There were three businessmen waiting at the luxury hotel that Liam currently resided in.
First was Thomas of the Henfrey Company, who had been in business with Liam the longest of the group.
Second was Elliot of the Clave Company, whose business mainly operated in the Imperial Capital.
Lastly was Patrice of the Newlands Company, who’s enterprise was widely involved across the Empire as a whole.
And all three of them were losing their patience.
“Is this okay? The main product of the Banfield house is their rare metals. If those can’t be traded, being in business with them will put us at a major loss.”
Seeing Thomas’ unease, Patrice frustratedly responded to him.
“We’re already in the red. I’m losing my standing in the Newlands Company, and some of the other executives are badgering me to end our contract.”
Elliot seemed calm on the surface, but even he was starting to lose his cool.
“It’s the same with me as well. The board of directors are calling for change, but even so, to make an enemy of His Highness Linus– just what was Liam thinking?”
The three merchants couldn’t understand Liam’s actions at all.
However, Thomas had known the young lord for a long time, and was used to these antics of his.
“Lord Liam might have a foul mouth, but he’s a man of conviction. Remember the incident concerning Lady Rosetta? Perhaps this is a similar situation.”
“Even if that’s true, it’s that very moral standard that’s screwing us over right now. I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming.”
The enemy this time wasn’t just another noble like the incident with the Berkley Family, but a legitimate prince that had a high chance of inheriting the throne.
It just wasn’t the same.
This time, all of the aristocrats that had sided with Linus’ faction would become hostile as well.
Liam couldn’t deal with all of them by himself.
Elliot’s eyes had grown cold.
“We need to seriously consider cutting him off.”
The two other merchants were thinking about abandoning Liam, but Thomas stood firm in his beliefs.
“–considering this matter, I wonder if Lord Liam is seeing something we aren’t.”
“What are you saying?”
To Elliot’s query, Thomas couldn’t find the right words to answer him.
However, his intuition was telling him that Liam was planning something.
“I’m not sure, but it’s definitely something bi–”
Barging through the door, Liam had suddenly entered into the room that the three were waiting in.
“Thanks for coming on such short notice!”
Seeing Liam’s cheerful demeanour, Elliot and Patrice responded with cold smiles.
“This is quite the situation that you’ve put us in, Lord Liam.”
“I didn’t think that you’d actually pick a fight with His Highness Linus.”
Liam was completely apathetic to the harsh words of the two merchants.
“The second prince? Don’t worry about him, he doesn’t matter.”
Such a person was of no interest to the young lord at all.
As Liam plopped himself down on the sofa, Thomas spoke the question that had been weighing on everyone’s minds.
“Lord Liam, what are you going to do about this situation? We’ve heard that there have been heavy economic sanctions placed on your territory.”
“Economic sanctions? Oh… those. I made a public declaration saying I’d be lending my support to the third prince, and now his older brother is throwing a tantrum in revenge.”
Hearing those words, shivers ran down the spines of the three merchants.
Liam smiled at their reaction.
“I’ll give His Highness Cleo the Emperor’s throne, and all of you will be assisting me.”
Thomas felt a headache coming on.
Just what was this person saying? A mere Count declaring that he would be the one to decide who would succeed the throne? It was blasphemous.
“H-however, is such a thing even possible? But even before that, Lord Liam, how are we supposed to operate with the economic sanctions currently in place?”
“I have a few ideas. The Empire isn’t the only place we can sell goods. The universe is vast, and there’s new trading partners all around us!”
Thomas’ mouth flapped open and closed.
“I-in other words, you’re saying we should sell the rare metals mined in the Empire to the surrounding nations?! That’s a felony!”
While it was true that there were some nobles that sold rare metals illegally to other countries, it wasn’t exactly common.
And even then, it was always in amounts that nobody would really care about.
However, rare metals were one of the Banfield house’s main exports.
If such a large amount of goods were to move, it would be impossible for the Empire to not notice.
