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The Younger Brother’s Excursion
“…Please excuse me. Young mistress, it is almost time for your meeting with Sei.”
While there was an awkward atmosphere in the air, Tanya called out to me. …It’s that time already. Because of Berne’s sudden arrival, I couldn’t relax at all.
“Mother, I must be going soon. Mother, please take your time and relax.”
“Yes, please allow me to do so. Ah, Iris-chan. Can you take this foolish son with you?”
‘This foolish son,’ she’s referring to Berne, right? But why…?
“Please show this foolish son the way you work and shut him for me. And if he complains, it’s fine if you beat him up. Tanya, thank you in advance when the time comes.”
“…I respectfully obey.”
If it’s Tanya, I’m pretty sure she’ll indeed do it. Well, if he starts getting fussy, it’s fine to drive him out… isn’t it?
“If that’s the case… Let’s go, Berne.”
“…Eh? You are… older sister…?”
Berne took a long and hard look at me and seemed surprised. As I thought, he has completely forgotten how I look like?
“That’s right. Who else did you think I was. Because I’m running out of time, let’s go quickly.”
I immediately headed to the study. And Sei was already standing inside waiting. When Sei saw Berne enter right after me, he furrowed his eyebrows but he soon took his report out and handed it to me.
I once again looked over it.
“…The profits of the confectionery line have decreased a little.”
“It’s because another shop has appeared selling the same product. In addition, it seems like they are selling it at a lower price compared to ours.”
“…It is not necessary to lower the price right now. The consumer will buy whichever product is more delicious.”
“There is also that idea of lowering the buying price of the raw materials…”
“Rejected. If you look at the stock value, this price is reasonable. If you lower it any further than this, it will deteriorate our relationship with the farmers. So to maintain or build a good relationship with them, we should secure a better delivery route.”
To run a successful conglomerate, it is necessary to pursue benefits. However, I do not want to pressure the farmers in the fief in the name of profit. It will be overcharging if it is sold at a higher price, and also, I think it is priced fairly.
“Aside from being lower in price, find out if there’s anything else. Check the line-up of the other companies, and then compare them and do a product review. Also, how is the progress with the cake products we’ll start selling next week?”
“Everything is on schedule, all the preparation has been made and we can start selling them next week. The information about the product called ‘birthday cake’ is being leaked by the common people… but thanks of the cafe originally having cake on the menu, it was favorably accepted by the public. Right now, a lot of inquiries is being made.”
The catchphrase for the advertisement is “a special cake for a special day.” Like a birthday, or a wedding anniversary. When they make a reservation, they could decide the decorations on the cake, the shape of it, and the cream when they order.
“If that’s the case, I’m glad. Please bring the contents of the inquiries to me.”
“It is right here.”
I briefly read the documents handed to me.
“…Most of the inquiries are regarding the reservation method and when it will go on sale. …When this is up and running, the profits from the confectionery line will increase a little. After that, how will you be managing the inventory?”
“Just like what the young mistress has instructed, we will be selling the leftover designs from the previous stocks little by little at a discounted price.”
“Is that so. …It will be an ideal to prevent the stocks from running out. But with the current figures and the market, if the drop continues, we will be barely breaking even. Especially those seasonal ingredients, it is best to limit the usage of those because of their scarcity value.”
“The beauty line is doing well as always. However, we presently… have a situation where the production cannot catch up with the demand…”
“Yes. That product is sold out in all stores…”
“Make a priority to adjust the production of the beauty products. Also, how are the series products doing?”
“That is also progressing steadily. Right now, the Honey series and the Rose series are being sold. Next will be the Lily and Lavender series.”
In this series, for example, the Honey series honey is used to create the beauty lotion, shampoo, and rinse. If it’s the Rose series, a rose is used for all of them. They were placed in their respective containers and packaged together.
“Is that so. Please advertise that depending on the person, some ingredients might not be suitable for their skin, so if they start getting a reaction to the products, immediately stop using them.”
“After that, please bring the report of all the stores to me. Both financial and periodic reports. I will look at them at night.”
After I said that, Sei said he understood and bowed before leaving the room.
…Now that I think about it, Berne was being really quiet… or so I thought. But when I turned around to look, I saw that Tanya had tied him up with a cloth stuffed in his mouth. However, I thought that it might have been unnecessary. I mean, his eyes were wide open with astonishment for a while now.
When I gave Tanya a look, asking her to take it off, Tanya immediately understood my intention, and she took the cloth off… albeit looking unwilling.
“What’s wrong, for you to make that kind of a dumb expression?”
“…Older sister, is in charge of the management of the conglomerate?”
“It’s because I’m the one who established it in the first place.”
Right after that conversation, someone knocked on the door of the study.
“…Please come in.”
The person who entered was Moneda. Moneda as well, the moment he saw Berne, he furrowed his eyebrows and immediately ignored him as though he doesn’t exist.
“There are some things I would like to consult with you. When I asked Tanya about it, she confirmed that this time would be all right…”
“It’s all right. And so, what would you like to consult with me?”
“It’s about the prices of the commodities here in the fief. As you can see, we have a situation where the prices are continuing to increase slightly.”
“It is really minuscule. It’s probably because the value of money is gradually decreasing, so the prices are on the rise.”
