Chapter 25:

Princess Kaguya Announces Her Presence (Part 2)

It’s My First Time Working Late Nights at a Convenience Store, and If I Keep Getting Demon Lords, Kappa and Other Oddballs as Customers, I’m Giving My Two-Weeks’ Notice

“Heh heh heh... When none of you returned in a timely manner, I thought I ought to check in. And what should I see, but my minions...fooling around? Didn’t I make it perfectly clear that unless one of you came back in ten minutes, I’d be going home?”Bookmark here

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Princess Kaguya pops open the black lace umbrella she’s brought with her, and holds it above her head. Uh, could you not do that inside?Bookmark here

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“Gosh, she’s pretty.”Bookmark here

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“The most beautiful maiden by far.”Bookmark here

“Princess Kaguya was worried about US...?”Bookmark here

...Wait, what?Bookmark here

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“But noooo, you’ve left me waiting all alone, for fifteen minutes...!!”Bookmark here

“We’re sorry, Your Highness! We’ve failed you...”Bookmark here

Um, what’s going on here?Bookmark here

You’re telling me this poster child for goth-loli fashion is THE Princess Kaguya?Bookmark here

Seriously? She sure doesn’t look like any version of the legendary beauty that I’ve ever seen.Bookmark here

And she’s acting like a total stuck-up brat! You know, like one of those edgy kids who’re convinced they’re the greatest because they “secretly” have some dark, mystical powers! That’s so freaking far from the source material!! Her own wood-cutter father wouldn’t even recognize her!Bookmark here

“Tomorrow will mark the darkest dawn indeed. Be gone, my minions! Disperse into the shadows!”Bookmark here

“Wh-... But we’re not finished yet.”Bookmark here

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 “...Spare me your pathetic excuses. I have no use for those who cannot bring me the objects that I request.”Bookmark here

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She sighs deeply, her voice weighed down by disappointment.Bookmark here

“...I’m going back to the moon.”Bookmark here

That one, simple statement throws the group into a frenzied panic.Bookmark here

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“No, not that! Anything but that!”Bookmark here

“If you would at least permit us to search until dawn!”Bookmark here

“Well, I’ve already found mine! It’s this! This is it, right? Hm. Or is it...this?”Bookmark here

“Princess Kaguya, please don’t go! I would do anything you asked of me, I swear!”Bookmark here

“I’ll surely find it today! I simply need a little more time!”Bookmark here

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The five men fling themselves at the feet of their diminutive gothic lolita idol, clinging to her in desperation.Bookmark here

...Yeeeah, no matter how you look at it, they’re just a bunch of perverts.Bookmark here

Still, they’ve definitely got a whole hierarchy going on.Bookmark here

I come out from behind the register, to address the group myself.Bookmark here

“Would you gentlemen mind taking a quick breather? I’d like to have a chat with this Princess Kaguya of yours.”Bookmark here

“...So, you’ve fallen under her spell too, have you? Well, you shall not have her!”Bookmark here

“Look guys, just chill. This’ll go a lot faster if we don’t have to argue about it. Trust me, I won’t lay a finger on her.”Bookmark here

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I calmly but firmly look each of them in the eye. One by one, the suitors peel away from the princess.Bookmark here

She seems a little unnerved by the loss of her entourage, but she still manages to maintain her sense of self-righteousness.Bookmark here

“What do you want, normie?”Bookmark here

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“At least call me a cashier.”Bookmark here

I look down my nose at the entitled brat — which isn’t hard, since I’m taller than her to begin with.Bookmark here

“Look, it’s not right to tease people like that. If there’s something you want, walk over to a convenience store and get it yourself. Don’t send a bunch of poor saps on a wild goose chase with only some cryptic notes to go by.”Bookmark here

“Wh-...! How DARE you! What gives you the right to lecture ME?!”Bookmark here

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I watch, unimpressed, as the pampered princess tosses her umbrella aside and stomps her feet in childish frustration.Bookmark here

“Are you seriously trying to pull rank on me? Because I’m willing to bet I’m a lot older than you, at least.”Bookmark here

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“S-Shut up! I don’t need to hear that from you! Those men LIVE to serve me!”Bookmark here

“Yeesh, what a life. Those guys were nervous wrecks. Would it kill you to think about someone other than yourself from time to time? Maybe even do something nice for them, for a change.”Bookmark here

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“☆○2×<#@%!!”Bookmark here

Princess Kaguya screeches wordlessly, her face bright red with rage.Bookmark here

“Growing up, my parents showered me with nothing but praise! How can you, a complete stranger, have the nerve to judge me?! You’ll pay for crossing me... In the name of the moon, I’ll snap your body in two!”Bookmark here

Man, she’s got issues.Bookmark here

Covering her left eye with her left hand, Princess Kaguya strikes an exaggerated pose.Bookmark here

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“Cower in fear as you feast your eyes on... My wings of darkest obsidian!”Bookmark here

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With her free hand, Princess Kaguya reaches up to grab the big red button stuck to her backpack’s strap. As soon as she pushes it, a pair of black wings pop out from the bag.Bookmark here

“S-Scared witless by that show of power, aren’t you! You’re nowhere near MY level! I’ll obliterate you with just one blast of my magic!”Bookmark here

