The only reason Princess Leila was hesitating to ascend the throne was because of King August. When the Republicans had invaded, King August had taken his royal possession and fled abroad. But after that, there hadn’t been any news about him; he had disappeared without a trace. He hadn’t been captured by Siegfried nor had any other country said that King August sought asylum from them. Even now when the war was over, King August still hadn’t shown up. In other words, it wasn’t determined whether he was alive or dead. This was really bothersome for Princess Leila.
“If I was to ascend the throne when we’re still uncertain whether he’s alive or not, knowing my father, he’ll appear the moment I sit on the throne and claim that I was trying to usurp the throne.”
“Even if he did appear, I don’t think he’ll be a stumbling block for you.”
Not only did she have the public’s support, but she also had the support of the nobles and the military. There was no way King August could compete against her in any aspect. But…
“He still has the legitimacy as the current king. With my father’s personality, he may even use the worst possible method available to him.”
“Worst possible method, Your Highness?”
“Whining about it from another country. That terrible daughter of mine lacks filial piety and drove me out of my kingdom and became the monarch. So as friends, please help me. I will take back the throne and give you my kingdom in return.”
Princess Leila shrugged.
“It’ll be difficult if my father does this.”
“Would he really do that, Your Highness?”
“Yes, he’s capable of doing that and more.”
Milton couldn’t disagree with her. If it happened as Princess Leila said, then it really would be terrible. They were just in the process of rebuilding their country after suffering a great deal of damages from the war, but if another war broke out again? At this point, if that really happened, then regardless of the outcome, their country would be toast.
“I’ll keep an eye on the situation for at least a year. And it’ll be better to slowly ascend the throne as I am recognized by the neighboring countries.”
“Alright, I understand. Then I won’t mention it again, Your Highness.”
“Thank you. To be honest, I think a wedding should take precedence over a coronation. Then, all the proposal letters that’s been swamping me would be gone.”
Milton sipped his tea while pretending not to understand as he thought to himself.
‘Don’t be caught. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be tricked by her.’
Princess Leila had been subtly shoving the marriage card in front of Milton’s face for a while now. And it hadn’t even been a proper proposal, rather, more of a foregone conclusion: ‘We’re getting married, when should we do it?’
To be honest, for Milton, Princess Leila was a bit too much to marry. Like she had said, it would be difficult for him to find and marry a woman as beautiful as she was anywhere else in the world. But, was it possible to decide on a marriage partner just by appearance alone?
No, rather than that, how could he become the Queen’s husband? That would be a tiresome life. Even though the peaceful and luxurious silver spoon life that he had wanted at first was gone, Milton still thought life as Princess Leila’s husband would make his life even more difficult than it was now. And there was also another reason he was hesitating to marry her.
“My Lord, are you here?”
In the space where it had been just the two of them, Sophia Philinover with her red hair and bright smile suddenly appeared. Sophia politely greeted Princess Leila as soon as she saw her.
“Greeting to Her Highness, the Princess.”
“Mm, it’s nice to see you, Lady Philinover.”
As soon as she had greeted the Princess, Sophia immediately turned to Milton and stated her business.
“I created a plan that would create jobs so that the immigrants could work on expanding the district. Would you read and sign it off?”
Milton read her report while praising it.
“Not bad. Providing jobs would reduce their dependence on rations. Is this what you thought, Sophia?”
“Yes, that’s right, My Lord.”
“It’s a good idea, proceed with it.”
Milton signed the report and returned it to her. Happy that her plan had been accepted, Sophia smiled at Milton.
“Thank you, My Lord.”
Seeing her smile so brightly without a hint of self-interest, inadvertently, a thought crossed Milton’s mind.
Milton unwittingly reached out and stroked Sophia’s head.
For a moment, Sophia was embarrassed, but she continued to stay still as Milton quietly stroked her hair. It seemed like she found it pleasant. Milton thought her red hair was very soft and pretty as he let them fall between his fingers. Just as he was stroking her hair in a daze…
He had forgotten that Princess Leila was next to him.
Milton quickly took back his hand but Princess Leila gave him a harsh look.
“Even if you have a lord and vassal relationship, that doesn’t give you the right to stroke the hair of a grown woman.”
“Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry.”
“Rather than me, I think you should be apologizing to Lady Sophia?”
“I’m alright, My Lord.”
Sophia cut him off. Then, she looked towards Princess Leila with a smile.
“It may look somewhat unconventional from an outsider’s perspective, but it’s fine since it was between me and My Lord… this was fine.”
“You’re fine with it?”
“Yes, Your Highness. I was rather happy. It feels like I have an older brother…”
Seeing Sophia speak with a shy smile, Milton responded to her.
“I’m glad that you think so.”
“Thank you, My Lord. Then, I’ll come back again next time.”
After Sophia had left, Princess Leila turned to look at Milton with an unhappy look on her face.
“Have you ever had skinship or other physical affection like this before with Lady Philinover?”
“Isn’t it too much to describe that as physical affection?”
“Hm… is that?”
“I just wanted to praise her and my hand naturally went to her head.”
But he didn’t tell her that he kept stroking Sophia’s head because it felt soft and pleasant to touch.
“Fine. If it’s just praising…”
Saying that, Princess Leila suddenly changed topics.
“Now that I think about it, wouldn’t you be able to create more jobs by vitalizing the port?
“You’re talking about the port, Your Highness?”
“Yes. Since you built a port, you should open a route yourself rather than waiting for it to become active. Once there’s a route, merchants will flock to you and jobs will naturally increase.”
“That’s a good idea, Your Highness.”
He hadn’t thought about it, but if he opened a sea route, then he could accelerate the territory’s development and create a large number of jobs for the refugees. But most importantly, creating a sea route meant that there was a line of funds.
“How is it? Would it be helpful?”
Princess Leila asked him coyly.
“Of course, it’s very helpful. I have to talk with my retainers immediately.”
Seeing Milton trying to leave, Princess Leila grabbed his sleeve.
“…what’s wrong, Your Highness?”
“Um… I was helpful, right?”
“Yes, you were, Your Highness.”
“Since I was helpful… don’t I get anything?”
Princess Leila subtly tilted her head towards Milton.
‘No way? …does she really?’
But Princess Leila continued to tilt her head towards him.
“You said it was helpful…”
“Ah, yes. That’s um…”
“You did so easily to someone else…”
“That all depends on who it is…”
Milton started making excuses, then just stopped and sighed.
‘This vixen… Fine. I’m caught. I’m caught, okay.’
Just this once, Milton decided to be ‘caught’ by her and gently stretched out his hand and stroked her hair.
In a way, stroking the hair of a country’s princess was a rare and valuable experience.
But more importantly, he wasn’t stroking the hair of any princess — not that he had seen any other princess before — but he was stroking the hair of Princess Leila. It tickled a corner of his heart that a provocative and exhausting woman like her was being coquettish in front of him.
Although it occurred to him that this was another trap by the vixen to get him to marry her…
‘Her hair is so soft and it smells good.’
Princess Leila’s golden blond hair flowing down between his fingers was very soft.
Sea route development. This wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
In this world, when you talked about sailing, you were basically talking about coastal sailing. It was a type of voyage where the ships didn’t sail far from the land and made multiple stops in the middle to resupply before arriving at the final destination.
Milton had originally planned for his port to be one of those intermediary stops for the ships, but now that he was trying to make his own sea route, he got a bit greedy. Milton knew exactly what the most important thing was in developing routes like this. It was a monopoly.
He didn’t particularly want to discover a new continent or anything like that. But he did want to preemptively acquire and monopolize a route that other people hadn’t developed so far. So what Milton was aiming for was…
“I want to create a direct route to Waterport Kingdom.’
Waterport Kingdom was an island country that was off the southern coast of the Central continent. Although the country itself wasn’t big, because it was an island country with fertile soil, it had a strong navy and was famous for producing excellent wine.
It was also ideally located between the Central and Southern continent. Waterport Kingdom benefited tremendously since it was able to trade between both continents. If Strabus Kingdom was the strongest military power after Andrews Empire, then Waterport Kingdom was the second richest country after Andrews Empire.
However, because the Waterport Kingdom was quite far from the Lester Kingdom, there was no direct trading between the two countries. That was why Milton believed that there would be a considerable amount of benefit if he was able to make a direct sea route between the two countries. But this wasn’t an easy task.
