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While he bundled up groups of ten one-thousand Gold notes each, which then were filling the inside of the magical register, the voice of the young man Raul echoed.
Without a moment’s delay, he raised his head and occasionally checked up on the customer in the seasonal goods corner, who had started gazing at the Magical Repel Traps for Slimes, that were welling up in wet areas during early summer. He turned his head in a circle and tried surveying the interior of the store.
Magical Store ・Reon – Royal Capital Branch.
From potions to magicvision – if it came to magical items, this shop, which was situated on a deserted side street a good deal away from town, had everything; a declared specialist retailer. Tall rows of shelves in this neat store’s interior were overflowing with a great variety of magical items being on display.
It was a weekday afternoon, the interior he was facing from the counter seemed deserted. There were about two customers – how to put it, it was very peaceful.
Raul endured a spontaneous, gentle spring weather bred yawn, which had almost leaked out and unconsciously took a look at his worn-out watch. He then, with a smooth motion, took out a wooden coin-checker from the drawer under the register, while he was scratching his black hair. Soon it’d be time to examine the cash in the register.
When he’d be done with that, he could prepare the new ‘Portable Magical Lights Including Anti-Theft Buzzers’, that had arrived during his break, on the sales area. While he proficiently stacked the coins into the coin-checker, Raul started making plans in his head… But then…
Raul instantly stopped his thoughts, as he felt the presence of a customer approaching the register counter. As a well-trained employee, he put on a business smile by reflex, turned towards the nearing customer, and promptly raised his voice:
In that moment their eyes met across the counter.
The blond-haired young lady, that put a triple pack magical cassette tapes on the accounting board, stared at Raul, who was being behind the counter, with a face, as if she was a pigeon that had stuffed way too many soybeans in its throat…… A little while later, her deep indigo-blue eyes regained their focus and she finally found her voice again:
“Raul―?! Aren’t you Raul Chaser―?!”
Her honey-colored hair was glittering like a glossy river. He could clearly recall this young lady’s well-featured looks and seemingly strong-willed gaze.
…Even though she left him hanging under a terribly awkward gaze. Raul soon feigned ignorance and picked up the magical cassette tapes from the counter.
“Eeehm, that’s… just one article, this’ll be 945 Gold plea―”
“You were the head of the Hero Prep School class, so… why?!”
“W-Would you like me to put that in a bag?”
“Why are you working the register at a magical shop?!”
“W-Well then, I’ll put the tapes into a―!”
“Stop dodging me―!”
“It couldn’t be helped, alright―?!”
Finally running out of patience, Raul raised his voice.
“Someone defeated the Devil King, the Demon Country collapsed, the Hero System got abolished, and the Hero Trial was stopped too… Before I knew it, I had holed up for about half a year out of the shock. Whether it be weapon or armor maker, most of them went totally bankrupt in the depression… In the end, this place was the only one where I could get a job…”
“You’re saying you gave up because of that?!”
“I-I tried everything―!”
Towards the persistently and vehemently arguing young lady, Raul got desperate and tried to object.
“Every day I stood in that long line at the Public Employment Security Office, wrote countless résumés, and even tried to give a good account to myself in interviews out of despair…”
To be frank, in the beginning Raul had also thought that he could be flexible about his employment search. He had been the head of the Hero Prep School class, after all. A powerful person to an extent that he had kicked out the first ever S-Award in a nationwide Hero Mock Examination.
He hadn’t had the slightest doubt that he would sooner or later be among the people, who were being chosen to become a hero. With his promising talent, there couldn’t have been any doubt that all corporations would want to employ him unanimously, or so he had thought…
“…But in the end, the last academical background being Warrior Studies about the weaknesses of demons, dungeon strategy secrets, or how to navigate through demon territory, didn’t help to count as being useful for business enterprises. I had told them, ‘I’m confident in my fighting skills!’, and the only thing they’d ever reply was, ‘Well then, what qualifications do you hold?’…”
…Unfortunately, society hadn’t been so generous.
Assuming that the circumstances due to the Hell Breakdown Depression would get more severe by the day, it was an unemployment rate all-time high. If one was unlucky, it was even true for heros that are overflowing with skills. During something like that, the demand for Former Hero Candidates of the Hero Prep School graduation class was equal to none.
His immediate reply when he had been asked about special skills by the interviewer was, ‘That’d be the [Raul Slash]!’, and what had been returned was, ‘So, how do you think that [Raul Slash] could be of use for this company to operate better?’, and then he didn’t know what to reply – a bitter memory… or more like a trauma he couldn’t forget.
Right now, he was losing his spirit more and more, and before long the young lady squinted her indigo-blue eyes in front of the completely faltering Raul, seemingly disappointed. She took out precisely 945 Gold in coins from the flower-patterned purse in her hands and put them on the tray. Together with a blatant sigh, she mumbled:
“…And here I thought we were rivals…”
Those words stabbed Raul directly in his heart.
He opened his mouth to talk back, but nothing followed… Like this, Raul received an indifferent glance, and the blond-haired young lady grabbed the magic cassette tapes with a bargain sticker pasted on them and suddenly left the shop.
“But I… But I… for now… I’ll stick with being a full-time employee for now…”
While he was standing stock still at the counter being and at his wit’s end, Raul muttered an excuse towards the door, the back of the girl had disappeared through… Like this, something suddenly leapt into his ears, a voice that was in terribly high spirits.
[Here we aaaare, this week’s Maturity Corner begins in front of a palatial residence! Today we welcome the former hero Alice Fido-san as our guest, thanks for comiiiiing!]
It was on the surface of a wall in the magicvision corner opposite to the entrance and which could be seen from the register. The absentminded Raul turned a feeble gaze into the direction and on the numerous magicvisions’ displays, the appearance of everyone’s most favorite big-breasted and high-spirited girl, Ana, could be seen. She was standing in front of the white walls of a palatial residence, which could’ve been mistaken for a castle or something.
[When we speak of the ‘Hero Trial’, the ratio of successful applicants is 0.01, it’s super difficult! Though being born into a poor family, Alice-san overcame that kind of acceptance rate and became an admirable hero – That’s a glorious feet! But of course you all knew that already, riiight?!]
