Vol. 18: Chapter 04 : A Financial Problem

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Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly


As a king, Cohen could carry his business anywhere he wanted, but for things like army affairs, Cohen preferred to handle them on the 9th floor of the Royal Council Building. Because there was enough space there, and there was a large sheet of maps available. 

When the General Staff Officer arrived at the 9th floor, he found his king staying with the so-called “officers” who had made the sand table. The academy faculties, who had been forcibly recruited earlier, had new companions – personnel of geography, hydrology, and even horticulture of the Royal Academy, who had been enlisted by Lorenzo to work for the king. 

With a book in his hand, the king stood in the middle of some half-made sand table, watching a quarrel among the “officers”. A teacher of geography disputed the height and direction of a mountain, while the teacher of sculpture waved his map and insisted in a strong voice that he was right. They were so engaged in the argument that they did not even notice the arrival of the general staff officer. 

Cohen nodded to Carlos, then said calmly, “Shut the fuck up, you all.” 

Calm was immediately restored to the scene. 

“From my standpoint, argue all you want.” Cohen tossed the book he was holding aside and said softly, “But you should pay attention, there is not much time left for you, before I ascend the throne, you must give me the correct sand table of the whole Swabia Empire.” 

“Your Grace, there is still a lot to consider…” 

“That is your business, do you think I will do everything myself? I have given you the most flush information, the rest will be done by you.” Cohen smiled slightly and turned towards Carlos, “That’s it.” 

All knew that Cohen was finished speaking and hurriedly saluted, “Your Grace.” 

“General Staff Officer, let’s find another place!” Cohen tapped Carlos on the shoulder, “This place will get noisy soon.” 

Carlos smiled and followed Cohen to the garden outside. 

The garden outside the 9th floor had been renovated and completely restored to its old landscape. An artificial stream flowed through the garden, and all kinds of rare flowers and plants thrived on both sides, beautiful and fragrant and lingering. 

“This garden is not bad, right?” Cohen walked ahead and said in a very unsatisfied tone, “But I just can’t figure out why we need to fix this thing on the roof of the building? Just the water in that stream would take a lot of manpower to pump up, and the annual maintenance cost of the garden is even more, is this the only way to show off the royal family’s peculiarity?” 

“Or maybe it is!” Carlos surveyed the surroundings, “Your Grace, you should know that royalty and nobility are treated very differently.” 

“When no one is around, you’d better call me sir.” Cohen sat down on the wicker chair next to him, “I have been studying these days, and although I have only gone through a few books, I have found that the royal family has as many bad habits as mosquitoes in summer.” 

“Sir, you’re not trying to eradicate these traditions, are you?” Carlos sat down on the other side of the wicker chair. 

“It’s not that I don’t want to, but it simply won’t work.” Cohen shook his head, “If I don’t want to enjoy these royal treatments, then how can the nobles be at ease? Only if I enjoy these things, can they do the same. In the empire now, the number of people with noble titles, from the lowest alternate knight to the highest first-class duke, is more than a thousand, many of which are prominent houses. Whatever I have to do, I have to consider their feelings first.” 

“I feel relieved that you can think of that.” Carlos smiled, “As for the nobles, sir you can take it slow!” 

“I have a whole bunch of laws and proclamations here that need to be enacted urgently, but I know the nobles will oppose them, so I have to put them on hold for now, but I won’t let this go on for long.” Cohen let out a breath, “Carlos, how many of our officers are eligible for promotion as generals in this war of rebellion?” 

“Right now, it looks like nearly ten can be promoted to Major General or above, and nearly twenty can be promoted to Brigadier General.” 

“We need to think, because I want to expand our army as soon as possible.” Cohen looked at Carlos and aggravated his tone, “In two months, I need 20 major generals and 40 brigadier generals. In two years, I need 10 lieutenant generals, 50 major generals, and 100 brigadier generals. Make your plan and be flexible.” 

“That’s a problem, even if we promote those officers, we can’t have that many troops right now!” Carlos scratched his head and said with difficulty, “Sir, it’s not like conjuring magic creatures.” 

“There’s no need to conjure. I will soon be dealing with the nobles and need a large number of new noble officers to achieve a balance of power.” Cohen gave Carlos another meaningful look, “First, establish the units, and you can replenish the soldiers later.” 

“Yes, sir. That’s no problem.” 

“Finish it as soon as possible.” Cohen nodded, “By the way, we also have to send troops to those other provinces that have just declared loyalty. Don’t send too many men upfront, so that those viceroys won’t be on edge.” 

