Sorry for the huge delay with this and the last couple of chapters. This summer is proving to be a busy time for me. I’m hoping I can pick up the speed again soon, but the fact that a lot of these future chapters are going to be longer won’t help. But I’ll still do my best! Happy 4th of July everyone. PS: someone brought up to me that it looks like the pictures embedded in most of the chapters were removed. I’ve fixed that. I’m pretty sure I know how it happened too, so it shouldn’t happen again.
The Young Lady Peddles [Flowers]
When the time comes for the downtown area of the city to start drawing in customers, there is another group of people already in [downtown] that are forced to crawl away. These are the people who can’t come out when the sun is shining, whose naked desires would cause them to burn if they were found in the [entertainment district].
Women tightly clinging to any potential customers while calling out frivolous flattery mixed together with the odd angry shouts of the evening’s drunkards. Others threw out jeers at any who’d pass by while sleazy-looking street vendors ignored the turmoil, adding to the cacophony by continuously shouting out their sales pitches.
It was a chaotic scene that would make any with even a tiny bit of morality frown occurring in a back alley that would be otherwise quiet if it were the middle of the day.
And at the edge of this chaos, even though it was the middle of the night, came the innocent sound of a child’s voice.
“How about some flowers~?”
In a street containing only things that would be bad for her education, a red-headed girl was trying to sell several flowers from a basket she held underneath her arm. The twintailed girl was desperately trying to sell the several flowers she had randomly picked from the park, but there were no drunks who would participate in this carnival of vice that would also be interested in some silly flowers.
Ten years before Rachel would be imprisoned.
A six year old Margaret sold flowers in the entertainment district to try and top off her life.
But in this city, Margaret’s mother operated as a [high class] prostitute.
She was a woman who was beautiful enough even without make-up, and a fleeting, quiet smile which led people to believe she could pass off as the daughter of a noble. It was because she had such an appearance that Margaret’s mother wore more modest clothing while others in her line of work did their best to dress flashily. Inside a group of gaudily done up [flowers], her graceful figure would naturally stand out leading to her [market price] being higher. But, there were still numerous people she called [Master].
With that being the case then, there must be quite a few [successful people] with a great deal of wealth who can just throw that kind of money around in this town……..although seeing the customers that were chosen, the young girl couldn’t tell these men had any money on their looks alone.
And so Margaret started selling flowers in the entertainment district every night trying to help her mother.
Mama is beautiful and smart.
And that Mama had told her, “we have to work while thinking about the future while we can.”
Young Margaret had never thought any further into her future than her next meal, but what Mama says was always correct.
“How about some flowers~?”
Even under the light of dusk the flowers Margaret had properly pulled from the side of the road looked to be in a sorry state.
Naturally she wasn’t able to sell a single one.
That’s how it is. People wouldn’t pay for something like this………she thought to herself. Sometimes there would be an adult who would throw out his pocket change as charity though, so she didn’t feel terribly foolish.
(If two, three more people show me mercy tonight, I should be able to buy myself some milk tomorrow………) Margaret thought to herself.
While doing some cost calculations in her head, Margaret looked around to see if there was anyone she could get to stop……..when a shadow appeared.
Looking up, Margaret saw an influential-looking middle-aged gentleman looking down on her.
(All right, a customer!)
“How about some flowers~?”
Margaret stuck out a couple flowers towards the man that all looked like they were about ready to wilt.
But the customer(?) showed no interest in the flowers, gently brushing against Margaret’s fist that was wrapped around them.
Seeing the man make some strange movements, the young red-headed girl was puzzled. She didn’t understand what he wanted.
As the middle-aged man continued as he was with Margaret’s hand, he slowly squatted down, keeping his eyes glued on her face.
Upon reaching eye-level and seeing that the cute young girl had an accepting look on her face, the man made a satisfied nod.
The words that would come from such a perverted gentleman……….
