The Thieves Guild’s hiding place was located inside the complicated slums quarter in what looked like a mediocre inn at a glance.
The inn was slightly dirty and a little worn-out, suitable for a building situated in the slums.
By the way, the fee of this inn was one and a half silver coins for a night excluding meals.
It was 1500 yen if converted to Japanese currency.
It was dirt cheap.
It was still cheap for an inn in the slums.
Even for cheap standard inns, it’d usually cost over 3 silver coins.
Although, according to my memories from my previous life in Japan, I experienced stopping for one night at a hotel in Osaka Nishinari-ku for less than 1000 yen.
Returning to the story.
The so called Thieves Guild’s hiding place was well hidden within this worn-out inn.
I was guided by the innkeeper to a small hidden room on the first floor after giving the instructed password.
A door was cleverly concealed under the floor of the room.
When the secret entrance was opened, a hidden stairway was unveiled leading to an underground basement.
It seemed to be a safeguard against on-the-spot-inspections by the authorities.
It was thoroughly prepared like the western groups of organized crime syndicates (Mafia).[i]
There was an established office that hoisted up the group’s signboard magnificently, a big difference from the Japanese yakuza.
I descended the hidden staircase and proceeded underground as I doubted my own eyes.
The construction of this place could be mistaken as an underground labyrinth. (TL: got help from a Japanese friend)(ED : Fixed)
Furthermore, the great labyrinth was equipped with a multitude of hidden doors and passages, as well as a variety of other gimmicks.
I would definitely lose my way without a guide.
That’s what would probably happen.
There were a lot of rooms, their sizes ranged from small to large.
I dare say there were most likely hidden rooms too.
I happened to see a warehouse-like room filled with an assortment of weapons.
It was truly like an armory.
Furthermore, there were more than enough weapons to assault a small city.
Siege weapons such as pre-assembled ballistas were also among the weapons stored.
It was enough for me to question whether they were planning on waging war against the country.
Or was it a――civil war, some kind of revolution.
Even if I thought about it over and over again, I had the feeling that it was still far from representing all of the Thieves Guild’s potential.
We were also passing by numerous men whose sullen faces that made it difficult for me to look at for a second time.
Looking at Lara, who was walking behind me, there were many ruffians whistling and leering at her with lustful eyes.
Also, a ruffian who lacked an arm made a pass at Lara trying to seduce her.
The guide who wore a long robe briefly explained in a low voice, 「They’re guests of Greed-san」, and everyone was driven off with nervous expressions on their faces.
There weren’t just men, a considerable number of women were present too.
They looked like prostitutes; their outfits consisted of a belt pouch containing seven tools of a thief and a light tunic.
I was almost called out by some of the women passing by.
It was probably unusual for a 10 year old child to come to the hideout of the Thieves Guild.
Before the guide could say something to the women, they suddenly averted their eyes and left with pale faces.
A young woman with a plump chest and a risqué prostitute style approached me and said, 「Ara, what a sweet boy. Would you like to do *puff puff* with me? ♪」 with joking tone mixed in her voice.
However, she instantly trembled in fear displaying a ghastly face, then turned away as if running away from something.
As if there was something unbelievably terrifying behind me.
I thought doubtfully as I turned my head and looked behind me――Lara glared at that woman with terrifying eyes[Medusa].
9 pupils/eyes seemed to have become snakes. [TLC : need confirmation for this sentence]
It was truly a fiendish and wicked stare.
An expression of wariness clearly floated on her face.
(……. What made her so cautious?)
While it may be true that this was the hideout of the Thieves Guild, there was no need to be so nervous.
That aside, it seemed there were quite a number of people in this hideout.
Taking into account the condition of their armaments, their war potential probably greatly exceeded that of a poor fortress.
And I didn’t think that the entire war potential of the Thieves Guild was stored only in this place.
Perhaps the Thieves Guild of the fortress city Kare was different.
Come to think of it, it was said that the shady and lawless side of Fortress city Kare was governed by 4 illegal organizations and the Thieves Guild was one of them—- at least that was what I heard.
It was what the shrewd shopkeeper of the second-hand shop who accepted to purchase my unicorn horn said in the beginning.[ii]
Incidentally, the 4 illegal organizations seemed to be Thieves Guild, Assassins Guild, Church of the Evil God, and Dark Sorcerer’s Association. ――
The fortress city Kare’s Thieves Guild was hostile against the Assassin’s Guild and were indifferent towards the Church of the Evil God who revered the evil god. Though they seemed to be friendly towards the Dark Sorcerer’s Association who followed the path of darkness.
