Chapter 17:

Merchanting and Customers

Hour Empty Child


Throughout the week in Loune, the PlusFire has been steadily raising their skills.

Included in their daily grinding, they have also raised their Crafting Skills up to an acceptable point, allowing them to make stronger equipment—or at least that’s what Kudo sees in them.

Including in body training, these two Adventurers have reached a new level of strength and power.

Inside the inn ‘Heaven’s Wings’, Kudo was in his room, sitting on his bed while looking over at the two screens of light in front of them, being the status screens of his and Hinota’s.

———————————————————————————————————
Name: Kudo Braven

Class: ?????

Level: 42

HP: 1860, MP: 2490

Attack: 362, Defense: 35

Magic Attack: 628, Magic Defense: 20

STR: 27 INT: 38

VIT: 20 WIS: 34

DEX: 18 LUK: 238

Available Points: 0
———————————————————————————————————
———————————————————————————————————
Name: Hinota Flamver

Class: Hell Knight

Level: 45

HP: 2250, MP: 3840

Attack: 472, Defense: 75

Magic Attack: 735, Magic Defense: 5

STR: 37 INT: 240

VIT: 30 WIS: 18

DEX: 35 LUK: 10

Available Points: 0
———————————————————————————————————
Without him knowing, a smile flashed across his face. Along with his skill list, which showed that for the both of them, most of their skills were over level 10. It may not be such a big number, but in their levels, their power shows quite well in battle.

While Kudo put on a silly grin, Hinota was finishing making her preparations by packing her [Magic Bag] with supplies for the start of their busy day.

“Kudo, I’m done!” Hinota shouted as she readied her pack onto her belt, adjusting it as she heads towards the door to the way out.

“Yeah, I’m coming.”

Feeling rushed, he swipes away the screen, making them disappear in midair and stood up from his bed. He notices his own reflection from the mirror at his side. The big, full-view mirror reflected his newly trained body.

He noticed that his body slightly grew in size. It wasn’t weight, but muscle mass that grew thanks to the Spartan training. It was a small change, but the constant Spartan training from Hinota, as well as the constant picking of Ores during their Crafting sessions, made Kudo’s body slightly stronger.

Though it was a small change than he has imagined himself to be, but it was enough to make Kudo think that he was not just weak, little farmer boy that he once was.

“Geez,” Kudo said in disbelief to his reflection. “The villagers wouldn’t even recognize me in this state.”

Imagining the expressions of their shocked faces made Kudo smile silly as Hinota poked her head out of the doorway to shout.

“Kudo! We’re burning daylight! We need to go out and find a good place before it gets crowded.”

“Ah—got it!”

Kudo quickly heads out the room with Hinota, leaving the inn. It was quite early as the sun was hardly rising over the horizon on this day. The PlusFire took the chance to wake up earlier than usual to begin their new objective.

They were now ready to sell their own crafted wares which they have so painstakingly made.

But before they could do so, they had to receive a permit from the Merchants’ Guild, as selling any kind of item without a permit is a one-way ticket to get taken to prison in this country. So, yesterday, Kudo went to pick it up, and to his surprise, he didn’t have to wait much in line before he got it which was supposed to be a painful process.

Back to today, the PlusFire took the time to search around the commercial district where most merchants, who were taking the time to open their stalls, were getting prepared to begin their sales. Thankfully, on the same day Kudo received his permit, he looked for a good place to sell their wares and found a perfect spot between two large buildings.

Between these buildings were personal guilds, guilds under the watchful eye of the Adventurers’ Guild that takes in [Warriors] on one building, and on the other building, they took in [Thieves].

“I hope this is a good place, Kudo.”

Hinota spoke up with doubt as Kudo took out his [Magic Bag], and opened it up. He took out from his bag several pieces of wood to create their wooden counter.

“This has to be the spot. We’re selling plated armors and metal weapons which are perfect for [Warriors] and [Thieves].”

Kudo said as he begun to place several pieces of wood together with Hinota and taking out the nails and hammer to use.

“I see,” Hinota began to understand. “That way, we’ll respond to the Classes that need our items the most.”

“Right! And we’re far away from the other shops as well. There will be less competition.”

“Heh,” Hinota scoffed. “I welcome any competition that dares try to steal our Jib from us.”

“Hinota, your inner Flamver spirit is showing.”

“Shut up!”

Kudo chuckled as Hinota showed a slight tint of red on her cheeks. ‘I got her back!’ is what he thought to himself.