Together with that Ana girl’s wink, the picture changed. The new one was that of a fearless looking warrior, whose body was covered in magical chain mail.
[Alice-san makes full use of the [Hero System]’s support money, residence bonus, family bonus, expedition bonus, weapon purchase bonus, and various other things! And while he did multiple expeditions to the demon’s territory on the northern side of the continent, Alice-san also published a self-written memorandum and got his big break! After Alice-san’s active duty as a anti demon specialist, Alice-san was active as a magicalvision commentator, and while receiving the hero pension after retirement, Alice-san worked as a honorary adviser for a weapon maker…]
That gorgeous world in the magicalvision. Unwittingly, an envious sigh escaped from Raul’s mouth.
――On that occasion, there once had been certain cards. Someone had brought them with them as a souvenir. These trading cards went by the name ‘Hero Cards’, they were said to have been popular in the royal capital at that time. The hero’s name and figure were displayed on the front, and his skills, achievements, and the like on the back… In that rural city from back then, there had hardly been enough toys present. So the kids quickly struggled for those cards, and in this struggle, with some luck Raul as a child had also been able to get his hands on them. Only one card among them had been covered with a golden leaf… a so-called ‘Shining Hero’ card.
When he had realized that this card was drawn after an actual hero, Raul had been totally out of it due to his excitement.
‘Heroes are amazing! So cool! I wanna be a hero too! To become a hero, be recognized, and get popular! Then, I wanna be rich―!’
After that, having made his decision at a very young age, Raul had spend all day, every day with hero training. Muscle training, marathons, practice swings with a wooden sword, joining monster exterminations… He had concentrated on the human resources section in the hero memorandum, which he had pestered his parents into buying for him and then had read over and over again until it was worn-out beyond repair. With intensive training until his blood oozed out and the natural ability to concentrate, he had even taught himself magic.
Like this, his great efforts had soon been approved by the adults. But even after receiving the village’s support and enrolling into the royal capital’s Hero Prep School, he didn’t slack off and encouraged himself into improving further. Before he knew it, Raul had climbed to the top. Even though the Hero Trial had been right under his nose…
The cardboard box packed with the ‘Portable Magical Lights Including Anti-Theft Buzzers’ jumped into the vision of Raul, who had casted his eyes down.
Right, why am I working the register-something in this place…
My will to tend to the magical lights corner has already vanished.
No academic background. No qualifications. And no connections. I betrayed everyone’s expectations, my pitiful self can’t even return to my own hometown like this. Even if I wanted to give up on my goal that I’ve gambled my whole life on up until now, what kind of hopes or prospects would come from there on? I’ve got neither ambition nor passion for a job I don’t even want. I’m working day after day out of pure habit… My life has reached its limits after a mere 17 years.
Raul dropped his shoulders together with a melancholical sigh.
…As it is now, I’ll rot away while counting the cash in this register.
It was almost a surprise attack.
Raul, being attacked in his unguarded moment, had raised his head in surprise and before he knew it, a lone boy was standing on the other side of the wooden counter.
“Get me the manager.”
He was bearing a sullen expression in the flabby parka, which had a hood attached to it. Obviously younger than Raul, his overbearing gaze, inhumane tone, and above all that haughty aura which he strongly had highlighted his opening slogan with, made it quite right to say, that he embodied the essential qualities of an evil atmosphere.
However, while his silver hair hadn’t been groomed enough, he had surprisingly well-featured looks. Almost transparent, big aqua-blue eyes coupled with a small-build body, and in some respects he set loose an indifferent atmosphere.
For the country bumpkin Raul, who had befriended all villagers back then at least on an acquaintance level, claims were sheer horror. While he concealed his trembling, he tried to ask:
“Eeehm, that’s… The shop manager’s temporarily unavailable, but if it is related to your order…”
And so, Raul’s words were interrupted and with a bam the boy placed his elbow on the counter. Like this, he glared up to Raul with his bold attitude.
“Hurry up and get me the manager. We need to talk.”
Damn it! That’s why I hate the service industry―! Raul had only abusive language on his mind while he flinched from the boy’s attitude. Maaan, seriously, why didn’t I become a hero?! If I were a hero, I’d be at inaugurations of other people’s businesses, fish some medals, and wouldn’t get complaints like this―!
He averted his eyes as if trying to escape from that brutal gaze that he was shrinking under. Then he made his brain, which didn’t have the highest specs to begin with, go full-throttle and while he was looking for the very best interaction… Raul suddenly noticed that the boy had something in his hand.
It had the size of an official document, and the paper was terribly dirtied… But it was probably just his imagination. Taking a faint glimpse at it, triggered Raul’s trauma in a way. He had a hunch that he was very familiar with this kind of format…
“Ara, ara, welcome…”
Raul’s thoughts being interrupted, a voice could be heard from behind. A gentle voice, just like that of an angel.
Reflexively turning his head, Raul sounded quite relieved:
Her wavy chestnut-colored hair allowed a slight glimpse over her breasts. Above the characteristic uniform, consisting of a big collar and red skirt, she was wearing an apron. This beautiful girl was spreading a calming atmosphere.
She gave off a calm smile in front of Raul and the boy. No matter how one looked at it, this young lady couldn’t be older than 19 at max. Magical Shop ・Rion – Royal Capital Branch’s shop manager, Seara Ogerstone. She was this shop’s chief executive and Raul’s direct supervisor.
With this bishoujo’s extremely fortunate appearance, the boy seemed completely taken aback. However, blinking with his big eyes and thus producing a clapping sound, he soon raised his body from the counter that he was leaning on, adjusted his attitude, and confronted the bishoujo with the chestnut-colored hair.
Expressing a mild countenance, the young lady gazed directly back at him. He abruptly thrusted the paper in his hands with all his strength towards the direction of this shop’s most influential person.
“I came for an interview.”
Announcing that in an imposing manner, the thing in his hand – the terribly worn-out edges of the résumé – were shaking slightly.
“So please excuse us, Raul-kun.”
The manager made an apologetic wink while joining her slender fingertips together.
