Translating Japanese Web Novels to English

CS c15

Chapter 15: Spedio Territory

Translator: Tseirp

 

A few days had passed since the calamitous arrival of the main heroine, and Saint Academy was closed for a break.

 

Luna and Rho, who boarded a carriage early in the morning, were currently heading towards the Spedio territory.

 

“Luna-sama, what happened all of a sudden? You’re in a rush to return to the mansion…”

 

“Yeah, actually there’s something I’d like to find out.”

 

In Luna’s hand was a questionable book with the slogan, ‘Even a monkey can understand! 100 simple ways to increase your family status!’.

 

(Hmm hmm, I see. ‘To raise your family status, you must first know the characteristics of your territory and use those to develop your economic zone.’ Amazing… This book was very expensive, but it’s full of great secrets! It was recommended by the street vendor, but it’s truly great!)

 

The pitiful Luna was sold a book that could be found anywhere at a rip-off price of ten times the list price, and without even knowing it, she was overjoyed.

 

(Sigh… I hope this girl doesn’t do anything weird again…)

 

The maid, shaken by her master’s unexpected behavior, let out a deep, long sigh.

 

After several bumpy hours, they arrived in front of the Spedio family’s mansion.

 

The Saint descended gracefully to the ground,

 

“Ugh, uuu… I feel terrible… Help me, Rho…”

 

She was suffering from severe carriage sickness.

 

“That’s because you read too much in a rocking carriage.”

 

“I’m going to lie down in my room for a moment…”

 

Just as she slowly took an unsteady step forward and placed her hand on the door of the mansion…

 

“This voice…… Luna-sama…!”

 

“Ooof!?”

 

Rho grabbed Luna’s neck collar and pulled her firmly towards her.

 

“Wait, what are you doing…!? Something terrible almost came out!”

 

“I’m sorry, but please check the inside of the mansion carefully.”

 

“Inside the mansion…?”

 

Luna opened the door gently, trying not to make any noise, and peered inside through the small gap.

In the open dining room at the end of a long hallway, Carlo and Trebas were seated at the table, and across from them… five men with thuggish looks were gathered in a row.

 

It was quite a distance from the entrance to the dining room, so she couldn’t make out what they were talking about, but she could tell that there was a dangerous atmosphere in the air.

 

(Wh-what… who are those scary-looking people…?)

 

Many things concerned her, but the thing that stood out the most was probably the large amount of coins placed on the desk.

There were various types of gold, silver, and bronze, but the total amount was as high as 500,000 gold.

 

Within that tense atmosphere,

 

“─Hey, hey Carlo, what’s with this paltry sum? No matter how you look at it, it’s not enough, right? Hmm?”

 

“That’s… um…”

 

The man, who sat at the front of the group and spoke in an intimidating manner, was an Imperial tax collector ─ Zavok Dodo, 34 years old.

Height 175 cm, standard body type. He has a large reddish nose and the characteristic sharp, glaring eyes of a government official.

His main job was to collect tax from remote regions and this time he was visiting the Spedio territory.

 

“This is going to make me cry. The result for coming to such a rural area at the southernmost tip of the Empire… is this tiny sum.”

 

He said and looked at the large amount of coins on the desk.

The money was what Carlo and Trebas had desperately scraped together from inside the house… but it wasn’t even close to the amount requested by Zavok.

 

“I-I’m sorry… but, Zavok-dono, we have already paid this year’s taxes…”

 

“─Don’t just talk nonsense, old bastard! I’ve been entrusted with collecting taxes in this area by His Imperial Majesty. Look at this! This proud armband with the Albus Empire’s white dragon flag on it! Any complaints means you are complaining to the Emperor. Do you really understand that…? Huuh!?”

 

“…”

 

Carlo closed his mouth in frustration after Zavok’s threat.

 

“Sigh, okay I understand, I understand… Anyway, I’ll wait until noon the day after tomorrow, which is two days away, so gather the money like your life depends on it. First thing tomorrow morning, go to the royal capital, sell off all your personal property. Turn everything that has value into money, including mansions, livestock, and internal organs.’’

 

“That’s so unreasonable…”

 

“It’s not unreasonable you idiot! If you can’t prepare the money by the deadline, you’ll lose this entire territory. I will make this land vacant! I’m telling you, this isn’t just a threat or anything. It’s not like you don’t know what happened to the villages that rebelled against the Empire, right!?”

