Given that Elise has had it difficult with the birth and child raising, I’ve decided to take her out on a shopping date. She’s a very diligent girl, so I have to cleverly lure her into taking a breather.
“I’ve heard from Burkhart-san that one of his acquaintances is running the shop here.”
“An acquaintance of Burkhart-san, you say? Is it an adventurer then?”
“Looks like it. Though he’s retired by now.”
Because I’m shopping while having my wife with me, I’ve taken her to a shop that deals in accessories and clothes catering towards women. The shop opened just recently, but according to Burkhart-san, it’s fairly popular.
I thought that the owner would be a woman, but apparently a man is running the shop. It’s kinda weird to be interested in clothes and accessories as male adventurer, but once I meet the owner after entering the shop, I can immediately see that it fits.
“Oh my, welcome. You’re Earl Baumeister-sama, the dragon-slaying hero and Burkhart-chan’s pupil, right? M───mh, a nice and healthy, young man.”
He’s the kind of guy who thinks of himself as a woman. Going by his appearance, Burkhart-san and him shouldn’t be that far apart in age. Despite being a guy, he’s wearing a frilly skirt, a silken shirt, and makeup, but because of his tall, muscular figure, he doesn’t look like a woman in the least.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, please call me Candy, okay?”
I somehow manage to squeeze out that reply after mustering all my willpower, but I’m getting totally overpowered by the impact of a macho crossdresser with the voice of a man well beyond 50. Then again, I’m still better off since I’ve been immunized to weirdos like him thanks to the experience of my previous life, but Elise, who’s been raised as a sheltered, noble lady, seems unable to say anything after having received a heavy shock from being confronted with a crossdresser for the first time in her life.
“I might look like this, but in my heart I’m a girl.”
Girl, he says…it’s really been a long time since I last met a person with an impact that could rival Doushi. If I let myself lured into retorting, 『As if a girl like you exists anywhere!』, here, I can only imagine that I’d be beaten to death on the spot.
“Are you an old acquaintance of Burkhart-san?”
“Yes, I am. Burkhart-chan, you see, was quite the looker in his younger days. I aimed for him as well, but he was always busy playing around with other girls, so I never managed to become more than a friend to him. Since that guy is quite skilled at handling women, he easily led me around by the nose.”
Elise’s mental functions appear to have shut down to an extent as she stands next to me. Homosexual love is a taboo at the church, and on top of that, Candy-san himself has such a strong character. I’m sure she’s unable to process in her head how she should deal with him.
“You were an adventurer comrade of Burkhart-san?”
“I’ve joined temporary parties with him every once in a while.”
Just as expected, Burkhart-san apparently didn’t have the mental fortitude to permanently form a party with this guy.
“Is Candy something like a nickname from your time as an adventurer?”
“My real name is Barst, but since it doesn’t suit me, I’ve chosen Candy to be the name of my soul.”
Soul, eh…? Just going by his appearance, Barst is a name fitting him to a tee.
“During my adventurer time I’ve also stuck with Candy. My alias during my active time was 『Bloody Candy』.”
Bloody, huh… Since I can’t imagine this old dude getting injured, he must have been called like that because he regularly got showered by monster blood or some such. Or rather, this guy has absolutely no openings although I can’t sense any mana from him. He should be fairly strong.
“(Is something the matter, Elise?)”
“(『Bloody Candy』 belonged to 『Twilight of Dawn』 which Grandfather told us about before I gave birth, didn’t he?)”
“(…Now that you mention it, I remember!)”
It’s the same name as the leader of the adventurer party to which Doushi belonged in his youth. Someone else with the same name…no, I can’t believe that two such eccentric people exist at the same time, and the alias is the same as well.
“(So Doushi had joined the party of this man, huh..?)”
That’s Doushi for you. It makes me admire his mental fortitude.
“What’s wrong, you two? Oh my, you look just like Nina-chan.”
“You were also acquainted…with my mother?”
“In the past, yes. There were various circumstances.”
Yep, Elise and I are aware of this as well.
Still, him being friends with Burkhart-san and Doushi is, in a certain sense, amazing.
“I’ve heard that you would take a look at my fashion today, so maybe I can tell you a bit about the past later on.”
“Hahaha, I see. But nonetheless, it’s rare for a former adventurer to run a store for women’s fashion and accessories.”
“I’ve been quite skilled at sewing clothes since my childhood. But, since my family was poor, I had no choice but to become an adventurer.”
So I guess he supported his poor family as an adventurer and then opened this shop after retiring at long last. At any rate, he’s got my respect for being able to sew women’s clothes with such rough fingers.
“It’s going to be nice clothes for your wife, right? Wonderful, I’ll choose something that fits her perfectly.
“Please do. Elise, take a look at them.”
