Queen Sisi’s Plan
Queen Sisi placed her letter down in front of me. The letters exuded Queen Sisi’s unrestrained and proud nature. The pretty letters could be considered her ambiguous condition. If we wanted to talk to merchants, we had to offer reasonable conditions. She lacked leverage; hence, she had to use her future as collateral. Of course, it was the same concept as using physical collateral for a money loan, except she offered her abstract future.
If Queen Sisi successfully took back the throne with their help, they would have mintage rights. In essence, the letter acted the same way as how Qin Shihuang and I farmed money. Scam advertisements littered all over the street wouldn’t be trustworthy; however, a letter that Queen Sisi, herself, penned was unlikely to be forged. Anyone who was frequently at her side would definitely recognise her handwriting. Although she didn’t have her stamp, the letter was enough to prove that she wrote it.
There was no issue with the authenticity of the letter. Its biggest issue was that the original text had been erased and rewritten. As a matter of fact, the most important part, which was what was to be offered once she was reinstated, had been erased and rewritten. As a consequence, the letter was perplexing. Normally, you would consider it a draft, and you would write a new one. Queen Sisi, however, proudly announced that she wrote it.
The proud look on Queen Sisi’s lips reminded me of her old self. She ran her hand up and down her thigh: “What’s next in your plan? You have a wound on her chin. The military threatened you, didn’t they? It seems that your chance to peacefully resolve the matter has failed. I assume that you plan to begin your vengeance now.”
Queen Sisi sulked with her lips puckered, “This isn’t fair. I showed you my letter, yet you haven’t shared you plan with me, nor do you have any visible preparations. I can’t make an inference unless you reveal something.”
“Haven’t you always been observing what I did?”
“Ten thousand gold coins can allow you to do lots of things, but… I would be disappointed if my throne was only worth ten-thousand gold coins.”
“It might not even be worth that much. Your idea is nice, but are you certain the messenger you entrust your letter to will deliver it? Further, are you certain the merchant will leave the merchant organisation? Does it really have enough power to do so?”
“It will be absolutely fine. After all, I contacted two people. One of them is paranoid to begin with, and has always wanted to replace Achilles and the bank president. Another one is Edward, who you already know. While I like ambitious men, Edward’s insatiable ambition is distasteful. I prefer you.”
Queen Sisi seemed somewhat worried that I’d be jealous when she mentioned Edward, hence why the quick tag on the end. Unlike Veirya, Queen Sisi was mindful of my feelings. She checked that I was fine before she continued: “Among the two, one is part of the merchants’ inner circle, while the merchant alliance ostracises the other. Owing to the merchants feeling that he is an opportunist, they belittle him. Edward will definitely join me for the mintage rights. As for the other one, he is bound to notify other merchants but not Achilles and the bank president. The reason I smeared the letter was to cause them to lose trust in each other.”
Queen Sisi’s plan was simple and aggressive but pragmatic. The quickest and most direct way to destroy businessmen’s relationship was to cause their interests to clash. Being granted mintage rights was the greatest reward for a businessman. Money circulates from businessmen, but undoubtedly, a portion will be kept. If they could get their hands on the origin of the money first, then the merchants would be able to profit handsomely.
If they had the mintage rights, they could control the amount of gold in gold coins, in addition to controlling the exchange rate and so forth. Given that the world was one where money could buy everything, whoever controlled the currency would be able to control the value of everything in the empire. That would be a win that businessmen could never even dream of. The most successful a businessman could be is becoming one who could monopolise the economy. That was what made one the true ruler of the empire. Not even Achilles, who had won favour with Queen Sisi, had that right. Queen Sisi didn’t even try to lull me in with its allure when she wanted to recruit me. The two rights that Queen Sisi never wanted to let out of her hand were military authority and the mintage rights.
Anyone ambitious would consider Queen Sisi’s offer a God-sent opportunity. As for doubtful businessmen, they would speculate it might be a trap. To top things off, Queen Sisi smeared the letters and penned the mintage rights over and over multiple times. When one saw it, suspicion would arise. Why? Because when they took it to another businessman to discuss, the one who was visited would suspect that their visitor tampered with Queen Sisi’s letter. Moreover, if he didn’t say anything, people would harbour suspicions of Edward and his actions.
Businessmen come together for profit and also separate for profit. Queen Sisi threw out the bet and then watched the group of wolves and dogs go wild, ripping into the piece of meat she threw out despite it being a hoax. I wasn’t convinced Queen Sisi would hand over the right. If she did, it’d just be decoration.
Queen Sisi came up behind me and draped her arms over my shoulder. She giggled next to my ear in a soft voice: “To turn merchants against each other, all you need is a bargaining chip of enough value. It’s so simple, isn’t it? All I need to do is offer this. The mintage right will be yours in the end anyway.”
“I never wanted it.”
“I don’t plan to just hand it to you, either.”
Queen Sisi caressed my face and gently ran her soft hand down to my chin. She returned her arms down around my neck and smiled: “Come, sit. I’ll shave your beard for you. I’ve never helped anyone shave before, so I’ll be careful.”
“I will do it myself.”
I recalled the last time when Queen Sisi tossed the towel. Frankly, she had me on edge… I didn’t know when she managed to get her hand on a razor. She was radiating. A basin of hot water and some strange thing had been prepared. Perhaps it was a bar of soap. When I saw the way she held the razor, I shuddered. I didn’t think she had any experience. Actually, I was dead certain she had none!
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