 

Luna, who was eavesdropping from outside the door, couldn’t clearly hear what kind of conversation was going on but…

Zavok’s domineering attitude was clear to see.

 

“I don’t really like that person… He’s been acting bossy all the while. What is he so angry about?”

 

“Judging by his armband, that man is an Imperial tax collector. He probably came to collect taxes.”

 

After being doused in the cold water of ‘tax collection’, Luna toned down somewhat.

 

“…Eh, are we really that poor…?”

 

“That’s a difficult question. The answer is that we are both rich and poor?”

 

“What do you mean…?”

 

“This land ruled by the Spedio family is blessed with fertile soil and weather, and many crops bear fruit every year. In addition, beautiful grasslands spread out in the surrounding area, and dairy farming and livestock farming are active ─ and research suggests that there are rare mineral resources such as magic stones hidden deep underground.’’

 

“From what I’ve heard, it sounds like we’re extremely wealthy…?”

 

Rho agreed with that opinion.

 

“Yes, if you evaluate the territory on its own, you can say that it is extremely rich. However… the ‘location’ is the worst.’’

 

“Is it because it’s in the countryside?”

 

“Well, in the sense that transportation is not convenient, there is a bit of that, but… the biggest problem is that it is surrounded by the ‘Four Great Nations’ to the north, south, east, and west.”

 

While saying that, Rho drew a simple map on the ground.

 

“Albus Empire to the north, Elgia Kingdom to the east, Divine Kingdom Grandise to the south, Spiritual Kingdom Yune to the west. The Spedio territory is located right in the middle of these four major countries, and each country claims territorial rights to this land. According to past custom, it was often treated as Elgia Kingdom territory… but every year around this time, the other three countries brazenly show up and demand arbitrary taxes.’’

 

“N-no way… If four different places charge taxes, our money will be gone in an instant.”

 

“Yes. Therefore, the answer I gave earlier is that the Spedio family is both rich and poor. Luna-sama, this way…!”

 

“Moga…!?”

 

Luna’s mouth and nose were grabbed tightly and she was dragged to the side of the mansion.

 

Just a few seconds later, the front door was thrown open and the Imperial tax collectors left the mansion.

 

“…They left.”

 

“Mhmm, mhmm…”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

 

Rho, at the spur of the moment, completely forgot that she was covering her master’s mouth and nose.

 

“Fuhaaaaaaaaa… Hey Rho, did I do something to make you angry!?”

 

“No, I am terribly sorry.”

 

Rho apologized profusely, but Luna remained peeved.

 

“So… what should we do now?”

 

“It’s a very difficult atmosphere to enter into, but I don’t think we should stay out here forever.”

 

“… you’re right.”

 

Luna made up her mind and opened the door with a jerk.

 

“I-I’m home…”

 

“…Luna…? Oh, you came back?”

 

“Y-yeah”

 

Seeing that somewhat awkward attitude, Carlo deduced.

 

“By any chance… you saw what happened earlier?”

 

“Um, that…”

 

She couldn’t think of a response, but there was no point in lying, so she nodded silently.

 

“…I see, I’m sorry. I made you see an uncool part of us.”

 

“N-no. That’s not true at all!”

 

Luna shook her head, but Carlo remained disheartened.

 

“Those people from earlier were tax collectors for the Empire, right?”

 

“Yeah, I’m surprised you can tell. We have already paid the prescribed land tax properly, but… this year’s tax collector is really bad-natured. He would ask for additional payment for some arbitrary reason. Moreover, he threatened to turn this place into vacant land if we didn’t have the money ready by noon the day after tomorrow…’’

 

With a somber expression on his face, he quietly held his head in his hands.

 

“By the way, how much money do we need…?”

 

“…3 million gold.”

 

“Th-three million…!?”

 

“I managed to prepare 500,000 today, so to be exact, we only have 2.5 million left…”

 

Carlo said that and took a deep, heavy sigh.

 

“But land tax is usually something that is applied to the entire territory, right? If we ask all the citizens of the territory and have them give us a little bit of money, we could somehow manage…?”

 

Luna hit the nail on the head.

The land tax is levied on the territory, it would be impossible for the Spedio House to pay it entirely on their own.

 

However, Carlo shook his head.

 

“No, we can’t do that. Everyone is already doing their best to their very limit. It is our duty as the feudal lord to guarantee the lives of the people of our territory. There is nothing we can do about it.”

