Chapter 69: Emperor’s popularity
I was in the study, facing Oscar across the desk.
I sat down and stared at the report Oscar had given me, and at the numbers.
“The annual budget of the Emperor is surprisingly huge.”
Oscar, the Minister of the Imperial Household, bowed slightly and replied in a manner that suggested he was choosing his words.
“His Majesty has many consorts, which inevitably results in a large budget. And even though it is a lot, it’s only a tenth of what the former Emperor Robby spent.”
Compared to him, anyone would be thrifty, I thought, but I didn’t say it.
Robby was the name of the last emperor of the country who ruled the land before the empire, a man who made the country fall into decline with his drinking and extravagance.
” What will you do now that you know this?”
“My budget is only about a tenth of the Emperor’s, isn’t it?
Instead of answering the question directly, I looked up and asked Oscar.
What about it? Oscar looked at me with such a questioning expression in his eyes.
“It’s as you say. At present, His Majesty has a small number of consorts, and as a result, the number of ladies in waiting and eunuchs is minimal. Also, with all due respect ……, I have known you since you were a child, and you are not a man of luxury.”
Oscar then looked me straight in the eye.
“Therefore, as you say, one-tenth is enough.”
“Hmm. That’s the reason I called Oscar. I want you to make sure this doesn’t grow unnecessarily in the future.”
“That’s …… my job, huh. ……”
Why though? Oscar has such a look on his face.
I stood up, turned my back to Oscar, and looked out the window.
The Imperial Capital spread out below us, and we were in the midst of prosperity.
“I want to expand our reach.”
I can feel Oscar gasping from behind me.
“In other words, a war of aggression. And for that, we need money.”
“When the Emperor spends money, he has to collect ten times what he actually spends from the people.”
When spending money, people move, and the labor cost for those people is high.
And this is something that no Emperor can do anything about, but when people deal with a lot of money, they always want to keep a little bit in their pockets.
If everyone put ” a fraction of the money” into their own pockets, the amount would be ten times larger than the actual amount of money, considering the number of people the Emperor operates.
“The less you spend, the less the people have to bear. That way, we can maintain …… or even nurture our national power.”
I turn around and look straight at Oscar.
“The time will come when we have to spend the money. I want you to hold on to my wallet for that time.”
“I understand, I’ll take care of it.”
Oscar bowed profoundly and walked out of the study.
Oscar is a capable man.
If given a clear direction like this, he would never make a mistake.
Just as I was thinking that the next step would be ……, Don walked in.
After I ascended to the throne, I selected Don to be the fourth Vizier as my confidant, and he has been working just as hard as when he was in Almeria.
As soon as he entered the room, he kneeled down and bowed in a fluid motion.
“An emergency, Your Majesty.”
“Refugees from the Gimbel region are pouring into the capital.”
“Hmm. Gimbel, that’s where the famine was during the drought, right?”
Don nodded and put the report on the desk.
I sat back down, took it, and looked at it.
“Then it must be getting crowded. Fuu, is the security getting worse?”
“Yes. The number of fights and other small conflicts with the people of the city has been increasing visibly.”
“I’m thinking of organizing a refugee relief shelter in the southern suburbs and lumping all the refugees together there.”
I thought for a moment.
“What about Gimbel?”
“We’re moving forward with the transportation of surplus food from the capital, as ordered by His Majesty. Leon will be leading a convoy in the next few days.”
The reason for sending the food directly from the capital comes from the fact that everyone has to put a little bit in their pockets, as was the case with Oscar earlier.
In the end, 10 percent of the budget, or at most 30 percent, will be used for disaster relief.
To prevent this from happening, we had the food with little “flavor” carried as is.
The less delicious the food is, the less will be taken – in other words, the more will go to the people.
” So how should we handle it?”
“About that, shall we let the refugees do it?”
Don looked at me like, “What is he talking about?”
“Erm, ……, what does that mean?”
“It means we’re going to let the refugees transport the food.”
“…… And how would it help with the situation?”
I looked back at Don with a serious face.
“We need to pay the manpower to transport the food, don’t we?”
“That’s why we will have the refugees do it. The reward will be in the form of food. If we do that…”
“—! We can save on transportation costs for the refugees who are eating for free at the shelter.”
Don gasped and looked at me.
“That’s what I’m talking about. There are two main reasons why the refugees are having trouble with the people of the city. They’re in a strange land, and they’re hungry. If we let the refugees carry them away, the city will be safer and there will be fewer refugees.”
Don was even more surprised and I looked at him, smiling back.
“Yeah, we can use the refugees for local distribution. They are refugees, and now they will be less likely to line their own pockets for the sake of their suffering friends back home. More importantly, since we know the situation in the affected areas well, we will know exactly where they are and how many there are. How about it, can you do it?”
Don thought for a moment and then nodded clearly.
“Even taking into account the refugees who flee the area, I think we should be able to reach more people than usual.”
“I hadn’t thought of it this way, Your Majesty. It’s a great idea that kills three birds with one stone.”
“Refugees are human beings. As long as they have a full stomach, they have labor power. Rather than that.”
“There’s no shortage of cases in history where leaving refugees behind has led to riots and rebellions.”
The number of refugees will never be zero no matter what we do.
I decided to think of a way to handle them in the long run.
In the evening, I left the palace and took Zoe, my maid, for a stroll around the capital.
After a whole day of work, we headed to Keith’s store on Raid Street to freshen up a bit.
Listing to Alice’s song, I decided to take a break.
“What? There’s a lot of people here.”
When we entered the street, we saw that it was more crowded than ever.
It was so crowded that Zoe was surprised and I raised an eyebrow.
And it was centered around Keith’s store – his store seemed to be the most prosperous.
It was almost difficult to get close to the store.
“Go and inquire about what’s going on.”
I ordered Zoe to inquire about it.
She ran off, asked around, and came back.
“I got it — well, Master.”
“I heard that the store is packed with women.”
“Why is that?”
“They know it’s a favorite of His Highness the Prince before he became Emperor.”
Zoe, who had been with me for many years, had a natural way of putting things in a way that didn’t give away that she was traveling incognito.
“So, if you come here, you’ll meet the Emperor who’s going incognito, and if he likes you, you might become his concubine! That’s why everyone seems to be here.”
“It’s amazing, master, all the beauties are so stunning. It’s like a beauty fair.”
I don’t feel bad.
“And here’s something even better. All the innkeepers around here are so packed, it seems like you can’t get a room even if you pay three times as much.”
It seemed that not only the people of the city but also beautiful women from other places were coming here to seek me out.
This marks the end of volume 3 according to LN
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