Recently, the town has been very lively.
Merchants’ keen senses for money don’t pale in comparison to a wild dog’s keen sense for corpses. Merchants will gather at a particular spot as long as there’s any profit to be made. Once money circulates, a place can come to life. Only the dead don’t need money; the living need money. Therefore, countless people came here in hopes of being able to get even a small portion of the money in circulation for themselves. Next, the place in question will become a city the same way this place I’m at has.
The leader of the merchants came here, thereby turning this place into a place where lots of merchants gathered. However, because there are no empty homes here, I needed to build a bigger living quarter, as well as a business area. The issue was that there were empty houses, most of which had been abandoned, yet never torn down or renovated. Further, privately erected buildings disorderly located occupied lots of space. My plan for today is to go for an inspection with that man. We’ll tear down destroyed homes and make room so that foreign merchants have somewhere to run their business. We’ll also repair the main door. While we’re at it, we’ll work with Bryne City to repair the road leading here.
All of this costs an exorbitant amount. Needless to say, I can’t afford it. We can only officially enact the plan once business takes off.
“I have seen your agreement, and I can see your incredible sincerity. A two percent tax rate is indeed not high, and I can accept it. We can also accept the costs of stores. A usage and residence rate of five percent per annum is not too much, either. We are also very happy with the priority to receive goods and lower prices. We have no reason to refuse.”
The man in front of me picked up his pen and signed his name on the agreement. He then stood up and handed it to me with a smile. I took it, and then said, “I am glad you can accept it. We will soon begin work on the land here. I really hope that we can have your opinion. I hope you can come with me to the high grounds of the town to check out the location for the warehouse, trading and living quarters your merchants need to allow us to choose a location you are satisfied with.”
He nodded, and then headed outside with me. He looked at me then laughed, “Did you not bring your daughter and Lord Veirya this time? I was honestly slightly surprised to see nobody with you.”
I looked at him with a smile and responded, “And is Angelina not with you, either? Do you not feel lonely without her?”
“I am all right. I was always alone before I met her, so I am accustomed to it.”
The man rubbed his hands together, and then left the warm room. The cold breeze outside woke me up. Despite being spring, it still wasn’t warm enough to feel comfortable. Achilles looked at me. With a smile, he said, “However, I, too, can tell that you were alone before meeting Leah and Veirya, right?”
“Oh? How could you tell?”
“Because you strongly care about the two of them. There are also their shadows in your gaze.” He smiled and continued, “Truthfully, a lot of times, it does not require one to lose to learn to cherish. Sometimes one will value something more when they first get it just as with you. You have always been alone, and therefore cherish Veirya and Leah so much when you finally had them.”
I touched my face. I wondered if there was so much emotion in my eyes. Normally speaking, I never want to have my emotions in my eyes, as it’ll easily become leveraged as a weak point.
‘But, do I have feelings for Leah and Veirya in my gaze?’
Noticing me linger, Achilles softly laughed, and then gently grabbed hold of my hand. I felt the feeling of leather and an ice-cold sensation on the back of my hand. It was totally different to having Leah and Veirya hold it. I didn’t feel a shred of warmth. To the contrary, I got goose bumps. My suspicion that this guy is gay grew stronger and stronger.
‘What does he want, always getting touchy every time?!’
I yanked my hand out and he smiled. He then walked with me shoulder to shoulder, to the watchtowers around the walls by the side of the town. We could see the damaged barren lands outside the town from here, in addition to the layout of buildings inside. The buildings in the town were arranged in a very messy fashion. Nobody had planned their locations previously. It was essentially a mess of alleys between buildings.
“Have the warehouse at the town entrance. That will make it convenient to unload. It will be fine to have the stables and residences here. We think that the area nearby the area that you loaned us for trading to be decent. People can go and shop once they collect their money here. We can turn this place into a store. Fortunately, there are not many buildings around it, so we can set up a temporary store.”
I nodded. That area is the area surrounding the plaza. Indeed, there are no residents there. I replied, “I can make arrangements, then. As for the wood and stones for construction, we will need your company to provide us with it.”
He nodded, “Easily done. We will just cover the costs with the income of the first year; what do you think?”
I nodded, “All right.”
This is the equivalent of a credit loan. Although credit loans are nothing new in the era I came from, it’s a very bold manoeuvre in this world. We haven’t known each other for long, yet he’s attempting to collect a amount I might have in the future. That’s a strong sign of trust for me. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t take this route.
I looked at the town before me and swept my gaze across the people going back and forth. While I didn’t mention what I saw and it looked as though I was just taking a casual look, I knew that I was actually searching for specific individuals.
‘Are Veirya and Leah getting along right now?’
The man next to me suddenly remarked, “I wonder what location the chapel will select.”
He stood next to me and looked outside with an eerie smile. He continued in a quiet voice, “What is the chapel planning here this time? I cannot shake of the feeling that they are up to no good.”
I smiled then turned my head to look at the tavern. The people from the chapel were residing there for the meantime. Thanks to them, the tavern practically gets no customers now. Their wolf god shield has been fixed, but everybody’s hatred for the chapel is yet to dissipate. Nonetheless, because of us, they’ve stayed out of each other’s hairs.
I looked at the man next to me. With a chuckle, I rhetorically asked, “Are you telling me that you do not have a clue as to what the chapel is up to?”
He didn’t deny it, but neither did he confirm it. Instead, he responded with a smile, “If I do know, how much money would you buy it from me for? You managed to find out that we had food through stray cats, so you would be able to figure out what the chapel is planning from the details you have, no? I am sure you could have gotten close to it back then. Let me put it this way. The chapel is not planning something small. If you can get involved with it, you will certainly be able to get a big cut.”
“So you’re saying you’re involved?”
“I am a merchant, after all.”
I looked at him. He gave me a smile and a nod. He then shook out his cloak and leaned in close to my ear. I resisted the goose bumps all over my body and silently waited for him to speak. Next to my ear, he went on, “After all, everything the chapel does involve gold. Those bits of gold that are as light as a shell.”
*Lin Dongqing does go from formal to informal speech. That is not a mistake.