Chapter 158 Secret meeting
“…So now we have a conclusion.”
I said this as I looked down on the paper on my desk with satisfaction.
After the meeting and my usual territorial duties, me and Dean began to talk more deeply about the policy suggestions from earlier.
It was already midnight. So late that all the lights from houses and stores had all gone out.
“Yep. After that it’s just a matter of contacting the officials and merchant guilds, and letting other guilds and the doctors know.”
“I’ll do that, of course, but I also want to let the people know ahead of time.”
“The people, huh?”
“Yes. This territory is currently carrying out flood prevention construction. I haven’t done enough explanation about that, and have realized that it’s important to explain why certain policies are necessary, why they need to be put into place a certain way and so on. Although I still think there will be people who won’t accept it, compared to knowing nothing, I think they’ll be much less dissatisfied.”
“I see. That’s the true style of a lady like you.”
Seeing Dean smile, the lid on my heart opened for a quick moment.
If I really thought about it, we were just here alone in the middle of the night. It was odd that I could remain so calm.
“Although you’re a substitute, you’re still the leader. As long as you give an order, the people on this land have to obey. The fact that you’re thinking ahead for them shows how much you love them.”
A dark look flashed over Dean’s face for a moment.
“Excuse me. If that’s the case, it’s best to let everyone know. Not through word of mouth, but through spreading some kind of written word. It’s impossible to reach everyone through word of mouth, plus with each further iteration the previous person will end up spreading their personal impressions of the policy. In that way original intent will be distorted. Most importantly, because of the academy, this territory is highly literate. Any family with a child should have the ability to read.”
“True. Then we’ll deliver some kind of documentation to each family about this policy. Like newspapers.”
“That sounds good. In the capital only high class gentlemen and ladies read magazines…but here, I feel like we can create a newspaper or magazine where people speak out for themselves. Perhaps it’s even inevitable, because of how fast the educational level is progressing.”
“Yes. What would they do to reach that end?”
“The fact that you think this is a good thing is also because you have such a good relationship with the people. Most nobles are afraid of giving people that kind of power.”
Unlike me, who was full of energy and passion, Dean’s voice was so serious that it was terrifying.
“Hm, why is that?”
“I’ve told you beforehand too. Knowledge is power, that’s a fact. In this country right now, knowledge is a kind of special privilege. The ruling class that has knowledge oppresses the people, rules the people. In other words, you are shattering part of the identity of this very nation.”
I laughed. Dean stared at me, his piercing eyes asking after my true intentions.
I didn’t respond immediately, instead walking to open the window and walk out onto the balcony.
Before my eyes everything was dark and muddled.
But when I closed my eyes, the city appeared clearly before me.
“True…ruling over clueless people would be easy. No matter what I did, they wouldn’t understand. But if I couldn’t rule them without them being ignorant, then I’m okay with losing out on a situation like that. When I make a mistake someday…someday, when Bern inherits this land, when him and his children and his grandchildren make their own mistakes, I want to give people the opportunity to choose. They live on this land, so they should have that right.”
I thought like that because I had knowledge from my previous life.
I understood what Dean said, but was also interested in pushing reinventions, revolutions.
That must be heresy in this world.
“The most fearful thing is when, because they lack understanding, people act out of mistaken judgements. Because they don’t understand the way things are going, they become dissatisfied. Eventually that unvented energy turns into violence. If they can think for themselves, make judgements, and reflect, then our territory’s politics will finally be complete. That is the most ideal situation.”
I turned around to face Dean. His eyes were wide in shock.
Seeing his expression, I couldn’t help but smile.
“Really, it’s just because it’s impossible to completely suppress human curiosity. That’s what I think. Knowledge as privilege? No. As long as humans can think, knowledge should be their right. That’s why even if I do nothing, someday the people will stand up for themselves.”
He laughed after I came to my conclusion.
In the quiet space, his laughter seemed very loud.
I rarely saw outbursts from him like that. It was my turn to be surprised.
“True, true…someday, the people will stand up…is that so…”
“We can talk all we want about it. It’s just a deduction of mine, after all.”
“No. I keep feeling like I have the same thoughts. When you think about it like that, you’ll realize that fights for the throne are completely idiotic…After a hundred years, whether the people with their power will respect or hate the throne, depends completely on the future ruler. It doesn’t matter who becomes king, but what the king will do. That’s what the people are here to judge, whether each decision is good or bad. I’ve never thought like that before. Seems like I’m quite narrow-minded.”
“Dean…no matter what, that’s unfair to say about yourself.”
Hearing me say that, Dean seemed very happy for some reason…like he had resolved some kind of knot in his heart.
“Please excuse me, milady…what I’ve said just now, let’s make it our secret.”
“Heh heh heh…that’s what they call co conspirators. What I said earlier is also our secret, then.”
Seeing Dean happy like that, for some reason I smiled too.
“Haha…then, would you like to have a drink? Consider it my bribe.”
“Under these circumstances, it feels like I must…then let me have a drink with you.”