Chapter 65 – Unfair Trade (2)

Chapter 65 Unfair Trade (2)

“This trade is void.”

Anyway, it’s invalid.

The merchants flinched for a moment as Vikir spoke in Imperial.

It’s natural to be surprised when a raggedy stranger suddenly speaks to you in a familiar language.

Especially when they had just been exchanging curses and foul language.

“Uh…… speak Imperial?”

“Did you hear what we just said?”

“Oh, there might have been a misunderstanding.”

“Let us explain. These, these words are just……”

All of the people who were just having a nasty conversation about the color and sexuality of the Balak natives look away.

Vikir’s eyes widen as he realizes that if he gets caught talking about the color and sex of the Balak, he’ll be in for a rough ride.

Vikir’s expression was nonchalant.

“You mean insulting Balak’s warriors with the color of their skin and sexually harassing a woman?”

“Huh! That, that!”

The merchants are flustered.

Vikir kept his face expressionless.

“Not that it matters now.”

Indeed. The merchants were so surprised that Vikir spoke Imperial that they hadn’t thought about what he’d actually said.

Void. The whole deal is off.

Luckily, the merchants’ goods had all been stacked in one place to be sold, so the natives of Balak could return them to the merchants as they were.

The merchants, in turn, can return the piles of forest products to their wagons.

Upon hearing Vikir’s words, Aiyen sensed something and stopped all trading.

Even the merchants around him looked bewildered.

“No, what’s going on here?” they asked.

“‘We’re not trading, why do we want to buy and lose money?”

“We don’t come here every day, how can we…….”

The merchants protested.

Vikir dismissed them quickly.

“Losses? Well, if the trade doesn’t happen, who will?”

Aiyen gave him a puzzled look.

She sidled up to Vikir and whispered softly.

“Look. There are many people in Balak who are counting down the days until those merchants arrive.”

She was right.

Among the natives of Balak, I see a girl crying, an old woman stomping her foot impatiently, middle-aged men and elderly women with wistful looks on their faces.

They coveted the merchants and the goods they shared: glass beads, potatoes, corn, and harmonicas, not knowing when they would come again.

Aiyen was controlling the trade, as Vikir had said, and they all looked at each other in silent regret.


“It’s a good attitude to take care of the villagers, but you need to look out for the other side first.”

Vikir’s advice continues.


Aiyen’s head snapped up at Vikir’s words, and then.


Aiyen’s expression immediately turned to surprise.

While the Balak’s expression was one of lingering disappointment, that of the merchants on the other side was deadly.

Extreme nervousness made their hands and legs tremble.

Vikir spoke briefly.

“All of your goods are short-lived.”

Most of their trade was vegetables and grain.

Most of these would spoil or rot on the way back.

The Balak, on the other hand, traded medicines, hides, spices, and other things that don’t change in value over time.

So if a trade fails, the people of Balak lose very little.

The merchants, on the other hand, would have to carry back what they brought, and the value of their goods would have decreased dramatically in the meantime.

The merchants shuddered and protested.

“If you do this, we won’t come here anymore!”

“Be that as it may. You’re not the only ones who want to come here.”

There was some truth to Vikir’s words.

For when he was well enough to return to Baskerville, he would use Sindiwendi to secretly arrange trade with the natives of Balak.

The merchants were caught between a rock and a hard place.

As they stood there, bewildered, Bikir spoke briefly.

“I know how much these goods fetch locally. If you bargain in good faith, we can resume trade.”

A glimmer of hope appeared on the merchants’ faces.

“How could a mere child know the local prices?”

“‘Hah! The Empire’s commercial laws are very strict.”

“He’s going to leave a lot of money on the table anyway, so why not leave a little less?”

The merchants chuckle amongst themselves.

They decide there’s still room for a few more bargains.


“Four gold.”


“Four gold.”

“No, that’s too…….”

“Four gold.”

Vikir knew exactly how much the merchants’ goods were worth.

He also knew perfectly well what Balak’s goods would eventually fetch if they were to reach the faraway capital of the Empire.

He would…….

“I’m the one who set up the underdog city’s commercial code.”

Vikir had been directly or indirectly involved in countless diplomatic and trade affairs during his time as Deputy Magistrate of the Metropolis.

