Chapter 2 – Presently, unemployed.


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“Zeke!”

I heard a voice.
A voice I’ve been hearing every day.

“How long are you going to sleep! Get up!”

I woke up.
Raising myself upright and looking out the window, the sun had already risen high into the sky.
And when I look away from the mirror, my white-haired mother was standing there, glaring at me with a hand on her hip.

“Don’t let your lunch go to waste, hurry up and get eating.”
“… Ah.”

Having obeyed mother’s words, I left my room without even changing my clothes.

“And don’t just clean your room whenever you feel up to it!”
“O~kay.”

While giving the appropriate replies to all of mother’s sermons, I walked across the hallway and down the staircase.

“Good morning.”
“… Morning.”

In the dining room was my red-haired mother.
And when she noticed my appearance, I felt her glare come at me.

“Hurry up and eat!”
“… Yeah.”

From above my seat at the table, there was a basket with a cloth draped over it.
When I went to remove the cloth, I found the usual breakfast of bread, soup, and salad waiting for me.
Of course, it had cooled down long ago.

While being glared down by Red Mama, I ate.
I don’t particularly dislike meals that have cooled, but her glare made it a bit hard to eat.

“So, what are you planning on doing today?”
“… Nothing much.”
“Why don’t you go look for a job!”
“Red Mama, though you keep telling me to, I am quite proud of where I’m at right now.”

But having said that, I saw that my red-haired mother’s mood turned sour in the blink of an eye.
And my red-haired mother is very scary.
When I was young, if any of us did something wrong, she would immediately catch us and blister our bums until they turned bright red.
Though having grown up, such methods have abated, but even until now, the fact that she could still do so remains as one of our weak points.

“What have you got to be proud about?”
“I’m proud of what I am proud of. At the present, I am very proud of the life I lead!”
“I can’t see the first thing you would be proud of about that.”
“Red Mama, that’s because you only know the one facet of me.”
“……”

My red-haired mother does not have the tongue for sweet-talking.
When it comes to arguing, there are few people she can defeat.
However, if we were to include fencing in that, even if you looked around the world, the number of people that she couldn’t defeat would be quite few.
So, when she became unable to find the words to retort with, she would instead turn silent and just outright deliver a walloping blow.
This is why her nickname was [Mad Dog].

But she doesn’t hit family.
I mean, as long as I didn’t do anything that bad, I wouldn’t get hit by her.
Thus, her mouth took the shape of the character へ, and she just continued to silently glare at me.

“……”

For me to escape from her gaze, I hurriedly finished eating breakfast.
It’s not my intention to agitate mother.

“Thanks for the delicious meal.”
“Since you seem to be free, why don’t you at least deliver a bentou to Roxy. She forgot to take it with her again.”

Saying this to me, at the corner of the table, a square shaped lunch box was placed there.

“Blue Mama, to still be forgetting to take the bentou…”
“Since you don’t seem to be doing any work today, then at least do that much. Okay?”
“Sure. I’ll take care of it.”

When I finished washing the dishes after eating, with the bentou in hand, I exited the dining room as if I was trying to flee.”

“Ah, Zeke… That bentou, are you going to deliver it? Thank you.”

As I reached the exit of the dining room, my white-haired mother had just come in.

“If you are going to go out, aren’t you going to at least change your clothes?”
“O~kay.”
“Don’t forget to brush your teeth too…”
“I get it, I get it!!”

Just to escape from the nagging of my white-haired mother, I returned to my own room.

“Ugh!”

All while taking no notice of the exasperated sigh of my mother behind me.

My name is Zeke.
Zieghardt Saladin Greyrat.
But everybody calls me Zeke.

I am the second son of the Greyrat family who resides in the Magic City Sharia of the Ranoa Kingdom. I am the fourth eldest of six brothers and sisters.
I have two elder sisters, one elder brother, and two younger sisters.

I am currently unemployed.
Unlike my older brother, I don’t help father with his work; similar to my oldest sister, I haven’t gotten married; I haven’t started any studies like my younger older sister; I haven’t even found work at a good company like my older younger sister; and lastly, I don’t go to school like my youngest sister.
So, after graduating from school, I chose to idle instead of working.

