Volume 6 Chapter 11. The Battleship, Decapitated
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Liam decided to raise the tax for no other reason than to see his citizens suffer.
He had said something about improving social welfare and whatnot, but that was nothing but an empty promise.
With such a vague goal, there was much room for the government officials to do whatever they wanted with the increased tax money.
However, the Banfield Family had just experienced a massive purge, and the officials working at the government office were worried about Liam’s purpose in raising the tax.
As for why this was the case—
“He’s definitely trying to test us!”
“He must be testing us by making us come up with the plan for improving social welfare!”
“If we don’t come up with something good, we’ll be dead meat as well.”
The officials that betrayed Liam had been executed.
Not only that, any and all officials that committed crimes, big or small, had been put on trial.
Even the overlooked spies sent by; other territories, Calvin the Crown Prince, and other countries had been dealt with.
That was when Liam decided on the tax increase and left the details to the officials.
Being suddenly entrusted with the task of coming up with improvements to the social welfare system, the officials could not help but have their doubts.
“If we don’t come up with a system that satisfies Lord Liam—we’ll all be killed.”
An elderly official told the young officials a certain tale while looking extremely pale.
“This is a story from 90 years ago. Lord Liam was only ten at the time, but he wiped out all the corrupt officials in the territory.”
This was something that the young officials had heard of before, but not many had experienced it themselves.
“Lord Liam is much more generous and benevolent than other lords, but he doesn’t hesitate to make fierce decisions when the need arises. Once he makes up his mind, he will swing down the sword himself. I almost forgot about it after 90 years.”
90 years had passed in peace.
The officials had become lax, and some had even become greedy.
However, the words of the elderly official took the breath out of the others around him.
“I-I think I’ve heard of that story before as well.”
“When I was a kid, there was a time when a lot of officials were rooted out.”
“Things were much worse before… so he might have done it out of necessity, no?”
They didn’t think the same would happen to them.
The elderly official continued to talk as he looked down at the ground.
“If we propose a plan that lacks essence, we’ll be the ones to be purged this time. Once again, Lord Liam is someone that follows through with his words. If someone does something funny, everyone here will have to pay with their lives. After all, the territory can be governed using artificial intelligence.”
This was something that the officials had become aware of at one point in their careers.
If Liam really wanted to, he could dispose of them and have the AIs take over.
They were easily replaceable.
Coming to this conclusion, the officials decided to do their jobs seriously.
-At a normal household in the Banfield Family’s territory-
A family of seven that consisted of three children, the parents, and the grandparents were talking about the tax increase while seated around a table.
“Improvements to social welfare… if Lord Liam’s saying it then it must be true.”
When the father said so, the grandfather nodded while taking a sip of tea.
“You’re right. Lord Liam’s a wise man.”
The children, who had never experienced the previous lord, were suspicious of their parent’s and grandparent’s absolute trust in their lord.
The eldest daughter cast doubt on the four’s opinion.
“But we never know what will really happen, right?”
“I see. So you guys aren’t aware. Despite learning about it in class, it must feel surreal to you.”
Liam had laid down a rule saying that those living inside the Banfield Family’s territory must undergo nine years of compulsory education.
A period of nine years was neither long nor short, but with the help of the education capsules everyone in the territory was educated enough to be a college graduate.
This made things easier for children to pursue further education after finishing their compulsory one.
This was what their parents and grandparents believed was the source of the children’s doubt.
The children weren’t even in their fifties, so they weren’t considered adults by this world’s standards.
In fact, they looked to be around ten years old, give or take.
It was no wonder that they were oblivious to the period known as the Banfield Family’s dark ages.
“Until Lord Liam took over, as the lord, the territory was in a terrible condition. The tax kept climbing with no apparent reason, jobs were difficult to find, and people were forced to participate in wars.”
The grandfather’s expression was grave as he recalled what it was like in the past.
However, this wasn’t enough to dispel the children’s suspicion.
“How does that even make sense? Isn’t it in the aristocrats’ best interest to develop their territories?”
It sounded like the natural thing to do, but their father explained to the naïve children that didn’t know much about the universe.
“When you grow up, you’ll be able to see how the other territories are faring. I wonder if you’ll be able to say the same after seeing how they’re run. You’ll learn that there are very few aristocrats that think like that.”
The grandmother urged her family to resume their meal after seeing the confused looks on her grandchildren’s faces.
“Eat before the food becomes cold. It’s Lord Liam we’re talking about. Nothing can go wrong.”
The children thought that the amount of trust their parents and grandparents had in Liam was getting to a dangerous level.
The Banfield Family’s military was also in an uproar.
Unlike the soldiers that followed Liam from the early days, many of those that joined later on were found to have done some intolerable deeds.
The most unforgivable one of them all was…
“Someone has connections to the pirates!?”
