste.

On the other hand, if I want to sell consumer products, I won’t be able to enter the monopoly contract with the country and will have to find the outlet for the products on my own, huh.

Is there any good method? Let’s try consulting my wisdom bag (Lyle-sensei) later.

Anyway, there’s something I should say in advance.

“Also, please be really careful of accidents. If you let it explode inside the tunnel, then there’s the concern that it might cave in.”

“Haha, you said it. But I’m an expert on mining, you know. I don’t make a blunder like that. But this power, it’s true that I’ll have to handle it with care. Thanks for the warning.”

Even though I was ostracized for being captious by Nattal, I still had to give him at least a warning.

Even in the modern day Japan I was living in, there were still people dying by being buried alive in mine accidents.

If the miners I saw earlier were to be caught up with the bombs I made and died, it’d take a toll on my conscience.

Gunpowder is for blasting things with a low level of safety, so I have to have Nattal handle them with plenty of caution.

After a series of trial and error, I finally completed making soap. I still can’t constantly make quality products, though.

The chance of making soap that is white, has a good smell, and creates good amount of foam is still low.

I’ve made more failures like ones that wouldn’t solidify properly, or ones that smelled like mud and clay. I don’t know if it’s a problem with the monster fat or if the lye lacks alkalinity. I can only ascertain that in the production experiment hereafter.

Despite being a failure, it can still be used for washing clothes, so I decided to sell it as detergent for 1 small copper coin

The people of this world seem to use lye for their detergent, but compared to just lye, even the failed soap is still way better at removing dirt.

By the way, I decided to sell the high quality monster soap for 1 silver coin (worth about 1000 yen).

I wondered if the price was a little too high despite the next to nothing cheap raw materials, but it turned out that the soaps made from olive and rapeseed oil seemed to be sold at 1 gold coin. Themarket price varied a bit depends on the region, though.

If I think about it, there’s almost no difference in quality, but my price is only one tenth, so there’s no way mine wouldn’t sell.

When I brought the completed soap and detergent over to the Rodd family, Sara-chan and the missus were really delighted.

I kept the fact that I used them to test the products to see if there was any problem a secret though.

Since Sara-chan just kept saying ‘thank you, thank you’ to express her joy despite her low vocabulary, I got carried away and told her ‘let’s go take a bath together in the hot springs again’, and Sara-chan’s father seriously glared at me.

I didn’t dare to ask ‘Eh, why are you so angry?’. About the hot springs, I thought you said you’d get her parents’ permission, Louise……

Even if I say “sell the soap”, I don’t even have a shop, so I decided to supply the village’s general storeand second-hand shop with the soap.

When I brought it to the general store, the owner was very happy, since it’s a rare product. I sold it at 1silver, but he will probably raise the price a little to make some profit himself.

While I was at it, I decided to go on a shopping spree at the second-hand shop. The reason being that there is a gold coin groaning in my wallet. Since I should earn even more if the business with the soap in addition to the explosives goes well, so it should be alright if I live a bit in luxury.

The items of this world have been on my mind, and i have been thinking that I want to try all sorts of things.

“Do you have magic items?”

“Hmm, we only have this ‘Fireball Staff’.”

As expected of a second-hand shop in a remote village, they don’t have many wares.

“Then, I’ll take that.”

“Alright.”

They only have daily necessities in the general store, so I can’t really complain. Even this is a magic item.

Now, this ‘fireball staff’, even if you don’t have magical powers, just by shouting “Fireball!” in a cool way, you can use the the most basic of basic, and yet ultimate, fire magic, a spell called fireball.

However, a problem is that it hasn’t been appraised, so it isn’t known how many times you can still use it. I felt extremely uneasy. I can’t even try it out.

Fire magic may have a good compatibility with my weapon, gunpowder.

By the way, the price of this shop’s showpiece item, the non-appraised ‘fireball staff’, was 5 silver coins.

I can’t talk about others, but the pricing is fairly vague, it really made me want to ask how much he got it for.

“So you don’t have any water magic items?”

“Hmmm, this town is in the countryside, after all.”

There’s still the problem of what to do after the bathroom, so I really wanted a magic item that can use basic water magic, but oh well.

As expected, I guess I need to look for it in a bigger town. Now, I also want some recovery items.

“Ok then, please give me all of these recovery and antidote potions.”

“Hey hey, please don’t buy up all the goods!”

Aah, that’s right, it’s not that I can just buy everything just because I have the money.

Since there’s no church with a priest that can use recovery magic here, Losgow village doesn’t have a medical clinic. That means that the recovery potions are the villagers’ only lifeline.

It seems I acted without enough consideration.

“I’m sorry, then I’ll take five of each then.”

“Here ya go, thanks for your patronage~”

The recovery potions have a relatively low price, but even then, they cost one silver each. They are not cheap.

However, I will be in trouble if I injure myself, so I should buy extras as a reserve.

“Then why don’t we go to the town of Est?”

When I complained about the shabbiness of the items in Losgow, Lyle-sensei brought up this fascinating proposal.

“But Lyle-sensei. Wouldn’t it be bad if both the secretary and assistant secretary were to leave the town hall?”

“But, there isn’t anything to do here.”

Even though I was humbling myself and appealing my serious side, Lyle-sensei is way too frank.

Well, it has been over a month since I came, and it’s true that I haven’t seen any proper jobs come to the town hall.

There was a wedding in the town, but that’s about it.

“If it’s just the legal procedures of authentication, the mayor will do it if we ask him. Inspecting the surrounding areas is also an important part of a secretary’s job, so I think it would be good if we went to inspect the town of Est.”

“I see, so we go on a trip under the pretext of inspecting.”

When I also tried putting things bluntly, Lyle-sensei let out a light laugh. To go merrymaking under the name of an inspection, this is a conversation between bad government workers, no matter how you look at it. If I think that we have grown close enough to exchange these kind of jokes, it makes me happy.

“The inspection part is a joke, but it’s not that we’re only going for fun. Thinking of Takeru-dono’s new products, it would be best to go greet his Excellency Count Donovan in the town of Est once.”

“I see, so you’re telling me to go make a courtesy visit to the influential person of these parts……”

Including this town of Losgow, this area is the territory of the Count of Est. This is all the dominion of a noble-sama called Count Donovan.

If I were to continue spreading my business, it would be necessary to get friendly with the regional feudal lord.

Greetings are the foundation of business.

Once I got back to the inn after finishing work, I decided to request Louise to escort us on the trip, just in case. It would be scary if we were attacked by monsters on our way to the town of Est, which lies in the middle of the territory.

Just in case, I said that I would pay a reward through the adventurer’s guild, but she refused, saying ‘I don’t need something like that’. It seems that Louise will help us for free.

I’ve only been helped by Louise so I felt a bit awkward, but a trip comes with all sorts of expenses, so I decided to take her up on her offer. As for a reward, I will definitely think of something if business goes well in the town of Est.

Since we’re going through the trouble to go to a big town, I plan on also peddling my wares while I’m at it. I was hesitating on whether I should buy or rent a wagon to carry the soap, but after being pushed by Louise’s welcome words of ‘A wagon is the basics of a merchant’, I decided to blow my money and bought a second-hand covered wagon.

The covered wagon isn’t just a normal wagon and has a canopy made of a sturdy cloth on top to stave off wind and rain.

Thinking that the wares we are dealing are soap and gunpowder, I picked a waterproof wagon.

The covered wagon with waterproof properties was surprisingly expensive despite being second-hand, and I become stone broke. I didn’t have enough money to acquire a horse, so I had the Rodd family lend me one.

In order to earn even a bit of money, I accepted a quest from governor Nattal from the Losgow mines to carry Losgow Village’s iron wares in my covered wagon to Est.

Nattal advised me that if I carried wares that there’s a shortage of in Losgow, like cloth and salt, on the way back, I could make a profit.

Somehow, now that I have my own covered wagon, I feel enhanced by the thought that I really am a merchant now. It was expensive, but it’s not bad at all. Being a travelling merchant brings an adventurous spirit and feels pretty good.

Of course, I can’t talk about an adventurous spirit without money, so I need to work hard at my business. After loading the wares I was asked to deliver, as well as the freshly made gunpowder products and soap, I set off for the town of Est.

The three of us, Lyle-sensei, Louise, and me, travelled with my covered wagon in under a day and visit the town of Est for the first time.

My impressions on seeing Est county’s center, the town of Est, from a distance, surrounded by a stone wall was ‘It’s so shabby’. The fault might have been in my overly high expectations, though.

Losgow Village was a mountain village in the countryside, so I thought that it couldn’t be helped, but the town of Est was where the region’s lord lived, which makes it the prefectural capital. So after being rocked about on a covered wagon for an entire day through endless wastelands, hills, and fields, finding a less-than-great town at the end of it all was a letdown.

No monsters appeared, so the travel on the highway was safe, but I really felt that Est county was rural, no matter where you went. It’s not very pleasant, and I feel there’s a lack of a fantasy-look.

However, even if it were a small town, only the stone ramparts that ran around the whole town really impressed me, and I shouted ‘Fantasy’s really awesome!’.

As I was touching the stone wall all over with an excited expression, Lyle-sensei and even the soldiers guarding the town gate looked at me with disgusted looks.

I’m seeing a manned fortress town for the first time, you know, it’s obvious I’d get excited.

Once we stepped into the castle walls, I thought it was beautiful how the main street and the public square were paved neatly with inlayed small stones.

According to Lyle-sensei, the difference between a village and a town isn’t the population, but how well the roads are maintained and whether or not they have defense mechanisms like walls.

This real fantasy world overrun by monsters is harsh. If you talk about cities in this world, basically, they are fortified cities with their castle walls.

Also, despite the town of Est being small, it is still the prefectural capital, so there are counters from all sorts of guilds and a branch of the church.

Since the town has castle walls, it also has a castle.

The count I am going to visit now lives in the castle in the center of the town.

As expected of the count-sama, the stone castle stood out from the town.

It’s just that, there were three tall spires painted heavily in a pure red towering over its surroundings that made it look like a castle from an amusement park, or it even could be mistaken for a love hotel. It is a weirdly decorated castle.

It is excessively decorated and the spires are just for show. It’s meaningless to build a spire on a castle that’s in the middle of a town. I have no experience with these kind of things, but I feel like they are making light of the concept of self-defense. Is this how castles of nobles are built? Regional nobles should be protecting their territory on their own.

When I asked Lyle-sensei, he ambiguously said that ‘there hasn’t been a war in Est county for over 100 years……’. It may be that the feudal lord here is a weird person after all.

We parked the covered wagon at the inn, and after renting rooms and taking a breather, we decided to set out for the feudal lord’s castle. When we contacted the castle, saying that secretary Lyle and his companion have come for a greeting because they want to start a new business in the region, we were able to make an appointment immediately.

Lyle-sensei’s name was useful yet again. With authority, knowledge, and good looks, he truly excels in all aspects. It could be that the hero who came from another world isn’t the half-baked me, but Lyle-sensei.

By the way, I asked Louise if she also wanted to come to the castle, but she curtly refused, saying ‘I don’t like nobles’.

In addition to the lovely secretary, I thought I could get along better if a beatiful female knight were there to guard me, but if she doesn’t want to come, I can’t help it.

The reason Louise is helping me is partly because I am taking advantage of her good will, so I can’t pressure her.

When we were invited into the feudal lord’s castle, the interior was extremely extravagant.

It was more spacious and had a taller ceiling than any building I had seen before.

Although I was excited by the real medieval castle, I am also seeing a red carpet, which covered the whole floor without leaving a gap, for the first time in this world.

Since I was used to the simple life in a mountain village like Losgow, I was deeply moved by the pompous appearance.

What I could tell at a glance was that this count-sama really liked red. There were many gorgeous furnishings, but overall, they mostly had a reddish color. Damn it, I should’ve dyed the soap that I brought as a gift red.

We are meeting the excellent count-sama, so I thought we would be led into something like a throne room, but a butler wearing a tailcoat led us into a room with a round table.

By the way, the table and the chair cushions are all red. How far do you want to go.

The chair cushions were soft, and the room had a relaxed atmosphere.

