Chapter 27: Not Something a Child Should Discuss
One night, I suddenly felt a presence outside of my window, so nervously turned towards a window. Then, I saw the vague shadow of a person…
“Timona. There’s someone outside my window…”
“I believe it’s Fabio Dunou.”
Is this a horror? I spoke to Timona as I thought this, and he replied in his usual tone.
… You should have told me beforehand if you know he’s out there. I was seriously freaking out.
“I didn’t tell you beforehand because I didn’t know when he appeared.”
Really? Are my thoughts that easy to read?
I opened the window, and it was really Fabio.
“Long time no see, Your Majesty. I have come to report to you.”
Fabio came into the room through the window, and I asked him what was on my mind.
“Why didn’t you come down from the attic?”
“I can’t do something difficult like that.”
Eh, is it difficult to come down from the attic? Timona can do it.
“Hmm. This is the first time you’ve come to report directly to me.”
“I did a lot of research, so I thought it would be quicker to report directly to you.”
“Ah, is that so?”
Then, I’ll use a soundproofing spell just in case…
“That’s not necessary, Your Majesty. Today’s guard is Lord Vedett’s man.”
“Father said he rarely uses him to avoid suspicion though.”
… Eh. So, Count Palatine has eyes and ears in all sorts of places. Well, I don’t mind right now since it’s useful, but I’ll have to think about this once I begin ruling. A vassal who can interfere in other departments is usually dangerous.
“Well then, let’s hear your report.”
I looked at the products that the Golden Fleece had imported from other continents after receiving Fabio’s report. I’m starting to get an idea of what the Golden Fleece is doing.
“Just to confirm, the central continent has been in constant warfare for a long time, right?”
“Yes. Because of that, many beastmen mercenaries and slaves seem to be pouring in from the southern continent.”
As their name suggests, beastmen are a race with the characteristics of beasts. They have extremely high physical abilities and are said to be excellent soldiers. I’ve never seen any species other than humans on this continent, so this was all hearsay. They mostly live in the southern continent, and there are almost no humans in the southern continent.
“I see. That’s why they’re making so much money.”
“Did you figure something out?”
Well, it’s not like I really need to tell you what’s going on, but I might as well tell Fabio. He seems brilliant, and I’ll give this to him as study materials to develop his skills.
“They’re probably doing trilateral trade.”
The trade routes that connect this continent to the east, the central and southern continents. This is the lifeline of the Golden Fleece, and the association will not go under as long as it exists.
Well, trilateral trade in this world probably differs from the one in my previous world.
Some of the products imported by the Golden Fleece are things I’ve never seen before, but there are some that look familiar.
They were coffee beans and cocoa nuts. They were called different names here, but their uses are quite similar. They must have been produced in a warmer region, just like the southern continent.
If they were grown in the central continent, then the Holy One believers, who also came from the central continent, would have known about them, but we didn’t know about them. So, it’s highly likely that they come from the southern continent.
… Which means there’s a good chance that they’re importing sugar, or rather, that’s their main import product?
“They trade with the southern continent through the central continent. It should be possible for the intermediary traders to make good money, but… even that seems to be going into the hands of the Golden Fleece.”
“Ah. I know that they’re trading between the three continents, but is trilateral trade really that profitable?”
Fabio asked while Timona stood quietly as always even though he was probably listening in on the conversation.
“Supply and demand go well together. First, there is a big shortage of weapons and troops on the central continent since warfare rages to the point where nations easily rise and fall.”
The central continent was on the short end of the trades.
“They import weapons and other supplies from the Golden Fleece. It’s a trade, so of course they have to pay for it. They pay gold and silver for the goods, but… there is a limit to this.”
Gold and silver are precious, so they have value in international trade. Naturally, there is a limit.
“When they have nothing left to pay the Golden Fleece, the Golden Fleece proposed, ‘Why don’t you sell your prisoners and slaves acquired in the war to the southern continent?’.”
“Slaves, you say? But beastmen slaves from the southern continent are being transported to the central continent.”
He’s asking what the point of exchanging slaves is. Well, that’s what most people would think, but I have knowledge from my previous life. I know of the rise of Mamluk (military slaves) …
“They’re treated differently. Beastmen have better physical abilities than humans, right? The central continent nations want them desperately because they want to secure their armed forces, but do you think slaves who are treated badly would risk their lives for their master?”
“That’s right. That’s why they treat them with care. They’ll be doomed if they anger the southern continent, but slaves and prisoners of war are different. They resent themselves, and they will end up back in hostile territory if they’re let go, so they’re beyond control. That’s why the Golden Fleece suggested that they use them in exchange for the weapons. The central continent nations naturally jumped at this opportunity.”
I believed beastmens are ‘pitiful beings who are persecuted or enslaved’, but it seems that the beastmen have superior abilities and are not easily dominated by humans.
Well, I guess one of the continents in this world being ‘dominated by the beastmen’ is also a reason why they aren’t easily dominated by humans.
“I see. The prisoners of war will be taken to the southern continent?”
“Yes, and they will be put to work to increase the production of these native southern products that you’ve brought. The Golden Fleece will then import the goods from the southern continent. They can sell weapons to get their hands on expensive goods… They must be making a lot of money.”
