Thursday, 31 October 2019

Ch 164 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 164 -- Sparks Fly

"Sorry to keep you waiting." Guild Master Adriano-san announced as he returned with the gem appraiser Ruslan-san following behind. "Well," he said after sitting down, "We'd like to buy most of the items you have offered us. The items are..."

The jewels that Adriano-san wanted to purchase were the smaller stones, the ruby, emerald, aquamarine, garnet, the two amethysts and the peridot as well as the two small diamonds and the two medium-sized ones. In addition he wanted the gold ingot, the diamond ring and lastly the Imperial Topaz. I got the impression that diamonds were popular gems in this world but the large yellow diamond that Ruslan-san had enthused over was not included in his list, probably because they simply couldn't afford to pay me a realistic price for it. The tanzanite necklace was also rejected, perhaps because it was unusual and hence would be difficult to sell on.

"I would like to buy these," he said, separating the items he had listed on one side of the cloth on the table. "Is that acceptable?" When I agreed, Adriano-san read out the price he was offering for each as Ugor-san and I listened closely.

"The small ruby is worth 180 gold coins, the small emerald 170 gold coins, the small aquamarine 140 gold coins, the small garnet 120 gold coins, the two small amethysts are each 80 gold coins so that makes 160 gold coins and the peridot is 110 gold coins." He separated each gem as he priced it, pushing it to one side of the cloth with a finger.

"The diamonds now, the two smaller diamonds are each worth 500 gold coins so that makes 1000 gold coins and the two larger diamonds are each worth 750 gold coins so that makes 1500 gold coins. As for the other items, the gold ingot is worth 300 gold coins, the Imperial Topaz is worth 1600 gold coins and I'd like to offer 680 gold coins for the diamond ring. That makes a total of 7460 gold coins." He looked up at me with a smile. "Is that agreeable to you, Mukouda-san?"

Jewellery is amazing, it’s expensive in this world too. 7460 gold coins for those? I looked at the gems on the cloth, coloured glass in pleasing shapes and they were worth, let me see, the price of eight Black Magic Cooking Stoves, or was that nine? I could understand large amounts of money better that way, somehow. I opened my mouth to agree but...

"Ehh, can I just interrupt here to say 'please wait a moment'?" Ugor-san broke in before I could say anything. “The purchase price you offered Mukouda-san seems a bit on the low side to me, Guild Master, especially for the Imperial Topaz and the diamonds." He sat back as Adriano-san's eyes locked on him.

"As the Deputy Guild Master of Doran's Adventurers Guild, a lot of information about the prices and rarity of assorted items Adventurers might wish to sell passes across my desk, including gems and jewellery. I try to make careful note of such things." He leaned forward and laid his finger on the Imperial Topaz on the cloth, mimicking the manner Adriano-san had touched it earlier as he sorted through the items he wished to purchase.

"For example, I've heard of the Imperial Topaz before today. It is one of the fabled 'Phantom Jewels', is it not?" Ruslan-san twitched at Ugor-san's words but Adriano-san's expression did not change. Ugor-san smiled. "Yes, with a name like that, one would expect jewellers to prize such stones above others for their rarity and desirability." Ugor-san moved the Imperial Topaz with his finger, as if to shift it over to where the unwanted large yellow diamond and the tanzanite necklace lay. Adriano-san tensed momentarily but quickly regained his calm demeanour and returned Ugor-san's smile with one of his own, if a rather tight-lipped one.

"And of course everyone knows that larger gemstones are more expensive than smaller ones." Ugor-san plunged in for the kill. "Isn't it a little strange that a 'Phantom Jewel' of this size and quality is worth, according to your good selves, only 1600 gold coins?"

Ugor-san lifted his finger from the Imperial Topaz, only to touch each of the larger diamonds in turn. "And the price you quoted for the diamonds, that seems strangely low to me. Diamonds are a very popular jewel due to their brilliance. Now these are very high quality diamonds from Doran's dungeon as Ruslan-san attested. I've not seen diamonds as large as these recovered from the dungeon before but to my certain knowledge smaller diamonds were sold for the price you are offering for these larger ones, 750 gold pieces each. How odd, I can't help thinking to myself."

O- oh, so that's how it is? Ugor-san really knew his stuff. If it had been Elland-san accompanying me to the Merchants Guild I suspect things would have gone differently. After all I had no idea at all what these gems were really worth, in this world or my own.

“Mukouda-san," Ugor-san turned to me, "you don't have to sell these gems right away, do you?" I nodded, following the Deputy Guild Master's lead. I wasn't troubled by any lack of money and I could hold on to these gems and other items indefinitely without having to turn them into cash.

“If that is the case, you can sell them to an Adventurers Guild in another city." Ugor-san continued. "Mukouda-san is a registered Adventurer after all, Adriano-san. It would be better for him to do that and get a fair price from his own Guild, don't you agree?" It was certainly something to think about...

"Please wait a moment." Adriano-san said, leaning forward eagerly. "Of course as you say, Mukouda-san is an Adventurer but were you aware that he is also registered in the Merchants Guild?" Ugor-san seemed surprised to hear that but of course I hadn't told him, or indeed anyone in Doran that I was a member of the Merchants Guild. Adriano-san, how did you know I was registered with the Merchants Guild? I had done that months ago and far from here, in another country. I could only think he had researched me and I marvelled at his thorough preparation before our meeting today. I could understand now why he was Master of the city's Merchants Guild.

“Yes, I’m registered with the Merchants Guild but I'm only iron-ranked, because I'm good at cooking and I thought at one time about setting up a food stall or maybe opening a small restaurant." I gestured behind me where Fer was lying on the luxurious carpet pretending to sleep with Dora-chan curled up on top of him, half-buried in his fur. "Now I have contracted monsters I mostly carry out Adventurer work." I sighed theatrically. "Really, I'm thinking of letting my Merchants Guild membership lapse since it's not of any real benefit to me these days." I added the last bit to support Ugor-san's efforts in dealing with Adriano-san. After all I owed a lot to the Adventurers Guild.

“That’s right." Ugor-san picked up from where I had left off, negating Adriano-san's temporary leverage in the battle of wits raging across the table. "If you’re going to take advantage of one of our Guild member's inexperience in selling such rare and sought-after items then I can only think to recommend he holds on to them for now and sells them elsewhere when he can get a better price." The Deputy Guild Master and the Guild Master traded smiles, sparks flying between them as they looked at each other. In the end Adriano-san was the one that capitulated. "Please wait a moment," he said before leaning over and whispering to Ruslan-san. I couldn't make out what he said but Ruslan-san nodded after a brief delay.

“Cough." Adriano-san looked like he was chewing a lemon, but rallied bravely. "I'm sorry. Regarding the purchase prices I mentioned earlier I would like to correct them a little. We will offer you 2100 gold coins for the Imperial Topaz, the two smaller diamonds are 700 gold coins each for a total of 1400 gold coins and the two larger diamonds are 1000 gold coins each for a total of 2000 gold coins. The diamond ring, we will increase our offer for that to 800 gold coins. I would like to buy all the items I listed earlier for a total of 9480 gold coins. Is that satisfactory?"

Oh, the price has increased significantly, but is it high enough yet? When I glanced over at Ugor-san he thought for a moment then nodded slightly which I took as a go-ahead.

"Yes, that price is acceptable." When I said that Adriano-san let out a long deep breath.

“That’s the payment you are owed then. However, since it's such a large amount can we pay you with white gold coins and large gold coins?" I had to think for a moment, white gold coins were worth a hundred regular gold coins, weren't they? I had never seen one before and rather looked forward to the experience, especially when it would be Adriano-san reluctantly giving them to me.

"Yes, that's okay." I agreed. Adriano-san stood up when I agreed and left the room. When he returned he was carrying a tray with piles of glowing coins. Glowing? I vaguely remembered that white gold coins were made from an alloy of Mithril so seeing them glow wasn't too surprising after all. The tray of coins was a more elegant method of delivering payment, usually when I received coins from the Adventurers Guild I got them in rough-woven hemp sacks.

