Chapter 08: Obvious things
I was swinging my sword in the yard and was covered in sweat and dirt.
So after that I took a bath to get rid of the dirt.
After taking off my clothes, I went into the bathroom to be washed by the full-time maids.
It felt good, in the normal sense of the word.
The parts of a person’s body that can’t be washed with one’s own hands inevitably come out, and when you’re tired, the way you wash yourself becomes careless.
The maids do it for me, so the dirt, grease, and even fatigue are washed away.
It’s no joke, it’s a bathing experience that will help recover your strength.
After that, I was dressed by another maid in the changing room, when the receptionist’s maid came in.
“Master, a visitor is here to see you.”
I looked at the business card as the maid held it out to me instead of accepting it.
Murray, Viceroy of Hojoi.
I have heard that name somewhere.
I leave the maid to get dressed and explore through my memory about the visitor.
“… oh, he’s an upstart from my domain.”
Somehow I managed to remember him.
The empire has a large genus-oriented aspect to it, partly because the empire has given the princes a fiefdom.
Unless there’s something very special, it’s common for them to look up to the royal family, the lords of their native lands, as their sovereign.
That man Marley, who is currently the governor of a different place than my fiefdom, should have a strong sense of being my people.
But what’s this Marley doing here no, I suppose I’ll find out when I see him.
“Send him to the parlor. I’ll be right there.”
The maid left the changing room with my orders.
I didn’t do anything special.
I let the maids make sure I was well dressed and groomed.
Finally, I hung the Leviathan around my waist and then leisurely walked out of the changing room and headed for the parlor.
A maid was waiting in front of the parlor, and when I arrived, she bowed and opened the door.
Inside the parlor, a middle-aged man sitting on the lower seat of the sofa stood up and knelt down to me in a fluid motion.
“Ded Murray. Your Highness, I am honored to meet you, sir.”
“Don’t be so formal. Sit down.”
“As you wish.”
Murray got up and waited for me to still get to the top seat before he sat down on the couch himself.
“Ded Murray. This is the second time we’ve met, as I recall?”
From memory, yes, but I checked it out just in case.
“Yes, I had the pleasure of greeting you about a year and a half ago when His Majesty assigned me to be the Viceroy.”
That means it’s an assignment greeting.
That’s also an essential courtesy for the lord of your home town.
“Well, it’s good to see you. How’s the assignment?”
“You look like you’ve bitten down on a bitter bug.”
” I have been ordered to do so largely because I am from Almeria.”
“Because you”re from Almeria…? Well, that reminds me, His Majesty ordered you to go to flood control.”
This time I remembered it perfectly.
Hojoi is a land that is situated at the corner of a great river.
Therefore, it has fertile land as a granary, but every once in a while a great flood occurs and it becomes a great disaster.
His Majesty’s idea was to completely eliminate this and make it a stable granary, and the Governor appointed to do so was Murray from Almeria, the land where the Water Clan lives.
“Doesn’t that look mean it’s not working?”
Marley gave me a small nod.
” The budget wasn’t coming down, and we couldn’t afford to wear a sleeve.”
“Budget? Why wouldn’t it be? It’s an edict from His Majesty.”
“Yes, but the Ministry of Finance gave a reason why,”
So I guess that’s why you came to me, to see what I can do about the Ministry of Finance.
“Okay, follow me.”
“Eh? Oh, Your Highness!”
I left the mansion with a puzzled Murray.
I had my carriage ready, and Murray and I came to the Finance Ministry together.
It was a repurposed former detached building to the west of the Royal Palace, a building with a high level of prestige and pomp.
In the most prestigious room in the building, I was confronted by the Minister of Finance, Maybrick.
Maybrick is an old man in his sixties, his face wrinkled but with greasy eyes.
I sensed a certain emotion that was clear.
On the surface, he appears to be respecting me, the prince, but deep down he’s looking down on me, saying, “You little bastard.”
I meet people like this all the time. I knew right away that this guy was one of them.
I sit down across from Maybrick, while Murray, whose “stature” is diminished, stands behind me.
“How is it that you came so unexpectedly, Your Highness Noah?”
“Murray told me about it. It sounds like you’re reluctant to give the budget.”
“I don’t think so.”
“So why don’t you release it?”
“I have a very good reason for this.”
If you’re going to tell me that I don’t understand anything just because I am a kid, then shut your mouth right now.”
Maybrick’s complexion changed.
The previous gaze of contempt retracted.
“Of course I won’t do that kind of disrespect.”
“Yes. Hojoi was flooded again last year.”
I turned around and asked Murray, he nodded.
“What about it?’
“At that time, His Majesty had issued a royal decree exempting the Hojoi from taxes for a whole year.”
