T/N: Just as I use “houses” for noble families, I’m going to use “clan” for retainer families in Mizuho. Both could also be called “families”, but I feel a distinction isn’t wrong here.
Haruka’s big brother and the next head of the Fujibayashi clan, Takeomi-san, arrived at the Baumeister Earldom. He was visiting to see his nephew Leon and to deliver a baby gift from the Fujibayashi clan to Haruka. On top of that, he had come here as the Fujibayashi clan had begun to sell Mizuho-native products in the Helmut Kingdom as a side business.
This business was developing better than the clan had expected, and thus Takeomi-san was scheduled to preview the planned shop site where the clan would build its branch in Baulburg.
The Fujibayashi clan achieved success in trading Mizuho tea…well, it’s mostly no different from Japanese tea…nori, kombu, preserved wakame, and marine products suited for preservation. Mizuho tea had become popular among the wealthy who disliked the faint sweetness of mate tea, and the Fujibayashi’s matcha tea was also on the rise as an ingredient for confectionery.
Because of Mizuho’s influence, the number of patissiers using mate tea powder in sweets was ever-growing, but as many of them held the opinion that its flavor was too weak and its faint sweetness was a problem, matcha tea powder, which didn’t have these issues, was becoming very popular.
Besides its demand for soup stock, kombu was praised for its great effectiveness for hair treatment just like wakame, reaching a point where people with thin hair frequently purchased it. Or rather, even within the Mizuho Dukedom it was commonly said that wakame was good for hair.
I believe it to be superstition, but since wakame and kombu are both good for health, I don’t intend to argue against it. Given that it’s a commodity cheap enough that it can even be bought by commoners, the buyers shouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s fraud because it shows no effect. If pushed I’d say that many people buy it because of its healthiness and dietetic effect.
“My nephew Leon is a real cutie. With Haruka as mother, I’m sure he’ll become an expert at handling katana, too. I will also visit from time to time to teach him katana styles.”
“Brother, please don’t force yourself too much, okay?”
“What, it’s all for the sake of my cute nephew.”
The Fujibayashi clan had become a high-ranking retainer clan thanks to their achievements during the civil war, but as their expenses had grown in accordance, financial affairs have become tight. The trading the family had begun as a side business was now going well, it seems.
Takeomi-san’s attire hasn’t changed…no, even if it resembles the clothes he’s been wearing before, the fabric and yarn used for the attire has become high grade. It looks like their side business is very profitable. Which reminds me, the celebratory gift for Leon was quite extravagant too.
I’ve heard that the family had Kanesada-san make Leon a katana for future use. It’s nothing as exaggerated as an orichalcum katana, but seeing how it’s a creation of the master smith Kanesada-san, it still enters the category of being a considerable high-class item.
A handful of nobles in the Kingdom collects Mizuho katana for their beautiful blades, and even among all the different Mizuho katana, the ones made by Kanesada-san are especially famous as works of art. In other words, it’s not a katana you can obtain that easily.
“Haruka, how is your body feeling? Is everything alright?”
“Yes, Elise-sama cast healing magic on me after the birth.”
“Elise-sama, please allow me to thank you for the sake of my younger sister.”
“Haruka-san is absolutely indispensable for the Earl Baumeister House, so it is only natural.”
“I am deeply moved to hear you say that.”
Haruka holds the position of being a guard for Friedrich and my other babies while also serving as their wet nurse. While taking care of my children and Leon, she’s also expected to provide milk if there’s a lack thereof.
Her being able to freely enter the inner area of our home as the wife of a chief retainer is also proof of our deep trust in her.
“Haruka-san is always taking good care of us.”
My wives would end up with maternity neurosis if they had to take care of the children like that every day. Thus Haruka’s assistance is also necessary so that they can regularly take a break by setting up a smart rotation.
“It gives me a peace of mind as her brother to see that Haruka has been accepted at the Earl Baumeister House. But…” Takeomi-san stares in wonder at Haruka’s attire.
But that’s only understandable since she’s wearing the black gothloli outfit Erw had ordered from Candy-san. Erw had apparently forked over quite a bit of money for it, and also, the high-class materials of the outfit are of such a high quality that it doesn’t seem weird for the wives of nobles and their retainers to wear them inside their mansion.
However, Takeomi-san, who’s seeing this outfit for the first time, can’t help wondering why his cute sister would be wearing such an outfit.
“Dear Brother-in-law, these clothes are currently in fashion in the capital.”
“So you were the mastermind after aaalll───!”
Even nowadays Takeomi-san holds reservations towards Erw for having stolen his adorable sister from him. We had hoped that this aversion might wane a bit over the cuteness of his nephew, but it looks like seeing Haruka in a gothloli outfit isn’t to his liking at all.
Just as in the past, he directs the brunt of his anger at Erw. At this point it might already be regarded as pathological.
“Brother-in-law, about this…”
“Who’s your brother-in-law!?”
“I mean, aren’t you just that…?”
Erw, you’re right about it, but I think it’s pointless to tell this to Takeomi-san in his current state.
After all, he doesn’t see Erw as anything but an enemy who snatched his darling sister away.
“Even though Leon is such an adorable boy…you’re anything but cute.”
Even Erw would probably be stumped if he were called cute by an older young man, so he doesn’t mind that part. Still I’d like Takeomi-san to finally get used to it. I didn’t expect that a sis-con would be that sinful.
“In the first place, how dare you get wives other than Haruka!”
Takeomi-san appears to also be upset over the matter with Lea and Anna. Maybe the dissatisfaction over his cute sister plays a part as well, but…Takeomi-san is still single even though he ought to take two wives at the very least…
Maybe his father doesn’t make him attend marriage interviews?
“I would like you to understand that this is my duty as chief retainer of the Earl Baumeister House…”
“I know that, but still…”
I suppose it means he can rationally understand it as common sense of nobility, but emotionally he’s struggling with it. As expected, sis-cons are sinful existences, indeed.
“Oops, I had another important reason for coming here today.”
Just when Haruka tries to caution him as she can’t let her brother’s behavior pass just like that, Takeomi-san quickly changes the topic. Because he’s a hardcore sis-con, he must hate to get cautioned by his beloved sister.
“Thank you very much for permitting us to set up a store in the Baumeister Earldom.”
Given that it’s going to make the procurement of Mizuho-native products easier and because we can also expect some good tax yield out of this, it’s a very welcome enterprise for our side. As the Baumeister Earldom is in the middle of having its population grow, many people possess money from all the special labor demands for the development of the territory. I’m sure the rare Mizuho-native foodstuff should be in demand as well.
“I’m planning to visit myself every now and then, but allow me to introduce the person who’s going to be entrusted with the Baulburg branch store. Akira, enter.”
After being called in, a lovely girl with black hair shows up in front of us. She looks just like a boy since her hair has been cut short, but her delicate, small body would wake the urge to protect her in any man. If it’s someone like her, she’ll become a great poster girl…no wait, he mentioned that she’d be the one in charge of the branch store, didn’t he?
“Takeomi-san, this girl is going to lead the branch store, right?”
“Yes. She’s a relative of the Fujibayashi clan. Akira’s grandfather from two generations ago worked as a merchant.”
At that time, not all of the Fujibayashi clan, a lower warrior clan back then, served as samurai, and the children at the lower end of the clan became commoners. One of those children started a business, and Akira was the granddaughter of that man. Thus she shares a relationship of being a second cousin to Takeomi-san.
As both families are still connected with each other, they seem to help out with the Fujibayashi clan’s business.
“So she does have the necessary skills.”
“She’s young, but she’s far more proficient at business than us.”
Takeomi-san is claiming that it should be the right person in the right place, but I’m kinda worried here. The city of Baulburg has many people coming and going as it’s thriving, but this also draws more people with bad characters in proportion. Hence I have my doubts about assigning a girl as branch head, looking at it from the perspective of crime prevention.
Our guards have been doing their best in cracking down on lawbreakers, but to my regret there’s also cases where our guards are late in arriving at a scene due to labor shortage, so if you consider the safety aspect, I think it’d be better to assign a man as branch head…
“Is that going to be alright? There are many folks with rough tempers in Baulburg.” Katharina warns in my stead.
As a matter of fact, she got previously involved with ill-bred folk in the city, resulting in her blowing them away with a tornado…it was a really terrible incident.
Tristan, who had to deal with the aftermath, was in tears.
『It was their fault for acting so rudely towards me』
Katharina wasn’t wrong in what she was saying, but I had to advise her to not use magic that would damage the vicinity to such an extent.
“Katharina-sama, Akira’s appearance is deceiving. She’s fairly strong, so it’s going to be alright. Her katana techniques and ancient combat style has reached full mastery.”
“Oh my, that sounds amazing. I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from Haruka-san’s relative.”
Since she’s a member of the Fujibayashi clan, she hasn’t neglected her katana training. The ancient combat style is a martial art to fight barehanded when you lose your weapon on the battlefield. It resembles the Magic Combat Style, but according to what I’ve heard from Haruka before, its characteristic trait is to attach importance in stealing the enemy’s weapon and use it against them.
“There are many Mizuho merchants who are strong enough to not lose against a samurai.”
I guess they excel at techniques to protect themselves since they’re going out to do their business at all kinds of places.
“But, isn’t it possible that she’s going to attract unnecessary trouble just by looking like a helpless girl? Maybe you should add another male employee or something like that?”
“That’s planned after the business starts to run smoothly. Besides, Akira is truly strong, so you don’t need to worry.”
No matter how strong she might be, she’s still a woman, so…
If something were to happen, it might trigger problems between us and the Duke Mizuho House.
“Well, I still think it’d be better for a man to be present as well. I feel like it’s too dangerous for a woman to run a store all by herself.”
It’s not that I’m forcing Takeomi-san, but it’s better for me to speak up here, just in case. I mean it’s possible that our guards won’t be on time if something happens.
“What is it, Takeomi-san?”
“Akira is a man.”
“””””””””””That’s a lie!”””””””””””
Everyone shouts before I can say it myself. After all, it’s completely unbelievable for Akira to be a guy when looking at her lovely appearance.
“Eh? A man? You’re joking, right?”
“Erw-san, Akira is a man.”
Erw apparently believed Akira to be a woman as well. Haruka naturally isn’t surprised since she’s known Akira as her relative for a long time. Thus she clearly confirms the truth of the matter to Erw.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, are his clothes not manly enough?”
