After returning to her bedroom when early evening lull had come to the streets, the quiet between the frenetic commuters and the vibrant party seekers, Leah looked around the room with a lonely gaze. With a sigh, she whined, “Papa still isn’t back. Papa… won’t join us for dinner again…
Leah had developed a fear for Veirya. After all, Veirya totally crushed her confidence. She was trained under the tutelage of Veirya and Angelina themselves, only to realise that she didn’t have the tiniest chance when Veirya became angry. Veirya did rip off over a dozen of her tentacles, which was akin to having her entire separated from its bones.
Veirya stroked Leah’s head. She didn’t know where her husband had gone off to, either. As a result, she couldn’t take Leah on a search for him. “How about. We go eat something. Together?”
Unsure what Leah’s shudder meant, Veirya elaborated, “He’s. Not here. So. Let’s find somewhere. To eat what you like. Tonight. And then. Let’s go. To the plaza. To have some fun.”
Leah, scrutinising Veirya for clues as to what her mama’s true intent was, hadn’t had anything normal – relatively speaking – ever since having lunch at Queen Sisi’s place, which was quite nice to say the least. As such, Veirya’s suggestion was alluring.
“Mama Veirya, do you have money?”
“We don’t have to pay. If we mention. His name. Right?”
“Leah thinks it’ll work, but Papa will need to go and pay the bill after…”
“It’s fine. Then. Let’s go. Leah. Let’s go eat. Together. Or did you want. To go to Her Majesty?”
If they ate in the imperial palace, they wouldn’t need to pay. Moreover, the imperial palace would be more than happy sponsor Veirya and Leah a meal. After all, the imperial palace provided nobles with a place to rest and food to eat.
Lin Dongqing was soon to become a noble of the kingdom, the first occasion of a commoner rising to noble status in the kingdom. Queen Sisi was always wary of conferring people titles of nobility. On the surface, Sisi called noble families to the imperial capital with the goal of helping her with national politics. In reality, though, Sisi fed them lots of money and women to make them succumb to their greed and lust. Why? That would be to prevent them from thinking about opposing her. As a matter of fact, they eventually grew worried about what would become if she was gone.
All nobles were basically descendants of previous generations. Sisi never added another family to the list of acknowledged nobles. At most, she conferred them an official rank. That was why the new noble, Lin Dongqing, was perceived as Queen Sisi’s most trusted vassal. Of course, those who were always in the imperial palace considered him Prince Consort.
Veirya didn’t plan to take Leah to the imperial palace. Veirya knew the plaza relatively well for she used to chase after Queen Sisi’s back at the plaza. Back then, however, Veirya was still a lively young girl. She never expected to have that disastrous encounter and didn’t ever think she’d become humanity’s hero.
“So, you want me to hold an exhibition to promote your products?” asked Sisi. Sitting at the table, Sisi enjoyed a healthy and heartening meal of bread with meat and a big dish of vegetables and fruit salad. Eyes narrowed, she challenged, “I can do that; however, if I step in, wouldn’t it be obvious? Under normal circumstances, I shouldn’t be involving myself with that sort of business.”
“You have misunderstood. This is not purely about money,” I corrected. “The most important aspect is educating everyone on what the true potential of the factory is. That will ensure enough people come to the factory to work. Sisi, you must understand that factories are a new revolution. Whether or not humans can escape the elves and dwarves chasing after them depends on this. By leveraging steam power, we can replace the monopolised skilled artisans. As a consequence, humanity’s goods will become the cheapest. At that point, even dwarves and elves would be forced to purchase our goods. Additionally, you have noticed how expensive it is for us to purchase goods from the East. Once successful, we can resell their stuff, thereby reducing our trade deficit. Sisi, this is an excellent opportunity. We must let everyone know what makes factories powerful. That is the only way we will be able to produce enough products.”
Sisi nodded as a smile came to her lips: “All right. I will have someone make the preparations. Having said that, I need someone. Dongqing, my scientists have grasped the dwarves’ firearms technology, as well as manufactured gunpowder for us. Our military supplies factory has also been designed. I need someone to act as supervisor. Very soon, I will organise a big ball. I will confer you your title of count there, which will empower you with the authority to operate the military supply factory. I want my entire military to switch to firearms.”
“That’s fine. It’s just that the military’s battle tactics, formations and whatnot will have to change along with it. It would be best to have another war for everything to be put to the test.”
“That’s on the North’s noble military families. It has nothing to do with you and me. Now, I must notify you that you won’t receive any income from the military supplies’ factory but will have to shoulder all of the expenses.”
“In that case, I hope to have the other rights that other businessmen are granted. I also want to be able to start factories. In addition, I want more from the current weaving factory. At the very least, I want forty percent. I can’t balance out my expenses with my income, otherwise.”
“Of course. You aren’t just a count; I want to make you the minister of business for the entire empire. Therefore, you will naturally have every right a businessman has,” explained Sisi, placing down her fork and knife. “Since Veirya said she plans to live in the imperial palace, it’s a given that I will provide you with adequate authority. That’s absolutely fine. After all, you’re this nation’s hidden Prince Consort. It’s just that a husband should also have a responsibility to provide his wife with enough money. Thing is, you have multiple wives.”
“… Well, it seems that my shoulders will be shouldering a lot.”
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