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Volume 3: Chapter 175 – Big Movements (1/2)
The plan to connect the various demihuman territories as proposed by Yushika of the harpies was finished within a year.
Inns were built along the road at fixed distances and were used to store food and weapons, and the goblins took on the duty of patrolling the area around them, making them into facilities that anyone could use.
Because of these trade routes, the power of the goblins could now reach the various demihuman villages, allowing them to fulfill the very purpose the Goblin King allowed their construction in the first place: to serve as a defensive measure against the demihumans that had misgivings with the king in the case of a rebellion.
As a result of these trade routes, the travel time from the nearest headquarters of the goblins, the Fortress of the Abyss, to the araneae village was now just 3 days.
And even the farthest demihuman village, the centaurs’, now only takes 7 days from the fortress. That was a speed unthinkable of in the past.
But at the same time, the demihumans also benefited from these trade routes. With them they could receive better medical care and it would now be easier to procure food.
The demihumans were generally a people of hunters, and their prey were the extremely dangerous monster beasts. To be able to hunt one was proof of one’s adulthood, but it was also because of that that many of them would find themselves wounded.
Until now the demihumans have been relying on different medical herbs from their villages, but with the resulting expansion of business from the construction of the trade routes, they could now have as much medical herbs as they needed.
Although the Forest of Darkness was vast, there were some herbs that could be gotten only from the scattered demihuman villages. On top of that, they were also limited by which herbs they knew useful.
But with the appearance of the trade routes, all those problems have been solved, and that’s exactly why Yushika suggested their construction in the first place.
The demihumans were hunters. Because of that there was no guarantee to how much food they could procure at a given time. Luck played a big part in their spoils. To solve that, Yushika thought to use the trade routes to distribute the excess food.
The reason Yushika became an excellent merchant and chief was for the sake of the demihuman alliance, but even as she thought to make a profit for all the villages, she couldn’t forget her own wallet. Try as she might, it just wasn’t possible for her to think of a plan that benefited everyone equally.
Once the various villages have been connected, someone would have to transport the goods. That duty would fall on either the harpies or the mud-scaled tribe. The Goblin King highly valued Yustia’s ability as she unknowingly opened such a large market.
The enrichment of the back lands could never chip a crack at the Goblin King’s path to world domination.
After the battle at the western capital had come to a pause, the Goblin King asked Yushika to gather at the human city.
Yushika folded her wings as she took her seat. Near her were the elves and the smarter ones among the goblins, the druids.
It was a simple meeting room made only for the purpose of having an audience with the feudal lord. It was in such a room that the king appeared.
The dignified aura about him was the same as ever, and Yushika couldn’t help but inwardly falter.
—Good grief, would it be too much to ask him to be a little easier to handle.
Yushika’s gaze pointed to none other than the leader of many races, the one who watches over them, as well as the one who continued to make her life a misery.
Her benefactor, Fei of the elves from Forni, was also present. A quick glance around the meeting room showed that the highest rank that could be currently be summoned were all present.
Sensing an ill foreboding, Yushika felt like sighing, but the moment the king spoke, she suddenly found herself with vertigo.
“I wish to implement a tax system.”
It was here that Yushika remembered her conversation with the chief of the mud-scaled tribe, Fanfan.
Fanfan suspects that his highness might actually be an idiot. He has absolutely no idea what the word ‘impossible’ means.
Inwardly, Yushika found herself agreeing with her as she watched the meeting continue.
Even if the Goblin King was an aimless fool, the war with the humans had already begun. It was too late to be calling it quits.
“Hence, I would like you to make one.”
Yushika was dead quiet.
—Did you just throw the problem to us?
She kept herself from saying that out loud as she patiently waited for the meeting to continue.
“I suppose this is in order to rule the humans?” Fei of Forni asked.
As expected, he is someone we can rely on, Yushika inwardly praised.
“Precisely. I would like you to keep it simple and the taxes light.”