“The prince is the one who picked a fight with me first. Not that I have any intention of being officially recognised as a criminal, though. I’ll just change production to focus on normal metals and other commodities that aren’t sanctioned. Thomas, Patrice– the two of you have practiced trade with foreign countries, correct?”
Thomas had operated in various nations before officially becoming Liam’s merchant.
He had the connections to act as an intermediary.
“Well, yes. However, this can’t really be considered a ‘normal’ business transaction…”
Patrice was of the same opinion.
“While I can’t say that I don’t have the right connections, finding someone actually willing to do business would be difficult.”
Just what foreign country would be willing to do business with the infamous Empire?
And even if there was one, would trade even be possible considering the current political climate?
The Empire was currently at war with its neighbors, if handled poorly, these deals could be seen as traitorous.
There’s no way the military would just let this go, either.
Seeing the frustration growing in his two fellow businessmen, Elliot smiled.
“…they exist, Lord Liam. Countries crazy enough to trade with us.”
“Oh, you have an idea, Elliot?”
Liam turned towards the last businessman.
Elliot then went on to explain the gossip he’s been hearing on the Imperial Capital.
“There’s this rumour with high credibility spreading among the court nobles stationed in the capital. It seems that the countries surrounding the Empire are currently suffering from a multitude of internal problems within their governments.”
This information seemed to pique Liam’s interest.
“They’re all stocking up on materials that could be used in war and various other projects in mass– maybe even to the point of making deals with the hated Empire.”
They were in a predicament that couldn’t be denied.
It was to the point that even the upper echelons of the Empire were aware of it.
The reason why the faction wars between Calvin and Linus were intensifying was precisely because they knew their outside enemies couldn’t do anything on a large scale at the moment.
Taking full advantage of the neighboring countries’ lack of mobility, they made their moves to seize the throne.
“What of the Imperial Army? Would they interfere?”
“They definitely wouldn’t be on our side, but they wouldn’t attack us either. I don’t know the details as to what’s happening with them, but there’s definitely something occurring within their ranks as well.”
Thomas fell into thought after hearing Elliot’s story.
(This is it, THIS. The devil’s luck where even the heavens themselves seem to be on Lord Liam’s side. Even though this would usually be considered a dire situation, for all of the pieces from the Empire to the neighboring countries to fall so perfectly… it’s uncanny. This can’t be just luck, can it?)
If even one thing was out of place, it would’ve been the end of the line for Liam.
It was as if there were some sort of greater force moving to help him.
“Then it’s decided. To make a profit, the three of you will go into business supporting the neighboring countries, while I prepare the exports.”
As Liam made that statement, Patrice began to smile after doing the calculations in her head. Seeing the situation was profitable, her mood instantly improved.
“Lord Liam, I’ll need to borrow your power for this. I’ll prepare a list later detailing everything.”
“Simply put, our escorts. A couple hundred ships should be fine.”
Elliot seemed a little jealous.
“I don’t have any outside connections. I don’t mind helping but… yeah, I want a strong protection detail. This should shut the rest of the executives up.”
Nodding in agreement, Liam immediately began issuing orders to prepare the escorts.
“Thomas, do you need protection as well?”
“If it’s possible, then I’d appreciate it.”
“Of course it is, I’d be troubled if you died on me.”
With this matter finished, Liam immediately left the room for a meeting he had with his private military, but those that remained began to talk business.
Elliot went straight for the issue regarding commodities.
“Even if we can’t use rare metals, there’s other products. If we assemble too much in mass, we’ll catch His Highness Linus’ attention. We need to prepare a front company to take the heat.”
“It might not be a front company, but I know a few aristocrats that have been badgering me for a business contract. If we work using their names, it should be easy enough to make excuses for our actions. Leave this matter to me.”
“Them? I thought that you were friends.”
“It’s Thomas and I who’re going to be working on the front lines, you don’t have any right to decide who I want to use as my scapegoat.”
“Wouldn’t it be more profitable to build actual friendly relations with them?”
Unlike earlier, the two were engaging in lively debate.
