- Translator: amenym
- Editor: Anonymous_Neko
- Proofreader: Rinkage
Chapter 69 Prostitutes Smell of Actresses
In the evening, Marina returned, looking disheartened.
In the end, after that, she couldn’t get the item she had in mind, I guess. She came back empty-handed (if you don’t count the halberd she always carries).
According to Rebecca-san, lace is an out-dated item, and with Marina range of movement, it’s not unexpected that she couldn’t find it. The lace should be available somewhere. It couldn’t be that she searched the whole of Erishe and still not find any…
Well, anyway, let’s ask Marina what she was looking for.
“So, what were you looking for? We did talk about Aurica and presents this morning, didn’t we? Were you looking for a present for Aurica? ” [Jirou]
Is that a little too obvious?
“My liege, you knew? Actually, I was searching for a lace handkerchief. I found a shop selling it, but for some reason, they wouldn’t sell it to me… I searched elsewhere, but I couldn’t find any anywhere… And so, I went back to the first shop I found, but it was already gone by then…” [Marina]
Marina confessed simply. ‘Confessed’ would be an odd word to use. It wasn’t as if it were a secret.
Now then, what shall I do?
I could just go “Ha-ha-ha! I thought that was the case, so I stepped in earlier!” and then pass Marina the lace that I got from that bogus businessman. However, to give Aurica a present of such a quality would be a little embarrassing. It wasn’t because it was obtained from a bogus businessman. It was just that we could have given her something of a better quality. Especially since it was a present for an important birthday.
Aurica’s birthday is next week though. There’s no need to be anxious yet.
“Rebecca-san, do you know of any shop in Erishe that sells lace handkerchiefs? It doesn’t matter if it’s second hand or new. Since it’s out of fashion, it’ll probably be difficult to find new ones being sold.” [Jirou]
“That’s true… I don’t recall a shop that fits the description, but I do know one that seems like it may sell lace… probably? If you’re fine with tomorrow, I’ll bring you there.” [Rebecca]
As expected of Rebecca-sama when you’re in a pinch.
I’ve roamed around Erishe to some extent, but I’m a main street shops kind of guy. I haven’t scouted out the sketchy shops in the back alleys, and I probably don’t even notice the existence of some of the shops that do not put up a signboard. In the first place, if I hadn’t asked about the slave trading house that I went to in the beginning, and about the guild’s location, or what kind of building it was, I’d definitely still not notice their existence.
The next day, in the afternoon, I went with Rebecca-san, just the two of us, to look for that shop that sells lace. Marina stayed behind to look after the shop. “Of course, Marina should come too!” or so I wanted to invite her, but I steeled my heart, since it’s not good to be too soft on her since she took the whole day off yesterday. And… that was an excuse. If I bought the lace and sold it to Marina, there’s a high chance that she’ll not accept it if it cost more than 1 silver, so I didn’t bring her along. Lace is quite an expensive item to begin with.
Diana disappeared somewhere after saying, “I’m also going to get Aurica’s birthday present.” A free spirit person as usual, but she should be fine alone. Though, I was just a little curious about what she would be getting for Aurica.
“Well, Let’s go. It’s been a while since I’ve gone out with Jirou alone, haven’t I?” [Rebecca]
“Now that you’ve mentioned it, you’re right. Recently, I’ve brought either Diana or Marina alone. Well, I feel like my training’s been going well and I don’t really need protection when I’m going around town anymore.” [Jirou]
“My my… letting down your guard is dangerous, you know? If Jirou comes across a warrior-type vocation, someone at Jirou’s level won’t be able to handle it, you know? ” [Rebecca]
“In that case, I’ll run with all my might. Maybe I’ll prepare some caltrops to aid in my escape…” [Jirou]
In reality, there’s overwhelmingly no chance of being attacked by someone of a warrior vocation in town. What Rebecca-san was talking about was, after all, a question of readiness.