Adriano-san counted the coins out onto the table before me, stacking them in piles of ten which was the usual way of making payments in this world. “That’s 94 white gold coins and 8 large gold coins, a total of 9480 gold coins." He swallowed again. "Please confirm the sum."

I looked carefully at the white gold coins, which sure enough had a glowing blue colour indicative of their Mithril content. My curiosity satisfied for the moment I counted the stacks of coins under Adriano's watchful eye -- 1, 2, 3... (omitted) ... 94 white gold coins and to one side there were 8 large gold coins. Yosh!

“Yes, I confirm the sum is as agreed." I pushed the cloth carrying the purchased items across the table in Adriano-san's direction then started putting the tanzanite necklace and the large yellow diamond back in my Item Box along with the coins from the table. Ruslan-san's eyes followed my hand holding the yellow diamond until it disappeared into my Item Box, his expression wistful but also strangely content. Adriano-san bundled up the cloth containing the gems and jewellery the Guild had purchased and handed it to Ruslan-san who hurried from the room.

“It was a pleasure doing business with you." I said to Adriano-san, getting up. It was time to return with Ugor-san to the Adventurers Guild and then from there go back to the inn. Dinner awaited.

"Likewise." Adriano-san said before he suddenly raised a finger. "Ah! Could I beg a moment more of your time, please Mukouda-san? A thought just struck me, you mentioned you were a good cook when you were explaining why you registered with the Merchants Guild. Could I ask you a favour...?"

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Ch 163 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 163 -- The Merchants Guild Of The City Of Doran

Doran's Merchants Guild occupied a very fine building fronting on to the main street of the city. Ugor-san led me directly into the entrance where we were met by a stout Merchant who appeared to be in his late 40s, well-dressed and neatly groomed, the very picture of a prosperous citizen.

"I've been looking forward to meeting you," he said, waving his hand towards the hallway beyond the entrance. "Please be welcome." I looked behind me, was it okay for Fer and the others to accompany me? This wasn't the Adventurers Guild where they were familiar visitors. The Merchant added, "Follow me with your contracted monsters, if you please." The Merchant had noticed my hesitancy and quickly responded to it as you might expect of a high-ranking man of business. He led the way to a room in the back of the Guild's reception area with Fer and Dora-chan tagging along. This room was one like others in the corridor where I saw more people, presumably Merchants, discussing some kind of business around tables.

* * * * *

Once we were comfortably seated around a table in the room the Merchant spoke. "Firstly, let me introduce myself. I'm the Guild Master of the Merchants Guild here in the city of Doran. My name is Adriano. I'm glad to make your acquaintance."

I was impressed by the fact the Guild Master himself had come to meet with me. "I’m Mukouda, I look forward to working with you." I responded politely, keeping in mind that I was also a member of the Merchants Guild, if only the lowest rank and this man was effectively my superior.

Adriano-san turned to the Deputy Guild Master and bowed his head. "Ugor-san, I'm sorry for bothering you so many times over the past two days about this matter."

"No no, I understand your reasons.” Ugor-san replied rather stiffly.

"I'm glad you feel that way," Adriano-san smiled. For some weird reason the Gustave level boss monster we had fought in the dungeon suddenly came to mind. "Now can we get down to business?" He turned to me. "Ugor-san has informed us that you have gems and jewellery of various sorts to offer us, is that correct?"

"Yes I do." I said. Adriano-san sent an assistant out to fetch an appraiser, someone who was an expert in examining and valuing gems and the like. The fellow who entered the room after a few minutes was a grandfatherly type, in his 60s perhaps, with sharp eyes.

"Now, please show us what you have to offer, Mukouda-san." I started taking out the various gemstones we had collected in the dungeon.

"First, there's this ruby.” I passed the stone to the old man who screwed a loupe into his eyesocket before holding the ruby up to the light, examining it closely on all sides. It was the first time I had seen someone use a loupe in this world. Glasses and other optical devices seemed to be rare and expensive, I had noticed only a few wealthier individuals wearing spectacles here and there.

"It's a small stone," the appraiser muttered, "but it's a wonderfully deep red colour. A dungeon stone, I expect." He put the stone down carefully on a soft black cloth Adriano-san had laid on the table. It sounded like the old man knew his stuff, I decided.

"Well then, can you bring out the next one please?" he requested. I asked him if it wouldn't be easier for me to get all of them out at once but he demurred.

"No, it’s been a long time since I've had a chance to work with gems from the dungeon." he explained. "I must judge each stone with my full attention. Having them all lying in front of me would only be a distraction." That really sounded like he was taking a very professional attitude to his job so I complied with his wishes and brought each stone out one by one. He examined the smaller emerald, garnet and aquamarine gemstones, the amethysts and the peridot, commenting on each of them in turn before laying them down on the cloth on the table. However when I said "This is an Imperial Topaz" and handed the stone to the appraiser, I saw his eyes light up.

"An Imperial Topaz!" he said after a long time, turning the larger stone in his fingers in the light as he studied it through his loupe with great concentration. "I haven't seen this golden color for decades! This is very fine..." he said, "there are no flaws I can detect and the size is impressive." He put the Imperial Topaz down beside the others with some reluctance, as if he didn't want to let go of it.

"You seem somewhat excited, Ruslan-san." Adriano-san said, "Is this gemstone important?" Ah, so the appraiser's name was Ruslan-san.

"Yes. This is a big find." Ruslan-san said, resting a finger on the large yellow gem. "To start with there aren't many Imperial Topazes around, it's a very rare gemstone. The people that know of them are aware of their scarcity but they're very much in demand, regardless of the price. The colour of this example too, the red-tinged golden shade, that makes it even more attractive to possible buyers." He nodded. "Once word gets out that this stone is on the market there will be a lot of people interested in acquiring it."

Adriano-san leaned in to look at the Imperial Topaz, muttering to himself, "True, that clear golden color is very attractive.” I had no idea of the value of such things but if both these gentlemen thought that way it looked like the Imperial Topaz was very valuable. I still had more gems to be appraised so I continued with the sapphire and alexandrite, following up with the smaller diamonds. Ruslan-san was quite enthusiastic about all of them.

"Huhu, the quality of dungeon products is very different to regular gems.” he explained.

"Are they really so different?" I couldn't tell myself, of course.

"Yes. First, there are few flaws if any in gems collected from a dungeon and they have clear colours with no turbidity or distortion. They are always of the the highest quality in my experience.'' Ah, I thought they were only valuable since they were gems but it seemed that dungeon gems were higher quality and presumably worth more. I recalled that Ugor-san had said that skins from the dungeon were more highly prized than those resulting from monster subjugations -- was it something about Dungeon-san's methods of producing such items? I wondered.

"Next is a diamond ring from a treasure chest.” I took it from my Item Box and handed it to Ruslan-san.

"Huhu, these stones are already mounted in a ring." He turned the ring in his fingers, examining it closely though his loupe. "The design is a little old-fashioned but the diamonds are, again, very good quality.'' It seemed the dungeon didn't keep up with the latest fashion trends when it came to jewellery and the like.

"Next is a tanzanite necklace. This also came out of a treasure chest."

"Again this is a rather old design," Ruslan-san said as he examined the necklace. "But tanzanite is a rare gem. It has a slightly purplish blue that is different from a blue sapphire, a colour unique to tanzanite in my experience. Wonderful."

"And this is the last one." I said. I had held this gemstone back since I thought it was possibly the most valuable gem of them all. Of course I knew very little about such things but... "It’s a yellow diamond from a treasure chest we found on the 29th level.” I presented the large yellow diamond cut in a teardrop shape to Ruslan-san.

"Th-This is..." Ruslan-san took the stone from me with shaking fingers.