Given his appearance, Elise was quite wary of Candy-san at first. But, she immediately opened up to him while actually picking the clothes he showed her. Certainly, Candy-san looks like ‘that’, but his girlish demeanor seems very popular with women.
“I think this color should be in fashion very soon. Elise-chan, you got blond hair, so it might be better for you to stop wearing clothes with overlapping, yellow colors. On the other hand, crimson and red lead colors would suit you nicely. If you just stick to blue and green colors, you’ll just limit your own repertoire.”
“You have a point. I suppose it is not a good idea to stick to just darker colors.”
“Absolutely. Young girls should wear clothes with bright colors.”
Elise continues talking with Candy-san after casting a quick glance at me. Is she feeling uneasy because I’ve recently been surrounded by young girls in my party?
“Elise, you’re pretty and have a nice style, so you basically look good in everything. Since you’ve become a mother, you should try going with slightly more adult clothing for the times when you’re not working at the church. Your husband is going to fall for you all over again.”
“Is that true?”
“Elise-chan, you’ve got a great foundation, so you ought to be a lot more confident in yourself.”
“I guess you are right.”
“No doubt, yep, yep.”
It was the same in my previous life as well, but this kind of business draws many people like him. And people like him are very skilled at grasping the hearts of women.
“Also, it’d be a great idea to combine it with this.”
Judging from a quick survey of the shop, the merchandise sold at Candy-san’s shop revolves around products that would be popular among young noble women. The low number of clothes on display seems to either stem from the limited amount Candy-san can sew by himself or his limitation of only selling clothes he likes himself.
She…this guy is running a business of recommending clothes that would suit his clients while advising them on how to coordinate their fashion. The tea and sweets served are delicious as well. I think he’s quite skilled at this business.
Because he was a famous adventurer before his retirement, he’s got plenty of financial reserves. Maybe because of that leeway, he doesn’t try to forcibly recommend clothes to his clients. And for this reason, he seems to steadily increase his base of regular customers.
“My recommendation is this and this.”
“I think we’ll take these then.”
“Thank you very much, dear.”
As Earl Baumeister, I cannot afford to make my wife pay a huge amount of money for the things she bought after coming to shop here with her. Also it’s not like the clothes are that expensive since they’re intended to be worn at home.
I hand Candy-san the coins.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, you’re very generous. Please come visit us again. Then I’ll also coordinate the clothes for your other wives.”
His appearance is a bit ‘that’, but Candy-san sure is a girl in his heart…just as I’m thinking that, I can suddenly hear a man shouting in anger outside the shop.
“Didn’t you just dislocate my shoulder with your armor!? You gotta cough up the cash for the damage you caused and the medical fees!”
“No way…the one bumping into me first was…”
“Who gives a shit ‘bout that!? You dislocated my shoulder! Do you understand what that means?”
A ruffian has run into a young woman, apparently using this as a pretext to pick a fight with her. Since this street is close to the lower-ranking noble district, it’s rare for such morons to show up around here. Maybe he’s come here after running short on the money he needs to pay to his senior group members and boss.
“Good grief, looking at him only stains the nice view of the city.”
The ruffian should run away without resorting to violence if I make an appearance. Judging it like that, I’m about to step outside the shop, but Candy-san makes his move before I can.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, please leave this to me.”
Candy-san winking at me with a smile is really creepy. He heads outside the store, and immediately steps in front of the woman who’s being mugged by the ruffian.
“You’re a bad boy. It’s wrong to scare a woman like that, okay?” Candy-san asks the ruffian to pull back with a smile and a gentle voice.
It doesn’t seem as though he intends to resolve this with physical force, but the other party doesn’t show the slightest will to pull back here.
“The hell are you? Weaklings shoulda stay out of this! Or are you also goin’ to pay the medical fees and reparations?”
“Obviously! My shoulder been dislocated! I gotta hurry and go to a doctor!”
The ruffian appears to be surprised by Candy-san who’s got a brawny body build, but as soon as he sees that Candy-san is wearing women’s clothes, he starts to look down on him. Not judging people just by their looks…any smart person would immediately withdraw if they say someone with such a muscular body. Though this might not be an option in this case exactly because he’s a ruffian.
“It doesn’t look like your shoulder is dislocated though…”
“Open your eyes, and look here! My shoulder is dislocated, see?”
The ruffian thrust out his right shoulder, which he’s insisting to be dislocated, at Candy-san.
Candy-san checks the shoulder by swiftly touching it.
“No, it’s not.”
“I’m tellin’ you, it’s dislocated!”
“As a former adventurer I can tell since I’ve seen more than enough of such injuries, and your shoulder definitely isn’t dislocated. Since that’s how it is, you can go back home.”
“Thank you very much.” The woman thanks Candy-san for letting her escape this situation, and leaves on the spot.
