117. The First Day’s End
「So just to confirm, three milds and two mediums. Is that right?」
「I’d like four hots!」
「Okay, that’ll come to a total of thirty Golde.」
Series upon series of different transactions continued to occur. It was already three in the afternoon, but we were still completely swamped with customers. The line leading up to our store never seemed to drop below a headcount of a hundred, and we had to use the dimensional storage to replenish our stock twice already.
The two non-salespeople, Fran and Colbert, were respectively responsible for frying up the food and ensuring that the line stayed organised.
「Each piece of curry bread will cost you ten Golde. The mild flavour is suitable for children and any other individuals unable to tolerate strong spices. The medium flavour is for those of you that enjoy that extra little kick. The spicy flavour is so incredibly hot that it’ll make you spit flames!」
Colbert told our customers more about our products as they stood in line, and in doing so, got them to think about their orders ahead of time. His efforts helped to ensure that everything at the cash register went smoothly as could be.
According to Judith, at least half our customers ended up arriving a decision before hitting the front of the line. Unfortunately, the statistic also meant that not everyone was able order the moment their turn came. Normally, you’d think that to be a bad thing, but apparently many of those people had only been convinced to come check out our goods because the line here was actually relatively short, which was a good thing seeing as how it meant we were able to steal customers from the competition.
「Purchasing our goods will serve to benefit your health! Our establishment uses the ever so scarce resource of magic-infused water in all our operations! Don’t miss this chance! Get your serving here and now before it’s all gone! I repeat, Recovery Water is right at your fingertips!」
Apparently, magic-infused water was actually considered a luxury good amongst the general populace, so Colbert advertising our use of it actually managed to pull in quite a decent number of customers.
I would’ve loved for things to keep going as well as they had, but fate wasn’t exactly what you’d call kind.
「The fuck is this shit? You supposed to be sellin garbage?」
「Bitch, you call this bread? Looks like trash to me. The hell is wrong wit chu, chargin people for trash? Y’all fucked up and crazy.」
Our stall ended up getting approached by a group of mohawked dudes, their bodies adorned with unfantasy-like, metal-studded leather jackets.
I could tell what was going on at a glance. They were obviously just an unruly bunch hired by one of our competitors. This was further evidenced by what I saw upon taking a quick peek at their stats. They were incredibly weak. I mean, I guess you could sic them on a normal person, or like the average chef or something because of how they looked, but they were honestly far too pathetic to do anything to an adventurer, let alone a whole group of them.
「Come on, hurry it up. Get the fuck outta here with yo dirty ass shitpile merchandise.」
「Yee, probably tastes like fucking garbage anyway. Shit’s so ugly that looking at is enough ta make me want ta vomit. Shieeeeet.」
「Hurry it up, get a move on. You know what, yer asses be slow as hell. We’ll fuckin move you ourselves!」
The disgustingly dressed men pulled out a series of club-like weapons as they approached, an action that immediately caused our customers to start screaming in panic.
However, they didn’t so much as manage the slightest act before they collapsed.
Fran was supposed to have been cooking, but she somehow managed to end up behind them. I didn’t actually know when she first moved to strike them, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was probably right after they insulted curry bread.
All four men had been deprived of their ability to move; they’d been left paralyzed by a series of electric shocks.
I wanted to get right back to selling stuff, but I also kind of wanted to try getting some information out of them too.
『You can leave the follow up to me and just focus on getting back to work, Fran.』
（Nn. Got it.）
『Urushi, go grab one of them.』
I used Stone Wall to make sure no one could see what I was going to do to the man Urushi dragged away. I then took the additional precaution of casting Silence as to ensure that his screams wouldn’t be heard by anyone outside the enclosure.
『We’d better get this done quick. Colbert’s already called the guards over.』
I immediately made a doppelganger and smacked the man across the face a few times in order to wake him up.
I punched the man right in the nose the moment he opened his eyes before fixing him right back up without so much as the slightest pause.
I then repeated the process, but this time, I broke his legs instead of punching him.
And so the cycle continued. I hit him, and healed him, only to hit him and heal him some more. All in all, I had to do it about ten times before finally terrifying him to the point where he’d start screaming with his face twisted in fear the moment I even so much as moved a muscle.
Sweet. That should be enough to make him talk.
「I’ll stop doing this to you if you tell me what I want to know.」
「I-I’ll tell you everything! I’ll talk, so please, no more! Please!」
Everything from that point onward went just as smoothly as I’d hoped. The man answered all my questions without so much as even the slightest trace of a lie.
His group was nothing but a bunch of petty hoodlums. They didn’t have the spirit required for adventuring, nor the courage needed to step onto the battlefield as a mercenary. All their income came from them harassing the townsfolk.
