Summer arrived once more, and I turned nine.
I returned to the Millard territory, where I focused on managing Sagami Co. and Tote and delving deeper and training in the 『Ancient Forest』.
First was Sagami Co.
With Rainer’s introduction, I was able to purchase a shop and a residence for my company at a cheap price.
The residence was a 4-story building, located in Straheim’s suburbs, and ironically, it was an entire story larger than the Millard family’s. Still, it was excessively large for just the ten of us, so we would primarily use the first floor for now.
The shop, on the other hand, was a fancy 3-story brick building that ran along the main street. Because the building and its location were quite luxurious, it was apparently even more expensive than Sagami Co’s.
Still, even though we were running a restaurant, we hadn’t decided anything for the menu. I planned to open the restaurant once we finished the menu, but focused too much on developing seasonings, and as a result, it opened around half a year later.
We developed the following four seasonings: miso, soy sauce, vinegar out of the soy (soybeans) and riso (rice) and mayonnaise. I had thought the first three simple to make, but much to my chagrin, it took several months to reach a taste that I was familiar with. I couldn’t do much with just knowledge, as it was out of my expertise after all. Vinegar, especially, was especially hard to make with yeast.
The final seasoning was created with village eggs, vinegar, and salad oil drawn out from soybeans.
The menu would consist of a simple stew of meat and vegetables with miso and soy sauce, soy sauce-flavored yakiniku, vegetables stir-fried with miso and One-Horned Boar, and salad dressed with mayonnaise.
However, despite this would-be plain lineup on Earth, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call these seasonings the blood, toil, tears, and sweat of the Japanese. It took quite a lot of money to get here, but customers got addicted left and right, and the restaurant soon overflowed with adventurers and merchants.
As a result, we decided that we couldn’t continue running the restaurant with just 10 people. So just the other day, we decided to hire more people to manage the store in order for us to focus on developing other foods.
Well, even Carla gained loads of experience during this half-year, and her etiquette improved sharply, so right now she was finding success attracting customers to the store, but she still returned to the same-old demanding girl once the store closed and the customers left.
In any case, we had finally began developing a working menu.
We haven’t been following Sagami Co.’s original objective—developing convenient things from culture—ever since the clock. It was obvious that if we went at it with this many people, there wouldn’t be enough for everyone to do, but most importantly, Leroy was working on making more clocks so he couldn’t help create other contraptions.
Next was Tote’s management.
For defense, we officially organized a security squad with Mos as its leader, and they began protecting the village. It was also good that squad was always on reserve so that they could increase their defense capabilities.
In order to put them on reserve, we had to do a 180 on Tote’s management. Basically, we had to turn a self-centered mishmash of a group into a single organization that focused on structure.
It was the first step to a working security squad. In exchange for a salary, they would uphold public safety, fight, and solve any problems that might arise while defending the village.
The security squad’s first mission was improving the village.
I made everyone in the squad learn earth magic, had them dig deep trenches around the perimeter and set up high walls that covered the village with said magic. Additionally, I created watchtowers to oversee the areas around the village.
Since I had already destroyed the goblin nest, which was the most powerful thing nearby, the previously oppressed kobolds and orcs began rising up to attack the village.
We easily repelled their attacks with our walls and trenches, however, and quickly annihilated them with magic and arrows fired from the watchtowers.
Once the village’s improvements neared completion, I began focusing on battle training. I talked with Caesar in Straheim and invited one of his associates to come in as an instructor. He had said the villagers’ skills would soon rise, so I’m excited to see how far they’ll go in a couple of years.
There were also new members for the security squad: the winged fairies that had been captured by the goblins and had chosen to live in the village.
They weren’t content with just freeloading, so they actively helped out with reconstructing the village. They had diligent personalities from the start, so they put effort into every job no matter how menial it was, and the villagers gradually opened up to them.
Then, just about a week ago, we had heard that they wanted to protect the village as well, so we gave them permission to join the squad.
Originally, their growth rate was completely different from humans, so they’d probably be put as the squad’s main force.
