Chapter 6 – The Fujibayashi Clan’s Side Business, and the Beautiful Girl who Works as Shop Manager

 

 


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T/N: Just as I use “houses” for noble families, I’m going to use “clan” for retainer families in Mizuho. Both could also be called “families”, but I feel a distinction isn’t wrong here.


 

 

Haruka’s big brother and the next head of the Fujibayashi clan, Takeomi-san, arrived at the Baumeister Earldom. He was visiting to see his nephew Leon and to deliver a baby gift from the Fujibayashi clan to Haruka. On top of that, he had come here as the Fujibayashi clan had begun to sell Mizuho-native products in the Helmut Kingdom as a side business.

This business was developing better than the clan had expected, and thus Takeomi-san was scheduled to preview the planned shop site where the clan would build its branch in Baulburg.

The Fujibayashi clan achieved success in trading Mizuho tea…well, it’s mostly no different from Japanese tea…nori, kombu, preserved wakame, and marine products suited for preservation. Mizuho tea had become popular among the wealthy who disliked the faint sweetness of mate tea, and the Fujibayashi’s matcha tea was also on the rise as an ingredient for confectionery.

Because of Mizuho’s influence, the number of patissiers using mate tea powder in sweets was ever-growing, but as many of them held the opinion that its flavor was too weak and its faint sweetness was a problem, matcha tea powder, which didn’t have these issues, was becoming very popular.

Besides its demand for soup stock, kombu was praised for its great effectiveness for hair treatment just like wakame, reaching a point where people with thin hair frequently purchased it. Or rather, even within the Mizuho Dukedom it was commonly said that wakame was good for hair.

I believe it to be superstition, but since wakame and kombu are both good for health, I don’t intend to argue against it. Given that it’s a commodity cheap enough that it can even be bought by commoners, the buyers shouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s fraud because it shows no effect. If pushed I’d say that many people buy it because of its healthiness and dietetic effect.

“My nephew Leon is a real cutie. With Haruka as mother, I’m sure he’ll become an expert at handling katana, too. I will also visit from time to time to teach him katana styles.”

“Brother, please don’t force yourself too much, okay?”

“What, it’s all for the sake of my cute nephew.”

The Fujibayashi clan had become a high-ranking retainer clan thanks to their achievements during the civil war, but as their expenses had grown in accordance, financial affairs have become tight. The trading the family had begun as a side business was now going well, it seems.

Takeomi-san’s attire hasn’t changed…no, even if it resembles the clothes he’s been wearing before, the fabric and yarn used for the attire has become high grade. It looks like their side business is very profitable. Which reminds me, the celebratory gift for Leon was quite extravagant too.

I’ve heard that the family had Kanesada-san make Leon a katana for future use. It’s nothing as exaggerated as an orichalcum katana, but seeing how it’s a creation of the master smith Kanesada-san, it still enters the category of being a considerable high-class item.

A handful of nobles in the Kingdom collects Mizuho katana for their beautiful blades, and even among all the different Mizuho katana, the ones made by Kanesada-san are especially famous as works of art. In other words, it’s not a katana you can obtain that easily.

“Haruka, how is your body feeling? Is everything alright?”

“Yes, Elise-sama cast healing magic on me after the birth.”

“Elise-sama, please allow me to thank you for the sake of my younger sister.”

“Haruka-san is absolutely indispensable for the Earl Baumeister House, so it is only natural.”

“I am deeply moved to hear you say that.”

Haruka holds the position of being a guard for Friedrich and my other babies while also serving as their wet nurse. While taking care of my children and Leon, she’s also expected to provide milk if there’s a lack thereof.

Her being able to freely enter the inner area of our home as the wife of a chief retainer is also proof of our deep trust in her.

“Haruka-san is always taking good care of us.”

My wives would end up with maternity neurosis if they had to take care of the children like that every day. Thus Haruka’s assistance is also necessary so that they can regularly take a break by setting up a smart rotation.

“It gives me a peace of mind as her brother to see that Haruka has been accepted at the Earl Baumeister House. But…” Takeomi-san stares in wonder at Haruka’s attire.

