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After leaving the inn, the next place they arrived at was an even more suspicious-looking building.
It was in good-condition; rare, for a building in these parts, and there were men standing guard outside. A clearly dangerous place.
Conrad approached unhesitatingly.
When the men saw the cross-dressing Conrad, the men standing guard gave an ill-fit smile, and bowed.
“Why if it isn’t Menué-sama. Are you looking for Luboera-sama?”
“Yes. I’ve come to make another purchase. Could you perhaps let me in?”
“Yes. Luboera-sama said that you could enter whenever you want. Please come inside.”
The man lowered his head respectfully, and beckoned the cross-dressing Conrad into the building. It was then, that he first noticed the boy in the butler outfit behind Conrad.
“Menué-sama, who might this child be?”
The moment they saw the child, the men became a little more guarded. They lowered their stance a little, and moved their right hands behind their backs. There was probably some weapon hidden back there.
Conrad spoke to them in a small voice, that seemed to have not noticed this fact.
“He’s my butler. Aren’t you, Soshia?”
Soshia. It was the alias that they had prepared in advance for her.
Fii had been standing with her head hung bashfully. When Conrad called for her name, she lowered it further into a tiny nod.
‘Soshia’ was supposed to be a mute.
“I’m sorry. This boy can’t speak.”
“A butler… is he…”
“That’s right. Isn’t he such a good boy?”
“Yes. You have very splendid taste,” replied the man with an ingratiating smile.
How could such a young boy be able to fulfil the job of a butler. Not only that, one that couldn’t speak.
Conrad could read between the lines, but ‘Menué’ was a thick noblewoman, and didn’t notice at all.
“Uhuhu, I can bring him with me, can’t I? It’d be pitiful to leave him behind.”
“Yes, that’s completely fine.”
With their permission, Conrad brought Fii into the shop.
The first floor was a bar. The curtains were shut, making the place dim, illuminated only by faint red and blue lamps. And despite it being morning, men and women were drinking, thriving in the environment.
But the place that Fii and Conrad were heading was not there.
Apparently the guards out front had sent some kind of signal, because somebody appeared from inside and greeted Conrad.
“Welcome, welcome, Lady Menué. Please allow me to escort you to Luboera-sama.”
The two of them were brought further into the shop. After passing through a dreary corridor, unlike the colourful bar, they continued up a flight of stairs to the second floor. It did have a few paintings and vases, but you could hardly call the place tasteful.
They were even placed badly. The guide almost knocked into a vase as he passed.
Eventually they reached a hallway with a door at the end. In front of it, stood two burly men. It seemed that this room, deep into the building, was the manager’s room.
When the two of them reached the door, the man opened the door and let them in.
Upon entering, the guards entered behind them, and shut the door.
“Welcome, Menué-sama! It brings me great honour that you visit my store again!”
A plump man with a short moustache had greeted them with an exaggerated spread of his arms. There was too much hair gel applied to his head, and an unpleasant smell wafted from him.
It was the manager of this place, Luboera.
“Uhuhu, I tried other stores too, but I didn’t like them much. So I’ve come back here, Luboera,” said Conrad.
His voice had been abundant in seductiveness, and he lightly tapped his lips with his closed fan.
When he did, the slight wind from it gently lifted Conrad’s veil, and half of that bewitching face could be seen. And the lecherous expression Luboera made when he saw it, did not escape Fii’s eyes.