"R- Ruslan-san?" Adriano-san said, looking anxiously at his subordinate.  Was Ruslan-san crying? The old man paused for a moment to wipe his eyes.

"I'm sorry, I was overcome for a moment." he said, fixing his gaze on the stone in his hands. "I'm an old man, I never expected to see something like this in the time I have left, that's all." He swallowed, then continued, his voice firming up as his professionalism came to the fore.

"First of all, there's the rarity of coloured diamonds. They're very uncommon to start with." Ruslan-san held the diamond up to the light, turning it this way and that. "Moreover, this stone has a strong even yellow tint and excellent transparency. The yellowish-golden shade is, like the Imperial Topaz, popular with many buyers and it will be in great demand." He hefted the large diamond in the palm of his hand.

"To add to that, the size is exceptional. Such large diamonds rarely appear on the market coloured or not, and the teardrop cut is also excellent, its shape is pleasing to the eye and the brilliant facets catch the light perfectly. The most skilled craftsman I know of could manage to cut a diamond like this, perhaps but no-one else." He put the diamond down beside the others gems on the table, his eyes remaining fixed on it, and sighed.

"I've been around gemstones and jewellery all my long life, I've seen and appraised many top-quality items. I can honestly say that I've never seen a gem as fine as this one before today." He pointed at the diamond. "In my expert opinion," he stopped and swallowed again, "and please don't think I'm exaggerating, this may well be the finest gemstone in the world." He looked up at Adriano-san and spoke firmly. "I, Ruslan personally guarantee this stone's quality."

...the finest gemstone in the world? What? I looked at the diamond lying on the cloth, trying to see what Ruslan-san saw in it. Sure it was big and yellow and glittery but, I scrabbled to comprehend, it was like a large piece of coloured glass to me, sparklier perhaps but... Looking up again I saw Ugor-san exchange a look with Adriano-san who nodded before standing up.

"So, please wait a moment, Mukouda-san, Ugor-san." Adriano-san said. "We'll leave you for a brief time to discuss what we wish to buy from you but I promise we'll return shortly." He gestured for Ruslan-san to follow him. The old man kept glancing back to the table and the gems littering the black cloth as he left the room trailing the Guild Master.

I started to say something about the gems to Ugor-san but he put a finger to his lips, glancing around the room. It dawned on me that anything we said here could well be overheard and it was likely Adriano-san would be briefed on the contents of our conversation before he returned. Instead we waited in silence until staff members of the Merchants Guild appeared to serve us tea.

I took a sip of the aromatic black tea and had to restrain myself from exclaiming out loud. It tasted wonderful, something like a Darjeeling and definitely not made from a tea bag. It was the sort of expensive tea you'd bring back from a trip abroad as a gift, something to butter up your boss or make nice with your in-laws. Ugor-san smiled over the rim of his own teacup, obviously amused by my reaction.

"The Merchants Guild always serve the finest tea, as you might expect.'' He took another sip. "Ahhh. This makes coming to this den of thieves almost worthwhile."

"Oh, is this the finest grade of tea?” I asked, taking another sip myself. It was delightful.

"Yes, it can only be harvested in the Doolin region of the ​​Erman Kingdom. It’s called Doolin tea.”

Oh, is that so? I sipped some more Doolin tea while we waited for Adriano-san to return.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Ch 162 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 162 -- Ugor-san Gets Extremely Angry

The next morning we arrived at the Adventurers Guild. As soon as we appeared at the receptionist's window the staff hurried off to fetch Elland-san. We were here to discuss the purchase of the item drops from the dungeon. I hoped the Guild Master had done his job properly after Ugor-san's upbraiding in the warehouse the previous day and it would all be sorted by now but, well, Elland-san... I sighed, if it wasn't possible to finish up today then I could come back tomorrow.

By the way, this morning I tried cooking the meat I had marinated overnight in the magic bag for breakfast. The Bloody Horn Bull's miso-yaki rice bowl was a great success and tasted wonderful.

I looked around the Adventurers Guild building as I waited. It was getting to be rather familiar territory but, well, we had conquered Doran's dungeon and I felt it was time to move on to the next city in our itinerary. All we had keeping us here now was the sale of the items we had collected in the dungeon and hopefully that would be completed today. I would cook a lot of food for the trip and then we would leave.

"Mukouda-san, welcome." Elland-san appeared, gesturing to the stair up to his office. "So, so, this way please."

Just then Ugor-san also appeared from behind Elland-san. "Ah, Mukouda-sama." he said. "I'll be assisting Elland-san today with the purchasing of your items." Elland-san shot him a look but said nothing more. So Ugor-san and Elland-san would be working together? Or was it that Ugor-san wanted to keep tabs on his unruly superior? Well, the Guild Master did have a track record of impetuousness... We followed Elland-san and Ugor-san up to the now-familiar Guild Master's room on the second floor.

* * * * *

"We will buy all the Orc skins, Lizardman skins, Ogre skins, Troll skins and Minotaur skins you have.  We'll also buy all the Ogre small magic stones, Troll small magic stones, Minotaur small magic stones and Giant Killer Mantis small magic stones." the Deputy Guild Master Ugor-san said, reading from a piece of paper. "We also want to buy fifteen vials of the Paralyse Butterfly paralysis powder and twenty Wild Ape furs, and since you're offering a small magic bag for sale we'd like to buy that too."

It seemed like the leather skins used to make basic and intermediate Adventurer armour were always in great demand and short supply. I had been told that dungeon-drop skins were preferred for making armour as they were stronger than skins obtained from monster subjugations so the Guild wanted as many of the skins I had collected as they could afford.

As for the magic stones, Ugor-san explained that the smaller ones were easier to sell. The larger magic stones were individually much more valuable but there were fewer buyers for them in part due to their high price. That's why he was buying all of the small magic stones I had. I could see his reasoning, intending to turn a quick profit in the simplest manner rather than spend time and effort finding buyers for the larger stones after having to pay me significant amounts of money up front for them.

However, Ugor-san's practical intentions were not left unchallenged by...

"N-, no, Ugor-kun, the common items you listed earlier are fine of course, but, I think, shouldn't we buy some of the rarer items too?" Elland-san blurted out.

Ugor-san glared at him. “Guild Master," he said, controlling the obvious anger in his voice, "we discussed this matter THOROUGHLY yesterday and I've just given Mukouda-sama the list of purchases we agreed to. I don't think there is anything else, is there?"

Elland-san didn't waver though, despite Ugor-san's clear warning. "No, no, what we agreed about the skins and the magic stones, they'll make a big profit for the Guild, I understand that, but... joining the Guild is something someone only does if they have a dream, a desire to be an Adventurer." He gestured to the paper Ugor-san held, the list of items they wished to buy from me.

"Those drop items, they're not a dream. Mukouda-san's list had things on it an aspiring Adventurer would covet, like the Vasuki's fangs and skin, the Manticore's skin and its Poison Stinger and don't forget the Gustave's drops, all of them." The handsome Elf's face took on that look I had come to dread, that obsession he had with Dragons transferred to the items we had collected from Doran's dungeon. "My recommendation is that we purchase the Vasuki's fangs, the Manticore's Poison Stinger and the Gustave's fangs and spine." He smiled, the sort of smile that would make a woman's heart quiver. "And then after those there's Behemoth's skin to consider..."

Sadly for Elland-san that day his opponent was not a soft-hearted woman but a flint-hearted Deputy Guild Master who quickly reined him back before he could go further.

"Forget it." Ugor-san said bluntly. "Your fantastical plans to buy in those items would beggar the Guild, and all for a dream?" Ugor-san looked thoughtful for a moment. "Guild Master, tell me. It's just a coincidence, is it that the Vasuki's fangs and the Gustave's spine are both items used to make magical swords, correct? Someone more cynical than me might say that your intention to impoverish the Guild is just so you can indulge yourself."

