18-14. Satou of General Store
※ This is a side story from after Demon Lord Slayer title to before Purple Tower Incident.
As I was in the middle of making some magic potions at the kitchen in the back of the store, the knee-tall hamster-like furballrat, hamkin children who were tending the store called for me.
"Got it. I'll be right there."
I put away the almost done magic potion in Storage and walked toward the counter with the hamkin children pulling on my sleeves all the way.
"Is Lolo gone out somewhere?"
"Lolo, went out."
"Lolo, left earlier."
This Lolo I'm referring to is the shopkeeper of this store, [Hero Store].
"O, you finally showed up."
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Nona-san. Are you preparing for an adventure today?"
"Well yeah, just look at my outfit."
This adventuress whose physical beauty is looking like it's gonna burst out of her leather armor, Nona-san is a regular customer of this general store.
"Five lesser potion, one Lostless Candle and also 30 servings of preserved food please. And get me the pricier ones! I can't eat that sole-like jerky and hard bread anymore once I got a taste of that preserved food."
"Oh, you're stocking up a lot. Are you planning on going in a long excursion this time?"
"Yea, managed to snatch a seat in an expedition sponsored by a huge adventurer clan, see."
This girl went solo due to a certain circumstance during our first meeting, it's been on my mind but I guess it's okay now that she's got companions.
I went in the back and pretended to fetch the items she requested while actually taking them out of my Storage, and then I put them on the counter.
Hamster kids are taking the bulky preserved food from the warehouse. Thanks to my and Lulu's research, the preserved food we stocked up has turned into a sales worthy commodity at this general store.
"Oh and my Water Stone's running out of mana, a refill please. Been an adventurer for some time, but I had no idea you could refill this thing."
"Oh that's because refilling is our store's special service."
I recharged the Water Stone embedded on her water bag with water elemental mana.
The me now can make as many elemental stones as I want so long as I have the core part, but I'm not doing that here. Elemental stones are a big source of adventurers' income after all.
"Masita, preserved food."
"Masita, praise please."
"Yep you all did really good."
I patted these kids for their work, their short tails wagged happily.
Nona-san is also looking like she wants to pat the hamster kids' heads.
They'd be ecstatic, no need to hold back you know?
"The total would be three copper cylinders and 12 pieces--oh, don't worry about this, three copper cylinders will do."
Nona-san took 300 hundred copper coins connected in a string of 100 pieces per cylinder by the hole in the middle of the coins, and then put them on the table.
Commoners are prohibited from trading silver and gold coins in this town, thus this is how they improvise with copper coins.
They use jewels for transactions that involve a huge amount of cash, I mean it would be hard otherwise.
"Should I sharpen that sword on your waist?"
"Eh I can do that much m'self."
Nona-san took the sword on her waist and put it on the table despite saying that.
It's been maintained yes, roughly that is. Since this place has high temperature and humidity being in tropics and all, swords get rust quick if you don't take care of them.
As a result, metal sword wielders like her are in the minority here, most people rely on bone weapons hardened by shamans or necromancers.
"Let me have a look."
I took a special whetstone I recently created with alchemy and whetted the sword real quick.
"This should make it cut better."
Since Nona was looking at me with dubious eyes, I held a performance by dropping a paper onto the blade, cutting it in two.
"Uooo, awesome! That Lolo went and found herself a nice partner. At this rate ain't gonna take long before Hero Store took Dungeon City Akatia by storm!"
Nona-san cheerfully put the sword back on her waist before leaving the store with all smiles.
A girl with a bang long enough to cover her face came in the store right afterward.
"Lolo, welcome back."
"Lolo, you hurt?"
The hamster kids jumped out of the counter and went trotting toward the girl.
She's the shopkeeper of this store, Lolo.
"Welcome home, Lolo. We just got a guest."
"I'm home, Satou-san. Oh yes, I met Nona-san on the way here."
As I took the paper bag off Lolo, I was greeted by a beauty that would even overturn a castle.
Her transcendental beauty would not lose to Lulu's.
That's only natural. After all, her great-grandfather is hero Watari--the same root as Lulu, the two of them look like two peas in a pod if you disregard her golden hair.
I met her just a week ago.
Thanks to my title Demon Lord Slayer being known far and wide, I got a bit peeved up for not being able to even take a stroll around Shiga Kingdom's capital without disguise.
This Dungeon City Akatia was the place I stumbled upon when I was looking for a faraway land where I could kick back without worrying about public eye.
"So this here is the Sea of Trees huh..."