As I thoughtlessly sat down and relaxed, a fat, middle-aged man wrapped in a red robe, who looked like someone had painted luxury itself, came in, so I hurriedly stood up.

“Aah, please continue relaxing just like that. I am Donovan Est Almark, the lord of this castle. Thank you for coming today.”

Even if he tells me to relax, isn’t that impossible in front of a count-sama? I stood at attention and while making sideward glances at Lyle-sensei, I matched my movements to his.

It seems that once the count was seated and we were offered to sit again, we were finally allowed to be seated.

Umm, first comes the greeting. How should I greet this noble-sama with his proper upbringing to leave a good impression? If it were going to be like this, I should’ve learned some etiquette from sensei.

“Your Excellency, Count Est, we meet for the first time. This one’s name is Sawatari Takeru, today is truly a lovely, auspicious day…… Aah, this is really nothing but…”

My greeting turned out way too wordy, but I handed over the greeting gift of assorted gunpowder products (bangers and firecrackers I made by making alterations) and soap.

It reminds me of a year-end gift exchange.

The count-sama, without showing any interest towards the bombs and fireworks, was gazing at the white soap as if he were about to lick it. He is even smelling its fragrance.

I think that gunpowder is a much bigger invention, but it seems the count has a better liking for the soap. I guess this is how people with proper upbringings are.

“Takeru-dono, I hear that at this time, you are appointed as an assistant secretary. In the Silesie Kingdom, government officials and nobles are both retainers of his Majesty the King, so we are equals in that sense. Please, freely call me Donovan! Ahaha!”

The noble generously laughed his round sides off, I wonder how I should interact with him.

(He’s only putting on a facade, please properly address a noble with -sama)

As I was about to perpetrate something out of my ignorance, Lyle-sensei hurriedly whispered into my ear.

Well, yes. An ignorant dolt like me might be prone to talking casually.

“Then allow me to call you Donovan-sama. I’ve come to see you today because I will start trading …”

“Now now, Takeru-dono. Before we get into the complicated stuff, why don’t we take a breather.”

The count interrupted my talk and ordered his butler to take out the tea.

The thing the maid took out on the table was, of course, not plain hot water, nor was it black tea that’s common in these parts, but a pitch-black warm liquid.

“Eh, could this possibly be ……”

This aromatic fragrance is one I’m very familiar with. I almost teared up in nostalgia.

Please don’t let this taste like plain muddy water once I tried it, not after all this.

“I like strange things you see. This is the drink called coffee, harvested in the southern regions, that’s been popular in the capital lately. It’s rather bitter so if it doesn’t suit your tastes I can bring another …”

So it’s really coffee! Yay!

I’m addicted to this stuff you know, I drained the whole cup in one gulp without holding back. The dearly missed caffeine penetrated every nook and cranny of my body.

This is it. This is what we’ve been missing. My innards rejoiced.

“Delightful!”

“Now this is a surprise, Takeru-dono. This is something you can drink only after putting plenty of sugar in. Since you drained your cup in one go, you must have really liked it.”

The fragrance is strong and the acidity is low.

I had never drank such good tasting coffee before, and when I drank it black, I was treated like an oddball.

I guess that means that the bitterness of coffee doesn’t suit the tastes of the people in this region.

Lyle-sensei copied me and tried drinking it as is and hurriedly put in sugar with a bitter expression.

What a waste, high quality coffee must be drunk black.

“I personally prefer drinking it without sugar. I hear that there are people who drink it with milk as well as sugar.”

“Interesting, so you drink it like milk tea. I think they weren’t even doing that in the royal capital. Takeru-dono must be quite a connoisseur.”

The count sent for milk at once and drinking it as a café au lait, happily said it wasn’t bad at all.

I thought that nobles had massive schemes, but this person has lighter footwork than it seems.

He even gave me a second cup of coffee, so he really is a good guy.

Our conversation blossomed on the topic of cafés, the seemingly popular shops in the royal capital where they serve coffee, and we went on to talk about southern coffee brands and rare products.

It seems that count Donovan likes rare things, and since Lyle-sensei has extensive knowledge, we talked about all sorts of interesting things.

This naturally connected to the topic of us wanting to do business in Est County.

“Of course, I will give you permission to do business in my territory. However, it seems that you already have a national contract concerning your explosive thingys, so Takeru-dono must be a very capable merchant

“No no, that’s not the case at all.”

“If you are able to bring out new products like soap for civilian use, Takeru-dono, wouldn’t you rather start a firm?”

All of a sudden, the talk became big. Speaking of firm, I wonder if it’s something like a company.

Even though it’s still just me and Lyle-sensei manually making soap and peddling them with the covered wagon.

While I was hesitating, Lyle-sensei said this.

“It’s true that the wares we are dealing in are special, so we couldn’t join another firm.”

Sensei sent me a glance with hidden meaning.

In other words, he’s telling me to establish a firm. If that’s what Lyle-sensei is recommending, I’ll make my resolution.

“Then, I’ll…… proceed in the direction of making a firm, please.”

“I see, so Takeru-dono is going to establish a firm in this place. Then, as a congratulatory gift, I offer you a plot of land in this town of Est. Please, I want you to build your trading company in my territory.”

Eh, when he says offer, does he mean give? I’m receiving land?

When I looked at Lyle-sensei with a sideward glance, she also…… err, I mean, he also had a surprised look on his face. Well, that’s to be expected, this is real estate after all.

Even if he’s a rich noble, he’s way too generous.

“Hahah, Takeru-dono, you called this gift monster-soap, right? This is truly a fine quality article. If new special products were to be born in Est, I can be proud as its feudal lord.”

I see, since my mind was cleared because of drinking coffee for the first time in a while, I discerned count Donovan’s intentions before Lyle-sensei. Giving us land is him making an investment.

I’ve heard that there are soaps made of olive oil and rapeseed oil, but it seems that soap is a special product that’s only found in certain regions.

If new products are born from your territory, your town’s business transactions will grow lively, more merchant’s will come and go, and wealth will also grow. As a result, the feudal lord’s profit will also be good.

I thought that he was just a friendly countryside noble, but the count understands the basics of commerce. It seems that the town of Est is prosperous in agricultural production, and they also developed textiles as a special product.

The reason why this town is so prosperous and nobody starves or collapses dead on the streets is not only because they are blessed with good land, but probably also because of the feudal lord’s capability.

“Donovan-sama, I will receive it with gratitude. The Sawatari Firm will deliver new products to your Excellency from now on, so please hold great expectations.”

“Yes, ask for anything if there is something I can help with. I will wait expectantly.”

Count Donovan, seeing that all things went according to his thoughts, is showing a smile on his rosy cheeks.

Alright, I will make sure you profit as much as you daringly invested. Let’s share in this sweet deal together, count.

You could say I am lucky to be under a feudal lord who is so quick in understanding.

However, I got caught in the moment and promised new products, but I have no plans at all.

Well, I’ll manage somehow.

“Wanna go monster hunting?”

Louise-oneesan (age 24, single) who became an escort on my request suddenly said so.

The establishing for my Sawatari Firm in the town of Est has ground to a halt.

I declared impressively to count Donovan “I’m going to create the Sawatari Firm”, then I went to the business district near the town’s square to receive the open plot of land, it was smooth sailing until there.

However, if I think about it, I’m already broke after buying the covered wagon. No, on the contrary, the horse is borrowed from Rodd family. Since I’ll have to pay the rental fee later, I can even say that I am in the red instead.

The money I earn from just carrying iron products from the Losgow mines to the town of Est only amounts to small change.

In order to establish a firm, you need to build a trading post, and you need to hire personnel. The future is clouded.

Even Lyle-sensei only knows the firm system, he doesn’t have any know-how on actually managing a business.

“Knowing something and being able to do it are two completely different things”, these were Lyle-sensei’s words.

After coming to this world, I have also fully realized this.

Also, this is a personal concern, but although we’ve gone through the trouble of travelling to the town of Est, it’s sad that we don’t have any money to spend.

All the soap (price: 1 silver) and detergent (price: 1 small copper) we brought sold out immediately because of their rarity and cheapness, but it still is definitely not enough.

As for the bombs, I’ve made a monopoly contract with the Silesie Kingdom for this ware, so I can’t sell it to the public or other merchants.

I’ve been gradually thinking of consumer products that use gunpowder, but I’m still in the trial phase. Even if you suddenly told me to make profitable new products, as expected, my thoughts can’t keep up.

In this state of having reached my limits, just as I was about to give up on establishing the firm for now and buy cloth and salt as originally intended, before continuing to steadily peddle back in Losgow Village, Louise invited me.

“For the time being, it’s fine if we subjugate the monsters around here to make a profit, right? I’ll do it as a part of my duty as a guard, so I don’t need the money.”

Uwa, Louise-oneesan, so generous. What favorable conditions you are proposing to me.

“In exchange, give me the monster meat and skins.”

Uwa, it’s the usual Louise. Maybe she actually doesn’t want to help me, but she just wanted to eat monster intestines again.

However, I am thankful for Louise’s assertive proposal. In other words, rather than thinking about this and that, one should make a move for now.

When the three man party of Louise-oneesan, Lyle-sensei, and me went to the adventurer’s guild, there was a commotion going on.

“Hey you, are you adventurers?! We have an urgent request, could you please accept it?”

As soon as we entered the guild, the middle-aged guild employee earnestly asked us with a change in expression.

“It seems that a caravan party is being attacked by monsters near the town. The garrison is heading there now, but a call for assistance has also come to the guild. The reward will come from the feudal lord, so please!

“Understood, we’re on our way!”

Louise, who was ever so swift in making decisions, decided on going. It’s a bit scary that we don’t know how many monsters are attacking.

However, the garrison is also there, so it should be alright.

I heard that this town is really peaceful , but I guess monsters still appear in the vicinity. Hmm, this is also an opportunity to indebt the count to me. Ok, let’s think positively.

“This is the worst isn’t it? The escaping caravan has dragged the group of monsters all the way here .”

Taking a look at the progress of the battle, where we rushed to in a hurry, Lyle-sensei said so with an unpleasant face.

Three kilometers away from the town, the monsters and the garrison had already started fighting.

The humanoid monsters surrounding the caravan group easily numbered more than fifty.

The small green monsters are Green Goblins, and the large earth-colored ones are Earth Ogres.

Monsters I’m familiar with from RPGs.

I have notional knowledge about them, but when I saw the monsters holding the same weapons as humans and attacking and killing people, my legs reflexively froze.

On the other side, there were just under ten guards running around holding spears, clearly outnumbered. The overwhelming enemy numbers was a disadvantage.

Normally, they should withdraw to a walled town, but there’s a reason why they didn’t.

The caravan group’s merchandise were, unfortunately, slaves.

The slaves, linked together by chains and unable to run or offer any significant resistance, were under attack by the monsters without being able to do anything about it.

The slaves, who don’t even have armor let alone weapons, were getting their heads crushed by the Ogres’ rustic clubs and their chests stabbed by the goblins’ short swords without any resistance, before collapsing immediately and not moving anymore. This is a one-sided massacre.

I thought this is finally time to use it, squeezed out my courage, and gripped the iron sword. I thought there will be a time when I have to fight too, so I secretly bought an iron sword. It’s time for me to show the true strength of my mastery of the Hokushin Ittoryu style (online course).

“Not that, Takeru. Throw the powder that makes the strange sound! Sensei, please use magic.”

Power that makes a sound, could she mean my prototype firecrackers and bangers?

Louise, who promptly gave me an order and with her portable small bow in her hand, shot away at the nearby goblins .

A fast and accurate headshot!

“I, Lyle Laertius, command the heaven and earth, roaring waterfall, wailing gale, crumbling earth, mow down the harmful enemies with your full power!”

Lyle-sensei chanted the incantation for his forte of a spell, the intermediate level large scale spell, Spiral Hurricane.

As he raised his arm while chanting the chuunibyou-ish incantation, gigantic Spiral Hurricanes appeared repeatedly and blew away the pack of ogres.

There was even a flashy secondary effect where not only the enemies that were hit directly by the tornado, but also the surroundings, got hit by the scattering debris..

Fantasy-ish strongest spell. Must be nice, being able to use magic, I mean.