But that’s only understandable since she’s wearing the black gothloli outfit Erw had ordered from Candy-san. Erw had apparently forked over quite a bit of money for it, and also, the high-class materials of the outfit are of such a high quality that it doesn’t seem weird for the wives of nobles and their retainers to wear them inside their mansion.

However, Takeomi-san, who’s seeing this outfit for the first time, can’t help wondering why his cute sister would be wearing such an outfit.

“Dear Brother-in-law, these clothes are currently in fashion in the capital.”

“So you were the mastermind after aaalll───!”

Even nowadays Takeomi-san holds reservations towards Erw for having stolen his adorable sister from him. We had hoped that this aversion might wane a bit over the cuteness of his nephew, but it looks like seeing Haruka in a gothloli outfit isn’t to his liking at all.

Just as in the past, he directs the brunt of his anger at Erw. At this point it might already be regarded as pathological.

“Brother-in-law, about this…”

“Who’s your brother-in-law!?”

“I mean, aren’t you just that…?”

Erw, you’re right about it, but I think it’s pointless to tell this to Takeomi-san in his current state.

After all, he doesn’t see Erw as anything but an enemy who snatched his darling sister away.

“Even though Leon is such an adorable boy…you’re anything but cute.”

“Haah…”

Even Erw would probably be stumped if he were called cute by an older young man, so he doesn’t mind that part. Still I’d like Takeomi-san to finally get used to it. I didn’t expect that a sis-con would be that sinful.

“In the first place, how dare you get wives other than Haruka!”

Takeomi-san appears to also be upset over the matter with Lea and Anna. Maybe the dissatisfaction over his cute sister plays a part as well, but…Takeomi-san is still single even though he ought to take two wives at the very least…

Maybe his father doesn’t make him attend marriage interviews?

“I would like you to understand that this is my duty as chief retainer of the Earl Baumeister House…”

“I know that, but still…”

I suppose it means he can rationally understand it as common sense of nobility, but emotionally he’s struggling with it. As expected, sis-cons are sinful existences, indeed.

“Brother…”

“Oops, I had another important reason for coming here today.”

Just when Haruka tries to caution him as she can’t let her brother’s behavior pass just like that, Takeomi-san quickly changes the topic. Because he’s a hardcore sis-con, he must hate to get cautioned by his beloved sister.

“Thank you very much for permitting us to set up a store in the Baumeister Earldom.”

Given that it’s going to make the procurement of Mizuho-native products easier and because we can also expect some good tax yield out of this, it’s a very welcome enterprise for our side. As the Baumeister Earldom is in the middle of having its population grow, many people possess money from all the special labor demands for the development of the territory. I’m sure the rare Mizuho-native foodstuff should be in demand as well.

“I’m planning to visit myself every now and then, but allow me to introduce the person who’s going to be entrusted with the Baulburg branch store. Akira, enter.”

“Yes.”

After being called in, a lovely girl with black hair shows up in front of us. She looks just like a boy since her hair has been cut short, but her delicate, small body would wake the urge to protect her in any man. If it’s someone like her, she’ll become a great poster girl…no wait, he mentioned that she’d be the one in charge of the branch store, didn’t he?

“Takeomi-san, this girl is going to lead the branch store, right?”

“Yes. She’s a relative of the Fujibayashi clan. Akira’s grandfather from two generations ago worked as a merchant.”

At that time, not all of the Fujibayashi clan, a lower warrior clan back then, served as samurai, and the children at the lower end of the clan became commoners. One of those children started a business, and Akira was the granddaughter of that man. Thus she shares a relationship of being a second cousin to Takeomi-san.

As both families are still connected with each other, they seem to help out with the Fujibayashi clan’s business.

“So she does have the necessary skills.”

“She’s young, but she’s far more proficient at business than us.”

Takeomi-san is claiming that it should be the right person in the right place, but I’m kinda worried here. The city of Baulburg has many people coming and going as it’s thriving, but this also draws more people with bad characters in proportion. Hence I have my doubts about assigning a girl as branch head, looking at it from the perspective of crime prevention.

Our guards have been doing their best in cracking down on lawbreakers, but to my regret there’s also cases where our guards are late in arriving at a scene due to labor shortage, so if you consider the safety aspect, I think it’d be better to assign a man as branch head…

“Is that going to be alright? There are many folks with rough tempers in Baulburg.” Katharina warns in my stead.

