(Thank you for reading at bayabuscotranslation.com)
“Look. What do you think of this?” (Cuffe)
Cuffe said it.
“It’s so… long.” (Yuri)
On the day of my seventeenth birthday, I visited the southern entrance to the royal capital. More than twenty carriages formed a long belt across the plains. By the way, all the luggage in the carriages were goods from my company.
“This is just one shipment. What happens if we have two?” (Yuri)
“The Hou Household’s guards rotate ten members each time they switch.” (Yuri)
This was the result of Harold’s successful trade voyages.
Harold’s trading group now mainly used the ship he got built for him in the Republic of Albio. Not only did it feature advanced technology, but the ship was much larger than the previous one. In fact, it was larger than in any other ship in the country.
Despite having the new ship, the royal capital’s port still couldn’t be used. If I wanted to use it, I’d have to bow my head to the Witch households’ dock workers, as well as offer them a gold bar as tribute.
The port we used to unload cargo was somewhat shady, seeming as if yakuza lurked in the background. Though, the royal capital’s ports had a similar situation, so the whole affair was very troublesome. In particular, three Witch households were competing with each other in the northern and southern ports of the royal capital.
There was no problem if the cargo wasn’t much, but with such a large amount, we’d have to appease more than just one Witch household.
As such, I was forced to unload the cargo at the Suomi seaport and then transport it to the royal capital by land. However, the cargo from even one big ship was more than I expected.
“What percentage of the selling price is the land transportation cost?” (Yuri)
Cuffe called out to Beaure, who was beside him.
“Well, referencing last time, the total selling price of the cargo was 256000 Ruga, while the transportation cost was 30000 Ruga.” (Beaure)
‘I’m already used to it, but even so, Beaure’s memory is amazing. Is she able to recall the exact numbers because she had calculated them herself? By the way, at 30000 Ruga, the land transport cost exceeds 10% of the selling price.’
‘Speaking of 30000 Ruga, that’s half of the money I had on hand when I established the company. To think that that amount pays for only a single instance of transportation.’
“Is that so?” (Yuri)
“Horses eat more than humans. It’s obvious.” (Cuffe)
‘Yeah. Certainly, as Cuffe says, the current situation is troubling. Plus, Harold was going to commission a second ship.’
‘If this were to be doubled, we can’t expect the guards to be able to protect all the cargo. Even at present, it seems like quite a burden.’
“Well, then, let’s use the port in the royal capital.” (Cuffe)
“The entire reason we’re having a hard time is because I can’t do that.” (Yuri)
“But, where there’s a will, there’s a way.” (Yuri)
“Are you going to transfer the cargo to smaller ships at the Suomi port? That’s no easy task, either.” (Cuffe)
‘Cuffe is proposing to transfer the cargo to smaller ships and then drop it off at a nearby port other than the royal capital’s.’
‘There are ports everywhere, even excluding the port of the royal capital. We could also just unload a fully loaded ship not at Suomi but at a different port. We did think of such a plan the last time.’
‘But there was a problem with the ship.’
‘The more cargo on the ship, the lower the draft sank. Eventually, the ship sank into the water due to the weight of the cargo.’
‘On a fundamental level, there’s the matter of the beach terrain. In a sandy beach, the keel meets the seabed before going up to land, so it’s all good. But a rocky beach would be problematic, since there’s a possibility that the terrain could damage the bottom of the ship.’
‘In order to avoid these issues, people have adopted the strategy of making a bridge off the coast some distance into water and have the vessel stop there. This concept is, of course, the piers of a port.’
‘However, the pier of a small harbor is still too short for the large ship that Harold previously used. Before the ship could reach the pier, it had already touched the seabed.’
‘They ended up having to transfer the cargo to smaller boats to transfer to the port .’
‘That kind of process would take several days, so they just turned back to the Suomi port.’
‘Basically, the big size of the ship is what caused these problems in the first place. There wouldn’t be any issue if we just used smaller ships. All I’d have to do is to hire a lot of small ships and distribute the cargo amongst them.’
