Chapter 1 – Where am I? (part4)
The parrot anthromorph who went ahead towards the gate returned with two soldiers in tow.
I guess they’re going to inspect the carriage. He said about entry tax before, so it seems the cargo is going to be taxed as well. In such a case, a large amount of tax should be imposed on valuable items such as gold and silver….
“Norbert-san, may I ask you something?” (Yashiro)
“What are the contents of this baggage?” (Yashiro)
“Salt, armor, fur, fruit, and…. the most expensive merchandise is pepper.” (Norbert)
“Pepper, is it?” (Yashiro)
“Yeah, this is the finest product of Baocliea. Oh, do you know what Baocliea is?” (Norbert)
“Yes, that’s the famous spices producing territory.” (Yashiro)
“Oh, so you’re familiar with that place….
then, perhaps he’s a southern nobleman….” (Norbert)
Norbert said something in murmur so it wouldn’t be heard by me.
No, I’m not. I mean, anyone could draw such a simple conclusion from what you have just said. He’s really a simple guy.
I saw the soldiers leaving after inspecting the carriage, and then he spoke to Norbert again.
“Pepper is really expensive, isn’t?” (Yashiro)
“Yeah, that’s exactly right!” (Norbert)
Norbert’s nostril expanded as he laughing an unpleasant laugh. Then he took out a palm-sized cloth bag out of the wooden box hidden in the back, and started bragging again.
Hmm, I guess that bag contains the pepper. From the look, its weight should be around 200 grams.
“Baocliea’s pepper is known as high-quality and well-priced high-class item, but this year’s harvest is exceptionally the best. Normally, pepper is traded at the same rate as gold, but…. this pepper is different. This is worth at least twice the amount of gold of the same weight!” (Norbert)
Oh, this indeed is a high-class item….
I started calculating its worth inside my head.
If I remember correctly, the gold price in Japan is more than five thousand yen a gram, but…. let’s round it down to 5000 yen a gram. There’s around 200 grams of pepper so, 200 × 5,000 = 1,000,000 yen. Moreover, he said the price should be at least twice of that of gold. There’s more than two million yen inside that small bag, is this for real…!?
“Then, the contents of that bag…. are worth 200,000 Rb?” (Yashiro)
“No, it’s still cheap even if I sell if for 500,000 Rb!” (Norbert)
Five million, huh…….. Yup, I want it…!
“Oh, excuse me. I need to use the toilet.” (Yashiro)
“Toilet? But there’s no toilet around here….” (Norbert)
“Then, I will finish my business in the bushes around here.” (Yashiro)
“O-Okay, please be careful…. Should I accompany you?” (Norbert)
“No, it’s fine. I’m not a child anymore. Oh, that’s right, this is a very important object, so could you please hold it for me? I don’t want to accidentally drop it, after all.” (Yashiro)
I took out a cheap wallet from my bosom and handed it to Norbert.
I know what he’s thinking. He’s afraid that I will just disappear before returning the favor I owe him. That’s why I leave an important object here, to make him believe that I will come back. Furthermore, having him hold this wallet will have a big meaning later.
“Oh, I understand. But please hurry up, because the immigration procedure will be finished soon.” (Norbert)
“Yes. I will come back soon~!” (Yashiro)
Speak in a clear and friendly manner, that’s the iron rule of fraud.
I got off the carriage, running left and right between the other carriages as if sewing them, and headed toward the gate. Over there, my eyes caught the figure of Norbert’s attendant, the parrot anthromorph, who seemed to be paying the taxes to the soldier, and approached that place.
“Oh, what’s the matter?” (Parrot)
He noticed my presence and asked him a question. I approached him with a smiling face and then peeped into the paper he was filling in.
“Nothing, I’m just curious with the immigration procedure of this city.” (Yashiro)
I examined the paper and document while nodding alone.
It’s really been converted into kanji. The taxes are written for each product and is finely calculated.
“Hey, you’re in the way!”
Suddenly, a soldier shoved me who was peeping into documents aside. Then, using the chance I have been expecting, I fell on my butt conspicuously, and rose back while scratching my neck.
“Ouch, that’s terrible…. what was that for!?” (Yashiro)
I secretly took out the 500 yen coin hidden in my collar and then dropped it. The coin bounced on the stone pavement while generating a clear metallic sound.
“Oh no, this is bad…!!!” (Yashiro)
I picked it while pretending to be in panic, and put the fallen coin into my pocket in hurry.
“Oi, what is that?”
“Hmm? What do you mean?” (Yashiro)
“The thing you’re hiding in your pocket. Show me!”
“Oh, no. Norbert-san will be worried if I don’t come back soon. I’ll go first…!” (Yashiro)
I ran away from that place with such parting words.
I ignored the soldier’s calling and kept running toward the carriage. I glanced back and confirmed that the parrot anthromorph has been apprehended by the soldier, instead of me.
Yeah, it seems counterfeiting money is a serious crime in any world. I saw the money used in this world a while ago, it was silver coin with poor quality…. sterling silver, I guess?
