“For the Alliance” is no Longer a Slogan (Part 5)
“Good morning, Nara. Long-time no see.”
“Whoa, this is a surprise. I thought I was going to be meeting Miss Freya when I received news that there was a meeting. I never thought I would get to see you. You have changed a lot since we last met.”
The only guest I had to see during the day was Nara. Luna and I hadn’t seen her in a long time. We hadn’t seen each other since we last met in the Royal Capital. Nara hadn’t changed at all. It was my first time seeing her in winter clothing, though. Her wheat-coloured skin made her stand out in the North.
Nara’s gaze shifted to Luna. Luna saluted her with a smile: “I am very glad to see you again, Lord Nara. You look the same as before. Is Mr. Tarak doing well?”
“Uhm, we are both doing fine. However, because our marriage witness was never present, our wedding never proceeded.”
Nara then gave me a smile and waved her hand: “I was joking, Pr-, King Troy, Your Majesty, would be more appropriate, I assume. After all, you are now the King of this land in the North.”
“It doesn’t matter, Nara. You’re my friend, so you can call what you like. I had to loan money from you for construction in the North, as well, so I’m very grateful.”
Nara picked up her cup of tea in front of her and blew it. The tea wasn’t made with tea leaves, but extracted juices from plants. Hence she wasn’t blowing tea leaves but merely stagnant water, thereby creating some ripples. She didn’t answer me.
Up until then, the two of us had conversed amicably. In actuality, I was fully aware of her desires this time. She wanted rifles and ammunition from us. As friends, it wasn’t impossible for me to provide her with some out of friendship. If it could repay our loan, too, then that was even better.
In saying that, I couldn’t possibly provide her with the best weapons. I was aware of her ambition; she wouldn’t be satisfied after uniting the entire desert. I wasn’t convinced she was willing to continue remaining as a vassal state to the Rosvenor Empire after she united the entire desert. There was no doubt Nara would oppose Rosvenor Empire. She couldn’t defeat the Rosvenor Empire with the strength of the desert alone; however, she would most probably deal a heavy blow to Rosvenor Empire’s military in the desert. After all, they weren’t locals of the desert. Consequently, it would be a challenge for them to battle Nara in terrain she was familiar with.
If Nara revolted against Rosvenor Empire, others would join the fray and revolt. That might not be able to fully destroy Rosvenor Empire, but it would undeniably be a heavy blow to Mommy Elizabeth’s empire. To add, I didn’t want my mom to have to step onto the battlefield again.
Nara was a very ambitious young girl. She was definitely not an ordinary city lord. She really wanted the weapons that could change the way wars were fought, but she knew that Rosvenor Empire wouldn’t provide her with such weapons. Subsequently, she turned to me. My relationship with Nara was decent, and I did want to come up with a way to thank her, which was why she took the initiative to provide funds. She went ahead and loaned Karnashun’s money despite knowing Freya loaned more than the latter could repay. Then, she would leverage that to force the North to repay her with firearms.
In all fairness, Nara was a good friend. As I said, my relationship with her was decent, but her ambition and power meant that she would never consider personal feelings when it came to national affairs. In order to obtain what she wanted, she’d resort to lies and rob if she deemed it necessary. That was Nara’s nature.
Karana was no different. The three of us all understand that national affairs and personal feelings were separate. We could turn our backs on each other for our respective nations, but we’d still share drinks with each other in private as friends.
There are no good people or bad people at the political negotiations table. There are only teams and profits. I was fully aware of that concept. That was why I wasn’t angry with her for trying to ensnare Freya in her elaborate plot. All I could say was that the cautious and clever Freya was careless during that time.
Of course, if I didn’t go to the desert during the time Nara loaned Freya the money, I would’ve been at a complete loss, too, for the reason that I had no idea what to do. Although money is the easiest thing to obtain in this world, you’ll always feel that there’s no enough during crucial moments. I had no money, and I couldn’t pay back Nara. However, after returning from the desert, I was the wealthiest man on the continent. I could buy out Nara’s entire national treasury, let alone pay back a debt.
“So then, I shall not waste time with unnecessary drivel. While we may be good friends, we cannot allow our personal feelings to impact national affairs. I loaned you money from Karnashun’s national treasury, because I have absolute faith in your character. Unfortunately, I now need the money I loaned. I heard you were constructing a statue of yourself, but the plan has been scrapped. So, can you repay the money now?”