Compared to that, the only thing I have are the toy bangers, and while having my mood spoilt a bit, I threw all of them at the pack of monsters.

Next, I used the ‘Fireball staff’ with the lowest output to light the fuse of firecrackers, and threw them towards the goblins.

Panpanpanpan! The familiar dry sound reverberated.

The goblins that were hit directly by the firecrackers overreacted, and after raising screams that made even me surprise, they ran away.

Huh, it’s unexpectedly effective?

Even more than the super flashy tornado attack of Lyle-sensei, the firecracker’s exploding sounds and flashes familiar to me drew the attention of the horde and they stopped moving for a moment.

Even the fighting soldiers stopped and looked this way with shocked faces.

It’s just fireworks you know, why are you that surprised?

After that, it seems the goblins have stepped on the bangers that I had scattered around just now and raised high pitched screams, they ran around panickedly and fell down one by one.

In the midst of that, Louise, who had switched from the bow to the sabre before I knew it, was stabbing the fallen goblins’ chests.

“What are you doing? Throw more!”

Scolded by Louise, I kept throwing lit up firecrackers toward the ogres and goblins before me.

Even though I didn’t think they’d have this much power, the exploding firecrackers made the monsters fall into a panic and falter.

Using that opening, Louise continued swapping her swords as they got dull, with which she sliced, sweeped, and stabbed. Almost all of the kills were one-hit.

One-hit kill in the blink of an eye.

Towards the end, she was even clearing the mobs while using a two sword technique with two short swords.

I also want to become a main character-ish warrior like that. But well, it’s impossible for me with my weak strength.

Thinking that it’d be at least be cool for me to finish it off with magic, I tried firing the ‘Fireball staff’ at an ogre, but I only burned its skin a little and hardly did any damage.

This is even less effective than the firecrackers.

Well I originally have no magic power, so with this second hand staff I can only do that much, I guess.

Boo hoo hoo……

In the end, about half of the horde of monsters were killed by Louise, while the rest retreated, scattering in all directions like baby spiders.

The attacked unit of the caravan of slave traders were in a terrible state and the garrison also had a lot of casualties, so they can’t spare members to pursue.

Louise, who went through an intense battle, only had a few scratches, and after drinking a recovery potion, she made a full recovery.

Since I was throwing firecrackers from behind Louise, I didn’t have any wounds.

Still, I wonder why the firecrackers and bangers were so effective. When I asked, Louise said that “enemies with intelligence are weak to attacks they see for the first time”.

In this world, nobody has experienced the intense sound and flash of fireworks.

That’s why, from the time when she saw me making fireworks and playing around with them, it seems that she has been thinking of using them to stop enemies in their tracks.

If that was the case, she could have explained the strategy to me from the beginning, but Louise is the type who doesn’t say anything.

However, if normal fireworks can already be this effective, maybe I should put a bit more thought into making items that use gunpowder.

Thus, the battle with disastrous damage ended like this, and now the traders of the caravan and the garrison of the town are talking to each other. Looks like there are only a few of the caravan’s underling employees left.

I don’t know the original scale of the caravan, but they probably got almost wiped out. The traders who kept fighting, even as they got chased by the monsters, have all become silent corpses.

I understand how fierce this battle was. Still, even though they were chased by the horde of monsters, they still had the time to request reinforcement from the town of Est.

Had they abandoned the wagons and escaped into the town, they’d have been able to at least keep their lives. It’s pitiful, but that’s what they get for being too greedy.

Even with their lives on the line, pro traders can still misread the time for retreat. Although it’s not that I don’t understand, since they were just steps away from the town of Est……

As I looked at the gloomy battlefield, where grotesque humanoid monsters and merchants corpses lay on top of each other, I resolved and swore to abandon the wagon and run away if I were ever in the same situation.

You can’t buy life with money, so yeah, I don’t want to die.

And wait, there are the slaves groaning painfully due to being attacked by the monsters, it’s okay to save them, right?

There are recovery potions in my bag.

“The owner of these slaves seems to already be gone, and your potions belong to you, so do whatever you want.”

Louise curtly said that and started disassembling a nearby goblin with a knife.

Aah, so she disassembles humanoid monsters too.

Somehow, the sight of something that has human shape being chopped up is cruel and super repulsive, but still, it’s not like I can talk, since I will be extracting oil from the humanoid monsters’ fat to make soap.

Both the garrison and the surviving merchants didn’t care about both the living and dead slaves, who were squatting down with chain still on, soaked with blood.

Rather than companions, they don’t even see them as human. So, there are no human right for slaves, huh.

I only have 5 recovery potions. I selected the slaves that looked like they can still be saved and had them drink the potions. Choosing who lives and dies, it’s a heavy decision. It’s like in a disaster medical care manga.

If I had known this would happen, I’d have bought a lot more recovery potions, and I regretted it.

“Why, are you, saving us?”

When the slave child that I helped drink a recovery potion asked me in a faint voice, my chest became really painful.

“I don’t understand it either, maybe because I can.”

The child’s long hair, covered in sand, was ruffled, the face was smeared with mud, and the robe, which could barely be called clothes, had also been ripped up by the monster and became a tattered piece of cloth which was only wrapped around the child.

It’s dirty all over and worn out so I don’t if it’s a boy or girl, but when I observed carefully, the either dead or wounded slaves were all kids. There are even very young children. They’re at the age where they should still be under the protection of their parents, but they’ve become so pitiful. Why did this……

Still, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re slaves, so I can’t say that I will save them. Saying something that will give them hope simply out of sympathy is cruel.

Why did I save them? If I were to say what I really think, it’s that potions can be bought again with money, but lives cannot. But I know that even if I told them the sense of value of a modern person, it would be pointless.

In this world, human lives can be bought easily with money, that’s why. In this real fantasy world, there’s no salvation. That’s why I don’t like it.

“I heard it from the garrison, you sure went and did something big right away didn’t you, Takeru-dono.”

“No no no, that was just a coincidence.”

Back in town, I received praises directly from Count Donovan. I’d be happier to have coffee than thankful words, though.

Louise was invited as well, but she wanted to harvest as much meat and skin from the mass of dead bodies as she could, so only Lyle-sensei and I came and visited the castle.

Nobody can stop Louise when she’s cutting apart meat and skin from carcasses.

“I heard you used a strange magic, but that little ball was really a weapon, was it?”

“They’re firecrackers and bangers. They are fireworks made using gunpowder, although I actually intended to make them as children’s toys.”

Count Donovan was brimming with curiosity.

Even though he seemed to have completely no interest in fireworks before, once he heard that it was used in battle with success, he popped the firecrackers for himself and confirmed the sound and power.

“It might be too stimulating to be used as a child’s toy, but it looks like they can be used to startle enemies. It’s also good that those without magical powers can use them as well.”

“That right, isn’t it. It might be better to sell them as weapons after all.”

Having flashy celebrations with firecrackers is a Chinese custom after all, so it might not be to a western-style noble’s liking.

The reason I made fireworks was because I was thinking whether gunpowder could be used for peaceful purposes, but in hard times like these, I suppose you can’t help using them as weapons.

“Humm, now about the matter of Takeru-dono’s reward. There’s unfortunately a little bit of a snag …”

According to the count, the slave merchant caravan group, having suffered great damage and partial destruction, had lost its owner and was set to be dissolved.

The remaining employees discussed the matter and the broken wagons were all to be let off. They would take the money, plus the remaining funds, and go back to their hometowns.

The problem was the thirteen surviving slaves from this shipment’s cargo.

Since Est had no merchants dealing in slaves, they would have no buyers, even if they did decide to sell them off.

Which is why rather than bringing them back to town, the employees pushed the unsellable slaves onto Count Donovan as compensation for bringing a disturbance upon the city..

Now, even if they were pushed onto the count, it’s not like he wanted slaves.

“Aah, I see. So I am able to receive slaves as a reward, correct? Good timing. Actually, even though I was going to start a company, I’m a little understaffed!”

As expected of the count, I thought.

Of course I wanted money, but labor is what a merchant wants the most.

Isn’t this a godsend?

“Eh?”

“Huh?”

The count made a strange face. Did I say something that strange?

Lyle-sensei, what’s going on here?

“Takeru-dono. Most slaves are people who had been ruined by debt or the descendants of such people. There are no merchants who’d use them as staff.”

“Is that so?”

“Though they haven’t fallen as far down as bandits, slaves are all people who have fallen from their livelihoods. They’re considered low-grade labor, who can’t be used unless they’re constantly monitored and hit with sticks.”

Since I completely had no idea, Sensei smiled as if saying “it can’t be helped” and told me, explaining things in a way that a child could understand.

Slaves are incapable of independent action, so they aren’t fit to be merchants. They can, at most, be used for menial tasks.

Certainly, if I recalled those faces that had resigned their humanity, it might not necessarily be simple prejudice.

Still, I wondered whether it wasn’t just because they were cornered into a desperate situation. Wouldn’t they be more useful if they were treated better?

“If Takeru-dono is alright with it, we will hand over the slaves as your reward this time. However, as far as I heard, the slaves aren’t so good in quality …”

Count Donovan gave Lyle-sensei a fleeting glance, as if wanting to ask whether it’s really alright.

“Yes, we will be needing workers anyway, and if it’s Takeru-dono, he might come up with a way to make even inferior slaves into useful employees.”

Having been assured by Lyle-sensei with a smile, the count approved, saying “I’ll leave it to you then”.

Weeell, I’ve been thinking this for a while, but I’m completely undependable in terms of common sense, huh.

I suppose it can’t be helped when you put me next to the wise-looking Lyle-sensei.

Near the town square is the designated land for the Sawatari firm’s building (just a vacant lot with that name).

There stood Lyle-sensei, myself, and the covered wagon.

In front of me are 13 small statured slaves, wearing tattered pieces of cloth with just a hole for the head, which could barely be called clothes, and with chains binding their feet, standing in a line.

These are currently all the assets of Sawatari firm.

The dirty slaves with chains still binding their feet squatted down with lifeless expressions, they’re too painful to look at. When I said ‘let’s free the slaves’, Lyle-sensei stopped me with ‘you must absolutely not do that’.

“Now listen, okay? These kids are the lowest of slaves.”

“That, no matter how you put it, is too harsh, isn’t it?”

“No it isn’t. Now listen, I haven’t confirmed yet, but I could bet that these 13 slaves are all girls.”

How does he know, I wonder. Well it can’t helped, since Lyle-sensei knows everything.

“There’s a reason as for why I know. First, if they were boys, then even the slim ones can be fattened and become able to endure heavy labor.”

“Second, if it’s adult males, then they can do heavy labor right away, if it’s girls at blooming age or older, then they can do chores and furthermore, if their appearance is above average, they can be sold to a brothel.”

“But, these dirty and scrawny little girls can’t be used as normal slaves. Raising them isn’t worth it, so the slave merchants probably were transporting them to sell to the mines.”

While Lyle-sensei was explaining non-stop, I felt uneasy at the part ‘if it’s the mine, then they can be used’ and interjected.

“If it’s in the mine, is there a way for little girls to be of use?”

“In the tunnels, there are holes only small child can fit into. In those places if they are worked regardless of day and night, they become unusable quickly, so there always is a demand.”

As one would expect, even Lyle-sensei spoke with discomfort and frowned his beautiful face. They become unusable quickly, that means they are worked to death. Even if they aren’t aware of human rights, it’s not like people don’t feel anything towards the miserable fate of slaves that get treated like objects.

Not to mention, working children to death is too cruel. It’s not this world’s people’s fault for deliberately ignoring them just because they’re slaves. It’s probably just that, if they don’t make a clear distinction, they won’t be able to live in this harsh world.

“Takeru-dono said ‘let’s release the slaves’ right? Let’s say we release them here, have you thought about what will happen?”

“Erm……”

“In this town, there’s absolutely no work for these girls. They will become homeless beggars.  If they, unable to bear the hunger, were to steal food and become criminals, they would be even lower than slaves.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t give that any thought.”

I see, no wonder why the count just kept asking if it was okay to hand over the slaves.

Even if I irresponsibly release the slaves now, it would only increase the work of the garrison and nobody would be happy.

