Chapter 57 is a glossary in the raws, which you can read here.
Arc 3, Waxing Moon
In the case of Meissen, the Lord gathered taxes from the fief’s inhabitants at the New Year. The Lord then paid the King those taxes early in the season of summer, after the snow had melted.
After deducting the wages for the head butler and the people who served the estate, the wages paid to the captain of the militia, and finally the portion used for miscellaneous everyday purchases, Meissen fell to a deficit of 800 sitt.
Every day, and the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next, Ernst continued calculating the numbers.
The head butler, Sington, felt sorry for how much the Lord worried and fretted, and tried to return his wages. Though Ernst was grateful for Sington’s care, he didn’t accept the offer. Compared to the people in other territories, Ernst didn’t think that the people in his own were paid enough.
If Sington went without pay, then even the butlers and maids would try to offer their wages. Though one could say that they were better-off than the peasant class, this didn’t change the fact that they still had families in their hometowns whom they needed to support. Ernst couldn’t allow them to suffer in life any more than they already did.
Having said that, the missing portion would have to be scrounged up from somewhere. Although Ernst could hold off on receiving taxes from his people, it was utterly impossible for the Kingdom to wait on receiving taxes from the Lords.
As such, somehow or another, he absolutely had to raise enough funds.
When Ernst had left the royal palace, he had brought some money with him. His plan was to use it as insurance in case he fell into the worst-case scenario.
After all, Ernst had promised his people that for the next ten years, he wouldn’t raise their taxes.
What that meant was that for the next ten years, Ernst would have to face this same situation every year.
Each farmer paid 5 sitts as well as some crops to the Lord as taxes. First, Ernst decided to sell these crops. He was sorry to burden the militia with this work, but it was better to have the militia troops expand the estate’s farm fields. That way, they could supply meals for the troops and for the estate’s servants.
Caralime Village paid taxes in wool, the mountaineer-filled Eitt Village paid in firewood, and Yakiya Village paid in honey. These, of course, were also sold to the merchants. The essentials used in the estate would have to be gathered by the militia.
Since merchants made no crafted goods to supplement their taxes, they paid 20% of their income to the Lord along with the 5 sitt tax. Merchants who, like in Meissen, were unable to turn much of a profit, paid in the worst case an additional 1 sitt.
Like this, Ernst was somehow able to gather 300 more sitt to offset the shortfall. The remainder was 500 sitt.
Ernst went walking through every nook and cranny of the estate. He searched for everything, anything, that he could sell.
He stepped into the library. In the end, this really was all that there was.
Ernst made his decision with a single, resigned sigh.
“So you wish to sell these books, you say?”
The merchants from Saiquani and Folea were in the library. Whether it was to Caprix fief in Lux or Linz fief in Rintz, they should be able to sell the books in either place.
“Not all of them. Only these are to be sold.” Ernst pointed to a large desk at the center of the library. Last night, with Ganche’s help, he had pulled the books from their shelves and stacked them up into a mountain.
Since the people who were currently learning how to read at the estate might want to come to the library someday in order to read books, Ernst had to leave some books which would be beneficial for them. He also left some books written with simple words which people who had only just started learning the alphabet could read. There were books which would come of use for the Meissen of the future, such as books on medical treatment, education books, and architectural books. Ernst had avoided any books which he deemed vital. The ones he intended to sell were his predecessor’s strange ones.
“…These ones…you say…”
The merchants took the books into their hands, and with pained faces, peered into their contents.
Although Meissen’s literacy rate was dirt poor, as one might expect of any merchant, the merchants of Meissen were able to read. After they flipped over a single page, their faces screwed up, and they looked at Ernst with peering eyes.
I swear, the person with this fetish who gathered these books was not me. Feeling like he wanted to blurt out these words, Ernst tightly shut his mouth. Even if he wanted to clumsily offer some excuses at this point, it would only come off as unsightly.
Finally, the Saiquani merchant let out a heavy sigh. It felt as if his face had a look of ‘After all, as far as nobles go, this kind of thing…’ pasted on it. “This is very… how should I put it… since these are quite unique books… I am unsure if I can market them in Caprix fief…”
The Folea merchant followed, “That’s right… I also don’t know if these can be sold in Linz fief, either…”
Ernst had already known what the merchants would answer. In the first place, buyers of these kinds of books would approach the sellers first and have them gather the books exclusively for the buyer. They aren’t something that a merchant would bring out all of a sudden to sell. If they were displayed without a thought in a store, then people would doubt the dignity and propriety of the shopkeeper.
“I understand what the two of you are saying. Yet, I am afraid that I have no choice other than to insist… thus, how ought we resolve this. For now, could you not try to see if you are able to sell them? If they can be sold, then allow them to be bought. If it is impossible to sell these as books, then why not let them be purchased as paper?”
Paper was made from plant matter. After paper had been immersed in water for several days, it could return to its original form. Like that, they could return the books to paper anew.
Of course, a book sold as a book would fetch a higher price. Yet Ernst was so poor that he was even willing to sell them as paper. To fill the remaining 500 sitt deficit, he had to take any amount of money he could, whether it was 50 sitt or 10.
Once Ernst made his proposal, the merchants nodded, discomfited expressions on their faces.
I’m trying a new editing style for this story and applying a more western format for the grouping of paragraphs and dialogue. After the next chapter comes out, let me know what you think and if I should keep formatting the translation like this or go back to the previous way. ^q^)b