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Chapter 26: Honor and Gain
“‘Luthiya’ ……, holds have the power of fire.”
“You’ve seen right through it.”
“Yeah. And it seems it’s quite powerful.”
“Uh. Would you like to try it? Then let’s go outside.”
His Majesty said and walked ahead.
He left the treasury and called out to his eunuch confidant, Curuz, ordering him to prepare a ‘target’.
“That won’t be necessary, Your Majesty.”
“Huh? It’s like you have some idea.”
“If so, let’s do it.”
With his permission, I went out into the garden with him.
I thanked him and stood at a distance.
Luthiyua, who had brought a “+” to my status, had two things in common with Leviathan.
One is having a will. That’s why it led to the “+”, I guessed.
The other is to shoot an attack with the power of the ring alone, regardless of my ability.
Luthiya has the same thing as Leviathan’s charge attack.
I released it – at myself.
Instantly, my body burst into flames.
His Majesty was surprised by that.
He was so surprised that he reflexively took a step forward and reached out his hand to me.
I told him, while still on fire.
My voice was so calm that I could see that His Majesty was twice as surprised – and startled.
I held up the Leviathan I had been casually holding out so that he could see it.
“…… I see.”
His Majesty paused for a few moments, then changed his expression to one of understanding.
I cast Luthiya’s Flame on myself, and Leviathan reacted to it.
Linked to the ring of armor, Leviathan immediately produced a shield with the power of water.
Water and fire are each other’s weak points.
If they are evenly matched, they will only drown each other out, but if one of them is clearly superior, the effect will swell.
This is how it works numerically.
If you attack with 100 fire-power, the effect is usually 100. The same goes for water.
But if you use 100 fire-power to attack an opponent with 99 water power, its effect will quickly double to almost 200.
On the other hand, if you attack with 99 fire-power against 100 water power, the effect will drop to almost zero.
That’s what is happening now.
“Mu ……, the ground around you is melting, and you are completely unfazed. As expected of Noah.”
As His Majesty was surprised, Luthiya’s flames were strong enough to melt the ground around me into mush, but they had no effect on me at all.
That meant that Leviathan’s power was superior to Luthiya’s.
“What is it, Your Majesty?”
“It’s hot enough to melt the ground, but I don’t feel any heat at all.”
His Majesty said doubtfully, thrusting his palm out to me as if he were lighting a bonfire.
“Please look at the ground again.”
“Look at the ground ……? Hmm, is it within the circle that’s melting?”
“Yes. And I’m trying to keep it from going out.”
“Oh my! It’s incredible.”
“Thank you for your praise.”
At His Majesty’s words of praise, I bowed respectfully.
I understood Luthiya’s power and was able to show it.
And after that, I ordered Luthiya to retract the flame.
What had been a flaming mass just before returned to normal as if nothing had happened.
Not a single burn mark on my hair, skin, or clothes.
The only thing that showed the strength of Luthier’s power was the ground that had been burned to a crisp and melted.
“Noah, it’s impressive that you’ve been able to control its power so well.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Umu, once again I give you Luthiya. Take it and work harder for the empire.”
His Majesty gave a satisfied look, said, “Follow me,” and started walking.
He walked back into the palace from the gardens and returned to his study in a straight line.
Then he went back behind his desk of the office, while I stopped at the position where his subjects stood.
“There was one thing I wanted to ask Noah’s opinion on.”
He pulled one out of his mountain of reports and held it out to me.
I took it and looked it over.
The report said that His Majesty’s brother, Graem Ararat, who is my uncle, had volunteered to pay a fine of 30,000 reens.
“What has Graem-sama done?”
“Graem’s son – that would be my nephew. He has been rampaging through Graem’s territory, and in a drunken rage murdered the man with whom he had a quarrel.”
“I charged him with the appropriate crime, but Graem himself offered to impose a fine, claiming that he had failed to supervise his son.”
“Under imperial law, Graem-san is innocent. Just as a child is not obligated to repay a parent’s debt, neither is a child’s crime imputed to the parent.”
As the Minister of Justice, I gave the legal interpretation of this matter from the imperial law.
“Umu. That’s what I said. Still, Graem is probably frightened. He’s probably trying to buy himself some peace of mind by offering to pay the fine.”
I looked at what he handed me.
And checked the number on it again.
Thirty thousand reens.
That’s a lot of money.
On average, an adult male in the Imperial Capital can earn 10 reens per month.[TN: I still can’t wrap around my head on this currency value]
30,000 liens is 3,000 times that.
It is the equivalent of roughly 250 years of earnings.
“What do you think, Noah?”
” …… I think we should reject it outright.”
“What is your reason?”
“We cannot levy a fine for an innocent man, even if he asks for it.”
“Fumu. Then how about amending the law to make it clearer?”
His Majesty stared at me.
“Our treasury is in a state of chronic danger. Rescuing people from disasters, suppressing rebellions, all of these things costs money.”
That’s why we want this kind of extra income.
I can understand how he feels, but…
I said firmly with a straight face.
“If we set a precedent like this, people who can pay will think that as long as they pay, they will be innocent. This is not the case in actual imperial law, but if this kind of thinking prevails, it lowers the barrier to crime.”
“Hmm, you’re right. The deterrent power of the law will die.”
“Furthermore, the majority of such people are merchants, nobles, and officials. That, in turn, leads to political corruption.”
“The lack of funds in treasury is a serious problem. But it should be enhanced by proper means.”
“…… Yes, it’s exactly as Noah says. You have corrected me well. I’ll consult with Oscar at the treasury. I think we will need to hear your opinion again.”
“At your service.”
He nodded and wrote something on a piece of paper in his hand.
After finishing the whole thing, he signed it and stamped it.
It was the emperor’s official document – an imperial decree.
He held it out to me.
I accepted it and looked over the contents.
The document begins with praise that I the 13th Prince is Wise and rare, and concludes with the appointment of me to the position of Advisor to the Prime Minister.
The term “Prime Minister” came from the Prime Minister’s Office, which I had suggested, and his adviser.
“It’s an honorary position. Do you not like it?”
“It’s not that ……, Your Majesty.”
“What is it?”
“Paying people to get away with crimes is out of the question, but why not let them pay for the honor?”
I told His Majesty about the idea, which was no doubt born of the now-fabricated honorary position of Advisor to the Prime Minister.
” For example, how about an honorary knighthood for anyone who donates a thousand reens to the treasury?”
The knowledge and memories of my previous life tell me a lot about that.
When a person has a certain amount of money – more than he can spend on himself – he will seek honor rather than material things.
This is one of the reasons why aristocrats become the patrons of various people.
They use the money they can’t spend on themselves to nurture talented but underprivileged people in order to increase their fame as nobles.
That is the same thing.
His Majesty’s eyes seemed to gleam.
“However, it is only Honorary. An honorary knight must be accompanied by the proviso that he will not be able to participate in the selection of knights afterward and will not be connected to the actual authority.”
“In exchange, they will receive an award from His Majesty in person.”
“So it’s all about honor, is it?”
“Exactly as you say.”
“That’s a great idea. ……amazing, Noah.”
His Majesty’s eyes shone brighter and brighter.
“Curuz. Call Oscar. It’s urgent.”
His Majesty seemed to be on board with my proposal, so much so that he immediately got into talks with Oscar, the Minister of Finance.
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