“Hey, I’m here.”
One day, completely ignoring the rules of no men allowed, Grandpa Ferdinand stopped by to visit the mansion. The truth was that he had been invited there by the Merchant Guild who was hoping to get his unique advice on the live house being built in Cross Town.
“Gramps, sorry to bother you like this.”
“No this is for my cute grandchild, so don’t worry about it. Besides, this sounds interesting.”
“Then shall we go see Maria right away?”
“What? Why not share a cup of tea first?”
“Grandpa, this place is forbidden to men.”
“Isn’t it fine though?”
Ellis had thought a simple cup of tea would be fine, but she decided to remain quiet after Reeve’s vehement denial.
“Ferdinand, Aiful is selling tea in Cross Town. I’ll buy you a cup there.”
“Ah I see. I’ll be looking forward to it then.”
“Oh Ellis, Katie and I want to go check on how the construction is going, so we will leave partway through.”
“Then Pi-tan and I will house-sit today.”
The five girls each confirmed their plans with one another. Then with Frau staying behind to watch the house, the other four left the mansion alongside Ferdinand. They made a quick stop at the steamed food shop where Katie and Claire diverted before the remaining three left for the teahouse.
Aiful and Credia both gleefully greeted the three as soon as they walked through the door.
“Aiful, please prepare three sets.”
Ellis quickly submitted her usual order for three before guiding Ferdinand to the outdoor terrace.
“Well, it certainly has a nice atmosphere.”
“Yes, it let’s me do business with a good feeling.”
Aiful had quickly brought out the tea sets and thanked Ferdinand for his compliment with a small laugh. She brought with her some extra sweets as well: Jewelry Box tarts specially made by Ken.
“Hoho, you brewed this quite well.”
After tasting the first sip of his tea, Ferdinand had nothing but praise for the Lorenburg tea Aiful had brewed.
“It’s thanks to everyone’s help. The truth is, right now, my daughter and I are living better lives here than he had in Wheat Grace.”
A light laugh and a brilliant smile played across her lips.
“Hey, Aiful, two tea sets please.”
Right around then Buzz and Doug came in through the shop looking particularly exhausted. When they did, their eyes were immediately drawn towards Ellis.
“Hey, Ellis. You did pretty well last night.”
“You two, you sure are good friends. I never thought I’d see a series of Naughty Friends like that.”
Yes, despite having never done it intentionally, Buzz and Doug had repeatedly used complimentary numbers resulting in them losing all of their money. As a result, the two had just gotten back after diving into Salamander Labyrinth.
“Well, we just need some Fever stones and we’ll be back on our feet.”
Their response sounded very shady, and the fact that they wouldn’t meet Ellis’s eyes just made them seem all the more suspicious. Ellis decided to help the two of them out a bit before it became a problem, so she walked up to them and whispered into their ears,
“Should I tell Aiful and Credia about what happened last night? I bet they’d love to hear about you two losing all your money gambling.”
All the blood immediately drained from their faces.
“No, we’re fine now.”
“I’ll tell Aiful myself. Later.”
Buzz and Doug insisted they would talk about it themselves.
Satisfied, Ellis threw one of the blue tarts into her mouth. Draining them dry was fun, but things could become difficult later on if they ended up homeless because they kept doing it. A light talking to from Aiful should be enough for them.
Finishing off the last tart, Reeve and Ferdinand rose up from their spots at the table as if they had been signaled, and after Reeve settled up their bill with Credia, Ellis once again started guiding Ferdinand down the highway.
The group of three soon reached the Merchant Guild.
“Reeve! And Ellis too, welcome.”
The person who greeted them at the door was Maria, the Merchant Guild guild master. Also the only person who treats Reeve as if she was above Ellis. Well, Ellis didn’t really care, so it was fine.
“Maria, I’ve come by to introduce my grandpa. This is Ferdinand Lorenburg.”
“Grandpa Ferdinand, this is Maria, the Merchant Guild guild master for Warren.”
Reeve politely introduced the two of them to each other.
“Lorenburg tea is often considered to be the best tea in the country, and knowing that you were the one who taught Reeve much of what she knows, it is truly an honor for me to meet you Ferdinand. I have been told that you are here this time to aid us with the live house our city is currently building. Please know that you have our sincerest gratitude with this matter.”
“No no, the knowledge this old man has is something I acquired over my long life. If it is in some way useful to you, then that is more than enough to make me happy.”
With the greetings out of the way, Ellis got around to explaining the dimensions for the live house.
The hall serves as the foundation for the building. The seats are movable, so seating can be adjusted depending on what type of show is booked for that night. In total, they were hoping to make 300 thousand rils every night it is open. If the event seats 100 people, then tickets will be sold for 3000 ril, and if the venue can seat 300 people that night, then tickets will be sold at 1000 ril. They were hoping to hold an event every two nights at least.
“Hmm, it’s a good reference for the sales. Although the actual numbers will depend largely on the performers you book.”
Ferdinand started comparing some of the already planned shows with the floor plan that Ellis provided him. While he was deep in thought by what he saw, Ellis took the time to talk to Nicole.
“Nicole, can you go grab the other members of Stone Walls? Grab the muscle performers that the brothers introduced too please.”
Nicole looked at her with a stupid expression, but there was no reason for him to refuse.
“Okay Ellis. Just give me a minute.”
While he was running off, Ferdinand was busy giving various advice to Maria. Things to advertise, where to advertise, how best to communicate with the entertainers, and the best way to use the Thieves’ and Adventurer’s Guild were just some of the topics he was rattling off.
“Building the live house itself is your biggest cost. Upkeep doesn’t cost much, so you should start seeing profits as soon as you start putting on shows. By the way, do you have an idea for some Warren performers already?”
Maria had already picked out a couple of groups, but Ellis had an idea for two groups as well.
