Here’s another Slave Harem chapter for the week.
Expect next chapter tomorrow.
Enjoy the read.
Next evening. When we return home, there was a note left by Luke the broker.
It should be a good news.
I hope it’s not a bad news.
It can’t be a summon from the Duke for the message arrived today.
It should be from yesterday, not today.
Had the message arrived tomorrow, it would have been highly likely for it to be the Duke’s.
Even more so had it arrived the day after tomorrow.
Within four to five days, the Duke will surely send a summon.
Even if it’s today, there’s no problem.
It was a good idea to return home before going for shopping.
Is this what you call premonition?
Nope. It’s not premonition, it’s desire.
Not facing the problem is not the solution to the problem.
Even if ten days will have passed after the duel, the Duke will investigate if he finds even a minor detail that appears suspicious.
It will be really funny if that comes to pass.
Oh well, the business in ten days’ time can be take care of in ten days’ time. I should first take care of today’s business.
Luke contacts me mostly in case of successful bid.
The Duke’s message will take long to reach Luke.
And then Luke’s message will take a few days to reach me.
Even If it’s the Duke’s message, I’ll just visit Luke first.
I’ll hear the story from Luke before visiting the Duke.
All of this will take around ten days.
“Master, there seemed to be a successful bid for Caterpillar Monster Card.”
Roxanne reads Luke’s message out.
I’m unusually cautious today but Roxanne seems to be her usual self.
Let alone today, even if I received such a shock yesterday, I wouldn’t be this calm.
As usual, she dodged attacks from monsters with little movement.
There’s a possibility that she’s not as calm inside as she appears outside.
This possibility is frightening, so I won’t think much about it.
“It’s still bright outside, so I can make it there in time. I’ll head to the merchants guild.
“Very well. Miria and I will do maintenance of the equipment then. There are enough vegetables to make soup. As for dinner, can you please take Sherry with you to buy ingredients?”
“That’s fine with me.”
“Whole fish, desu!”
Like Miria said, tonight’s dinner will be whole fish tatsuta-age.
I have already left the whole fish to marinate in fish sauce.
I jump to the merchants guild with Sherry.
I buy the Caterpillar Monster Card.
There was no message from the Duke after all.
“Let’s make one more dish for dinner? Miria will eat most of the fish by herself.”
“That’s right. Then I’ll stir-fry something.”
After buying bread and ingredients for stir-fried food, we head back home.
I hand the Caterpillar Monster Card and a misanga with an empty skill slot to Sherry.
Sherry fuses the card casually.
“Amazing. It’s at your fingertips now. As you would expect from Sherry.”
“As expected of Sherry.”
“This will be for Miria.”
I pat Miria who was admiring Sherry.
I play with her cat ears.
With Sherry having successfully fused the Caterpillar Monster Card, we now have four Sacrificial Misanga.
All the members of our party have a Sacrificial Misanga now.
“Alright then, Miria, where do you want to wear it? Ankle?”
“Thank you, desu.”
I have Miria sit on a chair.
I wrap the misanga around her foot and tie it.
I haven’t withdrawn the instruction to Luke of buying Caterpillar Monster Cards.
We will have more members in our party. Also, we need spare ones in case existing ones break.
Later, I fry the whole fish.
It can no longer be called whole fish, however, since it has been sliced into several pieces.
While I was frying the fish, Miria was beside me the whole time.
She stepped back only when oil splashed.
“Oil may splash again.”
“I think we need an apron.”
Apron exists in this world.
However, it’s for the purpose of safety at work. It barely qualifies as an apron. It’s not true to the essence of the word ‘apron’.
Its fabric is thick, safety being the reason.
I can put it on myself but I can’t stand Roxanne and other girls wearing it.
I want Roxanne to wear a pretty apron.
That’s right. It’s a dream of every man.
A dream of every man.
Because it was an important thing, I said it twice.
“Apron? I think it would be better to have one.”
“It’s just that there are no pretty aprons.”
Roxanne seems to agree with me.
I want fashionable aprons for them.
There is a frilled apron attached to the maid outfit but it can’t be detached.
Even though you’re only a step away, you hit a wall; it’s the same feeling.
Well, they’re not full-time housewives, so it can’t be helped.