“I’m sorry that I just got back from my break, but the store’s just like time off, so we’ll do the interview, okay? Please watch over the store a bit longer.”
Right after she informed him of that, he saw off the manager’s back, who was accompanying the silver-haired delinquent walking to the manager’s room behind the counter. Raul still couldn’t digest the situation, he was just blankly staring at the door, through which both of them had vanished.
Nearby, the coins that had slipped out of his hand were making noise and Raul finally came back to his senses. Yeah, that reminds me, I’m still in the middle of checking the money… or wait.
It wasn’t somebody who wanted to complain, but a part-time applicant?
Well, whatever, he’ll probably just, puff, be rejected, Raul thought. For sure, wouldn’t this shop curse itself if they don’t settle down with that gloomy part-timer? They’re always short-handed, but there’s no way that kind of bad-behaving delinquent would get hired,impossible. Despite her appearance, the manager’s strict, and all the more with that sort of thing.
Putting the coin-checker he finally had accumulated the coins in beside, he extended his hands towards the magical computer next to the register.
Then… his hands suddenly stopped.
A single sheet of paper was filling Raul’s vision, lying on top of the counter upturned. A terribly worn-out, wrinkled-up, dirtied, and torn paper.
“…And now that. That fool really went and forgot his résumé, tzk.”
However, the résumé was so totally worn-out that it was astonishing. The corners had come off to an extent, that they were getting round. Many lines were horizontally and vertically fringed, and it seemed that if he put a little strength in it, it’d easily tear. Why would that guy inflict so much damage to this résumé, does he holding a grudge against it or what?
Or more like, normally people would probably just rewrite it. Geez. This reminded Raul of his own job hunting nightmare, he reflexively raised his eyebrows. Even if it was just for part-time, that delinquent hadn’t experienced the current super do-or-die period yet.
Making a disgusted face, Raul quickly picked that thing up with two fingers. Like this, he turned his wrist, seeing the contents unintentionally.
In the next moment.
Raul suddenly threw out some spit and coughed violently.
Fino Bloodstone; 15 years old
Last Academic Background: Nothing in particular
Last Position: The Devil King’s Heir
Reason for Application: My father has been brought down
“Ara, ara, Raul-kun, you mustn’t leave the shop unattended, okay? What’s wrong?”
Rushing in while kicking a box under his feet away and falling over said box, then mowing down a mountain of inventory due to the momentum, Raul was being looked at with a puzzled expression by the manager.
“M-M-M-Manager, t-t-this is―!”
Like this, Raul held the torn paper with shivering hands next to the manager, while he tried to eye the silver-haired boy, who was sitting on a chair with his back rounded up, to his utmost abilities.
“T-T-This r-r-r-résumé! T-T-T-That guy’s―”
He attempted to talk in some way or the other with his tongue twisted, but it didn’t work out. However, looking at the paper, the manager gave him a light smile.
“Ara, you brought Fino-chan’s résumé, right? Thank you.”
No! That’s not the point here!
Sucking in some air, Raul charged his abdominal muscles up with as much force as he could. He turned towards the carefree manager, who didn’t grasp the circumstances at all, and raised his voice in vigor, nearly sending his spit flying:
“Manager―! That guy’s a demon―! More important, the Demon King’s child――!”
At that moment, the silver-haired boy, who had heard the situation while still sitting down, made a surprised face and got up.
“Y-You bastard! How do you know that?! That was supposed to be a secret―!”
“The moment you’ve written it into a résumé, it stops being a secret!”
“But I mustn’t write lies into a résumé, so it couldn’t be helped, right?!”
“That’s right, Raul-kun. You should write your résumés with honesty. Fino-chan’s a very good child, hm?”
Raul and the silver-haired demon had lost their tempers and were glaring at each other. However, suddenly placing her hands with a *pat* on the shoulders of both of them and turning towards them, the beautiful girl with chestnut-colored hair calmed them down, expressing a very gentle smile.
“You came just at the right time, Raul-kun. This person here is Fino-chan, from today onwards you’ll be co-workers, please teach your new colleague all kinds of things, okay?”
“Well, no― Wait… Manager, didn’t you hear me―?! That guy’s…”
Raul stopped mid-sentence, suddenly cutting off his speech.
In his head, he turned over the manager’s words and the moment he realized their content, Raul’s mind drew a blank.
…A short moment later.
Raul walked side-to-side with the silver-haired demon and stared at him, while that guy was emitting a sinister atmosphere.
“Eeehm… Manager, you’re surely employing that person?”
He had asked her timidly, and while her fluffy, curly hair was rocking, the manager quickly nodded.
“Well then, I’ll head for the sales floor any time now, so please train Fino-chan, Raul-kun. Fino-chan, this person’s your senpai, our salesman Raul Chaser-kun. Ask him anything you don’t understand, okay?”
Towards the manager’s heart-felt greeting words, he just nodded in an arrogant attitude.
Turning to Raul, who still had his eyes darted on him, that silver-haired demon then declared in a terribly self-important tone:
“Well, that’s how it is. Let’s get along, Raul.”
“Thank you for your purchase―!”
The moment the customer was done paying, he vigorously dashed away from the register as if being chased down, while Raul’s farewell expression stiffened.
“Now I get it. That’s ‘working the register’, or somethin’ like that…”
Timidly turning around, Raul met the atrocious gaze of the silver-haired boy, who was observing how Raul was working the register from right behind him.
Over the parka with the attached hood, he was wearing an apron with the store’s logo. The boy bore a sharp look filled with a thirst for blood and a small notebook with a pen in his hands… If a customer was permanently watched by that kind of guy during the billing, they would usually become frightened.
Raul averted his eyes right away. The demon suddenly gasped.
“Tha― Oi, Raul! Behind you!”
Turning his head as being urged to, he saw the figure of a customer, who the demon had been pointing at, gazing at some goods.
“Wh-What’s wrong? Did the customer do something?”
Just repeating what had been said, the demon’s pale light blue eyes became big.
“The goods got his attention, and he’s wide open now, right? That’s nice, I’ll give him some personal protection. I’ll strike him down with a single blow!”
“You’re not going to strike down anyone here―!”