 

“B-but…”

 

“Thank you Luna, we’ve raised you to be a really kind child.”

 

Carlo said as he gently patted his proud daughter on the head.

 

“…”

 

Luna had very mixed feelings.

The real owner of the body died after getting run over by Howard’s carriage.

However, it would be a very cruel thing to tell, and how would she explain who was the Luna Spedio alive now?

 

It felt unbearable so Luna,

 

“T-then, I have some research to do in the library…”

 

Turned and left the dining room.

 

Behind her,

 

“…Haa, what should we do…”

Carlo let out a heavy sigh of exhaustion.

 

Afterward, Luna moved to the library and invited Rho in for advice.

 

“Hey Rho, there’s something about what they said earlier that I’m a little concerned about.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“The tax collector appeared to be threatening dad with ‘turn this land into vacant land’… I wonder if the Empire would really attack us?’’

 

“No, that’s not possible at all.”

 

Rho’s answer was refreshingly clear.

 

“Eh, is that so…?”

 

“Yes. That lowly fool has no power to move the army. It’s just childish harassment. Wearing the authority of the Empire, they harass those who are weaker than themselves and gain enjoyment from it.”

 

“T-that’s terrible…! If we tell someone in the Empire that the tax collector is doing something bad, like His Imperial Majesty, maybe they’ll do something about it?”

 

In response to Luna’s suggestion, Rho shook her head.

 

“Unfortunately, I think that will be difficult.”

 

“Why?”

 

“The connection between the Spedio family and the Empire is very weak, only the exchange of land taxes during this period, and of course there is no point of contact with the Emperor. And above all… The illegal acts of the tax collector would be reported to their senior officials, I don’t think the Emperor would take action to help a weak and minor noble on the frontier.”

 

“Rho, do you know anything about the Emperor?”

 

In response to Luna’s question, Rho prefaced ‘only what most people know’ and began.

 

“The 33rd Emperor Adolinus Odo Albus. Immediately after ascending to the throne, he implemented large-scale structural reforms and rebuilt the Empire’s economy, which had been in a slump for a long time, in just three years. He is said to be the greatest Emperor in the Empire’s history.’’

 

“Wah, an amazing person.”

 

“However… behind that success, there were many sacrifices. The Emperor was excessively keen on efficiency and although he spared no investment in growing industries, he was ruthless toward unprofitable sectors. In fact, small villages and small town factories with low profit margins were forced to consolidate one after another and were reborn as more efficient economic entities.

 

“T-that sounds quite forceful. (Now that I think about it, the Emperor 300 years ago was also an unreasonable person… Is this what they call a ‘return to roots’?)

 

“The Emperor sought competition in every situation, nurturing only the strong and promising, and ruthlessly discarded the weak and unpromising. And… the weak aristocrats, poor merchants, and powerless peasants rebelled against this harsh reform. It is said that 10,000 guillotines were brought down in the 10 years after he ascended the throne.’’

 

“Ooh… It sounds like it would be a bit difficult to ask His Imperial Majesty for help.”

 

“Yes, it would be wiser to think of another plan.”

 

After that, the two tried to think of ways to overcome this difficult situation… but they couldn’t come up with any ideas.

 

(The deadline is noon the day after tomorrow. We don’t have 2.5 million gold, such a large sum, at home. The idea of ​​asking the people of the territory to shoulder the burden and pay the tax was no good. Even if we appealed to the officials of the Empire, it doesn’t seem like it would have any effect… Hmm…)

 

At the moment, they had no way out.

After about 30 minutes, Rho glanced at the clock.

 

“Luna-sama, I’m very sorry. I have to clean the mansion soon…”

 

“Ah, sorry, thank you.”

 

“No, don’t worry.”

 

Rho bowed her head slightly and left the library.

Now alone, Luna shuffled to her room and laid flat on her back on the bed.

 

“…We were in such a difficult situation…”

 

The Spedio territory was large, and from a quick glance it seemed that farming and livestock farming were doing well, so she thought they were a fairly wealthy family, but…

The reality was that due to the surrounding great powers’ greed, they were forced to live in poverty.

 

“Hmm… how troubling. With something like this… I can’t even start raising my family status…”

 

In the end, she ended up staying in her room for most of the day, wondering if there was any better idea.

 

After that, the two days passed by in a blink of an eye ─ it was 5 am.

