A discussion, bombastically labelled as a strategy meeting, is currently being held in the office.
The participants of said meeting are myself, Leopolt, Adolph, Tristan, Myla and Celia.
「First off, there is currently no immediate threat to us from the Empire’s invasion on Federation territory. The primary battlefield is on the other side of the continent, plus it is hard to believe any troops would be sent all the way to the Central Plains as a diversion because of the long distance. As a precaution though, I will contact the spies who infiltrated the southern nations.」
「As expected, they won’t route this way to get to the Federation…… it’s too foolish, right?」
It would take half a year for soldiers to march from the western region of the Empire to the Central Plains, and going from there, then passing through the remote regions to get to the western battlefield ……would take years for the army to march, and the soldiers would be dead tired at that point.
Moreover, they won’t be able to cross the remote regions when it becomes an icy hell during the winter season.
Even if they make that much of an effort to distract the Olga Federation, they will simply get intercepted by the Federation’s ships.
Laboriously playing around with their own troops only serves to decrease their own strength unnecessarily.
We can assume there won’t be a direct military threat to us.
「However, it might affect us indirectly.」
Myla spoke up.
「What do you mean?」
「Goldonia is definitely allies with the Olga Federation. From the perspective of the Garland Empire, they probably think there is a possibility for us to move south from the Central Plains and threaten their eastern region on request from the Federation after their entire army has moved out.」
「There are unknown nations to our south, so we might experience hardships if we do that though.」
「It is ultimately just a possibility. And in order to crush that tiny chance, they might ask the southern nations to put military pressure on Goldonia. Just like how Goldonia has a relationship with the Federation, the Empire has a relationship with the southern nations through channels like trade.」
「Fumu…… in other words, the possibility that the southern nations will get involved is high.」
I glance over at Tristan.
Since he has a blank expression on his face, I turn to look at Leopolt instead.
「The information network in the southern nations is still incomplete, but there have been no reports of any signs they will take the aforementioned actions. The relationship between the Vandolea People’s Federation and the Divine Nation of Altair is particularly inferior, where they have continuous standoffs or small-scale skirmishes at any opportunity they get. I don’t believe either nation has the strength to spare to conduct an invasion to the north.」
「What about Libatis?」
It was a democracy…… if I recall, it’s that country with the strange system of government.
「After seeing the effects of the enlargement of Goldonia by way of the invasion on Malt, they are being cautious. Although they have declared that they will not take part in the battle unless their national borders are infringed upon. The citizens play an important role in making decisions for the nation’s policies and as long as they continue maintaining their stance of keeping their people away from involvement in wars, there won’t be any danger of them taking military action.」
「I see, in that case we don’t have to worry about them for the time being. We’ll deal with them when we start smelling signs of an outbreak of war from them.」
Myla was able to come to terms with that reasoning so she obediently backed off.
In summary, there are currently no military-related issues for us to worry about.
「The economic effects are more serious than the military effects.」
When it finally gets to his turn, Adolph takes out various documents.
He also passes them to me though he sighs when he sees me hand them to Celia.
「In large wars like this, will things like iron increase in price again?」
「That will probably happen as well. Our nation also imports high-grade manufactured goods from the Federation. Depending on the state of the war, consumer goods will probably be converted into military supplies.」
I see, the Federation will stop exporting goods when they get into a situation where supplies can’t afford to be given away.
In that case, the value of larger items such as ships and high class carriages, and smaller items such as ornaments will go up.
「Furthermore, items like medicine and food-related goods will also increase in value. There is no such thing as having too much medicine on the battlefield so the nearby nations will be buying up as much as they can. In addition, regarding the food supplies……」
Adolph breathed a sigh as if coming to an understanding with something.
「I was wondering why the price of wheat was going up recently. I see, so the Federation’s merchants gathered them up.」
「As expected, the information doesn’t travel through Clara’s side that quickly. If the price went up already, then has it reached the max price?」
Celia has lately begun to understand things like economics and market price.
She asked Claire next time to teach her futures…… something or other.
「No, the merchants of the Federation aren’t coming directly to Goldonia to buy the wheat. Based on the order of events, they will first buy and accumulate wheat within the Federation. As a result of that, the amount exported to our nation will decrease and then the price will increase. Right now, we are at this stage.」
“Fumu fumu” – Celia nods as she listens keenly.
Leopolt is looking away in another direction, pretending like it doesn’t concern him, but he’s definitely listening as well.
On the other hand, Myla appears to be listening but doesn’t seem to understand much of what is being said about economics.
As for me, I let out a fart in Tristan’s direction, the sound and smell causing him to wake up with a disgusted look on his face.
