“Is this different than normal boxes?”
In response to Franya’s question, the merchant sent a stare at Kosimo, and when he saw Kosimo nodded lightly, the merchant also nodded his head.
“That’s right. This is called Karakuri Box. You will be able to understand what it means if you opened the box.”
“If I opened? Oh?”
Franya tried to open the box but, she couldn’t… As she looked around the box to find out how to open it, she could not find the part that could be opened. As she begins to think that the box was a failed product, she taped the box and she could hear a hollow sound from inside.
“… I can’t open it huh…”
“Actually, there’s a certain mechanism in this box. Like this…”
The merchant then took another box. And when he pressed a certain part on the side of the box with his finger, something was protruded…
While Franya looked stunned, the other side of the protruded side has become hollow. As the merchant repeated his action, the square box begins to change shape and finally exposed the inside…
“Well, this is how one could open the boxes.”
Franya eyes shine.
“Nee, Ninim, have you seen something like these before?”
“Indeed. I also feel surprised. Using small pieces of wood and put them together and shape it into a box…”
“Then… This one as well… O-Oh? If I press here…”
“Franya-sama, I believe it should be the other way around?”
Kosimo then speaks with the merchant while the girls looked puzzled trying to find a way to open the box.
“No matter how many times I saw it, this sure is a fine product. … However, it seems not attracting many customers huh?”
“Unfortunately… I’m not the only one who sells this stuff…”
The merchant admits Kosimo’s words easily.
“If you don’t mind, could you give me soma advice?”
“Well… I know how you feel but, as a Mayor, I couldn’t favor a certain store…”
As Kosimo pondered, Franya raised her face.
“If so, then why don’t you paint the boxes?”
“My brother once told me. To sell something is basically about finding a new demand, adding another value to the existing product, or do a price war…”
For example something like a flower or gem language.
Flowers sent to the loved one. A flower for the dead. A stone with the meaning of happiness. Stone with the meaning of courage– There were many different types, but of course, flowers and stones themselves didn’t speak and said “I’m representing this or that” by themselves.
It could be a merchant or an aristocrat who started it. At any rate, someone had devised the settings and spread it.
Of course, it all depended on the flower color, shape, time of harvest, and the amount of flowers. If one were to be lacking, the settings might not spread. On the other hand, by giving settings on the flowers or the gems, one was added another value to an existing good.
“I was surprised at the mechanism of this box but, I feel it is unfortunate that the box itself has no decoration. However, if the decoration is too flashy, the price would go up too much, no? So I was wondering, why not try a simple picture painting?”
“Fumu… For example, what kind of paint do you like?”
“For me, a crest or a portrait… and other things… You might draw a bud, and when it opened, you make it looks like it blooms…”
*I see*, Kosimo nodded his head. He finds her suggestion to be a worthwhile opinion.
Since the merchant also opened his shop in the central market, such a suggestion might be good for him. That being said, the merchant seems to be convinced by Franya’s words as he looked serious.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I’m only saying all of that as an amateur…”
“No, no, there’s nothing to apologize. Thank you for the valuable suggestion. How about this, as a form of thanks, you may take one of the boxes.”
When Franya looked at Kosimo, he nodded his head in response.
“For a merchant, nothing is as uncomfortable as a one-sided trade. If you’re not dissatisfied with the item, please take it as a formal deal.”
With his words, Franya smiled after brief thought.
“Then, I shall accept it. Thank you.”
“Good then. If you have a chance to visit this market again, please do come to my shop again…”
After being sent off by the merchant, Franya continues her tour.
“Fufufu, I will show this to my brother..”
Franya stares at the box with a happy expression.
Next to her, Kosimo looked at her interestingly.
“As expected, it is important to hear the opinion from outside. Drawing on the boxes, it was a simple idea, but if one stays in the same place for a long time, even a simple idea might not come easily. I’ve come as princess Franya’s guide but, on the contrary, I was the one being surprised instead…”
“That is an exaggeration, Mayor Kosimo.”
He shakes his head as he looks at the embarrassed Franya.
“Come to think of it, since you said that you’ve stayed long here, are you someone born in this city?”
