Chapter 216 – Count London (1)
A week ago, Count London heard devastating news.
100,000 gold—that was a lot of money, but it was not an amount at which the nation would entirely collapse. The problem was the situation Redford was in. Due to the King’s carelessness in dealing with his gambling addiction, the treasury dried up, and the debt that had accumulated now couldn’t be handled.
Belatedly, they raised their hands to control the King. But then they realized the reality of the debt on their heads that had snowballed.
Count London said,
“Is there any room for negotiation?”
“About that. At the Golden Bank, they said they want everything in any form, be it land or money.”
He sighed. During the last few years, Count London has worked tirelessly to save the nation. In the process, he lost a lot of land, but the nation still had many problems that needed to be solved.
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The debt of 100,000 gold wasn’t something he could pay. To be precise, even if he gave up all of his fortunes now, Redford would face the same problem in the future. It was frustrating.
The Golden Bank would target the entire nation, and they would continue to punish those who failed to repay them. They didn’t care if they had to fight a nation.
It was normal for them to cause a riot by scattering money from within, and it was clear they would destroy the nations by funding money to hostile nations. If they didn’t have the strength to tackle them, they would pit them against another nation. History clearly showed what could happen if one ignored the warnings of the Golden Bank.
“What did His Majesty say?”
“The same as always. His Majesty is not the same person we knew him to be. He is addicted to alcohol and women each day, and whenever he finds the chance, he goes to a gambling place. We have placed restrictions so that he cannot touch the nation’s treasury, but there is no way we can control debts that are stamped with the national seal.”
“There are outside forces that encourage His Majesty to do things like this. As long as they are alive, the problem will continue to happen.”
Redford. The nation was in decline. Even though the citizens didn’t know the seriousness of the situation, Count London knew that their downfall was imminent.
The treasury was drying up. If a riot broke out, the meaning of the nation would be lost. Knowing that was the goal the empire wanted, Count London went to make money.
In the process, he even thought of a rebellion, but according to the information he found, he realized the King was being influenced by outside forces. The outside forces hoped that those who cared for the nation would rebel, and they would use that as a chance to purge the rebellion and bring peace to the nation.
With limited options, all he could do was hold onto the crumbling legs of the nation. And then a person went up to him.
It was the Treasurer. The fact that the person who was supposed to report to the King secretly approached Count London meant that the reality of the nation had changed.
‘Is there no other way?’
At the corner of his desk, he looked at the picture of his father. In the photo taken with magic during his lifetime, the man looked just like Count London with a huge smile. In fact, people remembered his father more.
He was a very patriotic man to the point where everyone respected him, and he didn’t let go of his concerns for the nation until the day he died in an accident.
When he died, people didn’t like the new heir to London. Unlike his father, his reputation in the world was that he was trash and hurt people to make money.
Count London said,
“Redford is running to the edge of a cliff. Knowing that the nation will fall over it one day, we cannot just abandon it and run away. We need to make a list of those who are willing to help us. First of all, the debt with the Golden Bank needs to be settled so we can be safe.”
The Treasurer bowed his head, and Count London looked at the ceiling as he leaned back on his chair.
The painted ceiling—it seemed to represent the reality of their nation.
He didn’t look at Dmitry’s side from the start. He first started visiting friendly nations, but they all expressed how they were in troubling positions.
“Count London. Rumors are going around across the land about the Redford Kingdom and that no one is lending you money. No matter how much interest is promised, wouldn’t it be a loss if your nation collapses before you pay us back? I am sorry. Shouldn’t you be looking at reality now?”
There were ten meetings, and all ten of them resulted in rejections. Count London’s feet hurt. He walked a long distance and earnestly asked them, but most of them coldly refused him.
And then he remembered Dmitry. Even though they weren’t close friends, there might be a chance since they were super wealthy and had a hostile relationship with the Kronos Empire.
A glimpse of hope. It was the feeling of holding onto the last straw. Hence, he went to visit Roman, and at the sight of him opening the door, he went straight for him.
‘Roman Dmitry, the best talent on the continent who had taken down Commander Gustavo in one hit. According to the rumors, Roman Dmitry is a cool-headed person, and if he knows Redford’s situation, then the chances of him lending money are slim.’
He also knew the reality, but there were no other options. Rumors spread that Dmitry was being led by Roman Dmitry and not Duke Romero, so he looked for Roman Dmitry.
