This is a translation of a Japanese novel. You can read the Raw here.
This is a work of fiction, with depictions of violence such as death of many people at a time. It is not suitable for readers under 15.
Was going to post this a bit earlier, but I was having trouble with the website. Turns out comments weren’t activated for the last 16 days. Oopsie
Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Chapter 17: Rustle and bustle at the Osun River (Part 2)
After several days, I took the gold bars to a local branch of a big Abujan bank.
I arranged them in a grand pile at one of the counters and asked the clerk if I could cash them in.
There were 20 of them in total, each weighing about 1kg (32oz).
I also bought a Zero Halliburton suitcase to carry them.
Appearances are important.
Especially when it comes to putting up a show like I’m about to.
The other customers around that counter looked like their eyes were about to pop out when they saw me pull out the gold.
Some higher-up immediately came to take me to a reception room at the back.
The room was really extravagant. Well, banks are banks. Of course they’d have their own ‘fancy room’.
After a maid brought us a few cookies and some nice coffee you wouldn’t find in stores, the… branch manager? I’ll go with branch manager.
The branch manager slowly brought up the subject of the gold bars.
“Their shape is a bit…”
“Sorry about that, I melted them and solidified them myself. Sand is surprisingly weak as a mold.”
“Oh? You had gold coins or objects you wanted to get rid of? If it was gold coins, our bank would be willing to buy them.”
The branch manager nodded to himself as he held one of the god bars in his hand. Looks like he can guess that the gold is real to some extent just by weighing it.
Makes sense. Gold is much heavier than other metals.
I guess with enough you experience, you can sort of tell it apart from the rest.
He probably gets to hold a lot of these since Nigeria is a gold-producing nation.
“No no, you got that wrong. I didn’t get these by melting gold coins and candlesticks, alright? I made them from some gold dust that I found at a river east of here.”
“–! …Gold dust? So much of it? Surely, you must be joking. There is about 20kg (643t oz) of gold in here, isn’t there?”
It would normally be impossible to gather 20kg of gold dust. I’m well aware of that.
Even by gathering gold dust for years, half of a small bag of it would be the best you could get. And that’s not only when you gather it from a river.
I’ve heard that even in large gold mines, you’d have to dig through 1 ton of dirt and grit to get 1 gram of gold.
So gathering even just 5 grams of it in a river would be an incredibly lucky occurrence. As for 20kg… Anyone who knows what gold is would be curious as to how I gathered that much.
When I noticed the change in the eyes of the branch manager who was trying to get information out of me, I sighed and started getting up.
“You seem more concerned about how I got the gold than with the money I’m asking for. I’m not interested in chitchatting over coffee… I think I’ll be taking these back home. All I’ll say about the gold is I picked it up. Your questions are putting me in danger.”
“I can see you’re a very nosy fellow,” I added “but this isn’t what I came here for.”
The fancy room, the nice cookies, the branch manager’s smiley attitude… Maybe this would have been enough to satisfy the ego of some people. It could very well have made some other, more careless chap forget his purpose in his excitement and start babbling non-stop. But I’m a bit different.
That’s what my words implied.
“No, that was- please wait. I’ve heard the rumors about the gold dust in Ijebu Igbo, but this amount is…?”
“Well, let’s just say I picked up on the rumors sooner than others.”
Seems like the rumors from Ijebu Igbo have gone so far that even the branch manager here knows where I ‘got the gold’.
How did I collect so much gold dust without anyone seeing me? Where exactly did I collect it?
That’s probably what he wants to know.
As for why he wants to know that, it’s because that kind of information would would fetch a high price anywhere.
But I’m not going to tell him.
After giving a glance at the branch manager, whose eyes were still sparkling with hope, I silently packed my gold bars back in the aluminum suitcase and prepared to leave.
I didn’t actually make these out of gold dust anyway, so I wouldn’t be able to answer him even if I wanted to.
“W-wait, please. Please let our bank cash in the the gold for you. You will never get an unfair exchange rate here. I have to specify, however, that it will take a little of time to appraise and weigh them…”
It seems he’s given up on getting information out of me when he saw that I was ready to leave.
Well, as a branch manager, he probably gets a high salary.
It’s better for him to get a good customer for the bank rather than to risk falling out with a billionaire out of greed.
After all, be it just from the commission he’ll get for turning 20kg of gold into cash, he has a lot to gain here. Especially if there are to be other transactions between us in the future.
“Here, take them. You now have information and the physical evidence to support it. Thread lightly, if you catch my meaning.”
“Very well, the results should be ready in about a day or two. I wish I could do this faster, but I’m afraid this branch has neither the personnel nor the equipment to appraise these.”
Just like that, I ended up leaving 20kg of gold in the hands of the branch manager so he could have it appraised.
He’s going to contact me in a few days once the results are out.
I wanted to directly return home for the day, but considering the circumstances, the bank called security to escort me to the parking lot, even though it was only a few dozen meters away.
My driver for the day is Delfino, not Lucas.
First, because Lucas is a at a conference in the US, and second, because even if Lucas was here, I wouldn’t be able to entrust my security to a penniless student in such a dangerous situation.
Since Delfino doesn’t get his daily allowance when Ichikawa is on business trips, he gladly accepted my offer to guard and escort me.
When I arrived at the parking lot,
“Oh hey, what are you doing here?”
Delfino greeted one of the bank’s security guards accompanying me.
They were apparently acquainted with each other.
Bodyguards and drivers of Delfino’s level usually end up working together since the less competent people in their field never get hired in high-class places. These types of jobs demand some credibility.
Did I seriously have someone so competent defend me against some crocs and monkeys?