However, with how things are now, I’m neither dissatisfied nor in any hurry to change anything.
Rather, I am particularly proud of being unemployed.

Everyone else is bound by their obligations.
Money, reputation, glory.
For the sake of acquiring these things, they will bend over backward, laugh when they don’t want to, ignore corruption, and even abandon the weak.

However, for the jobless, there is no need to deal with any of those things.
Because the unemployed are neither compensated nor rewarded.
When to bend over backward, laughing when you want to laugh, passing judgment on the wicked, and helping the weak.
The only one who could possibly do such a thing is someone without an occupation.
Being jobless is a noble existence.

And because of that, I will never get a job.
Well, by job, of course, I am speaking of one where you receive compensation.
Adventurers, artisans, and merchants are the ones that never change.
It’s said that when one receives compensation, one also can also be obligated.
Though I can’t say that it’s bad to live a life bound by obligations, it also can’t be said to be noble, either.

After I decided to shoulder the task of being unemployed, I never once asked for any kind of compensation.
However, I don’t want a misunderstanding.
Even though I haven’t asked for any compensation, I have also not refused anything requested of me.

I help people out for free.
That is why I advocate that being Jobless is a noble thing.

“Ah, Zeke. Thank you very much. I was about to spend my lunchtime here without anything to eat.”
“You’re welcome.”

From the time I left the house, about an hour has passed.
I went towards the Magic Academy, in service to deliver my blue-haired mother her bentou.
For me who isn’t currently working, it’s an easy task to go to that place.

“As a reward, should I give you some pocket money?”
“For such a little thing like this, I don’t need any reward.”
“Is that so…”

Like that, I do not accept any rewards.
The unemployed should not receive any rewards.
There is nothing cheaper than free.

“But, won’t you need some money so you can go job hunting?”
“Ahahahahaha. Ah, It’s already that time, let’s talk later.”
“Ah, hey, Zeke…”

Under a cover of deceptive laughter, I escaped from that place.
My blue-haired mother probably had something extra she wanted to say, but in the end, I only said “Thanks” and bid her farewell.

I think you may have noticed by now, but I do have three mothers.
A mother with white hair, a mother with red hair, and a mother with blue hair.
Father was very affluent, and because he was not a follower of the Milis faith, he took three wives.
I am the son of the mother with white hair; however, when it comes to each of the mother’s children, there isn’t any particular favoritism.
Likewise, we children also treated each of them equally as if they were all our mothers.
When I try and explain this to any acquaintances who are of the Milis faith, they can’t seem to fathom a relationship to a mother who isn’t connected by blood, but for me, it’s an ordinary thing.

All of us children were looked after by mothers who didn’t show favoritism.
And presently, without any of them showing partiality to me who is jobless, every day I am greeted with the words “Go find some work.”
Though the individual words are different, the meaning is the same.
No matter how much I try and explain how noble it is to be jobless, they show no signs of understanding it.

Well, as expected, I realize that I can’t make them understand me.
Even though I help the family by doing things, when it comes to the mothers, I am a good-for-nothing.
If it wasn’t for the affluence of my house, I would have long ago been thrown out.
Yep.
I know.
Now, the reason I can even talk all high and mighty like this is thanks to the backing of my parents.
Though I am told to go find some work, I am grateful to my mothers for not throwing me out of the house.

However, when it came to the matter of father, I avoided him.
Honestly, when it came to what my father might say, I was terrified.
I wonder what my father might say if he saw my present situation…
From the time I was a child I have had deep respect for my father, and it was so tremendous that it’s hard to bear.

Because it’s like that, I wait until it’s daytime and then take a stroll out of the house.
This town, Magic City Sharia, is both small and spacious.
So as long as I don’t go to where my father will be, then it is likely that I will probably not encounter him.
The odds of meeting him at the Magic Academy were high, but today father happens to be in Asura Kingdom on a business trip.
Even if he were to suddenly return home, there is probably still no chance he would show his face here at the Magic Academy.
In other words, I can’t go back home.
I would be scolded by the mothers, and I don’t want to be subjected to more pain.

