“No, I can’t get behind this.”
“No? I think it is a splendid game-changing idea though.”
In the workshop of the blacksmiths where heat is confined in and can be called the battlefield of craftsmen, two merchants were facing each other in a room of that very workshop.
One of them is the boss of the workshop, the merchant that is the representative of the Bronzeman Company as a side-job.
The other one is wearing elegant clothes that don’t fit the place, the representative of the Rembrandt Company.
One can tell from their expressions that it isn’t that fun of a conversation.
“A division of labor is something done to increase the quality of the finished product.” (Bronzeman)
“That’s the division of labor when it is related to creations, right? I am talking about manufactured goods here. Isn’t it wrong to see them in the same vein?” (Rembrandt)
“You can just teach them the knowledge and technique they individually need in a few days. There’s no need to be concerned about the whole picture or the performance of the product. By simply placing a craftsman supervising the work that even a child could do, the production capability will increase greatly. The reality is that there’s no assurance someone can obtain the creations they want. Then, isn’t it your job to think of ways to produce goods that can be obtained for a low price?” (Rembrandt)
“My job, huh… The supervision of coarse goods that will be made through that request of yours. I consider it my job to make suitable quality products.” (Bronzeman)
“Hmm…too bad. Then, it can’t be helped.” (Rembrandt)
“Your reaction was slightly different from what I expected, but we both have our own standards. Let’s leave this matter for a later time then.” (Rembrandt)
“Huh? And here I was thinking it was rare for you to give up so easily. What is it you are trying to say?” (Bronzeman)
This man learned that there’s no point in pressuring and threatening with words and attitude only, and ended up unconsciously showing his displeasure in his face at the inflammatory words and complaining.
Well, these two have known each other for a long enough time to not break negotiations with just a few statements and make it a big deal to take advantage of it. This is close to a light talk that you could say could only be done exactly because they know each other for a decently lengthy amount of time.
“It is not like you are the past Lime Latte. I thought that you would honestly confess that your craftsmen would lose jobs, so it would be troubling. In these times when each second is precious, I overestimated you by thinking that a craftsman of your level wouldn’t do things that would require needless hassle.” (Rembrandt)
“…Good grief. That young man had at some point turned into the face of the city. Your eyes, ears, and nose have gotten far sharper than mine a long time ago too.” (Bronzeman)
“It is a pity that I can’t get your cooperation, but this is a production plan that is absolutely necessary to direct our eyes into the future of Tsige. Regarding the equipment, there’s the wasteland side, and that’s your territory, so I have no intentions of interfering in that. But for the daily necessities, I am sorry, but I will be beginning it when preparations are ready. I feel like there’s the need for feedback and improvements as fast as possible after all.” (Rembrandt)
“Meaning that, you will be waiting for the time when I am the one who will come to you to lower my head? You really don’t have mercy in your dictionary. I thought you had gotten milder after that incident you had with the adventurers. Are you picking a fight with all the craftsmen this time, Rembrandt?” (Bronzeman)
“Of course no. I highly value the production of equipment and maintenance that can only be achieved by skilled craftsmen, and the many great works that are created by their hands. Their work being reduced by my actions won’t be happening ever. I am a man that learns after all. My conflict with the adventurers made me think about a variety of things.” (Rembrandt)
“Listen here, if the young craftsmen that are supposed to grow into those ‘highly valued skilled craftsmen’ you are talking about are gone, you can see as clear as day what would happen. The application of division of labor that you were speaking of can tear out the young craftsmen by their root.” (Bronzeman)
“…Oh, but aren’t you raising a good amount of disciples? I have heard from the wind that you have been doing something similar to a mutual aid association between craftsmen though?” (Rembrandt)
“…Glad to see you know the business of others so well. I am doing that, but I am not providing support to them in all aspects of their life. A decent craftsman cannot be made if they were to be spoiled to that extent after all.” (Bronzeman)
The Bronzeman Representative sighed as he answered the question of Rembrandt.