The livestock and agricultural side also went extremely well.
All the villagers helped plow the fields, and we planted soy (soybeans) and let uru (sheep) graze the land.
We sheared their wool and made cheese by adding vinegar to their milk. Almost all the money made from selling those products was put into the village’s savings, and a portion was used to buy other provisions.
Once spring arrived, we planted rye, which grew surprisingly well. There was seven or eights times more than before, so we were able to keep a lot even though 50% was taken out as tax. Now, there was plenty in storage, and we could turn the rest into cash if we so chose to.
Incidentally, other than a small minority, most of the women captured by the goblins wanted to stay in Tote. Honestly, I don’t understand what they’re thinking; it might be some complicated feeling about wanting to reset everything and start a new life.
In any case, Tote’s management was going swimmingly, and I was quite pleased to be able to obtain plenty of data on agriculture and animal husbandry.
Next was exploring and studying the 『Ancient Forest』.
I obtained a new magic after wandering around the 『Ancient Forest』and finding magic stones and precious drops.
I would repeatedly drain my magic to a set point at night before casting my recovery magic and fall asleep. As a result, my stats remarkably improved.
- Grey Millard
- HP: D (12/100%)
- MP: B (9/100%)
- Strength: D (34/100%)
- Endurance: D- (13/100%)
- Magic: B (3/100%)
- Magical Endurance: D (44/100%)
- Agility: D+ (4/100%)
- Luck: D+ (1/100%)
- Drop: D+ (57/100%)
- Wisdom: ΛΦΨ
- Growth Rate: ΛΦΨ
My Magic and MP finally reached B, and as expected, Strength and Endurance didn’t grow much.
Satella, Judo, and Carla followed a similar training regimen, and their Magic and MP reached E+, while the others reached an average of E.
I also made Judo’s group learn high-rank magic, so unless something really bad happened, they shouldn’t lose.
As for me, I learned the basics of top-rank fire, water, earth, and wind magic, as well as special-rank magic like light and dark magic. 
Incidentally, healing series magic is classified as holy-type magic. I guess that’s just how the magicians of this world classify it, but I’ve some doubts of its veracity.
Right now I’m in Straheim’s trading company’s reception office with Judo and Carla, as we were beckoned over to the Commerce Guild.
It seems to be about the royalties of the 『Hand Pump』and the 『Clock』. I’ve been focusing on what to do after I turn 13 and have been far more concerned about the experimental management of Tote and my restaurant, so I’ve completely forgotten about the inventions.
“Sorry for the wait, Grey-dono,” Ikose Llamo, A large man who used to be the Director of Straheim, bowed once before sitting down in front of me.
“Hey there, Ikose-san. Congratulations on your promotion to Branch Leader.”
“Please, this was also thanks to your efforts, Grey-dono. That 『Clock』brought us mountains of profit, and President Rainer wanted to meet you as well.”
Former Branch Leader Rainer commonly stayed in the capital as the Commerce Guild President, and Ikose often delivered invitations to said capital. Things seem to be working out for him because he’s so busy.
“Yeah, I want to visit the capital too, and I plan to once I turn 13,” I said.
“That’s good. You should be working on a bigger stage, Grey-dono.”
I always feel like he’s overestimating my abilities, but I am happy about it.
“Thank you for the compliment,” I said. “So, what did you want to talk about?”
“First, these documents detail the royalties on the 『Hand Pump』and the 『Clock』.
- Royalties – Grey Millard
- Hand Pump: 300021 Gold 51 Silver 22 Copper
- Clock: 1530094 Gold 06 Copper
- Total: 1839862 Gold 51 Silver 28 Copper
“That’s quite the amount,” I remarked.
1.83 million gold. I invented the hand pump for Satella’s sake, and the clock was for my own convenience during future research and business prospects. To be honest, I only thought about earning enough money so that I could move about freely. To think that I would rake in this much……
“1, 10, 100, 1 000, 10 000, 100 000, 1 000 000, 1 830 000,” Carla counted. “Um, it costs 100G to supply our village with food for a year, so this is……”
“18 000 times more!!” Judo shouted as Carla paled.