As time passed by, they began constructing with the wood they bought for this occasion. Hinota helped adjust the wood as Kudo hammered in nails, turning several pieces of wood lumber into a wooden counter. Placing a large, wooden board at the top, already hammered into the poles needed to make it aloft, Hinota wrote on that board with Kudo’s help of making her balanced.

“Hey, how come I don’t get to write it?” Kudo asked as his curiosity got the best of him.

“To be honest, Kudo, you have terrible handwriting.”

“Eh?! Really?!”

This came as shocking news to Kudo, despite that it seemed completely obvious. Moving that aside, their small store came to be.

And at the perfect time, as well.

People have begun to wake up from their slumbers and released from the confines of their homes which they have finally headed towards the merchant district.

It became quite busy. After all, not just Adventurers, but civilians came in as well, looking for whatever fancies them.

However, what would have been a peaceful calling of merchants trying to bring in their customers would later change.

“Hey! Hey! Listen!”

The cry of a young male’s voice rang out, getting the civilians and Adventurers alike to look back at the source where the voice came from. What they saw was a small wooden store with a red blanket over the counter, holding various kinds of weapons and armor that seemed to glow a mysterious light.

The one who was crying out was actually Kudo, standing in front of the store with a wide smile, with Hinota sitting behind the counter with a gleeful smirk.

“Listen! We got a great sale here!” Kudo shouted as he waved his arms, catching their attention. “Our wares involve incredibly strong plated armor, perfect for defense!”

Kudo continued, his face slightly twitching in response to this.

“W-We got powerful metal weapons for that extra attack power that you need! We’re only selling these once per week, so take this chance now!”

As Kudo’s voice rang through the crowd, what the crowd doesn’t realize was that Kudo’s body was shaking, his face riddled with sweat as his eyes quivered from the piercing stares of the crowd.

Ahhh! They’re staring at me! This is so embarrassing! I just wanna hide in a hole and read my books!

Kudo’s mind was stressed out to the point of nearly breaking down and crying his eyes out.
However, what caught the crowd’s attention was something else instead…

“Hey, that girl over there is really cute!”

“Oh man, she’s smoking hot!”

“I’m going there!”

The Adventurers, specifically the males, came in with perverted looks, ignoring the stiff Kudo to be at their counter. At the top of the store, the banner had the name ‘PlusFire Store’ beautifully written, and with an equally beautiful young girl, Hinota, standing behind the counter.

Ah… I should be thankful to her. Because now, nobody will even notice me.

At this point, Kudo was thankful that he wasn’t born popular like his friend Hinota.

“Welcome to the ‘PlusFire Store’,” Hinota spoke with the same professional tone as the receptionist in their Adventurers’ Guild. “Is there anything you like to see?”

“Y-Yes! C-C-Can I see your one-handed swords?”

The man in front of Hinota, a young, stout man wearing warrior’s equipment, responded as he stuttered in front of the beautiful Hinota.

“Understood. What we’re offering as a one-handed sword is this weapon called 【Black Sword of Steel Might】,” Hinota showed off their first weapon, a black-colored sword that reflected the light the sunlight was giving, showing off its ebony color in her hands. “This sword has a good Attack Power. It has a [Low Sharp Trait], increasing the sharpness by 10%. What’s more…”

‘What’s more?” The man became interested already from the stats, but became caught with a surprised look from Hinota’s words as she trailed off.

“It is an enchanted weapon,” Hinota made a small smirk as her tapered eyes glinted a little. “It is a magical weapon which increases your Attack and Defense by 30.”

“W-What did you say?!”

The [Warrior] shouted in disbelief, catching the attention of the other men as they awed in amazement.

“H-How did you find that?!” The other man, wearing [Thief] garb, asked.

“That’s our special little secret~”

Hinota made another smirk, one that left the men in a daze by her charming smile.
“I-I would like to buy the weapon!” Other than his excited face, his eyes showed that he wanted the weapon.

“Understood,” Hinota returned to her professional, stoic face. “That sword’s price is 855,000 Jib.”

The rest of the men gaped at the incredible price spoken so casually by Hinota. “S-So much!”
Meanwhile, the one watching the scene with his sweat dropping was Kudo, slightly scratching his cheek.

“I told Hinota that it might be too expensive… but she was completely stubborn.”
Kudo spat out a sigh, looking elsewhere as he reminded himself to do his duties.

