The Power of Capital
Honestly, Queen Sisi didn’t visit to torture anyone; she merely tormented me to push me to the brink of contemplating suicide. She ruined my family that I went through so much effort to build. Had it not been for what Queen Sisi said, I wouldn’t need to prostrate myself on the ground again.
Veirya stepped on my head. It was different to when Queen Sisi stepped on me. Back when Queen Sisi stepped on me, she, at the very least, used her bare foot, which made it more enjoyable than painful. Veirya, on the other hand, stepped on my head and pressed it right onto the floor with her military boots. My forehead and rear of my head were practically squashed.
“How. Has it been?” Veirya’s voice from overhead was cold.
Leah, who was off to the side, also looked at me with a heartless gaze, indicating she didn’t plan to speak up for me. Leah was infuriated when she learned of Angelina’s claim. She wanted to just run over and rip me apart. I had to admit that it was my mistake; I overestimated Veirya’s intelligence. It was impossible for her to comprehend what just happened with her intellect or what exactly the contents of our conversation meant. Veirya only comprehended one thing, which was that I did something with Angelina behind her back that I should’ve been apologetic about.
I did say that I did something with Angelina, but it was a joke. Veirya, however, believed that I wouldn’t lie to her; hence, despite initially believing Angelina and I to be clean, after I went and said that, she believed Angelina and I went behind her back, even going as far as actually impregnating Angelina.
“I have to admit that I was wrong… I was wrong…” I remarked whilst thinking, “Wrong, because I trusted Veirya’s wits…”
“I didn’t do anything with Angelina… The truth is that’s just the drug at work… I had to lie to trick Queen Sisi; else, she’d find out about the drug. Your initial belief was correct. Correct, I never had any chance to be with Angelina. You already know that you need at least three to four months to have a noticeable pregnancy, but three to four months ago… I didn’t even know Angelina.”
I needed to lay out all of my thinking for Veirya or she’d have no means of understanding my reasoning. My voice was evidently strange, since I prostrated myself on the ground. Nevertheless, Veirya understood my issue. Thus, she moved her foot. Still suspicious, she asked, “Why. Can’t we tell. Her Majesty?”
“Because Queen Sisi intends to have Angelina take your place on the battlefield. That’s what my conjecture is. There’s no need for her to seek Angelina, otherwise. Angelina’s method may be a good one, but she was being mischievous at the same time. If I’m correct, she was trying to make fun of us; don’t worry about it. There’s nothing between me and her. Rest assured.”
“Good.” Veirya chose to trust what I said.
Leah was still somewhat doubtful. Puzzled, she questioned, “What exactly is Queen Sisi here for?”
“Mm, it’s very simple. She probably wants to attack the elves and bring Mama Veirya along. Previously, I was just guessing, but it’s pretty much proven now.”
Owing to the fact that Queen Sisi chose to not use our barrel for a bath, we had some free time. Queen Sisi was very keen on bathing with Veirya, but as soon as she heard that I would bath with her, she left.
That baffled me. Queen Sisi was fine with letting me see her sleep, yet took issue with me sharing a bath with her. God forbid I could wrap my head around that logic. But on second thought… her logic… was, indeed, correct…
Thanks to that, we had time to clear up our misunderstanding. Family harmony is the most important, after all. If not, it was pretty obvious that Veirya might have messed everything up. To be fair, Veirya wasn’t the only hazard; Leah was a hazard at that point, as well.
“Let’s put Sister Angelina’s matter aside for now, then. Papa, you never mentioned the matter between you and that elf.”
Leah gave me a stern look after all that. I never told her about what happened between the Elven Queen and I, so she was always in the dark with regards to it. Today, though, she found out what happened, and she found out that I kissed the Elven Queen. Then, she found out the significance of kissing an elf. As a consequence, she was very serious about the topic. I gently cleared my throat then tried to use the same trick Queen Sisi used with me before, also known as, changing the subject.
“Um, Leah, can we stop calling Angelina ‘sister’? You see, Leah, you call Veirya ‘mama,’ so what should you call Angelina, who’s Veirya’s mother? Think about this: sister or, more specifically, elder sister is used to refer to those younger than your mama. Angelina happens to be older than Veirya, so don’t you think it’s not quite appropriate to call Angelina ‘sister?”
Leah immersed herself in deep thought. She desperately tried to figure out if she should call Angelina ‘sister’ or not; plus, she wondered what to call Angelina if she didn’t call Angelina ‘sister’. As such, Leah was deep in thought, thereby temporarily forgetting what she should be asking me. Veirya, on the other hand, already asked the question before. Therefore, she wouldn’t ask a second time. What sort of left my conscience feeling uneasy was how Veirya had reached a point where she trusted me too much. If I told her I didn’t have any relationship with the Elven Queen, she wouldn’t press me any further. If I had an affair, she might not even suspect me. That sort of pure trust deterred me from daring to have affairs, as the worst form of torture is when your conscience is blaming you.
Someone suddenly knocked on the door to our residence. It was already very late. Queen Sisi was eager to sleep with Veirya, but she probably gave up on that plan after seeing Veirya’s belly. Moreover, it was obvious that Queen Sisi wouldn’t be visiting so late. She wouldn’t leave the place she lodged at so late. The question, then, was who was it?
Is it Achilles or that young man, I questioned. I’d say they were on the same boat and wanted to persuade me to help them. I already tried to help them but almost got myself dragged into it.
Veirya didn’t draw her sword, which proved that our visitor wasn’t armed and she didn’t perceive them to harbour ill-will. Therefore, I walked over and opened up without concern. I was welcomed by blonde hair. Yes, I felt that the blonde hair was much more eye-catching than the owner’s face. It was night time, but the blonde hair was the equivalent of glowing fireflies. The owner had a young appearance and was only about as tall as a high school student. He wasn’t the young man from the military. He was dressed very similar to Achilles. I presumed he was most likely a businessman. Such a young businessman would usually be a conman or an idiot who helped people count money.