“Yes. Born in Mirtaz, and raised in Mirtaz. I’m proud of this city, and my love for this city is second to none.”
“I see. — Maybe the reason why this city is prosperous, it’s because it was lead by such a person eh?”
As a form of getting back on him, Franya praises Kosimo.
“Oh my. I believe I’m not that great…”
Kosimo shakes his head while saying those words.
“Mirtaz, as a city with a connection between the east and west, it is a place where many countries had compete and bleeding to possess it. In fact, until a few decades ago, one couldn’t do business with peace of mind. …Look at the bell tower over there…”
Kosimo then pointed at the bell tower at the back. Even with just a glance, it has a lot of history behind it. At the top of the clock tower, there was a huge bell.
“That bell tower was built in honor of a merchant who built the foundation of Mirtaz. Legend says that after purchasing a temporary peace between east and west, he uses the time to invite a lot of merchants to this land, and then created a city of merchants, and uses that status to prevent a military intervention…”
Kosimo then continue…
“Of course, he’s not the only one. The current Mirtaz, it was due to the support of numerous merchants that we could become like right now…”
After saying such a thing, Kosimo realized that he was speaking while showing too much of his emotion, realizing that, he tried to hide it with a cough.
“… Pardon me. For me speaking such a boring topic…”
“No, that is not true…”
Franya didn’t lie. Sure, she feels surprised but, she thinks that the story was interesting.
“Recently, I’ve been learning about history and politics as a member of the royal family. My older brother told me that I should spread my knowledge not only about Natra but also about other countries…”
“I see, so that’s how it is… … In that case, that should be helpful…”
“This way, please… We will need to walk further a little bit…”
Franya and Ninim glanced at each other, then followed Kosimo while tilting their head…
“Originally, Mirtaz was one of the cities of Sistio state, naturally, it should follow the law of Sistio state. However, due to the Mirtaz position, it needs to be able to respond quickly to any changing situation… Therefore, The Empire has given Mirtaz its own autonomy, and it also comes with its own parliament…”
Some people might think that Mirtaz had bought the authority with money… Kosimo then continue…
“Yes. The Mayor and the legislators who supported the Mayor were elected by the citizen. And this parliamentary council is where the members come together to discuss the city management…”
Hearing that Franya was convinced… She imagines it was like in Natra were many influential people gathered and discuss national politics. However, following Kosimo’s words, it means Mirtaz has two parliaments.
“Then, what about the other parliament?”
“It will be quick if we see it personally… This way…”
After following Kosimo, they arrived in front of a large building, it was written as Capitol building.
Passing through the heavy door, the group entered the building. Then…
The first thing they felt was intense heat.
The countless opinion was flying around.
Dozen of people were shouting at each other. All of them looked serious, sometimes shouting while waving the documents at hand.
Next to the surprised Franya, Kosimo then opened his mouth.
“The merchants’ city is led by the hand of merchants… It would be natural for them to be like this, after all, one urban policy will change the direction of the business in the future. And it is not realistic to make every merchant a member of a parliament. Thus, it was decided that a civil council should be established as a place where everyone could come and participate in policy discussion.”
“Civil council… Then, are they all citizens of this city?”
“Yes. The result from the discussion here would then be submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly. That is why everyone here looked serious…”
It was a shocking sight for Franya.
She was a princess born in a kingdom with a monarch system. In her common sense, national policies were being carried by the royal and select few aristocrats, there was no such thing as asking the citizen.
“Let see… The agenda today is about the construction of the canal in the city… Pardon me, we’ve traveled a little bit here, and yet, it is in the middle of a boring topic. Let me guide your highness to another place.”
Franya rejected Kosimo’s proposal.
“No, this place is fine. Of course, if you’re fine with a foreigner listening?”
Hearing that somehow Kosimo felt a shiver.
“About that. since this council is open to the public, it is alright but…”
“Then, I shall accept this offer…”
At that time, Franya feels an unusual feeling.
She feels fascinated by the completely unknown values.
However, seeing her serious gaze looking at the debate, Kosimo who was a veteran politician could feel a shiver on his back.
While Kosimo watched from the side, Franya stayed in the Capitol until the debate was finalized.