Editors: Henet, Guilty.sworD
The village chief’s house was located right next to the village square and it was where the negotiations of the price of saving the villagers, is taking place. Naturally, what Ainz wanted was not money but information. Even so, asking for information directly would be too suspicious.
While it was true that receiving information from this small village was not a problem. The problem was afterwards. As long as there was not any information blockage, many people would learn about this incident. The chance of a powerful figure knowing this was, therefore, 100%. And when Ainz gets contacted by such a person, he’ll know of Ainz’ ignorance, which can be used against him during a negotiation.
Is it foolish to be vigilant because of a mere-unchecked possibility? Of course not. That was like crossing a road without checking first. That is how accidents occur.
Strength is relative. Ainz is the strongest in this village. However, there are no evidences to prove that he is the strongest in the world. Hence, pre-caution must be taken. There might be beings that would be able to kill Ainz. Why, Ainz Ooal Gown is a guild that knows no defeat. He could not let the guild name be thrown into the mud.
The sunlight that filtered in from the windows chased the shadows into the corner. Ainz moved his gauntlets on the shabby table and moved his arm like he was blocking out the sunlight. The table rattled, showing its poor quality.
He placed the staff in the corner of the room to prevent it from being a bother.
He recalled the surprised faces of the villagers.
He did not think that it was good to stand out here. Because he did not rectify his Yggdrasil common sense, he had committed many blunders today.
“I have made you wait.”
The man sat in the chair opposite. Behind him, a woman stood.
The chief was about 40 years old. He was a man with wrinkled skin due to years under the sun.
His build was very solid, and it was clear from a glance that he had worked hard in the fields. He had a lot of white hair, about half of his head was painted white.
Probably the past ten minutes had aged him more than his entire life, not that it was useful in any way.
His clothes were made from cotton and were dirty and shabby, but they did not stink.
Behind Ainz was a woman about the same age as the chief. She was probably a beauty when she was younger, but long years in the field had damaged her looks. Freckles spotted her face, and she was now a thin and skinny middle-aged lady.
Her black hair was up to her shoulders and was frayed. Being tanned by the sunlight, she had a dark atmosphere surrounding her.
The wife placed a shabby cup on the table. Steam rose up from the water—-And danced in the air, but Ainz raised his hand in rejection.
He was unable to recall the sense of thirst, and there was no way he could remove his mask. However, he still felt guilty about rejecting it. He wanted to apologise for causing her to do such a troublesome thing.
Why, it was because of the process of boiling the water.
Firstly, she had to strike a flint, and begin from starting a fire. And then stacking thin pieces of wood on top of the small flame, until it grew larger. And then move it to the hearth, and start the fire. It took a while until steam appeared.
“I apologise for having you prepare this.”
“I-it was nothing. Please raise your head.”
Surprised at Ainz who was lowering his head, the couple panicked. It was unbelievable that the owner of such monstrous strength would lower his head to villagers such as themselves. To Ainz, it was completely natural. While it was true that he was strong, they were negotiation partners. He could threaten them, but he judged it best to get on friendly terms with them.
Naturally, because he had obtained information via magic, he had cast the highest tier memory manipulation magic on the two sisters. However, that should be a last resort. If he used it often, his MP would eventually be consumed.
So that was MP consumption? He felt fatigued like he had lost something. The weight he felt was still heavy in his chest. Ainz grimaced.
By altering his equipment with gauntlets and a mask, changing tens of seconds of memories felt like half of his MP was used. A huge loss.
TL Note: I think he is saying that without his usual gear, his MP consumption rate increases.
Looks like I need to investigate the effects of magic.
“……Now, I apologise for the suddenness but shall we begin the negotiations?”
The chief gulped. Ainz worked his head at a high speed.
Because the villagers were watching the knights he could not use it, but if no one was around, he would have enjoyed using magic like <Charm Person> to answer his questions. However in the end, it was impossible. So, he needed to gain information straight from other people.
“….I will get straight to the point, how much money can I gain?”
“Well, since the village is like this……Most of what we can give you will be copper coins……”
“Copper coins!” He raised his surprised voice. “…That’s a bit little”
“……But……Silver coins will be impossible……”
Ainz nodded without saying anything. Copper and silver coins. These two were the foundation of the village’s economy.
The problem was the worth of a copper coin. How much would they be worth in Japanese Yen? If he did not find this out, he would face a lot of troubles. When he went to towns and such, not knowing this would prove to be a huge problem. But if there were shops, he could check it out and face no problems.
Even if he went to the city, he would still need to know basic information beforehand.
“What about silver coins? There should be some right?”
“N, no……We do not have any gold coins in this village!”