Really? Is that what he's after? More magical swords?

“No, no, no, no, no, that's not true." Elland-san stuttered, waving his hands in denial. No, Elland-san, that's too much, it's just like saying "Yes, that's right, I admit it."

Ugor-san leaned forward, pushing home his assault on his superior. “The materials from Mukouda-sama's Earth Dragon you purchased, the sword you want to make from them, well, I agreed with those purchases because I know you, Guild Master. But no more, understand? One magical sword, your precious Dragon Sword is enough."

Elland-san stiffened and muttered something under his breath. No, Elland-san, don't push it any further, I begged him silently.

"Well, the person you are..." Ugor-san sat back again, eyeing the tense figure beside him. "Look, how much do you think it would cost to buy just one of the rare items you listed? It would come to half of the total purchase price of all the items we agreed to buy from Mukouda-sama, and there's a good demand for all of those items. And Behemoth's skin?" Ugor-san struck the table repeatedly. "We. Don't. Have. That. Much. Money." he said, "even if we spent all our purchasing budget for a year and more!"

"U- Ugor-kun, Uh... please don't get angry at me. I was just making a little suggestion..." Elland-san's face was red as he tried to deflect his subordinate's fury.

"No, it wasn't a 'little' suggestion, was it?" Ugor-san replied, "you really thought you could get away with it, didn't you?" Elland-san looked down and said nothing more.

“That's better, Guild Master." Ugor-san said after a few moments of silence. He turned to me and bowed his head. "Mukouda-sama, I'm sorry you had to witness that. Now, the items I mentioned earlier, we'd like to buy them from you, and nothing else." His eyes flickered sideways to Elland-san as he continued to address me. "Is that fine with you?"

“Yes, of course." I agreed hurriedly, trying to move things forward. "What should I do with those items? Do you want me to bring them out here?" The office was large but there were a lot of skins, hundreds of them and...

"No, we'll take the items from you in the warehouse because there are so many of them, and we'll want to check their quality and count them too, of course. That means we can't make payment until tomorrow, after that's all done." That seemed a sensible thing to do, after all they had a business to run. The argument between Elland-san and Ugor-san about the rare items they weren't buying from me had brought something else to mind though.

“Oh, before we go to the warehouse there's something I wanted to get your advice on, Ugor-san..." I told him I was aware that normally Adventurers were obliged to sell items and monsters exclusively to the Guild. However I had many more items from the dungeon to sell than the Guild could afford to buy from me, and in such cases I understood the Merchants Guild might be permitted to buy excess items from me directly.

“That's correct," Ugor-san said, "Adventurers are normally only allowed to sell materials and items to the Adventurers Guild but that's to protect the Adventurers in most cases. Adventurers are skilled with weapons and magic but they're no match for a seasoned Merchant when it comes to selling their goods, sadly. It's far too easy for those sly old foxes to trick and brow-beat our Guild members into receiving a much lower price than they should for what they're selling." He shrugged. "We don't care that much about small transactions, a monster skin or a magic stone here or there, that sort of thing we can usually overlook." I remembered Lambert-san's desire for a Black Serpent skin and his successful efforts to get me to supply him with one through the back door and looked away guiltily, but Ugor-san didn't seem to notice. "When the Adventurers Guild just can't afford to buy in such items, that's a much rarer situation where we don't enforce the rule, for obvious reasons." Ugor-san finished.

 I see. Lambert-san had said the same sort of thing to me back in Carerina, about small transactions involving one or two minor items being overlooked. It seemed the two Guilds had an understanding on this.

"The Guild Master here was in a party that once nearly conquered the dungeon here in Doran before you arrived." Ugor-san went on. I had heard that before, of course. "They collected a lot of jewellery which the Guild didn't want to purchase and so the Merchants Guild were invited to make offers on the items."

Is that so? We had amassed a lot of jewellery in our dungeon exploration too and frankly I wasn't interested in keeping any of it. If I could find someone to buy it that would be great.

"In fact," Ugor-san said, looking at another pile of papers on the desk, "if you have the time we'd like you to go to the Merchants Guild soon, tomorrow maybe or even earlier? I'm sorry to push you but we've received a lot of requests from them to meet with you, to discuss purchasing items you brought back from the dungeon."

That sounded fine to me, the sooner I sold off those sorts of things the better. "Yes, I'll be happy to go there. In fact I can go later today, after we've been to the warehouse?"

"Really? Excellent, thank you for this. I'll take you over to the Merchants Guild after we've visited the warehouse." Ugor-san said with some satisfaction.

Elland-san broke his cowed silence. "W- wait a minute." he said. "I'll guide you over to the Merchants Guild, Mukouda-san. I really should go with him, Deputy Guild Master since I'm the Guild Master after all-"

Ugor-san interrupted. "What are you talking about? You have a lot of work to get through today to process the items Mukouda-sam is delivering to us. And how are your preparations to travel to the Royal capital tomorrow proceeding?" he asked acidly. Elland-san looked away guiltily. Ah, so he hasn't made any preparations at all. Ugor-san sighed. "I did tell you to start getting ready, but... Anyway, I'll take Mukouda-sama over to the Merchants Guild myself since you're going to be too busy here. Right?"

"No, no ... I didn't really want to go all that way in the first place and..." Elland-san muttered. "It's a pain..." but Ugor-san ignored his superior's whining. Mention of Elland-san's forthcoming trip to the capital reminded me of something I had decided.

"Elland-san, when you go to the capital, you will meet with the King, right?"

“Yes, I will. He wants a direct report on the dungeon's conquest." Elland-san confirmed.

"In that case..." I took something I had collected from a dungeon treasure chest out of my Item Box and passed it to him.

"Please give this to the King for me." As he studied it I went on to explain. "The King made it very clear to the nobles and others that me and my contracted monsters were to be left alone and not bothered or interfered with. That proclamation has made our time here in this country a lot more pleasant than we had expected and this is a gift to show that we appreciate his efforts on our behalf."

I wanted our freedom to travel around without being hassled to continue and I reckoned this would be an investment, cheap enough.

"Yes, I can give this to the King for you but... what is it?" Elland-san lacked the Appraisal skill so he couldn't figure out what it was at a glance.

"Ah,  that's a 'detoxification necklace' I found in a treasure chest in the dungeon. It nullifies all poisons." I explained. Both Elland-san and Ugor-san looked shocked.

"That's a magic item, surely?" Ugor-san said, staring at the necklace in Elland-san's hands. "Are you really just going to give it away?"

"I think it's better for the King to have this." I said. After all kings faced the constant threat of assassination and poison was one of the favourite methods used if the stories I had read were accurate.

“True, it's the sort of thing a Royal family would really like to own but..." Ugor-san went on. "You could sell it easily, I think, such an item is eagerly sought after. You could name your own price."

"No, please give it to the king on my behalf." Thanks to Fer and the others, I wasn't at all troubled for money and maintaining a thoughtful and considerate King on his throne was worth a lot more to me personally. If he got poisoned who would replace him? As for using the necklace myself, my contracted monsters and me all had blessings of the Deplorable-samas that prevented poisons from having any effect on us so we didn't actually need it. "You can deliver it personally, Guild Master, when you go to report to the King about the dungeon's conquest."

"Work hard and get ready for your journey, Guild Master." Ugor-san said. "And don't lose that necklace, please." Ugor-san looked at me and smiled. "The Adventurers Guild will benefit from being associated with your gift too, of course and for that I thank you Mukouda-sama. Now let's go down to the warehouse and get today's purchases dealt with."

I woke up Fer and Dora-chan who were sleeping behind my chair and we all went down to the warehouse with Ugor-san, leaving Elland-san sitting at his desk and staring at the piles of paper on it. Sui was in her leather bag as usual.

