A Little Girl’s Tears
Warren’s harvest festival is going at full speed, and it is already half over.
The five colored maidens have left the steamed cake shop entirely up to Hanna and Ken so that they each can contribute to the festival in their own way after receiving various requests.
Frau was currently operating the Muscle Brothers’ pork daruma rice stall while the five of them were appearing for a stage event.
While Frau was running the store, the many people who hesitated to buy some pork daruma rice due to their fear of the mens’ rippling muscles and strong personalities lined up in droves, and a large queue quickly formed up. As a result, on that day, the pork daruma rice had its highest sales.
On the special stage inside the plaza, the Muscle Brothers were wearing their signature loincloths and beating on a stupidly large drum releasing a strange order. The stage was filled with stubborn people who were attracted by that manly smell.
“Osu! Osu! Osu! Osu! Osu!”
That staggeringly sweet scent of theirs scattered across the stage, and even the people at the farthest reaches of the audience were drawn into the performance.
Underneath the stage, Claire, who had become used to the brothers and agreed to help them out, was holding a basket out and shouting, “Throw your donations here!” to the audience.
On the other hand, Reeve was totally stunned by the stage’s stench, became nauseated, and had to retire to a back room. The Merchant Guild master Maria agreed to watch over her.
Katie was next door helping the Adventurer Guild fruit juice store. The other day, word about the trifles Katie was bringing over to the members of the Thieve’s Guild got out, so she, Helen, and the Thieve’s Guild receptionist Karen were all over there playing together and having a good time.
While holding Pi-tan to her chest, Ellis was out taking care of rogues on behalf of the Adventurer Guild.
Suddenly, someone called out to her.
“Ojou-chan. Long time no see.”
When Ellis turned towards the direction of the voice, she saw the thief Gise standing there with his hand raised.
Ellis smiled as naturally as she could.
“Who are you?”
“Damn. Do you remember Sky Castle’s Gray?”
Ellis pretended to be confused at Gise’s question and started to scratch her head, but Gise did not give up.
“We were the party that traveled to the labyrinth after you girls ran away that night.”
If he goes into that much detail, it becomes impossible to disagree, so Ellis let out a sorry smile as if she just remembered.
“Oh! You were part of them were you?”
“Did you remember?”
Gise, who kept a relaxed expression, continued talking.
“By the way, ojou-chan. Let me get straight to the point, you girls cleared the Wight Labyrinth that night didn’t you?”
This guy really is pretty good. Ellis’s intuition was telling her to be careful around this man.
“No, we ran away in the first room.”
Ellis tried to repeat the lie from before, but Gise was able to deal a direct hole into that claim.
“I don’t think so. If you left that early, then why did you come back to the guild so late at night?”
A seriously troublesome guy.
If this conversation were to go on for too long, then he could probably poke holes in just about any lie that he is told, and to be honest, it is still way too early for the Brave party to be engaged directly.
What should be done?
“Okay, let’s do that.”
Ellis immediately decided on an appropriate course of action and executed it mercilessly.
Ellis suddenly started to bawl.
Gise was not the only person surprised by this action. Everyone else around the two were also taken aback at Ellis’s tears.
“Hey you! What the hell did you do to Ellis!?”
Ellis hugged Pi-tan close to her chest with her left arm as her right hand was brought up to wipe away some of the tears pouring down her cheeks.
Ellis sharp cry brought in all the surrounding people.
“Is Ellis crying?”
“Bastard! What the hell did you do!?”
In this way, along with Gise and a few adventurers who knew Ellis, a large crowd gathered in the area.
Then, one of the people in the crowd recognized Gise.
“Hey, isn’t that that thief from Sky Castle?”
“Yeah… Yeah he is one of those guys going around calling themselves the Brave Party!”
“Hah! What a Brave man, going around and making a little girl cry!”
The crowd was starting to work themselves up, and all of their hostility was being directed at Gise.
“No, that’s wrong! Hey, um, why are you crying? I don’t know what’s going on.”
Gise’s eyes were pleading for help.
But Ellis just kept crying.
As a matter of course, a vigilante corps quickly formed.
However, this group was made up of members of the back alley Thieve’s Guild rather than the public Adventurer Guild members. Many of these people still saw Ellis as one of them.
“Hey, we want to talk to you for a bit.”
“No, I just wanted to talk to this little girl a bit about some business….”
“And what kind of business are you asking of a little girl!? You’re coming with us!”
