The end of the day arrived and by that point, we hadn’t gotten a single person to sign up. I had ended up going through a dozen dragons in food though. Compared to the profits we made on a day we were open, a dozen dragons wasn’t much, but it was still my money, and I felt agitated that my carefully planted seeds showed no fruit so far. I underestimated the level of fear and hesitation that women would have about becoming sex workers. Sal had made the whole thing seem easy in comparison.
Maybe, my girls were a luckier catch than I gave them credit for. I seemed to recall that Alleya required a lot of training, and even needed a minion skill just to get her to show proper work ethic. Daphne was also problematic, and Luna was still in training. At least, they were present and willing. The other girls were all too scared to even try. My feelings for them softened slightly as I thought about how much they had done for me. I might only punish Alleya a little tonight. Just a slight whipping.
“Master is far too worried.” Alleya declared. “This is to be expected. The audition is still tomorrow.”
She seemed to be as confident as before when she started a fight with that other girl. I still felt like she was the reason we didn’t get any early recruits, but she seemed to think her actions would have effects downstream. While we had hoped to recruit some new faces today, the honest goal of the event had been to inform the populace of women about tomorrow’s audition. That was officially when they’d be signing up to become prostitutes. Had they signed in today, they would have been given a job without issue. Even if they were ugly, I would have found a job for them. Tomorrow though, only the pretty girls would be selected. They had to prove their worth.
Why would the turnout tomorrow be different? The difference was that our audition would be behind closed doors. The woman could enter anonymously, and their interviews would be hidden from the prying eyes of judgmental shrews. Everyone there would be there for one reason, to sell their bodies for money. Even though the recruiting drive had failed to catch any, we had at least announced the audition times to every girl who took food.
I sighed and continued the rest of the way home with Charak acting as our guard. I didn’t want to get jumped again or have any of the girls get jumped. No one was allowed out after dark anymore without protection. I needed to hire more protection since all I had was Charak and he was only one guy. Alleya would work fine for internal affairs, but I didn’t want her getting into dangerous situations on the street. Demons could still gang up on her, and I wouldn’t put it past Sal to try to snatch her. She was still treated as a human in this society and thus vulnerable to predation.
The outside was just starting to darken as we approach my business. However, my eyes caught a strange twinkle from the building next to mine. I stopped in place, looking at the other building with a squint. Everyone else stopped and turned my way.
“Go on…” I gave them a dismissive wave and then walked toward my neighbor’s building.
The ownership of any of these buildings was dubious at best. My business’s location wasn’t by any businesses or people of particular note. It had sprung up in an empty lot where a building had once been but allegedly burned down. How it was destroyed without damaging the neighboring buildings was beyond me.
Either way, the place I created stood out because the style was a bit off. In particular, it was far too new and nice. Other than in the rich areas of town, the buildings had all fallen into disrepair. Demons had taken the locations as their own, but they knew nothing of house maintenance, and the result was that paint was peeling, roofs were leaky, and windows were cracked. When a place fell apart to the point it was unlivable, the demons would just abandon it and move somewhere else. It was their way.
The buildings next to mine weren’t at the level where they were abandoned, but I also didn’t know which demons claimed them. I hadn’t watched the comings and goings closely enough. It hadn’t bothered me up until that point, as I had a policy of live and let live.
The only reason I noticed them now was that there was something shiny glowing in the doorway. I had passed by the building several times during the day and hadn’t noticed it before. It was only because the sun was setting and the sky was darkening that I was able to see it.
I had to get nearly to the door before I realized it was a shiny, rotating dollar sign. I glanced around, and I saw Elizabeth had reached the door to our business. She was looking my way, and when our eyes met, she tilted her head questioningly. However, her eyes didn’t glance at the glowing sign at all.
I had a distinct feeling that no one else but me could see the sign. That was supported by the fact that the coloring of it resembled my menu system. This had to be connected to my building power. I reached out toward the glowing sign cautiously. When my hand touched it, a screen popped up in front of me.
[At your current level, you can own three properties.]
[You have 1/3 properties.]
[The following property is worth 1000 dragons.]
[Would you like to buy this property?]
I hesitated for a second, and then clicked [yes].
[Insufficient funds! You currently only have 683 dragons. To afford this property, please earn more money.]
I made an irritated noise in my throat. I figured as much, but I wanted to see what would happen. It might have been bad if my dragons had gone negative though. I started to sweat when I considered my impulsive action.
Either way, it was nice to have a better understanding of my Building skill. At level one, I had been limited to a single building. I was able to expand its size numerous times, but I was ultimately limited by the available space the lot allowed me.
I could now buy or build multiple buildings. However, while the first building had been a cheap give-me, the second building would cost 10,000 dragons, which is why I hadn’t even considered building it up until this point. If I put together all of the money I had made since coming to this world, it probably wouldn’t equal 10,000 dragons yet.
However, 1,000 dragons was a lot more manageable. I could buy other properties and then fix them up using my building scale. All it would take is a steady supply of dragons, and I’d have that as long as I had my business.
Well, it wasn’t that simple. I still had questions. Even if I bought this property through my builder skill, what about the people living there? Would they be displaced, or would I still need to acquire the items through the city?
When it came to items, it was a bit strange. I could naturally use items purchased outside of the Builder skill, but they weren’t part of it. For example, if I bought a bed outside of the Builder skill, I couldn’t store it in my inventory or pick it up and move it like anything I did use. While I liked saving money, there were many things I got with the builder skill just for the convenience of being able to move them without effort.
As I thought about it, I figured the Builder skill altered something about reality. No one questioned that my building had seemingly popped up from nowhere. It had grown and expanded numerous times like magic, and even the girls seemed to just take it in stride. I had a feeling if I bought another property, I would just somehow own it from then on, and no one would question it.
With a shrug, I turned and headed back to rest. Tomorrow was going to be an interesting day.