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Chapter II: Moon Reader, The Reading Cafe 

I decided I wanted to start a business. But to start a business, I needed funds. I considered selling some more mithril, but it was proving itself to be pretty handy, so I left it be. 
Instead, I took some iron, some rubber, and mass-produced about a hundred bicycles in the workshop. Then, I went to Mismede and worked out a trade deal for a considerable sum with Olba, the father of Olga and Arma. 
In all honesty, I felt a little guilty for gaining so much just from iron and rubber. But Olba was a merchant, so I was sure he had good business sense. He’d probably profit more off the bicycles than I ever could have anyway, so it was a worthy investment. I tried not to think about it too hard, since business dealings were confusing and all. 
Either way, that helped me acquire the necessary funds. I decided to check out a bookstore in Mismede while I was in the area. I made a point to pick up most of their major literary works. I bought several full-length series as well. 
I only bought completed works, though. I made sure to avoid any ongoing ones. This world didn’t have things like release schedules, so whether or not the next book came was entirely down to the author’s discretion. I couldn’t be bothered to wait and keep an eye on stuff like that. All-in-all, I bought about five hundred books. 
Then I went to Eashen, stopping by Oedo to buy some books there as well. I was a little disappointed, because I expected something like traditional Japanese scrolls and brush-strokes, but they just seemed to be standard books. I focused on books based on folklore and legend. Eashen had a lot of mythological fairy-tale type stories. I bought about three hundred books there and stashed them with [Storage]. 
Yumina had shared her memories with me, so I was able to head to Bern, the Imperial City, which was right in the middle of the Refreese Imperium. I bought about four hundred books there. It was my first time in Bern, but I decided to save the sightseeing for another time. 
Rebecca gave me memories of Sandora’s capital, Kyuray. Then, Lapis gave me memories of Gallaria, Heart of the Regulus Empire. I used these to go to those places and get some books there as well. 
By the time I arrived at Belfast’s bookstore, I had quite the collection. 
“Why did you pick up so many books?” Linze looked at the mountain of books I had brought back with me. When I noticed one that caught my interest, I’d thumb through it briefly. But not too much. After all, they were my merchandise. 
I enchanted all of my chosen books with [Protection]. That would prevent the books from being dirtied, and made them resistant to damp air along with general wear and tear. It also prevented them from being burned by fire. Though I wasn’t sure if fire magic could bypass it or not. 
Elze opened the door and walked inside. 
“I was looking for properties, like you asked. Found a pretty good one, actually. It’s on the end of of the main street in the south district. It’s a decent size, and the place seems in good condition, too.” 
“Sure thing, we’ll look over and buy it if it’s promising, then.” 
“Still, I never thought you’d be starting a bookstore.” 
Close, but no cigar. It’s not a bookstore I want to run here. 
“No, I’m not making a bookstore. I’m thinking more of a cafe, actually. You’ll pay money to enter for a certain period of time, and then you get free access to as many books as you want.” Similar to a manga cafe, basically. Stories were pretty expensive in this world. Commonfolk typically didn’t have access to literature. Basic educational texts like the ones that taught you letters through pictures were pretty accessible, though. 
This kingdom didn’t have anything in the way of public libraries, either. The only library was the one found within the Royal Palace, and obviously not everyone could just stroll on up in there. 
After I considered that, I figured a place where you could freely read would be a good idea. Not just books from Belfast, either. Books from all around. Plus, with the cafe idea, people wouldn’t even have to buy them. That was why my idea was ultimately a “Reading Cafe” of sorts. 
“I see... Read as many books as you want... and have a bite to eat, too. The idea is lovely. Honestly, I’d spend all my time at a place like that.” Linze muttered something as she stared at the mountain of books. 
“So you plan on letting the slave girls run the place?” 
“That’s the plan, at first anyway. If they find better jobs or something they’d prefer, they can leave, of course. I can just hire replacement staff.” The girls from Sandora were pretty good in the kitchen, so I felt they’d be right at home working in a cafe. I didn’t see any issues with them all working together on foodstuff, at any rate. I figured they’d be able to make a decent living based on customers in the place. 
“Let’s go check the place out.” I took Elze and Linze along with me, and we teleported to the southern district. 
The property wasn’t too shabby at all. It was a broad building, probably an inn originally. The first floor looked like it was formerly a bar. It could definitely have been made more appealing with some redecoration. The second and third floors had private rooms, which I thought would be great for people who wanted to read in peace and quiet. I decided to set the rate of pay on the private rooms to be a little bit higher, though. 
“Looks good to me. Let’s get this place.” I contacted the agent and signed the deed. The place was mine. Buying it definitely wasn’t cheap, but I had a good feeling. 
Alright, now to refurbish the place. Let’s do our best. 
I called over Wendy and the other slave girls from the mansion. Will also showed up, though I hadn’t asked him over. I asked all of the girls to clean the upper floor. 
I started using [Modeling] to transform the seating into soft, fluffy sofas. 
I decided on where to put the reception counter, and where beverages could be ordered. Hmm... should I make it self-serve for first floor customers? Maybe just water or tea, free of charge...? That can come out of the entry fee. Decorative plants... I can’t really make those, so maybe I should grab some at the garden and bring them over... And let’s put various bookshelves on this wall here... 
After that, I made some recliner chairs. I made some little tables, too. Yup, looks good. 
I started taking all of the books out of [Storage], then got Will and Wendy to stack and arrange them on the shelving. 
“Sir... I have a question.” Wendy spoke up while she arranged the books. I really wished she wouldn’t address me like that, but she seemed adamant about it. 
“What if some customers come and take the books away with them?” 
“Ah, I actually thought about that. You mean what if someone enters a private room, stuffs a book into his backpack, and wanders off, right? You’re wondering what happens then?” 
In short, she was concerned about shoplifting. Books were quite valuable around these parts, which I knew would lead to thieving, so I had already accounted for that. Measures had been put in place! 
“Well then, how about we have Will perform a demonstration? Take a book and put it under your clothes or something.” 
“A-Ah... Me?” Will looked concerned, but did as I asked. He took a book, stuffed it under his clothes, and headed out the door. And then... 
“Will?!” Will made a weird noise and collapsed like a damp rag. Great, it works! I had set it up so the books emitted a [Paralyze] burst when they were taken out of the building. 
In addition to that, books that moved more than ten meters from the building automatically teleported back to the front counter. That way, even if someone used a magic-blocking talisman, the book would still come back home. 
I restored Will using [Recovery]. 
“W-Wow... Thieves d-definitely won’t get away from that...” 
“We’ll hand over the perpetrators to the guards, and they’ll be banned from the establishment. Still, there might be issues every now and then, so I have a proposition. I’d like to ask Rebecca, Logan, and you, Will, to work security for the place. It’d be better to have people we’re familiar with working here, after all. But if you can’t, I’ll try and find trustworthy people through the guild.” 
“No, that sounds good to me! I think I can work here three days a week, and another three for the guild.” 
That made sense. Wait, actually... what about the last day? Is he planning on taking a day off? I tried asking, but Will started blushing uncontrollably and his eyes darted around. Wendy started blushing too, for some reason. 
I was confused by their behavior, when suddenly someone smacked me in the back of the head. I turned around and saw that Elze was staring at me like I was an idiot. 
“You absolute bonehead! Think about it! It’s a date, obviously. It’s good to clear up one day to be with the one you love, isn’t it?!” 
“A-Ah... you shouldn’t say it so boldly like that...” Linze seemed flustered, but that was nothing compared to the beet red color overtaking Wendy and Will. Seemed she was right. Well, that definitely made sense to me. 
I figured it was best to leave their feelings be. No reason for me to poke my nose in there anymore. 
