312 – Excuses and Penthouse
Editor: Thor’s Stone
For the time being, I asked Kugi-chan where she was currently staying, or rather, whether or not she’d already booked a room at an inn or something.
“There is an embassy of the Holy Vuelzarus Empire in this colony, so I’ve arranged for a stay there.”
“A stay huh…… Since when?”
“I only managed to arrive at this colony yesterday.”
Kugi-chan cheerfully answered my questions with her tails cutely swaying back and forth. I see. Yesterday huh. So that would mean we managed to arrive at this colony practically at the same time, and then this girl actually managed to find me relatively quickly afterward, right?
Just in case, I signaled to Mei so she’d perform a quick check. Was it really so easy and simple to perform a background check, you ask? Well, us mercenaries have our means. Since it was part of a mercenary’s job to track down and hunt criminals (mostly pirates) active in various star systems, we’re able to obtain stuff like personal files and security information such as colony entry and exit records as long as we followed the proper procedures set by the Mercenary Guild.
“I see…… So what are you planning on doing now? Will you be staying with us after this?”
“If it isn’t of any trouble to you, My Lord, I would really like to be by your side from now on.”
“If that’s what you want, then you’d better bring your luggage over. We’ll need to go through the procedures so you can check in with us.”
The room we were staying at wasn’t exactly comparable to a presidential suite, but I think it more than qualified as a pretty luxurious penthouse. We rented a room on the top floor, so adding one more guest to the list shouldn’t be too much trouble. It should be fine after handing the hotel receptionist some extra fees. Probably.
“Thank you very much, My Lord! Then I shall depart now and prepare to move posthaste.”
“Sure. Go and accompany her as an escort, Mei.”
Mei nodded promptly and followed after Kugi-chan. With this, I think I’ve arranged everything that can be arranged for now.
Elma was dead silent, and Mimi was staring at me hard with a reproachful gaze. Both of them seemed to not like Kugi-chan very much. Man, what a headache. Well, I suppose all I can do right now is perform the appropriate follow-through. You can do this, me.
“Let me say this first, guys; it’s not like I believe in the words of that girl a hundred percent. To be honest, I still suspect about 70 or 80% of her story is just BS.”
“Reaaally? And here I’d thought you’d be totally fine with accepting Kugi-chan ’cause she’s cute.”
“Fine, I’d be lying if I said that isn’t the case. At least part of it is. I mean, hearing stuff like ‘being disposed of’ just rubs me the wrong way y’know.”
“I suppose. Even so, I think it was a bit underhanded of her.”
I smiled bitterly and nodded in response to Whisker’s words. Was she really so easily overcome with emotion, or was that girl just really good at acting the part?
“……So what about the remaining 20 to 30%, Hiro-sama?”
Mimi asked while pouting. How cute.
“There are just too many unknowns regarding the Holy Vuelzarus Empire, right? Normally speaking, dispatching a young girl like Kugi-chan to search for these so-called ‘visitors from the upper world’ without so much as a guarantee of even finding one doesn’t really make much sense. It’s just too inefficient. But the Holy Vuelzarus Empire, with their well-developed psionic technology, seems to be capable of accomplishing something so unlikely. Since even someone like me seemingly has the weird ability to somehow attract bad luck, I think it isn’t within the realm of impossibility that someone or something out there is capable of stuff like precognition or messing with fate.”
“Uh, have ya watched one too many holo-movies, Boss?”
“Maybe. And yet, maybe not. That’s why I wanna go and check things out first, guys. Things would be easy if all of this is just an elaborate scam. Since all we have to do afterward is to throw that girl out.”
I shrugged my shoulders after saying my piece. No matter how cute that girl was, I had absolutely no intention of letting someone get close to me with the intent of deceiving me.
“What if it’s not a scam?”
“You mean if she’s proven to be a hundred percent genuine priestess of the Holy Vuelzarus Empire? If her duty is to get close to me and serve me, then I suppose I’d have no choice but to let her……”
I gave Mimi and Elma a quick glance to check out their reactions. And the result was…… Well, that’s a surprise. Instead of sulking even further, Elma looked like she was already somewhat resigned. Mimi was still a bit miffed, but it seemed she didn’t completely reject the idea.
“You guys don’t have any complaints?”
“Well, it’s true that I’m here only due to that sense of compassion and decisiveness of yours, Hiro, so……”
“We really can’t say anything further.”
“No, I’d actually like it if you told me if you’re still dissatisfied. I mean, it would be bad if you guys let all of those bad feelings accumulate y’know.”
Relationships getting ruined due to bottled-up feelings of dissatisfaction erupting all at once was quite a well-known story. I’d like to learn from such cases and endeavor not to make the same mistakes if possible.