“Mizuho clothes have the issue of featuring few differences between male and female wear.”
“Please take a close look. Those are Mizuho clothes for men.”
Since even many women are wearing Mizuho clothes with plain colors, I don’t think that you could call this male wear. Certainly, Akira is wearing Mizuho clothes with low-key colors, but I think it’s terrible that it doesn’t feel out of place even when calling him a woman.
As I’m closely looking at Akira in his Mizuho outfit, my heart gradually begins to throb.
Yep, this is bad, seriously.
“I’m a man. I’ve been doing my utmost every day to become a strong Mizuho man like Takeomi-san.”
“Huh? I can’t really imagine that though…”
“Erwin, do you have any complaints?”
“No, it’s nothing, Brother-in-law.”
“Who’s your brother-in-law!?”
Becoming like Takeomi-san? I’d like to be spared from having to deal with another sis-con. Erw must be thinking the same.
“What’s up, Erw?”
Just like me, Erw seems to have his heart throb as well after looking at Akira. God has probably made a mistake when making Akira a man. Even someone like me who doesn’t believe in god at all, cannot help but think so.
“He’s definitely a man, yep. The mana flow…”
“So you understood, Luise-sama?”
“But, it’s quite difficult to tell. I’ve ended up straining my eyes like an old man when looking at him.”
Luise has the ability to differentiate genders from the flow of mana with almost 100% certainty. However, it seems like it’s difficult for her to distinguish Akira, and thus she’s staring at him with her eyes narrowed.
“He has no Adam’s apple…”
“Wilma-sama, despite that, I’ve had a proper change of voice.”
Since Akira’s voice is relatively high, it makes him seem even more like a woman. He appears to keep investing a lot of effort in trying to overturn that, but no matter how much swordsmanship he studies and even if his insides are manly, his appearance…is no different from a woman in the end.
“It sure is nice to have such fair skin…”
Ina cannot help being envious of Akira’s fair skin. It’s the biggest distress for women who’re working as adventurers. Since they’re always outside, their hair and skin roughens.
Because they’ve just given birth, our women have been devoting themselves to tending their hair and skin, but since Akira’s skin, which likely doesn’t go through any particular care in the first place, is prettier than anyone else’s, Inna appears to be jealous.
“Indeed, it is truly unfair for you to have skin that is more beautiful than those of women.”
Since Amalie-san has already passed the age’s turning point for the skin, she’s staring at Akira’s youthful skin with eyes full of envy.
“Good grief, people can never obtain what they want to obtain.”
“His hair is silky and pretty as well…”
“Indeed. Though it does look like the person in question doesn’t seem to care overly much…”
Therese and Lisa are also enviously looking at Akira’s skin and hair.
“My skin never tans no matter how much I train my swordsmanship under the blazing sun. I’m not building any muscles at all either…I want to become manly with lots of muscles and a tanned skin.”
Even if he’s being envied by our female camp, Akira himself doesn’t desire all of this.
Still, I find it cute how Akira desperately insists on his own thoughts with his voice lowered.
“Well, no matter how womanly he might look, in the end he’s a man. He can’t win against me in loveliness.”
Katharina seems to be quite confident of herself, but Akira and her are two totally different types to begin with. Katharina, the gorgeous-type of beauty, and Akira who possess a cuteness that makes you want to protect him…I think it’s kinda amazing that he’s being called a man under these circumstances.
“Booboo───oh! It’s your loss when it comes to cuteness, Katharina.”
“Wilma-san, sheesh. I’ve been raised since my childhood while being called cute by the people of my territory and my deceased parents.”
“That’s no more than a parent’s partiality. Most people would identify Akira as cuter between you two.”
All of a sudden Wilma starts to take a majority vote, but everyone except for Katharina raises their hand in favor. The same applies to me as well since I cannot lie to myself.
“Wendelin-san! Why don’t you raise your hand for your own wife!?”
“Ee───h? Why are you singling me out? Aren’t all the others doing the same?”
Getting reproached by Katharina, I feel mistreated.
“Are you saying that I’m not cute, Wendelin-san?”
“Now listen…Katharina, you’ve married me and become a mother. You ought to display beauty as an adult woman, and not the cuteness of a little girl. Akira, you’re unmarried, right?”
“It’s pointless to compete with Akira. As a married woman you need to exude a different kind of charm.”
“I guess you’ve got a point.”
I managed to successfully deceive her. Nevertheless, Akira is really sweet which wakes the feeling in me to help him. Even after hearing that he’s a man, I feel like I’ll forget it right away if I just look at her…err, him for a bit…
Bah, what stupid things am I thinking. Akira is a man, for god’s sake!
“Wend, Akira looks quite strong, so I think it’ll be fine. Or is there anything else worrying you?” Luise assesses Akira to have good abilities with her intuition as a martial artist.
She expects that Akira will be okay with running the store herself.
But you know, Luise…even I won’t harbor any romantic feelings towards a man. I have many wives, and am generally regarded as lustful man. I’m lacking a bit of confidence… yeah right, as if!
“The store will be of smaller scale at first, allowing us to see how things go. Akira is strong, so it’ll be okay.”
“Please look after me.”
Due to these circumstances, a Fujibayashi-run store dealing with dried provisions and tea opened in Baulburg.
“Wend, it looks like Fujibayashi Dried Goods is a huge success.”
“That’s wonderful news.”
Several days later, Luise, who had headed out to the city of Baulburg on business, reported to me the state of Fujibayashi’s store that opened just the other day.
It sounds like they have many customers with their tea and nori being quite popular.
“Well, it’d be a disaster if a store that just opened had no customers at all. I’d say they’ve cleared the first hurdle.”
When a new store opens, customers will visit at first out of curiosity. Every once in a while new stores fail right from the start, but most of the time such stores are closed down within a short period of time.
I think the most common pattern is for the number of customers to decline a short while after the hype over it being new dies down. In other words, the biggest hurdle is the question of how many regular customers they can secure with their business.
“Sheesh, Wend, your view is quite harsh.”
“A shop immediately goes out of business if they become careless.”
In my previous life it wasn’t unusual for stores to go bankrupt within several years. Probably because the available demand is low in this world, new stores often fail. Even if they might be selling the recently popular Mizuho-native products, they need to stay on their toes.
“But you know, I think they’re going to be alright.”
“You sound quite confident there, Luise.”
“I mean, look, doesn’t that store have a poster girl?”
Poster girl, eh…? Certainly, Akira’s outward appearance invites people to mistake him for a woman, but he’s still a full-fledged man. Though I think it’d be rude to tell him that.
“I went to take a look on my way back home, but the shop was full of men.”
“That’s totally weird.”
After all, Akira is running a dried goods store. I think even men would buy tea, but the main customer base should be women who use nori and dried ingredients for cooking.
“Did they hire a professional cook or something like that?”
Akira might be trying to gain new customers by using the rare Mizuho foodstuff as an advertisement. Then again, I doubt that only male restaurant owners would visit as customers.
“Even if that was true, it’d be odd for no female customers to be there.”
Since I was slightly curious, I took Luise and Wilma, who was with us, along to visit the shop in question.
“Welcome, right now we’ve a special bargain sale for the first tea of the season.”
The shopkeeper Akira is advertising the first Mizuho tea of the season to customers in front of Fujibayashi Dried Goods. The scene resembles what I’ve seen around tea dealers in my previous life, but since Akira completely looks like a charming woman with his apron and Mizuho attire, male customers are swarming towards him like bees to a flower.
“It’s okay to also add it to a tea pot with mate tea. Given that it’s not sweet, it feels refreshing in your mouth. It also goes well with meals. When it’s hot outside, it’s best to drink it cold.”
Akira seems to be decent at doing business, recommending the tea to one customer after the other. More than half of those customers buy the tea from him.
“Men are simple creatures.”
“Wilma, please don’t say that since it’s pitiful…”
Akira is a guy, but I think only a few men would refuse when recommended tea by such a cute guy. If it’s something at the level of a sampling pack with a small amount of tea, it’s not overly expensive, resulting in many people buying one.
“Wend, I see many faces I recognize.”
Many of our retainers are here…Tristan, Moritz, Thomas…and several others… Or rather, is Baulburg’s guard unit still alright?
When it comes to Thomas, he should be in charge of the tunnel.
“Hey, you guys…”
“Milord, have you also come to buy Mizuho tea?”
“I’ll buy it and go back home, but what about your work?”
“Wend, we’re going to buy and leave then.”
Luise sharply retorts, but it’s not like I got seduced by Akira’s charm or anything…rather, a guy has no sex appeal for me whatsoever.
“Well, it’s the season for the first tea after all.”
“Indeed, the season for the first tea is important.”
“What are you blathering about? It doesn’t matter when you drink something like tea in the first place…”
Since it’s run by the Fujibayashi clan, the first tea leaves of the Mizuho Dukedom’s main tea production areas are timely gathered. It’s only natural for me to buy it since I love drinking Mizuho tea over mate tea when eating sweet stuff during my afternoon snack.
“Wend-sama, they’re selling the first pick of Uji tea.”
“Oooh! Uji tea is great!”
I feel slightly conflicted about it sounding similar to a Japanese gunboat, despite it being the most famous tea production area in the Mizuho Dukedom, but Uji tea is very tasty. I’ll buy some for Elise and the others as well before going back home.
“So? What about your work?”
“Please do not worry. I am properly visiting during break time.”
“I came to Baulburg for a report, but I thought that I’d buy a souvenir for Nikolaus and the others on my way back…”
It’s not like the three are skipping out on work, and since they discovered a new shop during their rest time, they simply ended up joining in on the sampling.
It looks like it’s the same for many of the men here. All of them are tasting Mizuho tea with happiness written on their faces.
Do they know that Akira is a man? …I think it’d be better for me not to ask since it’s slightly scary.
“It’s your free choice to do whatever you like during your rest time…Ah, I’m also going to buy some nori.”
“If you’re looking for nori, it’s over here.” Akira shows me various sorts of nori, but their prices are all over the place.
“When it comes to nori, the ones with a deep, glossy color are good. Also…”
Akira lightly warms a nori that seems to be the most expensive one above a flame for me. Thereupon its color turns into a deep green, a proof for it being excellent nori.
The president of a nori wholesale told me so in my previous life.
“It’s better to have good nori when using it for onigiri.”
“Indeed. You can eat it just like that after all. This one has a high quality that fully justifies its price.”