“Chess pieces made from the teeth of hellhounds usually fetch around two million gold a piece, with different prices for kings, queens, bishops, and knights, and billiard balls carved from the horns of oxen are all the rage in the ecliptic these days. They fetch five million gold a piece at auction. Natural red ivory, undyed, can’t be had for ten times that price. And then there’s this goblin chanterelle mushroom here, which has recently become a popular ingredient in new medicines and is almost priceless…..”

The merchants just stand there, mouths agape, as Vikir rattles off the exact local price, wholesale price, retail price, distribution margin, etc. of each trade item in fluent Imperial tongue.

And then. Vikir finishes his calculations.

“I’ll give you a price that’s just right for you, after taking into account transportation, labor, and taxes.”

The asking price is indeed what the consumer wants.

Vikir picked up a pair of antlers, a gnome, and a sea god from the pile of Balak trade goods and tossed them into the merchants’ wagon.

“This is as much as you can buy with what you have brought.”

Only a tiny fraction of the pile remained.

The merchants’ faces were red with anger, but they had little to argue about.

Vikir’s valuation had been accurate, and they’d actually made quite a bit of money.

In other words, it was a fair deal, with no one getting the short end of the stick.

But for the swindlers, who were expecting to make a fortune, it was a pie in the sky.

I can’t help but be upset that the natives of Balak were treated so poorly and only received a fair (?) price.


It didn’t end there.

“Okay, now we need to calculate the damages.”

Vikir took back the deer antlers, gourds, and sea gods that he had just placed on the merchants’ carts.

Then he turned to the merchants and held out his palm.

“Give me the money.”

At that, the merchants’ faces went blank.

……Is this a rip-off? look on their faces.

But Vikir’s judgment is always based on facts.

“I’m asking for severe punitive damages for selling adulterated food and distributing illegal drugs.”

The merchants look stunned.

“What did we do wrong?”

“Don’t you know?”

Vikir stretched out his finger and pointed at the grains and vegetables.

Among the piles of produce were pockets of seeds.

Vikir reached into the pouch and pulled out the seeds.

Thud, thud, thud, thud.

Dumping all the seeds on the ground, Vikir picked up a few of them.

“You lightly roasted them to prevent them from sprouting, didn’t you?”

Several of the merchants turn their heads in surprise.

Yes, they didn’t want the natives of Balak to farm and become self-sufficient.

They don’t want them to plant seeds and farm for themselves so that they can continue to bring them produce and exploit them.

When the natives of Balak realized that these were seeds that wouldn’t sprout, they started coming in droves, looking terrified.


“And you’re distributing cheap drugs that the Empire has labeled illegal. You’re out of your mind.”

Vikir pulled out the glass beads and brooches the merchants were giving away for free and crushed them in his hands.

The glass beads were said to bring good dreams when worn to bed.


Inside was a small amount of white powder.

It leaked out naturally through the tiny holes on the surface of the glass ball.

If you keep it by your side, you will naturally fall asleep and have good dreams.

However, it is actually a low-grade narcotic that causes severe damage to the body if left for a long time.

The glass beads, brooches, necklaces, perfumes, cosmetics, etc. were all made of similar materials.

Vikir’s eyes flashed.

“Did the Morg or the Baskervilles tolerate this?

It was possible, he thought.

It would be good for the Empire in the long run if Balak’s warriors were not only drugged and weakened by cheap drugs, but if they also produced deformed children in the next generation.

But Vikir had no intention of acting to benefit the Empire or the Baskervilles.

It would be far more beneficial for Vikir to join their side in order to stabilize himself here in Balak’s village and learn archery.

Vikir smashed all the glasswork that leaked drugs and picked out all the boiled and roasted seeds.

The merchants’ faces grew bluer and bluer with time.

Some of the merchants, including Lord Smuggler, were furious.

“Who are you to interfere with this? This is a sacred trade, sanctioned by the God of the Forest himself!”

“This is a sacred trade, sanctioned by the God of the Forest!”

“Even the shaman of Balak blesses us on behalf of the God of the Forest……!”

The merchants keep bringing up the forest gods, but that’s only for the natives of Balak, and Vikir’s tan hides his skin color, but he’s still an Imperial, so it doesn’t matter.

“It is not the forest gods who rule here, but the Forest Department of Baskerville.”

The merchants all swallowed hard at Vikir’s nonchalant reply.

It was true, but they hadn’t expected to hear it from a native Balak.

Vikir poured himself another drink.