「And when we get to the stage where the information has been spread to the common merchants of our nation, the price will increase even higher as soon as everyone starts buying up the wheat. It is now almost time for the autumn harvest, and the entire continent should be aware of the talks of war, in which the feudal lord would keep to themselves the highly-valued wheat instead of selling it…… meaning the price will probably go up even more.」
「……then wouldn’t the problem with the people’s food deteriorate even further?」
Myla and Celia look worried.
「That’s exactly what will happen. It will result in a contrastive effect between court nobles and feudal lord nobles, and farming villages and cities.」
Celia’s face stiffens when she found out about the horrible situation, but she seems to have realized something.
「Huh? Then in that case-……」
Adolph nods as well.
「Right, the people in our territory would be more grateful to us instead. We never really bought many of the luxury articles imported from the Federation in the first place.」
You’re forgetting about my wife.
Nonna loves using stuff from the Federation.
When I was away during wars and even now, the number of fluffy sofas are multiplying.
However, Adolph continues without my thought reaching him.
「I had one of the trainees patrol around and this is what the situation on wheat currently looks like.」
Celia takes a look at the part in the document that was pointed out.
A summary of all the fields in the villages are lined up and numbers are included next to all of them.
Beside the numbers…… it looks like a ‘+’ sign is there.
「Almost all of the farmland, including the ones in the south which haven’t had complete maintenance done, will each have an increase in harvest amount. Of course part of the reason is because of the improvement in flood control and soil enrichment, but the weather and temperature has been optimal, and further the farmers-……」
「Explain the reason to Celia later, what are you trying to say?」
If I don’t interrupt Adolph, he will just ramble on forever.
「All our territories will be receiving a close-to-ideal abundant amount of harvest. We can expect a harvest incomparable to the one last year.」
「Then…… what about the sudden increase to the price of wheat?」
「Restricting the scope to only our territory, we can be considered lucky. In addition, we have a preferential trade agreement with the breadbasket nation, Malt Kingdom. Goldonia might be experiencing tough times economically, but we are unexpectedly in good shape.」
Everyone’s faces relaxes.
No, Leopolt’s stayed the same.
Tristan can’t seem to calm down, probably because he drank too much tea and needs to use the washroom. I’m not gonna let him go.
「Then we should contact Celestina too.」
「……there isn’t a need to say anything unnecessary, is there?」
Oh, come on Celia, you didn’t have to say something so mean.
It will pain my heart if we trick such an innocent kid just so we can buy at a lower price.
「Even if it is Malt, I wonder if there is such a pressing need for them to sell us wheat.」
Leopolt states coldly.
「If in fact the price of wheat will shoot up, then the vast farmland in Malt will transform into fields of gold. There are too many threats around that nation for us to protect on our own.」
That’s how it is, let’s dispatch a messenger right away.
「In any case, the market price of wheat will increase. Even though our funds are low considering the lifestyles of the citizens, we can’t get them to sell it to us that simply. The information has already been circulated around to the great merchants and they’re probably running over to make purchases right now.」
Everyone disperses after those final words.
Leopolt and Myla will be reorganizing the injured army, and Adolph…… he has a mountain of work and doesn’t seem to know where to start.
Right when I put my arm around Celia and was about to get her to give me a blowjob or something, a voice calls out suddenly from behind me.
「Master, could I ask for your time?」
That scared me. I turn around and see Sebastian there.
Was he there the whole time we had the meeting? ……he had such a weak presence, I didn’t even realize.
「The secret to being a butler lies in being present while making it seem like there’s nothing there.」
Well, I think it’s impossible for this guy to leak the contents of the meeting to anyone else.
「So, what’s the matter?」
It’s rare for Sebastian to pull me aside to talk.
This elder keeps his presence like that of the air until he has something to say.
「Yes, it’s actually regarding the Madam.」
Celia’s shoulders slump disappointingly.
Wondering if she did something else again, I unconsciously feel slightly unmotivated to find out.
「Did Nonna…… do something?」
The butler first bows deeply.
「Please forgive me if I say anything offensive towards the Madam. Recently, many of the servants are feeling a higher sense of animosity towards Nonna-sama. A portion of them who openly talked behind her back were dealt with…… but I was unable to address all of them because of my lack of ability, so I’m afraid someone might do or say something carelessly.」
I knew some time ago that several of the servants disliked Nonna, but now it’s gotten to the point where Sebastian has to speak to me.
「Myself and Carla-sama especially has managed to mediate things to a certain extent, although there is no telling what impetus would start more trouble. This is ultimately for the Hardlett house’s sake, which is why I felt the need to let Master know.」
Normally, a butler tattling about the Madam’s behavior is an extremely rude act.