“You piece o’ shit! Ain’t your call to make!”
“I mean, your shoulder is fine, so no reason for her to stay here.” Candy-san answering while wiggling his body looks somewhat creepy.
But, since he’s doing something good, I end up feeling sorry for considering him to be a creep.
“I’ve been tellin’ you that’s it’s dislocated, fuckin’ bastard!”
“How stubborn. This is what you call a dislocated shoulder.”
It looks like Candy-san has finally snapped due to the ruffian being so annoying. He dislocates both his shoulders in the blink of an eye.
Just as I thought, Candy-san must have been remarkable as an adventurer.
Having both his shoulders suddenly dislocated, the ruffian’s arms powerlessly dangle.
“I can’t move my arms!?!” He immediately screams.
“Now you see. If your shoulders are dislocated, you can’t move your arms anymore.”
“You fucker! Return them to normal!!”
“Sure, here you go.”
Being told to put them back to normal, Candy-san fixes the shoulders in no time. I’ve ended up misunderstanding because of Candy-san’s brawny build, but he must have been an adventurer with an extraordinarily refined technique.
“What’s with you dislocating other people’s shoulders as you please!? I’m goin’ to destroy that shitty shop of yours!”
With things not working out as he expected, the ruffian finally ends up blurting out something he shouldn’t have. It’s probably only reasonable for Candy-san to lose it when he’s told that his shop would be wrecked after he finally managed to set it up with the money he earned as adventurer.
Without any preparations whatsoever, he grabs the ruffian’s neck and lifts him up.
“Now listen, if you touch my shop, I’ll rip you, your organization and its members apart, got it!?”
Candy-san releases the guy before he suffocates, but as the ruffian has apparently suffered a severe case of trauma due to Candy-san completely changing all of a sudden, he starts to bawl like a little kid despite being a grown adult.
Elise and I also feel a chill run down our spines due to Candy-san’s unexpected side.
“If I see you one more time in this neighborhood, I’ll kill you!”
“I-I’m terribly sorryyyy───!” The ruffian runs away as fast as his feet carry him.
Once he confirms that the ruffian’s gone, Candy-san shifts his face to Elise and me with his usual smile.
“No way, how embarrassing. You’ve seen me acting a bit like a tomboy.”
Elise and I remained silent, but I’m sure we want to say the same thing: We must make sure to never anger Candy-san.
“That guy really stays true to himself, as usual.”
Once we return to the my mansion through 『Teleport』 after having purchased Elise’s clothes, Burkhart-san visits as messenger for Margrave Breithilde. When I inform him of what has pertained with Candy-san today, he makes a comment while donning an understanding expression.
“I mean he’s always kind to women, so yeah.”
“You are right.” Elise agrees with Burkhart-san after having received tender and careful advice about fashion from her.
“He was quite the same during his time as an adventurer. If it came to female adventurers, Candy often went out of his way in various ways to look after them. On top of having taken sewing to a professional level, he’s good at customer service, and he’s also skilled at cooking. If he had been a woman, I might have married him myself, to be honest.”
I can relate to Burkhart-san’s opinion. Certainly, Candy-san’s appearance is amazing in various ways, but deep in his heart, he’s a true girl and a good person, I think. Though it’s also true that he becomes pretty scary if angered.
“Someone like Candy could kill some neighborhood ruffians within milliseconds. He’s probably one of the strongest fighters if you exclude magicians.”
Even as an adventurer he’s achieved a lot of success as an elite, and now after having retired, he’s also running his fashion store successfully. I suppose the only thing he can’t change no matter what is his own gender.
“Elise, those clothes are really pretty since they’re different from your usual fashion style.”
“I had Candy-san choose them for me.”
“Hee, that Candy person seems to be someone with a good fashion sense.” Luise praises the novelty of the unusual, reddish clothes Elise is wearing.
Taking another, closer look, I must admit, they’re nice since they give the impression of being a mature woman.
“Wend, take me to that store sometime soon as well, okay?”
“I think there’s another person that should get a consultation about their fashion before me…”
Luise’s eyes are pinned on Katia who’s eating the cookies Elise and I bought as a souvenir.
“Katia, you’re way too random with your outfits!”
“Aren’t clothes alright as long as they can be worn and don’t look like shit?”
There are many people like her among the top-notch female adventurers, although with varying differences in extremity. In reality, I’ve thought about fashion just like her in my previous life. Honestly, even if I’m told to be fashionable, I usually end up stumped as to what to wear.
Back on Earth I’ve often worn suits, and my casual wear consisted of Uniqlo or Muji products. 1
“If you don’t smartly choose your attire to some extent, you’ll disgrace Wend-sama.”
“How are things on your side, Wilma?”