“Eeh, but he might be carryin’ some gold…”
“That’s not the problem! You must not strike down customers―!”
“Hohooo, so I mustn’t strike down customers…”
While the demon deliberately repeated it like a parrot, Raul had already been faltering with his words in helplessness in front of that demon, who was picking up his memo.
――Demons. Inhuman creatures, that are holding magical power which has surpassed that of humans long ago. They have no sense for morals. Neighbors of us all, who should be hated.
Certainly, because of the heroes’ great efforts, their numbers have been decreased. On top of that, they brought down someone like their leader, the Demon King, so their country’s in a disastrous state. Even if he’s the Demon King’s son, he probably can’t afford to just lie around and laze in the palace. There’s not just an off-chance that he’s broken and came to the human world to work, but I don’t that that would be too good. Even the son of the Devil King should’ve learned about this society’s severity… I guess.
Why would this damn guy come and work part-time in such a familial, puny magical shop――?!”
About that, from Raul’s usual experience, he had thought that having a two-regular-staff-members system in a store of this scale was honestly strange. But even if the demons, whose overall magical power is said to reach up to several hundred Gigabylewere repressed by force, how can hiring the dangerous legend class creature’s son, who’s supposed to reign the demons, be alright to do―?!
…Or rather, how am I supposed to pick up some sort of communication with my counterpart having such a different view of values?! Raul thought, wrecking his head in the process. I don’t mean to brag with that, but I got no socializing talent either! During that one year in Prep School I was mostly on my own! Me being in the service industry is next to a miracle―!
Shaking off that miserable feeling with all his power, Raul persuaded himself.
Whether or not he’s the Devil King’s son, I must help this guy to become a staffer. No matter how much I dislike it, no matter how much I deject it… it’s my job… Alright―!
Clearing his throat in a hypocritical manner and mobilizing all his courage and dignity there was, Raul suddenly opened his mouth:
“E-Eeehm… from what you’ve seen so far, are there any uncertain points?”
To Raul’s question, Fino, or the silver-haired boy, stared at the notebook page in his hand for a while, but before long, he suddenly pointed besides the magical register.
“You were usin’ that earlier, that strange tool over there. Look, when you were cashin’ ’em, you were holdin’ one article after another in different positions ‘n all…”
An almost surprisingly honest response. Unintentionally, Raul’s answer, being tired of all the surprises, came a tad later.
“…Yeah, I didn’t explain that, that’s a magical barcode scanner. Barcodes are attached to basically all articles in this shop in one way or the other, and with this scanner they’re being read. The price then appears on the magical display of the register. By the way, if you work the register, stuff like the article’s price, inventory count, or the amount that has been sold so far can be seen too. It’s a system that uses the latest MIT.”
“Magical Information Technology. In other words, the information network that was constructed on the this land’s ‘Magic Region’ that we’re standing on. Look, MIT revolution or so became a popular phrase not too long ago, right?”
“Hmph… Well, whatever, okay? Rather than that, I wanna operate that thing already. Hey Raul, aren’t there some fittin’ goods for that?”
Quickly brushing off Raul’s explanation and saying that in a rude tone, Fino took an extensive look around his vicinity with the barcode scanner in his hand. After hesitating for just a second, Raul strengthened his resolve and opened his mouth:
“I don’t know how this plays out for someone like the Devil King’s heir, but can’t you use some more polite language? Your way of speaking is rude towards our customers, right? …Also, I’m your senpai for the time being, right?”
He tried to warn her.
Towards Raul’s words, which were thrown at him in a bit of a strict voice, Fino made his eyes blink in surprise, returning a blank expression.
“Polite language? …What’s that?”
…Right, I should’ve seen that coming. No, wait, it’s okay. This much’s within my expectation flexibility. Pushing his hand against his forehead, Raul tried to explain it in one way or the other.
“Honorific language, or being polite, is a stiff way to speak. It puts respect into your words towards the other party, it’s how only adults talk.”
“Stiff way of… ‘Rispack’ into… How only adults talk…”
Did you get it, or not? Fino recited Raul’s words with a somewhat faithful expression, while squinting.
Breathing out a ‘yare, yare’-like sigh, Raul briefly surveyed his surroundings. Confirming that there was no customer in the vicinity of the register and leaving Fino, who in response was stretching his neck, behind like that, Raul swiftly left for the sales floor from the edge of the counter.
Taking a potion from a near shelve, Raul stepped up to the counter like a customer.
Confronting Fino who was standing on the exact other side of the register.
“…Now come and use the magical barcode scanner.”
Raul declared in a somewhat discouraged tone towards Fino, who rapidly raised his head.
“We’re doing a simulation first. I’ve shown you the pattern many times, so you should already know how it generally goes, right? I’ll mimic a customer, so you try and work the register. Also, polite language, of course, polite language. Followed by a smile.”
To Raul’s words Fino nodded in a great manner. Closing the notebook with the patterns in his hands, he quietly held his finger on the top of his lips, that instant…
――He had amazingly creeping horrors.
…Could it be that that’s supposed to be his smiling face? Speaking of the grand smile Fino expressed behind the register – how to describe it in a positive manner – it had the same appeal as that of a greatly delighted evil god towards a scapegoat, who was about to be sacrificed to him. Despite honestly flinching from that terrible aura, Raul somehow put the potion on top of the counter.
“E-Eehm, that please…”
Just then, a big laughter, which made one instinctively want to cover their ears, echoed from behind the register. Seemingly self-important, Fino had put his hands on his waist and as if looking down on Raul, whose body had reflexively frozen out of shock, raised a bombastic voice.
“How admirable of you to have struggled to my register, lowly customer! If you desire those wares, you’ll have to present me your member card well!”
“…Eehm, I don’t have one.”
“You challenge me without having a member card? Fuhaha, what a daring customer! That’s fine, it pleases me!”
“Eehm, I also want this.”
The second Raul put an additional pack of bubble gums on the counter, Fino broadly smiled with his whole face and declared in a delighted manner:
“Fuhaha, how appetizing! Even if you line up all that items, do you think I’d falter? That kind of amount will be settled in a flash! Lemme see, the overall price is… Wh-Whaaat?! Impossible―! 420 Gold?!”