However, the color was dull and the pattern was simple. Their size is similar with my 500 yen coin but their appearance is not even close. It seems the metal manufacturing technology in this world is also still low.
I dropped similar-size coin of different quality while behaving suspiciously. Of course I was suspected of doing something illegal.
Thus, a poor parrot anthromorph was apprehended……… because of me.
I returned to the carriage and told Norbert that his attendant was apprehended by the soldiers.
“There’s a suspicion of (me)……… having counterfeit money or something….” (Yashiro)
Hearing that, Norbert lost his temper and took the bait.
“To impose such a suspicion on me, unbelievable! Being rude to me is the same as being rude to the Wishart House, I can’t overlook such a thing!!” (Norbert)
“You are right, Norbert-san. You better go protest now!” (Yashiro)
“Yeah, but…. I can’t just leave the luggage here….” (Norbert)
“Don’t worry, because I will keep an eye on it.” (Yashiro)
“Okay, then please do it. I will talk to the soldier and come back soon.” (Norbert)
Norbert jumped out of the carriage and ran towards the gate. The one that remained inside the carriage was I, various merchandise, and five millions yen worth of pepper.
Fufufu~ I’d like to leave this place with the pepper immediately, but it seems only in this city I can communicate with the people from this world, and I absolutely don’t want get lost in the wild again. I need to put a little more effort into this, I guess….
I couldn’t suppress my smiling face as I held the bag containing the pepper.
Yeah, I got five millions yen…. La~la~la……..
Few minutes later, accompanied by some soldiers, Norbert and the parrot anthromorph returned to the carriage.
“Good, you’re still here. I thought what should I do if the man I’m going to turn into a frog had disappeared.” (Norbert)
Frog? What is this guy talking about?
It seemed Norbert was really pissed. He lashed out at me with open hostility.
“What’s your explanation?” (Norbert)
“Don’t play dumb! I’ve heard the story…. You’re the cause of this matter!!” (Yashiro)
“Cause…. of what?” (Yashiro)
Norbert grabbed my collar.
It hurts, but this is exactly a situation when I need to maintain my calm.
“What do you mean? I don’t understand what you’re talking about since a while ago?” (Yashiro)
“You’re hiding counterfeit coins! Thanks to you, I was also suspected!” (Norbert)
“I don’t have such things…!” (Yashiro)
“Don’t lie if you don’t want to turn into a frog!” (Norbert)
Frog again…. is that some kind of proverb? Well, I don’t have time to think about that now.
“Do you have a proof?” (Yashiro)
After Norbert releasing his grips from my collar, I smiled to provoke him further while fixing my disheveled clothes.
“You said I have counterfeit coins, but where is the proof?” (Yashiro)
“Fufufu~ I have it here!” (Norbert)
Norbert showed a triumph smile as though he had been waiting for those words, and took out my wallet.
“This is yours, right?” (Norbert)
He dumped the content of my wallet on the spot with a presumptuous manner. One thousand yen bill, ten thousands yen bill, and some small change. Total 12,886 yen fell on the ground freely.
I was a working man until recently, so this amount is…. Well yeah, the content of wallet of high school students is normally around this much.
“Look! There are various coins that I’ve never seen before! I’m a merchant, and I dare to say that such coins are not circulated anywhere!” (Norbert)
“Are you sure?” (Yashiro)
“Don’t mock me! I’m a merchant! I know all coins used all over the world and I’ve dealt with them!” (Norbert)
“Then, let’s make a bet!” (Yashiro)
“A bet?” (Norbert)
“If these coins are circulated somewhere, please pay my entry tax.” (Yashiro)
“What if they’re not circulated??” (Norbert)
“You can turn me into a frog or whatever you want.” (Yashiro)
“I take your words. I hope you won’t regret it later!” (Norbert)
“The same goes for you, too.” (Yashiro)
Norbert smiled with an absolute confidence. However, the winner has been determined even before the battle starts. I asked Spirit God Alvie to show the currency exchange rate like last time. 【100 yen = 10 Rb】 was clearly displayed.
Norbert opened his mouth wide while leaking such word.
This is money from another world, of course he has never seen it. Putting that aside, I can now enter this city…. on his treat. Isn’t it great? Yeah, something free is the best.
“If it was not a counterfeit coin, why did you do such a confusing thing?” (Norbert)
“Even if you ask me that…. all I did was simply picking up the coin I dropped in panic. I mean, money is important and I don’t want to lose it. Or is there something wrong with that?” (Yashiro)
“It was your side which arbitrarily decided that I have counterfeit coins. I did nothing wrong, didn’t I?” (Yashiro)
He seems lost for words. I guess it’s better if I leave this place soon.
“Then, let’s part here. Thanks for the ride and the tax, by the way!” (Yashiro)
I started walking away while waving my hands. However, an incredible angry voice called me from behind.
“Wait a moment, bastard!’ (Norbert)
Norbert walked toward me with such heavy steps that seemed to almost break the stove pavements. His hand reached out to me but I avoided it and took a reasonable distance from him. Norbert gave up on catching me and threw a question, instead.