As a matter of fact, she got previously involved with ill-bred folk in the city, resulting in her blowing them away with a tornado…it was a really terrible incident.

Tristan, who had to deal with the aftermath, was in tears.

『It was their fault for acting so rudely towards me』

Katharina wasn’t wrong in what she was saying, but I had to advise her to not use magic that would damage the vicinity to such an extent.

“Katharina-sama, Akira’s appearance is deceiving. She’s fairly strong, so it’s going to be alright. Her katana techniques and ancient combat style has reached full mastery.”

“Oh my, that sounds amazing. I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from Haruka-san’s relative.”

Since she’s a member of the Fujibayashi clan, she hasn’t neglected her katana training. The ancient combat style is a martial art to fight barehanded when you lose your weapon on the battlefield. It resembles the Magic Combat Style, but according to what I’ve heard from Haruka before, its characteristic trait is to attach importance in stealing the enemy’s weapon and use it against them.

“There are many Mizuho merchants who are strong enough to not lose against a samurai.”

I guess they excel at techniques to protect themselves since they’re going out to do their business at all kinds of places.

“But, isn’t it possible that she’s going to attract unnecessary trouble just by looking like a helpless girl? Maybe you should add another male employee or something like that?”

“That’s planned after the business starts to run smoothly. Besides, Akira is truly strong, so you don’t need to worry.”

No matter how strong she might be, she’s still a woman, so…

If something were to happen, it might trigger problems between us and the Duke Mizuho House.

“Well, I still think it’d be better for a man to be present as well. I feel like it’s too dangerous for a woman to run a store all by herself.”

It’s not that I’m forcing Takeomi-san, but it’s better for me to speak up here, just in case. I mean it’s possible that our guards won’t be on time if something happens.

“Umm…Earl Baumeister-sama.”

“What is it, Takeomi-san?”

“Akira is a man.”

“””””””””””That’s a lie!”””””””””””

Everyone shouts before I can say it myself. After all, it’s completely unbelievable for Akira to be a guy when looking at her lovely appearance.

“Eh? A man? You’re joking, right?”

“Erw-san, Akira is a man.”

Erw apparently believed Akira to be a woman as well. Haruka naturally isn’t surprised since she’s known Akira as her relative for a long time. Thus she clearly confirms the truth of the matter to Erw.

“Earl Baumeister-sama, are his clothes not manly enough?”

“Mizuho clothes have the issue of featuring few differences between male and female wear.”

“Please take a close look. Those are Mizuho clothes for men.”

Since even many women are wearing Mizuho clothes with plain colors, I don’t think that you could call this male wear. Certainly, Akira is wearing Mizuho clothes with low-key colors, but I think it’s terrible that it doesn’t feel out of place even when calling him a woman.

As I’m closely looking at Akira in his Mizuho outfit, my heart gradually begins to throb.

Yep, this is bad, seriously.

“I’m a man. I’ve been doing my utmost every day to become a strong Mizuho man like Takeomi-san.”

“Huh? I can’t really imagine that though…”

“Erwin, do you have any complaints?”

“No, it’s nothing, Brother-in-law.”

“Who’s your brother-in-law!?”

“This again…”

Becoming like Takeomi-san? I’d like to be spared from having to deal with another sis-con. Erw must be thinking the same.

“Wend?”

“What’s up, Erw?”

Just like me, Erw seems to have his heart throb as well after looking at Akira. God has probably made a mistake when making Akira a man. Even someone like me who doesn’t believe in god at all, cannot help but think so.

“He’s definitely a man, yep. The mana flow…”

“So you understood, Luise-sama?”

“But, it’s quite difficult to tell. I’ve ended up straining my eyes like an old man when looking at him.”

Luise has the ability to differentiate genders from the flow of mana with almost 100% certainty. However, it seems like it’s difficult for her to distinguish Akira, and thus she’s staring at him with her eyes narrowed.

“He has no Adam’s apple…”

“Wilma-sama, despite that, I’ve had a proper change of voice.”

