125 Dark clouds
“…The numbers are strange. Compared to what they were in the past, imports and exports have decreased.”
Staring at the file, I pointed out the parts that bothered me.
“Why is that…it’s not commonly used products, but imports that were referred to as luxury items. What’s more, the decrease is only in the east.”
“…You saw the patterns.”
One of the members of the financial division spoke up, eyes wide.
“Although it’s a bit embarrassing, I didn’t realize it at all before Dean pointed it out.”
Hearing him say so, I couldn’t help but smile in exasperation.
“What did you think? Would I have realized it on my own, or did you think that I wouldn’t?”
“Are you testing me?”
“I don’t know. I was just a bit curious as to how my subordinates viewed me. Back on topic. If it was Dean who realized, then there should be a report on this completed already. How has that gone?”
“There isn’t a report yet. Dean is looking for a reason as well, and is sending people to the east. He said if it were you, you would definitely notice things like these. And he told us to hand you the documents while he was gone.”
“Ah! Then I’m being tested by Dean.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Not at all. Isn’t this interesting…what could the reason be? I’ve looked at the other information we have currently. It’s not a decrease in population, or a decrease in the desire for consumption among the population. The prices have even went up a bit. None of the other regions have seen this change…is someone manipulating this from behind the scene?”
I said this as I flipped through all the other documents in the room.
While I looked through them, the waiting official observed me in silence.
“Call Sebastian over for me. Thank you for your report.”
I gave Tanya an order, and dismissed the officials.
When Sebastian came, I immediately issued an order to him.
I wanted him to bring me all the reports from the Eastern region.
There were docks in the east.
Historically, they’ve always been an affluent area.
Since I became substitute leader, I expanded the dock and reorganized things, putting a lot of effort into our interaction with other countries.
It was an important area for income…so I took it perhaps a bit too seriously.
If I couldn’t figure out the reason behind this change, I wouldn’t be able to relax.
Although only a portion of products were affected, there was no promise that it wouldn’t eventually spread to everything else.
“Dean, I’ve received a report already. How have things been going?”
I said, as Dean walked in after a quick knock on the door.
“Honestly, with our current situation, there hasn’t been any progress made. What remains is for us to wait for the reports of those who have been sent to the east. Still, something bothers me…”
“You say that no progress has been made. Is there nothing odd other than the numbers for the region?”
“Yes. It’s too quiet. Even when they receive reports of accidents on the shore, no merchant guilds have gotten out of hand. Speaking of which, when it comes to a decrease in imports and exports, the guild hasn’t raised any opinions or talks. They’re the ones affected, but haven’t spoken up about anything. That alone is quite amazing.”
“If only this were all concern for nothing…I keep having a bad feeling. Dean, how long can you stay here?”
“Originally I was planned to leave tomorrow. Because there was something I couldn’t push off any longer, I have to leave the territory for a week or so, and will return after all is finished for an immediate report. While I’m gone, all this will be under the control of Sebastian and the officials who handed in their report earlier.”
“Is that so…I guess there’s nothing to be done about it.”
Honestly, having him here the whole time made me feel so much better about everything.
But relying on him the whole time wasn’t a good thing. Plus, having to depend on him was something I could not stand.
“I understand. If you think of anything or have any ideas, then let me know.”
After that, I headed toward the library…or rather, the book room.
It’s great that we discovered this issue while Dean was here.
If it was before he came, then I might not have been able to handle it because of all the work on my plate.
No, it was the other way around.
It was only because he was here that I noticed it.
Because there was so much work to handle and I had no time, he was able to discover something like this, confirm it with officials, then report it to me.
No matter what, I owed him a big thank you.
Deep in thought, I paced into the book room.
“Ah, Rehme, I haven’t seen you here in a long time.”
She smiled and approached.
Although she was technically the head of the library, I had appointed so much work concerning the academy in the capital that she was spending much less time here.
“Has something happened, Lady Iris?”
“There’s something I want to look into concerning the east.”
“What is it? If it’s to do with food, then it would be this one and this one…ah, and you would also need materials concerning maps and geography.”
“…Yes. Things like previous mayors, criminal records…”
“The records of previous mayors are here. I’ve organized the materials carefully and put them into book format. Please be careful when reading them.”
I received the information from her.
“Other than that, criminal records…there aren’t many from the east, unfortunately. Even if you look at them, you might not be able to see any patterns that aren’t already known.”
“Ah, I’ve heard that…before the change of power there was no record of anything aside from huge events or riots. There’s nothing to be done about that. But why is it that there are so few from the east?”
“The east has always been a place for spirited people. Arguments and riots have become commonplace. Since the Boltique family took over, there have been very few reports.”
“The Boltique family? What is that?”
Hearing the word that I hadn’t heard before, I tilted my head to the side.
“It’s an organization that has controlled the dark side of the town. In the past when you were surveying the lands, didn’t Dida stop you? That’s what is referred to as a ‘gang area’.”
“I see. I’ll go and confirm the recent movements of this associations. Do you know anything about changes within the association?”
“Well…the family itself is very old. It has been in existence since the territory was born and the east was designated as a dock area. The family has its own rules and regulations. Although what it’s doing is immoral, it’s surprisingly not disliked by the locals.”
“What do you mean, immoral things?”
“Buying and selling illegal products and slaves. Plus, protecting their land and opening up casinos.”
“I see. If they’re also protecting their own territory, that means that they take care of problems before they become big enough to spread over here. If things happen without us knowing and are resolved without us knowing, then of course there would be no records.”
“Speaking of which, you really do know everything!”
“That’s because the previous records of the family’s helpers have been preserved, as well as the things they’ve been investigating. Isn’t it interesting?”
“I see. I should be the one finding this information…but thinking about it is enough to make one reel.”
To find select information amidst the countless books in this collection would take unimaginable labor.
If it’s just reading, that’s one thing. But to search through reference materials during research is completely different.
…It was really such a relief that Rehme was here.
“Are there other similar organizations?”
“Of course, there seem to be several. Although I don’t know if they still exist…they seem not to usually interact, but sometimes they’ve opposed this one as well.”
“I see…thank you.”