The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～ - Chapter 4
- The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～
- Chapter 4 - Declaration of Isolation and Grandfather
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
“Well, I’m off then.”
“Big brother, take care of yourself.”
“Rodmer is with me, everything will work out fine.”
Rodney decided to set out for Bassam, the city ruled by Earl Banyusas. Originally, he should have gone to Bassam earlier and greeted Earl Banyusas. However, it would be customary for those who have suddenly assumed the family’s reign to pay a visit to the Yorioya after grasping the administration of their territory. This was why he made the choice to refrain from visiting him until roughly a month had gone.
Accompanying him were the Chief Squire, Rodmer and five soldiers. As for Rodney, he would have preferred to travel with the beauty Yulin, but since the other party was the Earl Banyusas, a Yorioya and a high-ranking aristocrat, he chose to bring along Rodmer, who was a veteran of many battles, so as not to be belittled. Moreover, two of the soldiers were towing a cart loaded with a large quantity of Garim syrup.
The Dedel territory, where the village of Gallus resided, was the northernmost frontier region of the Kingdom of Quaid. Due to the harsh and icy winters and cool summers, the land inevitably proved ill-suited for the cultivation of nikashi, and grains such as shishikam and zarai were grown here. Although fishing industry existed, it was limited to small boats, which meant that they could not go out to the open sea. It was a desolate village with no specialties.
In such a village, the new lord, Rodney Elias Forbus, was seeking to develop special products.
Gallus Village was roughly a three-day walk from the city of Bassam, which was ruled by Earl Banyusas. While it was said to be the northernmost trading city, compared to the royal capital it was a fraction of its size.
As the name indicated, it also operated as the northernmost port town for maritime trade, and its principal trade goods were pottery and dried fish called Gyakel. In particular, pottery has been referred to as a “Banyusas” product and was highly valued.
Having arrived in Bassam without incident along the way, Rodney and his party proceeded to a trading merchant’s store. Upon entering the store, which was of a vastly different scale than Knight Forbus’ house, the atmosphere turned tense.
“W-Well, isn’t this Master Rodney? Welcome.”
A senior man was talking to him while rubbing his hands together. The second-in-command of the store and its highest-ranking individual was this man, whose name was Manas.
“It’s been a long time, Manas.”
“Yes. It has been a long time. I am sorry to hear about the passing of Master Beck. My condolences.”
Here was the store of Hacklehoff, the merchant. Rodney owed money to Hacklehoff, who was also his grandfather.
“My father was weak. That’s all I can say about that…”
Despite being a knight, Beck was not that adept with a sword. Rodney’s swordsmanship was a perfect match for a peasant soldier with the blood of a father and a son flowed through him brilliantly.
“That kind of thing is…”
“It’s fine. I’m aware of that. More importantly, is my grandfather here?”
Manas seemed reluctant to speak. Rodney wondered what was the matter.
“If it’s my father, he’s not here.”
The man Manas called an Onzoshi was Santas, Rodney’s uncle. Santas despised the Forbus family, which has applied for a loan from Hacklehoff and had not repaid it. This was evident in his actions and words, and Rodney did not understand the reason for this until now, so he was not fond of him. But now that he understood the reason, Rodney felt awkward.
“I see. Well, may I have a word with you, uncle?”
“I am occupied right now.”
“How about tonight?”
“Even tonight I am busy.”
I suppose he’s wary that I will apply for a loan from him. Given how poorly things have so far turned out, that makes sense. But I have to do it since it will help me pay off debt and will be profitable for my grandfather and uncle.
“How about the next day? If Grandfather returns by then, I’ll wait since I’ll be here for two or three days.”
After a deep sigh, Santas interrupted.
“My father and I have decided to disassociate ourselves from the Forbus family. Do you know what that means, Rodney?”
It was an abrupt declaration of isolation.
“Are you dead serious?”
“Of course I’m serious. I’ll let your younger sister know in a letter at a later date. She is free to return if she chooses to do so.”
“You are not required to pay back any of your debts. In exchange, you are not permitted to reappear at the mansion or in the store.”
“That’s what my… grandfather said too?”
Although it was upsetting to hear his grandfather, who was very attached to his grandchildren, would say such a thing, it was reasonable that the family would be estranged from one another given that they had borrowed money and not even paid the interest. He decided to accept the circumstances after swallowing the words that had been spoken. However, since they had taken care of him up to date, Rodney wanted to return the favor even if they declared their isolation.
“I understand. From now on, I will not show my face. Then, please accept this as a parting gift. Hey, bring it in.”
“Hey, what are you doing!”
Santas attempted to stop him as he yelled, but Rodney disregarded him.
“Master Rodney, we’ve finished carrying it in!”
Rodney bowed deeply to Santas as Rodmer announced this.
“I apologize for the inconvenience. It is a sweetener produced by my family, so if you don’t need it, please dispose of it.”
Rodney walked out of the store with Rodmer, his head held high. The Garim syrup he had left behind weighed 50 rodems (100 kilograms). This would be half of the Garim syrup they brought this time. The other half was a gift for Earl Banyusas.
“Master Rodney. Are you sure of this?”
“After everything that has happened, I can understand what my uncle meant. I suppose it’s inevitable that they would want to sever our ties.”
This is sad to say, but it’s also the fault of poverty…
After checking into the inn, Rodney sent Rodmer to Earl Banyusas family as a preliminary announcement of his arrival. Earl Banyusas was not someone who could be met by an unexpected visit, so the date and time had to be arranged in advance.
When Rodmer returned, he told him that the visit would take place two days later in the morning.
“Then we can take it easy tomorrow.”
There hasn’t been any time for relaxation since he assumed charge of the household given that he’s been too busy preparing Garim syrup and bestirring himself to improve the environment of his territory. He had never experienced such a demanding period of time in his life.
