“Oi, little girl, you’ve been acting quite bold for a while now!”
“Oh, but I’m not just a little girl. Just the other day I was embraced by my loving Yuzuki-kun.”
“Oh, the little girl thinks she’s become a woman. I bet this guy didn’t even last long enough to please you.”
“You couldn’t be more wrong. We were at it from night until morning.”
….why does she keep bringing the conversation back to that night?
I spotted Claudia peering out from the doorway to my workshop. She was muttering something like, “I heard every word she said, Master.” What is she doing?
“F-From night until morning?”
“Yeah, that’s right. Of course…you’ve probably never made love like that.”
And why is the self-proclaimed ruler of this island getting so upset?
“H-Haha! Is that so? The only reason it lasted so long was that you’re so bad at it, right? You couldn’t even get him to finish. I’ve been with countless guys that have all said I was there best. My pleasure skill is rank B! You can’t even compare to me!”
Ah…another mistake on her part.
And Rose looked triumphant.
“That’s too bad. My skill is rank A.”
“Wh-What did you say!?”
“So, because my skill is rank A, I’m even more skilled than you. Oh…but I guess I’ve only been with Yuzuki onii-san. I guess you win in which of us is easier.”
“Ku…. For me to lose to such a young girl…. How can this be?”
Once Cynthia realized it was her defeat, she collapsed to her knees in the middle of the shop.
That’s…a little unexpected.
I was expecting this conversation to go more like this
“You’re pretty stupid for declaring yourself ruler of this island in front of me, the daughter of the Brad family.”
If things continue like this, we might be able to resolve this dispute.
“Still, you must be pretty stupid to call yourself the ruler of this island in front of me, the eldest daughter of the Brad family. Are you trying to pick a fight?”
…oh, she’s going in for the killing blow.
As expected of Rose, she’s merciless.
“The Brad family!? Y-You must be lying! Why would the daughter of the Countess’ family be in a place like this?”
“B-Boss? There’s actually a carriage outside with the Brad family crest on it.”
Cynthia remained silent for quite some time after hearing the words of one of her subordinates. Her face became white as a ghost.
“Y-You idiot! Why didn’t you say something earlier!?”
“No, it’s just it was such a strange sight that I wasn’t really sure what it meant!”
“–Ku…. R-Really? You’re really the daughter of the Brad family.”
“Excuse me for the late introduction. I am Rose Brad, the eldest daughter of Countess Brad. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Cynthia, the ruler of this island, correct?”
Rose showed proper courtesy to Cynthia as she introduced herself. Well, she spoke as if she was talking to someone superior to her, but…she did little to hide her sarcasm.
I don’t know if Cynthia saw through that sarcasm or not, but it seems that she believes that Rose is a member of the Brad family. There was cold sweat dripping down Cynthia’s face.
“…u-umm, by ‘ruler of this island’ I meant…of course that could have many different meanings! I just mean that…I’m the ruling money lender on this island!”
“Oh, is that what you meant? But didn’t you say you ruled above even the Brad family earlier?”
“T-That was just….”
“That was just, what?”
“Y-You just misheard me! The Countess definitely rules over everyone on this island!”
“…is that so.”
Cynthia was doing her best to find a way out of the corner she had backed herself into.
Once Cynthia had declared her complete defeat, Rose struck a triumphant pose.
Recently, I’ve been thinking that Rose is a serious S.
“So what were you saying about this debt you’re owed?”
“Y-You also misheard that! It’s only 30% interest for the year. So the debt is only 26 gold coins.”
That still seems rather high, but Rose didn’t say anything. It seems that 30% is the standard interest rate on this island.
But…26 gold coins? I can’t even pay that off if I give everything I have.
“Now that the misunderstanding has been cleared up, Wells, would you kindly pay off the remaining debt?”
“W-Well, even if you ask me to, that’s just impossible for me right now.”
“I can’t just wait until it’s convenient for you. If you can’t pay me now, then turn over your shop to me.”
“You’re being unreasonable!”
Wells-san screamed this. I watched the exchange between those two and then glanced over at Rose….
Even if she is the daughter of the ruling family of this island, she isn’t the Countess. She can’t resolve this on her own.
…it can’t be helped. I’ll have to try my best to solve this issue.
“Hey, couldn’t you just wait a little longer for him to repay you?”
“…you walked out here some time ago but who exactly are you?”
“I’m an employee of this shop.”
Cynthia looked relieved after I spoke. I bet she was worried about my identity after Rose revealed herself.
It would’ve been nice if I could have said something cool.
…Actually, I received the favour of this world’s Goddess and was brought back to life in this world! Like I could say that…. Everyone in the shop would probably look at me like I’m insane.
“If you’re just an employee you should stop speaking out of turn.”
“If this shop is really in danger of being closed down, I can’t do that.”
