Editor: Areth Kyntaul
“All right, this should be good enough.”
I sorted out the small strips of cloth with fifty and one-hundred written on them until I was satisfied.
Veirya took out a medal that she kept on her. The medal was made from pure gold. An exquisite sword and some letters were carved on it.
She looked at me then dabbed the back of it in dye before pressing it onto the numbers.
I looked at her and asked, “That medal, what is it? Is it a unique object?”
She nodded and then ran her hand over it gently. She then explained in an absolutely serious tone, “This was a medal my friends made for me after I had slain the Demon King. It was made from the gnomes’ ore and the elves’ techniques. It’s not particularly valuable, but it’s my most treasured item. We warriors can only feel each other’s warmth through this thing. I guess you could consider it my treasure during the happiest period of time in my past.”
I nodded. That means that the item is the only one of its kind in this world. So I guess it can be considered a lord’s stamp for now.
If it’s just a simple white strip of cloth, people will make counterfeits for sure. Now only strips of cloth with this stamp on it will be considered legitimate currency.
This is the currency now. This idea came from deliberating the eras of our world.
I looked at Veirya and Leah, who was really happy because she got to do handiwork, and smiled. I asked, “Do you two want to come with me as well? Veirya, if you stand behind me as the lord, I will be at ease. Leah, I would be very happy to have you come with me.”
Veirya nodded and then stood up.
Leah looked at the strips of cloth with numbers on them in front of her curiously and asked, “Papa, what’s this for? What are these numbers for?”
“These are to allow everyone to be satisfied and not starve to death.”
I then stroked Leah’s head with a smile.
Veirya picked up a strip and sniffed it like a dog. She even put it into her mouth and tried to chew it. She said, “This isn’t edible.”
“Of course I know that it’s not edible, because I don’t intend to pass this to everyone to eat…”
Leah wrapped her arm around mine and shook it anxiously. She excitedly said, “Papa, hurry and tell me! Tell me what exactly these are for! Leah really wants to know! Come on, tell Leah!!”
I grabbed hold of Leah’s hand and noticed Veirya’s envious gaze in our direction. But I could only smile to myself and nothing more.
I helped Leah wear her clothes on properly and then walked outside. I laughed softly and then explained, “Leah, Papa isn’t lying. To these people, these things are indeed food.”
“Why, Papa? You can’t even eat them…”
“Alright then, Leah. If you were hungry, what would you do?” I looked at Leah.
She pulled her small eyebrows together as though she was thinking intensely. After she had heard my question, she rubbed her belly with a hint of fear. She then softly replied, “I… I can’t do anything… If I’m hungry… I can only bear with being hungry…”
Mm… I forgot about Leah’s life in the past. Hunger must be the enemy that keeps her company. She had a natural big appetite. She definitely never had enough to eat in the past.
I stroked her head, feeling heartbroken for her. I then looked ahead and at the mist from our breath. I quietly explained, “Humans use currency to purchase food. Humans have what is known as taxes, but they don’t take food. Therefore, farmers sell their harvested crops to merchants which then become money for taxes.”
“Why won’t they take food?”
“Paying with food is a big problem for humanity. For example, if they had to pay a bag of food each year but I complained that the food in the bag wasn’t good and can only be considered half of what they needed to pay, wouldn’t it be an act of corruption for me to take another half? If it were money, on the other hand, this sort of corruption could be avoided. Further, various expenses are paid with money. You can’t give them cloth or food as substitutes for their salary.”
Leah nodded as though she understood.
I don’t know if she understood it or not, but I didn’t need to explain it to her. I just need to give her a rough overview.
I paused for a moment and then continued, “Actually, Leah, no matter who it is, if you give me the gold used to make gold coins, I wouldn’t be happy to ask for it either. Why? Because gold is just an ore. It’s only worth money because humans endow it with value behind the scenes, hence making it valuable. Like gold coins. Gold coins are just like gold itself. It’s because of the economy of the commodities behind the scenes, which are represented, that it becomes worth money. Farmers turn their harvested crops into money, which then gets spent on buying wool by merchants. The wool-merchant would then use that money to buy the farmer’s crops, which is basically similar to an item having been circulated once. Gold becomes valuable precisely because of this sort of trade. Right now though, we don’t have money on us. However, we have food. Subsequently, we need something equivalent to money to get this food into circulation. I guess you can call the things we made ‘food tickets’… The townsfolk can perform labour to receive these food tickets, and then use the food tickets to exchange it for food. In this way, they will get as much as they work, so it’s an absolutely fair system.”
“So in other words, these strips of cloth… are the equivalent of food?” Leah blinked her eyes.
It appeared as though thinking is a torturous activity for her. She held the strips of cloth somewhat curiously and softly asked, “So can I also write a strip like this and thereby have an unlimited supply of food to eat?”
I shook my head with a smile and replied, “Of course not. It’s just like gold coins. It requires an ultimate national power for it to have any value. At the very least, you need an influential organisation to distribute these things for them to be credible, and for everyone to be willing to trade goods for it. A currency will forever be only a token that carries the economy.”
Leah tilted her hair, like it was hurting, scratched her head and said, “Hmm… Leah doesn’t really understand what you said… something money and something food… Humanity is so troublesome…”
“It’s thanks to these troublesome things that humanity is able to benefit from a set of rules. Leah, humanity has countless rules. But many rules are put in place to allow humans to make money. The biggest difference between human society and other societies is that, though humans have a short lifespan, they are the race that is most fixated on money. The standard for whether a human is outstanding or not depends on their ability to make use of the rules to earn money, while staying within the parameters of the rules.