As soon as he saw me open the door, the youth immediately revealed a polite smile as though it was ingrained through training: “Hello, Sir. I was not at the imperial capital when you were last there, which was why I missed the chance to greet you. I am very sorry about that. I hope you will not be offended by that.”
I was immediately alarmed. The more polite they are, the more cautious you need to be. Only those with enough brains would be respectful and polite. Those sorts of people were the most dangerous ones. I subtly nodded and then stepped aside to gesture for him to come in. He nodded and came in with a chuckle. Upon seeing Veirya at the dining table, he gave her a deep bow: “It is our first time meeting, Lord Veirya.”
Veirya nodded: “Uhm.”
Somewhat fearful, Leah hid behind Veirya and warily scanned the youth. He chuckled as he took out a small pouch from his pocket: “These are candies. I prepared them for your daughter. I hope you will accept them.”
Leah was eager to take them. I nodded. There was no point in rejecting menial gifts. If I didn’t accept so much as a pouch of candy, it’d mean that I wasn’t willing to talk when, to the contrary, I was somewhat curious as to what exactly he wanted. I, therefore, accepted the candy, which gave him the green light to speak.
“So, I live in that city. I am a businessman. More precisely, I was once a merchant, who was in charge of delivering resources to the military. I have been to this town before. I discovered that, behind the mountain, yes, the mountain behind your town, I discovered an outdoor mine. It was exposed. The ore is black.”
He piqued my interest. A mine with black on the surface was presumably a coal mine. It was simple to mine coal. If I was back in my old world, I’d die fighting for the coal mine. In this world, unfortunately, the industrial revolution had yet to occur. I couldn’t let him know it was valuable. Coal might still be absolutely useless to people in this world.
“It is a form of energy, Sir, a very powerful one. I met a young man, who invented a big machine that could boil water and power things, including metal. That is why I believe the flammable black mineral will definitely become the source of energy for such machines. If I mine the mineral, and then sell those huge machines, we will strike it rich!!”
I could see where he was coming from, and he most certainly would become filthy rich. The question, then, was how do I gain something from a man who was about to make it rich? Of course, I definitely didn’t want to slice off piece by piece, and I didn’t want a share. I wanted the cake and the pot. The problem was I didn’t know where the mine was. If I fought for it after he found it, it’d devalue it. I wanted to them to bring the mine to life to get all eyes on the North. That would attract more investors out for treasure.
“So, you came here to…?”
“As the mountain is a part of your territory, I need to ask you for permission… I plan to buy the rights to the mine for one-hundred gold coins.” The man pulled out a parchment. Detailed on it was the approximate location and size of the mine. He rubbed his hands together: “According to the price of the land and the tax rates the imperial city set, the price of land in your North should be very cheap. I hope you will not raise the price. It is pointless to hog the coal mine, after all. Without my friend’s machine, no one will like it.”
“I’m fine with selling the land for one-hundred gold coins; that said, purchasing land and mining in our land are two separate matters. For you to mine there, you need to pay an extra fee. You’re digging my land and mountain, which will have an impact on my townsfolk’s hunting activities. You need to make it up to my hunters. In addition, we need to maintain the roads for you. Therefore, you must pay to cover the costs.”
“How much do you estimate that to be?”
“Two-hundred gold coins for mining. Additionally, thirty percent of your annual profit from the coal mine will be forwarded to us as payment for maintenance and protection. Should you need it, we can also provide you with a warehouse for free. What do you think?”
He stopped to think for a while before agreeing: “I can accept that.”
While the price couldn’t compare to the earnings from the flavouring smuggling, the latter was illegal, while the former was legal. Land itself wasn’t worth money. Additionally, the man before me was a fellow who earned the differences from transporting resources. Hence, I didn’t think he had much money. That was why it was pointless for me to try and make money off of him.
“So, bring two-hundred gold coins another day, and I will have drafted up an agreement. You just need to sign the papers, pay the fee, and you will be ready to work on it. I am very curious about one thing, though. Do you really have enough money to mine?” I inquired.
“Um, we plan to start a company. Do you understand what I mean by a company? It is similar to a merchant association, but I like the new name. It makes me feel good as the word ‘bank’ does. We have taken up all machinery and mining work. After hearing what we had in mind, the bank gave us a sum of money to proceed with it, and we can pay them back later.”
I responded with a small nod. I learnt something important. We then chatted without too much substance before I sent him off. It was a successful negotiation, and I acquired one-hundred heavy gold coins.
“Papa, do you really believe he is telling the truth? Leah thinks he’s a liar… what big machine..? Leah has never even heard of such a thing.”
I gave Leah a small nod: “It’s true. Also, he’ll make it rich; or rather, Papa will make it rich.”
“Papa, are you going to raise the price?”
“You can’t sell land for much, and I want all of it. I want the coal mine and the so-called machine that he mentioned. I want all of it. If I’m correct, Her Majesty brought him with her, which would explain why he mentioned our trip to the imperial capital. I think it’s safe to assume Queen Sisi is interested in the machine; else, she wouldn’t have brought him along. Nevertheless, it appears he won’t take the initiative to sell it. That means I have to let them know what the power of capital is. Since there’s a bank, it means I can gain enough power from the bank to acquire the things he mentioned.”
Veirya’s weapon was a sword. With it, she could kill the Demon King. Queen Sisi believed people to be her weapon. With them, she could conquer every corner of the world. However, my weapon was capital. With my weapon, I could turn the entire world on its head and inside out. The power capital granted was enough to change an entire world.
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