The Inimitable Chainsaw
Same old C-Mart. Same old scene inside the shop.
The elf girl—who had been sitting in a stupor and photosynthesizing in the sunlight in front of the shop all customer-free morning—had spoken.
“What?” I responded as I rearranged merchandise in the shade of the shop’s interior.
“Why is our shop called ‘C-Mart’?”
The elf girl was craning her neck almost enough to snap it, looking up at the front of the shop.
I went out front. And looked up.
Along with the elf girl, I looked at the shop’s sign.
‘C-Mart’ was written on it in deep black magic marker. It was the shop’s name.
“It’s nothing particularly meaningful. Well, if you insist. A long time ago, I saw this movie that—”
“What’s a ‘mhoo-vee’?”
“Don’t interrupt. It’s a sort of entertainment in my world. A kind of story. Anyway, a long time ago I saw this movie, ‘Captain Supermarket’.1 The main charac—”
“Ohh. So it’s that ‘C’? C-Mart’s ‘C’ is from that? I mean, ‘Captain’ is spelled C-A-P-T-A-I-N, right?”
“No idea. I’m awful at English. Maybe? I remember the first letter was C,” I said.
…how did she know more about languages from my world that I did? Was she good at English?
But she was an idiot elf! So how? How!? How!?
“Oh! Welcome! Come right in! Have a look around!”
Customers had come so we went back into the shop.
They were four men and women.
Two men, and two women.
They seemed a little different from the townsfolk.
All four seemed…unsavory?
You could tell they were different starting with their clothes. All were wearing at least light armor. They had swords at their waists or axes across their backs. The girls had whips and maces.
Ah-hah. So these were ‘adventurers’.
I was somewhat taken aback.
My first time seeing actual adventurers!
Despite coming to a fantasy world, I had never seen anything like adventurers!
This other world was amazing! Super amazing!
“We are here because we heard this shop offers many unusual items,” said the swordsman, who looked to be their leader.
He was fairly handsome. And fairly full of himself.
“That’s right! We have many items useful to adventurers here!” I busted out the sales talk immediately.
I had suspected this might happen.
So, besides the usual top-sellers, I had also brought over a number of the various conveniences of modern civilization.
I began pulling out a variety of things that weren’t normally on the shelves.
“What sort of things do you have?”
“How about this!?”
The first thing I brought out was…
“This item is called an ‘electric flashlight’.”
“Humph. How do you use it?”
I gave a big grin and flipped the switch on.
A bright beam of light flared out straight before me.
“Is that all?”
The adventurer was not impressed at all.
He signaled a comrade with a flick of his fingers.
The comrade took a tool from her backpack that fit in the palm of her hand.
Then she gave its metallic central part a twist.
Bright light sprang forth from the little capsule.
It put the light of the flashlight to shame.
“We’re using light stones. The light lasts three years for ones this size. How long does your ‘eck-leck-rick flash light’ or whatever last?”
“Um, thirty to forty hours?”
“How much time is an ‘hour’?”
“Around a few dozen sempts,” answered the idiot elf.
“Not interested then.”
The adventurer snickered at me.
“Have you got anything else?”
Now flustered, the next thing I pulled out was a disposable lighter.
“How about something like this? This is one of our shop’s top sellers, actually.”
I held up the lighter in front of the adventurers and flicked it on a number of times.
The matrons from town were always suitably impressed by this.
“It’s so convenient to start a fire this easily,” they gushed.
“Humph,” the man sighed.
And then snapped his fingers.
A flame ignited on the tip of his index finger.
I stared at that little flame.
Huh? Wha? Is that…?
“Even a mere swordsman like me can do a basic, low-level fire spell like that.”
“Master, I think you should sell them canned food. Master? Hey, are you listening? Idiot Master?” the idiot elf said, slipping past me.
She stood before to the adventurers, goods in hand.
“This preserved food is the pride of our shop. It’s completely sanitary. What’s more, you can enjoy the taste of fresh meat even in the depths of a dungeon. It’s far, far more delicious than dried meat. A good adventure requires good food. How about it? Would you care to try some?”
That was a slick sales pitch. She was a pretty smooth talker for an idiot elf.
In short order, she had opened one can of food, thrust in a toothpick, and gotten the adventurer try it.
After a bite of the soy-ginger beef, the adventurer’s brows furrowed slightly in surprise.
“How long does this keep for?”
“Master, canned food keeps for several years, right?”
I checked the cans. The use-by date was May 2020.
“Keeps for several eldica.” The elf girl grinned.