It was then the Nicole’s band members arrived.
“My name is Ramon, a stylish rock gay.”
“My name is Amon, a stylish metal gay.”
“My name is Simon, a stylish punk gay.”
“My name is Damon, a stylish pop gay.”
“My name is Nicole, a stylish reggae gay.”
“Please stand aside Nicole.”
The four muscled performers had also arrived. Nicole’s group took a step back, glaring at them, but the fighting performers matched their glares and stared right back at them. The fighting performers and the music performers seemed to know each other, and it looked like there was more than a little bad blood between them.
Ellis got between the fighting performers and Nicole’s four bandmates and addressed the eight of them.
“You guys, from now on you eight are part of the Thieves’ Guild’s entertainment branch: male division.”
Ellis then turned towards Maria.
“These eight will normally work at the nightclub. However, their real job will be performing at the live house. Do you have any objections?”
Maria didn’t say anything, but the eight men all seemed rather excited about the idea.
“Can we fight again?”
“Although the stage is a little small, you should be able to perform once every seven days. I’ll try to get you guys a good ring later.”
“Can we play on the live stage as well?”
“I saw just how popular Nicole and the Stone Walls were at the harvest festival. Sometimes Reeve can participate with you, make sure you don’t do anything to embarrass her.”
Maria and Ferdinand were left stunned as Ellis continued to advance the situation on her own.
“What a girl,” Ferdinand wearily sighed.
“Alright then Reeve. I’m going to bring these eight to the Thieves’ Guild, so I’ll leave Ferdinand to you.”
And so without waiting for a reply, Ellis made her way out of the Merchant Guild hall like a passing typhoon with eight men trailing behind her.
“I came here to see Margherita. Is she here or at the store?”
“She’s here with Marilyn actually. They’re having a meeting with Machel in the back.”
“Great! Can you call her for me?”
“Sure just give me a second.”
Just like usual Karen disappeared into the back room, but she was back out front after only a second had passed saying that the women would be right out to meet them. Ellis had always thought it never took long for the receptionists to return because Baltis had always been watching the lobby when she entered, but she had now officially become curious about how the receptionists pass their messages.
And sure enough, just as Karen had said, Margherita and her coworkers appeared.
“Morning Ellis. Thank you for the extra income last night.”
That’s right. In last night’s gambling practice, Margherita and Marilyn had emerged in triumph. Although having received tips for every winning hand, Machel could be said to be the winner overall.
“I’m glad I could help. By the way, can we change the way we use the Gachihomos for a bit?”
Ellis re-introduced the four Gachihomos and four gay band members, and she proposed that rather than having them be simple employees at the nightclub, they would be better off becoming the new members of the entertainment division Margherita had recently been put in charge of. Generally speaking, six of them could work at once while another two took the day off. On the days that they are fighting in the arena or performing on stage, the other group can pick up the slack.
“And since they wouldn’t be getting by on just the nightclub’s income, we should be able to keep costs down.”
“Alright Ellis, it sounds fine to me. By the way, do you have time after this?”
“It should be alright. What is it?”
“Oh, it’s just about the uniforms we’re going to use.”
“Right, we will have to decide on that early. Alright Gachihomos, Gays, break!”
The eight grown men were being ordered around as if they were a bunch of low-thugs by an eight-year-old girl. But when she told them to break up, they nodded their heads and obediently left. She was an important lady who had just gotten them stable work and a venue to ply their trade after all.
“Alright, they’re gone. Let’s talk.”
The management policy inside the nightclub had almost been completely decided.
Everything inside the building could be paid for using poker chips.
The customers would deposit their luggage at the entrance, purchase the necessary chips at the front counter, and they would then use those chips for playing, eating, drinking, among other things. It had already been decided that servings of sake would be 500 ril and that snack foods such as nuts would be served for 1000 ril. Guests who wish for a lighter time or are just visiting for a short while can enjoy some fruit juice instead which is also sold for 500 ril. It’s chip on delivery throughout the store. Settlements are done on the spot.
“For the people in charge of the games, I was thinking of having all the assistants, bankers, and dealers wear the same uniform. Something simple yet sexy would be best, so a white blouse with a black vest overtop it and knee-high pencil skirts.”
This was Machel’s proposal. It was something cute yet simple, but since the assistants weren’t supposed to seduce the customers, Ellis thought it was perfect.
“I was initially thinking about having the attendants use the same long maid wear we wore before, but then I thought of something else.”
Margherita’s plan was to change Master’s Hideaway and remove ‘a little nice thing’ and ‘a very nice thing’ from the menus. They would mark down the services to a more suitable cost, and the name of the bath would be changed accordingly.
Meanwhile the new store would serve ‘a little nice thing’ and ‘a very nice thing’ exclusively. The uniforms there would be more direct, consisting of a black one-piece dress that the girls could customize as they see fit.
“We can make the current bath more wholesome, allowing men to use it without suspicion from their wives being thrown on them. Meanwhile the new store would carry a more adult atmosphere to compensate.”
“But the dreams.”
“It’s for the best, Ellis.”
Ellis thought about it for a minute. As much as she hated to admit it, Margherita had a point. And the maid uniforms would certainly look out of place in the atmosphere she was describing. But were black one-piece dresses really the answer?
With a heavy heart, Ellis relented. She would have to temporarily withdraw the grand bunny girl wear plan that she had devised beforehand.
“Well, Margherita and Marilyn are able to show off their appeal no matter what dress they wear.”
“So we’re fine to place the order?”
“What do you mean? You’re the leader. You decide.”
Margherita’s face flashed a bright red, and Ellis got to have a small laugh after having her soul momentarily crushed. But with that, the state of things was finally established, and the three former back-alley women got to work.
The Male Street (tentative name) would soon be open for business.