An hour passed as the ‘PlusFire Store’ was practically raking in Jib from the excited male Adventurers. Though some were stumped by the huge prices they had to pay, the look on their faces when they acquired a good weapon or armor showed that they did not regret it.
Thanks to Hinota, we got a lot of the guys’ attention. Kudo thought as he watched the scene. But we won’t be able to get enough for our expenses. We need to get some girls’ attention too…

Figuring that it should be fair play, Kudo insisted himself to find some girls to buy their wares. Though, his throat ran dry as he finally found some female Adventurers, walking past the store. One of them wore plated armor with an axe strapped to her back, and the other wore Medium Class armor, as well as two daggers, holstered to her slender waist.

Hah… Kudo spat out a mental sigh. I better just do it.

Forcing himself to walk forward, Kudo placed a mental lock on his embarrassment and moved toward the walking girls. Slapping his cheeks slightly for confidence, he stood in front of the girls, halting their path.

“H-H-Hello, ladies!”

Nice job, me! Kudo wanted to kick himself once more as he sarcastically praised himself. “B-Besides here is o-our shop called the ‘PlusFire Store’. We have some…i-i-interesting wares! Would you like to look at them?”

The piercing stares of the women in front of him made him want to jump into a hole because of his constant stuttering, and as one of them moved, Kudo’s body stiffened like a pole.

“Hey, look at this, Yena!”

The slender [Thief], sporting golden brown hair tied into a bun, her bangs covering her left eye, got close to Kudo, observing his body from the top to the bottom.

“This guy is selling his wares! What do you think?”

“Mmh, I think he looks pretty good. Cute face, an interesting hair color, and that body…”

The plated girl responded to her friend. The plated girl was taller with a more voluptuous figure. Her long, orange hair reaching down her back. She closed in towards Kudo, near to his face.

“Hey, kid, you look kind of young to be selling your wares so soon,” The [Thief] reacted to his call, her voice becoming seductively lower. “But since you’re selling… we might as well take it!”

“Hehe,” The [Warrior] chuckled slightly, her face showing an excited, seducing expression. “We won’t let you get a moment’s rest… we’ll use your wares ‘till they break.”

Kudo had no idea what kind of wares they were talking about at first. But after seeing their horny-looking faces, Kudo has finally realized what they exactly meant.

“W-W-Wait! I’m not selling those kinds of wares!”

Kudo backed away, as if he was a small animal, flailing his arms around to ward off whatever kind of atmosphere they were producing.

“W-We’re selling weapons and plated armor! T-That’s all I’m selling!”

Kudo wanted to clear up any misunderstanding, but then his face became redder as the girls began to laugh out loud.

“Hihi, we knew that!” The [Thief] casually returned to her normal self.

“We were just teasing you,” The warrior responded back. “ But you looked so cute when you’re embarrassed, it made me blush as well…”

The [Warrior] replied with a heated face, getting the [Thief] to say ‘Doesn’t he?’ as Kudo became redder in response.

“T-The shop is over there!” Kudo pointed at the ‘PlusFire Store’.

“Hehe, thankies~!”

“We’ll take a look~”

The girls finally left, but not before making a seductive wave of their hands to Kudo which got him redder than an apple.

As all this happened, Hinota, who was taking her time as several customers inspected their weapons and armor, saw the entire scene.

Geez, Kudo…

Before long, not just the male Adventurers, but also female Adventurers, painstakingly brought in by Kudo, filled their street as the ‘PlusFire Store’ had to take care of more than 40 Adventurers at the time. The crazy ruckus made by these Adventurers filled the atmosphere with a resemblance to a giant festival for equipment.

“I can’t believe this! What kind of enchanted weapon is this?!” A female Adventurer shouted to her friends.

“This armor is so amazing! I feel so much stronger!” A male Adventurer shouted as he wore the armor he has bought.

The voices of the excited Adventurers rang out due to their powerful items. Feeling the enchanted power given by Hinota, their status has increased a fair amount.

This is turning out to be a bigger success than I thought! Kudo thought as he watched the display of the store’s success. At this rate, we might even sell out our entire inventory!

Time passed on as the Adventurers were still making their fuss. As Kudo tried his best to conquer his fears by shouting out their wares’ usefulness—

“Hey! You’re bullshitting me!”

—One crisp, rugged voice was heard, catching Kudo’s attention.

A male Adventurer, dressed in plated armor and his head showing off his military-style purple hair, was screaming at Hinota with a raised voice, his forehead bulging with a vein and baring his teeth.

What made him stand out from the other [Warriors] was the scornful scowl he had on his face.

“This weapon isn’t worth that much Jib! This is just a pile of crap!”