But if you want to rule the humans, a heavier tax should be better. Yushika couldn’t understand what the king was thinking as she shook her head.
As a merchant responsible for her whole tribe, even Yushika, who focused mostly on profits, couldn’t completely rid herself of her hate of the humans.
To her kind, this war was something they partook in to reclaim their territory. A reconquista, so to speak. It could also be said to be in preparation of their main goal: to create a country of only demihumans.
As far as her kind were concerned, it didn’t matter how many humans died in the process, and they didn’t feel even the slightest guilt for it.
Yushika unconsciously frowned.
“It seems there are people who don’t agree with me, but the stability of the hinterlands is necessary for our next step. So long as they are willing to accept my rule, I am willing to accept even the humans.”
The king was going to accept humans into his country, so he wished for them to come up with a tax system. At least, that’s what it felt like he was saying.
When the king said that, a commotion broke out among a considerable number of those present.
Of those causing a commotion, there were even some who were goblins.
“Gi Ba’s people are as noisy as ever,” Gi Za remarked.
“Displeased, Gi Za?” The Goblin King asked.
Gi Za wryly smiled and shook his head. “The king has spoken. If there is any among us goblins who have a problem, I will deal with them… But if you ask me if I’m displeased, well, yes… I am.”
“I don’t mind if you exploit them, so long as it doesn’t cause problems.”
But, of course, many of the people attending nodded. Yushika also agreed inwardly.
“The humans are few. Many of the people in this room could take on 10 humans alone and come out the victor. But what if that number was increased to a hundred? What about a thousand? Few among us could claim confidence in coming out the victor then, no?”
When the king pointed that out, the people in the meeting went quiet.
“Besides, I may intend to rule them, but that doesn’t mean I will favor them.”
Seeing the Goblin King’s smile full of confidence, Yushika wondered if he had a plan of some sort. But even if he did, would it really go well? The humans are a fearful enemy, who would quickly grasp victory given a moment of weakness. If such a thing were to occur, wouldn’t everything come to nothing?
That thought weighed heavily upon her.
“…Let’s say I believe the king’s words, a tax system would undoubtedly be necessary to organize a country,” Fei of Forni said after a long period of silence. “But the next question then would be ‘with what should they pay’?”
No boorish remark such as ‘just take whatever they have’ came out in response to that question. Not even the goblins suggested it. That spoke greatly of the quality of the people gathered here today.
“Let’s have them make farms. When the time of harvest comes, we can then take our dues.”
“That won’t be enough. There should be merchants even among the humans. We need to think of a tax for them too,” Yushika blurted out without thinking.
One of her subordinates has on more than one occasion reported to her about sightings of people carrying goods on covered wagons. She knew from what she’s gathered that those were none other than human merchants.
If the only tax were to be on goods produced, such merchants who didn’t produce anything would end up having nothing to pay.
Various opinions came out, but in the end, a conclusion couldn’t be reached.
“We could also try asking the humans,” Gi Za suggested, and the meeting immediately went quiet.
“We are creating a tax system to rule over the humans, and we are going to ask them for their opinion?” One of those participating in the meeting asked.
Gi Za didn’t mind and replied, “the humans can be separated into two classes, those that rule over others and those that are ruled. They have many methods with which they rule their fellow man, methods we could never even dream of.”
Is that so? Yushika tilted her head.
“If the burden is too great, the humans will rebel, so we need to keep the tax light to ensure that they will work for us. Is this what the king intends?” Fei asked the Goblin King.
The Goblin King did not seem dissatisfied as he nodded in response.
After that, the humans, Shumea and Yoshu, were called to seek their opinions regarding the tax system. The meeting livened up once more.
That meeting continued for 3 days, and in the end, it was decided that the farmers would give up 30% of their crops. As for the humans enlisting into the army as battle slaves, their tax will be set to 10%. As for the merchants, they will be obligated to accompany the goblins and demihumans and their taxes will be paid through the food they sell.