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I kinda enjoy watching the development of this heroine.
Chapter 88 – Along the Way
Before heading to Heinz, Ares stopped by Redgear, Trevoir and Brittany to discuss the future.
First he visited Trann, the capital of Brittany. Here, he met the current representative of Brittany, a hardworking fellow named Gray.
Gray was originally an adventurer. Using his experiences and well-cultivated relations as an advantage, he started his business here at Brittany. The business was sailing smoothly at the start, but soon fell victim to the machinations of the upper ranks of the old Brittany.
With the upper echelon gone after the Arcadia Empire’s invasion, now he could do his business properly. Then he gained everyone’s recommendations due to his work ethics and integrity, earning him the position of the representative.
Gray’s first task was to establish a [Free Market]. In recent years, the higher-ups of Brittany had abused the market with scams and shady businesses, creating a notion of distrust.
The business tax was also high. So high, in fact, that the regular folks won’t get much despite making a huge profit.
One had to pay a large sum of money to start a business and the highrollers didn’t hesitate in employing the tactic of withholding a certain item to raise its price.
And with bribery running rampant, the merchant city state had reached an all-time low.
Gray showed a stern attitude to eliminate all those old practices. New rules were set and penalties enforced in an attempt to create an environment where people could do business fairly.
Ares quietly listened to the explanation as he observed Gray. The appearance of a neatly dressed, tall, and platinum haired Gray gave a feeling that this guy may actually be an aristocrat.
[It seems that everything has started smoothly.]
[The logistics had flowed properly in the meantime. But the influence and practices of the high ranking members of old is still deeply rooted. It’ll take months to fully erase it.]
[They only did harmful things to the state after all.]
Having said that, Ares sipped the tea that was served to him. The fragrant and elegant scent was really telling. It’s the black tea brewed from high quality tea leaves imported from the Sindora Kingdom in the south. Apparently it’s one of the items that the elite had been stockpiling to increase its value.
Gray continued on.
[We have decided to not collect any business tax for half a year. Then, after half a year, we’ll return the tax to the normal amount. We’ll put those people doing shady business to jail or expel them. It’s going to take some time to return the state into its stable condition.]
[I wonder if you have enough manpower for that?]
Ares began to speak with more serious tone then.
[… I want to make Trann as the center of commerce not only for Brittany but the entire confederation. If you need something, then don’t hesitate to say it. We will do everything in our power to help.]
He told Gray while chuckling…
Gray’s response was a smile.
[Trann was originally… the responsibility of the entire Brittany. And I want to do something for Brittany. Please rest assured. A year later, we will surely make this city bigger than ever before.]
Ares smiled back, satisfied to hear that reply.
Ares stayed in Brittany for about a week, teaching Gray with things he should know. The man immediately went to work afterward.
Leaving the finer details to Gray, Ares left Brittany. He went to the neighboring Trevoir next.
Arriving in Trevoir County, Ares met the now Earl of Trevoir Louis and his best friend Simon.
[The people seem to live quietly, don’t they?]
[That’s because Arcadia Empire barely changed anything… at least that’s how I understand it.]
Louis chuckled at Ares’ comment.
[Actually, it’s because there are no more aristocrats piggybacking on government authority. It makes life easier when they are not burdened by heavy taxes… not bad at all if I say so myself.]
It’s obvious that it was the aristocrats who got in the way of Louis’ attempts to reform Trevoir. After those people left for the Royal Capital, Louis took the chance to apply the plans that he couldn’t afford to do before.
First, agricultural reform. There were a lot of unused lands in Trevoir. So he planned to do a large-scale land reform.
At the same time, he also reformed the tax system. Previously, the people were burdened by a very unusual tax system. The civilians ended up moving out because the tax was too high and the collection method was too strict.
Why was the tax rate was so high before? Because most of it went to the aristocrats’ paycheck.
Now, most of those aristocrats had left Trevoir.
That’s why Louis could afford to amend this tax system and aimed to stabilize the people.
[Fortunately there is still some funding left… so there shouldn’t be any problem even if the tax is low for a while. It should last until some more developments are done.]
[After that… I guess I’ll have to find a way to deal with those aristocrats. For now they’re enjoying their life at the capital… but they’ll soon realize things after they ran out of money. In a year’s time they’ll come running back to Trevoir begging to regain their place.]
[… but they couldn’t simply do that.]
[Yeah… it’s impossible, right?]
Ares then gave Louis a look.
[By the time they return here, Trevoir will already see a lot of changes. They would’ve already lost their place here.]
Ares resumed after taking a breather.
[In order to achieve the goal of my, no, our vision, I wish Louis the best. On the other hand, I will also not hesitate to help if you require any funding or extra manpower.]