In a tone of admiration, Leah asked, “Like you, Papa?”
I scratched my head then smiled helplessly and replied, “Not really… Papa is honestly not that good at making money… But whatever. Everyone has arrived.”
When Leah and I were speaking, Veirya walked alongside us. She never looked at us once, instead, looking straight ahead. She didn’t say a word. The only sound that came from her was the sound her clothes made. She just walked alongside us like that without looking at us. However, that gave us an oddly harmonious moment. It didn’t feel awkward at all.
When we reached the entrance to the town, all of the townsfolk were already there waiting for us. I looked around. All of them wore worried expressions. Some even fear. Some of them even held bags that were filled with something.
‘They don’t think that we came to take food from them, too, now, do they?’
I walked into the crowd. I held Leah’s hand with my left hand and then pulled Veirya along. Leah groaned with despair, but I can’t be concerning myself with all the trivial details.
We walked out in front of everyone. The Record Keeper, dressed in a grey overcoat, then shouted out loudly, asking for everyone to quiet down. He then walked up to us with a smile and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, this is our newly appointed Lord, and also the heroine who personally slew the Demon King, Lord Veirya…”
Before he could finish, the crowd exploded into cheers. Everyone looked at Veirya with borderline insane admiration. They clapped loudly and there were a few males who called out, “Awesome! Awesome!! That’s how you should deal with demons!! All demons should go to hell!! Kill all the demons!! Don’t spare a single one of them!!”
“Yeah! Exactly!! The Demon King is finally dead! The Demon King is finally dead! We’ll go kill demons this winter! We’ll kill them no matter what sort of demon they are!! We won’t allow there to be any demons near this town! We’re going to kill all of the demons nearby! Show mercy to none!”
“Yeah!! Kill all the demons!!”
Leah looked at the virtually insane crowd. She grabbed my arm fearfully and hid behind me.
I couldn’t stand it either, so I extended my hand behind me to protect her.
There’s something wrong with the people of this town. Their hatred for demons borders on insanity, while Leah behind me is a succubus. They can’t tell now, but if she’s discovered these crazed townsfolk will all come and kill Leah, I bet.
I must be careful. I must be careful not to let anyone discover she’s a demon.
Veirya looked at her crazy worshippers before her emotionlessly. She didn’t show pride or pleasure with herself in her gaze. In fact, she didn’t care that Leah was a demon. She seemed to be completely indifferent to all of these things.
The Record Keeper shouted loudly to get the townsfolk to quiet down. He then continued, “Our Lord has something she would like to say to us all. Those deserters snatched all our food away. Our Lord is here to talk to us about that right now.”
Everyone went quiet and looked at Veirya solemnly. Veirya just stood there without uttering a word…
After exchanging eye-contact for a long time, everyone felt awkward and Veirya looked at me confused…
You want me to speak?!
I cleared my throat awkwardly and then asked, “It’s like this. First, we need to know what you all think. I heard that you were using this collection of food to pay off your previous debts, is that correct?”
“Yes, yes. Take it. Take it. Please don’t ask us to pay you back like that again. Our income for every year will be taken so we can’t pay. We would rather pay off more at once like this. Please don’t take our money next year…”
An older man shouted from below and soon they all started shouting.
I get what the previous lord did now. He used taxes to force the townsfolk to stay here. They had to use nearly all of their annual income to pay their debts. However, due to the high interest rate, their debt continued to accumulate.
These townsfolk were tied down here, unable to leave due to their debts. They were going to have to work to pay off their debts for their entire lifetime, and the debts would continue to accumulate and burden their children, too.
It was an eternal nightmare for these people.
I nodded and then said, “Since you’ve said that, your new Lord, Lord Veirya has decided to erase your debts with this food.”
“Really…? Really? That’s enough? Thank you, Lord Veirya!!!”
It was their food and the lord’s mistake. We just rectified the mistake, and we’ve, surprisingly, already earned their gratitude.
There’s something wrong with the manners and morals of this era.
Looking at them, I continued, “I understand what you’re thinking. However, how do you intend to get through this winter? Without food, it will be tough, won’t it?”
“We basically got through previous winters like this.”
That’s a heartbreaking, teary story then…
I sighed and then said, “Here’s the deal. Lord Veirya has a suggestion. We are going to implement a system this winter. Can you see what I’m holding in my hand? This is a type of currency that Lord Veirya will distribute to be circulated in the town. You can call them food tickets. These numbers on them are their worth.”
“Collect five-hundred, and you will be able to exchange it for a normal size bread. You can bring your food tickets over every day in the evening or in the afternoon to have them exchanged. You need to either perform labour for them or exchange goods at the heart of the city just like the current currency system. You can trade freely. It’s now fair and square for you. The more you work, the more you earn. You don’t work, you don’t earn.”
“And now, I have a job for you all, and that is to clean and tidy our lord’s manor. Additionally, our Lord needs to buy some things. If you have stock, sell it to the Record Keeper. He will give you your tickets as well. That’s all. Dismissed!”
Though the Record Keeper wore a stunned expression, the result was quite good. After we went for a walk and came back, the cold and stinky main hall had been completely renewed. The wooden planks, nails and ropes we needed to repair the rear were also delivered to the main hall. It looks like I’ll be able to repair the flower garden this winter, too, with the allure of food.