I left those two to quietly finish stacking the shelves, then whipped up another recliner chair with [Modeling]. Elze hopped on and adjusted it until she was comfortable enough. 
“Y-Your Null spells are incredible, sir. I don’t have any spell aptitude, so I’m quite jealous...” Will stopped working for a moment to comment on my abilities. I really wished he wouldn’t call me that, though. 
“My late grandpa could use Null magic. But I can’t... Magic doesn’t really run in the family, so it’s not too strange.” Will let out a small sigh as he continued his work. 
So that’s how it is? I’d always figured magic had nothing to do with family. Elze and Linze were twins, after all, and their magic aptitude was pretty different. Linze could use three conventional elements, while Elze could only make use of Null. 
“What kind of Null magic did your grandpa have?” Null magic was personal magic, of course. People who could use the exact same Null spells were rare as a result, so it was less of a treasure trove of magic, and more of a bunch of mildly uninteresting spells. Like, a spell that made water a little more salty. Just add more salt and save yourself the bother. 
But I was still interested in hearing more. Even if it didn’t have an immediate use, there might have been an unconventional way to make use of it. 
“Grandpa’s magic wasn’t anything special, so please don’t be too excited. It was a spell that made things he touched become slightly heavier.” 
“Yes, it just added a little bit of weight to things. It wasn’t a very useful spell at all. 
The spell was named [Gravity].” ...Wait a minute. I’ve got it! 
“Will, do you think you could teach me more about it?” 
“H-Hm? Sure...?” If that spell can do what I think it can, then the potential could be huge! Well, that’s only if it has something to do with gravitational force, as the name suggests. 
I decided to deal with the spell later, anyway. For the time being, there were more recliners to create. 
I haven’t thought up the menu yet, either. Something light and easy to pick at would be best, I think. Cakes, sweets, that kind of thing... Parfaits would probably be a good choice. 
With our preparations all sorted out, it was time to practice and review the workload in anticipation of the grand opening. 
As for who worked where, I assigned two girls to the front counter. Their names were Suras and Belle. 
They both had light brown hair. Suras had short hair, while Belle’s was wavy and long. They were both bright and cheery, so assigning them to the front desk was the natural choice. 
Shea and Mea were working in the kitchen. They were sisters with black hair. Their cooking skills were pretty decent from the start, and Crea showed them even more techniques, so they had basic kitchen training sorted. 
Then there were the waitresses. Sylvie, Wendy, and Marica. 
Sylvie was the oldest amongst the seven of them, but she was only twenty-one herself. She was the confident type who kept everyone together. She gave off an air of aloofness, but she was quickly proving herself to be hard-working and reliable. 
Marica was the second-youngest, after Wendy. An energetic young girl with a lot of spirit. Sometimes that energy backfired a little and she failed at her tasks, but she always worked hard to make it back. 
Wendy was the youngest of them all, but she was an excellent worker. I worried a little about how docile and quiet she behaved, but she didn’t seem to be having any trouble. Lapis had taught them all a little about the basics of customer service, so I felt they’d manage just fine. 
I asked Zanac to take care of everyone’s uniforms. I looked up various outfits online, but the girls all gravitated toward ones similar to the protagonist from Haikara-san ga Toru. They said that the other outfits were a little too seedy around the bust and skirts... I didn’t think so, but I wasn’t going to argue with them. 
For the time being, our schedule seemed to be in order. We’d be closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. Business hours would be from 9 AM to 7 PM. All customers would receive a membership card that would record their stay times. Cafe time would be pre-paid, but if someone stayed longer, then they could pay for the extra time at the door on the way out. People in private rooms would pay additional charges, too. Also, customers could pay for their food and drink as they left. 
I photocopied flyers en masse in the workshop, and had them distributed. We needed advertising, after all. We were scheduled to open two days from then. 
After I’d checked on everyone, I began another part of my daily routine. 
I put my smartphone on a table and sat away from it on a chair. 
“Power on.” In response to my words, the smartphone turned itself on. 
“Run search. How many humans are within this house?” 
“...Search complete. There are ten humans within this house. Two male, eight female.” The men were likely myself and Laim, so that meant Julio was out in the garden. I only ran a search for humans, so Cesca and Rosetta weren’t included, either. 
“Run search. How many people are in the garden of this house?” 
“...Search complete. One person in the garden. Male.” 
“Tom isn’t included because he’s outside the gate, I guess... Display those in the garden.” 
“Copy that.” A 3D projection shot out from my smartphone. It was a live recording of Julio. I achieved this effect by combining [Long Sense] and [Mirage] spells. Julio was hard at work tending to the flower bed, but he took a moment to stand and stretch a bit. I figured he was probably tired. 
“Target lock on Julio. Apply [Cure Heal] and [Recovery] to him.” 
“Copy that. Applying [Cure Heal] and [Recovery] to Julio.” A soft magical light appeared about Julio’s head, then sprinkled over his face. He looked confused for a brief moment, but then he moved around, free of strain. He turned to face my room. I opened the window to give him a wave, to which he responded in kind. 
Great, it all runs smoothly. I gradually added to and updated the [Program] on my phone. For the vocal output, I used Cesca’s voice. I tried my own for a while at first, but I really didn’t like it, so I changed it quite quickly. I assumed most people felt the same way about their own voices, honestly. 
It was different from something like Paula, since the recording function made adding commands a little bit simpler. It was a little annoying having to add each vocal command individually, but it gradually made the phone more useful, so I didn’t mind so much. I couldn’t really use my smartphone in the heat of battle, so vocal commands would come in handy for situations like that. 
“Net search. Daily events.” 
The 3D projection of Julio vanished, replaced by a display of news from my home world. Seemed that the House of Councillors were having an election. I felt a little sad for a moment, as I never once had the chance to vote in my life back there. 
“End tasks. Power off.” My smartphone screen went dull, powering off entirely. It worked out pretty well, all things considered. I put my phone in my breast pocket and headed downstairs. 
I came down to the first floor and saw Will there. That was lucky. 
“Good timing on your part. I’d like to experiment a bit with your grandpa’s Null spell... Wanna come along?” 
“My grandpa’s? But it’s just a spell that makes things a bit heavier. I don’t think that’ll be very useful, sir...” 
“That’s not it at all. In fact, if I have the right idea about this, it might be one of the most important spells I’ve ever heard of.” 
“What?!” Will adopted an extremely confused look, but he still went along with me anyway. I don’t think he quite believed what I said, though. 
We walked out along the terrace. Julio was tending to the flowers nearby, as usual, as we both headed out into the middle of the garden. 
“Will, can you lend me your sword?” 
“Hm...? Ah, a-alright, then.” He pulled the sword from his waist and passed it over to me. It was a fairly standard blade. It didn’t seem bad, but it was a bit big for Will. 
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but this sword doesn’t really suit you, Will. Why’s it so big?” 
“A-Ah, well... I just picked it up. It’s not really mine. I found it in the desert... so it probably belonged to someone that was eaten by a Sandcrawler or something worse...” Damn... So he was just making the best use of what he could get. Novice adventurers probably have difficulty finding proper gear, huh... Guess that’s just the nature of the field. 
I thrust the sword into the ground. 
“Try and yank it out.” 
“Huh? W-Well...” Will pulled out the sword quite smoothly. It came out without any real difficulty. After confirming the difficulty, I had him put it back in the ground. Will looked quite confused. It seemed he hadn’t realized the point of my experiment yet. 
Then, I began to get to the point. I put my hand around the handle of the sword, focusing my magic. 
“[Gravity].” The sword slipped down slightly deeper into the ground. I took that as a sign that things were working as intended. 
“Try and yank it out.” 
