While there were places that were lots of fun at the imperial capital, there weren’t many places that were suitable for children to play. Leah had yet to make any friends in the imperial capital. Nevertheless, she didn’t care if she did or didn’t. Owing to her succubus nature, she had no interest in relationships with human children. That wasn’t to mention that girls from noble families rarely left the house. As such, the only place I could take her and Veirya was the streets near the imperial palace.
The shops on the streets were the empire’s best shops as they were most prosperous shops at the imperial capital. I mean, you’d expect that if they were allowed to open near the vicinity of the imperial palace, right?
I questioned, “Leah, do you have anything you want?”
“Leah is fine with anything. Leah just wants to have Papa with Leah,” replied Leah, with a smile.
Veirya looked back and forth on the street: “A new shop. Opened here recently. Do you want to check. It out?”
Curious, I asked, “What do they sell?”
Yes, I was the minister of business, but I genuinely didn’t know what new shops opened at the imperial capital.
“They sell. General items. They have everything. Lots. Of tasty food.”
The store was basically the same as others around. At present, people didn’t name their shops. Lots of stores just put up signs with drawings or lettering to inform people of what they sold. This particular store drew a can and had the text “medicine store”. Apparently, medicine stores could legally be considered general stores in this era.
Because of regulations businessmen set in place, you could only sell things in your line of business. Albert’s family, for example, sold ceramics exclusively. The aim of the stipulation was to prevent any other from growing too large that they monopolised multiple markets. That was why people basically gave up on coal mines after Edward. With that said, lots of people were uncomfortable about it for they had to run around to different places if they wanted to buy things from different categories – inconvenience.
There was no way around the inconvenience as businessmen never cared about customers. They do their selling, and that was all that mattered. At the end of the day, it was a market for sellers, not buyers. Buyers had to follow the will of sellers.
Medicine stores were different, though. Lots of things could fit under their banner, such as honey, salted, pickled or marinated foods. They weren’t considered foods and, consequently, couldn’t be sold in food stores. Medicine stores, on the other hand, could sell honey or other strange flavourings that had healing or restorative properties, newer and unknown things before their purpose was defined, particularly because people would claim they were beneficial for people.
Leah happily eyed the store, eager to explore their delicacies. The interior looked quite nice. The shopkeeper sitting behind the counter quickly got up upon seeing us enter. With a smile, he inquired, “Hello. Is there something you are looking for in particular?’
Leah pointed at a jar on the counter. The shopkeeper quickly came over to take the jar down. With a smile, he conveyed, “Children do like this sort of candy, after all. It used to be very expensive before because only nobles were able to afford it. We do not have anyone who grows sugar. It is not an issue of nobody growing sugarcane but that we cannot nurture them, which is why we have to import them for a hefty price. Fortunately, things have gradually improved. I heard you can plant crops for sugar at the colony in the South, so the price should reduce a little.”
“Yeah…?” I pinched my chin as I gazed at the jar.
Leah quickly grabbed a square block from inside. She then looked to a jar with honey inside. I suppose she loved sweets as human children did. My attention wasn’t on that, however.
If the shopkeeper told the truth, then the colony would be alluring to businessmen. Nobody was doing business there yet. In other words, whoever got approval first would be have the best-earning business there. Indeed, that would make it attention-worthy to nobles who had their hopes on businesses…
I abruptly felt something smash into my waist. It was a hard smash. A violent smash. I even felt winded. I nearly ended up crashing into a cupboard had Veirya not caught me in time.
I turned my head, albeit with extreme difficulty, and saw Veirya’s angry look. Oh, she was very angry. “What are you. Thinking about now? You’re here. With Leah and I. Yet still thinking. About something else. Why. Are you still. Distracted? You promised. Not to be. Distracted again.”
I could still feel my abdomen aching. Veirya substantially reduced her power when she punched me out of consideration of my weakness. Had she not, I’d be dead. I held onto my belly and struggled to utter, “Sorry! Sorry!”
Veirya snorted and then turned back to Leah. Leah carried a stack of things children liked to the checkout. Veirya went over and said something. I eventually managed to straighten up but still felt winded.
Veirya was right; I couldn’t continue being distracted. The last time I was so focused on the mine, I almost ended up bankrupt. I told myself, “I must get used to a peaceful life, and stop thinking about things that I shouldn’t. I must stop.” I inhaled deeply, internally I reminding myself again that the colony had nothing to do with me and that I wouldn’t go there; however, it bothered me as to why I couldn’t quit thinking about it. I smiled and went over to the two to pay.
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