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“…And they live happily ever after. We’ll stop today’s story-telling here.”
When I closed the open book, the children all had dissatisfied expressions and announced,
“Eh~, more, more!”
“Please read this picture book next.”
Ah, I’m being healed. Surely if one was to look at my expression now, they will think that I can’t endure it any longer.
I am currently holding myself back from reading some more.
“I’m really sorry. I must truly head home for today. I will definitely come some other time, so please forgive me.”
“When will you come?”
After hearing the lonely tone of the children’s voices I almost wanted to say, if possible I want to stay here forever…
“Although I do not know when, but I’ll definitely return. Okay? I promise you.”
“…When you come back next time, please read the picture book.”
“Yes, of course.”
After I said goodbye to the children, I headed inside the orphanage and greeted Mina-sensei.
…Haaa~ I don’t want to return.
When I retire sometime in the future, I wondered if I should work at the orphanage… Or rather, I’ve been seriously considering it.
Marriage… That hope has been destroyed the moment my engagement with a royal family member was annulled. Because that happened, my marriage ended up nothing but a destroyed dream.
Sometime in the future, I will have to retire from managing the conglomerate and the fief. When that time comes, I want to live quietly while being surrounded by children… that’s how I feel.
I am really being healed. …Since there’s no foolproof way on how to raise a child, I’m sure that troubles will occur here and there, however… as of now, I don’t believe there will come a time where my feelings about this will cool off.
Advantageous and disadvantageous connections, strategy… not to mention in the conglomerate, but there is always these shadows in fief politics. The number one thing that the country uses during exchanges are the fiefs.
Because I am no gentleman with a high ranking, I never want others to say that I cannot see what’s important and protect it. At times, there are things that must be cut down and I have to play the role of a demon, harden my heart, and cut those down. And things that can still be used must be used.
I must protect the people living in our fief, my precious parents, grandparents, people who are important to me and those who are willing to work with me, at all cost.
However, even if it’s me, there are times when I get tired. Rather than my body, it’s my heart and mind. What was it that I read in a book… Kings are always lonely.
Although I am not a King, the future of the people can change based on my final decision… No matter what, it is my responsibility.
When I think about those things, as I thought, it is heavy.
Because I decided to undertake this on my own, I will do everything I am capable of doing… That being said, I will also grow old eventually, and it will be impossible for me to continue then, thus I must find someone suitable to replace me.
When that time comes, I thought I will live quietly surrounded by children… Oh my, I wonder if I was being too impatient.
Well, in order to achieve a peaceful future, I must work at it right now.
It has been half a year since grandfather departed from the Duke of Armelia’s fief. Berne and the Second Prince has successfully graduated from school.
Right now, Berne is studying under father. The rest of the group are also studying under their individual parents. This means that Ed-sama is also studying his duties in the castle. He has yet to be officially married to Yuri-sama. As to when it will happen, they have yet to make an announcement, but it will probably be soon.
* * *
After I returned home, I immediately headed to the study. First, I will take a look at documents concerning the conglomerate, and the fief government afterward.
“Welcome home, young mistress.”
With that timing, the person who entered was Dean. After I collapsed that time, I stopped leisurely going out to town with just Dean and I. Our day offs are on a separate day, in case something happens, we’ll be able to support each other.
“I’m back, Dean. Although it’s sudden, please give me a report.”
“Yes. …As expected, the import and export have increased after the ease on the taxes. In addition, it looks like the profits of the conglomerates and companies have increased.”
Since that time, we switched from poll taxes to income taxes to lessen the taxes needed to be paid. Although there was a lot of confusion when it was still at its introductory stage, it has settled down little by little.
Now then, just to recap where the Duke of Armelia’s fief is, it is southeast of the Royal City, and the area it covers is quite large. The climate is eternal spring… and a part of the south is tropical. The east faces the sea, and there are some ports there.
I believe that the Duke of Armelia’s fief is blessed with a good location. The climate is warm, and there is a port town. There is a sea that separates other countries from it, although there’s a risk during war-time, but right now, it brings in large profits.
In addition, northwest of the Royal City, without a body of water to separate the land, lies the Kingdom which is famous for warfare, the Towair Kingdom. Thus, compared to that place, this is better.
Returning to the story, there is a port town in our fief, and because of that, trade is taking place there more than ever. When I had just received the position of being the fief Lord’s proxy, I went to investigate the east where the tax revenue is large, and the reason was because of the port town.
Presently, because of the ease of taxes, trade with other countries has increased. With the previous taxes, not only were the people in the fief not doing enough trade with other countries, they suffered from trading with other towns within the fief. The taxes on exportation has been abolished and decreased the taxes on import. In the future, we will do an occasional tax rate review based on the product item.
In any case, because the taxes has lessened, the quantity of the import and export goods coming and going to other fief and countries as increased.
Because of that, with the conglomerates and companies are gaining more profits based on the goods they handle, next would be the income tax of the conglomerates… We will be separating the income taxes of the conglomerates and their presidents… Well, that’s something I’m looking forward to.
…Azura Conglomerate has also started to import and export to other countries, so our profits are increasing little by little.
Now then, when the distribution increased, I discovered something interesting. That is silk.
In my previous world, if I’m not mistaken, silk was introduced in Europe during the Middle Ages*, and it was popular among the upper class… But for some reason, there is still no silk in this Kingdom.
[T/N: Middle Ages span from 5th to 15th centuries. Silk was introduced to Europe, Italy, in the 13th century after the Second Crusades. For more information, please search for “Silk Road.”]
The mainstream here is linen, wool, and cotton. I found it interesting that although cotton has been distribution, silk, on the other hand, is not available… That’s what I first thought, but when trade had increased, I recently discovered it.
Although I do know that farming silkworms are one way to produce them, and I want the Armelia fief to make it a locality, but honestly, I do not know what silk is made out of and the process of making it so it will require a large amount of time. Because of that, when the tax revenue of the fief has settled down, let’s do some trial and error sometime in the future to make.
* * *
Cat was caught in the clutches of the younger sister’s evil friend who just happened to like reading Duke’s Daughter and was bribed with two boxes of White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.
That said, let’s start Volume 2 with a bang, shall we? There will be a total of 5 chapters today. And no, my fingers didn’t slip from the number 2 on my number keypad. Hehehe.
Also, I would like to take this time to thank the people who donated to the Japan Relief Fund and requested for Duke’s Daughter. These chapters are for you guys!
Thank you to: Kirindas, JC, CU, PW, HL, MK, TD, and other people who wish to remain Anonymous. Thank you for your generosity. 🙂