18-15. Satou's General Store 
"Ah hey you, whatever do you mean by rustic?"
It was Arisa who got back at the un-amiable looking blond twintailed girl.
"What's with this girl? Do you think some lowly adventurers have the right to casually talk to me, Kerinagure, the eldest daughter of Ussha Company, the greatest store in Dungeon City Akatia? Know your p--"
"Kerunaguru? Oh I watched that kind of CM back in the days."
I don't know that kind of CMs. Probably something from Showa or early Heisei era.
"Do not get it wrong! My name is Kerinagure! It's a honorable name bestowed upon my great grandfather of Ussha Househould of Braibolga Kingdom!"
Arisa lightly apologized, 'my bad, my bad', to the upset girl.
Her slightly pointy ears piqued my curiosity, and confirming on AR reading, she's apparently a leprechaun.
If I'm not mistaken, they are fairies who love pranks in earth's legend.
"U-um! So Kerenaguri-san, you're here for--"
"It's, Kerinagure! My name is Kerinagure!"
The girl snapped at Lolo who also got her name wrong.
She's getting teary eyed, feel kinda bad for her.
She kinda reminds me of [House Fairy] Leriril of [Mansion of Ivy] at Labyrinth City Selbira.
"Lolo, not wrong."
The hamkin children struck a cute fighting pose in front of Lolo like they were acting out as her knights.
"What would the fair lady of Ussha Company want with our humble Hero Store?"
I stood in front of those children and asked the girl's business.
Oh yeah, Ussha Company is the same company that headhunted Hero Store's alchemist, isn't it.
"H-hmph! That's what you should have done from the start!"
The girl wiped the tear around her eyes and shouted, "It's a duel desuwa!" while pointing at me.
"Wha, what is with this baked sweet? How could something be this tasty?"
The blond twintailed girl put cookie in her mouth at tremendous speed while maintaining her elegant gestures.
She must really like these cookies.
Below her, the hamkin children are also eating their share of cookies.
Tama and Pochi have also joined them enjoying the snacks like it's their natural habitat.
『--Wasn't this supposed to be a duel?』
『Would be nice if she just forgot about all this duel business and went home.』
I had a secret talk with Arisa using space magic [Telephone].
Since talking in front of the store would disturb other customers, I brought the girl inside and served her tea with cookies which captivated her.
These cookies are byproducts of me trying out new snack recipes using local materials whenever I had free times tending the store.
"Young lady, I was looking for you everywhere, were you having a tea party?"
A beauty's voice called out from the store's direction.
Looks like she can't get in here with Liza preventing her advance.
As I told Liza to let her through, a beauty with short stature showed up.
Judging from her pointy ears, she must be a leprechaun as well.
"Nice to meet you all, I am a secretary of Lady Kerinagure, Ussha Company's clerk, Tomaritorore."
Are all leprechauns get these tongue-twisting names or something?
"My lady, we should head back if you are done with your chat. Gold Lion rank adventurers, Tiga party, are all waiting for your return."
Arisa was tilting her head while whispering, 'It's lion but tiger?', I think it's just similar pronunciations though.
"Ha! Oh yes that's right, we're not done yet here! Curse this cookie trap, I almost went back just like that."
Shame. The girl recalled why she was here.
"It's a duel desuwa!"
The girl shouted out loud as she stood up her chair.
"I shall allow you to partake in a request by Grand Witch-sama! If you can complete this request, you will be granted Grand Witch-sama's referral!"
"Grand Witch-sama's referral!"
Lolo shouted out loud, unusual for her.
Looks like it's something really amazing.
This [Referral] in Akatia Language skill translates to the longwinded words of [An honor adorned with official talisman and seal to signifies a company recognized by Grand Witch-sama] in Japanese.
"My lady, it may be a competitive request sent to several companies but I don't know about adding another competitor to the fray in jest."
"It's fine! You will tell me your trade route for [Hero's Store Special Preserved Food] if you lose! That shall be the stakes if you participate in this request!"
I see, so we get [Grand Witch's Referral] if we win and disclose information about [Trade Route for Special Preserved Food] if we lose.
Yup, nothing to lose for us. I mean I'm the trade route.
"Mind telling us what the request is before we agree to it? You can't have already gathered all the items, can you?"
"But of course! The request came in this morning! No company has these items in stock!"
The girl got upset like she was offended by Arisa's suspicion.
"What's the requested items?"
"They are written here."
There are three materials on the scroll the girl unfolded.
Massar Frog Tongue, Undercrawling Lily Bulb and a parasitic mushroom growing on the back of a giant ancient dragonkin.
According to Map Search, none of them can be found in the dungeon city.
The girl isn't lying.
According to my search on Rampaging Evil Dungeon, the frog is in the later region of [Dirty Mud Ruins] to the west of the sea of tree, the lily bulb is in the mid-later region of [Bloodsucking Wetlands] to the south, and the parasitic mushroom is in the highest level danger zone, [Castle].
The lily bulb looks to be the easiest to get at a glance, but since it's crawling around in a few meter long area under the ground of a vast region, getting one is practically impossible unless you know how to get them or a practitioner of earth or space magic.
As expected of a request from Grand Witch-sama, [Pinchusion Fort] and [Ogrekin District] suited for beginner and intermediate levels won't have their turn this time around.
"Never heard any of these mats. Lolo, you know?"
Arisa asked Lolo.
"I have heard about the frog and the lily bulb. Mage Tia-san mentioned how she was having trouble getting them. I believe Tia-san would know about the parasitic mushroom as well."
"Nice, then we can just look for this Tia-san."
"I would love to..."
"She hasn't been coming to this store in the last half month, it's possible that she's gone on an expedition."
"It's okay. I know where to find them at least."
