Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru
A few days have passed.
The number of customers at Eris’ hospital still hasn’t increased. It’s not zero anymore, but raising the fees back to market price seems to have had a pretty severe impact. Only one or two patients show up.
Eris would prefer for me to work at the hospital too, but under these conditions she can’t even afford to pay me what I was making previously. Although on occasion I received independent “physical payment” for the share of the treatment that I helped with.
Besides, right now I have a job that’s overwhelmingly more profitable than the hospital.
That’s right, Huge Slime subjugation. For the past few days, I’ve been meeting up with Eight, Geyser, and the adventurers I treated from the last time, and hunting nothing but the Huge Slime. Even today we’ve been doing the same thing. For some reason our luck is better than usual, and we’re able to obtain many rare drops. It’s somewhat fewer compared to when I was taking back Eris’ hospital, but even so it’s a huge windfall for the party as a whole.
「We made out like bandits today, oi!」
Geyser cheerfully smacks my shoulder as we walk through the labyrinth.
「Yeah, 5 Slime Drops… even after dividing it up that’s at least 100,000 Zeni each. Awesome, this is awesome!」
On the other side of Geyser, Eight calculates the profits from today’s hunt.
There’s some danger involved when hunting the Huge Slime. You can’t leave the boss room until the boss is defeated, and on top of that there’s the risk of getting severely injured if you don’t handle it well. But that’s exactly what makes it profitable. In terms of Japanese currency, 100,000 Zeni is about a million yen. That’s a huge sum of money for an adventurer who’s barely scraping by.
Indeed, I’ve obtained a huge pile of money.
Yet the lifestyle I’m currently living doesn’t require much money. As far as clothing, I always wear the same type of habit. For food, I can eat as much as I want and not spend more than 500 Zeni per day, and on top of that Eris has been preparing portions for me and Yuel lately. And for shelter, we live at the hospital, so there are no expenses at all in that column.
There’s no need for me to set aside funds in case of illness or injury, since I can maintain my good health with healing magic.
In short, that means that I can do whatever I want with this huge pile of money. I can use it however I like, and it won’t matter.
So why don’t I have a little fun with it?
I’ve been trying my hardest. Although that time I went looking for Yuel was my mistake, I desperately plunged through the labyrinth while braving injury. I also recovered Eris’ hospital by making clever use of my healing magic.
Wouldn’t you say it’s about time for some recreation?
I’ve made all the necessary arrangements to prepare for this day. When I head to the tavern after this, the barmaster will tell Yuel, “we’re shorthanded, so we’d really like you to help out”. They’re not actually understaffed, but that’s the arrangement. Once Yuel starts working, I’ll come up with a suitable excuse and leave. Then I’ll thoroughly enjoy myself at an adult establishment, properly wash off all the evidence, and head back to pick up Yuel. This way, Yuel will be none the wiser. After that, we’ll return to the hospital as if I’d been with Yuel the whole time, and Eris won’t find out either. It’s a perfect plan.
As I’m elaborating on my fantasies–
「Oi oi, can you believe it, 100,000 Zeni! Awright, wanna hit up the flower shop? You coming too, Shiki? We got the place rented out.」
–Geyser spouts that out while twisting his fingers into that shape and makes a big grin.
Apparently Geyser was thinking along the same lines.
Yuel’s too young to understand this, but “flower shop” is a euphemism for a brothel. Intentionally speaking in code must be Geyser’s way of being considerate around Yuel.
……But it backfires.
「Renting out a flower shop, Master? What will you do there?」
Yuel asks me with bright, sparkling eyes. On the contrary, it would seem she’s very interested in the term “flower shop”.
Of course the idea of renting out a flower shop wouldn’t make any sense if you didn’t know the meaning behind it. Right now, is Yuel’s imagination filled with thoughts of her master surrounded by flowers, having a tea party with a bunch of gruff adventurers? I don’t understand why that would make her eyes sparkle like that though.
「Welll, you see…」
I can’t exactly tell her what we’re up to. I’d come up with a suitable deception, but nothing good comes to mind. Yuel might not realize it, but she’s tugging on my clothes again in search of a response… she’s already completely curious about it.