Ares smiled after saying so.
Ares stayed in Trevoir for about a week, visiting many places in the process. The development in Trevoir had been delayed due to the aristocrats’ influence.
[It’s originally just a small country, but I’m sure it’ll grow into something amazing… in three years time, for sure…]
And he left Trevoir just like that.
The last place he needed to visit was Redgear.
When he arrived at the Redgear capital Fran, many people were there to welcome him. Among them was the current Earl of Redgear William and his sister Liliana as well as the two generals Zion and Garn.
(TL note: for some reason the author changed ‘Wilfred’ into ‘William’ here)
[There is really no need to do a welcoming this grand…]
William laughed and replied to the confused Ares.
[It’s only natural to greet our Lord. Please don’t mind this too much.]
[But… for the Earl himself to attend here is a bit…]
[It is to show my sincerity. No need to worry about it.]
Whilst having such conversation, Ares and William walked side by side towards the castle at the center of Fran.
William reported the current situation in Redgear to Ares.
Unlike in Trevoir, most of the Redgear aristocrats chose to become William’s mercenaries and stayed in Redgear instead of becoming a member of the Arcadian aristocracy. Since the people knew that they are still governed by the Redgear clan, there had been no noticeable movement.
This goes to show the loyalty of Redgear’s people and its vassals to the Redgear clan.
[There seems to be no big confusion happening. Everything is going fine now.]
[Unity in Redgear has always been amazing. Suffice to say the most important groundwork for reform has been completed… now, let’s talk about agricultural reform, shall we?]
…..one person was watching very intently as Ares and William are having a serious discussion about the future plans.
[Princess… Princess…! … Princess Liliana!]
[…………………….eh! W-what is it!? Zion?]
The Redgear old general Zion, upon seeing this kind of situation, could only sigh and speak up.
[‘What is it’ my ass… if Princess is staring at Ares-dono as if you want to devour him like that, wouldn’t he think that Princess is too rude?]
[………..is it true?]
[Yes, very much so.]
Zion sighed once more.
Zion had taught Liliana as her teacher from an early age and the two had a shared history of serving in the army together for quite a long time. Zion had long considered Liliana, who was as old as his daughter Ellie, as his own daughter.
And to such Zion, Liliana’s attitude just now was something he had never seen before.
(This is definitely what my wife told me before)
Zion’s wife also treats Liliana like her own child. And his wife once told him:
[Liliana-sama is in love with someone.]
[That Liliana-sama? Really?]
That girl who showed no interest in other things than the sword?
Zion was perplexed by such notions, but kept listening.
[…..of course you have no idea. Her face now is the face of a maiden in love. I wonder what kind of man she’s thinking about right now?]
Liliana often said, if she were to get married, it has to be with someone who is righteous, cares for the people, is more skilled than herself, and most importantly, he should be a hero whom many are willing to pledge their sword to.
(I thought there is no such man exists in this world… but here he appeared before us…)
Zion looked at Ares gently.
Skills great enough to toy Liliana around, many loyal knights by his side, takes great care for the people, and war prowess enough to conquer four countries in such a short time.
(But earlier… I heard that he’s engaged to an Arcadia Empire princess. Not to mention those other women he’s engaged to as well. Previously I wanted to smooth her way in, but it’s impossible now, isn’t it…)
Zion thought inwardly.
[Ah, excuse me!]
Liliana suddenly barged in between Ares and William.
[Liliana… I am discussing an important matter with Ares-dono at the moment. Even if you are my sister…]
[I have a request for Ares-dono!]
Liliana didn’t seem to listen. So William could only sigh.
(Don’t tell me… Princess is going to confess her feelings… But, at such timing?)
Zion unintentionally got up from his chair.
[What is it?]
Ares responded with a gentlemanly smile.
Seeing that caused Liliana to blush, but she continued on.
[About that! Please…]
Zion started panicking. Is she really going for it!?
Is Liliana really going to confess her feelings in such place and timing!?
But then he thought. No, if that girl rushes in like that.
[Oi, Princess! Please have some consideration about the time and place…]
When Zion stood up to reprimand her, Liliana already opened her lips.
[Can you spar with me in swordsmanship!?]
And thus, general Zion who had amassed a great amount of fame in Redgear, somehow felt that moment was the greatest relief in his whole life.
Thank you for your feedback.
I used to be afraid of looking at the comment section… but now, here I am looking forward to your warm messages.
For those supporting me and those who made predictions, please look forward to the continuation…
Those who read this story because they enjoyed it.
And to those who read my work carefully, correcting my errors…
I feel like many people are supporting me in their own way.
This story …may become a very long story, but I will be very happy if you tag along in this ride until the end. And again, thank you.