A/N: The fourth arc begins. As a result of various considerations, I stopped dividing it before and after.
By the way, the end of the war is after the civil war of the Empire is suppressed.
A new law is formally promulgated to Claris. These laws are strict for wealthy people and friendly to the poor. Many wealthy people have dropped shoulders. Conversely, many poor people were pleased to raise both hands.
It’s natural for a ruled person to abide by the law of the ruler. But human nature is not so easily convinced. Especially those in the privileged class are dissatisfied. And among those who are frustrated, it was natural for several people to take action.
The beginning is when a merchant protested against the Labor Protection Act.
If a merchant at the level of the Congress doubles the labor cost of the workers, they won’t collapse. Although it is painful, their assets and foundation will not be shaken to that extent. There are many ways to respond.
The ones troubled are the middle class of the wealthy. They don’t have the high technological skills like the Congressmen have. For example, they don’t have Eugene’s financial acumen, Haruto’s soap technology, Domoor’s civil engineering, and others. Inevitably, it’s the industry that does not require such high technological skills such as magic tools and agriculture that is most affected. Of course, the competition is also intense.
Would they make cheap products to win the competition, or have only one high-quality product? Most merchants chose to make cheap products. For that reason, they hire workers with a monthly salary.
However, if the Labor Protection Act is enforced, the workers cannot be hired at a low salary rate. If labor costs rise, the price of products will be higher, and the merchants who sell high-quality products will take a deficit.
Naturally, they went to protest even though it’s impossible. And turned away as a matter of course. Usually, it would end like this but, a merchant was very bad at giving up.
He gathered other merchants against the same enemy, and eventually, they involved five Congressmen and protested again. The Governor General tried to shoot it down again. However, humans are creatures who grew stronger if they’re grouped together. The Merchant’s Union kept on protesting.
Bravery and foolhardiness is different. The very act of the Merchant Union is foolhardiness.
The Governor-General, who eventually ran out of patience, arrested the five Congressmen for treason. Five people were subjected to intense interrogation by the Governor’s Office. It was found out that they took bribes and dealt in prostitution in the past.
Most Congressmen took bribes and dealt with prostitution. Bribery and prostitution are crimes even by Claris’ law and before being controlled by the Empire, it’s practically safe. Corruption and prostitution are common sense in Claris.
However, it does not change the fact that it’s a crime. The Governor’s office charged the five men with bribery, illegal wealth accumulation, and possession of drugs, as well as being connected to anti-social organizations. They were tried with a crime that you wouldn’t know if it really happened.
Both judge and witnesses in the trial were prepared by the Governor’s office. There was no way to win. In this way, the five people were deprived of their status and rank of being a Congressman. All their assets have been confiscated.
There are no merchants who weren’t guilty in Claris. Because the five people were crushed, the Merchant Union broke up and disappeared. The other members of the Diet also began to flatter the Governor General.
Incidentally, the properties of those five people were considerable, so the Governor’s Office seems to be refurbished.
「What a fool to go against the Governor General. Didn’t they understand that it’s reckless? 」
Haruto knows the series of events leading to that incident, frowning his eyebrows. From Haruto’s perspective, selling flattery to the Governor’s Office is more beneficial. He cannot understand the behavior of the five people.
「We will resist if our vested interest is violated. Haruto doesn’t know since you just became a Congressman」
Roa said with a wry smile. Before Claris was ruled by the Empire, the taste of being a Congressman is delicious. Haruto has no desire over the vested interest of being a Congressman. Also, both the Labor Protection Act and progressive tax system are commonplace in Japan. So he’s in agreement.
「Ma, from my point of view, it’s not a big deal. And there are also good things that come by being ruled by the Empire」
「Is it related to the tariffs? 」
The City-State Union has multiplied the taxes in their own way. Claris or Ringa, except for eliminating tariffs among City-States they have deep ties to such as Shufelt, there are still tariffs that will disturb the commercial activities of a merchant.
However, after being ruled by the Empire, the City-State Union is dismantled, and integrated into the Empire. Tariffs were eliminated entirely as a result.
