066 – Consulting with Elma
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“Welcome back. I’m glad you’re safe.”
Elma got back to the ship ten minutes after our earlier message exchange. I tried to give her a welcome back hug, but she skillfully avoided it. Now, why’d you do that?
“What’s with you?”
“I was worried.”
“It wasn’t worth getting worried about anyway. Honestly. I’m not sure if you’re overly caring or just a big worrywart.”
After admonishing me while sporting an exasperated smirk, Elma hugged me lightly and gave my cheek a quick peck. This… This is… Why’s my heart going all doki doki? I-It’s like our gender roles are reversed. Did my heart really just skip a beat due to this disappointing elf? Me?
“What’s wrong with you now? Why’d you suddenly cover your face.”
“I don’t think it’s nothing though.”
“Like I said, it’s nothing.”
I turned away from Elma, who was trying to get a good look at my face, and walked back to the dining room with her.
“Oh, Elma-san! Welcome ba…… Huh? What’s wrong?”
“Our dear Hiro looks like he’s embarrassed. He really is cute sometimes.”
“I’m not embarrassed.”
“But you were worried about me, right?”
“I wasn’t worried about you.”
“Oh you. You’re saying the opposite of what you said to me earlier.”
Elma circled in front of me while sporting a teasing grin. How annoying. But I’m a tough guy, so I won’t lose from this.
“Hiro-sama really is cute sometimes.”
“I’ve managed to see a new side of him.”
Even Chris and Mimi started teasing me, but still, I won’t lose.
“Anyway! Let’s talk about our plan now. We’ll have to finalize it as soon as possible. Speed is of the essence. We can’t allow ourselves to follow our opponent’s pace. It’ll mean big trouble if we do.”
“Fine, fine. You’re right. So I take it that you already have a plan in mind?”
“I’m not a hundred percent confident in them, but we did come up with a few ideas earlier. First–“
I finally managed to tell Elma everything I discussed with Chris and Mimi earlier.
“A plan to lure out the pursuers and eliminate them all at once isn’t all that bad. It’s a good idea to crush those who serve as the enemy’s ‘eyes’ after all. As long as we’re inside this colony, it’s next to impossible to escape the enemy’s surveillance. So it would be best to finish them off by launching out into space, where we have more of an advantage.”
“The problem is resupplying.”
“That’s right. Our current stockpile won’t last the full two weeks. But I think we’ll be able to procure supplies once we reach a resort planet though. We still need to be careful, but I don’t think the enemy will be able to cover every resort planet in this star system. However, it would honestly be much safer to resupply at somewhere further than one star system away from this one.”
“So, in other words, not a directly adjacent star system but somewhere past that?”
“Yes, it would be much safer there. There’s a good chance the enemy has spread their net to the adjacent star system after all. There are a total of four adjacent star systems to Sierra, but there are many more neighboring star systems once we go past any of those four, so we’ll probably be able to shake off their net if we go to one of those systems.”
I was convinced by Elma’s explanation.
“So, should we scrap the plan to hide out in one of the resort planets and just go with resupplying at somewhere one star system away from Sierra, and then hide in hyperspace?”
“That’ll be hard. We would leave too many traces, so escaping to one of the resort planets after destroying all the pursuing enemies may be the safer bet. The security on those resort planets are actually quite stringent you see.”
“I see. How strict is the security by the way?”
“There are plenty of influential persons and high-ranking nobles who visit these resort planets after all. There are also foreign dignitaries. The security level is pretty damn tight because of that. It’ll ruin the Empire’s image a great deal if, say, a terror incident were to take place at those planets.”
That’s some great info. It wasn’t written anywhere in the pamphlet too. As I thought, it was a good call to consult a veteran like Elma when trying to come up with a plan like this.
“……So, even if we’re going there, we won’t be able to relax and have a normal vacation at a resort planet huh.”
“Yes, well…… I remember you saying you’ll charge the expenses to Chris-chan’s grandfather, correct?”
“Um, I’ll try to endorse you as much as I can, so you can get the rewards you deserve.”
Chris answered Elma’s question with great enthusiasm. Well, since Chris doesn’t actually hold much authority in her family, it’s the only thing she can promise.
“So, what’s the estimated expenses for this plan? About three million Enels, give or take?”
“I think that’s already a bit much… How much would we need to spend per person if we want to stay at a resort planet for two weeks?”
“Um, about twenty thousand to sixty thousand Enels per person, I think. I’m not sure about the more high-end establishments, but the general ones would cost about that much.”
