Rockefeller cleared his throat and knocked on the shop’s door before making his way inside.
As he entered, Carter Goldsmith, who was sitting in a chair, looked up to greet the customer and paused,
‘What? It’s a kid.’
“What brings you here?” He asked instead,
Carter wondered why a boy that looked to be about 15 had come to see him. Judging from his appearance, it didn’t look like he would have much money – shabby clothes and hollow cheeks.
‘He doesn’t seem to be the son of a noble family either…’
“What are you doing here?” Thinking there was no way this guy was a guest, he naturally let go of any formalities, and to such a Carter, Rockefeller greeted him politely,
“It’s nice to meet you. I am stopping by with regards to some work,”
“Work? Are you running an errand?”
“Not an errand, sir. It’s my job,”
Although the boy’s clothes wore old and worn, they were not clothes that a serf or slave would wear. Carter thought this boy would be a commoner like him, which is why instead of chasing him out straight away, he decided to hear him out first.
“Okay, what work did you come for then?”
“How do I say this… I want to offer a deal – may I discuss the details with you?”
“A deal?” A frown took over Carter’s face naturally as he asked.
‘It’s not funny. What kind of deal can this little guy offer? You’ve got to be kidding,’
“What deal? You’re not here to play around, are you, kid?” He asked out loud, but Rockefeller’s gaze was infinitely serious.
“I’m not playing, and although I may be young, I am the head of my family.”
“What? You’re the head?” Carter looked slightly alarmed to think a little one like this was already the head of the family.
“What about your parents?”
“They passed away – my father more recently,”
“Oh dear, what happened?”
“Both of my parents had chronic illnesses,”
“I see…” Carter fiddled with his beard, trying to think if he had heard any news of a commoner who had died recently,
‘I know someone died, but who was it? The name…’ After thinking for a moment, Carter was finally able to recognise Rockefeller’s identity, as there had only been one commoner who had died recently,
“Ah, yes, you were the tax collector’s son. He said he was the head of the family, so you must be the eldest son.” Carter barely managed to recall,
“Yes, sir, I am Rockefeller Rothmedici,”
“Right, your family name was Rothmedici, I remember now,”
Rockefeller bowed his head more politely than he had at first and showed him sincere courtesy.
“Yes, you poor thing. But what kind of deal are you coming to me with? I’m a goldsmith, so I wouldn’t have anything to do with you?”
Although a goldsmith was a commoner, their customers were the wealthiest of commoners or nobles; however, this young man who came to him boldly did not seem to join the target audience he usually dealt with.
He looked shabby and insignificant.
Despite facing the doubt on Carter’s face, Rockefeller began to explain his story,
“Well.. since the family situation is not good, I had to find a way to live somehow, so I searched for various methods to see if there was anything I could do,”
Carter didn’t respond. He folded his arms and decided to listen to his story quietly,
“By chance, I happened to meet someone who had been indebted to my grandfather,”
He was a goldsmith primarily, but as someone who engaged in the business of money-lending, so he roughly knew what kind of people were in this territory – and of course, that included the Rothmedici family.
Carter immediately nodded, as he began to recall some things,
“Yes, I heard the tax collector’s father was originally a doctor – they say he always wore a red cloak, so they called him the Red Doctor – but this person said they were indebted to your grandfather? Who was it?”
“As for him, it’s a little difficult for me to say. Although I don’t know him very well, one of the reasons I came here is to do business on his behalf,”
“What, on his behalf?”
Carter couldn’t help but frown. He seemed to have realised where this was going, Rockefeller got straight to the point,
“He said that he would give me a portion of the proceeds if I could do gold trading on his behalf,”
“I was wondering what it could be – smuggling, huh?”
It was illegal to trade without paying the appropriate taxes in the territory. Still, if you were someone who was crazy about making money – then smuggling was the way to go because everything you earned was yours – the profits were that much higher when you didn’t have to pay taxes on them.
“So in exchange for helping him complete the trade, he will give you a commission?”
“Yes, sir, although I’m aware this isn’t a good thing, my situation is quite bad, you see… I’ve even starved for several days,”
If it had been a grown adult who had come into his shop and said something like this, Carter would have been suspicious first and foremost because he wouldn’t have any clue if it were him or someone else entirely who was pulling the strings.
But Rockefeller was so young that Carter had no doubt he was not in charge.
‘Well, from that guy’s perspective, it’s a good deal. Grandfather’s debt my foot, it was a convenient excuse – the kid is in a bad situation and easy to use, and since the kid is desperate, he’ll agree to anything to make a living.’
“That’s right, to think you would get involved with smuggling at such a young age. Listen, kid, this isn’t a normal transaction. It’s against the law, and if the lord ever finds out, he will be furious,”
As soon as he heard those words, Rockefeller’s heart relaxed, and he felt relief.
‘Good, he’s totally deceived,’
The acting itself was perfect. He faithfully played the pitiful role of the young and unfortunate head of a household.
‘It would be unreasonable to think that I was in charge of this since I’m so young.’
Being young can sometimes be a great weapon to get others to drop their vigilance.