“There is no one coming.” Charak snorted.
I frowned as I looked out over the town square. An occasional demon walked by and glanced curiously at the girls, but not a single woman had walked up. We had set up a table and a sign offering a position, board, food, and the ability to earn a living. The girls had dressed up in their finest and were there both as eye candy and to make them feel more comfortable. Yet, not a single woman appeared in the courtyard.
“Did you fail to make the announcement around town?” I asked, looking around.
“They got the message,” Elizabeth spoke quietly. “They’re just afraid to come out.”
“Afraid? Is Sal threatening them?”
“That might be part of it.” Elizabeth declared. “However, there is more to it than that. Any woman who walks up here wouldn’t just be seen as a slut, but also a traitor. She’d be surrendering to services demons for a living. Even if she might be interested in private, few women would trample on their pride to admit it in public.”
I glanced over at the three dressed-up women. “I’m sorry for putting you out here.”
Elizabeth put on a gentle smile and shook her head. “No, it’s fine. I’ve put my lot in with Master a long time ago. These girls just don’t know what they are missing.”
“Hmph… I threw my pride away a long time ago, so what do I care?” Daphne sniffed.
“That still leaves us in a predicament.” I looked around the courtyard unhappily. “How do I get to all of these women?”
“I have an idea, Master,” Alleya spoke up.
“What’s that?” I asked.
She gave an uncertain look. “As to that, I’m not sure Master would be interested…”
“Just spill it out!” I growled.
“Ah! I-it’s just… if you provided them with a meal and clothing, many would approach.” Alleya explained. “Then, with crowds already up here, it’d be easier for one of them to sign up or get involved.”
“You mean give them something for free?” I frowned, causing Alleya to wince. “What do I look like, a charity?”
“A charity might be a good idea.” Elizabeth looked up.
“If Master started some kind of charity that distributed food and other supplies to women in need near the brothel, it would force these women to interact with the brothel regularly,” Elizabeth explained. “Not only would they start to have a better view of the brothel, but there would be increased opportunities for them to be tempted to join themselves. Their bodies wouldn’t just mean they could lead better lives themselves, but a part of the proceeds would go to make all the women in the city live better lives. Wouldn’t that help Master a lot?
“That’s not a good idea…” I frowned.
“Ah… I see…” She lowered her head.
“It’s a great idea!” I slammed my fist on the table, causing all the girls to jump.
My only regret was that I hadn’t thought of it myself. Every business worth their salt did community service. Yeah, they donated money for tax write-offs, but they also did it to enhance their public image. After being kidnapped by those spinsters, I thought they were just looking for an opportunity to work for me. However, seeing the empty courtyard, I realized that I needed to first sway public opinion.
Sal’s Sex Shoppe was successful because he had the strength of the demons behind him. His shop catered to the demons far more than my little shop. The only thing my shop had going for it was the women. My women were healthier, happier, and even a bit better quality. That’s why Sal had set out to create disturbances. He was trying to make the environment for my girls less hospitable.
If I wanted to beat him, I needed to target public opinion. I needed to make my shop a place for women. He might have the love of all the demons, but if there were no women, it was just a bunch of dudes with their dicks in their hands!
“We’re going to take an hour’s break. Charak, watch our setup. I have some things I need to do.”
“Yes, Boss.” He saluted.
I left Elizabeth behind with Charak and then returned to the watering hole with Alleya and Daphne in the toe. I took Alleya because she had a lot of strength, and I brought Daphne because I didn’t trust her not to cause issues if she was alone and bored. When I opened the door, I found a Diana lying there on the counter. She looked up when we came in and then jumped off the counter.
“Ah, it’s over already?”
“Have those supply shipments arrived?” I asked.
“O-Oh, yes! They are right over here.” She quickly showed me where the boxes were stacked.
Diana was still a young girl, so I didn’t expect her to put away all of that stuff on her own. Alleya and her mother would usually do it when they got back. Sometimes, I could get Charak to work as well. I mean, it wasn’t like I was going to do it.
“We’ll need to put in orders for twice what we received.” I declared. “Double the next order.”
“R-really? Okay.” Diana knew to agree instead of arguing.
“Alright, I’ll get some grills, you girls grab some meat, pots, and so on.”
“What about eating utensils?” Alleya asked.
“Let me worry about that.”
While the girls started collecting the food, I went into the back room and brought up my ordering list. As I made more money and increased the size of my building, the Builder skill continued to provide me with new things I could buy. The list wasn’t just set to Building and Building amenities, but I could also get food, appliances, clothing, and cosmetics. The only things I couldn’t get were things completely unrelated to home living, like raw supplies.
In this case, I was looking for camping gear. I wanted to get a gas grill for cooking. It had future applications, so I didn’t mind it. However, as the dragons disappeared from my inventory, I couldn’t help but wince at the cost. A grill was far more expensive in drakum than it would have been in my world if I compared it to some of the more common items like food. As the technology advanced, so did the cost.
I also got paper plates and silverware. It was pretty expensive for it was. For just a pack of 500 plates, I spent as much as I could have spent for a few hundred tin plates similar to what this world already had, but then I would have been left with hundreds of plates to clean and store, and that seemed like a hassle. It was better to just trash or burn everything when we were done.
One of the other nice aspects of the Builder skill was that it also functioned as an inventory. It wasn’t a true fantasy world inventory where I could store anything. I could pick up anything ordered with Builder and hold it until I wanted to set it down. I could also store anything previously purchased, and convert it back into drakum, but at a discounted rate based on the item’s current condition. Moving furniture was as easy as storing it and then dropping it in the new location. Other than items that I had purchased through my Builder store, the only other thing I could store was drakum.
I ordered a few other things, cheaper amenities, and clothing that cost very little drakum. They didn’t look like much, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. Once I had everything I felt we needed to order, I brought the items out of their inventory and brought them out to the girls. I didn’t want to have a grill magically appear out of nowhere. The girls had seen me magically move stuff before, but I’d rather my enemies not know about such abilities. Once we were packed up, we headed back to the town square. I got the grill going and started cooking food. It was time to start recruiting phase two.