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Chapter 95 – Money Changer
“Um, I think it might be… around here.”
The boy led me through the alley where Ruffin’s inn was located, crossed the main street, entered the alley on the other side, and walked a little further to find the money changer I wanted. It was not a very fancy store, but the signboard with the design of a balance was polished and the area around the store was also clean. It seemed to have a good atmosphere.
“It looks like a good place. So here’s your reward.”
“Hehe, thank you.”
The boy took the two coppers with a smile on his face. He was about to leave, so I decided to call out to him before he did.
“I’d like to ask you to show me another place if you’ll wait until I’m done exchanging money.”
“Eh? Really? I’ll wait, I’ll wait! Where would you like me to take you?”
“A good restaurant. I’ll buy you a meal.”
“Really? I will wait for you, brother!”
“Yeah, come on. Don’t disturb the store.”
The boy smiles and walks a little further away from the store. Well, this is fine, I guess. It was a lucky day for the boy who summoned up what little courage he had and approached me. While buying him a meal, it would be a good idea to gather information from him. He would probably talk at least as much as I paid for him.
When I entered the money changer, the inside was surprisingly stuffy. There were two well-built men who looked like guards. There was also a sharp-eyed middle-aged man ― probably the clerk ― at one of the counters, and a young woman behind him. There seemed to be other people in the back, but that was about as far as I could see.
The atmosphere inside the store is… well, it looks more like an office than a store.
“Welcome. Are you borrowing? Cash in? Or do you want to exchange money?”
The sharp-eyed man called out to me with a smile on his face. Apparently, this money changer is also in the finance business. I nodded and moved to the counter where he was standing.
“I’d like to exchange some empire currency; is that possible?”
“Of course. Please, have a seat here.”
I took a seat as he asked and pulled out a leather bag containing fake currency from under my armor. After some hesitation, I decided to exchange all the money. I can’t use the empire’s currency as it is, and more importantly, if I’m going to get information about the items I’m trying to get from this money changer, I might as well show that I have money.
The money changer clerk’s eyes widened at the amount of gold bars that came out of my leather bag.
“Well, well, well, this is going to be a big transaction, isn’t it?”
As the money changer clerk looked at the young woman, the young woman retreated into the back of the room, her footsteps pattering. What is it? The money changer smiled bitterly as if he noticed my quizzical gaze.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to alarm you. I was just having tea prepared for you.”
“I’m afraid to drink it.”
I’ll be frank with him. I don’t think I’d want to touch a drink served to me after I’ve shown them a lot of money. In this world, it’s common for people to drug someone.
“Hahaha, don’t worry. We’re a credit-first company… So, you’re going to exchange all of this into the Holy Kingdom currency?”
“That’s what I intend to do. Oh, I came here through the introduction of the landlady of Ruffin’s Inn. Just so you know.”
“I see… The Ruffin’s Inn… would you mind if I checked the currency right away?”
After I nodded, he put on a pair of white gloves and began to inspect each empire bar of currency, weighing them and using a small hammer to make sure they were not forgeries.
It would be a huge loss for them if they were to be caught with fake money. Aside from being legitimate, the gold and silver content and weight are perfectly imitated, so it is unlikely to be treated as a forgery. If it had some magic anti-fake feature, I would have been out of luck, but fortunately, there was none.
So, knowing that there was no way I could get an appraisal result that it was a forgery, I calmed down. The money changers are inspecting the currency with even sharper eyes, though. A young woman brings me a cup of tea, which I bow to her lightly, but do not sip. I think it’s okay, but I don’t want to cross a dangerous bridge.
After a few moments, the money changer exhaled and closed his eyes as if he was done with his appraisal.
“No, excuse me. It’s rare for this much empire currency to be brought in. After all, we’re far from the battlefield here.”
“Yes, it took me quite a while.”
“From the eastern battlefields?”
“Yeah, loot from over there. That’s not so unusual, is it?”
“Yes. I’ll get you the details now.”
He then began to write something on the document. He seemed to be carefully counting the empire currency, which was divided into different types and writing down the number. I brought in mostly bars of gold and a few bars of silver. I don’t know how much the total amount will be.
“Here is the bill.”