‘However, reloading all the cargo on a ship to smaller ships at once is a very time-consuming job, since the cargo containers aren’t standardized in size, and we don’t have anything like cranes to easily move them. Also, of course, this process would cost more money.’
“No, let’s not do that.” (Yuri)
“So, what are we going to do?” (Cuffe)
“In this stupid situation, there are some people who are at a disadvantage.” (Yuri)
I could think of some other people having a hard time now, too.
“You mean us?” (Cuffe)
“I meant people other than us. Fortunately, those people, unlike us, are in good terms with the Witch households.” (Yuri)
“Aah… I see.” (Cuffe)
Cuffe seemed to have guessed who they were.
“We’re all at the same disadvantage. There’s no reason we can’t discuss things.” (Yuri)
“That’s true.” (Cuffe)
Cuffe seemed to have been convinced too.
“Alright. Let’s gather them.” (Yuri)
(Thank you for reading at bayabuscotranslation.com)
A few days later in a room in Sibyaku’s Chamber of Commerce, I got up on a podium in front of a bunch of retailers, brokers, and other business partners of Hou and Associates. In fact, there were quite a lot of people, about fifty, as the result of Cuffe’s sales.
“Our customers… First of all, I would like to thank you for your patronage.” (Yuri)
As my voice rang out from the platform, sparse applause sounded through the audience.
“Today, we’ve gathered everyone to convey some important news. There is only one thing.” (Yuri)
I lowered my voice a little and looked at the faces in front of me. I was a bit afraid of their reaction to our news.
“We have decided to stop selling all products, including the Hou Paper, in the royal capital.” (Yuri)
Naturally, a commotion ensued in the room. After all, a lot of people here were making huge profits by reselling commodities from foreign countries we brought in.
“Quiet! Stopping sales in the royal capital doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to buy them!” (Yuri)
As I declared so, the conference room became quiet again.
“In the future, we will sell our products in the southern city of Suomi, where our company is based. Of course, we will continue to accept orders from the Sibyaku sales office. However, the actual product transaction will only occur at Suomi. If you pay in the royal capital, you will gain ownership of the products right away. In other words, you will have to transport the goods you purchased from Suomi to Sibyaku in some way.” (Yuri)
Grimaces could be seen on many merchants’ faces.
‘Was it difficult for them to understand? Look at their faces… That’s right. It does take several days to go to Suomi by horse.’
‘It’s a bit of a hassle, but we can circumvent that.’
“We also plan to provide a reasonably-priced transport service to move purchased goods from Suomi to Sibyaku by ship. Prior to use of our service, we require waiver of any liabilities that may be incurred in transit or at port. Of course, this service is completely optional. If you don’t want to use it, we will give you the goods at Suomi, or we can temporarily hold it in our warehouse until you come to pick it up. And finally…” (Yuri)
I slowly looked over the customers.
“In exchange for having to pay for transportation, we plan to reduce the price of all our products, including the Hou Paper, by 10%. The president of our company, Cuffe Ornette, will now explain the details of the transportation service.” (Yuri)
As I left the conference room, I could hear Cuffe explaining the details to the customers.
‘The transport services are cheap compared to the prices of the commodities, so everyone should use them.’
‘In short, I passed on the risk of using the ports to the merchants, who do have good relationships with the Witch households. In exchange, they will receive a 10% discount, but since that’s lower than what they’d pay for our transportation service, we’ll profit.’
I slowly exhaled as I finished my task.
Going out in public is a bit tiring.
‘Let’s go home and rest.’
As I walked down the corridor towards the Chamber’s exit, I saw somebody walking in. Fortunately, I have good vision, so I easily recognized her from afar.
She was Jura Lakramanus, a woman whose reputation I had crushed.
‘I heard that she graduated last year, so she’s here for work?’
We weren’t in a relationship where we’d greet each other, and I certainly had no reason to avoid her, so I just normally walked through the corridor. In fact, this corridor only led further into the building; there was no exit on the other side.
