There’s definitely a crowd of people at the forefront of the market that can be described as so: They sit in chairs with all sorts of coins in their hands with a scale in front of them. They’re not merchants, but they can’t be separated from businesses. They’re money changers.
The values of the coins differ from place to place. They get the coins from here and then exchange them at places with different exchange rates to earn the difference. The major factors that determine the value of the coins depend on the amount of the respective metal present in the coins as well as whether the country it belongs to is large and powerful or not. The first factor is an intuitive value, the second factor is the degree of faith the citizens have.
Let’s say that the empire coins have the greatest credibility. If a country were to perish, its currency would lose all meaning. But at present, the strongest country in the mainland, the Rosvenor Empire’s currency is the most stable currency. As such, a lot of people are rushing to exchange the current currency they possess for the empire coins with the empress’s face printed on it. Thus, the empire’s currency is the most trusted currency for all of humanity, regardless of area or country, as well as being the most stable currency. It’s relatively similar to the modern day U.S. dollar.
And hence the currency controversy between Castor and the empire’s silver coins.
I sat down in front of a money changer. He looked at me with a smile and asked: “My, my, what currencies would you like to exchange, sir?”
I looked at his small table which hand the nine currencies neatly arranged. That indicated that he could exchange those nine currencies with one another. I scanned them and said: “I want to exchange my coins for Castor coins.”
“Castor coins did you say? The value of Castor coins have risen recently.”
He rubbed the stubble on his chin, smiled as he took out a small bag with Castor coins, and then said: “To be honest, I’m not too willing to exchange them… I heard the value of Castor’s coins were going to inflate. I’m honestly thinking of stockpiling them.”
I paused and then asked: “Inflate?”
“It’s insider news.” He leaned his body over in a mysterious manner and quietly said: “It’s said that the value of Castor coins will rise. I don’t know what’s going on either, but that’s what everyone is saying.”
I nodded to indicate I understood. There are usually a number of ways the value of a certain currency gets inflated. With the metal coins before me, the most common way is by introducing new coins which contain a greater amount of its respective metal. That way, the value of the coins themselves rise. If these people possess a large number of Castor coins, then they’ll earn the difference. For example, if Castor’s silver coins were originally exchanged for sixteen bronze coins, they can now be exchanged for eighteen bronze coins, thereby earning them two bronze coins.
Increasing the amount of metal in the coins can also influence the credibility of the currency though, regardless of how large and powerful a country may be. At the same time, if your coins contain far too little metal, then its credibility will also suffer. The empire coins and Castor coins are in a race right now. You’re telling me that the value of Castor coins are going to rise before a war breaks out? Are they saying that to increase their competitive edge?
Is this related to the trade war and the war? What I want to know right now is the identity of the person spreading the news that the value of Castor’s currency will rise. Is that factual? If Castor’s currency does in fact rise, then the purpose of spreading the news wouldn’t benefit the person who spread the news in any way shape or form. If Castor’s currency happens to depreciate, he won’t benefit either. So why did he spread this news? Is his aim to gather all of Castor’s coins in one place so that it doesn’t circulate around anymore?
Was that fatso the one that spread the news or was it Castor’s people? The current situation between the two countries is delicate. A war could break out overnight between them which completely perplexed me.
I threw down two silver Castor coins. To be honest, that was too generous of me, but it’s not my money, so who cares? It’s not even the empress’s money. I don’t even know who’s giving me money every day, but I’m happy to spend it.
Nier, following behind me was confused and asked: “Your majesty, what exactly are you doing?”
I paused and then replied: “It’s a bit tough to explain because it’s an economics issue after all… It’d somewhat make sense if it were someone from our side collecting Castor coins, but if somebody from Castor was collecting Castor coins, then I don’t understand their purpose myself. This person is collecting Castor coins while he conceals himself. This isn’t something the government of either country came up with. In other words, somebody is plotting something.”
“Will a war break out?”
“I don’t know. I’ll need to ask her majesty when I get back. I’m not sure… But it makes no sense for their envoy to be attending a ball if a war is about to break out.”
“Why are you so worked up, your majesty? This clearly has nothing to do with you.”
“I don’t want a war!”
I turned around, looked at Nier and said: “War should be avoided if it can be helped. How can I sit and watch a war break out as the prince of the country?”
Confused, Nier shook her head and said: “Isn’t war a glorious thing to you, your majesty? War is just like another meal or another sleep for us. Our empire became the strongest through war. Her majesty is the ruler of this world. War is but just an event to get rid of those barbarians. War is our means of achieving glory and respect. Why is war such a bad thing to you, your majesty?”
“No! No! You should never wish for war!” I looked at Nier and continued sternly: “Unavoidable wars are one thing, but recklessly waging a war is another. How many people lose their lives in wars? What about the parents and children of fallen soldiers? Regardless of what the circumstances are, war is the worst solution. You shouldn’t kill if you can help it, and you should avoid war where it’s avoidable…”
Nier cut me off before I finished. Her eyes were colder than any I’d seen before and she looked at me with more disdain than ever. She said: “The most glorious thing to a soldier is sacrificing himself for his emperor. A soldier is never to be concerned over his life because he’s dying for the emperor. It’s a great privilege and honour. Yet you as the emperor refuse to give the soldiers a chance. You’re not worthy of being an emperor!”
“I’m not an emperor to begin with!!”
I felt as though I had no way of communicating with Nier… Our viewpoints, philosophies and values completely contradict each other… For Chinese people, the pain and sorrows of war are too much of a burden. We aren’t afraid to sacrifice ourselves, but that’s when enemies rock up on our doorstep. We love peace, but we’re not afraid of war.
But why are the people here so enthusiastic?! You people are definitely not farmers! You people must’ve been nomads or pirates in the past! Why do you people crave war so much?!
“The empire that exists right now wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for war. Your rejection of war is also a direct rejection of her majesty! Weak people can’t become emperors. I thought that you would be like her majesty and stand at the forefront with us. I never expected you to be a coward who’s afraid of death and hides at the back!”
“The desire for war will become the downfall of the empire! The empire isn’t trying to expand right now so there’s no need for another war. Is sacrificing people fun to you?! Did you consider the suffering of those who are left behind after someone dies?!”
“I am a Valkyrie! I have no family! I belong to her majesty!”
Nier looked at me as though she was ready to draw her sword and slash me to death. This was the first time I got really angry too. I have no way of communicating with someone like this. Is it fun to throw the people into a cesspool of misery and suffering? Is it fun to have people kill each other and die? I died once slaying Earth Dragons. Was that fun? Are those things you enjoy repeating over and over?
“Forget it. Go back, Nier. This is an order. Don’t follow me again.”
I sat myself down on a wooden chair by the road, looked at Nier and waved my hand.
Nier pressed her hand on her sword handle and went silent. She didn’t insist on following me this time. She turned around and left instead.
I raised my head and watched Nier’s back. Her white cape swayed left-and-right as she moved. The little cloth pouch she attached to her belt bounced up and down.
I need to check things out, regardless of whether a war breaks out or not. What sort of conspiracy is taking place behind the scenes? The matter with humanity isn’t so simple. Behind every action taken by humans lies a conspiracy.