Chapter 96: Estate Development (2)

Two years. 

It wasn’t a long period of time, but it also wasn’t a short period of time for the humans who lived day by day. The Lester Kingdom, which had been on the verge of extinction due to the past war, had recovered at an alarming rate, and now, the country was so vibrant it seemed like it was a time of renaissance rather than recovery. 

Of the many changes that had occurred in the Lester Kingdom over the past two years, one of them was that Princess Leila had officially ascended the throne. Instead of immediately ascending the throne, she had spent one year searching for King August, but he couldn’t be found and never appeared. In the end, Princess Leila became the queen of the Lester Kingdom with the support of the people. She was Queen Leila von Lester. 

Even before she became queen, she had incredible support from both the nobles and the commoners. And once she had ascended the throne and gained legitimacy, the few hostile forces against Princess Leila all gave in. 

She quickly stabilized her country using all the power and authority available to her. She gave more funds to Duke Palan’s Northern Army that was guarding the northern borders, and did her best to restore the war-torn country. Her priority in restoring the country was to focus on the lives of the people. Most striking of all was the instructions she gave during the restoration of the capital. 

[The Royal Palace can be fixed last, so focus on restoring the homes of the commoners first.]

Many people admired her for ordering the commoners’ homes to be restored before the royal palace. It went without saying how much louder the people’s support for her became. While Queen Leila received absolute support from the people, there was one other person who was just as popular. That person was Marquis Milton Forrest. 

By the time he had defeated the Republicans and saved the country, Milton had become the country’s hero. However, it is said that a hero made during wartime is gradually forgotten during times of peace. But Milton was different.

Milton’s territory, the Forrest Territory, was designated as the temporary Capital. He had also successfully embraced the rapid influx of new people into his population. Although it had cost an enormous amount of money, Milton had accepted all of them. And now, most of them had gotten used to living there; they had both a house and job in Forrest Territory. Even if the Capital was completely restored, it was questionable how many of them would want to return. 

In the past, Forrest Territory had been treated as the countryside in the Southern Region, but now, it had developed to the extent that it was treated as the second Capital. The maritime trade that Milton had boldly pushed for played a large part in the development of the territory. 

The sea trade that Milton had secretly - at least that’s what’s said - started was a huge success. In less than half a year, he had taken over all the sea routes connecting Florence Principality and the Gloucester Kingdom and in little more than a year, had succeeded in making a sea route connecting to the Waterport Kingdom in the far south. Since it was something that no one in the Lester Kingdom had been able to do, it became a legend. Of course behind this success was Milton’s momentum as he pushed for active support whenever the ex-pirate Robin, who worked hard to get rid of his curse by even reducing his sleeping time, showed effort and achievement. 

Anyway, Milton’s maritime trade business was a big hit. The amount of trade that happened at the port was so great that Sophia soon had to expand the port. Once things progressed, the rest flowed smoothly as if sailing in a good wind. Once the size of the port increased, the distribution of goods were concentrated and jobs increased. And once more money flowed into the economy, it naturally led to the development of commerce. 

Here, Milton had another clever trick and gave the businesses a tax cut. Other nobles might have raised taxes on such a lucrative opportunity, but Milton was the opposite. And it worked out perfectly for him. As taxes were lowered, not only Lester Kingdom’s merchants, but the merchants of other countries all came to Forrest Territory and began to trade. Lowering taxes had led to more profit. 

Milton invested the huge amounts of money he had made into the country instead of letting it sit idly. The defense expenditure for the Northern Army. The funds necessary for rebuilding the Capital. And in addition to all that, Milton continued to invest the money into many small government run businesses. 

Seeing Milton’s actions, the people of Lester Kingdom went beyond admiration and sang his praises. Marquis Forrest, who they thought was only a genius in war with a legend of invincibility and a hero of the country, was now providing a dependable and reliable source of support for the country’s businesses.  How could they not sing his praises?

In all the taverns of Lester Kingdom, the drunkards all argued about the same subject nonstop — who was the better hero, Queen Leila or Marquis Forrest? Many of the arguments lead to fistfights, but the final conclusion was always the same — I wish the two of them would hurry up and get married. 

In fact, unlike the praises of the people, Milton wasn’t investing his money in the country’s businesses out of the kindness of his heart. He knew that if he wanted to make a lot of money, it was useless to just hold onto it. 

With the territory’s port thriving, Milton was now monopolizing about 80 percent of the commercial market. So the important thing was to widen his investments. Only by quickly restoring the country back to normal and fattening the people’s wallets would the wallets of the people at the top of the economy also fatten. In reality, there was nothing for Milton to regret when he could see the port’s commerce rapidly develop as the country’s situation improved. But even with all that, for Milton to still be praised as a national treasure and hero, was really quite unfair. 

***

“A human’s greed really is endless.”

Milton muttered as he looked down at his territory from the top of his castle. 

When he had first become the Lord of his territory, it had just been a quiet rural estate. In the evenings, farmers returned from the fields as the sun was setting and the smoke of baking bread would rise from the houses. A simple yet picturesque sight that was very healing. 

But now, that simple sight had become very different. Numerous buildings were built between the ruler-straight roads connecting to each other. Amongst those buildings were buildings that were at least 5 stories high, buildings that were considered tall in this world. Additionally, the outer wall surrounding this huge city was so thick and sturdy that it seemed possible to even confine and raise a giant within the city walls. And beyond the city walls was the wide road leading to the distant port that was used by numerous wagons day and night. 

