Chapter 11 - Skilled Businessman

translated by myonnie

Bertine greeted Cecilio with a smile and guided her to a table seat inside the store.

Farmer Carlos was sitting at that table seat. Cecilio inquired, “Who’s this?”

“This person is Mister Carlos, who runs a wheat farm in the neighboring town of Ebott. I have him here to help me explain the situation to you today.”

“Explain the situation?”

Seeing that Cecilio had a slightly dubious look, Bertine quickly started.

“I have a proposal, Your Excellency. If you give me the time, I can generate a profit worth a thousand large gold coins in this country.”

“Oh? And what’s the basis of that?”

“Please take a look at this.”

Saying so, Bertine placed a set of papers on the table. Cecilio took it in his hand and quickly ran through the documents.

“It’s a contract for the sale of wheat. And it’s not yet signed?”

That was when Carlos spoke.

“Your Excellency, that's this year's contract. Now take a look at this.”

Carlos also handed over a set of documents to Cecilio.

“Miss Bertine gave you the contract following her advice. I gave you the contracts that we had signed every year in the past. Please compare them.”

An understanding dawned on Cecilio once he compared the two.

Both the quality and the quantity of wheat were the same, but the amount of money Carlos earned was very different.

“This... is a terrible deal, isn’t it?”

“I know, right? The middleman took advantage of how our farmers didn’t know the price of wheat in the empire. They scammed us for a lot of money.”

Cecilio frowned, exhaustion bleeding on his face.

“I’ve been paying special attention to the ores in case this happens, but turns out the wheat is still the same? I instructed each chief to adhere to the minimum price set by the country. Seems like they didn’t follow my instructions.”

“Your Excellency, we farmers haven't heard anything about the lowest price from the chief. It's only been two years and a few months since you stood above the chiefs. Perhaps, none of the chiefs believed that we would win the war, and they were afraid that the imperial middlemen would cut us off after following your instructions. Actually, I also thought that it would be fine to stay as before until I was persuaded by this young lady.”

Cecilio had a bitter face. “I see.” Carlos continued.

“Your Excellency, Miss Bertine's efforts are not limited to our farm. The nearby farms, the few farmers I introduced, and the other farms introduced by other more won’t lose money thanks to having their contracts reviewed like this.”

“With my advice, the amount of money that was saved from flowing to empire’s pockets unfairly was eighty-three large gold coins, adding up from the twenty-three farms.”

Cecilio froze for a moment, amazed.

“Is it from the last time we met to today? It’s only been ten days.”

“Yes. I’ve prevented the outflow of eighty-three large gold coins. The money doesn't go directly into the national treasury, but it’ll circulate around and enrich the country.”

After staring at the proud Bertine and the grinning Carlos for a while, Cecilio laughed and nodded.

“I understand your point, Lady Juan. You’re good at this.”

Eighty-three coins were still far from a thousand, but can you give me time until my work is worth a thousand gold coins? And after that, may I ask permission to live in this country?”

There was power in Bertine's eyes and tone of voice.

“I can see this is also a way to protect our country’s assets. How about this? I want you to accept one request from me. It may yield a considerable amount of money. If you complete my request, I won’t charge you the shortage of a thousand large gold coins.”

Bertine's face grew extremely serious.

“What should I do?”

“I want to send officials to various places right away to confirm the minimum price of the contracts, but we are short on manpower. Those who can check the contracts are too busy dealing with postwar processing. Right now, officials who are fluent in the imperial language are slumped in work, and they can’t move from their post.”

Bertine recalled that only a few people in the empire, especially the nobles, could speak the language of the Allies. Even in this country, the people who could read and write the imperial language were far too few. Only the merchants doing business across national borders could speak it.

“That’s why I want you to help me and confirm the wheat sales contract. I’ll find a way and assign five officials to this task. I want you to go to all the chiefs in the country and confirm the selling price of wheat in each region. You need to make sure to make them go with the minimum price I instructed. How about that?”