We walked along the streets of Erishe while chatting about that, searching the street of luxury goods shops, popping into every second-hand shop, and asking Rebecca-san’s friends. In the end, …
“It seems like this place is selling some, Jirou. It’s somehow difficult to enter.” [Rebecca]
“… you’re right.” [Jirou]
It was a boutique for prostitutes.
The shop is in a street they call the red-light district. It’s in a corner of Erishe that looks pretty sketchy. It seems that prostitutes and brothels are commonplace in this world historically. Well, there’s a well-known saying that the world’s oldest profession is prostitution, so that’s only to be expected. However, Erishe is a town developed under the leadership of a female mayor called Milkpearl-san. It doesn’t mean that history supports the existence of prostitutes. It seems that this kind of custom doesn’t usually develop in a town with this kind of background. In fact, the number of brothels in Erishe is much lower than that in other cities in the Empire.
However, it seemed that it wasn’t that Milkpearl-san didn’t recognize legal prostitution, or underground prostitution…
Anyway, the boutique in question is situated in the corner of the red-light district. Even though it was at the height of noon, sexily dressed girls, also known as street prostitutes, were shooting inviting glances without a care, and men who came to play at the brothels were shooting interested glances back.
It was really quite hard to be here.
― This is the kind of place I should have come alone after all.
I really should pay some fees to, more or less, experience the culture of the other world… They say if it’s with a professional, it doesn’t count… Tomorrow’s a rest day… Guhuhu..
“No, Jirou.” [Rebecca]
Rebecca-san, who seemed to have caught on to something, suddenly looked at me intently.
“Eh? No what?” [Jirou]
“Just, no.” [Rebecca]
Huh?! Could she be an ESPER?!
Did she realise that I was swayed by the brothel?! But these girls touting their ‘wares’ were more beautiful than I would have thought they were. Sales was going pretty well, and I could squeeze out some pocket money.
Rebecca-san shouldn’t have the authority to prohibit that.
Since it’s come to this, I’ll stand my ground!
“Alright, Jirou. YES or NO?” [Rebecca]
(TN: Rebecca says the italicised in English.)
She’s smiling, but her eyes aren’t!
“O- Oh- YE-S! H-O-W MA-NY good expression!” [Jirou]
(TN: Jirou says the first sentence in English, but the second part is literally what he said in Japanese..) (Rinkage: The capitalized part is basically something like broken English)
I easily met my defeat and escaped into the shop we were eyeing.
That’s right. I mustn’t lose track of our original goal.
I came to find lace.
I didn’t come to find the ticket to paradise.
The shop was dim, like other second-hand clothes shops.
Well, light in this world is mainly candle. Most shops are dim, even if they’re not second-hand clothes shops.
If you wanted it to be bright, you’d need to have direct sunlight, but the UV rays would cause second hand clothes to deteriorate.
For this reason, the shop was dim even during the day.
It’s extremely problematic when they’re inspecting the goods, but from the shop’s point of view, as long as the product doesn’t deteriorate and the product’s flaws cannot be easily seen, it’s killing two birds with one stone.
For customers though, not being able to see very well is a problem.
The shop is as big as half a classroom. That’s bigger than I imagined. For a shop targeting prostitutes, this seems rather small, but the array of products is good. The products are ― since the shop is targeted at prostitutes, of course, clothes that they desire… No. Items that they want to embellish themselves with for work ― or that should have been the case.
(TN: Standard Japanese classrooms are 7m x 9m)
“Rebecca-san, can I ask you something? Is this kind of preference common here?” [Jirou]
“E- Even if you ask me… This is a maid’s uniform, isn’t it? Why would work clothes be sold here? There are also nurse uniforms here… Ah. It’s not a shop for prostitutes, but a shop for work uniform. Wow.” [Rebecca]
Rebecca-san made a satisfied face, suggesting, ‘I’m sure that’s it. There couldn’t be another reason’.
Nooo… You’re so wrong…
There is no mistaking that this is a shop specially for prostitutes…
Other than work uniforms, they have luxurious dresses like those of the aristocrats’, shifts that slaves wear, and to top it off, the Canaan tribe’s traditional clothes (sailor uniform)…
Wow… Erishe’s pretty progressive!
