Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru TLC(s): Lox
After somehow managing to fend off Yuel’s help while washing all the caked blood off of my lower body, we head to the tavern.
I speak to the barmaster about possibly changing Yuel’s working hours. And the result is–
「If possible I’d like to have her keep working the late night shift for one more week, will that be a problem?」
The barmaster says with a fatigued expression.
The barmaster is a fairly stylish, middle-aged man with thin, swept-back hair and a refined atmosphere. Not so much today, though. His image is marred by deep circles under his glazed eyes. He looks utterly exhausted.
「I try to be flexible about schedule changes, but recently a number of staff have quit due to marriage, moving or whatnot. We’re terribly understaffed, particularly late at night.」
「You do look pretty tired.」
I can tell from the dark circles under his eyes that he hasn’t been getting much sleep either. To manage a business while short-handed, the employees work day and night to make up for it.
It’s a common story in Japan, too. This man knows the pain of the working class.
「…Ah, these dark circles? I asked my wife for some S&M play yesterday and she left me tied up all night in a painful position and I couldn’t sleep, so, they’re unrelated.」
Never mind, he’s just a pervert. Despite the refined atmosphere, this barmaster laughingly admitted something like that. I’m not so sure I’m comfortable leaving Yuel at a tavern run by a guy like this. Maybe I should make her quit after all.
…Although, I haven’t heard any mention of him putting his hands on the waitresses, and above all, Yuel herself wants to work here. Plus he’s married; I’m sure it’s fine. When Yuel asks what S&M play is, I pat her head and change the subject.
「Ah, aren’t you hiring new waitresses?」
「We are, but not many have applied.」
「This place pays pretty well, doesn’t it? I thought the townswomen would be flooding in.」
This tavern has many cute waitresses. That is to say, it only has cute waitresses. The pay is better in order to maintain that, or so I’ve heard.
「I earned a thousand Zeni today!」
Yuel says while smiling from ear to ear. This must be what it feels like for a grandparent to give their grandkid a little pocket money. That’s great! Pat pat.
But really, 1000 Zeni in a few hours. That’s quite high. Comparing it to Japan, it’s probably around what a maid makes hourly at a maid cafe.
「Yes, they have been, but there weren’t many cute ones. Only Yuel and one other girl made the cut. We still don’t have enough staff… Working while surrounded by cute girls has always been my dream; it’s the one thing I don’t want to compromise on.」
As a man, I don’t know whether to admire that or shout “Are you kidding me!?” …No, it might not be a bad policy for a bar. After all, I myself kept coming here because of the cute miniskirt waitress. It’s absolutely not something a middle-aged married man should be saying, though.
「Just for one week, would that be okay?」
What to do. Since he’s letting me use his tavern for free for my treatment stall, it’s hard to say no. I suppose I could let my biological rhythm slip a bit. If we leave the tavern in the early evening like yesterday and go right to bed, there won’t be any issue with Yuel getting enough sleep.
「I’m fine with that!」
Yuel is willing, too. Oh well, I’ll go with the flow. It’s just for one week.
While we have breakfast at the bar, I think over our plans for today. Usually we’d go to the labyrinth, but in all honesty I don’t want to do that today. I especially don’t want to see any Giant Ants. My mental scars will start aching. Yuel may be all enthusiastic about “I’ll work even harder from now on!” but I think I’m going to make today a holiday.
What should I do? Oh yeah, this morning Yuel reacted when I offered to buy her whatever she wanted.
「Why don’t we go shopping today? There’s something you want, right?」
Apparently Yuel did have something she wanted to buy. While I was still finishing my meal, she ran around asking the waitresses which shops they would recommend. Hey, why don’t you introduce them to me sometime?
「Master, this way!」
Yuel tugs on my hand as we walk down the main street. She’s smiling from the bottom of her heart. Ignoring the carts along the road, ignoring the grocers, even passing up the weapon shop with a wistful expression, she steadily marches along.
And then, we arrive.
At a women’s lingerie shop.
「This is the place where you wanted to come, Yuel?」
「Yes, right here.」
Still grinning, looking right at this underwear store that has a bit of an upscale feel. Apparently it’s not a mistake.
「Yuel, you can get whatever you want, you know? It can’t be too expensive, but an accessory or some pretty clothes would be fine. Or a yummy pastry, maybe some perfume? Ahh, a cute stuffed animal would be nice too. Right, isn’t there some other place that would suit you better?」
「Here is fine.」
Frankly, I don’t want to go inside. Even from the outside I feel an atmosphere of “no men allowed”. A man like me will stick out like a sore thumb in such a place. The only men who would enter are the ones who consider themselves to be female. I really don’t want to go inside.
Peeking in through the entrance, a variety of beautifully decorated undergarments enter my view. Women in their teens and 20s are exchanging intimate conversations with underwear in hand. Underwear, women, underwear, women.