In this world, those who wear pretty clothes don’t cook.
And those who cook can’t afford to wear pretty clothes.
Considering this, it is highly unlikely for pretty aprons to be sold.
“Then let’s visit the clothing store in the Imperial Capital and have it tailored.”
“Umm… are you sure?”
“I want Roxanne to wear pretty clothes.”
“Okay, thank you very much.”
For now, I fry the whole fish without apron.
When the dark tatsuta-age was ready, I put it in the dish.
“Alright, let’s start eating.”
When I bring the dish to the table and sit down on a chair, Miria leans forward.
Miria watches me closely as I put the first piece of the whole fish into my mouth.
Under the crispy layer of slime starch is the juicy whole fish.
When my teeth bite through the crispy texture into the soft meat, I feel a burst of heat.
The spicy taste of fish sauce spreads around my mouth.
It melts on my tongue.
It is more delicious than I imagined.
I give it three-stars.
Because it’s near perfection.
“Every food which Master makes is great but this one is the best.”
“This is amazing.”
“Delicious, fish, not eat, desu.”
Does she mean that she has never eaten such a delicious fish?
Miria seems to be pleased.
Tatsuta-age vanishes quickly.
Not just Miria, even Roxanne and Sherry hold their platters out for more.
But when only a little was left, they hold themselves back.
Miria, however, is still at it.
When only one piece was left, I reach out for the dish.
Can I please eat it?
“Miria can have it.”
When I decline it, Miria gleefully stuffs the last piece of tatsuta-age into her mouth.
She moves her jaws slowly.
When she was finished eating, she droops her shoulders.
Ah, I understand how she feels.
Well, it was just that delicious.
“We will have next celebration when we break through Haruba’s 15th floor.”
When I announce that, her eyes brighten up.
With this, she will show enthusiasm in the labyrinth.
Next day. We visit the clothing store in the Imperial Capital.
It’s a shop that sells gorgeous outfits for women.
But there are no aprons being sold.
Apron doesn’t seem to be an item which can be put on display in such a shop.
“I need an apron, preferably made of thin fabric, which can be put on while cooking.”
“It should cover only the front. It should have a strap as well, so it can be tied around the back. It should also have frills like the apron in imperial maid outfit.”
I ask the same male attendant from earlier whom I asked about maid outfit for Miria.
He should understand what type of apron I’m talking about.
Still, the splendor of apron is unimaginable even if you know about maid outfits.
You need to be a connoisseur.
“Is it possible?”
“Which fabric would you like? If you want thin fabric, silk would be better if you ask me.”
“It will get stained a lot. I need a fabric that can be easily washed.”
Silk apron, huh?
I don’t think it would be better, however.
“Because we will have to design it from the scratch, additional cost will be charged. It will not be much more than the cost of fabric, though. Apron made of ordinary fabric will cost you 1,000 Nars while the one made of silk will cost you 1,300 Nars.”
“Hmm… so there’s such a thing.”
It’s quite high.
Is that so because I’m commissioning a custom order?
It goes even higher if I choose silk.
“Which color would you like? We can arrange for a color that matches the sheen of silk.”
“White will be fine.”
“White would be great, indeed. White would look great with the sheen of silk.”
Color and fabric are secondary to me.
“Just imagine. Body wrapped from chest to knees in smooth silk. Silk that is soft to touch and glossy in appearance. We promise you the best possible article.”
Does he think that I don’t know?
I know how a silk apron looks and feels like.
Such a thing as silk apron.
It’s expensive but I place the order.
“Can you please make both an ordinary one and a silk one for the three of them?”
“Certainly. May I have the measurements then?”
“Thank you very much.”
Roxanne thanks me and then goes ahead with a female attendant.
“Shoulder straps shall be decorated with frills. Hem shall be decorated with lace. If there is anything else, please specify. It will be ready in five days.”
This man knows it after all.
I have been beaten squarely.
I pay 30% discounted sum of 4,830 Nars.
It’s quite an expense.
Although it’s not a sum that is painful to pay,
I want to save as much money as I can for upcoming auction.
Next day. Another situation arises that requires me to part with money.
When we drop by the weapons shop, a lot of weapons were lined up in the inner part of the shop.
