“Your Highness!!! Please explain why there are so many girls inside your palace as soon as I arrived!!” Lucia’s entire body quivered as she shouted at me loudly, “One Nier is more than enough! What did you bring so many girls here for?! I won’t allow it! I won’t ever agree to it! I won’t allow a third girl to get close to you! If you choose to persist stubbornly, let’s duel! If I win, I’m going to kill every single one of them!!”
‘Haha. I knew Lucia couldn’t be stopped… I knew those guards couldn’t stop Lucia…’ I placed my hand on my forehead. If Lucia had not come today, my plan would be able to proceed smoothly, but now, I could see looks of despair on the faces of all of the girls. Luna covered her face feeling helpless. If I could hear her, I would probably hear Luna’s heavy sigh, too.
I pulled Lucia over and whispered in her ear, “Lucia… don’t get angry… I’m not interested in these girls. I’m serious. This is my first job as the lord of the city… So don’t worry. You don’t have to worry at all. I won’t do anything to let you down! I definitely won’t! I swear. Do you know how much I missed you? Do you want to sleep with me tonight, to celebrate?”
“No!” Lucia blushed a little. It looked like she didn’t completely trust me, but at least her anger had now turned into suspicion.
I hugged her tightly, and she panted gently in my arms.
She snuggled up in my arms and quietly murmured, “Why does my scent always disappear so fast? Your Highness, we need to hug more in the future… tonight… We can… tonight…”
“Alright. Go and rest with Mom for now then. I’ll come and look for you after I finish with business here.”
Little Lucia isn’t too hard to handle.
I looked over to Nier standing by my side with her arms folded and wearing a displeased look. Her body isn’t large, so why is she like an endless chasm…
After I had sent Lucia away, I looked at the girls trembling behind Luna. I sighed and said, “Luna has already shown you the palace, right? That’s what it basically entails. A chef’s monthly salary is fifty silver empire coins. A maid’s monthly salary is ten empire silver coins. You get one off-day per week and will undergo basic training for three weeks.”
“Because you’re currently in debt, one-third of your salary will be deducted monthly as payment toward your debt, provided you’re willing to stay here. For the next five years, your salary will be guaranteed. What do you think? Are any of you willing to stay?”
The girls looked at me with astonishment.
I shrugged and said, “I won’t erase your entire debt. You owe the empire taxes. That’s Her Majesty’s money. I have no right to erase your debts. However, I can give you an opportunity to pay off your debts. You’ll be able to pay off your debts as long as you’re willing to work. I won’t make things hard for you during this period of time. But you won’t get any special rights, either. If you make mistakes at work or slack off, you’ll be fired as you would under normal circumstances. And your debt will still be outstanding, even after you are fired. If you then can’t pay your debt, I shall strip you of your freedom.”
The girls exchanged glances with each other. One of them then quivered as she asked, “Your Majesty… is… is this why you brought us here today?”
“Yes, that’s right. It’s up to you whether or not you’re willing to work in the palace. I’m just giving you an opportunity. As to whether or not you take it, I don’t care either way.” I looked at them and continued, “If you’re willing to work, sign your name and fill out your details with my sister, Freya, and then you can take two silver coins for coming here today, as well as a small bag of bread. Don’t take it the wrong way. I’m not pitying you. You deserve this. You built this palace for me.”
I turned around as a messenger ran up to me from behind and whispered to me, “We have sorted out the army camp. Some chose to join the army while some chose to work in the factory with the salary you stated.”
I nodded and then turned around to leave.
The young girls cried out in relief.
Freya looked at them and explained, “Onii-sama will not pity you, but neither will he make things hard for you. As long as you abide by the rules and work properly, Onii-sama will protect your normal rights. However, if you start trouble, Onii-sama will not hesitate to kill you, even if you did it for your family or are at a dead-end. Onii-sama is not a kind person, nor a tyrant. He is a just person.”
I heard their cries behind me and sighed.
It was just as Freya said last night. As the lord of the domain, I can’t let those beneath me feel a sense of benevolence. If I am lax with one month’s taxes, then there will be a second month.
A lord’s job is not to share his wealth with his people. That isn’t caring for the people, but a morbid way of taking care of them.
What a lord should be doing is thinking about how to allow those beneath them to earn enough to pay their taxes. That is what a lord should be thinking about. If we could cap the tax rate at eighty percent and the remainder was enough for the people to lead decent lives, they wouldn’t riot.
The way the people calculate taxes is very simple. They don’t mind how much the taxes are as long as they can be guaranteed to still have money to eat, go to bathhouses and have fun.
“A lord should not view those beneath him as people, but domesticated animals. Feeding them enough for them to roll over and sunbathe is sufficient. That is kings-craft.”
Though what Freya says sounds cruel and deplorable, it was the reality of the current situation.
I’m aware of human rights and democracy, but I would shake the foundations of the empire’s rule if I were to brashly launch such movements during a time where the financial state and ability to produce aren’t at adequate stages.
In such an era where ignorance rules peoples’ minds, you only need a wise ruler.
Only once the peoples’ material needs have been satisfied will they go and think about life and philosophies. But at present, the people beneath me don’t even have food, so I’m not going to make them undergo some sort of spiritual and mental revolution.
That would be the equivalent of jumping into a fire.
I sighed a breath of relief.
‘The resentment of the people should be no more, now, right? We don’t have to worry about workers in the palace and their diligence, either now. Next is waiting for the red-haired lady and my guards to arrive, then I’ll be able to officially start here. Troy City will be able to officially start operating once they arrive.’
‘I’ve also left with them the impression that I’m a just lord. Not only did I erase the high-interest rates which chained them with unrealistic debts, I’ve even provided them with jobs, as well as warned them of the consequences of not paying off their debts. Freya’s carrot and stick policy sure is incredible.’
‘Oh, right. I still need to come up with a way to deal with the land. I need to make some time to go and check it out with Freya. I suspect that Freya is almighty. She always comes up with fantastic ideas no matter what happens.’
Just as I passed a corner, someone yanked open the door to a room and pulled me in before I could turn to look at their face. A hand covered my eyes and before I knew it, a pair of warm lips and a tongue had sealed my mouth, preventing me from calling out.
‘No! Nier should be by Freya’s side right now!’
‘Then this person is… is…’
“Son… my son… my son… Ah… My whole body burns up whenever I think of my son… My son… My son…” A pair of hands glided all over my body without any reserve.
A fragrant tongue burnt my tongue and twirled itself around mine like it wanted to swallow mine. This half-biting half-kissing type of kiss made my entire body weak. Sharp teeth then bit my lips and their owner sucked my blood up aggressively.