Just last night, they were hired by a man whose identity they knew little of. They didn’t bother finding out either. All they really cared about was that the man had paid a generous ten thousand Golde per person. The task bestowed upon them was to harass and destroy a pair of stalls. Their group was normally a group of eight, but today, they’d split in two halves in order to more efficiently complete said task. The other stall they were asked to attack turned out to be the one run by the orphanage.
I tried prying so I could find out a bit more about that mysterious employer of theirs, but it turned out that the man I’d captured really didn’t know much, as he pretty much ended up getting treated like a disposable pawn. Oh well, time to hand him over to the guards, I guess.
「I’m going to be handing you over to the guards now. Answer every question they ask you.」
「But don’t even make the slightest mention of me. The moment you talk about me is the moment you’ll die.」
I poured magical energy into my fingers, causing them to emit light as I pressed them onto the man’s forehead.
「I cursed you. I’ll know the moment you tell anyone even the slightest thing about me.」
「I won’t tell anyone anything! I swear it! I swear I won’t!」
I didn’t actually do anything to him, the whole thing was just a bit bluff, a facade. It looked like he totally fell for it though.
「I’d say that doing your best to reform and becoming a functioning member of society would probably be to your benefit. Not even I know what I’ll do if you’re still the same scum you are now next time we meet.」
「I-I’ll definitely do my best! I swear I’ll never do anything bad again! Pl-Please, don’t kill me sir! I beg of you!」
And so, I let the man regroup with his companions so they could all be arrested and shipped off to wherever they were being taken together. Colbert seemed to make a bit of a skeptical expression because he noticed that one men was absolutely terrified, but luckily, he didn’t ended up making anything of it.
『Looks like the orphanage is in trouble.』
（Nn. I can’t leave.）
Fran was responsible for everything that happened here because she’d registered for me by proxy. Hence, she was obligated to stay with the stall and upservise it all the way through to the end. The Chef’s Guild’s staff was still watching her every move, so she couldn’t just up and leave without suffering the consequences.
『Alright then, I guess I’ll just take Urushi with me and go.』
（Leave stall to me.）
『Sure thing. Alright, let’s go Urushi!』
Urushi transported me inside of his shadow as we began to move.
Being a sword, or rather, an inorganic, made life pretty convenient at times like this. Since I didn’t actually count as a real living thing, I could totally be treated like any other item and stored and stuff. Interestingly enough though, I could actually see the outside world from inside of Urushi’s shadow.
The wolf dashed through the city at full speed whilst simultaneously doing his best not to stand out. The guards had started chasing us on more than one occasion, but, they were far too slow to keep up with Urushi’s ridiculously high speed. Moreover, Urushi had a mark that proved he was Fran’s familiar. Said mark made everything a whole lot less of a pain in the ass. That said, we still couldn’t help but end up scaring a few children here and there along the way, but the most we could do was give them a mental apology seeing as the circumstances were what they were.
『I see it.』
The orphanage stall was about as crowded as crowded could be, but despite that, it’s queue was incredibly well organised. Their customers managed to form a line about three hundred heads long without any sort of fuss. Holy crap.
「Look! It’s Urushi!」
「Hey Urushi, what’re you doing here?」
The orphanage children immediately recognized Urushi and ran towards him. Wait, aren’t they supposed to be helping out or something?
I’d assumed they would be, but turning my gaze towards the stall allowed me to understand that there wasn’t any issue. The kids that ran over to us were the younger, livelier ones, whereas the ones helping out were the slightly older and more responsible ones.
Urushi seemed quite happy with the fact that the orphanage’s children had swarmed him in order to pet him, as most people ended up freezing up in fear the moment they saw him. The kids’ attitudes stemmed from the fact Fran and saved the orphanage. They thought of Urushi as her pet, and thus, viewed him in a rather favourable light.
Nothing’s seemed to have happened just yet, so I figured there wasn’t harm in sitting around and letting Urushi enjoy himself a bit longer.
Unfortunately though, my thoughts almost seemed to have jinxed the whole damn thing, as the peace was broken the moment after the idea crossed my mind.
「The fuck!? You fucking expect us to pay for this!? You been smokin some hot shit dawg, this shit soup ain’t got nothing but bushweed in it.」
「I-I’m terribly sorry…」
「Bitch, you think I’m going to just forgive yo dumb ass just ‘cause you apologizin? Hell naw. You want me to forgive you? Close this shack ass stall down right the fuck now!」
「You talkin back to me bitch?」
A sense of deja vu assaulted me as I watched a group of unfashionable men harass Io and the children working by her side.
「P-Please forgive us.」
A few of the children began screaming and crying in response to the thugs’ intimidation.
「Shut cho ass up!」
「Get on all fours and beg! Do it, bitch!」
Okay, yeah, the men were definitely taking it too far. Io had long gone pale in the face.