A sprawling tropical jungle befitting the name Sea of Trees is spread before my eyes.
This is a huge swat of forest on a continent far away from Shiga Kingdom, it's the continent's biggest woodlands whose area even cover Burainan Forest and the Leprechaun's Braibolga Kingdom.
"That spire-like thing doesn't seem like it--"
I moved with Flash Drive toward Dungeon City Akatia while referring to my Map and ignoring ruins I occasionally saw along the way in the Sea of Trees.
"--There it is."
I found a city surrounded by a rampart far away.
I should get down, someone could see me from there at this altitude.
I chop down all dinosaur-like monsters that have been coming at me while growling as I make my way to the dungeon city.
The encounter rate is unbelievably high this close to a city, but there's a reason for that.
That is because this vast forest itself is a dungeon.
This Rampant Evil Dungeon is a field-type dungeon, unusual even in the whole world, and the Dungeon City Akatia where I'm heading to is located in the center of this dungeon.
『Nona! A Blossom Naga to the left! There's a Thorn Prick too!』
Some people are fighting a fair bit away.
According to Map info, they're a group of late level 10s people.
From what I researched, adventurers in this dungeon are descendants of adventurers who went on a journey toward the end of Sea of Trees during Furu Empire era, and today they have been naturalized and bear the same social standing as the people living in the countries neighboring the Sea of Trees.
They seem to be Hungry Wolf-rank adventurers.
I was using translation magic but since I got Akatia National Language Skill, I allocated some points and made it Active.
"They got Zans! Nona, buy us time!"
"You're asking the impossible! How the heck's a light warrior gonna go up against Thorn Pricks alone!"
"Shut up! Don't you dare order us around you lowly Furless! You guys should be happy to work as our meat shield!"
The adventurers are coming to my direction along with smell of blood.
A tanuki-kin and a bearkin beastmen jumped out of a tall bush.
"Nice, let's put him to good use as a sacrifice too."
The bearkin man swung down his white wild sword while smiling repulsively.
I caught the sword and flung it away without even needing the help of Self-Defense or Evasion skill.
--This wild sword is made of bone.
I went toward the scream while getting to know that useless trivia.
The sacrificed adventurer is in danger.
"Dammit, how is it so hard. I swear I'm gonna beat Tobi and Higua to pulp if I got out of this."
Oh good, she's still alive.
The adventuress was still going at it while cursing despite her bloodied body.
All while protecting a fainted lizardkin adventurer behind her even.
"I'll lend a hand."
I talked to her, picked up a sword lying on the ground and went toward the monsters.
"H-hey you fool! Why're you charging at a Thorn Prick without armor!"
The Thorn Prick, aka an Ankylosaurus monster spun its body around and used the momentum to swing its thorn appendage tail at me.
I dodged that by lightly jumping up, kicked its defenseless flank to turn it upside down and stabbed its soft-looking belly with the sword I picked up.
These kinds of pointlessly sturdy monster would rampage around for a while even after their heart's been stabbed but it's stopped by the time I cut off the other monster, Bloom Naga's head.
"Zans! Oy, don't you die on me Zans!"
I turned around to a scene of the other fainted adventurer falling into critical condition.
Looks like blood is clotting in his throat, he can't breathe.
It would be too late if I chanted here thus I picked up healing skill on Magic List and healed them both. Gonna have to rely on Deception skill sensei if they noticed I casted chantlessly.
"Oooh? Wazzat magic?"
As the adventuress expressed her surprise, the other adventurer behind her coughed up and breathed in.
"Looks like you'll be okay now. I'm heading for Akatia, you guys want to tag along?"
"Y-Yeah, of course. I should be the one asking actually."
When I asked her that, the adventuress gave an immediate reply.
"And besides, Sea of Trees seems weird today. Thorn Prick and Bloom Naga are monsters that should only spawn near the [Castle]."
I don't know where this [Castle] she mentioned is, but I know the reason for the unusual condition around here.
"Thankfully I got the herbs Lolo asked, we can go back right away."
The adventuress went in a bush to pick up a large cloth bag they threw away earlier.
"Nona, what about Tobi and the rest?"
The lizardkin adventurer who had finally come to called out to the adventuress.
"Those guys ran off when they saw you got knocked out. Leaving me as a decoy."
"To think they would abandon their comrades! Fools the lot of them!"
Well, his anger is justified, but please hold on until we're inside the city.
"Let's move out. Who knows if more monsters are coming."
"H-hold on a bit."
As I walked away while urging the two, the adventuress stopped me.