“It’s not like I don’t have any complaints, but more than that, I believe in your judgement, Hiro. We’re just testing her for now, right?”
“Right. No matter what her status actually is, it’s important to see whether or not she can successfully get along with all of us. Even if first impressions might not be so easy to overturn, I hope you guys can try to communicate with her for the time being.”
“Okay. I’ll try not to overdo it and act naturally.”
“Understood. What about you, Tina-san, Whisker-san……?”
“We ain’t got any problems here either.”
Tina waved her hand nonchalantly as she replied, and Whisker nodded next to her. It seemed that these two didn’t have any negative feelings toward Kugi-chan from the start.
“We’re just second-fiddle to Elma-neesan and Mimi anyway, right?”
“S-Second fiddle…… I don’t really intend to treat myself that way y’know, Sis.”
“Okay, just leave it at that, you two. Why don’t we head to our room now? We still have to unpack our things.”
With that, we somehow concluded the talks in an ambiguous manner. Well, it’s true that I’ve already laid my hands on all of the ladies who boarded my ships, and I had no words of gratitude enough to express my thanks to these ladies who were always accommodating me and going along with my whims, but…… I really ought to take responsibility somehow. I wracked my brains to come up with something as I followed after the girls.
Before going up and heading to our room, we first informed the front desk about the increase in the number of guests. The receptionist lady probably scolded me inwardly for having the gall to bring in another girl. We paid the extra fees and took the elevator to the penthouse.
“Hee, it’s pretty spacious and beautiful.”
Elma checked the room out in a good mood. Yeah, it was pretty spacious alright. The furniture inside also looked quite luxurious and comfortable. It was one level above an ordinary suite room huh. So this was a penthouse apartment.
“I still feel a bit weird staying at places like this.”
“Oh, I totally get that. What’d they call it again? Bourgeoisie?”
“Bourgeoisie…… Well, I suppose I understand.”
Mimi, Tina, and Whisker were all overwhelmed by the size and luxury of the room. I actually do get where they were coming from too. Anyway, the rate we needed to pay for such luxury was 5,000 Enels per person for a week’s stay. With the addition of Kugi-chan, we had a total of seven people, so the final accommodation fee was 35,000 Enels.
When we stayed at the holiday resort on Sierra III, we had to fork up 560,000 Enels for a two-week stay. We only had four people back then, so the fee per person was 70,000 Enels per week. The fee for a single person back then was actually twice this time’s total fee for all of us.
“But you gotta admit, this is way cheaper than staying at a planetary resort.”
“Well…… that’s true, I guess.”
“Just look at these bourgeoisie, Whee. We definitely have a bunch of bourgeois here. They’re even casually sayin’ somethin’ about planetary resorts an stuff.”
“Well, Big Brother and the rest are mercenaries after all, so they definitely have plenty of money to spend.”
“No, aren’t you guys quite rich now too?”
“……Yeah, we are, aren’t we?”
“I thought I’d already forgotten all about it……”
The sisters just recently received 3.6 million Enels from the sale of the starship we captured. They were entitled to a 30% cut of our earnings after all. That’s 1.8 million Enels per sister. It was an amount of money that was hard to use up if one just lived a bit luxuriously. But it’ll be gone in a flash once you bought a starship though.
“What’re we gonna do about taxes? Do we just treat it as a side job or somethin’? But we were sent to Boss through a company order, so do we treat it as job-related earnings instead?”
“I think it would be better to consult the company about it…… or maybe the tax bureau?”
Somehow, the two actually started talking about headache-inducing stuff midway. In my case, I held first-class citizen status in the Graccan Empire, but before that, I’m a mercenary so…… Hm? Was I also obliged to pay taxes since I’m technically a Graccan Empire citizen? I’ll just ask Mei later. A mercenary was a bit of a special profession, so I wasn’t completely sure about the particulars regarding its tax obligations. I think the official reward money from the government gets tax deducted automatically before it ends up in our hands, but the individual bounties for pirates don’t get taxed. However, I’m not sure if this rule still applied once you’re registered as a first-class citizen of an empire. Tax bureaus are scary after all. I had to cover my bases properly, or else. Mei will promptly take care of it for me if I asked anyway, so I wasn’t really all that worried.
“Alright, stop spacing out over there and unpack your stuff already, mister.”
“Kay. I don’t have a lot of stuff to unpack anyway.”
After all, I only brought one bag. I wasn’t even sure if it even was necessary to unpack my stuff in the first place. Mimi definitely had to unpack hers since she brought a lot of luggage, but it’s not like I can casually help her out with that. After all, they say that women had things they definitely don’t want the opposite sex to see or touch, even if they were very close to them. Unless I was asked to help directly, I guess I’ll just watch over them for now.