Sorry this week took so long. Work has been hectic, and it wasn’t even that long of a chapter. I’ll try to make sure the next one comes out sooner. More plot is coming soon.
Planned for Use
The next morning, Ellis and Reeve took Lux, Aiful, and Credia out to the city.
There they met up with Leopold, Ferdinand, and Hymel who had been waiting for them.
“Ellis, good morning.”
When Hymel reservedly greeted Ellis, Ellis returned the gesture.
“Good morning Hymel.¹”
It was a well-mannered greeting to an elder.
Though the ‘elder’ part was slightly overmasked by Hymel’s blushed cheeks.
“Frau passed this on to me. You can have this instead of breakfast inside the carriage.”
Reeve handed a stack of sandwiches over to her mother.
“And please give my regards to Big Sister Bizon and Big Sister Gurre.”
Bizon and Gurre were Reeve’s two older sisters. The were both married off to nobility in Skycastle where they were heading now.
“Yes, we’ll let them know. We’ll make sure they know how well Ellis has been taking care of us too.”
Ellis nodded her head to Leopold’s praise.
“We already arranged to have a shipment of tea sent over to the Warren Merchant Guild. Here’s a sample.”
Ferdinand handed over two pots to Ellis.
The first sample was held inside some white pottery. The other pot was very similar to the first, but it had the Jewelry Box flag baked onto the white pottery.
“The contents are the same, but by casting your symbol on the pots, you can express yourself inside the shop in ways not possible through words, Re-boy.”
This was a pleasant gift to receive. This way, the girls could differentiate their products from others sold in different stores. Compared to Eiji’s world, branding was still a new idea even in trade cities like Warren.
“Grandpa Fel, thank you.”
“I appreciate the help.”
Reeve and Ellis both bowed in thanks.
“Well then, the carriage is here. We should head to Skycastle now.”
The family of four boarded the carriage waiting for them and continued on waving farewell until the carriage was no longer in sight.
“Well then, should we have breakfast and then head over to see Maria?”
The remaining four girls shared breakfast at a nearby café where Ellis filled in Aiful and Credia about what would happen in the future.
The tea shop would soon be completed, and Reeve would be handing it over to them. However, this was to remain a secret from other people.
Until it is finished, they would be staying at an inn inside the city. There job would be to travel the city, become familiar with the current products being sold, and prepare themselves for running their own business.
For the time being, the tea shop would be selling the Lorenburg tea that Ferdinand would ship out, but they would have to consider future merchandise to sell as well.
Reeve would receive a 10 percent sales commission.
To everyone else, the story would go that Reeve financed their shop with funds she borrowed from Ellis.
The two ladies nodded in understanding.
“I’m sorry to have caused you both so much trouble.”
“Ellis, I will do my best and work hard.”
Aiful and Credia both continuously bowed their heads over and over again in thanks.
Thus Ellis succeeded in acquiring two more servants.
“Welcome Reeve, Ellis.”
Inside the Merchant Guild, Reeve was held in higher esteem than Ellis was.
“These two are Aiful and Credia.”
Reeve returned Maria’s greeting with a nod and introduced the two women following behind her.
“This is Maria, the Merchant Guild master. She’s been working to accommodate us with the business, and she has helped us in various ways. Nicole is the one standing beside her, and if you ever have to make a purchase or order some supplies, I recommend doing so through him. By the way, Nicole is gay, so don’t worry about dealing with him.
Although they weren’t sure what it was that they would be worried about, Aiful and Credia both graciously greeted Maria and Nicole.
“With that type of elegance, it’s like you were made to sell tea.”
Nicole had gained a positive opinion of the two. “As expected of former nobles,” he mused.
Tea was a luxury good, and its main customer base would be people of at least middle class. Even in a countryside store, you would want someone of Aiful and Credia’s level to sell it.
“Here is a sample.”
Ellis handed over one of the pots that Ferdinand had given her.
Nicole quickly assessed the goods.
“The whole sale price for one pot is 2,000 ril.”
“For both pots?”
Nicole nodded his head to Ellis’s question before breaking down the numbers.
“The Merchant Guild sells the usual pot of tea to each store at 3,000 ril. With the wholesale price, that means the minimum selling price would be 5,000 ril, but the tea pots we are getting in for Aiful’s store is 3,500 ril which makes their minimum selling price 5,500 ril.
Aiful and Credia had no choice but to nod here.
One pot of tea would be 5500 ril. With the sales commission of 550 ril going to Reeve, there would be 4,950 ril remaining. Since the purchase price is 3,500 ril, that leaves 1,450 ril on hand.