“Are you sure you want to leave this to me?”

Cecilio nodded.

“Definitely. Persuade the chiefs to sell at least seven large gold coins per wagon for wheat. Of course, I’ll pay for your daily allowance.”

“Yes. Yes, yes! I accept. It’s time to show off my negotiation skills, isn’t it? Let me tell you; I’ve trained it since I start speaking words.”

Cecilio laughed in amusement when he heard that, and nodded over and over again.

“That sounds reliable. How about a daily allowance of one large silver coin per day? I’ll also pay for the carriage, accommodation, and food during your travel.”

“I’ll gladly accept your request, Your Excellency. I’ll work hard until I’ve done a job worth a thousand large gold coins if the wheat case this time isn’t enough, no matter how long it takes. Definitely.”

Carlos chuckled.

“As expected from a lady from Saint-Leuhan. You even draw concessions from His Excellency. It’s like once you fall, you grab something before standing up.”

“In this case, should I take that as a compliment, Mister Carlos?”

Bertine’s earnest expression was so cute that Carlos and Cecilio couldn’t help but chuckle, leaving Bertine’s cheeks to flush since she was asking the question seriously.

“Mister Carlos, thank you for your help today.”

“It’s no big deal,” Carlos brushed off with a laugh, and he soon returned home. “I have work on the farm. See you around.”

Alone with Cecilio, Bertine racked her brain to find a conversation topic, but she was at a loss as to what to say. Then Cecilio spoke, as if he had sensed that.

“If you hadn't noticed, that money would’ve kept flowing into the empire. Thanks.”

“It's not all me. I found out thanks to the students in the imperial language tutoring.”

“Is that so? But that’s also thanks to you, who started the tutoring.”

“Your Excellency, I have big things I want to do in this country. This is my first step to making that come true. Please thank me once I accomplished it.”

Cecilio, who was about to take a sip of the tea, stopped moving.

“What’s the big plan? I’d love to hear it.”

“I’m not in a position to tell you yet. However, the plan is to make the people of the empire willing to throw money to the Allies, whose money they’d sucked up all this time. Please look forward to it. My future goal is to become a person needed by this country.”

Cecilio's blue eyes looked at Bertine.

“Oh? Will you call me when that big plan comes true? I’ll help as much as I can.”

“Yes! I'll definitely call you.”

Cecilio bought a lot of accessories this time, too, and then went home.

“My Lady. I’m happy it went well.”

“Yes. it went amazingly well, didn't it? I'm going to be busy checking the contract again starting tomorrow.  How about going to that diner tonight to celebrate?”

“Yes, I’ll go with you.”


Cecilio was both happy and frustrated on his way home.

He was pleasantly surprised that Lady Bertine was far more competent than he had imagined, and he was bitter at the reminder that he was still not trusted by the chiefs.

However, with her momentum and his dispatch of the officials, they might somehow be able to prevent farmers in their country from selling wheat at a low price until the wheat harvest season.

“It’s good that she found out early on.”

And he thought that, after all, her green eyes were beautiful.

Her glaring eyes when she was angry, her squinted eyes when she smiled in joy, and her rounded eyes when she was surprised. Her earnest eyes when she expressed her opinion clearly without fear.

Women in this country weren’t very assertive with men. They might change after they’d been married for a long time, but single women often remained modest and took a step back from men.

Cecilio was surprised by her surprising tenacity, as she was supposedly someone who had lived without any inconvenience as the daughter of the Marquess, the prime minister.

“She’s not just a sheltered lady, but a skilled businesswoman.”

After laughing, Cecilio steeled his face and began to think about how to write the documents he would trust to the six dispatched people.

sorry for the 2-weeks inactivity! just finished moving to japan and things were a lot more hectic than i expected... every day is me passing straight up after work because i was too exhausted ww, woke up at 4AM to upload the chapters...

switching to daily updates for the entire week to make up for the missing chapters; wishing everyone a good year!

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