“Let’s increase taxes.”
Inside my office.
Having returned after finishing my training at the viscount’s, the first thing I went to implement was a tax increase.
“I’ve decided to follow in Baron Exner’s footsteps. He’s a great man, the kind of guy who’ll squeeze his people until the very last minute. Even his son Kurt, inherited that spirit of trying to squeeze out even a little bit more by learning new things during training.”
So naturally, I had to implement a tax increase.
Huh? It would trouble my people?
—Who cares? It’s not like it would trouble me.
“The time has finally come! As the villain I am– it’s time for a big tax increase!”
After hearing my opinion, Amagi paused to think about it for a bit before saying,
“Well, now should be a suitable time, so I don’t think there’s any problem with doing so.”
“Right?! Now I can finally hear the suffering voices of me people!”
Sometimes, there were idiots who misunderstood my intentions and seemed to think I was a virtuous ruler.
Was this the influence of the prepared praises that we made the television stations broadcast?
The media was super useful.
“What stupid people. Even if they place their hopes in me as a virtuous ruler, they’re only going to be betrayed in the end.”
“Master, what about the finer details of the tax increase?”
“I’ll leave those to you, just make sure to squeeze them dry!”
—The following day, we announced that we were going to raise taxes during the next fiscal year.
The territory was already making a big fuss about it.
That’s what I’m talking about!
◇ ◇ ◇
A house located in the Banfield house’s territory.
The single-family white house with a built-in garden was kept in good condition.
A middle-aged man was the owner of it, he was a bit on the stouter side and had a beard and mustache grown.
While such a man went out to the garden to do some maintenance, one of his relatives had come and ran up to him in a hurry.
“Hey, did you hear the news?!”
“What’s wrong? I’m a little busy right now.”
“Here, look at this!”
What was displayed on his information terminal was an announcement about a tax increase.
It was made using Liam’s name itself, meaning that it was compulsory.
If they fought against it, the army would be dispatched to arrest them.
As the men confirmed the contents of the report– they were shaking.
“Is this real?”
“There’s no doubt about it. It’s a formal announcement from the government. We’re getting a big tax increase!”
They were shaking in happiness.
“I hope they won’t make us go too far away for work. Where are you thinking of going?”
“The third team seems to be the closest. They’re recruiting manpower for the development plans over there but scholars and teachers seem to be the focus. Personally, I’m going to join the fourth team. Are you coming?”
“Of course I am! We’ll be able to become independent over there and we’ll never be troubled with finding work.”
Why were they so happy, and what were they talking about?
Liam had forgotten– the Banfield house had recently started developing pioneering planets.
The development of their capital planet had finally settled down, so they now they were moving on to the other planets within the territory.
It was difficult to develop pioneering planets.
There weren’t many lords who sent over more people and funds after the initial investment.
Yet, this phenomenal tax increase could only mean one thing– full-scale development of pioneer planets was about to transpire soon.
In other words, from the people’s point of view, they fully believed that Liam was investing into the pioneering planets.
Their general opinion was–
“How much is the tax increasing by?”
“Quite a bit, but it’s still better than how it used to be.”
For the people who knew what the former Banfield house was like, it wasn’t an intolerable amount.
In fact, they thought it was actually on the cheap side until now.
Of course there’d be some dissatisfaction, but it was still nice news for people thinking of migrating.
“Now that Lord Liam is back, it looks like the rumours about focusing on the development of the settlements were true.”
“Let’s fly over there quickly.”
The men decided to have a toast in Liam’s name after work had finished that day.
◇ ◇ ◇
After the large tax increase announcement.
I was watching the news, and I couldn’t help but admire how interesting it was.
The commentator on the television was desperately defending my announcement.
“This year’s tax increase was made in support of the pioneer planets-”
To such a commentator, an actress dressed like a housewife gave an opinion.
“Even so, I’d be troubled if they raised the taxes all of a sudden~ I want them to use the taxes I pay them correctly~”
“No, investing in pioneering planets is a correct way to use them.”
“But that’s only beneficial for those who want to migrate, no~?”
Wasn’t this show really interesting?
A big tax increase was just something that they couldn’t accept.
If this was the democracy of my former life, the cabinet would’ve been forced to be disbanded at once.
This was how aristocratic politics worked.
Ever since I announced this policy it’s been a hot topic among my people.
Even on the topic about how we’re lending out battleships, the lady started complaining.
“I don’t understand why we’d buy battleships only to lend them out to other territories~ They were bought with our tax money~”
This lady seemed to represent the opinion of all the housewives, and expressed her opinion with dissatisfaction.