No. It’s not that Erishe is progressive. The citizens of the Empire are progressive. But if the whole of this world is generally like this, that would be scary instead.
For roleplay to be mainstream!
The lace was displayed in the corner in the furthest part of the shop.
I don’t think there’s any demand for it other than for roleplay. There was no effort put into the display.
I’m guessing, when aristocrats were still wearing lace and showing off their authority, there was probably a demand for roleplays like “Please act as an aristocratic young lady wearing lace looking down on peasants. I’ll be your home tutor.”. But lace itself has since been forgotten ― in other words, in current times where it has become a relic, the shop has left over stock.
Well, in this case, the reason why Marina is so insistent on getting a lace handkerchief is even more unclear…
Nonetheless, they were mainly clothing with lace, but there were many varieties and a large quantity too. I found the lace handkerchiefs we were looking for. Compared to the lace that that bogus businessman had, they were more delicate and properly weaved. From what I could see, a lot of effort was put into it.
In any case, I decided to buy them all. Even if it would be a little more expensive than to acquire them from the imperial capital, the ones here have a certain… flavour to it.
Now then, I’ve decided to buy the lace, but the issue is how to purchase them. In this world, most shops do not put price tags. Prices are usually set by negotiating with the shop owner, and in most cases, the shop owner themselves may not have set a price on an item. Of course, they’re aware of the profit margin, on the other hand, in many cases, it’s not decided just based on that.
Shopping in here is – how should I say it – not home ground.
Hey. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a shop targeting prostitutes and I’m obviously just a businessman looking to stock up.
Of course, if I just buy a few pieces of handkerchief and pretend to be a regular innocent citizen who’s just here to ‘buy some for my daughter’, the market price would be a little higher. But if they think that I’m a businessman looking to stock up, they’ll jack up the price and make a killing off me. If a businessman wants something, that something’s worth something as a commodity…
Now then, really. How should I do this?
The shop owner is a skinny old man, bald to the top of his head. He’s the type that’s possibly the worse to deal with, the kind whose veins on the forehead are permanently visible. No. I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in reality, there are many such people who think fast on their feet and are difficult to deal with… I think.
“Rebecca-san, just an estimate would do, but how much do you think the clothes and lace here are worth approximately? ” [Jirou]
I dropped my voice and asked.
Rebecca-san is more still knowledgeable about the market rate than I am.
“Let me see… Hn. The clothes are not really that nice, so they’ll probably cost less than 1 silver. The most expensive is probably 5 nickels? Work clothes aren’t usually that expensive to begin with, are they? Lace has already been out of fashion for a while, so it should be worth around 1 nickel.” [Rebecca]
Ok. Rebecca-san, it’s a basic mistake, but those really aren’t work clothes.
Wait. But if you consider the fact that prostitutes wear them for work, they are work clothes…
So… they’re work clothes?
I don’t know anymore!
“I see. I thought they might be a little more expensive, but if I average them out, that’s 8 nickels or so, and the lace at 3 nickels.” [Jirou]
“Hn? You’re buying the clothes? ” [Rebecca]
“That’s right. Aurica only has that one maid uniform, so I thought maybe I’ll buy some from here. And then, there are also a few items I’m interested in…” [Jirou]
I just won’t say directly that I want to buy a few, put Diana and Marina in them, and take a few photos. I already know their sizes, so even if they’re not here, there shouldn’t be a problem…
I studied the shop owner again.
There was a glass and some bottles strewn on the table.
Hn? Drinking in broad daylight? Well, he’s got a shop targeting prostitutes in this area, so I’m sure drinking in broad daylight is nothing.
It’s my loss if I think from the Japanese perspective…
But, I could use this. Let’s go with this.
Title: “Matsuri Negotiation Strategy”
I thought Rebecca-san might not help me, but after I explained the strategy to her, she was unexpectedly enthusiastic about it.
I could have just bought it, but to want to put in extra (unnecessary) effort – I’m not sure if that’s because of the merchant vocation or the swindler vocation. Anyway, both are my disposition to begin with.