In this way, Gise was dragged off by members of the Thieve’s Guild. Unfortunately, he was so busy insisting his innocence, that he completely missed Ellis slipping away into the crowd while sticking her tongue out at him.
Back on top of the special stage.
The Muscle Brothers were performing in a collaboration with Reeve singing, and music performed by the orchestra Stone Walls led by the Merchant Guild member Nicole.
By the way, all of the band members of Stone Walls perform wearing clothes made entirely of black leather. Black leather vests, black leather pants, etc.
To tell the truth, Nicole is also a gay man.
All of the members of Stone Wall are also gay.
However, as evidenced by the differences in aesthetic values, they were different from the Muscle Brothers, and the two groups did not necessarily get along.
Reeve got along a lot better with Stone Walls than she did with the Muscle Brothers at least. She appreciated their style a lot more, and she was wearing a black leather dress to match with the band members.
The song they were performing was not an opera aria like what she had sung at her fan club’s event but a high-tempo song like Dawn of the Heavy Infantry.
Besides the usual Reeve Fan Club members and Stone Walls fans, the performance brought in a lot of other spectators who were interested in the music they heard while passing by.
Meanwhile, Claire was still under the stage, accepting offerings and gifts from the audience on behalf of the band members. While she was still nervous around men, Claire was able to somehow intuitively understand that the gay men were not scary, and she was more than happy to help them out.
On stage, Nicole and Reeve were singing their hearts out.
Their breathing was in sync, and their words were in perfect harmony.
Watching their dynamic forms, Lake Durkfienance had a small itch at the back of his mind.
Slowly, he is starting to understand his mistake.
And then there is an event in one of the city’s back alleys.
“What’s this crap!?”
It was the Brave party’s warrior Dams who had brought a goon that he had discovered into a back alley to threaten, but when Dams went to hit the man with the flat side of his sword, the sword broke when it came into contact with the goon’s leather armor.
“What a bother. Even though it looked really scary, it turns out to be a worthless piece of crap.”
The goon, who had been terrified of Dams’ two handed sword and massive body, regained a modicum of confidence after watching the sword break apart.
But Dams would not be stopped by something so small.
“Well, I’m not sure what happened, but this will be enough for you.”
Dams formed a fist and brought it before the goon’s eyes. He started to make some exaggerated movements in order to further threaten and belittle the goon.
The goon pulled out a small knife from his back pocket and tried to stab Dams in the stomach.
The only problem was that Dams’s body was covered in metal armor.
“Hah! If you think such a puny blade can hurt me, then go ahead and try!”
Dams stuck out his belly, showing off his polished armor and egging the goon on.
And an unexpected result occurred.
Dams could not understand what had happened for a moment.
Because his armor had been crushed and shattered as if it were pottery, the knife blade had easily passed through the metal, and it lodged itself deeply into Dams’s gut.
“What is this!?”
This time Dams couldn’t remain calm and shrug it off.
Meanwhile the goon had realized that he was in over his head and sprinted off as fast as he could.
“Oi someone! Please…… doctor……”
Dams called out with all his strength, but it faded fast. He collapsed onto his side, and his entreaties for help degraded to nothing more than moans and whimpers as blood poured out of the knife wound.
After a time, enough blood had left him that Dams found his sight blurring and darkness surrounding him.
“Are you alright?”
As his consciousness started to fly away, the last thing that Dams saw was a beautiful little girl with blonde hair.
That was seriously dangerous.
He was in a place that he would have died alone if I had not been passing by.
Ellis, who had rounded a corner and found Dams’s bleeding body, was counting her blessings as she made her way back to the shop. As soon as she had found Dams, she used her Sleep ring to knock him out before immediately using the Full Recovery ring to heal him.
Once there was no more danger of him dying, Ellis got to work on cleaning up the broken bits of armor and sword in order to hide all evidence of what happened there.
His wallet was snatched as a clean-up fee.
This is the result of a stupid man who went looking for a fight.
“What are you two doing!?”
Gray was holding his head, fighting off a massive incoming headache.
One of his party members had been arrested by the Thieve’s Guild, and he had had to pay a ransom to get him back.
Another party member had passed out in some back alley, losing all his equipment and money.
The first one was Gise, who Ellis had framed. The second was Dams, whose equipment was destroyed by Ellis and wallet liberated by her as well.
“I can say nothing in my defense…”
“Ah, I don’t really remember what happened.”
Gise’s shoulders dropped apologetically while Dams was scratching his head feeling like he was forgetting something important.
