In the Capital of the Archlesia Empire. A small coffee shop quietly stood at the end of the main street.
There were only counter seats and two table seats in the store, which isnt very spacious to say the least, and the only people in the place were the owner and a single customer.
A man with shaggy black hair and stubble, and a wrinkled, disheveled gray trench coat…… Ozma sat at the counter and leisurely sipped his coffee.
[……Fuu~~ The coffee in this place is as tasty as usual~~]
[Thank you…… Thats all well and good, but Uncle Why wont you at least shave your beard]
[Well~~ Ahaha, its troublesome.]
At the counter stood a petite girl around 130 cm tall…… The dwarf shopkeeper spoke to Ozma, a regular customer since her fathers generation, in a rather dumbfounded tone.
Hearing her words, Ozma lazily replied while awkwardly brushed his hair with his hand.
[Well~~ Even so, your skills have really improved, havent they]
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[I still couldnt match Fathers skill though.]
[Hmmm. Previous shopkeeper has his good parts, while the young lady has her own.]
[Do you even know what youre talking about, Uncle]
[Well, ahaha…… You got me.]
Her tone would have sounded rude for a normal customer, but for the girl who had known Ozma-san for a long time, she was acting just as usual.
Wryly smiling, Ozma looked around the shop that had no other customers.
[……Is the business not running smoothly]
[……Well, I cant say that Im making profit even if its a lie, but Im not really in the red, you know We also have some regulars like Uncle.]
[I see…… Oya]
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When Ozma expressed his worries about the young girl who lost her parents at an early age and was running the store with her small body, the girl responded with a bright smile.
Ozma tried to give a gentle smile at those words, but soon after, he sensed something and turned his gaze towards the entrance door.
Just as the young girl moved her gaze there, the door of the store was roughly opened and several men who looked like thugs entered.
[……Its you lot again huh……]
[Hehehe, were back to negotiate. Have you thought about it already, shopkeeper]
[No matter how many times you come, I have no intention of giving up this store! This is my fathers precious store!]
[My, oh my. But you see…… Its difficult being a lone woman, you know “You never know what will happen”.]
[ ! ]
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Seeing the man look at her with a coarse smile on her face, the girl backed away a bit, looking frightened, but she still turned her strong eyes to the men.
The atmosphere was so tense…… that you could almost describe it as a critical situation…… but this was broken by the sound of a cup falling to the ground.
[Uncle! A- Are you alright]
[Arya~~ It spilled on me……]
[Please hold on! Ill get you a towel……]
Ozma drops his cup of coffee and looking at his coat, which had a large stain on it, he had an ashamed expression on his face.
……Its unknown whether they were dumbfounded when they noticed him or if they were just trying to avoid the public eye at this time of the day…… But the man clicked his tongue lightly before turning away.
[Tsk…… Well be back.]
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Spitting out these words, the man walked out of the shop with what seemed to be his minions.
While wiping the stain on his coat with the towel she received from the girl, Ozma looked at their back with his usual expression.
[Geez! You need to be more careful, Uncle……]
[Ahaha, well~~ sorry, my bad. It accidentally slipped…… Even so, that quite some rough customers youve got there~~ Do they come here often]
[……Yes…… Theyre “landsharks” hired by that company which has quite a bad reputation. Theyve been trying to acquire this plot of land.]
[Hmmm. They sure are everywhere, arent they…… Are you alright]
[Im alright! This store was very important for my father, so no matter who comes, Im not going to give this place up.]
The small-framed girl acted firm, but her shoulders were shaking a little.
However, Ozma pretended not to notice it as he took out a coin out of his pocket and placed it on the counter.
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[I see. I know its that the future would be filled with all sorts of difficulties, but do your best. If youre in trouble, you can always rely on adults, okay]
[P- Please dont treat me like a child! I will be alright!]
[Hahaha, really I guess Im being unnecessarily intruding eh]
[……Thank you—— wait, Uncle! Please wait! Isnt this a gold coin Giving change for this is……]
[Ahh, its for the cup that I broke. Dont worry and just take it……]
[No, no, this is just too much!]
[Well then, Ill come visit again~~]
Ignoring the girls protests, Ozma left the store while leisurely waving his hand.
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The sun had gone down and the alleyway was lit up by the moonlight. Not far from the coffee shop, a man and his group of landsharks who had visited the coffee shop this morning were gathered.
[……Hehehe, are you sure that were doing this]
[Yeah, we cant spend too much time on that little store.]
[So, were going to negotiate with her body huh…… Im looking forward to it.]
[What You bast*rd, youre fine with someone having a kid-like body like hers Well, do what you want. That woman is going to be “missing” from now on, so you can take her home if you want…… But when you throw her away, make sure you dispose of her properly, okay]
[Hehehe, I know that.]
The man also grinned as he answered the minion who spoke to him with a disgusting smile.
