The Straw Millionaire, the Cat, and the Princess Volume 1 Chapter 1 part 3

“The gun is probably a typical disguised gun, but this stick… drug is Pahabrinka, right?”
“A drug? It said Yapabrinka though.”
“That’s even worse! It’s a damn dangerous drug. Just possessing it is a capital offense under the Galactic General Law. It’s better to dispose of it right away.”
I hastily stashed the score stick and gun in the junkyard.
“Thanks to Yapabrinka, I realized something. The one accessing Tonbo’s skill is a pirate.”
“A pirate!?”
“Yeah, from disguised guns to drugs to frozen Poptes with no ransom. They all seem like things pirates would have, right?”
Now that he mentioned it, they did.
“Isn’t that dangerous? The junkyard, was it? Should I just stop using it?”
“Well, it’s dangerous, but isn’t it okay?”
“Huh? But they’re pirates!”
“If they can’t find out about us, then we don’t need to worry about them either, right? As long as we don’t carelessly give out information.”
Now that he put it that way… I guess so. I set the KEEP setting for all the miscellaneous items I had in the item box… no, the junkyard. I wouldn’t want my license or something taken away and have them come to my house.
“But on the flip side…”
Mars looked at me with a somewhat apologetic expression.
“If they’re pirates, then they probably have pirate ships, right?”
“Pirate ships!?”
I imagined a space pirate ship and felt a shiver. Suddenly, I remembered a childhood dream.
That’s right… I had a dream. My dream when I was little was to become a cool space pirate, defeating enemies with a machine gun embedded in my left arm and swooping in to save beautiful space maidens in distress. My sister and I used to play with our arms stuck in cylindrical potato chip containers.
People are creatures who forget their dreams and become adults. But at the same time, we’re also creatures who can’t truly forget those dreams. Mars tapped my knee, lost in thought about my pirate image, and continued speaking.
“So, Tonbo, if there’s ever a chance to get a ship through an exchange in the future, could you give me a ride to the nearest Galactic Commerce Organization affiliate star? If I can get back home, I’ll send you a ton of delicious stuff as thanks.”
“Oh, of course, that’s fine.”
“Great, it would really help me out.”
Looking at Mars bowing his head, I felt a pang of sadness for some reason. I thought he was trying to say it in a way that wouldn’t cause me too much trouble, but I no longer thought of him as a stranger.
The same furry cat had come to the same human twice. There must be some kind of fate or destiny. I couldn’t help but think that way.
“Well, no, that’s not it…”
“I’ll definitely get a spaceship.”
I replied, feeling like something had finally clicked inside me.
“That’s nice to hear, but why are you telling a Popte you just met today something like that?”
“When the cat Mars I mentioned earlier disappeared, my family waited for him forever. They prepared food every day, worried and searched for him for months and months.”
” ………… “
“Maybe, back in Your… Mars’ hometown, there’s someone waiting just like me. I understand that feeling painfully, so I want to send Mars back.”
Mars listened to my words and grinned with his teeth bared.
“But, I’m short on cash, so it might take some time… Well, if you want, you can stay as long as you like.”
“Thank you. I’ll definitely repay this favor when the time comes… Well then, I’ll be in your care for a while.”
I shook hands with Mars’ paw.
Come to think of it, since I finished the university entrance exams, I may not have tried to do anything other than being chased by life and student credits. Suddenly, a light seemed to shine on my purposeless life.
“So, what do people on this planet eat? I’m getting hungry…”
Mars looked up at me with a sorry expression, holding his small belly with his hands.
“On the contrary, is there anything Popte can’t eat? Earth cats can’t eat onions or chocolate.”
“Sailors eat anything. Although I’m not good with inorganic matter.”
Perhaps jokingly, Mars said so with a slight curl of his mouth. Well, he looks like a cat but he’s an alien. If human food doesn’t work, I can always buy cat food.
“How about instant noodles… How about carbohydrates??”
I showed Mars the instant noodles I took out from the item box (junkyard), and he read the ingredient list on the back of the package while sniffing.
“I don’t know what yeast extract is, but I guess I can eat this without a transmogrifier.”
He handed me back the instant noodles and stayed in front of the TV while I put the noodles in a pot and turned on the stove, ventilating the kitchen. Cold air flowed in from somewhere, and I warmed my bare right foot with my left foot.
“Oh… Mars, do you prefer soy sauce or tonkotsu?”
“The delicious one!”
I put the tonkotsu-flavored noodles in the pot, and when I opened the window above the sink a little, snow began to flutter outside.
“Oh, work again today…”
As I closed the window, where the cold wind was blowing in as if it were going to snow, in my apartment with a rent of 40,000 yen, 1LDK, and lots of drafty airs, my strange life with Mars, an item box (junkyard) user, and a space cat, began like this.