“Do you understand? Since you said you’d take care of them, please take responsibility. The owner of slaves have the responsibility of giving them jobs and not letting them starve. And you are the owner now, Takeru-dono.”

“I understand, I’ll try hard and fulfill my responsibility.”

When I promised to take on the task, Lyle-sensei finally broke into a smile, and handed me a lot of leather collars.

“Count Donovan probably felt a bit ashamed for having someone take useless slaves off of his hands, so he gave us these slave authentication collars as a gift. If you let them wear this they will officially be slaves of the Sawatari firm. The collars will act as substitute for identification papers.”

It seems that, in this city, the rule is that slaves have to either wear a chain on their leg or hand, or a collar with identification to verify their owner.

As long as they have the identification on them, they can live in this safe town.

It’s ironic how slaves of people with social status can live more safely than vagabonds, since vagabonds can get driven out of town.

“Everyone, I will now remove the chain around your ankles one by one and have you wear this collar. From then on, this Sawatari Takeru-sama will become your master.”

Lyle-sensei shouted that and went around, removing the chains with unlocking magic.

As I followed him and attached the brand new leather collars, they obediently stuck their heads out for me.

Maybe they’ve been trained like that, they all kept silent and moved as they were ordered to.

Both their hair and poncho-like clothes (more like, just a piece of cloth) were so dirty that I couldn’t even make out their original color, and they’re all grey-ish. Maybe the ash-smeared girl Cinderella was called that because she also had this grey-ish color.

Cinderella from the play was lively, even though she was bullied by her evil step-mother, but these children’s expressions and the looks in their eyes are so lifeless.

They’re all worn out, so I guess I gotta make additional purchase for their new clothes. I peeked into my purse and made a sour face.

Oh well, I just need to earn money again.

There’s one half-naked kid walking and dragging the cloth along on the ground, since it was ripped up by a monster.

It was too much, so I covered the kid with the Grey rat-man cloak (has waterproof and fireproof properties to a certain extent) that I have been using as raincoat.

Now then, what do I do from now on. While I was thinking, with the 13 little slave girls in front of me, Louise finally came along.

“What, Takeru you were over here huh? I got a huge amount of meat and skin, if it’s okay can you transport it with your covered wagon……”

Louise, saying that much, went silent. She took a glance at the slave girls and then stood in front of me, staring at my face.

What’s this, please stop with the silent pressure. Maybe she’s angry that I took over the slaves without her consent.

“Louise, I was given these slaves. These children will become the staff members of our firm.”

“Hmph. Then, let’s go buy a cauldron.”

Louise said that with a serious look and showed a smile with a hidden meaning, as if she remembered something amusing.

I still can’t understand Louise-neesan’s words and actions very well. What does she need a pot for? Oh well, since she said so, she must’ve thought of something.

It’s a normal thing for her to not give any detailed explanation, so I decided to go buy a cauldron like she said. Also, I headed out with the covered wagon to help carry the meat and skin.

The slave girls followed behind our covered wagon in a group. For now, it seems like they won’t run away even if they are unchained.

Well, that’s obvious. The girls have nothing other than their bodies, and neither do they have a place to go to.

Returning to the battlefield earlier, rather than the scene full of corpses right after an intense battle, it had become even more wretched.

The dead merchants’ bodies had been buried and cleaned up by the garrison.

But now, there is a bizarre sight of the ashen ogre and green goblin skins being lined up in a row.

They were disassembled beautifully, without any wasted part, by Louise’ master class butchering skills, and were being lined up to dry.

 Next to that were the pink intestines and meat of the ogres and goblins, piled up like a mountain.

I remembered the frog dissection in school and became uncomfortable.

Even more that the sticky pool of blood, the beautifully lined up ashen and green humanoid skins of the ogres and goblins were more disgusting. They were hung on tree branches to dry, it was kind of amazing, but I don’t know if these disgusting skins can sell. Also, the merchants who buy them, what kind of tools will they use them for.

Well, I will take the fat that oil can be extracted from to use as an ingredient for making soap. However, where the monster skins will end up is a mystery to me.

“I’ve negotiated with the garrison, we’ll give them the monsters’ swords and we can keep the wooden clubs.”

The huge wooden clubs that the ogres swung around became perfect firewood. As expected, the garrison didn’t say they wanted the ogre meat.

The ashes collected after we burned the firewood can be used as an ingredient for making soap, so nothing is wasted. As expected of Louise-anego. She knows just what I want.

“I’ll boil the intestines right away, with the cauldron.”

Yes yes, I knew it’d be like this. Louise’s favorite, monster intestine cuisine.

She skillfully fixed the pot in place with the ogres’ large wooden clubs, boiling it gently on the open fire. The slave girls, having nothing to do, just stared at the pot.

“The slaves, if you don’t command them, they won’t move, you know.”

Lyle-sensei nonchalantly advised me in a small voice. It will make me feel strange, so I wish you’d not breathe into my ear.

 Actually, I want you to do it more. Sensei smelled so nice, it gave me a shiver. It’s the mixed feelings of a man’s heart. Sensei is looking at me with an impatient look. Ah I see, so I have to command the slaves.

“Everyone! For now, find dry grass and wood chips that seem burnable around here with me. It’s dangerous, so don’t go too far to somewhere I can’t see you.”

There are no trees growing on the prairie, but if you look hard enough, you will find small wood chips that can be burned. While leading the slave girls, who were looking for wood chips, I remembered the day when I first met Louise.

That time was just Crazy Dogs, so it was still okay, but eating humanoid monster’s intestines, I feel even more repulsed. For the sake of living in another world, I guess there’s no other way.

When we picked up enough wood chips and returned, the ogre and goblin intestine soup was done.

It’s surprising that, although it is just a simple dish of just monster’s meat, intestines, and salt, it produces a pretty good fragrance.

Still, eating the intestines of monsters from the ogre family, are you sure you wouldn’t upset your stomach?

When I pointed that out, Louise told me ‘Lend me an antidote potion’.

I handed over like she told me, and she poured out the whole bottle of antidote potion into the cauldron and said ‘Now it’s okay’. She’s too carefree.

When I asked Lyle-sensei, he told me ‘Goblin meat doesn’t have poison’, so I have no choice but to believe in his extensive knowledge.

Anyway it’s chow time. Since there are 13 slave girls but the number of wooden plates is not enough, so they’ll have to eat in turn. Of course I’m totally fine with being last.

I’m kinda reluctant to eat humanoid monster’s meat, but the slave girls didn’t seem to be troubled. They’re happily gulping down the intestines they were given in turn.

I guess they were hungry. If you looked at the ones obediently waiting in line, they were all drooling. I’m feeling pity for them, I wonder what I should do about this.

By the time everyone had eaten their fill, it was already completely dark.

According to Louise, there’s a risk of the skin and meat getting eaten by animals if we left them drying there. Someone has to keep watch, so today we’ll just camp here around the bonfire like this.

That reminded me of the saying ‘to eat out of the same pot’. The slave girls sat around the pot together, illuminated by the orange light of the bonfire, and the stiffness on their faces seems to have faded away. Maybe it was because they finally got used to the new environment and have calmed down.

Since it’s a good opportunity, I decided to talk with everyone.

I will tell them that the Sawatari firm will make and sell gunpowder and soap. Also about how I wanted everyone to help make and sell soap for now. That I will teach everyone from scratch, and that it won’t be too hard. That if you did it properly, I will guarantee you food, clothes, and shelter.

I explained what they have to from now on in an easily understandable way. I looked around at their faces after I had done explaining.

They were all silent, so I became uneasy, not sure if they had understood or not. I urged them to tell me if they have anything they didn’t understand or something they wanted to say.

“Uh, Um…… I, am a, slave merchant.”

The girl with noticeably large eyes amongst the slave girls raised her hand and said so. Her face is a little dirty, but her eyes are shining with an amber colour.

“No, rather than merchant……you guys are the merchandise, aren’t you?”

I thought she was setting up a joke for me so I retorted on reflex. Still, although a slave joking that she’s a slave merchant is awful, my retort was also harsh. It was a slip of the tongue.

“No, erm…… that’s, not what, I meant, I, was, before becoming a slave, a merchant’s daughter.”

The girl with big amber eyes seemed to be speaking with great difficulty. Aaah, but somehow, I totally understand this.

During one summer, I had been staying inside all the time playing games, and after a long time I went out to the convenience store, and when the clerk asked me ‘do you want it heated?’, I wanted to reply, but my throat was hoarse and my voice wouldn’t come out. She must be just like that.

She must have been told not to speak for a pretty long time. If a human doesn’t talk for a while, they will forget how to talk.

“I see, so you have experience doing business.”

“Our shop was, attacked by robbers……. and we went bankrupt, and my whole family, was sold.”

Uwaah, what heavy backstory, I don’t know how should I reply.

“I see……”

“If master, is going to, do business, I can, do calculations.”

An offer to be thankful for. I don’t know how much can she do, but I’m thankful that she told me such an assertive thing.

“You’re telling me that you’re going to help with accounting, right?”

“Yes……”

Maybe she thought I’ve finished saying everything necessary, the slave-merchant girl sat down with an exhausted look.

After that, for some reason, hands rose one by one and the slave girls started talking about their circumstances before becoming a slave and they all told me their story until being sold in turns.

They went bankrupt, collapsed, were cheated, betrayed, sold, and separated from their family.

They were all so tragic and heavy, that I couldn’t say anything.

By the way, the background of the 13 are as follows: one merchant’s daughter, two daughters of soldiers, one daughter of a flower shop, one daughter of a miner, one daughter of a baker, one daughter of a prostitute, and six daughters of beggars. There were surprisingly many beggars. It’s horrible how nearly half of them were beggars.

It must be true when Lyle-sensei said that, if we irresponsibly abandoned them, they would turn into homeless beggars. Also, I was surprised when Louise, who was quietly listening to the life stories of the soldier’s daughters, changed her facial expression and started questioning them.

It was a rare sight to see her become so emotional that her voice shook, when she’s usually socomposed. However, it doesn’t seem that she’s interested in the soldiers just because she’s a female warrior.

It seems that both the two daughters of soldiers were from the royal capital, and their parents got involved in a factional dispute or a power struggle, were made into scapegoats, and their whole family was sold into slavery. Really, there are too many tragic stories.

Louise, who was listening to the two with a sober expression, started saying ‘I will take in these two’ once they finished talking.

The part where she had already decided to take them in before asking me, their owner, was expected from Louise-anego.

That’s all fine, but I thought Louise didn’t have any interest towards slaves. I wanted her to tell me why she decided so suddenly to take them in, but before I could ask, she impatiently repeated what she said.

“I’m going to raise these two as warriors, but you don’t mind, right?

“Of course I don’t mind, but…”

Maybe because I gave permission, Louise ceremoniously handed the two soldier kids swords.

It seems there are certain etiquettes for warriors, and the the two knelt and received the short swords from Louise with shaking hands.

Lyle-sensei, who had been listening closely to Louise, continued to say ‘in that case, should I try teaching pharmacy to the child who said she’s from a flower shop?’

“Is sensei going to be in charge of that child?”

“Yes, memorizing and collecting wildflowers and differentiating medical plants and gathering them are pretty similar after all. She may show aptitude. Besides, this child, it may just be a feeling, but……”

Staring at the flower shop child, Lyle-sensei stops speaking.

“Does something bother you?”

“No, wild grasses and medical plants probably cannot be sold as expensively as soap, but if we’re doing business, it would be better to have more articles.”

If they went with Louise’s group when they went hunting, there won’t be many dangers as they walk the plains.

Actually, I also am interested in learning how to pick medicinal plants. Well, I guess I have a job as well.

I need to make soap, and if we don’t make saltpeter around here as well, our supply won’t keep up.

“In that case, I will train the other children to make soap and other products.”

I have plenty of ingredients to make soap, although we still need to experiment to see how suited goblin and ogre fat is for making soap.

Thus, the Sawatari Firm started its activity in the city of Est.

“H–mmm, morning huh…”

The red morning sun was rising from beyond the horizon.

The thirteen slave girls were sleeping in a circle around the small open-air fire.

Yesterday we couldn’t just leave and go back to the inn, so we ended up camping out.