As we approached each other, Jura’s face stiffened, seemingly having recognized me.
She was walking on the right side of the corridor. I was in the middle, but I went to the left side to avoid bumping into her.
Suddenly, Jura moved to the middle, as if intending to block my way.
‘What is this supposed to mean?’
“What? It’s you…” (Jura)
‘If anything, that’s my line. Get out of my way.’
“Why are you getting in my way like this? I wish I were dead.” (Jura)
Jura grumbled while shaking her head.
‘Wishing that you were dead, huh… Can’t say I disagree. I’ll keep it to myself, though.’
Jura let out a bitter chuckle.
“Why don’t you die!? You should die.” (Jura)
‘Uhm, I don’t get this woman. When an already mentally unstable woman has a complete breakdown, would it be something like this? She must have accumulated a lot of stress to end up like this…but thinking about the source of it all, it’s probably me.’
“Hey, are you stupid?” (Jura)
‘Her vocabulary is unimpressive. In comparison, Carol’s is much wider, as she used words like ‘‘idiot, pervert, degenerate” too.’
“Eh… uhm, I really don’t understand what you’re saying, but I think I’ll pass.” (Yuri)
‘This is the only way to avoid getting involved with her.’
“Please wait.” (Jura)
“Are you pretending to be an immature brat who can’t do anything alone?” (Jura)
‘Oh God, this woman…’
“Sure. Please excuse me.” (Yuri)
“If you don’t apologize, I will cut you.” (Jura)
Jura unsheathed a thin sword from her waist.
‘Uwahh, this girl is totally crazy.’
When I looked at her face, I noticed her facial muscles twitching.
‘Are she on drugs?’
Jura’s sword was so thin as to be wire-like and probably used for self-defense. I suppose it was made by flattening a steel bar with the thickness of a pinky finger.
It was also short in length. Although it was a bit longer than my dagger, in consideration of my higher combat skills, her sword was insufficient to deal with me. Both of us had blades at the ready.
“You should stop.” (Yuri)
“Look, you’re going to take yours out too. Are you scared~?” (Jura)
‘That does it. This girl is really obnoxious. Or rather, is she just stupid?’
‘I don’t know how confident she is in her swordsmanship, but if she has any real skill, she shouldn’t use that sword. I’m not sure which fool made it, as it doesn’t really fulfill the basic function of a sword. Its only saving grace is the ornate craftsmanship of the blade and hilt.’
“You won’t be able to hurt me no matter how hard you try. Put down your sword before people gather and things become serious.” (Yuri)
“You’re a really… infuriating man.” (Jura)
“No no, let’s stop this, alright. There’s no benefit in doing this.” (Yuri)
*Swish* A sword swung through the air.
I dodged it reflexively.
“Ugh, why are you swinging that sword?” (Yuri)
“Because… of you… my life is ruined…” (Jura)
While saying that, she continuously hacked at me.
‘Even if you say that…’
“Well, you reap what you sow, huh?” (Yuri)
I replied while evading her slashes.
“Die! Just die!” (Jura)
She continued to rampage with her nonsensical sword.
‘She’s not getting it.
‘Although it’s probably because I can predict the motion of her sword, I can tell that her attacks won’t connect just from the way she’s swinging it… Her sword is more suited for stabbing, like a rapier or estoc. Her current attacks aren’t a threat.’
‘Even if I get hit, it’d only cut my clothing and skin, with little chance of cutting to the bone. Since the blade has no curvature, it wouldn’t be able to cut very deep.’
‘However, it would still inflict a fatal injury if she somehow cut a major blood vessel, like the carotid.’
‘Moreover, it’s a double-edged sword. Compared to a single-edged sword, she’s more likely to hurt herself.’
‘However, I can’t exactly give her advice like “Well, you should use that sword to stab when you attack, rather than slash.”’
‘Should I call out for people to come?’
At that moment…
A soft scream echoed in the hall.
