Dream Life Vol II Chapter 13: “Commercial District”

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 After returning to my room after finishing negotiations with Yoan, the owner of the inn, about the scotch, I immediately put the results of my negotiations with him into a template contract.


 The business customs of this world, which I learned during the sale of the soap manufacturing method, are basically not so different from those in Japan. Since laws such as the Commercial Code are not in place, the contract only states the amount, date, time, method of delivery, and compensation, etc. In the event of a problem, I simply ask for mediation at the commercial guild.


 I was thinking about this contract as I was making it.



(One thousand C per barrel, or one million yen, in Kilnarc. It would be less trouble to sell to the dwarves in Ars, but this is the only way to spread the scotch. If this makes scotch popular, it should bring a steady income to the village…) (Zack)



 I decided to bring the casks in Kilnarc and sell a quarter cask—a little over a hundred liters, for 1,000 C. Payment will be made at the time the next barrel is ordered, and the merchant to be used will be designated by the Lockhart family.



(I think I can trust Norton, but it seems risky to leave cash with him. That said, we don’t know any other merchants… at least if we intend to continue doing business with Ars, we don’t want to make enemies with the dwarves. If they are foolish enough to risk losing their credibility for as little as a million dollars, it’s my fault for not seeing it through. If that’s what happened, then I guess I’ll just have to give up and consider it a learning fee…) (Zack)



 I had a hard time trusting a merchant named Henry Norton, whom I had only traveled with once.


 In theory, I have reason to trust him.


 His business may not be very big, but it is stable enough to be able to offer exclusive escort contracts with mercenaries. The merchant would not want to lose his credibility for a small amount of money.


 Besides, his mercantile company has business with the dwarves of Ars. In other words, he does not want to make enemies with the dwarves. The Lockhart family’s biggest customers for scotch are, after all, the dwarves of Ars. If word got out that the Lockharts were in trouble with them over liquor, it would affect their core business.



(Conversely, they might want to do business with us. …If we negotiate well, they might give us a discount, and in time, they might even offer us to be in charge of the transport to Ars. If that happens, we might be able to get regular transportation between Ars and Pericritor from the village of Rathmore. …I am getting ahead of myself…) (Zack)





 The next day, July 8.


 Morning workout in the backyard as usual.


 It is just after dawn, but the good smell of breakfast wafts from the kitchen. It seems that several adventurers have already eaten.


 After washing my face and waking up refreshed, I do my workout.


 Since I have no urgent business today, I work a sweat for an hour or so.



 Around 7:00 a.m., I go down to the cafeteria, which is packed with adventurers.


 I take an empty seat and order my meal, thinking to myself, “Adventurers in the forest wake up early.”


 Breakfast consisted of seared salted pork, scrambled eggs, a minestrone-like soup with plenty of vegetables, and bread.



(Surprisingly hearty. Basically, adventurers’ work is physical labor, so maybe this much amount of food is necessary…) (Zack)



 After breakfast, we left the inn around 8:00 am.


 As per the plan we decided yesterday, our primary objective is to head to the North District, the commercial district, and look for Norton’s Trading Company. After that, we will gather information around the trading company, and if there is time, we will visit the mercenary guild to find Byron, the mercenary.



 The main street was full of merchants and guards, but we on foot had no problem and continued north on the main street.


 We entered the north district and asked about Norton’s business on the boulevard, and soon found out where his business was.


 His store was located on the south side of the north district, close to the center of town.


 Norton’s store was a two-story wooden building with a large warehouse next to it. At first glance, it did not look like a store, and if it were not for the small sign that read “Norton’s Trading Company,” it could have been mistaken for just a large house.



(For all the weapons and armor, they stock for their adventurer partners, they don’t do retail, do they? Without hiring a blacksmith, it would be impossible to provide after-sales service such as maintenance, and customization would be necessary for each individual, so perhaps it’s easier to be a wholesaler than a retailer, which is much more troublesome…) (Zack)



 We go and gather some information about the Norton Trading Company.


 Guy goes into nearby people and stores and casually asks them about the Norton Trading Company. We heard from several people, but there was no negative information, and Henry, the third generation, seems to be doing a solid business.