This was enough. It was more than enough, it was too much. This was beyond the silver spoon life that Milton had originally aimed for when he first awakened in this world, this was a self-made diamond spoon. 

Milton checked his Territory’s status window since it’d been a while. 

Territory - Forrest Territory (temporary capital)

Population - 678,815 people

Funds - 2,512,014 gold

Main products - wheat, barley, oat, rice, wood, fur, wool, horse, cheese, ship, seafood, jerky, copper, iron, coal, cotton, precious metals, weapons, armor, leather products.

Main Facilities - Copper mine, iron mine, commercial port, academy, temple, royal palace (temporary), merchant guild, mercenary guild

Developable- Colosseum, Giant statue, Marine training center

Military power - 350 knights, 2,084 knight trainees, 10,000 cavalry, 55,000 infantry, 23,000 archers, 8,000 marines. 

“This is awesome.”

Milton just admired it. The amount of money that could be immediately used was a whopping 2.5 million gold. And if you added in things like land or port rights and the value of the ships and merchant shops, then that amount could easily be at least ten times the amount. 

When he had first inherited this territory, he had struggled with a debt of less than 10,000 gold and went off to war to pay it off. It seemed like it was just yesterday, but now he was the leader of the South and an influential person in the Lester Kingdom.

There was nothing more that he could want; this was truly how he felt. But the anxiety didn’t go away. Why? Because he had a lot of things, he now feared losing those things. 

“Tsk… I’d be able to relax if the times were a bit more peaceful.”

There was no one in Lester Kingdom that could do anything or go against Milton. But things were different if he went abroad. 

After the war, Milton kept an ear to the ground for information on the Republic. Princess Leila did the same thing, but Milton focused particularly on one man in the Republic. That man was Siegfried. They had fought once on the battleground, and Milton had won. But he knew better now. Milton hadn’t won the fight then; Siegfried had given in. Milton had only found out when Bianca shared this truth with him.

The knights wearing the black skull helmets were commanded by Siegfried. Bianca knew the truth of the potion that the knights had in their possession. It was an elixir that could temporarily increase a person’s strength and energy. As long as they were an advanced swordsman, anyone could drink the elixir and reach the level of an Expert. No, it’d be inaccurate to say that they’ll ‘reach.’ It would make them emit the same aura as someone who’s an Expert. Even though it has a time limit and the potion is so potent that it has severe side effects, but… The effect of the potion was clear.

As soon as Bianca had informed him, Milton had a guess. Milton had fought against Alfred, a Republican officer, who had suddenly gotten extraordinarily stronger. And because of that Milton had almost died in a battle that he had basically won. There was no way Milton could forget something like that. Those strange knights wearing the black skulls probably had a supply of the elixir. 

The moment Milton realized this, his blood ran cold. According to the information, nearly 300 knights wearing the black skulls appeared in the battle against Duke Derek Brans’s army. Ultimately, that meant that Siegfried hadn’t used all his power when he was fighting against Milton. The assumption was that something had most likely happened within the Republic, and that’s why Siegfried hadn’t gone all out. 

Either way, Milton was convinced. The man named Siegfried was someone who would cause a big storm in this era. And from then on Milton had generously invested both money and people into collecting information on Siegfried. And based on what Milton had observed for the past two years, Siegfried had been moving towards strengthening internal stability. 

Siegfried had made his name known in the previous war. Although he had been defeated by Milton once, Siegfried had won all the other battles, and most importantly, he had defeated Derek Brans of Strabus Kingdom. With that reputation, Siegfried had steadily built his own base in the Republic; his influence was growing in the military of the Hildes Republic. 

The Republican’s goal was to topple all the kingdoms and empires and spread Republicanism in its place. But each time, they had been frustrated by the might of Strabus Kingdom. And so, Siegfried had clearly left his name in the Republic’s history with his achievement. He had caused great damage to both Lester and Strabus Kingdom and captured a prominent figure in the Strabus Kingdom, Derek Brans. The Republican soldiers all praised Siegfried for his abilities. Since he showed them solid results, the Republican military began to have higher expectations of Siegfried, and he slowly won them over one by one. 

Now Siegfried had been given the position of Division Commander of Hildes Republican Army along with his secretarial position directly under the Fuhrer. Siegfried had participated in the previous war as a secretary directly reporting to the Fuhrer, but within only two years, he was appointed as the Division Commander. As a division commander, the only person above him was the Commanding General of the Army. Siegfried had under his command 10,000 soldiers. This was a reflection of the position Siegfried held within the military headquarters of the Republic. 

And Milton sighed as he was informed about Siegfried’s movements. 

‘It’s not enough that I’m living in an era of ideological confrontation, but now I feel like I’m also living with Napoleon.’

Seeing how Siegfried was slowly taking over the military, Milton was positive that Siegfried would start another war. 

Milton had been born in an era of turmoil but now there was an ambitious villain that was also being bothersome. He realized that everything he had accomplished could be destroyed by a single war. There was no way he wouldn’t feel antsy. 

In the end, Milton had only one option. Since it was obvious that a war would break out, Milton had to prepare for it. 

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