Chapter 201 “Acting”
These days, Philip, the most promising student of Mr. Blue Ocean has earned a great deal of trust from him. In Du Wei’s view, Philip is not only young; he is also steady in his actions. More importantly, he is well aware of the situation in the Northwest and would never look down at himself for his young age.
If Philip wasn’t really so young and inexperienced, Du Wei really would have appointed him the governor of the Desa Province by now.
Even so, Du Wei didn’t care either way and handed Philip all the authority he would have gotten if he really was titled. Whether it is the new city constructing project or the financial management, Philip pretty much covers the entire picture.
Phillip is after all the student of the famed Mr. Blue Ocean. Once he received word of Du Wei’s summoning, he didn’t just dismiss the guy; instead, he questioned the person that relayed the message and found out it was someone from the Northwestern Army.
Knowing this information, Philip sneered.
Autumn just ended and the Northwestern Army is coming for money already? Fortunately, this scenario is well within Du Wei and Philip’s expectation, thus a plan was agreed upon long before the occasion. Once everything was in order, Philip finally headed off to see Du Wei.
Because Philip’s work place is in the Governor’s Manor, it didn’t take long for him to arrive at Du Wei’s study room. Opening the door, the first thing he saw after walking in is Du Wei having an idle conversation with Totoro. Not forgetting his manners, Philip quickly made a salute to Du Wei so that the Duke can make the introduction.
Regarding this newly arrived youngster, Totoro was also very polite without any intentions of making light of Philip. After all, in the months since Du Wei’s arrival, the Northwestern Army was always carefully observing their movements. This young man named Philip may only be Du Wei’s aide on the surface, but in truth, they know this little guy was the one giving out all the orders till now. If anything, this Philip is already half a governor without actually being one.
“Phillip, the reason for General Totoro visit today is to collect the autumn funding. Hmm, this quarter’s revenue should have already been reported, right?” Du Wei smile was exceptionally kind.
“Yes your honor.” Philip immediately opened up one of the booklets he brought along and passed forward the ledger: “My lord, this is the fall revenue for the Desa Province.”
Du Wei pretended like he was actually looking over the booklet he hot from Philip’s hand. Then with a look of disbelief, he said: “This…. Philip, the number must be wrong, right?”
Philip looked all serious: “My Lord, the number there is correct.”
Coughing a few times like he was embarrassed, Du Wei slowly pushed the ledger to the table in front of Totoro: “General Totoro, this is the autumn tax revenue of the Desa Province. Totaling 71,000 gold coins, 46,000 of which are from agriculture. According to the usual practices, 40% of this should be.”
Totoro’s face changed a shade: “How much?!”
“18,400 gold.” Philip repeated again with a deadpan face. Du Wei was forcing down his laugh so he was only smiling as he sighed: “Isn’t this figure a little too low? For the empire, the Northwestern Army is toiling away at the border so their merit is undeniable. Fine then, I’ll privately add in some more and make it an even number of 20,000 gold coins!”
Though Du Wei managed to pack in a generous appearance, but the nose of the one standing beside him was already crooked.
The thin air of hesitation from before is nowhere to be seen as Totoro questioned in a low voice: “Your lordship, did I hear it wrong? You’re certain of this number?”
“Yes of course.” Philip is the first to reply, “The Governor office just finished checking the revenue we collected.”
Though Totoro’s face was beet red, he still had the sense of suppressing his anger. Instead of continuing the question on Philip, this fat man turned to face Du Wei: “Duke! The Desa Province may be barren, but the population is still in the millions! To say the tax revenue is only 70,000, don’t you think it’s a bit ridiculous?”
Pausing for a second, his eyes showed a trace of anger: “This year’s spring and summer quarter is already more than 200,000 gold coins in tax revenue. Now that we are in the autumn quarter where the harvest is the highest, it should be more than 300,000 according to previous year’s calculation! For a whole province to only have 70,000 gold coins in tax revenue, don’t you think this joke is going a little too far?”
“General Totoro!” Philip’s suddenly got cold and serious: “Please watch your tongue! The one before you is a Duke of the empire!!”
Philip harshly said: “Presuming you know this, but we are building a new city. To build a city, the expenses are huge. Other than paying the craftsman for their work, there are also plenty of overhead costs! Also, in order to get the citizen to migrate to the new city, we took measures to exempt these individuals from taxes for a whole year; all of this was announced long before the city’s completion. Desa Province’s income isn’t high to begin with. Now that there is all these spending’s and tax cuts, it’s not strange to see such low numbers.”
Totoro’s original intention today is to test Du Wei’s attitude. After coming to the Northwest, this little duke never had any dealings with the Northwestern Army, so he really thought Du Wei would cooperate from his earlier words, yet it seems they are only toying with him…..
