The bank president stormed into Achilles’ office and yelled, “Achilles, have you heard about the letter Queen Sisi sent?”
“I know about it already. It seems that he is boldly showing us the letter due to not believing it to be Queen Sisi’s letter. However, I immediately recognised that Queen Sisi personally wrote it. I would say that is good news. After all, we can confirm that Queen Sisi is still alive.”
“I beg to differ. I don’t trust him. There’s a big problem with the letter. Why was it smudged, especially the most important part? That’s not to mention that it was smudged multiple times. Nobody can make out what was initially written. Do you genuinely think Queen Sisi would give us mintage rights? There is absolutely not chance she would give away that sort of right. No matter how you think about it, it’s painfully obvious that it’s fake. I’m not saying that the letter is fake but that the letter has been tampered with. He might be conducting some off-the-grid deal!”
“But what would be the reason for forging the letter? To drag us down? Anyone could figure out that it’s impossible to trick us with such a blatantly outlandish deal. In addition, why do you rule out the possibility that Queen Sisi might’ve made an accidental error and sent a draft?”
“I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but ask yourself: is Queen Sisi really the sort of person who would make such a mistake? I kept deliberating it yesterday and realised that there’s a purpose to it. I suspect he’s betrayed us. He might have come to some sort of agreement with Queen Sisi and now wants us to give her our full support.”
“But would that somehow benefit Her Majesty? If we give her all of our support, then that would only allow her to return to her thrown sooner. That aligns with our intentions.”
“I would surmise that Her Majesty wants us to work for the mintage rights. I’m certain that she won’t hand the mintage rights to us once she is reinstated. Frankly speaking, the idea isn’t attractive in the least.”
“Edward also received it. He, on the other hand, is eager. He wants to do everything in his power to reinstate Her Majesty. I think that he lacks the ability to pull it off. If Her Majesty never promised the mintage rights, then the opportunist that Edward is wouldn’t possibly be so enthusiastic about it, right?”
“You meant to say that the letter is Her Majesty’s original copy? Regardless of what the case is, our inner circle is restless. Some are suspecting if Her Majesty is truly alive or not because the letter. At the same time, some have become firmer in their stance in opposing the military. Some have even begun plans to purchase arms and hire mercenaries to launch an attack on the military.”
“That is wrong. That is pure folly. That is awfully bad for us. We shouldn’t split up. We must be in rhythm with each other. Yes, we should support Queen Sisi, but before we can confirm if she will be able to return to the throne or not, we can only offer financial support and nothing more practical. If the military goes after Queen Sisi, then before she’s crowned, we’ll be put in an awkward situation, otherwise.”
The letter, which couldn’t be verified as Queen Sisi’s, had become the catalyst of the collapse of the businessmen’s inner circle. When they discussed together last night, the radical merchants instantly found a target to pledge loyalty to. They effused that they had to bring Queen Sisi back to the throne immediately. They were willing to resort to force to take back control of the imperial palace even though Veirya didn’t spare a care. Those suspicious of the origins of the letter believed the man who brought the letter to be plotting something and deliberately forging a letter to get everyone worked up. As a result, both groups began to accuse the other.
The problem that arose was serious. Others may not share the sentiment; however, as the leader of the circle, Achilles and the bank president were cognisant of the fact that, putting aside the authenticity of the letter for the meantime, they had to ensure everyone was united to the end. Businessmen were dangerous entities. They controlled the money that everyone desired during times of chaos despite not having might. Should they fail to turn the spare money into a weapon that could overcome the blades swung at them, they would be exterminated.
The businesses survived thanks to their unity. Howbeit, Queen Sisi plunged their inner circle into disarray with a single letter. The two needed a strategy to re-establish trust amongst them. As the two leaders, they had to create stability in the group again. Fortunately, the two were extremely calm. After all, the letter wasn’t worth trusting.
As the two conversed, someone gently knocked on the door.
Achilles, do you have a guest?”
“No. I do not have anything scheduled today. I do not know who it is, either.” Achilles paused before saying, “Hide for now. I think you need to hear what is said now. It might be a crucial conversation.”
The president made his way into a small room on the side of Achilles office. Achilles gently cleared his throat and invited his visitor in.
I pushed the door open to see Achilles. His expression was perfectly normal. Apparently, Queen Sisi’s letter didn’t impact him much. Smiling, I expressed, “Good morning, Achilles.”
“Mr. Lin. It is risky for you to be here. The soldiers may not kill you, but they might torture you, so you best be cautious.”
“I don’t think there is any danger.”
The seat in front of Achilles was slanted, which proved that someone had pulled it out to sit on before. I walked over and touched the chair, pretending my left foot was acting up. The seat was still warm. I, therefore, surmised that his visitor was still in the room. A quick think was all it took for me to figure out who it was. I smiled and then sat down opposite Achilles: “How are you doing recently? You free? I’ve finally had some time, so I came to have a drink with you.”
“In the middle of the day?”
Achilles laughed as he grabbed a tray with wine in it over. He poured me a cup. I wasn’t a fan of alcohol; I hated the light-headedness-inducing thing, but I had no choice. I had to prove a point to Achilles. I tilted my head back and back it went. I bore with the burning liquid nosedive down my throat. I already started to feel slightly dizzy with one drink. I wrestled with the dizziness and took in a deep breath: “This sure is a nice place. The sun is bright. It’s just that people aren’t as lively as when I last visited. It’s disappointing for businessmen. People aren’t lively won’t be willing to spend much, after all.”
“Yeah, it truly is not a good place for us.” Achilles didn’t seem to think I’d say something without any substance.
I fiddled with the glass: “In saying that, it’s really annoying. The military are an ignorant bunch, yet they think they know everything. They can’t tell the problem between a Queen and a hero. I never believed people could be that stupid until I met them.”
“Indeed. Nonetheless. We should not have any wishful hopes of them understanding what we do. They are mere idiots whose only skill is killing people.”
“Exactly. This world would be much better without them. Then again, I wouldn’t be able to meet you without them. I wouldn’t have been rescued had there not been the war, after all. I might’ve just wilted away somewhere in the world, minding my own business instead.”
“You would never be an ordinary man wherever you go. That, I know. Your skills will be displayed as long as you are around humans. I believe you would definitely stand out conspicuously. We might have been allies in the same line. You would probably be a brilliant businessman or a brilliant official?”
“Perhaps. If possible, I’d choose to work alongside Queen Sisi as long as she doesn’t go making mistakes every other day.”
“To tell the truth, without that triumph, Queen Sisi definitely would not have done so.”
“I concur. As she has already made the choice, though, I have to give my best for the current situation and her. I need to reinstate her. Queen Sisi made a mistake; however, as her vassals, we need to either stop her before she act son the mistake or help her again after she fails.”
I stood up and pressed my hands on the side of the table closest to me: “Well, see you again. I have other things to do. The ten thousand gold coins you lent me will empower me to do lots of things. At the very least, it’s enough for me to turn the imperial capital on its head and inside out.”
“The smartest individuals of the empire are right in this city.”
“That’s perfect, then. I happen to be the smartest among all here.”
With that, I turned and left the room. I didn’t need to concern myself with what happened in the room for I’d find out later.
The president exited the small room and queried, “What did he come for?”
“As he said, for a drink.”
Achilles was also quite flummoxed. He couldn’t comprehend what the purpose of Lin Dongqing’s visit was. But nonetheless, perhaps not everything had a purpose. He really might’ve come for just a drink. The president then walked over to the chair and glanced back at Achilles. He grabbed the folded sheet of paper there. It read, “Merchant alliance complete disbandment.”
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