Exasperated by the fact that he knows about the internal matters of other companies to an unpleasant extent.
And while at it, he was also wondering if he was listening to his explanation even though he already knows full well everything he would say.
The Rembrandt as of late has been fearsomely sharp.
In a lot of meanings.
The Bronzeman Representative felt a repulsive sensation as if he had already been set into a preset route.
“Then there really is no problem. Use them as supervisors like a side-job for these young ones to earn pocket money, and that would serve to fill up the holes.” (Rembrandt)
“At a tasteless job that doesn’t serve in their growth as a craftsman at all?” (Bronzeman)
“Hahaha. But ‘a decent craftsman cannot be made if they were to be spoiled to that extent’, right? I myself would want to have them increase their skills fast to a certain point. For you as well, they would still be plenty useful even when they are still fletchlings.” (Rembrandt)
What Rembrandt is saying isn’t wrong in essence.
It is true that the blacksmiths that are in the area of daily necessity products are more for pocket money than for training.
But the Bronzeman Representative was feeling apprehensive at forcefully changing the customs and traditions that they have been carrying and refining until now.
It is true that, in order to polish your skills and live by as a first rate craftsman that has a name for themselves, they need to devote to polishing themselves.
“This is something I thought at that time as well, but there’s troubles that can be avoided if you tell the tops properly. The reality was that the relationship between Lime and I was truly toxic and filled with misunderstandings. This is what created the rift between him and I. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake. I would like to have a good relationship with you and keep a stable supply of equipment to the army.” (Rembrandt)
Simplified division of labor.
This is the problem between the two, and the proposal of Rembrandt.
The division of labor is mainly applied by craftsmen to increase the quality of a product, and this proposal was basically like breaking it from its base.
On the other hand, by simplifying each manufacturing process, the regular populace that didn’t have the production skills related to it will also be able to get involved in the production -this is what Rembrandt called a ground-breaking idea.
Depending on how you listen to it, it is basically like robbing the craftsmen of their work, and the reason the Bronzeman Representative frowned.
“…That’s one rough joke there. Are you telling me you are even going to rely on that method with the equipment the army of Tsige will be holding?” (Bronzeman)
The expression of the Bronzeman Representative stiffened.
Of course, it is because he thought that the Bronzeman Company would be the one taking care of the equipment of the Tsige army.
This thought of his didn’t come from conceit, but because it would require quality and amount which he can proudly say it would be impossible without them being involved.
“It is true that there’s the need to properly consider just how many layers and how much of a quality the given equipment will have. By the way, one of my current ideas for that was to make newbie equipment with the simplified division of labor, which a number of people objected to.” (Rembrandt)
“Are you sane? This is not like you.” (Bronzeman)
“Really? For example; arrows. If we were to leave all of those in your hands, depending on the situation, production might not be able to keep up, don’t you think? Or would you go and tell the tacticians that you can’t increase the production rate so to make a plan that limits the amount of arrows used?” (Rembrandt)
Even if they are currently following the demands of the adventurers, it is not like all the arrows are being handled by craftsmen.
Most of them are being purchased from outside companies.
“…Arrows, huh. It is true that, aside from ones for special use, having even common arrows all be made by craftsmen would…not be realistic.” (Bronzeman)
“Right? There’s a lot of expendable goods used by the army. If arrows can be retrieved, I would like to, but it is not like we can reuse them all. The problem of who will be in charge of it will also happen. Even if told later that you didn’t think about it, or it was outside of expectations, you can’t redo it after all.” (Rembrandt)
“…So, you will be spreading the division of labor as well as the daily necessity products? Ordering each part separately, have part timers and mid sized workshops make them, and have them assembled in specialized workshops to finish them en masse?” (Bronzeman)
“Don’t you think it is a great way of doing things?” (Rembrandt)
“…I think it is a sickening thought that’s like it came right out of a fiend. Mass producing products that have no soul in it, moreover, you are even relying on beginner part-timers for the parts.” (Bronzeman)
But it is efficient.