Speaking of onigiri, I had to actually endure eating onigiri without nori until we started to import it from the Mizuho Dukedom. I remember that I tried to wrap the onigiri up in leaf vegetables that I bought in Breitburg, using leaf mustard onigiri as reference, in the past, but that ended in tragedy.
Onigiri without nori are delicious as well, but they’re still lacking something, no matter what you say. Nowadays we can trade with the Mizuho Dukedom, so you can get nori at stores in Baulburg. In other words, I can freely make onigiri with nori at any time I want to. On top of that, I can also make other Japanese food that uses nori.
“I’d like to have some furikake, too.”
“We have bonito, okaka, plums, wasabi, shiso wakame, and jako. Moreover, we have high-quality furikake that hasn’t been dried on stock, too. Please feel free to sample it.”
Whoa, Akira has even prepared cooked rice for me. I sample the various dried furikake in order after placing it on the rice.
It’s an extremely nice taste, reminding me of my previous life. The high-class furikake, which has the characteristic of still being moist, is wonderful as well. The other types also are magnificent in taste, shaking my spirit as Japanese.
“I’ll buy all of them.”
“Thank you for your purchase.”
I’m the super rich Earl Baumeister, so I have more than enough leeway to buy large amounts of high-quality nori and furikake.
“Do you have mochi?”
“Yes, we do. That and also roasted soybean flour. Our adzuki beans come from a producing area considered to be the best in Mizuho.”
Mochi, roasted soybean flour, adzuki beans – it’s impossible for me to miss out on this supreme combination. I can also get them in the Kingdom, but once you get to know the good stuff…
You have to carefully boil the bought adzuki beans after quenching them in water.
“It sure sounds like you have all kinds of goods. But, it’s time for today…I’ll come back again soon.”
I ended up buying more than I had expected, but I was able to get my hands on many good ingredients. Thus I decided that I’d frequently visit this store from now on.
“Wend…because Akira is cute…”
“Don’t lump me together with Tristan and the others!”
I have no interest in men. No matter how much he looks like a woman, I’m no homosexual.
“But you know, you looked very happy when he gave you food to sample. Just like Tristan and the others.”
That’s not true either. I was just happy that I could get so much good foodstuff at a new store. The aspect of being able to sample the food also tickled my buyer’s heart quite a bit.
“You understand me, don’t you Wilma? That store has lots of good merchandise.”
“They have a lot of nice foodstuff in stock.”
“See, Wilma understands what I mean!”
“But, too many customers visit after being attracted by Akira.”
“Listen to me for heaven’s sake! Don’t lump me together with those guys!”
I was ultimately charmed by nothing other than the store’s goods. It’s unthinkable that I bought the goods after getting lured in by Akira, the poster girl…wait he’s no damn poster girl!…is what I continued to emphasize.
“Well, it’s not like I can’t understand your feelings on this. It looks like some guys don’t believe that Akira is a guy even when you clearly tell them.”
“Shut up, Erw. I won’t give you any onigiri.”
“I’m not saying that you bought lots of foodstuff because you got tempted by Akira’s allure, Wend.”
“Oooh! So you believe me, Erw?”
“You’ve always been like that ever since I’ve got to know you.
We’re chatting while eating a big serving of nori onigiri for dinner. Just as Luise said, Fujibayashi Dried Goods is a huge success thanks to the poster girl Akira.
Once you approach the store after getting attracted to him, you’ll be given a tea cup with tea for sampling. Given that Akira looks like a beautiful girl, no one turns him down, and after drinking that tea, a certain number of people usually buys the tea.
Moreover, a fixed number of customers appear who have interest in the other goods in the store. These customers are allowed to sample the foodstuff by Akira, and then…rinse and repeat, a truly frightening loop.
Takeomi-san has come up with quite the clever business method…yea right, I can’t believe that he’d aim for that. He mentioned that he’s nothing more than a financier as he isn’t overly skilled at business.
“It seems like everyone knows that Akira is a man.”
Ina reveals a shocking truth.
“Akira is a man, but the other men don’t mind since they can spend some time in supreme bliss if it’s just talking and drinking tea.”
Certainly, it’s true that you easily forget about Akira being a man if you talk with him while drinking his tea.
“Did Tristan and the other guys go there knowing that Akira is a man…?”
“Looks like it.”
Do they possibly have some issues back at home or something? For them to frequent the store of a man in search of soothing…
Won’t their wives get angry at them if they find out?
“But, isn’t it the same for you as well, Wend?”
I swiftly retorted at Ina’s question. I’ve been simply going there since I like that store and want its goods. If you consider that it’s an ordinary dried goods store, their business model is interesting since it’s a small-scale business run by the rising Fujibayashi clan and their relatives. It’s been a while since I last got excited when going to a shop.
“Isn’t your frequency of visits rather high compared to other shops?”
“It’s because they’ve got events.”
Yep, one day Akira taught a classroom how to make dashi. He made dashi out of katsuobushi and kombu, and let us sample it afterwards. I immediately bought it on the spur of the moment, but the miso soup made out if it was really delicious.
As expected, genuine dashi is a class of its own.
I also struggled until I became able to make miso by myself, but there’s many aspects where the miso sold at Fujibayashi Dried Goods is out of reach for me. The price for their soy sauce is expensive, but I’ve ended up using theirs for my cooking.
I think extravagances like this are fine since I’m Earl Baumeister.
“I’m going to head over today as well since Akira said he’d boil preserved food in soy.”
“And then you’re going to buy it, eh…?”
“I mean it’s a lot tastier than the one I make myself…”
Preserved food boiled in soy (tsukudani) is a difficult dish. Anyone can make it, but it’s hard to make it so that it’s tasty.
It is rare to find a dish that changes so much depending on subtle flavors. I happened to eat tsukudani in a well-established restaurant during my previous life, and I gotta say, that was truly delicious.
In the past I made tsukudani myself as a side dish for cooked rice and garnish for onigiri, but the ones sold at Fujibayashi Dried Goods are tastier. They’ve got a big variety, and Akira procures the products from Mizuho on his own discretion or makes them himself.
Since rice is eaten in the continent’s south, tsukudani that fits well with rice is in demand. The ordinary folks also eat it as a side dish for rice and garnish for onigiri, but even adventurers have started to visit the store to buy it as preserved food.
Parties that don’t have magicians with magic bags can’t prepare too luxurious food. The cases where parties bring onigiri with them or cook rice, make a soup and then use tsukudani as a side dish are increasing.
Mizuho-native tsukudani is expensive as a high-class item, but since Akira is making cheap tsukudani with ingredients locally procured at Baulburg and its circumference, that one is selling really well.
“Even though it’s a dried goods store, it’s also selling tsukudani, eh?”
“I think you’d call that adapting yourself to the situation.”
“Since it also has lots of saltiness which is good for preservation, it’s definitely true that it’s ideal for adventurers.”
“That said, I’m going to Fujibayashi Dried Goods…I must go. Ina, you coming with me?”
“I guess I’ll give it a go since it sounds interesting.”
“Ah, I’ll come with you as well!” Katia exclaims.
Once Ina, Katia and I get close to Fujibayashi Dried Goods, a nice aroma of boiled tsukudani wafts over to us from the storefront.
As business is thriving, Akira apparently increased the employees in a hurry, but it’s Akira himself who’s cooking the tsukudani. He’s been saying that he’s aiming to become manly, but with him being skilled at cooking and even being really good at making tsukudani, he seems to be mistaken for a woman even more often than before.
“Oh…say, Katia, Ina, that person is…?”
“A person I’ve never expected to find here…”
“He really stands out even when seen from a distance…well, it makes sense since he’s a tall guy, though not as much as Doushi.”
“I don’t think that the size of his body plays any role in his case though? He’s got way too many other parts that stand out…”
Two circles of people had formed in front of the store. One consisted of men trying to receive tsukudani samples from Akira, and the other one hosted women who were encouraged to try the tsukudani by Candy-san who wore a white apron atop the same Mizuho-styled attire Akira wore.
Just when…or rather, is his store in the capital going to be alright?
“Oh my, fancy to see you here, Earl Baumeister-sama. Ina-chan, Katia-chan, nice to see you as well.”
I suppose you should expect as much from a former elite adventurer. He immediately calls out to us as if having homed in on his prey.
“Candy-san, I have various questions such as what about your clothing store or why you are at this store…”
“My store is going to be fine since I’ve hired a trustable shop manager. I was thinking about doing the same as this shop does in the capital. I love cooking after all.”
Candy-san succeeded in negotiating an import of Mizuho-native products with Takeomi-san whom he met in the capital by coincidence, and apparently plans to launch a store similar to Fujibayashi Dried Goods. Because of that he came to this store to study, or rather get training in service, he explained.
“So you’re skilled at cooking as well, huh…?”
“Oh, welcome, Earl Baumeister-sama. I’ve allowed Candy-san to come here to train his service, but there’s nothing left I can teach him anymore.”
On top of being a professional when it comes to sewing, he’s also good at cooking…at this point it might be more correct to call him a mother than a girl.
“Still, for you to have expressly come all the way here to Baulburg; it must have cost you quite a bit of money.”
These days the fare costs a bit less because the number of magic airships and flights have increased, but it still remains a fact that traveling with a magic airship is an expensive luxury. Considering the number of days it’d take, I can’t believe that Candy-san has come here by carriage, so I’ve ended up thinking that he must have been quite eager to come here for training to pay such a big amount of money.
“I’ve been working as an adventurer for a long time and since I was fairly popular during that time, I’ve saved quite a bit of money, but since I need those funds for my business, I’m being frugal with my spending. When I’ve heard that an acquaintance, who can use 『Teleport』, would go to Baulburg for business, I took advantage of that opportunity.”
“As always, you’re a really well-connected man…”
I suppose you should expect as much from a former elite adventurer. Seeing how he’s earned Katia’s admiration, Candy-san’s network must be surprisingly big.
“(And he’s extremely popular among women.)”
Just like Elise, women draw back when meeting Candy-san for the first time, but since this guy is really skilled at taking care of women down to the finer details, they immediately warm up to him.
Even at this very moment, the female customers are getting all excited as they talk with him about cooking tips, makeup and somewhat stylish outfits, and the recent fashion trends in the capital, while he simultaneously recommends the women various goods, resulting in the merchandise selling very well.
The division of placing the male customers with Akira and the female ones with Candy-san is perfect, and has led to the shop being crowded by lots of customers.
