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In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 88





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A couple of days later found us back in Reflet and the Silver Moon Inn. With the [Boom], Micah rushed irritatedly out to the back yard. She wagged her finger ready to let out a scolding tirade, and then stopped at seeing me and the pretty young miss by my side. Yumina was wearing more modest, more common clothing, but the dull white fabrics still revealed a slim build and a youthful, pampered complexion.

"By the gods!" Micah gasped. "You've really done it now! I was mortified enough that you were turning my Silver Moon Inn into a den of sin, but at long last have you no decency, sir? Have you no decency!"

Yumina laughed weakly by my side. "Um"

I crossed my arms and scowled. "Seriously, Micah? I should be offended."

Micah actually looked a little ashamed at that. She coughed into her fist and tried again.

"How about. we're closed right now, but then in an hour an army of unmarried men are going to come in and just hang about playing their games and losing their money and drinking away in the middle of the day!

"You can't have a girl like that live in this place with all these shiftless losers and their stink! Heck, if I didn't own this here Inn, I'd say go stay at a more high-class place. I'd say get her out of here, she's going to be ungodly distracting.... no offense dear."

"None taken," Yumina said with a smile.

I sighed. "Yumina. Micah. Micah. Yumina," I began pointing back and forth. "Paying customer. Inkeeper. Professionalism. Where?"

"Uggh. Fine. I don't got no good moral reason to turn away paying customers that promise to behave. Standard rates. How long?"

"About as long as the rest of us are staying here. Just take the funds out of petty cash."

"I really don't enjoy how you're rubbing in that your chickens and your chess club are earning this Inn more than room rentals. You are treating this Silver Moon Inn too lightly! This isn't your house, you know?"

I wiggled my fingers out at her. "But is there something wrong in wanting it to be?"

Micah pouted and looked away. "You you are such a nuisance."

Yumina stared at her for a few long moments, then she smiled with approval. "A good person" she whispered. She stepped forward and curtsied. "A good person makes a good home. This place is certainly worthy of being called such a home. Thank you, Miss Micah. Please take care of me."

Micah's gaze softened. "W-well that is my duty and honor as an innkeeper, you know. You'll not be dissatisfied with my service, don't worry."

"You are going to be dissatisfied with her service," I interrupted. "Micah, get some extra dang maids already!"

"Shut up! I'm not handing this inn to youuu! Still my house, my rules!"

Yumina hid her mouth and giggled. "My, this looks familiar."

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The boom of the [Boom Tube] woke up everyone around is the neighborhood. So Linze, Elze and Yae quickly went downstairs as soon as they heard that distinctive sound. Once again I got dirty looks.

Elze crossed her arms. "Playa! Explain yourself. What's this about?!"

"This is Yumina. Her home is a little dangerous for her right now, so she'll be traveling with us for a while."

"My name is Yumina," Yumina curtsied at them. "I am an Archer. I also have affinities of [Earth], [Wind], and [Dark]."

Elze grimaced but her eyes lost all suspicion. "Ugh. Yeah I can see how that would be useful."

"I am also quite well versed in politics and procedure, and I was instructed I could be your adjutant about such matters."

"SUPER useful." Elze nodded much more appreciatively. "Playa's just going to cack it up pissing off too many people."

I had no counter to that. I specced mainly in DEX and Monika in INT, we needed someone with CHA to speak to people and negotiate for max effectiveness.

"If if Miss Monika has already given her approval, then I have no complaints" Linze added. "Hello, Miss Yumina."

"It is not my place to comment," said Yae. "You have this Yae's welcome, you do."

Yumina stared at each of them, and then beamed happily. "Such good people. We shall be the best of friends!"

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Then after a while over breakfast, we got to chatting about what happened while I was away. Elze and Yae would need a couple more missions before being promoted into Blue rank adventurers. Yae however was now solidly Green rank and would promote at the same time.

I had also broken through from Purple or Apprentice Rank adventurer into Green or Third Rank adventurer, but since I didn't accompany them to turn in the quest my card could not be upgraded yet. Since we would be off to register Yumina as an adventurer anyway, might as well take care of it there.

