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Chapter 94: Cherish your friends, please! part

“What do you mean there’s not enough herbs!?”

“I’m sorry master, I didn’t have the time to go to the market in the morning!”

“What were you doing you lazy Su... lazy scoundrel!”

Oh crap, I almost forgot there’s clients around and almost called her a succubus in front of everyone.

“I can’t help it, it’s been too busy!”

“How am I supposed to craft more potions if we keep running out of materials. uh!?”

This girl she really gets on my nerves, she’s too lightheaded, how did she even ran the business before.

.....

The shop is crowded like usual, the potions at the shelves are running low and the clients will start complaining soon.

“I’m telling you Mia, if we run out of potions and close the shop early, I’ll discount you today’s pay”

“But you’re not paying me anything master”

“Then I’ll halve your rations”

“Noooo”

Mia’s eyes started to water but she kept ringing clients as fast as she could. It’s not like I won’t feed her, she’s been working hard, but forgetting to buy medicinal herbs is a huge mistake that will cost us a lot of money. If only back then Mochi was half as hardworking as her I wouldn’t have faced so many hardships, what am i even thinking it’s completely different. She may be another race but she’s a person and Mochi is just a couch potato cat.

Great, now we ran out of goods and people are getting flustered, I’ve been cornered and my only option is to lower my head and apologize.

“I’m deeply sorry dear customers, but we’re all out today too. Come back tomorrow morning and I’ll make sure to have enough for everyone”

“Hey! that’s the same thing you said yesterday boy!”

A client got in front of me, wow he’s angry.

“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do If I don’t have materials”

I bow my head again, it was enough to appease him, for today.

The bell hanging on top of the door makes a tingling sound over and over as the door opens and closes repeatedly until the last client leaves. Mia and I go back behind the counter and start counting the money. There’s a huge pile of silver coins, it’s a sight to be seen.

“Ah! if things keep going like today we will be able to afford a new crafting station soon!”

“But master, where are we even supposed to get medicinal herbs? Athela has been buying all the materials we need to stop us from making more tonic, I’ve heard she’s been coercing merchants too”

“We can always put up a request at the adventurer’s guild”

“If only it were so simple. It takes time for a request to be approved and even more until it’s fulfilled. As if it wasn’t reason enough, it’s not even certain that someone will even take the quest since it would be considered a low grade task”

The bell rings again, but being as tired as I am right now I don’t even look at the person who got inside.

“I’m sorry mister client, but we’re all out today, come back tomorrow please”

“Mister Ryu!”

I know that voice, but she didn’t even give me enough time to reply. Sera threw herself to my arms and I felt a soft sensation pressing against my chest.

“Sera!? what are you doing here?”

I can’t help but smile at her genuine happiness.

“We came to help you mister Ryu!”

“Who is we?”

As if replying to my question, Luke, Bob, Claire, Veronika and a girl I barely remember enter the shop. Following close from behind Mochi and my dog walk slowly towards me. The cat purrs and rubs on my leg while the dog licks my hand taking advantage of the immobilizing hug Sera is still performing on me.

“Guys! how did you come back so fast?”

“You are going to love this Ryu”

Luke exclaims with a wide smile as he opens the door. He seems proud but all I see is a lame horse and a medium sized cart covered in cloth.

“uhm, wow a horse, thanks”

I try to sound excited as I walk outside to check the horse drawn cart. It looks crappy, but it could be helpful.

“Don’t be stupid, the cart is not yours. It’s way too expensive, no I meant the cargo”

Luke pulls off the cloth revealing a huge amount of mixed herbs, plants and roots.

“Hey! this is amazing! come over Bob, help us unload the cargo please! Mia, please some lunch while we’re busy”

“Yes master!”

Mia jogs to the kitchen while I grab a sack of herbs and take it inside, it’s really heavy but I try to keep a straight face. If I didn’t get stronger, at least i can pretend. I don’t know why but I don’t want them to think I’m a weakling.

Every step to the storage is torture but I somehow manage to reach it without having to take a break in the middle. I place the heavy sack on the floor and notice Bob and Luke were carrying so many sacks at the same time it looked impossible.

My brow starts twitching and I can’t help but feel hopeless.

“You guys sure are stronger than before”

“This? this is nothing, we learned new skills! I got one that can take even bears in a single strike!”

Luke brags without hesitation.

“Really? what’s the name of that skill?”

“Single strike”

“yeah, that one”

“That’s the name”

He looks at me squinting his eyes.

“Oh, I see, pretty self explanatory. What about you Bob?”

“I, uhm, me too... mine’s power strike”

Bob replies awkwardly, now that I think about it he’s been avoiding my gaze. I remember him being kind of quiet, but this is too much. Maybe he’s still mad at me or something.

“What about you Ryu?”

Luke asks without the slightest malice, but it’s actually the worst thing he could have said. I don’t want them to know I’m still as weak as before.

“That’s a secret, anyway, let’s have something to eat”

We go to the kitchen and I’m surprised to see Mia kneeling on the floor with a small bump on her head and Claire admonishing her with a ladle on her hand.

“Mister Ryu, did you even teach her how to cook? she was about to ruin the meat!”

“Yeah, I taught her ok, but I completely forgot how worthless she is in the kitchen. I’m sorry to bother you, but can you please cook something Claire?”

“Ow, I was looking forward to eating your food mister Ryu, but I’ll do it”

“I have a lot of catching up to do with this guys, but there will be plenty of time to taste my cooking. If you help us in the shop I could take care of the meals”

“Really!? That’s great!”

Claire rolls up her sleeves and starts chopping the meat and peeling vegetables so fast it leaves me in awe. Her movements are fluid and doesn’t stop for a second, I think she’s already better than me at cooking.

“So Ryu, do you think we can register as adventurers today?”

Luke looks excited.

“I guess, thanks to the amount of medicinal herbs you brought I don’t have anything to do this evening. From what I’ve heard, it seems the adventurers guild works the same as our hunters guild back at Ironwoods. Do you think that’s a coincidence?”

“I don’t know... maybe. I don’t know if there’s other people with our same circumstances... but the ideas I gave you come from... well you know”

“Uh? I don’t follow”

“We can’t talk about this with her around”

“Oh, you mean Mia? don’t worry, she’s harmless. She’s my pet now so...”

“Your what!?”

“Yeah, she’s kind of just like Mochi. She’s friendly now so”

“Your what!?”

“Even if you repeat the same question there’s not much more I can say, Luke”

“I’m sorry, what I mean by that is... she’s your pet? like pet pet?”

“I think you were here when she surrendered and asked me to become my pet. Well, it was hard for me to take it in too, she being a person and all, but she’s told me it’s not that uncommon”

.....

“Have you done it with her?”

Mia flinches when she heard Luke ask that, but I pretend I didn’t see it.

“What are you saying? I wouldn’t take advantage from her like that”

“Would you be willing to lend her to me?”

“Uhmm... no?”

“Maybe I could buy her from you... or if you want you can take Taffy”

So that was her name, I had completely forgotten her name. She was the cute girl that rejected him, spent the freeze on the brothel and somehow ended in a pitiful situation. She was really cute, but I’m not interested in slavery.

“No, thank you”

“Come on man, please, i just need her for a few nights”

When hearing this Mia got behind me, since she was still kneeling on the floor she really looks like a pet. I try to shake her off but she’s clinging hard on my leg.

“Hey! let me go already. I’m sorry Luke but if she doesn’t want to go there’s nothing I can do”

“Then how about Sera? she’s your slave right?”

“I wish”

Sera sighs. What kind of situation have I gotten into!?

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