He had guided the conversation here, but the story conveniently unfolded before him. This man was quite fit to be the chief of the village. Or maybe the work of a village chief did not really exist. The image of a CEO which he had built up over a lifetime, had just crumbled in Ainz’s mind.
“……However, what if I buy stuff from you?”
“It would have to be in copper coins. Gold and silver coins are……”
The chief went silent and shook his head.
“……Then, what should we do? I am in no way a philanthropist……”
While acting like he was in deep thought, Ainz opened the Item Box.
Inside was the coins of Yggdrasil, and he took two of them out. The first coin had the face of a woman engraved on it, the other a man’s. The former was implemented with the supersized update “The Loss of the Valkyria”, and the latter was a coin from before that.
The value was the same, but the sentimental values in each coin were different.
The former was collected ever since Ainz had been in Ainz Ooal Gown, and quite a lot of the coins were accumulated. When the guild was at its peak, the update came and by then, the guild members had already been used to tossing them the old coins into the Item Box.
Henet: Does he meant that the old coins has been toss into storage?
Ever since he was a Skeleton Mage, several pieces of coin floated in the air whenever he had defeated a monster. He had also entered a dungeon alone, and was attacked by an active monster and had gained a mountain of coins while frantically retreating.
He shook off his nostalgia.
Ainz finished playing with the old coin, and picked up the new one.
“……I shall change the topic for a bit. If I want to purchase items using this coin, how much can I get for it?”
He placed the coin on the table with a clink. The chief and his wife both widened their eyes.
“T, this is.”
“A currency from long ago. Can I not use it?”
“I believe you can but……Please wait a moment.”
The chief left his seat, and went into his room, and brought out something.
If he could say it in one word, it would be a balance-scale.
They took out a history book. From there, they tried to guess what coin it was. They somehow compared the sizes. Satisfied with that, they then placed the coin on the scale, and a weight on the other side.
What was it again? Was it coin weighing? Ainz searched his memory for the processes happening before him.
Firstly, they probably compared the size of his coin with the country’s and then checked the weight.
While watching, the side with the coin went down, and the weight went up. The couple placed another weight on the scale, and then the two sides seemed to balance.
“It weighs about twice as much as a normal coin……Ma-may I scratch the surface for a little……”
“Idi-, you! Do not say such rude things! I truly apologise. My wife had made such a disrespectful……”
Enraged, the chief reprimanded his wife. Ainz understood the reason why he reproached her so strongly. I see, she thought that it was gold plating. He did not let his thought that he had learnt something more important leak into his surroundings.
“I do not mind. Depending on the situation, I am fine even if you smash it apart……However, you will have to compensate for it.”
Making deals is naturally worrying. It is logical to check the goods in question.
“No, we truly are sorry.”
The wife lowered her head and returned the coin back to Ainz. She did not have to apologise to that extent, and Ainz felt a bit guilty. He recalled his own mother. A bit gloomy—-A quiet mother. Because of that, he thought. He was a bit kinder towards her.
“It is fine. This is natural when you are making a deal.”
“No, but. To the person who had saved our village…..”
“I am not a person that would save a village for free. Basically, I am a trading partner. And so I do not mind.”
The eyes of the two showed their relief. It was not at the level of trust, but they seem to have opened up to him a little.
“After seeing the gold coin, what do you think of it? It is like a work of art right?”
“Yes, it is really beautiful. Which country was this from?”
“Now it is gone—-Yes. It was a country that has long disappeared.”
“Would it be fine if I think of one of these is worth more than two of your gold coins?”
“That maybe so…… But I am not a merchant, so appraising this work of art is a little……”
“Ha ha ha. Ma~, that is true.”
While laughing, he returned the coin back to just before his eyes. The chief and his wife had the same stiff smiles that they had since the beginning. Ainz made the decision to move on to the next step.
“I actually have several of these coins, and could I use them as if they are worth 2 gold coins?”
He took out several pieces of gold coins from his robes, and dropped them onto the table, and a clear sound rang out.
In the middle of that, Momonga was not looking at the table. Instead, from beneath his mask, he was watching the couple’s expression with a serious look.
“I should be able to use these immediately—-Ma~ I just need to make change. Buying stuff with gold coins is quite painful. Naturally, feel free to inspect them (as you please). Please—-”
“No, thank you for your offer, but unfortunately we cannot afford such……”
His satisfied gaze left the troubled face of the village chief, Ainz put the coins in his hands, and returned them into his robes.
“……Now, let us return to the reward. I shall speak frankly and get to the point. How much can you give me?”
The same question as earlier. However, the reply was returned more smoothly than before.
