“Ill cut right to the chase… Haruhana, how would one usually get themselves out of this line of work”
“There is a system in place calledbuyout.”
“Workers here were sold into the business.
So in reverse, they can be bought out of it, huh…”
We are out of liquor, so go bring out some more.”
Haruhana instructed them and saw them off as they left the room.
Then she continued the discussion with an even quieter voice than she had been speaking with up to now.
“Thekamuro can be bought off with twice the amount of money paid when they had been sold into the business.
In my case, however, twice the amount of my yearly income is needed.
Moreover, all that depends on whether our employer would permit the transaction…”
“Theres no particular issue for this places boss, when it comes to that last one… So, Asley Have any bright ideas”
“Well… if I had some more funds, I could… no, Ill need some time.
Please let me think things through.”
“I see, I see! Sorry to ask all this of you, man, but Ill be counting on you.”
Bruces bashful smile felt strangely pleasant, though I wouldnt say that I wanted to see him like that.
Well, it was like that expression was what reminded me of how nice of a guy he was.
Those like him, who spent their mundane days treading the fine line between life and death, were most often the kind to be sympathetic toward others woes.
I should learn few lessons from him in that regard too.
With the heavy talk out of the way for now, we proceeded to enjoy our time drinking together, accompanied by Haruhanas singing, and as they returned, Ofuyu and Onatsu synchronized dancing.
It was that very hour that made me wholly appreciate their art of entertainment and how they provided a performance far above their pay grade.
~~The Next Day, Magic University Coffee Lounge~~
The Magic University provided the service of several eating establishments within its grounds.
The customers were the students who stayed for more work after school or boarding students looking to hang out, relax and so forth.
Currently, Pochi and I were in one such establishment, spending some free time from our research hours.
“So, thats the story, yeah …Hey, whats up with that face youre making”
Pochi gazed with disgusted look as if she was looking at a piece of litter on the wayside, branding a figurative sinners stigma on my body.
“Y-youre gonna buy off the kids… I never thought you werethat kind of person, Master! Yes,that! Your mind is deprived of all common decency!”
“Hey, youve just shut your brain right when I told youI went to the Colorful Food District, didnt you! Listen to the whole story first!”
“So, Master, youre…”
“Gonna buy off the kids.”
“And like I said, you already got it wrong.
What I meant was, I want to do something about the young ones being forced to work there.”
Evacuate the people out, then burn that place to the ground!”
Wow, what an avant-garde idea.
So scary that I might have been petrified for a second there.
“I know youve put a lot of thought into that plan, doggo, but… rejected.”
“Whatever are you two talking about, Sir Asley”
“Oh, Lina, you and Baladd did great yesterday! I couldnt talk to you since the whole class was forming a mob around you, so this might be a bit late, but congratulations on advancing to the main Friendly Match.”
“Ah – thank you very much!”
Lina slightly bowed her head.
I havent had the chance to talk with her through magecraft because of what I had been doing last night, and considering her fatigue after the fights, I had refrained from initiating the call.
“If you have some time, why not sit with us and have some tea”
“If you have some time, please sit with us and keep my hopeless Master company.”
“Yes, Id be glad to!”
Which of us did she reply to, though Id like to ask but if I did that, Pochi will probably make fun of me again.
Lina went to the lounge assistant and ordered tea, then sat herself down in the seat next to mine.
Yes – as one might have guessed, it was because Pochi already occupied the chair opposite to mine.
“Umm, so… what were you two talking about”
“Master said he was planning to buy off some kids.”
“Hey, stop trying to ruin my reputation.
Look what state you brought Lina to!”
Shocked by just heard, Linas expression was now giving out a complete confusion.
“But wasnt I right Youre gonna buy off the kids, find them good jobs and living conditions, and set them on the path to a bright future”
Hmph, pretty good follow up for Pochi.
But wait, that sounded like she had actually been listening to my story.
With her being so human-like when it came to inappropriate timing of jokes, Ive always had trouble reacting to her.
