C8P1

Chapter 8 – The First Collision (Part 1)

“Why are you following us?” (Yashiro)

“I’m free all day today, so I’m thinking of helping Ginette-chan.” (Estella)

       Estella was following Yashiro and Ginette who had just left the church.

It’s her fault that I only had a cold breakfast. This girl, she’s like a plague.

{…. and I also want to monitor your action.} (Estella)

       Estella whispered such words into Yashiro’s ear.

“Your face is too close…. and don’t talk to my ear! You surprisingly smelled good!” (Yashiro)

“You’re really honest.” (Estella)

       Estella looked at Yashiro’s face with an amazed expression.

Because if I seem to be honest, you’ll be honest with me too. I’m just putting up a show, though.

I can’t be careless around her because she seems to know something about the pepper incident. But strangely enough, she didn’t touch the subject again after that and she also talked to me normally.

To be honest, I don’t know what she’s planning. I will watch her actions carefully for the time being. Then again, she’s not someone I want to be around me.

“Oh right, Yashiro-san!” (Ginette)

       Ginette who was walking in front of Yashiro who was pulling the cart, stopped walking and turned around.

“The sea fish we ate this morning, I received it from Estella-san.” (Ginette)

“Is that so? Oi, give me more fish!” (Yashiro)

“Can’t you show a little gratitude to me at least?” (Estella)

That’s stupid. The sea fish is delicious thanks to the sea. There’s no reason I should feel grateful to you.

“Speaking of which, how does this city get benefit from the sea fish?” (Yashiro)

If Estella caught that fish, she would know why the sea fish is more expensive. I’m interested in where the tax is put.

“It’s from the entry tax.” (Estella)

“That means you will be taxed when bringing in the fish, correct?” (Yashiro)

“Yes. Fish and the people.” (Estella)

       Estella told the information Yashiro wanted to hear, and even supplemented it.

Even the residents seem to spend money when they go through the gate. It’s an odious system. Why is that? It’s something like taking the entrance fee for the amusement park not only from the customers, but also from the staffs who work there. In other words, they can’t make money without paying money (entrance fee).

“The 35th District is the closest to the sea and their entry tax is higher.” (Estella)

“Then, why not go in from another gate?” (Yashiro)

There should be more than one city gate. For example, the gate in the 30th District that I used to enter this city.

The 35th District is the closest to the sea, which means even if they put a heavy tax on fish, many fishermen would still use it. Therefore, the entry tax is higher there. But if they use the gate far from the sea, they should be able to save the tax on fish.

“I’ve never thought about that….” (Estella)

       Estella nodded with admiration.

“If they use a gate with the lowest entry tax, even after taking the traveled distance into calculation, the price of sea fish on the market might be much cheaper.” (Estella)

      Because Estella said so with sparkling eyes, Yashiro decided to deny it once and for all.

“No, that won’t be the case!” (Yashiro)

It’s a human nature to take as much profit as they could. Because if the competitors show up, the market price will fall.

“I think everyone will be happy if they can get sea fish cheaply.” (Ginette)

“The fishermen and merchants aren’t doing business to please people. They’re doing it to prosper themselves.” (Yashiro)

“But if the costumers are happy…. I would be happy too….” (Ginette)

You’re a rare creature! If it were me, even if the cost goes down, the price will remain unchanged.

“What I wanted to say is that if you buy sea fish before crossing the gate, you might be able to make a profit.” (Yashiro)

The sea fish sold in the city has been subjected to entry tax, thus their price is higher. But if you buy sea fish outside and then bring them in through the gate with the lowest entry tax, they will be much cheaper. However, this may be not a very good idea if the people are getting taxed too.

“You’re amazing….” (Estella)

       Estella stared straight at Yashiro’s eyes.

Stop it! I’m starting to see you as a girl after touching your chest. You’re going to make me blush….

“…. amazing penny pincher.” (Estella)

“Call it economical!” (Yashiro)

Who is a penny pincher? I just hate wasting money. Those who waste money are fools after all.

