My next destination was the third of the five special buildings within my town: the store. It was placed in a spot that was easy to take notice of as soon as one entered the city.
It was a big shop that dealt with the selling of foodstuff and also the weapons made by the dwarves.
The foodstuff available were the raw apples; the alcohol made by Ancient Elf; the long-lasting, hard-baked, and salt-seasoned bread; water; and the dried meat bought from the human city. Other than the apples, each one was necessary in dungeon exploration. I had every reason to believe that each item would be popular since our city was situated right in the middle of the [Time] Demon Lord’s dungeon and the gigantic commercial city of Eclaba.
Once we’ve gained more than enough immigrants and merchants, we could feature a wider array of products but for now, so as to not pressure ourselves with the sales, we opted to limit our products to the necessities.
Apart from selling those items, we would also offer the service to repair equipment. Though I guess this task would primarily go to the Dwarf Smiths.
“Master, you came.”
Ancient Elf, carrying a barrel full of apples, greeted me so.
“Yeah, we’re finally opening tomorrow so I wanted to see how the store’s progressing.”
“The preparations are all in order.”
When she put the barrel down to ground, I heard the sound of water.
“What is that barrel?”
“I’m pickling the apples in the water of life I made. While the apples are submerged in the water, it will not go bad. Even if an apple is dipped in the water just once, it will still take a very long time for it to decay, all while retaining its deliciousness. This water will also increase the apples’ effects.”
“……keep it moderate, okay?.”
“Yes, of course!”
Even a simple apple could turn into an imbalanced item as long as my Ancient Elf was involved.
The words water of life came up casually but for the humans, they would undoubtedly regard it as a big deal if they heard it.
“How about Kuina and her group?”
“They’re in the interior of the store, practicing. The lovely salesgirls and their excited elder sister…”
Ancient Elf who was fond of cute things said so as she became mesmerized.
“Is that so? That makes me feel uneasy; let’s go take a look.”
Ancient Elf and I went to the inside of the store.
We went in and found Kuina and the Mythological Foxes.
“Now then, use [Transform]!”
Kuina ordered so to her subordinates, the Mythological Foxes.
The fox-girls enhanced their magic power and clasped their hands together. They then shone with light. In the next moment, their fox ears and tails vanished which made them appear exactly like humans.
No matter how much the humans of this world were accustomed to demihumans, it was still better for the salesperson to be of the same race as them. It was especially more important if they were ones to call in the customers. Therefore, the beautiful Mythological Foxes who could use [Transform] to hide their ears and tails were perfect for the job.
“Ah, Oto-san, look, look! It’s so cute!”
Kuina puffed her chest with pride. They surely were cute.
They wore a shopkeeper’s clothes designed by Elder Dwarf to have lovely fluttering frills. The eyes of the person beside me, Ancient Elf, sparkled as she looked at the Mythological Foxes. It was, without doubt, within her preferences.
……The Mythological Foxes weren’t the only ones to wear the clothes, Kuina wore them too.
However, Kuina wore it without transforming, keeping her fox ears and tail. I guessed it was probably intentional since there was a hole through which her tail passed.
“You’re not going to transform?”
“Kuina’s job, no, Kuina’s highest priority is to safeguard the city. So I can’t attend to the store.”
Well, she was right.
She was after all this city’s strongest and therefore could not spare the time to be a salesgirl.
“You’ll be our last line of defense. We’re counting on you.”
I approached her and brushed her head.
As I did so, I heard footsteps.
“The additional bread are done so I’ve come to deliver it. Oh, you’re here, my lord.”
The one who came was Wight.
On the back of the Golems were boxes filled with bread.
In charge of baking the bread which shall be one of our products were the Skeletons led by Wight.
As one would expect, unlike the Golems, it was impossible for the Skeletons to wander about in the city and therefore had no other way to be helpful to the city when there were no battle happening other than to diligently bake bread and then have the Golems deliver it.
The scene of a group of Skeletons making bread was so boundlessly surreal, it simply could not be shown to the humans.
“Thanks for your work. Can I have one?”
“Yes, certainly. Please enjoy a bread we, the Undead army, put our all into making.”
The bread made by a Skeleton. If I imagined it normally, it could only turn out to be bad but…
The taste of the hard baked bread sprinkled with a lot of salt to preserve it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t revolutionary but not awful either. It was a normal bread. And if it was so, it could be one of our products.
“Yeah, this can sell well.”
“We are unable to taste so we simply focused on the quantity, my lord.”
As long as the work involved was simple, there probably was no other superior to the Skeleton army led by Wight. They were like machines, repeating the predetermined movements accurately and indifferently.
“Wight, once the humans come,”
“I understand, my lord. It would be better for us to not wander above the ground. Our bodies are not normal, to say the least, and we would only become a hindrance to the city my lord is making.”
Wight anticipated my thoughts and said so.