I was a little surprised when I saw the bill. I expected the total to be at least one large gold coin, but it turned out to be more than I expected: two large gold coins, three gold coins, five small gold coins, seven silver coins, and five large copper coins. That’s a lot of money.
“I knew it would be a lot of money, but it’s more than I expected. So that’s what you paid for it after commission?”
“Yes, I’m taking a commission of about seven percent.”
Seven percent, huh? I think it’s quite high for a commission, but this is a land quite far from the empire. There are probably few uses for the empire’s currency. If it’s seven percent, it might be rather reasonable.
Well, since I don’t know the market price, I can’t be too picky. I’ll accept it.
“I don’t know the market price. I’ll accept it.”
“All right. Then sign here.”
I sign the bill and complete the transaction. It’s fake currency made from underground swamp iron ore anyway. If I’m being ripped off, it won’t hurt a bit.
After confirming my signature, the money changer handed the documents to the female clerk and instructed her to bring the money from the vault. I let out a sigh and sipped my tea, which was probably already cold.
This would be a good time to start.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Yes, as long as I can answer.”
“It’s actually, uh… a personal matter. I’m in need of a mithril ring or piece of jewelry.”
The money changer clerk parroted back, and the sharp gaze he had been directing at me rolled a little. That’s just as expected. If it’s a noble lady who says it, it’s understandable, but if you’re wearing leather armor and have a sword on your hip, you’re obviously a mercenary or an adventurer. It’s strange to think that a man like that would want mithril jewelry. I think so too.
But I have a perfect cover story that I’ve been working on with the slime girls.
“Well, you know. I mean, you know, it’s kind of a condition… you can guess.”
“I see, I see.”
The money changer clerk nodded his head, his eyes relaxing. In other words, he thought this:
“He’s probably going to use it to offer an engagement to a woman back home.”
In fact, this kind of thing was not uncommon. A young man runs away from his home village or town, and after his success, he brings back expensive jewelry and asks his beloved for her hand in marriage. It is said that the highest quality jewelry is mithril jewelry, that is, rings, necklaces, hair ornaments, and so on.
“But mithril is… quite difficult to find.”
The money changer clerk, who had been looking convinced, clouded his expression and pondered.
“Yes, it’s in short supply. It is said that they used to purchase mithril jewelry from the elves of the Black Forest, but their contact with each other has been cut off for twenty years, and there are no mithril-producing mines in the Merinard Kingdom.”
“Seriously… can’t I get it somehow?”
“In the marketplace, you can get it for as little as one large gold coin, so I don’t think you’ll have any problems with your money, but it’s hard to get it when you don’t have it… Ah.”
The money changer clerk raised his voice as if he had thought of something.
“Sometimes the customer is an ardent believer of the Adel religion.”
“Do I look like one?”
“But you can show your faith, can’t you?”
Then he made a circle with his index finger and thumb. In every world, the hand sign for money is the same!
“If you wrap two large gold coins, you can receive a mithril rosary as a sign of faith. The church here is the home of faith in the Merinard Kingdom. Therefore, there should be a mithril rosary available.”
“That’s true, but… what can I say? How can I ask you to sell me a mithril rosary for two large gold coins?”
“Just say, I want to spread the light of faith in my homeland and receive the light of Adel, the Lord God, so that I can take my beloved as my wife.”
“You are indeed a merchant. You’re a good talker.”
“I am honored by your compliment.”
The sharp-eyed money changer clerk smiles and bows his head condescendingly.
While we were talking, a young female clerk appeared from the back with a nervous look on her face. She seemed to be carrying a wooden tray with the money on it.
“Here is the currency you exchanged. Please check.”
Two large gold coins, three gold coins, five small gold coins, seven silver coins, and five large copper coins were indeed on the tray, just as they had been written on the bill earlier. I checked them one by one, and after putting them in my purse, I put them in my inventory once to make sure there was no fake money mixed in. There was no problem, apparently.
“Thank you for your help.”
“No, it’s been a pleasure doing business with you. Please do not hesitate to entrust us with your empire’s currency as well as gold and silver treasures when you get them.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
After putting my wallet under my armor, I left my seat and left the money changer. The boy who was guiding me came running towards me, his face brightening up as if he had seen that I was safely out of the money changer. If he were a beastman, his tail would be wagging.