I took out a silver coin and gave it to the seller. He fumbled around and then gave me a few copper coins change. I frowned. It was evidently not right. This is about two copper coins more expensive than in the past. I looked at the sign which had the same price written on it and asked: “Has the cost of candy gone up?”
“No, it’s still the same price.”
“Why did I get less change then?”
“That’s because the value of copper coins has risen. You can exchange twelve copper coins for one silver coin now.”
The businessman looked at me, sighed and added, “Far out. I’ve done business for so many years and this is the first time I’ve seen the value of copper coins rise.”
I nodded and looked at the copper coins in my hand. Honestly speaking, I never thought the exchange rate would cause the value of my money to depreciate. Normally, the value of copper coins won’t appreciate because they’re circulated in the lower-class society, while silver and gold may change due to the influence of the government. However, no nation would take back copper coins and redistribute them. Usually, once they’re released into the hands of the people and circulated, copper coins would be the most stable coin for the most part. As such, its value rarely changes.
So why would the value of copper coins appreciate? The simplest explanation would be that the number of copper coins in circulation has decreased. The value of copper coins has appreciated because the number of copper coins in circulation has decreased. Since the lower-class doesn’t possess as many copper coins as before, the exchange merchants would be hard-pressed to exchange them for silver coins, thereby naturally raising the value of copper coins.
Copper isn’t a valuable metal. Plus, it would be pointless to add a valuable metal to copper. So there’s only one possible reason as to why the value of copper coins has risen, and that is because somebody is collecting them.
The country wouldn’t touch copper coins even if they had some sort of war right now because bullets made from copper have yet to exist in this era. Electric circuits have yet to come into existence. There should still be an abundance of copper mines so the empire absolutely won’t do anything to copper coins.
I don’t think it’s the work of a merchant either. Castell repossessed the silver Castor coins for the sake of the nation, but would the merchants repossess copper coins for the sake of the nation? What good would it serve them? Could they threaten the nation with copper coins? If they wanted to do that, they would’ve started with silver or gold coins. Copper coins are worthless to such large business associations.
Big legit businesses use gold coins. They don’t use copper coins.
So who managed to repossess the copper coins that were with the denizens? If the worth of copper coins has increased, the copper coins couldn’t have possibly been repossessed by the royal family alone. The impact is on a national level, in other words, the entire massive empire. Based on that, the organisation that could repossess all the copper coins from the denizens must be like the empire. By that I mean that it must be an organisation that could influence the entire empire.
It definitely isn’t just a business. Castell has a merchant capable of that as his subordinate. All other businesses are only responsible for a part of trading activities; otherwise, competition for business would become a messy war. The business owners understand that much. So it can’t be the nation itself, and it can’t be the chamber of commerce. So the only ones who could do that are-
Nier brought me back to my senses. I quickly returned to reality and found myself standing in front of the candy stand. I turned around and saw the angel underneath the ice-cold autumn evening sunlight. The sun was opposite me and the angel cast its shadow over me. I looked at the stone statue. The angel’s smile looked crooked like a ridiculing look worn by a devil.
I don’t know if the church has the rights to repossess copper coins. If they don’t, they violated the law. While the law might not be able to put a dent in them, I should at least be able to find a weak point to exploit. There are quite a number of organisations that are capable of repossessing the copper coins. However, the only other place that could shelter an organisation in this land other than the national chief executive’s manor would be the church.
The question now is how will I be able to find out about the existence of that sum of money? I need to go and ask some followers. I need to ask the religious people here if they gave the church money. I think it’d be a little awkward to go to the farms. I can move about in the city freely. However, mom is the same as Vyvyan. I don’t think she’d let me leave the royal capital. If I can’t interact with them, how will I know if the church took money from them?
It looks like I must make a trip to the church this time.
Nier called me again: “Your majesty, what are you thinking about?”
I noticed that the candy stand owner was starting to get a little annoyed. Nier looked at me with puzzlement and asked: “Are you thinking about something, your majesty?”
I nodded. I then brushed my cape, took in a deep breath, looked at Nier and said: “Nier, let’s make a trip to the orphanage first. After that, we need to go to the church.”
“To the church?”
Nier paused for a moment. She then shook her head and continued, “You can’t, your majesty. I cannot let you go to the church.”
“Why?! Didn’t you say you would follow me no matter where I went?” I stared at Nier stunned. That’s not what you said before. The reason I dare to go to the church, the enemies’ camp, to look into things precisely because I have you by my side. If you don’t come, I worry that I won’t make it out alive. I’m not afraid of dying, but if I die, how am I going to investigate this? If Nier doesn’t let me go, I really will have to leave the city.
“That was before. Her majesty gave me an order to stop you if you wanted to go to the church. Therefore, I won’t let you go to the church.”
Nier looked at me. While what she just said was the complete opposite of what she said previously, she didn’t show any guilt. I thought she was on my side before. Nier was the only one who stood behind me that night. She was the only one who encouraged me. And yet now she’s going against me!
At the end of the day, Nier won’t help me. Nier is… is loyal to the empress.
I looked at Nier, clenched my teeth and exclaimed: “What about my safety then? How are you going to protect me if I go to the church?! Aren’t you my bodyguard?!”
“If you don’t go to the church, you won’t be in danger.” Nier looked at me and continued in a composed manner, “I certainly am your bodyguard. However, I am also a Valkyrie. I don’t take orders from anyone. Since her majesty ordered you not to approach the church, I shall not let you go even if I must resort to violence.”
I looked at Nier. I couldn’t stubbornly go. I couldn’t shake off Nier, nor could I beat her. Mom knows me too well. We barely spoke, and yet mom knew that I wouldn’t give up so easily. Nier won’t pledge her loyalty to me. She’s a Valkyrie, a member of the empress’s guard unit.
So how shall I persuade Nier……?
“Nier, let’s discuss this.”
I looked at Nier and she looked back at me. She shook her head and replied: “I will not go against her majesty’s order.”
“Let’s discuss this then. Nier, I’m going to the church for the children this time.”
I looked at Nier. If it were Nier in the past, I would definitely be at a loss. However, Nier as she is at current had a weakness. Nier could give her everything to children. I thought it was worth a try.
Of course, I knew that Nier held the empress’s orders in the highest regard. But if I were to choose my words carefully…
“I’m not going to investigate anything. I just want to… go and pray for the children. I think I might be able to find a way to save that group of children if I go to the church.”
Pray my ass. I don’t believe in god.
Nier looked at me with a cold look. She hesitated. I looked at her but she didn’t budge.
After exchanging glances for a second, Nier said: “Alright. However, you must not do anything that will attract attention, your majesty. You are only to pray at the church. Please do not do anything that will put yourself in danger, otherwise, I shall take you back to the palace.”
I looked at Nier’s eyes and mumbled: “Alright.”
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