“For the moment, leave the two pots of tea with us. We will ask the Adventurer’s Guild to stop their carriage in front of your store from now on for convenience sake. If you can sell about ten pots every day, that should be enough for a family of two to live on.”
With everything laid out flatly by Maria, Aiful and Credia were finally starting to see a future for them.
“Then thanks for all your help.”
Ellis smiled while bidding farewell.
“Yes, please come again.”
Ellis and Reeve left the two women in the Merchant Guild’s care.
Aiful would be put through a rigorous training course over the basics of book entry by Nicole. Considering her husband and son were dragged off for tax evasion, this level of preparedness was natural.
“Then shall we visit Hanna and Ken next?”
Ellis stopped by Hanna’s prototype production site, and she explained to them the same story she was having Aiful tell–that the store was being built with a loan Ellis had given them and not to tell anyone about the truth.
Although they were unsure why Ellis was being so obstinate about the truth not getting out, they had no reason to go against what she was saying, so Hanna and Ken readily agreed.
“Mistress, what are you planning?”
“Hmm. Well, since it’s you, I’m sure it’s not something that will hurt us.”
A few days later, both stores were completed.
Ellis’s group along with Hanna, Ken, Aiful, and Credia all gathered together for the grand unveiling.
People from Flint’s studio were also there to gather everyone’s impressions.
“If you ask me, I’d think we did a pretty good job.”
Ellis smiled at Flint’s self-praise.
“It looks wonderful.”
Both the cake shop and the tea shop were standing tall, built with a mixture of stone and wood with a carriage parked right in front.
When you pulled open the door, a beautiful *ding* from a cowbell resounded, announcing the arrival of a new customer.
“I kept the interior work to a minimum.”
There were no decorations inside the store yet. It would be up to the owners’ own preferences as to how the store would look and operate.
At the very least a counter was installed from where they could set up and display their goods.
For the cake shop, there was a workshop in the back where a special kiln had been installed for the steamer. There was plenty of room for a stove to be added if needed, and a sturdy table carved from stone was set up from which to work from. Area where they could store charcoal and firewood had also been set up.
Incidentally, the steamer’s fuel source for Claire-Flint brand steamers was adjusted to consist of charcoal and firewood. This was because the market demand for Fever stones rose too much, and the supply could never reach the demand. Not to mention the fact that chefs would always run out of mana too quickly using the steamer all day.
In the far back of the building was a living space with a kitchen, washroom, dining room, and three bedrooms.
“One is the family bedroom, another is for guests, and the third is for bed creaking² as requested.”
Hanna and Ken turned red at Flint’s in-depth explanation, but Ellis’s group paid them no mind as they honestly did not care.
For the tea house, instead of putting in a workspace, they instead put in a large storage room and a secondary room right next to the cake shop.
“What’s this room for?”
“Can’t you tell by looking!?”
Claire puffed out her chest in pride to Frau’s innocent question.
“Obviously it’s where the customers can have their cake and enjoy tea too!”
“It was Claire’s idea. You can extend an awning from here to the cake shop and enjoy some sunlight while you relax.”
They had put in an open deck that connected the two shops. If there was a customer who wanted to enjoy some cake with their tea or vise versa, it would be easy for them to order both and enjoy themselves.
“You’ll both probably share the same first customer!” Flint shouted with a laugh.
Ellis was also impressed. She hadn’t thought things this far ahead.
Now that she thought about it, cake aside pots of tea wouldn’t take up that much room. That means that Aiful would have plenty of space to serve her customers.
“Thank you Flint. Now everyone, let’s buy up the furniture, materials, and uniforms. We open shop in 3 days!”
At Ellis’s word, everyone headed off to the city with a light step.
Hanna’s furniture was gifted to her by Claire while Aiful’s was a gift from Reeve.
Frau designed the uniforms for both stores that the four would be wearing.
Hanna would be wearing long maid wear while Ken wore a cook’s uniform. Aiful and Credia flare dress uniforms that could compare to a regular aristocrat’s clothing.
Katie for some reason gifted them two sets of fish oil pickles.
“They’re delicious nya.”
Finally Ellis handed over 1 million ril each to Hanna and Aiful.
“This is a loan. I expect 1.1 million ril back.”
Four people nodded their assent.
Thus, in front of Ellis’s mansion, a second sign popped up next to ‘Claire’s Design Office’ reading, ‘Ellis Finance.’
1. In case it wasn’t obvious, Ellis uses a much more formal way of saying hello to Hymel.
2. The word they use in Japanese is ギシアン or gishian. It’s an onomatopoeia that was meant to imply sex. It’s meant to be a combination of the sound of a bed creaking and a woman crying out in pleasure. The things I have to look up for this novel…