“If you continue to whine about your ridiculous superstitions, I will have you brought before the judiciary of Underdog City.”

There is no sound a barbarian can’t make.

The merchants retorted, stunned but steadfast.

“We’ve already been inspected for food safety by Underdog City’s Food and Drug Administration!”

“That was done under the previous deputy, and with the new deputy, we’ll have to get the revised laws and go through a new process accordingly. From what I can see, some of the items you’re selling don’t meet the current laws.”

“Yeah, who the hell do you think you are to tell us what the law is?”

The merchants shouted.

Vikir’s eyes widened at that.

“……Do you think I don’t know the laws?”

“Of course you don’t! How could you possibly know the new laws that have been added? They are very strict and demanding!”

Lord Smuggler, the head of the merchants, shouted back at Vikir in a pouty manner.

“‘What black barbarian knows about the Vikir Special Laws’?”

Hearing that, Vikir gave a single, dry laugh.

But since he couldn’t reveal his identity here, he decided to just assume that his laws were still working just fine.

“Anyway, this is the end of this trade. You may consider yourself fortunate that I have not taken your life, and now leave.”

It was Aiyen, not Vikir, who had the last word.

She was furious to learn that the secret plague that had been circulating within the village was not a disease, or a genetic disorder, or a curse, but a drug brought in from the outside.

Some of the warriors were ready to shoot arrows at a moment’s notice, and the merchants were forced to flee.

Naturally, Vikir became the most talked-about man in town for his role in this trade.

It was a rare example of a slave turned hero.

* * *

When Vikir returned to his tent after the merchants had scurried away.


Something flew and landed in front of his tent.

It was a smoked boar hind leg.

Vikir turned his head toward the direction the meat had come from, curious.

There stood an unexpected figure, his face flushed.

“……hmmm. Hmm.”

It was Ahun.

He tore his gaze away from Vikir and looked at the distant mountains.

“Well, thanks for that. For your help.”


Before Vikir could respond, Ahun shouted.

“How long is he going to be out of shape? Get well soon, so I can beat the shit out of him…… or wrestle him!”

By the time he finished, Ahun was red up to his ears.

“Eat it all and get well soon!”

With that, he turned and walked away.

He left behind a large piece of the boar he had killed.

“What’s wrong with that one?

Some mushrooms can cause intense visions and illusions when eaten.

If Ahun had eaten it, he might have experienced…….

‘Take him somewhere quiet, no mice or birds will know…….’

Vikir was thinking to himself.

“Hey. Slave.”

Someone taps him on the shoulder.

He turns and sees Aiyen standing there with a huge grin on his face.

“I’m not a slave anymore.”

“No. You are a slave for life. My slave.”

Vikir frowns at Aiyen’s insistence.

Regardless, Aiyen continued with what he wanted to say.

“Ahun, that bastard. He’s not the same when it comes to his sister. He’s a nice enough guy for a big brother.”


When Bikir gave him a puzzled look, Aiyen explained further.

“The girl you helped today is his sister. Her name is Ahul.”

After some thought, Vikir remembered a girl named Ahul.

The girl in her early teens who had lined up outside the chieftain’s barracks at dawn to become Vikir’s wife.

The girl who had been sexually harassed by Merchant when she had brought a sunbeetle larva to trade with the merchants today.

Aiyen continued.

“Ahul has always been weak. I was worried that she was getting weaker and weaker due to an unknown illness, but now that I think about it, it’s probably because of the glass beads brought by those merchants.”

He had a point.

If it hadn’t been for Vikir, Ahul would have continued to trade with those merchants, and his body would have gotten worse and worse.

She would have become an idler, given birth to a deformed child, or even died.

So Vikir’s actions in this trade could be said to have saved all of Balak.

“Damn it. I was a fool to let those merchants go. I let them go because it’s a warrior’s shame to kill cowards who don’t resist, but…… in hindsight, I should have just killed them and gotten rid of them.”

Aiyen gritted his teeth.

Just as Vikir was about to part his lips to say something in Moorish.


A Balak warrior rushed over.

“A message from the chieftain, all warriors assemble!”

This seems pretty urgent.

When Aiyen asked what was going on, the warrior replied.

“It seems that the merchants we chased away during the day are up to something nefarious! They’re coming for us at night!”


Aiyen’s expression changed instantly.

Vikir hasn’t seen her smile this brightly since he’s been here.