"What do you want me to get out first?" I asked once we were in the warehouse. There were so many items to deal with I really needed to produce things in the order Ugor-san preferred. Piling it all up in a heap would be counter-productive and messy.

"Right." Ugor-san said, consulting his list again. "First of all, can we get the Orc skins? Then the Lizardman skins, the Ogre skins, Troll skins and ... (omitted) ... and fifteen vials of Paralyse Butterfly paralysis powder." Ugor-san stopped for a moment, scratching his bald head as I got the vials out of my Item Box and put them on a workbench nearby. "There's something else, something else..." he flipped the paper over. "Oh, here they are. Twenty Wild Ape furs and a small magic bag."

Right, right. I pulled the final items he requested from my Item Box and put them down on the bench too.

"I think that's all." I said, ransacking my memory, but it sounded about right. "Please confirm that you've received these items." Marcel-san and his co-workers were standing around, staring open-mouthed at the immense piles of skins laying on the warehouse floor. They would be the ones to check the quality and number of the items the Guild was buying and it looked like they had a lot of work ahead of them. Ganbatte, Marcel-san.

“I think that's all too." Ugor-san agreed, giving his list one final check before he nodded. "Mukouda-san, we have received the items as agreed. We will assess them immediately," he nodded to Marcel-san who waved his subordinates towards the piles of skins and other items, "and we will make the payment for all of them to you tomorrow."

I sighed quietly, glad to see a large number of the dungeon item drops sold and no longer cluttering up my Item Box. There were still a lot left, of course. However...

"Now I'll escort you to the Merchants Guild." Ugor-san said, gesturing towards the warehouse door. We followed Ugor-san and left the Adventurers Guild, heading for the Merchants Guild where, I hoped, I'd be able to sell off a lot more of the drops we had collected.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Ch 161 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 161 -- Giant Tarepo, Having Eaten It Before (Sort Of)

Well, what should I make for dinner today? It would be Giant Tarepo meat, of course. Oddly enough I had actually eaten ostrich meat previously. One time I was out eating dinner in an izakaya and ostrich meat was on the menu. I asked for it because it was unusual to see something like that listed. My recollection was that it was quite delicious, a lean red meat not typical of bird meat's flavour and texture. Now I had the Giant Tarepo meat to hand I decided I'd try to make the same sort of thing I had back then, seared ostrich meat in a cutlet. I should add that ostrich meat can be eaten raw like a Korean dish, seasoned yukhoe-style with a raw egg or even as Italian-style carpaccio, sliced thinly after being cooked very rare and then coated in sauce. The carpaccio option was tempting but thinking about it a little more the seared cutlet route meant beer as an accompaniment and that settled it, seared cutlets it would be.

Yosh, I started with getting ingredients from the Net Super. I bought sour ponzu sauce to start with, planning to treat the Giant Tarepo meat like pork. The cutlet would be cooked Milanese style, I decided so I'd need flour and herb salt, eggs, bread crumbs and powdered cheese and of course olive oil because, well, Italian? Bellissimo! (about the only word of Italian I knew...)

Oh, and beer. Don't forget that. I assembled the ingredients for the cutlets under the watchful eyes of the Gluttonous Trio and quickly changed my mind -- I'd first make some carpaccio-style cold cuts and store them in my Item Box for later. I'd make the cutlets afterwards.

"Is Fer able to do Ice magic?" I asked. I vaguely remembered Ice magic was listed on his Status but...

"Nuuuu, Ice magic? I can do it." Fer replied.

"Well, can you make a little ice and put it in here?" I held out a large bowl to Fer, the sort of large bowl I had never needed when I only cooked for myself back home. Feeding my three contracted monsters in this world had required a serious upgrade to the capacity of my cooking utensils.

"Got you." Fer concentrated for a second and a big lump of ice fell into the bowl. "There you go."

"Ah, it’s too big..." I said, "Hold on, I'll buy an ice pick and break it up a little." I started to open Net Super but Fer interrupted.

"Too big?" When I nodded the lump of ice in the bowl suddenly shattered into lumps. I blinked as Fer asked, "Is that enough? I can break it up more if you like." I sometimes forget just how powerful Fer's magic was and how off-handedly he could use it. I supposed I wasn't really used to magic even after spending months in this world. Never mind, I got on with making dinner. Some carpaccio-style Giant Tarepo cold cuts to start with, I decided.

First I put salt and pepper on a large piece of Giant Tarepo meat and cooked it in a frying pan with olive oil until the outer surface was seared. I cooled the piece of meat down in the ice bath Fer had prepared to stop the centre of the meat cooking from the residual heat and wiped off the moisture with kitchen paper before cutting the lump into thin slices about 5mm thick. I laid them out on a plate and dressed them with ponzu citrus sauce before trying a nibble.

Oooh, it has a rich texture. The Giant Tarepo looked like an over-sized ostrich and its taste was similar to the ostrich meat I had eaten once before but it wasn't, on further reflection, exactly the same. It was more like lean beef with only a little fat marbled through it, a surprise since it was supposed to be bird meat. It was definitely tasty and went well with the ponzu sauce I had dressed the cold cuts with. Anyway, being a low-fat and firm-textured meat should make it a good candidate for deep frying, so cutlets were next. As for the cold cuts I'd save them for later. Or so I thought.

"Hoi, what are you doing with those?" Fer interrupted as I started to put the cold cuts away in my Item Box. "Pass the dish over here." Ah- the Empty Belly Army can't wait, it seems.

"I was just experimenting. I'm going to make different food for dinner and I was going to save this for later but do you want to try it now? It's nearly raw, you know."

"Hand it over." Fer ordered. Okay, okay. I took the Giant Tarepo cold cuts and divided them into three dishes before putting them down in front of Fer, Dora-chan and Sui-chan who immediately dived in.

"Oh, this food's texture is wonderful." was Fer's opinion after his share had been vacuumed up. I didn't understand what Fer was going on about, the carpaccio was basically raw in the middle so it was actually quite tough and chewy.

"This bitter taste's kinda refreshing, makes me wanna eat more of it." was Dora-chan's opinion. So you liked it too? The ponzu citrus sauce works well with meat cooked like this.

"Aruji-, seconds?-" Sui-chan had already finished her portion? I needed to hurry making the cutlets now all the cold cuts were gone. First, I put bread crumbs in a plastic bag and broke them up very fine, mixing in powdered cheese and herb salt. I pounded pieces of Giant Tarepo meat thin, to break up the sinews and dusted them with with salt and pepper before coating them with flour and beaten egg as a binder for the breadcrumb and cheese mix coating I had prepared earlier.

To cook the prepared cutlets I used a frying pan with about a centimetre of olive oil heated to near-boiling rather than deep-frying in regular cooking oil as I normally would for cutlets and kaarage. When the cutlets were crisp on the outside they were done. I didn't bother with extra seasoning since the breadcrumb coating included herb salt but I did add some lemon juice since it's an option for Milanese-style cutlets if you like that sort of thing.

I fried lots of cutlets, three each for Fer and Sui and one for Dora-chan, dishing them out on plates and putting them down so they could eat. "The juice coating is lemon, see how you like it?" I explained as Fer gave the cutlets a sour look before he gobbled them up.

"Umu," he declared, head tilted before he nodded. "Yeah, more like that."

"I'm fine with this too." Dora-chan agreed, working on his own dish. "But one is enough for me."

"Sui is also good with sour for seconds-." Sui-chan's dish was already empty, of course.

Okay okay. I was already frying more Giant Tarepo cutlets Milanese-style for Fer and Sui, including some for myself this time round. And of course, fried food meant... pssssh, glug glug glug. Oh yeah, beer is delicious. I meant to have some after eating the cold-cut carpaccio but on second thoughts beer goes better with hot food like these cutlets.

