“So you’ve come on time,” Carter glanced at the pocket watch in his hand and greeted Rockefeller who had arrived exactly on time.
“Good morning, Carter Ajusshi,”
“Yeah, good morning,”
Carter sat facing Rockefeller before starting work, on the antique wooden table in between them sat a double-armed weighing scale.
“You said it was your first time doing this kind of work right?”
“Then I should explain a few things before we actually start,”
Carter tried to explain what he did for work as he couldn’t afford to just let a boy who knew nothing start working and make mistakes. [Translation By Tani Andris – taniandris.co.uk]
“First, do you know what a goldsmith does?”
“Hmm, yeah that sounds right – first there are three main things I do,”
Carter cleared his throat and stroked his beard in a self-important manner as he began to speak,
“Of those three things, the biggest job is using gold to make gold coins. As you’re aware, commonly found gold can have different purities and weights, so it’s inconvenient to use them in trade since there are no standards,”
“That’s why you make Gold coins right? They’re easy to carry around for transactions,” Rockefeller chimed in,
“You know it well, but making gold coins is not an easy task that anyone can do,”
Rockefeller didn’t deny that, he too had agreed that the goldsmith business was not meant for just anyone.
“In order to do this job, you first need a special permit granted by the Imperial Family – and in order to make gold coins you need the professional skills which take quite a bit of time to learn. That’s why I have no intention of letting you do goldsmithing, instead, I’m thinking of assigning you to a different task,”
“Take a look at this first, this is a gold coin I made yesterday,”
Carter took out of his pocket, a gold coin the portrait of the first Emperor engraved on its surface, and showed it to Rockefeller.
“This is a Talent, a gold coin of the Empire. Since you’re a commoner you must have seen one at least once, but with one of these, you’d have enough money to eat and sleep well for one month in another country,”
“I know about it, they say that a farmer’s wage is about one Shilling and it takes one months worth of wages to exchange the Shillings to a gold coin,”
“To be precise, 1 Talent is 32 Shillings – but if you do a rough calculation then, as you say, a countryside labourer would need a full month’s earnings for a single gold coin,”
Next, Carter took out a silver coin and showed it to Rockefeller.
“This is the shilling you were talking about, it’s also known as just a silver coin. Here, silver coins can be made by craftsmen appointed by the Lord but gold coins can only be made by goldsmiths with permission from the imperial family,”
It was once again something Rockefeller already knew,
“I’ve heard about that story too,”
“Actually, in the case of silver coins, there is no set standard so the size and shape are different depending on the territory. The Lords can decide that as they please so there are cases where the silver coins used here can’t be used at all in other territories,”
“Is it like that everywhere?”
“No, most places tend to follow the rule of 32 Shillings to 1 Talent but some places exist where they don’t,”
“Then there might be a problem if I use the silver coins here in another territory?”
“Right. That’s why gold coins are so valuable, not only because of their worth, but because they are a coin with the exact same value everywhere in the Empire,”
“Then are all the transactions in the Empire made in gold coins?”
If you were to think of in modern times, then the gold coin was like a Key Currency** such as the Dollar and the silver coins, in concept, were more like the currencies of individual countries.
“There’s something I’m curious about,,”
“Go ahead and ask,”
“If you need gold coins to trade in the empire – then what happens with trade outside of the empire? Are imperial gold coins also used there?”
At that question, Carted stroked his beard and pondered for a moment,
“It’s a bit complicated, first, although it’s not impossible to trade with imperial coins – it’s just easier to use the goblin gold coin, Ducat.”
Although Rockefeller knew that non-imperial forces favoured using goblin gold over imperial gold, what he wanted to understand was why?
“Why would they prefer the gold coins made by goblins? Is there a specific reason?”
In order to explain the reason, the story would have to get a little complicated, so after taking a deep breath, Carter continued speaking,
“There are only three types of gold coins in the world, there is the Talent, produced in the Empire, the Sovereign, made by the Dwarfs and the Ducat, made by the goblins. If it’s hard to remember them all then it’s easier to just call it Goblin Gold, Dwarf Gold and Imperial Gold,”
“Is there any difference between those gold coins?” Rockefeller’s question was sharp,
“A difference… well there should be, but technically there isn’t. The gold coin standard set by the Imperial Family is actually tailored to match the gold content of the dwarf’s sovereign. It was to make it more convenient for trade – and the same goes for the goblin gold coin, the Ducat as well. So in principle, the gold content between the three gold coins is the same, so the value should be equal.”
“But in reality, that’s not the case, is it?” Once again, Rockefeller questioned sharply.
In fact, it was knowledge that wasn’t necessary to know while working at Banco but Carter decided to explain it in detail anyway out of consideration for Rockefeller.
“That’s right, regardless of the form, if you simply look at the weight of the gold coins, all three gold coins are the same – but the other factions don’t trust the gold coins made by the Empire at all,”
“Why don’t they trust it? Did something happen?”