“Huh?” Will seized the hilt, then began straining to pull it out. 
“Ngh...! Kuh!!! I-It’s heavy...!” The sword lodged itself deeper into the ground. Will tried to lift it, but he couldn’t shift it at all. 
“Seems like this spell can alter the weight of any touched object. But your grandpa could only make things a little heavier because his magic pool was small by default.” Honestly, it would’ve been more accurate to call it a gravity changing magic, but maybe it would’ve been more fitting to call it weight shifting magic. [Weight] might’ve been a better name for it than [Gravity], but I didn’t need to sweat the small stuff. 
The only drawback was that the object needed to be directly touched to be altered, but weight could be changed freely and it could be undone at any time, too. Plus, my own body weight could be altered as well. 
In other words, if I focused my magic at the point of impact, I could do something cool like a megaton punch. But I’d probably do serious damage to my fists, so that wouldn’t be such a good idea. 
Changing the weight of my weapons mid-battle would probably be the smartest use. I could probably even smash a Phrase with this if I maximized the weight... 
I could reduce my own weight to increase the effects of [Accel] and [Boost] as well. 
I could enchant weapons with it too, to make them easier to wield. Although using that on an axe or mace wouldn’t be much use... Those weapons were only powerful because of their weight, after all. Either way, this magic was extremely beneficial. 
“Your grandpa’s magic is amazing, you know. He just didn’t have enough magic energy to bring out its full potential.” 
“I didn’t know grandfather’s magic was so incredible...!” Will had unintentionally given me a means to combat the Phrase. I had to let him have a token of my thanks, no matter what. I took a mithril lump out of [Storage], used [Modeling] to transform it, and handed over a mithril breastplate to the boy, along with a pair of gauntlets too. 
“I-Is... this okay? Really?” 
“Don’t mention it, kid. Consider it thanks for the spell. Let me do something about that weapon of yours, too.” I canceled [Gravity] and grabbed Will’s sword. I then enchanted it using [Gravity], but this time applied the effect in reverse. It should’ve become easier to wield, though the weight decrease would give it a bit of reduced strength. 
I handed the sword over to him, and he gave it a few swings. His eyes went wide in amazement. 
“Wow, it feels so much easier to handle. I might be able to defeat monsters more easily now!” 
“Let’s not get too cocky, though. Yeah, I know what you’re in need of. A crash training course should sort you out...” 
I grabbed him by the wrist and led him off with me... 
“So, would you take him on?” 
“I see...” I took Will to the training grounds of Belfast’s knight order. From there, I brought him to Deputy General Neil and explained his situation. 
“That’s good timing on your part. We’ve actually been trying to make up for the earlier issue with the nobles mingling in our ranks, so our recruitment has become a lot more fair and broad lately.” 
“Heheh, so then... Will can get some training, and join you if he proves his worth?” 
“That depends on him.” Neil looked the boy over with sharp eyes. 
“Will, was it? Putting aside the entire matter of joining our ranks... do you wish to become strong?” 
“I... do want to become strong. There’s someone I wish to p-protect. That’s why I want to become stronger. No, I don’t just want to just become stronger. I want to become a man worthy of protecting what he cares about.” His knees were weak, his palms were sweaty, but he still answered resolutely. I figured he was talking about Wendy. Neil smiled at the boy, letting out a hearty chuckle. 
“Magnificent. It is a knight’s honor and duty to fight for what he loves. You have character, boy, and I respect that. Morning or eve, you come to me. You can train to your heart’s content, so will you join us in training?” 
“I promise!” Will gave a resolute answer. 
Be brave, young man. Be strong. 
Contrary to what I’d expected, my reading cafe, Moon Reader, ended up being quite popular. Many people dropped by because they heard about the shop being somewhat unique in its function, and many of them ended up sticking around for long periods of time due to how cozy it was. 
Because of that, three days after opening, we decided to create a “Whole Day Free Pass Course.” By picking it and paying a fixed amount of money, customers could come and go as they pleased. The charge was somewhat high, but still far smaller than they had to pay for an entire day’s worth of normal courses. 
We also began to have a shortage of chairs and private rooms, so we cleared up the garden and made it possible for customers to read on the benches there. However, that option was entirely self-service and only covered reading. Plus, rainy days rendered the garden completely unusable. 
Besides the popularity, another thing that surprised me was the gender balance among the customers. In my mind, this business was much like a manga cafe, so I expected the customers to be primarily men, but it was obviously the other way around. 
Almost eighty percent of the customers were female. That was probably caused by the fact that the available books were mostly stories. 
In this world, men were more into the more practical stuff, such as scholarly books, field guides, magic manuals, and texts about swordplay, while stories didn’t seem to interest them too much. Still, there were some men who came here to read about knights, adventurers, and other such military novels. 
Once we realized that most of the customers were women, we began to increase our book selection with them in mind. The amount of female customers saw a particularly great increase when Linze suggested we add a new genre to the selection. 
In fact, those books were so popular that I had to [Gate] to various places in order to buy more copies of them. 
I couldn’t bring myself to describe what the books were about. However, I could honestly say that I would distance myself from any man who would’ve willingly read them. Their presence would’ve made me feel unsafe. 
Anyway, due to the cafe being a great success, we raised a considerable amount of money. I had more than enough for everyone’s salary, so after I paid them, they all left the mansion and found their own lodgings. 
Rebecca and Logan had left a while ago, and Will followed soon after them with Wendy in tow. They all shared the same place, of course. Not the same room, though. Except for Wendy and Sylvie, anyway. Do your best, kid. 
“Alright, it’s been a while since I’ve worked my main job, so I guess I’ll go to the guild now.” After all, I wanted to test the new [Program] on my smartphone and the Null spell, [Gravity]. Yumina was the only one who didn’t have any plans for the day. Apparently, since only her guild card rank was blue, she wanted to finally make it red. 
“Shall we go, then?” 
“Yes. Let’s have a hunting date!” Well, that just sounds way too brutal for a date. Definitely something I’d refuse... 
The two of us made our way to the guild, entered it, and noticed it was packed with all sorts of adventurers as per usual. 
When we began walking toward the request board, a man of a large stature stood right before us. Who the hell is this? He was wearing black trousers and a tiger-striped vest on top of his bare torso. Two large axes were hanging on his waist, and for some reason — probably due to horrible fashion sense — he had chains around his neck. His head was completely bald and he had an unpleasant grin on his face. 
“Hey, what the hell are you brats doing here? This ain’t a playground, ya know?” It was my first time seeing him. He was probably new to the capital. After all, there was simply no way I could’ve forgotten someone with such terrible fashion sense. 
I looked around and noticed that some of the other adventurers were grinning, too. However, those grins weren’t aimed at us... They were aimed at the man before us. 
Now, how do I go about this...? 
“Ya listening to me, punk?! Get outta here before I hurt— gah?!” His hands were heading straight for Yumina, so I shot him without any hesitation. I used paralyzing bullets, of course, but the impact was still enough to be equivalent to a body slam. He was still conscious, so I showed him my guild card. 
“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” After his eyes opened wide due to seeing the red card, I dragged and threw him out of the guild. I tried using [Gravity] to make him lighter, and it turned out to be quite a useful application of the spell. Carrying him was easy. 
Once I returned to the guild, the people who were grinning were now laughing out loud. I knew they were hoping for something like this. 
“Guy’s got some guts! Not everyone can mess with a Dragon Slayer!” 
“He obviously didn’t know. You should’ve just told him, damn it!” 
“Are you stupid?! We wouldn’t get our laughs that way!” Everyone else agreed and laughed along with him. These people are just... 