When asked why, she said she wanted to collect parts of monsters that can be sold.
I forgot about it since I usually just put them away in the Storage right away.
"Don't worry about that. There's no issue with leaving these here right?"
"Please just wait a little. At least let me go get their magic stones, Bloom Naga's hard horn and Thorn Prick's tail. Both are literally treasure troves of mats, but I don't to plan due to greed out here."
The two adventurers skillfully collected the mats.
They had a tough time collecting the magic stones so I lent them a hand there.
Once we got the mats, we were headed for the dungeon city.
"Young master, are you a noble?"
The adventuress candidly talked to me as we walked.
"Yeah, a noble of a faraway country."
"Why would a noble go all the way here?"
"Well, got a little situation there."
"Ah, sorry. Guess you're not gonna be in such a dangerous place otherwise."
Her guess is probably completely off, but I might as well ride on it to avoid extraneous questionings.
I changed the topic and got her tell me about Dungeon City.
The dungeon city is held together by a Grand Witch by the name [Master of Source]. This dungeon city probably doesn't have a City Core.
"There's the rampart. We're in luck. I see a watchtower, there should be a gate nearby."
Relief floated up even on the silent lizardkin adventurer's face.
The gate came into view after a bit more walking.
With guards in leather armor holding white bone spears.
Soldiers on top of the rampart and in the rampart tower tensed up when they saw us.
"Yo, Nona. Big game today eh."
"Too bad it's not mine. It's this young master's here."
"Hee, you're an unfamiliar face."
"I can guarantee young master. He saved us when we were about to get done in by a Bloom Naga and a Thorn Prick."
"That's impressive--wait, you telling the truth? Forget armor I don't even see a sword on him though?"
Oh right, I put fairy sword away since it was getting in the way.
The adventuress talked about my feat exaggeratedly and the [Judge Eye] bearer guard let us through without me talking.
"Welcome to the dungeon city Akatia. May you have the blessing of Grand Witch-sama's grace."
The guard left me with that as I walked in the Dungeon City.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Young master, mind if I drop by Lolo's store before we sell these mats? I wanna get them to her before they expire."
"Ah, of course."
Not like I've got any business anyway.
Us three went in an alleyway slightly off from the main street.
Many buildings in this city have ivy coiling around them.
"See that, that's Lolo's store."
A relatively big store in the corner of alleyway.
It's quite an old building, but the storefront and the surroundings are neatly organized.
"My my, are you shirking your debt-paying duty then zansu?"
I could hear a sarcastic sounding voice from inside the store.
"That's debt-collector Babbus's voice!"
Right after the adventuress said that, a scream resounded.
The adventuress shoved her baggage to the lizardkin and rushed in the store.
The lizardkin is carrying a huge luggage on his back he can't go in the store, so I do in his stead.
"Lolo, don't bully."
Hamster-like children with their hands wide open are standing up to defend a crouching human girl even while trembling and faltering themselves.
The adventuress was being pinned down by a big tigerkin man who seems to work as the debt-collector's bodyguard.
There's another horsekin alchemist in this store, but he's not moving an inch behind the door in the back.
"My oh my, there sure is a lot of clueless idiots today."
Another bearkin bodyguard walked forward from the sarcastic deerkin man in gaudy clothing's side.
He's cracking his knuckles, apparently in an attempt to intimidate me.
More importantly, the HP gauge of the crouching girl on my AR is decreasing.
Blood is spilling from the cheek her hand is holding.
"Wipe your blood with this handkerchief."
I hand out a magic potion-soaked handkerchief to the girl.
"T-thank you very much."
I bated my breath when I saw the girl's face.
Her unreal beauty is exactly like that of Lulu's.
"Lulu? Oh, my name is Lolo."
Looks like I blurted out Lulu's name out loud due to shock.
"Sorry. You look so much like my acquaintance, I let that slip."
The only differences are her hair color and her too slender of chest.
"How clueless can you be zansu? You must be really starving for females of your kind to go and woo such an ugly human zansu."
The deerkin jerked his chin, prompting the big bearkin man to perk up his shoulder before swinging his fist.
The hamster kids fell to their rear with their hands on their heads in fear.
I moved with Ground Shrink to the spot in front of the kids, and threw the big man into the air before pinning him down while being careful not to damage the store.
Weight difference means nothing before Self-defense skill sensei. Or perhaps it's the level difference?
"Y-you're pretty good zansu. See this contract here zansu? It's a formal contract made by Grand Witch-sama zansuyo?"