Someone was secretly interacting with the space pirates…
More specifically, a colonel that had graduated from the Banfield Family’s military academy was discovered receiving bribes from the pirates in exchange for letting them go.
He was receiving gold and other precious goods from the pirates and distributing them to his friends.
Recently Liam had not been personally dealing with the space pirates, so the soldiers were starting to get out of line.
What’s more, the soldiers were becoming arrogant as the space pirates were terrified of the Banfield Family’s name.
The higher-ups in the army shivered when they were notified of these charges.
“W-why would they do something so stupid.”
“If word reaches Lord Liam, he’ll flip out for sure.”
“B-but if we don’t report this, our heads will literally roll.”
The generals were terrified to this extent because Liam was never forgiving towards matters that involved pirates.
These generals, that had been in the army since the beginning, knew how fierce Liam could be on the battlefield.
They knew that hell would break loose if Liam were to learn that his subordinates had let pirates go.
To make matter worse, according to their investigation, quite a number of field officers were involved in this as well.
“Send everyone involved with the pirates to the firing squad and have them executed.”
“And the interrogations?”
“It’s fine even if you use a bit of force, but do it thoroughly!”
More than 90 years had passed since Liam last cleaned up the territory.
The military officers believed that it was necessary to be more stringent with themselves and decided to take this chance to investigate their members thoroughly.
“There weren’t as many idiots as I thought.”
Inside my office, I’m reading the reports that I’ve received from various departments. Honestly, I’m quite fed up.
“Embezzlement, bribery, and secret interactions with pirates… Well, I guess that sums it all up.”
It’s not like I had any trust in humans to begin with.
In fact, I’d say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.
At 3 o’clock, Amagi enters with my snack, so I take a break and chat with her.
“I believe the Banfield Family’s condition is much better compared to other places.”
“That’s good. I’ll cherish those that faithfully act as my arms and legs.”
“Can’t you show that kindness of yours to your citizens as well?”
“They dared embarrass me. I’ll have them pay for what they’ve done.”
I’ll never be able to forget the looks of ridicule that I received at the court of inquiry because of that child-making demo nonsense.
Eulisia also had a part in… shaming… huh?
“Amagi, what’s Eulisia doing right now?”
“Lady Eulisia? Please wait a moment.”
According to Amagi, Eulisia’s somewhere in the mansion.
“Lord Liam, you’re so cruel!”
“Cruel my foot! I ordered you to suppress the demo, not to participate in it!”
Although she participated in the child-making demo, she didn’t betray me for Isaac during this debacle.
She was apparently too scared to come out.
“They’re all so cruel. They forgot about me despite being a concubine candidate. I holed up in my room thinking I’d be killed if I came out.”
“Can’t blame them. I almost forgot about you myself.”
“Lord Liam’s a devil!”
I should punish this girl as well, but she’s sort of the bridge between me and the Imperial Army, so I can’t really execute her.
That’s why I’ve come up with a suitable punishment for Eulisia.
I’m talking about the case of preparing Rosetta’s personal guards.
Since Rosetta doesn’t have any military experience, she’d need a lieutenant to help her out.
Although she’s a disappointing woman, Eulisia’s quite capable and has connections with both the military and the weapons factories.
If only she could prove her worth on a more regular basis… Anyway, she seems free right now, so I’ll assign her to Rosetta.
“Since you’re free right now, help Rosetta establish her personal guards.”
“Aren’t you good at this kind of thing?”
“I mean… I am…but aren’t I supposed to be Lord Liam’s concubine candidate? It’s a bit awkward to help Lady Rosetta, who’s your fiancée, you know?”
“I’m relieved to hear that you’re at least smart enough to realize that. It should serve well as a punishment.”
“That’s so cruel! I don’t want this kind of punishment!”
“Do well under Rosetta! I’ll give you the funds, so go assemble her personal guards.”
I’ll be providing the funds with my own pocket money, but how much should I give her?
For the time being, will a few dozen battleships’ worth be enough?
Thinking that it should do for now. I send the money to Eulisia, who looks at me in surprise.
“Eh? This much?”
“That should be enough, right?”
“I-it is, but how big of a scale are you thinking?”
“Enough to use up the budget. I won’t specify a number. I’ll leave the rest to you.”
After Liam left, Eulisia was left wrapping her hands around her head.
“Use up the budget, he says. Does he have no idea how big of a fleet it’d be if I use it all up?”
She had just received a ridiculous amount of money, enough to buy an entire fleet’s worth of ships.
“Aren’t there a few too many zeroes!?”
It would be difficult, even for Eulisia, to prepare a fleet of such size on short notice.
She wasn’t an anomaly like Tia who could prepare tens of thousands of ships after being told so by Liam.
It wasn’t because she was incompetent. If anything, Eulisia was much more competent than the average soldier.