“I see…”

Since Akira’s voice is relatively high, it makes him seem even more like a woman. He appears to keep investing a lot of effort in trying to overturn that, but no matter how much swordsmanship he studies and even if his insides are manly, his appearance…is no different from a woman in the end.

“It sure is nice to have such fair skin…”

Ina cannot help being envious of Akira’s fair skin. It’s the biggest distress for women who’re working as adventurers. Since they’re always outside, their hair and skin roughens.

Because they’ve just given birth, our women have been devoting themselves to tending their hair and skin, but since Akira’s skin, which likely doesn’t go through any particular care in the first place, is prettier than anyone else’s, Inna appears to be jealous.

“Indeed, it is truly unfair for you to have skin that is more beautiful than those of women.”

Since Amalie-san has already passed the age’s turning point for the skin, she’s staring at Akira’s youthful skin with eyes full of envy.

“Good grief, people can never obtain what they want to obtain.”

“His hair is silky and pretty as well…”

“Indeed. Though it does look like the person in question doesn’t seem to care overly much…”

Therese and Lisa are also enviously looking at Akira’s skin and hair.

“My skin never tans no matter how much I train my swordsmanship under the blazing sun. I’m not building any muscles at all either…I want to become manly with lots of muscles and a tanned skin.”

Even if he’s being envied by our female camp, Akira himself doesn’t desire all of this.

 

 

Still, I find it cute how Akira desperately insists on his own thoughts with his voice lowered.

“Well, no matter how womanly he might look, in the end he’s a man. He can’t win against me in loveliness.”

Katharina seems to be quite confident of herself, but Akira and her are two totally different types to begin with. Katharina, the gorgeous-type of beauty, and Akira who possess a cuteness that makes you want to protect him…I think it’s kinda amazing that he’s being called a man under these circumstances.

“Booboo───oh! It’s your loss when it comes to cuteness, Katharina.”

“Wilma-san, sheesh. I’ve been raised since my childhood while being called cute by the people of my territory and my deceased parents.”

“That’s no more than a parent’s partiality. Most people would identify Akira as cuter between you two.”

All of a sudden Wilma starts to take a majority vote, but everyone except for Katharina raises their hand in favor. The same applies to me as well since I cannot lie to myself.

“Wendelin-san! Why don’t you raise your hand for your own wife!?”

“Ee───h? Why are you singling me out? Aren’t all the others doing the same?”

Getting reproached by Katharina, I feel mistreated.

“Are you saying that I’m not cute, Wendelin-san?”

“Now listen…Katharina, you’ve married me and become a mother. You ought to display beauty as an adult woman, and not the cuteness of a little girl. Akira, you’re unmarried, right?”

“Yes.”

“It’s pointless to compete with Akira. As a married woman you need to exude a different kind of charm.”

“I guess you’ve got a point.”

I managed to successfully deceive her. Nevertheless, Akira is really sweet which wakes the feeling in me to help him. Even after hearing that he’s a man, I feel like I’ll forget it right away if I just look at her…err, him for a bit…

Bah, what stupid things am I thinking. Akira is a man, for god’s sake!

“Wend, Akira looks quite strong, so I think it’ll be fine. Or is there anything else worrying you?” Luise assesses Akira to have good abilities with her intuition as a martial artist.

She expects that Akira will be okay with running the store herself.

But you know, Luise…even I won’t harbor any romantic feelings towards a man. I have many wives, and am generally regarded as lustful man. I’m lacking a bit of confidence… yeah right, as if!

“The store will be of smaller scale at first, allowing us to see how things go. Akira is strong, so it’ll be okay.”

“Please look after me.”

Due to these circumstances, a Fujibayashi-run store dealing with dried provisions and tea opened in Baulburg.

 

***

——– End of Part 1 ——–

 

“Wend, it looks like Fujibayashi Dried Goods is a huge success.”

“That’s wonderful news.”

Several days later, Luise, who had headed out to the city of Baulburg on business, reported to me the state of Fujibayashi’s store that opened just the other day.

It sounds like they have many customers with their tea and nori being quite popular.

“Well, it’d be a disaster if a store that just opened had no customers at all. I’d say they’ve cleared the first hurdle.”