“Whoa. That’s incredible.” The adventurer finally uttered some words of admiration. “How many do you have?”
“Right now? About 100. No, wait. 107 cans,” the elf girl said.
We only had 100 in stock.
The seven she had added were from her own supply of meals for the day.
“Oy, that last seven are your—”
“Master, please shut up,” snapped the elf girl.
I shut up.
“We’ll take all your ‘kyand food’. We were just about to set off for our next dungeon. But more importantly—” the adventurer said, and grabbed the elf girl’s hand. “You. Would you join our party? You’re a high level magic user, right? I don’t know why you’re working at a shop like this, but if you come with us, I’m sure we can offer you better.”
“Oh, my. No, sir, no. There’s been a mistake. I mean, I can’t use magic. At all.”
Still wearing her customer service smile, the elf girl gave the man grasping her hand a hard pinch to make him let her go.
“Anyway, it’s fun working for my Master. He’s great.”
“This guy?” the adventurer snickered.
He looked at me and gave a smirk.
“Our name is ‘Phantom Bulleta’.2 No doubt you’ve heard of us? We specialize in undead—”
“Well, excuse me if my shop sucks,” I muttered and took a step forward.
I glared up at the adventurer.
When this guy had started in on her, I had worried what the idiot elf would do.
Given everything, surely she would choose to go with the adventurers.
I had though that for a moment.
Because, you know.
I ridiculed her every day. And fed her dog food. And all did sorts of things to her.
But the idiot elf seemed to be plenty put off by this guy.
She was even turning him down.
It was my job as manager to protect my employees from getting hit on.
“Pardon me, but if you could refrain from hitting on anyone while on these premis—”
“How about you shut up. We came all this way based on rumors about this place. And what do we find? Nothing but junk. If we leave empty-handed, we wasted our time. But if she joined our party, it would totally make up for it.”
The adventurer only had eyes for the elf girl again.
“So what about it? Please join us. Our next dungeon is a hive of undead. We’d feel safer having a magic user like you along,” he said and tried to grab the idiot elf’s hand again.
The idiot elf slipped away.
“Ah-hah. So it’s about money? I see. Then, would this be enough to buy her freedom?”
He tossed a leather pouch on the floor.
The bag landed flat on the floor with a heavy thud.
No doubt it held a large amount of gold nuggets.
I heard a ‘vrum-vrum-vrum’ sound.
I definitely could hear that somewhere inside my head.
“Oy! You there! Listen up! Just wait a moment! Wait ten min—no, not minutes! Something-or-other sempts!?”
“A twelfth of a sempt, Master.”
“That long! Just wait that long! I’m going to bring you something that will blow your mind!” I yelled, sending spittle flying.
I started to dash out of the shop, leaving the infuriated adventurers behind.
In a fluster, I stopped, turned around one last time and shouted, “One more thing! No touching! Absolutely no more touching! That’s mine!”
And, having cautioned the obnoxious jerk against grabbing anyone’s hand again…
…I dashed out of the shop.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
I ran. And ran. And ran with all my might.
As C-Mart’s owner, I felt I had to get them to smile.
I would wipe those half smiles from their faces! And give them full smiles!
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
I crossed over to modern Japan and set off straight for the home center.
And headed straight for the power tools.
Amidst the rows of various large, sturdy electric, hydraulic, and gas-powered tools, I continued straight on to the…
“This is it!”
Simply, instantly, and without hesitation, I picked out the one with the longest blade.
I grabbed an employee and asked what else I would need.
I bought supplies like gas and oil along with the chainsaw.
It was 41,040 yen after tax.
It was almost too cheap. I had been prepared to pay hundreds of thousands of yen.
Then I returned to my store—to C-Mart.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
“Welcome back, Master. Please don’t worry. Not one finger was laid on me,” was the idiot elf’s peculiar announcement as she came out to greet me.
But rather than worry about it, I was in a rush to show the item I had brought to the adventurers.
“Here it is! This is it! You said you were going a dungeon with undead, right!? There’ll be stuff like zombies, right!? Then, I know—I’ve seen—that you’ll need one of these! There’s no better weapon! Not for killing zombies!”
I brought out the chainsaw.
“Is this…a sword?”
The adventurer’s mood changed slightly.
“Something kind of like that.”
“How do you use it?”
“Well, it’s pretty heavy, see, so you’ll need both hands to—,” I started.
The adventurer effortlessly hoisted it up one-handed.
But that thing easily weighed several kilos.
Oh, I see.
He must wield a sword of a similar weight with one hand.
This band of adventurers.