"Enough about that!" Elze hissed. "The King! What happened to the King?!"

"The King lives."

Elze let out a relieved huff.

"Why do you even care?" I asked. "Out of all us here, only Yumina's a Belfast native."

"Dead Kings are bad luck," Elze said definitively.

We could only stare at her. Wow. All the troubles of the kingdom summed up into a pithy phrase that technically wasn't even wrong.

"Behold, Yumina. This is how the common person thinks. Don't stress over the royalty's reputation so much, in the kingdom the only thing that matters is enough food to eat and enough peace to sleep."

Elze sneered. "Are you insulting me?!"

"Elze, the only way you could be any more common is if you were idly chewing on a blade of grass and had an accent like this here inkeep..."

"Hey!" Micah yelled at that remark.

"We did grow up on a farm, after all" Linze had to remind her sister.

"But the common person ought to have common sense, and that's a great big rarity among people, you know? You're not two-faced, you face your problems squarely, you work hard every day and won't ever cheat or throw your troubles some other person's way." I smiled as I rested my chin over my palms. "And you know that's what I like about you."

Yumina stared sharply up at me. Linze's eyes widened, and then she sighed. Elze's cheeks flushed for a second, and then her eyes narrowed in suspicion.

"You're trying to flatter me. What did you do now? How much money did you make this time, Playa?"

I turned around and asked towards the counter "Say, Micah. There's an empty lot behind the inn. How much do you think it would cost to purchase it?"

"I dunno. Twenty, twenty-five platinum maybe?" It was not a big lot, only about half the size of the Silver Moon Inn.

I turned back to Elze. "Yeeeah. About that much, plus how much it would cost to put up a building and set up my first formal franchise restaurant. This place is getting too crowded to be comfortable for meals, we're getting revenues mainly through Bucket Meal deliveries."

"Wait. No!" Micah objected hotly. "Just can't you just keep the chicken and get this chess club out of here? Get all these useless layabouts out of my inn!"

"Ahahaha. Sorry, but this sort of smoky casual atmosphere with common furniture is perfect for finding new talents. Mah Chickenjoy franchise needs a large enough area for kiddy playrooms and private function and party rooms for adults. Half the reason for dining anywhere is the atmosphere!"

Elze slammed her fist onto the table. "Dang it Playa! Be an adventurer or be a businessman! Pick one career already!"

"I refuse." I crossed my arms and raised my chin.

"I refuse your refusal." Elze crossed her arms and raised her chin arrogantly a little higher.

Soon enough we were both staring up at the ceiling.

"But why?" Yumina asked. "Why can't Sir Playa just pursue both his adventuring and his mercantile desires at the same time? What's wrong with trying to earn money without as much the danger of being an adventurer?"

Elze blinked. It was the first time someone had actually called her out for her obvious brain bug. "It's it's not that I think it's wrong what I think wrong is trying to do them both with all your energy. If you split your focus like that, can you really reach the apex with both things or doesn't that just mean you will do only moderately well with both things? You also increase the chances of failing at both.

"It's fine for someone to have a hobby, but you really need to make it clear what's your hobby and what's your main job, you know?" Elze mimed as if picking up boxes and setting them aside. "The only thing you can't buy is TIME, and you can only get back as much attention as you spend on something."

Yumina stared Elze's hands, slim but with calloused knuckle bones. She looked at Elze's face, which had an uncharacteristic look of seriousness. "So is your objection to this really just because it would be inefficient?"

"It's like this. If you're an adventurer, what you need to do is to /train to get stronger/ you need to travel around to complete quests and fight and rank up. But a merchant or business owners needs to /stay in one place/ and /pay attention/. If you're fighting monsters beasts you have to be thinking about their weaknesses. If you're a manager you have to be always thinking about how much money is coming in and how much money is coming out, and you have to mind how people are buying and how much money they have to spend.

"If you were just a simple shopkeep, it's fine to just stay indoors all day waiting for customers! But if Playa really wants his Chickenjoy to be popular, it's an insult to everyone else if he thinks he can have that with just throwing around some little tricks. He needs to really sit down and PAY ATTENTION. Look at what they want. What they're doing. What they're earning.

