After doing the work in Shufelt, they’ve completed the first stage. The next thing to do is to decide what country should they branch off to. They also have to determine how many soaps they want to supply. Also, because of branching, they have to produce more soap than before, so they’ll have to build more factories.
So Haruto, Roa, and Dennis were discussing where to branch.
「For the time being, it should be within the State of Kirishia. We can’t put it too far. Even with my Congressman status, if it’s outside of Kirishia, the effect would be weakened」
「That’s true. Since the soap will likely crush the farmers of bubble-berry……even though we already have so many enemies, it’s not good to increase it」
Dennis said. The enemy is not only Samaras Shokai. It’s the entire community of bubble-berry farmers. Many people have lost their lands and lost their jobs because of Asuma Shokai. Increasing their enemies would not be good.
「If it’s within Kirishia, then there’s Alto, Ringa, and Shufelt? Since Shufelt is the home territory of Samaras Shokai, it seems more likely to branch out to Alto or Ringa」
Roa says and spreads the map. Alto is the largest city in Kirishia, while Ringa has the largest port in Kirishia. It’s a matter of deciding which of these two large consumer areas they want to branch off to.
「I think it would be better to branch to Reim before Alto or Ringa. It’s closer, and it would be easier to transport」
As Haruto says so, Roa gave a negative opinion.
「There’s not much worth over there, you know? Before it was functioning as a barrier against the Kingdom in the City-State Union but now that we’re under the Empire, it’s not worth anything」
Following Roa, Dennis says.
「I think so too. That city-state is in the mid-level position since it received subsidies from Ringa and Claris, you know? But now they have no money. I think it’s not very good to branch off to a country where decline is definite in the future. Why would Chairman want to put out a branch in Reim? 」
Haruto smiled and answered the questions of the two.
「I don’t think I will make money in Reim. I think it’s a good idea to branch out there as an experiment. Also, doesn’t Reim have the Continental Road? There’s a lot of people coming and going so we can catch some who are interested」
The Continental Road is a highway that the Empire laid in the entire West a long time ago. Until now, the value of this road is very thin due to the existence of the Kingdom and war. But once unified, the coming and going of people will become active, and its value will be revived again.
「Reim should be connected to Vers, the capital of West Germanis right? So there’s a possibility that the Germanis will buy from the branch over there. That way, it would be useful in the future if we’re selling to the Germanis right? And I heard that in Germanis, bathing is becoming in fashion」
The source of information is from a Germanis merchant. The nobles who betrayed the Kingdom and the Imperial nobles stated in the Kingdom are encouraging the Germanis people to become Imperialists. The largest effect is bathing. Why would you take a bath? So that your body would be clean and the possibility of a plague is reduced. There’s nothing wrong with it. It hasn’t been accepted yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
「U~n, certainly, it might not be bad. The shortest route to Vers is via Reim」
「Well, there is no loss even if we branch out there. Isn’t it good? 」
Roa and Dennis showed support. Haruto gave a big nod.
「Well then, with the enforcement of Imperial Law, it will be easier to branch out to Reim. After seeing the result, we would branch out to Alto and Ringa. After that, Shufelt. Is it okay if we go in that direction? 」
And so, the countries where the branches would be established in the future is decided. But that is not the only problem.
「It’s about the factory but……where are you going to increase it? 」
Dennis listened to Haruto. There is room for two hundred more people in the current factory. However, it is difficult to cover soap demand throughout Kirishia even if there are two hundred more people.
「Oh yeah, it should be close to Claris’ suburbs. I have plenty of money so we can buy a huge land without being stingy. Better yet, let’s make the second factory five or six times bigger」
Until now, they’ve only bought cheap and narrow land because of money issues. They also did not want to turn any Congressman into an enemy, so they refrained from making big actions. But now, the power of the Diet is decreasing due to the Governor’s office. It’s a big chance.
「Well, that’s too much, but equipment and land will not be a problem. By the way, it’s a proposal from me, but why don’t we build a headquarters? It seems we’re being looked down on by the other Shokai since we’re in such a narrow place. Since we’re hiring a lot of people in the future, we need to have a bigger place」
Roa looked around the room as she said so. Haruto and Roa had been living here before. Now it has become the conference room and sitting room.
