Two things to report. Firstly, I’m going to try and start bolding the names of magic tool abilities if only to try and differentiate them from everything else a bit more. Secondly, the second Flowers game came out. I have been looking forward to it for two years, and if anyone likes reading visual novels, these first two are tremendous. Enjoy the chapter.
The current head, Leopold Lorenburg, pushed open the door himself sounding weary from the day’s events.
Behind him, Ferdinand Lorenburg, the previous head who had cast the family into ruin, followed after looking half dead.
“Welcome home Father, Grandfather.”
When Hymel welcomed the two home, a funny look passed over Leopold’s face.
Because his beloved wife greeted him home with a strange smile that he had never seen in their long time married to one another.
It gave Leopold a bad feeling.
“Hymel, what’s wrong with mother?”
When Leopold asked, a troubled look marred Hymel’s smiling face.
“Actually, Reeve-neechan came back home. She and Mom were talking about something, and Mom broke.”
Ferdinand and Leopold were both understandably confused and speechless by Hymel’s explanation, but Ferdinand was able to gather his bearings first.
Leopold came to his senses a second after, and although his words were the same, they were tinged with anger versus Ferdinand’s joy.
Obviously, Leopold’s tone was much louder than his father’s.
Hymel shrunk back from his father’s booming voice.
“That idiot daughter!”
While Leopold immediately headed towards the drawing room at a breakneck pace, he made sure to stop and take a deep breath to calm himself. Once he was ready, he knocked and threw open the door.
There, Leopold faced five elegant girls waiting for him.
Leopold stiffened for a moment at the sight before him, and Ellis did not fail to take advantage of that gap to cut in front of him.
“It is an honor to meet you Sir Leopold. I am Ellis, a member of the Warren Council.”
As expected, Leopold completely froze up after this little girl’s words.
In addition, a few extra blows were thrown his way immediately after.
“Your honorable Leopold, I am the daughter of the Warren Adventurer’s Guild, Frau.”
“Master Leopold, I am Claire, the head of the Warren Workshop Guild’s design office.”
“His Excellency Leopold, I am called Katie–a member of the Thieves’ Guild working directly under the Thieves’ Guild Master Baltis nya.”
Leopold’s thought process completely stopped after the barrage of introductions.
This was when he was at his weakest, and when the final blow was struck.
“Father, I am sorry to drop in like this, but I wanted to introduce my friends. You might know them as Warren’s Jewelry Box.”
Ferdinand, who had stiffened up at the stream of unbelievable self-introductions behind Leopold, became animated at once.
“You girls are the famous Warren Jewelry Box! But I heard that there were five girls in the Jewelry Box, and there are only four of you here…….No way….”
Reeve answered with an embarrassed smile, and Ferdinand’s eyes went wide with surprise.
“You are getting a little ahead of yourself, Grandfather. I am the least important member.”
Leopold and Ferdinand were guided in their shocked state over to the sofa where they silently took a seat.
After sinking into the sofa and giving himself a moment to think, Leopold took a deep breath and spoke slowly.
“So, why are you girls here?”
Reeve leaned forward to directly face her father.
“I heard from Lake when he was in Warren. He told me that the Lorenburg family had to pay compensation for me abandoning the engagement to the Durkfienance family. I came here to pay it.”
“And? Did you hear about the amount?”
“Yes. I heard from Mother.”
“Then what will you do?”
There was no way a runaway girl could manage that amount of money. However, Reeve’s answer was completely different from what Leopold was expecting.
“I can handle it.”
It was then that Lux had returned to her senses and had come over to sit next to Leopold. With a slightly shaking hand, she passed over the guild exchange note to her husband.
Leopold thought he was going to have a heart attack.
“What’s with this amount of money!?”
“I earned it all legally, Father.”
“What did you do?”
“Bath management, labyrinth exploration, festival participation, and so on.”
“What about…..shameful acts?”
Ellis didn’t pay her for those.
Leopold thought to himself.
When he finally looked back up, he was sporting an enormous smile.
“Reeve, you really are my father’s grandchild, participating in so many ventures.”
Ferdinand laughed darkly.
“That’s wrong my boy. She’s actually making a profit!”
For the first time in a long while, the Lorenburg laughed together, as a family.
Once everything had settled down a bit, Ellis cut in to get to the matter at hand.
“Was your meeting today about a boycott?”
