Chapter 833: Matters of the Territory (6)

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Author: The Sole Survivor Original Source: SFACG
Translator: CatatoPatch English Source: Re:Library

Interesting. Definitely an interesting fellow.

“You may raise.”

I silently glanced at Ansom Krayt, signaling for him to receive the black crystalline card from Werdeness.

Naturally, the experienced grand merchant understood the significance of that action, and smiled as he rose.

Seated on my chair, I gently tapped on the tabletop before me, increasing to a near rhythmic pace as the seconds ticked by in silence. Suddenly, I asked, “There’s been a matter that has been troubling me recently, Mr. Werdeness. Would you be so kind as to offer me some advice on it?”

“My lord, Otto is fine.” He answered, head lowered, chest brimming with confidence. “Are you perhaps referring to those 14 nobles who were found to be embezzling?”

“You could say that, yes.”

He smiled deviously upon hearing that, “So there were others who had incurred your wrath as well.”

“…”

I was thinking that, but my main issue is with those profiteering merchants, not really the nobles -I already have a solution for that problem. But Werdeness does seem to have something to say on this matter, perhaps I should let him finish.

I nodded my head approvingly. “Very astute of you. How about you tell me your views on this matter?”

“They should be executed,” he answered firmly, but immediately pivoted, “but not all of them.”

Just what I wanted to hear -that was exactly what I had in mind as well.

Having said that, Otto sneaked a glance at me. I was just as impassive as before, but for the briefest of moments, he spotted a flicker in my eyes; he knew his answer was right.

“My lord was generous enough to give these people a chance to bring glory to their families -a most magnanimous act. Yet those ungrateful curs dared to bite the hand that fed them. Even a thousand deaths wouldn’t be enough!”

Maybe not a thousand… just one. Just one is enough.
“However… that is only on a personal level…”

Embezzlement, at its root, wasn’t a serious crime, at least not one which would require mass executions. To the nobles, this was just me making a molehill out of a small problem. Yet to me, this was a matter of them stepping on my goodwill, throwing shade at my extended hand, spoiling my base.

Our views were different on this matter, as such matters tended to be. Yet the difference in our strengths had already decided who was in the right.

My own power could easily overwhelm those fourteen noble houses combined, but this wasn’t a simple matter of punishment. This was a dispute between nobles. Even if I wanted to make an example out of them, I couldn’t go overboard, not without future consequences.

Hence, I decided to kill some, and let some off the hook, or at least spare them the executioner’s block. Before that however, they had to be taught a painful lesson.

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“My lord,” he continued, “Have you perhaps heard of the tale of a noble man and his dog versus a commoner? A nobleman’s dog bit a commoner to death. As recompense, the nobleman tossed the commoner’s elder brother a gold coin, and left. In retaliation, the deceased’s elder brother slew the dog in secret. Upon learning of that fact, the nobleman wasted no small amount of gold to have that commoner punished and ultimately arrested.”

Otto had a reason for telling me that story, what he was trying to tell me was that even if those noble houses were to be punished, they would not reflect on what they did wrong, only what they had to pay.

If the punishment was the equivalent of a gold coin, they would just toss it my way. But if the punishment crossed a line… anything could happen.

Naturally, they couldn’t get me arrested, they couldn’t even harm me. But they could stir up trouble, and that would be a pain.

“Just state what you’re thinking.”

I waved my hands in a standoffish manner, giving him the go-ahead.

“I can see my lord does not wish to waste time, so your humble servant will keep it concise.” Seeing my growing lack of interest in his little cautionary tale, he quickly moved on, “In your humble servant’s view, the three most egregious offenders should be fined the amount they stole, and executed. The remaining eleven would be fined, but at a rate ten times of what they stole.”

I nodded my head placidly. His ideas mirrored my own, except I would pick the top five instead. Though, my fines would probably be half of what he requested.

“Isn’t ten times a little too much?” Silent up till now, Ansom finally chimed in with a shake of his head.

“Hm. Then what does Sir Ansom feel is a reasonable amount?”

Ansom turned to look my way, and upon seeing that I wasn’t objecting, lowered his head in thought. “What I mean to say is, the amount isn’t the problem, but what if their houses are unable to pay? Or what if they just give up on their family member?”

“Those are definitely possibilities. But a fallen house is still a noble house. Even in their state, as long as one was willing to wring extra hard, it is possible to squeeze those extra coins out of them. And if they dare to not pay, killing them isn’t hard either. And even if my lord forgives them, they’ve already committed the grave sin of offending my lord. Perhaps my lord might one day remember their transgression? And as followers of my lord, would they not want to avenge him?”

A grand merchant through and through – his skill with the tongue was more than earned. And wasn’t squeezing every bit of profit right up his alley? Looking at the eagerness on his face, I could tell he was absolutely planning to take on this task, as a means of showing his worth.



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