「I also thought that. This Shokai is going to enter the ranks of large Shokais soon, so I want a bigger headquarters. Even in security issues」
Dennis also said. Haruto thinks for a bit, raised his head and clapped his hands.
「I understand. Then let’s buy the Governor’s office. Since it’s a former luxury hotel, it has a sense of grandness, and the Empire does the renovation, so there’s no need to refurbish it」
It seemed unexpected, so Roa and Dennis let out a lost voice.
「No, can you even buy that? 」
「You can buy it. The Governor’s Office will be completed in two months. In other words, it will become obsolete two months later. The Governor and I are fortunate. And because we’re friends.」
Haruto answered Roa’s question. Then Dennis followed up.
「But if the original owner complains……」
「What are you saying? The original owner is making another luxury hotel with the gold he got from selling that one. It was profitable, in fact, too profitable. So he won’t complain」
There’s money to build a new hotel, so they don’t need to buy back the old hotel. Moreover, it has a lot of modifications because of the Empire. It will not be usable as a hotel anymore.
「But if you do such a flashy thing, won’t you incur displeasure? 」
Roa feels worried. If he buys the former Governor’s office, Haruto and the Governor being friends would be revealed.
「What are you saying? What’s wrong with that? The Congressmen doesn’t have much of a voice for the current Claris」
The Governor’s Office can confiscate the properties of the Congressmen if it comes to it, that’s why the Congressmen aren’t aggressive towards the Governor. Also, the Congressmen are being called incompetent by the citizens due to their surrender to the Empire. They’re not scary at all.
「It’s certainly so……there’s no problem at all if it’s revealed. So, do you buy from the Governor himself」
Thus, purchasing the Governor’s temporary office is decided.
「By the way Dennis」
「I have a bad feeling, but……what is it? Chairman」
Haruto says with a smile.
「For the preliminary investigation of Reim, Alto, and Ringa, the journey……and regarding visiting the shops over there」
「Please do your best! 」
「Do I have the right to veto……」
Dennis dropped his shoulders.
「Ah! That’s right. Also, please buy land for the factory. The budget is one billion. Please secure a good place without worrying about the price. The place can be outside but keep it close to Claris. When the law goes into effect, the second-class citizens can go outside the walls」
Dennis reluctantly answered.
「That’s why I want to go to Alto……」
「What’s wrong? Roa」
Aisha talked to Roa with a smile.
「It shouldn’t be like this! Why are we going with Aisha-san! 」
Roa raised a loud voice. Aisha shrugged her shoulders.
「Even though being apart is fine, wouldn’t it be safer if I was there? Haruto also think so」
「Nn, aahh. You’re right」
Haruto half-heartedly replied. Although he didn’t plan to take Aisha originally, he agreed due to her tantrums. If he doesn’t take her, she won’t introduce the desert people. Although he doesn’t know if she’s serious, it’s hard to refuse if she’s begging so aggressively.
「You don’t have to hire the desert people! 」
「No, but who are we going to ask? 」
Actually, after the fight in the Geria plains, the international status of desert people continues to rise. Among the enslaved desert people, there are a lot of people who want them as mercenaries. As Haruto has the strongest connection with Aisha, he wanted to make use of it.
「Maybe we could ask some business people to introduce us to desert people? 」
「Well, that’s true……but can they fill the difference in cultures that Aisha-san can? 」
The desert people are more willing to work for Haruto since they believed Haruto is the fiancee of Aisha. To use that position is the same as admitting it to the outside world.
「Etto, I’ll think about it later……」
「Is that so……」
Haruto doesn’t want to overthink of Aisha being a mistress problem. Because apart from that, he doesn’t dislike Aisha. He’s rather fond of her. The reason Haruto denies her as a mistress is that he feels that it’s an injustice to Roa. However, he can’t forcefully deny it. He can’t call her a mistress due to ethical reasons.
It’s a problem she doesn’t want to overthink even for Roa. Of course, she doesn’t feel too motivated at giving Haruto to other women. Nonetheless, Aisha is the first friend of Roa. Somehow, they get along with each other. She wants to get along, so she doesn’t want to break that relationship. But Haruto wants to have it all.