Ellis’s question made both Leopold and Ferdinand frown, but then they quickly remembered that this little girl was a member of the Warren Council.
It isn’t weird for her to know about the circumstances.
“Yeah, that’s right, little miss. What Grace is pretty much cornered.”
This is what Ellis had heard from Maria and Theseus about this city’s ‘harassment.’
They were not talking about the harassment from the Durkfienance house towards the Lorenburg house. Maria and Theseus were actually talking about the ongoing harassment from the Reeve Fan Club and the Warren Adventurer’s Guild towards Lake Durkfienance.
As Leopold kept on explaining the situation, Ellis was able to pick up that the plan was advancing quicker than she thought it would.
“So did the Durkfienance family tell you that there is a boycott going on for all Wheat Grace products by Warren citizens?”
Leopold and Ferdinand both nodded to affirm it.
But Ellis frowned.
“That explanation has an error. To be exact, the boycott is being done by both Warren and Marsfield citizens, and they are boycotting only against the products produced by the Durkfienance house.”
Leopold and Ferdinand both shared a look before turning their attention back to Ellis.
“Why is that?”
“That’s because Lake said a few things he shouldn’t have and managed to anger every single woman from Warren to Marsfield.”
“He angered some women?”
The two men clearly did not understand what Ellis meant from her explanation, but she did not really care to explain further and just continued her story from before.
“Also, soon an official will arrive here from Sky Castle to perform a tax investigation on the Durkfienance house. Before that, I would like you to summon all the aristocrats in Wheat Grace for a meeting.”
This was some harassment on behalf of the Adventurer’s Guild.
Neither Flint nor Theseus were too pleased when Lake called Claire up on stage the way he did, so they sent word to the royal family that the Durkfienance house was possibly cheating on their taxes.
It was a type of harassment possible because Warren was the only trading partner that Wheat Grace had. As a result, she would have records for all the product that gets shipped out from there.
Ellis’s expectations came true.
At the word of Leopold, every Wheat Grace aristocrat gathered at the Durkfienance family home.
At his seat, Leopold introduced Ellis as an associate member of the Warren Council.
“My daughter’s friend was worried for us, so she ventured here from Warren to explain about Warren’s circumstances.”
All the nobles gave Ellis an incredulous look, some became openly offended that Leopold would try and pass off this young girl as someone of importance, but the Merchant Guild master of Wheat Grace had attended the meeting as well. He had met Ellis several time previously when he was visiting the Warren Merchant Guild. Her identity was proven.
Once they were sure of her identity, the nobles took no time in trying to find out what was happening with Warren and Marsfield.
“A boycott is currently being held by Warren and Marsfield citizens against all products under the Durkfienance name.”
And one more thing.
“In addition, a tax investigator is being sent directly from Sky Castle to investigate the Durkfienance house.”
“A tax investigation!?”
Most of nobles were taken aback by the news that the boycott was not directly affecting their products.
“Why at this timing!?”
The one person who was more concerned with the second piece of news and throwing a fit was the head of the Durkfienance house, Acoms.
At that time, Katie suddenly came up from behind Ellis and whispered into her ear.
“The man standing behind Acoms, he is a demon nya.”
“Leopold, who is that man?”
Leopold cued in to Ellis’s tone and whispered back to not let anyone else aware of their speaking.
“He seems to be a recently hired moneyman.¹”
Eventually the meeting on that day ended without a solid conclusion among the aristocrats.
Ellis had returned to the Lorenburg mansion along with Leopold, but no sooner had she returned than she had thrown on her favorite black uniform.
“Then it’s time for me to go.”
“Be careful, mistress.”
“I look forward to what you find.”
“Watch out for demons nya.”
Ellis activated the Mimetic ability before shoving off.
There was a constant link using Intelligence between Reeve’s piercing and Ellis’s headband as she snuck into the Durkfienance house.
After spending so much time as a warrior, she was surprised by how easily all the old infiltration techniques came back to her. Had the practice been ingrained into the body since long before?
“Regardless of some boycott, the tax investigation is bad!”
Acoms was shouting at the moneyman in the back of the building.
Completely ignoring his employer’s frantic behavior, the moneyman’s response was quiet and cold.
“Pull yourself together. In the worst case, you’ll just have to pay a little recompense in taxes.”
However, the head of the Durkfienance house was already of the mind that he wanted to pay as little in taxes as possible.
“I’ve already paid you so much money!”