Does she like flowers? She probably likes them. Yuel is a dark elf, and elves have their roots as people of the forest. She must be fond of pretty things like flowers.
I stare at Yuel in her restless excitement. On either side of her head, those cute elf ears are waggling too.
Not good. This is not good. Her eyes are full of expectation now. If I ditch Yuel at the tavern after this, just how devastated is she going to be?
No, even if it didn’t sadden her, Yuel could still propagate the problem. Like if she asked Eris, “Master said they rented out a flower shop, do you know what they’re doing?” or something. Eris’ opinion of me would hit rock bottom. We’re not in the kind of relationship where I could be blamed for going to an adult establishment, but Eris would surely despise me for doing it. If that happens, she wouldn’t let me get away with the tiniest bit of sexual harassment. I can’t leave any doubts in Yuel’s mind.
I’m sure that Yuel will still have questions if I take her to the tavern and leave by myself. “What might master be doing right now”, etc.
If it was just wondering what I’m up to, that would be fine. But it’s too late. Since she heard our earlier conversation, Yuel will be thinking “Master is doing something at the flower shop they rented out”.
And if one day Yuel came to know the meaning behind the term “flower shop”… that angelic smile she’s always giving me would turn into a look of scorn…
「…Geyser, I’m not going there. Yuel, would you like to go buy flowers with me later?」
After struggling through that exchange, I make it to the adventurer’s guild for a different kind of exchange. However–
「I’m terribly sorry. After this transaction, we will be suspending the purchase of Slime Drops.」
–The dog-eared receptionist girl explains and bows her head in apology.
「O-Oi, you gotta be kidding.」
「S-Suspending purchase? What do you mean!?」
Eight’s group starts kicking up a stir at the receptionist girl’s announcement. Now that I think about it, when I was buying back Eris’ hospital, the face of the receptionist girl who handled the exchanges was twitching. I suspected the price would fall eventually, but for them to suddenly stop buying it outright, I wonder what’s going on?
「U-Ummm, you see, Slime Drops are…」
According to the receptionist girl, Slime Drop is an ingredient for a specific medicine that’s used to treat an endemic disease that occurs rarely in this region. The local lord had been purchasing them from the guild as an emergency stockpile, but recently he’s collected a sufficient number of them, so he stopped buying them. Since the disease is endemic, there’s not much demand for the medicine outside of this region, plus it’s not being consumed unless there’s an outbreak. Having said that, if the exchange price is low then the supply will dry up, so the guild has been maintaining the price so that adventurers will still come to sell them occasionally.
That’s the situation, but lately the supply has mysteriously skyrocketed, so they had to hastily suspend purchases.
To sum it up in a single word, oversupply.
I thought that Huge Slime could provide for me in order to live out the rest of my days in comfort, but I guess the story’s not that simple.
At the flower shop, I stuff the large quantity of flowers I bought into my item box and head back to the hospital. Yuel was cocking her head to the side slightly in confusion, but in the end I placed a garland atop her head and she left the store smiling. Maybe she thought that buying a lot of flowers is what “renting out a flower shop” means? …It seems I’ll need to correct her later somehow.
When we get back to the hospital, Eris asks me to hold the fort while she goes shopping for our evening meal. Eris has been taking care of lots of different household chores. I’ll pet her to show my appreciation.
I spruce up the place with the bundles of flowers I ended up buying, then sit Yuel on my knee and start adorning her hair with flowers while I wait for patients.
At which point a customer finally arrives.
「Ah, ahh! You really were here!」
Or not a customer. The one who’s here for treatment is the red-headed adventurer, Ruruka. When she sees me with Yuel on my knee, she makes a subtle face. She doesn’t say anything, though.
Oh right, the last time we met was when I was rubbing Ruruka’s breasts and we convinced Yuel it was a misunderstanding, huh. It wasn’t a misunderstanding though.
…Yuel hasn’t realized the truth about that time, has she? With a little apprehension, I take a peek at the side of her face as she sits atop my knee.
She seems pleased with the garland on her head. She bashfully laughs “ehehe” as she feels the flowers. I was worried that she realized it was a lie after some time had passed, but she doesn’t show any concern.