“So that’s supply and demand? But that doesn’t benefit the beastmen much, does it?”
Yes, the beastmen don’t benefit from this explanation. There must be something that they want to get even if they have to produce more cocoa and coffee.
It’s hard to believe… that they want something other than slaves from the central continent. It doesn’t seem like they can export anything on their own. So, the Golden Fleece must be selling them something…
“About that… I recall that beastmen aren’t good at delicate work because of their well-developed claws, right?”
“Yes. That’s what I’ve heard.”
“Is it possible… that the central continent is a cotton producing area?”
“Yes, I’ve also heard about that. You are very knowledgeable.”
Yup. Processing products and selling them is the most profitable way to gain money in any era.
“Then, I guess that’s it. So, the triangle isn’t a one-way street, but a two-way street.”
“… I see. So, the central continent is selling cotton in exchange for weapons, and the Golden Fleece processes that into clothes. The southern continent will increase its production of goods in exchange for the ‘clothes’ they need.”
“It’s just a hypothesis right now though.”
“Speaking of which…”
Timona, who had been silently listening to the conversation, said.
“The Theanabe region is famous for its wool processing industry.”
“So, they just converted from wool to cotton. This must mean that the Golden Fleece has had control of Theanabe for quite some time.”
… Eh, so the Theanabe region is the equivalent of Flanders on Earth? Woolen goods are still being used on this continent and there’s a great demand for it in the northern continent… Why did you let this kind of region go independent, Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies? A large wool producing area would be a great trade hub…
Well, let’s put that aside for now.
“And the Hismaphe Kingdom… noticed this.”
The northern continent is an ‘adventurer’s’ continent. The adventurers who went to the northern continent in search of magic beast materials, developed the undeveloped land and built cities. These cities aren’t under the control of any eastern continent nation… They are, in other words, independent city-states. These city-states are loosely connected together by the ‘guilds’ that unite the adventurers.
The Hismaphe Kingdom is the only nation that has a settlement in the northern continent, but they aren’t hostile with the other cities. Their city can survive in the northern continent because it co-exists with the other adventurer cities.
But this also means that there is little potential for development.
“The Hismaphe Kingdom also wants to extend their reach to the central continent, but they still don’t know what the central continent wants, and they don’t know what they can import, so they’re doing a ‘round-the-world’ trip.”
You could say that the fleet’s ‘round-the-world’ trip is a shield for reconnaissance. As long as the fleet has a proper pretense, the Theanabe Union (or rather, Golden Fleece) can’t openly obstruct them unless they want to go to war.
“The fleet is probably going through the northern continent, then stopping at the northern continent before they make their way west to leave information about the northern continent in their city. The western continent is like a second plan.”
They could probably trade with the western continent instead of the northern continent, but the central continent, which they know about, has a higher priority than the western continent, which they know little about.
“And that guy Herbert, he gave up this information easily because he knows what’s going on. He’s trying to… look sharp in front of his new boss.”
“Ah, I apologise, Your Majesty. I took the liberty to invite them to the capital.”
“That was a wise decision. I really want a brilliant person like that… I would like to get along with him even if he doesn’t come under my command. Well done.”
“… Thank you very much, Your Majesty.”
Yup, I was right when I saw how excellent Fabio is. I feel a little more confident as an emperor.
“The one thing that I don’t understand… is where the Golden Fleece is getting the weapons to sell to the central continent. Even if they had started producing the weapons themselves, it would take a long time before they get things on track. If weapons were being mass produced before Theanabe went independent, then I don’t think those who are eager to protect themselves will overlook it.”
Right now, only the fiefs belonging to Duke Raul, Duke Aquicurl and Duke Warung are allowed to manufacture weapons, but Lord Raul was pressuring the other two fiefs, so they were barely producing any weapons.
“One thing comes to mind.”
Timona began to speak indifferently.
“The previous Duke Raul, Jean du van Raul, was planning to gain independence from the Empire.”
This Jean was not my father, the Crown Prince Jean. Royal families tend to use the same names. No one has ever used my name before though.
“I heard that he worked hard to build up his armed forces to gain independence, but the current Lord Raul has changed his plan from ‘complete independence from the Empire’ to ‘being the greatest aristocrat in the Empire’. He reduced his forces when he became the duke.”
Hey, hey. Shit…
“You’re saying that he sold the weapons he no longer needed to the Golden Fleece…?”
“Yes. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard anything about the old weapons which are no longer needed due to weapon upgrades. Maybe they too…”
“The army continues to develop weapons while cutting back, so it’s very possible.”
Hmmm, that fucking traitor. He lost the weapons he had sold. That’s quite ridiculous.
“That being the case… I’d like to find out where the weapons which have left Duke Raul’s fief went… Is a spy better suited for this job?”
If that fucking traitor really did sell his weapons to the Golden Fleece, then the Theanabe Union’s weapon manufacturing has yet to take off. In that case, there are still steps I can take.
“Yes, since they’ll be working in the shadows.”
“Shall I tell them about this?”
“Yes. Thanks, Timona.”
I’d really like the Chancellor to do something about this, but I had sowed these seeds myself.