However, I hope that sea food will eventually be available at Hidamari-tei. I want to make sure there will be no unnecessary expenses at that time. I wonder if it’s better to catch the fish myself.

“There’s one more thing, a factor that raises the price of sea fish.” (Estella)

       When Yashiro was thinking about self-fishing, Estella brought more information.

“This thing costs some money.” (Estella)

       Having said that, Estella took something from her pocket — a parchment with double-headed eagle and snake emblem.

“This is the lord’s permit.” (Estella)

“Do you need permission to catch sea fish?” (Yashiro)

“That’s right. From the guild and the lord of the district you live in.” (Estella)

No matter how wide the sea is, if everyone is allowed to catch the fish freely, it will adversely affect the ecosystem. No, in this case, I think that they’re simply securing their own interest under the principle of protecting the rights of the fishermen.

For example, I need to be a resident of certain district or belong to the guild to sell the pepper. The guild and the lords are the ones who guarantee their identity in this city.

Taking Forced Translation Magic into account…. The church is taking a country role, district lords are their local government, and guilds are the companies.

There are the absolute laws of the country (Church’s commandments), the ordinances of the local government (Lord’s authorities), and the companies have their corporate rules (Guild rules). In addition, no matter which local government you belong to, those who belong to the guild will be bound by the guild rules.

Take the case where people who live in Tokyo, Chiba, and Saitama work for the same company as an example. They are employees of the same company, tied to the same rules, enjoy the same benefits, but the local tax they need to pay will be different. In terms of the system, it seems that there’s no difference.

“So, is that the emblem of the 42nd District’s lord?” (Yashiro)

“Yes. If you live in the 42nd District, you will see it from time to time. It’s an emblem that is always included in contracts and permits.” (Estella)

“Are there any other permits?” (Yashiro)

“You’ll need a permit to do one-time transaction or to open a store. There are as many permits as stones along the roadside required to live in this city.” (Estella)

“It doesn’t seem too difficult to forge the permit and the emblem though.” (Yashiro)

“You should be careful with your words, Mr. Traveler!” (Estella)

       Estella pointed her index finger at Yashiro’s nose and strengthened her speech.

“It’s a felony to misuse the emblem of the lord. Either die by the curse of Spirit God or die by the human’s punishment…. it’s one of those two choices!” (Estella)

“…. I learned. I’ll be careful.” (Yashiro)

An ignorant traveler’s naïve remark is tolerated only once. Estella might have called me ‘Mr. Traveler’ under such consideration.

Is it felony to misuse emblems? Well, official document forgery is also a felony in Japan. If you do not impose severe punishment there, the order will collapse. Forgery of official documents and currencies is a felony in every world. However….

“Can you show me the permit?” (Yashiro)

“You can take it if you want. This is a permit that has already expired after all.” (Estella)

There’s a big “revocation” word stamped on the permit. I guess it’s a single-use permit…. a disposable parchment? What a waste!

Still though, it’s good thing that the emblem isn’t stained by ink. Thanks to that, I can see the emblem until its finest detail. Yup, I can easily duplicate it.

It’s safe as long as I don’t abuse it, and there’s no lose in having it for the case of emergency.

       Yashiro nodded and put the permit into his pocket.

“Oh!?” (Ginette)

       After leaving the church and walking for about five minutes, Ginette suddenly raised her voice. Besides the vast field, two men were arguing.

“Over there, Mormatt-san is together with….” (Ginette)

“That’s Assunto from the commerce guild.” (Estella)

       Mormatt — a man with crocodile face who Yashiro talked with this morning, was desperately complaining about something. His opponent was a well-dressed man with a pig face.

“I wonder what’s going on. The two of them seem to be having a trouble….” (Ginette)

       Ginette uttered such words with an uneasy expression.

Instead of the two of them, for me it looks like only Mormatt who has a problem. That merchant named Assunto seems to be relaxed, or rather arrogant in front of Mormatt.