Well, it actually wasn’t the first time someone tried messing with me like that. As much as it pained me to admit, I didn’t look strong in any sense of the word, so people like the guy from before saw me as a joke. I always ended up beating them up and showing them how wrong they were. 
Well, whatever. I made my way to the board and looked through the requests there. This time, it was just the two of us, so bigger hunting quests were no good. 
I took one of the red subjugation requests and read it. 
“Bloody Crab? A dangerous crustacean, I guess?” 
“A giant red crab monster, yes. They’re easily identified by their four large pincers and tough shell. The shell is good armor material, while the meat is high-quality. Both can fetch a decent price on the market.” 
Interesting... Definitely an attractive quest. Guess I’ll take it. 
We only had to take down one of them, and we had no problems getting to it because it wasn’t too far from the Mithril Golems we’d defeated a while ago. 
I took the request paper and brought it to the girl at the counter. Yumina’s rank was blue, but I was red, so we had no trouble taking the quest. However, if we had another person of a blue or lower rank among us, we couldn’t have taken it due to there being more lower rank people in the party than those that fit the criteria. 
“Umm... you are the owner of the ‘Moon Reader’ reading cafe, are you not?” Somewhat timidly, the receptionist began talking to me. 
“Well, yes...” 
“Um! The Refreese Imperium has a book series called ‘The Order of the Rose.’ Do you have any plans on adding it to your selection?!” The woman approached me with an excited air about her and a blush on her face. She really seemed interested in that book. 
“Uhh, well... is the book a completed series?” 
“Y-Yeah! It should be about fifteen volumes in total!” I didn’t see any issues with buying a completed story. After all, customers would likely lose interest if I didn’t invest in new titles from time to time. I decided I’d go buy it after my current quest. 
“Sure, I’ll get that series, then. It should be available tomorrow or so, is that fine?” 
“Seriously?! That’s amazingly fast! Tomorrow’s my day off, so I’ll come read the whole thing all day! Thank you so much!!!” We left the guild after waving goodbye to the strangely enthusiastic receptionist. Yumina, who had been silent the entire time, kept making glances at me. 


“Er... Touya... You do know what The Order of the Rose is about... don’t you?” 
“Hm? No, never heard of it. Is it a famous tale or something?” 
“E-Er, well... It’s the tale of a male-only knight order in a certain country, the Order of the Rose. They have a confrontation with the female-only Guards of the Lily, and... Well, it’s a series well known because of the love scenes within the knight order...” 
...Hold the hell up! The love scenes within the knight order? What? But there are only men in the group, so... 
Yumina’s eyes met mine for a moment, but she quickly looked away. ...Is it really like that? “...A-Anyway, you’ve already promised to pick it up, so it’d be bad to go back on your word now...” 
“You have a point... Well, the bookstore staff might start thinking weird things about me...” Guh... this sucks. I can’t exactly have Yumina go pick it up for me, either. 
“...Hold on, Yumina. You seem to know that book pretty intimately... Why would that be?” 
“Ah, wait. No, er, don’t misunderstand! I don’t read books like that, I just, er... I don’t have that kind of hobby, really!” 
I wonder about that... I gave Yumina a look full of doubt. I thought about Linze, too. She was definitely into that kind of thing, but it probably wasn’t a bad influence or anything. Everyone has their own hobbies, in the end. Still, I didn’t need to say anything like that out loud. 
“...Touya, I actually know the person who wrote the story. That’s how I came to know about the tale myself, I promise. The author is a public figure, so the stories were published under a pen name.” 
“Huh? For real? Anyone I’d know?” 
“No, I don’t believe you’d know her. You mustn’t tell anyone her identity either... The author of that work is Reliel Rehm Refreese. Princess of the Refreese Imperium.” 
......What. Hold on, hold on, hold on just a minute! Is she trying to tell me that the heir to an entire nation writes that kind of weird book?! 
“The royal bloodlines of Refreese and Belfast have mingled since the olden days. I know Reli quite well, too. She’s like an older sister to me. Before anyone could see what was happening, she developed... a certain kind of interest, and began writing things herself, that’s all.” 
This is... unpleasant to hear about. I don’t think I’ll go to Refreese much, if I can avoid it. I wouldn’t want to meet her by mistake and have her base one of her characters on me or anything... But I still have to get the damn book series, this sucks! 
Well, I figured there’d be no way a member of the Imperial Royal Family would be in a regular old bookstore, so I thought I’d be fine. 
Still... the receptionist and a lot of my customers are quite... into this stuff now. I’m a little worried I might’ve introduced a certain subculture to this nation. If this is what I end up going down in history for, I quit. I decided to stop thinking about that nonsense and focus on the Bloody Crab. I opened up a [Gate] and dragged Yumina off with me. 
The Bloody Crab was said to live in a habitat a good deal south of the Stael Mine, the place we had slain the Mithril Golems so long ago. I stepped out of the portal just outside the mine, leaving us with no choice but to head south on foot. 
“It’s not far enough for us to bother using the garden, so let’s run instead.” 
“H-Huh? Eek!” I picked Yumina up and held her with both of my arms. Naturally I princess-carried her. With that, I began to dash down the road. 
“[Gravity]!” I reduced my own weight and Yumina’s weight by about half. If I brought our weight to anything close to zero, we’d be way too light and I wouldn’t have good control over our balance. 
“[Accel Boost]!” I stacked my acceleration magic and my body fortification magic on top to produce an extreme level of speed. But despite that, I didn’t feel any resistance or drag. No headwind either. This was part of [Accel], of course. 
It sort of felt like I was in one of those VR games. I was clearly running at tremendous speed across the landscape, but it almost felt like I was in another world entirely. 
Yumina seemed to feel the same, as she didn’t respond to the intense speed with fear, but curiosity. She gazed at the flowers as we quickly passed by them. 
After running for a short while, the habitat came into sight. I set Yumina down after stopping. 
“Run search. Bloody Crab. Radius: three kilometers.” 
“...Search complete. One Bloody Crab located. Southwest. Displaying.” A map of the area was projected before my eyes. The crab’s location was marked on the map, about one kilometer away. 
“Touya, just now... was that Cesca...?” 
“Hm? Ah, right. I decided to use her voice for my programs here. To be honest, I chose hers because it’s pretty emotionless and cold, don’t you agree? Less of a distraction, at any rate.” I took my smartphone out of my pocket and explained the functions to Yumina. After that, I picked her back up and ran in the direction of the crab. 
We located it soon enough. It was enormous and red-shelled. It had a pair of pincers on each side of its body, and carried its lumbering form on eight legs. 
Man it’s big. Around the size of a garbage truck, I guess. It had a rugged, blood red shell covered in various rock-like outcroppings and lumps. 
It sort of gave off the image of a king crab that had been grossly mutated or warped. Its pincers were extremely large, too. Almost disproportionately so. If you got caught in one of those, you’d be finished for sure. It would easily snip you in half. 
The Bloody Crab suddenly noticed our presence. It turned to face us. There was a large foam of bubbles on its mouth, but I was fairly sure that was an indicator of a land-locked crab beginning the first stages of oxygen deprivation. However, I quickly disposed of that thought because it was rooted in the sense of another world. To begin with, the fact that there’d be a crab out here in the wild was nonsensical enough by my standards. I couldn’t think with the logic of my old world, or I’d be toast for sure. 
I set Yumina down, and we prepared our weapons. I set Brunhild to Blade Mode and Yumina pulled out her Colt Army Model 1860. 
The battle began, a barrage of bullets flying at the crab. It was completely unaffected, likely due to its tough shell. It seemed that this creature had a naturally high magical defense. Magic probably wouldn’t be too effective, either. This was a Red Rank quest though, so I wasn’t too surprised. 
