Chapter 1-10 : Opening The Store (part 2)
A lot of Collectors were using Diral-san’s inn and cafeteria.
Daruna-san’s general store sold almost every necessity to the villagers.
The village mayor worked under the government.
If it’s true that only these three people have money in this village, it will be difficult for me to sell artifacts here.
Hmm… what should I do…?
「Hm? What does this sign mean?」(Lorea)
「Ah, it’s like a promo, you know?」(Sarasa)
Lorea-chan looked at a sign that I put on the shelf where I lined up the potions.
『Discounts for customers who bring used potion bottles back!』
After thinking hard about my store’s selling point, I came up with this idea.
Normally, empty potion bottles were very cheap even though they were quite hard to make.
Because each type of potion requires different bottles, you can’t simply reuse them without knowing the type of the bottles.
Therefore, to use them again, we need to melt them and make new bottles.
However, because the price was extremely cheap, most Collectors found it troublesome to sell empty bottles as materials to make new bottles and just threw them away.
Since I made the bottles myself, I came up with an idea to mark the bottles so I could tell which bottles were for which potion.
Now that I can distinguish the bottles easily, I can just clean them and reuse them.
You know? When you make a potion, most of your time and effort will be used to make the bottle, not the potion.
For the potion itself, all you need is an alchemy pot, and boom! You can make it easily.
But making the bottle is the pain in the butt.
Because of that, most alchemist apprentices who just start working at someone’s store would be ordered to make bottles.
My two senpais who were working in another region said, “I’m sick of making bottles!” in their letters.
I also used to make bottles every day when I worked part-time at Master’s store.
But in my case, because Master was really fast at making bottles, it didn’t take long until she let me do various other things.
Really… I was very lucky to be able to work at Master’s store.
In a city, I think it’s difficult to make customers willing to return the bottles, but in a small village like this, I think it’s possible since there are only a few villagers and Collectors living here.
In other words, if it goes well, there’s a high possibility that they will become my regular customers.
And if I give a 50% discount to those who return the bottles, the villagers and Collectors can easily use it without worrying about the price.
Especially for the Collectors, because their job is quite dangerous.
Customers will be happy because the potions were cheap, and I’ll also be happy because I can be free from the troublesome bottle-making hell!
WIN – WIN !
Even if the profit will drop a little, it’s still fine compared to the bottle-making hell.
「I see. Surely the villagers will be able to use the potions care-freely if it’s cheap. Also, you don’t have to worry about losing the bottles because I’m sure the villagers will return them to you.」(Lorea)
「Really? I’m glad, then. Because I don’t want to make bottles again.」(Sarasa)
「By the way, Sarasa-san, you know what? My family’s general store used to sell potions before. However, the ones we were selling were very expensive.」(Lorea)
「Eh? Lorea-chan… could it be… you’re my business rival!?」(Sarasa)
「No, no. Not at all. Our store didn’t profit from selling potions, you know? Because the shipping cost and the price when we bought them in the city was very expensive, we could only sell it at purchase price. So, we did it as a service for villagers here. But since you came to this village, we don’t have to sell them anymore, so my family is happy that you are here!」(Lorea)
「Ahh, I see. So it was likeー you delivered potions from the city to the villagers for free?」(Sarasa)
The general store earned money from the villagers, so it seemed if the store didn’t contribute that much to the village, it would leave a bad impression.
Moreover, considering there were some potions that were damaged during transportation, they lost money from doing it.
Lorea-chan’s family were really kind people…
But… U~mm… Village society is difficult after all…
I wonder if I don’t contribute like them, I will be ostracized from this village…
「Sarasa-san… You’re thinking it will be bad if you don’t contribute, aren’t you?」(Lorea)
「You don’t have to worry about that, you know?」(Lorea)
「Is that so…?」(Sarasa)
Perhaps Lorea-chan noticed I made an uneasy face. She waved and smiled at me.
「The fact that there’s an alchemist in this village is already a contribution, you know? You give the villagers umm…. something like a sense of security?」(Lorea)
I see. Well, that’s alchemists for you.