When a new store opens, customers will visit at first out of curiosity. Every once in a while new stores fail right from the start, but most of the time such stores are closed down within a short period of time.

I think the most common pattern is for the number of customers to decline a short while after the hype over it being new dies down. In other words, the biggest hurdle is the question of how many regular customers they can secure with their business.

“Sheesh, Wend, your view is quite harsh.”

“A shop immediately goes out of business if they become careless.”

In my previous life it wasn’t unusual for stores to go bankrupt within several years. Probably because the available demand is low in this world, new stores often fail. Even if they might be selling the recently popular Mizuho-native products, they need to stay on their toes.

“But you know, I think they’re going to be alright.”

“You sound quite confident there, Luise.”

“I mean, look, doesn’t that store have a poster girl?”

Poster girl, eh…? Certainly, Akira’s outward appearance invites people to mistake him for a woman, but he’s still a full-fledged man. Though I think it’d be rude to tell him that.

“I went to take a look on my way back home, but the shop was full of men.”

“That’s totally weird.”

After all, Akira is running a dried goods store. I think even men would buy tea, but the main customer base should be women who use nori and dried ingredients for cooking.

“Did they hire a professional cook or something like that?”

Akira might be trying to gain new customers by using the rare Mizuho foodstuff as an advertisement. Then again, I doubt that only male restaurant owners would visit as customers.

“Even if that was true, it’d be odd for no female customers to be there.”

“True that…”

Since I was slightly curious, I took Luise and Wilma, who was with us, along to visit the shop in question.

 

◆◇◆

 

“Welcome, right now we’ve a special bargain sale for the first tea of the season.”

The shopkeeper Akira is advertising the first Mizuho tea of the season to customers in front of Fujibayashi Dried Goods. The scene resembles what I’ve seen around tea dealers in my previous life, but since Akira completely looks like a charming woman with his apron and Mizuho attire, male customers are swarming towards him like bees to a flower.

“It’s okay to also add it to a tea pot with mate tea. Given that it’s not sweet, it feels refreshing in your mouth. It also goes well with meals. When it’s hot outside, it’s best to drink it cold.”

Akira seems to be decent at doing business, recommending the tea to one customer after the other. More than half of those customers buy the tea from him.

“Men are simple creatures.”

“Wilma, please don’t say that since it’s pitiful…”

Akira is a guy, but I think only a few men would refuse when recommended tea by such a cute guy. If it’s something at the level of a sampling pack with a small amount of tea, it’s not overly expensive, resulting in many people buying one.

“Wend, I see many faces I recognize.”

“Argh!”

Many of our retainers are here…Tristan, Moritz, Thomas…and several others… Or rather, is Baulburg’s guard unit still alright?

When it comes to Thomas, he should be in charge of the tunnel.

“Hey, you guys…”

“Milord, have you also come to buy Mizuho tea?”

“I’ll buy it and go back home, but what about your work?”

“Wend, we’re going to buy and leave then.”

Luise sharply retorts, but it’s not like I got seduced by Akira’s charm or anything…rather, a guy has no sex appeal for me whatsoever.

“Well, it’s the season for the first tea after all.”

“Indeed, the season for the first tea is important.”

“What are you blathering about? It doesn’t matter when you drink something like tea in the first place…”

Since it’s run by the Fujibayashi clan, the first tea leaves of the Mizuho Dukedom’s main tea production areas are timely gathered. It’s only natural for me to buy it since I love drinking Mizuho tea over mate tea when eating sweet stuff during my afternoon snack.

“Wend-sama, they’re selling the first pick of Uji tea.”

“Oooh! Uji tea is great!”

I feel slightly conflicted about it sounding similar to a Japanese gunboat, despite it being the most famous tea production area in the Mizuho Dukedom, but Uji tea is very tasty. I’ll buy some for Elise and the others as well before going back home.

“So? What about your work?”

“Please do not worry. I am properly visiting during break time.”

“Same here.”

“I came to Baulburg for a report, but I thought that I’d buy a souvenir for Nikolaus and the others on my way back…”

It’s not like the three are skipping out on work, and since they discovered a new shop during their rest time, they simply ended up joining in on the sampling.

It looks like it’s the same for many of the men here. All of them are tasting Mizuho tea with happiness written on their faces.