There’s no need to pass the rough training of a craftsman, and as long as you can manage to make a single product, and can supervise it, this can become a job, and it would increase the production rate of a city, a country, to an outstanding degree. As someone who has been living as a craftsman for long, this notion made him want to vomit.
He felt as if their place as craftsmen would be taken away by daily employed people with no skills.
Their definition of division of labor is to divide the detailed work for each person, polish their skills, sharing the same full picture of the finished product, to aim for the one true masterpiece; this is the complete opposite of that.
It is simply the reverse thinking of that, but the Bronzeman Representative was impressed at how Rembrandt managed to cook that up, and felt like cursing him.
If possible, he would want to turn back time to the days where this man didn’t have that idea of his and regain peace.
These were his true feelings.
“ Please don’t look at only the bad sides. Depending on how you think about it, you can also make use of this kind of method to make excellent pieces, and since you are not ordering it from specialized craftsmen, there’s no need to show them the information of the finished product, just for one part of the whole product. Isn’t this a positive point in terms of retention of secret information?” (Rembrandt)
“Also you could save people who don’t have a job in their hands before they lose everything. Even the manual labor of children you were talking about before. If a method is made where they can be properly supervised so they are not exploited like slaves, it could even be requested from orphanages. If they can obtain a source of income that doesn’t rely on specific companies, I think it would become a plus in their future.” (Rembrandt)
“…You…could it be…just how far…” (Bronzeman)
‘Just how far are you seeing’, is what he was trying to say, but his throat was dry and he couldn’t speak.
When he was talking about arrows, he was honestly wondering what was the problem with buying them from outside, but forming a reason from the explanation that comes after gave him chills.
“Please think about it. Tsige soon won’t just be reaching till the wall we can see here. It will expand far off to a wall that can’t be seen from here. Population will increase. Work will be necessary with the increase of people. There’s no need for beggars and we have no intentions on carrying them, so that’s a matter of course, right? We need the new citizens to become the strength of the city…no, the country, or there would be no point.” (Rembrandt)
“And so, you will be increasing the jobs itself explosively with this?” (Bronzeman)
“Yeah, we can use the circulation network of the Couple-san to transport the parts from workshop to workshop. That granny has already begun increasing her personnel and creating a roadmap. Till how old does she intend to stay in the business?” (Rembrandt)
“She is definitely gonna be working in the business for the remainder of her life…” (Bronzeman)
“In the first place, the amount of adventurers in the future will be increasing by far more than several times its current numbers, right?” (Rembrandt)
As if saying ‘you can at least predict that much, right?’. The words of Rembrandt resonated greatly in the Bronzeman Representative.
That’s because he was certainly thinking about preparing himself for where he could deal with an increase of several times more.
“For how far can you deal with things once it has swelled to several times…several tens of times more than now using your current stance. I even felt uneasy just by seeing the workshop the same as usual when I came in today.” (Rembrandt)
“…Rembrandt, just how much do you think the population of this city will increase? Open up and tell me please. It was the same with the land and money matter… It looks like what you and I see are different in foundation.” (Bronzeman)
“Open up, you say. I have already done so from the very beginning, right?” (Rembrandt)
“That Tsige will become the greatest country of the world.” (Rembrandt)
“I heard that. It was what you proclaimed grandly after you gathered the merchants, right?” (Bronzeman)
“People will obviously gather the most at the greatest country of the world. So it will obviously become the one with the highest population of the world.” (Rembrandt)
“I don’t know how many times I have said this already, but…are you sane?” (Bronzeman)
“First will be 100 times more.” (Rembrandt)
“Also, no matter in what shape or form the independence is accepted by Aion, I will have it give us the spot of one of the major powers in a few years.” (Rembrandt)
“N-Not becoming the f-fith major power?” (Bronzeman)
“This is something I was mostly sure of after being involved with them for a long time, but I am now clear about it. The Aion Kingdom is just a major power in size alone. You could say they are handy nourishment for Tsige.” (Rembrandt)
“The Aion that presently holds a bigger army than even Gritonia and Limia who are weakened by the war with the demons? You are calling them nourishment?” (Bronzeman)
Just as Bronzeman said, the scale of the army the Aion Kingdom sent to Tsige could be described as overwhelming.