“After all, it’s like a ration, but it’s pretty good. The meat inside is nice.”
“This, what’s inside is a creature called a squid from the sea.”
On the way back from the city hall with Mars, who became a temporary national, or rather a temporary resident registration, we were walking through the snowy town eating takoyaki. Mars’ temporary return to Japan to live and work was requested by me as his legal guardian.
“But this is the insurance card. What if you lose it or get it wet?”
“I won’t lose it or get it wet.”
Mars held up the insurance card that the government office had hastily made for him, waving it between his fingertips. Since the connection between the other world and Earth via the dungeon, the staff at the Office for Otherworlders who had overcome confusion many times to respond concisely and swiftly. Their adaptability could be called flexible or easygoing, but it was also rather loose and unregulated.
After all, for the past twenty years, people from other countries or dimensions without diplomatic relations have been coming and going every day, settling in and out. If they scrutinize everything, the work will never end. It seemed that almost all temporary return applications were passed through without much scrutiny as long as there was a guardian, for countries or races not on the blacklist and for different world people who did not appear dangerous.
Regarding Mars’s origin, which I thought might be a problem… Considering that there are still many dungeons yet to be discovered in the country, the explanation was quite vague, but surprisingly acceptable. In rural areas, there are self-defense groups formed to hunt down and get rid of intruding otherworldly beings, but in urban areas, there seems to be a policy of generally accepting otherworldly beings and taxing them.
“Hey, Tonbo, what about the junkyard? Any movement since yesterday?” Mars asked.
“Yeah. Yesterday, mysterious parts were exchanged, and today, mysterious cloth was exchanged,” I replied.
My skill, “Junkyard,” is a weird one.
It’s like an unmanned vending machine where items can be exchanged. If you leave something in it for a while, it’ll be exchanged for something else, depending on luck. The box of oranges I sent into the junkyard for an experiment was being exchanged about once every half day.
Box of oranges → Drugs → Space currency → Food plant (parts) and now it’s a mysterious yellow cloth. According to the description, it’s “Force-field conductive thermal bonding poly-gee fabric (620%),” but that doesn’t really explain much. So, while Mars teaches me about the meaning and value of such items, we’re exchanging them in a straw millionaire, rags-to-riches style… with the ultimate goal of aiming for a spaceship.
“Judging from the amount of cash exchanged after drugs, I think your skill, Tonbo, is probably an equivalent exchange,” Mars said.
“Equivalent exchange, huh? Honestly, I have no idea about the value of things in space… but as long as I’m not losing out, it’s fine,” I replied.
“Not losing out doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. If we’re aiming for a spaceship, just rotating space items won’t cut it. We need to exchange them for Earth items somewhere to increase their value,” Mars explained.
“Making money on Earth using space items… I wish a money tree would sprout…”
But wait, if it’s an equivalent exchange, what was Mars exchanged for the orange peel…? Well, maybe it’s the value standard of the person with the skill that comes into play. As I pondered this, Mars suddenly exclaimed, “Oh!”
“Tonbo, what’s that? It’s making noise,” Mars pointed out.
Following Mars’s raised tail, I saw a slow-moving roasted sweet potato truck playing its promotional jingle.
“That’s a roasted sweet potato truck. Sweet potatoes,”
“Sweet potatoes? What’s that?”
“Want to try? It’s rather expensive, so let’s split one,”
“Really? I’d love to try!”
We chased after the roasted sweet potato vendor and split a golden sweet potato that cost four hundred yen.

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