“Entwine thus, Earth! Cursed Soil: [Earthbind]!” Yumina chanted a spell, and the soil at the feet of the Bloody Crab came alive, twining itself around each of its armored legs and impeding its movement. It seemed that indirect magic would work just nicely. 
Yumina shot her bullets at the immobilized Bloody Crab, targeting the joints and hinges of its legs. The girl went after the naturally weak points with expert precision. She certainly had the makings of a sniper. 
To my surprise, Yumina shot through the joints one after another. The crab’s movement became even more impeded with each new blast. 
“[Accel]!” Not wanting to miss my chance, I used acceleration magic to leap above the crab and land atop its rugged back. Even though the spell I intended to use was direct magic, I had a feeling things were going to work out well. I squatted down and touched the crab’s exoskeleton before uttering a single word. 
“[Gravity].” With a mighty creak, the crab’s legs bent and groaned, bringing it crashing to the ground. I jumped back down to the ground and looked over the beast, who could now barely move at all. 
Heh, now that I’ve invoked that spell, your weight will change to suit my whims! 
“What did you just do?” 
“I increased the weight of his body several times with my new spell. His body’s way too heavy now, so he can’t even move!” Even though it should have been far too heavy to move, the Bloody Crab still tried to make an attack. I added more weight to stop it in its tracks. The pincer that it had somehow managed to raise came crashing to the ground and didn’t come back up. 

Hmph... I added an absolute ton of weight, but its shell didn’t crack at all... This guy’s annoying. 
“...Touya? I-I think it’s dead.” 
“What?” The foam around its mouth had already begun dispersing. Bodily fluids were leaking out of various parts of its body, too. I could only conclude that, while it had a hardy shell, the creature’s internal organs couldn’t handle the sudden weight shift. 
I canceled [Gravity]. The Bloody Crab didn’t move at all. I got close and smacked it around a bit with Brunhild. It didn’t react at all, so I knew it was dead. 
“That was a tad easier than I expected.” Yumina holstered her weapon and looked over the dead crab. 
“One of the best parts of this spell is that once I invoke it, I can manipulate the weight from a long distance.” I tried to lighten the mood a bit and picked up some small pebbles from the ground. I cast [Gravity] on them and tossed them into the air. I then multiplied their weight a hundred times or so while they were in flight. Soon enough, there were holes and dents in the ground all over from my scattered pebbles. 
“...It’s an incredible spell, isn’t it.” 
“Yeah, I could probably even smash a Phrase up with this. The only drawback is I have to touch an enemy to apply it, but I might have found a way around that, too.” I took my smartphone out of my pocket. I’d been able to use [Paralysis] on people without touching them using this method in the past... so I wondered if I might be able to do the same with [Gravity]. I thrust Brunhild into the ground, burying the blade partially into the soil. 
“Run search. Brunhild. Target lock. Invoke [Gravity]. Let’s see... double its weight.” 
“...Search complete. Target locked. Invoking [Gravity].” I took a hold of Brunhild. It was heavier than usual. Apparently the test had been a successful one. It had worked exactly as I wanted it to. I had no doubts in my mind that this application of magic would become one of my greatest weapons. Still, I had to remind myself not to get cocky. There was magic that could negate magic in this world, after all, so it wasn’t infallible. 
I canceled the spell and put Brunhild back on my waist. 
“Alright, all that’s left is bringing the crab back.” 
“The proof of the deed is only one claw, but they said that the guild purchases other parts of it, too. Should we bring all of it?” 
“Sure, why not? We’ll keep one leg though, for Crea. I feel like crab stew today.” 
“Very well.” I put the crab into [Storage] and opened up a [Gate] to return to the guild. 
The receptionist went wide-eyed with shock as she saw us come in with the proof of the kill, but she understood well enough after I explained my portals to her. Guild staff were meant to keep individual abilities like this confidential, so I had no real worries about telling her what I could do. That being said, there were still people who’d doubt my feats as a result. 
I took the Bloody Crab out of [Storage] in the guild’s courtyard and had it assessed. One leg was kept aside for personal use, of course. 
All-in-all, shell and meat included, it was worth a pretty penny. We received the reward for the quest at the reception desk, as well as the pay for the sale. Our guild cards were stamped with the mission seal, as usual. 
“With this, Yumina’s guild rank has increased. Congratulations.” Yumina smiled with delight as she picked up her guild card, which was now a full red. 
“Thank goodness, now I’m the same rank as everyone else.” Heh, was she that worried about being left behind? How adorable... She didn’t want to be the odd one out. 
Now all that was left to do was to go to a bookstore in Refreese and acquire the goods. We earned a ton more money than we expected, so I wondered if we should buy other books... Books of that specific type, I meant. 
Sales were dictated by the customer base, after all. And luckily enough, I had someone in front of me who was quite well-versed in that field. 
“Er... receptionist lady?” 
“Ah, you can call me Prim. Can I help you?” I told her that I was off to make the purchase of that series, and asked if there were any others in that genre she’d be interested in as well. 
“W-Wait, you’re going to go and buy a lot of these?!” 
“If they’re in stock, sure. The money I made today should be more than enough to cover it.” 
“W-Wait j-just a moment, please?!” In a flash, Prim got up and headed to another female member of the guild staff. She spoke to her about something and jotted down stuff on a notepad. Then, she went to another female staff member and scribbled down some more notes. She repeated this process in a cycle, then even asked some female adventurers for their input, too. C’mon lady, your job’s on hold here... 
“I-If you can acquire all of these, I promise you that all of the women I spoke to will definitely come to Moon Reader tomorrow! Please take note!” “R-Right... I’ll definitely... make a note of that.” I took the torn piece of note paper from her and suddenly looked up to see several women staring at me. They had stars in their eyes. 
...Is this really something to get that worked up over? I left the guild and headed home. I planned to go to the bookstore after taking Yumina home, but in a stroke of maybe-good luck, I encountered Linze, who was eating on the terrace. I showed her the note that Prim had given me. 
“...A-And you plan on buying... all of these?” 
“If they’re in stock, sure.” Linze took out a pen from her pocket and started scribbling some titles down. Please stop adding to the list, Linze. Please. Please stop. 
“These are must-buy titles. The last volume of this one in particular just came out, so missing it would mean trouble. If it became available at Moon Reader, people would go wild, I promise.” I didn’t really understand any of that, but I decided to trust Linze’s judgment regardless. 
I thanked her and decided to look over the various title suggestions. 
“The Order of the Rose” - 15 Volumes 
“The Butler’s Secret” - 5 Volumes 
“The Disgraced Slave Prince’s Oath” - 8 Volumes 
“Cage Boy” - 6 Volumes 
“Saccharine, Deadly Embrace” - 12 Volumes 
“The Red-Hot Night Between The Two Who Couldn’t Turn Back” - 5 Volumes 
“The Magician’s Sweet Trap” - 12 Volumes 
“Immorality! On His Wedding Day!” - 17 Volumes 
“Rose-Tinted Magic” - 9 Volumes 
“Beneath My Master’s Gaze” - 18 Volumes 
...Is this okay? Is it really okay if I buy these? My heart is breaking already. But I already said I’d get them... so I have no real choice. 
I felt I should probably separate those books from the others and give them their own section. I’d include a curtain, too, to stop people snooping in. And a waiver to refuse entry to those under eighteen. W-Wait, actually, no, that makes it the same as an adult corner in a DVD rental store. Ugh... I don’t want to have such a seedy image. W-Well, it’s not illegal or anything, and it doesn’t promote anything bad, so... I guess it’s fine, and wholesome, yeah! I headed through a [Gate] to Refreese, all the while seriously grappling with the idea of just handing the place over to Linze and washing my hands of it entirely. 