After Wilma became my wife, she was taught by Elise and Therese, and now wears proper clothing when at home. Her choice of clothes and their coordination isn’t bad either. Wilma exceeds the most among all of us when it comes to adapting to new environments. It seems like she’d immediately acclimatize herself, even if she were suddenly flung into modern Japan.
“Wilma has shaped up nicely in that regard. I also had a time when I chose my clothes by just their functionality, but it’s never been as bad as with Katia.”
“Uughh…no one’s standing on my side…”
Having the truth pointed out by Ina as well, Katia retreats a step backwards.
“Big Sis…got taught by Therese and Amalie…”
Since she couldn’t talk to men unless she wore flashy clothes and makeup, Lisa also had no decent clothes in her dressers, but after being taught by Therese and Amalie-san about fashion, she started to wear normal clothes. She’s completely stopped wearing those flashy outfits and makeup, even during her work as a magician.
“Katia, accompany them when Elise goes to cast her vote, and get a consultation about thine fashion.”
“That’s a great idea.”
“You’re not allowed to refuse.”
After also being urged to change by Therese, Amalie-san, and Lisa, Katia finally caves in and it’s decided that she’ll go to Candy-san’s store next time.
“Hubby, this is the church’s headquarters, no?”
“We’ll first let Elise get her voting done, that’s why.
Today is the day of deciding the next pope. Given that the votes from the countryside have been tallied in advance, only the priests living in the capital and its circumference are going to cast their vote, though it’s rather questionable what level of free choice they’re going to have.
Because many are going to vote in accordance with the calling by the factions they belong to, it’s not like they’ve got enough of a say in it to call it democratic….but then again, the same could also be said about Japan’s elections. I’m not really proud of it, but I’ve never gone to vote myself. After all, I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting my precious day-off.
“Earl Baumeister, Elise, today is fine weather for hunting, I must say.” Doushi, who met up with us at the entrance to the church headquarters, clearly lacks interest in the election.
His face tells anyone that he came here because he had no choice.
“Elise, who are you going to vote for?”
“Umm, that is…”
“I got it! I will get the voting done at once, and go hunting for today!”
Once Doushi hears whom Elise is going to support, he rushes off towards the polling booth.
“Okay, I am done here!”
After casting his vote quickly, Doushi flies off towards the capital’s outskirts with 『High-Speed Flight』. Not even five minutes have passed since we met, so he must have been deeply annoyed with the whole voting business.
“Yes, let me quickly finish the voting then.”
We ended up rooted to the spot, feeling dumbfounded by Doushi exiting like a storm, but after pulling ourselves together, we entered the headquarters.
“Hello, Earl Baumeister.”
“Huh? Minister Rückner, were you eligible to vote as well?”
For some reason Minister Rückner, who is no priest, calls out to me in front of the polling booth.
“No, I don’t have the right to vote, but Cardinal Langjahr’s father has taken good care of me in the past…”
For this reason he appears to cooperate with the cardinal’s faction in making some final endorsements. But wait, isn’t it kind of problematic to make him support the cardinal’s election given that he’s the Kingdom’s finance minister?
“I suspect there’s no point in me asking you to vote for us, is there, Earl Baumeister…?”
“Before asking me that, you should know that I’m not eligible to vote in the first place.”
Ultimately I’ve come here to accompany Elise.
“I’m sure Elise is going to vote for the person she believes to be the best choice. I’ve just come here together with her.”
“I see. Well, I doubt I’d be able to put in a request for you to vote for someone anyway. Oh, by the way, I have a day off today.”
“Haah…(why are you deliberately telling me something like that?)”
Minister Rückner spots a new voter, and asks him to cast his vote for Cardinal Langjahr.
“Yo! Fancy to see you here, Earl Baumeister!”
Right after Minister Rückner left me, Minister Edgar discovered me. He seems to support a specific candidate as well.
Still, is it truly okay for active cabinet ministers to do something like this?
“Even though I got a day off for the first time in a long time, it ended up wasted on supporting an election campaign.”
“Are you backing Cardinal Solger?”
“He’s someone who took care of me when I served in the royal army…also, the paladin unit and the royal army do have some ties.”
The army and the paladins are two different organizations, but a certain percentage of the paladins are soldiers who have retired from the royal army. Moreover, the paladin unit occasionally sends officer candidates to the royal army for the sake of obtaining information related to military affairs…new weapons and equipment, as well as knowledge about tactics and military administration.
Veteran soldiers, who have retired from the army, are also employed temporarily by the paladins for their connections and insider knowledge.
Because of that personnel exchange, Minister Edgar also has to pay attention to their needs. However, because it’d be problematic for him to openly support Cardinal Solger’s candidacy as Minister of Defense, he expressly stresses the part of him being here as a private person during his vacation.
