"Whew... I'm amazed. All of them definitely have the quality of freshly picked crops, but are they really freshly harvested from Master Neil's farm? Not preserved in some special way to keep them fresh, or brought in from far away?"
"Yes, all of them are definitely freshly harvested from our settlements."
Gibbett-san mumbles, looks thoughtful for a moment, and then asks me a few questions.
"Is all of that cargo made up of these crops?"
"Yes, I put them in one crate for the purpose of explanation, but all the other crates are separated by type."
"Which is the most common among them?"
"Well, we didn't know how much demand there would be for any one crop, so we must have stacked the same amount of all kinds at one time."
"So there are still some crops in the settlements that can be sold?"
"Yes, we had a little bit too much crop, so we have a lot in the storage room of the settlement."
Gibbett-san's face turns thoughtful and silent again as I answer him.
"...By the way, Master Neil, what are you going to do with the crops you have in storage?"
"I'd like to sell them if I could, but the amount is just too large, and it's hard to bring them here."
"I see. Then, can we drive the wagon to Master Neil's settlement and buy them?"
"Huh!? You can do that, or rather, I'd like to ask you to do so, but it's really quite a lot of goods, you know?"
"No problem, we are a firm specializing in the sale and purchase of agricultural products. We have confidence in our sales channels."
Oh, that's very encouraging.
As I was thinking that this is a firm that specializes in selling agricultural products, Gibbett-san added something more.
"However, there are a few things I need you to do."
"In exchange for the money?"
"No, no, it's not that ostentatious of an exchange condition. I'm only asking for a favor if it's possible."
I'm not good at turning my head in negotiations, but having attended many parties as an aristocrat and having witnessed the dark struggles of adults, I could guess that Gibbett-san's words had a backstory.
"So what's this 'favor' you're asking me?"
"When I sell the crops I bought from Master Neil, I would like to borrow Master Neil's name."
"Yes, we are honestly not sure whether people will buy out-of-season crops or not, no matter how good the quality is, even if we sell it to them. However, if they know that the crops are grown by 'Master Neil', many of them will be willing to buy them. If that is the case, we would be able to boldly buy the whole wagon load."
Although the word "request" is used to disguise the fact that this is a favor, it is still an exchange condition.
If he could buy the entire cargo as long as he could borrow my name, it would mean that he would buy only a part of the cargo if he could not borrow my name.
Well, it is quite natural that he does not want to have a large stock of goods that he does not know whether he can sell or not, and this is not a problem for us since we have no disadvantage in this regard.
"Okay, I will lend you my name. What else do you need from us?"
"Thank you very much. About the other thing, if this deal goes well, can we do business with you again in the future?"
"You mean you want to buy crops from us on a regular basis?"
"Yes, that is correct. If we know that we can continue to buy from you regularly, we would like to buy a little more and sell to more customers."
In other words, he is willing to purchase additional products in addition to the ones for which I have lent my name, if I continue to supply him on a regular basis.
And as the precondition is a successful negotiation, I understand that he would like to continue to sell the product if he knows it sells well.
This is also a way to secure a stable source of income, so depending on the price, I may accept the offer.
However, if it works out, it is also true in this case.
"All right, if this deal is mutually successful, let's conclude a fixed-term agreement."
"Yes, of course."
I imitate the aristocrats I've seen at the party, and behind my words, I say, "Don't forget our interests, too, right?" and Gibbett-san agrees.
"So, are those the only two requests?"
"No, just one last request, but it's not a request, it's just a question."
"What do you want to ask? What is it?"
"Master Neil has somehow made it possible to cultivate these crops regardless of the season or the type of land, will you disclose this method to the public like you did with the alchemical fertilizers?"
"Are you sure you don't intend to do so?"
I am at a loss for an answer to Gibbett-san's question.
The world would be a richer place if the method of growing crops in any season and on any land were made widely available to the public.
But if this is done, I will give up our unique advantage and lose the stable source of income that we have now.
I may be naive, but I am no saint, and I am not willing to risk everything to save someone I don't know.
When I feel guilty and cannot answer the question, Diana, who had been silent behind me, opens her mouth.
"Master Neil is concerned about the chaos that will occur when he discloses the method."
"Yes, if the method were to become common, what do you think the farmers would do?"
"It would mean that they would be able to grow more demanding crops that they couldn't grow before―"
Gibbett-san looks shocked when saying this.
"Yes, the farmers will grow only the crops that can be sold at a high price. Then the market would be flooded with some of the crops and the value of the crops that were supposed to be expensive would plummet. On the other hand, crops that were not worth much will become scarce and expensive."
"And the farmers start growing the crops that were overpriced again, and the process repeats itself over and over again?"
"Yes, and if that happens, the market will be in chaos. If that were to happen, it would take several years for the market to settle down."
"I see, Master Neil was thinking that far."
No, I was not thinking that far at all. I was only looking at my immediate profit.
Diana made me realize that if such a method were to spread all at once, the market would surely be in turmoil.
Just as too much of something, no matter how beneficial, can turn out to be harmful, everything in moderation is good.
In this respect, the alchemical fertilizers I spread before may have been just right.
By the way, what exactly is alchemical fertilizer?
To put it simply, it is a kind of chemical fertilizer, but it is called so because there is no concept of chemistry in this world and alchemy is used.
I won't go into the details, but in the past, there were crop failures in some parts of Count Atmiras' territory, and when I learned that the only fertilizers that existed in this world were compost made from human waste and wheat straw, and green manure mixed into the soil without harvesting some crops, I decided to create a more effective fertilizer to solve the crop failure problem.
This is how the alchemical fertilizer was born, and it spread explosively, claiming that the roots would grow stronger, crops would be less prone to wither, and harvests would increase.
At that time, some people got greedy and used a large amount of alchemical fertilizers, and there were many problems such as crops dying due to fertilizer burning, and the price of materials for alchemical fertilizers skyrocketed, but overall, there were no problems that could be called chaos. I think this is a good way to spread the information to the general public.
Therefore, I agree with Diana's words, while trying to make an expression as if I were agreeing with her.
"Yes, that's right, so I don't have any intention to spread the word about this at the moment."
"I am relieved to hear that, and now I can sign a regular contract with you with peace of mind."
It seems that if I had said that I would spread the news, the fixed-term contract would have been considered as nothing, which would have been a close call.
Well, from Gibbett-san's point of view, it would be natural, since the value of his crops would decrease if he could grow them in other places after signing the fixed-term contract.
Gibbett-san told me that he would not know about the fixed-term contract until he actually sees the customer's reaction, so we settled the matter in a positive manner and he agreed to purchase the whole wagon load and a part of the crops in the storage area in the settlement area.
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