The Imperial City, Bern. The Refreese Imperium’s shining star. To say that “white” was the theme of the city would be an understatement. The entire place was bleached white. From the walls of the buildings to the paving of the road and stairs, all was white. It brought to mind places like Mykonos and Santorini in Greece. 
The center of the port city featured the magnificent white Refreese Castle. The blue sea and the white architecture mingled together to create a beautiful atmosphere. It was a little too bright if you asked me, though. Some sunglasses would’ve come in handy. 
I didn’t come for sightseeing this time, so it’s off to the bookstore for me. Luckily, I came here before Moon Reader even opened, so there’s no need to worry about getting lost either. 
I leaned on the heavy door and pushed it open, entering the building. The bookstore was pretty sizable, so it had a wide selection ranging from old novels to new releases. A lone black-haired woman sat there at the desk in the middle. 
Darn it, it’s a lady... Well, even if it was a guy at the counter I’d be pretty nervous. No point worrying about it, just gotta ask her already. 
“Excuse me, ma’am. I’m looking for some specific books.” 
“Yes, sir? Please tell me the titles so that I may look them up for you.” 
“R-Right, here you are.” I took out the note from my pocket and handed it over to the woman at the countertop. 
“Let’s see here... The Order of the Rose, The Butler’s Secret, the...” Her voice slowly grew quieter, and she started to look more closely at my face. I didn’t dislike it, but her eyes started to take on the same luster as the eyes of the women who were going to be at Moon Reader the next day. There were stars in there, stars for sure... 
Do you seriously think I’m that kind of person? 
“Uh, well... give me a little while. I’ll need to locate all of the books you requested just now.” 
“...Got it. Alright, I understand, thank you.” 
Wait a sec... What am I being understanding and thankful for here? It’s not like I’m requesting anything unusual! I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, this is a regular request! 
“Thank you for your patience, I’ll go and take care of the order now.” The woman gave me a gentle smile and made off toward the book inventory. I couldn’t understand why she was treating me like that. 
Since I had no idea how long I’d have to spend my time waiting, I decided to pick up a basket and look for more books. After all, I needed some more genre variety. If I just let things run their course, my precious business would be corrupted by that kind of literature. 
I went to the fiction section and put adventure stories, military epics, real love stories, and unusual tales into my basket. 
After I was done gathering stuff up, I returned to the counter to find a pile of books waiting for me. I figured they were mine. But that wasn’t the only thing I found there. There appeared to be a small commotion going on, with a female customer getting quite fussy with the lady at the desk. 
“I-I’m sorry, ma’am... We’ve just sold the last one in stock, and I’m unsure when the next shipment will come in.” 
“No way... what the hell...” The customer leaned on the counter with a look of absolute defeat on her face. She looked to be about twenty years old, with a youthful face. Her long, chestnut hair was tied up into a single braid that was held together with a fancy-looking barrette. She was wearing a cardigan and skirt combo that looked plain, but was clearly high-quality. I briefly wondered if she was a noble or something. The lady at the desk finally noticed my presence, then smiled in my direction. 
“Ah, hello there, dear customer! I’m just putting together your order now. Do you want to buy those books as well?” 
“Yep, sure do. Add these on to the current total.” I piled up the books I had chosen along with the others on the counter. 
“W-Wait, are you the person that bought the last volume of RoseMag?” The defeated girl at the counter suddenly rose up and challenged me with a question. RoseMag? The hell is she talking about? Wait, does she mean that “Rose-Tinted Magic” book from my list? 
“What is going on, exactly...?” I turned to the lady at the desk. 
“Ah, well... this young lady came to purchase the final volume of ‘Rose-Tinted Magic,’ but the last of our stock is included in your bulk order, you see...” 
Hm, so that’s how it is... Just a case of really poor timing on her part. She missed it by a hair’s breadth, really. It’s a shame, but I can’t just hand it over to her. I can’t just go back without the final volume. I need the full set or there’d be no point. 
“Excuse me, can you please give me that last volume of RoseMag?” 
“Er, no... I came here with the intentions of buying it, and that’s exactly what I did.” The girl seemed determined to get the book. In fact, she even turned and bowed her head to me, but of course something like that wasn’t going to deter me. 
“Please, this is my last chance... Every other bookstore has run out of stock, too...” 
“E-Even if that’s the case, I still can’t...” Suddenly the girl’s eyes drifted... landing right on the small mountain of books I had purchased. 
“Did you buy ‘The Order of the Rose’ as well?” 
“Er... well, I, uh...” She looked over the various titles on the book heap. After a while she looked over at me, eyes shining in the same way I’d seen too many times today. Getting real sick of these misunderstandings, people... 
“My my, you certainly have a good eye for literature, don’t you?” 
“Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not like that at all, alright? This isn’t for personal reading or anything, I’m running an errand.” 
“Sure, sure. Don’t worry about it. I totally understand.” 
You clearly don’t understand. Quit grinning at me like that! 
The girl lost herself in thought for a while, but eventually snapped out of it and called me over to a corner. 
“What do you want?” 
“I’m willing to make a deal with you. If you give me that last volume of RoseMag, then I’ll autograph all of your Order of the Rose volumes.” 
“Excuse me?” Is this girl an idiot? Why would I want some random girl’s autograph? 
“Why would I want you to do that?” 
“That’s because I’m the author! Riel Rifrese herself!” The girl proudly puffed out her chest. Th-They’re big... around Yae’s level... Er, wait. Gotta focus. 
“Heh... so you’re really the author?” 
“I am! You think me a liar?” 
Of course I think you’re a liar. What are the odds of meeting the author of the book I just happened to be buying in the middle of a bookstore? Not to mention the fact that I know who the author really is, Yumina told me! Hmph... I guess I’ll have a little fun here and call her out. 
“So that means you’re really Imperial Princess Reliel, doesn’t it?” 
“Wh...uh...” The self-proclaimed author turned white as a sheet, blood draining from her horrified face. That’s right, I’ve exposed you as the fraud you are. 
Just as I was thinking that, she started sweating profusely and flapping her mouth open and shut like a fish. It looked as though she’d entered a state of shock. Er... what is happening here? “Wh— Huh— Buh— Wha— Ho—How did—?! E-E-Even my father doesn’t know that...!” W-Wait, seriously? Is it actually her? 
“Wh-Why would you expose my true... Ah! Y-You plan to blackmail me, using me as a stepping stone to get close to my younger brother, first in line to the throne. After that, you plan to steal his purity and claim the country for yourself!” 
“You goddamn moron!” 
“O-Ouch!!!” I gave the girl a swift karate chop to the head, hoping that it’d pull her out of such ridiculous thoughts. Princess or not, I’d do it again. “Ow... Wh-Why’d you do that?!” 
“Shut up! If it wasn’t for Yumina, I’d be totally ignoring this situation right now, but is this country gonna be fine with you as its princess?!” 
“Y-Yumina? You mean Yumina of Belfast? Who are you, exactly...?” Princess Reliel looked my way with curiosity clouding her face, though she was still rubbing her head. Despite the fact that she was older than me, I felt no need to be polite or respectful around someone like that. She was only about two years older than me, anyway. 
I took a deep breath and tried to compose myself. 
“My name is Mochizuki Touya. I’m engaged to Yumina. Yes, that Yumina, princess of Belfast. It’s not official news yet, however.” 
“Wh-What?! Engaged? That girl, of all people, is engaged?!” She looked at me, awestruck for a moment. But eventually her eyes began to dart around, as if she was concocting some strange story in her mind. 
“Huh? But Yumina is a girl, so... What? Errm, like a fake marriage...? I-Is your true aim to seduce the king?!” 