“Huh? …………, OH!? OOOOOH!!”
Finally realizing her customer’s intentions, Margaret shouted out in surprise.
“Ah~, you’re [that] kind of customer then? What, you surprised me! I never thought about that [problem].”¹
“Eh? No, I wouldn’t say I’m that……..”
“There are a lot of them these days right, abductions or the like! That’s no good right, you have to properly buy little girls with money!”
“Isn’t that it’s own problem!?”
As her customer was left confused by her unorthodox answer, Margaret dropped her vigilance and stuck out her hand with a few of her fingers pointing out.
“Well then, if it’s [that]………I’m afraid it will be [this much].”
Margaret could have sold the flower basket in her arms three times over, and still it would not have matched the amount she had shown……..but it was in no way expensive if one wanted to [play] with a beautiful young girl.
It took a moment for the reality that he would be able to buy such a fine jewel for such a low price to hit the man, but when it did, he readily paid what was owed.
Taking the all-important gold, Margaret happily gave the man a hug. And then drew her hand back.²
“For that, Mama has a room she sometimes uses that I have prepared.”
“Then let’s go, oh, and don’t try anything funny.”
The two began laughing together as they started walking hand-in-hand through the clamor that sounded as if it came straight from a banquet in Hell.
Margaret acted as a guide, leading the man further down into the far back of a narrow alley where a single building stood. Barely. The door looked like it might not open with dust and rust accumulated all around. It was looking less like a storehouse and more like some old ruins……..
Naturally the man was puzzled, but Margaret laughed innocently.
“If the front already looks like this, then nobody will come looking to perform [maintenance]³. The back room is much more beautiful.”
“Hahah, I see.”
Margaret let go of the man’s hand, giving a spirited “Let’s go,” as she pushed open the rusted door with both hands. She walked in first.
“It’s back here. Since it’s dark in here please step lively.”
Relying mostly on the sound of Margaret’s voice to know where he was going, the customer was able to just make out the shape of a door on the other side of the room with what light was available. Feeling around for a doorknob in the darkness, he soon pushed open the door……..only now wondering why the door was closed if the young girl had already walked through.
As the door swung open, an outside air brushed up against his cheeks. So beyond the open door was………..outside.
The door had been closed.
The other side of the door didn’t lead to a [guest room], it lead outside.
Unable to process what was right in front of him, the man continued walking forward off of his own momentum………and stumbled over some kind of large bundle.
The man pitched forward, rolling out past the doorway…….plunging head first down into the water’s surface of a sewage canal far below floor level.
As the man’s deathly screams faded away, there soon came a new loud noise as if something large had broken through the surface of some water……..and after a little while, there came the noise of someone wildly flailing around, hitting the surface of the water trying to not drown.
Further up top, the mass that the man had tripped over started to stir.
“That’s the second one today.”
Margaret rose up from her curled up position on the floor, she closed the door behind her before rushing away from the abandoned canal.
Two, three blocks she ran, before finding a hollow she could hide in away from the crowds and opened up the man’s wallet she had pilfered from his pocket.
Even under the added darkness of the hole she had worked her way into, the disk-shaped metal let off a dull glow.
“Uwa, it’s a big catch today!”
Adding the amount in the wallet to the money she had gotten as a prepayment, Margaret found she had made much more than what she had calculated by hand. The wallet had contained an abundance of silver coins along with three gold coins as well. With the first good haul in such a long time, Margaret’s innocent beautiful face made a warm smile.
“Counting out your [sales] like this really makes all the fatigue from a hard day’s work blow away!”
This kind of [job] really is hard on somebody with such a young body……..mostly from nervousness.
Counting the fruits of her labor once again to get a precise number, the young girl once again returned to the entertainment district with a full wallet.
Margaret called out to an evil-looking man standing in the corner of a crowded room.
The man called [Master] was touted as a sort-of administrator for the pickpockets in the area and was the boss of the entire entertainment district. When it came to the blurred line between legal and criminal acts in this city, he was the god in charge of deciding what was safe and what was not.
