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Chapter 181 Unraveling
“First off are the investigations into Divan and the Aira Conglomerate. He started to become active in this country a few years before Yuri’s mother passed away. He erases all traces of his comings and goings so it’s quite difficult to track him. But according to Baron Noir’s wife, he has visited Yuri several times, probably before Baron Noir brought Yuri back…He probably met her several times when she was quite young.”
“In the past when investigating Yuri, the man you mentioned who claimed to be related to her could very well be Divan.”
“Yes, I think so as well. And there’s the matter of Yuri’s mother being from Duke Reuben’s family…or more accurately, was a recommendation from the Towair Kingdom by Duke Reuben’s previous wife. That was how she got her job as a servant girl in the palace.”
“That and my father’s advice to me to stop investigating seems to support the conclusion that she is quite possibly a spy from the Towair Kingdom.”
I confirmed my speculations with Tanya.
“Yes…as a matter of fact, quite a few others came to the same conclusion.”
“You mean the elite nobles of this nation led by my father?”
“No, Baron Noir’s wife.”
The unexpected answer made my eyes go wide in shock.
Even though it sounded quite prejudiced of me…it was inconceivable that just the wife of a baron could obtain national secrets.
“The further her husband’s heart drifted from her, the more bitter she became toward the woman who caused it, so she started an investigation. By threatening that she would make this information public, she secretly eliminated Yuri’s mother. Back then, the baroness must have received a promise of some kind from Yuri’s mother.”
“I see. You know this so well, Tanya. It’s like you witnessed it firsthand.”
Although she had the evidence to back her conclusions up, we had launched into this investigation with nothing but speculation.
All of this was situational, without any concrete physical proof. I needed to know what her source was.
“Baroness Noir’s cursed book…I mean, her diary. The Baron Noir’s family is quite relaxed in terms of security, so it was surprisingly easy to find.”
A cursed book. The words that Tanya had instinctively used made my heart clench inside my chest.
“The further her husband’s heart drifted from her” were words that surprised me when coming from Tanya’s mouth. It made sense that it came from Baroness Noir’s diary.
It was likely described as a cursed book because of the overflowing hatred toward Yuri’s mother that even a reader couldn’t help but shiver at, and the simultaneous love and distaste for Baron Noir.
“To you, I don’t think there is such thing as a secure artifact. Regardless of that, to keep such important information in a diary…that’s so careless.”
“Milady, humans are all creatures who cannot keep secrets.”
Tanya’s words were filled with subtle persuasion.
It was true. Keeping a secret like this to herself must have been far too difficult for the baroness.
Her emotions at the time…she must have wanted to throw them as far away as possible. That and the dark feelings that haunted her were impossible to contain within a single heart.
I had experienced something similar enough to understand.
“So the conclusion here is that Yuri’s mother is a spy from the Towair Kingdom. We can confirm that. And her old friend…Divan, is also connected to the Towair Kingdom somehow. He came here on some kind of mission. That should be a good enough assumption to start with.”
I sighed deeply. It made my head hurt to even think about how many times I’d sighed already so far today.
Yuri’s mother was a spy from the Towair Kingdom.
Divan and her mother played similar roles…even if they were different, both of them brought some kind of benefit to the Towair Kingdom.
If it was a country in the middle of warfare, they wouldn’t just send someone out to vacation or admire the scenery…no, my previous speculation was likely correct.
If Yuri was still in contact with them…a shiver ran down my spine.
Yuri was the fiance of the second prince of our nation. A woman who had the wherewithal to charm man after man.
No, Queen Ellia had also fallen prey to her charms.
All information about this country’s upper levels had been leaked to the Towair Kingdom.
…And so I couldn’t stop myself from sighing, again and again.
Before now, there was a group of people led by my father who could still stop them. But now that my father had fallen, how much could that group still do?
“…What about Divan’s recent movements?”
“He’s been visiting the nobles in Marquis Maelia’s faction. Other than that, he hasn’t bought or sold much grain as the head of the Aira Conglomerate.”
“Which nobles among Marquis Maelia’s function has he had contact with?”
“I’ve prepared the list of names.”
Tanya passed me a document.
