Originally, Marden was land as poor as Natra. The industry was not developed enough to make a profit by making use of the pilgrims.
With that being said, even if they want to imports from other countries and sell it to the pilgrims, the pilgrims who intend to go around the west side were less likely to buy it. On the other hand, if they want to import goods from the east where there might be demand, Natra would stand to block them.
Then if that was the case, it would be simple, they just need Natra and Marden to work together but, unfortunately, the reality was not that simple, due to being removed one-sidedly from pilgrims route, Natra didn’t have friendly relation with most western countries, and as a member of Levetianism, Marden didn’t want to be seen too close with a country that was not part of the Levetianism.
(At any rate, the dilemma of that was solved when Natra and Marden becomes one.)
Natra industries were the same as ever… However, over the last 100 years, they had become a close ally of the Azworld Empire. Which means they now able to prepare ‘goods from the east’ to sell.
(And as for country recognition, it was already been solved by His Highness Wayne and Her Highness Franya.)
No matter how well one arranges the goods, if the seller was an unknown country, nobody would really buy it.
The recent activity of Prince Wayne was remarkable but, until last year, the topic was only spread in one region…
At any rate, before recently, if they heard the news about Franya, the people of other countries would only respond with “The princess of some country is working hard recently”, and they reply “Heee…”…
However, their success in the merchants’ city, Mirtaz, the other day was different.
A big incident that occurred while many influential people from each country gathered, causing the whole continent to pay attention to. The names of Wayne and his sister Franya, who helped solve the incident, were now known to people all over the continent. Inevitably, the name of the Kingdom of Natra became well known, and in turn, made the country to have ‘a good name recognition’.
Thus now Natra had the complete sets of the ‘Good land,’ ‘Good Goods,’ and ‘Name recognition’. And as a result, Natra’s economy was booming.
“Oh my, oh my! I’m such a genius!”
Thanks to that, Wayne had been dancing for a while.
Moreover, it was not a mistake that it was due to his ability that the current situation happens. Ninim was in a dilemma whether she should remonstrate him or agreeing with him.
“If the country becomes rich, the people will be happy, and the budget would increase, and following that, many things could be done as well, luxury would also increase, and in the end, the value of the country will increase! Perfect!”
“… Until a while ago, you speak like a dead fish wishing for immediate retirement and selling the country but, you sure are in a good mood now…”
“Huh?! Retirement? Selling the country? I don’t know what you’re talking about! As long as I live in luxury, I don’t mind staying in my current position…”
“I’m relieved to hear that, then here..”
*Bam*, A pile of documents was placed in front of Wayne.
“For the time being, finish these, those are reports from each department, so please examine them properly. Also, this is if you want to buy more dyes from the Empire. This one is a petition for an increase in the budget because there are not enough personnel for border security. Also, we’ve received a letter of protest from the Kingdom of Derunio regarding the exports, so please reply immediately…”
“… Wait, Ninim?! Why my work increased, despite the booming economy?!”
“Because of the booming economy, there are more people, meaning more works, and more documents…”
“I knew it! I should sell this country after all!”
“Ah, this person…”
Ninim was looking at him with an amazed gaze as he declared those words as if it was a matter of course.
“Well, looking at Wayne personality, I guess it’s too late to say anything about it, I guess I should let it side for now… Rather than that, there’s also a difficult issue that needs to be addressed immediately…”
Hearing that, Wayne groaned while looking in disgust…
“Oi, Ninim, just because of the economy in a good state, that doesn’t mean my job need to increase! But, you said there’s a problem we can’t solve? I wonder about that! Because there’s money! We can solve anything! Crushing difficult problems with money is King’s entertainment! I know no defeat!”
“Then to the point, what are you going to do with the enlargement of Marden?”
Wayne who was in a King pose froze…
The gusto power inside his body slowly dissipate and he fell onto the desk.
And after a moment of silence, he said with a heavy voice…
“The taste of defeat is truly bitter…”
“You sure like to fall into a premature pessimism huh?”
“So, what are we going to do?”
Wayne was screaming in agony.
“Ah, geez! I honestly don’t know what to do with Marden!”
“Well, indeed, this problem is annoying one…”
Next to Wayne holding his head, Ninim also makes a difficult look.
With the booming of the Natra Kingdom, which territory benefited the most?
Of course, the answer was the territory of Marden, which has “the place” where “people” are gathering and conducting “business”.