Aisha used the subtle feelings of these two people well and slowly reduced the distance.
「Ah! I could see the walls……they’re torn down」
Roa changed to another topic as she pointed to the protective walls of Alto that has begun to appear. The walls have been destroyed except for some of them, and the city of Alto became visible.
「That’s terrible. But evidently, the Imperial Army only attacked the walls. 」
Alto did not surrender until the end. But not surrendering doesn’t mean a thorough resistance. The parliament simply didn’t reach a conclusion.
The Empire was able to burn down Alto. However, burning down Alto doesn’t benefit the Empire. They want it intact. So the Empire’s General Marx decided to destroy only the walls.
The walls of Alto are high. The higher it is, and the thinner it would be. There is also a load applied to the lower parts. During the war, it’s height is enough to overcome its shortcomings but the Empire had a cannon. That artillery’s attack power is terrible. The walls of Alto are not only brought down, but it was also destroyed in no time. The Imperial Army did not immediately attack Alto. They indifferently brought down the walls.
By destroying the walls they relied on, the others can do nothing but surrender. In this way, Alto was destroyed.
「If Claris also resisted, it would have been like this. I’m scared」
「Amazing. So that’s the Empire. Ma, we’ve won against the Empire before」
Aisha proudly puffed out her chest.
The gatekeepers on the gates are Imperial soldiers because all of Alto’s armed forces are dismantled. Alto’s parliament is also destroyed, so the Governor’s Office directly controls it. The soldiers who maintain security are Imperial soldiers.
「There’s no life in this city. I expected more since the population is greater than Claris, but I guess this is the impact of being occupied」
The Imperial soldiers are watching over everyone all over the place. It’s impossible to liven up with this.
「Perhaps, the population has been flowing out? The matter of branching out, should we review it? 」
Roa said anxiously.
「According to the story I hear, Kirishian population seem to have been decreasing」
「Ahh? What do you mean」
Roa tilts her head. Haruto answers Roa’s doubt.
「The population of Romano is increasing. It means immigrants」
「What is increasing? 」
Roa has a face like she doesn’t understand the translation. Roa is good regarding economics, but not so good at politics.
「In other words, let the Romano people live in the rebellious Alto and make it Romano. Surely, Emperor Westoria is promoting that idea. If Alto is Imperialized, South Kirishia would be peaceful」
Aisha answers instead of Haruto. This Romano-ization has been done not only in Alto but also in East and West Germanis. It’s part of Emperor Westoria’s occupation policy.
「That’s a good plan. Ethnic rebellion will not be a problem if the whole Empire becomes Romano」
「But why is it not done in Claris? 」
Roa said doubtfully.
「Well, Claris is originally a city-state that belongs to the pro-Empire faction. There are also limits to the number of Romano people that can migrate. By having the Congressman and citizens have a bad relationship, and keeping Congressmen hostile to another Congressmen, they would not think that Claris is rebellious. Emperor Westoria is really…」
By the way, Haruto is one of the Congressmen who is put on the plan.
「Ma~ ma~. Let’s not talk about such topics and go sightseeing」
「But we’re coming here for work……」
The party decided to parade the city.
「Even though they’re the same Kirishia, the North and South are different」
Haruto said while looking at the city. The clothing and architectural style of the buildings are somewhat different from Claris.
「Eehh. Because the Romano culture strongly influences the North. On the other hand, Kirishian culture persists in the South」
「But that means there’s going to be a delay」
It’s the Empire that has the most advanced civilization in the West. In particular, civil engineering and construction technology of the Empire are very modern. The fact that it is not being incorporated makes it seem old-fashioned.
「Well, South Kirishians are hard-headed」
Roa straightforwardly said the bad things about South Kirishians. Haruto and Aisha instinctively match their faces.
「There it is. It’s the real estate company. For now, let’s ask」
The party headed to the real estate company they’d investigated in advance.
「Hello. Would you mind letting me see some properties? 」
「That’s alright. What are you looking for? 」
When Haruto said his conditions, the clerk showed him some documents. While Haruto is looking through the materials, the clerk stared at Haruto’s face and said.
