Chapter 219 Within the territory

On our way home, I assumed my position in the riding saddle with familiarity.

In the beginning…when the drama with the Church was occurring, I rode to the capital by horse for the first time. That was quite an effort.

It might have been quicker than taking a carriage, but it was far more taxing for one’s energy levels. Nowadays, the rhythm of a ride made me feel more relaxed…habit was such a powerful, fearful thing.

“Welcome back, milady.”

“I’m finally back. Let’s get to work.”

We returned to the territory as quickly as we could. After a quick greeting, I got to work once more, still surrounded by piles of documents.

Time was limited. I couldn’t even waste a second.

Sitting in my chair, I found myself amidst several small mountains of paper.

It was anything if not a familiar sight.

Tanya, who had walked into the room alongside me, didn’t even blink.

I was actually imagining a more apocalyptic scenario where documents stacked up so high that I wouldn’t even have a place to stand or sit. The actual amount of documents seemed like nothing compared to that.

As for the reason why, the state I left my own territory in when leaving for the capital can only be described as awful.

Citizens kept surging in from other territories, hoping to immigrate here.

The capital’s…or more accurately, Prince Edward’s…proposal about forcibly taxing storage.

One after another, difficult situations arose.

Time was of the essence when dealing with incidents such as these, but I also couldn’t neglect my daily responsibilities.

Every governmental employee barely took rest. People joked about the administrative offices here becoming a city that doesn’t sleep.

Leaving my own territory under those circumstances was a very bitter choice.

To return with a much better outcome than expected–being able to cut off the evil at its root, eliminating Prince Edward and the others–was a stroke of luck.

In terms of what to deal with, I’d set up a rough framework before heading over…but ultimately that wasn’t much more than an abstract plan.

No matter how much I’d overthink ahead of time, when carrying things out in practice new issues would always come up.

Even if I tried to look into the distant future and come up with a perfect solution for that situation, there would always end up being unexpected happenstances.

That’s why I thought I would be positively snowed in with documents this time. Or at least that’s how it seemed like it should have been from my perspective.

But the lack of paperwork was what struck me this time when I returned.

Of course I was happy about this.

How excellent and capable the officials had become under Sebastian’s leadership made me incredibly proud and joyous.

“…Ah, it’s not the time for celebrations.”

Murmuring this to myself, I glanced around and started with the most important paperwork.

Those who wished to immigrate were currently residing within a temporary shelter.

With the food Dean had purchased from other countries and confiscated from nobles, the shortage issues had already been alleviated.

For this reason, about 20% of those fleeing a famine had returned home.

But 80% still wished to immigrate to Duke Armenia’s territory.

We needed to prepare a place for them to live.

Although preparations for war were important, dissatisfied, rioting citizens were even more dangerous than that.

If the arrival of these immigrants caused a negative change in the living environments of Duke Armenia’s territory, then we wouldn’t have time to prepare for war at all.

To prevent that from happening, we needed to accelerate our efforts to provide citizens with the basics of livelihood, showing them that their government was in full control of the situation.

Right now, that meant registering them as citizens, giving them work, and ensuring they had a place to live.

Although living situations weren’t the most urgent item on that list, it didn’t seem right to keep everyone in a temporary shelter.

Those buildings were all built with rushed construction, and were quite weak as a consequence.

Even so, they would probably be able to hold out for around two years.

As for work, thankfully the economy of the territory was expanding gradually.

Many jobs currently lacked personnel. The demand for labor meant that I’d probably be able to accomplish this task easily.

On the other hand…I was reading the documents right now.

I’d asked the officials in charge of our territory’s borders to collect information from immigrants on reasons for immigration, family composition, work experience, and so on.

To be honest, most people were immigrating for largely the same reasons. I was far more interested in their work experience.

Each territory has their own local specialty or well-known products. For example, cloth weaved with a special method, or golden products created through a specific process.

Among this crowd of would-be immigrants, there were many craftspeople with the skills to create exactly that kind of specialty product.

There were also healthcare professionals, merchants from large guilds, and so on.

…Yes, all of these people were valuable talent.

Although I’d have to put in a lot of work upfront, my reward would be a large influx of talent into Duke Armenia’s territory–people who had practical work experience in their fields of work!

This reminded me of my conversation with the merchants when establishing the academy, even though that happened quite a while ago.

“If possible, I want to open the academy as quickly as possible. Talent is also an important resource in our territory. If we neglect that, it will be a huge waste of potential for everyone involved.”

That’s what I said to them back then. My thoughts on the matter haven’t changed at all.

Human talent was its own brand of wealth. People were a resource for the territory, a resource that had incredible future potential.

When people gather, they form a group. More people gathering turns into a territory, a nation…in other words, when people grow together, the territory will grow as well. The wealth that the territory earns as a whole will then benefit each individual.

That’s what I think, at least.

And because of that, supervising the growth of my people was my duty as substitute leader…I harbored that thought while I worked.

…That aside, the talent we were dealing with today came from other territories.

If someone who knew a special method of weaving worked in a clothing shop, that kind of weaving would mesh and combine with our own methods and materials.

That would be quite an interesting thing to behold.

In short, encounters between those with the knowledge of our territory and those with a completely different set of knowledge would become a sort of stimulation, creating something brand new.

Just imagining this made my heart tremble with excitement.

Back to the main topic at hand.

Although for our territory, these immigrants were a delicious, interesting topic…they were not the main focus.

Instead my mind should be on the fact that other territories were so disorganized that these skilled, talented people, who should have been protected at all costs, all wished to immigrate here.

Bern told our parents that he had seen hell. Judging from that response, none of these events should seem surprising.

Solutions had already been designed for the issues of food shortage. Dean and Bern were the ones making sure these solutions were carried out in full.

Even so, one part of the result hadn’t changed.

Because of this incident, nobles and their people were more far removed than before.

Seeing nobles completely disregard the good of their people, forging ahead and abusing their power to sate their own appetites and fill their own pockets, the people were first outraged, then despondent, and finally resigned.

All these talented individuals abandoning their original homes for our territory was the best proof of this pattern.

The nobles of our nation had already…

Had they completely thrown aside their duties as nobles for the sake of their own personal greed?

“Those who are proud of their born heritage are not nobles. It’s those who retain a noble, clean character who are truly nobility.”

When I was younger, my grandfather repeated these words to me all the time.

Although I dismissed it at the time…now I realized how correct he was. His words cut deep into my flesh, my bones.

Nobles were blessed with such privilege and power so they could stand before the people as leaders, to sum up the people’s opinions and protect them when necessary.

As a leader, I wasn’t shocked at the situation. Instead I was filled with pessimism.

Now I understand why Dean wanted to destroy our current system, uniting the nation into one single organization.

It seemed like the Church of Daryl wasn’t the only organization that had lost sight of its original cause over the course of our nation’s history.

It was a history long enough that the nobles began to use their power only to act in their own interest, forgetting why this power was theirs in the first place.

This whole incident exposed that clearly.

I was glad that so many nobles had been purged of their titles and positions after this whole thing.

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