Nara was hasty as I predicted. That was fine, though. Having somebody else speak to her wasn’t going to make money appear out of thin air. It didn’t matter who spoke to her if we didn’t have money. At most, I’d be able to use my character to reduce the losses a little.
“Sure.” I nodded, and then stretched my hand out.
Luna handed me an invoice; I took a look. No kidding. It was an exorbitant sum. I was sure Nara gambled everything on this. She literally exchanged all of her national funds for weapons that could equip her with the power to conquer the desert. Then, she’d begin attacking other nations and looting other places to refill her treasury.
Nara maintained her very calm and proud smile. She was no ordinary woman. This was a gamble with her nation on the line. If Mommy Elizabeth was in her shoes, she’d have silently deliberated it for days, tossing and turning. I don’t know how much pressure she was under when she made the decision. Nara had lost her mind for her nation. They sure didn’t say she’s married to her nation for nothing.’
Sadly for Nara, not only could I pay back the loan, but she’d also be able to make a bonus from interest. It wouldn’t be an enormous amount of interest. Still, it wasn’t a modest amount based on her investment.
I confirmed the details on the invoice; then, I handed it to Nara: “Nara, take a look. If you’re fine with it, sign your name.”
Nara’s smile instantly froze on her face. She looked at me with a stupefied look. Her stiff smile was gradually disappeared. I, on the other hand, didn’t budge. I maintained a straight face: “Since you came for your money, I have prepared it for you. I’ll be sure to pay both the loan and the interest. I can arrange for my guard unit to escort you to Karanshun. Nara, you’re my friend, so I wouldn’t ever lie to you. Therefore, you don’t have to worry.”
Nara looked at the invoice with a blank expression. There were no problems with the invoice. It was a very standard invoice; there were no word games or problems with the numbers. I was even prepared to wait for her to finish counting. She knew in her mind what the numbers should be. She knew how much she could get out of her loan long ago. Subsequently, she couldn’t make any comments.
I smiled: “Nara, if there are no complaints about the number, come on over. I’ll give you a look. I know what you’re thinking. You think I don’t have the sum there, but I didn’t make the loan in the first place. I must admit the amount Freya loaned was outrageous. Under normal circumstances, it’s impossible to fully repay. I also knew you wanted money. Rosvenor Empire and I don’t have much of a connection between us, nonetheless. Empress Elizabeth is my mother, so I couldn’t possibly try to rip you off, which would, consequently, affect her.”
I stood up and walked over to Nara. She silently trembled; her lips were ghastly pale. She looked up at me with a look of despair. In a shaky voice, she asked, “Wh-Where… Where exactly… did you get so much money from…? Where did… you loan this… from?”
I shook my head with a smile: “Unfortunately, I didn’t loan it. My mom gave me this money.”
“Is this… the elves’ money?”
I shook my head. I laughed in a quiet voice: “No. Nara, this money doesn’t belong to the elves or humanity. You could say my mom it gave me. You just haven’t met this mom of mine before. Come, Nara. You didn’t manage to get what you wanted from me, but, at least, you haven’t made a loss. If you want to buy firearms, you can discuss it with Freya. I supplied Rosvenor Empire with a batch, so I can supply you with a batch, except I won’t provide our ammunition manufacturing process. If you want to buy ammunition, however, I can sell them to you at the acquisition price.”
Nara continued looking at me with a dumbfounded look. She was out of bargaining chips. The only chip she could use to negotiate with me was the debt, but I could repay it. As I had repaid the debt, she had no means of refusing the money, because she took the initiative to come and ask for her money. I couldn’t beg her to take it if she decided that she didn’t want it. She didn’t get what she wanted; all she could do was watch the money being moved back and forth.
Gold is meaningless. As opposed to saying that war is a financial war, it should be said that it’s a war with the resources obtained by exchanging the gold. The weapons the soldiers used were rifles and ammunition. The food they ate was bread and grilled meat, not gold. Circulating money wouldn’t make Karnashun powerful. Karnashun was the outcome of what the money purchased.
Nara slowly stood up. I could tell she was about to trip, so I swiftly caught her to support her. With a smile, I subtly jeered, “It’s all right, Nara. You can get what you want; it’s just that you have to spend some money for it…”