「Well, if it isn’t Ruruka. What seems to be the problem?」
「You haven’t been at the tavern much lately, I was looking for you y’know? I never expected you to come back to Eris’ place, though. …Did you two make up?」
So she was looking for me. Now that I think about it, I never told Ruruka that I returned to the hospital. Well, we don’t have any contact outside of meeting at the tavern by chance so it’s not like there was anything I could have done about it.
「Yeah. So what brings you here today, don’t you need any treatment?」
To suddenly come looking for me, I figured she was hurt, but apparently not. No matter how you look at it, she seems perfectly healthy.
「Ahaha, you should know already. C’mon, it’s that, y’know, that.」
What, letting me rub her breasts? But Yuel is here right now, so I’d rather wait until the next opportunity. If a certain thing happens while Yuel is on my lap, I won’t be able to look her in the eyes anymore.
「Ehehe. I heard you were making a killing from the Huge Slime? Won’tcha lemme in on a piece of that?」
Ruruka grins as she solicits me. It’s a nice, flirtatious smile. I see, so that’s what it was. But too bad, her timing is off.
「Ah, about that, they just stopped buying Slime Drops today. I’m not doing any more Huge Slime hunts. It’s a shame, huh.」
It’s a shame for me too. If they hadn’t suspended purchases, I would’ve been able to set suitable conditions for joining the Huge Slime hunt. If a price cut on healing magic is worth a breast massage, just how far would a boss hunt with tens of thousands of Zeni in profit have gotten me? I’m awfully curious.
「E-Eeehh!? N-No way, that can’t be true? I-I even tried so hard to persuade Fran… and bought a new weapon…」
「It’s true. Bad luck, huh.」
「Hahhh… now what should I do… maybe I’ll take that request from the board…」
「The request board? Don’t those have pretty poor rewards?」
The request board. A bulletin board at the entrance of the adventurer’s guild, where commission notices are displayed. However, just because it’s in the adventurer’s guild doesn’t necessarily mean the guild is involved. Many of them are individual requests written by townspeople, just pieces of paper stuck to the board with a contact address and reward amount listed.
And the remuneration is generally poor. Important jobs like monster extermination along the highways and bandit subjugation are the duty of the knights that guard the city, so not many ever make it down to adventurers. The ones that do reach adventurers are mostly small-scale, personal requests like guarding a field or exterminating pests.
I don’t know how far Ruruka’s party has made it into the labyrinth, but I think exploring the labyrinth would typically be more profitable.
「Umm, apparently there have been more monsters outside of town for some reason y’know? And there’s an unusual request from the knight brigade. Seems unexpectedly lucrative. It’s just small fry like goblins, but supposedly the knights are giving a nice reward for subjugation.」
Ordinarily, the knights bear the burden of defending this city. The fundamental duties of the knights are to patrol the highway, drive off bandits, and periodically thin the number of monsters in the nearby forest and mountains. However, this area doesn’t usually have many monsters appear. There haven’t been any wars lately either, so I heard that the number of knights isn’t that high. Perhaps they weren’t able to handle a sudden explosion in the monster population.
「Huh. But, aren’t there dangerous monsters outside the town? Will it be alright?」
The knights act as a group, and what’s more they all meet a certain standard of ability. If a fairly strong monster appeared, they shouldn’t have any problem dealing with it.
Besides, adventurers are comparatively fewer in number, and their proficiency varies widely. Unlike in the labyrinth, there’s a possibility of suddenly running into a powerful monster outside the town. If your party encounters a monster that’s beyond your ability, you’re out.
「It’s ’cause there aren’t many strong monsters around here. I’ve subjugated monsters plenty of times outside of the labyrinth, so I think it’ll be fine?」
「Well, be careful.」
「…By the way, what’s with those flowers? Not just the ones on Yuel’s head, they’re all over the place.」
Ruruka asks while looking at the garland on Yuel’s head. She’s wondering about it after all.
「Yeah, these are…」
What should I do? I can’t answer poorly. Yuel is here and we went to buy them together. If I say something vague, Yuel won’t be comfortable with it.
While I’m worrying about it–
「It’s because he rented out a flower shop! Right, Master?」
Yuel answers with a smile.