TL note: sorry for disappearing for this long, but this year has been quite hard for me and my editor.
We do have some great news, though! To avoid sudden and long hiatus like this one, I created a discord server where you can see if we’re still alive ( –> https://discord.gg/nf5k8B5 )! You can find the button at the bottom of our home page!
Talking about the Disappearence of AcanTL, luckily the first volume of this light novel ends in the very same way of chapter 33, so at least we don’t feel too bad for being away for this long. I don’t remember massive differences between web novel and light novel so far, but there are a few here and there. Maybe one day I’ll create a page about that…
This chapter and the next one are titled “special” in the web novel, but they are necessary for the story (and appear later in the light novel), so we have just considered them “standard ones”.
Anyway, I hope we can get back on track soon!
Invite for a drink and the maid-dressed shopkeeper
The names of the Star Gods filled the Kingdom of Albein’s calendar, and even my guild, ‘Silver Mug’, was named after one of them, the Water Jug God.
The current month of the year, the fifth one, was called ‘month of the Lion God’, but it wasn’t clear under which criteria the Star Gods were related to their specific months.
The climate was mild roughly from the third to the seventh month of the year, and only the eighth one was abnormally hot. It was due to the Lord of Fire Spirit’s non-stop activity, causing the migration of fire dragons to the kingdom.
At this time of the year, sunrise was around 5:30AM.
It was exactly the moment I lifted my heavy eyelids and pulled the curtains open only to be blinded by light—the next moment I pulled them back. I had to wake Verlaine up, who wasn’t the definition of a morning person, prepare breakfast for the both of us, and set things up for the morning shift.
If I wanted to drink in peace, a minimum number of people had to keep entering the bar, so I also had to think about what I’d have to cook for the day, and what rare ingredients and dishes I could use to pique the customers’ interest.
The next step was to decide a new menu and come up with an original name for it. The same went for drinks: high-class ones were stored in the shop’s underground, where the ideal temperature and humidity preserved them perfectly along with the various fruit juices I used.
Oh, I had to confirm the fruits’ freshness before squeezing them too.
I handled my business partners by myself to restock the daily ingredients and even checked the capital’s morning market, where I could directly judge the quality of the products. Making people happy doesn’t come without efforts, after all, so I had to pay extra attention to the ingredients.
The same went for my look. When I was in my bar drinking, I couldn’t just look like a beggar or a rich guy.
The best option was to have only two pair of clothes and switch between them for a week, then rotate with newer ones when they started to look shabby. If rumors about a customer always wearing the same clothes were to spread, a normal person would’ve likely wondered if the place lacked hygienic care.
For the same reason, I took care of my hair periodically. When I was a child, my older sister cut it whenever she felt like it, so sometimes it grew very long, but now I dropped by a trusted shop once a month to let them handle it.
My beard and mustaches hardly grew, but let’s say that I let the barber shave me due to the pleasant feeling of the barbershop lady’s breasts pressing on my head while she did so.
I got used to seeing big breasts, but I never had the chance to touch them. No curse tormented me, though. I simply kept myself collected like a horse whose carrot dangles in front of its eyes.
After I washed my face, I knocked at my office’s door so that Verlaine could forgive me for entering even if she was still asleep.
“I’m coming in.”
I opened the door.
We kept the paperwork in the office, but given how much room was left, Verlaine brought her bed to sleep there. She rearranged the place as she pleased and brought new furniture, but there was still enough room to freely move around.
When I entered, she breathed out deeply while turning over “in her sleep”. If her timing hadn’t been that perfect, I’d have thought she was really sleeping.
“Do you know how many times I’ve called you already? At least greet me properly.”
“…Uff. You’re so cold, Master. Isn’t it normal to take the bait in this situation?”
Honestly, it was impossible for anyone to not look at them.
Verlaine slept in a shirt, which was unbuttoned up to under her chest, and was lying on her back. It was a poisonous sight for a man.
A single mistake now and I’d have had to deal with a lot of troubles.
“I was planning to make you take responsibility if the last button was to burst…”
“I don’t care about seeing you stretching, but you’ll catch a cold if you sleep like that.”
“When I was a Demon Lord and lived in the castle, I used to sleep naked. I already explained to you that I hated the feeling of wearing something while sleeping.”
“Thank you for caring about me, but at least wear some underwear.”
“I do use it… A-Although I joke about it, I’m not an exhibitionist, okay? That’d be bad…”
Then, Verlaine finally got out of bed.
The day she joined my guild, she was interested in the shirts I used as sleepwear, so she occasionally took one from my room. Along with that, she was wearing short trousers that left a lot of her tanned, long, beautiful legs uncovered.
“Wearing them would be better for you… by the way, why don’t you try to wear a proper pajama or something?”
“Thank you, but I don’t want to wear tight stuff even outside my working hours. Now I’m used to it, but wearing and taking off my maid uniform is not that simple, you know? I asked some specialists to teach me, and I ended up doubling their wages after I understood what they had to keep through all day.”
“Well, you could wear clothes that any shopkeeper would wear. I wouldn’t mind it. There should be some ready to use around…”
“Master, you prepared clothes for the barman…? That’s curious. I guess I should try them at least once. Also, if I keep wearing the same outfit, people will just grow accustomed to seeing it.”
Her attitude and look attracted a lot of customers. Some male customers in particular came only to admire her maid uniform, but I could probably increase the regulars if she changed her outfit… no, the flow of customers was already too much to handle, so I had to be careful about it.
She stood up and headed to the bathroom. Verlaine washed twice a day, at night and in the morning, because she liked being clean. There weren’t many people in the 12th Street who did something that luxurious, probably.
