Harassing Thief Girl Ch. 98

https://ncode.syosetu.com/n3461cg/98/

 

Development Nya

When the villagers finally calmed down, Nicole got down to business and started explaining how the Merchant Guild wanted to start buying fish from the village. From the group of villagers, all of the fisherman ran forward and crowded around Nicole.

The Land Dragon Ra-chin meanwhile had started sunbathing on the beach in his original size. The village’s children gathered around him trying to take a look, but they were all too scared to get any closer. When Ra-chin yawned, the children freaked out looking like they were about to run away again, but Katie tried beckoning them to come closer instead.

“It’s alright nya. We can climb on him a bit nya.”

Even when the children hesitatingly approached, Ra-chin did not move at all. Even when their trembling hands touched his hard scales, there was no reaction other than the small movement from him breathing. And so, the exchange between the children and their new favorite jungle gym, the guardian dragon, began.
Frau and Goro were wandering around the village together at the same time. They were checking out some fish heads and a few small dried fish. In Warren, the two of them had often cooked freshwater fish, but they were worrying together about what to do with the seawater fish that would surely have a stronger flavor.
Ellis and Claire had gone for a walk starting at the northern cliff, traveling down towards the sandy beach, and even heading down to the rocky south to better understand each area. Just to be safe, they took a look at the rocky area between the village and the beach as well. They spent their time whispering to each other their business plans in an effort to keep things secret.
Reeve was accompanying Maria, sunbathing on the beach. Maria had prepared swimsuits for the both of them along with a pair of carefully selected umbrellas and beach chairs as well.

“Maria, is this all we are going to do?”

When Reeve finally broke the silence and asked the question that was bugging her, Maria replied with a suggestive smile.

“This is also part of Ellis’s plan. So let’s be sure to report everything we find to Ellis after taking in a lot of sun.”

Reeve was left wondering what exactly it was they were supposed to report, but she eventually decided it was best not to think about it. For now, enjoying her time soaking up the sun sounded like a much better idea.

 

And after some time had passed,
As a result of Nicole’s negotiations, it was decided that Warren would send some of its chefs and supplies to the village first. It turns out the a larger variety of fish products could be gathered from the village than the Merchant Guild had expected.
At the same time, Frau and Goro brought forth a proposal to have the small fish cooked by boiling rather than the sundried method the village currently used. It would reduce the strong flavor a bit, allow the fish to last a few days longer, and the leftover soup stock could be sold as its own commodity.

And then the featured product for the day.
Climbing on the back of the still sunbathing Ra-chin, Ellis and Claire led everyone away from the beach. Their destination? A rocky area at the back of the village.

“Ellis, around here should be good.”
“Alright Claire. Just to make sure Katie, you said that no one in particular owns this land right?”
“Right, I confirmed it with Pa nya.”
“Good, then Ra-chin, you’re up.”

Maria’s group along with all of the villagers including Gattis started to make noise wondering what was about to happen.
Ellis shared her vision with Ra-chin’s to get a better view, and using {Lock on}, she was able to point out to him the exact location–at the center of the rocky field.

“If you would be so kind Ra-chin.”
“Roger Ellis.”

Ellis cast {Summon Volcano}. The rocks started to bulge upward, gradually rising into the air, but when it finally burst, it wasn’t lava that spewed out but a mass of steam and hot water.

It was a hot spring.
After examining their surroundings, Ellis and Claire were able to confirm that the rocks littering the ground in the area were volcanic, perhaps having formed at some point in the past from a northern volcano. This suggested that any underground springs could potentially be developed into a hot spring. So using {Summon Volcano} to push the water vein closer to the surface, the spell cracked the ground creating a small explosion from the heated underground air pocket.
A hole was left in the rock that hot water was gradually accumulating in. Claire watched the water carefully to confirm any irregularities before putting her hand in the hot water to check the temperature.

“Everything’s fine Ellis. It’s all hot fresh water.”

The hot water continued to accumulate overtop the rocks as she was running her tests. Ellis and Ra-chin then moved to another area a little ways away, and another spring burst forth. Ellis and Ra-chin made sure this one was even larger before turning back towards the curious villagers.

“Everyone, this is a hot spring. Come and try it out.”

The villagers all rushed forward at once, dipping their hands into the water and enjoying the temperature change.
Meanwhile Maria and Gattis left the scene in order to start the final confirmation for their future plans.

The first issue had to deal with territory. If the village was already under a territory of Marsfield or Wheat Grace, then the future development of the village could be hindered by bureaucracy and greed. But Gattis shook his head and explained that there were no worries concerning that. Their village had been abandoned long ago.
So it was fine to claim it as part of Warren. Regarding the future sales they were negotiating, everything would be fine so long as the Warren Council paid taxes to the royal family through the Merchant guild.