They were so amazing.
“As you pull out, um, that knob there, uh, yank the cord hard,” I explained, reading from the manual.
The adventurer did as instructed and…
Vrum! Out burst a massive noise.
The engine started along with the blast of sound. The chainsaw’s teeth began to rotate.
“Whoa! What in—! This is powerful. Is it magic? A magic sword!? What kind of magic sword is this?”
“Heh,” I said. “There isn’t a zombie in this world it can’t cut down. That is the sword used by the the legendary Captain Supermarket. You are one lucky customer, sir. Today only, you get it, along with oil and 10 liters of our unleaded gasoline, for the low price of… Can you guess!?”
I said, “Can you guess!? For free!!”
“Eh? Free? Wha? You’re not charging anything?”
“However!” I said. I jabbed a finger at his flabbergasted face and shouted at the top of my lungs! “Come back alive! And visit my shop again! Come give me that idiotic look once more. Promise! And! Tell me whether that thing was helpful! Or not! If you promise me that! You can take it for free! No money necessary!”
“All—All right,” said the adventurer. He gave a nod.
“OK. Here you go. Handling instructions. I jotted down the important bits.”
The elf girl passed the adventurer something.
I had wondered what she had been doing crouched down on the floor with her backside toward us.
Oh, right. Of course.
They would be screwed without instructions, wouldn’t they? It’s not like they could read writing from a different world, could they?
Good job realizing that, Idiot Elf.
To be nice, I wouldn’t call her “idiot” for three seconds.
1…, 2…, 3…! OK! That’s three! Too bad! Time’s up!
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
“Thank you very much!”
Having unloaded a mountain of canned food and a chainsaw onto the adventurers, we sent them off.
Standing next to the idiot elf, I watched them leave.
Then the she jabbed me with her elbow.
“Master. We took a pretty big loss today, huh?”
“It’s fine,” I replied dourly.
We had unloaded the chainsaw and all the canned food for free.
We had also given back the bag of gold nuggets they had thrown on the floor, of course.
Though, maybe we should have taken payment for the canned food if not the chainsaw.
I had gotten caught up in being stubborn.
But it was fine.
I couldn’t have it any other way.
I had opened this store—opened C-Mart—to see everyone’s smiles.
Absolutely not to make a profit.
“It’s fine,” I said.
The idiot elf didn’t speak a word, but I couldn’t stand the way her prim expression said she had me all figured out.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
It was about ten days after we had sent the adventurers off.
As promised, they came to visit the shop one more time.
“It was all thanks to you! All of it! All thanks to you!”
“Oh, for— I get it. I get it already! Let me go. You’re annoying.”
The male adventurer was clinging to my leg, so I…
…kicked and kicked and kicked.
But he wouldn’t get away from me.
Oh, come on. Let go. You’re getting snot on me!
“In—In the dungeon! W—we were surrounded by a huge army of zombies!”
The adventurer wasn’t letting go of my leg.
“There were like 1000 of them! W—we had never seen so many! But, that sword! We had that sword! And so, we—! We made it out alive!!”
He was rubbing snot all over my trousers.
“Come on! Let go already! You’re annoying!”
“This ‘chaynn-sah’ is all beat up, huh? You can’t use it anymore, huh?”
The idiot elf poked the chainsaw that the adventurers had brought back.
After cutting down 1000 zombies, the chainsaw really was all beat up.
It was in as terrible shape as if it had been used for decades, not a mere ten days.
I realized something.
“Ohh. So, you’re looking to buy another one?” I asked the adventurer at my feet.
Nod nod. Nodnodnodnod!
The adventurer nodded vigorously a million times.
“Right. In that case, I’m taking this old one. For the shop. I feel like that wall there wants some kind of decoration.”
“Hang it up! Do that! I’d be honored! Totally honored!” He nodded his head vigorously.
Can you say it and not spray it?
Well, I had gotten his permission. A little snot was no big deal.
“What were you lot called again?”
“We’re ‘Phantom Bulleta’!”
“Oy, Idiot Elf. Write that down. ‘Zombie Crusher — Trusted sword of Phantom Bulleta’. Like it’s come to rest here after fulfilling its duty.”
“OK. Understood, Idiot Master.”
“Don’t call me an idiot!”
“Then you stop too, please!”
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
So apparently ‘Phantom Bulleta’ was a pretty famous band of adventurers.
Even more customers came to see the ‘sword’ hung on the wall.
And chainsaws became a staple of our merchandise. Adventurer types kept buying them.
And C-Mart was bustling and busy for another day.