|Author: The Sole Survivor||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: CatatoPatch||English Source: Re:Library|
“Commander, images of your visage are already being sold throughout the province. They say you’re the reincarnation of a goddess, beautiful and kind. I’ve not heard of a single commoner’s home who does not boast a portrait of your heavenly beauty hanging on their walls. With how fervently you are worshipped, perhaps a cult might even spring up within the next few years…” Seeing how confused I was, Ansom took the opportunity to explain the situation to me. And as if to hammer the nail into the coffin, he added, “You are really popular.”
Why do I feel a strange sense of embarrassment… No. I need to find out exactly what’s going on before something strange happens.
“What do you mean ‘portrait’?”
“That was your humble servant’s idea, nothing worth mentioning. Just a greeting gift.” Werdeness smiled a little, still kneeling on one knee. “I hope my lord won’t mind.”
“Huh? What gift?”
So he’s responsible for this mess?
Speaking of which, are portrait rights even a thing in the Western Human Realms? I guess it doesn’t matter. As the lord of this land, I have a million ways to make a person disappear.
Well-prepared, Werdeness pulled forth an ornately framed oil painting from his dimensional ring. Within was a white-dressed girl, a saintly smile gracing her lips, purple hair flowing down her back like the finest silks. Around her were a bunch of refugees, arms extended in reverence. Behind the girl was a conspicuously placed basket of bread.
More importantly, the girl in the portrait had a chest! Not very ample ones, but prominent enough that they resembled little bread buns…
In other words, that can’t be me! She might look the same, but that’s clearly not me! I don’t have a chest…
“My lord, here are the proceeds of the first wave of sales. Ever since we started selling this portrait, aptly named “The Benevolence of the Goddess”, we’ve collected roughly 120,000 gold coins. Your humble servant dares not pocket a single coin. Other than the cost of the materials and paying the salaries of those involved, including your humble servant’s own, every single coin has been handed over. Please have a look, my lord.”
Having said that, Werdeness pulled a crystalline black card from his dimensional ring. On it were the numbers 100,000, meaning this card was worth 100,000 gold coins.
Seeing that, even a member of the royal family, Ansom, was stunned.
100,000 gold coins was no small amount, and from what he implied, this was just the beginning…
“Such fine artistry, I doubt the common folk can afford it.”
“My lord is wise. The ones sold to the commoners are poorer replicas. The one you see before you now is the handiwork of a master. Only the original copy is worthy of being a gift.”
“So you’ve printed more copies. That can’t be cheap.” A printing press equivalent did exist in the Western Human Realms. Unlike the machinery of Earth or Gaia, however, such a feat was achieved through magical tools. The results were also less precise.
Deducting away the 100,000 coins he handed over to him, Werdeness was most likely running a deficit even with the remaining 20,000 gold coins.
Still… for him to fleece a whopping 120,000 gold coins from the commoners, barely two months into my arrival… that’s truly a feat worthy of a grand merchant.
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“I’ve long heard of Mr. Werdeness’s prowess in commerce, I see those rumors were not unfounded.”
I did not immediately accept the card in his hands. To begin with, the concept of money wasn’t strong with me, and accepting the card would be akin to accepting his loyalty.
I wasn’t bragging or anything -but if I really needed money, I could just withdraw more from the ATM known as His Majesty’s Royal Wallet. Redleaf would stand on my side, yup.
I was more concerned whether this grand merchant over here had any ulterior motives.
Yet Werdeness seemed unperturbed by my refusal to accept his card. In fact, his smile grew ever brighter.
Half-kneeling, black card still silently lying on the palms of his outstretched hands, he stated, “My talents are nothing but parlor tricks, only strength has the power to drive this world.”
From his steady tone, I could tell he had fully prepared himself for our meeting. He had more cards to play. Ones that he was sure would please me. Plus, he had already shown his sincerity, whether it was an offering of money, or the crucial information that a cult could be created.
While Ansom might have been the one to tell me that, our grand merchant over here clearly had a major role in driving this idea amongst the populace.
In the first place, cults weren’t all that uncommon in the Western Human Realms. After all, a Demigod was already able to absorb power from faith, paving the way for future deification. However, the ones that truly made it to a long-lasting religion were those that worshipped a true deity, whether good or evil.
In short, his words were concise, as I had asked, but every word was meaningful and beneficial to me. Such as offering money for my territory’s development. Paving the road for a cult for my deification. He was clearly trying to show his worth to me.
“I can see you wish to follow me, but I have to ask, why did you not approach me when I first came to this land?”
A straightforward but by no means simple question. One wrong step and all his work would be done for.
He fell silent in thought. Finally, he said to my surprise, “Because your humble servant wishes to see for himself the capabilities of my future lord. Sometimes, news passed through word of mouth may not always be true.”
Seeing is believing, huh…
He wasn’t wrong in wanting to do so. Rumors often contained embellishments, sometimes purposeful. But what surprised me was his candor.
“That your humble servant is being so truthful?” he said with a smile.
I simply shrugged at his smile.
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“Your humble servant has spent countless years since childhood, mingling with the nobles. With the burden of the restoration of my house on my shoulders, I have labored tirelessly amongst the merchants. With my years of experience and countless hours sifting through reports of my lord, I have come to the conclusion that my lord does not enjoy wasting time on strangers. That is why I have chosen to be direct, and forthwith.”
‘Does not enjoy wasting time on strangers’, huh… It does sound a lot nicer than ‘laziness’…