Chapter 25: MT Is My True Calling
When Harold walked into the small courtyard where Wu Qingsong rented as usual, getting ready to start a new day of training, he saw that he was using a knife to cut a large piece of a translucent object on a wooden board into small even pieces.
“Soap,” Wu Qing Song replied while throwing one to him.
While waiting for the soap to be formed, he had already calculated the costs. Altogether, he could cut out a total of thirty-two pieces of soap.
The fish oil costs twenty copper. Recently, the weather was hot, causing this kind of thing to easily go bad and could only be sold nearby. For a port city, it really was not anything valuable.
A bag of refined ash costs two Renal. Luckily, only half a bag was used.
Ten coppers for a bag of quicklime and less than half a bag was used.
This way, if he did not consider the money for the wooden moulds, cauldron and jars, and also, for the time being, the cost of labour and the cost of the site and fuel, the production cost of thirty-two pieces of soap was only one hundred and twenty-five coppers. On average, the cost of one block was not even four copper coins!
This was because these were only trial products, small in size with high material prices. If it were mass production, he believed that the manufacturing cost could certainly drop to three coppers. If the money for rent, water and fuel were allotted, as long as the volume were large, the production cost would never exceed five coppers.
Yet, the cheapest soap in the store costs at least one Renal!
This was practically a robbery!
After calculating the production costs, Wu Qingsong could not help but curse in his mind.
However, the method of making soap for others may not be the same. After all, according to his cousin who loves to make handmade soap, Europeans have discovered the method of making soap hundreds of years before BC, but the price of this thing hasn’t always been cheap.
On one hand, there was no such thing as caustic soda at that time. The ancients could only use weak alkali such as ashes from plants to carry out the saponification reaction. There were too many impurities and the alkalinity was too weak causing the saponification reaction to fail most of the times. On the other hand, suitable ash made from seaweed was too expensive.
In fact, even in modern times, novices have a high failure rate in making handmade soaps themselves. However, with the experience of his maternal cousin aiding him, Wu Qingsong went and added excess lye without considering the cost and chose the hot process method to make sure the reaction was successful.
In… in any case, it was the low-end route, after all, the rough-skinned beastkins can’t be as crazy as those hipsters like his cousin in which they pursued health and skincare effects. Just a little excessive alkali, um… the beastkins probably won’t feel anything, at least not as far as accusing him of selling low-quality soap to destroy the consumers’ skin.
Perhaps, they may even think that its effect in removing filth is absolutely beyond compare and chase after Wu’s soap?
Wu Qingsong is going to price his own soap at twenty pieces of copper per block. In the tavern of Umbel, this is the price of a mug of beer. He believes that this price will inevitably conquer all the beastkins with low purchasing power yet long for cleanliness.
While Wu Qingsong was imagining countless small money with wings flying towards him, Harold was carefully sniffing around, then carefully licked the soap with his tongue and frown uncertainly before asking, “This is… perfumed soap?”
“I prefer to just call them soap,” Wu Qingsong said. “I’ve long wanted to say that the hair on your head has already turn into a knot… go wash it!”
He couldn’t wait to see Harold’s reaction. Although he hasn’t had the time to experiment, he absolutely believed in his craft.
But Harold threw the soap in his hand back with a frown and asked, “Is this something you made with these things?”
Yesterday, Wu Qingsong was busying himself here for more than half a day’s time. This yard was not big so he also saw part of the process. As an old resident of Umbel, he fully understands the value of the things that Wu Qingsong purchased, and now what he saw was a big piece of soap!?
“What’s wrong?” Wu Qingsong felt something amiss from his attitude.
“There’s no way you’re trying to make it and sell them yourself, right?” Harold asked again.
“Why not?” Wu Qingsong was getting spooked now.
Harold sighed, “You are not a resident of Umbel, so it’s normal for you to not know. But you should know that in Umbel, no one can avoid the municipal council which is in fact, the Three Big Guilds.”
“You mean taxation?” Wu Qingsong asked.
In fact, although he had not lived in Umbel for long, he had already fully felt the existence of the Three Big Guilds.
Residents entering and leaving the city gates have to pay tax. This has caused many beastkins to not step out of the city for a few years, and the taxes that everyone can’t avoid were water fees, garbage clearance and house maintenance fees.
Water fees were collected by Commerce Guild because the endless water pipes and all public fountains were invested by them. Port Guild was in charge of garbage clearance fees, as all transport to and from Umbel, including carriages and boats, were managed by them. The maintenance fee for the house was obviously the responsibility of the Craftsmen Guild.
In Wu Qingsong’s view, these were actually more like variants of the head tax.
The scope of taxation certainly did not stop at these. For example, the restaurants they used to rent, whether they be the seafood from the port or vegetables from outside the city, they were all the responsibility of the Port Guild. They must be taxed when trading, including fuel and condiments. As for their store, the Commerce Guild was responsible for collecting sales tax, and the Craftsmen Guild would charge them for road usage fees.
There were a lot of tax revenues, which account for almost half of their turnover. After deducting the cost of their renting and the cost of purchasing, in fact, the amount of money earned in the first year is very small. This is one of the reasons why the proprietress rents out all the vacancies and does not refund the money.
If not for that, Wu Qingsong would not charge twenty copper coins for a soap that only cost five copper coins.
This should be enough to deal with the taxes right?
Wu Qingsong was not very resistant to taxation. The price for Umbel’s self-government from the Niselle Marquisdom is 200,000 Renals per year and a certain amount of goods. He has already heard about all these from the coachman before entering the city.
With a little bit of thinking, he knew that it was absolutely impossible for the Three Big Guilds to pay for the expense themselves. This expense was eventually allotted to every Umbel resident. In order to maintain the daily order of the city, the city’s irrigation system and other facilities together with some extra expenses every year, and on top of it, corruption which would certainly happen, Wu Qingsong would not be surprised if the actual tax amount was twice or even three times this number.
This tax rate was a bit high, but considering that this was the old society where evil ran rampant, as a member of it, he could only accept it.
“You would be lucky if it’s just a problem of taxes,” Harold said. “You should know how much profit you can make with these things. The Three Big Guilds are all vicious and greedy monsters. People like you with no foundations nor backings and yet have this kind secret, you either don’t let anyone know about it, or you rely on one of them. If you don’t choose between these two, then your result probably could only be death.”
Beastwomen Will Never Be Enslaved (from c1 to c170) is Available at Amazon! Binge read the chapters in advance! (The next update will be 2021/7/8, 30 new chapters will be added to the ebook)