“In that case, we can send the newly established units with less than the number of men. Dispatch at least one regiment for each province. In this way, there will be only two or three thousand men.” Carlos thought for a moment, “Let’s set up the structure first, and then gradually replenish the soldiers later so that the localities will not be wary.” 

Cohen lowered his eyes and considered for a moment, then called for a map. 

“How many troops do we have now? Where are they distributed?” Cohen spread out the map. “We have three legions and some other troops. Lieutenant General Luther’s troops are defending the border on the Rivalz side.” Carlos pointed to the map and said, “All three regiments of the First Legion are in the capital; one regiment of the Second Legion is guarding the routes that lead to other provinces one is chasing the rebels, and the last regiment is acting as a general reserve; one of the Third Legion is near the capital, one is back in Darkmoon, and one is rushing to the border of the Porta Empire to set up the defense.” 

“See? Our troops are all scattered, and it definitely won’t work this way.” Cohen shook his head, “The three major legions are completely disrupted. If there is a battle, the troops will easily fall into chaos with poor communication and unclear command and subordination.” 

Carlos was also distracted by this problem these days, “Sir, we can’t come up with a better plan right now. The legions are good at different things, and it’s hard enough for us to keep even the First Legion as a whole.” 

“I do have a way to free the three major legions from defense, but it can’t be done yet.” Cohen leaned back in his chair and toyed with the ring in his hand, “I want to set up war zones in territories bordering other countries.” 

“I think I heard you say that last time…” 

“Yes, but the idea is still immature, probably only half a thought of… Each war zone should be roughly the area of 2 to 3 provinces, the war zone commander has complete jurisdiction over all troops within this area, including defense, training, war preparation, etc.” Cohen pointed to the map, “For the time being, I’m going to set up two war zones, one in the place bordering Rivalz and one in the place bordering Porta. As for the direction of the P/A Line, I’m not too worried yet.” 

“Sir, according to you, this war zone commander will have a lot of power.” Carlos raised his eyes at Cohen and voiced his concerns, “Of course, there is nothing wrong with our officers now, but in the future, such great power will bring great hidden dangers to the rule of the empire.” 

“I have my consideration. You see, all the military forces in the war zone are all defensive in nature. I do not easily equip any war zone with offensive troops.” Cohen smiled with relief, “We have the logistics in our hands, the military law in our hands, and a well-developed intelligence system, so I don’t need to worry about someone turning the knife on me.” 

Carlos shook his head, “Sir, I don’t quite understand…” 

“I intend to set the three major legions as a purely strategic offensive force. Within a year, I want you to recruit 200, 000 new soldiers.” Cohen tapped his forehead and re-explained for his staff officer, “At the same time, I’m going to throw the heavy burden of border defense to the local provinces; I can’t raise that many soldiers.” 

“But sir,” Carlos clapped both hands together, “the local provinces can’t afford to raise armies!” 

“But they have a lot of strong people, and you know that the people have eight months of free time in the middle of the year, which is already enough time for training. I want them to be organized and go to the barracks for duty for at least four months in a year.” Cohen got straight to the point, “In this way, we will have enough reserve soldiers in case of war, and there will be much fewer people fleeing to the inner land – what’s more important is that these soldiers have families and jobs, so they will not rebel easily.” 

“All I can say is, let’s give it a try!” Carlos laughed dryly twice, “Sir, are these men going to be paid for their military service?” 

“Defending your own home and still wanting wages?” Cohen raised an eyebrow, “They should be sufficient with food alone. As for the gear, they don’t have to be too good. Give them the ones we captured from the rebels, and the defense equipment will be gradually refreshed later.” 

“Alright! I suggest establishing the war zone in Porta first, because the rebel fleeing soldiers have almost all gone to Porta, the trouble is mostly there.” Carlos agreed, “Sir, about the military academies, we are almost done with the preparations. There are 12 schools in total, the principals and instructors have already been selected, do you need to hear my report now?” 

“No need for the time being, this matter will be discussed after the enthronement.” Cohen waved his hand, “First let the responsible people come to the capital. All principals are promoted to Major General. I thought your new uniforms are done? Why don’t you wear them?” 

“We’ve been dead-busy. Don’t have time to mind the uniforms?” Carlos struggled to open his eyes wide, “Look at it, sir! My eyes are all bloodshot…” 

“You don’t have to give me that crap. You’re not at war now. I see that you have your old problem, trying to do everything by yourself.” Cohen said in a good mood, “You rest well tonight. Tomorrow morning, I want you to attend the soldiers’ funeral in my stead, tell the officers to dress neatly.” 