I just searched the map and all.
"There is no issue then I believe. Do you need an introduction letter to Adventurer's Guild?"
"Nope, no need for that. Lolo's got us!"
"You lot? And your rank?"
"Still Silver Tiger cause we just got to Akatia recently, but you bet we won't lose to Gold Lion rank!"
The girl looked at Liza and Nana with a probing glance before saying 'Good luck to you' over her shoulder and leaving the store. Secretary-san had been urging her all this time after all.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"I'm sorry. I have gotten Satou-san involved in this without asking first."
"Oh please don't worry about it. We've got nothing to lose anyway, and these girls won't lose either way."
The girls smiled proudly when I said that.
I left the store to Lolo and gave a briefing to the girls where to find the materials at the back parlor.
"What kind of items she wants?"
I went around with Gates to collect samples employing all kind of magic. Took around three minutes in total.
"They look like these. The frogs are all entrapped in icicles and don't move, but they will all run away into the mud if they see you, be careful here."
I showed some samples and gave pointers what to be cautious of.
I could hear Lolo's excited voice and Tia girl's languid voice from the direction of the store.
Lolo explained to her about the competition and asked her cooperation. Looks like she's the mage Tia we were talking about earlier.
"Satou-san, it's Tia-san!"
Lolo brought a plain-faced girl wearing a big hat with a wide brim.
The girl looked surprised when she saw Lulu's identical face to Lolo.
AR readings tell me the true identity of this Tia-san.
Since Lolo doesn't seem to be aware and the girl herself seems to be hiding it, I'm not going to say anything here.
"Ah! Massar Frog Tongue, Undercrawling Lily Bulb, and Parasitic Mushroom grown on the back of a giant ancient dragonkin! How come you got all of them here?!"
Tia-san shouted out.
"These are samples."
I opened Item Box and put the evidence away.
Tia-san reached out while au-au-ing, but her arm never got to touch the three items in the end.
"Well now that we're done with briefing, let's get to collecting shall we?"
"Why! Can't you just like deliver those?!"
Tia-san retorted logically.
"We must not cheat."
"You got that right! Gotta do all the gathering ourselves in a duel!"
"Well, I guess, you're right, but you know."
Tia-san looks unconvinced to my and Arisa's words.
"Gotta go to the [Castle], there's some danger in splitting up into three groups. But going there one by one is too long... Maybe we can leave either the wetlands or the ruins to Karina-tan's group? Hikaru-tan can pick whichever cuz she's got an observer with her."
"Then we'll take on the dirty mud ruins. Considering how vast the wetlands are, I don't think we can get to the bulb without Arisa's or Mia's magic."
Since the bulb is located underground, Zena-san's wind magic is bad match for it.
And Princess Sistina's earth magic can't cover that much range.
"Okay then we're heading for [Castle]! Can I leave it to you to get in touch with Hikaru-tan, master?"
"Yea, count on it. Careful not to get hurt, okay."
The girls departed in high spirits.
Tia-san grabbed my shoulder.
"What can I help you with?"
"You gotta stop them! You can't let them get close to [Castle], there's even small children with them. Are you aware just how dangerous that place is? There's like heaps and heaps of level 50 monsters, you know."
"Oh they will be fine."
Those monsters are nothing more than [Delicious] prey to those girls.
"Fine you say, do you know that even the top Gold Lion rank, Tiga's group have a hard time there?"
"I am not familiar with this Tiga-san, but those girls are stronger than anyone at their home ground, they will be okay."
"Well I guess it's fine then--"
Besides, I'm keeping watch on them always with [Clairvoyance] and [Clairhears] anyway.
"--Or like, who are you again? You weren't even here two weeks ago and yet you've got this, 『I've been a clerk here for years』 face on you."
Tia-san sure can throw some hard and fast ball.
"Oh I'm just a little helper of this store. My companion, Lulu is a [Second Cousin] of Lolo-san, see."
"Second cousin, you mean she's a descendant of Hero Watari?"
"That will be true. Aren't they the splitting image?"
She was even surprised when she saw Lulu earlier.
"Oh, and where's Seiko?"
Tia-san asked Lolo, changing the subject.
"I took a glimpse of the magic potions at the store, he's really upped his skills. I just taught him a bit on some stuff, but I'd like to give some praises for his hard work still."
"Seiko-san has resigned."
"Yes, another store poached him."
"That little ingrate."
Tia-san seems enraged by Seiko's treachery.
"Then, did you stock those potions from other alchemists? Considering their quality, it must have been expensive."
"Satou-san made those potions."
"Eeh? You did? You a genius?"
Nope, just a cheat.
"Satou-san is really amazing, you know! The food he makes tastes so good and he even developed preserved food! He'd even do maintenance on weapons and armor. He repaired the junk we brought in a bazaar and turned them into store-worthy goods! It's like magic!"
Lolo boasted to Tia-san with sparkling eyes.
Oh gee, you're making me blush.
"Who are you really?"
"Just a noble from some faraway land. I'm kicking back here to get away from some excruciating situation back in my land."
Looks like my plea not to pry got transmitted to her.
"I got it. I'll refrain from prying further. But promise me this at least. Don't you ever make Lolo cry! You'll make her your wife if you put your hand on her!"
Tia-san, that's two.
"You promised there! Protect her right, okay!"
Tia-san left after saying that much.
She's stuffed her bag full of the cookies, looks like they're to her liking.
"Satou-san, will Lulu-san and the other be okay on their own?"
"Oh they're fine. They're making their way inside [Castle] while humming even as we speak."
Looks like they also saved several parties of adventurers on their way to [Castle].
Seeing Lulu's group is doing all right, guess I should go contact Hikaru's group right about now.
※Next update is 11/10