My name is Sebrose.
I’m the guildmaster of the Papermakers Guild, a union of parchment makers from all over the Demon Capital.
We are weak as individual craftsmen, but by working together, we can make transactions more efficient and make our claims easier to approve.
The parchment made by the hands of our members is of the highest quality.
It is made from sheepskins carefully raised in the guild’s exclusive ranches, using a secret method handed down from one generation to the next.
Our main client is the Demon King’s Castle.
Since documents are necessary for political and military affairs, they always order paper.
The parchment we supply has a reputation for being durable and smooth.
As long as paperwork does not disappear from the world, the demand for it will never stop.
Papermaking was a popular profession because people knew they’d never lose their job.
Our guild stands atop a dilemma: parchment is no longer selling.
Paper, deemed absolutely necessary for certain jobs and would never lose demand, has lost buyers.
Our stock is overwhelming our warehouse!
Why did this happen?
I know why.
It’s because a powerful business rival has appeared.
The Pandemonium Trading Company has launched a new type of paper with a completely different quality and is selling like hotcakes.
That’s why our guild’s sales have been on the decline.
Curses! What fun is it for a big business to rip off a small business like ours?!
The Pandemonium Trading Company is a large commercial organization that has direct transactions with the Demon King.
The difference between a guild and a company is that a guild of craftsmen is a guild, and a union of merchants is a company.
In any case, when the big companies bring their connections and money to the scene, we mere craftsmen have no means to fight back.
No matter how much we polish our skills and improve our product’s quality, nothing’s sadder for a craftsman than to be overturned by marketing.
To test things out, I ordered a new product Pandemonium was selling.
I thought I’d ridicule the poor quality that they had procured from who knows where.
But as soon as I saw the paper, I lost all sense of sarcasm.
The quality is far better than the parchment our guild makes.
“What skin is this paper made from…?!”
I showed it to my fellow papermakers, but even they didn’t have a clue.
What kind of animal skin is this?
I can tell it’s not sheepskin for one.
As members of the Papermakers Guild, we know this because we’ve been peeling, stretching, tanning, drying, and plucking remaining hairs to make the best paper for decades.
To begin with, this paper is light and soft with a texture that doesn’t feel like leather at all.
When I wrote something on it, the feeling of the plume running on it was very pleasant, and it soaked up the ink just right.
To conclude, it’s much better than the paper we make.
“Didn’t we monopolize this industry?!”
I hate to admit it, but our competitor’s product provides much superior quality!
Our guild meeting is in a state of stupor.
We panic at the worst-case scenario that we’d go out of business, but there’s nothing in particular that we can do to overcome the situation.
What else do we have when we’ve only been making parchment the traditional way since the time of our distant ancestors?
The predicament isn’t as simple as solving it by coming up with a new method…!
Oh, is this the end for us?
The Papermakers Guild, which has been around for hundreds of years, will end in my generation…
Amidst everyone’s despair…
Countless orcs and goblins came barging into the Papermakers Guild’s meeting!
What’s going on? Did someone send these anthropomorphic monsters here?!
“Who’s the representative of this guild?” asks one of the orcs.
The fact that the orc can talk is a surprise, but more than that, the dignity it radiated is so imposing it made me quiver.
He appears so majestic that I thought he was some kind of general.
“You must accept our recompense,” it says.
Did we do something wrong? But we’ve only been living our lives like we normally do.
Plus, we’re on the verge of going out of business. What more is there to accept?!
…Oh, wait. ‘Accept’?
We’re the ones on the receiving end?!
“It is My Lord’s will. You must now do as we say and lessen the burden on My Lord’s mind.”
What do those cryptic words mean?
If anything, we’re the ones with the maximum burden on our minds since we’re about to lose our job!
“Let us waste nary a second, Gobukichi.”
Now, it’s a goblin?!
And it looks like he’s got something under his arm!
“This is the finest wood My Lord could grow in the mountain dungeon.”
Oh, now that I got a closer look at it, he was carrying a log that had been cut down to a portable size.
The goblin takes out a scythe, and…
He sliced up the log!
He swung his scythe around with great speed and cut it into small pieces of wood.
“You take these fine wood chips and boil them in a pot.”
He tossed the chopped-up pieces of wood directly into the pot and put them on the fire.
Where did they even get that pot?!
And please don’t use our guild’s fire without permission; it’s dangerous!
“Let it boil well and take out only the wood fibers, then strain it into a mold.”
No, really, what are these orcs and goblins trying to do?
It’s like a square frame made out of some kind of wood, with some soggy wood shavings.
…What are they doing?!
It’s all too bizarre for me.
“When you’ve finished straining it properly, you let it dry, and…”
“Hellfire Spirit Breaker!”
The goblin dispelled all the water with some kind of fire spell!
“Here it is! Handmade paper!”
Is this perhaps the paper Pandemonium sells?!
It’s exactly the same shape and quality as the sample we bought!
“No way… Did these orcs and goblins just show us how to make the finest paper in the nation…?!”
They showed us the whole thing from start to finish.
But how can paper be made out of wood?
It’s an eye-opening experience for those of us who have been conditioned to think of paper as being made from animal skins.
“Did you understand the process well?”
“But seeing is not enough, you must master the process by today.”
“So that you can ease the burden on Our Lord’s mind.”
“Sheep farms request your return. You must relieve Our Lord of the guilt from his actions that led him to rob innocent people of their jobs.”
“In order to do this, you must master our farm’s paper manufacturing process and be self-reliant.”
“Now, let the training begin! Gather as many craftsmen as you can! The entire orc-and-goblin army will devote all its energy to giving you one-on-one instruction!”
The monster group lets out a roar.
And so, in an incomprehensible flow of events, the members of the Papermakers Guild received Spartan education from monsters that day and were able to learn a novel method of papermaking.
Will this allow us to supply fine paper as good as Pandemonium?
Will we be able to revive our dying business?