Translator: “Hakou” Editor: “Weasalopes”
A large square in the center of the royal capital.
Standing on the east side of the square is a three-story building with a wide entrance. It is the headquarters of the kingdom’s merchant guild.
I was in the guild master’s office on the third floor, drinking the tea that was served.
I had nothing special to do, I just dropped by and was invited to tea. He must have been bored as well.
「Will the vice-guild master take the lead this year?」
A small, elderly man sitting buried in a big chair nodded at my words.
This man of intelligence and dignity is the guild master of the merchant guild. I call him Goblin jii-chan behind his back, partly because he looks like a goblin.
「I forgot to invite you but, does Tauro-kun also want to participate?」
What the guild master talked about was the divine tournament that would be held in the holy city. It was a big event held at the temple of the god of business, who also presided over the business of buying and selling your bodies.
Last year, I had gotten a chance to participate in the tournament as a member of the merchant guild, and I gained a lot of experience.
「I’m troubled. I want to see the tournament, but…」
This tournament is one of the Grand Slams. The competition between world-class men and women can’t even be described with the word amazing alone.
However, I’m not sure if I want to participate.
「The fact that unlike in a brothel, winning means that you don’t get to let it out, is a bit…」
The moment you are declared as the winner, you have to leave your opponent as is. Enjoying the play to the end until you finished, something like that is not allowed.
「That is certainly so, it must be agonizing」
The guild master showed his agreement with my words.
This old man, who is also a goblin on the inside, likes to scatter his seeds. I guess he has his own ideas about that particular rule.
「I’m just going to watch the tournament and visit the temple. That would be great already」
It just so happens that it’ll be the vice guild master turn this year. There is already one leader and two contestants, one male and one female that participates.
Only these people are invited, so there’s no place for me.
「If that’s the case, then your only option is to go there and see for yourself. But even for the tournament next year, it would be difficult to make reservations now」
Not this year, but next year. I was surprised for a moment, but soon I understood.
Although this is a world-famous event, there are not many spectators. From the looks of it, there were probably about a thousand people.
It would not have been surprising if it turns out the tickets were more than a platinum.
「By the way, which brothel will represent us this year?」
I asked the guild master with interest.
For the women’s team, it is customary for the three families of the royal capital to compete in the tournament on a rotating basis. Incidentally, it was Jayanne that went there last year.
「It was Cassabell I think」
It is the most long-established brothel of the three families of the royal capital. It is a brothel with a high level of tradition and prestige, and is often used for national-level entertainment.
The guild master rubbed his chin in thought and continued to speak.
「One of them is going to go with 『Sin and Punishment』 theme. It seems they’re planning to advertise it all over the world」
“The concierge at Jayanne was in a panic,” he added with a wicked smile.
『Sin and Punishment』 originated in Jayanne. The concierge was worried that if they fell behind in advertising, they would lose their position as the founder.
I guess the concierge is worried about that.
「But I wonder if they can win with that. Wouldn’t losing in the first round have the opposite effect?」
A play that is just beginning to spread in this world. There aren’t many people yet who can transform pain into joy and be satisfied with it until they climaxed.
And there is almost no chance that their opponent will.
「It seems that even Dr. Slime, the inventor of the idea, doesn’t know everything about it」
The guild leader smirks at me. When I asked him back with a dubious look, he began to explain.
To my surprise, it is 『Plain-chan』 who will be participating with a whip in her hand.
「Certainly, she’s the most popular queen in Casabel」
I choked up.
Plain-chan’s selling point is that she is conquerable. If you’re strong enough, you can turn the tables on Joō-sama over and over again and make her give in to you.
That’s why she has a long line of people who feel that they are close to beating her.
「That is her from a some time ago, she’s still growing even now」
Her whip attack is said to be more precise, and even for inexperienced people, the first blow will send a sweet electric current running through them.
And while the inexperienced person is still confused by the unfamiliar sensation, the tip of the whip will fly once more. It is said that this decides almost every match.
「After getting sweetly tormented for a long time, it is finished with the heel」
The guild master smiles at me when I ask this question.
「It’s the heel of the shoe. A gentle shove in the back, and you’ll end up awakening to a new world」
“That was indeed a new experience”, said the guild master while folding his arms and shaking his head. It seems he had already experienced it.