“Good thing you picked me as your driver today. If I wasn’t here, you’d have gotten kidnapped and drugged up the minute you left the bank. Then those people would have taken your gold and all the information about where you got it, before feeding you to the Niger river’s fishes. Look, some of them are already coming.”
While saying some terrible things, Delfino sped up the car. Acceleration isn’t the forte of bulletproof BMWs, they’re hard to handle at high speeds. But according Delfino, the feeling of driving an armored car on uneven ground is the best. He was driving like he was in a rally.
Even though I bit my tongue at one point, I still felt pretty impressed.
“The pounded yams, the gold dust, the warehouses, the river… I’m guessing there is a connection there.”
I didn’t know Delfino was the type to talk like this.
Plus he has suspicions that the pounded yams and the gold dust are somehow connected.
That’s a mercenary for you, always sharp.
“There’s gonna be a gold rush in Ijebu Igbo pretty soon, isn’t there? …You should stay away from dangerous places. Even better would be to go to a safe place for a while. If anything happens, if any wannabe thug messes with you, just give me a call.”
Delfion’s professional intuition seems to be that I’ll be in danger if I move around now. I better listen to him.
“Thanks. I’ll go overseas then. But before I can do that…”
While I was still in the car, I called the hauler that I found the other day and asked him to move all of Kageyama Co’s heavy machinery from the warehouse in the Apapa district to Mibu’s first solar warehouse.
Next, I contacted the security firm guarding Mibu’s warehouses.
“I’m going to bring a bunch of construction machines, so open the shutter when they get there. I’ll sign the receipt and all later, just take a picture of it with a good camera and send it to me.”
As for the Apapa district’s container port, Ichikawa will be the one contacting them.
In the evening, once Lagos’ daily killings were over, a group of giant trailers came from the harbor and vanished somewhere near Ijebu Igbo.
They were transporting construction machines for Kageyama Co.
Big trailers carrying heavy machinery are going to make noise and catch people’s attention no matter how quiet you try to be.
But that was part of my plan.
After today, some of the bank’s employees with the least principles among those who were present when I came, as well as the other customers who were there, and that maid who brought me coffee, started talking all over the place about the man who brought a mountain of gold to the branch manager. Be it at the bar, at their home, or just in their marital beds, the news was moving around.
That was also a part of my plan.
Thanks to this, the rumors that there is something in Ijebu Igbo gained more and more credibility.
On top of that, many people had witnessed the line of big trailers sneakily carrying construction machines in the dark of the night.
Seeing so many expenses being put at play, people in Lagos came up with some very imaginative rumors, such as this being a ploy from the mafia to take away the gravel from the river and whatnot.
Everyone became obsessed with the gossips surrounding the Osun River.
Moreover, conveniently for me, the day after I brought the gold to the bank, 5 fishermen from Ijebu Igbo apparently went to a bullion dealer in Lagos to exchange a bag full of gold dust for cash.
Those five men then took that money, the equivalent of 30.000 dollars, and went to get drinks at a slightly expensive bar.
They even shared their feel-good story with a local channel’s reporter, which is how I heard about it.
They earned three years worth of salary in one go, it’s not surprising that they got caught up in the moment.
The story that they were so eager to share spread at lightning speed, and a photo of them making peace signs while holding the gold dust was very soon swallowed up by the media.
It didn’t take long for CNN to make a big report about that story and photo.
Talks of the fishermen’s gains gained great traction across the border.
These were no longer just rumors.
After all, even big media outlets had certified the authenticity of the photo.
One major international gold-mining company from Ghana quickly launched a public investigation on this.
In only took them a few days to confirm that there were indeed large amounts of gold moving along the Osun river.
In reality, it was an investigation in name only. All they did was catch some fish under the local fishermen’s guidance, and find gold dust in some of the fishes’ bellies.
But for those who let their eyes be blinded by money, that bit of information was enough to take action.
An eerie cloud of human greed was on its way to the southwest of Nigeria.
Lagos was about to become a capital of sin.
I could feel the tension in the air as I went to ask mister Oba for permission to leave the country.
“Now that you mention it, you didn’t even go home for new year’s eve. Alright. You can leave for a while.”
Mister Oba let me have my trip surprisingly easily.
But I’m not going to return to Japan straight away.
I quickly bought a ticket to the US and flew to Los Angels to join Lucas and Charlotte.
Immediately after I arrived at the hotel in LA and jumped into bed to get over the long flight, I got a phone call.
It was the branch manager.
“I kept calling and calling but I couldn’t reach you!”
Although he grumbled a bit at first, he became very excited when it came to the results of the gold’s appraisal. I guess he was in a hurry to tell me.
Now that I think about it, didn’t he say this would take a day or two? But I took the plane three days later, and he still hadn’t called at the time… This guy isn’t being a professional…
While my hostility was growing inside,
“Well, I had some business to attend to in the US…. Yeah… Exactly, I was on an airplane.”
I kept my thoughts to myself and gave an explanation to reassure the branch manager. Because that’s what adults do. Plus it’s true that I was on an airplane…
As for the appraisal’s results, you’ll have the answer after a short message from our sponsor Rai– Kidding.
More seriously, it turned out the gold bars were 99% gold.
Which isn’t really surprising since I made them from pure gold.
And the bank offered to buy them for 830,000$.
That’s more than enough money to play around, but it’s still far from the amount I’ll need for my future goals.
…Now then, what should I do next?
Whatever, I need to focus on getting over the jet-lag for now…
Come to think of it, Delfino wanted a new gun, didn’t he…
A lot of thoughts came through my head as I started dozing off.
I must have been pretty nervous about the potential threats to my life, because that day, I slept from the afternoon to the next morning.