"What does he think we are, stupid?! Our money is valuable to ourselves too! There's plenty of other things we could buy good food in the end, no matter if it's a commoner or a noble, it just comes out as poop!" Elze slammed her fists down onto the table again and insisted. "Poop! Golden poop!"

Yumina let out an unladylike "Snerk!" and leaned back. Clearly she was not expecting this word to be thrown at her face today.

"Poop!"

Or any day. Which is why her gaze was full of glittering fascination staring at Elze. No one in her whole life would have dared to be so rude.

Thunk. Linze's face met the wooden table. Elze continued her rant with all ebullience.

"Why should anyone be excited about just throwing away their money like that? Not everyone just keeps on lucking into money every time they leave the house! If you want to save money, cut down on luxuries! This is just the common sense of the person on the street! How dare he demand people to spend just because there's something there!

"I can't believe he really believes what he's saying about how he loves his franchise if he keeps on just playing around going from one thing to another! Business is business! Adventuring is a dangerous work! Take both of them seriously!"

Yumina blinked. "So you think that the time investment required for these endeavors are incompatible with each other?"

"Yes! I remember that he wanted to become an adventurer to get fame and to be strong so that he could free Miss Monika and have the power to protect her once she's alive again! Money is just something you can get! Power is important! Before anything else, you need to be able to fight! You need to be able to fight your way out of whatever trap they put around you! What's the point of all this magic power if you're just going to sit around?!

"Money won't protect you from nobles! Money corrupts! You have to prepare yourself in a different way if you're going to turn money into strength!"

A thick silence descended inside the inn as Elze gasped for breath. She looked up and her face pinked in self-consciousness, but in the end decided not to regret what she had just said. I looked down at the white gloves on my fist. Elze wasn't even wrong. Char Aznable would not be so notorious if he did not have the ability to force his ideals onto reality.

And yet

Yumina put a finger to her lips and pointed out "While I could say that personalities are different, and it may be possible for people to excel in two different fields at the same time... it's really quite curious" her voice pitched up here, "to realize that you have spent a /significant amount of time/ thinking about the ethics of trade."

I blinked. Monika blinked. "Huh."

Yae looked like she didn't think that was unusual. It was the wife's job to manage the home after all. A samurai's home was his wife's castle. She was the one basically in charge of all the details of keeping the fief afloat, in many ways her husband just gets a stipend for anything not related to warfare.

Linze, more familiar with her sister, suddenly looked enlightened. "Oh! Sis so you /do/ care."

"Wawawah w-what are you talking about?"

A catlike grin pressed itself onto my face. "Elze are you /projecting?/"

Sheer terror entered Elze's face.

I continued "You were feeling left out... and tried to drag me into something else because you didn't dare to appear needy intruding yourself into my interests? Interests that you couldn't reveal you also found interesting?"

"What? No!"

Yumina nodded. "Were you trying to convince Sir Playa about the unsustainability of his time investment?" She tilted her head to the side. "Or yourself?!"

"No! I don't like chickens! I'm no money-grubber chickenmonger!!! "

("Hey!" Micah objected off to the side. "Although yeah, I probably don't want to be that too. Things used to be much calmer in this here Inn.")

You grew up in a gol-dang /farm/, Elze. It's too late to deny being a chickenmonger like that.

"But you're the one who manages our funds," Linze pointed out helpfully. "You've always been the most responsible one, and the reason why we left is so that we wouldn't be a burden to the farm anymore. There's few sources of income in Refreese, you said."

Linze slapped her fist onto her palm, suddenly remembering something that made a lot more sense now. "You said that being an adventurer was the fastest way of earning money while still maintaining our self-respect, because it's the only thing that allows you start from nothing."

"Well she's not wrong," I said. "Entrepreneurship requires capital."

"Yeah! And we came here to Reflet in the first place because Sis thought that we could get a better price for our crystal deer horn!"