「That is…..sounds promising, yes」
「It may become the center of attention. If we can make it to the top with this new style, our City of Flowers will become even more famous」
The guild master smiled happily as he said this.
It is my first time hearing it but, apparently, the royal capital is beginning to be called the 『City of Flowers』. The more the city is known, the more it will attract tourists.
As someone from the merchant guild, he must be very happy about this.
「I would have loved to watch the tournament, but it was his turn this time」
So he said after he finished laughing.
「I did ask him to switch with me, but he refused. He said he was more experienced than me when it came to 『Sin and Punishment』」
Santa Claus, naked and whipped, receiving candle service. While imagining this, I look out the window.
As expected of the higher-ups of the Kingdom merchant guild, there are many people who have an enterprising spirit.
「By the way, there is something I would like to ask but」
The talk came to a stop so I changed the topic.
「What do you know about the 『Tuner』profession, guild master?」
The magic word that has captured my heart ever since the herbivore mechanic told me about it. I would like to know more about it.
The petite old man nodded and took a sip of his tea.
「It seems you’re pretty interested in it」
When I replied, “Well, maybe a little”, he gave me an exasperated look.
「You’re working as a pharmacist, a pilot, and now you want to be a tuner? I can’t say having a lot of work is good, you know?」
In my case, it’s a rather subtle feeling because I don’t consider any of it as work. I wonder if I looked like a workaholic from another person’s perspective.
「Well, you seem to have a talent for it」
He sighs and tells me about it.
He told me that it was basically an apprenticeship system, and that they learned their skills by working as concierge apprentices in a brothel.
「In many cases, the concierge is also serving as a tuner」
The guild master’s words reminded me of something. It was the time when I had suggested oyakodon at Cione.
At that time, the concierge had said that he would taste it himself and make adjustments.
「A specialist who doubles as a concierge is called a 『Tuner』 to distinguish them from normal concierge」
Apparently it is common for them to have multiple stores as clients. It is said that only a very limited number of people are able to travel the world.
「An apprentice from somewhere, that’s how it starts, huh?」
I cross my arms and my expression turns sullen. I longed to be a tuner, but I wondered if I could bring myself to go that far.
As I groaned while digging into my own mind, the guild master laughed lightly.
「Normally, yes, but there are always some special cases if you look into it」
Looking at me raising my head, he nodded and continued to speak.
「If you’re someone famous, you can become a tuner just like that. You don’t need any qualifications」
Becoming a disciple is not just about learning techniques. It is also to get customers.
(Would you ask an unqualified stranger to tune your music? Certainly you won’t)
While they train under their master, they might be introduced to customers, or given away to them.
The guild master continued.
「If you’re a celebrity in the industry, you’ll get customers by appointment right from the start」
And he continued after taking a breath.
「Doctor Slime. There is no one in the red-light district who doesn’t know his name. If you put up a sign with this name, there is no doubt that customers will come to you」
The guild master, seeing me about to smile, raised his eyebrows and said, putting a big nail in the coffin.
「But that only works for the first time. The moment you lose their trust, they won’t come back」
So, using my name only works for the first time, huh.
I learned a lot.
Based on that, it would be a bad idea to suddenly go to a top-class store.
It’s like a star player who retires and then suddenly becomes the manager of a top-class team. Because it will attract a lot of attention, if you mess up, you will be branded as incompetent.
「Thank you very much. It was very helpful」
The guild master smiled at me as I bowed my head. Then he added.
「If you did become a tuner and you are stuck for ideas, feel free to come to me. Because I have a lot of them」
I can’t raise my bowed head. Many of the guild master’s ideas, including the 『Three Generations Bowl』, are dangerous.
I waited for the expression on my face to disappear for a moment, then stood up.
「Well then, I will be in your care at that time」
I ended up saying something I didn’t mean to say.
There is a road that stretches eastward from the royal capital.
It passes through the Count’s territory, where there was a man who called himself a sage, and leads to the Cathedral city in the eastern country.
The highway that is near the royal capital. There is a large lake on the north side of the highway, about a day’s ride away by regular golem wagon.
Right now there were two Knights standing on the shore of the lake.
『Ripples began to form on the surface of the lake. It’s coming』
It was an old man standing on a top of a hill who spoke to the Knight over a loudspeaker. He was fully clothed, trying to withstand the chill of the wind that blew across the lake.