What followed was a series of questions and statements between the commentator and the lady with both sides trying to persuade the other— they were a set.
“They sure did create a good character that portray the opposing side’s anger.”
After having shown the complaints about me, the television station then went on to broadcast that it kept a fair and unbiased opinion.
—but everything was done under my orders. It was all fake.
Even that lady was just an actress.
The commentator was also putting on quite the impressive performance that matched her.
“Let me put things out in layman’s terms! Even if your complaining about the costs of things now, we’ve been dealing with that problem since a long time ago! It’s far cheaper to rent out ships from our territory than to dispatch our armies!”
“Even then, that’s the other planet’s problem to deal with~”
“Don’t you understand?! Pirates don’t care about what territory they settle into! If pirate bases started getting built in the neighboring lands, they’ll only bring trouble to our territory!”
It was quite the powerful performance.
Wasn’t this commentator actually an actor as well? It was possible.
The title of ‘expert’ was probably just another trick prepared by the station to help influence people.
It was fun to think about how there was probably viewers out there that actually believed all of this.
Amagi approached me while I watched TV on a large monitor.
She brought tea.
“You look like your enjoying yourself, Master.”
“Well, it’s funny. I can only laugh at the people who’re deceived by such a program that says I’m actually a virtuous ruler.”
My control over all media and information was perfect.
“The story about lending out ships to help improve the security of the territory is true, but so is the report about investing on the pioneer planets.”
“Is that so?”
Well, all I wanted to do was make the big tax increase, I didn’t really decide what we’d do with the money.
It’s just harassment.
I just wanted to squeeze out my people for what they were worth.
If I was actually in monetary trouble, I had the alchemy box to bail me out.
I just wanted to see my people suffering.
I picked up the cup and started to drink the tea.
“It truly is the best to have a cup of tea while watching the image of my suffering people.”
“Master looks more happy today then ever.”
The show then changed to be about the newest trends in the territory.
“Next up, we have a segment about the hairstyles that have been in fashion with the youth lately.”
“I’m always surprised by the ideas of young people. There’s no way I would’ve ever guessed such a hairstyle would become popular.”
The hosts of the show were laughing.
I wonder what kind of hairstyle they-
“Presenting the new and trendy ‘tornado-style!’”
A model then entered into the venue as they finished speaking.
I spat out my tea.
Their haircut seemed to wind upwards like soft-serve ice cream— it other words, it was ugly.
Amagi started to clean up the tea I spat out.
“What is it, Master?”
“Is this hairstyle really that popular? Is my territory really full of it right now? Is this a lie?! Tell me that it’s a lie!”
When I pointed towards the monitor, Amagi turned away from me.
“...isn’t it fine? I don’t allow such styles inside the mansion.”
“But I’m talking about outside the mansion! There’s no way I can accept such a hairstyle existing!”
Damn it! This makes me sick to the stomach.
Is this my people’s retaliation in response to the tax increase?
“I don’t want to even think about such an embarrassing hairstyle running rampant through my territory.”
“Well, I thought you might be able to let this slide this time.”
Just like when I decided to raise the taxes, I felt a strong will wash over me,
“Let’s regulate this right away. There’s no way I’ll recognise such a thing!”
“I don’t think being so vocal about it will change anything, but I’ll still contact the government office for you.”
After that, I immediately created laws to regulate such hairstyles.
The thing is, even though the people didn’t complain when I increased the taxes, large protests suddenly started occurring after my prohibition of just the one hairstyle.
—my territory was at its end.
◇ ◇ ◇
The head maid was making a report to the prime minister.
“I see, so he really raised taxes to help develop the settlements?”
“I didn’t see anything unnatural occur. He didn’t purchase anything extravagant after raising the taxes. Rather, he’s actually been living quite humbly.”
“...well, it is a problem once one gets too greedy.”
“It looks like it might be a bit over his budget, but he seems to know how to use money properly.”
The head made was reporting Liam’s tax increase and other matters.
In other words, she was spying on Liam.
That said, this information was actually working towards protecting him.
The head maid was convinced that the large-scale tax increase was truly made to help with the investments for developing pioneering planets.
“I was worried because things looked too good on the surface, but after opening the lid, it looks like the insides are quite frugal. As expected, it’s a bit boring.”
“Your words make it sound like you were disappointed to find out he was actually a good person without any secrets.”
“That’s not true. I’m delighted to hear about the birth of a decent noble. It looks like there’s still some hope left for the Empire, a place where families like the Peetak house emerge from.”
