The Chancellor of the Exchequer still clearly remembered how the King reacted after reading the letter sent by the Kingdom of Bressi a month ago.
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At that time, in front of the messenger, he tore the letter to pieces, then smiled and said: “Since Johan has sworn allegiance to me, then it is time for him to die for the great Legrand Empire.”
The rage and coldness under that smile made one shudder.
Even for the entire Legrand Empire, it was not easy to come up with such a large sum of money. In the reign of King William III, in order to launch a war against Bressi, he once raised one hundred thousand marks (equivalent to 66,000 pounds). That time it took more than seven months.
Under normal circumstances, it would take at least two months to raise 20,000 pounds.
However, the Bressi Kingdom only gave one month of time.
——They had no intention of releasing the prisoners of war.
Coupled with the widely circulated claims that General Johan had defected to the enemy and the Duke of Buckingham had a suspicious attitude, the King directly abandoned paying for the ransom of General Johan and only set a time for negotiations with the Kingdom of Bressi.
The King’s attitude was there, and even Grand Duke Grice’s letter of persuasion was useless. It only made the King even more angry, so other officials even more so dared not anger him.
Therefore, more than a month had passed, yet they haven’t even raised a penny, let alone 20,000 pounds.
But who would have thought that with only a few days left before the negotiation and the delivery of the prisoners, the King suddenly brought up the matter. It even seemed as if he had changed his mind and planned to pay for General Johan’s release.
The Chancellor almost wanted to kneel down for his capricious King.
The King tapped the armrest with his fingers.
“How much is there in the treasury?”
The Chancellor’s forehead was covered with cold sweat. He carefully observed the King’s face and replied tactfully: “Your Majesty, in order to resist the invasion of the Bressi Kingdom, we have spent a lot of money in April, and even raised the exemption from military service tax……”
“Where is the royal treasury?”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer looked like he would begin trembling at any moment, and his voice became even smaller: “Your Majesty, you built two royal castles in the west and the north some time ago……”
The King remembered.
The Legrand Empire had an eventful year this year, with riots in Newcastle in the north and Nordover in the west at the end of last year. After suppressing the rebellion, in order to strengthen the rule of these two places, Pureland began building a castle belonging to the royal family each in these two locations. In order to build the castle, the supervision of the royal forest area was even increased.
The King thought expressionlessly.
How about he just let General Johan make a sacrifice for the country.
“What about my private territorial income?”
This part was regarded as the King’s own personal income. His question obviously meant that the King intended to pay for General Johan’s release at his own expense. The Minister was surprised.
He reported on the income of the several territories directly under the King. Although the amount was considerable, the King’s daily extravagant life was obviously also very expensive——in these three days, the money that could be mustered up urgently was only a few thousand pounds.
The King pressed his forehead.
It might be a side effect of rebirth, but now his head was beginning to ache.
“What is the income of my uncle’s territory?”
He asked casually.
Of course, he did not expect to see the Duke of Buckingham, who practically lived like an ascetic monk and did not value pleasure, to have much in his pockets. He even suspected that the Duke had used most of his income to fill the pit that was military expenses.
However, the answer was still shocking to the King.
The Duke simply could not make ends meet.
“That’s it, Your Majesty.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied.
“According to facts, Lord Duke is one of the biggest creditors of the royal family.”
Legrand was practically in the midst of chaos when Pureland was still a babe. The King, who was still a baby, worried the nobles of many vassal states——in this era, babies faced too many risks growing up, especially when this baby was the Emperor of 36 vassal states.
It was the Duke of Buckingham who had repeatedly paid out of his pocket and used huge loans to support the royal family’s finances.
Then, soon after the King officially came of age, rumors that the Duke of Buckingham was unwilling to hand over power arose. At this time, the Duke of Buckingham did something unexpected——he burned all those certificates of indebtedness.
The King pressed his forehead so hard that his finger joints turned white.
The Chancellor took a peek at the young King, only to see him have his hand on his forehead, covering his eyes. The Chancellor could not make out the King’s mood at this time.
There was silence in the room for a long time.
The King mustered up his energy.
“Prepare for negotiations and start raising money.”
Hearing about raising money, the Chancellor immediately got a not-so-good hunch.
“I remember that the inheritance rights of the nobles are controlled by me.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had already started to stutter: “Yes……yes……yes, that’s correct.”
“Then let those heirs pay taxes for their titles.”
The cold sweat gathering on the Chancellor’s head instantly fell down to the floor. There was nothing wrong with the King ordering this. According to the charter signed by the nobles at the time of the King’s coronation, the King had the right to rule on succession of titles——but this was generally used when the succession conditions of two heirs were similar.
However, listening to the King at this moment, he clearly wanted all the major and minor nobles with inheritance rights to take out all the money in their pockets.
In this way, even the legitimate eldest son who was originally sitting firmly in the position of heir would become restless.
Obviously, their brothers would be very willing to give a large sum of money to the royal court, so as to obtain the ruling of “everything by business”——whoever bid higher would inherit and take the title from their eldest brother.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer could already imagine how many nobles in the country would be glaring at the roses in their gardens while cursing the King for his insidiousness.
But for Zhu Chi, there was no alternative.
Legrand’s current situation was too disastrous. Various complicated factors were involved and he did not have enough time to sort it all out. According to the answer from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Pureland had exploited civilians at least three times in the past two years. If he directly increased the tax burden on civilians, then the people’s riots would not be far off from now.
He would rather face the rebellion of some nobles than the riots from the civilians.
Of the two, the latter was the real devastating blow.
And one could not forget that the Duke of Buckingham was not executed. So long as the old Duke was still alive, those nobles who wanted to rebel have to weigh their chances carefully.
“Must this really be done?”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer asked with a little hope.
“You tell them.” The King said calmly, “Either pay or go to the frontlines.”
Alright, any hope was completely extinguished now.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer thought with despair.
——As the conveyer of the King’s will, he was afraid that he would have to bear some infamy.
Upon learning that the King had ordered a ransom to be raised, the Duke of Buckingham also came to see the King.
“I know what you are going to say.”
Before the old Duke could speak, the King blocked his words.
“But Johan is not only your son, my brother, but also the general of the Legrand Empire, the dignity of the Rose Family. Most importantly——”
The King paused.
“I need to know the truth about the Battle of Keven and who betrayed me.”
Anger infused through his ice-blue eyes.
The Duke of Buckingham remained silent.
At the same time, the day of the negotiations was approaching.
They began to prepare to set off for the negotiation site, close to the city of Truu on the front.
The Duke of Buckingham originally planned to go with him, but Zhu Chi had other concerns.
He was not at ease about the current situation in the Legrand Empire, and he did not trust those nobles to be obedient during the time he went to the frontlines. So he entrusted the Duke of Buckingham to return to the palace in the heart of Legrand and temporarily replace him in being in charge of government affairs.
Before leaving, Zhu Chi recalled something.
That owner of Mohn Castle, Earl Walter.
He had not come to see the King for a long time.
“Why, does he think the three days I granted were too much time?”
Zhu Chi sat in the carriage and asked softly.
The Master of Households hurriedly left to find Earl Walter.
After waiting for about an hour, he rushed back to report with a pale face.
“The Earl has committed suicide.”
The air seemed to have also been frozen by the cold of midwinter.
Inside the carriage, the King laughed cryptically.
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The procession that was about to leave stopped.Previous