However, Sebastian is purely concerned about whether Nonna or the house would get shamed.
「I will accept any punishment for my disrespectful conduct.」
I’m not going to do anything to Sebastian.
「We know the fault is with Nonna-san for sure.」
Celia shakes her head in resignation too.
「So even Carla couldn’t handle it.」
I thought Carla could deal with the discontent towards Nonna, but in the servants’ eyes, Nonna has a higher standing than Carla.
They might not trust her enough to tell her about everything.
「Then I have no choice but to talk to her. This is a perfect opportunity, plus her body has probably recovered after giving birth by now, so I can punish her a little. Casie, are you there?」
Casie the ghost flies over towards me after I call for her. I have a little job for her.
Nonna is my beloved wife, so despite what Sebastian said, I still have to confirm it myself before I can reproach her.
If she starts any trouble, let me know. I’ll make a decision after seeing what happened at the scene of the crime.
（Got it. Although I’m sure…… you’ll discover it yourself pretty easily today.）
「I’m sure…… it was bad when she was pregnant, but after giving birth, there’s no stopping her……」
Don’t say anymore, she’s my lovely wife.
She has plenty of good points too.
「Aegir-sama…… it’s the same with that pig too, but you really love selfish girls, don’t you.」
I wonder who she’s referring to.
After sending out the reconnaissance ghost, I was about to go off and drink some alcohol, but Casie returns to me.
（There’s a problem~ It’s on the terrace.）
「It hasn’t even been 30 minutes.」
I follow after Casie and Celia.
When we approach the terracem we can hear Nonna’s angry shouting.
「You! Look how wet this confection is! What is the meaning of this!?」
「M-my apologies Madam, but this is normal for this type of confection……」
「Don’t lie to me! I ate this before, I’m sure you just left this out in the open for a while before bringing it to me!」
「Of course not, Madam…… I would do no such thing……」
Nonna is accusing the young maid.
The maid said she would exchange it and headed off to the dining room on the verge of tears.
Just to double check, I also went to the dining room to take a bite of the same kind of confection that Nonna ate.
「Oh, so the freshly prepared one is also slightly moist.」
「This is a mille roll1, isn’t it? This kind of sweets is soft and moist to begin with.」
In other words, this was misunderstanding on Nonna’s part.
When we returned to the terrace, Nonna was scolding the maid again.
「It’s still wet! Are you trying to harass me? Do you think poorly of me or something!?」
「U, uuueeeh…… waaaah……」
The maid genuinely broke out in tears.
Left with no choice, I approached her head-on.
「Aegir-sama! So the conference is over. Ara, what is she crying about?」
Nonna swiftly changes her facial expression.
I take some of the pastry in her hand and toss it in my mouth.
「The moistness of this confection is delicious, don’t you think?」
「Y-yes. I think it’s quite delicious too. Go on, you may leave now.」
Unfortunately, she’s guilty as charged.
As I pondered what I should do with her, Casie once again flew in with a report.
（She’s quarreling with Melissa-san~）
This time, it’s Melissa? ……good grief, what’s wrong this time?
I run over and sneakily take a peek in the room to see Nonna and Melissa arguing.
「Like I said before, this money is for the children and will be sent over to the capital. Aegir-san already consented to this too.」
「I have something I want to buy now which won’t be available at another time! It’s fine to let me use it just this once, is it not!?」
「It’s not okay, you have plenty of accessories already.」
「Those kids should have received their living expenses already too!」
「That’s only enough for the minimum amount required for their survival, and they should be allowed to eat something nice once in a while……」
It looks like Nonna discovered the gold which was supposed to be sent to the kids in the capital.
As everyone should know, my bank account is empty right now and I’ve notified the merchants not to let Nonna borrow money, so she doesn’t have anything to spend.
These two, who don’t actually have a bad relationship, continue to argue with Melissa deflecting Nonna’s selfish requests at first and then things gradually start to escalate when they go tit for tat.
「So those orphans are more important than me!?」
「Nonna, you have enjoyed plenty of luxuries! What are you thinking, trying to take away those kids’ allowances!?」
And then finally, Nonna said it.
「What was that!? You’re just a former prostitute!」
The air in the room froze in an instant.
Melissa stood still with a shocked expression on her face, then hung her head weakly.
Nonna’s face was briefly one of regret, but she quickly turned away to ignore her.
Before I could stop and think about what to do, my body moved on its own and stepped into the room.
Melissa forces herself to smile, but her eyes are red and she looks like she could cry at anytime.