I’ve taught them several things since, and they’ve mastered simple calculations now. Judo was especially diligent from get-go and studied furiously, even going so far as to cut into his sleep. He was a promising student and top of his class.
“Haha, you immediately recognized the magnitude of this amount,” Ikose laughed. “That’s plenty promising. Also, President Rainer earned even more than Grey-dono did.”
“More than Boss did!? Is he a monster!?” Judo shouted.
“A monster, huh. That might be true. The Commerce Guild’s assets are larger than any country. You’ve got promise. Train and study under Grey-dono, and someday you’ll surely come to see the same view.
“The view that Boss sees……” Judo whispered in ecstasy. Judo and Carla are pretty smart, but I can’t deny that they can be reckless sometimes. I try not to stir up that side of them.
“It’s not fair that it’s just you, onii-chan. What about me!?”Carla pouted.
“Weren’t you trying to become a doctor?” Ikose asked.
Ever since the raid last year, she’s found interest in healing the sick and injured and I have slowly been teaching her the basics since. She’s excelling too, probably because of her interest in the subject.
I plan to test her once her skills and knowledge reached a certain level. Obviously, I’ll make it next to impossible, but if she passes despite that, I’ll throw her a celebration party fitting for her achievement.
“Oh, also, this is from President Rainer,” Ikose said, handing me a letter.
It’s probably another invitation to come and mess around the capital. It looks like he’s gotten homesick, which is a bit out of character.
“Thank you. I’ll take a look at it immediately,” I said, opening it up. And as I thought, the contents said there was someone he wanted me to meet, so I should come to the capital.
However, I don’t want to be conspicuous right now—I’m already known as the son of some poor noble who somehow has close connections with the top of the Commerce Guild. I’ll compose a letter of refusal later on.
“Well, we’ll take our leave now.”
I bid farewell, putting a mask on as I left the room. The mask was because I’ve recently attracted a lot of attention, and I’ve named myself Shirabe Sagami while under its guise.
Soon after, Straheim’s church clock rang 3 o’clock—the clock was a combination of my designs of the bell and time and Rainer’s requests.
Developing the clock changed the lifestyle of those in the empire, no, the entire world.
First of all, the central church of mankind’s religion, The Holy Light, began implementing clocks.
The various countries of the world, including the empire, agreed with the church, and in the blink of an eye, the clocks diffused throughout the world.
This was all accomplished by Rainer’s Commerce Guild spreading word on every front, of course, but as a result, the world obtained the power to tell time.
Unfortunately, due to wealthy merchants and high-ranking nobles, the clock didn’t spread to the general public. Well, it’ll take a while for the concept of time to normalize anyways. At the very least, it would be several years before clocks truly became an everyday item.
“Leroy-san, long time no see,” I said.
“How’s the work on the new clock?”
“Going smoothly. I mean, I’ve gotten a little tired of making these.”
Figures. Leroy had been tasked by the Commerce guild, and recently has been doing nothing but making clocks.
“Then would you consider joining my company now?”
“No question about it. I want to make something that’ll get my heart racing again.”
If Leroy joined my company, the path to developing goods would open up again. There’ll probably be a small influx of new inventions in the future.
“Let’s settle the paperwork another time. For now, could you try making this?” I asked and handed Leroy a blueprint.
“A transparent board—Glass……”
Glass was a fundamental, and moreover, extremely important material developed through culture and science. Without glass, scientific experiments would go nowhere.
It wasn’t that difficult to make glass in it of itself.
You take silica sand, created from weathered granite, as well as sodium bicarbonate and limestone, created from trona.
The mines of this world currently mine for gold, silver, copper, and iron, while other minerals like silica sand, limestone, trona, and even coal are thrown away in large quantities.
If you heated trona with coal coke, you could get sodium bicarbonate. And before you know it, there’s glass.
Still, it’s unknown whether the minerals of this world function the same as those on Earth, so I purchased some test materials from Giresse.
