The location changed, it is now the Merchant Guild.
Tsige is currently just one city.
There’s a surface, a back, and has dirt, but everything is surrounded by walls, and it is only on the inside.
The noble that was in control of this place as a remote region of Aion had already been retired before the declaration of independence, and the current Tsige doesn’t have a definite administration institute.
No, it doesn’t exist yet.
That’s the correct way of saying it.
The reality is that Tsige has declared independence from the Aion Kingdom and has entered ‘negotiations’ with military power involved.
Then, which organization is managing those movements, and who is the one involved in them?
The answer is the merchants.
The adventurers who have a lot of power in their say at Tsige are not included in this.
Thinking about their way of living, this isn’t that strange, and if there’s a powerful adventurer that wants to speak out, they can just speak out their will to intervene through a merchant they’ve been acquainted with.
The ones who have the strongest interest in the management and maintenance of Tsige are the merchants, and the ones who decided the destination of the city are them.
The ones who negotiated with the nobles sent by the feudal lord were also them.
On top of that, there’s no doubt that the merchants are the ones who made the feudal lord of Tsige seal his mouth by giving him a variety of fortunes.
This city has been self-governed by the merchants of power since a long time ago.
“To receive a meeting call from the Batoma Company is rare. Now, what’s today’s topic?”
Confirming that everyone was there, the representative of the Rembrandt Company, Patrick Rembrandt, speaks from the chief seat.
From his perspective inside, there’s two at his left and right, for a total of four people gathered in this guild room.
This place is one of the two rooms of the Merchant Guild that has been created with the highest of techniques and doesn’t lose to the Adventurer Guild in security.
The luxury of having a wide hall-like room be used by only 5 people.
That’s only allowed for the 5 people gathered here, but more accurately speaking, it is because the companies that they are related to are at the peak of the Tsige merchants.
The Merchant Guild has put together the city into one with the independence of Tsige in mind, and many companies have joined forces.
Especially the merchants who have had achievements, done business for a long time in this city, and currently have a more than decent amount of power, they do meetings to decide the policies of the city. At least that’s what’s publicly known in Tsige.
In other words, a front.
There’s around 30 who have been elected and given a parliamentary seat.
But the reality is that the companies here are the ones who decide practically all the big policies.
The top of the top companies.
The Muzo Company that deals with the raw material market.
The Batoma Company that puts in order the food establishments.
A major company, the Couple Company, that shoulders the circulation of goods.
The Bronze Man Company that administers many of the craftsmen; mainly blacksmiths.
And the biggest of the miscellaneous stores in the city, and the one managing even the finances of the city, the Rembrandt Company.
The weight of their words may change depending on their scale of the market at the time, but the names haven’t changed for around 10 years already.
In the past, there were 9 companies who had a name in Tsige and managed it, but since the time the Rembrandt Company became notorious, the numbers were reduced to 5, and it hasn’t changed since.
You could clearly tell just how much influence the words of the Rembrandt Company has.
On top of that, the raw material market, the food establishments, and the craftsmen and blacksmith fields have a thick shadow of the Rembrandt Company behind them.
“…First, I offer my thanks for gathering here.”
Finishing the basic formalities and the all-around greetings, the Batoma Company begins the topic of discussion.
“There’s probably already people who know this, but there’s a certain rumor floating around in Tsige.”
Of course, there’s no way they would all gather here just for a rumor.
The Batoma Company’s representative directed his gaze at Rembrandt as he began the talk.
“The relationship between the wasteland’s Mist Town and the Kuzunoha Company.”
“The Kuzunoha Company? I am beginning to take notice of them.”
“It is said that the Kuzunoha Company and the Mist Town actually have a connection to the revolutionary army. Please take a look at the handed documents, and while we share the information that we have ascertained…”
Even if Rembrandt thought that this was shamelessly transparent, he tagged along in this farce.
The representative of the Kuzunoha Company, Raidou, has made his company grow to the point that there’s no one in Tsige who doesn’t know its name.
They opened business a few years ago. A merchant that didn’t do any groundwork first before making a company in this place and opened his own store.
There’s a limit to the Tsige Dream. You could even say he is an instance of a super successful case.
But well, that success was 99% because of his positive relationship with Rembrandt, and the remaining 1% was luck; this is what is still being said by a part of the people.
But Rembrandt has had a connection with the Kuzunoha Company, Raidou, and its executives, so he knows.