「Uu, I- ……well, that is…… nothing much really.」
Nonna tries to put on a better expression to look good for me, but she seems to be fumbling and has trouble doing so.
At the very least, she can’t make an unconcerned face after saying something like that to Melissa.
Some rage still remains in my heart though.
「Melissa, get out.」
Celia tugs the hand of Melissa, who looks as if she wanted to say something, and leaves the room.
「What did you say to Melissa?」
「You were listening!? I didn’t really mean it, it just came out in the heat of the moment and……」
I place my hand on Nonna’s shoulder…… and then use my other hand to slap her cheek.
A crisp crack echoes and her beautiful blue eyes widen in shock.
I held back quite a bit when I slapped her with an open palm, hitting her like I would brush a feather and making sure I didn’t leave any marks on her face or break her teeth, so it shouldn’t hurt too much.
「Ah…… aaah…… aah…… aaaah……」
Nonna lets out a pathetic-sounding voice and touches the area on her cheek where I hit her.
Her eyes are instantly filled with tears.
Then she wails uncontrollably – so loud that it resounded throughout the entire mansion – and storms out of the room as fast as she can run.
She better be careful since she’s clumsy or else…… see, she tripped.
Even so, Nonna continues to run and scream.
「Are you not going to chase after her?」
Celia and Melissa come back into the room.
「Melissa, she didn’t mean what she said. She just got too cocky and spit that out in the heat of the moment. Try not to let it get to you.」
I hug Melissa close and stroke her hair gently.
「Yeah, I’m fine, it was just a little shocking. It’s the truth anyways……」
So it did bother her.
I have to get Nonna to apologize.
「Should we get the guards to search for her?」
「There’s no need. The only ones Nonna can go crying to are myself and one other.」
I walk slowly without panicking towards Carla’s room.
I enter without even knocking and lo and behold, she’s there.
Carla’s sitting on the sofa while Nonna’s lying on top, burying her face into Carla’s chest.
Depending on point of view, it would look exactly like Nonna’s riding her2.
Nonna didn’t even turn to look at me when I came in, only making sobbing sounds occasionally.
coming from her.
Carla was stroking her scrupulously groomed hair with a puzzled look on her face.
「She burst in here crying like crazy. What on earth happened?」
「A bunch of things happened and I scolded her.」
After explaining the circumstances to her, Nonna stopped sobbing and clung tightly to Carla.
It was almost like she was a naughty child awaiting her punishment.
「Haa…… I thought this would happen sooner or later. This idiot.」
She flicks Nonna’s forehead with a finger.
Nonna’s shoulders twitches in response.
「I’ll take this opportunity to say it then. You know that the servants and most of the people here in the mansion dislike you, right?」
「Gusu…… it’s not like that at all…… they love me……like that attendant named Sally……」
「You’re the legal wife, so naturally they can’t go up against you, plus that attendant is treated better than the others so of course she’ll be in higher spirits. There’s almost nobody here who likes you for who you are.」
Aah, you said something so harsh and made her cry again.
「It’s fine. This is for her own good…… and she’s probably self-aware. Are there any servants who look happy when you call for them? Using your good hearing, did you pick up any words of praise from anyone? The only ones who would protect you are-…… it sounds ridiculous when I say it now, but it’s only me and Melissa.」
「Hic…… gusu…… ueeeeh……」
Carla continues while embracing the crying Nonna.
「Servants aside…… you need to apologize properly to Melissa. In the first place, she’s just like you in that both of you were saved by Aegir. You can’t bring up a topic like that carelessly.」
「Yes…… I will apologize to Melissa…… but what should I do, I said something so horrible……」
「I’ll be with you. Put your heart into it and say sorry.」
Carla sighs, as if saying I’m too soft on her.
I’m sure Melissa would forgive Nonna if she genuinely apologizes though.
Maybe I’ll prepare her to get slapped at least once.
I also have one more thing I want to ask.
「Hey Nonna, why do you spend unnecessarily and act so selfishly?」
「So he asked directly…… well, as expected I guess.」
If she felt like she had to buy expensive goods, then I wouldn’t mind giving her money to do so.
But I don’t think Nonna just simply likes the luxury.
When I was given nobility status, she was soon able to look like and live as a noble, but right now it seems she’s simply looking to spend money.
I can’t understand her extremely selfish attitude either.
She wasn’t a woman who would be so unreasonable with other people in the past.
If her true nature came out because of the luxurious lifestyle, it might explain things, although it seems more like she’s forcing herself to do it.
「That is-…… um……」
「I’m not criticizing you. If you want to live a wealthy lifestyle, I can find a way to raise money for it. However if you have a different objective…… then we can settle the issue without having to use gold, right? Why not try explaining yourself now?」
After a while of groaning, Nonna starts talking timidly.