Sleeping outside was fun, like in a camp, but my body wouldn’t hold if we kept doing this.

Today, it was luckily sunny, but if it were raining, I wouldn’t have been able to stand it.

Together with Louise, who had gotten up earlier than me for practice, I tossed some additional meat into the soup and reheated it.

When I woke up the girls, telling them that the food’s ready, they all showed greedy appetites. That’s good, if they don’t eat, they can’t work, after all.

While watching the girls eat, I thought: I should prioritize food and bedding. Anyway, since I’ll be needing money no matter what I decide to do, I had to think about earning some.

The slave girls aren’t used to making soap. I need patience to teach them, and the failure rate is high.

However, the failed detergents don’t go to waste, either. More hands make a great difference in manufacturing. I regretted it, wondering why I didn’t employ people earlier.

Louise took the two soldier girls along to hunt monsters to get food and raw materials for the soap.

Lyle-sensei walked after Louise with the florist girl, gathering firewood, which can be used for cooking and for making lye, medicinal herbs, and edible wild grasses.

Soap takes at least two weeks from the start of production until it is done.

To make ones with better quality, I wanted to let them settle and dry for longer, but I was in a hurry to earn money quickly.

For now, we had to rely on the income from the monster subjugation Louise and the girls were doing.

I felt somewhat guilty for always being helped and borrowing from others, but I suppose this is how merchants are.

I felt guilty for Louise, who even had to spend her earnings for living expenses, even though she had no reason to go that far.

“There’s also the horse rental fees for the Rodd family too. I keep piling up debts…”

I decided to pay them all back tenfold once my business got on track and went shopping for daily necessities. This is a necessary investment.

“Everyone gather round–!”

Once the day’s work was done, I gathered the slave girls together. First, I had them wash their bodies. They can’t be salesgirls with this dirty getup.

That said, I needed the money for other things so I didn’t have the budget to put them all in the inn’s bath. I decided to pitch a tent in the wasteland outside of the city and had them put their appearance in order there.

“Sensei, if you please.”

“Good grief, you handle your people roughly, don’t you. Alright, water!”

Magicians can draw water out of the air with “water”, which I thought was convenient. This is why a water supply system was never developed.

I had him put the water into the cauldron and heat it up over a bonfire, then Louise drew the hot water with a wooden bucket. Lyle-sensei and I split the work of washing the girls with the steaming hot water.

“Come on, take your clothes off. I’ll wash you from the hair down.”

“But Master, this is, the precious merchandise …”

As I was lathering the soap, the slave girls felt reserved. The modesty was somewhat unchildlike.

“Don’t be so reserved, you have to put your appearance in order and get clean or you can’t be a merchant, right?”

“You’re right. I’m sorry … Thank you, for the expensive goods.”

This slave with the big amber eyes was the girl who first offered to help me with sales. Since she said she was a girl from a merchant family, she might be useful for business.

Being thanked strangely made me feel embarrassed, but seeing how she understood the loss of value of the used soap gave me hopes for her future. Feel indebted and do all you can to earn me money, I wickedly thought as I washed her hair clean.

As someone who prefers liquid soap, I’ve never used bar soap even if I’ve seen them before, but ever since I came to this world and used them, I was surprised by how they foamed up unexpectedly well. It was probably due to the natural raw materials. The materials are monsters, though.

As I washed her hair with soapsuds, the slave girl’s ashen stains gradually faded out, and her hair returned to its original color.

When I washed more, I discovered that the merchant girl’s hair was a vivid orange color.

Then, ears popped out of that hair. Eh? What’s with these fluffy ears?

“Ah, I’m sorry. My animal ears came out. It’s hard to wash isn’t it?”

“No, never mind that, but … animal ears?”

When I bundled up the slave girl’s long hair, I found human ears right where they should be. So why in the world would she have another pair of ears up on her head?

“Oh my oh my~, Looks like we hit the jackpot.”

Lyle-sensei gave us a sidelong glance and said interestedly.

“What do you mean, Lyle-sensei?”

“If you look closely, this girl has a bit of fur growing on her back, right? Her limbs are thick and long compared to her body, so I thought that she might be …”

“She might be?”

“Someone with mixed beastman blood. From how her features turned out, she’d be a quarter or so, I guess, and the shape of the ears are dog ears.”

Lyle-sensei stopped washing the other girl and used his finger to trace the shape of the animal ears and gave a detailed explanation. The girl is a beastman’s mixed blood child, so to speak. If I look at her carefully, her body has some special features. Aside from fur growing along her spine, there’s also a small orange tail attached where her tail bone should be.

Speaking of animal ears, it’s like that one that slipped into a peddling merchant’s wagon and called itself “wacchi”. But no, that one was a god so it’s different, I guess. I’m not a furry, so even if I look at a little girl with animal ears, I don’t get excited, but I still find it amusing.

There are many types of beastmen in this world, like dogs, cats, wolves, and lions, for example. They can mate with humans too, so it’s not rare to see mixed blood children like her.

For me, it’s super rare, but I can’t get surprised at each and everything like this, since this is a fantasy world after all. Still, mixed blood children have both human and animal ears, huh. Is it useful, or is it pointless.

“Come to think of it, what did you mean by ‘jackpot’ ?”

“Children of mixed beastman blood develop quickly. Their growth to adulthood is fast. Their bodies are also robust so, as slaves, they are valued highly.”

Develop quickly? I don’t see it…… I thought as I looked at her small body. I really can’t see it at all. Even if you tell me her limbs are thick, or that she has body hair, it’s not really noticeable, and she has an overall scrawny look with thin muscles.

Aah, I see she has a wound over here, I’ll treat the injury with the boiled medicinal herbs. When I spreaded the medicine, she looked like she was in pain.

“Sorry, I don’t have anymore potions.”

When I said that, the girl with animal ears shook her head left and right quickly. The water droplets flew all the way to me, just like a dog’s behavior.

“But Lyle-sensei, even if you say they grow fast, her body isn’t all that big.”

“She lacks nutrition, so she couldn’t grow properly. Beastmen have to eat a lot until they reach adulthood, so you’d best be prepared for the food expenses.”

Now that you mentioned it, this girl ate quite a lot last night. I thought she was just a big eater, but it was because she’s a beastman, huh.

“Well, it’s fine if she earns her food costs.”

“Takeru-dono, you’re probably going to make this girl, who has experience appenticing as a merchant, into the center point of your company. The fact that she grows quickly is going to be good, right?”

“You have a point …”

So said Lyle-sensei, as if seeing through my thoughts. It’s true that I thought that she could be a storekeeper or something since she can do arithmetics.

But somehow, I don’t like talking about people like chess pieces.

“Hmm. It was careless of the slave trader for not noticing that she had beastman blood. You too, if only you’d shown those dog ears, you wouldn’t have been sent to the mines, right?”

To Lyle-sensei’s question, the merchant apprentice slave girl tersely answered.

“I, didn’t want to live, anymore.”

This is getting heavy!

I didn’t know what to say to the dog-eared girl, I couldn’t say anything. Then, she stared into my eyes and whisperingly added.

“It’s different now, I want to live.”

“……. That’s good.”

There is strength in her voice. This is good. When I first came to this world and was about to die, I, too, thought that I wanted to live.

It’s a kind of a shock therapy I suppose. I want to live, without that thought, nothing would begin. Even I was able to do something somehow, so I’m sure the girls could go on living.

While combing the girl’s long hair, that had regained the color of a brilliant sunset, I deeply sympathized with their circumstances and decided to do something about it, which was unlike my usual self.

I am definitely not a good person. I also hate hypocrisy.

However, how should I say … their situation was so pitiful that I was taken aback. I didn’t even feel aroused at all when I stripped the dog-eared girl naked and washed her body.

That’s not because I’m a kind gentleman either.

I don’t really want to go into details, but from seeing the girls’ bodies, I really understood what Lyle-sensei meant when he said “they can’t be sold to brothels”.

Her ribs were clearly visible on her thin body. Her skin was full of wounds, and you could clearly see that she had been living a horrible life.

I felt guilty for using Sara-chan as an example, but she was completely different from Sara-chan, who was about the same age as the slave girls. The naked body of a girl who had been raised as a rich farmer’s daughter was properly well-rounded and beautiful, and I can say that it had its charms.

The scrawny body full of wounds was so pitiful that it didn’t raise any erotic feelings within me.

I didn’t have any more restoration potions, but luckily I had soap. I had also picked up more than enough medicinal herbs, so, after washing their wounds, I treated them. They’re all girls, so I hope that no trace of wounds will remain on them.

Now then, since they’re all clean, there’s no use for the old rags anymore. I had prepared fresh clothes for the slave girls, so I had them change.

“Uwaa–”

“Master, thank you for the beautiful clothes.”

The slave girls cheered in joy. They each thanked me in their own way, so I too felt smug. What I prepared for them were full sets of apron dresses.

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I thought they looked like Alice in Wonderland, so I bought enough for them all.

Visuals are important for sales after all, so I must use their cuteness as a selling point.

I had the impression that children’s clothes were expensive, but as an Est goat wool production area and a city where cloth is actively bought and sold, they were not very expensive in the city of Est, which saved me.

As for why they only have red apron dresses in stock, I thought “ah, might be the local lord’s tastes”. For work clothes, however, I had no problem with it.

Of course, I purchased underwear along with them.

I thought that I would collect the old rags the slave girls were wearing, wash them, and use them as cloth to make temporary shop tents, but a problem happened when I went to collect the rags.

The girl that I covered with my raincoat because her clothes were too worn out didn’t want to let go of it because it was something she had received. She’s the soldier’s daughter, if I’m not mistaken.

Forcefully taking the cloak from a little girl clinging to it would be too pitiable, so I gave up collecting it. However, I can’t give her preferential treatment, so I ended up having to distribute Grey Rat-man’s cloaks to every one of them.

“The expenses increased again.”

Well if they work outside, then they would need rain gear anyway. I should think of this as initial investment too, huh.

When I asked Louise, a guild master must give his apprentices each a set of clothes and shoes, it seems. Giving them the necessities is the duty of the employer, so it can’t be helped.

Hiring people is a lot of work. Money just keeps disappearing from my purse.

By the way, I asked for their name and race while washing them.

Merchant’s daughter is Sharon (quarter beastman, dog type).

Soldiers’ daughters are Suzanne and Claudia.

Florist’s daughter is Viola (half nymph).

Miner’s daughter is Laure (dwarf).

Baker’s daughter is Colette.

Prostitute’s daughter is Flora.

Beggars’ daughters are Elisa, Melissa, Ginny, Lou, Liddy, Paula.

Hearing their names all of a sudden, I don’t think I’d remember all of them.

I remember the merchant’s daughter Sharon, since I plan to put the fast growing girl as their leader. I suppose I’ll learn the rest gradually.

The non-human half-nymph seems to have half the blood of a water sprite. When Viola had been cleaned I saw a little girl with blue eyes and hair.

When I looked at her more closely, her ears tapered to a point, so I thought, isn’t she half elf? When I asked Wikipedia Lyle-sensei, he explained.

“Just because she had pointed ears doesn’t mean she’s an elf. Elves are white sprites. By the way, dwarves are black sprites, so Lou has pointed ears, too, see. All sprites have pointed ears.”

“But, I don’t think the dwarf girl looks that different to humans …”

Sure, the dwarf Lou had tapered ears, but other than that, her brown hair, and her dark brown skin, which are rare around here, she wasn’t too different from humans.

Now that he mentioned it, she’s just a little stout-bodied, and her height was on the short side.

“Dwarven males gain characteristic features when they grow up, but the girls don’t look particularly different from humans. They are strong and sturdy, and they have nimble fingers, so they are suited to being miners or smiths. However, this is unfortunate, but just like how the girls don’t look different from humans, they’re not too good at manual labor, so as slaves …”

“I see, so that’s how it is.”

Since she was sent as a mine slave to be worked half to death, it probably means that her value was low.

Even though I thought both the dwarf Laure and the half-nymph Viola were incredibly cute, unlike elves, who could be sold to brothels for a super high price even if they were only half-bloods, nymphs aren’t popular, even though they are also sprites.

