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Chapter 358 part 1

While feeling the coldness of the air, I proceed to the east through the central square of the royal capital with my eyes downcast on the cobblestones.
It was still morning. Many people were commuting to and from their workplaces so it was a bit dangerous to keep looking down.
However, since it was late autumn, the sun was low in the sky and I couldn’t look up due to the glaring sunlight.

「Good morning. I’m very sorry to bother you this early in the morning, but there is something I’d like to ask.」

I managed to arrive at the merchant guild where I work without bumping into anyone. I went to the back of the guild with a face pass and went up the stairs to the guild master’s office on the third floor.

「That’s so rare for you to come here to ask something, Tauro-kun. Well, why don’t you take a seat first?」

The goblin-like old man, who seems to be working on a document at his massive office desk, jumped down from his chair, which was too large for his small stature after finishing his sentence.
Next, he asked a female staff, who seemed to be his secretary, to make drinks and sank down on the lounge suite sofa.

「What is it that you want to ask, Tauro-kun?」

The female clerk in her mid-thirties disappeared into the office kitchenette. I returned my gaze from the ripe peaches that were swaying from side to side, took a breath, and opened my mouth.

「It seems that a group of women who call themselves the “Pantyless Troupe” are handing out flowers for free*. Although I am nothing but its pilot, I still belong to the merchant guild. Looking from the brothel business perspective, I thought I couldn’t just sit idly by.」
[*TL Note: Selling their bodies for free.]

This is information that was brought to me last night by Cool-san.
Goblin Jii-chan folded his arms and closed his eyes. The female clerk put the coffee on the table and retreated to the corner of the room, where she opened her eyes and made an amazed expression.

「You have quick ears. Even we only recently learned about it.」

After he said that, he laughed cheerfully and enjoyed the aroma coming out of the cup. Then he puts the cup back on the table and opens his mouth with a calm expression.

「We have decided to leave them alone. And the vice-guild master also agrees with this decision.」

The vice-guild master, a fat old man with a white beard who looks a lot like Santa Claus. He is not in this room right now.
Incidentally, the reason for leaving them be is apparently because 『there are advantages and no disadvantages』.

「They only targeted the tenements in the poorer parts of the downtown area. As long it’s a place that doesn’t bring in a lot of extra income, they don’t come to the red-light district.」

Therefore, the percentage of their sales compromised is almost zero. 『I see』, I uttered while nodding my head, but then I tilted my head to the side.

「It certainly seems to have little impact on the red-light district. But I don’t think it would be beneficial either.」

The merchant guild should’ve known that there are four members in this troupe. Although they wear masks covering their faces, they all seem to be reasonably skilled and with well-defined faces and well-proportioned bodies to boot.

『Breaking into someone else’s house and assaulting them one-sidedly.』

If you don’t mind that one thing, it will be a heaven-sent night of excitement for the men. But that’s it, no one else benefits from it aside from the men themselves.
The guild master bent the corners of his lift to a smile and opened his mouth.

「They don’t seem to give free service to the same person twice. Therefore, even if the men want to experience it again, it will never come true no matter how hard they wished for it.」

After saying this, he sips his coffee and moistens his throat, and then continues.

「It’s an opportunity for them to remember the taste of women, which they had almost forgotten in the pursuit of their busy daily lives. If it’s you, Tauro-kun, what would you think?」

When I think about it and put myself in their shoes, I can sort of understand where they’re coming from.

「It would be unbearable, I suppose. And the only way to get rid of it is to save up money and go to the red-light district.」

If we looked at the results alone, it would be like a 『free trial service to taste the wonderfulness of women』. For the red-light district, it would be like a public advertisement.
When I told him this, the small, goblin-like old man nodded his head in satisfaction.

「They don’t have bad intentions and I am sure you’re just going to be disappointed when you find out why they are doing this.」

A calm decision based on a profit-loss calculation. I was once again impressed by him.
I asked him if he knew the true identity of the “Pantyless Troupe” and he told me without hesitation.

「They are undoubtedly a member of the church from the Eastern Country.」

The Eastern Kingdom is as the name suggests, a country to the east of the Kingdom, and its power is somewhat smaller compared to the Kingdom. Even so, it can be called a large country.
It is a monotheistic country led by the Archbishop, which is rare on the Ost continent, where there are many polytheistic religions.

「They are an ally country with the Kingdom, aren’t they? So why would they…」

I wrinkled my brows vertically as I tried to make sense of it.
The Eastern Kingdom has a good track record as a country. They didn’t attack us when the Kingdom knight order was at its weakest, and when there were many victims of brainwashing magic, they dispatched their national treasure, the Saintess, to help us cleanse up the brainwashing magic.

(Although it might also be because of the presence of the Empire…)

The Empire to the west of the Kingdom is overflowing with ambitions to expand its territories. If the Kingdom is swallowed up, it is only natural that the Eastern Country will be their next target.

「In return for the Saintess removing the brainwashing, the Kingdom has sent a preacher of 『Sin and Punishment』 to their country.」

I nodded my head in response to Goblin Jii-chan’s not-so-direct reply. I remembered the old preacher well since I was also a member of the escort.

『To get even a little closer to the throne of God.』

The monotheistic religions of the Eastern Country place extreme importance on this. They say that 『men’s and women’s sexual intercourse』 is a means to this end and that at the end of the climax, one can feel closer to God.
Other practices, such as 『spending time in the wilderness without food or water』 are also said to be a form of asceticism.

「It seems His Holiness thinks that 『Sin and Punishment』 is also one way to achieve this, and can be a substitute for asceticism.」

『Sin and Punishment』 is what I call SM in my previous life. Seeing me moving my head vertically again, the guild master continues.

「His Holiness is so fond of it that he has the nuns whip him day and night, and drip candle wax over him.」

Goblin Jii-chan stirred the coffee again and narrowed his eyes.

「His subordinates and vassals must have felt unsatisfied by this fact. The leader of their own country is devoted to the culture of another country.」

So the Pantyless Troupe’s actions are probably a retaliation that comes from the rebellion. However, it is not an action supported by the country, but rather a voluntary action by some of its active members.
In addition, the guild merchant has also confirmed the activities of groups other than Pantyless Troupe in cities other than the royal capital.

(Countering cultural aggression with another culture, huh?)

They say that technology is greatly advanced by war. Let’s hope the same is true for the 『sexual culture wars』.

「It can also double as missionary work.」

“Then, shouldn’t that be all the more reason to take action?” or so I appealed to him, but the guild master shook his head.

「It is up to the people to decide which god they believe in.」

This must be a common way of thinking in this Kingdom with its many polytheistic believers.
The small old man smiled mischievously and said, 『I Know what you’re thinking』.

「You can drop the pretense, Tauro-kun. What you’re worried about is something else, isn’t it?」

“It’s about that girl, isn’t it?” he continued. Which I admit with a sigh. It seems that he can see through Cool-san’s worries as the virgin-eater Unicorn.

「She’s feeling uneasy. She’s afraid that strangers will take away all the virgins in her hunting ground.」

Goblin Jii-chan shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head with a sigh just as I did.

「She must have become impatient because another force has appeared.」

“It’s not like I don’t understand that feeling, though” he added and a smile appeared on the corner of his mouth as he finished his coffee.
Although this topic ended here, we chatted more after that, and it took some time before I left the guild master’s office.
After learning that the merchant guild won’t make a move, I went down the stairs from the third floor to the first floor while thinking about Cool-san.


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