But well, she was still a former Demon Lord, so indulging in a little luxury wasn’t that strange for her.
Thirty minutes later, when Verlaine was ready, we had breakfast together and went to the basement to prepare the various things for the bar. After we decided the menu for the day, it was finally time to open the shop.
The first customer entered… or maybe I shouldn’t have counted it as one, since he was a member of our guild. His name was Rigel, a neat guy with short hair and a medium build. He passed the adventurers’ exam last year and decided to join my guild. A singular choice, given that normally no one would want to work in a bad neighborhood like the 12th Street’s.
He was a B rank adventurer as well as a party member of Lia and McKinley.
Even if his rank was lower than hers, since she was an A rank, I decided that she should’ve listened to him.
What I valued greatly was the experience earned since a member joined the guild. She didn’t look very disappointed from my order, and soon grew used to helping Rigel with his requests. On the other hand, McKinley adored me, so he’d have done whatever I asked him to, but I was sure he knew that it was for their sake, as it helped them grow and develop more self-independence.
“Bro, you look ready to start the day.”
“Hello. You look quite in high spirits. Here, have something to drink, it’s my treat.”
“Thankw! Maaan, I so wanted to drink some ale!”
Rigel had a cheerful personality but was actually pretty serious and diligent. His swordsmanship was also noteworthy, and I estimated that in only five years he could have risen up to be an AA rank adventurer.
Reaching the S rank wasn’t something achievable with time and experience alone, given the huge amount of skills it needed. Even a talented fighter like Lia would stop in front of that barrier, and it would be extremely hard to overcome it.
“By the way, I was asked to give you this, but…”
He placed a piece of paper on the counter and passed it to me.
The words “To our beloved Master, from your loyal guild members” were clearly visible on it.
“…Again? What’s the fun part of drinking together with me?”
“Well, everyone would like to show you some gratitude. I shouldn’t tell it to your face like this, though.”
My guild counted around a hundred members. If I had to estimate how many they were compared to the others’, I’d say that our guild had fewer members than every other guild in the capital. White Goat, the most numerous guild, counted a thousand members, which was more than three hundred members over the second in ranking.
I wanted my members to cover the capital’s borders, and now that we had installed the Transfer Magic system and established the main base, there were fifty of them scattered in the places I indicated. The other fifty were in the capital and showed in the shop only to accept requests from Verlaine or to join a party.
The seats in the bar were seventy in total: eight at the counter and sixty-two at the tables. Meaning that I could convoke the fifty members in the capital, but… if I had to do that, what would be the point of coming here precisely to join parties and accepting requests?
“Mister, is it not good? It has been a month since the last time you joined them. If you want, I can reserve the shop for you in a few days.”
“I knew our shopkeeper would understand~! Bro, how blessed we are to have a beauty like her with us!”
“I’m just a customer, and she’s the shopkeeper. But yeah, she’s quite the beauty.”
“Eheh… thank you, misters. I appreciate your flattery.”
Verlaine, who now looked like a normal elf, simpered at our words. Her humbleness was evident since she started to work here, but ours weren’t words of flattery, we were simply stating the truth.
“Fine, I’ll treat everyone. Bring as many as you want.”
“Really?! Ah, sorry for yelling…”
“By the way, Mister Rigel. Might you be interested in what I heard recently from some customer?”
“Ah, sure! I’d love to hear it!”
Verlaine’s requests sounded like rumors. She wasn’t very busy at the moment, but the kitchen clerk was already at work and people had started to enter the shop.
Since she couldn’t let everyone hear about requests, she made them sound like some sort of daily talk.
“It is about some merchants who had an accident. I heard that the animals they were transporting ran away and shut themselves in a cave nearby…”
Someone brought us this request the previous day.
It was about a group of merchants who were trading rare animals, which were actually uncontrollable beasts that needed to be captured.
Requests like that could make more guilds compete over the same job, but there was a contract stating that only the one who fulfilled it would earn the full reward, while the others would profit only from the advance payment.
“What…? I didn’t know about it. Could you give me more details?”
“Yes. Do you have some spare time?”
“Yeah, and I can change my plans if needed.”
Those were the keywords my guild members used to accept requests. Now that the request’s documentation was arranged for him, he was going to tag along with some of his comrades and depart.
It was better if requests were accepted and completed quickly, and since he had finished my training, we decided that one day was enough for him to accomplish this job. Understanding that, he consumed his drink and stood up.
“Thank you very much! Bro, this night I’ll bring some of our acquaintances!”
“Okay. Come whenever you want.”
He meant that he’d have brought the guild members to drink together before the bar was reserved.
Well, getting ready for fifty people would take some time, but this wasn’t a problem.
I didn’t mind when my comrades came to drink, I just wanted them to have a good time here.
“What are your plans for this night, Mister?”
“Probably some of my friends will come too.”
“Eheh… I see. Recently, they are showing their face more often, are they not?”
She commented with a suggestive tone of voice. Despite being a freelancer, Aileen was like a member of my guild, and Mylarka, Yuma and Cody had started to drop by every now and then.
Yuma, who couldn’t drink anything alcoholic, was impressed by the drinks I prepared for her, and ended up accepting anything I brought her.
Now that I thought about it, I had to go to Mylarka’s laboratory. Last time I brought her something was four days ago, but I had finally managed to have some free time.
“…Sorry, I’ll get out at noon.”
“As you wish. I will not move from here, so take all the time you need.”
“Sorry, it’s always like this.”
“A dedicated wife should be perfectly fine with this kind of things. Please, do not mind it too much.”
She fired such a bold statement because there weren’t many guests.
As I brought the third glass of ale she handed over to my lips, she looked at me with a sunny smile while rubbing another glass clean.