Alright everyone, tomorrow I go into surgery. So if you never hear from me again, look up ‘that pansy who died from having his wisdom teeth taken out’ and please send my family a flower and a very nice card. They’re going to need it.
“Lady Ellis, allow us to introduce you. This is Machel.”
Walking into the lobby, Margherita and Marilyn introduced a slender woman.
Silver hair that reached her shoulders, it was accented with two pigtails near her ears. She kept her eyes half closed and moved as if her body were liquid. A so-called cool beauty who looked better with a frown than a smile and constantly looked down on you from the bridge of her nose.
“What was your second name at the store?”
Machel answered all of Ellis’s prepared questions with little effort and no confusion. She quickly showed to have a forward way of thinking. She answered many of the questions Ellis had with little shame and a strength to her voice.
“Have you already heard about what this job entails?”
“Yes, Ellis. I liked the ban on tempting men most of all.”
“Ellis, Machel is actually the daughter of a fallen aristocrat.”
Margherita jumped in here, providing some information that the person in question probably never would have added herself.
“You, are you ready to throw away all the income you get from Masters’ Hideaway to start something completely new?”
“Ellis, I came here because I was told I could make a living without needing to have any romantic feelings involved. I’m sorry to my regulars, but if there is an opportunity to escape this job, I’ll do it.”
Machel answered resolutely and never broke eye-contact with Ellis. But Ellis didn’t fail to notice the pain in her voice and the beads of tears forming in the corner of her eyes.
Aiful and Credia popped up in Ellis’s mind. The two of them had been saved from this type of life thanks to Reeve’s interventions.
Machel wasn’t so lucky.
“Alright,” Ellis nodded. Then let’s start the exam. What is 36 times 500 ril?”
“What’s 10 percent of that?”
“What if I subtract that 1,800 ril from 18,000 ril?”
She was certainly capable enough in calculations. Ellis nodded her head once more. The girl had the right personality for the job, and she was good enough in arithmetic to be able to perform. There was just the final exam.
“Machel, what kind of life have you been living up until now, and can you tell me about it with your own mouth?”
Machel froze, her eyes locked with Ellis’s. But Ellis didn’t move. She didn’t say anything. Ellis calmly looked back at Machel, her eyes looking as cold as Machel felt.
“Alright, I’ll tell you.”
What Machel spoke of next was her family–a group of common aristocrats. A power struggle heard all too often in noble circles. And the dark, filthy life in an alley.
“Do you want to hear about what men did to me too?” Machel asked Ellis in the end. It wasn’t a barb or some show of dissatisfaction. She genuinely wanted to know if details like that were necessary because if so, she was more than willing to recant everything she remembered in as much detail as she could. Ellis immediately shook her head.
“No, I don’t need that. You passed. So Machel, are you willing to become the sub-leader of the Thieves’ Guild’s new entertainment unit?”
“…….Huh?” For the first time since her interview had begun, Machel was confused.
“Machel, it means you will be working right along side us,” Marilyn came in, patting her shoulder.
“Machel, you’ll be our subordinate in name-only. Everything is going to be just like usual,” Margherita continued.
“Alright then. We’ll leave the management to the male-only street up to you three then. Margherita, Marilyn, Machel, do your best.” Ellis wrapped up the interview there.
Machel clearly didn’t know what had just happened. Thanks to Ellis and Masters’ Hideaway, she had become able to start thinking about her future for the first time since her family had fallen, but this was something else entirely. Like being visited my a magical godmother in a fairy tale.
“I understand. This is a plan to have women completely dominate the men’s portion of the city. Even I’m getting a little excited when I think about it.”
Towards Ellis’s off-hand comment, Machel gave little reaction other than her eyes finally opening wide and a small smile spreading on her face.
The outline of personnel was settled after that.
There would end up being three men-only stores. The nightclub, Masters’ Hideaway, and the new bathhouse that would be connected to the nightclub. Margherita would manage all of them as the leader of the new ‘entertainment unit’.
Working as the head attendant at the nightclub and the general manager of Masters’ Hideaway and the new bathhouse would be the first sub-leader Marilyn. She would see customers only through reservations. Otherwise she would be spending her time in the nightclub, making sure all the girls were doing all right and all the men were worked up.
All of the bankers, dealers, and assistants for the casino games at the nightclub would be under Machel’s supervision. Baltis had some objections to this part at first, but he eventually relented when Ellis convinced him that fixing the games was not a good idea.
In addition, there were a few more subordinates that Ellis had for Margherita.
“You guys, come on in,” Ellis called out to a back door behind where Margherita and the others were sitting, and four large, muscular men came through. “Margherita, I hired these four to work in the nightclub with you. They’ll be your subordinates from now on.”