“Let’s check what’s going on!” (Estella)

“I agree.” (Ginette)

       Ginette consented to Estella’s suggestion. Together with Yashiro, the three of them headed to the scene.

“I couldn’t accept it!” (Mormatt)

“No matter what you say, it’s already decided.” (Assunto)

“E-Excuse me!” (Ginette)

       When Ginette called out, they stopped their argument and turned around. Mormatt awkwardly averted his eyes while on the other side, Assunto slightly lowered his head and greeted Ginette with a relaxed expression.

“Oh, if it isn’t Hidamari-tei Owner. I’m always indebted to you.” (Assunto)

Does this mean that he’s one of the thrown-away vegetable suppliers in Hidamari-tei?

“What’s going on? You two seem to be having a trouble.” (Ginette)

“Oh no, there’s no such a thing. I just informed Mormatt about the guild’s decision.” (Assunto)

“That’s decision is too one-sided!” (Mormatt)

       Mormatt raised a protest. However, Assunto paid no heed to him.

“Mormatt-san. What happened?” (Yashiro)

       Yashiro talked to Mormatt who seemed about to snap at any moment, with a calm voice.

It’s better to listen to the angry side at such times. Otherwise, you’ll be led by the other side to their own convenient. If I listen to Mormatt story, Assunto will respond to it accordingly, thus it’s possible to hear both opinions smoothly.

“He paid 1 Rb for 1 kg vegetable until now, but…. from today onward, he said it would be 1 Rb for 5 kg vegetable….” (Mormatt)

“Umm…. that means….” (Ginette)

       Ginette started a finger calculation.

Don’t push yourself, Store Manager! Can’t be helped, I will help you out….

“It’s one-fifth of the old price.” (Yashiro)

“That’s right! Buying my vegetable at such a low price, I will go bankrupt!” (Ginette)

“Even if you say that, this is the guild’s decision.” (Assunto)

No matter how intense Mormatt protested, the answer was always “it has already been decided”. There’s no room for a negotiation.

       Assunto slightly bowed his head and tried to conclude the talk.

“Well then, I will buy the vegetable at this price from now on. I look forward to our next transaction.” (Assunto)

“Please wait! With such a price, we farmers will die within a week.” (Mormatt)

“…….. really?” (Assunto)

       Assunto bit into Mormatt’s careless words. Then, aware of his slip out, no more words came out of Mormatt’s mouth.

With such a price, you and the other farmer will die within a week — correct?” (Assunto)

“N-No, wait, that was, just a….” (Mormatt)

       Mormatt’s words clogged. Not wasting the chance, Assunto immediately took control the flow of conversation.

“Our Spirit God hates falsehood more than anything. If you or the other farmer die within a week because of the vegetable price changed, then the guild must revise its policy by all means. BUT…. if it was a falsehood, you must be ready to receive a Judgement of Spirit.” (Assunto)

       Assunto had a wicked smile on his face. Checkmate — such a word seemed coming from his expression.

“Then how about this, can you sell the vegetable at the asking price just this time? In the meantime, I’ll ascertain if there’s a chance that this change will cause the death on the farmers’ side. In a case a death did happen, I will pay the lack of payment immediately, and from the next time onwards, I will purchase the vegetable at the current double price. But….” (Assunto)

       Assunto took one step closer to Mormatt, and in accordance with that, Mormatt took one step backwards.

“…. if I do not see signs of death even after a week, then I would like to call for the Judgement of Spirit” (Assunto)

“W-Wait!? P-Please, anything but that…!” (Mormatt)

       This time, Mormatt advanced forward to follow Assunto who distanced himself from him — extended his arms, and then begged. Then as if he had been waiting for this moment, a big smile floated on Assunto’s face.

I don’t know if he intended to smile like a saint, but he looks like a hyena who just found a prey to me.

“Okay. In return for listening to your request, I hope you’ll also listen to my request.” (Assunto)

“…. I understand.1 Rb for 5 kg vegetable, I accept it.” (Mormatt)

“No, no, no, that’s wrong.” (Assunto)

“What!?” (Mormatt)

       Assunto showed even more wicked smile to Mormatt who dropped his shoulder in disappointment.