Roman sat across from him. After briefly greeting each other, they immediately went down to business.
“I am sorry for asking you this in the first place, but please lend us 100,000 gold. Of course, I know that it is very unreasonable to make this request. There is nothing tying us together, and even if we borrow money, we have nothing to pay you back with.”
He spoke honestly. He wasn’t going to lie to borrow money.
London and Dmitry. Both were families with merchant blood. It was clear that using absurd excuses would only trouble them longer because of the huge amount of money being requested, and there was no benefit from lying to the Dmitry family now.
The interest was nothing. If Redford and London fell, the party who gave the money would lose both the original amount and the interest.
“If the debt with the Golden Bank cannot be repaid, Redford will collapse. I would like to avoid that. Roman Dmitry. You know the importance of Redford. The Kingdoms’ Alliance is barely standing, and if Redford falls, the alliance will lose its power to stop the Kronos Empire. So please lend us strength. We cannot stand without the help of other nations.”
This transaction could turn the situation upside down. It wasn’t a gain for Dmitry, but he appealed to them, who hated Kronos, by saying that Redford needed help.
Count London was smart. To be honest, he made Redford’s problem everyone’s problem. He described the situation as such.
Roman Dmitry calmly listened to him and asked, after a sip of tea,
“I’ve heard rumors about Count London. Redford’s Godfather. A being who plundered the assets of others around him to accumulate wealth through cruel business skills. People call you trash, scum, and a bloodless person. But the Count London I am meeting right now seems different from the rumors.”
His public reputation was different from what his eyes showed. At least the people in Redford never considered him a patriot.
“Please explain to me why you, with such a reputation, are working hard for Redford. Actually, aren’t people with money able to live fine if they throw away their patriotism?”
Roman’s words put him into silence. Count London looked at his opponent without saying a word.
His public reputation—he was aware of it. People cursed Count London, who secured his business even when the nation was collapsing and took the assets of those around him, and how he never spent money on others.
However, it was Count London who, despite being pointed at by the people, was handling the money issue. The reality was different. Most of his hard-earned money was used to solve Redford’s financial problems.
Count London said,
“…. A couple of years ago, I wasn’t very interested in the state of affairs of my nation. It was my goal to inherit my family’s business and be the best merchant on the continent. But when you accumulate so much wealth, you see the truth that people don’t know. The King and his actions. People are saying that the King is making life difficult for them, but those who know the truth are aware that what is happening is odd. I am convinced that Kronos is behind this.”
Their King had been put into this gambling obsession by someone. At first, he was delighted to make money, but within a year, the King turned into a gambling addict and frequented the gambling place where influential people gathered.
How did a small kingdom’s King get into that kind of place in the first place? Questions arose, and Count London knew that the forces behind them were the reason for Redford’s downfall.
“Redford’s rich family. How do you think our family will be viewed by those who are trying to bring down the nation? My father’s death wasn’t an accident. A person who is patriotic and has the wealth to help would have been considered a hurdle by many. So I ruined my public reputation. I trampled on people, stole their assets, and got criticized, but I do not regret it. The people I had taken down were all bastards. I took their properties and gave them back to the nation.”
Beyond his memory, Count London, who inherited the family, was not trying this hard to have a patriotic image.
However, as time passed, something became certain. Watching how the nation collapsed with his father’s death, he couldn’t let go of the thought that Kronos was behind this. So now he has dedicated his life to Redford.
No matter how people judged him, it didn’t matter. He had one purpose. In order to protect the nation that his father built, he didn’t care what people thought of him.
Count London said,
“I have no intention of making you take on all the responsibilities of the 100,000 gold. As collateral for this transaction, I will bet not only the London family’s land but also our heirlooms. Even if things get worse. For Dmitry, it wouldn’t be too much of a loss. And if Redford fixes the problem and things return to normal, not only the London family but also Redford will never forget the grace that you have shown.”
When he was done talking, Count London was sure of it.
‘This would be a flat-out refusal too.’
Dmitry—a family of merchants who rose to their current position by selling metals—had no reason to take up this offer. A nice friendship? A story? Their hatred for Kronos?
This problem wasn’t even theirs. The fire that fell on the feet of others wouldn’t even touch them. But then…
“I get it. I will accept your offer.”
An answer was given.
Count London, who had already given up, couldn’t hide the shock on his face.
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