「Of a department store?」
Both Aur and Lilu were repeating his words. Keith nods in confirmation.
「In the beginning, it started with that shop. After gradually increasing the amount of hope, more shops slowly got created and after some time, it transitioned into a town. Well, because I wasn’t here to see it all happen, I can only give you a second-hand telling of what occurred.」
The Gnome shop was the smallest building in this town. Only having two stories the shop had signs which said “Dirt Cheap Goods!”, or “Massive Sale of recovery medicine”, “Gnome Goods store”, “second hand swords” those kind of signs across the entrance. It did not seem like the sort of establishment a boss of the territory would have.
「If you enter the labyrinth and defeat monsters and manage to gather fangs, fingernails or furs of a beast you can trade it in for cash at that store. Any of these materials can be used in magical potions and armors. There’s also other stuff that one can obtain from the labyrinth that can be sold in the store. Moreover, all of it is for a fair price. Thanks to that, we are able to stay within the town and make a living here.」
Hmm I see, Aur breathed out in an interested manner. The mana from the dungeon flows forth and completely fills the area. Naturally, those that lived within the dungeon and breathed the air would obtain a thicker amount of magical energy source. Furthermore, those living things that were filled to the brim with magical energy would be eaten by even stronger living beings and the remaining corpses would be eaten by insects and rats. Then the weaker animals would eat those insects and…… the magical energy would continue to accumulate.
When monsters and animals alike all are filled to the brim with mana, it is likely that they will turn out to be a high-quality material. Aur actually prepared treasures for the purpose of luring in adventurers to his dungeon but for the first time he realized that it was not really a necessity to provide so many incentives and he was frankly quite shocked.
「By the way, the weapons shop and the armor shop both will not purchase these goods. The only place you can sell things related to the labyrinth in this town, is if you go to this store. All daily necessities and miscellaneous goods can also be bought from here.」
Apparently, this small shop seems to have a strong presence in the economy of this town. Even though the town didn’t have independence, they still turned out quite well because they were able to specialize in the business of supporting adventurers.
「Then, perhaps I shall introduce myself to this manager.」
「Yeah. Alright then, I mainly hang around the bar while drinking but if you would like to venture into the labyrinth please be sure to call out to me. I can always introduce you to to some good teammates.」
Keith waves his hands while walking away towards the bar, Aur and Lilu both set foot inside of the department store.
The inside of the store was much more narrow than expected and there weren’t many other customers.
There were plenty of goods stacked and lined up together, the person with a beaming smile on the other side of the counter was this short girl with red hair which mainly congregated to the side of her head. She was about the same height as Sharl and had very young looking features, but she had large breasts that didn’t match her appearance shaking about. She was hospitably smiling at Aur.
When he heard the term “boss” he imagined a wealthy merchant with a well-fed build and she was not what he was expecting.
「Is the store owner in?」
「If you are looking for potions, salves, antidotes, ropes or even lanterns and the oil for it we have plenty! We also deal with swords, spears and armors, if you would like to sell any of these items at Gnome’s store please feel welcome! My name is Nora Marucadeis and I am the store owner here. Please feel free to call me by Gnome.」
The girl who introduced herself as Gnome talked in a continuous manner without showing any reluctance.
「Are you the one they call the “manager” around here?」
「It would be a mistake to say that I was the one who named myself but… I merely have a business here. It is all thanks to everyone’s efforts that we have been able to build this town.」
Gnome speaks engagingly.
「One would not expect a person to try and open shop in a location like this, any particular reason you did?」
「This is the territory of the powerful Demon King Aur. Therefore, I wasn’t worried in the slightest.」
Gnome puffs out her chest in pride and spoke with confidence.
「There are plenty of adventurers who dream of exterminating the Demon King and dives head on into the labyrinth in the hopes of defeating him, in the process they sometimes obtain treasures and materials to bring back here. Using the materials traded here, commodities are made. The created commodities are then purchased with more of the treasure brought by the adventurers. So my plan is to obtain treasures in return for providing this service of creating commodities.」
「I see. However, what if the Demon King happens to be defeated?」
「At that time, I will obediently close up the shop and go to another place. But, that is not going to happen, right? Demon King-sama?」
Aur spoke in a jesting manner and Gnome smiles as she answers him.
「W-What are you saying!?」
「You fool, if you react like that, it is like confirming her words.」
Lilu panics and was easy to read, while Aur sighed.
「Well fine. I did not particularly need to hide it. So now, do you understand what I want to say, Merchant?」
When Aur asks her this question, she gives him a charming smile whilst answering him with a resounding “yes”.
「If I do business around here, I will become a nuisance for Aur-sama. After all, I am helping the adventurers side. There is no meaning for Aur-sama to stay silent and overlook such behavior. In that case, I need to give a reason for you to stay silent and overlook things a little bit right?」
With a kaching, Gnome takes out a bag filled with gold coins.