They are more trusted than doctors.
In fact, there were many injured and sick people who had been saved by alchemists.
「Ahh… I see.」(Sarasa)
「Also, in this village, no one will be jealous of an alchemist making money. Because… you know? If you have time to spend envying alchemists, it’s better to use that time making an effort to make your own money.」(Lorea)
So it was like a meritocratic society, huh.
「But not all alchemists make as much profit as people think, you know?」(Sarasa)
「Eh? Is that so!?」(Lorea)
Lorea-chan was surprised.
Well, I wanted to become an alchemist because I thought it was profitable, so I could understand her feelings.
「Yeah. People might think that we can make a lot of profit because we sell expensive products worth thousands of reas. Well, that’s true. However, it’s not that easy. Umm… for example, these cloths. These are expensive, but…」(Sarasa)
「If I made even the slightest mistake and ended up failing to craft it, it would become a worthless thing in an instant.」(Sarasa)
「Yup. I can’t use the material anymore if I fail. There’s a risk you will lose thousands of reas in materials and other preparations. That’s why it’s not that easy.」(Sarasa)
Once placed in an alchemy pot, materials cannot be separated again.
Depending on how bad the failure is, there’s a possibility it can be used again, but of course the quality of the finished product will drop drastically, so people usually just dispose of it.
「Just imagine you make a mistake after putting materials worth 100,000 reas in an alchemy pot… Uhh~ it’s scary, isn’t it?」(Sarasa)
「Ahh… indeed. That’s a nightmare.」(Lorea)
「Moreover, if you failed after receiving an order from a customer, you couldn’t just say, “I’m sorry, I failed”, but you have to buy new materials and try to make the item again. In the first place, if you don’t have enough funds to buy the necessary materials, you can’t even accept an order. That’s why alchemists have to save some money before they can do anything.」(Sarasa)
「Hee… So it’s not a dream profession like people think, huh…」(Lorea)
「Well, if you’re talented, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes, and you can make a lot of profit. Ah, but it’s not only alchemy. Whichever the profession is, it will be bad if you make mistakes, right?」
「Ah, you’re right.」(Lorea)
However, it was true that it was the one and only dream profession for an orphan like me, because being an orphan was a disadvantage for getting any job other than alchemist.
Anybody, even orphans could become alchemists.
However, there’s no craftsman or merchant who wants to hire orphans.
It was safer for them to hire people they could trust after all.
「To put it bluntly, steadily earning money from selling potions is the safest way because the risk is low.」(Sarasa)
「Uwaa… I feel like the image of an alchemist who can make amazing items is now broken into pieces…」(Lorea)
「Ahaha. But making amazing items is both hard financially and risky, you know?」(Sarasa)
「Well, I can understand.」(Lorea)
I feel like I’ve broken a child’s (?) dream a little, but the difference between ideals and reality is different in every profession, right?
◇ ◇ ◇
In the end, the only customers who came on the first day were a few Collectors.
Other than customers, there were also visitors who came to congratulate me for opening the store:
Lorea-chan, Ells-san, the village mayor, and Marie-san (Lorea-chan’s mother) who came to pick up her daughter.
I only sold about a dozen potions today.
「Hmm… If I think about it, it’s not bad as a daily profit.」
The cheapest one is the basic potion for injuries. It’s 500 reas.
Almost all the materials could be collected in the field, so it was a lot cheaper compared to if you bought it in the city.
Therefore, Collectors who came to buy it were happy because it was cheap.
And when I explained the discount system to them, they became even more happy.
「Even if I sell it at half price, I can still make a profit of around 200 reas per potion~」
Lunch at Diral-san’s cafeteria was about 40 reas.
The portion size was more than enough for me, and because I don’t drink alcohol, I didn’t have to pay an additional charge.
For breakfast and dinner, I always ate Diral-san’s bread which had a similar price.
In other words, I can live for a day from selling one basic potion.
If I can keep selling at least one bottle a day, my life will be stable.
However, I want to get more so that I can send some money to the orphanage I used to live in.
Yes. Not just for me.
I have to do my best to earn money for them too.