“There’s four of us, so it’ll go up to about eighty thousand to two hundred forty thousand Enels huh. We’ll need to book facilities in all three resort planets so we can create dummies. Each one should be under a different travel and tours agency. And, of course, we’ll book different hotel chains as well. We’ll book them under, my, Hiro, and Mimi’s names. Mimi should book an 80,000 Enels course for two weeks, I’ll book a course for 160,000, and Hiro will book a course for 240,000. We’ll each book courses on all three planets. With this, it’ll total about 1.44 million Enels. That should be enough.”
“That sure is a huge amount of money, isn’t it…?”
After hearing the amount 1.44 million, Mimi couldn’t help but make a bitter smile. If we convert it to Japanese Yen, it’ll amount to 144 billion, though I’m not sure how accurate that conversion is. In Stella Online, 1.44 million Enels would be enough for you to purchase a decent multi-role combat ship.
It’ll cost more once you factor in full customization as well as securing insurance for it just in case you’re shot down.
“That amount should be nothing for the household of an Imperial Earl. Since it’s for the protection of his cute granddaughter, I’m sure our dear Earl will gladly fork out this much money.”
“Nobles sure are amazing.”
“I’m very sorry… I have no idea whether or not that sum of money amounts to much.”
“Well, that’s to be expected. You probably haven’t obtained a proper sense of wealth even if you’re part of the nobility, considering your young age. I’m sure you haven’t had many opportunities to use money yourself, correct?”
Chris nodded honestly to Elma’s question. I see. So Chris hasn’t had many opportunities to buy stuff by herself huh. I guess everything she needed or wanted was bought by her parents or servants until now.
“So, we’ll be booking nine tours all in all, so we’ll just have to choose from one of them?”
“No, we’ll book another one. We’ll be getting rewards and reimbursements anyway, so let’s go all out and book a fairly high-class establishment. Let’s look for something that’ll cost 560,000 Enels for four persons for two weeks.”
“Five hundred sixty thousand Enels just for a two week vacation……”
So, an establishment that’ll cost 56 million Yen for two weeks huh. It’ll be 14 million yen per person, so the place would cost 1 million Yen per night…… It’s an amount unthinkable by my former salaryman self.
“It’s all free after all.”
“That’s if we get proper compensation. Let’s just hope Chris’ grandpa is the generous sort…… Well, if he doesn’t pay, then that’s that. If we think of this as fringe benefits for me and the crew…… it’s still hella expensive huh.”
“Well, since we have a ship as well as a captain who can rake in cash quickly, let’s just get used to spending about this much. Others will mock us if we’re too stingy y’know.”
“Shut up. I’m just your average citizen, okay. Or rather, you’re quite used to spending this much money huh? Are you really an ojousama from some well-off family or something?”
“That’s some pretty crappy whistling.”
Elma turned her gaze away and tried to avoid the question. Well, I’m not one to press the issue if she doesn’t really want to say it.
“But you know Hiro-sama, I don’t think an ordinary citizen will normally be able to come up with a plan costing so much money like this……”
Mimi had a troubled expression as she fiddled with her tablet terminal. So her sense of values still can’t accept it huh. Well, let’s just chalk it up to the quirks of a functioning aristocratic society.
“I do have some connections in mind you know. Don’t worry so much.”
“……One of your connections huh. Just what kind of connection?”
“A good woman always has a few secrets up her sleeve.”
“A good woman……”
“……needs to have a few secrets.”
After seeing Elma display such a suggestive smile while talking about the secrets to being a ‘good’ woman, Mimi and Chris started taking mental notes. Well, Elma really is a good woman in her own way… but I don’t think you girls are suited to follow her example. Hm. But I wonder how Chris will turn out once she grows up?
“Alright then, the plan’s decided. Can I leave the booking procedures to you girls? Just take the required money from my account.”
“That’s fine. But what will you do in the meantime, Hiro?”
“I’m the captain of this ship, so I’ll just leave all the troublesome procedures to my dear crew mates and take care of Chris.”
I declared so while puffing up my chest proudly. Elma’s gaze was icy, but I wasn’t really all that good with complicated procedures and paperwork, and I’m not confident about choosing an appropriate resort for our plan. The other three were women and I’m the only guy here, so I think it would be best to leave it to a woman’s taste.
“Well, I guess that’s reasonable. I agree that having you choose a resort would not be a good idea.”
“I don’t really think it’s all that bad… but, I understand. I’ll do my best as Hiro-sama’s Operator!”
When I told them about having doubts about my taste as a male, Elma and Mimi seemed to have been convinced. But honestly, if they left that to me, I’d probably book something like a two week endurance meat fest. But anyway, since we’re landing on terra firma, would there be any chance of finally getting a hold of proper carbonated drinks…? Okay guys. Now I’m definitely excited!