Achilles examined the drawing in front of him and subtly nodded: “Your Majesty, I understand now. I shall go and make the arrangements.”
“Good. I shall leave the land matter in your hands. That’s the block of land I want. I know that the land is being used to produce food at the moment, but I don’t understand science, so I won’t suspect them. As that is the block of land they have chosen, I shall trust them. With regards to the funds, let’s split it fifty-fifty between you and me. I shall take eighty percent of the profits after exclusion of cost, and the remainder shall be yours,” stated Queen Sisi, sitting on an angle in her throne.
Queen Sisi tasked Achilles with starting the textile factory that steam engines would power. The earnings were also based off profits. What did that mean? It meant that Achilles had lots of room to work with. When the time came, the cost would probably increase. Eighty percent of the profit would go to Queen Sisi, while he’d get to pocket the remainder.
Queen Sisi never said such a thing before. In the past, the cost was never factored in. She just took eighty percent of the profits without considering the cost and left him with the remaining twenty. Whether or not it was enough wasn’t her concern. In essence, if he wanted to make more money, he either needed to find ways to cut down on costs or earn more.
Even though Queen Sisi wasn’t business savvy, she knew how to make money better than your average retailer. You could also say that there was trust. The reason Achilles could stay with Queen Sisi wasn’t solely attributed to his competence but also because he was still loyal to her without her having to keep tabs on him. Achilles was a terrific businessman; however, what Queen Sisi wanted wasn’t a business. She wanted a business who understood what she wanted and what they should do. Achilles ticked all of the boxes.
Achilles stowed away the drawing. The drawing was a design of the textile factory. After getting everyone’s opinions and many amendments, they had the world’s first steam powered textile factory. Needless to say, the design had to be redone. Even then, they still might face problems. If they wanted the factory to be in operation, then there was a lot of tiresome work to do. Achilles calmly accepted the task without any comment. Hence, the matter seemed settled.
Achilles didn’t panic this time. As soon as he received Lin Dongqing’s letter, Queen Sisi called him over. He thought something was wrong. Fortunately, it was just an ordinary visit at the end.
“Wait,” called Queen Sisi, just as Achilles went to leave.
A sick feeling visited Achilles’ stomach because his intuition told him that he didn’t want to hear what was coming. Queen Sisi’s light footsteps approached from behind. No, he wasn’t calm. He was just terrified. He couldn’t keep his heart rate under control as Lin Dongqing did when he was among a group of elves.
“You… received a letter from Dongqing, didn’t you…?”
Queen Sisi gently leaned onto Achilles’ shoulder and worked her arms around his waist as if they were shackles. She slowly and gently gripped his neck. Next to his ear, she whispered, “You received his letter, didn’t you? You received a letter from my most beloved Dongqing, didn’t you…?”
Achilles shuddered while his throat convulsed. Sounding as if he was replying to the devil who had a blade sitting on his back, he answered, “… Yes, Your Majesty…”
Queen Sisi gently ran a finger on Achilles’ throat: “Hehehe, you understand, right, Achilles? I want to know what Dongqing said. Tell me. While I’m at it, I’d like to inform you that I don’t like Dongqing’s personally written letter to be with someone else…”
Quavering, Achilles replied, “He… asked me about the current state of affairs…”
Queen Sisi stepped back, relieving Achilles of the shock and tension of having guns aimed at him. That said, he still stood blankly in place without moving. It wasn’t hot in the imperial capital nowadays, yet Achilles’ back was drenched.
“Can I safely assume you know how to reply…?”
Achilles spun around to see Sisi sporting her mischievous smile, though there was nothing else that was different about her.. She made no attempt to hide the malice that could burst forth from behind her smile; she’d most probably have him killed on the spot if there was a single lie from him.
“I’d bet the only person who could lie to her in this situation is him,” Achilles thought.
“Your Majesty, are… you sure you want to do this? Fooling Lin Dongqing… is definitely not a good thing. It is too dangerous. Do you still not realise what the consequences for tricking him are? Are you sure about this? Honestly, it is not a good idea!”
Though he didn’t say much, Achilles hesitated for a long time before he spoke. Queen Sisi tugged a brow up: “Achilles, you are one of the people he has fooled, but aren’t you alive right now? I know why. He knows that he’ll be fooled; however, he will never take revenge on those who fool him. The only time he retaliates is if you hurt his family. I don’t need you to tell me what to do. You just need to respond to his letter. Tell him what he wants to hear. At the same time, spread this news throughout the entire empire. You can’t boil a frog with lukewarm water. Only blistering oil can kill it!”
“Yes, Your Majesty…”
Achilles understood her. He wondered if Lin Dongqing rescuing Queen Sisi led to her becoming even more fearless. Her personality didn’t change whatsoever after being taken prisoner. She was just as conceited as ever. After he rescued her from the elven lands, she became a headstrong woman who’d do anything for him, yet he took off and left the mess behind for Achilles and everyone else in the imperial capital. It, thence, was time for him to come back.
Queen Sisi was a wild horse. A wild horse required skilled equestrian to rein her in. Even if that equestrian already had a steed he treasured, he was still needed back here to rein the wild horse in.
Letters are comparable to justice. When results are king, a letter that is missed becomes worthless. That was why the news arrived with perfect timing. Although I had lied down on my bed already, I still took the letter Ross brought to me and delicately opened it under the flame. Achilles writing was unexpectedly messy. Some letters had even been smudged. I, therefore, felt that Achilles must’ve rushed to compose the letter and have it sent to me.
By my standards, the letter was worth waking up for. Achilles roughly written letter told me exactly what I had in mind. Sisi went along with my request as I thought she would. She had begun to promote steam engines; the snowball had begun to roll.
Steam power’s promotions were unlikely to have yet gone beyond the imperial capital’s walls. Thus, I still had plenty of time to do what I needed to do with the coal mine. I didn’t need to take the letter to the bank. They could sniff out money much more proficiently than I could. I just needed to wait, and money would be delivered. As a matter of fact, I should receive more than I imagined. Next, I planned to proceed as per the plan I had in mind. Everything was going to go the way I wanted. On this battlefield, I was invincible.
There were two words to describe how the businessmen felt: very perplexed. Normally, a Queen wouldn’t have any business in the middle of the night that required businessmen. She’d call for either the military or officials. Businessmen wouldn’t have anything so urgent that they were required at night. Furthermore, businessmen weren’t active at night; that was a rule for it was too easy to pull tricks at night.
“You all understand what I want to do now, correct? My plan has successfully proceeded. As long as the plan proceeds according to my design, the man I love most will return to my side. The next step is in your hands. My lover has begun purchasing shares. Go and sell your shares to him. I need to stress that you mustn’t let him see through you. You must make him feel as though he must jump through a lot of hoops to buy your shares from you. Otherwise, he’ll catch on. Remember: you are facing off against the smartest man in the entire empire. In saying that, he’s also the most arrogant man. You must let him feel pleased and proud of himself. You can bribe and flatter him. Most importantly, you need to make him happy.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The businessmen understood what Queen Sisi wanted.
Even the best do not always attain perfect scores. Everyone had a weakness, and Lin Dongqing was no exception. Lin Dongqing’s weakness was arrogance.
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