It seems that, in this world, Nymphs are discriminated against, with stories of Nymphs killing people by dragging them to the bottom of a lake, or families dying because a Nymph wept in front of their house, so they are treated as demons instead of sprites, as beings that bring about misfortune.

According to Lyle-sensei, it was ‘mostly’ groundless. Eh? There’s a bit of truth in that?

“But Lyle-sensei, since there are half-human Nymphs, then that means …”

“You really are a curious one, huh? I believe it is rare for humans to mingle with Nymphs. Also, even though Nymphs cause fear in humans, they have the protection of water spirits from birth. This girl will be hated by the townspeople if she became a salesgirl ,but she would have an aptitude for water magic, so she could be used that way.”

I see. So there’s a purpose in Lyle-sensei teaching her about medicinal plants.

As an intermediate level magician, Lyle-sensei can sense people’s magic power, so he probably sensed something in her.

However, it must’ve been tough being the daughter of a flower shop in a city as a Nymph, which were loathed by humans. These girls are all slaves, so they must each have their own reasons for ending up here.

Looking at Viola, her hand shivered slightly holding the hem of her apron dress. Just by looking at her with unreserved eyes, I made tears well up in those blue eyes of hers. I heard that when Nymphs weep, the family dies, so I might have been a little scared.

Even if it’s just an urban legend …. Nonononono, this is how discrimination begins. I think I should say something to Viola to comfort her, but I don’t know what. I don’t want to scare her, so I left her to Lyle-sensei.

I should get over my loser-ness soon-ish, but I still can’t get used to talking to women I meet for the first time, huh.

That’s even though she’s a poor little girl. I might be just as timid towards people I see for the first time as Viola is.

Under the Sawatari Company tent, Sharon began her calculations. I was thinking of checking how much this merchant’s daughter knows about reading, writing, arithmetic and basic bookkeeping.

“But, that way of counting sure is slow …”

The temporary shop doesn’t even have a table, so on the stone paving, she spread a cloth with horizontal and vertical lines and moved wooden sticks up and down. These wooden sticks are called calculators in this world.

As a test, I asked Sharon to give me an estimation for revenue a month from now on, but it looks like she’s struggling with it.

I wonder if it’s impossible to suddenly ask her to give a rough estimate. It’s irritating to stare at the calculator sticks moving up and down. Thinking that it’s probably faster to show her an example, I tried to say the answer.

“Sharon. If one month’s sales is 2190 gold, and you subtract 17 gold as expenses, then you will have a profit of 2173 gold.”

“Eeeh?”

Hearing that, Sharon started calculating in a panic, breaking out a cold sweat.

SInce I was impatient and spoke from the side, it made her even more confused. Looks like it’s better to explain from scratch.

“Suzanne and Claudia go hunt monsters for soap ingredients, right? Viola collects firewood and medicinal herbs. Colette has to make food, do laundry, and miscellaneous tasks. So, the number of slave girls that can engage in the soap production is nine, Sharon included.”

“Yes.”

“Let’s say one person can make 100, no, there will be failures, so about 80 bars of soap per day, then the production amount for a day will be 720. If we sell them for 1 silver each, we will get 2160 gold amonth. I will also continue making saltpeter, but at best, it can only make one mine blasting bomb a day, so 30 gold a month. Together, the ideal sales for one month will be 2190 gold. Are you okay so far?”

“Erm, yes.”

I looked into her eyes and asked if she understood, to which she nodded. Good.

“The expenses are our food and clothes. You can’t have just one set of clothes, I want to add a set of new clothes and underwear each after a month, so 5 silver per person a month. As for food expense, it’s a problem to eat only monster meat, so 2 loaves of white bread a day will be 2 big coppers each. Also, since you’re in your growth period, I want you to have vegetables too, but it looks like we’ll have to rely on the mysterious wild grasses that Viola picks up for now.”

In truth, I wanted to buy proper vegetables straight from the farmers, but it’s more expensive than I thought. I want them to bear it until we have a little leeway in the budget.

“Please wait a bit. Clothes aside, will we be eating the same thing as master? If you use black bread instead you can save 13 small coppers a day.”

I see, since she was including that kind of calculation, it took more time than necessary. I sighed.

“There’s no point in saving something that little, is there? Sharon, your body is also an asset. What would you do if you don’t at least eat enough for the part you worked?”

Low quality bread has small stones mixed in. If I let them eat such low quality food and lose a tooth or two, it will create unnecessary medical treatment expenses.

“Thank you……”

Sharon is the leader. That means she will decide the living expenses of the slave girls. I do think that humility is a virtue, but I will be troubled if she shaved off too much from the necessary expenses.

By no means do I have plans to start a business that exploits its employees after coming to another world.

“I’ll continue. So, the clothing expense for 14 people is 7 gold per month, and similarly, the food expense is 8 gold and 4 silver. Since we can’t be exposed to rain, we will need at least 5 silver to buy coarse cloth for the tent and carpeting. As for the firewood, Viola will get some for us, but we will run short anyways, so it will cost 1 silver to buy 10,000 pieces of wood. The cauldron and wooden framework for manufacturing will cost 1 gold. Then, the total monthly expense turns into 17 gold.

“Umm, then the expected monthly profit is 2173 gold……”

Sharon was breathing roughly and rummaging the calculation sticks around, but it seems that she finally finished the calculations, and she dropped her shoulders and slumped down.

It seems the calculation was a big burden for such a young girl.

“What a wonderful calculation. Did you maybe calculate this all in your head? Where in the world did master learn such magic-like arithmetic……?”

Sharon said that she attended an arithmetic school that the merchants of the royal capital went to for a year. Even at this level, she is on the educated side among the common people by this world’s standards.

Saying “Master is so amazing that I’m losing confidence”, her dog ears drooped.

This level of mental calculation is only natural for a boy with a scientific aptitude like me, but if I thought about it, even with just the basic school curriculum, I’ve had arithmetic for nine years.

It may even be reasonable to say that Japan’s general educational standards are very high compared to those of this world.

“It’s just a simple estimation, so it’s no big deal. I’ll teach you how to calculate, so Sharon will quickly learn how to do it too.”

“Yes. I will be bothering you.”

It’s about how you use your brain, or rather, it’s just a matter of how you think, so I only need to teach her that.

Still, this inefficient calculator still has room for improvement.

The calculations would definitely be much more efficient if I built and made them use a Japanese abacus. The system of the account book that I had her try writing was alright, but it was disappointing that, even though she was using the decimal system, the general concept of the number zero was missing. It should be much more convenient to teach her to write arabic numbers. Also, since we’re running a company, I will need to teach her how to do double-entry bookkeeping.

While making improvements to the system and tools, I will need to teach them one by one to Sharon, so that she can gradually take over the work, so I also have lots to do.

However, by calculating an estimation, I understand that we can’t make any progress with our current revenue.

“As expected, I have no choice but to make more explosives and make a profit.”

If we just depend on soap, I don’t know how many years it’s going to take until I finish building a company building that the slave girls can live in. It takes more time and effort to make than soap, but I concluded that we should increase the production of explosives, which we can expect better revenue from.

Although it is far better than sleeping outdoors, if we live in a tent too long, the burden on our bodies would be high. I would be troubled if the slave girls caught a cold. I want to quickly build a store with a proper floor and roof and let them rest there.

Fortunately, there seems to be quite a demand for bombs for blasting and there was a new order from Nattal of the Losgow mines, and even Count Donovan said he wanted to buy some firecrackers and bangers.

I’m guessing that the count just did it out of sympathy, after seeing me desperately trying to earn the living fees for the slave girls.

Speaking of making explosives, the bottleneck is making the saltpeter. I need more saltpeter, more dirt with fermented animal urine!

Leaving aside Louise and the apprentice soldiers Suzanne and Claudia (and also Viola, who tags along to gather medicinal herbs), who have been accepting tons of monster subjugation quests in order to gain resources and earn some money.

I need to choose someone from the soap production team to make a new saltpeter production team.

“Master, I will do it.”

“Ah Laure, making saltpeter is pretty tough compared to making soap, you know.”

Making saltpeter is not that difficult of a process.

Using dirt from a place without sunlight, like under the floor or in a cellar, you need to harvest and mix dirt from an animal pen that has been fermented with dung from livestock, and after boiling it with potassium carbonate (yes, I am talking about the lye that we also use to make soap), you concentrate and crystallize it, then you dissolve and boil it again to crystalize the saltpeter.

However, while this is easy to say, the actual process is very hard. Carrying huge amounts of dirt, mixing it with water, and boiling it is hard labor. This manual labor may be too tough for a young girl.

Plus, as a preparation for future shortages, you would need to collect human and animal dung, and build saltpeter huts at the same time.

It’s the three ‘S’s of stinky, sloppy, and severe. Since it’s a job that even I’m fed up with, I feel bad making a slave girl do it.

“From what I heard you say, I can do it.”

“Hmmm, then, I’ll try teaching you, so I’ll leave it to you.”

Laure, who had bronze hair and dark brown skin, was a miner’s child. She was shorter than the other kids and had pointed ears. She was a dwarf.

I heard that female dwarfs are physically inferior to males, but she may show the most aptitude from within these members.

I found out through gathering suitable dirt with her and showing some tips for making saltpeter, but even though Laure may not be clever, she can work tirelessly, more than anyone else.

She’s the type that concentrates on and fully immerses herself into her work, whether it goes well or badly, so she may be suited for making saltpeter, which requires a lot of patience.

I made a production line so Laure can continuously make saltpeter, and I try entrusting the continuation of the process to her.

If it goes well, I will praise her, and even if it doesn’t, I wouldn’t get mad.

After teaching Laure how to make saltpeter in that manner, I decided to return to Losgow Village once with Lyle-sensei.

Building a shop is also important, but it would be problematic to ignore your job as a secretary. Sensei doesn’t complain, so I need to be considerate.

Of course, I will do some peddling while we’re at it. Loading the covered wagon with freshly made soap and products that are on shortage in the village (cloth, salt, and miscellaneous goods), we set off on our day trip.

I was a bit worried about leaving the firm with just the slave girls, but Louise offered to guard them in my absence, so I requested her to do so.

Once we arrived at Losgow Village, I dropped off our wares at the general store and steered our covered wagon towards the Rodd family’s house.

Once I tethered the horse in front of the now nostalgic plantation, a blond girl was waiting for me in front of the house, so I apologized without hesitation.

“Sara-chan, I’m so sorry for borrowing your horse for such a long time. I will pay a larger amount for the rental fee.”

“I don’t really care about the horse, since we only use it during the busy farming season and we didn’t have to worry about feeding it. But leaving that aside, I want Takeru to apologize to me for borrowing my sensei for such a long time.”

Saying that, Sara-chan put on a smug smile. I see, so Lyle-sensei was also something I was borrowing from Sara-chan.

Well, he was Sara-chan’s teacher to begin with. I would feel bad if you said I took him away.

Sensei is at the village’s administration office right now, organizing the documents that had piled up while we were gone.

“Because Takeru took sensei away, my study of writing hasn’t made any progress.”

Sara-chan said so, arching her small body backwards, with an overbearing, patronizing tone. I can’t really say anything though, since I’ve only been indebting myself.

In my stead, a clear voice replied to Sara-chan’s words.

“I see, then I will give you a lot of homework.”

“Ah, Lyle-sensei.”

“Eh?”

It seems that Lyle-sensei, who I parted from in the village, quickly caught up with me.

“Sensei, did you finish organizing the documents?”

“It didn’t even take me five minutes to process and send them to the royal capital. It makes me wonder why I’m even here.”

The way too capable secretary Lyle put on a somewhat lonely face.

I guess you could say that working in the countryside is somewhat of a demotion.

“That aside, I had no idea that Sara-chan had such a burning desire to learn. I am proud as a teacher. I will give you a lot of homework.”

“Uwaa~, help me~”

Sara-chan ran away, dashing back into the house. I guess students everywhere hate homework. Seeing that scene, I was calmed down, thinking that she was a kid after all.

It was tough while I was working on the plantation, but now that I’ve settled down, the countryside really calms me down. Compared to the city of Est, where everybody is busy, it sure is peaceful in a farm village.

If the situation allowed it, I would like to stay here and rest for a while, but now is not the time for that.