That isn’t even remotely how it is! You’re seriously pissing me off now! I returned to the counter and paid for all of my books. It was quite costly, but it still fell under the amount I had gained from the day’s questing, so I didn’t mind so much. 
I put all of the books into [Storage], then left the store with the princess in tow. There was a magnificently built carriage outside, which I assumed belonged to the girl and her escorts. 
I took her behind the store, opened a [Gate], and pulled Yumina and Kohaku through it. 
“It’s been a while, Reli.” 
“Yumina?! Eh? H-How long have you been in Refreese?!” 
“Gimme a minute, Yumina. I’ll leave the explaining to you. Kohaku, you keep an eye on those two. Tell me if anything comes up.” 
Very well.? I left Yumina and Kohaku behind, then headed off to the workshop. I took my volume of “Rose-Tinted Magic” out of [Storage], made a copy, and immediately returned back to the group. 
I handed the book over to Reliel, who was surprised by my sudden reappearance. 
“Here, now there shouldn’t be an issue.” 
“H-Huh? Is this alright? I thought you wanted it...” 
“I’m saying it’s not like that! I wasn’t buying these for me, it was for my store!” 
“You know what they say about people who get so defensive, don’t you...? Er, actually... never mind.” Reliel shut her mouth when she saw me preparing to deliver a karate chop. 
Alright, time to go home... I opened up a [Gate]. Kohaku jumped ahead and crossed to the other side. 
“Please take care of yourself, Reli. I hope to see you again soon.” 
“You too, Yumina. Please invite me to your wedding.” Honestly, I’d prefer it if she didn’t attend, but I simply wore a blank expression and persevered. 
I headed through a [Gate] and went straight home. I slumped down on to the sofa in the living room. 
“Man... I’m beat.” I’m not tired because of the hunting mission, though... Linze brought me a fresh glass of ice water. 
“Thanks a ton.” 
“N-No, thank you...” I gulped down all the water she brought me. Ahh, that’s the stuff. I savored the cool liquid, but Linze still remained in one spot, looking at me. What is it now? 
“Er, those... books. Did you get them?” 
Heh, I get it... Someone wants to get reading, does she? I took out today’s haul from [Storage] and stacked it on the table. 
“I asked Rosetta to make a bunch of copies of each volume to prepare. If there’s anything in particular you want, just tell her.” 
“Got it!” With that, Linze went to call Rosetta. Rosetta had the ability to recall herself to the workshop, and there was an active [Gate] connecting my house and Babylon, so they probably didn’t need me. 
I went to the kitchen and gave the Bloody Crab leg to Crea. She seemed quite pleased. Crab stew’s on the menu for today, after all... 
I decided that I wanted to go and have a rest. I’d had quite a busy day, after all. I went to my room, flopped down onto my bed, and closed my eyes. I was suddenly and satisfyingly assaulted by sleep. 
The next day, Moon Reader was even more lively than ever. Word must have spread, because there was a line stretching right out of the doors. Because there were brand new books available, it made sense that people would want to come and get their chance to read it first. 
The store becoming more popular was a good thing, but I couldn’t really feel good about it. 
Bah, as I expected... I’ll just toss this place over to Linze and open a new store. 
As it turned out, a few months later... the author behind “Order of the Rose” released a new series. 
Apparently it was the story of a man with incredible power, who attempted to take over a country. To do so he forced the country’s knights, beautiful princess, and her younger brother, to succumb to his wicked ways. I asked Linze to show me it, and the illustrations of the man bore a subtle resemblance to me. This counts as harassment, right?! Next time we meet, I’ll thank you with a [Gravity]-infused karate chop to the head, you wretch! You better prepare yourself! 
That morning I woke up with a pressure on my lips and a wet sensation in my mouth. Right in front of my face was the face of another individual. Rosetta. Her eyes were closed. 
“Oho! I’ve woken you up, sir yes sir!” Wh— Huh?! What the hell?! Why is Rosetta here?! Why is she kissing me awake?! Wha—?! 
“Genetic registration complete! I was simply storing your genes, master sir! Now it’s official! The ownership of the workshop and my delightful self has transferred to you, Mochizuki Touya, sir yes sir!” 
Huh? Uh...? Oh, right... the registration for the workshop. I hadn’t done that yet, had I... I’ve been so busy that I’d completely forgotten about it. Even so... this method of registration is trouble. Kind of bad for my health. 
I wasn’t sure if Rosetta had become a maid like Cesca had, but either way she wasn’t wearing a uniform. She was wearing what looked more like a mechanic’s jumpsuit. I wondered if that was what an industrial manager should be wearing, but I didn’t bother thinking too hard about it. 
From what I understood, she was manufacturing something in the workshop. I had no idea why, but I figured it had something to do with her trying to prove herself. 
Well, I didn’t mind. She was free to make whatever. 
“Master, sir! I would like some more iron and silver, sir!” 
“Again? Just what in the world are you making?” 
“That is a secret, sir! Need-to-know only, sir yes sir!” 
Always with that response... Well, whatever. I’ll find out soon enough. I handed over some change to Rosetta so she could go and buy the necessary materials. She accepted the money with a giddy little smile on her face. It was kind of like giving pocket money to a child, honestly. 
“Oh, status report, sir! A guest has come to the mansion!” 
“A guest...? I wonder who it is.” I quickly changed out of my PJs and headed downstairs. Upon entering the living room, I was greeted by Laim and General Leon. 
“Ah, Touya my boy! Sorry for dropping by so early.” 
“I’m surprised to see you, General. Is there something wrong?” 
“No, I actually came on personal business. I’d like something from you!” 
Hm? What could he possibly want from me? 
“You made my Lyon an interesting weapon, didn’t you? One that takes the form of both spear and sword.” 
Oh, the one I gave to him after beating down those asshole noble brats... 
“I did. Why, is there something wrong with it?” 
“On the contrary, it’s great! Which is why I came to ask, could you make me a pair of gauntlets with similar functions?” 
“Today, the knight order and the royal army are engaging in a joint training session. It would be most embarrassing for a father to lose to his son, I’m sure you understand.” 
That’s your reason...? Man, it’s hard to believe a guy like this raised Lyon. 
“But your gauntlets are already imbued with magic, aren’t they, General?” As I spoke, the general removed the gauntlets tied at his waist and set them upon the table. 
“It is as you say, these ones are imbued with fire magic. But there’s no real effect beyond that. If possible, I would like an enchantment that bolsters my offensive force. I’d also like to ask for a defensive enchantment, if it wouldn’t be too much.” 
“I... see...” Well, if I imbue it with [Gravity], I could boost the destructive output for sure... And I could probably make a program that changes it into a shield, too. 
“Alright, I’ll work on it for you. Do you want me to apply the effects to these ones? Or should I just get a new set entirely?” 
“These gauntlets have sentimental value to me. I’d rather they remain unchanged, so I would prefer you make me a new pair.” 
“Fair enough.” I used [Storage] to pull out another lump of mithril. I then molded it into two gauntlets. I lined it with the pelt of a powerful monster, and had the general try them on so I could make relevant size adjustments. The general was right-handed, so I made sure the shield would be on the left. After that, I applied the relevant [Program] and [Gravity] enchantments. 
“Will this do for now?” 
“Wow! You did it!” I handed over the newly created mithril gauntlets. The general put them both on and smacked his hands together with a smile on his face. 
“Hoho, just as one would expect from mithril, it’s certainly light.” 
“I’ll explain how they work in combat, if you’d like to join me elsewhere.” I opened up a [Gate] to the area where I had fought the Bloody Crab. An out-of-the-way place like that was best for testing out the destructive capabilities, after all. 