Margaret took out the wallet she had taken from her earlier [customer].
“This time, customers sure are coming in for those flowers……..”
“Oh…….there have been a lot recently~”
As was said, in order to do business in this town, even if you are a young girl, it’s required that you run things pass the boss. [Master] was aware Margaret was selling piss-poor flowers and then cheating the lolicons who come to her by pilfering their wallets.
The young girl dumped out the contents of the wallet into a tray before the man’s eyes, and after he had seen it all, she picked back up all the silver coins, putting them back in her wallet. As for the three gold pieces that had been left out, she dutifully presented them to the boss.
“Won’t your share be less than half if you give me these?”
“I can’t use gold coins anyway.”
“……..I suppose that’s true.”
Gold coins are a large form of currency, and as such, it’s not really seen in most stores as commoners would rarely get one in their life.
If this was Margaret in her later years she would assuredly split the gold coins down the middle, but for now, she was still quite [innocent].
“I’d take it home if I could exchange it somewhere.”
“If that’s the case you should just make change for it to start.”
“I don’t do it to start because I can’t. Besides, my job this time still brought in a hefty sum.”
“This brat really knows what to say……..”
Correction. Margaret was still Margaret, even at this age.
From there Margaret talked with the boss about what the previous customer was wearing and what he looked like.
From there it was about how the [customer] had gotten cheated, falling into a sewage canal below, and how if he hadn’t lost his fighting spirit and returned home, he was most likely roaming the streets looking for her in anger after she skirted away.
“I’ll keep an eye out, but you should watch yourself for a while as well.”
There were more than just a few residents of the entertainment district who still made these kinds of payments to the boss even though they weren’t necessarily his underlings just to reduce any risk from cheated customers demanding refunds from their dangerous [businesses].
So long as you make your payments to this man, you shouldn’t have to worry about any obsessive customers’ harassment making you stick out and disrupting your business. Thanks to this the people of this district were able to put their all into their work.
………Of course, that’s assuming your [business] pays the boss’s due. Otherwise, in Margaret’s case for example, she could find herself served up on a platter for that lolicon.
For safety reasons it would be for the best that Margaret didn’t try to make any more [sales] for a while, but since the profit from this day was quite high, her living expenses would hold for quite some time. Tomorrow afternoon she would head to the market and treat herself to some cheese and sausage.
Margaret ran through the entertainment district, being careful and making sure nobody was tailing her, humming a song to herself until she reached home where her mother was waiting.
In ten years she would be a lower noble while the [Master] who had taken care of her would be forced to run errands for the daughter of a duke who would be her rival for the Prince’s affections……..it was the type of story that a mortal girl like Margaret could never have possibly imagined at this point.
For safety reasons and to help each other out, some women in Margaret’s mother’s profession joined together, renting out a shabby apartment building to create a small home for mothers and their children. Margaret lived up on the fourth floor.
While returning to her room on the top floor and giving a lively greeting all the way up, her mother was already there, opening the door to greet her before she even had a chance to knock………by the way, the current time was already past midnight.
“Welcome back Margaret. How were today’s sales?”
Seeing her beautiful mother wearing a simple shoulder dress with a shawl, Margaret gave a bright greeting with a large smile. She then offered a cheerful answer.
“Today was really good!”
A flick of the finger to Margaret’s forehead caused her to be blown away.
Being forced to sit on the ground, Margaret rubbed her forehead with watery eyes.
“That’s no good, Margaret. Didn’t I ask you how today’s sales were?”
Taken aback by her mother’s repeated question, Margaret tried answering again but this time more quietly.
“So then while I talk, I’ll hold my fingers up………”
“That’s good. Remember, we can rely on our neighbors, but we can’t trust them. If it’s a robbery or about taking care of one another then we can all be friends, but if it’s about money then these women will steal even just a copper coin from you.”