After harvesting the sulfur, I need to make the excavation bombs and deliver them to the mine. I am now the boss of a trading company, so I am busy.

“Whew, your bombs sure are great. We’re making a lot of progres.”

When I met the mine governor Nattal for the first time in a while, this was the first thing he said.

When Lyle-sensei and I brought the bombs that we made for blasting, he told us to give him all of them, handing us a bag packed with Silesie gold coins.

Maybe because he was on site again, he was half naked and his brawny as ever muscles slightly glistened with sweat. This doubt comes up every time I meet him, but maybe he’s always half naked.

“With these, we can even blow away the hard bedrock that the miners can’t by hand, so if you think that we can spare the trouble of having to invite a upper-class magician to knock it down, it’s cheap even with 1 gold coin.”

It seems that different ways of using the bombs with high efficacy were thought up and developed on the site under Nattal’s guidance.

“I demonstrated the blasting to engineers from other mines, and they all said they also wanted to try using it.”

“Is that so, that’s good to hear.”

I was thankful to hear that he proposed selling them to other mines, with him as a middleman.

Since we’re building our store and need all the funds we could get, this will be a great help.

“Also, it’s not dangerous if you’re peddling to royal mines along the mountain range, but pay plenty of attention if you’re going towards the royal capital, even along the highway.”

When I was about to leave, Nattal gave me this warning.

I don’t really have any business in the royal capital, but the story piqued my interest.

“Why is that?”

“It seems that packs of monsters have increased their activity around the royal capital. It is also talked about among peddlers.”

“Aah, now that you mention it, I think I’ve heard that it’s more dangerous near the royal capital.”

“Even the kingdom’s knights are having a hard fight protecting its territory. I can still understand if it’s just caravans of peddlers being crushed, but rumor says that even groups of bandits that aim for the caravans along the highway have been annihilated, so it’s a serious threat this time.”

I think it’s good to hear that the bandits who preyed on peddlers were crushed, but the increase in monster activity is scary.

I wonder what the cause is. It bothers me a bit.

I need to manage my firm, and I also have to take care of the slave girls, so I would like to avoid any more trouble. Therefore, since I have no intentions of going outside of Est County, this has nothing to do with me, but…… thinking that, one thing came to mind.

“Lyle-sensei, then maybe the pack of monsters that attacked the now destroyed slave merchants near the city of Est… ?”

“Yes, it may be that they hauled the ones that were abnormally multiplying around the royal capital to this area. Even if we’re not directly affected, we still need to pay attention.”

It seems that Lyle-sensei was also pondering about it.

Even if we’re making our living from trading, I guess we still need to strengthen our fighting forces.

I think, yet again, that this is a harsh world after all.

However, my commercial spirit has also been growing stronger, so I realized that if there are people in trouble, that means that there’s an opportunity for making money. If it’s a number that can be hunted, then you could even look at monsters as resources instead.

“Oh yeah, I wanted to try making something like this, but can you make it at your smithy?”

I decided to show Nattal the blueprint I came up with and drew out after thinking about how I can strengthen our fighting forces.

It was a gun and a cannon, things you would come up with right after making gunpowder and explosives.

I hesitated to bring in the technology that greatly amplified the number of casualties in wars in my world into this one so easily.

However, for someone with no magic power like me to protect himself from monsters, I still want strong firearms.

“What the heck is this, what a mysterious shape. So there’s a hole in a rod made of iron……”

“With the impulse of setting off the gunpowder in the iron hole, it shoots a lead ball straight out.”

“Uuuun, why do you have to do something so sluggish?”

He said that since we have bombs, we should just directly throw those into the enemy.

Nattal is just a technician, so it seems he can’t imagine the efficacy of guns and cannons.

Well, I’ve never seen it’s true power either, so if I hadn’t studied history, I may have reached a similar conclusion.

“Then, for example, you have catapults in this world, right? If it’s with a cannon, then a huge iron ball will fly over an even greater range. What would happen then?”

“Even if you ask me like that, I don’t really understand. If you can cover the costs, I don’t mind asking the smithy to make a tube and ball with this shape, but it’s something we’ve never seen or heard of, so it’ll take a bit…… no, it’ll take quite a long time.”

It seems that Nattal didn’t understand too well, but the face of Lyle-sensei, who had been listening next to me, went completely pale, and after snatching my self-drawn blueprints from me, he looked at them with intense concentration.

As expected of Lyle-sensei, who I’ve been suspecting to be a cheat character, he understood it immediately.

“Governor Dacole! I leave making this in your hands, but please proceed with absolute secrecy.”

“O, Ok. That’s fine, but was secretary Laertius always this kind of person?”

I’ll be troubled even if you asked me.

It seems that Nattal was surprised after seeing the rare sight of Lyle-sensei with a changed expression.

Lyle-sensei, still staring at my unskillfully drawn blueprints with an unusual grim expression, was muttering something like ‘If this is completed, the concept of battle tactics will change…’.

Although I’m happy that he understood.

Even then, as a person from this world, sensei’s sense of judgment is too good, and made me drawback.

Finishing our transaction, I returned to the Rodd house and made myself at home.

I was able to make money from selling the bombs, so I’ll pay extra for the horse rental fee. If they want, I could even buy it from them.

“I don’t really care about the horse, but you, until when do you plan on being here?”

“Uh-oh, am I maybe getting in the way?”

After being told that by Sara-chan, I was a bit shocked. I thought we were family, but I guess I’m just an unneeded employee in the end.

“It’s no……, that’s not what I meant, I’m asking you how long you can stay here.”

“Well, I’m worried about my firm in Est, so I’ll be going back soon.”

“Fuun, I see……”

It seems that Sara-chan has a bit of a bad temper. Well, after all, I have been dragging around Lyle-sensei as I please.

“Aah, that’s right, I bought this as a gift for Sara-chan. Try it on if you like.”

“Oh my, the clothes of the city of Est are wonderful. That’s unexpectedly sensible of you, Takeru.”

It was the red apron dress (kids size) that I bought in the city of Est. Thinking that it would also suit Sara-chan, I had bought extras.

Thinking of the future, in order to ensure getting the ingredients and land for the saltpeter huts, I will need the support of farmers. I also want the help of the Rodd family, an influential and wealthy farm with a lot of livestock. Buying Sara-chan’s favor like this is also an investment for the future.

“Also, I brought this drink called coffee.”

Borrowing their kitchen, I diligently dripped the ultimate cup and served it.

“What is this, so bitter! I don’t want this.”

So you don’t understand this flavor. It can’t be helped, you’re a kid after all.

Speaking of which, I also didn’t like it as a kid, and I used to drink it after putting in a lot of milk and sugar but before I knew it, I preferred drinking it black.

“I heard that cafés are popular in the royal capital and all the nobles drink this.”

“Eeeh, is that so?”

Hearing this, Sara-chan had a change of heart, and tried forcing herself to drink it.

“Why don’t you try drinking it with sugar and milk?”

“Well, I guess it’s drinkable if you put in a lot of milk and sugar…… but it’s still bitter~.”

I guess Sara-chan has a yearning for the city in a kid’s own way. After teaching her how to drink it as a cafe au lait, she still was drinking it with a bitter look.

“Oh yeah, Takeru, why don’t we go to the hot springs for the first time in a while?”

“Aah, sounds good!”

I guess that is the best way to recover from exhaustion after all.

Well, I guess digging the hot tub with a shovel will be my job anyways, but you can’t fight the appeal of taking a bath.

Arriving at the riverbed where the hot spring gushed out, I diligently started digging. Getting in the bath with Sara-chan, I asked her something that had always been bothering me.

It is something you can’t really ask women, but she’s still a 12 year old kid, so no problem.

“Hey, do you ever wear undergarments?”

“There’s nobody in the village who wears something like that.”

Hey now, that can’t be. Maybe she’s saying that kids don’t have to wear them yet. Since we have a lot of slave girls, this was something that was bothering me. Wouldn’t adult women be troubled if they didn’t wear undergarments?

Well, it seems that she enjoyed the apron dress that I gave her, so I think I will bring undergarments as well the next time I come.

After fully restoring my energy in the hot springs, it’s time to depart.

Skimming through the Losgow general store and second-hand shop, I calculate what I should stock up on for the next time I come.

Somehow, the price was high overall and there was a scarcity of goods. It may be because the increase in monsters on the highway to the royal capital has stagnated the circulation of wares.

Thanks to that, I was able to sell the things I transported at a high price, but the disturbance in the market price bothers me a bit.

The things I stock up on to carry in my covered wagon are, as expected, iron items.

I also collected and loaded tons of sulfur from the hot spring as a raw material for the gunpowder.

Then, I head off to the city of Est again with Lyle-sensei.

Since I heard the rumor of monsters increasing at the royal capital, I was a bit nervous.

We’re in a situation without the vanguard of Louise. I may finally have my turn.

I was gripping the iron sword I have secretly been practicing with so I can fight, but while travelling on the covered wagon on the highway to Est, such an opportunity did not present itself.

Other peddlers and carriages were moving as usual, so I guess the numbers have only increase past Est, in the direction of the royal capital.

“Welcome back, master!”

Sharon, who was tending the temporary shop of the Sawatari Firm, greeted me with a smile.

“Wait, Sharon, did you grow a bit taller?”

“Yes, since I have been eating a lot as master commanded me.”

Contrary to the general rustic image of beastmen in fantasy worlds, Sharon is intelligent.

She was holding back at first, but hearing my words that, even if the food expenses rose, investing in her growing faster took higher priority, she understood immediately and started eating a lot.

She quickly became able to use the abacus I built and taught her to use, and she absorbed how to do written calculations with arabic numbers and the multiplication table like cotton soaking up water.

When I checked the account book she was keeping, I could clearly see that the monster soap was immediately being sold out the the moment they were completed. Our balance is securely in the black.

The monster soap is being sold more than I expected. We’re selling more than the demand of what the city would use.

“Um, master, don’t you think the soap is possibly being put up for resale?”

“Well, that’s to be expected.”

Probably since the price of one silver is too cheap, they are being resold.

I have also started to vaguely sense that.

However, I don’t really mind.

With my meager company, we still don’t have an outlet for selling in other cities. So instead, I am thankful that other companies are transporting and selling them in other cities.

Soap is a consumable good.

If other companies are reselling them in other cities at a higher price, then we can definitely win in a price competition.

One day, when our company goes to sell them at one silver, I intend to completely take the demand that the other companies created through resale.

The thing I’m afraid of is my product being copied, and in this age where there are no patents, a company will eventually appear that tries to copy our goods.

It is also my intention to let the companies profit moderately through resale, because I think this would delay this stage.

“As expected of master. Without realizing that you had put so much thought into this matter, I said something too hasty.”

“Sharon, you are also excellent for immediately realizing the resale and pointing it out to me.”

Stroking Sharon’s bright orange hair, I praised her.

At a glance, it looks like she has a human head, but when I stroked her, it felt silky, like I was stroking the back of a long-haired dog.

Sharon looked like she was feeling good, so I got caught in the moment and kept petting, and then her dog ears popped up. How amusing.

It seems that Louise and her warrior party are still out hunting. I went to check on the soapmaking taking place in the temporary shop in the tent. It doesn’t seem that the fat of monsters from this area isn’t suited for making soap, and the success rate is rising. It would be perfect if we could also find a use for the leftover skin, but I can’t think of anything. Our only option is to sell them to leatherworkers for now.

Parting with Lyle-sensei, who was confirming the medicinal herbs that the half-nymph, Viola, collected in the hills and fields, I went to check on Laure, who was making saltpeter silently outside of the town.

“Master, today I made this much.”

“Yes, good work.”

When the dirt mixed with animal dung is inserted in the bubbling cauldron, it gives off quite a stench.

That’s why this is the only process we can’t do in the shop.

The cloth bag that Laure handed to me was packed with thin, whitish crystals of saltpeter.

“Oooh, well done. Shall I give you a reward?”

“Umm, well…… It’s enough if master praises me.”

She went and said something quite admirable.

I stroked her head and gave her some precious sweets I had swiped from Count Donovan’s place and nuts that were slightly over-salted. If you eat it so deliciously, that will also make me happy.

