The Straw Millionaire, the Cat, and the Princess Volume 1 Chapter 2 part 3

“…Well, neither getting a job nor starting a business seems like something to consider now.”
I haven’t even graduated from university yet, and I’m not earning enough to start a business.
“Well, if neither appeals to you, why don’t you join me in space?”
“Huh? Space?”
“Yeah, why not buy some decommissioned destroyer and start a courier service?”
“Umm… that does sound interesting.”
Mars said casually while stroking his whiskers with his paw, but for me, it was quite a shock. I’ve never seriously considered living in space before.
“Space, huh…”
“If you come with me, I can take care of you just like you do for me here.”
“In your space, are there people like me?”
“Ape-like race, right? There are way more of them than Popte.”
So, if I try hard, I might not be single forever… As I pondered this, I suddenly yawned. Looking at the clock, it’s already one in the morning. It’s already Monday, but let’s have our regular meeting.
“Well, let’s think about the future later… Mars, wipe the desk.”
“Sure thing.”
He placed the curry plate in the sink and returned with a glass and cola.
“We’ve mostly used the money we earned in the past two weeks for supplies, so there hasn’t been much activity at the junkyard.”
“You’re working hard to earn that money.”
“Anyway, this was what was exchanged today.”
What I took out was something like a pet bottle with a mesh torso. It was something that was exchanged starting from a pack of strawberries bought at a roadside station.
One pack of strawberries → A backpack of a space brand with four shoulder straps → An alcoholic drink with ingredients that earthlings cannot drink → [Cue – Portable composition converter with air quality measurement function] It feels like something that could be used finally came out after being exchanged three times. Exchange at the junkyard is, indeed, hit or miss…
“Oh, this is pretty amazing! I didn’t know something like this existed…”
Mars muttered in admiration while examining the pet bottle.
“What do you use it for?”
“It’s a machine that changes the composition of air. On this planet, it’s called carbon dioxide, right? You can directly convert it to oxygen.”
“Wow, that’s amazing!”
“It’s a standard device on spaceships, but this is the first time I’ve seen one this portable.”
Well, it’s definitely tough without something like this on a spaceship. There’s also a limit to putting a lot of plants to absorb carbon dioxide.
“If I convert carbon dioxide to oxygen with this, will it improve the Earth’s environment?”
“I think you’ll die before the environment gets better.”
“Well, that’s true.”
For now, it’s a backup. It can also be used as an air purifier in the house.
“So, Tonbo, what else happened this week?”
“I think there wasn’t anything else this week. Last week, I got a direct autograph from an idol, right?”
“Yeah, that legendary idol who disappeared suddenly at the height of her popularity? If you keep it, it’ll definitely become historically valuable!”
I wonder how many years it takes for something to become historically valuable in space…? As I stared at the holograph signed with unreadable characters [Yuri-Varak-Yuri] in the junkyard, I slowly finished my cola.




It’s December 31st, the end of the year. Surely, there wouldn’t be anyone delving into dungeons on a day like this, so Mars and I were at a home center a little away from the apartment.
“So, I think it’d be better to have a portable toilet.”
“Okay, but you’ll have to clean it, Tonbo.”
That’s the challenge… Oh, what about the air converter from yesterday? Can’t it be used for odor control?
“What?! You’re using it for that? It’s a high-end item, you know? What if the smell seeps in and it starts stinking?”
“Then we’ll exchange it at the junkyard.”
“I can’t tell if you’re being bold or reckless.”
“Oh, this toilet seems nice. It seals each use in a bag.”
I take the order slip for the high-tech portable toilet and put it in my pocket.
Honestly, I don’t know if it’s because of the strong airflow, but the dungeon’s cold is intense. I’ve had some close calls with the toilet before, so I thought we needed a solution.
“Oh, we should get an ashtray too, right?”
“Yeah, and it’s annoying to hand over a lighter each time. Should we attach one to the ashtray?”
We purchase a bright red ashtray and a stand for it. Also, considering a space where we could sit and enjoy lunch comfortably…
“Oh, we’re short on cash.”
“Maybe we don’t need the toilet after all.”
“No, we do need it. Let’s go for a cheaper option for the rest area, like a silver mat…”
“Cardboard should work fine.”
“But if we’re paying anyway, don’t you want a special touch?”
“Just being able to eat a warm lunch at the bottom of the earth is special enough, don’t you think?”
True, even if it’s a silver mat, it still costs a bit when you buy several… with cardboard, you can just throw it away if it gets dirty.
“Sorry, everyone, the silver mat is an investment for when we have money…”
“If we have money, why not buy a bench instead of a silver mat?”
That’s a good point. We stock up on consumables like vinyl bags along with the portable toilet and ashtray, and get a bunch of free cardboard from the home center. It’s really great to be able to go home empty-handed in times like this. People have all kinds of skills, huh.