Yes, they decided to take the coffee shop by force. The store was owned by a single dwarf girl, someone they could easily do whatever they wanted……
Their idea itself isnt wrong. That girl certainly had no way to resist the violence that these men would bring…… Yes, if its that girl, that is……
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[Hmmm. Uncle isnt sure that I would like that kind of thing, you know]
A voice quietly echoed in the back alley. When the men hurriedly looked at the direction of the voice, they saw the small…… combustion of a cigarette, before Ozma slowly appeared.
[For a child doing his best to end up getting violated…… Uncle doesnt like such bad endings. I really think happy endings are the best~~]
[Y- You bast*rd, who the heck are you!]
[H- Hmmm. This uncle thought that I was pretty famous but…… No, it was also the same case for that young girl huh. Why doesnt anyone recognize me Is it because of my ambition I guess it really is because my ambitions arent great enough huh]
[……Tsk, oi, you bast*rds! Quickly get rid of that obstructive old man! It will be troublesome if he causes an uproar.]
The man clicks his tongue irritably at Ozma, who spoke in an aloof manner, and flew instructions off to his minions.
Of course, the man had no intention of letting Ozma go. Now that he had seen them, they would have to deal with him……That was a really…… foolish choice.
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[You there~ You cant just tell some to die like that…… Whoa.]
One of his minions swung his curved sword at Ozma, but Ozma leisurely deflected his strike, easily evading the minions attack.
Moreover, that wasnt all. After Ozma parried the strike of the minion…… He gripped on the hand holding the sword and rotated it, twisting his hand.
With just that, the minions body spun vertically and slammed into the ground behind Ozma.
In Japan, a country from another world, this technique was called Aiki. It was a graceful technique that practiced a flowing strike, making use of the opponents power against themselves.
Ozma took one look at the mans minions, who were writhing in agony with their back slammed hard on the ground, and exhaled a mouthful of cigarette smoke.
[……Isnt it better if you all stop now Uncle is pretty strong, you know……]
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[D*mn it! What the heck are you lot doing! Quickly deal with him!]
[Oiiii, you should properly listen to your elders, you know……]
With the mans angry shout, several of his minions headed towards Ozma at the same time. Looking at the curved swords swung at him from his left and right, Ozma lightly caught them with his fingers and lightheartedly pulled them.
He then lightly chopped his hand on the napes of the two men who had been pulled along with their swords, knocking them unconscious, and then flicking his palm against the flat side of the blades that continued to close in on him.
As he leisurely watched the mans minions approaching one after another, a small smile appeared on Ozmas lips.
If someone were to look at this scene now, this would have been a really reckless sight. The man had at most a dozen men at his command…… but such a number didnt help them at all.
[Even if Uncle looks like this, Im a pretty nice guy, you know Its not like I would kill you, so you dont have to worry.]
Seeing the dozen or so of his subordinates lying on the ground unconscious, the man looks at Ozma with a frightened expression on his face.
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Ozma kept a gentle smile on his face, but his gray eyes were deep, sharp, and intimidating.
[However, unnn. Id like it if you could do Uncle one favor.]
[A- A fa…… vor]
[Unnn. Well, its not that big of a deal. “That guy who commissioned you all to do this”, Uncle actually wants to talk to them. Thats why…… Can I ask you to take me there]
[……a- aaahhh…… uaaa……]
In a certain alleyway dimly lit only by the moonlight, the man trembled in front of the overwhelmingly strong man in front of him…… and he didnt have any other choices.
Morning sunlight streamed through the window of a certain coffee shop. At the counter, Ozma was there, as usual.
[……I mean, Uncle]
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[Even though you got a new one, why is your coat still wrinkled]
[A- Ahaha…… Well~~ I guess I shouldnt have thrown them all together huh……]
[Geez, youre still as sloppy as ever.]
[Ahaha, thats harsh of you.]
While enjoying a relaxed and peaceful conversation, Ozma took out a cigarette and lit it.
The girl, who had been astoundingly looking at him like that, looked as if he suddenly remembered something and spoke.
[Speaking of which, Uncle. You remember that company that wanted me to give my store to them that I mentioned before…… I heard that evidence of fraud was found on them and their company was taken down. Thanks to that, the landsharks who used to come to my house have stopped coming.]
[Is that so Well, I guess thats what happens when they do something shady.]
[Yes, I guess I can be relieved now.]
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[Unnn, unnn, thats great, isnt it I guess luck really is on the side of those who work hard.]
[Wait, why are you patting my head! Dont treat me like a child!!! Im already 20 years old!]
[Ahaha, youre still a child in Uncles eyes…… More coffee please.]
With a smile on his face, Ozma watched as the girl adorably puffs out her cheeks like a squirrel and went to make coffee.
Ozma didnt say a word. Not about what happened to the landshark and his men nor the “negotiations” he had with that company afterwards…… Not thinking about expecting her gratitude in return, he never talked about what he did.
[Here, your coffee refill.]
[Thank you. Unnn, the coffee here really is delicious.]
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[Fufufu, thats obvious. After all, I brewed it with all my heart and so…… like I said! Please stop patting my head!!!]
The taste of the same old coffee was the best reward for him……
I seriously like cool uncle characters like this.
T/N: 101/ 336-