Due to certain circumstances, I ended up inside a women’s clothing store.
The clothes here are all designed to match Alice’s tastes. There are a lot of tiered skirts and knitted blouses. They’re all really cute and are right in my strike zone.
Maybe they’re actually made to fit my tastes and not Alice’s.
I-I’m sure that’s not the case. Anyway, there are many expensive clothes being sold here, but there are also quite a few cheaper items that are made of cotton and hemp.
Still, they may be a bit too expensive for the average farmer to afford.
As we manufacture more clothing and increase the speed at which we’re able to do so, we cut the prices of the clothing in the stores. Everyone seems to be able to afford our clothing once the price has dropped to a certain point.
By the way, we also lower the price so everyone can afford our clothing.
When we first started selling clothing we priced it at twenty gold coins, but, not long after we started selling them, someone seriously offered us double the price to buy all of our clothing.
By doing it like this, even farmers will be able to own our futuristic clothing.
“What are you doing in a place like this? Are you buying a present for a girl?”
A familiar voice could be heard nearby me. When I looked around to find the source, I saw Akane standing near me.
“I’m here with Alice.”
“And you’re not just coming up with an excuse for you to be hanging out around women’s clothing?”
Akane looked around after hearing my answer. I could only sigh as I responded to her.
“Everyone went out to buy their underwear. Are you here alone, Akane? And why are you wearing your uniform when you’re not at school?”
“I’m actually here with Amy and she actually ran off somewhere. As for the uniform, I just think it’s comfortable.”
Although our clothing can be expensive, it’s not a price that someone like Akane couldn’t afford. She’s the daughter of a major trading family, so I’m sure she’d be able to buy a few items from here.
“Is there inscription magic on the clothing sold here?”
“Ah~, that’s right.”
In addition to the lasers under the skirts of the school uniform, it also protects the wearer from UV rays and has the ability to warm up and cool down the wearer. This isn’t found in any of the clothing sold in our stores, so it makes sense that she’d find the school uniform more comfortable.
My clothing is completely normal so I had completely forgotten.
I noticed that Akane was quietly watching me.
“Wh-What is it?”
“When I mentioned the inscription magic, you were able to understand what I meant right away, nii-san. Do your clothes also have inscription magic on them?”
The moment she said that I was lost for words. And Akane just stared at me with a knowing smile.
She casually looked around at the rest of the store.
“By the way, the clothing sold in this store is said to be Alice brand.”
I’m confident I didn’t reveal anything to her with my reaction. In the first place, Akane wasn’t even looking at me. In other words, she already had her suspicions before she even started talking to me.
Well, if it’s just Akane, I’m sure it would be fine if she knew Alice was the founder of the Alice brand. Though I did go to a lot of trouble so that Alice could live a normal life, so I’d rather she just pretend that she doesn’t know.
Anyway, I’ll just casually try to change the topic.
“Akane, have you found any good trade partners?”
“Yeah, I’ve actually had a lot of luck with that.”
Since we’re really only able to produce a limited quantity of the products in this city, we’ve already settled on the merchants we want selling our products outside of the city. It seems there’s little room for any additional merchants at this point in time.
“I think things will change once the production begins to increase. Still, it’s rather sad that my family missed out on the initial release of these products.”
“What would lead to an increase in production? Just a demand for more of that product?”
“Mainly. So, do you know how my family could profit from these products?”
“Well, even if things stay as they are the products will continue to sell….”
There will already be merchants that hold contracts that give them exclusive access to any new products created using a specific technology. It would be easy enough for Akane’s family to start selling these products as well, but then they’d just be splitting the profits.
That means, she must be looking at selling entirely new products….or maybe existing products that have yet to be sold outside of the city of Muhle. What could fit into that criteria….well, one thing comes to mind.
“Are you talking about food?”
It might seem like a shot in the dark, but there have been many different places in Muhle that have created new speciality dishes that are only sold in this city. If one could find a way to transport these specialities, they could make a large profit.
“Perishables. If they can be transported without rotting, there would be a large demand for it.”
“Ah, that’s true. If you could find a way to keep it cold while transporting it, but I think the distance is too much from here to pretty much anywhere else.”
For example, it takes five days by carriage to get to Rizelheim.
So, a horse-drawn carriage travelling along an unpaved road should travel around 60 kilometres a day. That would mean Rizelheim is around 300 km away.
Five days to travel 300 kilometres. It would be difficult to keep any food at a low temperature for that time.
“Indeed. So, the issue becomes how to transport it…I’m not sure how to go about doing it, but if we chill all of the perishables, we should buy ourselves an extra day before the food goes bad.”
