“Wow, now this is what you call a candy store…”
I never expected there to be so many varieties of candy in the present era. The last time I saw candy, it was a ball of sugar wrapped in a small cloth pouch with a childish embroidery pattern on it. On the counter were meticulously made candy. Judging from the transparent amber colour, it must’ve been made from honey. The candies also came in all sorts of different shapes.
The children gathered around outside and looked over. Lots of adults were also selecting candy for their children. Ordinary candy from the modern day was considered a luxury good here. Rosvenor Empire didn’t seem to have an area that manufactured candy, which was why the candy available was imported from across the ocean. Though the only port was under the empire’s control, thereby lowering the prices of candy, it still wasn’t cheap enough for commoners to afford as a “normal” commodity.
“Nier, which one do you want?” I asked as I scrutinised the candies.
Slightly perplexed as Nier didn’t respond, I turned around to look at her. To my surprise, she was standing up with her back erect and arms folded as she stared at the door. I suddenly remembered that she was my bodyguard while we were out. Normally, a master wouldn’t discuss what was desired with his bodyguard. Hence, I had to make the call on my own.
I filled the bag with a few varieties before handing it to the owner. The owner took the bag with a smile: “What are you purchasing so much candy for? Did you want to have an outdoor meal with your bodyguard? You sure have a great relationship, huh? I have never seen that uniform before, though. Is that… the Valkyries? Oh, it’s not. That is not how the Valkyries’ uniform looks.”
“Uhh… She’s not a Valkyrie. I, myself, designed the uniform. Though she is a bodyguard, that was in the past. She’s now my wife, but she really likes my clothes.”
I smiled. I grabbed Nier’s cloak and tugged it. Hesitantly, she shyly leaned onto me and forced a smile. Nier still wasn’t use to smiling to those she wasn’t acquainted with.
After neatly packing my order, the owner enviously praised, “So, you are a tailor? For you to be able to earn so much as a tailor goes to show that you are masterful at your craft.”
Recalling the flag hung at the door, I smiled: “It is all thanks to the holy hoary.”
The owner nodded joyously: “Yes, yes, it is our faith that has given us everything; however, the people on the other side of the street are not so lucky. They are always talking about things that are different to me. I do not know when they came here to us. They are nothing but heretics. In short, I will not sell anything to them!”
I raised the corner of my lips subtly: “How are you sure that I’m not a heretic?”
The owner replied without any misgivings: “Because you do not appear to be one. I have a keen eye for people. One glance and I can tell that you are not a heretic.”
“Do all other owners on this street refuse to sell things to heretics?”
“Oh, no, that is not a fixed rule. It is merely my own decision. After all, our family believes in the church, while those people are telling a complete different story to us. Further, they keep on dumping rubbish by our door. I strongly dislike those heretics; they have ruined this street’s atmosphere. That is why I refuse to sell things to them.”
I then led Nier out of the store. Nier shyly followed behind me. She reminded, “Your Majesty, it’s best that you don’t do that next time; it distracts me. I am your bodyguard at the moment. I can’t allow mishap to befall you.”
“It doesn’t look as though this street is dangerous. The merchants aren’t united. Merchants value profit, but surely they value their lives, as well. As long as they continue to do business here, there is no issue or conflict on the street. This particular merchant refused to sell his stuff due to his own personal reasons, and he adheres to his own principle. Basically, it’s just him acting on his personal attitude. It seems the two churches haven’t had any conflict as a result of the assassination. They should be at peace as per usual.”
“I would argue that being so normal makes it very abnormal.”
I couldn’t argue with that.
I stopped at a tailor with the water droplet displayed. The tailor made the clothing and exported material. I planned to buy some good material for our children. The middle-aged man showed us a polite smile when he saw us enter: “Hello, may I ask what you are looking for? Did you want some material for summer?”
“Mm, I guess so. What materials do you have?”
“That will depend on your budget. As long as your budget allows, I can even get the material Her Majesty uses.”
He wasn’t exaggerating, since Mommy Elizabeth wore that military uniform of hers most of the time. Well, her military uniform was actually an ordinary military uniform because she was fond of the military uniform from back then. The current version had been altered. In order to ensure that Mom’s clothing was the same as before, the tailor used the same type of material.
I checked my wallet then inquired, “I have two gold empire coins. What can you offer me with that?”
“Two gold empire coins? That is a lot… I can provide you with… this…”
“No, I am not looking for quality but quantity. The more the better.”
My request was slightly surprising to the owner. He nodded and then went to find some material, nonetheless. Unfortunately, Nier and I didn’t know how to tell if a certain material was good quality or not. We, consequently, had to take whatever he gave us.
I accepted what the owner handed us then asked, “By the way, your store belongs to the new church, correct? Do people from the old church give you grief around here while you run your business on this street?”
The owner stopped to think then shook his head: “No, it is fine. I have operated this store of mine for over a decade, and nothing has ever happened. Regardless of what faction or belief one may have, clothing remains a necessity. They need money to shop. We are not bandits or bullies. In business, money is all that matters. I do not concern myself with the other matters. Recently, umm, all I can say that things have suddenly become strict. Still, all is good. Nothing will happen. However, Mister, did you want to choose clothing for your bodyguard?”
My hand stopped on the female clothing… I forgot that Nier was my bodyguard, again…
I silently bewailed, “I guess… I’ll need to explain it all, again…”