I glanced over it, and compared it to the one that Moneda had delivered.
“There might be some connections here.”
The conclusion had already become clear to me. I hoped that it was wrong, but with how much the evidence matched up against my estimations, it was probably correct.
“Tanya, take a look at this.”
I pointed out a specific section of the document that I passed to her.
It was the names that Moneda had given me earlier, of nobles.
“This is the same as my list…in Moneda’s handwriting. Milady, did you have him investigate this situation as well?”
“I asked him to investigate something else: the clients who have been purchasing grain recently. Moneda still had quite the reputation within various merchants’ guilds, so I asked him for a favor…and he more than delivered. All I wanted to see was the merchants’ guilds responsible for placing orders on the market, but he managed to produce the full list of nobles who placed the orders in the first place. Other than that, there are quite a few nobles who have farmlands of this nature in their territory. They might not have purchased grain through the merchants’ guilds, but they did levy quite a collection of grain from the people on their land. So he listed those families as well.”
“In other words, Divan is the one purchasing grain all other the place.”
“Yes. Most likely what happened is that he purchased a great deal of it from the surplus in various nobles’ backup storage. To make up for this, all of them rushed to the market to purchase more…but of course, they couldn’t buy that much at once. They can only produce so much with a set amount of land, and providing more grain to both the storage units and the market is nearly impossible.”
“Why would Divan buy up even the grain in storage instead of buying more from the market itself?”
“Probably so he could cover up his tracks better. If he purchased such a large amount at once, the various guilds and the government…someone would realize that there was something going on.”
“Compared to buying it all fresh, buying grain from storage is probably also cheaper. They’d be more than willing to sell him a favor. Just like Marquis Maelia’s family, although they are a famed bloodline, many noble families are actually quite poor.”
“But the biggest reason, of course, is this.”
I passed the golden coin inside of the letter to Tanya.
“This coin, what is it?”
“It’s more than just a regular golden coin. I had Moneda look into it, and he found that there were impurities within the gold. Three genuine golden coins are worth five of these ones. The guilds who did their business with the nobles families on the list seemed to have obtained these kinds of coins.”
“Are you saying that…”
“A merchant from the guild would be able to tell the difference immediately. Any guild that would just accept coins like these is way too careless, unless…I still can’t believe that they just accepted it. Thankfully the amount wasn’t too large. Getting off topic here…what is Divan paid in these coins?”
“So he obtained a great deal of grain for cheap?”
“Yes, but that’s not all. The usage of money is built upon trust.”
This world’s currency was similar to that of my previous life’s world.
Going from bartering to collecting desired objects and distributing them is a process that anyone could understand. Having something to represent value that was easy to move and store was the same way. Currency was fundamentally created by humans for humans.
And then with the gold standard, the custom golds unit…which, in short, was a certificate that could be exchanged for gold, paper bills were issued. And then from there more complicated forms of financial management…
Just like in my previous world where the gold standard existed, exchanges with gold, gold coins, silver coins, and bronze coins flourished.
Duke Armenia’s territory has a bank to organize the economy, so that checks and other negotiable instruments appeared.
Putting that aside. What if everyone knew that the gold was impure?
“Does everything I own really cost what it’s worth?” People will begin to suspect.
That’s when currency will lose its intended function.
For example, when you’re selling bread to someone.
If you can guarantee that you use a trustworthy currency issued by a trustworthy metal shop, then everyone involved would be happy to make that sale.
If someone passed me a piece of paper that I’d never seen before and claimed that it was enough to exchange for a golden rod…if someone said that to you, would you respond well? I wouldn’t. You can’t know whether or not that piece of paper is worth what they say it’s worth.
Following the same principles.
If you don’t know whether or not the thing exchanged for your product is worth what it should be worth…no one will want to do business.
“Divan…how capable he is!”
The man I had seen in the capital appeared before my eyes. I couldn’t help but make my exclamation.
“If the value of the gold coin dropped, inflation is inevitable. Plus, the actual amount of products has decreased as well…after unrest, there would be no stopping the inflation in food pricing.”
On my shoulders I carried the burden of my people, so I couldn’t lose to his strategies…My defiance rang strong through my heart.