Do they know that Akira is a man? …I think it’d be better for me not to ask since it’s slightly scary.

“It’s your free choice to do whatever you like during your rest time…Ah, I’m also going to buy some nori.”

“If you’re looking for nori, it’s over here.” Akira shows me various sorts of nori, but their prices are all over the place.

“When it comes to nori, the ones with a deep, glossy color are good. Also…”

Akira lightly warms a nori that seems to be the most expensive one above a flame for me. Thereupon its color turns into a deep green, a proof for it being excellent nori.

The president of a nori wholesale told me so in my previous life.

“It’s better to have good nori when using it for onigiri.”

“Indeed. You can eat it just like that after all. This one has a high quality that fully justifies its price.”

Speaking of onigiri, I had to actually endure eating onigiri without nori until we started to import it from the Mizuho Dukedom. I remember that I tried to wrap the onigiri up in leaf vegetables that I bought in Breitburg, using leaf mustard onigiri as reference, in the past, but that ended in tragedy.

Onigiri without nori are delicious as well, but they’re still lacking something, no matter what you say. Nowadays we can trade with the Mizuho Dukedom, so you can get nori at stores in Baulburg. In other words, I can freely make onigiri with nori at any time I want to. On top of that, I can also make other Japanese food that uses nori.

“I’d like to have some furikake, too.”

“We have bonito, okaka, plums, wasabi, shiso wakame, and jako. Moreover, we have high-quality furikake that hasn’t been dried on stock, too. Please feel free to sample it.”

Whoa, Akira has even prepared cooked rice for me. I sample the various dried furikake in order after placing it on the rice.

It’s an extremely nice taste, reminding me of my previous life. The high-class furikake, which has the characteristic of still being moist, is wonderful as well. The other types also are magnificent in taste, shaking my spirit as Japanese.

“I’ll buy all of them.”

“Thank you for your purchase.”

I’m the super rich Earl Baumeister, so I have more than enough leeway to buy large amounts of high-quality nori and furikake.

“Do you have mochi?”

“Yes, we do. That and also roasted soybean flour. Our adzuki beans come from a producing area considered to be the best in Mizuho.”

Mochi, roasted soybean flour, adzuki beans – it’s impossible for me to miss out on this supreme combination. I can also get them in the Kingdom, but once you get to know the good stuff…

You have to carefully boil the bought adzuki beans after quenching them in water.

“It sure sounds like you have all kinds of goods. But, it’s time for today…I’ll come back again soon.”

I ended up buying more than I had expected, but I was able to get my hands on many good ingredients. Thus I decided that I’d frequently visit this store from now on.

“Wend…because Akira is cute…”

“Don’t lump me together with Tristan and the others!”

I have no interest in men. No matter how much he looks like a woman, I’m no homosexual.

“But you know, you looked very happy when he gave you food to sample. Just like Tristan and the others.”

That’s not true either. I was just happy that I could get so much good foodstuff at a new store. The aspect of being able to sample the food also tickled my buyer’s heart quite a bit.

“You understand me, don’t you Wilma? That store has lots of good merchandise.”

“They have a lot of nice foodstuff in stock.”

“See, Wilma understands what I mean!”

“But, too many customers visit after being attracted by Akira.”

“Listen to me for heaven’s sake! Don’t lump me together with those guys!”

I was ultimately charmed by nothing other than the store’s goods. It’s unthinkable that I bought the goods after getting lured in by Akira, the poster girl…wait he’s no damn poster girl!…is what I continued to emphasize.

 

***

 

“Well, it’s not like I can’t understand your feelings on this. It looks like some guys don’t believe that Akira is a guy even when you clearly tell them.”

“Shut up, Erw. I won’t give you any onigiri.”

“I’m not saying that you bought lots of foodstuff because you got tempted by Akira’s allure, Wend.”

“Oooh! So you believe me, Erw?”

“You’ve always been like that ever since I’ve got to know you.

 

We’re chatting while eating a big serving of nori onigiri for dinner. Just as Luise said, Fujibayashi Dried Goods is a huge success thanks to the poster girl Akira.