“(They’re definitely a great duo.)”
Akira and Candy-san are obviously an odd combination, but it looks like they’re in perfect sync.
“Aren’t you selling some new products or something like that right now?”
“We do, Barayso sprouts. Candy-san has recommended them to me. When I tried asking him about local foodstuffs that could be procured cheaply, he told me about these sprouts. That’s a former elite adventurer for you. He’s fairly well-traveled.”
“Being able to immediately cook a new ingredient so proficiently speaks of your high skills, Shopkeeper Akira.”
It seems like these two are truly compatible with each other.
By the way, barayso is a plant that’s somewhere between being a medicinal plant and a wild grass. It’s said to have a positive effect on your stomach, and thus it’s also used as digestive medicine in its dried version. However, since it’s growing in heaps in the continent’s south, many people eat it instead of vegetables. The sprouts are especially delicious, and because they’ll regrow one month after harvesting, adventurers often pick them up and use them for cooking.
“A tsukudani made out of barayso sprouts, huh…?”
Wow, I haven’t thought of that at all.
“Tsukudani is a dish for preserving left-over food in the first place. Please have a taste.”
“Give me some too!”
Once Akira hands out tsukudani samples, even more customers begin to swarm to the storefront.
“Here you go, it tastes great.”
At first everyone was startled by Candy-san, but they’ve become accustomed to him in no time, or rather, since he’s good at handling people, everyone has quickly stopped worrying about his eccentric appearance.
“It’s got a tinge of a bitter taste, so it’s got more of an adult taste.”
“Just as the rumors say, you really like new, delicious foodstuff, don’t you Earl Baumeister-sama?”
So rumors about me have spread all the way to Candy-san’s place, huh?
“It appears to be a hit. It might also go well with alcohol as a side dish.”
Today Fujibayashi Dried Goods has lined up many kinds of tsukudani in the name of a tsukudani special sale. Since many of them are imported from Mizuho, they are fairly expensive. Especially the ones using tuna and eel are very expensive.
Even in my previous life, 100 gram usually cost several thousand yen. Well, I still bought them though.
“Wend…is that alright?”
“Hubby, aren’t those insects?”
The custom of eating insects doesn’t exist on this continent, except for the Mizuho Dukedom. Some of the tsukudani were made out of insects. Since these are a kind of delicacy, the store hasn’t stocked huge amounts of them, but because they’re precious, I decided to buy them.
“Wend, that’s okay?”
“Eh? They’re delicious, you know?”
Their appearance is a bit hard to look at for women, but stuff like grasshopper tsukudani is really good…
“Since I bought them, you can just see for yourself later. They’re pretty good.”
“No, I’m fine without testing them out…”
When being in a dire situation where it’s hard to obtain food as an adventurer, it boosts your survival rate a lot if you can eat insects, you know…?
That means Ina and Katia are normal women who are afraid of insects.
“They’re delicious, but I’m a girl, so I’m not good with insects.”
But you’ve still been sampling them extensively, haven’t you…?
Being told by Candy-san that he’s bad with insects kinda lacks persuasiveness…
“Even among Mizuho people, many hate insect tsukudani. On the other hand, some people also like them very much.”
At this point Akira smoothly follows up on my wives. I’d like to believe that…kind men are popular, but Akira doesn’t seem to be overly popular with women.
Then again it makes sense since a man who’s cuter than the woman herself is bound to trigger an identity crisis for her. Even if they were to go on a date in the city, it’d look like two women having some fun together, so it probably wouldn’t seem like much of a date.
“I tried to make tsukudani out of the mushrooms that can be found around here. Please have a try. I’m still not very acquainted with the mushrooms in this area, so I asked Candy-san to pick them out for me.”
“I know a lot about mushrooms since I’ve often used them for cooking when camping out.”
Akira also takes out some tsukudani made out of Baumeister Earldom-native mushrooms for sampling.
It’s difficult to tell mushrooms apart, but it looks like Candy-san flexed his abilities here.
“It’s delicious since the food texture of hamitake has been properly preserved.”
“You’re right. It awakens the urge in me to eat it together with rice.”
For tsukudani it’s indispensable to change the way of cooking and the mixture of seasonings depending on the ingredients. As it looks like Akira has run various tests before presenting it to us, it’s a very good dish, and Ina and Katia are also enjoying its taste.
“I also made test products with small beeches and loaches. Please have a taste.”
“This is really great too.”
Because these tsukudani are fairly cheap as something cooked by Akira himself while using local ingredients, these have been selling quite well. The customers, who tasted the tsukudani, kept purchasing them like hot cakes.
Tsukudani doesn’t go well with bread, but since the people of the Baumeister Earldom have a rather rice-based diet because I set up paddy fields all over the place, many people buy the tsukudani as accompaniment for rice dishes.
Still, I think Akira’s business sense is really a force to reckon with. For Candy-san to be so great at business on top of having been a remarkable adventurer is also quite shocking.
“I’ll splurge and buy eel tsukudani!”
“I want some clam tsukudani!”
Once again Tristan and the others show up during their break time, and after sampling the tsukudani, they buy the ones they liked. It appears they’ve become regular customers already, seeing how they don’t mind Candy-san who stands next to Akira.
They happily receive the food samples from Akira, and faithfully keep buying the store’s merchandise. They’re using the pretext of these being souvenirs for their families since they received their salary today, but it’s pretty obvious that they’ve come here to get comforted by Akira.
“Do Tristan and the others have problems at home or something?”
I’d like to be spared from them having family issues while still being newlywed. Even if they were to seek my advice, I have no experience on how to deal with such matters.
“Hubby, it’s said that a lot goes on when you build a family and have children. I think it’d be best to kindly watch over them while keeping quiet about it.”
“You might be right…”
“Ah such things do happen, don’t they…?”
Does Katia know so much about this because she has witnessed something similar back home? Candy-san…he has no family, has he?
“Oh right, there’s also shigeruni.”
Next, Akira recommends shigeruni to us. Shigeruni is a kind of tsukudani, just with ginger added to it. It also exists in the Mizuho Dukedom, and Akira has stocked on shigeruni that had been stewed with clams and monster meat.
When I sample it, its taste closely resembles beef shigeruni. It seems it uses monster meat that’s similar in meat quality to beef. Of course Akira also sells beef shigeruni, but since livestock meat is very expensive, that kind of shigeruni is one of the most expensive goods in his store.
“Having said that, it’d be a loss to not buy this.”
“In the end you bought all types…”
“It’s fine, isn’t it? They’re long-lasting goods.”
Rather than that, being able to eat my favorite tsukudani whenever I feel like it has more value to me.
“Doesn’t freshness play no role if you put it into your magic bag…?”
“With that said, it’s not like we can make tsukudani out in the fields when going on a trip as adventurers. So I need a stock of tsukudani! Oh right! Akira!”
“…Can you make this kind of food?”
“…I think it should be possible.”
Several days after requesting a new product from Akira and him finishing it, I departed to the Demon Forest as an adventurer for the first time in a while. As all my wives were taking a rest, I formed a temporary party with Erw, Doushi, and Burkhart-san for today.
Doushi ended up drawing a lot of attention by the adventurers lining up at the same reception desk in the Demon Forest adventurer guild branch, which became quite luxurious after its reconstruction, but he didn’t really mind it, and no one dared to chat him up because of his appearance and aura.
“The number of adventurers has grown, and so has their quality. However, a lot of requests for meat and materials still remain undone. Fruits and medicinal plants seem to be slightly lacking, too.”
“Our main goal for today is to hunt. I would like you to not expect us to harvest stuff!”
After finishing our business at the reception, the four of us moved to the deepest part of the Demon Forest.
“Just as usual, this forest is teeming with tons of monsters! Them not being overly calculative rocks too!”
“Not calculative…we’re not fishing here, you know…?”
The forest houses a great number of monsters, but since Doushi one-hits most of them, we’re not all that busy.
“This is a totally unexpected blind spot.”
Burkhart-san hasn’t been able to participate in the hunt for the most part either, and is currently drinking from the canteen he took out of his magic bag.
“Is that wine, Burkhart-san?”
“No, I wouldn’t drink alcohol during a hunt. My wife made tea for me.”
Every once in a while you hear about adventurers hunting while drinking alcohol, but when it comes to the level of an elite adventurer like Burkhart-san, they won’t show any openings.
Going by the imagination of adventuring, it’s not unnatural to hunt while drinking booze.
“However, this mate tea has the downside of being slightly sweet.”
“How about this tea then?”
I pass a flask with cooled Mizuho tea to Burkhart-san after taking it out of my magic bag.
“This is quite delicious thanks to its moderate bitterness. Mizuho tea, huh? I didn’t think that you could also drink it cold.”
Burkhart-san happily drains down the Mizuho tea.
“Wend, no monsters are headed our way, really.”
“Well, it’s only natural, I guess.”
As the Destroyer Doushi beats monsters to death, it creates pools of blood and piles of corpses around him, which then results in even more monsters being drawn to the blood. Thanks to this, almost no monsters are coming our way.
“The guild folk said that they lack fruits and medicinal plants, didn’t they?”
“I guess we should use the time to gather those then.”
Erw, Burkhart-san, and I killed time until lunch by picking up fruits, medicinal plants, and mushrooms.
“I am hungry!”
Just when it was time for lunch, Doushi came over with an empty stomach after having gone berserk until now… Well, if you go on such a rampage, it’s only normal to get hungry, I suppose.
Also, he hasn’t prepared a meal for himself since we’re with him. Doushi’s eyes are clearly demanding to hand over the grub.
“Doushi, you never know what might happen, so prepare some food for yourself at least.”
“Of course I have prepared some emergency rations! But! It is common sense to not touch upon those under normal circumstances! Earl Baumeister, I want to eat onigiri!”
So he wants onigiri, eh…? 1
“Was that your goal from the very start?”
Currently, the onigiri are tremendously popular among the adventurers working in the Baumeister Earldom. They’re delicious, easy to eat, very flexible on the fillings, and it’s difficult to overeat. Although I think it doesn’t really matter what you eat as you’ll feel stuffed if you eat too much of anything. Onigiri also have the advantage that it’s easy to adjust how much you eat. They’re also great as you can eat them with one hand during times when you can’t take it easy with the meal.
“That’s no problem since I’ve created many of them.”
We begin to eat our lunch within a 『Magic Barrier』. Large monsters persistently scratch away at the barrier, but since I haven’t used much of my mana today, I’ve got more than enough leeway.