“Then why don’t you attend, sir?” 

“I’m the one calling for a busy day here, can’t you see the blood in my eyes?” 

“Can’t.” 

“That’s because you’re not smart enough, get lost!” 

After Carlos left, Cohen was bored in the garden and pondered for a long time until just before dinner when he got up and went downstairs to the rooms of the Interior Supervisors. 

The office of the supervisors was on the 7th floor, and for the convenience of communication, the four queens were all in one hall, plus 20 secretaries and chamberlains, making this floor very lively. 

When Cohen entered the hall, the interior supervisors were listening to the report of the head of the finance department, an official who held the account book in his hand and spat out a long string of figures from his mouth. Any one of these strings could make Cohen dizzy, but fortunately, Cohen had 4 good queens to help him, so he didn’t have to worry about these things at all. He made a gesture to his wives to continue, then found a place to sit down with a smile on his face and observed them handle their duties. 

“The enthronement ceremony needs 3,000 empire flags, and also 3,000 royal flags because the previous ones can’t be used, so they all have to be redone. The cost of each flag varies from 3 to 5 silver coins. The flags used in the palace are larger, and the cost of each one is 7 silver coins…” 

“Aren’t there empire flags in the warehouse? They should be brand new.” Dior Merlin interrupted the treasurer, “Why not use them?” 

“Those are the flags made during the reign of the late Climos. Are the flags made during the reign of Summers still usable?” The treasurer was confused. 

“The king has an order that although the Kheda House is now in power, Swabia is still the same as the original one, so the empire flags remain as they are.” Dior explained, “You only need to order 3,000 Kheda flags.” 

“Yes, now I’m reading the officials’ salaries, clothing, return gifts for the ambassadors…” 

“Well, I’ll take care of those. If you continue to talk like that, I have to wait until dusk…” Cohen could not help but go over, “Officials’ salaries will remain unchanged, no adjustments before the enthronement. As for the clothing, just make 2 suits for them for now. What’s next, ah, the foreign empires ambassadors’ return gift. Well… just give them the AUF’s army flag, share the most perfect victory of the great Protoss Alliance, what great glory!” 

“Yes, Your Grace. It is certainly an honor to return the gift with the banners of the AUF, but the enemy banners we captured are certainly not enough…” To this stingy king, the treasurer knew he had little room for bargaining. 

“Not enough? Can’t you make a few new ones?” Cohen casually knocked the treasurer’s head, “Regular return gifts are at least several hundred gold coins, but it takes only 3 or 5 silver coins to make a flag. Do you know how to do the math?” 

“Your Grace, you are the king!” Hearing Cohen’s words, the treasurer was about to cry out, “If the public knew we went to make AUF…” 

“Indeed, the consequences of letting others know about this will be very severe, so I decided to let you take the blame once the news is leaked.” Cohen was indifferent to his pleading expression, “Remember, in the future, you should not only spend less money but also stand on reason, don’t let people catch the pain.” 

“Understood.” 

“Get on with it.” Cohen waved away the treasurer and came to the table of the wives, “My dear queens, let’s talk!” 

The four interior supervisors were still laughing about what had just happened. 

“What is it?” It was a while before Flynn asked softly. 

“I’d like to know the important matters on the internal affairs in the near future so that I can arrange a few things.” Cohen grabbed a chair and rode backward on it, “What’s important besides the enthronement ceremony?” 

Flynn smiled and sent a maid to close the hall door so that the king’s indecent actions would not be seen by others. 

“Among the things we have to do recently, there is nothing more important than re-establishing the taxation system and introducing the taxation methods of the Dark and Dark Moon provinces to the whole country after making slight modifications.” Carey flipped through thick official documents, “This is very difficult, and if we rush it, it will make many nobles dissatisfied.” 

“What is difficult? The empire needs a lot of money for every move, so of course, it is better to enact the tax system sooner.” Since entering the palace, the digits Cohen heard were ten times bigger than any numbers he’s heard before, so now money is the most crucial, as soon as he heard that there was trouble with money, he immediately became anxious, “Dark City’s tax system is very perfect already” 

“Husband! The people of Dark City only need to pay taxes to the viceroy and will have very good savings. And as far as the whole empire is concerned, there is still a layer of lords between the people and the king!” Carey rolled her eyes, explained, “Royal taxes, viceroy taxes, landlord’s taxes, and after a person pays all that, how much does he or she have left to feed his or her family? We should at least let the people leave enough money to live on!” 

“I see, the problem is with the landlords.” Cohen’s fingers tapped on the back of his chair, both of his eyes surveyed the surroundings, “At the current pace, how much can we save at the end of this year?” 