(No negative information. Is the management solid too? …… If that’s true, I’d like to know something about their financial situation. I know there is no such thing as Teik*ku Databank in this world, but I would like to see their corporate credit report. Or even a quarterly report if possible. If I had a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, I would be able to make some judgments. If they have at least one, I can make some decisions…) (Zack)



 After confirming the reputation of the Norton Trading Company, we headed to the Mercenary Guild in the North District.


 The northern district is known as the commercial district and was lined with many stores. Entering the grocery district, there were stores specializing in grains, meat, and even preserves.



(This is indeed a commercial district in a big city, and the reason it has such a wide selection of goods is probably because it is also a relay point for supplies…) (Zack)



 From the area lined with food stores, we moved on to a district selling clothes and miscellaneous goods.


 Sharon rolled her eyes at the large shopping district she was seeing for the first time.


 I said, “If you want to see something, we’ll go in,” but she was reserved and just shook her head. I whispered to Liddy, “Do you have any idea what place Sharon might be interested in?”



“Maybe a bookstore. Or maybe something related to clothing and accessories…” (Sharon)



 I looked around and found a women’s clothing store.


 Sharon looked at Guy with a reserved look and she said, “Let’s go in here.” Guy was about to say something when Liddy, beside him, with a happy look on her face, said, “Let’s go in!” and pulls my arm to go in first.


 Looking at Guy’s troubled face, I said, “Let’s go,” and they followed us.


 When we entered the store, there were dozens of colorful women’s clothes, whether they were samples or second-hand clothes, lined up in a narrow space. A woman in her mid-thirties immediately approached us.



“Welcome. What can I help you with?” (Clerk)



 With a big sales smile, she approached Guy and Liddy and glanced at us.



(I guess they don’t know what our relationship is. I guess Sharon and I look like brother and sister somehow, but she doesn’t know what Guy and Liddy’s relationship is. So, wondering who to call out to, she called out to both Guy and Liddy?) (Zack)



 In response to the clerk’s question, Guy looked at Liddy and said, “Will you listen to this gentleman’s request?”


 Liddy didn’t hear him say that, or she was already looking at the merchandise as she liked. Sharon, not knowing what to do in a store like this, was standing next to me with a troubled look on her face.



“Would you like to see something Sharon? If there’s something you want, I’ll give it to you.” (Zack)



 She shook her head and said, “What I have is good enough.”


 In the meantime, Liddy looked at the hanging items one by one and confirmed the prices and other details with the clerk.


 After about five minutes, Liddy returns, says, “Let’s come back later,” and strolls out of the store.


 I was surprised at how easily she left, and asked, “Didn’t you find anything you liked?”



“No, I don’t think so. I need some for my life in Doctus… but I don’t have to decide after just looking in this store.” (Liddy)


(I see, so we’re going to go to several places to compare. This is going to take some time…) (Zack)



 After that, we headed for the Mercenaries Guild, while browsing through the stores of daily necessities.



 The Mercenary Guild is a fairly large three-story wooden building with a training area in the back, like those in other branches, but because it was close to noon, there were few mercenaries in sight.


 When we entered the guild, we found a row of reception counters at the front of the building, as well as several round tables with seating for four people, perhaps for business meetings.


 Guy went to the reception desk to ask where Byron Seedorf was staying. The receptionist immediately told him.



(Since she said he was based here in Pericritor, the inn would be something like his current address. Is it OK to tell them that so easily? Well, there’s no such thing as privacy laws, so maybe it’s inevitable. …But to give out information about mercenaries to someone who might hold a grudge against them so easily like this…) (Zack)



 When I asked Guy about this, he told me that they don’t usually give out information so easily and that this time Byron himself had requested that they tell us where he was if we came to see him.



(There’s no guarantee I’d come to see him. …Maybe he thought I was interested in becoming a mercenary. Maybe he thought that since neither Guy nor Liddy was in the mercenary guild, then I would come to him…) (Zack)



 When I headed to the inn I heard about at the guild, unfortunately Byron was not there. When I asked the innkeeper, he said that he had said he would be back in the afternoon, so I asked him to leave a message that he would be back later, and returned to strolling around town.


 After wandering around for a while, I found myself in a section lined with bookstores and grimoires.


 The bookstore was lined with leather-bound books, with what appeared to be scrolls in various places. Unlike Japanese secondhand bookstores, the atmosphere was somewhat suspicious.