“1 Rb for 10 kg vegetable.” (Assunto)

“Huh!?” (Mormatt)

       Mormatt rushed towards Assunto and grabbed his shoulders roughly. Assunto didn’t move an inch from where he stood and even maintained his perfect cool expression.

“You said it was 1 Rb for 5 kg vegetable a moment ago!?” (Mormatt)

“That’s a different talk. You added a new condition, so it won’t be fair if I do not add a new condition too.” (Assunto)

“But…. I mean…. 1 Rb for 10 kg vegetable…. it’s just…. we’re as good as de—” (Mormatt)

       Mormatt almost made another careless remark but he stopped halfway. He had learned his lesson, though it was too late. His first statement couldn’t be undone.

“Well, this is just a business negotiation. If you don’t like it, why don’t we call it off?” (Assunto)

“…………” (Mormatt)

       Mormatt released his grips from Assunto’s shoulder and slowly retreated. From his slow movement that looked like a mechanical doll without will, we could see that Mormatt had completely given up.

“Mormatt-san….” (Ginette)

       Next to Yashiro, Ginette leaked a hoarse voice and broke into tears.

Why are you crying? This is something irrelevant to you.

He self-destructs because he spoke without thinking. Mormatt’s got what he deserves. Those who got deceived are at fault. Even now, that theory was proved to be correct.

You should be more concerned about the fact that those fang could be turned at Hidamari-tei too.

The most important matter right now is to make the purchase price cheaper and raise the selling price. That way, the profit will be doubled at once

       When Yashiro was having such thought, his eyes met with Estella’s.

What? Do you want to say something?

       Estella immediately averted her eyes when Yashiro stared back at her. Yashiro then turned his back on Ginette so he didn’t see her crying face.

“Umm, Assunto-san…!” (Ginette)

This idiot. Don’t open your mouth at such a bad time!

       Imagining the next development, Yashiro suddenly had a headache.

I can see what’s going to happen: Ginette sends a lifeboat to Mormatt and Hidamari-tei will be put at disadvantage because of her action. Nevertheless, Ginette will accept it without a second thought while saying something like “It’s good as long as Mormatt-san is saved”.

But I know Assunto is not such a kind-hearted guy. He will still impose the burden on both Ginette and Mormatt. The contract cannot be changed after you signed it. With the load increasing, the poor are being exploited more and more.

“I think that the quality of vegetables will fall if the lives of farmers are inclined!” (Ginette)

Ginette is trying to persuade Assunto with a sound theory, but…. it’s useless.

“Hou, and then?” (Assunto)

       Assunto turned to Ginette while crossing his arms. He looked like ready to make rebuttal at any moment. “Bring it on!” seemed to be written on his face.

“So, could you please raise the purchase price a little more?” (Ginette)

“But then, the guild will be at disadvantage. We’re not volunteers, so it’s difficult.” (Assunto)

“But…. I mean….  You’ve been able to pay 1 Rb for 1 kg vegetable so far, correct?” (Ginette)

“The guild is currently in a tough situation too.” (Assunto)

The guild is in a tough situation, huh.

“Hey, Estella.” (Yashiro)

       Yashiro silently approached Estella and spoke to her in a low voice.

“His earlier statement, can we judge whether it’s true or not using the Judgement of Spirit?”

The guild is in a tough situation — I wonder if I can use it to threaten Assunto like what he did to Mormatt before.

“That’s difficult.” (Estella)

       Yashiro was denied in simple words.