She throws a few showy practice jabs with her fists, and I just shrug.Bookmark here

“...All I’m asking is that you go easy on those guys, okay?”Bookmark here

“Oh, that is IT! You’re going down!”Bookmark here

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Princess Kaguya whirls her arms, intent on pummeling (?) me into submission.Bookmark here

“Thank you so much, sir!”Bookmark here

“You’re a lifesaver!”Bookmark here

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I turn at the sound of excited voices, only to see my manager standing behind the register. How long has he been there?Bookmark here

“Um... Manager?”Bookmark here

He just gives me a thumbs up in answer. While I was busy sparring with Princess Kaguya, it only took him a few seconds to figure out that...something was going on.Bookmark here

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And he’s worked out all of the riddles, too. Each of the five men are smiling from ear to ear, holding a shopping basket filled with whatever it was they were tasked with finding. Bookmark here

“Princess Kaguya! I got it! I bought the ‘sweet, scarred moon’!”Bookmark here

Apparently, his mystery item was...melon bread.Bookmark here

“Me too! I have your ‘crunchy pillars of a thousand flavors’!”Bookmark here

Huh. It’s those potato stick snacks.Bookmark here

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“Your Highness! I have obtained several of the ‘clubs made from mythical ice’!”Bookmark here

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Ah, he’s got a pile of those ramune ice pops.Bookmark here

“I found it! I found the ‘bubbling beverage of the setting sun’!”Bookmark here

A can of ginger ale? Okay, sure.Bookmark here

“Don’t forget about me! I bought all kinds of texts that have ‘chronicles of wayward youths’!”Bookmark here

The last guy has a stack of those monthly manga magazines.Bookmark here

“Wow, this man sure is something! He figured out every last one of the princess’ riddles!”Bookmark here

Princess Kaguya gazes up at my manager, her mouth curving into a smug grin.Bookmark here

No. Don’t tell me...Bookmark here

“Then that leaves me no choice. HE shall become my main minion. The rest of you are fired.”Bookmark here

“Wh-...?! But, Your Highness! How could you say such a thing?!”Bookmark here

While the ex-minions bemoan their fate, my manager comes out from behind the counter, weaving his way around the wailing men.Bookmark here

He stops in front of Princess Kaguya, setting a heavy hand on top of her head.Bookmark here

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“Now, now. You shouldn’t toy with impressionable men like that, miss. And didn’t your parents ever teach you not to open your umbrella indoors...?”  Bookmark here

The difference between their sizes is so extreme, my manager looks like a giant about to make a meal out of this munchkin.Bookmark here

Her smile vanishes, and she starts to tremble.Bookmark here

“Please, have mercy...”Bookmark here

Her voice trails off to nothing as thick tears start to roll down her cheeks.Bookmark here

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“Remove your hand at once!”Bookmark here

“We won’t forgive you for making our princess cry!”Bookmark here

The group of freelance minions swarm my manager and try to pull him away from their beloved master.Bookmark here

Of course, this is my manager we’re talking about here. Even with all five of them tugging with all of their might, he doesn’t so much as twitch.Bookmark here

“If you must kill someone, take me instead!”Bookmark here

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“While we are grateful for your assistance, we cannot overlook your actions thereafter!”Bookmark here

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No, seriously — they look like a bunch of gnomes going into battle. They’re going to get squashed.Bookmark here

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“You guuuuys... *sniff* ... Even though I said all those awful things, you still...?”Bookmark here

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“That doesn’t bother us at all, Your Highness!”Bookmark here

“That’s right! We’ll do whatever it takes to keep you happy, healthy and in high spirits!”Bookmark here

“Precisely! We adore you, Princess! You should never have to shed tears!”Bookmark here

“I would gladly lay down my life for you, Princess!”Bookmark here

“Being your minion has brought nothing but joy into my life! Every day...*sigh*...has been a blessing.”Bookmark here

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...Oh my god, these guys are the biggest bunch of masochists I’ve ever seen.Bookmark here

My manager carefully steps away from Princess Kaguya, and the five men quickly form a kind of protective circle around her.Bookmark here

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They stare down their supposed foe, but they’re so nervous you can actually hear their teeth chattering. That’s how stupidly determined they are.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, my manager just chuckles softly at the sight.Bookmark here

“What a splendid show of solidarity. Gentlemen, you’ve demonstrated true bravery here today. Bravo.”Bookmark here

He gives the group his highest form of praise — not one, but two big thumbs up.Bookmark here

“We might be her minions, but we still have our pride...!”Bookmark here

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The gaggle of gentlemen turns towards the automatic doors, collectively returning the gesture.Bookmark here

And that’s a...good thing? Well, whatever makes them happy, I guess.Bookmark here

My manager and I watch as the group shuffles out, arm in arm, in some odd kind of friendly phalanx.Bookmark here

“Still, I don’t really get fashion nowadays. It’s all over the place...”Bookmark here

Scratching his head in confusion, my manager mutters to himself as he returns to the break room.Bookmark here

Well, if there’s anything that I learnt from this ordeal... It’s that watching my manager shift from good guy to evil villain was beyond cool.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.