“So, in other words, there’s a tax slush fund that’s up for grabs and we can spend it, in the view of the Ministry of Finance.”
“…Are you kidding me?”
“Due to the flood, his Majesty waived the tax, you know why? Because there’s no tax to be extracted. That’s a favor, of course, but the fundamental problem is still there. You’re saying this as it is natural, do you take me for a fool, you dumb-ass?”
I heard Marley let out an exclamation from behind my back.
I ignored it, glaring at Maybrick even more.
“Well, that’s not what I meant, sir.”
“Well … actually, I can’t tell you right now, sir.”
“You’re aware of all the talk about building a new summer resort for His Majesty, aren’t you?”
“Yes. His Majesty is quite old, so you’re talking about building a summer home north of the capital, where it gets very hot every year, right? What about it?”
“Even though it’s a villa, it’s used by His Majesty. It’s the same with the detached palace. It will be a city for about five thousand people, in the name of a villa, at a very early stage. That will cost an enormous amount of money.”
“That’s why the treasury was cut off.”
Maybrick freaked out.
He was getting on a roll as he spoke, spitting forcefully, but he freaked out when he heard my low, stifled voice.
“You!, that’s a huge disrespect!”
“I dare not…”
” You are trying to make my father a fool of himself.”
He tried to argue with me, but I wouldn’t let him say it.
“We need flood control in a flooded area, but can”t get the money out of the treasury now because we’re building a vacation home? You’re suggesting that you’d make His Majesty that kind of a fool.”
Maybrick jumped up and got down on his knees in front of me.
“Then give us the money. Or would you prefer that I go straight to His Majesty?”
“Pl,Please don’t. Immediately, immediately get the budget for Hojoi!”
I glared at Maybrick, who was still on his knees, and then that guy screamed and jumped up.
He ran out of the room as it was, ranting something loudly.
Since the content was that he was going to send the money to Hojoi as soon as he was done blustering to his men, I let him do what he wanted.
I waited for him to come back to report once, so I waited it out.
In the meantime, Murray looked impressed.
“Excellent work, sir. This Ded Murray, admires you, sir.”
“A great negotiating push, skillful words that took advantage of the other party’s weaknesses and missteps, not his own position. I’m ashamed of my own shallowness in asking His Highness for this ”position”.”
So it’s about that.
So he thought that me, the Prince, was planning to forcibly have my own way on this matter.
“Actually…….Good gracious! Being lost for words against those verbal attacks. I truly am considering to prostate against you to show my respect”
Murray was so impressed that he kept praising me, lifting me up, until Maybrick came back.
I parted with Murray outside the Ministry of Finance.
He had to get back as soon as possible and push for flood control, so I didn’t keep him back, and we parted ways.
After completing my work, I climbed into the carriage and was about to return to the residence.
At that moment, a young eunuch came running from across the street.
He was a little older than me, about 10 years old, and was wearing the eunuch’s uniform.
He came up to me and knelt down, gasping for breath.
“Ju, I wish to address Your Highness the Thirteenth.”
“His Majesty wishes to see you. Please report to him on your way.”
” His Majesty? All right. Where to?”
“I’ll take you there.”
I followed in a carriage, led by the young eunuch.
Upon entering the Royal Palace, we were on foot.
As a rule, horses and carriages are not allowed within the walls of the palace, as it is forbidden to be standing higher than His Majesty.
So I dismounted and walked, following the young eunuch to the gardens, which are His Majesty’s favorite.
I found His Majesty feeding the birds in front of the fountain, and I gave the child eunuch a little money as pocket money, and then I went straight to His Majesty and knelt down on one knee.
“I have come in response to your summons, Your Majesty.”
“Come on, make yourself comfortable.”
“Let me start by saying good job.”
I tilted my head and wondered what he was talking about.
“It’s about Hojoi, I heard you smashed Maybrick.”
I was pleasantly surprised.
It just happened just a few minutes ago, I mean, I just got out of that Finance Ministry.
So how do you know about this already? Sire.
“Information is a weapon, and you should get in the habit of constantly polishing it.”
“… I will.”
I bowed my head.
What can I say……. amazing. I mean, that’s all I can muster up.
” I say again, good job.”
“No, I’m just doing the obvious”.
” The obvious is hard to take for granted.”
His Majesty fed the bait he was holding to the birds that had flocked to him.
One by one, tossing it to them.
“Many of them have good mouths, and some use their sycophants. But there are few that can take it for granted.”
His Majesty turned towards me.
He approached me and gently patted me on the head.
“You’re only six years old, but you’ re really something…”
He had a strange expression on his face, a father and an emperor, two happy expressions mixed together.
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