I bit into the cutlet, crispy and delicious with the cheesy taste from the crisp coating adding a noticeable tang to the meat. Beer to chase it down, glug glug glug and then another bite of cutlet. Ahhh, what was it about fried food and beer that make them work together so well? Oops, I forgot the lemon juice. I sprinkled a little on the rest of my cutlet and took another bite. Oh yes, the refreshing sharp taste combined with the lean meat juices, yummmm and then wash it down with more beer.

""Seconds"" I put down more cutlets for Fer and Sui, this time leaving the lemon juice off for a change, to see how they liked it. Both of them agreed they preferred the cutlets without the "sour stuff" as they announced they were full up. I had a second cutlet on bread with ketchup and shredded cabbage and that worked fine too.

I marked up the Giant Tarepo cutlets as a success and made a lot more of them while I had the ingredients to hand, putting them away hot in my Item Box to keep in reserve. After tidying up I put out Fer and Dora-chan's futons in the inn's stables and Sui and I returned to our room.

Sui was full up and went to sleep straight away but I had more to do. I wanted to see how the magic bag worked for marinating and soaking meat since Fer had said that time didn't stop for goods stored inside such a bag. My first experiment would be with meat marinated in miso. I diced up Orc and Bloody Horn Bull meat and put them in oversized plastic bags partially filled with miso and other ingredients. I deposited the bags into the large magic bag, intending to make miso-yaki dishes with the results the next morning.

I wasn't quite finished though, I still wanted to make a lot of minced meat with the excellent Mithril mincer Sui had made. I fed large pieces of Orc and Bloody Horn Bull meat into the mincer's hopper, amazed again at how little effort it took to turn the handle as the minced meat poured out. After producing a ridiculous amount of minced meat I tidied up, put everything away back in my Item Box and went to sleep.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Ch 160 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 160 -- Elland-san, Taken In Hand

We went to the Adventurers Guild the following day so I could request the dismantling of the five Orcs Dora-chan and Sui-chan had subjugated as well as the assorted bird monsters Fer had hunted after his bath. When we appeared at the reception desk, the staff member on duty hurried off to summon Elland-san who soon arrived.

"Mukouda-san, we are still considering what we will purchase from you." he said, before I could explain why we were here. He looked rather harried. "We should have it all sorted out by tomorrow, I promise."

"Ah, that's not why I'm here, Elland-san." I quickly interjected. "We subjugated some monsters yesterday and I came to the Guild to have them dismantled as soon as possible." Along with the five Orcs, Fer had hunted four Cockatrices, a Rock Bird and an oversized ostrich-type bird which my Appraisal skill informed me was something called a Giant Tarepo. Our stocks of bird-based monster meat were running very low, especially after our trip through the dungeon where bird-type meat had been a very rare drop so the sooner I got these monsters disassembled the better. I would, as always, keep the meat but sell off the other materials.

"Oh, is that so?" Elland-san brightened up. "Let me show you the way down to the warehouse then."

"No, no." I said. "It’s okay. I can queue up at the purchasing window today, no need to take you away from your duties." As I said that Elland-san glanced behind him with a worried expression on his fine Elvish features. Was Doran's Guild Master, a former S-rank Adventurer scared of something, here in the heart of the city, within the premises of the Guild itself?

"No, no need for you to wait, Mukouda-sama. Let's go." With that Elland-san led me down to the warehouse door, still casting nervous glances over his shoulder. Today's haul was Orc and Cockatrice and the like, nothing special, why did he not want me to wait at the purchase window and why did he insist on personally escorting me down to the warehouse when I knew the way perfectly well? I couldn't understand it...

In the warehouse there were several staff members carrying out dismantling duties, unlike the last time I had been here after Elland-san had taken on the task of single-handedly dismantling Fer's Earth Dragon. I assumed he had ordered everyone else to leave the warehouse while he dealt with that self-imposed task.

"So, so, what did you get? Let us see it please." Elland-san said, slapping his hand on the top of the workbench.

"Oh? Guild Master, what are you doing here today?" A staff member about 30 years old who looked to be in charge of the dismantling efforts in the warehouse today called out as he caught sight of the tall Elf.

"Hey, Marcel-kun. Sorry to interrupt you but I just brought Mukouda-san down to the warehouse." Elland-san said. Marcel-kun was the staff member in charge of dismantling, it appeared. He looked at me quizzically, perhaps bothered by the fact the Guild Master had personally escorted me here. I'm sure if I had been working away in my office back home and the owner of the company had turned up out of the blue with an unknown person at his side then I'd be unsure what was going on too.

"Mukouda-san here is the most talked about person in Doran right now, Marcel-kun. He's first Adventurer ever to conquer Doran's dungeon and defeat the final boss. You must have heard others in the Guild discussing his achievement, right?"

Marcel looked at the rather ordinary-looking person in front of him with some puzzlement in his eyes then he noticed Fer and Dora-chan behind me and he realised the rather ordinary-looking person, i.e. me, introduced to him by the Guild Master as the conqueror of Doran's famously high-difficulty dungeon had some help in that task. "Oh", he mouthed silently.

I sighed, it was the same sort of response I received when we exited the dungeon and reappeared near the entrance, the same kind of looks I had received from the crowd after Fer's announcement to them that we had conquered the dungeon. I should be used to it by now. Really.

"That’s why I escorted you here you, Mukouda-sama." Elland-san explained with a strained smile on his face. Uh, no? And what's with the '-sama', Elland-san? That's not the honorific you use normally when we're discussing things in your office. I'd rather we had just carried out our business at the regular purchase window upstairs. I should have insisted on it, I shouldn't have let him drag me down here...

"My intuition tells me Mukouda-san has something unusual for us to disassemble for him." Elland-san said to Marcel-kun. "I'm looking forward to finding out what it is." My heart sank. No, Elland-san, Fer did not subjugate another Dragon. My hasty promise to him yesterday that he'd get first dibs on disassembling any Dragons Fer hunted in the future had gone to his Dragon-obsessed head, it seemed.

Marcel-kun's ears pricked up at Elland-san's words. "Is that so?" he said, turning his attention back to me. Of course Marcel-kun was a craftsman who worked in Doran's Guild as a disassembler and naturally he would also be interested in uncommon monsters that he might be presented with in the course of his work.

"That’s right, so now, please put them all here as soon as possible." Elland-san said to me again, slapping the workbench loudly, thump thump thump!

"Really, Elland-san, is this truly part of your job?" I protested.

"It’s okay." he smiled. "If you have a Deputy Guild Master like I do, everything will run smoothly in my absence. I don't have to be in charge all the time." No, no, it’s not okay, Guild Master Elland-san. Don't bunk off work to play around in places like this. You'll only make the Deputy Guild Master angry again.

"Come on, come on, quick, quick." The workbench received more slaps. Okay then, I'll do it but don't blame me if you get into trouble. I took the assorted monsters out of the Item Box one after another and put them on the workbench.

"Let's see, I want all the meat returned but please buy the other items. Five Orcs, four Cockatrices, a Rock Bird and that large bird is a Giant Tarepo." Whatever that was. My Appraisal had just given me its name with no extra information about it. Fer's only addition to my knowledge of the creature was the important (to Fer) fact that it was good to eat.

"Giant Tarepo?!" Elland-san's eyes lit up. "You see, my intuition was right!" Eh, is this ostrich-type bird so unusual?

"A- amazing..." Marcel-kun stuttered. "Giant Tarepo, it's the first time I've ever seen one..." So it was a rare monster then.

"But where did you find a Giant Tarepo?" Elland-san asked, looking at Fer.

"Nuuu, that thing? I caught it in the grasslands at the tip of the forest on the south side of the city." Fer replied.

"Really?" Elland-san thought for a moment. "Yes, that area, hmmm... Four or five years ago there were reports that a Giant Tarepo had been seen in that vicinity. However it's not an easy monster to subjugate." According to Elland-san the Giant Tarepo cannot fly but it can run very fast, like the ostriches I knew from my own world.

