Gabriella was uncharacteristically quiet as mom chattered on, packing up the last of her stuff and reminding us multiple times to be safe. She shot me a few side glances, but she otherwise didn’t mention what had happened in my room.
I was a bit surprised that my sudden act had so successfully worked on her. Gabriella was always bullying me. It seemed like a firm hand worked with her. I’d have to remember that for the future. At the moment, I had other concerns. Once mom and Gabriella left, I went to get ready to leave myself. Once grabbing the essentials, which I didn’t store in my inventory, I headed for the door.
That was when I was grabbed, and two arms held me while large ballons pressed against me. I felt lips press against my cheek.
“Attacked as soon as mother leaves! Have you no shame?” I cried, turning to give my sister a scolding, but when I saw her eyes my words froze in my throat. “Hazel?”
“You’ve been leaving to do whatever more and more lately,” Hazel responded, a tear falling down her cheek. “I’ve felt lately like I’ve been losing my brother.”
“You know… this will be the first weekend I’ll be along on my own.” Hazel smiled, but it was juxtaposed to the tears falling from her eyes. “I know I won’t be seeing you for several days. I know that you’re an adult now. Mom warned me when you turned 18, you’d be likely moving out. You know that’s only a month away, right?”
“Ah… that’s right.”
Besides being short, I also happened to be one of the youngest in my class, having the unfortunate reality of being born in early June just before school let out. I had been concentrating so much on graduating and starting to make money I had nearly forgot my birthday was coming up.
“I have something I want to give you on your birthday, and you have to accept it.” She declared.
“Promise me!” She grabbed my hands and gave me her almost begging look, one refined after years of practice. “It’s something really special, a piece of me… and only you can have it.”
She couldn’t mean… that… right? I was afraid to ask. I knew that Hazel loved me and was genuinely good-natured, but she could be a bit crazy sometimes. There was no way she’d be offering something like that though! Plus, I didn’t feel like I could say no. I was going away, and if I left her crying this weekend then why was I even going to that world in the first place?
“I will take it.”I gave my sincerest look.
“Ah!” Her face turned red. “Y-yes… please.”
My sister was too cute sometimes. I felt my heartwarming. I wanted to hold her and protect her, but I had to go. In time, I would have the money to give her everything she deserved. I swore it.
“Then, I’ll see you once this orientation setup is finished.” I coughed.
“Oh, and one more thing.” Her teary expression turned into a grin.
“Can we take a bath together before you leave?”
My fond feelings for her deflated like a balloon. “What?”
“It’s skinship! I want skinship before we leave!”
Cute sister my ass! My heart properly froze.
“Wait… Daniel… just this one thing! Okay, we don’t need to get wet! In fact, I’m wet already! Daaaanieeel!”
I shut the door in her face and ignored anything else said as I walked away. Since I had finished my goodbyes, my next direction was clear. Looking up an address sent to me by Mizuki, I headed out to the factory. It took two bus changes to get there, reminding me that I’d be looking to buy a car when I returned next week.
When I finally arrived, I quickly checked over the stock. The warehouse wasn’t filled with goods. How could it be in such a short period? It was still far more food and supplies than the people of the wasteland could buy in a single weekend. I hadn’t specified specifically what she should get, but it wasn’t like we had a refrigeration system here, so it wasn’t like she was going to get easily perishable foods.
As for whether they came in a can, a bag, or a case… it didn’t matter to me as long as the labeling met my requirements. Mizuki appeared to be thorough, as the items all contained white labels that only stated the ingredients and the nutritional value. Frankly, I’d prefer the nutritional values not be on the can, but I couldn’t help everything. As for the expiration dates, there was a form sitting on a desk. It’d take ages matching the information of expiration dates with lot numbers, but it didn’t matter to me much if food expired. The group I was selling to wasn’t the type to fret over expiration dates.
“Cecelia, how much are you able to move in one go?” I asked.
“I haven’t pushed it to the limit. It’s not like I have personal knowledge about the formula. However, since you would be taken along with any transport, do you want to risk stressing it?”
I swallowed hard, thinking about transferring over only to be instantly killed all because I was greedy. It was true that each transfer ate up crystal energy, but the movement of so many supplies far outstripped that cost. Although Katarina who had lived a dangerous life sound such use of crystals excessive, I saw it as a necessary evil.
“How many crates can you safely move?” I changed my question.
“I should be able to move two crates without concern.”
“Just two… huh?”
“Would Master like to try three?” The tone of her voice almost made it sound like she was eager to see me flattened in some kind of transfer trip.
“Oh, and while I didn’t mention this before, I should say there is a five-minute pause between each transfer. You cannot move back and forth without a temporary cooldown.”
As for how many crates were in this factory, there were at least two hundred. With two at a time, it’d take a thousand minutes, or around 16 hours to transfer everything, and that was assuming I didn’t take any breaks and every transfer occurred at exactly the five-minute mark. Furthermore, that would use more crystals than I had in my inventory. I had never perfectly calculated it, but it seemed like I had just enough to do only 10 transfers.
“We’ll start with the ten. People will wonder how I got here with more than ten crates anyway.” I decided.
“People will wonder how you managed to get into Argos carrying ten crates without a caravan whatever you do.”
“This is also true.” I shrugged. “However, I have to do my best to make it possible, even if improbable. I can let them make up reasons about how it works.”
“If you insist.” Cecelia sounded as if it didn’t matter one way or another for her.
I quickly looked through the boxes and decided what was the most important. Bottled water, canned food, and some personal items. Grabbing two boxes, I had Cecelia transfer me. I appeared once again in the area located in the basement of the museum. The bodies I had tossed there had been moved away as I had hoped.
“Should I put these crates in a place more easily obtainable?” I asked myself.
I could technically teleport from anywhere, so putting them at the bottom of a stairway could be annoying. That said, I felt like this might be the best and safest place to have them. If I emptied my inventory, I probably had just enough space to include a full crate, which meant I really could move three crates at a time if I was determined. However, it’d be a hassle emptying my inventory too.
Well, what was the point of getting employees if I wasn’t going to put them to work? I waited five minutes and then returned. Five minutes, back again. About an hour later, I had all ten crates in the room, so I sent Kiera a message to gather our new employees and meet me down here. I only had to wait about ten minutes before a familiar face came running down the stairway.
“Raven, how’s it going?” I raised my hand.
“You’ve returned…” He let out a breath, seeming relieved.
“Ah… why wouldn’t I?”
It was at that point I recalled that I hadn’t spent that much time with Raven and his gang. We had only really been together a single long weekend, and yet so much had happened it had felt like I had known them for months. Katarina and Kiera were women I had only known for a month or so too, yet we had experienced so many life or death situations I had felt like I aged a decade.
The next person to walk down was Red. Over the last week, I could see the beginning of stubble growing on her head. Was she growing her hair back, or was it a lack of shaving supplies?
“I’ve brought some shaving supplies.” I declared immediately. “What doesn’t sell this week you guys can get some. Eventually, we’ll set up a demerit system where you can buy from the supplies provided.”
“Shaving?” She quirked an eyebrow. “You want me shaved?”
“Bald… I figured?”
She gasped. “Oh my, how bold, but if you insist.”
Wait, she was talking about her head, right? She was giving me a look though. It seemed I didn’t have a good understanding of women. Raven got it and was shooting me a warning look. He seemed to be good with women. Maybe I’d ask him later.