We have to sell 250 bags of cookies.
That means 125 bags for each of us.
The school festival starts at 10 am and ends at 3 pm, so we have to sell the cookies at a rate of 25 bags per hour.
It’s noon, and I head off to regroup with Mizuhara.
I somehow manage to hit the quota for 2 hours.
Chii-chan came and bought 10 bags. That helped me a lot.
Apparently, she distributed the bags among her friends as advertisement on my behalf.
「Selling cookies is fine, but don’t forget to sell yourself too.」
She also left me with stinging but useful advice.
Most of my other customers were groups of high school girls on college tours.
I was happy that they praised my cookies while eating them on the spot. They even wanted to buy more and collect the cards, but I feel bad for them for getting the NEET Elf card.
「Hey, Mizuhara?! Just how many did you sell in these 2 hours?」
He has fewer bags in his cart than I do.
Excluding the cookies Chii-chan bought from me, it’s twice the number of cookies I sold.
I asked him for the details, and sure enough, he told me about his evil schemes.
He picked out the cookies with the NEET Elf cards and sold them in front of the Career Consultation Corner and College Prep Corner.
He proactively called out to lost and confused students holding pamphlets, and guided them to their destination.
He had memorized the school festival plans and schedules, as well as the booth locations, all for that very purpose.
He also went to stalls that were packed with customers, envied their good business, and let out a huge sigh.
His victims sympathized his lack of business, and they were doing pretty well themselves.
When he saw the professors he’s acquainted with, he fanned their ego:
「I saw your published research notes during your seminar, professor. They were made easy for the average person to understand, yet they contained specialized content that perfectly captured our interest as students specializing in the field. I’m impressed. How about some cookies for your hardworking students?」
The most evil part here is the fact that Mizuhara never saw the publications.
When he saw some acquainted students, he stared at them while hugging the elves in his cart.
The brilliant Mizuhara acting all strange was a rare sight for them.
「Mizuhara, you little…」
「Come on, let’s go to the courtyard. It’s the popular spot during lunchtime.」
When we’re acting together, I’m doing most of the heavy work.
Mizuhara’s eyes seem to have a special function for spotting people willing to buy cookies.
「Listen. Observe people when you’re trying to sell things. I’ll give you some examples so even you can understand. Target people holding drinks. Target people relaxing in the shade. Target groups of students talking with each other after they’ve finished their rounds in school festivals. Target children who are bored and cranky around their parents. Target the children, not their parents. Target girls with boyfriends. It’s fine if the girls say they want it, but the guys are the real target.」
「Too many targets.」
「I’ll demonstrate this once. Look, there’s a group of 4 ducks… I mean girls over there. I’m going to call out to them.」
Mizuhara continues selling cookies at a good pace even in the afternoon.
We manage to clear our stocks earlier than we planned.
We go to Maruta-san’s store right away to report our sales and plan for tomorrow.
Our results are pretty good, but Mizuhara looks dissatisfied for some reason.
「We’ve hit our sales target, but are you unhappy with something?」
I look at Mizuhara who looks dead serious while eating Maruta-san’s cake.
62,500 yen. Just as planned.
「Our net profit is lower than expected.」
「Ah, the cost of the ingredients was higher than we originally planned, huh.」
The cost went up to about half our sales today.
It’s because we got caught up on improving the recipes to make the cookies taste better.
「That’s fine, right? We’ll have a net profit of about 70,000 after tomorrow’s sales.」
「We’re short on 30,000 yen.」
「I could manage that amount working part time jobs.」
「You’re telling me to reconsider our target of a net profit of 100,000 yen? Have you no shame?」
I don’t really understand where his pride is coming from.
Also, he’s the one with no shame for using such underhanded sales techniques.
「We’ll increase our sales. We’ll sell 350 bags tomorrow instead of the 250 we did today. We should have enough ingredients. Go bake the cookies now.」
「Wait! Hold on, Mizuhara. Baking 1250 cookies almost drove me nuts! I can’t manage 1750!」
「We’re really sorry, Maruta-san. Could you increase the number of pound cakes? We won’t have enough if we go with the same amount tomorrow.」
Mizuhara pushes me into the kitchen while pleading politely with Maruta-san.
He’s even left the cake he was enjoying on the side.
I bake the cookies while cursing Mizuhara.
I’m making the cookies faster thanks to yesterday’s experience.
Mizuhara goes home to make more elf cards.
I’m so caught up baking the cookies that I lost my sense of self.
Right beside me is Mizuhara, who takes the overcooked cookies and stuffs them into a separate bag.
Yesterday, he took the cookies that were slightly overcooked, as well as those that lost their shape or broke apart, saying that we couldn’t sell them.
But for some reason, he’s stuffing them into bags without eating them.
「What are you doing with those?
「We’re selling these too. Even forsaken elves have their uses.」
「Ah… I see…」
I’m too tired to think.
While I was sleeping, I had a dream about elves sustaining burns and injuries and getting bandaged.