I lifted Auxo up in my arms and carried her to my room.
Since there was a distance to the annex where the maids slept and ate, I carried her to my room for the time being.
After laying her down on the bed, Janus, who came along, spoke to me from behind.
“I wonder if it’s too much of a shock for a young girl”
“Janus, do you know where that guy is?”
“What are you planning to do?”
“Meet him, and take Auxo’s younger sister back”
“Hmm, well, I guess it wouldn’t be an issue if you could buy her before she was sold,” Janus said and nodded his head.
I came to the store that Janus had told me about.
The store, if you would, had a bit of questionable “store front.”
It was a store that looked like a hiding place, standing secretly in the depths of a complicated alleyway.
There were no signboards, no shop windows, nothing.
However, the place Janus told me is definitely here.
Janus’ tone of voice, when he told me where it is, was filled with a strong conviction but — let’s not get into that.
I opened the door and walked into the store.
There was nothing even though I went inside.
There was nothing in the space corresponding to the “shopfront” of a normal store, just a man sitting on a chair.
When I walked in, the man stood up straight, and looked intently at me, as if he was trying to evaluate me.
“Do pardon me, but”
“What is it?”
“Are you perhaps not mistaking this place for somewhere else?”
“I came here because of what I heard”
“…Do you have a referral from someone?”
“There’s no referral. I’m the son of Mouskouri”
The man furrowed his brows and stared intently at my face.
Being the son of Moukouri was something close to the existence of a joker in this city.
If you mentioned the name, you would definitely not be treated lightly.
At first, the man tried to feign innocence, then he started hinting that it was membership based, and they didn’t accept first-time customers.
And then I hit him with the joker, and that was why he was at a loss of what to do.
“If you can’t make the call, get me someone who can”
“…Yes, understood. Please wait a moment”
Then the man opened the door, and went deeper inside.
Immediately after, “clack,” there was the sound of the key of the door being locked.
I snorted, crossed my arms, and waited there.
After a short while, the door was unlocked and another man came out from the inside.
It was a more well-dressed man than the one from earlier.
After the man saw me, he quickly bowed.
“I see that it is Yuuto-sama”
“Do you know about me?”
“Yes, I have seen you from afar once, at your birthday party three years ago”
I see, my birthday party, huh.
If you were a child of a noble family, you would have a birthday party every year.
And even my birthday party was, though not as big as Nanos’, the eldest son, was a party at the residence with several hundreds of guests.
By the way, the eldest son Nanos’ was special. On the day of the party, all the restaurants would be free, with food and alcohol being paid by the Mouskouri family head.
It was a city-wide birthday party.
This year, also due to my coming of age ceremony, it was supposed to be held in about a week.
So the man in front of me came to that party in the past, huh.
“You, what’s your name?”
“I am called Galamoth Arlington”
“I see. Let me get straight to the point, you got girls from Hyde village, don’t you?”
Galamoth stared straight at me and didn’t answer.
Neither a yes nor a no.
Hmph, how cunning.
“Among those, there’s a younger sister of my woman. I want to buy that girl”
“That’s right. You’re a business, aren’t you? You shouldn’t have any complaints since I will buy her”
“She’s a girl named Alice”
When I told him the name of the younger sister that I had gotten from another maid — a maid whom Auxos had consulted to — for a moment, Galamoth looked extremely shaken.
It only lasted in an instant and he quickly regained his composure, but I didn’t miss it.
“What’s wrong, do you have a problem with that?”
“Speak, or do you want me to use force?”
Galamoth began to talk as if he had resigned to himself.
“That girl was already sold”
“What did you say?”
“It took place only a short time ago, but the transaction has been completed. Therefore, even if it is you, Mouskouri-sama, I cannot sell her to you…”
“…Where are they now?”
Galamoth didn’t answer.
“Let’s change the question. Did they bring her back home?”
“…Why are you asking such a question?”
“I’ve heard about your business to some extent. If you’re trying to protect someone like that, it’s probably someone in a position of some sort. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance that they can’t openly reveal their extravagant hobby”
“In that case, that just makes me wonder if your store also includes the ‘aftermath’ in its sales”
“…You are still very young, but you possess great insight”
“It’s not something to be praised for”
It was easy to figure out with a little bit of thinking.
In my former world, the so-called “glamping1” had recently become popular
It was a kind of camping, where the campground operator would prepare the tents, food, and everything else, and the customers would only go there with nothing but themselves, have fun, and go home.
To put it simply, it was a high class hotel’s service with an outdoor location.
Those who were very particular about it would probably scream, “That’s not camping!,” but it was also the fact the demand was so high that the service became established with a proper noun.
In particular — those with money and position.
And this was the same thing.
There were probably also rich people with the desire to “break” humans, though they might have a hobby for it, they couldn’t be bothered to deal with the aftermath.
In that case, it was only natural that the business would also include the clean up of the aftermath.
And this guy was like that. That was what this was about.
“They didn’t bring her home, didn’t they?”
“Where are they, are they in the back?”
“My apologies, I’m afraid I couldn’t tell you that…”
“How can I get you to tell me”
“Even if it is the son of Mouskouri-sama”
“However, I have no intention of getting into a dispute with Mouskouri-sama. If possible, I would like to continue our positive relationship”
The ball that said, “Is there any other way?,” was thrown.
I caught that ball and thought about it for a bit.
“I understand your position. This means as a business, you can’t say where they are as long as the transaction is complete, isn’t it? Then how about this? Are they in Mouskouri’s residence?”
Galamoth’s eyes opened wide in surprise.
“…Mouskouri-sama’s residence is really――”
“Just answer my question, are they in Mouskouri’s residence?”
“…I don’t think so”
“Are they in this room?”
“What about the first room you see when you enter the inner part?
“And the second?”
I asked him one by one.
Galamoth answered with “No” at each question.
“Does this building have a basement?”
“Are they there?”
Galamoth was silent.
He didn’t answer.
The answer was that he couldn’t answer with “Yes.”
In other words, that’s it.
“Alright, I’m gonna have you let me inspect the inside of the store. You’re probably busy with your business, so I don’t need you to guide me”
“Understood… I’m very impressed”
“What are you even saying”
While feigning innocence, I left Galamoth behind and opened the door to the back.
^1. Glamping is a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping“, and describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Glamping has become particularly popular with 21st century tourists seeking the luxuries of hotel accommodation alongside “the escapism and adventure recreation of camping”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glamping