“Alright... first off... The left gauntlet can become a shield. You need to say the phrase ‘Shield On’ to trigger it, and the phrase ‘Shield Off’ to return it back to normal.” 
“Ohoho... Shield On. Ohohooo!!!” The left gauntlet responded to the general’s voice and expanded into a medium-sized shield. I figured it’d come in handy against enemies wielding blades and such. 
“Next is the offensive capabilities. When you say the word ‘Impact,’ your right gauntlet will increase its weight by about two hundred times the standard for about a second. If you say it right as you attack, you should have an extremely powerful strike on your hands. It’s extremely dangerous, so please don’t use it against lightly-equipped people or soft people.” 
“Tw-Two hundred times?!” One gauntlet weighed around five kilograms. I figured amplifying the weight by two hundred times would be enough, but maybe it was a little bit too extreme... Kind of like swinging around a massive hammer wildly. 
As I lost myself in thought, the general took a battle stance in front of a big hunk of rock. He pulled back his right hand... And struck the mass with startling speed. 
“Impact!” The moment his hand hit the rock, it crumbled into tiny fragments before my eyes. 
...I-It’s true that only I can make something like this, but maybe I gave him a little bit too much... 
“Ohoho! This is superb, my boy! I’ll surely be able to handle heavy infantrymen and great monsters without any worry at all, now!” Well, he’s the general... so I’m sure he won’t abuse it or anything. 
“Aside from that, there’s the phrase ‘Stun Mode’ to paralyze your enemies, and the phrase ‘Burning Mode’ to burn your enemies. Just say ‘Mode Off’ to restore it to default.” 
“Ooh, you enchanted it with fire as well? I’m so grateful, now I can keep my moniker of Fire Fist Leon.” The general smiled. He seemed really excited, honestly. He switched on Burning Mode right away and began to shadow-box. After fighting nothing until he was satisfied, he deactivated the gauntlets and looked them over with a happy expression. 
“Ah, this is wonderful... When Lyon showed me his weapon, I was quite taken aback. Are you sure you aren’t better suited as a master smith or something?” 
“I haven’t got any intention of doing this on a professional level, no.” The weapons that I made were more fit for beast than man. They could be too easily abused. Making them for friends was fine enough for me. I didn’t really want to take money off them, either. But whenever I mentioned that, I was always told “That won’t do, at least let me give you something to make up for the trouble.” I always tended to accept substitutes for cash, at least. Food was the best option. 
The general was excited to beat his son immediately... or rather, excited to train with his son, so we opened up a portal to the training grounds. 
The general went off to search for Lyon, gleefully clanging his gauntlets together. Forgive me, Lyon... 
My mission accomplished, I figured I’d go home, but then I noticed a pair of familiar faces. It was Will, and Neil as well. It looked like they were training. 
Will made a slash toward Neil, but the older man dodged quite easily and kicked at the boy, tripping him over. 
“The opponent may be a swordsman, but that does not mean he can only use his sword! Attacks can come from many places, boy. Never break stance!” 
“Y-Yes sir!” 
Heheh... Looks like these two are working hard. I rested my elbow on the fence surrounding the training field and watched them go at it. Compared to earlier, Will was definitely improving. I was glad. It looked like Neil was really giving him a serious runaround. I had confidence the kid would be able to become a real knight yet. 
“Hm? Touya?” 
“Huh? Elze?” Elze showed up, wiping some sweat off her brow with a towel. 
“What’s going on? You’re up early. You don’t normally get up until around the time I make it home...” When she put it like that she made me seem like a lazy layabout. In my opinion, they were too early to rise. 
“I was woken up by a visit from the general. He wanted me to make him a new weapon.” 
“Hmm, gotcha.” If I was more honest, I’d have said that I was woken up by Rosetta’s kiss, but I didn’t feel a need to add fuel to the fire. 
“Oh, that’s right, Touya! If you’re heading home with a [Gate], can we swing by the Silver Moon first? I wanna use the hot springs!” Elze suddenly brought up something unexpected. We had taken a few group excursions to the hot springs in the past. Hell, we’d gone in the mornings a few times, too. I could understand why Elze would be so eager. She seemed extremely sweaty and had probably been working hard. 
“Alright, shall we head off now, then?” 
“Yeah!” I opened up a [Gate] to Reflet, exiting in front of the Silver Moon. Elze quickly headed inside and called out to Micah, who was manning reception. Since they were technically loaning the land used for the springs, we got to enter free of charge. 
“I’m heading in, then!” 
“Of course, take your time!” Elze cheerfully gathered her towel and washing gear from the counter, then headed into the women’s side of the springs. I wasn’t sweaty, so I didn’t particularly care for going in myself. 
I decided to gossip with Micah a little bit, making sure everything was going well in town. Apparently there was never a shortage of customers, so the springs were more profitable than the lodging at this point. I wondered if the Silver Moon was becoming more of a bathhouse than an inn. 
“Howdy there, long time no see.” 
“Oh! Zanac? You here for a morning bath or something?” Zanac, owner of Fashion King Zanac, strolled out of the men’s side with a towel on his head. 
“Mm, in a sense, I suppose. If I don’t come here in the morning and evening, my mood tends to get worse... I’m a regular regular! Ha!” Zanac gave a scattered laugh. Something suddenly occurred to me. With the effects of [Recovery] being infused into the bath, people in the springs would always feel great. 
But, much like dosing someone with a small drug... maybe they’d feel withdrawal if it wasn’t a regular thing. I decided not to dwell on that thought too much, at any rate. 
“Come to think of it, I’ve completed a new clothing design based on the concept you gave me. I think it came out quite well, actually.” 
“Eheheh... is that right?” As he spoke, bubbles of mischief welled up inside me. I would have Micah cooperate with me for this little scheme, after I purchased the outfit from Zanac, of course. This would be fun indeed.

“E-Er, what is this?” 
“Well, it’s a gift from me, of course.” Elze tugged a little at the hem of the outfit she’d gotten changed into. A red dress with a slit in the middle and a diagonally-buttoned collar. It was a cheongsam dress. Though the lower part was a bit shorter, so it was a mini-cheongsam, I supposed. A pair of high heel shoes had also been laid out for her. I based the size of the outfit on Micah, overall. 
As I had expected, she wore it well. Moreover, the fact that she was a melee fighter made it look even better on her. 
“Yeah, it suits you. You look very cute.” 
“Wh-What are you saying all of a sudden?! A-And hey, don’t just swap out my clothes on a whim!” Elze suddenly looked down, her face blushing red. Her expression was an extremely shy one. She and Linze were definitely more alike than you’d expect. 
It was the same back when I had her wear that gothic outfit. For whatever reason, despite liking cute clothing, Elze never wanted to wear them. I was convinced she didn’t want to because she felt they didn’t suit her. Therefore, I was forced to manufacture a situation in which she had to wear the clothes. 
I had Micah take her regular clothing away, swapping them out with this new outfit. At first Elze was mad, but she quickly seemed more pleased. 
“So, will you accept my gift?” 
“...Y-Yeah. Thank you...” When she said that and looked up at me with her puppy-dog eyes, I was filled with the desire to cuddle her! But... there were people around, so I was way too embarrassed to do something like that. We put her old clothing in a bag, opened up a [Gate], and left the Silver Moon. 
After we came out the other side, in the garden of our home, Elze wobbled a bit. It seemed she wasn’t used to heels. She clung to my arm for support. 
“I-Is it... okay if I... stay like this for a wh-while?” I had no reason to refuse her. Even better, I felt a certain softness from a certain soft couple of things against my arm. 
The early bird catches the worm, as they say. Today’s a great day. I’d be fine if the whole day ended now, even! 

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