"If a Giant Tarepo runs away from a subjugation party it's nearly impossible to catch it. Normally a number of Earth Magic users would make a solid enclosure somewhere and the others in the party would drive the Giant Tarepo into the trap." I see. That sounded complicated, and expensive too. It explained why Giant Tarepo were rarely offered for sale at the Guild.

"Fer, how did you manage to hunt this?" I asked. Had he used long-range magic of some kind?

"I must admit I did have to put in more effort than normal to catch up with it but the chase was good exercise," he said languidly. "I just needed to stretch my legs a bit, that's all." I sighed. Fer was really beyond understanding these days.

"Hey, is that really a Tarepo?" Unnoticed by me, the other members of the dismantling team were now crowding around the workbench. "I've never seen one before."

"Me too."

"Has anyone brought a Tarepo into the Guild in the last few years?"

"Oh, I don't think so. If a Tarepo had been brought in folks would have been talking about it forever."

Elland-san clapped his hands. "Right you lot, back to work." He said in a loud voice, pointing to the monsters on the workbench. "Let's get these other monsters dismantled, the Orcs and Cockatrices and the Rock Bird. After that you can all watch while Marcel-kun dismantles the Giant Tarepo, since you've never seen it done before and this is a chance for you to learn."

The team of dismantlers got back to work eagerly, quickly disassembling the Orcs and other monsters. I'm not good with gory stuff so I stared at the ceiling a lot and tried to ignore the noises from the various workbenches around the warehouse. Chop, crunch, hack, slash, chunk! What sort of recipes could I make with these monsters once I had their meat? Concentrate on that, don't listen, don't look...

"Good, everyone seems to have finished." Elland-san announced a remarkably short time later. This was the Doran Guild, of course and unlike the other Guild warehouses I had been in there was more than one dismantler working in here. It was still a surprise to me just how quickly such large monsters could be taken apart into their component pieces by experienced workers.

"Let's dismantle the Tarepo now." He waved his hand. "Marcel-kun, I leave it up to you."

"Yes, sir." Marcel-kun started to work on the Tarepo while the other dismantlers stood around watching closely.

Elland-san said, "This is where you should..." and "That part there, you cut it like this...", standing at Marcel-kun's shoulder and directing him through the dismantling process. It seemed the Elf had experience in dismantling a Giant Tarepo, not too surprising given his extended age. Me, I didn't think I'd ever have to do it myself so I looked away a lot of the time, giving the ceiling of the warehouse some more close examination.

"I'm very satisfied with your work." Elland-san said as Marcel-kun finished up with the ostrich-like bird. "Dealing with this rare kind of monster has been a worthwhile exercise and good training for you all." The dismantlers agreed unanimously.

"Right then, it's time to work out the payments due." Elland-san went on. "Mukouda-san is exempt from covering the costs of dismantling these monsters, so..."

"Guild Master! This is where you were hiding!" This outburst came from a rather overweight bald man who hurried into the warehouse as Elland-san was speaking. The Elf's features froze as the newcomer's voice rang through the room.

"U-, Ugor-kun, what are you doing here..." Elland-san stuttered. Was this Ugor-san the Deputy Guild Master? I had seen him before, I think, at the door of the Guild when Elland-san was dragging me off to cook Dragon steaks at his house over a week ago.

"The question is, what are YOU doing here?!" the man stumped towards Elland-san who looked around frantically as if trying to find an escape route but Ugor-san was between him and the only exit to the warehouse. "I only found out Mukouda-sama was down here because the Guild receptionist told me. This is a very busy time for us, there's lots of proper work for you to be getting on with upstairs you know."

What have you done to make him so angry, Elland-san? Ugor-san stopped and faced me.

"Ah, Mukouda-sama, permit me to introduce myself." He bowed politely. "I'm Doran's Deputy Guild Master, my name's Ugor. Thanks to your efforts the Guild has been exceptionally profitable over the past few weeks. Thank you very much." The fierce expression on his face had disappeared and he smiled at me. I replied with a "Thank you." in return.

The introductions and pleasantries out of the way, Ugor-san turned again to face the Guild Master who was sidling around the workbench, possibly hoping to make a dash for the warehouse door and freedom.

"Guild Master, thanks to Mukouda-sama here, we're making more money than any time in the past, in fact since the Guild started here in Doran! We're being inundated by purchase requests from other Guilds and assorted noble families, enquiries about premium goods and..." the fat man sighed. "Right now I'd settle for a cat helping me, I'm working so hard here. We've not even decided on the list of dungeon drop items we're going to purchase from Mukouda-sama, the Merchants Guild wants to get involved in the purchases and sales and we need to sort that out quickly before they rob us blind." He poked a finger at the browbeaten Elf. "It all needs to get done and right now so please don't think you can go home today any time soon."

"No, no, I'm not good at jobs like that..." Elland-san pleaded. "So it’s better to entrust that sort of thing to your good self, Ugor-kun."

"What are you saying?" Ugor-san exploded. "Are you telling me to do your job for you?" He strode back and forth, clearly furious, then stopped and pointed at a cringing Elland-san again. "We're incredibly busy right now and the Guild needs you to do your job diligently, Guild Master. But..." Ugor-san shook his finger. "If you really want me to take over your duties, then the first thing I'll do as acting Guild Master is to sell off THAT thing you always stare at when you come to the office every morning."

"No! No, you can't do that!!" Elland-san shouted. "Absolutely not! I convinced you and you agreed, if we make it into a sword it would attract lots of Adventurers to the Guild here. You can't stop me making the Dragon Sword, you can't!"

"Yes, I was convinced by what you said and I agreed that a Dragon Sword would indeed be a fine advertisement for the Guild." Ugor-san retorted. "But the Guild needs to make money to survive and prosper. If you don't work hard the the Guild will need to make money some other way and selling THAT thing off will do the job nicely in that case. Of course," Ugor-san examined his fingernails closely, "if you don't like that option then you should work hard to ensure the Guild makes money some other way, please." He looked up at the stricken Elf. "Work properly, I won't sell it. Don't work, I'll sell it. If you're clear about your options and the consequences then I suggest you return immediately to your office where your work awaits you."

Elland-san looked as if he was going to continue his protest but Ugor-san's hard eyes held no pity for the malingering Guild Master. After a few seconds he walked slowly past the Deputy Guild Master towards the warehouse's door, his feet dragging at every step. Ugor-kun watched him pass then turned back to the room.

"Ah, Marcel-kun, good work and continue with what you were doing. Oh, and while Mukouda-san is living in the city, he is exempt from dismantling costs." Saying that, Ugor-san turned and followed the defeated Guild Master from the warehouse, closing the door behind them.

So that was Ugor-san, the Deputy Guild Master? Incredible. I supposed that since he had to deal with Elland-san every day he had learned how to handle him. I wished him the best in the future while wondering if he could perhaps give me some tips on working with the mercurial Guild Master.

I gave some thought to 'THAT thing', the thing that Elland-san apparently spent his mornings staring at while not-working, was it the Earth Dragon's fang I had sold to the Guild? It sounded like it, Elland-san's precious Dragon Sword needed the fang as a magical ingredient after all. Perhaps his decision to purchase it "for the Guild" it wasn't as altrustic as he had made out after all. Misappropriation of company funds, well...

"We're ready to pay you for your materials." Marcel-san's voice broke into my thoughts. He and all of the other dismantling staff had got well out of the way as soon as Ugor-san had appeared, keeping busy and appearing not to notice the tongue-lashing he had delivered to the Guild Master. It seemed it was not an uncommon occurrence for such things to happen here given Elland-san's inability to learn his lesson.

