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Ch. 149

After the War

Bartolo ordered repatriation as he proclaimed our victory. We sent the allied forces’ commander we captured as a messenger to urge their surrender. Perhaps it is because we destroyed their reinforcements and that took away their last ray of hope… Or is it because they realized that the collapse was unavoidable as it was?

Two days after that, the city-state, which was the center of the rebellion, accepted their surrender. After the central city surrendered, the other cities that were also rising in revolt became neutral cities as they pledged allegiance to me.

Following Bartolo’s method, I burnt the entire town. It burst into red flames and scorched in the hearts of the Christian Aderns. What does it mean to defy me? Now they get it. I hope this will prevent a rebellion from happening again. At least, we ended this rebellion at an early stage.

“Well, the rebellion is over but the problem isn’t.”

There are five problems that need to be solved immediately. The first one is our internal strikes. The second one is the distribution of the loot earned in battles. The third one is dealing with the Christian Aderns. The fourth one is dealing with the cities that have risen up in revolt. The fifth one is dealing with all the Christian cities that have sent reinforcements against us and the Christian merchants that have supported this behind our backs.

“What should I solve first, Raymond?”

“Aren’t those problems we have to solve in parallel? All of them are issues that can’t be postponed.”

You are right… Although there are different priorities, it doesn’t change the fact that we need to solve all of them immediately, right?

“First of all, Bartolo. You need to regulate the loot of war. The bureaucrats may use it as they wish. Create an account book and calculate the values.”

“Understood. Ahh… Numbers are not my strong point.”

When the distribution of the loot is not fair, the soldiers are not satisfied. Moreover, it’s necessary to provide security to the citizens that become soldiers and injured soldiers. Most of the war achievements are thanks to Bartolo. Bartolo is the one who knows better how much each of them has worked. And then…

“Ron, Gram. I order that you take care of the refugees’ situation with the Christians Aderns. Avoid them becoming a single lump, disperse them, and distribute them around the state. Use them to reclaim and cultivate new land.”

“Yes! Understood. I’ll make them work hard in the Romalia Forest.”

“Well, try to distribute them along the northern part as much as possible. As the southern part is inhabited by Christian merchants…”

Gram and Ron nodded firmly in agreement. Gram is in charge of the cultivation and Ron is in charge of maintaining the internal public order. We should treat these problems with caution. If they get together again, there is a chance that a new revolt arises. But if they are dispersed and they have to till the soil, they won’t have spare time to think about rebellion. I’m pretty sure you two will be able to manage it.

“Iar, I order you to prepare the negotiations for reconciliation with the cities that supported this rebellion. Come ahead, but avoid fully-fledged negotiations for now.”

“Yes, Your Majesty. I will cooperate with the pro-Rosyth and censure them.”

Iar is the one in charge of the diplomatic negotiations. So I don’t need to think about that. So I…

“Raymond and I will do something about the strikes and deal with the cities that caused the rebellions.”

“Your Majesty, as you’ve ordered, I’ve ordered each of those cities to send a representative to the Imperial Capital in a week. Would it have been better to wait until the strikes decreased?”

“No, as long as the reconciliation with the Christian cities isn’t settled, we need to drive the wedge quickly. I can’t say anything lenient.”

Although, at this rate, the image of our farmers rejecting the military service will be burned into the eyes of each city’s representative. Before they arrive, this must be resolved.

“Your Majesty, how far will we go along with their demands?”

“Well, it won’t be everything.”

Basically, most farmers don’t expect more than the law stipulates. However, some hard-liners want them to participate in politics.

“Even if we acknowledge the existence of the Commoners’ Council to begin with, I don’t think it’ll work properly. Things such as direct democracy are not possible in a territory like ours, and representative democracy costs money.”

Democracy costs money. It would be good if our state was a complete city-state in a small city, but our nation has already exceeded that long ago. It is not realistic.

“We must create the law’s stipulation, otherwise they won’t back down. We’ll take the initiative of providing security for private property. The royalty, powerful families, and also the commoners’ penal code so that we can implement impartiality.”

As we are now, it won’t take long before even more advocates come out. And when they do, we take the initiative. This is what you call a reform from the top.

“This is also the influence of time… Those that are criminals will receive the same penalty, the royalty, the powerful families and the commoners equally. This was unthinkable some decades ago. … Now I have this proposal from my side.”

“What is it?”

“How about creating opportunities for the commoners to express their opinions? I think the reason why they go on strikes is because we can’t hear their demands otherwise. However, with that kind of move, we are forced to take a firm posture. There are no losses.”

I see. Definitely, if we do that, the strikes would cease completely. It is not good for security to have strikes and causes for it to happen. It is a good idea as a permanent preventive measure.

“What if we install some suggestion boxes to begin with? It is easy.”

We would have to put some boxes and that’s it. It doesn’t cost much money or labor, and we can do it immediately. Anything other than that… would take time and we’d have to build some kind of system for it.

