C4: Determining a course of action
Only 2 chapters this week. Next release is Monday.
After the investiture ceremony and returning from the royal capital to my own territory, Yulis and I discussed what we needed to do to survive. As a conclusion, we decided that we need to develop the strength to fight, although it is obvious. We will try to avoid fighting, but according to the logic that in a war-torn world, the weakest will be targeted first, we will probably be the first to be targeted.
If there is a war, I want to have a well-organized standing army that can resist the magic cheats of the nobles so that we can always be prepared for an attack, but maintaining a standing army requires a huge amount of money.
This world is still a civilization like medieval Europe, so if I could squeeze out my little modern knowledge and start a new industry, I would be able to make money, but I don’t have the money to start an industry. Therefore, I decided to go ahead with a business that requires little initial investment. So, I immediately visited Sotheby.
“Could you get Sotheby’s for me, please? I need to have a word with him.”
As soon as I entered the store, I called out to a nearby clerk. The clerk said, “Yes, sir,” bowed, and disappeared into the back of the store.
”Chris, what can I do for you today?”
As the clerk disappeared, a small, white man with a prominent blue beard came out.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, Sotheby’s. I’m here today to discuss business.”
“I am impressed with your business proposal, Chris. Now, please come to the back.”
Sotheby, pretending to wipe his dry eyes, gestured for me to open the door at the back and enter. I followed his lead and entered through the door, and the clerk inside led me to the back room. When I reached the room, I was told to wait for a moment, and Sotheby’s walked out of the room.
Inside the room, there were large sofas facing each other, and the area was decorated with luxurious-looking objects. I’ve never been allowed in this room when I was a kid, and I guess that means he doesn’t underestimate me because I’m a kid, but recognizes me as a business partner this time. I’ll keep my head up.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting.”
Sotheby’s came back and apologized to me with a sly grin. I was a little annoyed, but I swallowed the words that were about to come out of my mouth, because I was the one who had suddenly come without any notice.
“What’s the deal, Mr. Chris?”
“I brought in some of my products to see if you’d like to buy them.”
“Take a look,” I said, pulling out from my bag a board with multiple straight lines drawn horizontally and vertically, and a stone with a black and white front and back.
“It’s Reversi. That’s how you play it.”
I explained to Sotheby’s, who looked at me suspiciously, how to play.
“Well, this is interesting. It will sell widely to the common people and nobility who are hungry for entertainment.”
Oh! This is indeed a classic reversal game of domestic politics. It made a pretty good impression.
“So you’ll buy it?”
“No, there are a few conditions before I can buy it.”
“Yes. This is a product that can be made by anyone. Therefore, we cannot monopolize it, so the profit will be small. I thought about branding it and borrowing the mark of the Dreschord family, but that would also probably be counterfeited.”
“That’s why I want Chris to make a large quantity of these black and white stones in the same size. That way, they can never be counterfeited, so we can brand them, and since there is no cost, we can make a steady profit.”
I see. It’s a pain in the ass to use magic to make it, but I guess I have no choice. Instead, I’ll give him a condition.
“I’ll accept your terms. But that’s too much work for me. That’s why I’ll take fifty percent of the profits.”
“No, no, 50 percent is too much, Chris-sama. I have to pay the labor costs, spread the rules of Reversi, and go out to sell it to the nobles.”
“I see. I’ll take it to the other merchants’ association, then.”
I wondered if I could catch him with such a goofy line. But despite my worries, Sotheby’s showed signs of panic.
“All right. I’m sorry, but let’s make it 40 percent. I can’t give you more.”
“Well, let’s settle for 40 percent.”
I could see a look of relief on Sotheby’s face when I said this, so maybe I could have gone a little further, but getting 40% was enough.
“I’ll be back with a report once the sale is complete, so please look forward to it. It was a good business meeting today.”
“Oh, wait a minute.”
I stopped Sotheby’s as he stood up, took my mahjong and playing cards out of the bag and he looked at me surprised.