The man shouted, his voice rising even higher—if that was possible—getting everyone around him to quiet down. Hinota remained stoic, her face unchanging despite the screaming man in front of her.

This guy… what’s wrong? Kudo thought as he observed a little longer.

“Dear sir,” Hinota spoke with grace. “We assure you that this axe is worth the Jib.”

Hinota directed her glare at the axe currently in the man’s hands. It was a silver one-handed axe glowing with a bright red aura, boosting its attack.

“It has been properly forged by the best blacksmith, cared for like a parent would to his child. Along with its enchantment, it holds more power than one might assume.”

“This thing’s just an axe! This stupid pile of scrap can’t be worth more than 100k Jib!” The man shouted back, gripping onto the axe with such disdain. “This stupid thing can hardly be worth more than 5,000 Jib! I’ll pay for it if you lowered it to that point!”

5,000 Jib?! Kudo’s cheap farmer’s mind reacted. That axe has the best enchantments, and I worked so hard to make a nice Trait for it! That’s too little a price!

Kudo watched on as Hinota continued to debate with the angry Adventurer.

“I’m sorry, but that’s going over the line. 120,500 Jib is the set price.”

“Ah?!” The man’s face contorted, showing off a terrifying expression. “You’re just trying to scam me! How is that fair?! The blacksmith must be out of his freaking mind if he thinks he can sell this crap! I have better gear that’s way better than this!”

His voice was gradually grating the ears of everyone around him, especially to Kudo and Hinota. He then continued to shout:

“How would you like it if I told the guards that you’re trying to scam all these people with your ridiculous prices?! What would you say to that?!”

As if testing her, the man issued a threat, but Hinota remained unchanged.

“I’m sorry, but our prices will not change. You either pay the set price, or leave the shop.”

At this point, Kudo thought about how amazing Hinota was right now. Getting screamed at right in front of her face like that would make any man—literally, a grown man—become frightened, annoyed, or downright pissed.

But Hinota remained her cool. It might even be possible that she will retain her steady mind and face more than the receptionists would in the Adventurers’ Guild.

“Hah?! You WANT me to tell the guards?! How you’re ripping off these poor saps with your damn prices?! You’re only a woman; you shouldn’t even be here, selling weapons and armor!”

Those last words mad every female Adventurer cringe, especially the [Warriors]. Kudo himself felt disturbed, and without hesitation, moved quickly in front of the man.

“Hey, hey!” Kudo, without thinking, shouted to the man as he put his hands up to calm him. “Please calm down! We don’t want any trouble!”

Kudo knew that doing this might not make the situation any better. But he just can’t let Hinota take any more harassment than that. The man glared at Kudo, his vein popping out of his temple with animosity.

“Listen, we take all our time to make the best equipment. We would never put a price that we think it’s too much for these. We really do think these are worth the price! If you…”

Kudo trailed off, his voice staggering as the man begun to glare heavily at Kudo.

“If you don’t like that, then please get out of here! Don’t harass my partner any further!”

Kudo shouted back, this time with a firmer voice to counter the man’s screaming.

“Hah?! You little shit!”

However, that only served to make him swell with anger. The man’s stout hand reached out and grabbed Kudo by his collar. He dragged Kudo’s body towards him, nearly right up to his face.

“You shitty vendor! You think I’ll let you do what you want?! Lower the price, or I’ll make you regret it!”

At this point, Kudo believed that the man truly wanted to get the item. However, he could tell that because of his constant need to lower the price, he doesn’t have enough. Knowing this, Kudo became aggravated.

“W-We refuse!” Kudo shouted back, trying to let go of the man’s grip, but it was too strong as it gripped even tighter on Kudo’s throat. Kudo’s breath became harder to breathe, feeling a sweat trickling down his temple as he began to gasp for air.

“You really piss me off! Then, how about this? Either you give me the axe for free because of all this bullcrap, or I’ll tell the guards!”

The man made a devilish smirk, gripping onto his throat harder on purpose. Kudo’s gasps could be heard by everyone now. It becomes to the point where Kudo’s eyesight began to dim as the air was getting cut off from his head.

“Mmh? What’s wrong?” The man’s voice changed to a mocking tone. “Why don’t you just give it to me? It’s not like you’ll lose anything, right? You can just make more, can’t you?!”

As the Adventurer showed a sneering smile over the victory he was enjoying, he didn’t notice that a presence showed up behind him at breakneck speed, a single, curved blade right at his own neck.

The man noticed the keen edge nearing his neck and nearly yelped as he looked behind to see Hinota. She appeared behind him in record speed, her katana’s blade being right next to the man’s left side of the neck. But what made him quiver was the immense aura Hinota was producing out of her glare.