「I don’t remember seeing you anywhere, where are you from? 」
Roa banged his head when he’s about to say Claris. Haruto answers with a smile.
「I came from the East」
「He~, perhaps your girlfriend is a desert citizen? 」
「Ehhh, she is」
Aisha bows her head with a smile. Roa puffed out her cheeks and protested to Haruto in a loud voice.
「Why are you confirming it! 」
「If we say you’re from Claris; they may not sell it」
Haruto answers in a loud voice. Claris is the first city that betrayed the City-State Union. It’s a dirty word in Alto.
「Well then, for the time being, can you show me this and this? 」
Haruto narrowed down the properties into two. He wasn’t sure with just the materials, so he wanted to see it.
「Alright. Follow me」
Their party was guided to one property. Haruto narrowed it down to one after being troubled.
「Well then 80 million Doria, or 16 million Romano」
Haruto had Aisha give him the gold coins they brought. 800 Doria gold coins in all. The clerk smilingly accepted the large cash payment. The clerk’s face pulled down when carrying the gold coins. The 80 million was paid at once, and he was surprised at the grip strength of Aisha who carried around 800 gold coins by hand.
「Then sign this for me」
Haruto signs and then look at the clerk’s face. There is no particular change. He does not seem to know about Asuma Shokai. Haruto has mixed feeling of being relieved and then discouraged.
「Thank you for your continued patronage」
The clerk smiled and saw Haruto off. He felt good since he made money.
It is four months later that he will regret selling to Claris’ merchants.
Right, they finished purchasing properties in Ringa earlier on, so the party headed for Reim.
「All the men in Reim have trained their bodies. Reim’s heavy infantry is the strongest in the West, and they’ve repelled the Kingdom many times. Their economic strength is not a big deal, but their equipment has a good quality since they’re receiving weapons support from Claris and Ringa. Emperor Westoria is also afraid of confronting Reim from the front, so he started from Claris」
「Why would the dauntless Reim easily surrender? 」
Aisha asked Roa. Roa is packed with answers.
「It’s probably because Claris surrendered. And Reim’s enemies is the Kingdom, so they’ve never fought against the Empire even once. They didn’t want to fight until they’re sacrificed」
「Ah! So that’s why」
Roa swung her head up and down.
「Now then, it seems like a strange country……what kind of country is it」
The guards who protected the gates were Kirishians. But it was a bit different from the Kirishians Haruto knew about.
The first is stature. The average height of Kirishians is roughly 165 cm. But that guard was 180 cm.
Next is the muscle. The upper arm is twice as thick as Haruto. That doesn’t mean that Haruto is gangly. That man is just big.
「Ano……perhaps, are all the men in Reim like you……or do you just have a strong body? 」
Roa asked fearfully. The man shook his head. Haruto and Roa patted their chests.
「No, I’m the weak one. Most of the strongest men act as mercenaries with the Imperial soldiers and are hunting Germanis who turned thieves」
Haruto and Roa had eyes wide open. If this is weak, what kind of body do the other Reims have?
「Are you here in Reim for the first time? You won’t be able to see anything in particular……but anyway, have fun」
The man laughed with a loud voice. Haruto made a bitter smile.
「U~n, there’s a lot of hulking guys out there but the others are not so different from us」
「I agree. Even so, Reim’s men are not only big, even the women are」
Haruto and Roa look as if they’ve become accustomed to it, they’ve adapted relatively well. On the other hand, one person has an unpleasant face. It was Aisha.
「What happened? 」
When Haruto called out, Aisha frowns.
「……something like this town doesn’t smell of sweat? 」
Haruto and Roa do not smell anything even if they’re told. She can sense it since the sense of smell of desert people are like dogs.
「But there are a lot of shirtless guys. It should be midwinter now, right? 」
「It’s amazing. Aren’t they cold? 」
Perhaps because they’re wearing natural warming fixtures names muscles, they do not feel cold. The amount of heat generated is uneven.
「There are many Germanis. And horse-drawn carriages with grain」
「I heard that there was a terrible famine. They can’t afford to starve them to death」
「For Emperor Westoria, the Kingdom is a bad loan」
Aisha gave a little sympathy to Emperor Westoria.