Therefore, I am hanging around a part of the Magic Academy.
Visiting a certain room in the research building.

“Lala-nee, are you here?”

I opened the door while giving it a cursory knock, and inside the room, many things were packed away.
So much junk that I had no idea what it was used for and large amounts of paper scattered about.
What was written on the papers were primarily Magical Formations.

I enter into the room, careful not to step on any of the papers.
Then, from the back of the room, a huge dog leisurely showed itself.
Close to 3 meters in size, it was a big dog.
This is my immediate older sister.
Lala Greyrat.
She was a regular human being until she became an adult. Then, when she finished the adulthood ceremony of the beast tribe and came back home, she had become majorly hairy.

“Wan!”
“…”

Ah, that was a lie.
This dog is our family pet, Leo.
According to my older sister who he is always with, he is there to protect her.
He is her protector and bodyguard.
Incidentally, may I say, he was the first victim of the wild and whimsical older sister.

“Is Lala-nee back there?”

Leo nodded his head, so accompanying him, I go look into the adjacent room.
There is a bed installed there, and there was a strange lived-in smell. On the bed, there was a lone girl sleeping.
It is a girl with blue hair who looks to be about 14 years old.
Because she was the daughter of blue-haired mother who was of the demon tribe, though she appeared to be around 14 years old, she has in fact already passed the age of 20.
Incidentally, she is single.

“gogah~… gugah~…”

She is currently sporting an unladylike figure while just wearing one shirt and a pair of panties, and although she was scratching around a sweaty area, she remained fast asleep.
Her sleeping posture is bad, and her snore is dreadful.
Her sex appeal is nonexistent.
Even if I say that though, there is probably someone…
Naturally, they’d be single?

After I quietly closed the door to the bedroom, I returned to the laboratory.
There is only one chair to sit down on.
Like those for private use by royals, it was a soft and fluffy chair and clearly a special order product.

I look at one of the pieces of paper scattered about that has come into my hand.
It’s definitely a magic formula that’s written on it.
I wonder if it is perhaps magic from the summoning system for use with a magic square formation.

After my older sister graduated from Asura Royal Academy, she became a researcher at Ranoa Magic Academy.
As for her research subjects, they are summoning magic and divination magic.

With summoning magic, whether from far away or another world, Magic Beasts can be summoned. It’s magic used to create quasi-living entities.
With divination magic, it’s magic that can reveal the pros and cons of choices that may cause certain events to occur in the future.
Though I don’t specifically know the underlying aspects of the research behind those fields of study…

At any rate, my older sister spends almost every day sleeping away.
With the research funds being provided by the school, every day is spent being a hopeless idler.
And that is not noble.
But I imagine it resembles me to some extent.
Of my theory on Noble Unemployment, she is one of the few people who understand.

“But y’know, even though I have free time, I still do plenty of research…”

Since the last time I came here, the number of papers increased.
Here and there are theories written down as memos.
Though she sleeps in the daytime, perhaps the only time she is active is at night?

“Woof.”

While I look at the paper, Leo approached and placed his head on my knee.
Leo the dog, for as long as I can remember, had lived in our house .
Somehow, father, for all of our sakes, summoned this guardian beast to protect us.
Though it should have been summoned in order to protect all of us siblings, nowadays, it has become my sister’s exclusive charm.
For some reason or another, my sister is somehow special to Leo.

“……”

When I gently pat Leo’s head, in return, he only licked my hand.
Leo favors my older sister.
But it’s not like we were ever disliked by him.
Perhaps for him, he too was concerned about me being unemployed.

“Are you also worried about me?”
“Not really.”

Out of nowhere, I suddenly heard a voice.
Naturally, the one speaking wasn’t Leo.
When I looked up, I noticed that my older sister had come out of the bedroom.
As always, she is in just a shirt and panties and in a completely unladylike state.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to enter the room of a young maiden without permission?”
“Eh? But I did properly knock though.”
“Then it’s fine… Leo.”

When sister called for Leo, he left from my lap and headed over towards her and curled up.
And in the middle of Leo, who had become a round shape, she sat down.
He had become like a sofa.