Tough situation is judged by the subjectivity of an individual at a large. No matter how rich you are, if you insist that the situation is tough at this level, it will not be a lie.” (Estella)

“Can we supplement it with quibble?” (Yashiro)

“The thing which cannot be judged is not judged.” (Estella)

“This is absolutely not going to happen, but for example, I lied to you by saying ‘I love you‘. But according to your explanation, even the Judgement of Spirit won’t be able to judge that as a lie, correct?” (Yashiro)

“I can only feel malice from your words, but…. that’s correct. Even if the circumstantial evidence denies it, if you keep insisting that you love me, the Judgement of Spirit will determine that you love me…. Hey, this conversation…. is very embarrassing.” (Estella)

       Estella’s cheeks turned slightly red.

Oh, that reaction made her look like a girl. Well, she’s a girl though.

“Putting that aside, are you fine with this situation? If you leave her alone, our Princess Ginette will be forced into an outrageous contract.” (Estella)

Oops, she’s right. If I didn’t properly watch her, she will go off to sign one or two impossible contracts. What a handful girl!

“B-But, Mormatt-san is very friendly and always kind to me.” (Ginette)

Now she’s making a misguided claim. Kindness? You can’t fill your stomach with such a thing. The only way to persuade a merchant is either to move the money or to stop the money.

“That’s why I hope you can reduce Mormatt-san’s burden.” (Ginette)

“Wonderful! I expected no less from Hidamari-tei Owner!” (Assunto)

       Assunto gave a dry applause.

“Understood. If you said that much, I will consider returning the price to 1 Rb for 5 kg vegetable.” (Assunto)

“Is it true? Good for you, Mormatt-san!” (Ginette)

“Uh, y-yeah….” (Mormatt)

       Ginette smiled at Mormatt with a bright expression. Didn’t know how to react, Mormatt awkwardly smiled back.

These guys are useless! 1 Rb for 5 Kg vegetable — doesn’t this mean that the problem hasn’t been resolved? Moreover, he only said that he would consider it. He can still decide that the price is 1 Rb for 10 kg vegetable.

“But in exchange, I hope Hidamari-tei Owner will make up for the loss we suffered…. So, how about that?” (Assunto)

“If that’s the case, then I — mmm — mmm — mmm —!” (Ginette)

       Yashiro immediately covered Ginette’s mouth with his hand.

Just what in the world did this girl about to say!? Her stupidity is terrifying.

“Mmm!? Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!” (Ginette)

       Ginette was trying to say something.

Don’t talk! Your soft lips that move back and forth against my palm feel good. I won’t wash my hand for a while….

       Yashiro brought his mouth closer to Ginette’s ear and whispered something.

“Just shut up! From now on, don’t say a word until I allow it.” (Yashiro)

“Hmm!?” (Ginette)

“I don’t understand what you’re saying, but just do as I say! Or do you want to lose Hidamari-tei?” (Yashiro)

       Losing Hidamari-tei — those words struck Ginette hard, she suddenly became quiet. Looking at Ginette face, she seemed about to cry at any moment.

“O-Oi, stupid, don’t cry!” (Yashiro)

       Yashiro saw tears started gathering in Ginette’s eyes.

“I will do something about this so don’t cry, okay? Just shut your mouth and listen to what I say! Do you hear me?” (Yashiro)

       After staring at Yashiro’s serious face for a moment, Ginette finally nodded. No tears spilled until the last minute.

Proofreader: _____

 

 

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3 Replies to “C8P1”

  1. This is quite hard. You can’t buy directly from the farmer since you need a permit. Which this merchant guy probably lobby the guild already. So unless you force him to say something. You can’t really do much.

    Now that I think about it. Can you physically force someone to say something then force a judgment on them?

  2. Such a stupid idea, but… maybe set up a sacrificial animal, of sorts? just get a chicken or something, declare it “A Farmer”, and kill it within the week. The condition doesn’t specify that the farmer has to have been, well, a farmer before the contract was formed, nor that the farmer has to be sentient. Similarly, you don’t necessarily need to reveal who (or what) died so long as “A Farmer” died. Thus, you should be able to get out of that condition for the price of a cheap animal, and confound the guild at the same time.

    On the other hand, they only said they’d renegotiate, that they’d “consider” it, not that the price will improve if such a thing occurred so… out of the frying pan and into the fire either way.

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