A crimson blush rose to Margherita’s face, and a devilish smile came to Ellis’s. “These men will be your bellboys, bouncers, announcers, and whatever else you need them to be. You guys, introduce yourselves.”
Each of the four men stood tall and at attention.
“I am Nobuhiko. I used to be a fighting performer, and I am proud to be super gay!”
“I am Kazuo. I used to be a fighting performer, and I am proud to be super gay!”
“I am Masakatsu. I used to be a fighting performer, and I am proud to be super gay!”
“I am Minoru. I used to be a fighting performer, and I am proud to be super gay!”
The blush on Margherita’s face had completely disappeared.
“So how about it Margherita? A group of gachihomos should be easy to use right?”
These men were the four ‘brothers’ that the Muscle Brothers had requested help for. There had been no problems with Masters’ Hideaway so far, but Ellis thought that with the male-only street expanding with the inclusion of alcohol and gambling, some extra muscle would be needed. So when the Muscle Brothers’ request came in, it had actually been the perfect solution.
There was a single moment where Ellis had gotten worried when she first met them. They were large and muscular, but they looked much more ordinary than the Muscle Brothers. This worry was almost instantly quashed though as the four men had declared their standing right in front of Ellis just as they had done now.
“Alright, then you four will act as my limbs from now on.”
The four men would serve as the perfect subordinates for Margherita. They were strong, loyal, and there would be zero problems with them associating with the women working the bathhouse.
Cross Town’s progress was also going smoothly.
Frau was currently visiting Shin and Nonna’s store to give them a few tips on cooking. Ken and Hanna’s cake shop was becoming famous in the city, but they were making sure they gave a hand to their friends’ new shop as well.
In the neighboring tea shop, Buzz and Doug had become regulars and spread its name among the other adventurers. The two of them had actually started receiving a discount for 100 ril a cup, and they would often have fun sharing conversation with Aiful and Credia when they were refilling their tea.
Several of the boutiques and cafes had already started operation as well.
With several shops opening up, tourism had increased, and the number of people making their way there on carriage and on foot had both increased along with it.
Meanwhile Hanna’s younger sisters Rhonda and Nina had started helping out with their store. Things had gotten to the point where they couldn’t keep up with their increasing customers, so they needed the help to keep rolling out the cakes. And as agreed, Ellis continued to receive ten percent of the sales on all those cakes as a collection fee. Ellis’s plan was picking up profits faster than she thought it would.
When she returned home, Ellis waited for the others to come back while playing with Pi-tan.
Claire was the first to come back. Katie was next, followed by Frau, and Reeve wasn’t far behind.
“Dinner will be ready right away,” Frau said with a smile already on her way to the kitchen.
Then, Reeve walked up to Ellis wearing the same expression she had on the night before.
“Sorry, Mistress, I am just no good.”
Ellis figured that something must have happened at the Merchant Guild again. But, it’s not like the matter this time was a problem. It had actually been quite the fortunate turn of events. Still, the Merchant Guild had been dumping too many of its problems on Reeve.
“It was Nicole this time. He asked me to find a place for the Stone Walls to work.”
The Stone Walls was the band Nicole led. Including Nicole, there were five members in total. They were all gay, but they were different from the Muscle Brothers. As a matter of fact, it sounds like the two groups didn’t get along much.
“‘Although you listened to those muscles’ wishes, are you going to let my wish go unheard?’ was what I was threatened with before being subjected to high-pressured harassment.” Recounting it all made Reeve’s shoulders droop low and a tear come to her eye.
Ellis was sensing a bit of prejudice here. The gays didn’t want the gachihomos from expanding their power, so they wanted their own place too.
The constant conflict between men broke Ellis’s heart. But it did giver her a good idea. *Ding*
“Okay Reeve. The next time you see Nicole, can you tell him and his four band mates to come meet with me?”
“Of course, but are you sure?”
“It’s fine Reeve.”
The conversation was suddenly interrupted by Frau’s voice calling from the kitchen. Neither Ellis nor Reeve minded. Between talking business and eating dinner, the better option was obvious. Today, too, five girls and one pet would enjoy a fun dinner eating and talking together.
“That’s right, it sounds like the live house should be finished soon Ellis.”
“Ellis, they rushed the construction on the steamed food store. It’s already finished.”
“Well, tomorrow I will have to go see it.”
And as usual, everyone enjoyed taking a bath together while Pi-tan puttered around in his large tub.
“So tonight I end things my mofumofuing¹ Katie’s fur.”
Ellis fell asleep that night with her face buried in warm, fluffy fur–feeling a sense of accomplishment that could only be reached thanks to four different helpers.
1. There is honestly no non-weird way to describe mofumofu in words. It’s like digging your face into a furry animal and just cuddling the hell out of it. Any pet owner/animal lover has done it, but describing it out loud just sounds…….weird.