“Whats the meaning of this”
Lina asked, and this time I explained the whole story to her.
After that was done, Lina smiled as if she was reminiscing about something.
“Uh, is something wrong”
“Heheh, I was reminded of all the things youve done to help us back at Faltown, thats all…”
Even with makeup on, I could still faintly see her childlike bashfulness each time she smiled.
Ngh – perhaps I have to fix my habit of analysing things like this… wouldnt want to go too far in this direction like Dinéya.
The definitions oftoo far in this case was vague in the first place, so I suppose awareness of it would be of most value in our relations.
“So whats your take on this, Lina”
“Well… Ive heard some stories from Idéa about this line of work but since the issue has been brought so close to me now, Id like to do something for them… Or, no – I want to do something about it… would be the correct way to put it, I think.”
“Hmm, options, options…”
“I think you should just do it the way you want to… I mean, isnt that how youve always done things Besides, its not like youve made any mistakes so far, either.”
This girl never ceases to amaze me.
She didnt look to herself for the right thing to do, but inferred it from the information available externally.
However, although Id never made a mistake in front of her, Id made quite a lot before her days.
Basing the correctness of my choices from my past results wasnt quite the right choice here.
Still, I felt that Lina was putting her trust into the results shed seen, reassuring that my choice on this matter would be correct as well.
“Er… Sir Asley”
I realized just now that I had hung my head down in a gesture of shame, and Lina tilted her head in question of that act.
Almost as innocently as Pochi, which was already the very definition of innocent.
“…Yeah… youre right.”
“You realize that hes made nothing but mistakes in the old days, right”
“If theres any way we can properly help them, then its always worth a try.
Ill help, too.”
“At the present, its better to go through with the transaction than to try and run off with them, sir.”
“Right, I wouldnt want any bad rap on my name over there, and in the case that we failed, the consequences are potentially too high.”
“So the issue is…”
No way around it, then.
I didnt want to rely on our grandmaster but at this point, we had no choice but to try asking her.
~~The Next Day, the Office of the So-called Grandmaster~~
“You need to make a large amount of money”
“Yes, in a way thats faster and more efficient than A-ranked adventurer work.
Do you happen to know any”
Grandmaster Irene would surely be able to come up with a good way or two… Now, lets hear it.
“…Id like to know, too, if there even is one, but… do you have any solid numbers in mind”
“I reckon Ill need as much as ten million Gold.”
“Ten million! Are you kidding! Even with my pay, itll take two whole years to save up that much!”
“Please give me two years of your life, professor!”
“Wha – eh – wait… whuh – whatre you even talking about”
And why was she blushing
Well, since its still in its planning stages, Im sure there wouldnt be any problem in discussing the matter with her now.
And so I did, explaining to Irene in detail our situation up to now.
“Asley, you… I wouldnt care if you just broke the school dorms curfew but going there is pushing it, dont you think”
“It was unavoidable.
So, what is your take on this matter”
“Im obligated to be against it.”
I was met with an unexpected reply.
“Could you tell me why”
“I cant say this out loud but the proceeds from the Colorful Food District is a precious source of income for Beilania.
That area is taxed quite thoroughly, you see.
Itd be perfectly fine to take out one or two workers but since your plan aims for a larger scale of condition betterment, itll cause significant amount of issues no matter what approach you take.
Labourers would end up overworked and the towns income would plummet, and the blame would naturally be put on those two kids.
Besides, isnt your idea just a temporary measure”
“…And what if it is”
“If its not permanent, then just helping out a few would achieve the no effect in the end.
Moreover, even your body wouldnt… Uh, I mean, its nothing.”
No arguments against that.
She was reasonable.
Perhaps I had been taking it as a too simple issue.
“…Doesnt look like you plan on giving up, though…”
“You realize that kids even smaller than you are on their way to a bleak future, yes Even putting their predicaments aside, I just couldnt turn a blind eye in the face of a greedy force of evil coming after someone.”
“I didnt make my body like this because I like how it looks, Ill have you know… Bah, for the love of…”
Irene heaved a deep sigh.