“For what reason did you come?”
“Just killing time.”
“I see, then it’s fine to take it easy.”

Following her advice, I sank my body into a chair.
Probably because this is the place where she had just woken up, some sleepiness still remains.
Because the chair is of such quality, I might just fall asleep in it.

“Zeke. ‘That’, are you still doing it?”
” ‘That’? ”
“Cheddarman.”
“Um- …yeah.”

That’s my older sister though. Even if I was hiding someone, she would immediately discover them.
Secrets too, would also be immediately known.
Discovering things is her strong point.

“For how long are you planning on continuing?”
“Now that, I don’t know yet.”
“Hmm…”

Even if I was keeping something secret, it’s not like my sister would tell anyone in particular about it.
Even when she knows, there’s never a time when she would threaten me with it.
So because of that, I find it comforting to be able to spend time with her.

“…”

When I think about how silent my older sister is, she began to casually roll a nearby crystal ball that she had picked up with her hand.
Though to the eyes, it looks just like a crystal ball, for the sake of furthering her divination magic, there was a complex magic formula incorporated into it.
Father never said anything about it. Though he had bought it for her as a gift, it had to be a specially ordered product, and likely it was quite expensive.
I feel a little shiver knowing that items like this have just been strewn about in some corner of the room.

She sits there cross-legged holding the crystal ball.
Looking at it objectively, it seems like a dubious ritual.
But when magical power is poured into that crystal ball, I can see it is operating something within.
However, I have no clue what I am looking at.

“Zeke.”
“What?”
“Papa is returning home today.”
“Eh? Wasn’t he supposed to be on a business trip for another 3 days…?”

Divination magic is divination.
Though it’s said to be shady nowadays, it’s long since continued being practiced from back in the days when the human and demon tribes were at war, and it’s a historically noble magic.
Formerly, at least every big country always had at least one person on hand who could use divination magic, but nowadays that practice has completely died out.

Because, excluding the more charismatic divination magicians, even the most practiced users can’t see anything but the trivial parts of the future.
Still, even after looking at the future matters, the rate of accurate interpretation is said to only be about 20%.
Long story short, most of the divination magicians who send in questionable magic power into a crystal ball use suggestive expressions and insinuations to make others believe that those events are actually probable. They are a real shady bunch.

In the past, a magician of each country often times affected their country’s future path with their divinations. Since a while back though, the number of those who practiced it have decreased, and these days, the number of people learning how to do it are practically nonexistent.
According to the history teacher and if I remember correctly, with the advancement of magic and magical tools, there was no longer a need to depend on the slim probability of an accurate divination.
While it can be learned at the Magic Academy, until my older sister enrolled in a divination magic class at the Magic Academy, I hear that for a long time the number of students who enrolled in it was zero.
To be honest, I think it’s quite shady as well.

But, as it is with my sister’s whimsical nature, she chose it as a major course of study.
While there might be a purpose behind it, because it was something my whimsical sister did, there probably is no actual meaning behind it.

“I just saw white mama cheerfully picking out a pair of white panties. So probably, papa will come home. Perhaps his work ended early.”

It’s not that my sister isn’t a charismatic divination magician, but by just using that expensive magical tool, it seems there’s never a time she can’t see something there.
However, the probability of using divination to pinpoint the thing I want to see is very low.
In that case, the things the practitioner saw, combined with other information, allows them to derive the correct interpretation of what was inferred.
Of course my sister is dead on with this skill.

I think it’s fine that she has no pride.
Because mother is cheerfully selecting her underwear, father will return today.
What? Even under pain of death, I won’t ever call her an ordinary divination magician.
To them, who teaches things like “You should always phrase everything you say in a roundabout way and assume it is an important matter in the future as much as possible.”
And should you be divining for other magicians, “Deep in the mountain range is a lone giant.
If a giant were to throw snow at a midget, the midget would panic and run back to his home” is the style in which one should speak.
Though it seems there is a reason for expressing things that way… if they were instead like my sister who doesn’t need to put on airs to appear to be effective, then wouldn’t there be no need to label it as something shady?