“Stop! Stop! …Shouldn’t we try to calm down for a sec?”
Grabbing Fino’s arm, who was grasping the barcode scanner tightly, across the counter and declaring that, Raul looked at Fino, who was staring in puzzlement.
“Err… For now, I tried to copy the way father talked. It’s stiff, puts respect towards the other party, and only adults talk like that…”
“It’s totally different! There’s not even a bit correct! From beginning to end a complete failure―! …No, that’s right. Sorry, my explanation must’ve been off.”
While grasping his chest in order to calm down his rage, Raul made an effort and said in calm words:
“…Ehm, if I remember correctly, there’s a register manual under there somewhere. Grab it and read it. You must talk like the manual suggests without fail, I’m begging you. And then, stop that wicked smile of yours. It will unwillingly deplete the customer’s HP.”
One way or the other, while telling Fino that, Raul was shouting in his mind:
…What’s up with this mission impossible?!
“One article, that’s 1080 gold in total.”
Finishing his words, Fino tilted his head while bearing an awkward smile.
“Should I bag this for you, bastard?”
“Wrong! It’s, ‘Should I put this in a bag for you?’!”
“Eehm, here are 50 Gold as revenge!”
“What revenge?! What in the world are you planning to do with the customer―?!”
“If you don’t mind, please come to the store yesterday!”
“That’s impossible! A customer ain’t no time traveler! Or rather, usually the meaning would get reversed! You’d pick a fight―!”
“Fuu… Speaking politely’s hard, huh…”
“NOT LOSING MY TEMPER’S HAAAAAARD―!”
…Fino’s training turned out to be rather difficult.
Thoughtlessly glancing at the register counter just as he recalls yesterday’s disastrous event, Raul took a really deep breath. …Oh man.
The store’s interior was dead silent during mornings. Did no price tags fall off? Were articles on display in disorder? Raul’s manner of walking, while going around checking the sales floor, was awfully heavy, even though business hadn’t even started yet. Thinking about how he had trained him yesterday without a break, and would train this silver-haired demon today too, made him dejected enough to make him want to run away.
After all, when Raul had been done with teaching the day before, compared to the outset, Fino only had kept that awkward smile out of which that atrocious feeling had vanished to some extent… Or rather, that was probably the limit.
Bearing that terrific mental fatigue for quite a while, Raul made himself a tea, while had given up on the register coaching and bestowed the special task of checking the inventory on the silver-haired boy, who had been lying in wait for the next directions. Counting the storehouse goods and comparing that with a list was a task simple enough for even demons. …Polite speech and so on once I’ve composed myself, let’s count really carefully until then.
Raul wondered what to do. A sinister figure unexpectedly appeared from within the sales floor in the refreshing morning atmosphere.
“Hey, what the heck can I do today?”
Not even paying a little respect towards his company senpai like always, the silver-haired demon came throwing some relaxed casual talk to Raul with one hand upraised. Like that, Raul was looking at the boy with his eyes half-opened as if he had given up on various things. And after some time, Raul shifted his gaze towards the shelves on the sales ground.
“…Let’s see, what shall I get you to do with the wares today…?”
He stepped up to the magical toy shelf before his eyes. While pointing to that section, Raul said:
“The article from here is popular, so after it’s sold, it feels like there’s a hole left on the sales ground. Leaving it like that’s bad, so take out stock from the back and get it here. And please let it be what has been here before. On that occasion, tidy up the displays as well. Understood?”
The Simple Tasks Even Demons Can Do 2. Actually, the aforementioned are the retail business’ basics. That’s why this is absolutely no dodging. Permanent supervision of this guy’s training isn’t a pain in the ass at all, yep.
Towards Raul’s instructions, however, for incomprehensible reasons, Fino only frowned his eyebrows in dissatisfaction.
“Eeeh, no register practice todaay?”
“That’s no good, no good. The register’s way too early for you. Unflaggingly earn your XP with what I’ve said, level up your employee level, and then after you didn’t one-hit anyone, alright? Mainly customers.”
Despite clicking his tongue, the silver-haired demon did as he was told, reluctantly faced the shelves on the opposite side, and diligently started tidying up the wares on display. Reaching out with the arms that were covered by the long sleeves of the parka, he one-by-one corrected the direction of the price tags precisely. It was a surprisingly careful working style that didn’t match his face.
Recalling something suddenly, Raul put his hands into his apron pockets.
“Ah, that’s right, you have to wear that too.”
What Raul held out while saying that, was a small box-like item, that had two chords. Fino looked over his own shoulder and came asking seemingly curious.
“Ehm, you connect these, this is where you can hear, and…”
The moment he pushed the earphone into Fino’s ear without consent or refusal, Fino’s back stiffened in surprise. However, expecting that kind of response from the demon, Raul brought the mic near himself, which was fixed to his own collar.
“[Eeh, this is a sound cheeeeck for Finooo. Can you hear meee?]”
“―?! W-What was th―?! I heard Raul’s voice double just now…”
[Here I am! Can you hear me?]
That moment, Fino’s seemed to be even more surprised.
“That… The manager’s voice―! That was the manager’s voice―?! How―?! …She isn’t anywhere close, but―?! How’s that possible―?!”
“[Do you get it now?]”
Letting go of the mic switch in front of Fino, who surveyed the vicinity seemingly upset, Raul continued with his words just a wee bit proud:
“That’s a staff exclusive [Magical InCom]. If it’s attached, you can talk to the fellow staff everywhere and anywhere inside the store.”
“From here the voice can be heard?!”
Picking up the chord of the earphone, that was showing from his own ear, Fino shouted in excitement:
“I get it! If one has this, their strategical freedom expends extremely, right?! Cooperatin’ with the fellow staff and lurin’ customers into the store… Flankin’ ’em would be so easy…”
“No flanking anyone―!”
“Yeah, got it. No strikin’ down customers, right?”
Nonchalantly declaring that, the demon’s improper thought circuit was as powerful as ever.
“But this is really handy, right? If my father had known these, he’d probably wanted ’em bad―”
“…No, InCom in the devil king’s stronghold is unthinkable…”
…At that moment, the somewhat surreal imagination of the devil king and the demons holding contact via InCom crossed his mind, and Raul unintentionally shook his head.