“If we decide that, it will be done very fast. Let’s start negotiations with the commoners’ representatives immediately.”

I, the governor, and the commoners I rule, held a conference at the temple. A sacred place where it’s forbidden to enter carrying weapons and strictly forbidden to take lives. It is the safest place to discuss for both parties.

“First of all, let me hear what you have to say. What do you request from me? Depending on the person, the content of the request may vary, so I cannot guarantee an affirmative answe.”

First of all, I urged the representative to express a request. The commoners are not monoliths. Each individual is moving for their own sake. The commoners’ representative here, in comparison, has a larger scope and is a more reliable person to listen to.

“What they are looking for are two things. The first one is the stipulation of the law. The royalty and powerful families monopolize the law and it damages our lives and assets. The other request would be to cancel the debts. As a result of the frequent wars, a great proportion of the commoners are struggling with debts.”

The commoner expressed his requests in front of me as he rubbed his head against the floor. From that alone, I could grasp that he wasn’t requesting this for himself, his reputation or wealth, he was thinking about all the commoners. And so, the answer had already been decided.

“I see. I got it. We will start immediately with the stipulation of the law. We will state clearly the inviolability of private property and penal impartiality. We will also strive to avoid having powerful families violating the lives and properties of the commoners ever again.”

Until this point is going well. But the cancellation of debts…

“I cannot accept the cancellation of debts. You must return what you took from other people. But, unreasonable interest is against the law. I command that you pay the debts without interest, and those who received interest will return it. I declare this an imperial decree.”

As a matter of fact, charging interest is against the law in our state.Earning money just by using money equals unearned income, as it is called by some people that see it that way. Unearned income is considered morally incorrect, so it is forbidden. However, it is actually done anyway. I also paid interest to Ains when I was indebted, and most powerful families pay interest when borrowing money, and they demand interest from the commoners as well. It is a bit of a negative situation. I will take this opportunity to eradicate it. Moneylenders will cry themselves to sleep. But if I do that, people lending money in our state will disappear. Then as soon as the national politics calm down, we’ll issue a law to recognize some interests. Approximately within 10% is a good profit and just right.

“And then, we have to establish the suggestion boxes in various places of our territory. From now on, when I have a new idea, I will write a letter that can be read at the suggestion boxes.”

Learn to read and write by yourselves. I don’t have time to read demands from people who can’t write or read.

“Oh, is that true, Your Majesty?”

The commoners’ representative raised his face with a pleased expression. Those eyes are shining.The cancellation of the debts was rejected, but he probably didn’t expect the suggestion boxes.

“However, there are conditions.”

I looked down at the representative.

“Military service is a duty of the citizens. This duty must be carried out by the royalty, powerful families and the commoners equally. If from now on, someone refuses to provide military service, they will be labeled as rebels and receive appropriate punishment.”

I informed the representative in an unilateral way. And the representative’s face turned pale. It made me think about how the Christian Aderns of the other day’s rebellion attitude would be right now. They come here, and their aggressive attitude regarding the rebellion result they wanted would come out.

 

“U-understood. There won’t be anything like this in the future.”

“That is not something only you have to swear, all the citizens must swear it.”

I said unilaterally and left the temple. I faced the commoners surrounding the temple.

“I understood your request. As soon as the preparations are ready, I will promulgate subjects’ rights. Once you earn these rights, the properties and lives of those who are our state’s subjects will be protected by the law. The royalty and powerful families will be punished impartially by the law. Also, unfair interests will be wiped out and debt slavery will be forbidden. The condition is that you comply with your citizens’ duties, military service and payment of taxes, and loyalty to myself. Engrave these letters in a copper plate and install them all over the state.”

My words were amplified by magic, and it resounded all around the temple. The crowd remained completely silent for an instant. And a big cheer went up afterwards. Three day have passed since I announced the subjects’ rights. Most of the commoners dropped their weapons and stopped the strikes. This was possible because I ordered them to comply with the military service and the payment of taxes in exchange for the law’s stipulation. For the majority of the commoners, those were duties that have always existed naturally, but now it is going to be clearly stated. Rather than constraining the duties, the rights are going to be clearly stated. The meaning for strikes is lost.

“Even so, you have interesting ideas, Your Majesty. Subjects’ rights… I have heard of citizenship rights but I never heard of subjects’ rights.”

“Well, the content doesn’t change much from those of citizenship though.”

It is a concept taken from the Constitution of the Empire of Japan and the citizenship of this world. Rights are not obtained by spontaneous generation. Those are given by the King. That is the concept I want to instill here. And demonstrate it with this concept called subjects’ rights. By doing this, we can certainly dominate the commoners.

“For the time being, we have to think about subjects’ rights’ content and foreigner residents, and what we are going to do about those who rejected the idea of subjects’ rights.”

However, we are going to postpone it a little… Before that…

“We have to judge those that caused the rebellions.”

 

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