That was what the shopkeeper of the second-hand shop taught me.
I questioned why the storekeeper of the second-hand shop knew such detailed information about the underworld.
He then told me.
That shopkeeper oyaji was also a member of the Thieves Guild.
It was no wonder he tried to have the guests drink the sleeping powder and used illegal methods so calmly.
It seemed that many of the Thieves Guild’s official members operated as a upright citizens.
In addition, most of the stores seemed to pay a『Membership fee』and the likes to the Thieves Guild.
By paying the『Membership fee』, their stores and homes were spared from being targeted by thieves who were affiliated with the Thieves Guild.
It did not seem to apply to unaffiliated thieves though.
However, I was told that the Thieves Guild performed “sanctions/punishment” as soon as they came across an unlicensed thief.
Continuing to pay the reasonably priced『Membership fee』was much safer and tolerable than being a target for robbery.
Therefore, all Humans who were trading in this town were paying the 『Membership fee』 without complaint/dissatisfaction――seemingly.
That was the story told by the storekeeper of the second-hand shop, who was an official member of the Thieves Guild, so I took it with a grain of salt.
I was guided through (who knows how) many passages to the room where Greed was.
The Thieves Guild manager, Greed of black marketeer.
After performing our greetings as courtesy, I immediately began negotiations for the cockatrice eggs.
Rather than―― consultation, it’s a 『Negotiation』 with regards to a black marketeer Greed.
「…………If you could give me a wholesale for those profitable and precious cockatrice eggs, we will warmly welcome you.」
Greed’s face became a 『Merchant』 and『Black Merchant』, and listened to the story with a serious facial expression.
This man received me in spite of my age of being a child just a little over 10 years old without looking down on (his) 『business partner』.
…………it wasn’t a bad feeling.
「The market price of the purchased value is one and a half to 4 gold coins. The reason why the range is so wide is because the value varies greatly depending on the quality and weight of cockatrice eggs.」
「But if it’s the『surface』trade spot, the price is 2-5 gold coins.」
I spoke of the purchase market price of trade spot as the negotiation link.
For 『negotiation』, I heard from somewhere that ―― information is one’s greatest weapon and armor.
I had known about the purchase market price of trade spot’s 『surface』comparatively to the『black market』’s underworld.
That ought to become a card that improved my advantage/profit in this『negotiation』’s.
Since we were on this deal, I wanted to conclude the 『negotiation』 with the most advantageous condition as possible.
If purchase price for one egg was raised by 1 gold coin, it would become a big difference.[iii]
Assuming the cockatrice farm was a success, it would reach the point where (I’m) selling 10 eggs per day.
If the price difference was one gold coin, the sum would amount to 10 gold coins (1 big gold coin) for 10 eggs.
I could have gained 3,650 gold coins (365 big gold coins) extra per year.
In a sense, I’d make 100,000 in Japanese Yen with 1 gold coin, so 365 million yen per year was a big difference.
One day in the future, it might reach the point where I drop off 100 eggs a day, so it would become a difference of 3,650 million yen per year.
This was HUGE.
「You typically get a cheaper price than the 『Surface』here, in the 『darkness』. But, there is the big advantage that the seller doesn’t need to tell their goods’ origins. For example, if they are stolen goods, the house buys it without hearing anything.」
「Is the risk to the seller in the 『darkness』(/undercover) transaction not reflected in the price on?」
I persistently opposed it.
「That is, if they are『Blackmarket』 transactions, For that, not needing to pay the government’s taxes is a big merit in itself」
Cornered, do I have no choice but to back down?
Certainly, the 『dark/undercover』transaction’s biggest advantage was tax evasion.
The profit ratio became uneven/different whether or not you pay the tax.
「I understand, the purchase price of 1 gold coin and a half to four gold coins as a foundation is good. However, I intend to supply『Fresh』 eggs. Therefore I want to collect the money in the morning of the same day.」
「That’s of course. Let me consider it when we examine the eggs for purchase. That’s a BIG plus.」
[PART 2 troublesome______]
Across the table, Greed held out his hand.