If all went well, I could buy up the gold, silver, copper, and iron abandoned from the mines at dirt-cheap. And it’d be possible with the fortune I’ve amassed so far.
“Yeah, it’s transparent so you could use it for tableware and windows; it’ll revolutionize living.”
“I’m always thinking this, but where did you get this knowledge from.”
“It’s just an idea. That’s why I’m asking you to make a trial piece.”
“Well, sure. I’ll get on it then,” Leroy said as he went deeper into the room, and after giving him a light bow, we left the workshop.
“You really won’t come with me to the capital, Grey?” Aqua asked me yet again while I was eating with the servants in the kitchen.
Incidentally, after returning home from training in Straheim, Aqua somehow knew I was eating with the servants in the kitchen and joined as if it were only natural.
Aqua had just gotten into the empire’s Magic Knight Academy. First Cliff, and now Aqua; my stepmother was surely jumping for joy. And so, Aqua would be returning to the capital tomorrow.
Recently, every time Aqua opened her mouth she asked me this question. Some type of last-minute persuasion, I guess.
“Thank you, dear sister, but I hear the empire is expensive. I don’t have any assets in this family,” I answered as a feeling of relief washed over me.
“I talked with Father about that matter. So, please?”
It was certainly alluring to not have to see eyesores like my stepmother and Linda, but I didn’t want to be indebted to my father and it would be really annoying if he refused my leaving the Millard family in the future.
But my stepmother and Linda frequently harass me.
They make me clean and do laundry, and if there’s even a speck of dust, they’ll burst into rage and order me to do it all over again. They also order me, a mere child, to chop wood with a dangerous axe and patrol at night.
However, their remarks go in one ear and out the other, and I’ve come to communicate with the other servants while cleaning, doing laundry, and chopping wood, so I’m quite thankful. Any nine-year-old would be afraid of patrolling the mansion at night, but unfortunately for them, I’m actually a middle-aged man inside and there’s no way I’d get scared by that.
In short, despite not being able to do anything about it, their harassment doesn’t bother me in the least. Moreover, it’s far more important to make sure there aren’t any obstacles preventing me from leaving the future.
“It’s a promising proposal, but in any case, I plan to leave the family and visit the capital when I turn 13 anyways, so I’ll wait until then.”
“Young Master, are you really going to leave this land once you turn 13?” Dom asked the same-old question as a thick unease crept onto his face.
“Well yeah. It’s been arranged that way from the start so…”
“Once I graduate from the academy, I plan to live in the capital as well. I guess I’m okay with this then,” Aqua said, giving her consent. Actually, recently Aqua has been saying, ‘Grey, you can’t stay in a place like this,’ every time we meet.
“Aqua-ojousama, wouldn’t it better for Young Grey to succeed Millard?” one servant murmured.
Aqua sighed in response, and silently glared at Sebastian. “Sorry, but it’s a rule among nobles; I think either Cliff-oniisan or Linda-oneesan is going to succeed the position.” She gave a dry laugh, as if she had already given up on the future of this family. She probably thinks that only I can be saved.
I don’t know what kind of conflict Aqua, who has a strong sense of justice, has had to brave in order to reach that conclusion, but it probably wasn’t anything normal. The dark rules of this empire are just that deep I guess.
“Dear sister, please be careful.”
She’s done a lot for me, so there no lies were hidden in that statement.
“Thanks,” Aqua said. “But if it’s too much to bear just come to the capital. Promise me that at least.”
Aqua stood up and embraced me, trembling all the while—she was probably crying. I don’t know if it was from separating with me, or from not being able to do anything here. No, it might have been both.
The next day, Aqua departed for the capital. When Cliff went, only a few officials and the Mirage village head were there to see him off, but every Mirage villager came to see Aqua off. Aqua must have been working her ass off for this villagers of this land, at least, that’s what that difference shows.
For those who don’t remember since the nomenclature doesn’t make it immediately obvious, the ordering used so far is Low, Middle, High, Top, Special.