Then she tapped her fingers on her own face and stood there pondering things over, seeming quite troubled.
It seemed that she was taking this seriously, at least in one way or another.
“…Asley, I could come up with two ways for you to make that much money.”
“First, with your extensive knowledge… Sponsor a magecraft program.”
“At the Nations magecraft research facility… or not even that, if you cooperate with us the Magic University, you could get those funds rolling eventually.
And the other way-“
“Not something Id recommend, but you could gather materials in Danger Zones.”
“Oh, that would sell for a lot of money, yes.”
“If the Adventurers Guild were to issue a job, it would be Rank S Difficulty, no buts.
And since youre set to participate in the Friendly Match next month, as a professor… no, as a representative of the White Faction, I cant grant you the permission to go there.”
Rank S Difficulty… at that level even a party of A-ranked adventurers would have to go fully prepared to die.
Nothing would be achieved with my death.
Besides, I dont want to die yet.
“How about you stop with your naive ideas and make a name for yourself in the Friendly Match, then get yourself a sponsor That would be a clean way to go about it, dont you think The competition will be spectated by the heads of large companies and aristocratic households, after all.
I think youd eventually make the money when you get yourself on a post-graduation career path.”
“That would be too slow…”
“Youve put this matter into your hands for even less than a day.
How is it too slow”
“Its according to my calculations after putting my personal matters aside, thats all.
Regardless, thanks to you Im starting to see some hope.
Thank you very much.”
I ended the conversation and excused myself from Irenes office.
Now, what should I do What should I do to get the money… But either way, I was very thankful for Irenes weighing my available choices.
I should prepare some gifts for her next time.
The Magecraft program was one thing Id like to avoid, no matter how much I considered it.
Offering only the magecraft formulas would never cut it, so that was out, too.
Offering myself to the life of a lab rat wouldnt save Haruhana, Ofuyu, Onatsu, or anyone.
The next day, I visited Irenes office once again.
“……What might this be”
And she uttered while shivering profusely, as she examined the paper that I had passed to her.
“Im thinking about auctioning off the formula of my Teleportation spell.
Since youre one of the Six Archmages, Miss Irene, I would like your handwritten signature of approval.”
In contrast to my invigorated smile, Irenes face looked as if she had just busted a vein.
Now that was amazing – first time Ive seen her like this, I suppose.
“Theres a limit to how hasty your decision can be! You have all the rights to do this, of course, but if you run this through the proper channels and contribute it to the Nation, you would make a lot more over time than what you would get instantly, not to mention the status and fame! Honestly, this is nothing but you being foolish!”
Irene sprung up from her chair, unleashing a flurry of scolding that werent only venting, but also sensible arguments.
This time it was a topic that I was self-conscious of, so I didnt plug my ears.
Irene, seeing that I took all of it head-on, calmly sat herself back down.
“…Hah, didnt you say that you would like to take it slow with the Teleportation magic Well, I guess I cant blame you for wanting to go this way.
But why Teleportation specifically You must have invented many more magic and magecraft than that, right Shouldnt you be able to make quite a lot of money if you sold off a few of those”
“You see… Ive decided beforehand to offer it to the Nation.
So there wouldnt be a need to bring out the other ones, would there Most of them were just by-products of my hobbies, anyway.”
“…Looks like youve already made up your mind.”
“My stubbornness is one of my redeeming features, maam”
“Oh, for the love of… Well, anyway, you cant do thisanonymously.
An auction cant be held if the name and background of the one contributing the spell arent made known.
Not even with my endors.e.m.e.nt.
Its the law.”
Well, that was one thing I feared.
Good thing, Id already anticipated this.
“Then would you like to process the transaction yourself, Professor Irene”
“…Thats a creepy grin youve got there.
Are you cooking up some evil plot or something”
“You sound like youve got something nice in mind as well, am I right, Professor”
“Ill listen to what you have to say.
Whether Ill follow it through, Ill decide thereafter.”
“But of course.”