In proof of the establishment of the『Negotiation』, He wanted a handshake, isn’t it?
As a Black marketeer, that gesture was understandable but he also looked like a seasoned thief. As someone in that profession, how could he entrust a hand to his partners with ease?
Or was it to declare that (He was) putting that much trust……in me?
「The Great principle of business is to build a relationship of mutual trust with each other. That isn’t different even in blackmarket.」
Greed said it like that, as if he read my mind.
「Besides, I am Ash. I’ll put my trust in you…………Because I am pleased with your thing/business.」
Was what I said on the surface. I don’t trust Greed to that extent.
But leaving the stretched out hand was no good⎯⎯
So as courtesy, I gripped Greed’s hand.
It wasn’t beyond bad, gripping a man’s hand who said he put his trust in me.
「But Ash. Regarding the matter of not paying tax to the country, doesn’t there need to be a time to think (about it)?」
Greed asked with unconcerned expression.
In some respect, I thought he was probing, investigating what my real intentions might be. That might just be my imagination.
「No need to.」
I answered bluntly.
As a minor in the aristocratic family that had sworn loyalty to the country and royalty, I couldn’t say that I had not thought about this before.
However, (when) I sold the contraband unicorn horn, I already didn’t pay that tax.
I worked in the buying and selling of prohibited goods, so if I went to pay the tax, etc.――If I visited the government office, I would probably be arrested on the spot.
Of course, I wouldn’t be such a fool to do that.
In the first place, I, who flew in the sky, didn’t even pay transit tolls and simply went past every checking station.
By concealing my figure as I flew, I had trespassed every door in the fortress town Kare without paying a single copper of the fee.
Naturally, I also didn’t pay tax (import tax) for transporting goods to the town.
I had kept evading the taxes.
So if you asked me about that, I could say, “Why bother now?”
About tax evasion, certainly one’s conscience does not ache at all――I’m not. I did feel slightly guilty.
Because I understood the fact that some portion of the tax will be used for the wellbeing of this town, the welfare of this country..
That’s also why I would not hesitate to send a fraction of the profit to an orphanage or use it for social welfare.
No, rather――should I make an orphanage?
In that prairie.
「Well, paying taxes earnestly in this country meant becoming conspirators to an『evil deed』, you know that right?」[iv]
I was puzzled, not understanding the meaning of what was uttered by Greed.
「This country is corrupt from the bottom to top……and rotten (to the core).
The officials and politicians both.
They inhale appetizing sauce, gather to (their self-) interests, amassing their own power, receive bribes, back stabber, and didn’t think about anything but the matter of filling one’s own pockets by taking advantage of a position.
In addition, one could hardly expect to get promoted if large amounts of money for bribe wasn’t awarded to the government in this country’s bureaucrat organization.
On the contrary, one who doesn’t do that gets kick around the places and he’ll stay a sorry low official, foreverrr.
It is not like human being with a talent, right? Even the talented ones.
The ones who get promoted, even if they’re trash at work, are those guys who coolly caught out bribes to their superiors.
You can say the same for tax collection officials.
(They) embezzled the collected tax at who-knows-what rate, expend it for the sake of satisfying the desire themselves and sends it to their senior as a bribe for their promotion. 」
Greed’s way of telling a story gradually became passionate.
I listened to it silently.
「Even then the country itself is already rotten.[v]
Narcotic drugs into other countries――the existing narcotic drugs, nasty 『drugs』that raise habit more than the improvement brand with magic, which are scattered by smuggling because the national treasury receive benefits. (TL: Addiction? Habitual nature? Sex/gender?)
Because of that『Devil’s Medicine』, in this few years, several hundreds of thousands, millions of, no tens of millions of human beings were struck and left behind to the very bottom of sorrow.
And then taxes exploited/squeezed out from citizens were wasted on the production, development, and improvement of that atrocious 『Medicine』, more so than for welfare uses. Paying the tax in this country means scattering that『Devil’s Medicine』throughout the world and become a supporter indirectly.
The world is going to ruin by that blasted 『Devil’s Medicine』, even the efforts to stop the carnage is――――」
Greed noticed himself saying too much and therefore halted (his) remark.
「………I suppose you don’t need to know that yet, Ash…」
If the noble, I, tell Greed that I mostly happen to not have loyalty or something toward this country, what will happen?
I did not dare told it.