I started to pack away the meat from the Orcs and other monsters while Marcel gave me an accounting of the payment for the materials the Guild were buying, a total of 85 gold coins. It was an unexpected sum given that we hadn't actually gone out to specifically hunt for monsters yesterday but I wasn't amazed by the amount any more. Marcel handed over a now-familiar sack of coins, I thanked him and his colleagues for their hard work, said goodbye and left the Guild. Everyone would be getting hungry so I'd prepare dinner once we got back to the inn.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Ch 159 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 159 -- A 10 Year Old's Firm Resolution

"Sorry to keep you waiting." I announced as Sui-chan and I re-entered the clearing.

"Oh, you're back-" Dora-chan was gliding in lazy circles above a recumbent Fer who raised his head to stare at me.

"Nuu, what took you so long?" Fer grumbled, quietly for once. It took me a few seconds to notice Darryl and Eris were both asleep, lying propped up on Fer's side. Well, they were just children and they had walked a long way in the forest before being chased for their lives by Orcs so it wasn't surprising they were tired. The fact they were using an S-ranked nation-destroying Fenrir as a comfy pillow was something else, of course...

Never mind. We were all done here. "Well then, ready to go back to Doran?"

"Umu." Fer said quietly, swivelling his head around to check on the sleeping children and making sure they weren't being disturbed. I slung Sui-chan's bag across my shoulder and opened the flap.

"Get inside, Sui."

"Yeah-" Sui-chan pyonged up and into his travelling bag. I looked at the two sleeping kids and sighed.

”It’s a shame to wake those two up but if we don't get going soon it'll be dark before we get back to Doran." I gently shook them by their shoulders. "Eris, Darryl, sorry to wake you up but we're going back to town now."

""Nnnn..."" The kids rubbed their eyes, obviously still tired.

“Darryl, Eris, I found some medicine that should cure your mother.” I said. That brought them both completely awake in an instant.

“Uncle, is that true?” Darryl exclaimed.

“Will it really make mother well, Uncle?” Eris asked as both of them hugged me desperately. They both cared for their mother so much...

“You see, I thought I had some medicine that would cure your mother's disease but I had to search through my entire Item Box to find it. That's what took so long, sorry." The children's eyes lit up and big smiles crossed their faces.

“But I can't simply give it to you.” I added. When I said that they both froze and Eris' face fell like she was about to cry as I raised a finger.

“Darryl, you have one Orc right now, don't you?” I said.

"... Oh, yeah I do." Darryl had caught on to what I was hinting at. I had given one of the Orcs Sui-chan and Dora-chan had subjugated to Darryl to hear his story so he now owned that Orc, not me.

“How about exchanging it?” I offered.

"The Orc, ah MY Orc in exchange for the medicine?" He made sure he understood what I meant before he offered payment. He would make a good Merchant if he decided on that career in the future, I reckoned.

"That's right. How about it?"

When I said that Darryl smiled widely and nodded. “Yeah, of course it’s okay”.

“Right then, there’s the medicine." I handed him the bottle of Sui's Special Elixir (Degraded Version). "I'm sure this will cure your mother's illness. Get her to drink it as soon as you get home." I passed over the pot of egg rice porridge too. "This is a little extra free of charge. It's something that's easy to eat even for someone who's sick. You can eat it together with her."

"My, my mother will get better." Darryl whispered, tears floating in his eyes as his sister clung to him, staring at the bottle. They had had a hard time of it but now they had hope.

“Darryl, you said you had an Item Box? Put them in there where they'll be safe."

Darryl nodded and carefully put Sui's Special Elixir and the egg rice porridge in his Item Box.

“If the pot gets cold, warm it up before you eat it.” I told him.

“If I put hot food in my Item Box, it doesn’t cool down that much so it should be okay.” he said, sniffling and wiping his eyes with his sleeve. Afterwards he looked up at me.

“Uncle, thank you." he said firmly. I patted his dishevelled hair to hide my embarrassment.

"Oniichan, is our mother going to get better?" Eris looked between me and her brother, unsure and uneasy, not fully understanding what was going on.

"Oh, yes. I got medicine from Uncle here that will cure her."

"Really really? Yay! Yay! Mother's going to get better!" Eris jumped up and down happily. "Thank you, Uncle!"

I collected the five Orcs and put them away in my own Item Box. I'd get them disassembled at the Adventurers Guild tomorrow back in Doran and replenish our meat supply somewhat. Fer's haul from his hunt went into my Item Box too, several Cockatrices and a Rock Bird as well as some kind of large ostrich-like bird I had never seen before. Fer assured me it was good eating, whatever it was.

"Now let's all get back to Doran." I announced. "Hey Fer, can you carry Darryl and Eris as well as me on your back?"

"Fun-" Fer said dismissively. "Two children and yourself, is that all? What sort of weakling do you think I am?"

Yeah yeah, if you say so Fer. Let's get going shall we? I got on Fer's back then Eris climbed up in front of me while Darryl sat behind, obviously excited to be riding on the big white fluffy thing.

"Eris, make sure you hold onto Fer properly." I looked back over my shoulder. "Darryl, you hang on my waist so you don't fall." They both acknowledged my instructions.

"Fer, go slower than you usually do." I told him telepathically. His normal rate of progress when I was riding alone on his back would have dislodged the children in an instant.

"I got it." Fer ran back to the city of Doran but much slower than usual. Saying that it was still a lot faster than I could have managed on foot. At the city's gatehouse I showed my Adventurers Guild card to gain admittance while Darryl and Eris had resident cards which let them back inside the city's walls.

"Where is Darryl and Eris's home?" I asked as we passed through the gate.

"Not too far from here, near the wall." Darryl answered. Oh, near the wall? That was the place poor people lived, wasn't it?

"Do you want us to take you there?" I offered.

"No, it's okay because it's close." Darryl said.

"I see." I asked Fer to kneel down and the two children climbed off. We looked at each other for a moment, then before I could say anything Darryl spoke.

"Uncle, I'm not going to be an Adventurer like my father when I grow up. Instead I'm going to be a Merchant who can make a good living. Adventurers are poor a lot of the time and, well, my father-" he shrugged.

"When I'm 13 I can apply to the Merchants Guild to become an apprentice to a Merchant in this city. I have my Item Box skill so I think I can do well as a Merchant. I will definitely have my own store someday and I'll be able to make Eris and mother happy, I swear." He looked down for a moment, then he faced me again.

"I will surely repay this debt I owe you someday, Uncle. Can you wait until then?" I looked down at him from Fer's back, seeing the determination of a ten-year-old boy to take care of his mother and his sister. He had cried after being chased by Orcs but the eyes that looked back at me now were filled with nothing but sure resolution.

"Well... ah, no hurry, I can wait." I told him, unsure what to say. He had obviously seen through my attempt to trick him into exchanging the Orc for the medicine so he wouldn't feel indebted. Was he really only ten years old? Maybe I'm just not as cunning as I thought I was.

"Thank you very much, uncle." Darryl said, bowing his head to me.

"Thank you, uncle!" Eris chimed in.

Then the two of them held hands and went off in the direction of their home.

"Darryl, Eris, I'll do my best too." I murmured in the direction of the two small backs. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, sniffling for some reason.

"Snort... Uhh..."

Fer looked round at me. "Huh, what are you crying for?"

"Sniff.... whaddya mean? I'm not crying, I just got some grit in my eyes." Stupid Fer. I never cry, a man never cries, ever. Dora-chan came flying down and hovered in front of my face.

"Hey, you really are crying. Wow!"

"I'm not crying, I told you. I just got something in my eyes like I said." You're too noisy Dora-chan.

"So you cry when you get stuff in your eyes?" Dora-chan said, dodging left and right to try and see past my hands. He blinked, the nictating eyelids of his own reptilian eyes flickering back and forth. "Weird."

Yeah, well Dora-chan, you're not a human, you're a Dragon. You wouldn't understand how we feel sometimes. I looked back but the two small figures had disappeared around a corner. Darryl, you're the main pillar of your family now. I'm sure you'll do your best to look after Eris and your mother.

Feeling relaxed, I told Fer to take us back to our inn.