(If he really did obtain that much success with only my backup and his luck, this city would have already been covered in my sympathizers left and right.) (Rembrandt)
Without showing it in his face, Rembrandt was directing pity towards representative Batoma who is still part of the non-believers.
Rembrandt has backed a lot of talented merchants aside from Raidou.
But the only ones who have managed to maintain their stores and remain are a mere 10 or so.
There’s no other merchant aside from Raidou who has shot into the success road in such an amusing manner.
(No, in reality, they might have been the ones who brought about the winds of revolution in Tsige more than the Rembrandt Company. Even the plan that I am secretly boiling might simply be dancing on the top of Raidou-kun’s palm.) (Rembrandt)
In the eyes of Rembrandt, Raidou is by no means a skilled merchant.
But that will, that conviction of his is a sincere one.
Standing at the interval between supply and demand, they rear and increase their wealth by smoothly serving as the middleman.
Without having a single bit of the stench of reality, that figure of theirs pushing ahead with sincerity is just dazzling.
Also, his way of living that allows him to do foolish moves, that at a glance would only make him look like a sucker, and still be able to push it through without being devoured by anyone.
Even though he is not exemplary…he even looks like an ideal type of merchant.
Thinking that much, Rembrandt let out a light sigh and showed a smile.
He thought ‘maybe that’s putting him way too up high’.
He was retorting to his own thoughts.
Suddenly, he felt the gaze of the Couple Company’s representative, and when Rembrandt moved his head that way, their eyes met.
There were no words exchanged, but the lady of nice physique silently returned a smile.
Rembrandt for an instant had an interest in what she thought of this topic.
(Well, the thought process of this woman is similar to that of Raidou-kun. She wouldn’t really clash with him.) (Rembrandt)
The representative of the Couple Company is an elderly woman.
In the world of merchants, there’s no difference between men and women.
You just need the skills.
There’s only one here, but the world has a lot of skilled female merchants.
The wife of Rembrandt, Lisa, also has skilled business abilities, though that’s only a side job of hers and it is questionable whether she can be categorized in that same vein though.
The reason being that her side job relates to things where the terms like frauds and larceny jump around.
Well, that’s all in the past.
“In other words! The Kuzunoha Company has been run by the revolutionary army since way before! And are connected to a suspicious bunch that deny the Goddess Religion…”
The Rembrandt Company and the Couple Company are in a relationship where they are discussing a big project for the future of Tsige.
It is also a powerful medicine that might create a big wave that could make one or two of the people here fall from grace.
No, that same wave Rembrandt created might swallow him as well. It is one of the plans of Rembrandt that was born from the words of Raidou.
But Rembrandt and Couple answered the possibilities of that future with a deep smile.
From the five here, the Couple Company that’s in the circulation of goods has been steadily increasing in power.
Of course, Rembrandt as well.
That’s probably the reason for their composure.
On the other hand, the Batoma Company that’s the most heated up in his speech was the one who was waning the most.
They do have achievements and it is also true that they have done great services here for a long time.
However, the food industry is currently a complete warzone.
The Batoma faction is also being mercilessly scraped off and crushed, and the Batoma Company itself is also struggling in the maelstrom.
The Batoma Company is the only one from these 5 that is doing business with the residents rather than between merchants, which is most likely the reason why he ended up exposing himself to drastic changes.
If it were Raidou, no, the Limia Hero, Hibiki, she would have thought of the words B to B or B to C.
“Then, it is natural to directly hear from the representative of the Kuzunoha Company, Raidou! If he is unrelated to the revolutionary army, the Anti-Goddess Religion, and the Mist Town, he himself should be the one proving it.”
Patrick Rembrandt sighs.
Show proof that he isn’t related to it, that’s quite the unreasonable thing to say, is what Rembrandt thought.
Of course it is impossible.
The rumor that’s going around, due to the origin of it, is hard to erase.
The rumor of the Kuzunoha Company’s backer, which is spreading around the slums and the weak people as if it were the legend of a savior.
There are people who are beginning to sympathize with the revolutionary army and the Anti-Goddess Religion, and it is true that there’s the need to deal with it at once.
(The problem is the objective. I can’t tell the reason why they would have Tsige bend to the side of the revolutionary army at this point in time, and even mix us with the Anti-Goddess’s. Do they want to make it clear how the Kuzunoha Company obtains their products of the Mist Town like Batoma is trying to do? It would be so much easier if their view could be read by even a monkey.) (Rembrandt)
‘In the first place, your company being unsteady is purely because you are incompetent’, is what Rembrandt chops Batoma with in his mind.