“If we do it really well, our savings this year will be… no savings, and we will have a net spending of 500,000 to 700,000 gold coins before we can have a tiny gross earning next year.” Dior gave a most charming smile, “We have done our best, even counting the five thousand gold coins you just saved for us, husband.” 

“What? We’re even losing!” Cohen instantly sprang up from his chair, “Tell me, how much did the landlords take?” 

“Well! The exact figure, we certainly have.” Dior shook her head gently, her sapphire earrings sparkling, “If you promise you won’t get carried away, I’ll tell you.” 

“Yes! I definitely won’t!” Cohen expressed his thought, trying to convince everyone that he was now calm, “Flynn, my dear, your hair today is my favorite; Carey, you look so poised with your dirk; Dior, your elegant image with sapphire jewelry is phenomenal; Winslet, where are your wings?” 

“I put them away, do I look good?” Winslet was happy that her husband noticed her, “Leila taught me that magic!” 

“Beautiful, but with the wings unfolded is another kind of beauty!” Cohen grinned, “Dior, tell me how much they took?” 

Dior and Flynn looked at each other, both with a resigned look. 

“Although the farmers had a good harvest this year, because of the war, the landlords will probably take 9… million gold coins,” Dior exhaled heavily, “This is an optimistic estimate, we hope that in the next year we can reduce this number to seven million… Cohen? You promised you’d stay calm.” 

“I’m trying, I’m trying…,” Cohen laughed dryly a few times, his head shaking from side to side, “After the civil war, they still have to take 9 million, and my wife must use extra money to fill the hole. I never had more than ten gold coins when I was the viceroy. And still, after I became the king, I didn’t even have any money in my pocket? I haven’t even bought any gifts for my wives…” 

“My dear.” Carey held her hand up high and smiled as she exposed Cohen’s lie, “I don’t think that last one has anything to do with money.” 

“I agree.” Winslet chimed in as she wrote something on the paper. 

“I’m sorry, it was an oversight on my part.” Cohen nodded, “But I can’t spare them, and I’m not thrilled at all!” After yelling this sentence, King Cohen turned and drove his steps, slammed the door, and left. 

The four interior supervisors looked at each other and laughed, shaking their heads to continue their own business at hand, but before they could write down a few words, King Cohen walked in again with big strides. 

Meeting the puzzled eyes of the four wives, Cohen blinked his eyes and shook the large bouquet of flowers in his hand. 

“Ladies, this is a greeting from your husband, me.” Cohen handed out the flowers, announcing big with compliments, “Flynn, your beauty has rocked my heart; Carey, your face is more delicate than any flower; although Dior you are already my wife, I still want to take you away… Winslet, give me a kiss quickly, or I won’t be able to breathe.” 

The ladies all smiled as they felt the tenderness that was rarely given by the husband. 

“Look, I’m still calm.” Cohen took a step back after receiving the hot kisses from the royal consorts and made a gesture that everything was fine, “I have not yet ascended the throne, I have to act cautiously… I will not make things difficult for them now, don’t worry, my ladies.” 

“It’s good that you are calm.” Flynn nodded and said, “We can come up with a good solution.” 

“Then I’ll go upstairs and write something, and I’ll see you tonight.” 

“See you tonight.” 

Only when Cohen left did Flynn sit down with a long, discouraging sigh. 

“What’s the matter, sister, aren’t there no more questions?” Carey sniffed the flowers in her hand, “These are so beautiful.” 

Flynn smiled bitterly once again and shook her head without saying anything. 

“Do you know why this flower is so beautiful? It’s the flower of the elven pantheon.” Winslet smiled and explained, “I gave it to Flynn, who in turn brought it from Dark City. Flynn has been taking care of these flowers for three years, and they only bloomed for the first time this morning! Flynn wanted to bring them to mother this evening to make her happy.” 

“Does it mean that Cohen walked out and picked them as he went along?” Dior said in surprise, “I told you these flowers look a little familiar, so I’ve seen them this morning.” 

“Then why did you laugh so happily just now, sister?” 

“Cohen was so devoted to doing something, I can’t afford to spoil this rare good atmosphere.” 

“Why?” 

“Didn’t you guys notice? He was glowing from inside, his words, his movements, and posture were so fluent and smooth, I haven’t seen him like this for a long time, very nostalgic, as long as he is happy, a pot of flowers is worth it.” After, Flynn picked up her pen, “Now, back to business! Cohen will be waiting to dine with us!”


This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation; any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.

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