“Listen, at times where you’re troubled or asked about something by a customer, press this mic switch and call for assistance. After that, the manager or I will probably give you instructions, so properly listen to what’s being said.”
“[Yeah, roger that!]”
“Don’t answer every single bit over the InCom!”
[Fufu, seems like Fino-chan understood how to use the InCom.]
Like that, the manager’s soothing voice leapt likewise into Raul’s and Fino’s ears.
[Raul-kun, Fino-chan, could you open the store soonish?]
“[Ah, yes, I’m looking forward to working with you!]”
Replying to the manager’s InCom, Raul, who attempted to return to the counter once more, looked at Fino in front of the shelves.
“Or wait… Fino! I think you got it by now, but you may absolutely not harm the customers, alright?! Also, give ’em the standard smile, smile!”
Reminded by Raul, Fino nodded while grabbing a box of Magical Trumps and resuming the aforementioned task.
…Seriously, what kind of story twist is this?
It’s a normal weekday. And even though it’s still in the morning, immediately after Magical Shop ・Rion’s opening, it’s totally busy!
Even while I speak, new customers keep coming in.
If customers can’t come during a holiday, even the day after, when they come all at once, isn’t anything like this. I really don’t get how customers think!
[Raul, I’m leaving the register for a biiit!]
Finishing the consulting on the magical stationery sales ground and turning around, Raul saw some articles in the corner of his eye, which reflected the figure of a customer who went towards the register.
Getting flustered, Raul rushed back to the counter. He took position behind the magical register and quickly put on his business smile.
“Welcome, thank you for your business!”
Like that, Raul made haste cashing the customer with his experienced hands. However…
Almost as if arranged, one of the customers, who was gazing at the dispersed wares inside the shop, and another one started gathering at the register.
As soon as he was done with the ones at the register, two more appeared out of nowhere. And when he finished those, new customers kept showing up… In the blink of an eye, a line of customers that were waiting for their turn had taken form.
[Please excuse meee, someone please help me with the registeeer!]
He took a short pause from working the register and used it to transmit that over the InCom. However, there was no reply.
…Well, can’t be helped. The staff that had reported in for work today was the same as yesterday. The manager, Raul, and the backburner Fino – only three people. Raul guessed that judging by the lack of reply, the manager surely was in the middle of consulting with a customer or something,.
In other words, I have no choice but to hang in there with full speed!
Before he’d make the line grow longer in his mind by raising his head all the time, Raul steeled his resolve to the max.
“I’m truly sorry for making you wait. Do you have a member ca―”
While saying that, he reached his hand into the customer’s basket – that moment.
Suddenly a shadow came sliding next to Raul behind the register.
“Waiting customers, please come to this register!”
Recognizing something silver that was fleetingly reflected in the corner of his eye, Raul realized that that wasn’t the chestnut-colored hair of the beautiful manager he had been hoping for. The new prodigy part-timer, who had shown a legend class register simulation yesterday, the silver-haired demon, Fino the Great, made his magnificent entry.
…Or more like wait! Why the heck did he come?!
Towards the uninvited being’s appearance, Raul’s hands trembled in despair as he worked the register.
Don’t. But it was too late. Fino had the customers coming to the register that he had opened and Raul also had to tend to the customers in front of him right now. It was impossible to plunder the barcode scanner from Fino and do something like billing two customers at the same time.
In his anxiety, Raul felt like his heart was being crushed. He dedicated himself to praying everything he knew to every god he could think of while he kept scanning articles. Aaah, please, don’t let a fatal trap occur out of somewhere…!
――From beside of Raul an awfully bright voice could be heard like that.
“Thank you for your business! Do you have a member card?”
“Those are three items, it’s 480 Gold in total.”
“You’ve given me 5000 Gold.”
“Here, you’ll get 4520 Gold back. Thank you very much!”
“Oi, still there?”
“Eh, ah… Y-Y-Y-Y-Yes――! I’m back―!”
Being urged by the customers voice, the completely dumbfounded Raul got surprised and came back to his senses. …No, but… Why?!
Bowing his head quickly up and down to apologize to the customer and giving a sidelong glance towards Fino, who was seeing his customer off, Raul blinked his eyes with a face that seemingly said, ‘I can’t believe it!’.
――Why’s this damn guy suddenly able to work the register?!
“One… Two items…”
As if yesterday’s tragedy was an act. Even though his barcode scanner handling is awkward, the style’s acceptable for now, and most importantly he uses those precise words. He gets passing marks as a newcomer for his good performance, and to be honest, I don’t have any real complaints.
“Excuse me, a receipt please.”
The next moment, Raul became agitated once more due to the words of the customer that could be heard from Fino’s counter.
Under no circumstances can Fino know how to write a receipt. To demons that don’t have a monetary economy, the concept of receipts is probably nonexistent. Yesterday, he followed the basic stuff to the best of his abilities, but he hasn’t struggled up to this thing yet at all.
Feeling as if being at his wits’ end for a short while, then making his brain go full-throttle, Raul opened his mouth instantly:
“Fino! I’ll do that, so you go here inste―…”
However, when Raul raised his voice, Fino had already nodded in a great manner.
“Would you please tell me your name?”
Next to the dumbfounded Raul, Fino took out a receipt form from the drawer under his register. Then he took out a pen from the pen stand beside the register and interviewed the customer in a calming voice.
“…Thank you for your purchaaase!”
…At last, the waiting queue dissolved.
Seeing the customer off with a slight nod, Raul immediately rushed over to Fino. He timidly looked at Fino’s skills while gulping.
“But what shall we do about the proviso?”
“Ah, it’s alright somehow.”
“Understood. Well then, it will be included in the dispatch note.”
While replying, Fino fluently run the pen over the receipt.
What kind of trick is this? She isn’t even faltering a bit, and… Goddammit. Especially surprising Fino’s handwriting was much prettier than Raul’s.
Raul was staring blankly and in front of the register new customers kept appearing.
“Ah, welcome! I’ll receive your order here!”