I want to go in…… no, I don’t. I can’t do it, the way they’re looking at me is too painful.
Perhaps picking up on my thoughts, Yuel says “Master, please help me choose” and drags me along by the arm into the store with her. Now what? Nobody wants a man barging into their ladies-only lingerie store.
The clerk shows a look of surprise upon seeing me enter, but once she notices Yuel next to me she goes back to dealing with the other customers. I guess there’s no problem. I glance around the store, but I don’t see any other men in here. I’d have been fine with them driving me away, but for some reason they overlook me.
…That’s right, I’m merely chaperoning a little girl on her shopping trip right now.
As her guardian. There’s nothing to feel guilty about. Or even if we don’t look like parent and child, we could be brother and sister. Yes, siblings. My little sister wanted to buy underwear but couldn’t go by herself, so I had to accompany her. Let’s go with that.
If I think of Yuel (who’s still dragging me by the arm) as my little sister…
I take a look at Yuel. Light brown skin, blue eyes, and shimmering silver hair with elven ears sticking out. Yeah, not happening. In the first place, we’re not even the same race.
「Master, let’s look over there.」
That way of addressing me is no good either. No matter how you look at it, we can only be seen as master and slave.
…But that’s not a problem. She may be a slave, but I really am just accompanying a little girl on her shopping trip. I’m getting a few stares on account of being a man, but I don’t feel any outright scorn. Right, there shouldn’t be any problem with this.
「Master, what do you think of this one?」
While I’m thinking, Yuel brings over a single garment. She bashfully smiles up at me while holding the lingerie up to her body.
It’s a chic violet number adorned with lovely lace. A female-only type of sleepwear known as a negligee. The fabric is soft and thin, so I’m sure it’s very comfortable to sleep in. No problems here.
Other than the fact that it’s so thin that you can totally see through it.
Yeah, when Yuel holds the lacy violet negligee up to her body, her clothes are clearly visible behind it. How can you even call this product “clothing”? It completely fails to hide one’s skin or regulate temperature.
You’ll catch a cold, Yuel-san.
Lingerie is sleepwear. Yuel has always worn a shirt and pants of normal thickness when we go to sleep together, but from now on she’d be wearing this? That seems a little unsavory. I feel like the looks from around the room are getting colder, too.
A 12-year-old girl is looking over at me, holding a transparent negligee up to her body and grinning.
Never mind, I can’t do this. If you ask me what I can’t handle about it, it would mostly be these looks I’m getting from around the room. As the other women notice Yuel holding up the negligee, they start to whisper. Even under normal circumstances they’d be suspicious of male customers.
From their perspective, I’m a lolicon dressing up a little girl in vulgar outfits. If Yuel were holding childish drawers then maybe it would be a heartwarming scene, but what she’s holding is unquestionably a sheer lace negligee.
How did it end up like this?
「Master, it doesn’t look good on me?」
While I’m trying to endure the looks from around the room, Yuel becomes dejected when she doesn’t get a positive response from me. Whether it suits you or not, please put it back on the shelf already! But I can’t leave Yuel disappointed.
「…It’s not bad, but something cute might look better on you.」
「Cute…? …Umm, in that case, how about this one?」
Yuel places the violet negligee back on the shelf and picks up the item next to it. Then she holds it up to her body.
A cute, see-through pink negligee.
…All you did was change the color though. You really like transparent negligees, huh? I’m getting the feeling that she had already decided what to buy before we got here.
「Yuel, why do you want that negligee so much?」
「Umm, Geyser-san said if I wanted to get along better with Master then I should pick something li「You are not to listen to that man anymore.」
Eventually, we settle on an ordinary, opaque negligee.
Since then, we’ve been going into the labyrinth in the morning, relaxing at the tavern in the afternoon, and returning to the inn in the evening to sleep. From late night until early morning, Yuel goes to work at the tavern. That’s roughly how we spend the day.
Several days pass like that.
Lately, Yuel’s daily routine is to talk about her work while we’re having breakfast at the tavern. How she made friends with one waitress, or how another waitress turned the tables on an unruly hooligan. There’s also stuff like what the other waitresses like, the things they do on their days off, what guys are their type, whether they have lovers, and so on. It’s extremely useful information.
But today it’s a bit different.
「One of the waitresses I work with is having money issues. She even had to sell her house. She was having trouble picking an inn so I told her about the one we’re staying at.」
That’s a pretty heavy story. The inn we’re staying at costs 500 Zeni per night. There’s no bath, just a clean room with a lock and key. It’s certainly a good recommendation for a girl who’s down on her luck.
「Huh, I guess waitresses have it tough too.」
「Yes. She told me she works at a hospital during the day and the tavern at night, but it still wasn’t enough to repay her debt.」
A hospital that’s struggling with business. That story sounds familiar somehow. Wait, no way.
「…Just wondering, but what’s the name of that waitress?」