His concerns were indeed valid. It was no surprise that, unlike the demihumans and the Golems, the Undead were regarded as an enemy of human kind. Normally, it would be absolutely impossible for them to show themselves without incident. However, this time was an exception and so, I smiled.
“What are you talking about? You’re my staff officer. I’ll be troubled if you don’t stay and help.”
“…that makes me happy but this body, my lord,”
“That’s why I had this prepared.”
I placed the mask on his face.
“This is a beguiling mask I had Elder Dwarf make. It has [Beguile] Enchant magic applied to it. As long as you wear this, you will have the appearance of a human. But [Beguile]’s effects are limited so you will have to wear your robe over your body, some long pants, and gloves.”
Upon hearing my words, Wight trembled with emotions.
He then spoke, still trembling.
“My lord, to make something like this for me. Even for the supreme dwarf, Elder Dwarf-sama, such an item, it couldn’t have been simple to make.”
“There’s no way I can neglect a good performing subordinate such as you. I had Elder Dwarf do the impossible and so, I’m expecting much from you, Wight.”
His quick wit, vast knowledge, and ability to perceive the subtleties of a person’s emotions were essential to the operation of this city.
“Yes, I am at your command, my lord.”
He then knelt immediately. I would be relying much on his abilities.
And like that, I left soon after.
Afterwards, I went to the fourth special building: the inn.
Built under the assumption that it would accommodate as much as a hundred, it had a considerably high number of rooms, some of which were even large enough to accommodate groups of people. There were a large amount of blankets prepared too.
Actually, as I was in the inn, all I thought about was the services to be offered to those staying the night. And so far, I had only included the blanket. Multiple blankets were placed in each room and was to be used freely by the patrons.
The private rooms were set to be expensive while the shared large rooms were set to be cheap. Patrons could use the water wells along with the public bathhouse. Our inn wouldn’t serve any food so if they wanted to eat something, they could simply buy whatever it is they want to eat in the store. It was pretty much a self-service inn.
“As I thought, we’re really short on hands… I should actively hire human help.”
Shopkeepers, inn receptionists, advertisers, and bathhouse and inn cleaners.
These jobs could be easily filled up if we didn’t mind the quality of the employees. Perhaps even have some broke adventurers do some part-time work. Funds weren’t an issue either due to the silver coins that Elder Dwarf could make just like those used in the commercial city.
There was no reason at all to let my monsters do these jobs forever.
“Ideally though, I want some pros. It’s hard to have no connections at times like this.”
If only we could have good and skilled merchants we could entrust even the management of the inn and store to and maybe even get them to open up store branches of their own in this city, everything would be fine. This city having more fascinating things that would serve to attract humans in was far more important my own profits.
Deciding how city would develop would be an issue in the future but for now, even if it only had a facility that would be able to accommodate humans, I would consider it a success already.
I then went to the fifth and last special building of this city: the public bathhouse built on the hot spring. The male bath and female bath were also finished without incident. Hopefully, these would contribute to the satisfaction of the people staying at the inn as well as the sanitation of the city.
We also constructed a hidden and special bath for our use only.
With this, my inspection of all the city was complete.
From tomorrow onward, we would be able to invite the humans into our city.
The early morning of the following day, I gathered all of my monsters in the city plaza, Skeletons included.
“My beloved followers, I thank you for your hard work. Our dungeon, no… Our city has finally come into being. There are still many things to do but at least now, we are finally able to welcome the humans to come into our city.”
The infrastructures were in place and the food and equipment which were to be our products were fully prepared. We also had an inn and pretty much a recreational facility.
“Today is the day we welcome the humans as well as the day we finally get to consume their emotions. Moreover, this day would mark the true start of our city management.”
Nothing is perfect from the get go but this would nevertheless allow us to advance forward.
“There may be some of you who think that instead of doing these dull things, we will be better off eating the emotions of the humans as we murder them. I can understand these sentiments but know that such methods are only for the short-term. We could only have the strongest dungeon by building a city where hundreds, thousands… no, tens of thousands of humans could laugh together. And I promise you that we can be the strongest dungeon.”
Compared to the dungeons of the other Demon Lords, ours would earn us more DP and allow us to eat a lot more emotions.
“Not to mention, this way is more enjoyable. If we run a proper dungeon, we will trick and kill the humans but we could also get killed by them. I will also have to use you, the monsters, as bait to lure in the humans. It might be naïve of me but I don’t want to lose any of you. Each of you is dear to me… Therefore, please lend me your powers to achieve my dream. No, give it to me. This is my command as your Demon Lord!”
As they heard my words, each of them expressed their resolve and immediately kneeled.
“Now then, everyone, let us open the gates of our city of hopes and smiles. Let us open our Avalon! Now, everyone, to your posts!”
Right after my shout, each tended to their duties.
First was to invite the humans and the rest would follow.