Although it was the Peetak Count house, all relatives have refused to inherit it because of the terrible state it was in.
At this rate, it looks like Peter, who wasn’t able to acquire an elixir for treatment, will be it’s last lord.
And the huge debts left behind by the marriage will be pushed onto the Razel Viscount house.
“Oh yes, they’ve actually received an informal request from Baron Exner to leave his daughter’s bridal training to them in the future.”
“Hmm... the Banfield house might just be the right choice. Are they ready for accepting others?”
“Within the decade they somehow managed it.”
“I can relax knowing that you’re there. Make sure to do your best for the Banfield house.”
“Don’t worry I always planned to. Actually, starting next year it looks like they’ll start accepting the children of minor lords.”
“I want them to be able to accept children from houses above the baron rank too. There are many problems with those children’s training as well.”
The call ended.
◇ ◇ ◇
The following year.
For the first time ever, the Banfield house was going to take in the children of other noble families.
However, the children were all from minor or neighboring lords from houses below baron rank.
Even if described as neighboring territories, it was still a considerable distance for the children to travel.
Unlike myself, they couldn’t study abroad in the Empire except at a minor lord’s house.
The fact of the matter was that they didn’t have enough money for bigger places, so they’d go to an affiliated major house instead.
However, until recently the Banfields have been unreliable and refused to do such a thing—
which put the minor lords in the vicinity at a loss.
Most of the people in the room were older than me.
When Brian and Amagi brought me to the room, the head maid welcomed me.
“Lord Liam, these are the ones who’ll be staying with us from now on. Now, say hello.”
When I came, everyone started to greet me, except for one of them who was loudly chewing gum.
He was looking at Amagi while grinning.
“What’s with the android?”
Furrowing her eyebrows, the head maid approached the young man and slapped him.
A good dry sound echoed throughout the room.
“Watch your mouth.”
But he didn’t stop.
“Isn’t that kid just a brat younger than me? And here I was so nervous to meet him.”
—sometimes these people appeared.
Fools who didn’t understand their position because they grew up ignorant of the world.
I was angry, so I pushed the head maid aside and approached him.
The boy was suddenly launched into the wall, falling down into a coughing fit.
“I don’t need such a rebellious person. Brian, send this guy back.”
“Lord Liam, please wait. It’s still only the first day.”
“What about it? The fact that he insulted me was bad enough. In the first place, this was his parent’s fault for failing to educate him properly, which is only proof that they’re not worth associating with.”
I was kind to myself but tough on others.
The surroundings were dead silent, and the boy seemed to have a face that said he couldn’t understand what was going on.
“Amagi, make the arrangements to send him back.”
Amagi nodded,“I will make the arrangements immediately.”
◇ ◇ ◇
A few days later.
The minor lord who heard the circumstances behind what happened came to me to make an apology.
He was hoping that the relationship between our two houses could stay the same if he disinherited that child.
Of course, I was happy to accept such an offer!
I love people who subserviently shake their tails at me.
“It sure is the best to have power. Even if I’m just another noble in the Empire, I’m a king once I return home. It feels great to be treated like this.”
Brian made a slightly amazed expression before lightly chastising me,
“I was really impressed by the head maid. What you did was alright, but I’d appreciate it if you settled things a bit more peacefully. If you cause too much trouble less children will choose us as their place of study.”
“First impressions are important though.”
It doesn’t matter where, even in my past life I had to struggle with people like that.
Anyone who dares to take such an attitude is dead to me!
“It looks like the other children have become quite well behaved after that incident.”
“That’s good to hear.”
Brian went on to ask me if any of them impressed me,
“In any case, did any of the noble daughters there catch your eye?”
“Noble daughters? Oh yeah, they were there, weren’t they? I wasn’t really paying attention to them.”
Brian was disappointed,
“Is that so? I thought there might be a wife candidate among them, but I guess I was wrong.”
“They’re a group of young women apprenticing at our house that haven’t been engaged to anyone yet. Isn’t it only natural to think so? Or rather, I think that there are many among them actually aiming for you. Of course, I’d be troubled if you went wild with lust, but to show no reaction at all is a problem in and of itself.”
“Well, that might be true, but I just couldn’t feel that way because none of them were especially attractive to me.”
“Then I guess I’ll tell the head maid that there wasn’t anyone there that fit your preferences.”
Brian seemed to have given up while muttering, “Let’s hope things are different next time.”
Huh? If that’s the case then maybe Baron Exner’s daughter... no, nevermind.
It’d be impossible because she’d be coming here under different circumstances than the other noble girls.
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