A sad expression coming across her beautiful face, Margaret’s mother let out a long sigh.
“Oh Margaret, it’s good to honest, but being too honest is the same as being stupid, and I worry………”
“It’s all right Mama! Before, you said that stupid children were cute!”
“Like I was saying, I worry.”
The day’s proceeds were to be handed over to Mother which usually amounted to around three large silver coins. If this type of income were to be seen by somebody else, then usually they would think they’re making a tidy profit.
This money was to be used for living expenses. The rest that mother makes was to be stored away somewhere safe where none of their neighbors could find it.
Margaret was (in a sense) still pure-minded however. Thinking, “I’ve given Mother so much pocket money, so it will surely be built up until I am an adult,” she was still an innocent child who did not yet understand the way society worked.
While tasting some plum juice her mother had brought out to celebrate her [big catch], Margaret asked something that had been bothering her since before.
“Hey Mama. Everyone always says, ‘Because Mama is beautiful, she earns more money,’ so why don’t you take more customers?”
It was here that Margaret’s proud mother pulled out a little liquor for herself as a thin crease formed on her forehead, and she gave her daughter a complacent smile.
“Is that so? Well, because Mama is aiming for a better life, she’s holding herself back to prevent herself from becoming cheap goods.”
“Ahh……….so the customer will come and demand a discount?”
This mother was chewing her lip, trying to find the right way to explain something like this to a girl who still didn’t fully understand these types of matters.
“With Mama’s job right now, I could earn a lot of money, but that would only be while I am still young and beautiful.”
“So that’s why Mama, rather than making more money right now, is trying to secure a good future………someone with a certain status, and a certain income, I’m working hard to find a man and go through a proper marriage.”
“I understand it somehow………but it’s still not clicking, could I get another hint?”
“But I thought you said you understood?”
Margaret’s mother uses her level of beauty that is rarely seen as a weapon and was aiming to graduate from prostitution and become a true, formal noble.
In truth she could also live a well-to-do life if she were to aim for a wealthy merchant as well……but if she were to aim for such a man, it was more likely she would end up as just one of a multitude of mistresses.
Right now she was a daily hire looking for full-time employment. Not limited time contract work.
The original problem here though was that there were honestly too many wealthy merchants who liked to play around with their gold, and no large nobles. However a commoner could break through and become the legal wife to a lower noble just so long as she was pleasing to the eye, sociable, and well-educated.
Of course men who are nobles in name only would come with their own hardships, so it is necessary to properly look for one with a decent income.
It would be troublesome to be married to a tyrant who treats their wife as an object, so it is necessary to find someone with a gentle personality.
She had no intentions of throwing Margaret away, so she had to find someone who would dote on their children and cherish even an adopted child from another marriage.
Commoner aside, it would be perfectly acceptable for any vassals to scorn and make light of a former prostitute, so someone from a small house with little to rule would actually be preferable.
Taking in all of those conditions, she would properly promise herself before God in a marriage to a man who was true to himself.
Which is, a playboy who was willing to show his face in the entertainment district.
……….lining up all the conditions together like that, it’s a wonder why there are no candidates left. Not a single man has passed her judgment.
But, Margaret’s mother had not given up hope.
She was still in her early twenties and had at least another decade to keep searching.
“Such a man would undoubtedly avoid a woman too used to playing around, so I as well, shall live as the daughter of a fallen noble house who must reluctantly marry……….”
“Huh? But Mama, weren’t you born to a family of potato farmers?”
“………it’s called a setting, and I chose it for my customers.”
As the young girl repeated the word looking a mix of befuddled and impressed, her mother added on in a serious tone.
“Margaret, don’t you remember? In order to catch a man, how important is having a character setting?”
A mother was handing down knowledge that was in no way good for a six-year-old girl to learn.
“It’s super important!”
The honest takeaway just added on to the foolish girl’s future worries.