For the first time in a long time, he believed he could settle down, but the next morning, a visitor arrived at the inn.
Rodney was suddenly embraced by an old man. This old man was Rodney’s grandfather, the merchant, Hacklehoff.
“Hey, grandfather. No matter what this is about, hugging me out of nowhere is not an option.”
“I have beaten up Santas to a pulp! You are my grandson, and you can always come back to me for a little pampering!”
Apparently, the isolation was at the sole discretion of Santas. When Hacklehoff returned home and learned what had transpired from Manas, the second in command, Hacklehoff was so enraged that he really battered Santas.
“Besides, what is that thing!?”
“You mean the Garim syrup?”
“Oh, that’s the one! That would make a fortune! Did you make it, Rodney?”
“Yeah, I made it. From now on, I want to make it a specialty of Gallus Village.”
“Leave it to me! I will sell it for as high as I can!”
“You are indeed a trader. I feel reassured.”
“Hahaha! I’m a grandfather just trying to show my grandson how good he can be!”
Hacklehoff had a rather dynamic personality. Plus, he loved his grandchildren greatly. Thanks to that, Rodney could speak comfortably about his debts. That was why Rodney found it difficult to respond when Santas claimed that his grandpa would likewise isolate him, despite his discomfort.
“How much of that stuff can you make? And how much can you supply that wholesale?”
“I estimate I can produce about 250 rodems a month right now.”
In a day, the maximum amount of Garim syrup that may be made would be 10 rodems (20 kilograms). If the production was made monthly, it would be 300 rodems, assuming that everyone worked without a break. Furthermore, since the production also affected by weather conditions such as rain, Rodney calculated that 250 rodems per month would be a realistic figure, provided the weather was favorable, and he informed Hacklehoff of this.
However, this was merely the existing production capacity; Rodney has been working on increasing productivity and mass production, and production will have doubled in three months.
“That still won’t be enough,” Hacklehoff responded, requesting additional output. Rodney waved aside the topic, uncertain whether he could make and sell such a vast quantity of a product that wasn’t even on the market yet.
“And what’s the wholesale price?”
“I have absolutely no idea. How much would you charge, grandfather?”
Rodney shrugged his shoulders.
“You’re testing me, aren’t you?”
“No, I really can’t fathom it. But I want it to be cheaper than sugar or honey. Otherwise, mass production will be ineffective.”
“That’s true. When two items are comparable, the ones that have been around for a long time are more well-known. If you want to sell in large quantities, creating an impact is essential. And if it’s based on price, then it will initiate an impact,” Hacklehoff remarked.
The end price of sugar in the royal capital would be one large gold coin for one rodem (two kilograms). For honey, that would be seven small gold coins. Sugar and honey are several times more expensive than the average person’s monthly wage, which varies from one to two little gold coins.
The aristocrats and wealthy people lavishly indulge in sweets and other delicacies made with such luxurious sweeteners. Therefore, it could be said that these people are affluent, but impoverished aristocrats like Rodney cannot afford to buy them.
“If you want to make an impact at a lower price than that, perhaps three to four small gold coins. With that in mind, the purchase price would be eight large silver coins. In return, one of my employees will go to Gallus village and pick up the Garim syrup. How’s that sound?”
Rodney didn’t grasp much about how business was done, but considering transportation, profit, and taxes, it was likely sensible to sell it for several times the wholesale price.
If one rodem costs eight large silver coins wholesale, wholesaling 250 rodems every month would cost 20 large gold coins or 240 large gold coins per year. That would be twice as much tax money as the Dedel territory generates. On top of that, Hacklehoff would be in charge of transportation. Rodney reasoned that rather than claiming it would be enough, it would be more than enough to earn a profit.
“Let’s stick with that plan.”
“Alright, it’s settled. Here’s your cut.”
He reached into his pocket and placed a leather bag in front of Rodney. Judging from the prior arrangement, Rodney assumed that Hacklehoff had already determined the wholesale price.
Grandfather is truly a shrewd one.
“No, it’s alright. My family has caused a lot of trouble for you.”
“Just let me put on a presentable front. Besides, my grandson is thoughtful of me.”
He chose to accept Hacklehoff’s favor humbly. Hacklehoff would press him for every excuse he could think of, even if he vehemently refused.
“And, as Santas said, you don’t have to pay back any of your debts.”
“Ah, that would not be good…”
“Consider it a gift for my grandson who is now an independent adult. Besides, we are going to be partners in business, so you can regard it as a contractual payment. I’m telling you, I won’t allow you to say no. This is an order from me, your grandfather.”
“I get it. Thank you, grandfather.”
“Yes, that’s the way to go. Oh, that’s right. Your grandmother wants you to spend the night at the mansion. Do not refuse. I’m afraid she’ll lose her temper.”
“Oh, okay. Then, thank you for your hospitality today.”
“I’ll lock Santas in the storage room[i], and you can stay as long as you like.”
Apparently, in Hacklehoff’s mind, his grandson Rodney was more dearest to him than his son Santas.
“Is Emilia not here today?”
“I didn’t bring her this time because I’m here to greet Earl Banyusas.”
“Hmm. You must bring Emilia with you the next time. You must promise me that!”
The pressure of being Hacklehoff’s grandchildren was as overwhelming as ever. They ironed out the terms of the Garim syrup trade after Rodney assured him that he would bring Emilia next time.
Subsequently, Rodney and his party moved out of the inn and into the Hacklehoff residence, where they were welcomed by Hacklehoff himself along with his wife as well as Santas’ wife and daughter, Seema. Whether this was true or not, Santas was allegedly locked in a storage room and was not sighted during Rodney’s group’s sojourn.
[i] Can be read as closet too
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