“Even if you ask me to vote for your candidate, I’m not eligible to cast a vote in the first place.”
Besides, I don’t think that Elise is going to vote for Cardinal Solger anyway.
“You’ve got it wrong. It’d actually be a problem if you voted for Cardinal Solger.”
“I don’t think saying this would qualify as you supporting his candidacy, though?”
I thought that Minister Edgar might ask me to vote for Cardinal Solger.
“The one eligible to vote is your wife, Earl Baumeister. She’s Cardinal Hohenheim’s granddaughter, so I’m fully aware that it’s impossible for her to vote for Cardinal Solger.”
I suppose he’s saying that it’d become an issue if you high-handedly asked Elise to vote for Cardinal Solger. The same reason might have applied to Minister Rückner as well.
“Cardinal Solger won’t be elected anyway. All that matters is how many votes he can gather, but Cardinal Solger is a smart guy, so he’s got a good idea on how the vote is going to roughly turn out.”
Because it looks like he can secure the expected number of votes, it’ll allow him to maintain a certain level of influence as leader of the paladin unit. Cardinal Langjahr and Cardinal Bücher haven’t been aiming to win the election from the very start. It also means Cardinal Hohenheim knew about this when he decided to support Cardinal Kempfeldt.
“You see, we as nobles and pious believers must show our faces and support cardinals who have such ties with us. After all, it’s just going to become troublesome later on, if we don’t participate in this event.”
I guess you could call it an obligation that comes with the job, so they must show that they’ve properly participated in supporting the candidacy. It sure resembles the election support for a company’s union.
In my previous life I also supported some old guy whom I didn’t even know. Being asked to appear at the kickoff party after he announced his candidacy, I did so despite being loaded with tons of work for my regular job.
So this means Minister Rückner and Minister Edgar are also using the precious day-off for work.
“Okay, we have to go now.”
“Sure, I need to stay here for a bit longer.”
Once we enter the main temple where the polling booths have been set up, Cardinal Kempfeldt is just voting for herself. She’s accompanied by a huge throng of priestesses of various ages who are all loudly and passionately cheering for her.
Cardinal Kempfeldt’s election strategy is to emphasize her becoming history’s first female pope. Voting in front of your supporters is a typical performance by politicians as I’ve also seen it in my previous life.
“Oh my, you’ve come to vote now as well, Elise?”
“Please give me your vote, okay?”
As I thought, Cardinal Kempfeldt is a shrewd granny after all, seeing how she’s asking Elise to vote for her while knowing that she’s going to do so anyway.
“How about we have some tea after the voting is over?”
“Won’t you be busy?”
“I’ve nothing left to do anymore besides finishing voting myself.”
“Alright, it should be no problem to have a small tea break.”
In reality I had planned to take Katia to Candy-san’s shop after this, but now my schedule has changed a bit. It’d have been rude to turn her down…or such might have been naive thinking of me.
Cardinal Kempfeldt leads us to a big, conference-room-like place located in the church’s main temple. It seems to be a room that’s being used like an election office, but as most of the work is done by now, big amounts of sweets and a tea set has been set up on the table.
“Wow! It’s all just young women. This is paradise.”
“Erw, I’m going to tell your wife.”
“Wend…it’s just because two of your wives are present…”
Erw ogles the many young women in the room. Since all of them are dressed up beautifully, it’s not that I can’t understand his feelings.
Despite wearing priestess garbs, many of the girls, who have been supporting Cardinal Kempfeldt’s candidacy, don’t really seem like they’re true priestesses. They’re probably just helping out as volunteers at the church every once in a while.
“Many of the girls mentioned that they’d like to meet you Earl Baumeister-sama. I wonder if you can give them a little bit of your time.”
As said, she’s a really shrewd granny, that Cardinal Kempfeldt. She’s likely asked the parents of these girls for election campaign funds and their vote by using me as bait. In front of Cardinal Hohenheim, she hasn’t pushed for me to take these girls as wives, but I think she’s going here for the approach that it can’t be helped if I fall in love with them after meeting them face to face.
“Now, please go ahead.”
This tea party seems to host me, who has no right to vote, as the main star. Being forced to sit down smack down in the middle, I’m getting surrounded by the young girls. Going by the atmosphere of this whole show, you could think that I’ve nominated a big number of girls at a hostess bar.
A church-run hostess bar…isn’t that somehow inappropriate?
“Earl Baumeister-sama, I am called Margaretha Tänzler. My home runs the Tänzler Company which deals in foodstuff.”
“I’m Frieda von Rosch, a daughter of the Knight Rosch House.”
They’re introducing themselves to me one after the other, but because there’s so many of them, I can’t quite remember all their names. Because they’re all girls who have been placed at Cardinal Kempfeldt’s side after she’s asked for their family’s support, many of them hail from lower nobility and merchant families.