「There is also that. But the best thing is that the law has been unified. This will make the foreign branches……to areas other than Claris become easier to establish」
Haruto answered. Until now, the law has been disjointed among the City-States. Claris’ regulations on the economy are very loose, and depending on the city-state, there were also places that restrict foreign business. So when they put out a branch outside Claris, they had to follow very cumbersome procedures. However, with being integrated into the Empire and having the law unified, the necessity of taking troublesome procedures also disappeared.
「Branch is it……Soap production has also increased considerably. I think it’s good regarding timing since Claris alone has become insufficient……where should we establish it? 」
「For the time being, I plan to establish it on Northern and Southern Kirishia. As a candidate, the nearest Reim, and there’s also the large cities such as Alto and Ringa. After solidifying our influence in the entire Kirishia, I’ll establish one in Shufelt」
Samaras Chamber of Commerce is a big business. There’s a big difference between Asuma Chamber of Commerce which is a local company in Claris. So he’s going to break it down little by little around the edges. He would use Claris as the foundation to deprive them of their customers in big cities. And after the influence of Samaras Chamber of Commerce began to dwindle, he will attack them for the first time in Shufelt. That was Haruto’s strategy.
「But Haruto-san. There are various problems with putting out a foreign branch」
Haruto asked for clarification.
「It’s the shortage of talent. There’s no one other than Dennis who we can leave the branch office to. The Ash brothers would do somehow if we gave them a counselor……but it’s still three people. The children are perfect in reading and writing, but they just lack in experience」
Asuma Chamber of Commerce is an emerging business. It hasn’t even been ten years since he started his business. So there are no talented people. A foreign branch from an emerging business is usually managed by relatives, and it’s also possible to rely on friends, but neither Haruto nor Roa have families or friends.
「Even now, it’s tough? What should we do? 」
Asuma Chamber of Commerce is doing fine because Haruto and Roa are boring people with no hobbies. But there is a limit. If they branch out, they will need personnel to manage the branch. They also need personnel to report and monitor the situation of the branches.
「That’s right. I wonder if someone competent is rolling around somewhere……ah!」
「What’s wrong? 」
Haruto grabbed Roa’s shoulder and talked excitedly.
「There were five Congressman who was ousted. They were pulled out of their own companies」
A Chamber of Commerce which lost its chairman is the same as a ship that lost its rudder. There’s no reason for other companies to miss such a situation. The five Chamber of Commerce will meet attacks from many businesses, and be crushed. There are no people who will want to stay in a ship stuck in the mud forever. Haruto will reach out here. Asuma Chamber of Commerce is expanding its power with the momentum of a sunrise. Many people will want to ride it.
「That is a good idea! Let’s hurry and pull them in. There should be many people thinking of the same thing. In fact, let’s pull the ones in the same industry……so I say, but we don’t have that luxury」
Pulling in human resources began this way.
Haruto and Roa first requested information about the five companies from their friend, Governor Gray. The court was led by the Governor, so the information was easily obtained.
「We definitely have the advantage in information」
「That’s right. Let me send thank-you honey soap」
It should not fall into the category of bribery.
「I see, it’s truly a large business. There are hundreds of people including the edges」
「If we include the slaves and the workers, that’s about it. The one we want is the top management」
What Haruto and Roa want is a talent with the ability to manage a branch. At least five people. Wanting more than ten people is being greedy.
「Collecting just from one company would make factions possible, and it’s dangerous. Let’s collect as much as possible without bias」
Haruto and Roa investigated those who deserved to be pulled out. Basing on their status and achievements in the company, they thoroughly wash family relationships, friendships as well as age.
Once they collected the information, they will start pulling them out immediately. The procedure is easy.
First of all, they call out to the one who they wanted to pull out secretly. Doing small talk while they eat. Cutting the story short and being frank with each other. And being refused. Supposedly, it’s because they were thankful for their current company, The real intention is that they want to enter Asuma Chamber of Commerce with the best possible treatment. Haruto’s Blessing is useful here. Knowing how much the other person is looking forward to, humans will not be able to refuse the temptation. They manage to pull out people who are looking for what they deserve.