Of course, Marden was already part of Natra, meaning enriching Marden was also enriching Natra. If that was the case then there was no need to consider this a problem, but the point was that the feudal lords can’t easily accept that as a reason…
“Looking at the calculation, based on the assumption that the current economic boom will continue, the result is that the national power of King of Albarest will be overtaken by the Marden territory within 10 years…”
*Uwaaah*, Wayne’s face shows further despair.
In a feudal state, where each territory was governed by a lord, it was best for the King to maintain national power.
High national power means there were many troops that could be mobilized, and in an era when the armed conflict could happen anytime, it was a necessity, it can be said as an era where armed force was everything.
However, if the national power was low, the King would be disrespected as ‘weak’ by the others, and if if the other feudal lords don’t want to follow weak King, their hearts might turn toward others…
“Of course, if it is just growing without causing a problem, then it’s all good. But realistically, something would cause interference…”
“Which means, Marden would stop listening to me in the next decade… I can’t just leave it alone.”
Of course, in the history of the world, there were some cases where the King manages to deal with vassals that were more powerful than them just by using charisma and popularity, but that was no doubt a very rare case.
“If it was only being disobedient then that might be a lot better. After all, they are a former royalty and were just being incorporated into Natra. Including Zenovia, even their vassals would want independence…”
Zenovia was currently the lord that controls the Marden territory.
Originally a princess of the Marden royal family, now she was a Marquis.
“Does Wayne think Zenovia will betray us?”
When Wayne traveled to Cabarine, Zenovia had accompanied him with a hidden identity. At that time, she seems to be a straightforward and serious person, but—…
“It is quite possible!”
Wayne nodded lightly.
“Zenovia is obsessed with Marden. if it is for Marden, it would be no surprise she would betray us.”
“I guess so, you’re ended up being outmaneuvered by her after all… She becomes your vassals by doing a surprise attack…”
“Right? In addition, if we talk about national politics, she might be pushed by her vassals despite an unwillingness to do so. Rather, before doing that, they would prepare some fire first.”
Marden was a new power in Natra with power comparable to the Natra’s royal family. There were many Natra’s lords who view this as a danger.
From the perspective of foreign intelligence, it would be a perfect spot to set up a fire. The disagreement between Marden and Natra’s aristocrats will fuel the conflict, and when they were exhausted, the outsider would invade.
Like this, what should he do?
“The main point was the matter of rapid growth of Marden territory that is not keeping pace with the growth of other regions, so we’re worried that a gap will widen in the future…”
“In other words, if the other regions grow as much as Marden, at least we could maintain it.”
“Make sense. The problem is, how should we deal with it, do you have a plan?”
“Huh? Who do you think I am?”
Wayne laughed as he declared.
“— Of course, I have no plan!”
Ninim pressed her forehead as she heard his words.
“I can’t help it! There’s no way I can find something magically just because I wanted to!”
That was a perfectly valid reason but, Ninim didn’t buy it.
“… But if you don’t find that magic soon, Natra’s future would be bleak.”
“See?! Ah, I just want to enjoy the economic boom, why the situation can’t read the air like this?!”
*Ugh* As he slumped on the table, Ninim pondered…
“Well, we only want to prevent Marden expand too fast right? Then let’s prepare a way to slow it down? How about limiting transactions with a foreign country?”
This will slow down Marden’s growth, and allow the other region to play catch up.
“I guess so…”
Even if it was to pluck the buds of future danger, it was too much to throw away the boom in front of them.
“In that case, I wonder if we could find a large scale business partner apart from the trade we conducted in Marden.”
As Ninim said, if a new client that could profit from other regions, at least the rapid growth of Marden could be slowed down…
“However, I wonder if there’s such a convenient business partner…”
“Right, I agree…”
The two of them folded their arms.
During that moment, an official knocked on the door.
“I’m sorry to disturb, your highness. A messenger has arrived from the Solgest Kingdom.”
Ninim and Wayne look at each other.
The Kingdom of Solgest was one of the countries adjacent to the territory of Marden. The King was one of the saint lords, named Guryuel.
“Yes. How should we deal with it?”
“… Alright, I will meet them soon. Escort them to the reception room.”
Ninim tilted his head when the bureaucrats left the room.
“Solgest… King Guryuel? Is there something urgent I wonder? Nee, Wayne… Wayne?”
Ninim turns toward Wayne, and Wayne was unresponsive…
Then, Wayne’s smile reflected on her red eyes.
“— I have a plan.”