As the chaotic year 21 comes to an end, spent running around at the pizza parlor, the New Year of the chaotic year 22 arrives while I warm my frozen body in the unit bath. The calendar changed from AD to the chaotic year twenty years ago when dungeons appeared all over the world, so I, at twenty-one, am actually from the first year of the chaotic era. The first year of chaos was a year when all the previous norms and peace were shattered, so there’s no real sense of prestige.
However, with twenty years having passed since that chaos, people have adapted to some extent… Now, even at shrines for New Year’s visits, you can see people from other worlds and their children joining in the prayers. Mars watches me awkwardly praying next to an orc child who performs the ritual of two bows, two claps, and one bow.
“Hey, Tonbo, why come all the way to the temple at this time of night? It’s cold.”
“It’s a shrine, not a temple. It’s called hatsumode, where you visit a shrine at the beginning of the year.”
“Is Tonbo a follower of some religion? I’ve never seen you praying or anything.”
“No, visiting this shrine is a… how do I put it? It’s a ritual to confirm that you’re part of the Japanese community…”
“So, it’s Japaneseism?”
“…Hmm, I wonder. “
Sipping on the sweet sake, we walk along the approach with stalls set up on both sides.
Among the black-haired Japanese, there are colorful-headed people from other worlds and different species with animal heads bustling about. The Japanese gods must have been quite surprised the first time people from other worlds came to visit.
“Oh, by the way, does Mars believe in any gods?”
“No, belief in gods has declined since the confirmation of the transmigration of souls in the galaxy. In modern soulology, you can even find out who you were in your past life.”
“What?! You can know your past life?”
“Don’t they do DNA testing on Earth? It’s similar. Since soul patterns have been deciphered, if it’s registered, you can identify it. Some people say knowing your past life takes away the mystery.”
Indeed, being able to identify your past life might not be all that exciting upon reflection. If you were a pathetic person, you might feel blue, and if you were too extraordinary, you might think, “Compared to that, my current self…” or something like that.
“What was Mars’s past life?”
“I don’t know, I’m a Popte. Dead Popte are reborn as Popte with the same fur. That’s how it is in the world of Popte.”
Mars said so nonchalantly, stretching his arms. Maybe that’s just about right. Your past self doesn’t really do anything for your current self, and on the contrary, if you had debts… huh?
“Mars, what happens if your past self defaulted on debts or something?”
“It doesn’t matter, but if the other person is alive, they might hold a grudge.”
Saying that, Mars, the cat, smiled with a wicked look. Yeah, it seems like you shouldn’t know about your past life. The white sigh that inadvertently escaped me vanished into the wind, carrying somewhere away. The freezing cold wind brought a nice smell from somewhere, and my hungry stomach growled.
“…Mars, do you want something to eat from the food stall?”
“Didn’t you say it was expensive earlier?”
“Well… it’s okay. We can earn money again tomorrow. Even if you have a lot of money, you can’t take it with you to the next life.”
Mars looked at my face and chuckled as if amused, then walked toward the food stall. I followed his furry figure with numb hands warmed by breath.

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