The next day was spent lounging on the bed. As it is, Eleanora would come to visit again today so I didn’t feel like wasting my energy.
While lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, I thrust my fist towards the empty air. Normally, there is no particular reason for me to do Shadow Boxing. Somehow.
Left and right. The punches that I thrust made a swoosh sound. I’ve been struggling with it, in my previous life and I don’t stand a chance against it now either.
「This kind of eccentric behavior is what’s making people misunderstand you.」
「We all do this, don’t we?」
There wasn’t any conversation since I felt so drowsy, so I had forgotten that Patrick was in the same room as me. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching me punching the air.
What the hell, you can’t just walk into a maiden’s bed with a confident look on your face. It’s a delicate thing for a girl my age. I’m concerned about it, you know.
But Patrick himself was calm. Am I perhaps dreaming?
No, no, one way or another, he is a guy. Right now, he’s watching me like a wolf waiting for an opportunity to prey upon… ah, I started to get sleepy. It’s relaxing.
This is the scene where I have to use all my charm to seduce him. The surprise attack is basic, it’s better to strike first and get the upper hand.
「Hey, Patrick. I think I’m drunk.」
「…Uh, isn’t it easy to get drunk on alcohol? 」
「Have you been drinking?」
…How strange. Patrick, who shouldn’t be able to withstand the pounding in his chest, was backing away like he had cold feet. Did I do something?
As I laid back looking up at the ceiling, contemplating the cause of my defeat, I heard a voice nearby.
「What are you thinking about now?」
When I turned my head towards the source, Patrick’s face was in front of me. He was lying down next to me. We were sleeping together in the same bed.
With a pathetic squeak, I immediately backed away from Patrick. I rolled away until I couldn’t feel anything but air under my body before the sensation of the cold hard floor encompassed my entire back.
A surprise attack is a cowardly thing to do. Dammit. Was I the one getting cold feet?
「Are you okay?」
「You don’t need to look so surprised.」
「Who are you calling surprised? Somehow… somehow, I just wanted to roll around.」
I stand up, pretending nothing has happened. Yup, I just wanted to roll around for no reason. In my previous life, I was a panjandrum.
(E/D note: The official meaning stands as, someone or something which holds great influence or authority. Since this makes no sense in the context I believe she’s talking about the WW2 weapon Panjandrum which was a rocket-propelled axle with 2 wheels attached on each side filled with gunpowder. It was tested but never officially used in combat due to the mishaps during its testing phase. Here’s the Wikipedia page and laugh about how ridiculous the whole thing was.)
Patrick looks at me with a serious look on his face.
It’s embarrassing, so let’s just change the topic. Let’s change it into something a bit more serious.
「Patrick, can we talk about the territory reform proposal?」
「…But we weren’t talking about that just now.」
「Are you saying that the territory, the people and the House of Dolknes don’t matter to you?」
「I’m not saying… haa, alright alright let’s talk about the plan.」
Patrick said with a troubled smile.
Yosh, I was able to naturally change the topic to a more serious one. I might have a talent for debate. But for some reason, his gentle gaze felt painful.
「Okay, do you have any ideas?」
Crap. There’s no way I would have any ideas, it was a spur of the moment thing when I changed the topic… but if I said that, I know he’d be angry, so I frantically thought of an idea.
But I couldn’t think of anything. Even after discussing the plan with Damon, I still got no idea. There’s no revelation of revolutionary ideas here.
There’s no way territory management can’t go smoothly without a bump. If such a thing exists, all the lords who manage their territory wouldn’t have so much trouble. And the Dolknes territory does not have any unique local specialty.
Yeah, I need someone’s advice. I wonder if there’s someone out there who’s knowledgeable about territory management.
「Say. What about Ashbaton territory? Do you guys have any local specialty?」
「My hometown? Well, there’s nothing in particular. We don’t have anything that we could call a local specialty.」
「Eh? And you’re okay with that?」
「Our situation is different from the Dolknes territory. We get financial aid from the government since we defend the national border, plus there is a difference in the size of our territory.」
In other words, our roles itself are already different since his hometown was bordering the neighboring country? If the defense was the main priority for Ashbaton territory, then our main priority is…, right? The territory’s prosperity? When the territory flourishes and the people are prosperous, the tax revenue will increase.
And the difference in scale would be a matter of the area our territory covers. More accurately, it is the area of farmland that is available for use. Since there’s no other industry other than agriculture in our territory, the field’s size is directly related to the population.
To sum it up, there’s an abundance of untouched plots of land that could be utilized to produce more foods, we could use it to increase the population and increase the tax revenue…
That’s when I thought of something brilliant to do it. Right now, I can only think of one.