The inner part of the shop exhibits high-tier equipment.
There were not many equipment exhibited in the inner part of the shop till today.
“There seemed to be a large shipment.”
“Yes, we received a lot of equipment from a certain family.”
If you sell in bulk, you can receive a large sum immediately.
“There are many estocs. Do you want to have a look?”
“Sure. Thank you.”
Estoc | One-handed Sword
Skills | Empty | Empty | Empty | Empty
I find an estoc with four empty skill slots.
I was able to find such an estoc because there was a bulk of it.
Rapier can have a maximum of three empty skill slots. Four seems to be the limit for estoc.
“What do you say, Roxanne?”
“Umm… are you sure?”
“Have a look.”
I hand the estoc to Roxanne.
The number of empty skill slots is same as two-handed counterpart, Damascus steel sword. Is the performance on the same level, too?
To replace Durandal, I need [Incantation Interruption] at minimum along with [HP Absorption] and [MP Absorption].
There are a few Damascus steel spears but they don’t have any empty skill slot on them.
I look at Sherry and shake my head.
She seems to have understood the underlying meaning.
There are a few staves as well. They seem to have empty skill slots.
Among those with empty skill slots, there’s an exquisite piece of equipment.
Furthermore, it’s a Staff of Offerings with [2x Increase in Intelligence] skill. It’s an upgrade to my current equipment.
Staff of Offerings is the weapon which Cassia uses.
Same weapon as Cassia, huh?
That’s a must.
“It seems to be a good weapon.”
Roxanne passes the estoc back to me.
I purchase the staff and the estoc.
Gold coins fly away like birds with newly grown wings.
It’s painful to see.
After we were done at the weapons shop, we head to the armor shop.
There was nothing new at the armor shop.
Did they sell only weapons?
“Did they not sell any armor?”
“So you have heard already. You have good ears.”
The armor merchant overhears me muttering to myself.
He sidles up to me while rubbing his hands.
So they sold armors after all.
“I have indeed received some stock. I haven’t put it on display yet. It’s in the back of the shop. Do you want to check it out?”
“Yes. Here, please.”
The armor merchant leads me to the back of the shop. (TN: Never go to the back of a shop with a stranger.)
I enter the inner part of the shop from behind the counter.
There were many equipment lined up.
“There’s quite a number of equipment.”
“I purchased these equipment just today.”
“Were the equipment sold by a certain family?”
“Apparently. It’s impossible to get a hold of a bulk of such good equipment otherwise. The family was quite influential but it seems to have met its end. They were gaining influence through force but the reckless use of force proved to be their undoing. The strongest man of the family seems to have died. There’s a rumor that he was killed in a duel.”
I think I have heard this story somewhere.
“Now that they are no longer strong, they are paying for their domineering attitude. They seemed to have raised a lot of funds through debts but they never repaid those debts and kept pushing the date of repayment forcibly. The debts have now grown enormous.”
So it was their attitude in general.
I thought their attitude toward Roxanne stemmed from their enmity toward her.
Well, I must thank Baradam family for these equipment, at least.
There’s a Damascus steel forehead protector with four empty skill slots and a dragon leather jacket with three empty skill slots.
“This piece of clothing increases magic power and greatly increases magic defense. It’s an equipment for priests, monks and wizards.”
Alba seems to be a body equipment. This one has two empty skill slots.
It’s my first time seeing this equipment.
The armor merchant told me the name of the equipment while Sherry explained the rest.
“It’s made of holy silver. Because making it requires expansive use of holy silver, it is considered high-tier equipment and is rarely available in market. Equipment such as loafers are focused on fashion but this one is focused on performance. Because magic defense is great to have against monsters that use magic attacks, even those who don’t have magic-based jobs use this equipment.”
The armor merchant is trying to sell its features.
Increase in magic power is indeed attractive.
There are empty skill slots as well.
Also, there are dragon leather shoes and dragon leather gloves with one empty skill slot.
One empty skill slot is not much but I decide to buy them in the end.
It’s a rare opportunity.
Once I have monster cards fused with them, they’ll be even better.
Therefore, it’s not a waste.
It’s an investment.
Even though tens of gold coins have vanished just like that.