「I was lonely.」
Nonna leaves Carla and dives into my chest.
「Aegir-sama leaves so often…… and today, despite being in the house, you were in a meeting all this time and didn’t pay attention to me…… and I felt alone!!」
I can feel the oppressiveness of her breasts against my body, but this isn’t a good atmosphere for my dick to get hard.
「If I used the money…… and gathered extravagant items, you would remember I’m here every time you saw them! If I went too far, I would also get scolded. If I acted selfishly, Aegir-sama would notice me!」
That’s what it was…… she wanted me to pay attention to her.
I planned to treat Nonna with love and affection, although that wasn’t enough for a spoiled woman like her.
So she wanted to cheer me on or something, what a cutie.
「But it’s a fact that spending so much money became a habit, right?」
So it did.
「What a helpless woman you are.」
I hug Nonna tightly and kiss her neck repeatedly.
「Don’t do such meaningless things again from now on. If you feel lonely, just tell me you want attention.」
「You mean that? You’ll spend time with me even when you’re busy?」
「Yeah, I could at least give you a hug or kiss during meetings. That’s why you don’t have to act so selfish anymore.」
Nonna lifts her head from my chest and smiles.
This look suits her way more, her natural beauty shines more than usual and she’s so beautiful that it makes my body shiver instinctively.
「From now on, I’ll consult with Aegir-sama before spending any money.」
「Please do, and also you can’t be so harsh on the servants either. Act kind around them.」
「Of course. In return, you will need to hold me in your arms and kiss me in the morning and night whenever you’re in the mansion.」
「Sure, although I can’t guarantee I would stop there.」
We exchange a passionate kiss and embrace.
「So in the end, it was a super lenient trial. Well, a Nonna who doesn’t spend wastefully actually sounds crazy to me, but whatever.」
This caused Carla quite some trouble too.
I’ll have to return the favor to her in the future.
That’s the first stage cleared I guess, but everything isn’t resolved just yet.
I have to undo the tyranny committed by Nonna thus far and dissolve the ill sentiment accumulated amongst all the servants.
As a husband, having others hate on your beloved wife isn’t the best feeling in the world.
I place my arm around Nonna’s waist and pick her up so I can carry her sideways.
She was briefly surprised by my actions, but quickly wraps her arms around my neck happily.
「Ah…… are we going to do it now?」
「Yeah, right now. It’s better if it’s as soon as possible, right?」
If I punish Nonna in front of the servants, then their anger will probably subside.
If I’m going to do it, now is the time.
「This will be my first time after giving birth…… please be gentle.」
「Hm, maybe I can’t.」
I couldn’t punish her while she was pregnant after all.
「Are we heading straight to the bedroom?」
「No, the reception hall.」
We can’t gather all the servants in Nonna’s bedroom.
「T-that’s going to be embarrassing.」
「Bear with it. This is something necessary.」
It certainly is embarrassing to be punished in front of the servants.
That’s how you can tell them how sorry you are though.
「Aahn, Aegir-sama you pervert.」
I’ll order the servants to be gathered.
It’s punishment time.
Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 23 years old. Summer.
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave. Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area. King of the Mountains. Friend of the Dwarves. Friend of the King of Aless.
Citizens: 159,000. Major Cities – Rafen: 23,000. Lintbloom: 4000.
Assets: 0 gold
Family: Nonna (reforming wife), Carla (concubine), Mel (concubine), Kuu (lover), Ruu (lover), Melissa (sad), Mireille (lover), Leah (lover), Miti (betrothed), Maria (betrothed), Catherine (betrothed), Casie (ghost), Rita (head maid), Yoguri (playwright), Pipi (lover), Alice (ass), Alma (crying)
Sebastian (butler), Dorothea (lover, in the capital)
Children: Sue, Miu, Ekaterina, Amata, Anastasia (daughters); Antonio, Claude, Gilbard, Reiner, Bartolome (sons); Rose (foster daughter)
Subordinates: Celia (adjutant), Gido (escort unit), Kroll (delighted), Irijina (commander), Luna (commander), Ruby
Myla (security officer), Polte (student director), Gretel (dog)
Leopolt (staff officer), Adolph (domestic affairs official), Tristan (strategist?)
Claire & Laurie (doing secret maneuvers), Schwartz (horse), Lilian (actress)
Mother – Marceline; Daughters – Stephanie, Bridget, Felicie (taken into custody)
Other Country: Celestina (Queen of Malt), Monica (lady-in-waiting), Claudia (madam), Clara
Sexual Partners: 206, children who have been born: 46