「Oh! We can expand our territory!」
「…You can’t invade other people’s territory.」
「No, I won’t!」
Why are you so quick in thinking about the worst possible outcome? What I meant was that I’m going to expand our farmland, not our territory.
I will present a peaceful and productive proposal. Maybe something which is doable and realistic. I should be able to do that.
「I want to increase the farmland. With more people, our tax revenue surely would increase, right? Everyone will be happy, right?」
「People have been clearing up the land everywhere.」
「But I don’t think the outcome really changed, right?」
「Well… the population and food production is showing a slightly upward trend across the kingdom, but the change is barely noticeable.」
That is to be expected. It’s only been several hundred years since the kingdom had been established, or on a human scale, thousand years of farming. Most of the soil that was suitable for agriculture wasn’t that fertile anymore.
All that remained was land which was either barren, monster-infested or was a mountainous region. All three were pretty much inhabitable. No matter how much money and time was invested in cultivating those lands, the result isn’t guaranteed.
But what if you could change the terrain instantly? I could do it.
「I’m going to level the land with my power! Let’s erase the mountains, dig the rivers and wipe out the monsters!」
Theoretically, it’s a perfect plan with no flaw. If I wrote a paper on this subject, I might be the woman of the hour at the conference.
And I’m very good at clearing the land. With my physical strength and magical ability, using dynamite or pickaxe was unnecessary.
With a stiff expression on his face, Patrick replied.
「Hey, are you for real? You’re kidding, right?」
「I know it’s a bit over the top but that’s the gist of it.」
Still, to flatten the territory is an overstatement. I can see how it will mess up the environment. Without the elevation, the rivers won’t flow and the rivers have a finite amount of water. Besides, no matter how many monsters we hunt, they will keep popping up one after another in some other places.
But if we choose a location untouched by labor and no financial resources, it will be useful to make it into a granary.
Patrick had this reluctant look on his face.
「We don’t have the budget to do that. Yumiela, clearing the lands won’t be no problem. But we still need to accommodate a village, not only that but the tools for farming and field maintenance, there’s no money to spare for it. We also need to need to support the new village until it stabilizes.」
「You don’t need to worry about the money.」
The reason why I wanted to start a new business isn’t because I wanted to raise the tax revenue. Instead, since I became the lord, I plan on reducing the tax rate.
My goal is to enrich my territory. That’s why I don’t mind paying for the expense out of my pocket.
「No, no, money is a serious matter. You might be able to borrow money from other people, but—」
「I won’t need a loan from others. Listen, Patrick, the truth is… you can get an infinite amount of money if you go dungeon diving.」
「…It’s frustrating that I can’t deny that.」
For someone with a maximum level like me, a dungeon is just a money-making factory. Plus, there are many valuable items inside the dungeon, like that barrier device from the church. The how is unclear, but every time you enter, the treasure chest also rearranges.
Of course, since the funds available in the kingdom and the world is finite, there’s bound to be a limit somewhere. But for now, we can use the dungeon to help with the territory’s finances.
「Right? What’s the problem?」
「That does sound like the typical Yumiela…」
I believe he’s right. Now that I’ve thought about it, I’ve been using brute force to solve all the problems I encountered up till now. After all if you’re weak, you have to think with your brain as to how to solve your problems. But the strong don’t need to wreck their brains to make it work. Fuahaha.
While I’m basking with self-satisfaction, Patrick has something to add.
「Then what about the people? If you’re going to make a new village, we also going to have to gather some new villagers.」
I can secure the land and provide the money, however I can’t gather all the people I need.
As I thought, it was stupid ideas full of holes. But I know I’m bad at letting things go, that’s why I’ll try to consider whether I can do something about it.
「Hmm, what if we recruit immigrants from other villages?」
「I doubt that will work. They don’t have that many people either. Plus, I’ve heard stories about villages splitting up because of a mishmash from different villages.」
I wonder if there were any wandering nomads looking for a safe haven. They can come to the Promised Land in my territory.
「What if we bring in people from other territories? There must be someplace with not enough land.」
「If you look for it, you will find it. But I don’t think the lords would be happy about it. You wouldn’t complain to me directly but—」
「Wait… a minute, that sounds like a threat.」
I don’t want to talk about people like they were objects, but many lords do seem to think that their territories and the people living there are their property. It’s normal to feel bad about taking things without permission. I don’t want to do anything that will force me to use the armed forces.
「This is hard. I guess the only thing we can do right now is expanding the village that we already have.」
「Hm, I think it will work for now since the villages aren’t saturated enough. 」
The bottom line is, we didn’t change much. But we agreed to expand the areas around the villages.
It seems that I have to wait a little longer before I can flatten the world.