Next was the matter of whether to recognize fishing as food production. Any act of food production in Warren is forbidden as per its restrictions as a ‘trade city’. However if it is food that is just building off something that Warren already had, then it would be okay. Since Warren never imported fish products from any of the surrounding towns anyway, it is unlikely to cause an issue with any of its trade partners, but it is always good to prepare for the worst. In the first place, it is already a gray area on whether or not ‘fishing’ could be counted as ‘food production’, so it is decided that any small problems with the royal family or other noblemen can be cleared up by using the excuse that they are not selling their own food–fish–but rather selling a completed product–boiled fish.

The village was also going to need to undergo some development. Ellis was planning on turning this place into a resort-like area to draw in tourists, so it would at the very least require a name.

“Maria, Reeve, how was the sunbathing?”
“Wonderful Ellis. The only worry I had was taking a bath after we were done, but you’ve already made the perfect solution in the hot springs.”

Maria responded in a happy mood. Reeve was standing slightly behind her, nodding while looking a little embarrassed for some reason.

Claire then stepped forward.
“They’re going to need a facility to provide accommodations, beach chairs to rent out, a restaurant, to provide drinks to the sunbathers, and facilities for the hot springs. Is that all? At the very least they should be fine with just the women from the village running things.”

Next was Frau’s turn.
“Since Warren doesn’t import any shrimp or shellfish, restaurants around here can make them their specialty.”
Then Goro came over carrying a large tub with him. Inside was a large amount of a single type of shellfish.
“This is what I was able to catch by myself after a short amount of time over near the rocks. Try it out.”
Goro then began to remove the shells with a sharp knife, washed the innards with salt water, and distributed the meat to everyone. Ellis was amazed at just how juicy the meat was. The taste was so strong, it definitely would leave behind an impression to anyone trying it out for the first time. The villagers on the other hand weren’t sure what everyone was talking about. To them, this stuff was just everyday foodstuff.

And Maria finally summarized the village’s future.
The Merchant Guild would handle developing the village, and the villagers would have preferential treatment when it came time to hiring employees. As the village grows, they would also be able to apply for loans and help when it came time for the villagers to branch out and open up their own stores.
The villagers let out a thunderous cheer at the news. Considering just yesterday they were an abandoned village destined to rot away, their reactions were reasonable.

“Pa, does this mean I’m not disinherited anymore nya?”
“I guess you are the village’s savior gya.”

It turns out Katie ran away from home after a particularly bitter fight with her father. Well, it’s good that a father and daughter were able to make up. It involved a lot less work than resolving Reeve’s runaway problem too.

“Right Pa, Reeve did this for her family when she went home too so here nya. Be sure to listen to Maria and Nicole on how to use it nya. It’s not for gambling nya.”

Katie easily handed over a 100 million ril adventurer guild exchange note from her bag. For how easily Katie handed it over, Gattis looked like he was about to have a heart attack. Watching them go from the side, Nicole was relieved that so early on in the dealings the village didn’t need a new chief.
But the village was exuberant, and for the first time in a long time, there were talks about throwing a celebration. In the middle of all that cheer and happiness, Ellis and Maria walked off alone to begin the final negotiations.

“Ten percent of the money from bathing fees and another ten percent from the sales of everything other than the seafood,” Ellis whispered.
“I don’t really have a choice but to accept the ten percent for the hot springs, but I won’t budge on the rest. Frau is acting as an adviser to how the seafood should be sold, so you can have ten percent of the sales from the restaurants alone.”
“Okay, then how about this. I’ll take the ten percent for the bathing fees along with the ten percent from restaurant sales for Frau’s advisory work, but you must agree to employ only Claire’s design office for any new buildings to be constructed.”

Maria and Ellis shook hands in a way that nobody else would be able to notice. And the merchant’s deal was struck.

 

After the talks had ended, Ellis went out for a walk when an old woman from the village called out to her.

“Young lady who lives with the dragon, do you know the story of the Storm Dragon?”¹

It was apparently the only that took neither the Hero’s or the Demon Lord’s side at the time of the previous Demon/God war, having hidden itself away somewhere on the continent until the fighting had ended. Ra-chin had already told her about its existence.
But the old woman knew more. That dragon apparently lived to the south, even farther down than Wheat Grace’s southern fishing village. It was another place that nobody had visited in decades.
The news was something Ellis welcomed with a large smile. She wanted to cut off as much strength from the Hero and Demon Lord as she could. At the very least, going down there to investigate wouldn’t bring her any harm.

“Grandma, thank you.”

Ellis waved farewell to the old woman with a smile and headed back to the other four.

“Let’s go get us a Storm Dragon while we are at it.”

The four girls matched Ellis’s wicked smile, and the plans for another trip south were quickly being made. Their next game had been decided.


1. All of the villagers in this village were supposed to be cat beastmen yet this old woman doesn’t use cat speak. The author really dropped the ball here. I am disappointed.

Chapter 97

Chapter 99

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