It is to the point that there’s no need to think about the difference in military force, and it is silly to even compare their numbers.
A massive army that, even if they were to subjugate Tsige and pulverize the revolutionary army and return to the capital, the people of the capital wouldn’t even be able to tell how many casualties there actually were.
No matter how powerful of adventurers they have obtained the cooperation from, there’s no way they can win against the difference in numbers.
They would definitely be swallowed in the middle and be killed.
There’s no doubt it would be difficult to even keep order when facing their presence.
“Hmm…I might have been a bit excessive there.” (Rembrandt)
“It doesn’t change much.” (Bronzeman)
“Yeah. And so, how about it? I came all the way here thinking that we would receive the full support of the Bronzeman Company, and wanted to get advice too.” (Rembrandt)
“…You made a similar gut-wrenching proposal to the Couple lady in the road maintenance and circulation front, right?” (Bronzeman)
After hearing a lot from her at the meeting, he was sure that a new era would be coming.
Even when he was resolved to think from zero with a blank slate to be on the front of that new era, he couldn’t keep up at all with the thoughts of Rembrandt.
If he were just a madman, it would be fine to just ignore him, but the fearsome thing is that Rembrandt intends to make that future he speaks of a reality.
He was sure that he also said some outrageous things to the Couple Company too.
“No way. I just got a lecture in regards to the circulation of goods, to a degree where I could calculate whether the goods transportation will be able to deal with the increase from the production method.” (Rembrandt)
“That’s definitely a lie.” (Bronzeman)
“Who knows. The only thing I know is that I am definitely not saying anything that’s harmful for the Bronzeman Company.” (Rembrandt)
“…Got it. I am in. Cause I honestly think the current you is scary. Well, I have no responsibility for them, but if possible, please pick up Muzo and Batoma too.” (Bronzeman)
“Muzo is truly skilled. He has begun moving a long time ago. After that meeting, he was the first one to go to the guild and poured money into it as if it were water, and he has begun to assist the adventurers even further than before.” (Rembrandt)
“You already know what he is doing? What about the place of Batoma that’s been weakening a bit recently?” (Bronzeman)
“As long as he doesn’t stop that enclosure of weaklings that he calls the company association, they have no future. Well, it would be a waste since it would trouble me if he were to try to do something to Raidou-kun, but maybe in the future I will bring him to the hot springs to give him some nice last memories…I mean, a last chance.” (Rembrandt)
“Raidou-kun, huh. Even though the Kuzunoha Company is a miscellaneous store, they have monstrous building techniques. Looks like I can’t be choosing my methods if I want to survive.” (Bronzeman)
This unbelievably sharp Rembrandt is definitely due to Raidou and the Kuzunoha Company in some way.
This isn’t such a joyous thing for the other merchants of Tsige, but it must mean that the meeting of those two must have created some unbelievable chemical reaction.
It is not like Bronzeman hasn’t thought ‘it would have been better if they hadn’t met’, but if he were to compare the Tsige of before that felt enclosed to the current one, the Bronzeman Representative would choose the present one.
Therefore, he had no choice but to acknowledge the tsunami that he can’t avoid.
“How about you come as well to the hot springs with Batoma? No, let’s go to the hot springs with everyone. That sounds like a good idea.” (Rembrandt)
As if making a complete turn, Rembrandt invites him with a big smile on his face.
“Everyone…huh. I will accept any invites. Aah, looks like there’s now a huge difference in standing between us two. I can’t just stand idly, really.” (Bronzeman)
“Dipping yourself into hot water is nice. I am sure you will like it.” (Rembrandt)
It is basically a prototype of the factory line system.
On this day, a silent industrial revolution happened in Tsige.