“Erwin-san, you’re one of the highest chief retainers of the Baumeister House, aren’t you?”
“No, you’re praising me a bit too much there…”
It looks like they’re also targeting Erw. He’s been staring at them with lewd eyes while being surrounded. If I tell Haruka later on, she’ll probably cut him down with her katana.
“Please, here you go with a refill of tea.”
“Earl Baumeister-sama, these cookies are highly popular at my family’s store.”
Not to mention Erw, I’m also starting to gradually feel great while being surrounded by young girls who pour me new tea and take care of my every need. It’s obviously a trap laid out by Cardinal Kempfeldt, but in reality, it’s hard to resist the temptation.
I’m just chatting with pretty girls while drinking tea, so it’s not like I’m fooling around or anything…right?
“Earl Baumeister-sama, this tart is very delicious. Allow me to give you a sample.”
“That’s going a bit too far…”
“Please enjoy the taste without any constraint.”
Just when I thought that it might be fine to go along with the atmosphere, I suddenly feel two murderous stares directed at me. When I look towards the source in panic, Elise and Katia are sitting there smiling with cups full of tea in their hands.
Their smiles seem to be stuck to their faces, but I feel very horrified by those smiles.
“Umm…I’m no child, so…this tart sure is tasty…the sourness of wild strawberries gives it a perfect accent.”
“Erwin-sama, please visit me at home to play if you got some time in the future.”
“I’m busy as a guard, so only if I have the opportunity.”
“I’m looking forward to that time.”
I don’t fall for the temptation any longer thanks to Elise and Katia, but Erw seems to have lost all reasoning after being swarmed by many beautiful girls. He exchanges contact addresses with several of them.
For things to move in a direction as planned by Cardinal Kempfeldt…
But, considering what he’s going to be told by Haruka and his other wives once he gets back home, I’ll let him have his fun for the moment. I focus on enjoying the tea and sweets.
“That granny sure pulls off some bold moves. Hubby, you completely looked like a pervert too.”
“How rude. I’m always looking calm and composed.”
“You think so? To me you seemed to enjoy yourself very much while looking very accepting of your fate.”
I won’t deny that I enjoyed it like the hostess bar where I went as business entertainment in my previous life, but I don’t think that ogled the girls like Erw did.
“You couldn’t have turned it down since it had the pretext of being allowed to meet with you in exchange for support with the election campaign, dear. After all, my Grandfather has promised to back Cardinal Kempfeldt.”
The happy tea party, or in other words, Cardinal Kempfeldt’s trap ended after roughly two hours.
But, I haven’t succumbed to the temptations. I mean I haven’t even exchanged contact addresses with the girls like Erw did.
“I have done my utmost to serve as Wend’s shield, and drawn the attention of the young ladies to myself while deliberately ogling them, exchanging contact addresses, and such. This was all part of my plan.”
“Yeah, right. Come up with a better lie!” Katia immediately shoots down Erw’s excuse.
In my eyes it also looked as though he merely enjoyed a fun time by giving reign to his instincts.
“Then you are saying you will not use the contact addresses given to you, Erwin-san?”
“That’s…I’ll first consult Roderich-san. Look, there were many daughters from merchant families among them, right? So it might give the Earl Baumeister House a benefit in trading with them…”
Even after being coldly confronted by Elise, Erw insists that there’s some purpose to the contact addresses he gathered.
It looks like he’s become pretty good at coming up with excuses since he had plenty of chances to gain experience until now.
“I understand. I shall inform Haruka-san of your intentions.”
However, Elise is one step above him.
“Please make sure to properly inform Roderich-san about the contact addresses, okay?”
Just as Erw drops his shoulders after being instructed so by Elise, we arrive in front of Candy-san’s store.
“Hubby, I wouldn’t really mind going to another shop…”
“Katia-san, you will be able to find many nice clothes at Candy-san’s store.”
For some reason Katia hates the idea of entering this store. Elise and I are puzzled by that, but the reason immediately becomes clear.
“Oh my, long time no see, Katia-chan.”
“So you did remember───!”
“Of course, I do. Katia-chan, you’re such a wonderful raw gem after all.”
“You two are acquainted with each other?”
According to Candy-san, he met Katia for the first time when she was still a novice adventurer.
“Katia-chan is such a cute girl, and yet she has absolutely no interest in fashion. I gave her advice in the past.”
“I’ll gladly accept advice from you as an adventurer, but my clothes are fine like this, okay? I’m not going to put on some weird outfits or anything like that.”
Yep, Katia really resembles me in that aspect. We both believe that we can run around in whatever clothes during our private time as long as we keep our adventurer equipment properly maintained.