The mother patted her daughter’s hair.
“Mama will always work to bring you a wonderful Papa. Once I do, Margaret will become a young, noble lady.”
“I’ll become a noble!?”
Margaret would be a lower noble in the future, but compared to how she was now, a noble’s life was far above that of a low-class commoner.
When it came to nobility, all she could picture was the visage of a great man.
And Margaret could become such a noble.
“If I can catch a nobleman, then you might even be able to go in and out of the royal palace. At that time Margaret would be a noble’s daughter, and there would be upper nobles with a higher standing………yes, you might even be able to catch a real prince.”
“A cute girl like Margaret is really rare, it’d be an easy victory!”
“Hooooooooooooooo………..I got it! Fight on, Mama!”
“Yes, of course.”
“It will become the ‘foundation’ for my ‘womanly success story’!”
“Where did you learn an irritating phrase like that?”
“One of the knight uncles said it to Auntie Meg on the second floor.”
“Those knight are reeeeeally no good, a bunch of muscle heads. After all I should aim for a bureaucrat……..anyway Margaret, don’t you know that it’s no good calling Meg or anyone else who lives in this apartment [Auntie]? Please think about what would happen if she were to hear you during tomorrow morning’s prayer.”
“Extremely dangerous. Everyone here is very delicate about their age.”
“It’s been ten years………”
Having grown into a respectable maiden (or supposedly at least), Margaret looked out over the downtown area where she used to live from the terrace of the royal palace.
Her mother had declared to her four years later she had caught a Papa who satisfied all of her conditions.
She became a baroness, and while that was a position in noble life at the lower end which could be brushed off, from the viewpoint of someone living in the slums it was a position as high as the clouds.
Margaret had been inducted into the Baron’s house along with her mother and become a real life noble daughter. While small, she was able to move into a house with a servant and was able to take a carriage to visit the royal palace every day. Compared to living in fear in a corner of the entertainment district, a gray zone where you had to try and make a living while being mindful of robbers or even worse, her life now was like living in heaven.
“Fufufufufu……….a little more, just a little more. I’ll have completely stolen Elliott from that disagreeable Rachel, and I’ll take the seat as the crown princess!”
Margaret did not intend for her story to end here.
Just as her mother had promised her, Margaret had been pulled up and become a noble daughter to a baron’s house.
“And just as Mama said, I’ll rise up above a simple baron’s daughter and nab me a real life prince!”
Margaret had not forgotten the promise made that day when she was young.
And now, she was in a place where her dreams could come true, just so long as she reached out and grabbed them.
Margaret looked down on the city below her, arms crossed and an invincible feeling spread across her face as a low laugh began in her throat. Gradually her laughter grew in volume, soon becoming audible to her surroundings until finally becoming so loud you could hear it from the heavens.
“Kukukukuku……….fufufu, HaHaHaHa…………AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You can do anything you put your mind towards, and as long as I do what needs to be done, I can accomplish anything! Take a look Rachel, Elliott, who should be yours, shall be successfully taken by me! AHAHAHAHAHA! Haahahahahahahahahaha…….fufu……..heh, *cough cough*………….”
Before long, the young girl laughing up towards the heavens had laughed too much to the point it had become painful………..she was forced to crouch down right there and descended into a coughing fit.
At that same time underneath the terrace, some security soldiers were talking with one another.
“Right when I think I hear some strange roar coming from somewhere, I realize it’s that woman once again.”
“I wonder why the prince is fine with it.”
“That guy only sees what he wants to see……..love is blind I guess?”
“Can’t that girl do this at her own house…………at least then we wouldn’t have to take a look every time we hear a strange noise.”
1. The word Margaret uses here can also be referring to a court case which is why it’s emphasized.
2. The phrase used here can also mean to back out of a deal.
3. A word with a double meaning. The Japanese word here can stand for repairs or maintenance, but it can also refer to a police raid.