“A-anyway, I should consult Lady Rosetta first before coming to a decision. A-also, I’d have to think of where we can order the ships and weapons from. Would the Third Weapons Factory do? But since we’ll be ordering so many things at once, they would definitely complain if we don’t give them time to perform trials.”
The budget that Liam had set aside was so huge that Eulisia didn’t know what to do with it.
“When you think of personal guards, don’t they usually consist of only a hundred ships or so? Why would he have Lady Rosetta’s fleet be as big as his own? Wouldn’t Lady Rosetta hold too much military power then—wait, is that what he’s trying to do?”
Was he trying to have his wife wield a lot of power?
Eulisia started guessing at Liam’s intention for doing this.
“Wait… could he have entered the three extra zeroes without realizing? No, that can’t be… Hmm… Lord Liam’s not the type of person who would do that sort of thing.”
If she went ahead and formed a fleet of 10,000 ships, Liam would probably be furious with her.
On the other hand, she’d be reprimanded if she didn’t use enough of the budget.
Embezzlement wasn’t an option either as she’d be erased for doing so.
“Think… Think, Eulisia! If I don’t think of something good, I’ll really be forgotten after this! An idea that can prevent that from happening—right, there’s that!”
Rosetta’s personal guards were unlikely to fight on the battlefield.
With that in mind, Eulisia was originally planning on ordering ships of slightly inferior quality and focusing only on their outwards appearance.
However, that would result in a fleet consisting of over 10,000 ships.
In that case, all she had to do was make sure that the ships’ interior was done just as well.
“With an elite lineup, we’d only have around 1,000 ships on our hands. It’s still slightly more than one would expect. It’s not like they’ll be sent to the front lines, so it should be fine to emphasize both their exterior and interior designs.”
Since they would be for Rosetta’s personal guards, they just had to protect Rosetta.
As such, quality was preferred over quantity.
They just needed to be capable of escaping with Rosetta in case of an emergency.
“I can come up with something else if Lady Rosetta doesn’t like this idea, but this should be okay for the time being.”
She quickly drew an outline of her plan to present to Rosetta.
Rosetta was feeling troubled after seeing Eulisia’s plan.
“Will this really be for the best?”
Liam had sent Eulisia, a concubine candidate, to help Rosetta put together her personal guards.
Rosetta had some doubts about this arrangement, but ultimately decided to follow Liam’s orders.
She hadn’t graduated from a military academy, so it was true that she needed someone that could counsel her, and Eulisia was talented enough to serve this purpose.
“Marie made Darling angry, so she won’t be serving as a knight for a while. I guess there’s nothing we can do about it.”
She would normally rely on Marie, but Marie had her qualifications as a knight revoked after angering Liam.
Now, she was receiving education under Serena.
Ciel, who Rosetta was taking care of, was looking at Eulisia’s plan and, seemed to be thinking deeply about something.
Remembering that Ciel was the daughter of Baron Exner, an aristocrat specialized in militaristic arts, Rosetta sought her opinion on the matter.
“Ciel, what do you think?”
“—May I present my honest opinion?”
“You may. I want to know what you think. What should I do with my personal guards? Sorry… the question’s a bit vague, isn’t it?”
Hearing her apology, Ciel perceived that Rosetta was asking about how she should treat her guards.
Her eyes became sharp as she spoke.
“When it comes to the number of ships, I believe Lady Rosetta should only keep a couple hundred of them under your command. If the fleet becomes too big, it could spark conflict within the household.”
“You’re right. The army should be managed by Darling alone. If I hold too much power, it could become a source of conflict.”
Even if Rosetta was unaware, conflict may arise between the army and her guards.
Point being, having too big of a fleet would be problematic.
“300 ships should be enough to serve as Lady Rosetta’s guards. The rest of the fund should go towards the soldiers’ vacations and training, as well as their deployment.”
“Lady Rosetta, there are a lot of aristocrats out there that can’t fend for themselves.”
“I’m aware of that. Are you suggesting that I should help protect them?”
“Yes. How about taking care of some miscellaneous tasks that Lord Liam doesn’t have time to do as a Count? If it’s just small-scale conflicts, Lady Rosetta should be able to take care of them as well.”
Being told that she could be of help to Liam, Rosetta praised Ciel’s foresight.
“That’s a great idea. Darling has to deal with a lot of requests and petitions. I’ve been told that not everything is being processed, so I’d be happy to help with the miscellaneous tasks.”
“Then we’d need a headquarters first.”
“We need to prepare a base for that?”
“Of course. We would be operating separately from the military after all.”
“I’ll talk to Eulisia about it.”
Ciel celebrated her victory when Rosetta left to inform Eulisia about the plan.