「The fuck’s wrong with this mangy mutt?」
「The hell you looking at? I’ll kill yo as-argghghhghg!」
Urushi tackled one of the men. His body flew well over ten meters and landed with a crack as he transitioned into an unmoving lump.
The same soon happened to the other three. Each of the men flew through the streets like a bullet before collapsing.
「Yay! You did it!」
「You’re so cool, Urushi!!」
Urushi then proceeded to grab the men one by one and pile them all up in a single spot, after which he vaulted on top of them and howled as if to declare victory. This action led the children around him to cheer with even greater ferocity. Luckily, it looked like they didn’t end up traumatized as a result of the thugs’ actions.
The whole event came to a conclusion when a few guards came over and took the ruffians we beat down into custody.
I’m glad we managed to show up when we did. The orphanage would’ve ended up in a pretty bad spot otherwise. Whoever was responsible for this was one hell of a conniving cunt.
『That’s that taken care of, so let’s lead back.』
I mean, there was no way there was going to be more than one set of thugs attacking each place in a single day anyways.
The day passed as per my expectations. Everything from that one point onwards went as smoothly as could be, and we ended without any other disturbances.
Every single participant was obligated to return to the Chef’s Guild at the day’s end in order to temporarily hand over their stalls. There, we learned that similar things had happened to a few other participants as well. Specifically, the orphanage aside, there were two that’d suffered from similar circumstances: The Dragon’s Table and The Noble’s Dish.
「None. The Dragon’s Table’s shopkeeper used to be an A ranked adventurer before retiring.」
「He’s still more than strong enough to handle a few petty criminals. They say he used to hunt Dragons so he could use their meat in his dishes back in the day.」
Huh, a former A rank dragon slayer? That’s pretty interesting. He just so happened to be talking with one of the guild’s clerks, so I decided to give him a quick once over in order to check out his stats.
『Woah, he’s 60? Holy crap!』
He honestly looked to me like he was in his mid 40’s. Moreover, he was still pretty strong. Retirement had caused his skills and stats to weaken to the point where he was statistically inferior to Colbert. However, if you were to compare the two, I’d say with confidence that the former would be much more difficult to defeat than the latter.
I could tell at a glance that he was experienced in battle. The craftyness derived from his knowledge base would be far more troublesome an asset than sheer numbers.
I then turned towards and observed the guy who appeared to be in charge of The Noble’s Dish. He was followed by a series of cronies, and gave off an attitude that seemed to stress self-importance over all. Apparently, he himself was the Lord’s third son, and was currently acting as a chef under his older brother’s, the second son’s employ.
Honestly, he seemed pretty damn weak. How the hell did he manage to drive his assailants away?
「I heard that he prostrated himself before telling them that he didn’t care what they did to him. However, he begged and begged for them them to at least overlook his customers. The thugs ended up losing interest and leaving shortly after.」
Huh… That might end up making The Noble’s Dish quite a bit more popular than they were before.
Thankfully, none of the four shops attacked actually ended up suffering any losses. However, that wasn’t to say that everything was already done and over with; we’d have to be cautious going forward as well.
What a pain in the ass…
I’d like to prevent anything from happening to the orphanage if possible. Hopefully, they’d be able to fend for themselves. I did hear that some of their alumni were going to start guarding them as of tomorrow. Said alumni had ended up becoming adventurers after gaining their independence, so they should be okay.
Either way, the first day had now come to an end. We’d already returned our cart and parted ways with Colbert and the three salesgirls. We ended up selling a whole seven thousand servings, much more than I’d initially expected. I was going to have to work hard tonight so I could replenish our stocks.
I started thinking back on the day’s events as I worked. It was pretty obvious that whole reason we ended up getting assaulted was because one of the twenty participants was trying to get rid of as many of their competitors as possible. That said, there were far more than just twenty suspects, seeing as how almost everyone had sponsors and backers and whatnot. The only four people I could possibly exclude from the list of suspects would be the victims themselves.
Wait… hold on a second. Why did The Noble’s Dish manage to get away with nothing more than a few moments worth of prostration? The orphanage was about to have their stall completely torn down in spite of their apologies.
Yeah, this totally feels like a set-up.
It’s possible that the thugs ended up deciding not to mess with The Nobel’s Dish because the guy running the place was the local Lord’s son, but I doubt it. There had to be more to it than just that.
It’d probably be good for us to keep an eye on them for the time being.
『Do you still remember how the Lord’s third son smelled?』
『Alright, can you do me a favour and keep an eye on him and check what he’s up to?』
I had to stay here and keep making curry bread. Fran was still growing, so she couldn’t afford to stay up. Moreover, she’s going to be responsible for protecting the stall tomorrow too, so she’s going to need all the energy she can get. In other words, Urushi was the only one left available for the job.
『I’m counting on you, boy!』