"That was a mistake and now I know better than to be too greedy" Elze whimpered while tracing circles into the wood with an index finger.

"I just remembered that it was Elze who was the first to understand my double entry bookkeeping! She probably instinctively does that about your funding, doesn't she?"

"There's nothing complicated or impressive about that, Playa, shut up," Elze ground out.

"From that point of view, being an adventurer is the most fiscally rewarding job," Yumina said admiringly. "No need to keep an inventory, no need to wait for the harvest to be ready, and unlike being sworn to a lord you don't need to spend your hours just standing around or getting into fights you don't really need. And there's always going to be monster beasts to fight. If you're good at going out to the wilderness, you won't even have to worry that you'd ever /starve!/

"You won't get rich by it, but you also won't get bored by it. Quite the decisive step, I should say so!" she concluded.

"Stoooooop" Elze moaned and slumped down with her face onto the table. Her arms were held straight out across the table as if in surrender. "I'm not someone that's so set on making money I'm not like that! I'm just a crude punchy sort of person! Don't mind meee!"

I crossed my arms and smirked. "Elze, it's too late. We know you're smarter than you'd like to pretend."

"Shuttt uppp. You're wrong. You're so wrong."

" Um. Sis, I don't think that's a thing you're supposed to object to," Linze whispered.

"I'm not like Playa at all! I don't care about making money that much!"

"How silly. You know His Majesty owes you a Boon, right?" Yumina mentioned idly to me. "Just ask for half the treasury and you'll get it."

I sniffed contemptuously while staring at the ceiling. "Pft. What's the fun in that?"

"But if you just utilize more resources from the start, you could do more for more people."

"Water seeks the destination. Wind is the journey. A commandment from above weighs heavily, a bridge built from below lifts up all the people."

Yae and Yumina stared at me, and then began to rub their own chins, ruminating on the profound truths hidden within these words. Belatedly they realized they were doing things at the same time, and then nodded at each other in comradely acknowledgment.

Elze just groaned with her face pressed to the table. "He's just doing it to show offff.! As long as it's his business instead of something he did /personally/, it's all right to be praised about that."

I gave out a barren little laugh. Yeah. Maybe Elze really did understand. A little too much.

And then Yumina asked "But why /chickens?/"

And Elze replied "There's a lot of reason. But mostly because it's cheap." Elze made a flat-palm gesture. "Easy to prepare. More profit." Palm up.

I slammed my fists onto the table and shouted "Elze! Stop being a penny-ante adventurer and become my Vice President!" Instead of Wendy's, we can certainly have Elzie's!

"Screww youu."

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It was best not to reveal the truth of Yumina's identity inside the Inn, because Micah might hear and then act thereafter with extremely discomfiting servility. I planned on easing them into it with combat trials out in the wilderness as we sought to refine our new battle formations.

Monika found Yumina's plight cute, and that was enough reason to take her out of the castle. Despite how she might have thought herself a wise young lady, she was not really ready to be at ground zero of the extensive purging her father would be doing to his peerage. King Tristwin really wanted any excuse to get his daughter safe and out of there.

We would soon be heading off to Mismede as part of the official diplomatic party, Yumina's presence there would be good as a token of sincerity. However it would take a couple more days to prepare the ship and some hands-on practical magic exercises with monster subjugation quests would be a fine enough way of killing time.

But why an Adventurer?

Because no one would believe that the Crown Princess would actually deign to lower herself to just be muscle for hire. An Adventurer could just pack up and leave and be anywhere. The name Yumina was not all that unusual, because some commonfolk named their children Yumina for luck after the Crown Princess. She could hide almost in plain sight.

It would be unimaginably stupid to think that the Crown Princess would be roaming around putting herself in harm's way and protected only by four people.

So stupid that enough might think we're pulling a double bluff it's so stupid that it might just be the Princess except that if they bite the bait then we might follow them back to the source.

Almost as stupid as thinking you could sneak up on the Master of Wind Magic and Monika's Hostile Radar.

I heard the clanking of metal boots upon flagstones and the rasp of steel weapons on their straps, and turned towards the door of the Silver Moon Inn.

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