“Then, I just won’t go home today.”
“Are you still avoiding papa?”
“Mm… well…”
“Always like that. Zeke, you are such an idiot~”

This is my older sister’s favorite phrase.
Sister always ends the conversation with “…you are such an idiot.”
In the old days, I often wondered if they held any meaning in them, though she says it to pretty much anyone, so it might just be a bad habit after all.

“It’s good to be an idiot.”
“I see.”

My older sister casually tosses the expensive crystal ball which lands somewhere with a thump, buries herself into Leo, and yawns.
It seems she still intends to sleep.
Behaving like usual despite even having company around.
I didn’t mind that my sister went back to sleep and decided to pass the time leisurely until the early afternoon.

Early Afternoon.
I said goodbye to my older sister and wandered around the town aimlessly.
I still had a bit of time before a certain store I was waiting for would be open.
So in the meantime, I took a look at things around the city.

Quite by accident, I discovered a carriage at a standstill before me.
A carriage wheel connected to the axle had broken and had scattered various packages onto the ground.
The owner of the carriage and an attendant were gathering all the scattered packages strewn about the ground while appearing distraught.
Nonetheless, the two soon had all the packages loaded back onto the carriage.
I didn’t plan to go over there and impose on them to help repair what broke off the axle, but I wasn’t going to just leave either when I considered the likelihood of the goods being stolen, so I also asked if they needed a hand with repairs.
Though it seems like they really are in trouble.

“Shall I lend a hand?”
“Oh, it’s you Zeke… I’m saved! I was really troubled. I had almost arrived at my destination too, but…”
“Then, shall we fix that axle?”

I lift the carriage up and fix the back up at the proper working height.
Slipping in under it, I hardened the axle by using some soil magic.

“It’s nothing more than first aid, but it should hold fine for about an hour.”
“As expected from ya…”

The merchant was watching with admiration as I went about repairing the axle.
I took lessons in carriage repair at the Asura Royal Academy.
Why at the Royal Academy? You must consider that when it comes to knights and nobles, traveling in carriages is a commonplace thing.
And it’s for that very reason that they taught the methods of repairing them at school.
Though, a noble would never repair a carriage by themselves.

Afterwards, I casually lowered the carriage down, reloaded the packages, and helped the merchant up onto the coachman’s seat.

“Yeah, you really saved me there. Please let me pay you something. Though I don’t have too much coin on hand…”
“No thanks, it’s free of charge. Just because I helped you doesn’t mean I did it for a reward.”
“Is that how it is? …You are indeed a child of the Greyrat family. And a truly splendid person too.”

From those words, giving me an immense feeling of satisfaction, I left that place.

“Yo~ Zeke-kun, good job today!”
“Oh, Ossan*, thanks!”

Suddenly, from the fruit shop’s boss, he threw a red fruit he was holding over to me.
Apparently, it seems the boss had seen some of the series of events with the carriage.
I took the fruit, brought it to my mouth, and bit right into it.
It had a bittersweet and refreshing taste which spread in my mouth.

“Should we be troubled, we’ll be counting on you.”
“Sure, as long as I happen to be free at that time.”
“Ha ha ha.”

This fruit is not considered compensation.
The reason is because there was no connection at all with the merchant from before and myself.
Besides, if the fruit shop’s boss is troubled, I would help him regardless of being given this fruit, and at that time, I wouldn’t ask for a reward then either.
In other words, this fruit is a freebie.

“Ou~, Zeke-kun! Because of your help the other day, I managed to get some good quality meat in stock, so thanks a lot!”
“You’re welcome.”
“Yo, Zeke-kun. Thanks for your help recently! Thanks to you, a healthy child was born!”
“No, no, I’m just glad I passed by accidentally.”
“Zeke! We’re about to play hide-and-seek after this, do you wanna come too!?”
“I have to quit for now. I have to get home before it gets dark!”

When I walk through town, various people call out to me.
The butcher shop’s boss was troubled by his stock, the wife of one of the garrison’s soldiers suddenly went into labor on the road, and even the neighborhood brats.
To everyone, I am just a good samaritan.

I kill some time while wandering around while thinking on things, and while I do, the sun sets. It seems that I have come to the place that was my destination all along.