As soon as Milton finished talking, Max was the first one to oppose his plan.
“That’s difficult, My Lord. Our territory, no our country doesn’t have the necessary advanced navigational skill that would be needed.”
“If it’s someone to navigate, then can't we just find a competent sailor?”
“My Lord, it’s not that simple. Even if we made an announcement, we don’t know how many people would even gather and there’s no way of finding out whether they really are competent.”
Logically, Max made sense, but…
‘Tsk, I can judge whether a person is competent or incompetent.’
Because Milton had a talent that was otherworldly, he wasn’t able to agree with Max on that aspect.
“And that’s not the only problem. Even if we were able to gather qualified crew members and open up a route, there’s another reason why it’s difficult to directly trade with Waterport, My Lord.”
“What’s the reason?”
“Because of pirates, My Lord.”
This was a serious problem for Milton as well.
Geographically, Lester Kingdom was located in the middle of the continent, no slightly above the center. When compared to the human body, it’s located above the waist, around the chest?
In comparison, the target destination, the Waterport Kingdom, was an island country far beyond the southernmost tip of the continent.
It was natural that pirates roamed the sea when it was so far away. Just as long-distance trades had great benefits when it succeeded, it also has a proportional amount of damages if pirates were to target their ship and steal from it.
“Please think it over, My Lord. Waterport Kingdom is too far away and dangerous. I think Florence Principality or Gloucester Kingdom would be better.”
At Max’s earnest counsel, Milton closed his eyes to think.
‘He’s not wrong.’
Florence Principality was a nation that shared the southern border of the Lester Kingdom and located beyond Florence Principality was Gloucester Kingdom. If you traveled by land, you would have to cross borders twice and the journey would be rough and dangerous, but if you traveled by sea, the distance would be quickly shortened.
‘Doing that might be enough for financial gain.’
After thinking it through, Milton realized that Max was right. But even if he knew that it was the logical thing to do, he still felt a tiny bit of regret in his heart. He couldn’t let go of that regret when he knew that if he could just develop an exclusive trade route to Waterport Kingdom, then the profits would be outrageous.
Suddenly, Milton remembered his former bosses from his previous life.
‘That’s right, he used to accept ridiculously difficult assignments and nagged at his underlings. And when the deadline would pass, he would blame us.’
Milton remembered how he went drinking with his colleagues and talked shit about those old bastards.
‘Tsk, I can’t fall to the same level as those bastards.’
Max wasn’t an incompetent person, nor was did have a low Loyalty stat towards Milton. For him to so desperately oppose Milton’s idea, that meant he was absolutely certain Milton’s plan was bad.
“Max, you’re right. I was too greedy.”
In the end, Milton gave up his regrets.
Seeing Milton frankly admit that he was wrong, Max’s tragic expression disappeared and astonishment took its place.
“My… My Lord.”
Max never thought the words, ‘I was wrong’ would ever come out of Milton’s mouth.
In this world, the authority held by Lords, especially high-ranking nobles, was different from the authority held by bosses in the 21st century. If they, the Lords, were wrong, they might indirectly correct their commands, but they would never frankly admit that they were wrong.
So in that sense, what Milton had just done was very unconventional. He could be seen as someone who was kind and thoughtful, but he could also seem like someone who was weak and a pushover. But…
“Thank… thank you, My Lord.”
Max was touched by his words. Although he was a commoner by birth, Max was a person who had high self-esteem because was highly talented. He was deeply moved that someone as great as Marquis Milton Forrest had acknowledged him.
Of course, one of Milton’s special traits, ‘Monarch’s Dignity,’ had also played a part.
‘His Loyalty increased again.’
Once the Loyalty stat rose above 90, he was basically Milton’s, but when Max’s Loyalty rose, Milton decided that this was the perfect time.
“Max, I give you full authority to deal with commerce and the development of a trade route with Gloucester Kingdom.”
“I’ll do my best, My Lord.”
Full of motivation, Max energetically responded to Milton before quickly leaving to start working.
Seeing him like that, Milton smiled happily.
‘With that much motivation, of course you’ll do well.’Previous Chapter Next Chapter