“Bastard, where is my pepper?” (Norbert)
“Your pepper? Oh, it was stolen by a bad guy.” (Yashiro)
Norbert made a blank look upon hearing such answer from me. However, his face gradually turned red in anger.
“Bastard! You promised me to protect it!?” (Norbert)
“I’ve never made such a promise to you.” (Yashiro)
“Don’t lie!” (Norbert)
“I’m not lying. I’ve really never made such a promise.” (Yashiro)
Norbert’s body trembled as he tried to suppress his anger.
“Fuuh, fine…. the liar will be turned into a frog…….. <<Judgement of the Spirit>>!” (Norbert)
Norbert pointed his finger at me while shouting such words. His voice echoed in the sky, and suddenly, a light wrapped my body.
What the hell!? Judgement of the Spirit…? No body told me about this!
“He is lying. Turn him into a frog!” (Norbert)
“W-Wait, I’m really not lying!” (Yashiro)
“Then, I ask the conversation record from that time for reference!” (Norbert)
Suddenly, a translucent panel appeared in front of them after Norbert saying that.
【To impose such a suspicion on me, unbelievable! Being rude to me is the same as being rude to Wishart house, I can’t overlook such a thing!! 】 (Norbert)
【You are right, Norbert-san. You better go protest now! 】 (Yashiro)
【Yeah, but…. I can’t just leave the luggage here. 】 (Norbert)
【Don’t worry, because I will keep an eye on it. 】 (Yashiro)
【Okay, then please do it. I will talk to the soldier and come back soon. 】 (Norbert)
What the hell!?
The conversation at that time is kept as texts precisely.
Why is there such a record…?
Moreover, we can access it this easily.
If it’s like this…. I can’t use lies in this city, can I?
“Hahaha~ how’s that? Look at it closely!!” (Norbert)
Norbert pointed I will keep an eye on it part triumphantly.
“You definitely made a promise to protect the pepper here!” (Norbert)
“……..huuuh? Protect…. the pepper…. you say!?” (Yashiro)
Shit, my heart is still beating violently because of this sudden light and all. I can hardly understand what he does or trying to say. But, I can’t back off here…. I shouldn’t let him have all the momentum.
Getting cold feet is out of the question. Push back, hold it, and counterattack. I need to relax and maintain my composure. I’m a first-class con artist, after all.
“I wonder if there’s something wrong with my eye, but I couldn’t find the word you mentioned anywhere….” (Yashiro)
“What!? Don’t play dumb! Here, you said you would keep an eye on the luggage. In other words, you would protect the luggage while I gone.” (Norbert)
“No, I’ve never have such intentions since the beginning.” (Yashiro)
“Those words means I would keep an eye on the luggage literally, no more or less…. It was you who arbitrarily decided that I would protect it.” (Yashiro)
“No way……..” (Norbert)
Hearing those words, Norbert’s legs started losing their power to support his body.
“T-Then…. what were you doing all this time?” (Norbert)
“It’s just as written here, I kept an eye on it until the end” (Yashiro)
“If you were watching, why was it stolen?” (Norbert)
“Because I simply kept an eye on it.” (Yashiro)
“I kept an eye on the pepper bag until it was stored inside the bad guy’s pocket.” (Yashiro)
The color disappeared from Norbert’s face, together with the light covered my body.
It seems that Judgement of the Spirit thing has ended…. Can I assume that I’ve won?
“I will go now. If you still have complaints, say it to the God who took my side.” (Yashiro)
This time, I gallantly walked away while waving my hand.
Fuck, I think my heart almost jumping out of my chest. What the hell was that Judgement of the Spirit thing? Will I turn into a frog if it’s proven that I’m lying? You’ve got to be kidding me!
In addition, that conversation record, no one told me that such a thing existed! I was almost turned into a frog because of that!
The con artists who throws lies thoughtlessly is a third-class. The first-class con artists do not throw lies excessively. We choose words that are not lies but are not true either.
“keep an eye” from a while ago is a good example. If someone says “I’ll keep an eye on it“, the other party would normally take the meaning “he/she will protect it” for you. The fault is on the listener’s side who draws such a conclusion, not the speaker.
One more thing, the “it was stolen by a bad guy” words. The thief who steals something will quickly leave the scene when the job is done — Norbert was definitely under such assumptions.
I took the pepper bag from my bosom.
The bad guys who stole your pepper was in front of you all along. That’s never a lie, I’m a bad guy after all. Well, if you want to argue who is wrong, I will answer like this without hesitation:
“Those who got deceived are at fault.” (Yashiro)
While not completely understood the power of the Spirit God, I set my foot into the city where mysterious and troublesome magic was given. Olbrum, the people call it the city where you could’t lie.
- There will be a lot of word plays and logic games inside this novel like this, and it’s really a challenge considering my limited vocabulary. I’ll try my best to express what’s the author trying to say, but if you have suggestions for a better translation, I’ll gladly hear it.