“The onigiri are delicious, but they are somewhat small for me.”
I’m sure I have shaped them into normal-sized ones, but it looks like that’s unsatisfying for Doushi. He’s eating several at once, desperately trying to fill his stomach.
“The salty-sweet ones are great!”
It seems that Doushi has taken an extreme liking to the onigiri with a kombu tsukudani filling.
“It’s a Mizuho-native ingredient.”
“Ooohhh! They have become a rumor even in the capital! I also hear that you are often going to the dried goods store in Baulburg because you are infatuated with the female shopkeeper, Earl Baumeister.”
“Hey, hey, just a second there!”
I’m going to the store because I’ve fallen in love with Akira? Akira being a guy is a famous story in the Baumeister Earldom, but it looks like he’s regarded as a woman in the capital.
“It’s become such a rumor?”
“Quite so! Everyone is gossiping that even Earl Baumeister is a normal guy!”
Normal guy…what did they think I was until now?
“Doushi, the shopkeeper of the dried goods store is a guy.”
Erw informs Doushi of the truth in my stead as I’ve become dumbfounded, but I sure hadn’t expected for such a rumor to crop up.
Surprised by Erw’s explanation, Doushi tosses all the onigiri in his hands into his mouth, and suddenly grabs my shoulders.
“Earl Baumeister, men are off-limits! It will become a scandal if Cardinal Hohenheim hears of it!”
“I’m a married man, and I’m only going to that store for its goods!”
Around the time I managed to clear up Doushi’s misunderstanding, a huge amount of onigiri had ended up in his belly.
Come to think of it, I haven’t eaten a single one myself yet. Wait, was it actually his plan to deliberately upset me so that he could use that opportunity to eat all the onigiri?
“My share of the onigiri───ii!”
“Wend, I do have some bread with me, if you want!”
“You think bread fits with miso soup, or what!?!”
“Well, even if you tell me…”
I’ve also brought the instant miso soup I requested from Akira with me on this trip. Given that it’s difficult to freeze-dry the ingredients, I’ve added kombu powder and parched rice flour to miso as a replacement for dashi, and put wakame, drained tofu, spring onion, and clam into it as garnish. After putting the necessary amount into cups with a spoon, I poured hot water on it, completing the miso soup.
Because it’s not freeze-dried, the preservation is troublesome, but I have a magic bag. Thus I could preserve even an instant miso soup with raw miso without much of a problem. That means you can make a warm soup by just pouring hot water on the ingredients and soup stock replacement while omitting the time and effort of cooking.
However, vinyl or sealed plastic pouches don’t exist in this world. Carrying and preserving it without a magic bag comes with all kinds of issues.
“Shiiit! I’ll splurge on the miso soup while using bread then!”
Croutons go surprisingly well with miso soup.
With Doushi having eaten up all the onigiri, the intended main star of this lunch, I cut up the bread into cubes of around one centimeter side length with 『Wind Cutter』, sprinkle them with oil, and roast them well after transforming my fire magic into the shape of a burner. As soon as the bread has turned into savory croutons, they become a wonderful garnish once added to the miso soup.
“The crunchy croutons and the croutons, which have become soft after soaking in the soup, are both delicious.”
“Earl-sama, it’s not like I taught you how to control your magic so that you could improve your cooking…”
“Burkhart-san, this also counts as training. You’re also going to drink the miso soup, aren’t you?”
“Argh! That cursed Doushi has eaten up everyone’s share of onigiri!”
Since just one onigiri is not enough for Burkhart-san, Erw, and me, we’re stuck with satisfying our hunger with miso soup that contains croutons.
“Earl Baumeister, you should prepare a lot more onigiri when I am with you!”
And the perpetrator of this, Doushi, showed not a sliver of remorse, heartily gulping down his share of miso soup.
“This store, huh? I guess I’ll buy some souvenirs and go back home.”
“Souvenirs for your wife…you sure have changed, Burkhart-san.”
“Erw-lad, you’re going to do just the same as well, aren’t you?”
“Well, after all, we earned a good amount of cash for the first time in a while today.”
The 『The Thrilling Man-only Monster Slaying Tournament』 by us four has come to an end… We left most of the killing to Doushi, and focused on gathering instead, but…since all of that has become a nice profit, we decided to buy some souvenirs at Akira’s store before going back home.
Akira asked me to tell him my impressions of today’s instant miso soup, so this is yet another reason for me going to his store.
“Doushi, does the capital have no such store?”
“There exists a dried goods store funded by Mizuho! But! They do not have such a big assortment like this place here!”
It’s a major company’s dried goods store that seems to sell wholesale, and it doesn’t offer anything interesting for people who don’t usually cook. Because the Fujibayashi family is small, they’re selling their goods by drawing customers through things like cooking shows, sampling and teaching of recipes for dried goods, and tea sampling. In short, they’re running their business while being highly flexible.
However, since Takeomi-san doesn’t have the skill to come up with such ideas, it’s being handled by Akira himself. He’s got a terrifying management ability, despite being so young.
Even though Baulburg can be expected to expand in the future, the number of customers falls short in comparison to the capital, and yet Akira’s store is a huge success, scaling that disadvantage with ease.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, what is your impression of the miso soup?”
“The taste was good. The downside is just as expected: adventurers without a magic bag can’t easily bring it with them on expeditions.”
“So the problem lies there after all, huh? Since it’s miso, I think it can last a long time, so there’s no choice but to store it in a small container, and then put the necessary amount into a cup with a spoon.”
This world has limited options for preservation, so doing it like that is the only alternative. Since it’d be difficult to make the miso soup after obtaining the dashi on-site, this method should work as a workaround.
“I’d also like to research the ingredients a bit more.”
“Oh my! Ron-chan and Burkhart-chan! Long time no see───e!”
As Akira and I have been chatting, Candy-san, who’s still continuing his assistance and training, shows up from within the store, and calls out to Burkhart-san and Doushi who are next to me.
For a change, the two veterans can’t hide their surprise over the sudden reunion. Which reminds me, I forgot to tell them about Candy-san training at this store.
Still, if it comes to Candy-san, he adds a -chan even to Doushi’s name, eh…?
“Aren’t you kinda mean to me even though it’s been such a long time, Ron-chan, Burkhart-chan?”
“Sorry, I just got startled by the suddenness.” Burkhart-san immediately apologizes, but Doushi seems to still be frozen.
Could it be that he’s bad at dealing with Candy-san since he was taken care of by Candy-san in the past? Or maybe Candy-san got hold of another weakness of Doushi that remained unmentioned in the previous story about their past…that’s very likely, I think.
“Calling him Ron-chan is amazing. “So far as it goes”, he’s the Royal Head Wizard.”
“Erwin-chan, you’re quite nasty yourself, aren’t you? Ron-chan because of Armstrong. It’s a nickname I created myself. Ron-chan had decent abilities as an adventurer since his early days, but he was unfamiliar with the common sense of society because of his upbringing as a young noble master. I coached him for a bit.”
“…Long time no see…”
Having finally rebooted, Doushi greets Candy-san while using honorific speech for a change.
“Aww, spare me that. Ron-chan, you meanie. It’s so not like you to be so serious. Still, I must admit that you’ve become quite docile, Ron-chan.”
“I have been docile from the start…”
Going by the story I’ve heard from him before, I don’t really think that’s true… After meeting Candy-san, Doushi has become as meek as a lamb.
Is it a failure from his youth? A youthful indiscretion? I feel like Doushi is so bad at dealing with Candy-san because Candy-san knows some dirt about him.
“(It sure is surprising to find a person Doushi has trouble to handle.)”
“(That inevitable after having gotten so indebted, isn’t it?)”
“(It’s because all kinds of things happened in Doushi’s youth…)
Burkhart-san, we are aware of that as well…
“(But, this is quite convenient.)”
For Doushi to have been so bad at dealing with Candy-san despite having received so many favors from him in the past; it’s good that we came to this store on the way back home.
“Candy-san, how was Doushi in his youth?”
“Hmm, let’s see… We were in the same party when Ron-chan started out as an adventurer, but contrary to his appearance, he immediately fell in love with any pretty girl he ran across. Because that often resulted in troubles, it was a pain for me and our party members from back then as we had to follow up on him. I mean, the cafe’s girl whom Ron-chan liked so dearly is now working as a poster girl for the same cafe. Also, he always got in fights with rowdy adventurers right away, so I had to pick him up at the guard house the next day many times over…”
“I believe we can leave it at that for now!”
It looks like there are still many old stories he doesn’t want to tell us. Doushi forced his way into our conversation, interrupting Candy-san.
“For Candy-dono to work at this store…I’m sure it has to be quite reassuring. By the way, Shopkeeper, what are you going to do today?”
“Are you an acquaintance of Candy-san? I have allowed him to come here under the pretext of getting training in the service area, but there’s nothing left I could teach him at this point. Accordingly, I have him help me with the creation of a new menu. Do you remember? We have a fish dealer in Baulburg, right?”
“Long time no see.”
“Ah! It’s the lady who got her panties stolen through the summoning magic!”
“I feel honored for you to remember me, Earl Baumeister-sama, but I’d appreciate it very much if you could avoid mentioning that incident…”
The famous fish monger from the capital opened a branch store in Baulburg, and Delia, the woman who had been working at the sorcery guild, is acting as its shopkeeper. She’s the daughter of the fishmonger, and after quitting her job at the sorcery guild, she opened a fish store over here.
I recalled how Mr. Beckenbauer of the sorcery guild had stolen the panties she was wearing with his summoning magic in the past.
“So Mr. Beckenbauer’s sexual harrassment was the reason for you quitting the job after all?”
“I won’t say that it didn’t play a role in it, but…I wanted to capitalize on my business sense as a shopkeeper. Isn’t that a wonderful idea!?”
“In other words, a job change to aim higher, huh?”
It’s just that Mr. Beckenbauer occasionally causes problems with his speech and conduct. Even though he should be rather smart, he simply can’t read the mood, or rather, he goes berserk… Burkhart-san, who had asked about the level of his friend’s hopelessness, revealed an expression full of disappointment.
“Our store has the strong point of being able to preserve the freshness of seafood thanks to the magic bag we obtained with the funds we saved up over generations. Delicious southern trout, dolphins, marlin tuna, ocean sunfish, skipjack tuna and many more can be easily caught at the southern tip of the Baumeister Earldom, right? On top of that, large shrimps and shellfish. We transport these to the capital’s main shop, and sell them expensively.”