Opening the neighboring register right away, while reading a barcode that had come off, Raul was, however, still confused.
How did it turn out like this? This Fino’s definitely strange―! Or is it perhaps that? Was he kidnapped by a mysterious organization and being remodelled by force? Into some flawless register warrior? …No, who’d profit from that―?!
…With more than shaking hands, Raul half-seriously suspected something of this kind.
“Thank you for your business!”
“Thank you for your busineeess! Hey, Fino, you―!”
――Both of them finished their cashing almost simultaneously.
The second the customers were seen off from the register, Raul drew closer to the side of the silver-haired demon.
“You― Why can you the register― No, rather than that, why are you able to write receipts―?! I still haven’t taught you things up til this point, right―?!”
“Eh… But I saw Raul doin’ it a few times yesterday, it’s also written in the manual…”
“Wait, written in the manual…?”
“I’ve memorized it.”
Then, in front of blankly staring and gaping Raul, Fino indifferently continued with his words while containing a composed expression:
“A register’s standard complaint, receipts, or member card applications, I’ve read out loud what I had noted in the notebook, and… simulated it while I checked up on the inventory, and so I eventually got it right after spendin’ a night on it.”
“…Wait, a night? You couldn’t possibly have been in the store all night―?!”
In front of the indifferent looking Fino, Raul unintentionally pushed his hand against his forehead.
“What’s up with that?! You’re a part-timer, right?! Once you did your part, you hurry home! …Or rather, why did you go that far―?!”
However… Just then Fino starred with his big eyes in wonder.
“Eh, but… If I don’t give it my all, I’d cause trouble for Raul, right?”
――Fino’s expression was trying to say, ‘Why are you asking something so obvious?’. The silver-haired demon stared at Raul, while he made his light-blue eyes blink in surprise.
“I also don’t have somethin’ like a home. I’m cleanin’, givin’ it my all, and so on, so I’m allowed live here, or so the manager asked me to. I’m fine with sleepin’ on the floor or somethin’ like that, and I wanted to get to know the store better. That’s why, when I was told to go home, where should I’ve gone to, there’s nowhere… Ah―”
“Raul, a customer came.”, while muttering that, as soon as he raised his head, Fino smoothly opened the register in front of Raul, who was at a complete loss for words and stood stock still.
“Welcome, thank you for your business―!”
Still smiling a bit awkward and yet expressing it to the best of his abilities. The silver-haired demon carefully read the barcodes of the articles in the basket, which he had lined up one by one on the counter.
――If one looked really carefully, his eyes seemed somewhat inflamed, and slight shadows floated over the skin of his eyes… Despite that, Fino didn’t let his smile disappear.
“Thank you for your business―! Please shop with us again―!”
While gazing at Fino like that, Raul felt something deep inside his chest, an indescribable feeling, that was welling up inside of him.
Fino. Your birth aside, I don’t know if you’re bound to take things away just ’cause you’re a demon, or the Devil King’s heir. You’re a guy with a bad attitude, big mouth, and no common sense, but…
…You’re probably a really honest, diligent, and good fellow.
Geez., Raul unwillingly laughed at himself.
The excitement when he had finally received an unofficial job offer at the end of the long and painful job hunting. Before he knew it, he had completely forgotten about it. In Raul’s eyes, who had developed a half-assed attitude towards work, the figure of Fino, who kept trying his hardest, seemed terribly radiant… Haha, I’m so pitiable. Raul thought. I have to follow this guy’s example…
I must. ――Suddenly.
The smashing noise that echoed nearby forcibly blew away Raul’s impression.
Jumping into the Raul’s sight, who reflexively turned his head, came… a tragedy.
The fragments of the colored glass that freely scattered among the counter, spread up to under Raul’s feet. The sentimental chemical scent of a potion hung in the air. And chasing after the potion that had slipped out of his own hands, the silver-haired Fino fell losing his balance… As if sinking to the floor, the demon’s body tumbling down like that.
The customers were dumbfounded and speechless from the sudden unconsciousness of the salesperson, who had been working the register until just now. Raul also couldn’t grasp the situation for a moment, as one might expect. Right after he came to his senses, he got flustered and rushed over to Fino.
Leaning over Fino, who had collapsed on the floor, Raul tried to extend his hand to that petite body of Fino. Raul gulped in worry. Impossible… Could he be…
“Wait, don’t just sleep―!”
――The apron dyed white by the potion, Fino moved his mouth mumbling while still flattened on the narrow counter floor.
No, well, somehow or other, I had a hunch that it’d be like this… or wait.
“You… Even though you had work the day after, you carelessly pull an all-nighter! Working to that extent isn’t something admirable at all, you know! Managing your physical condition is also part of your job! Oi, c’mon, wake up! Wake up, already―! Damn it, he’s not waking uuuuup――!”
“Ehm, excuse me, is that person alright…?”
Turning towards the customer, who had raised an awfully worried voice, Raul tried to express a stiff smile to cover up the situation.
“Ah, alright, he’s alright, totally fine! For this idiot’s lineage it’s typical to be a person of endboss level… Or rather, sorry, Ms. customer, we must’ve surprised you. I’ll go and fetch you a new potion right away―!”
“Err, wait a―”
A voice was directed towards Raul from a different direction, while he tried to run to the sales floor to get another potion.
Raul turned his head in alert and in front of the neighboring register, where the inactive barcodes were being put, was someone with a face that he remembered from somewhere.
After a short pause, it dawned on Raul. If he remembered correctly, it was the customer that Fino had handed out a receipt to earlier.
“The receipt I got doesn’t list the price…”
…To what the customer was pointing out, Raul unintentionally turned his head towards the silver head, which was lying at Raul’s feet and almost succumbed to the impulse to send that head flying.
This idiot! Big demonic idiot―! You can’t skip that, right?! That’s the most important part, right?! Not writing that down renders the receipt itself worthless to begin with, riiiiiight―?!
“I-I’m sorry! Please wait a moment, okay? Eeehm―…”
While apologizing to the customer with all his might, the sixth sense of Raul, which a well-trained employee has, the Customer Radar, informed him now again that new customers were approaching the counter.
By moving his eyes only, he confirmed with a fleeting glance: One, two… five customers are waiting?