This was bad. If things were to continue like this, then the Brave party would burn through the funds that the king supplied them with in no time. Especially since it was believed that the winning bid for Resistance plate armor would go over a billion ril, unnecessarily throwing away money like this hurt in the worst possible way.
And in such a situation, Dams was able to say with a straight face,
“Oh, because it is a good opportunity, let me buy that Flying Swallow great sword at the auction.”
This muscle brain…
Gray once again found himself holding his head.
Regardless of the three fools, even the only trustworthy Gise was causing him trouble this time around.
He did not know who to trust anymore.
It might be easier to just fight the Demon Lord alone.
With these worries bopping around in his head, the Hero Gray decided to spend the rest of his day hugging his knees and staring at a corner of the room as usual.
Peach, who physiologically dislikes such a pathetic looking figure, shook her head at such a Gray.
“He’s started again, this sad excuse for a hero.”
Peach ended up leaving the room while complaining.
Cliff, who really does not care much for other people, kept sitting in his chair while acting like none of this had anything to do with him.
Just like this, the Brave party splendidly falls apart.
Ellis, meanwhile, had returned to the steamed cake store wearing a radiant smile.
“You’re in a good mood, Ellis.”
Ellis’s cheerful expression made Frau smile as well while Ellis made a declaration.
“I got quite the extraordinary amount of extra income today, so I think we should all eat together and treat ourselves to something nice. Hanna, Ken, you two are coming as well.”
It should go without saying that the extra income was Dams’s wallet.
After cleaning up the shop, the group of seven made their way through the city’s busy streets.
“Shall we eat here?”
The shop that they ended up choosing was Maria’s favorite high-class shop.
Following after the enthusiastic Ellis, Hanna and Ken nervously forced their feet to trudge along while looking all around them at the shop’s interior.
This type of delicious and expensive restaurant was a first for the both of them.
“Order whatever you want!”
Ellis declared such with her chest puffed out, and the ladies got to work picking out their favorite dishes from the menu.
Meanwhile, Hanna and Ken were not sure on what to do. They didn’t know what half the stuff on the menu even was.
Katie, who noticed their nervous states, ended up throwing them a lifeline.
“When you don’t know what to order, just start from the top nya.”
“Then, let’s go with that.”
Even though they were still anxious, they were both able to order normally.
Ellis started to think about Hanna and Ken’s situation.
Right about now would be the perfect time to rope them in.
And a man should be especially helpful for the hard labor.
Ellis got to work.
“Hey you two, would you like to open up a shop?”
“Actually, I’m thinking about open up a shop that would permanently sell the steamed cakes that we are making right now.”
Claire joined in on the conversation.
“I have been talking with Ellis, and we both wanted to open up a shop between Lily Garden and the city. The only problem is that we are so busy that we would be able unable to actually run it.”
“No men are allowed near Yuri Garden, but if the shop is set up in that grassy area where we first met Ken, then there should be no problem.”
At the sound of having their own business, the two only gave each other a sideways glance for an instant before making their decision.
“Please, let us do it!”
“Please, let us do it!”
Ellis nodded, satisfied by their replies.
In this way, Ellis had taken her first step to commercializing the steamed cake shop.
On their way home after having dinner with Hanna and Ken, Reeve voiced some doubts she had.
“Not including Hanna, is it not tasteless to let Ken into the group?”
Ellis let out a nasty laugh when she heard Reeve’s question.
“So, does that mean you want Hanna to live with us?”
“No, that’s not, I mean, um…”
That would be even more troubling.
It would be a large problem if more members were to gather.
Because the wait at night would be too long.
Ellis continued to tease Reeve, enjoying her anxious and embarrassed reactions.
“Hanna and Ken will have a house attached to their shop. They will run the shop themselves, and they will owe us a favor doing it.”
Frau had already figured out what Ellis was planning had already had her own ideas of how to use Ken.
“Ken seemed to be quite handy as a craftsman, so I think I will have him build me a few things I want for the kitchen.”
Ellis confirmed her thoughts.
“From now on, we will have a man’s hands to help us out.”
“We’ll leave it to him.”
Reeve still wasn’t sure, but if Ellis was going to say that much, then she decided she would believe it.
Meanwhile, Katie was a few steps behind everyone else, watching the moon with a smile on her face and while rubbing her stomach after the feast she had just ate. The entire previous conversation had completely gone over her head.
Thus, Ellis had finally obtained her first convenient servant.
1. A Japanese sound effect that means something cracked or snapped.