The job at the sorcery guild is stable, but I guess she was more interested in having her own store as it also allows her to earn more money by doing business.
“I see. So you took a husband and opened a new store.”
“No, I’m still single…”
Because of Doushi saying something unnecessary, Delia’s mood took a nosedive. She looks like she’s in her early twenties. In this world that’s an age where she’s going to be told by her surroundings that it’s about time for her to get married, and thus it’s better to be careful about making comments in that direction.
“You being together with the shopkeeper of the fish store means you’re going to put up some kind of processed fish food for sale?”
“Yes, we have run various experiments.”
In an attempt to change the awkward atmosphere, I bring up the topic with Akira, and he immediately goes along with it since he can read the mood. He’s skilled at business, very good at cooking, and capable of taking others into consideration. I’m sure he’d be great wife material if only he’d been a woman.
“I preserved the fish in miso. Mizuho also has many types of miso when it comes to pickling. I created several prototypes by playing around with various types and combinations.”
“Since I believe that he’ll procure a lot more fish if the dishes are popular, I’ve come to sample them.”
“How about you, Earl Baumeister-sama? Would you like to taste them as well?”
“I’d sure love to do so.”
I have also often created fish pickled in miso alongside meat pickled in miso. I’ve piled up quite some experience through prototypes and research in my own amateurish way, but I’m sure I can’t beat a professional in some aspects.
“Ohh! It’d be great if you could sell me miso for pickling! Light-brown miso would be definitely awesome. I’m sure this shop should also stock dark-brown miso paste.”
The miso I make myself is no more than very ordinary miso. So far I haven’t been able to obtain light-brown or dark-brown miso. Since Mizuho even has miso resembling Kyoto-style miso, it’d be super tasty if I could pickle fatty fish slices in it.
“Food pickled in miso although this is a dried goods store? Isn’t that strange?”
“Erw, don’t worry about the small stuff. They might also have something like fish salted and dried overnight, don’t you think?”
“I’ve also experimented on those. We also have salted squid or sea urchin paste.”
It’d be a shame to not buy them as souvenirs before going back home.
While talking about all this, Akira started to skillfully grill dried fish and fish slices that have been pickled in miso on an earthen charcoal brazier. Gradually a nice aroma began to fill the air as miso and fish got roasted.
“This really needs some alcohol.” Burkhart-san retrieves a bottle out of his magic bag.
Basically it means he’s always carrying around alcohol, despite not drinking it during work.
“This is Mizuho shochu. I’m sure it’ll blend well with the food.”
“Oooh!! Burkhart-dono, share some with me as well!”
While Burkhart-san prepared the alcohol, the grilling of the various types of fish finished, and after both men wolfed down the grilled food with great relish, he gulped down the shochu.
“Awesome. I’m alive for this.”
“Shochu fits perfectly with miso-pickled fish!”
The two middle-aged men started a drinking bout in front of someone else’s store without caring about the looks of their surroundings.
Well, maybe it’s not possible to become a top-notch magician if you don’t possess at least this much boldness.
“Ron-chan, Burkhart-chan, you’re already older, so keep the drinking moderate, okay?”
However, once they get admonished about the amount of drinking, the two immediately become obedient.
“(Wend, they’re prime examples of old men at this point, aren’t they?)”
Erw, since it’s obvious to anyone that they’re old men, it’s kinda pointless for you to point it out now of all times.
“Let me have some of it as well.”
Given that it’s ultimately food sampling, Erw and I grab some of it as well.
As expected, it’s no use unless you don’t adjust the mixture of the miso and the other seasonings while matching it with the quality of the fish meat. It’s far more delicious than the miso-pickled fish I make myself.
“It tastes great. If these sell well, you’re going to procure lots of fish over at our place as well, aren’t you Akira-san?”
“Yes, of course. At first it’ll be limited to an amount I can cut and trim though.”
“You’re pretty good at preparing the fish, Akira-san.”
“Well, Mizuho people like fish. I think you’re very skilled at it as well, Delia-san.”
“It’s part of my trade, so that’s why.”
It seems like there’s a bit of an age difference between these two, but they seem awfully close to each other. Maybe they’re going to marry in the future.
“Since I want to eat it for breakfast, I’m going to buy it together with one-night dried fish, and go back home.”
“Thank you very much for your continued patronage.”
“Those two…I’m really sorry…”
While receiving the things I bought from Akira, I apologize for the two old men drinking in front of the store as they devour all kinds of food, not only the new test products. I’ve been the one who brought them here, so it’s not like I’m not at fault at all.
“No, it allowed me to get a nice hint.”
At that time I didn’t know what he meant, but several days later I found out.
“Dear, it looks like Fujibayashi Dried Goods has expanded its business.”
“Yes, it seems like they have launched a bar where you drink while standing.”
Lisa, who went out to Baulburg on business by chance, told me about Fujibayashi Dried Goods having opened a bar selling alcoholic beverages and snacks next to their dried goods store.
“They have been growing quite a lot over a short period of time. Is that going to be alright?”
Therese seems to be worried whether the scale of their business might become too big for them to handle, but the concept of a bar where you drink while standing has been a success at the capital, too. In the capital it’s been set up after I suggested it, though.
“It’s a bar run by Fujibayashi Dried Goods, so they must have different items on their menu.”
I predict that there’s no need to worry so much when it comes to them coming up with something setting them apart from other bars. Also, Candy-san is over there as well, isn’t he?
“I think I’ll go and check out the situation over there for a bit.”
“I will come with you as well.”
As it involves alcohol, I take Therese, Lisa, and Amalie-san with me this time, and the four of us head to Fujibayashi Dried Goods, and just as Lisa said, they’ve opened a bar in the plot next to the dried goods store.
“Welcome, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
Akira has entrusted the dried goods store to a young man who came over from Mizuho, and is now selling alcoholic beverages and side dishes at the bar. Candy-san is helping him out as well, but this guy sure moves quickly in whatever he does.
Baulburg, which is currently in a construction rush, houses many laborers, and the bar is flourishing with many customers.
Because the alcohol and side dishes are native products of Mizuho, they are slightly more expensive than the local stuff, but this prevents folk from drinking too much, raises the profit per sold unit, and lowers the number of drunkards with bad behavior.
“I see your business is thriving.”
Akira acts humble, but I think only few people could rival him in business talent. I succeeded in business because I used the knowledge from my previous life. Moreover, I only provided the ideas without running the business myself.
“Then we’d like to go with your recommendation.”
“Today’s recommendations are mizuna in bonito-flavored soy sauce and broiled hijiki.”
We drink some sake with side dishes mostly based on Japanese a la carte food. With a feeling of being a true adult… Well, combined with my age from my previous life, I’m actually pretty old.
A bar with such ambiance agrees with my taste quite a bit.
“Wendelin, I think thou have come to like this kind of establishment as thou experienced various things in your life.”
“Isn’t it the same for you as well, Therese?”
In reality Therese was just past 20 in age, but her being the former Duchess Philip is not for show either, I’d say. Just like Lisa and Amalie-san, Therese has the aura of a mature lady.
“They sure are selling fine Mizuho sake.”
“Dishes based on vegetables and seaweed seem to be fairly healthy.”
Therese drinks her Mizuho sake while looking happy. Amalie-san eats the side dishes I ordered after applying soy sauce on them.
Given that women are interested in beauty and diets, the Mizuho cuisine that uses lots of vegetables and seaweed must be very appealing to them.
Lisa is drinking the shochu straight. Just like back when she had a drinking contest against Doushi, she shows not the slightest hint of getting drunk.
“But, are these things related to a dried goods store?”
“They are. Dried hijiki and katsuobushi are goods from the dried store.”
In my previous world it was common practice for fish mongers to open fish restaurants and butchers to run steakhouses. It’s not weird for a dried goods store to run a bar while selling side dishes made out of dried goods…has Akira actually been reincarnated from another world as well?
No, there’s no way that’s true, I guess.
“We also offer to prepare things like the broiled hijiki for take-out.”
It’s possible to take most of the bar’s menu items back home, thus some customers go back home after just buying side dishes without drinking anything.
“Looking at your menu…I have to admit that you’re really doing your best.” 2
“Since the variety has increased, around half of it is made by me.”
So Candy-san has already memorized this many Mizuho dishes, huh…? Only 『True Love』 is something that doesn’t want to come true for him, I suppose.
“We’re procuring fresh fish from Delia-san.”
There’s a lot of Mizuho cooking, or rather cooking resembling Kyoto-styled home cooking. For the sake of keeping the prices low, Akira skillfully prepares the ingredients which he procures from his hometown in addition to Delia’s fish store.
It’d be really great to have him around as an exclusive cook…
“There’s just too much food I’d love to take back home…”
The four of us eat some of the side dishes and foodstuff, and drink one cup of sake, except for Lisa. Because Elise and the others are preparing dinner back at the mansion, it’d be best to not eat any more.
I thought I’d take the dishes back home in that case, but I’m lost as to which I should choose. As Earl Baumeister it’d be fine to buy up all of it, but I wouldn’t be able to eat all of that. Of course they wouldn’t spoil if I put them into my magic bag, but since I have the sentiment of eating this kind of food right after it’s made, I think I better buy the food little-by-little over time.
“Isn’t it fine to buy a different dish every day? Indulging too much isn’t good either.”
Most of the side dishes sold here can be used as accompaniment, so I think it’d be best to quietly place them at the edge of the table so that I can eat them during breakfast.
“Wendelin, thou are truly and utterly Amalie’s younger brother-in-law, aren’t thou? You listen closely to what she tells thou.”
“Therese, it’s wrong to treat me, Earl Baumeister, like a child. I do understand that there’s no point in buying a huge amount of food all at once.”
“Thou act just like a child whenever it concerns matters thou like. Amalie thought thou might consider buying everything.”
“I can’t imagine that to be true. Right, Amalie-san?”
“Sorry…but in reality I warned you since I believed that to be the case.”
Recently Therese and Amalie-san often treat me like a child. Yet I still think that I have some more dignity after having become a father.
“Lisa, thou do things at thine own pace, don’t thou?”
“This sake is delicious.”
“The only one who would down a full bottle of such a strong sake without diluting it are people at thine level, Lisa. It has an alcohol content at the level of the aquavit produced in the Philip Dukedom…”
There’s that as well, but if I remember correctly Lisa previously said that she was bad with alcohol, despite being able to drink it…
“This sake is delicious.”