『I know, leave it to me』
The one who answered was a B-class Knight painted in pale blue. It was armed with a two-handed sword only, without a shield.
The C-class Knight standing next to it is putting up its shield in the front while looking nervous.
The two Knights belong to the kingdom’s knight order.
『A giant demon beast is going back and forth between the lake and the land, endangering the highway』
Upon receiving that report, they were dispatched in a hurry.
『Here it comes!』
The old man shouts. A huge shell emerges from the rising water.
Its diameter was probably twice the height of the Knight. The reptilian face that appeared afterwards indicated that it was a turtle.
In the cockpit of the C-class Knight, a young woman with braided hair and giant, cannonball-shaped breasts let out a sigh out of shock.
『And there’s more than one of them it seems』
As the surface of the water continues to rise, the sound of tongues clicking is heard from the B-class Knight.
The person in the cockpit of this Knight was also a woman. She had a strict face and her hair was pulled up in a ponytail.
『Keep the other one in check while I take one down!』
Ponytail shouted and held her two-handed sword in the high stance. Then she charged head-on into the giant turtle that had just stepped ashore.
As she stepped forward, a thumping vibration resonated in her stomach. At the same time, the ground sank unbearably deep because of the pressure.
She swung down at his head, but the giant pulled its head back with surprising swiftness. The turtle’s shell was scratched but not broken, completely repelling the blow she delivered with all her might.
A violent metallic sound rang out, and the old man on the hill pressed his ears.
(I’ll just have to keep doing it then)
The numbing vibration from the sword. Frowning at it, she swung her ponytail to the side as if it were her habit.
She made the Knight take a few steps back, and held her sword at the upper stance again.
(Eh? She can’t hold them back?)
But then another giant turtle came into view, shaking the ground as it approached.
She turned around to see her colleague being pushed back by the one that had originally been there.
(Another one!? Three of them is too much!)
One of them had come ashore the other day. That was the information they had, but it seems that there were more of them.
(We need change of plan to chase them away since defeating them is impossible)
Ponytail’s experience as a member of the Knights has made her more flexible than before.
That’s why she was entrusted to lead the team here this time.
『I’m going to your side soon, so hold on!』
The giant turtle rushes forward with tremendous force, with its head pulled in as is . She managed to dodge to the side and shouted as she struck the shell with her sword.
She heard her colleague shouting her understanding, mixed with screams.
It was thirty minutes later that the girls were able to repel the giant turtle.
『It’s going to be okay now』
Ponytail tells the old man on the hill with the external sound system.
The client thanked her, but his expression looked dissatisfied.
(What’s with that expression, does he have a complaint or something?)
She succeeded in driving away the three giant turtles.
The Knight took some damage after getting hit and rammed by the turtle. However, it was not serious.
It should have been enough of an achievement.
(……Was it just my imagination?)
However, the old man only showed an ambiguous expression for a moment. Now he was smiling while thanking her.
Ponytail figured out that she was mistaken and turned the Knight toward the royal capital.
『Well then, we’re going back now. Please let us know if there’s anything happen again』
Two giants are walking away to the west along the highway.
The old man on the hill sighs as he hears the sound of footsteps that’s a bit delayed.
(Even though I’ve prepared some men to collect the drops)
Last year around this time, there were also giant turtles that came ashore. At that time, he got very good quality drops, or corpses, from three of them.
He was expecting something similar again this year, so he had them waiting in the shade of the hill.
(Well, I guess it’s fine. Since unlike in the past, the knight order does this for free now)
Until recently, it would have been unthinkable for the knight order to be dispatched to kill demon beasts.
『Knights should only fight with Knights』
『It is not the duty of the honorable Kingdom knight order to deal with the likes of demon beasts. If you really want us to, then bring a herd of demon beasts that’s capable of destroying a country!』
That’s what the upper-class pilots say. Nowadays, there is not even a classification of upper, middle, and low-class pilots.
「The world has become a better place to live in, I guess」
The highways were crowded with merchants, and the prices of goods became cheaper. It was true that some people were troubled by this, but it was also true that more people were happy.
As far as he’s concerned, life was getting easier.
『I’m sorry everyone! There’s no drop items this time, so all of you are dismissed!』
He told the local volunteer collecting team over the loudspeaker. The old man descended the hill while scratching his head in frustration.