“If you don’t let him go right now, the only thing you’re getting for free is a severed head.”

Hinota’s deepened voice only made her aura fiercer to handle, resembling thousands of blades ready to cut him at any moment. The man trembled to the point that he loosened his grip, releasing Kudo as he fell to the ground, hastily inhaling his breath to regain his air.

“H-Hey! This is against the law!” The man shouted, cowardly resorting to the law. “You can’t use your weapons here!”

“Harassing and attacking shop vendors is also against the law. But unlike you, we have profound evidence that shows which one of us was making more of a threat.”

Leaving with only those words, the [Warrior] turned around, looking at the crowd around them.

Surely enough, there were all Adventurers, each one putting a disdainful scowl at the man. Each one of them had it with his claims, and put on an expression that said that they wanted him to leave. Some of them even had their hands on their newly-acquired weapons, ready to step in if the man was about to move one more step toward the vendors.

“Go ahead. Call the guards. Call the city council too, while you’re at it. They will all know who is the one proving to be more dangerous. If you like to keep going, then I will only respond as an act of defense for me and my partner. Now…”

Hinota etched her katana closer, nearly cutting the single bit of shin of the Adventurers’ open neck, making the man’s legs to quake, his fear devouring his senses.

“What’s your choice?”

“G-Ghh! Shit!”

The man turned to the side and quickly stepped away, ignoring everyone else in his path as he escaped.

The crowd then began to cheer. Their screams of praises for Hinota reached out to the sky, getting everyone impressed and riled up. Despite what’s happening, Hinota’s main focus directed onto Kudo.

“Kudo, you OK?” Hinota offered her hand to help Kudo get up, getting him to gladly take it.

“Y-Yeah… I’m fine,” Kudo answered, his breath returning to normal. “Hah… that was amazing, Hinota.”

“Heh, this much is nothing,” Hinota responded with a cocky tone. “Against a guy like that, this was nothing.”

“Hehe.”

Kudo chuckled as the trouble was now over, and the Adventurers came in to continue buying their products. In fact, one woman, the very same [Warrior] that Kudo brought in before, bought the axe with a happy smile, and was completely contented with it.

Around 1:00 pm, everything was sold out. On their counter, the PlusFire calculated the total amount of jib they have gotten with Hinota’s impressive cognitive abilities.

“Hinota, how about it? Did we… make more than we lost?”

Kudo hoped as Hinota made her analyses as she wrote quickly on a blank piece of paper with her quill.

“Kudo,” Hinota responded after a while. “From this, the amount of money we spent on the equipment was 350,000 Jib.”

“Right… and?” Kudo gulped as he asked.

“When we sold them all, the amount that we have now is… 5,820,765 Jib.”

“O—” Kudo’s eyes widened and his throat nearly closed up. “Over 5 million!?”

Kudo and Hinota couldn’t help but put a smile on their faces.

“This is way more than we expected, Kudo! With this much, we don’t have to worry about supplies or equipment for the next few months!”

“A-Awesome!”

Before they knew it, they locked hands together and merrily jumped along as their excitement reached to their limits.

“Hahaha, this is great, Hinota! I didn’t think anybody would come from these prices!”

“Goes to show how much faith you should have in me, Kudo!”

Once they finished jumping in excitement, they placed everything into their [Magic Bags] and were about to leave the area.

“Now it’s the time to grind with the extra time we have!”

“True enough. I got so tired after dealing with so many customers…”

Hinota could feel her stiff shoulders coming in after dealing with each individual Adventurer.

“Well, if you want, you can call them over and I’ll take over the shop. I think you can bring in more customers that way, Hinota.”

“No way.”

“Eh?!”

Kudo nearly jumped back from Hinota’s sudden refusal.

“Because if you take over, you’ll only just lower the price for every girl that might seduce you.”

“N-No way I would do that!”

Kudo tried to deny this statement as his manhood was on the line.

“Well, after seeing that spectacle with you selling your ‘wares’ to those girls, it didn’t seem that way.”

“Geh…” Kudo’s mind nearly whitened after hearing that. “Y-You saw that…?”

“Seriously, Kudo, you’re just too innocent…”

“T-That was uncalled for!”

Seeing as his proposal to switch was turned down, Kudo and Hinota recovered their items and quickly headed out to their adventure to begin training for their skills.

******************************************************************
Amazingly enough, these two amassed quite a bit! Things are looking well for the PlusFire!


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