 In addition, the magical tools shop, with its wands inlaid with magic stones, small boxes, intricately shaped objects with no apparent use, and rings inlaid with colorful gemstones, had an exotic atmosphere.


 As I was about to enter one of the shops, Liddy grabbed my arm.



“We’re going to Doctus. There’s no need for you to get a fake in this city because they have the real thing there.” (Liddy)



 It is true that Doctus, being an academic city, probably has more authentic grimoires, but for an RPG lover like me, it is inevitable that I would be interested in stores with this kind of atmosphere.



 Passing through the bookstore district, we entered an entertainment district with many bars.


 Although it was not yet noon, they were already open and there was a lot of noise from mercenaries who were drinking.



(They must be mercenaries who have finished their work. It may depend on the destination of the trading party, but it is 800 km from the commercial city of Aurela, so the round trip would probably take nearly two months. Even Ars is more than 400 km away, and during that time they will be working, so they can’t get away from their work. I guess I’m ruffling feathers on my occasional vacation.) (Zack)



 Not wanting to get tangled up, we bypass the entertainment district and head for the district lined with major trading houses. According to Liddy and Guy, there were many restaurants in that area that served safe and good food.


 We found a café-like restaurant and had lunch.


 The food was heartier than we had expected, but the taste was quite good. As I casually looked around, I noticed a surprisingly large number of people eating with drinks in their hands.


 As a former Japanese businessman, I felt a bit uncomfortable.



(In the Shinbashi area, I once saw a suited man in a suit ordering a draft beer for lunch, but at the company I worked for, there was no such thing as drinking during lunch. If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’d probably feel somewhat differently, but I’d want to tell them not to drink alcohol on the job… Well, maybe I’m backwards for not being able to do it.) (Zack)



 After that, we spent some time hanging out and headed to the inn where Byron was staying.


 I asked at the front desk and was told that Byron was already back.


 Byron soon showed up and bowed to us.



“I see you were here quite early, and I’m sorry to have bothered you.” (Byron)


“Well, we didn’t make an appointment. If you don’t mind, could you give me a little time?” (Zack)



 Byron nodded at my words and headed for the inn’s vacant dining room.



“I came here today to ask you a few questions. I’m thinking of having the Norton Trading Company take on a request of mine, and I’d like to get Byron’s opinion as my escort.” (Zack)



 I’m going to tell Byron what I told Yoan last night.



“…The point is that we want to bring our specialty liquor here to Pericritor. I’d like to hear your opinion on whether or not you’d be willing to do the job. Of course, I have to deal with your employer, so ask as much as you want to know.” (Zack)



 After thinking for a moment, he began to speak quietly.



“The Norton Trading Company is a solid business firm. The current chairman, Henry, is also the third generation owner, but he does not have an adventurous character…” (Byron)



 Byron’s story was the same one we had heard.



“…furthermore, the chairman seems to be interested in forming a friendship with the Lockhart family.” (Byron)



 I muttered, “Is it because we sell alcohol to the Dwarves of Ars?” I was a little surprised but nodded yes.



“The chairman seems to want to sell Ars weapons to the kingdom of Lux in the north in the future. To do so, they need to have blacksmiths make more weapons, but the finicky dwarves don’t take kindly to cheap weapons like the ones the Norton Trading Company buys.” (Byron)


“I see. The blacksmith masters in charge want to sell good quality weapons. But the Norton Trading Company does not demand that level of quality. So, in order to have a good number, they want young blacksmiths to make weapons, but the masters don’t want them to be of high quality. However, if the masters don’t say yes, the young smiths won’t get the work and the numbers will be insufficient. That’s how it is, huh.” (Zack)



 Byron nodded heavily.



“That is correct. So the chairman would like to stop by the village of Rathmore on his way to Ars to bring the dwarves’ favorite drink.” (Byron)


(I see. Certainly, if it is a request from a merchant who transports the liquor, they might be willing to listen to some unreasonableness. But for now, Ars has a specialized transporter contracted to transport the goods. And that too with a contractor who has hired twenty guards, more than Byron’s mercenary force…) (Zack)



 Satisfied that I had enough information, I bowed to Byron and said, “Thank you for your help.”


 Byron straightens up.



“Master Zacharias, I have something to say to you as well, if you will listen?” (Byron)



 I wondered what he was talking about, but replied, “Oh, sure, I don’t mind.”


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