Editor: Areth Kyntaul
“Your Highness! Your Highness! Look, look! They’ve bloomed! They’ve bloomed!!” Lucia ran up to me, cheerfully and brightly, holding a flower pot.
I looked up from the documents and saw small white petals on the plant in the pot.
I smiled and said, “Not bad, Lucia. You took good care of it, huh?”
“Of course, you gave them to me, after all!” Lucia puffed her chest out proudly.
She then looked at Nier, who wasn’t too happy, and mocked her, “But it looks like a particularly dense person can’t take care of flowers so that they can bloom. She might’ve even split the seed.”
“If you only know how to swing a sword, just stick to being a bodyguard. What are you doing being a wife? If you can’t even nurture a flower, how are you going to raise a child?”
Nier folded her arms angrily and then indifferently fired back, “Someone is still sticking around, shamelessly refusing to leave, after losing a duel. It’s clearly only because His Majesty is generous and tolerant that she was able to stay. And yet, she’s acting like it’s justified in front of us. I really wonder if it wasn’t your elven shamelessness that caused my seed, which was planted next to it, to die.”
“Okay, enough, ladies.” Freya stepped out and ended their bickering. She then looked at Nier and said, “Miss Nier, your flower did not bloom, correct?”
Nier looked at me somewhat scared and then panicked, “No… it’s just… just… I think… maybe it’s not time for it to bloom yet…”
“Maybe it isn’t.” I looked at Nier, stood up and said, “It’s not your problem, Nier. It also isn’t because Lucia used magic or something similar. It is a problem with the soil. Your soil came from the same place. However, Lucia’s seed came from the elven side, while the seed I gave you, Nier, was from humanity’s side. Put another way; only elven crops can grow on this piece of land and not humanity’s crops.”
“That must be why the land is poor, I guess. No, allow me to correct myself. It’s poor for humans.”
Freya nodded as though she had thought of something, and said, “Is it because of the elven border? If that is the case, I think it will be very difficult to resolve. Since I do not know the exact reason.”
“I think it should be because of mana.” I looked at Lucia’s flower, touched a white petal and elaborated, “The elven lands are filled mana, so the elven crops could naturally adapt to the mana in the soil. However, humanity’s crops couldn’t adapt to the soil, leading to humanity’s crops not growing when planted here.”
“No, I shouldn’t say that. Not all of them couldn’t since some managed to weather it. However, the ones that did manage to grow did poorly and resulted in a very minimal harvest. This means that the land needs to be dealt with.”
Freya let out a hopeless sigh. She then looked at me with a bitter smile and said, “Your Majesty, this is not my field of expertise. Though I can help you with many things, I have no idea how to remove mana from the land. I think that we, perhaps, require Her Highness’ help.”
“No, no, no.”
I was initially going to do that, but then I felt it wasn’t going to work, after some deliberation. The people here suffered for decades because of the land. If I now go and tell them that it was because of elven mana, they’ll surely hate the elves to death. Though it’s not the fault of the elves, this was indeed a problem caused by their mana.
“What do we do then, Onii-sama? If this continues, there will still be nothing that grows there.” Freya looked at me and continued, “Or are you thinking that the amount of mana will reduce over time if you block that river? I am not certain, but if that river is cut off, then our factory will not be able to operate as well. Also, how will we handle our irrigation issue?”
“Ah… of course I won’t block off the river… Although the mana should be coming through the river from the elves, I need to think about how to solve this problem.” I felt a little torn.
It looks like the elven river can bring mana here. Normally speaking, the elven river is filled with mana. I’m actually quite scared of that river. I must drink water from a well when I’m here. If I drink the water from the river, all of my organs will feel like they’re burning painfully.
I can’t be without the river.
Although the river doesn’t just provide flowing water for the block of land but also my agony, I require the river. It’s most important function to me isn’t the irrigation function but the power it provides. Without steam engines, this is what I need most.
‘How can I satisfy everyone and yet not damage the river? I think this problem could easily be solved if Mommy Vyvyan could lend a hand. But the problem is she can’t.’
‘This should be a city where humans and elves can get along harmoniously. If I tell the humans that they had to starve because of the elves, they’ll definitely hate the elves. Humans are simple creatures. If they have to worry about food as well, they’ll definitely hate.’
‘If we can’t grow crops…’
I pondered the problem for a moment and then asked Freya, “Can we not plant crops?”
Freya paused for a moment and then replied, “Onii-sama, it does not matter if we do not plant crops. Worst case scenario, we do not produce food. We can purchase food or get someone to smuggle food in.”
“If we do that, the cost of food would increase. If we did not implement a way to increase the people’s income, we would have to feed the people out of our own pockets all the time, which is not possible.”
‘I’m aware of that. A king’s job isn’t to share his money, but to allow the people to earn enough.’
‘England follows a similar method. As an island, England relies on business for income. Holland is another classic example. Since we require food to be imported, we need to sell other goods with higher value at higher prices. That way, we can prevent a trade deficit.’
‘Food isn’t actually a valuable good. It’s a basic need. The south is a place where food is produced as well. Even if they do have to transport the food a long way to get here, it won’t cost that much more.’
‘What do I need to do then? Animal husbandry? That won’t work. Livestock won’t earn much money, and their flesh can’t be preserved for long. Making salt-cure meat out of it won’t earn us more, and we’d even have to use more salt. That would cause the people to weather high salt prices.’
‘Salt isn’t cheap. It’s a good that can buy out the entirety of bronze coins, as we know from my last fight with the church. How could my people bear that?’
‘Okay, so what then? Industrial products? My factory is just a military factory. We absolutely won’t be selling the weapons produced. Do I need to make another factory just for the people? I’ll be short-handed here then. The amount of area next to the river is fairly small, too. In fact, there’s no suitable place to set up another factory.’
‘What else is there? Mining? The mine here isn’t worth money. Tourism… Okay, the only tourists in this era are rich people with money to waste. People wouldn’t spend over ten days to come here to view a little run-of-the-mill town either.’
‘What do I do then?’
Freya and I looked at each other. This was the simplest problem we’d faced since teaming up, yet we were both speechless for the first time.
While holding her flower, Lucia looked at us with puzzlement. Without thinking, she asked, “Your Highness, if we can’t plant humanity’s stuff, can’t we just plant the elves’ stuff, then?”