“……Ainz-sama, honestly this village has lost most of its workforce. While it is true that we can give enough money to satisfy you. However, we have to worry about the season changes, and so it will be difficult to prepare much.”
“How about supplies?”
“Supplies will be the same. Well, as our population has decreased, we are currently shorthanded. It is probable that if we give you supplies now, in future, we will become extremely poor.
Ainz acted like he was in deep thought. Everything up to here was fine. He could only pray for what happens afterward. He let a bit of time pass, and replied.
“I understand. I do not require a reward.”
Due to the chief and his wife’s surprise, their eyes widened. Ainz raised his hand, in an appeal to continue.
“……I am a magic caster of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick located about 10 kilometres north-east of here. Recently, I have come out.”
“Oh, was that the case? However, I thought that that was mostly plains?”
“By my magic.”
The chief leaked out a voice of admiration. Next to him, his wife nodded her head. He let his negotiation partner come to a selfish understanding by leaving parts left unsaid. But, there was a possibility of doing a bad job and make it troublesome, but nothing else could be done.
“So, your appearance is that of a magic caster?”
“Yes, ma~, something like that.”
While touching the Mask of Envy, Ainz spoke vaguely. Did the magic casters of this world really have such suspicious appearances? Or did they think so because of ignorance. Ignorance is really convenient. He took advantage of it.
“Has the chief seen magic casters apart from me?”
“Yes. Long ago, when I was a child. When the village was visited by some adventurers, there was one robed figure among them. I believe he was called a magic caster……”
“Hou, then have you seen magic such as mine?”
“No, while it is unfortunate, I have not. They immediately left the village afterwards. It seems that they came for the rare medical herb in the forest.”
“What about my mask?”
He spoke in a way that could have been mistaken for a laugh. The chief made an expression that he was recalling the past. It was almost like he wanted to forget about the present.
“No, I have not seen such a mask. However, it gives off a strange atmosphere. I remember feeling fear like from when I was a child.”
“I see. Fear is a good tool. When everyone saw my subordinate, they thought that as well right?”
The chief and his wife redirected their line of sight towards a latticed window. Ainz sets his sight there slightly later.
From the cracks in the window, several residents were putting away the corpses in the village square and standing rigidly further away was the figure of the Death Knight.
In Yggdrasil, the Death Knight should disappear after 100 minutes, however it was still standing there, Ainz felt a little doubtful, but he put it aside.
“Although I said that I do not need a reward—-” He watch their reactions. “—-Magic casters use a lot of various things as tools. Fear, knowledge. It is, so to speak, tools of our trade. However, I currently have a lack of information. And so, I would like to acquire such information.. Furthermore, I would like the fact that I am buying information to be kept secret. I will take this in place of a monetary reward.”
I do not need anything. No such convenient words exist. It just means that nothing expensive will be requested.
People are scared of things they do not understand. During negotiations for the reward for saving the villagers, money is not necessary—- Even not the sharpest of people would feel something off about it. If that was the case, it was fine to sell something which could not be seen. Basically they were selling tools of his trade to Ainz.
If they thought that it was an equivilant exchange, no one will feel suspicious. And they would feel relieved that they are equals.
The chief and his wife took up serious expressions and nodded.
“I understand, I will not ever reveal this to anyone.”
“I as well.”
“I shall believe you.”
He extended his gauntlet-clad hand. The chief made a startled face, changed to an understanding one and gripped his hand.
Ainz was relieved that there were handshakes. If he saw eyes that asked what he was doing, he could do nothing but cry.
While there was trust, it was not serious. If this was a business, information would flow from business and flow from human nature. If the chief keeps his promise, then no information would leaked from him. If it did then he would do this. The next time he came to the village, he would make an effective card to play.
He somehow felt that he would not be betrayed. There were reasons of course. If they are greedy, then they would jump at the chance to exchange stuff for the gold coins. Secondly, when he dropped original the large amount of :the two gold coins on the table, they had a surprised look, but they eyes were not blinded by greed.
In addition, the chief’s wife was very much like his dead mother—-
“A mother-con huh……”
Troubled, Ainz smiled from behind his mask. However, no one was able to see his smiling face which was a bit of a waste, also ever since he came to this world, he was kinder than before.
“Even so, it is strange that you would still choose to associate with someone who has a monster like me.”
“……Magic casters make fear into weapons. I have heard that before. and one of the people among the 13 Heroes is a Necromancer. That person really is terrifying……”
“Hou, the 13 Heroes?”
Power burned in Ainz’s eyes. He had heard another important piece of knowledge. He needed to learn more in detail. Ainz wrote that in the memo in his heart, and closed it.