“And if you freeze the food it would keep even longer.”
This area of the world is rather hot so it would be hard to find any ice forming naturally around here. But magic exists in this world. Creating ice with magic would be possible.
In terms of how much this would all cost….it just seems way too high.
“I see. I’ll think it over. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome…still, it was a little unexpected. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with you when you started talking about business.”
“Well, I was using this as an opportunity to see how much you knew. I also wanted to see if you’d give me any new ideas as well.”
“Wow, you’re impressive.”
“You won’t gain anything by praising me like that.”
While saying this Akane showed a smile and looked a little embarrassed.
Then, I could hear two separate voices calling out to Akane and me.
Amy was calling out Akane’s name, and Alice mine.
“Alice is here to get me, I won’t take up any more of your time.”
“Yep. Actually…there’s one thing I wanted to tell you. Be careful around Liz.”
“Liz? Why’s that?”
“I don’t know everything about the situation but there were several high-ranking nobles she was ordering around like it was no big deal.”
“Hmm…well, thanks for letting me know.”
Is Liz trying to find out more about my family? Or is it something else entirely? Either way, it would be best if I remain cautious around her.
“Then, I’ll be going. Take care.”
“Yep, see you at school.”
I left Akane and regrouped with Alice and the others. We resumed exploring the city with each other.
After we visited the shops everyone wanted to go to, we took a break at a footbath cafe. As the sun was beginning to set, we left the cafe and everyone went home to the dorms.
“Nn~ we got to go out and have fun with each other for the first time in a while~”
Alice said this with a satisfied expression on her face.
“Was it everything you hoped it would be?”
“Yep. It was wonderful. Today was amazing and I had so much fun.”
If Saya and I had healthy bodies we would have been able to live every day like this. I’m glad that I was at least able to do this with her in this world.
At first, I only wanted Alice to go to school, but I’m actually really happy that we ended up going together.
Still…I’ve been spending so much time with Liz. I wonder if I should be spending more time with Alice and Sophia.
Alice mumbled this as if she could hear my inner thoughts.
“I’m fine with you doing what you want, Leon. I told you before, didn’t I? Live freely and be happy.”
“That’s true, but…didn’t you get angry before because you wanted to go to school together?”
On the day that I told her she’d be attending school, she immediately assumed that I’d be going with her.
So I thought she might be dissatisfied with how things are right now….
“Leon, I got angry because you didn’t consider my feelings. Did you really think I wanted to only go to school with Sophia and I’d be completely happy with just that? But you still went through all of that just to make me happy yet you forgot the main thing that would make me the happiest. So, I got angry.”
When I think back on it, Alice never even directly told me that she wanted to go to school. I think it’s a little unreasonable for her to get angry at me for not getting everything right.
Or was she angry for me?
“Besides, Leon, you say you want me to have a calm and peaceful school life, but…I don’t need that.”
“So…you’re okay with your school life being crazy and full of drama?”
Our time spent in school so far certainly hasn’t been normal and I certainly think that a peaceful life would be better, but Alice just shook her head gently.
“Whether my time at school is peaceful or not doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I’m spending time with you. Besides, I don’t think it’s possible to have a normal school life with you.”
“…isn’t that bad?”
“We’re still spending time together, aren’t we?”
When I imagined our school lives together I pictured us studying together, eating together, and walking home together after school.
And, to some extent, we have done that. However, I’ve still been busy helping out Liz and the others during that time.
“And so, I want you to continue helping Liz out.”
“…is that really okay?”
“I don’t want to do anything that would prevent you from doing what you want to do. I just want to go to school with you. So, if you want to help Liz, then I’ll do whatever I can to help you. And that’s how I’ll have the most fun at school with you.”
Alice showed a gentle smile.
The light from the setting sun was reflecting brilliantly off of Alice’s cherry blossom coloured hair. I wish I could take a picture of this scene and save it forever.
I was incredibly conscious of how fast my heart was beating.
“Besides, after spending all day together, I’ve realized that Liz is really trying hard. I decided that I’d like to cooperate with her. Sophia-chan also came to the same conclusion.”
And now she’s showing a mischievous smile.
Perhaps they invited Liz today so they could get closer to her.
I don’t know their actual reason for doing it but I do know that they’re both good and reliable girls.
I don’t know exactly what I can do to help Liz out on my own, but I’m sure with everyone’s help we can come up with something.
At the same time as I thought this,
“Please, don’t touch me!”
I could hear Liz’s shrill voice scream out.