“Aah… haah… haa…” (Jura)
Jura was clutching her face. It seems that she swung her sword too crazily and ended up hitting her own face, slicing her cheek. Rather than the face… I would be glad if she injured her feet.
“Are you alright?” (Yuri)
“Aa… aah… my face…” (Jura)
As Jura stared at the bloody hand she had held to her face, she froze in shock.
‘What the… Since facial wounds scar easily, I don’t think the wound will ever completely disappear…’
“…Don’t worry about it.” (Yuri)
‘Telling her that is troublesome, but since I pity her, I have to say it. She’s at fault, but a woman’s face is vital for her pursuit of happiness. Although it looks like it’ll scar, I can’t find any better words to use.’
‘I wish it would’ve been possible to catch the sword between my hands. That would’ve stopped her from hurting herself.’
“This is all your fault. I’m going to sue you.” (Jura)
‘… Haa, why did I worry?’
“Uhmm… how am I at fault?” (Yuri)
I had no choice but to tilt my head.
‘What kind of reason can she come up with?’
“I was hurt by your sword.” (Jura)
‘Aah… Uwaah… This wouldn’t’ve happened if you didn’t wildly flail around.’
‘Her accusation is baseless, but the progression of the situation is annoying. Does she plan to take me to court if this isn’t resolved well?’
“Are you planning on suing me?” (Yuri)
“That’s right.” (Jura)
‘As expected, she really has such an intention.’
“Since the beginning, there were some people watching from behind you when you started making a commotion. But when you started swinging around your sword, they were shocked and ran away.” (Yuri)
“I could call them as witnesses, since they saw my face, but the same can’t be said for you since they only saw your back. I’d say there were about ten people… If you wanted to bribe them into silence, you’d better find them fast.” (Yuri)
‘I lied. In fact, no one had come. In other words, there weren’t witnesses.’
‘But of course, Jura didn’t look behind her during the assault, and there was no way for her to tell if there were witnesses behind her.’
“Well, please consult with your Obaa-sama and decide.” (Yuri)
‘It seems that this matter won’t go to court. After Jura explains the situation, she wouldn’t be able to ignore the matter of witnesses.’
‘If she tries to look for witnesses who don’t even know her face, the search would be highly difficult. She’d probably have to talk to one or two hundred different people just to find the ten witnesses.’
‘Therefore, between her actions in this situation and the unrealistic prospect of bribing witnesses, she can be said to have suffered a complete failure here.’
“Why… why are you tormenting me so much?” (Jura)
Jura cried out as she gnashed her teeth.
‘What? I feel like I’m the one who’s being tormented.’
‘By the way, why do you feel that you’re suffering? Well, I guess you’ve been ostracized since the previous incident. If I have to speak frankly…’
“That’s because you’re trying to obtain happiness by tormenting others.” (Yuri)
‘That’s how she is.’
“I’m not saying it’s bad. There is such a way of life. However, you have to be in a position of power to accomplish it. No one wants to be the source of your happiness derived from their unhappiness.” (Yuri)
‘To be honest, I didn’t want to hurt Jura. But this woman’s thoughts are strange. If I don’t fall into significant dilemma, such as losing a lot of money or being publically humiliated, she wouldn’t think that she has won. And if she doesn’t think she has won, she probably won’t be satisfied. If she doesn’t do that, she wouldn’t be able to relieve her recent stress and unhappiness. She is that kind of person.’
‘And I don’t exactly have the inclination to fulfill Jura’s happiness in such a way. Of course.’
“Rather than some poor maid in your household, do you think I’m so easy for someone like you to quietly oppress?” (Yuri)
Surprisingly, she was actually listening.
“In short, if you think you can always get your way just by relying on the Lakramanus name, you messed with the wrong person. That’s the situation. To begin with, it’s not even a big deal for me to deal with your attempts to flout the influence of your house.” (Yuri)
“…I’ll kill you one day.” (Jura)
‘It doesn’t seem like we can communicate, then. Oh well.’
I silently walked past her and left the building.
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