The contract flaunted by the man is drawn with a magic circle, with some kind of mental constraint unscripted.
The content of the contract itself is utterly and completely unjust though.
"I see it's a bond debt, but doesn't she have three days left still?"
"Where does she plan to procure 3000 copper coin cylinders in just three days zansu?"
I don't get these units.
"How much is that in gold coins?"
"--Gold coins? You look unfamiliar, are you a noble from Mashioku or Ruinberia zansu? Commoners don't use gold coins here zansu. Rate-wise, it's around 230 gold coins I suppose zansu?"
Eh, that's like one or two Magic Swords' worth.
"I don't have locale gold coins on me, do you accept Shiga Kingdom's?"
I had no intention to butt in here, but considering her alikeness to Lulu, I should be allowed to meddle a bit here.
"Are you illiterate on top of being clueless zansu? Akatia commoners are prohibited from doing dealings in gold and silver coins zansu. If you can't pay with copper coins, bring me jewels zansu."
"Will this suffice?"
I took an artificial ruby I made during my alchemy experiment.
Market skill tells me it should worth around 400 gold coins around here.
"Oooh. --I-it's a bit lacking zansu, b-but I'll let you off this time zansu."
The deerkin's hand went for the ruby while trembling.
He's trying hard to hide his excitement, and failing hard.
"Don't get tricked! That jewel is worth so much more than that!"
The adventuress came through with her advice even while being pinned down.
"Shut up zansu! Mere adventurers who can't distinguish zilch should just shut up zansu!"
The deerkin frantically tried to talk her down with his saliva scattering everywhere.
"Give it to me quick zansu."
"For the bond sure."
The deerkin slapped the bond onto me, snatched the ruby away, and ran out the store fearing I'd change my mind. The big men followed after the deerkin in a hurry.
"U-um! I'll work my hardest to pay you back! So please let me continue running this store."
The beauty--Lolo bowed before me.
"I just did that on my own, take your time paying it back."
The hamster kids lined up next to Lolo and bowed.
One of the kids was about to tumble over seemingly due to bad upper body balance. A bit cute.
"Lolo, here's the herbs."
"Thank you, Nona-san. Are you hurt anywhere?"
"Naw, I'm fine."
Lolo took the herbs and paid the adventuress for the service.
"Seiko-san, we have the herbs here! We can start making the medicine for Grand Witch-sama now."
As Lolo said that toward the inside of the store, a timid-looking horse-kin showed up.
"O-oh no they got the herbs in time--"
My Eavesdrop skill picked up the whisper the horse-kin let out.
"Sorry, Lolo. I've been scouted by Ussha Company. I'm sorry, I gotta go!"
The young horsekin man shook off the adventuress and bolted right off, disappearing beyond the alley.
"N-no... There's no way we can make the medicine for Grand Witch-sama without Seiko-san..."
There's no way my meddling spirit won't lit up when someone that looks like Lulu is showing me that worried expression.
"Then, mind if I make them instead? I dabble a bit in alchemy if you can believe it."
"Will you really?! Please by all means!"
Lolo took my hands on the spur of the moment, then she blushed and started panicking when she realized, despite all that, we made it in time to deliver the requested magic potions in the end. We have the recipe memo left by the horsekin and all.
I got to know Lolo thanks to this incident, and thus began my fun life as a bodyguard as well as storekeeper at Dungeon City Akatia.
"Satou-san, I've brought some tea for you."
"Oh then can you prepare additional seven helpings?"
BAM, the store's door was flung open as I said that.
"Back we are nanodesu!"
Arisa followed by the other girls barged in energetically.
"Per your request, we have secured several kinds of Ancient Dragoon's fangs Master."
Oh yeah, I asked them to collect materials from around this area.
"Young organisms, your souvenirs, Evil Broccoli so I inform."
"Nana, pat pat."
Nana produced a gigantic pre-boiled broccoli, the hamster kids ran off to gnaw on it. It's these kids' favorite.
"Nn, broccoli tasty."
The vegetable-loving Mia seems delighted too.
Nana warmly watches over the hamster kids earnestly chewing on the broccoli.
"Lolo-san here is the herbs you were looking for."
"Thank you Lulu-san."
When Lulu and Lolo are side by side like this, they look like twins.
It's a miraculous collaboration.
"My? This is quite a crowd for such a rustic store."
A blond twin-tailed girl said that not-at-all amicable line as she came in to break the peaceful mood in the store.
Looks like General Store [Hero Store] is going to be as lively as ever today.
※ Next update is planned for 11/8