“Yes! It’s nothing big, but Lady Rosetta should be able to amass some power with this. Even if she only has a small number of elites in her fleet, she should be able to get a lot of aristocrats on her side. Eventually, Lady Rosetta would have enough power to be a threat to Liam.”
The reason Ciel decided to support her was because she wanted Rosetta to stop the tyrant known as Liam.
To accomplish this goal, Rosetta would have to become strong.
“Lady Rosetta will one day come to realize Liam’s evil nature. When that happens, I need her to be able to put him down.”
Liam was the type of person that enjoyed watching others suffer.
Rosetta would understand one day as well—or so she hoped.
“Just you wait, Liam—I’ll put an end to you and wake elder brother up from his dream!”
“—And that’s essentially how Lady Ciel’s manipulating Lady Rosetta.”
Ciel seems to be concocting a plan of her own by putting a word or two into the formation of Rosetta’s personal guards.
Thanks to Kunai’s report, however, everything’s been laid bare.
“She’s so cute and stupid at the same time.”
“Lord Liam, are you sure we should leave her alone?”
Ciel’s actions are akin to betrayal, but it’ll be boring to crush her at this moment in time.
After all, she’s someone with a steel spirit.
Nevertheless… I won’t be careless.
“Just leave her be, but call Rosetta instead.”
“As you will!”
Kunai disappears from the room, and Rosetta arrives after a while.
“Darling, you have something you want to say to me?”
Looking at Rosetta who’s all smiles and exuding a soft and fluffy atmosphere. I want her to take a page from Ciel and come up with something that can threaten me a little.
“It’s about your personal guards. I heard Ciel told you to take care of some of my miscellaneous tasks?”
“Of course, and on that note, I forbid you from doing so.”
“A-as I thought, it’s no good?”
I have no problem with Rosetta taking care of my miscellaneous work, but it wouldn’t do to just go along with Ciel’s schemes, now would it?
Sorry, but I’ll be getting involved in this matter.
Ciel must be happy that Rosetta’s moving the way she wants her to move. In reality, she’s just rolling on the palm of my hand.
“You can do whatever you want, but don’t let others decide for you. Even if you consult others, you should have the final say. It concerns your guards after all.”
For now, I’ll leave it up to Rosetta.
She has received some military education before, but it’s only from her time in preschool.
It’s not her main occupation, so she would probably self-destruct or end up doing nothing significant if I leave her alone.
I want to see Ciel’s frustrated expression as she watches Rosetta fail!
“Whatever I want?”
“I don’t mind if you talk it out with other people, but don’t take their words at face value. Come up with the decision on your own. Otherwise, I’ll reject whatever plan you have. You can leave if you understand.”
Kunai emerges from my shadow soon after I kick Rosetta out of the room.
“Lord Liam, will this be alright?”
To be honest… I never knew that my electronic wallet omits three digits at the end.
I seem to have given Rosetta a little too much money, but I can’t really ask her to give it back.
That’s why I must put up a front and bear with it.
“Leave them alone. I want to see what Rosetta and Ciel will do.”
“Then what about Lady Eulisia?”
“She’s going to have a disappointing end anyway. Let’s just enjoy the show from the sidelines.”
Unlike Nias who’s “peaky” , Eulisia’s… ugh… just disappointing overall.
“I just wanna quickly return to the Capital and get my training over with. It should be over in another 4 years or so. Never thought I’d be held back by these kinds of things.”
When I’m done with my training, I’ll live my life freely as an evil lord.
An emergency call suddenly arrives from Wallace, who is currently at the Capital.
“Bad news, Liam!”
“Oh, it’s you, Wallace.”
“It’s not the time to be acting calm! Something big happened!”
“You, on the other hand, should calm down a bit. So… what happened?”
“The Kingdom of Domination  has declared war on the Empire!”
I thought it was something important, seeing how alarmed he was.
Turns out it’s just an interstellar nation, that has nothing to do with my territory, declaring war on the Empire.
He should really report something that’s more important and relevant next time.
“How can you be so calm!?”
“Well, it has nothing to do with me. Oh, and I’ll be returning to the Capital to finish my training.”
“Eh? Liam, you’re not going to participate in the war? I was certain that you would.”
“Nah, it’s too much work. I’d rather finish my training.”
Why would he think I’d want to join the war?
Brian (´；ω；｀): “The time has finally come. The story of Lord Liam’s success will be published in book-form. Please look forward to Lord Liam’s future accomplishments in the novel! Today is a good day indeed!”
Brian (´；ω；｀): “And here’s the daily dose of painful news. The epilogue of Volume 7 will be out tomorrow.”
 “peaky”: used when a specific function in mechanical material performs much better than the others. In most cases, a product that has a “peaky” function gives up the other functions.
 覇王国 à 覇: to dominate, have supremacy over; victory, champion, hegemony. 王国: kingdom