While Rockefeller’s mind wandered off to other thoughts, Carter glanced at his pocket watch and checked the time – it was still too early for customers to start arriving, but he liked to double check just in case.
“I think I’ve explained everything about gold coins – have I answered all of your questions?”
“Alright, then I’ll explain what you’ll be doing from now on,”
He had already explained the first of the three main jobs of a goldsmith, and Carter began to explain the rest.
“First of all, the main job you need to focus on is dealing with customers who come here, on my behalf while I’m busy making Talents. I did mention I had three jobs right?”
“Yes, you did,”
“Then let me tell you about the rest of the work, I’m sure you’ve heard something about it here and there?”
“Holding gold coins for other people, and lending money to others and getting interest from it,”
“Yes, that’s exactly right,” Carter nodded with a satisfied smile.
“That’s what you’re going to do in the future. I deal with customers who come to store gold coins with me and I pay gold coins to customers who come because they need the money and earn interest from them,”
Carter took out his prepared books and showed them to Rockefeller,
“These are the accounting books, have a look,” Rockefeller opened Carter’s books and looked through them.
The books were filled with all the transactions that had been carried out in the store so far. Although he didn’t understand all the contents at once since it was his first time seeing them, as he kept reading and flipping through the pages, he started getting a sense of the contents of the books.
The contents were all pretty similar after all. Translation By Tani Andris – taniandris.co.uk
Since Rockefeller had focused his concentration on the books for a while, Carter asked just to make sure,
“Do you understand what is written in the books?”
“Yes, I have a rough idea. Since the Lord came to borrow gold recently, even his name is written here,”
Carter asked a few more questions and Rockefeller answered them all faithfully to show that he truly did understand the books. Once Carter was satisfied, his mouth curved up in a smile and he praised Rockfeller,
“As expected, since you’ve learned from your father, you’re quick to pick up on things. Well done. That’s about it, it’s a book I double check every day, so don’t ever think about messing with me,”
Rockefeller waived those concerns away lightly,
“That’s never going to happen, you can trust me,”
“In this line of work, there should be trust between each other. I don’t think you’d dare to play tricks with the books but even if you did, there wouldn’t be anything good waiting for you at the end of it. Make sure you keep that in mind,”
“Please don’t worry, in this line of work, trust and reputation are life right?”
“That’s right, always remember that,”
Still, since you never knew with this creature called human, Carter was being cautious. Even so, he decided to trust Rockefeller and kept talking, because it wasn’t like he would ever be able to let Rockefeller do the work he had been hired for if he didn’t trust him.
“Well, next, people will come here to leave their gold coins for storage. They will leave it at Banco and we charge a storage fee to keep the gold coins safe,”
“Wouldn’t they prefer to not pay for the storage then?”
“Well, it’s up to the customer at the end of the day. But the Sears barracks is right next to the store and I give them a guarantee for the safekeeping of their coins. So if they don’t trust themselves or the people around them, then they pay the storage fee and leave it here,”
“You get the gold from the guests and write down the transactions in this book – And this is the most important thing,”
He seemed well prepared for today since he pulled out a certificate on golden paper and showed it to Rockefeller.
“This is a gold receipt, a kind of borrowing certificate issued but he store to prove that a customer has left their gold with us,”
It was simply an IOU – a document proving that ‘I owe you something’. It was something Rockfeller had expected so he took the document and scrutinised it carefully.
The gold certificate said ‘5 IOU’ and below that was an additional phrase ‘The Lyon Guild guarantees this IOU’.
‘Is this the beginning of paper currency? It’s so amazing to see something like this in this strange world,’ – Rockefeller thought.
A meaningful smile spread on Rockefeller’s lips even as Carter began to explain the gold certificate to him.
“It says ‘5 IOU’ right? That means that if you have that gold certificate, I will definitely pay you 5 Talents from my shop,”
Carter pointed his index finger at the gold certificate and poked it a few times to emphasise his next point, Translation By Tani Andris – taniandris.co.uk
“And what you need to clearly remember here is that even if a customer leaves a gold coin at this shop, leaves and comes back straight after without the gold certificate, you should never give that gold coin to them. Even if they say they’ve lost it – even if they say they’ve lost it inside the store – you should never ever give them gold coins without this certificate,”
“Of course,” Rockefeller looked like he understood right away.
“No matter what they say – even if they scream at you, you cannot give them gold coins. Always make it clear to the customers that you can only give them gold coins if they come with the gold certificate and if you lose it, it’s over,”
“Yes, I’ll keep that in mind. No matter what happens, if they don’t have the gold certificate, I’ll never given them any gold coins,”
Carter went on to explain why he had such a policy in place,
“They can always pull stunts like trading using the gold certificate outside then coming back to tell you they’ve lost it,”
“In that sense, it doesn’t really matter who took the gold certificate from here. The important thing here is, whether they have the gold certificate or not. If they have this, you can even give gold coins to a beggar – it’s the same for all Bancos. It basically proof of a promise,”
It was all information he already knew, but Rockefeller had to act like a child. If he ended up showing that he knew too much about Bancos already then that could cause suspicion as well.
‘Pretneding to be dumb isn’t bad sometimes,’
“Hm, it looks like people who leave their gold here are still using their gold certificates to trade?”
Carter responded straight away,
“That’s right, we don’t care what they do outside. All we have to do is hand out gold coins when a certificate proving that they have a deposit here is shown,”
“By the way, what happens if someone comes in with a fake gold certificate? Wouldn’t that be a problem?”