Following the opening of the store, the second customer peak had arrived.
He kept surveying the sales ground. However, Raul was pushed off to the depths of despair like that.
His last ray of hope, the manager, was in the middle of advising an old lady with naturally curly hair in the magical audio corner. That counsel is likely to get quite drawn-out… In other words, I can’t expect any assistance.
――That moment, Raul steeled his resolve.
Tightly grabbing the new potion and returning to the register counter, sliding on the wet floor with his feet, while also violently stumbling over the obstacle, that had once been an employee, finally arriving behind the register in one way or the other, Raul began working it with great speed.
“I’m here, I’m terribly sorry for making you wait, I will tend to you in turns―! Thank you for waiting so long, that’s 360 Gold, sorry for troubling you―! Yes, I am terribly sorry, I’m back, let me correct that, eeehm, receipt, receipt…! I am terribly sorry for making you wait, thank you for your business! Now, sorry for making you wait so long! The member card gets one, two items added to…”
While handling the vigorous waves of customers that were surging towards the register counter, Raul shifted a fleeting glimpse towards his feet in a brief moment.
Fino, who was sinking into that potion puddle, seemed to be feeling good and wore an expression so careless that it almost made Raul angry, and―― for some reason, Fino had a somewhat happy smile.
…I somehow get the feeling that I want to break out in tears right now.
Raul instinctively shouted in his heart with all his strength:
WHO’D FOLLOW SUCH A GUY’S EXAMPLE?! SOMEONE LIKE YOU SHOULD GO AND GET SEALED UP ALREADY―!
“Thank you for your business―”
…That long and longer battle surely had appeared to last for eternity.
Finally seeing off the last customer, Raul, with a completely exhausted expression, looked down to the person at his feet.
The silver-haired demon was covered in potion and breathed like a carefree sleeper.Geez, I don’t wanna hear ‘I’d cause trouble for you’ from you again…
However, it was impossible to leave him alone like this. First and foremost, even under normal circumstances, if someone fell over within this narrow corridor, they couldn’t be helped but be an obstacle.
Coming near the corner by almost tiptoeing over the bottle fragments, that were making *crackcrack* noises, Raul reluctantly kneed on the floor.
“Oi, wake up…”
Raul’s movements stopped like that as he began to speak.
…Unintentionally, he started to want to extend his hand to this tender looking face.
Eyelashes so long that he was almost startled were secretly hidden under the disordered silver hair, sticking out of the parka’s collar was a slender nape that set off a bewitching sex appeal… Wait!
Reflexively, Raul shook his head in a grand manner.
Geez, I’m almost having delusions. That are certainly well-featured looks, and if he sleeps like this, then there’s no maliciousness to be seen, but it’s not like he’s be to my liking…
“―Get up already!”
Glossing over his agitation, he tried to violently shake Fino by his shoulders. However, there was no sign of waking up. Raul sighed in front of the comfortably tossing and turning demon.
…You’ll catch a cold like that. While looking at Fino’s clothes, which were wet from the potion, Raul scratched his head. Well, I don’t know whether or not demons can actually catch a cold, but we can’t let you work dressed like that at least.
“Geez, can’t be helped.”
Getting up while clicking his tongue, and also eyeing the sales ground, Raul looked into the shelf behind the counter. If I remember correctly, in here… Ah, there it is.
Raul took out a t-shirt with a maker logo on it, a remnant of some promotional articles that had been lying there for a long time, and pulled up the demon’s petite body from the potion puddle.
Leaning Fino’s upper body against the wall and unfastening the strings of the apron, Raul innocently dragged down the zipper of the parka, which that had been dyed by the potion.
Something stuck out from the parka’s gap. White skin consisting of only gentle curves, therein dwelled an extraordinary presence of two firm puffs.
Almost simultaneous with Raul’s gulp, Fino raised an extremely sleepy voice and opened his big eyes with a snap.
Their eyes met at point-blank.
…And before long.
Fino blinked his eyes due to his focus not being adjusted and quickly followed Raul’s gaze to the Raul’s hand that was still being extended towards him.
After that, he absentmindedly looked down on himself.
Shaking off Raul’s hand with an absurd force, Fino all of a sudden raised his body. In a hurry, he tightly grabbed the fringe of his parka. The second he had joined the aforementioned together and hugged himself, he glared at raul, who tried his best to keep his eyes upturned.
“S-S-S-StrippinÄ me in this kind of place, a-a-a-are you a pervert―?! ARE YOU A PERVEEEEEERT―――?!
“E-Even my father hasn’t seen them―――!”
He finally recovered from drawing a blank. Once he realized that something, he shouted:
“YOU’RE A GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL―――?!”
“What are you saying?! I properly wrote it into my résumé, right―?!”
“N-No, I didn’t read it up to the gender field, or rather, EEEEEEEEEEEEH?!”
“…………What were your schemin’?”
Still embracing her body tightly as if protecting herself, Fino spitefully looked up at Raul.
Faint tears floated in those big and beautiful aqua-blue eyes, Raul was motionless.
…How should I put it, that still looks awfully cute. Still being embarrassed, Raul shook his head so hard that it almost came off and then tried to deny:
“N-No, that’s―! I just thought, you’d catch a cold like this―!”
“Right―! That, the wet clothes, changing them… w-with this―!
Flustered surveying the vicinity and grabbing the t-shirt with the speed of light, which was still where he had dropped it, Raul held it out towards Fino’s direction.
……After a short pause.
“Oh, it’s just that”, she muttered and suddenly the alertness disappeared from Fino’s eyes. Her stiff expression loosened and while the silver-haired girl looked up to Raul, she opened her mouth:
“Raul, thank you.”
“――You’re a good guy, aren’t you?”
And smiled sweetly.
The innocent expression of this girl, who accepted the t-shirt from Raul’s hands – how to say it.
…It isn’t fair, or so Raul thought.
‘Indifferent’: The word used here can also mean “gender neutral”.
‘Gigabyle’: It’s some made-up word here, I suppose. I’m far too lazy to look through the anime and whatnot to check up on it. So if anyone knows how it should be translated, let me know.
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