Because I have a feeling that I might become involved in 『something』
I heard it seems that the likes of raw materials torn off from the griffons could not be traded 『undercover』.
「The tax collection/levy system on Material-related trade is special.
There are many adventures here who sell Materials, but because they bases aren’t fixed, it is difficult to levy tax on them. Therefore,the arrangement imposes that extra tax portion onto the stores which buy the materials to make up for it.
Accordingly, the purchase value become astringent.
Of course, tax didn’t occur in the 『undercover』transaction.
For that reason, the market price is higher than 『surface』 if it is raw material. It depends on the object, but usually you can get 70% of the selling price.
By the way, this tax collection system/organization is applied even to adventurer guild that carry out purchase of treasures and the like, magic tools, defensive armament, and weapons that adventurers obtain in the labyrinth. 」
. If its 70% of the market price, then its much better deal than the half-price I got on the 『surface』(= Meruru☆Raw Material Shop).
「When you want to buy raw material with『Undercover』transaction, bring it to the raw material shop managed by one of our thief guild official member.
Because at any rate, in relation to judgement of raw materials, there isn’t anyone who is superior to that grandmother who manage that raw material shop.
I will inform that raw material shop about your coming.
The store name and address is――」
It was Meruru☆ Raw Material Shop.
The『Negotiation』matter was finished, so I left the thief guild hiding place (underground maze) with Lara.
At a suitably hidden corner, I activated self-concealment and flew in the sky while holding Lara.
When you want to leave the slum quarter, moving in the sky is a lot faster.
Plus, I wouldn’t lose my way.
On the way, I discovered a library, so I stopped by to have a look.
I wanted to investigate the giants.
I wanted to know (about the giant) which lived in the great forest adjacent to the prairie ⎯⎯that have enslaved the grass elves/fairies⎯⎯ their way of life and above all, matters related to their strength.
―― 一ONE HOUR LATER. (TL dropped dead)[PF : overheated]
I who left from the library reached a certain conclusion.
That was, 『A giant is exceedingly dangerous, so from now on, I will use all my power to avoid it. 』
I investigated again and again to the extent that I understood the giants’ strength, the power, the dread, and the danger.
Every grass fairies/elves who were enslaved is unfortunate, and I cannot do anything.
What’s more, something like a weak tribe tribe being enslaved by a tribe a lot stronger than itself, seeing from a larger perspective, was something very common throughout the world.
The Grass fairies who lived in the prairie just had bad luck.
In the first place, granted that the prairie and the great forest, the providence of nature is the survival of the fittest.
It could’ve gotten worse.
「Lara. What do you think if I go to war with the giants in the great forest?」
「No-no good! Hopeless! It’s absolutely hopeless! Even for you, Grandmaster, giants ――what more, the giants in the great forest, you must not fight them.」
Lara who live in the prairie, who grew up in the great forest, shivered as white as a sheet in fear or something.
「I was saying ‘if’. It’s just an ‘if’..」
「Is-Is that so? If that’s the case, it’s OK.」
After Lara pointed out a sigh of relief,
「Even Grandmaster cannot possibly match the giants who are in the great forest. Naturally, me too.
That’s because, that which can handle a giant of 5 meter class like a 『child』, the 10-20 meter class, are swarming in that great forest.
30 meter class is not rare and the ruler of the great forest is very much a great giant that exceed 50 meters.
No, maybe if it’s grandmaster, I believe that one-on-one, you can knock down a 30 meter giant opponent, let alone 10-20 meter class.
But because in the great forest, there’s at least 1,000 of them…… 」[vi]
To exterminate all those giants by myself and rescue the grass fairy/elf is too reckless.
It was an impossibly hard, the game.
At least, for the current me.
Someday, when my power could overwhelm that 1000+ strong giants⎯⎯
At that time, I would be ready to help out the grass fairies/elves.
However, the current me intend to avoid being concerned by the giants with all my power.
If I poked them unwisely, the giants would advance to my home that I built in the prairie; that’s very troublesome.
BUT…………If Angela and the girls are caught by the giants (TL: *cough* titan), that story will be different.
If…………Angela are raped by the giants mercilessly. (TL: *cough cough!* that’s *cough!* big)
If that happens, I will exterminate the giants without exception――――――no, I shouldn’t talk anymore about giants, resolves and whatnot.
If that sets a flag it would be troublesome.