-The Drunken Goblin-.
In this town, this bar is the most inconspicuous place to be.
There isn’t particularly good liquor, and the cooking here is only so-so.
Despite that, thanks to the dark and quiet atmosphere, a customer enters.
Preferring the dark and quiet atmosphere, there are only people possessing scars from head to toe.

Entering the bar, I immediately found a face I recognized right away.
A small man with a bald patch at the top of his head called George.
I took a seat in front of him.

“Yo, George, how’s business?”
“Zeke… today is looking good. A lot of money came in!”

As he works in the market as a day-laborer, he earns his cash on a daily basis.
Although he could be called a little scoundrel, it’s not to the point I would interfere. Though, little misdeeds might be accumulated, and I haven’t had any reason to judge him to have done enough bad things to be a villain.
If I were to judge him as a villain, then as for all those brats who live downtown, I would have no choice but to annihilate them all.

Business is always good for him; he always earns plenty of money everyday, is always in a good mood, and always happily gulps down his beer.
Strangely though, there was no visible sign of him becoming richer.
Maybe he’s the type who’s not attached to money?

“George, have you heard any interesting rumors?”
“Interesting ones? In the usual sense?”
“Yeah, in the usual sense.”

George is a contact man.
He sells off all the information he obtains in the market here in this bar.
So, here at times, I can learn a stock of other information.

“Let’s see… it might be a little bit dangerous.”
“If it’s just a ‘little,’ then there’s no problem.”
“Recently, there appears to be some strange medicine circulating in this area.”
“… Medicine?”
“When inhaled, it makes people feel as if they were floating up to heaven.”

It’s drugs.
It’s a devil’s drug, which drives a person to become an invalid.
Father pays meticulous attention to make sure that this is not distributed here in the city.

“Where?”
“As for where the pushers are, I don’t have a clue. But recently, the head clerk of the Reiji store, or so I have heard, night after night goes to visit a certain warehouse with no sign of other people. Incidentally, I’ve also heard that he’s become awfully influential these days as well.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s guilty.
However, the chance that Reiji Shop’s head clerk is related to this matter is probably high.

“And the location of this warehouse?”
“I don’t know precisely where it is. However, there are only so many warehouses that Reiji Shop owns. So if we were to talk of a warehouse that was devoid of people…”

From George, I managed to elicit the expected location of the warehouse.
As for me, I have passed through the neighborhood several times throughout the day.
And I hit upon a warehouse that, even at midday, has few signs of life around.
It’s not even an exaggeration to say it’s unmanned even at night.

“Thanks, yo.”
“Hey, it’s all good. Oh, that reminds me, I want to hear anything you have on your sister, okay?”
“About?”
“Your older sister, you have one called Lala, right?”
“Ah, I do.”

George is a generous guy after all, so he’s not going to take money from me.
However, he will ask me this and that instead.
And I tell him what I can.
It’s not compensation.

Even if I don’t have any new information for him, George will still tell me what I need, and I am also like that.
So mutually, we never try and talk about painful matters.
In other words, this is just small talk.

“I’ve heard a story that she never comes out of her laboratory, is she doing something dangerous in there?”
“Well, it’s just the usual research in regards to Divination and Summoning magic.”
“Divination Magic? Is that something like fortune-telling?”
“I dunno. Because Lala is so whimsical by nature, there might not be any meaning behind her doing it.”
“Ah~”

George does not desire money from me.
But then, George is an information broker, so the information that he gets from me, someway somehow, is turned into money.
But in all likelihood, there isn’t a way.
Because he is not nobly unemployed.
It’s not my fault if he went barking up the wrong tree.

The time is now midnight.
Stores are closing, and customers, in pairs and trios, are returning home to their beds.
The time when people fall asleep.
The end of the day.

But my time is not yet over.


Notes:

Ossan: an informal way of addressing a person older than the speaker.

Lala: There is probably an established name for her as well. But it’s not on the BT* names & terminology page, and I didn’t feel like looking through 300 chapters for whatever chapter she is born in for the name, so it’s Lala for now at least, may edit later.

White/Blue/Red Mama: A reference to Sylphiette, Roxy, and Eris respectively.


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