“It’s a rice shochu that’s famous even in Mizuho. It enjoys a high reputation for it’s refreshing taste.”
Lisa nods at Akira’s explanation, apparently able to agree with it. As someone not liking alcohol albeit drinking lots of it, it means she’s discovered the first alcoholic beverage she actually likes.
“Please give me one bottle for take-out.”
“Thank you for your purchase.”
“You’re also selling alcohol?”
“Indeed, but only Mizuho-made alcohol. It’s quite popular.”
A dried goods store, a tsukudani store, a bar, an alcohol-selling shop, and a side dish shop; Akira continues to steadily expand his business over a short period of time, evoking a feeling of respect in me.
“This time he’s opened a tea house offering Mizuho tea and sweets, he said.”
“He expanded his business again…? Is he going to be okay in regards to personnel?”
“According to what I’ve heard from Haruka-san’s brother-in-law, they’re going to send over help since the sales are going so well. They’re going to hire shop assistants locally, though. It sounds like the jobs are highly contested.”
“They’re not really getting paid more than the shop assistants of normal cafes or restaurants, but as the uniforms are very unique, it’s quite popular to work there.”
It looks like Akira has expanded the scale of the stores he runs once again. The billboard still says 『Fujibayashi Dried Goods』, but at this point it’s already left the category of being a simple dried goods store.
It’s more like it’s become a small general store specialized on Mizuho products. Nowadays even rich people have started to visit the stores from afar by expressly flying all the way here with magic airships.
“Isn’t Takeomi-san against it?”
“He said he didn’t plan to meddle in Akira’s business to begin with. I mean, isn’t that fine, seeing how that guy is going to mess it up anyway if he opens his mouth?”
Come to think of it, he hasn’t visited us ever since his initial greetings…
Akira is his relative, and maybe he’s the kind of guy who would say, 『I’ve been entrusted with everything, so I’ll take responsibility for everything!』.
“So you’re saying the Mizuho-styled uniforms are popular, huh…?”
“Most of the shop assistants are unmarried girls. They probably want to garner some attention with the unusual outfits.”
In other words, one of the reasons for unmarried women to work as shop assistants at a store lies in getting to know the customers. Since you won’t become a regular customer at Akira’s stores if you don’t have a reasonable income, it’s popular among women who want to look for slightly richer guys.
As the stores are popular with a strong competition over the available jobs, almost all of the shop assistants in Akira’s stores are cute.
“The goods at Fujibayashi Dried Goods are somewhat expensive, right?”
“Well, they’ve got a lot of imported goods, so yeah.”
“The uniforms are quite unique as well, that’s the reason why working there is highly popular among such women.”
Another reason for the popularity of Akira’s stores seems to be the novelty of the uniforms when compared to the western and maid clothes of other stores.
But he’s right. I feel like the number of pretty, female staff has been on the rise over the time of me dropping by to buy side dishes…
“There’s a lot of pretty girls over there, but for some reason Akira remains the most popular.”
“That really doesn’t shed a great light on the customers, does it?”
It’s become common knowledge in Baulburg that Akira is a guy, and yet many men still frequent his stores with the goal of meeting him. They usually go back home after buying some goods and get their fill of light chatter with Akira.
Akira, the soothing male girl, huh…?
“Speaking of Akira, you’re enjoying your visits quite a bit yourself as well, aren’t you Wend?”
“I’m merely going there for the goods, okay?”
Because the amount I can eat per day is limited, I end up wavering as to what I should buy. That’s why it’s not wrong to listen to Akira’s recommendations as a guideline.
“What are you going to do if nonsense rumors about me being infatuated with Akira start to crop up!?”
“The church would certainly kick up a fuss, definitely.”
As we were having such a conversation, my MHCD suddenly started to ring. When I picked up the call in a hurry, Cardinal Hohenheim was on the other end of the line.
“Cardinal Hohenheim, do you have any urgent business with me?”
The election has finished without a hitch, so I expected to be pardoned from public duties for a while. Does he possibly want to meet Friedrich again?
『Son-in-law, according to rumors, you’ve fallen in love with a man or something like that?』
『Women are no problem, but men are out of the question. Don’t forget, you’re a honorary priest』
I’ve fallen in love with a man? Just because I’ve been frequenting Akira’s store?
Until a little while, a rumor about me being fixated on turning Akira into a lover because he was being misunderstood as a man made its rounds, and now I’m suspected of being gay…?
Unlike in my previous life, developed information transmission methods are very scarce, so…though I guess even in my previous life it often happened that fishy gossip and rumors were circulating…the gossiping of people is truly scary.
“Umm, please listen…”
After thoroughly explaining the circumstances to Cardinal Hohenheim, I managed to clear up the misunderstanding.
『Son-in-law, you’re someone drawing public attention in many ways. Could you drop the frequency of your visits to that store?』
I mean I could miss out on a sudden event if I don’t go there frequently.
『But, think about it for a moment』
Cardinal Hohenheim and I argued for a long time about the frequency of my visits to Fujibayashi Dried Goods. It was the very definition of a waste of time and MHCD mana.
“Elise doesn’t suspect me in the slightest.”
『If Elise doesn’t say anything about it, I suppose I don’t have any reason to go on about this any longer… Still, why are you so adamant about going there?』
“Because they have a great number of delicious foodstuffs.”
『That’s so typical of you…』
As it’d be crazy to tell him that it simply reminds me of my previous life, I explained to Cardinal Hohenheim that I simply like the goods sold at Akira’s store.
“It’s cooked sea bream, isn’t it? Today’s sea bream is pretty expensive as it has been caught around the coastal waters of the Philip Dukedom, but it’s great since the breams have put on lots of fat for the winter.”
Fujibayashi Dried Goods continues its mysterious expansion every day. At this point, the connection to dried goods has become mostly obsolete, but Akira hasn’t changed the name.
Given that there’s no way for Takeomi-san, the owner, to care about such minor details, I have no doubt that it’ll stay like this for a good time to come.
Akira has increased the menu of the side dish store and the number of dishes using dried goods. Using the fish he procures from Delia’s fish store, he’s selling grilled fish, cooked fish, fried fish, and deep-fried fish. He’s also been marketing all kinds of paste products, and many people are buying these as well.
Given that Akira has his limits as one man, the number of Mizuho cooks has drastically grown without me even being aware of it.
Elise and I happily went together to buy 『Cooked Sea Bream』 while bringing a pot with us.
As Akira has finished setting up a store with great side dishes, the frequency of us going shopping there has increased, but it sure is inconvenient that no vinyl or plastic containers exists in this world. We’ve been buying stuff over there while bringing empty pots or plates, but in the eyes of the people of Earth, this might actually be highly regarded as eco-friendly.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, I’ve actually decided to marry.”
Even though Akira should be quite busy around this time with his rapidly expanding business, he also found time to get to know a woman? Maybe he had a fiancée in Mizuho?
“That’s a fairly sudden piece of news, isn’t it?”
“I think so as well, but timing matters with such things.”
“You certainly could say that. May God bless you and your spouse’s future.”
“Thank you very much, Elise-sama.”
“So, who’s your partner?”
Akira’s future wife…must be a very beautiful woman, or maybe quite manly. Because Akira himself is rather womanly, this might work out unexpectedly well in regards to balancing, though.
In that case, maybe someone like Candy-san? Bah, even if Candy-san might be a girl at heart, his body is definitely that of a guy…
No way…don’t tell me that’s the case here, or is it?
“Delia-san is going to become my wife.”
“How unexpected…or rather, I guess not.”
They’ve been meeting every day because of their fish-related business, and since their homes, in other words their stores, are close-by, you could call it inevitable in a certain sense, I suppose.
“I thought that it’d be one of the girls working at your stores.”
“So you had no relationship with any of them, huh?”
In the eyes of the girls working at Fujibayashi Dried Goods, Akira should be a good match because of his decent earnings, but if you consider his appearance, which wins out in cuteness over them, and his professional level of cooking skill, it might actually have caused them to flinch away.
In that regard Delia might have had an advantage since she could keep her distance, even if they’ve been meeting every day.
“I see. Congratulations. I’ll send you a celebratory gift later.”
“Thank you very much for your kind consideration.”
It’d also be fine for me to attend the wedding ceremony, but I’m still the feudal lord around here. I expect that Roderich would tell me off as I’d be taken too lightly if I got too close to my fief’s population. I sure would love to attend since it looks like they’d put up delicious food at the wedding…
Also, I feel like it’d be alright for me to attend since Akira is Takeomi-san’s relative.
I think I’ll try asking Roderich about it once I get back to the mansion.
“It does sound like it’ll be difficult, seeing how both of you are shopkeepers.”
“On that point Delia-san’s father has shown some consideration by sending over help from the capital. Then again, he firmly requested two children at the very least in exchange.”
Because Akira is a shopkeeper hired by Takeomi-san, even while being his relative, him being adopted into Delia’s fishmonger family isn’t actually all that strange. Given that his knife skills as a cook are masterly, I’m sure he’d do just fine as a fishmonger as well.
However, if that were to happen, the famous shopkeeper of Fujibayashi Dried Goods, a cash cow for Takeomi-san, would be gone. As Akira is superb in what he does, I think he could go independent at any moment, but ever since his childhood, he has had a good relationship with Takeomi-san as his student in katana arts.
So he won’t do something like going independent right after marrying, and instead start from turning Fujibayashi Dried Goods into a franchise first. Afterwards, the Fujibayashi Dried Goods franchise is going to flourish without issues, and Akira can go independent without any quarrels because Takeomi-san, who’s been selling Mizuho-made goods wholesale to him, will be able to keep earning a stable profit without any interruptions.
Because he’d be independent, his new store would require successors, but since Delia’s fish store would likewise need a successor, he’s been told that the two need to at least have two children. Given that it’d be a problem if the two couldn’t make any children because of their working non-stop, Delia’s father agreed to send over experienced shop assistants and leave the fish store to them as support for the newlyweds.
“Isn’t it great that both stores are going to remain? Still, a wife that is older than her husband, huh?”
“Huh? I’m older than her.”
Delia looks like she’s something around 22 or 23 in age. On the other hand, Akira should be around the same age as us, no matter how much older he might seem.