“That… well, in the past, there was a problem with the Imperial gold coin – the Talent. Even now, there are some Talents that have a slightly lower gold content and are mixed with copper,”
It was then that Rockefeller could finally understand why those outside of the Empire shunned Imperial gold coins.
‘Well it makes sense, out of all the races, the ones most likely to deal under the table are humans after all,’
“There was copper mixed with gold? Isn’t that bad? Shouldn’t gold coins only contain gold?”
Carter didn’t deny Rockefeller’s words.
“You’re right, of course gold coins should only have gold in them, but with just the little bit of copper, you’re saving enough gold to be able to make more coins,”
“But wouldn’t that be a huge problem if you got caught?”
“It would but… once there was a great war between the Empire and the Lizardmen. It was called the Ember War – frictions between minor factions about a Wyvern egg led to an all out-war,”
Lizardmen. It was the minority race on the continent that was defeated by the former Empire – now only their name remained.
“As you know, the result of the war was the Empire’s victory – but at that time, the Empire was in great financial trouble – they needed to go to war with the Lizardmen but the Imperial family didn’t have any money,”
Rockefeller could roughly guess how the events played out from there,
“…was it the war that led them to create gold coins with copper mixed in?”
“That’s how it turned out, it’s not like money comes out of the air right? Of course the Empire used a trick. They mixed copper into gold and increased the number of gold coins that could be produced. Thanks to that, the Ember war could be won but the imperial gold coin lost trust from everyone – We call that coin a Bastard Talent.”
“Are there that many of the fake gold coins still around?”
“At the time of the Ember War, the Empire needed a lot of gold coins – there’s no way they would all disappear so there are still many circulating in the market today,”
“Shouldn’t they be trying to thin out the fake gold coins then in the market then?”
“It’s good to thin them about but that’s only if there’s a few of them. At least in the Empire, a Bastard Talent is still being used without any problem – I accept them as well, but nothing with a higher copper content than Bastard Talent is allowed, that’s the same for everyone. Anyway, as long as you’re only using them in the Empire, a Bastard Talent is still acceptable,”
“Well, that a relief,”
Rockefeller could understand why the imperial gold coin had lost credibility But the question as to why it was specifically the Ducat that was preferred still remained.
“But why is it preferred to use goblin gold coins while leaving the good quality dwarf gold coins – wouldn’t the sovereign be better for gold content?”
In the novel, dwarven gold was said to have the best quality while also having the highest purity.
However, there was a good reason why such high-quality gold coins were not used.
“The Sovereign is definitely good quality – I mean, they are dwarven made of all things after all.”
“So what’s the matter with them?” Rockefeller asked,
“The problem is that these dwarves are so childish and rude that it’s difficult to use Sovereigns all over the continent.”
Rockefeller didn’t raise any questions or issues with Carter’s words since it was true that there was no one else more narrow-minded and frivolous than a dwarf.
“There are several different types of Sovereigns and sometimes when you’re trading you don’t get the specific type of Sovereigns you might need at all. And as if that’s not enough, they say that if you’re caught doing trade with a different group of dwarves that accepts a type of sovereign others don’t then you’re treated as a complete stranger by the others from that day onwards. But it’s not like we can’t just not do trade with dwarves at all,”
There was no force on the continent that could ignore the existence of the dwarves. Not only were they the wealthiest on the continent, they also monopolised several rare resources so everyone else had no choice but to try and maintain a good relationship with them, even if they didn’t like them.
“The dwarves are amazing – how can they live with such a narrow mind?” [Translation By Tani Andris – taniandris.co.uk]
“That’s what I’m saying! That’s why the goblin gold coin, Ducat, is used throughout the continent for trading. Unlike dwarves, goblins will even do business with their worst enemies. They really throw you for a loop sometimes with that attitude, but I reckon they’re better than dwarves,”
“So it makes sense to use the goblin coins everywhere, I get it now,”
“In terms of quality, Ducats aren’t that different from imperial Talents but the goblins don’t do stupid thinks like mix in copper. The goblins would never do something like that – it’s not because they’re too stupid to think of it or anything like that – rather they are much more clever than humans so they don’t do it,”
Rockefeller shook his head without realising it,
‘I would laugh if this was said for any other novel setting, but here at least, Goblin = Credit.’
The following thoughts were geared towards a distant future –
‘It might be worth using the Goblin name later – Credit isn’t built up overnight,’
**A key currency refers to a type of money which is stable, does not fluctuate much, and provides the foundation for exchange rates for international transactions. Because of their global use, key currencies tend to set the value of other currencies.
Also dwarves are such a mood – you’re not allowed to trade with someone I don’t trade with lol – very childish and narrow-minded indeed.
A lot of this chapter was just exposition and setting the scene so it took longer to translate than normal.
Let me know what you think!