Once you approach the store after getting attracted to him, you’ll be given a tea cup with tea for sampling. Given that Akira looks like a beautiful girl, no one turns him down, and after drinking that tea, a certain number of people usually buys the tea.

Moreover, a fixed number of customers appear who have interest in the other goods in the store. These customers are allowed to sample the foodstuff by Akira, and then…rinse and repeat, a truly frightening loop.

Takeomi-san has come up with quite the clever business method…yea right, I can’t believe that he’d aim for that. He mentioned that he’s nothing more than a financier as he isn’t overly skilled at business.

“It seems like everyone knows that Akira is a man.”

“Eh? Really?”

Ina reveals a shocking truth.

“Akira is a man, but the other men don’t mind since they can spend some time in supreme bliss if it’s just talking and drinking tea.”

Certainly, it’s true that you easily forget about Akira being a man if you talk with him while drinking his tea.

“Did Tristan and the other guys go there knowing that Akira is a man…?”

“Looks like it.”

Do they possibly have some issues back at home or something? For them to frequent the store of a man in search of soothing…

Won’t their wives get angry at them if they find out?

“But, isn’t it the same for you as well, Wend?”

“Hey!”

I swiftly retorted at Ina’s question. I’ve been simply going there since I like that store and want its goods. If you consider that it’s an ordinary dried goods store, their business model is interesting since it’s a small-scale business run by the rising Fujibayashi clan and their relatives. It’s been a while since I last got excited when going to a shop.

“Isn’t your frequency of visits rather high compared to other shops?”

“It’s because they’ve got events.”

Yep, one day Akira taught a classroom how to make dashi. He made dashi out of katsuobushi and kombu, and let us sample it afterwards. I immediately bought it on the spur of the moment, but the miso soup made out if it was really delicious.

As expected, genuine dashi is a class of its own.

I also struggled until I became able to make miso by myself, but there’s many aspects where the miso sold at Fujibayashi Dried Goods is out of reach for me. The price for their soy sauce is expensive, but I’ve ended up using theirs for my cooking.

I think extravagances like this are fine since I’m Earl Baumeister.

“I’m going to head over today as well since Akira said he’d boil preserved food in soy.”

“And then you’re going to buy it, eh…?”

“I mean it’s a lot tastier than the one I make myself…”

Preserved food boiled in soy (tsukudani) is a difficult dish. Anyone can make it, but it’s hard to make it so that it’s tasty.

It is rare to find a dish that changes so much depending on subtle flavors. I happened to eat tsukudani in a well-established restaurant during my previous life, and I gotta say, that was truly delicious.

In the past I made tsukudani myself as a side dish for cooked rice and garnish for onigiri, but the ones sold at Fujibayashi Dried Goods are tastier. They’ve got a big variety, and Akira procures the products from Mizuho on his own discretion or makes them himself.

Since rice is eaten in the continent’s south, tsukudani that fits well with rice is in demand. The ordinary folks also eat it as a side dish for rice and garnish for onigiri, but even adventurers have started to visit the store to buy it as preserved food.

Parties that don’t have magicians with magic bags can’t prepare too luxurious food. The cases where parties bring onigiri with them or cook rice, make a soup and then use tsukudani as a side dish are increasing.

Mizuho-native tsukudani is expensive as a high-class item, but since Akira is making cheap tsukudani with ingredients locally procured at Baulburg and its circumference, that one is selling really well.

“Even though it’s a dried goods store, it’s also selling tsukudani, eh?”

“I think you’d call that adapting yourself to the situation.”

“Since it also has lots of saltiness which is good for preservation, it’s definitely true that it’s ideal for adventurers.”

“That said, I’m going to Fujibayashi Dried Goods…I must go. Ina, you coming with me?”

“I guess I’ll give it a go since it sounds interesting.”

“Ah, I’ll come with you as well!” Katia exclaims.

 

◆◇◆

————– End of Part 2 ————–

 

 

 


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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 17 – Chapter 6: The Fujibayashi Clan’s Side Business, and the Beautiful Girl who Works as Shop Manager – Part 1 »

  2. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 17 – Chapter 6: The Fujibayashi Clan’s Side Business, and the Beautiful Girl who Works as Shop Manager – Part 2 »

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