Episode 62: Store.
It happened just after the busy planting work in the spring was just completed.
A letter from the self-proclaimed debauchee Lacq, arrived from the trade city of Orn.
And so, together with the so-called Urd trade squad, and a wagon filled with special commodities from Urd, Yamato decided to leave the village.
“Yamato-sama, I can see the city of Orn now.”
“Oh, it’s been a while since we last came.”
And after spending the last few days being shaken inside the wagon, the trade squad finally arrived at the city of Orn.
After entering the city, they first headed towards the small store located in a back alley near the bazaar.
“Hey, it’s been a while. Yamato-danna! ”
“Indeed, long time no see.”
Lacq greeted them at the back door of the store.
His friendly smile and frivolous tone were the same as always.
“Liscia-chan too, it’s been a while. Huh? You somewhat look more beautiful, and with an adult air around you. ”
“Thank you. I turned fifteen the other day. However, it doesn’t matter if you compliment it or not, Lacq-san.”
Accompanying Yamato was Liscia, the village chief granddaughter, whom after being praised by Lacq, answered with a broad smile.
Fifteen was the age at which one was considered already a proper adult in this world. So, she felt bashful and happy.
“Lacq-ojisan, Yo! ”
“Unemployed-ojisan, howdy! ”
“Hey. I see you shorties are doing well. But! I’m not unemployed, I’m a debauchee.”
As usual, Lacq was popular among the children.
He had a capricious attitude, but possessed this mysterious charm that allowed him to quickly get along with everybody.
“Well, that’s it for the greetings. Let’s get the baggage off of the wagon and place it inside the warehouse.”
“Alright, we got it. Yamato-niichan! ”
“Okay, let’s do this! ”
After the greetings, they started working immediately, unloading the items they had brought from the village.
They carried from pottery and textile fabrics, to leather goods and other unique products only available in the mountainous region around Urd.
“It seems like the Urd store has been doing fine. “Manager” Lacq.”
“Yeah! It’s all thanks to you, Yamato-danna. And also, it feels awkward to be called “manager”…”
The operation of the store in the back alley of Orn was entrusted to Lacq.
The shop started a test run last winter, and has been a full-fledged business since a month ago, in the early spring.
The way it worked was by selling the crafts produced in Urd, which were carried over using a high-speed wagon pulled by Han horses.
The mountainous denizens of Urd had high quality and possessed a unique crafting culture, therefore, the items produced were well received and popular among the residents of the city.
The goods brought by the trade corps before the inahon planting had literally flew off the shelves, so they hurried to replenish the store.
As he talked to Lacq, Yamato took glance towards the store.
(Still… to think that gloomy and dirty place would be turned into such a splendid store…)
The insides of the store had changed completely in the last few months since Yamato saw it.
In the small and crammed store, about 33 square meters, products of Urd were being displayed.
It was currently crowded with morning shoppers, and the temporary hired clerks were coming and going, serving the customers.
In addition to the price tag on the products, a small handwritten explanation was also added, introducing the culture of Urd, a northern ethnic group, as an added value.
And, although it was a narrow store, a flow line had been established, so the shoppers lined in the checkout and browsed through the items without much trouble.
From Yamato’s perspective, who came from modern Japan where the commercial marketing was more advanced, this was a reasonable and splendid management of the store.
“As expected of you, Lacq.”
“It’s not that much. It just sorta happened.”
Being praised as a store manager, Lacq lowered his head.
He had gone around the popular stores in Orn, so he humbled himself since he just used them as reference.
(I knew he wasn’t a common person… but I didn’t expect this much…)
Yamato’s own evaluation of Lacq rose as he observed the insides of the store.
It had been a few months since, during last year’s autumn, he stumbled upon Lacq in the bazaar of the trade city of Orn.
A free-spirited person without a proper job, who always spoke in a frivolous tone.
However, it was thanks to him that Yamato got to speak with the representative of this city, Isis, and coupled with the information he possessed, for Yamato he was a man whose true worth couldn’t be measured.
Furthermore, he had saved a kid from the sword strike of the empire’s knight’s magic sword with unwavering agility.
Yet, he had called himself as a person with 『no combat ability』, truly a mysterious man.
Nevertheless, Yamato decided not to pry deeper into his past.
After all, “Everybody had secrets they didn’t want others to know”.
So, as long as the person himself didn’t explain it, Yamato decided to just let it be.
“By the way, how have things been going? ”
Yamato asked Lacq about the state of affairs and situation surrounding Orn.
They both moved to a place behind the store and checked nobody was around them.
“Let’s see… the empire has been quiet…”
Beyond the road that led east from Orn lied the great power, the “Hisan Empire”.
Although, in autumn, there was the kidnapping incident involving Isis, for now there appeared to be no large movements in the empire.
With their main forces used in the expedition against the barbarians in the south, they couldn’t afford to move their knights to this place.
However, there were rumors that they would invade the free cities, Orn included, after they concluded their southern campaign.
“And west from here are the guys in the “Holy Kingdom”, Orn is between those two…”
In the central plains of the continents was the trade city Orn, sandwiched between the two major powers of the east and west.
To the east was the Hisan Empire.
And to the west was the large country, the “Romanus Holy Kingdom”, of which Lacq just spoke about.
“Romanus Holy Kingdom, huh? And what is their aim? ”
“About that, I’m not quite sure yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.”
The information network of Lacq was unknown.
But still, Yamato guessed he would be able to get hands on that information later since he had said “yet”.
For now, the east and west showed no urgent movement. But there was no way of knowing how long that would last.
It was then.
A girl’s beautiful voice resounded in the back alley.
Descending from the knight’s horse, the girl hurried towards them.
“Isis and Lienhardt, huh?”
“Long time no see, Yamato.”
The two who had come to see him were the Knight Guard, Lienhardt, and the Consul Regent, Isis.
She explained that she received a report stating Yamato’s arrival from Lacq.
“It’s been a while, Yamato-sama! ”
“Yeah. What’s with the gloomy face, is everything alright Isis? ”
The girl, Isis, behaved the same as the last time he saw her.
But Yamato didn’t miss the shadow casted behind her eyes.
“As expected… you noticed, Yamato-sama? In fact, I was troubled by something, and I wanted to consult with you…”
Opening her mouth, Isis then revealed a problem that loomed upon the city of Orn.
Sword Art Online Alicization (Volumes 9-15) available on Amazon