Chapter 26: Bro, I Can Take A Shower With All The Cold Water You Pour On Me
“How do you know that I don’t have the foundation?” Wu Qingsong asked after a while.
“If you have the foundation, you wouldn’t have waited until this age to learn swordsmanship from someone like me,” Harold said mercilessly.
Wu Qingsong was unable to retort. After a while, he spoke again, “According to what you said, what kind of people are able to develop their business?”
“There isn’t,” Harold said without hesitation. “At least in my fifty-something years of lifetime, I have never heard of such a story. Behind many companies in Umbel is the feudal lord of some land or some sort of bigshot in the capital, and it is the same in other places. Without any support, just the exorbitant taxation itself can exhaust all your potential, so how is it possible for you to develop? Do you think that the workshops around you really belong to their own? If they don’t become a peripheral member of a large company in the Craftsmen Guild with all their products being given priority of purchase and marketing to the company, just the fines for pollution and noise alone can kill them. Just take the restaurant you know, for example, if they are not attached to the Port Guild, they can’t even buy any ingredients, let alone doing their business.”
“You have no common sense at all. I really don’t know which mountain did you came from,” he shook his head and said to Wu Qingsong. “This place may excel compared to the territories under the direct control of the feudal lords, but it is no paradise. On the contrary, if you don’t keep your eyes peeled in this place, you may die much faster and worse than in those other places. At the very least, in those places, you only need to please the feudal lord, but in this place, sometimes you don’t know who you should be attached to, and who is the enemy. One wrong step, and maybe you’ll be falling into the abyss.”
“What if I put this method out for open bidding?” Wu Qingsong suddenly remembered a line that he had seen in a book. “I let it go and sell the manufacturing method to them. This should do, right? Let them compete on their own! The Three Big Guilds should not be on the same team right?”
“Don’t think yourself clever,” Harold’s cold water poured over again. “The result of this is likely that the Craftsmen Guild will get your methods, the Commerce Guild will be responsible for the sale, and the Port Guild will be responsible for the transportation, and each of them will get a good return from this thing in the way that they are best at, and you will not get even a single coin… No, they might give you a lot of money in order to fool the public, and then capture you when no one else is around to see it, all in order to prevent you from teaching this method to others. They will try to find ways to extract all the secrets you have and then forever silence you. Of course, if you really have the ability to research these things, then they may keep you for life and feed you well so that you can work for them. But they will never let you have the opportunity to walk out again.”
The situation Harold spoke of was so dark that it was unbelievable for those who heard it.
“What if I spread the news and let people from all sorts of places to join the competition? They couldn’t possibly be in cahoots with the Three Big Guilds, right!?”
“Then you’re forcing the Three Big Guilds to capture you,” Harold said. “You think they would let such a large profit to slip away right in front of them?”
Wu Qingsong was left speechless yet Harold still continued, “You shouldn’t have carelessly created this thing in such a way in the first place. You think no one would investigate what kind of raw materials and tools that you bought? Even I…”
He paused for a while.
“If I was ten years younger, if I was not handicapped, you think I wouldn’t take control of the three of you and force you to spit out your secrets by taking both of them hostage?”
Liu Li looked at him astonishingly with her tail standing straight.
“Then why didn’t you do so?” Wu Qingsong asked. If Harold really had such thoughts, then he would not say it out loud.
“I am old and crippled. For those people, I have no value. In this world, only the dead can truly be tight-lipped. You think that when they got the news from me, they won’t worry about me taking this information and sell it somewhere else?” Harold said. “I don’t have the heart to escape far away. What’s more, I don’t have the strength to protect my wealth now, and there is no strong people who will look upon me with favour. If I ever come into sudden wealth, it is not a fortune for me, but a disaster.”
“I’m already old but I didn’t want to die so early,” he said with grief. “I won’t mention this to anyone else but I hope you wouldn’t implicate me.”
Wu Qingsong fell into silence once again before asking.
“What do you think I should do?”
“That depends on what you think,” Harold said. “It’ll be best to pretend this thing has not happened. You can do the same thing as others. Just be a little better than others. There is no need to be unconventional to attract the attention of others. If you only want to be not having to worry about food and clothing, then take these things to the Craftsmen Guild, and follow their arrangements, but please give me some time to clear up my relationship with you. If you want more, then you must destroy these things immediately, leave, and go to an elf with enough power yet not so greedy. You’ll need to swear to be his vassal, give him the manufacturing method, and produce it in his own company and workshops. If your insight is good enough, he would appoint you to be responsible for manufacturing and selling this thing. That way, you have the opportunity to develop.”
Wu Qingsong was waiting for the fourth way but Harold did not continue.
“What’s the difference between the second and the third way?” Wu Qingsong could not help but ask.
“Choosing the third way could at the very least allow you the chance to have limited freedom, that is if the master you choose is generous enough and merciful enough. You could even possibly become the owner of a company and become a rich person!”
But if the other party wills it, he would be deprived of everything, whether it be in terms of reason or law.
In Harold’s perspective, this might be justified but as a dimensional traveller, Wu Qingsong was unable to accept this kind of future.
“If I don’t want to adhere to anyone?” he said to Harold.
The old wolfkin showed an expression like he was looking at an idiot.
“Don’t tell me you want to go to the wildlands in the north? Don’t be foolish! Becoming someone’s vassal is better than throwing your life away.”
This may be the so-called limitation. Harold’s familiarity with the world was definitely much more than that of Wu Qingsong and the other two combined, but it was precisely because of this that he also regarded the unfairness of the world as a necessity. Perhaps in his view, a person, whether he be a beastkin or a half-elf, if they wanted to succeed, the only choice was to become a vassal of a superior. The only difference was whether they can choose a generous and benevolent master for themselves.
But for Wu Qingsong, only he himself could be his own master.
He could accept cooperation with others, and could even accept himself becoming a subordinate of someone else, but he could never accept himself becoming a slave to someone.
Was there anyone who could honestly cooperate with him in this world?
Without knowing the reason, a silver-haired figure appeared naturally in his mind.
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