Manual labor is tough, so I was sure she would prefer candy with strong flavor as nourishment. Laure, who is making the raw material for gunpowder, is special.

The biggest earner will need to be treated relatively favorably.

“It tastes good.”

“I see. Well, the flavor is so-so, isn’t it?”

Laure is happy, but the candy of this world tastes just excessively sweet or salty to me, and the flavor is somehow lacking.

I think that even with the meager resources of this fantasy world, you should be able to make better tasting candy.

On my way back to the company with Laure, I came across Louise and the two soldier daughters on their way back from a hunt.

If I remember correctly, they were Suzanne and Claudia. Suzanne was equipped with an iron spear and Claudia with a small bow and a short sword.

It must’ve be Louise’s idea to have her in the vanguard and the two inexperienced young ones attack from as far away as possible to avoid injuries.

Following those three warriors was the non-combatant Viola, who was carrying a basket filled with medicinal herbs and dried branches she had picked up.

This is also true for medicinal herbs, but since wood, which is prone to shortages, costs quite a bit even for small pieces, the work Viola is doing is simple, but still essential.

That aside, it seems that they had hunted many monsters again, and Suzanne and Claudia both carried a huge pile of pelts on their backs.

Louise, with an overjoyed look, was skillfully carrying a cauldron, which the meat and organs of something were cooked in.

“Louise, that is……”

“This is everybody’s dinner. Today, we were able to get lots of fresh werewolves.”

Aah, as expected, it’s stewed monster organs. The phrase ‘fresh werewolves’ bothered me a bit. From the rustic beauty Louise’s perspective, it seems that monsters can be harvested. I guess monster equals meat. Well, if you thought about our recent eating habits, it’s not wrong.

Werewolves, huh. Weren’t they rather strong monsters……?

Thinking those kinds of things, I eat the werewolf meat and intestine stew. Yeah, it has a natural, good flavor. There’s a place near the city of Est where rock salt can be harvested, so it’s good that we can add saltiness. Meat, intestines, and salt. It’s a simple combination, but it has a natural savoriness.

Hmmm, however, while intestine food isn’t bad, I should tell everyone to also eat plenty of vegetablesso that the nutrients they get during their growth period aren’t too one-sided.

Nobody has gotten sick, so I’m not worried yet, but everyone’s still in their growth periods, so I need to pay attention to what they eat.

At night, as we surrounded the cauldron over the fire and ate our meals, I asked Louise about the rumor of the rising monster activity.

“Indeed, that tendency does exist……”

Huh? After saying that, she went silent.

She’s contemplating something while staring at the fire.

It’s not strange for Louise to be taciturn, but something’s strange this time.

“Um, Louise-san?”

“Aah, sorry…… That’s right, even in the outskirts of the city of Est, the number of subjugation request have increased. Even yesterday, a caravan was attacked in the outskirt of the city, and I cooperated in the subjugation as requested from the guild. Even the highways to the royal capital have grown considerably dangerous.”

“I wonder what the cause is.”

“……”

Louise sank into silence again.

“Isn’t it because the seal of the ‘portal of evil essence’ near the royal capital is open?”

Lyle-sensei cut into the conversation.

“Lyle-sensei. That ‘portal of evil essence’, is it something like a dungeon?”

“It’s not on the scale of a dungeon, but, I wonder how I should explain this.”

Adding that this is pretty much highly classified information from the kingdom in order to avoid unease among the citizens, sensei explained it to me in great detail.

It seems that there’s a hill near the royal capital, called the mountain of evil, that is covered with black, ominous cedar trees, and near the summit is the “portal of evil essence”. It sound just like something out of a fantasy story.

“The portal, which is leaking evil essence, was once sealed by this country’s hero, but it has opened again for some reason. Monsters are types of demonic beings, so when they are covered in evil essence, they grow more active.”

“Then, wouldn’t it be fine if somebody closed the dungeon’s seal again?”

When I said that, Louise got angry at me, shouting “Don’t say something so stupid!”.

Ummm, did I say something that would anger her so much?

Louise looked surprised by the fact that she had just shouted, and immediately apologized.

“I’m sorry…… Sealing that hole is something that even a subjugation party of the kingdom’s knights failed to do. In its current condition, with all the strong evil essence pouring out, even if an adventurer were to go, he will surely be killed by the strengthened monsters before he even reached the entrance.”

So that’s the situation.

I gave up immediately, thinking it’s impossible.

There’s no way I could do something that even our strongest person, Louise, can’t do anything about.

For now, the highways around here are safe, so I’m not troubled.

By the way, it seems that the cities and towns near the “portal of evil essence” have been wiped out due to the massive outbreak of monsters, and the knights and soldiers continue to desperately fight off the enemies that try to flow into the highways and the royal capital.

So there’s some kind of war going on. What a disturbing story.

Well, this is a fantasy world, so some hero or something will surely appear sooner or later and successfully seal it off.

Unfortunately, I am no longer conceited enough to think that I could become one.

If I have time, I think it is much more worthwhile to think about the business from now on, and to discuss the plans of the new company building we are making.

One month has passed since we started doing business in the city of Est.

At last, the company building of the Sawatari Firm has been completed.

I was thinking of building it out of wood at first, but the price of lumber is high in the Silesie Kingdom. Since that was the case, I decided that I would rather spend a bit more money and build a sturdy company building out of brick.

It’s a small, two story building with a shop, a warehouse in the back, and living quarters on the second floor.

The soapmaking workshop spread out behind the store is still only covered by a tent.

Eventually, once I have enough money, I want to expand the building, but this should be enough for now. Even with just this, it cost me a large sum of 2000 gold to gather the materials and the workers to build it.

Well, I don’t have to worry too much about money. In addition to soapmaking, which has become efficient from the accumulated know-how, the saltpeter production has also been going to plan, thanks to hardworking Laure giving her best. The market for blasting bombs has also expanded to the royal mines dotted along the Ye mountain range thanks to governor Nattal’s referrals, so we have been earning quite a bit.

Right now, Lyle-sensei and I are dropping by the mines dotted along the Ye mountain range within the Est district in the covered wagon, selling off blasting bombs.

There were many iron mine villages, but there were also coal, copper, tin, and even silver mines, so while I was delivering bombs, I also stocked up on products made of different metals as a source of income.

In games, copper and tin are considered weaker metals than iron, but in comparison to the popular iron, they are more precious and valuable. They still lose to silverware, but many bronze and tin tableware have not only practical but also artistic value.

I might even be able to use bronze, which is light and easy to handle, as a material for my cannons. It is important to build up connections here.

The silver mine, which is used for currency, was strictly managed. There were many soldiers at the office, and the guard at the entrance and exit was heavy. This goes without saying, but just as there were blacksmith’s guilds at iron mines, there was a mint bureau at the silver mine.

Also, at a strange location, there was even a mine for magic stones.

Magic stones are mana (a generic name for magical power. There are different kinds, such as the wicked evil essence used by demonic beings, spirit magic, holy magic and the four elemental magics), which crystallized over long months and years on the Ye mountain range, which is a sacred mountain. They had high transparency corresponding to their power, and were red and blue gems.

I’m not too well-informed about gems, but they were beautiful, like rubies and sapphires.

They have a practical use, but they are also valuable as precious stones. Similar to the silver mine, there was also strong security here to prevent illegal mining.

“So if I used these magic stones, I could also use magic, right?”

“Yes, since in Takeru-dono’s case, you have absolutely no groundings in magic. Even then, if you combined a suitable magic stone and magic tool, you would be able to use it.”

At the village of the magic stone mine, there was a shop selling items that were enhanced with magic stones.

Since the magical power of the  “Fireball Staff” I had been using as a trigger was about to run out, I had the magical stone changed with a fully charged one at the shop.

This fully charged “Fireball Staff” should be able to shoot five fireballs at the largest output and around ten at the usual output as a rule of thumb.

Even the cheapest normal magic stones cost 5 silver.

“So, in other words, using one magic costs roughly one silver.”

When I calculated that in my mind, sensei looked a bit surprised.

“I never thought of the monetary cost of using magic, but if you put it that way, the value of magic is pretty high.”

Lyle-sensei is an intermediate level magician so he can quickly whip out some magic, but if you think about the aggregate amount of mana that restores after one night’s sleep, it is the equivalent of several gold coins per day.

I now understand why magicians, even if they can only use a single kind of elementary magic, are treated so specially.

Also, I decided to buy a bunch of “Water Current Rings”, which can use basic water magic.

It’s just a magic tool that takes in water molecule from the air and streams it out. I bought a bunch at once and seriously haggled, but it still cost 5 silvers each.

“Buying so much of that, what are you using it for?”

“I thought that maybe I could use it for the company toilets.”

“I see …”

As a magician, Lyle-sensei wouldn’t understand, but dealing with what comes after we went to the toilet was an acute problem.

With this and soap to wash our hands, it will be a huge help towards the betterment of our hygiene issue.

The bombs are selling like hot cakes so money-wise, we have some to spare.

“Lyle-sensei, if there’s anything you want …”

“Alright, then can I have a few magic stones for emergency use?”

What Lyle-sensei wanted were the good quality items. The few high-class magic stones he chose were remarkably full of magic power compared to normal ones.

The radiance was different even to the untrained eye.

Since they had not only three, but five or six times the normal amount of magic power, a lot of people kept these in preparation for when they ran out of mana in place of amulets.

Each one of them cost around three to five gold coins, so they’re quite expensive.

However, considering that they were for emergencies, they’re not that costly.

Since we’re here anyway, let’s buy lots of them together with normal magic stones as a set.

“Umm, it was me who wanted them, but if you bought this much, we would be using up all of today’s proceeds, wouldn’t we?”

“I don’t mind. This is a producing area, so I don’t think they’ll sell it for less somewhere else.”

Even I do business after checking the market price in each location.

Even if I bought too many and they remained in the inventory, I can just sell them in Est at no loss.

Of course, I don’t intend on getting troubled with money and causing such a fund shortage that I had to sell away my spare magic stones.

“By the way, do they have any restoration magic tools or something?”

“It’s not that they don’t, but holy magic is under the control of the church. You can find low level restoration magic tools if you looked, but they’re not that different from drinking potions.”

I see. So that’s why I never saw any restoration magic tools in the shops. Even Lyle-sensei, who was a jack-of-all-trades within the field of magic, can’t use restoration magic.

I feel uneasy with just the picked medicinal herbs, so in the spare moments between sales, I have been going around and buying the cheaper restoration potions for stockpiling.

There’s never enough money, no matter what I want to do, so I have to do my best in sales.

After having gone around the Est County in the Ye mountain range, I returned to the city of Est.

“We’re finally back.”

“… there’s something strange about the city.”

As Lyle-sensei said, the city of Est was noisy when we entered. The guards protecting the gates had grim looks on their faces, and the general mood was that of confusion.

“Let’s get back to the company right away.”

“Right.”

The Sawatari Firm was right next to the city plaza. When we reached the plaza, the usually bustling center of commerce, we were surprised. Even though the marketplace was usually lively, there were even more people gathered there today.

However, even though it was lively, it was totally not a festive mood.

What we saw when we returned to town was a crowd of wounded refugees pitching camp and a group of people huddling together in the plaza.

———————————————————————————————————————

 

( ̄^ ̄)ゞ

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9 responses to “Kokugensou Volume 1 Chapter 1

  1. Really long chapter.
    Thank you very much.
    The part where he was estimating monthly profits really irks me.
    When calculating Soap profit it counts 2160 gold. However Soap is sold for 1 silver so it should be 2160 silver or 216 gold. plus 30 gold from bombs = 246 – 17 gold for expenses = 229 gold per month.
    2173 gold does not sound like a meager profit at all so this was driving me crazy.

    Like

    • 720 bars of soap a day, 1 silver each, so 720 silvers = 72 golds a day
      30 days = 2160 golds
      and what he meant to say is there is only so much demand for soap, and it cost a lot of labor, while dynamite can be used for a lot of activities, and it’s 1 gold each, so potentially dynamite will be much more profitable

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi just wanted to know how long are the updates usually. This looks like a really interesting read and since it brings in some economics and mathematics I might get too addicted. (I’m a math major with concentration in economics🙂 )

    Like

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