「But isn’t it big that he obtained the Continental Road? With this, the sea route, and the land route has both become accessible to the East. And also, couldn’t you get horses from Germanis? 」
In short, it depends on the way of governance.
「For now, let’s search for properties. I hope there’s a nice place」
Fortunately, a property was easily found. The problem is the price.
「Oi oi, 120 million Doria is overdoing it. It’s smaller than the one in Alto, and that’s only 80 million. Ringa is 150 million. Why is there only a 30 million difference from Ringa’s」
Haruto complained. Considering this, the large Reim merchant argued.
「You can’t compare it with Alto after it fell. But you should also be aware, of Claris and Ringa, Reim is the closest route to Vers. And a merchant who can’t use a ship uses the Continental Road to go to the Capital. That means they will have to pass through Reim to get to Claris. So the land here right now is increasing in price. Don’t complain」
Haruto cannot refute after being told so. Because it’s exactly the same reason why Haruto chose Reim.
「What to do? 」
Roa seemed uneasy while looking at Haruto. For Haruto, 120 million is chicken feed……it’s not an amount that can’t be paid. But as far as they can see, this man doesn’t want to give it up. Rather, he’s scary.
「I understand. I’ll pay. Hey, Aisha」
Aisha hands a bag full of 1,000 gold coins. The man was careless as he received the bag from Aisha with one hand since he couldn’t imagine a woman to have that much strength, so he dropped the bag.
「Gahhh! My shoulder!! 」
Haruto had his revenge so he’s happy.
After returning to Claris, Haruto visited Dennis whom they’ve left the work with. He had a lot of trouble, and there’s also the matter of purchasing land.
「I got back just now. How was the land? 」
「I bought it. I bought it at the asking price since it was troublesome to haggle. 800 million」
Dennis has a face like he’s doing it for revenge.
「I see. Well, I don’t want to make waves. It’s a good decision」
When Haruto praised him, Dennis has a complicated face.
「I’ll talk to the Governor from now on. After that is purchasing slaves from Eugene. Are you coming with me? 」
「Iya, I’ll refrain」
Dennis obviously looked annoyed.
「That’s why, please sell me this building」
「This is……so sudden」
Governor Gray laughed with a bitter smile.
「Well, we’re also troubled with the disposal, so I don’t mind……how much is your budget? 」
「Could you tell me the asking price first? 」
When Haruto say so, Governor Gray said while a little worried.
「Well, it is well used. The value as a hotel is already zero. I guess about 800 million? 」
「I understand. I’ll buy it for 800 million」
Governor Gray was puzzled. He can sell it for 500 million. After all, this hotel has gone through major remodeling for the ease of use of the Governor. Besides, the opponent is the merchant Haruto whom he’s friends with. It was because he thought that the other party would haggle so he quoted that price.
「For the information you gave us about the Samaras Shokai matter I asked you about. The price is for this」
Haruto, after talking to the Governor, then headed for Eugene.
「Recently, you’ve been doing well. It seems like you bought a lot of land. I heard about it. You seem to have also bought properties in Alto, Ringa, and Reim. Iya, it’s really envious. Aren’t you also friends with Governor Gray? 」
「Why the sudden sarcasm. In any case, I’d like to buy slaves」
Haruto tells Eugene his purpose. Eugene smiled meaningfully.
「The furnishings are good. Since there are many aristocrats disposed of in the previous war, a lot of slaves that are belongings of those aristocrats are in the market. However, the price is high. It’s 300 thousand per person. It’s because the opportunity for slavery is drastically reduced from now on. So, how many people do you need? 」
「Two hundred people」
As Haruto say so. Eugene smiles joyfully.
「That’s easy. Iya, the economy is really good. Thanks to you, I can improve my business. Here, sign it」
Thus, 200 slaves were obtained.
A/N: Actually, I wrote a swimsuit round while they’re in Ringa. But I noticed on the way. It should be midwinter now. They would freeze to death.
But it seems a waste since I wrote it already. So I will drop a swimsuit chapter at around 9 or 10 o’clock.
Ah! I decided to continue to income and expenditure report. I will place it as an afterword in the swimsuit chapter.