Candy-san had cautioned her about it, because he saw it as a waste for her to run around like that despite being a cute girl. Katia must have been confused when she was called out by a famous adventurer as a newbie, just to be told to wear slightly cuter clothes.
“Because there are many girls like her around, I’ve opened this fashion and accessories store.”
“Now listen here, you haven’t lost your edge as an adventurer at all, have you!? Continue working as an adventurer! You dropping out is a huge loss for the adventurer world!” Katia criticizes Candy-san for his early retirement.
It sounds like he’s been an amazing adventurer after all.
“E───eh? I’m more suited for this kind of job. I don’t really like being an adventurer since I’m becoming too much of a tomboy during the job.”
Looking at how he dealt with the ruffian the other day, it’s pretty obvious. He’s a remarkable fighter with an awe-inspiring alias like 『Bloody Candy』. Going by his appearance, he’s a vanguard and warrior relying on strength, and since his speed isn’t half bad either, I think he’s a calamity for any monster. Considering that his alias contains ‘bloody’ and seeing how his body has no scars, it means the bloody refers to him being drenched with monster blood.
“What’s wrong, Erw? You’ve become so quiet all of a sudden.”
“(The hell’s going on with that old dude?)”
I can fully understand his feelings. If it’s your first meeting with him, you won’t know how to deal with that.
“Oh my, this boy here looks strong. He’s my type. It looks like he’ll become similar to Burkhart-chan once he grows old.”
Erw, you’re really liked by all kinds of things, such as granny ghosts in flawed properties.
“I can also make clothes for men. Let’s have you try on some clothes for a bit.”
“No…today I’m here as Milord’s bodyguard, so…”
“Oh my, your refined behavior also fits with my preferences.”
“As I said, I’m…”
“I’ll let you try on some clothes.”
“I’m in the middle of WORK───!”
Erw is about to be forcibly dragged deeper into the shop by Candy-san as there’s no way that he could put up a fight with Candy-san when it comes to strength or ability as adventurer. He tries to resist, but it ends up in vain, and he’s being pulled away by Candy-san.
“For him to treat Erw’s resistance as child’s play…”
This world definitely is full of amazing people.
“I’ll help you taking off your clothes.”
“I can do it myself!”
“Refined and cute, eh? Oh my, your trained body looks very dreamy.”
Erw is experiencing something terrible inside the store, but neither Elise, Katia, or I can muster the willpower to stop it. It’s because we felt that we’d certainly be preempted by Candy-san.
“Wend, I curse you…”
“Doesn’t that look great on you?”
Even though he had been in a hostess-bar-styled paradise until just a little while ago, he’s now been plunged into hell after Candy-san took a liking to him, huh…?
It seems like this world does a good job at keeping things in proper balance.
“But, it really suits you.”
“Erwin, you look slightly more adult in this.”
His appearance is like that, but I think Candy-san has a great fashion sense. At a first glance, the clothes seem to be simple, but thanks to the high-quality fabric used, it feels like an adult aura is engulfing Erw.
“Erwin-chan, you’re Earl Baumeister-sama’s retainer, so you’re going to be looked down upon by the retainers of other nobles in the capital, if you don’t have at least this much of a fashion taste.”
“Ugh, I can’t even talk back here…”
The Earl Baumeister House is going to keep growing in the future. If Erw runs around in sloppy outfits, it’s going to negatively affect my reputation, is what Candy-san means, I suppose.
Candy-san, it’s a waste because of your strange appearance, but I have to admit that you’re a kind person.
“With an attire like this, Erwin-chan’s trained body line is being accentuated too. How lovely───!”
It sounds like that part has been his personal gain from this, but if not for saying that, I’d have honestly respected him…
Suddenly Candy-san lightly pokes Erw’s chest with a finger. Him doing no more than that causes Erw’s body to lose its balance.
“I love men’s muscles, but your balance control is way too sloppy, Erwin-chan.”
It’s only natural since even Burkhart-san takes his hat off when it comes to Candy-san’s abilities, but he’s truly strong. Even if Erw fought him right now and here, he’d be toyed with by Candy-san like a child.
“The right side, where you hold your sword, is too strong, I’d say…buuut, since it’d be a waste to let that side wither away after you’ve gone out of your way to train it so nicely, you have to raise the frequency of training your left side a bit more. Swordsmen always become strong on the dominant side they hold their sword, but it’s better to keep the difference between both sides as little as possible.” Candy-san gives Erw advice on training methods as his senior in adventuring.
Erw silently and attentively listens to his precise hints.
“If you train yourself like that, I think you’ll become even more dreamy, Erwin-chan.”
“Umm…since I’m…a married man…”
“Oh, what a shame. I wonder whether I’ll ever find true love.”
None of us can answer Candy-san’s philosophical question.
“I’ve got plenty of great clothes for you as well, Katia-chan.”