“Even so, I won’t give up until I’ve received what I’m rightfully owed.”
“But the agreed upon date hasn’t even arrived yet, right?”
“I’ve already given this man several extensions. He was meant to repay me a long time ago.”
“…is that true?”
When I looked over at Wells-san, he wasn’t even able to look me in the eye.
…well, I’ve already heard the story from Wells-san, so I should’ve expected this much.
“That’s why you can either repay the debt now or hand over ownership of this shop to me!”
The situation suddenly became more desperate. Is there any way for me to turn this situation around?
Could we….no. Maybe Rose can ask Mary for help…but that’s impossible right now.
“Oh, right. There’s actually one other option.”
“…what is it?”
I got a bad feeling after hearing her words, but it’s true that we don’t have any other option. I asked her what she meant, knowing that I’d regret it.
“If you give me that young lady as collateral, I’ll give you a little more time.”
And Cynthia was looking at — Claudia.
“What…. What do you mean by that?”
“If you’re unable to repay the debt owed, I’ll sell that girl as a slave. She’d easily bring in enough to cover the debt you owe.”
“That’s not —!”
I was unable to say any more.
Claudia, who had been listening to us the entire time, left the workshop and stood before me.
“…is what you said true?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m asking if you’ll agree to postpone the payment of the debt in exchange for me acting as collateral.”
“— Claudia, wait a minute!”
I instinctively placed myself between them.
If we’re unable to repay the debt, Claudia will once again be sold into slavery.
Because she’s my slave, I could force Claudia to stay here, but I honestly don’t want to force her to do anything. But if I don’t, Claudia will offer herself as collateral.
“What is it?”
I grabbed Claudia by the shoulder and turned her to face me.
“…I’m sorry. I know I don’t have the right to decide something like this for myself. I know I’d be going against my master’s wishes, but….”
“It doesn’t matter. Just stop even considering such ridiculous things. No matter what the reason, I won’t allow you to use yourself as collateral.”
“Master, please listen to me.”
The desperate look on Claudia’s face made it impossible for me to refuse her.
“…you’re really willing to do this to protect the shop and your family?”
This was the reason Claudia first sold herself into slavery. So I assumed it was the reason again.
But Claudia shook her head.
“If I were to tell you I don’t feel that way, I’d be lying. But that’s not my reason for doing it this time.”
“…then, what is it?”
“It’s my dream to make clothing with you, Master.”
The moment I heard her words, I had to force myself to hold back all of the emotions that began to swell up in me.
It might be that I was frustrated that Claudia had promised we’d be together forever, and now she’s putting herself in a position where we may never see each other again.
But at the same time, I was happy that she believed I’d be able to get her back and we’d be able to achieve my dream together.
However, it was still frustrating that she was betting herself.
“Master, you’ll complete that dress and help rebuild Wells’ Clothing Shop, right?”
“That’s, well…. I will do that.”
“I also truly love your design and I know that you’ll be able to make a dress equally beautiful. So, please, use this chance to show me your cool side.”
Claudia’s betting on me to save her and her family’s shop.
“…do you understand? You know what will happen if I fail.”
“That will never happen. I believe in you, Master.”
I looked straight into her eyes and didn’t see a hint of anxiety behind them. She trusts me completely.
…if Claudia believes in me so much, then I just have to believe in myself too.
“I understand. I’ll definitely complete the dress and rebuild Wells’ Clothing Shop! Wait for me, Claudia.”
“I believe in you, Master!”
Claudia nodded and turned to Cynthia.
“As you’ve heard, I’ll act as collateral while you wait for the repayment.”
“…hmm. That’s fine. If it doesn’t go as you planned…you understand what will happen, right?”
“Of course. But that will never happen.”
“You believe the odds are in your favour?”
“Yes, because my Master is the supreme master.”
“…whatever then. Let’s form the contract.”
— After that, they negotiated the contract extension while using Claudia as collateral.
And so, we managed to prolong the time period we had to earn the money we’d need to pay off Wells’ debt.
In addition, Rose was added to the contract.
That way, for better or worse, neither side can back out of the contract.
So we were able to buy time, but now I definitely can’t fail.
We finished the contract and I was about to return to the workshop when —
–Claudia grabbed onto me from behind.
“W-What is it?”
“Master, you said so before, right? You’d do everything to me that you’ve done to Rose.”
I wasn’t sure what she meant at first.
But I realized what she meant once she pointed at Cynthia. Rose said we were at it from night until morning.
“I-I think I remember saying something like that….”
“Did you or did you not say that?”
“I did, but I really need to focus on the dress right now….”
Well…even if I act like I’m against the idea, it’s not like I hate it. Though, if I really have to do everything to Claudia that I do to Rose, I don’t know if my body will last.
And, as expected — Rose decided to join in as well.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.