So it’s been a huge surprise that he’s older than Delia, albeit me having thought that he’s probably younger. Elise seems to have thought the same, and thus she ended up crying out in surprise together with me.
“Okay, so how old are you then, Akira?”
“I’ll turn 23 soon. Delia-san is 21 years old.”
Neither Elise nor I could hide that we were a lot more surprised about Akira being 23 years old than about the news of his upcoming marriage.
“Akira’s age, you ask? Indeed, there’s no mistake in that. Akira often played with my brother during their childhood.”
When I asked Haruka about Akira’s age during dinner, she confirmed him being close to 23 years old. I didn’t think that he’d have lied to me about this, but since Akira wanted to become a dignified man, it was actually quite possible that he’d inflate his own age somewhat. Thus I checked back with her, just in case.
“It looks like the day for Akira to become a dignified man is still a distant dream of the future.”
Just as Erw says, his beautiful girl appearance clearly stands in the way of achieving that goal. In addition, it’s a plain fact that he’s got a child face.
Another fact is that no one other than himself desires for him to become manly or something like that. The male customers are men looking for soothing, and Akira fills that role.
“Haruka and I have been invited to the wedding ceremony and reception.”
“Bah, I want to go as well…”
“I think that’s going to be difficult.”
Even if the shopkeepers of my favorite stores might be marrying, it’ll cause various issues if I attend as Earl Baumeister. For my position as noble to tie me down on such an aspect is something I hadn’t expected…
“I’ve just come up with it on the spot, but what if we say the mysterious adventurer Wend, who lives in the Baumeister Earldom, was invited to the wedding by his close friend who runs a store?”
It’d be the same stunt as in a historic drama I saw on TV in my previous life. It was about a playboy being a magistrate, and the real shogun actually being the third son of a poor shogunal vassal.
If I used the same method, I think it’d be easy to appear at the wedding.
“Nah, you’ll be found out in no time, Wend.”
“Indeed, I think only very few residents do not know your face, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
The 『plan of disguising myself』 was shot down by Erw and Haruka before I could even put it into practice.
“Why do you want to attend the ceremony so much anyway?”
“Of course for the sake of celebrating their wedding from the bottom of my heart.”
Delia, who’s been selling me fresh and delicious fish, and Akira who’s selling me various self-made foods based on dried goods. If these two become a married couple, I’ll likely become able to eat even more delicious food.
I think it’s only natural for me to celebrate it.
“Aren’t you planning something else as well?”
That damn Erw, I guess he noticed my other objective…
He’s seen through my expectation that they’ll definitely serve very tasty food at the reception since it’s those two we’re talking about here
“Are you aiming for the food that’s going to be served at the reception?”
“Mizuho cooking and fish dishes made out of great fish are something to look forward to, and yet…”
Usually the food served at wedding receptions tends to be questionable, but if it’s a wedding reception managed by these two, they should serve a great, elaborate meal since it’ll also work as advertisement for them. Not being able to eat that is a very great loss, isn’t it!?
“If it’s celebratory gifts, I’ll even bring as much as the amount of ten others!”
I’m Earl Baumeister, so I’ll make sure to give them enough celebratory gifts to not bring any shame to my title.
“No, that’s not the issue here… Elise, please explain it to your foolish husband.”
“Dear, if you attend their wedding, it will become unclear who is playing the leading role during the ceremony, and everyone will become tense. This will also apply to the bride and the bridegroom.”
“I’ll be the mysterious adventurer Wend!”
I won’t be Earl Baumeister, but an adventurer who can use a tiny bit of magic, yep.
“We have been telling you, that is unreasonable.”
Even Elise denies my idea.
Shit! Isn’t there some smarter way to go about it?
“Elise, you’re going to attend as well, as the wife of the mysterious adventurer Wend.”
If we go as a married couple, it should become a superb disguise, I’m sure.
“It will stand out even more though… After all, I am quite well-known among the populace as well…”
I have many wives, but Elise is the most famous one among them. I guess it’d be hard to sell her off as the wife of Mysterious Adventurer Wend…
“Umm…how about I ask Akira to set aside some of the food for you? I believe he is going to invite a lot of people since it will be good publicity for him, so he should likewise prepare a big amount of food.”
As I’m worrying over being unable to come up with a good plan, Haruka suggests that she’ll get Akira to set aside our share of the feast in advance.
I see. I’ve completely overlooked that option, haven’t I?
“That’s a nice idea! Erw, for you to not come up with at least that much…”
Haruka’s timely assist as his wife was superb, but Erw himself is a lost case, totally. Even though he should have been able to think of that much himself…
“Somehow you’re pissing me off. Wend, you didn’t come up with that method either, did you? You were only interested in the food at the reception.”
“Isn’t that just fine? I mean, a wedding reception with good food will remain in everyone’s memory as a great event.”
They’ll celebrate the bride and bridegroom’s start of a new life while enjoying wonderful food. If the food were to be disgusting, it’d taint their memories of the wedding.
“You’ve taken hair-splitting to a new height… Well, whatever. We’ll take care of your celebratory gifts, and have them bring the food to the mansion.”
“In that case, all is fine.”
I can’t attend the wedding, but as long as I can enjoy the same food, it’d be bad manners to whine around like a child any longer. I think I should stick to dealing with this like an adult.
“By the way, could I have you organize some slices of the wedding cake for us as well?”
It was normal in the Helmut Kingdom to prepare wedding cakes for wedding receptions. The ritual of cutting the cake didn’t exist, but it was common sense to prepare a number that would be distributed to all attendees. That means it’d be unnatural for us to not get any of the cake.
“Are you a child!? You don’t need to worry since Haruka will take care of it.”
Erw and Haruka dressed up and left for the church to participate in the wedding ceremony and the following reception. The ceremony would be held in a church located in Baulburg.
Akira is no believer of the local religion, but Mizuho people pride themselves to have a disposition that’s very similar to Japanese people in regards to religion. In other words, it seems like they are quite adaptable.
“I’m really looking forward to the food.”
“Wend, shouldn’t you first celebrate the marriage between Akira and Delia on this occasion?”
“Wend, it’s not going to be a dinner party, just so you know…”
Ina and Luise had their underwear stolen through the summoning magic just like Delia. That means they have a certain feeling of companionship with her.
“Of course I’m going to properly celebrate their start into a new life.”
I’ll celebrate it, but won’t great food allow me to celebrate it even more?
As I’m thinking about that, a big amount of dishes and cakes are delivered to the mansion from Fujibayashi Dried Goods.
“It’s just as I’ve expected!”
In addition to all kinds of extravagant Mizuho food, the Helmut Kingdom’s food had also been prepared with high-quality ingredients. All of it was very delicious. I think it’s going to become a great advertisement towards the people attending the reception.
The cake used plenty of chocolate and Demon Forest-native fruits, making it extremely popular among all of us.
“Wendelin, if thou had appeared at the reception, thou might have been unable to enjoy the food like this because thou would have needed to entertain all kinds of people.”
“Then it’s a good thing to have handled it like this.”
We enjoyed ourselves, getting a fill of luxurious dishes and desserts during a break of nursing the babies.
“Huh? You’re already working again?”
“Yes, we’ve agreed to go on our honeymoon after things have calmed down a bit.”
After getting married without a hitch, Akira and Delia had taken three days off before returning to work. Delia has left the fish store to a veteran clerk, who’s arrived from the main store in the capital, and is now helping out with the side dish store.
Given that she’s been cutting and trimming fish for a long time, she was immediately able to actively help out at the store. Nowadays she’s happily cooking dishes together with Akira. As both look like women, they kinda don’t give off the flair of a married couple, though.
“Delia is quite good at handling fish, isn’t she?”
Well, she prepared the seafood, which got summoned from the north at the Sorcery Guild, very skillfully.
That means she indeed had more than enough skill to take care of the branch office by herself.
“Since I expect that things will get busy again, it’s great to have Delia here with me.”
“Ah, Candy-san has already gone back to the capital, hasn’t he?”
He came here to train in order to sell Mizuho-native ingredients at the capital and start a store that would sell dishes made with those ingredients. Because he has finished his planned training schedule and seeing how he also has his clothes store to worry about, he went back to the capital right after the two’s wedding ceremony.
“I have asked Delia to help out here exactly because it’d become quite difficult to handle things without Candy-san.”
“Makes sense, seeing how he was able to help out right away even though he came here to train.”
Certainly, Candy-san would put any professional to shame with his cooking skills. After all he’s good enough to get Doushi’s praise who’s quite a picky eater despite his appearance.
“It’s not like that’s the only reason, but I think I’ll launch a new store so as to not lose to Candy-san.”
“Now listen, don’t you think you’re spreading your business way too much over a short period of time?”
I believe Akira’s abilities to be amazing, but I wonder whether he isn’t hurrying a bit too much here.
“The expansion of the scale will be finished with this. Besides, the new store won’t take much time and effort anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ah, you see, it’s like that…”
What Akira has planned is to run a butcher’s shop, a fish dealer, a fruits and vegetables store, a dried goods store, a side dish store, an eatery, a tavern, and in addition, even a store selling many things, ranging from groceries to general living goods.
He’s pursuing to increase the convenience by gathering various stores in one place… Huh? This management system…
“(Isn’t that the first supermarket!?)”
“It’ll be difficult to do the same in the capital, though.”
Just as Delia says, I think it’d be a hard challenge to run a store system similar to a supermarket in the capital. After all, each store belongs to a guild, and those guilds fervently protect their privileges.
Because Baulburg lies in the territory of an upstart noble, the various guilds haven’t extended their reach towards it yet, making this system possible here.
“I see, that’s why you’re hurrying, huh?”
“Well, everything will be fine as long as I finish building it up first.”
Because of that, a supermarket-like store was created in the Baumeister Earldom by Akira. Since it gathered everything necessary in one place, thus erasing the need to go shopping at other stores, it became a huge success, and as it drew many customers over, the stores selling meat, fruits, and vegetables, which entered the compound as tenants, were popular as well.
Fujibayashi Dried Goods also earned rent as the landowner, and became the foundation stone of the future general grocery store 『Fujibayashi』, which owned stores all over the continent.
“Somehow I don’t know, but it sure looks like they’re raking in great profits. I guess all is fine since they aren’t in the red.”
However, Takeomi-san, the owner of Fujibayashi Dried Goods, had absolutely nothing to do with the rapid expansion. As he left everything to other people, Erw even said that he considered him to be a big-shot in a certain sense.