“And here I had hoped you forgot about me over Erwin───!”
“As If I’d ever do that. I mean today you’re the main star, Katia-chan.”
“Didn’t you spend quite a bit of time on Erwin, considering that!?”
“Aww, but you see, Erwin-chan is the type of man I like.”
He got sidetracked by Erw, but Candy-san hasn’t forgotten that we’ve come here today to choose clothes for Katia.
“I’ve prepared some clothes that should suit you, Katia-chan.”
“Clothes that should suit me?”
“Yes, I’m certain they’ll look perfect on you. I’ve prepared them in the dressing room.”
“I shall help out as well.”
Katia begins to change clothes while getting help from Elise.
“Elise, am I really going to wear this?”
“What are you saying? It looks great on you.”
“Somehow, it’s hard to move in them…”
It’s taken a bit of time for her to change, but once she’s done, she comes in front of me, looking quite embarrassed.
“Candy-san, these clothes are?”
“I’ve come up with the design. They’re gorgeous, aren’t they?”
The clothes prepared for Katia are gothic and lolita, or what’s commonly called, gothloli clothes. Since they use black as base color, I worried that they might overlap with Katia’s hair color, but the glossy black looks pretty and fits her awfully well.
I’ve seen such outfits many times in my previous life, but the materials here are of a finer quality, and Candy-san hasn’t cut any corners in also adding detailed embroideries and ornaments.
“Hubby, what do you think?”
“Don’t you look absolutely gorgeous in them? I had my doubts about using black, but the color does suit you.”
“I also think that it fits you very well. I have not worn any black clothes myself except for funerals, but these are very pleasant.” Elise highly praises Katia’s gothloli outfit.
Still, for him to have come up with a gothloli design all by himself… Maybe Candy-san is actually from a different world like me…no, that can’t be true.
“Erwin, you say something as well.”
“Ooohhh! These clothes are truly great! I wonder whether I should get them for Haruka-san as well…hmm.”
Erw, what’s the idea behind having your wife wear those? Or rather, praise Katia, and not the clothes, dude!
“Sorry, Erwin-chan. Currently I’ve only got one set of these.”
They do look like they’d take some time and effort to sew. Come to think of it, almost all clothes in this store are handmade by Candy-san, aren’t they?
“If this design receives good reviews, I was planning to order the tailor workshop of an acquaintance to make them for me. They’re going to target young noble ladies and young wives. I also intend to prepare them in various colors.”
“Speaking of price range, it seems like you’re aiming for the lower end of the upper bracket, but is that because you want to secure a profit?”
“Oh my, you’re rather well-informed about the business, Earl Baumeister-sama. As you might know, it’s easier to make a profit by creating products aimed at nobles. Though I also plan to target the slightly richer ladies by lowering the quality a bit.”
This middle-aged guy appears to be quite proficient at business.
“Hey, we’re done with this, right?”
“What are you saying? You don’t visit fashion stores often, do you Katia-chan? So you might as well use the opportunity to try on plenty of clothes while you’re here.”
“Katia, bear with it for today.”
“Hubby, in reality you’re the same kind of person as me, aren’t you?”
“Getting someone else to prepare the clothes for you is the best!”
“So you were the same kind of person after aaall───!”
I can relate since I didn’t really go shopping for clothes in my previous life either. Even when I went to small, trendy fashion stores during dates, I ended up worn out in body and mind in no time. Maybe that’s the reason why I was dumped by my girlfriend.
In this world, the number of clothes I possessed in my childhood was low, and since Elise and my wives or Dominique prepare my clothes for me nowadays, I don’t have to care at all.
“If you endure here for today, you might be able to avoid going shopping for clothes for around two or three years.”
“That’d be a blessing, hubby.”
“You two, how about showing a little bit more interest in fashion…?”
On this day Katia bought a considerably big number of clothes, including the gothloli outfit. Seeing those, it developed into Ina and the others becoming regular customers of Candy-san’s store, and his store kept gaining new customers at a good rate.
At a later date.
“Candy-san, I’m ordering a set of your gothloli clothes.”
“I’m really curious what kind of person Erwin-chan’s wife might be. I’m looking forward to it.”
Staying true to his words, Erw ordered a set of the gothloli outfit for Haruka. Recently the gothloli outfit has been spreading among women as a fashion fad.
“Wend-sama, what about the election?”
“Asking for the result in such a fixed race bears no meaning whatsoever.”
“I don’t get the meaning behind the vote in the first place.”
“Wilma, me neither.”
After the pope election was won by Cardinal Kempfeldt just as rumored, the church calmed down again. People started to say that Cardinal Hohenheim was running the church from the shadows despite not being the pope himself, but because this also hindered the church from unnecessarily meddling with the Earl Baumeister House, you couldn’t describe it as anything but cynical.