Unlike modern society, there was the power of magic here to achieve everything one set their minds to, which is why he asked.
Carter smirked when Rockefeller expressed his doubt,
“That’s why we need this,” Carter pulled out something that looked like a magnifying glass.
It was an artifact. A magic tool..
“This is a special identification artifact made by the Lyon Guild. It’s made to find forged gold certificates.”
The smile on his face showed his strong confidence,
“Have you ever heard of Sinclair? Though it might be a family a country bumpkin wouldn’t have business knowing,”
“Of course I know, I don’t think there would be anyone who doesn’t know the Sinclair family,” Rockefeller replied,
The Great Family of Mages, Sinclair.
There was no way Rockefeller didn’t know the family whose power could rival even that of a country.
‘If I had woken up as a member of the Sinclair family, I probably could have been living without any worries right about now,’
“Yes, since it’s so famous, it seems even a country bumpin like you knows their name. Anyways, it’s an artifact made from a great mage from there – especially made for our Lyon Guild. So no matter how mischievous a mage might be, they wouldn’t be able to outsmart this artifact,”
Rockefeller once again expressed his doubt,
“So what if a mage from Sinclair tried to play tricks on you?”
“Well…that-” Carter shook his head,
“That’s not going to happen. In the first place the Sinclair family is already so rich so would that ever be possible?”
“There’s always the 1 out of 10,000 possibility though,”
“You’re right, the possibility is there – but why would people who lack for something come to the periphery of the Empire and play such pranks? And then there’s the family reputation – who would do such a thing that would disgrace their family name if it was found out?”
Leaving behind the ‘what ifs’, Rockefeller shook his head to himself.
It was about being stabbed in the back by a trusted axe.
Even the Sinclair family, one of the richest families in the world, was not rich enough to buy the whole word.
‘Was it around the time they had that war with Tevez – the Great Swordsman Family – that their gold coins dried up?’ No matter how rich a family may be, money would naturally be lacking if they fought with a family of similar wealth.
‘There’s no one you can trust in the world.’ Translation By Tani Andris – taniandris.co.uk
Carter, who had finished explaining about the gold deposit, was about to start explaining the process of loaning gold coins out.
“And the last part of the job is about getting interest on the gold coins I loan out. A month’s interest is 6% of the gold coins borrowed. 1 Talent is 32 Shillings, so there are 2 shillings of interest added each month.”
“It’s not exactly 2 shillings is it?” (It’s 1.92)
“That’s right but make a rough estimate of 2 shillings. There are so many idiots around who don’t even know how to count – I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone raise issue with this,”
A monthly interest rate of 6% was still considered pretty high.
‘As expected, interest sure is powerful – to think it was 6% a month,’
Such high interest rates were a burden to the borrowers, on the contrary, they were a means of making a lot of money from the perspective of those who were lending.
But it wasn’t like it was guaranteed that those who borrowed would pay the interest fully and on time every month.
‘Lending is a risky business.’ What would happen if the guy who borrowed money from you doesn’t pay you back? These issues also needed to be taken into account, so goldsmiths like Carter could not put the interest rate as too low.
You have to prepare for a bad debtor. The 6% probably wasn’t a random number, it was most likely calculated taking into account losses from bad debtors and profits. Still, it seemed a little high.
Not that he would refuse it.
(T/N – For reference, a high interest on a credit card for people with bad credit is about 29-35% APR – about 2-3% a month – so yeah, it’s pretty high)
Carter continued his explanation,
“Even if they return the gold coins they borrowed in one day, they must still pay one months worth of interest. It’s one month of interest added from the moment they borrow the money. And if it takes them a period of 1 month and 2 days to return the money, then they would be paying for 2 months of interest no matter what – do you understand?”
“Yes, I’ll keep that in mind,”
Carter smoothed out his beard,
“If you do business here, you’ll find yourself facing a lot of unsavory truths – but I don’t lend gold coins to any cow or dog who walks in the door like those bastards in Leon so it hasn’t been any big problems so far. In Lyon, if people don’t pay back the money, they go as far as using thugs and gangsters to get the money from them,”
“Then what do you do, Ajusshi? If the other person says they have no money do you use gangsters too?”
“I’ve never leant money to those kinds of people so I don’t know,”
“Have you never lost out on money?”
“Of course there have been times where I have. But each time that happened, I became more cautious. Now, I never lend out gold coins unless it’s to a credible person like the Lord. That’s why I rarely have losses,”
“But because of that, I’ve always had less money to work with so I’ve been struggling with interest. You can never become rich with that way of business. But as you said, if we secretly lay a hand on the gold coins that the customers left behind, the interest should become much more fun to see,”
The loan business was still booming as people who needed money always existed.
“If you have gold coins, what should you be worried about? Not only are there bad debtors in the world, but there are also many high-credit customers who need an immediate supply to money,”
After completing all the explanations, Carter looked at Rockefeller with a greedy smile.
“Then let’s work together to make money from today onwards. I have great hopes that things will go well.”
That’s how Rockefeller felt too.
“I too, look forward to your kind cooperation,”
However the dreams the two held were completely different.
Real money making starts with deception.
Carter didn’t know anything about the big picture Rockefeller was drawing.
‘In that sense, shall we begin our deception?’
Ugh those bot websites that keep stealing my translations are now even removing the credit that I put on in the chapters so I’ve tried to integrate them less obviously in the story.
Let me know what you think!