“It’s the basic of basics to pay your bouncer a fee upfront.”
“Then do something about this case too!”
“If we do, then they’ll just send another tax official.”
“AHHHHHH!!!! Why am I surrounded by fools!?”
Acoms turned his back on the moneyman before storming out of the room in a fit of rage.
Then late at night.
Acoms felt a chill run down his back while lying on his luxurious bed. When he noticed it, he realized that he was unable to move his body. Even his neck was stuck in place, so all he could do was have his eyes, blankly stare at his bed’s canopy.
He couldn’t even let out a squeak.
Then suddenly, something brushed up against his ear.
“Acoms, the cute little subordinate of our beloved Demon Lord.”
A soft-spoken, sweet voice whispered into the paralyzed Acoms’s ear.
“The Demon Lord will aid you. Listen carefully.”
The voice told him to return the rights to all of the special products he had bought up from the surrounding aristocrats.
“If you do so, you can reduce the total sales record on your books. Plus, if you run goods through the other families, you can bypass the boycott on Durkfienance family goods in the meantime.”
“I can transfer the rights only for the duration of the investigation, while the Sky Castle official is here.”
The revelation is like a sign from God to Acoms.
The basics for tax investigations means that you always check the sales records first.
From there, it would be just a few odds and ends.
Instead of hiding the money, spread it out. That way, even if the tax investigator does discover a discrepancy, it will be divided among all of the nobility, and the Durkfienance house can avoid a cumbersome situation.
Truly the work of God, er, the Demon Lord!
The voice continued to speak to Acoms who by now was listening as closely as his paralyzed body would let him.
“Next, all I’ll do is provide you with the mark of the Demon Lord.”
As it said such, suddenly a sharp knife was thrust into Acoms’s breast. It drew a bit of blood, but before he could cry out in pain, he fell asleep.
The next morning, Acoms awoke without a scratch on him, wondering if everything that had happened last night was just a dream.
“That was magnificent, Mistress!”
“A wonderful quadruple combo of Stupor, Silence, Sleep, and Full Recovery!”
“I almost believed that it really was the Demon Lord.”
Acoms summoned all the nobles of Wheat Grace together once again, and he announced to all that he was temporarily returning the business rights of each family’s business rights.
Naturally, this meant that the Lorenburg family regained control of their famous tea.
“This is a strategy so that we all may still profit while this silly boycott continues!”
Acoms boasted with his chest puffed out, pretending that this wonderful idea was all his own.
To that end, the moneyman remained silent.
Actually, the moneyman had listened intently to Acoms story about the previous night’s incident.
He originally did not believe Acoms story and had started to believe that someone was trying to trick him, but then he remembered the execution that the Demon Lord had bestowed upon a commander who had failed him. There was blood everywhere.
Perhaps Acoms being stabbed the way he was last night was just the Demon Lord playing around.
The moneyman reflexively shook with fear towards the thought of his Demon Lord.
On the afternoon of that day, the tax official from Sky Castle arrived at Wheat Grace while being guarded by members of the Warren Adventurer Guild.
He was being escorted by two people, the Mr. Coachman Buzz and Mr. Flying Swallow Longsword Doug.²
In fact, these two were skilled adventurers. Two of the best that the guild had to offer.
Buzz and Doug jumped off of the carriage and joined Ellis on the side of the road. She did not say anything to them instead going for just a small smile. The two smiled back in turn giving a slight nod to let her know that they understood.
Acoms came out to greet the official personally, feeling at ease and with books in hand.
“Please, look to your heart’s content.”
The tax official then calmly told him,
“Then, please give me the records about the group rice and beans exports.”
……….Hm? The inspection is not over the total sales?
Acoms felt like someone had splashed him with a bucket of cold water.
“What’s wrong? I am here to compare the amount of product that Warren bought with the amount that the Durkfienance house reported.”
The tax official truly did not understand what was so confusing on this point.
It’s just that, if someone were to spread out their special products to, say, other nobles, then the total sales would definitely be thrown off. However, that would have absolutely no impact on possible fraud if you were to only look at the collective rice and bean crops.
1. For those who don’t know that moneyman is a real thing, they’re kind of like a cross between an accountant and an economic advisor. They are pretty just people who specialize in money.
2. They’re the two adventurers who won the good weapons from when Ellis and Claire washed Dams and Cliff. If you don’t remember them, don’t worry. They were really insignificant.