“Yes. Because of that, I was thinking of increasing the interest rate, but…”
“I think it is not yet needed. Although the prices are increasing, it’s really slight. So right now, the main priority is to stabilize the prices in the market.
The consumption of the town will inflate, the conglomerates will ask the bank for a loan, further amplifying the trend. If you increase the interest rates, you will be throwing cold water on the conglomerates who has taken so much effort on gaining momentum.”
“I see… I heard something good.”
“Once more, open the council and discuss it. If you still want to increase the interest rate after the earlier explanation, please give me a reason I can consent to.”
“I understand, thank you very much.”
“…Umm, older sister…”
“What is it?”
“If I’m not mistaken, the bank, is the financial institution that has been established in our fief recently? Why is older sister the one in charge…”
“When you think about it, does no answer come to mind? If it’s just this much, even if you were to conduct an investigation on your own, you’ll immediately find out… With your position, it is unforgivable for you not to know. Seriously, do you have any intention in succeeding the present Duke as the family head?”
When one thinks about it, Moneda’s way of speaking was really rude, but the argument he made was sound, even Berne couldn’t refute.
“Well, let’s give him the answer to his question this time. The person who proposed the establishment of the bank was your older sister… Iris. Therefore, it is natural for me to come here and consult with her. …Now then, Iris-sama. I will immediately report the contents of our meeting to the council, will that be all right?”
“Of course. I look forward to your report.”
After Moneda left, Sebastian appeared and replaced him.
“Young mistress. In this meeting, I would like to make a collective report regarding the management of the fief.”
“Yes, I was waiting for it. First of all, how is the adjustment of the Finance department go?”
“The talk is underway for the reform you want to legislate to lessen the taxes. First, in relation to the product of our fief. Presently, our main products are grain, livestock, cacaos, and various other fruits.
Cacao fruits are strictly produced in our fief, and no other fief is able to produce it. As for grains, thanks to the advance cultivation method achieved by the High School division’s research, we have secured an abundant stockpile. Thus, even if we lessen the tax, they were thinking that we will not experience a decline.”
“…Is that so. On the contrary, it’s a merit?”
“Our fief’s production line is yet to be put in order. Because of that, we can import them cheaply, and we were thinking that it is a big advantage.
In addition, the young mistress’ instructions of conducting trade via sea are now in operation. And we have gathered a lot of ingredients and products that don’t exist in our Kingdom. Because of this, our fief will profit if the conglomerate were to sell these domestically.”
“…I understand. Also, please give me the report of the council meeting and the income tax draft. As for when will be the right time to introduce it, I will give instructions later.”
“After that, Public Affairs. After they finish making the family registers, ask then to investigate the land. I want them to get clarification on who owns what land. In the future, because the family registers will be a legitimate document here in our fief, make sure they are done without fail.”
“Yes. Presently, the Public Affairs have notified various places in our fief to advise the people. ‘This is an official policy that will benefit our fief, please cooperate with us.’ We are nearly done and will be able to proceed to the investigations shortly.”
“That is splendid news. After that, what is the utilization rates of the primary school in various places?”
“It has increased tremendously. Besides, one can attend it free of charge. Because there are still some districts that don’t have a school yet, that might prove to be a problem in the future.”
“Let’s have the Public Works undertake that task. What about textbooks?”
“It has been separated into different levels. Currently, the children from ages seven to twelve are in the same class, but discussions have occurred to further separate them based on their individual ages sometime soon.”
“Consolidate the age of entrance to be seven years old. And they will advance a grade each school year. However, an examination will be held at the end of each year, and one will be allowed to skip a grade depending on their results, what do you think?”
“I will immediately make a proposal.”
“Then, please bring the reports and income tax drafts we talked about earlier. …Ah, that’s right. Mother told me to show Berne the way we work… So when you go to the Finance department to collect the documents and the income tax draft, please take him along with you and ask him to calculate the tax revenue of various places.”
Since I’ve been glared at for a while now, I’ve gotten really tired. I’ll have you leave this place without delay. And because he has always been first place in the academy, he should be at least able to do some calculation.
“…Since that’s the case, Berne. Please go do that for me. …Please fully demonstrate the capability of someone who has always been first place in the academy.”
With lifeless eyes, he frantically stood up and followed Sebastian.
…Haahh~ I can finally calm down.
“…Was that all right?”
Tanya asked me while she poured tea.
“What do you mean?”
“To involve that man the in fief’s government.”
“There’s no particular problem with it. I don’t intend to control the information of the fief’s government. And Sebastian went with him, so he probably won’t do anything strange.
However, when it comes to Azura Conglomerate, as expected, I can’t show him too much. And the meeting with Sei earlier only touched upon the contents that have been publicly released.”
Although he is my younger brother, I have absolutely no trust in him. For this reason, when it comes to business, I cannot let him touch Azura Conglomerate.
…As for the fief’s government, other than confidential information and the military, my motto is “Transparent Politics,” so there’s not that much confidential information.
“…Besides, Ryle will be coming here soon. Although they’re called Security Patrol Unit, they are still considered military personnel, so it’s sensitive information. It will be troublesome if that younger brother of mine, being part of his entourage and all, leak this information to the Second Prince. I thought that it was a good excuse to have him leave.”
Knock, knock… With perfect timing, I heard a knock on the door.
“Please come in.”
* * *
Moneda-sama, you’re so awesome! Please use your venomous tongue to degrade him more!