Even Thomas was somehow able to join in.
“I’ll begin talks with an acquaintance I’ve traded with before as well, but putting all of that aside, the previously quiet surroundings of the Empire sure are in a frenzy.”
Frankly, the change was plain creepy.
Civil wars weren’t unheard of, but for so many to happen all at the same time…
Patrice suddenly had an epiphany.
“That’s it! The Imperial Army! There’s bound to be fleets within the military that are sick of these wars. If we can use our dealing to hash out some ceasefire agreements, we can sell a favour to the Imperial Army and put them in our debt!”
The military could use this chance to finally take a break.
Bloodthirsty warmongers weren’t all that the Imperial Army consisted of, many of them being individuals who were just tired of the war. They needed a breather.
A few people Elliot knew popped into his head.
“I’ll try to put a good word in with an acquaintance of mine, but will the militant faction really allow this?”
“We’ll tell them that they should use this moment to just watch as the enemies tear themselves down. Before they begin their main offensive, they should take this moment to relax and enjoy the show.”
They didn’t actually know what was going on in those foreign countries.
However, the business senses of the three said that this was a chance for major profits.
But on the other hand, this was an all-in gamble.
If Liam lost this fight, their positions and lives were at risk.
In any case, it was necessary that they overcame this crisis at any cost.
They could already see their victory.
All they had to do was grab it.
Seeing the two’s enthusiasm, Thomas reeled them back in.
“Just make sure you don’t go too far to the point of incurring Lord Liam’s wrath. Lord Liam is a virtuous ruler that holds justice in high regards. If he finds out you threw some innocents under the bus, what do you think will happen?”
Patrice rushed to correct herself.
“O-of course. I’ll make sure to look into things thoroughly before I make my moves.”
Elliot was the same.
“Looking only at profit values would make me a failure as a business partner. However, surely choosing the most beneficial partner for the good of the Empire is fine? Lord Liam puts great importance in being pragmatic.”
They were told to make a profit.
But Thomas perfectly understood how merchants work.
So he wanted to make sure that his fellow businessmen knew what would happen if they broke Liam’s moral standard.
“That’s right– when taking in everything he’s done so far, we should definitely do all that we can to not be seen as his enemy. Cross the line once, and we’ll be destroyed like the Berkley family.”
The two others respected Thomas’ opinion as an individual that had worked with Liam for many years.
“Okay, let’s make sure to support those who stand for justice. In any case, it’d be convenient if they were someone who was planning to eventually fight. It’d be good publicity.”
Elliot nodded in response to Patrice’s opinion.
“I’ll make sure to support you two, so make sure you choose your partners carefully.”
In other words, ‘you two better not mess this up!’
Elliot’s face broke out into a smile.
“This can’t be anything but luck. Seriously, good luck. I can’t stress how important it is that we have Lord Liam– an individual blessed with ungodly luck as an ally. I’m still feeling a bit uneasy regarding the matter with the Third Prince, but things should work out.”
For all three individuals here, it was imperative that Liam stayed in good health.
“Even if this doesn’t work out, this is a chance to build some branches abroad. I’m happy to be involved in this.”
Making connections with foriegn nations was a truly delicious prospect.
Incidentally, if Cleo– an individual who had practically no backing until now actually won this, the potential profits were enormous.
Both Patrice and Elliot were willing to make that bet.
Sapling ( ゜д゜) “–too long! It’s hard to understand, so summarize it in three lines!”
Brian(・ω・｀ ) “(What a strange plant) Because the foreign countries are currently in disarray due to a certain someone’s deeds, they’re taking advantage of this situation to make a profit. If I were to put it in three lines:
Economic sanctions SUUUUUUCK~
The surrounding nations are in a mess, so let’s take advantage of their plight to make money!
This was only possible because of the Guide’s ‘help’… and that’s it.”
Sapling( ゜∀゜) “I wonder if it’d be appropriate to say ‘Good Job, Mister Guide!’ here?”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com