「This is 10 percent of the sale amount. Please accept it.」
「Your shop is prospering so well that even I can obtain a portion of the profits, eh? Well, this much is natural.」
Aur receives this portion of the gold and says “and?” urging her to continue her proposition. Her eyes trembled for a brief instant and Aur did not fail to notice this. However, he was not going to be someone that was going to be satisfied just by merely receiving 10 percent of the sale proceeds.
「….. I’ve heard that Aur-sama likes beautiful women?」
Gnome puts her own body on the counter, grabbing both ends of her skirt and lifting it up.
「Please, use this body as you desire, I will not mind it.」
She was standing on her knees and was in the perfect position to show Aur her undergarments. “Hou” Aur raises an admiring voice and crawls his fingers across her special spot. Slosh, a damp and wet feeling is transmitted to his fingers.
「It seems you’re already prepared.」
「You praise me too highly.」
Obviously, she didn’t just get wet for no good reason. At the time that Aur entered her store, she already saw through the fact that he was the Demon King and was prepared for this development.
「Aur, this girl is a virgin you know?」
「How generous of her.」
When Lilu points this fact out to Aur, Gnome’s crotch area was being caressed and she continued to smile sweetly.
「I have a motto to do things with whole-hearted devotion.」
In front of Aur who she knew was the Demon King, she acted in such a manner even though she was only a virgin. Her courage and her intelligence, these were both things that Aur became interested in.
「This is no good.」
Consequently, Aur answered in this manner. As one would think, she did not expect such a reaction from Aur and Gnome opened her eyes widely in surprise.
「Unfortunately this is the case, I am not going to bargained with by a woman. Indeed, you are certainly a beautiful girl, however, if you think that this form of compensation will be enough, there will be an issue for us both.」
Aur embraces Lilu and grabs her breasts in a showy manner. Even through the robe she was wearing, Lilu’s plump breasts was plain to see, they made their presence known and was indecently perky. Gnome definitely had a splendid pair of large breasts, but it was not something that could possibly compare with the lewd body of a succubus.
「Then, what shall I do?」
Gnome quietly watches Aur.
「You have the “Eyes of Truth” don’t you?
Gnome, doesn’t blink her eyes. Aur continues.
「It is the “Gift” that you possess. All falsehood is exposed and the essence is made clear. I see, that this is how you’ve managed to make a living as a merchant at such an age.」
「I don’t think that it is as great as you say.」
Gnome sighs and gets off the counter.
「My eyes are merely the “Appraisal Eyes”. In a certain way, it might actually be rarer than the “Eyes of Truth”. It is a half-baked gift that is able to determine the price and value of any object seen. It also states that you have the price of 10 gold attached to you. Normally humans are not valued. But if your body was perhaps made out of materials then a price can be seen.」
「……Well just leave it at that. However, would you be able to notice how effective a sword is?」
A cold feeling ran up Gnome’s spine. Without her being aware, Aur had already gripped her head.
「Be careful of how you answer. “Is there any other person who knows your ability excluding yourself”」
Aur’s voice was cold and detached. If she lied or answered in a way that he was not satisfied, she would be killed in a heartbeat. Gnome knew this by her intuition.
「The only person who knows, is, me…..」
「If Aur-sama were to pass away, then my business who close up.」
Gnome already composed herself to the point that her voice did not even shake and she answers him clearly.
Aur separates his hand from Gnome’s head. All the tension leaves her body and suddenly her whole body was gushing with sweat.
「You possess courage, I like you. Even if I need to force it, I want you to become mine, however……」
「I regret to inform you Aur-sama, but I am a merchant. Even if you were to deprived this soul of mine, there would be no profit in it at all.」
Gnome looks at Aur straight on and states this fact clearly.
「That may be true.」
Aur realized that talking to her in matters that do not concern the word “profit” is something fruitless to do. He may be able to forcefully bind her with a curse or destroy her spirit and make her into his puppet, however if he were to take such a drastic measure, she would lose both her valiant courage and clever mind.
「I will allow your business here. Moreover, I give you goods that have been cursed to sell in bulk. I do not need payment, you merely need to offer them for sale to the market.」
「How do you wish to get compensated instead?」
「I will collect 5 percent of the sale proceeds. However, this is in regards to the entire town profits. Furthermore, I will also sell the commodities you make here within my labyrinth. This will be the consideration. What do you think about this?」
「I have received your request. There are no problems with your conditions.」
Gnome immediately replies. It was not that she didn’t think deeply enough about the matter, her mind just worked so fast that she already finished calculating in her head, it was like she was a computer software.
Aur was playing around with the gold coin he received from her as he asked her this question.
「How many gold coins are you worth?」