After that, the Batoma Company representative said that the city should get involved actively in the commerce that the Kuzunoha Company has been monopolizing with the Mist Town.
Saying that, the ingredients should be left in charge to the Batoma Company and its affiliates.
(What an idiot. Even if it is ingredients, if it comes from the wasteland, there’s no way Muzo would stay silent.) (Rembrandt)
And then, the Muzo Company’s representative objects as if natural.
That there’s no need for the food industry to say it, they would take responsibility and take care of the ingredients coming from the wasteland.
That the cooks and the market are currently doing plenty well enough, so there’s no need to do anything unnecessary.
He brings out valid points one after the other.
The returns of Batoma were groans.
(If he had done necessary arrangements like this when the Kuzunoha Company first brought the rare materials and the ingredients that they spread in small amounts, negotiated with them directly, or maybe threatened them, I would have evaluated him as having a bit more of a backbone though…) (Rembrandt)
5 companies having the same amount of decision power when deciding the policies of the city is nothing but a pain.
For Rembrandt who shoulders both the merchants and the politics, he considered the people here as nothing but an hindrance not that long ago. The situation is a bit different now.
That’s why he would sometimes try to support the direct competition of the other 4, or provide information about the market to only one side; continuously spreading seeds to hinder their growth.
Batoma is an instance that was caught splendidly.
In the first place, Rembrandt himself didn’t expect Tsige to have such a drastic wave of growth, and that there would be a company that would push their name to the tops in just a few years.
“I know that it is a company you are taking care of. But a new merchant is stirring the city to such an extent, and causing trouble, so of course you will agree, Rembrandt Company representative?”
“Not even worth considering.” (Rembrandt)
The Batoma representative took that sigh as an agreement, and Rembrandt cut his words without any hesitation.
“It is painful to have the company representatives gathered here waste more of their time, but I will point this out. The understanding of the Batoma Company is fatally incorrect. Moreover, according to the information I have, tracing the origin of those rumors brings me to Dusk Street.” (Rembrandt)
The tension increases at once at the mention of a dislikable name.
The Batoma Company seems to not have known about the involvement of the Dusk Street, he had surprise shown in his face.
“On top of that, the Kuzunoha Company representative, Raidou, has already headed to the Dusk Street himself to investigate in order to prove his own innocence.” (Rembrandt)
“In his eyes, this groundless rumor could damage the name of his company, so don’t you think this is a natural course of action?” (Rembrandt)
“Doing something as dirty as having a company affiliated to the guild enter the Dusk Street!”
“Dirty? Is that something a person like you who got one-upped by a newcomer merchant should say? In my case, as long as there’s results, I find that action as brave.” (Rembrandt)
The two sides clash glares and sparks fly.
Rembrandt and Batoma began to argue about the Kuzunoha Company’s actions, history, and other minute details about it.
“Uhm, can I?”
The one who noticed that this would end up being a long discussion and ended it in a few minutes was the representative of the Couple Company.
The girl who seemed to be listening with a smile suddenly raised her hand and spoke.
The attention gathered to her temporarily.
“There’s plenty enough time for all of this once the Kuzunoha Company boy returns, right? Then, there’s something I want everyone to hear.”
The four were wondering just what she is going to say, and a slightly dumbfounded air goes around as they observe.
And then, Rembrandt opens his eyes wide as if saying ‘could it be?’ and tried to stop her, but the Couple representative once again spoke before he could do that.
“There’s actually a matter that I have been discussing with Rembrandt-kun lately. But as expected, it should be better to share this with everyone here rather than continue discussing by ourselves, and it would definitely be a lot more interesting.”
Rembrandt couldn’t hold it and raised his voice.
It was still too soon. What he has shared with her is not only barebones, it is on the level of just being an idea right now.
No, if it went well, it is true that this would be a big project that would be put in motion at the same time as the independence is obtained and would put Rembrandt’s own whole career at stake.
It would be an incredible waste to publicize it in this place where idiots are mixed in.
Rembrandt’s eyes spoke this eloquently.
But the elder woman doesn’t stop.
Her face didn’t show any mischief at a glance, but what the woman called interesting, those words of hers were…
“Hey, everyone. What is a town… what is a city?”
Patrick Rembrandt covers his face with his right hand and looks at the ceiling.
The result was…
On this day, a severe earthquake rang within the top merchants.