This procedure goes well, succeeding in pulling out seven people.
However, they cannot pull them out all of a sudden. Even if Asuma Chamber of Commerce is ready to accept them, they have to commit to work for their juniors so that they don’t have any regrets. A bird does not foul a nest it’s about to leave (It’s just common courtesy to clean up after yourself). If they fail to prepare, it will be troublesome.
「In the end, we solved the problem of human resources」
「I agree. If there are other problems in branching out……」
Asuma Chamber of Commerce hires five mercenaries including Aisha. Even if they have five people now, the story is different when they branch out. Given that they’re seriously going against Samaras Chamber of Commerce, he would like to strengthen their security.
「That’s right……whether to transfer the children from the equestrian tribes into security guards. According to Pudding, their skill with the bow seems to be more than ordinary mercenaries」
「I agree. We should hire other people for transporting soap. But it’s still not enough」
「It can’t be helped. For the time being, let’s try to ask Pudding」
「That’s why, do you know other mercenaries? 」
Haruto called Pudding and asked. If he called everyone, there would be no security, so he called only one person.
「U~n, I know someone, but I don’t know where he is……why don’t you ask Eugene-san to introduce you to some? He knows a lot of people・・・・because he hired a lot of mercenaries」
「U~n, I don’t really want to rely on him that much. Although it may be nice to receive an introduction……」
When Haruto is being troubled, the door opened with a loud noise.
「Haruto!! Talking about it without me is unfair! 」
Aisha said that and hugged Haruto, also kissing him on the cheek.
「Aahh! What are you doing! 」
Roa tries to separate Aisha while shouting. However, Aisha’s grip strength is terrible. Separating with the powerless Roa is impossible.
「Gunununu, then I’ll overwrite that! 」
Saying so, Roa kissed Haruto’s cheek……kissing the part where Aisha kissed. For Haruto, the idea that this is an indirect kiss between Roa and Aisha came to mind.
「E~tto, should I come back laterー」
Pudding told him with a blue vein on her temple. Haruto returns to himself and pulls Roa away from Aisha. Both have dissatisfied expressions.
「You heard us? 」
Haruto asked Aisha. Aisha tears up and answers.
「I happen to hear it when I walked down the street」
As usual, she has a monster’s hearing sense.
「But you have nothing related to mercenaries? 」
「I have no connection to mercenaries. But I know someone who wants to be a mercenary」
Aisha said while grinning.
「Pretentious, please say so earlier」
Roa pointed out.
「There are some people who want to go to Claris. So, I was asked if there was a good workplace. I’ll be relieved if Haruto will hire them」
「If it’s desert people, they’re certainly perfect as a fighting force……will they be okay?」
The words and culture are quite different in the desert and in the West. Aisha is educated so there’s no big problem, he’s concerned that ordinary desert people wouldn’t be alright.
「It’s all right. I will take care of it」
Aisha proudly puffed out her chest.
「Well, if you say so. How many people? 」
「About five people. Is that okay? 」
「There are no problems if it’s about five people. Actually, I want about ten more people……guess I should ask Eugene for an introduction」
So he decided to hire the desert people.
「Please accept this Governor Gray, it’s honey soap」
「Thanks for this. My wife will be happy」
Today he’s doing small talk with Governor Gray. Governor Gray passed the materials about the Samaras Chamber of Commerce.
「Here you go, a report about Samaras Chamber of Commerce」
Haruto read the materials. Samaras Chamber of Commerce founder and products and information about the current chairman is written.
「I will explain. Please listen while looking at the materials」
Governor Gray began to explain to Haruto.