Even though it was early in the morning with the eastern sky pale blue, all the members of the Spedio family had gathered in front of the mansion.

 

“I have school so I’ll have to go.”

 

“I’m sorry we couldn’t do anything even though you came back… Don’t worry about the tax collector. Dad has a ‘secret plan’.”

 

“That’s right. Children don’t have to think about money or anything. Luna should go to school and have fun playing with her friends.”

 

Carlo and Trebas said that but there were looks of anxiety in their eyes.

It was obvious that they were trying not to cause unnecessary worry to their beloved daughter.

 

But─.

 

“Okay. I understand.”

 

Luna pretended not to notice and got into the carriage with Rho.

 

To act strangely there and disregard the consideration her parents had for her was the most unethical thing to do.

Even she, who can’t read the atmosphere very well, understood that.

 

“See you then.”

 

“Mmm, take care.”

 

“Take care of your body.”

 

After that, they rode around in a horse-drawn carriage for several hours until they arrived in front of the student dormitory of Saint Academy.

 

The time was already around 8:30 a.m., so there wasn’t much time to relax.

 

“Luna-sama, please hurry. Morning homeroom has already started.”

 

“Okay.”

 

The two returned to their room, change into their Saint Academy uniforms, and filled their bags with study materials.

Just when she was about to finish packing, Luna suddenly crouched down on the spot.

 

“Ugh, it hurts. My head feels like it’s going to split…”

 

“Luna-sama, are you okay!?”

 

“It hurts. My head… um… hurts…”

 

The Saint with a hopeless vocabulary complained of a headache.

 

“Let’s go to the hospital right away!”

 

“No, wait, wait…! It’s not that bad! It’s not bad enough to go to the hospital!”

 

“Is that so?”

 

Rho narrowed her eyes in suspicion as Luna suddenly acted fine.

 

“I’m sure I’ll feel better if I take a day off. So I’m going to take a break from school today.”

 

“Understood. Well then, I’ll join you─”

 

“─Don’t do that! I’m fine on my own, so Rho should go to class… okay?”

 

“Hmm…”

 

Naturally, Rho noticed that something was up with Luna.

 

But─.

 

(Well, it’s nothing new)

 

Her master’s eccentricities were nothing new.

 

“I don’t really understand… but, I should just go to school, right?”

 

“Yeah, please.”

 

“I understand. Then, please excuse me.”

 

She bowed once and quickly left the room.

 

Luna was left alone in the student dormitory.

 

“Now then… I’m skipping school, but it can’t be helped, right? ─ <Gate>”

 

Using high-level spatial magic, she teleported to a certain place.

 

 

When the clock struck noon, the door of the Spedio house was suddenly kicked in violently.

 

“─ Apologies for the intrusion, Carlo-san?”

 

Imperial tax collector Zavok Dodo and his entourage entered the mansion.

They walked through to the dining room looking like they belonged there, and sat down on the chairs at the dining table, facing Carlo and Trebas.

 

“So… where’s the money?”

 

Zavok said and looked around the room.

He did not think they would be able to gather the remaining amount of 2.5 million gold in full.

In the first place, the land tax he levied was a random sum, and if they could get half of the requested amount ─ no, even 30%, it would be ‘good pocket money’.

 

However, his fantasy was greatly disappointed.

 

“I-I won’t pay a single penny to you…”

 

Carlo declared stoutly and clearly, even though his voice was shaking.

 

Then, the next moment,

 

“…Ah?”

 

A dangerous color flashed in Zavok’s eyes.

 

“Hmm… That’s strange. Maybe I heard wrong? Did you say that you don’t have the money to pay right now?”

 

“I-I have already paid the appropriate land tax. I have no further obligation to pay you…”

 

“─ Don’t f* with me!”

 

Zavok grabbed Carlo’s collar and lifted him in a rage.

 

“There’s no obligation!? The Imperial tax collector wants you to pay, so you should just keep your head down and prepare the money! You really don’t understand what will happen if I lose my temper? I can start a war right this instant and kill all the people living here, haah!?”

 

Amidst his deafening screams ─ the sound of metal rubbing against metal resounded.

 

“─ Is it okay to take those words as a ‘declaration of war’?”

 

As if to say ‘I’ve been waiting for those words’, a voice spoke but it wasn’t Carlo or Trebas.

It was the huge plate armor on display against the wall at the very back of the dining room.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. R2D2TS

    Thanks for the chapter.

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