「 The product of Samaras Chamber of Commerce is the very cheap bubble-berry fruit. Production of the bubble-berry requires a lot of manpower. Because it’s a very laborious crop, it’s expensive. If you buy large quantities of slaves and use them in disposable ways, it’s possible to produce bubble-berry cheaply……but it’s impossible due to legal problems. Abuse of slaves is a crime under the Union Agreement of the former City-State Union. Naturally, it’s also a crime in the Empire」
「Then why are they able to produce it so cheaply? 」
「I do not know」
Haruto looks at Governor Gray with amazed eyes. Governor Gray said in a hurry.
「Of course we also looked it up. However, we cannot step into the farm just because of speculations. Because they have solid connections with the political figures of Shufelt. Since there is no choice, I investigated how many slaves they purchased a month. If they’re using them illegally, they would need a considerable amount of slaves. But they did not buy that many slaves」
「But don’t they need slaves to mass produce bubble-berry? That means……」
「There is a possibility that they’re purchasing them by illegal means. Since it’s also possible to buy it cheaply. But with only speculations……」
In the first place, Haruto’s request for Governor Gray was just to examine the Samaras Chamber of Commerce. But it’s not the intention of the Governor’s office. He can’t do brute force like he did with the five Congressmen.
「I see, I understand. Is there anything else? 」
Governor Gray nodded.
「Yes. First, Reinard Samaras, the current chairman. After the man threw away the Samaras name, it seems that his whereabouts are unknown for a while. For several years, we don’t know where he is and what he’s doing. One day, he suddenly came home and seem to have returned his Samaras surname……there are many mysteries」
Governor Gray continues after taking a breath.
「Next is the inexplicable cause of death of the former chairman and his wife. Apparently, they were attacked by bandits……the thieves have not been caught. There is no record of the bandit’s activities at that time except for the death of the two people. Also, the two’s daughter, Roa Samaras, mysteriously disappeared. It shouldn’t be related with the slave issue, but it’s too suspicious」
Haruto looks at Roa sitting next to him. Roa’s face was blue.
「Is Reinard Samaras not suspected of being suspicious? 」
「No. At that time, Reinard Samaras seemed to have been interrogated, but there’s no evidence at all. They cannot hold him for a long time, and since there’s no evidence, it seems he was released」
Governor Gray said that and looks at Roa.
「You look pale……are you okay? Shall I call the doctor? 」
「No, I’m fine. There’s no problem. Please continue」
Governor Gray nodded and kept talking.
「Next is the inheritance problem. Him being president seems to have been met with great opposition. Because the official successor of the Samaras Chamber of Commerce is Roa Samaras. Her corpse has not been found. Some say that the cause of disappearance is a mystery so Reinard Samaras should not officially take over. It seems that him throwing away the Samaras name is one reason for this opinion to appear」
「So that’s it. By the way, I wonder what will happen if Roa Samaras appears? 」
「I don’t know? I think it depends on whether Reinard Samaras will obediently hand over the Chairman’s seat……or if he doesn’t want to hand it over, Samaras Chamber of Commerce may go up in smoke? After all, it seems that many people dislike Reinard Samaras in Samaras Chamber of Commerce」
Haruto lowered his head to Governor Gray.
「Thank you. And also best regards in the future」
「No, no. Because it’s mutual. And also best regards from now on」
They shook hands and broke up.
「Nn? What happened? 」
On the way back, Roa looked up at Haruto and cried out.
「Was it a mistake that I ran away? Should I have approached the police without escaping」
「It may have ended with it being treated as a child’s words, you know? The investigations seem to be done properly. There’s nothing to be said about it」
Haruto encourages Roa.
「Is that so? 」
「Aahh. And what’s important is now. Reinard Samaras treats me as the enemy. It can also be applied to you」
It’s a problem related to the basis of Reinard Samaras’s position anyway. The value of a card is very high.
「Are you afraid? 」
Roa tilted her head.
「If we secretly release that you’re alive, the guy who betrayed you will come out. Doing so will also shake up the Samaras Chamber of Commerce from the inside. Then we can definitely win」
Roa approves of Haruto’s idea. Color is also returning to her face.
「So I think I will go to Shufelt next week. There may be something」
「……I understand. I will not be able to run away forever. Let’s go」
Thus, their future was decided.