Thinking of this, Totoro can’t help but be infuriated. He is a general of the Northwestern Army and the one in charge of the logistic department. Even that old fox Bohan needs to be polite and watchful in front of him, so how can he swallow such humiliation?
Duke? So what if he’s a Duke? What is there to be afraid of when we’re the Northwestern Army?
“Your Dukeship!” Totoro stood up: “I’m afraid your subordinate here isn’t very clear on the interim decree. According to the Empire’s decree, the Northwestern Army has the right to intercept the agricultural tax revenue for military purposes! What’s more, the military has first priority and the local government cannot use the fund until the military takes their share! And now, your aide is telling me he already spend all the revenue on the new city before we can even take our share? Is this what you mean?!”
Looking at this angry fat ass, Du Wei slowly answered: “General Totoro, please sit down, your anger won’t help in remedying the situation. Let us discuss this to find a solution, what do you think?”
Totoro made a loud “humph” in reply.
Du Wei smiled as he faced Philip: “Philip, although the account calculations are correct, but we can’t drag out the military funding! The income for this season is only numbers on a paper. Now then, tell me the income for this quarter before the expenses are added in.”
Philip then pretended to be reluctant in his words: “If you follow the normal count, the earning should be about 250,000 Gold coins, less than the previous years. Your excellency did after all exempt a lot of people from paying their taxes for the migration project.”
Only by hearing this did Totoro’s anger subside a little. Though 250,000 is still a little low, but it’s still way more than before! 40% of 250,000 is 100,000 gold coins.
“That’s easy then.” Du Wei immediately made a forthright expression: “According to the 250,000 income, 40% should be 100,000. Take this sum from the treasury.”
Philip sighed, looking like he was ashamed in his whispering voice: “But my lord, the treasury doesn’t have that much money.”
This single shout carried with it boundless anger disbelief!
The problem is with this is that the one releasing this anger is not Totoro, it was DU Wei!
Jumping off his chair, the young duke mercilessly stared at Philip without restraint: “What did you say/!!”
His excessive action caused even the cup in front of him to fall to the ground. With an angry look, he questioned: “Sir Philip! Please explain to me at once why my Desa Province can’t even take out 100,000 gold coins from the treasury? Desa may be a barren land, but after so many years of saving, there should be more than enough to cover this sum!”
Du Wei blaming initiative actually caused Totoro to jump a little inside.
“Give me an explanation!” Du Wei’s anger looked like he was about to swallow someone: “Philip! Is this really my land? Is this really my Desa Province?! Or did you use your authority to embezzle the funds inside the coffer??? If you can’t explain this, I will immediately arrest you on charges of corruption!”
Phillips immediately showed a face of injustice as he argued back: “My Lord, I never embezzle a single copper!”
Then this Philip spoke like he was full of grievance: “Sir, you never cared about the finances the moment you stepped into the Northwest. You want to build a city, I tried to dissuade you, but you refused to listen. As such, I can only try my best to maintain everything for you, but I also have my difficulties!”
At this point, he seemed to be determined: “Do you remember when I first came in here I gave you a report?”
Du Wei seemed stunned for a moment, then impatiently replied: “I’m not interested in these things, its fine with you looking after them.”
Philip smiled bitterly: “My Lord, you are a magician, so of course you aren’t interested in this stuff. However, I have already explained everything in the report I gave you. It’s just that you didn’t look it over.”
Du Wei then acted like he just recalled something. With a frown, he asked: “The report, what happened?”
“My lord” Philip sighed: “When we took over the Desa Province, the coffer only retained 190,000 gold coins! After so many years, the revenue is only that much!”
Once again, Totoro lost the chance to speak again because Du Wei jumped the gun again. With a shameful face, he stared at Philip: “A whole province and you are telling me the reserve only has that much??!”
“But this is all true my Lord. My report has all the details.” Philip face looked bitter: “You put all your energy into the great divine of magic research, so you ignored all this. Although I have repeatedly told you this, but you never noticed.”
Then, Phillips seemed cautious and hesitant in his words; “This number would of course make others question it. For a whole province, how can there be so little wealth in the reserve. But….”
“But what.” Du Wei quickly asked.
Coughing once, Philip bit his teeth: “But, prior to your arrival, the Desa Province was always under Governor Bohan.”
This sentence is already very obvious!
Even for Totoro, he had to secretly accept this argument after listening to this explanation.
It seems before Bohan surrendered the place to this Duke, he had scraped every inch of valuable from the land. This interpretation is very reasonable.
Like this, Du Wei and Philip both stared at each other, one with a face of anger and the other with a face of injustice. After a long while of standoff, Du Wei gritted his teeth and spoke: “What a good governor Bohan! Humph! No wonder his attitude was so weird towards me while I was at Mulan City. That crazy bastard left me an empty shell!”
Du Wei then looked Philip with dissatisfaction: “Why didn’t you speak up about these things before?”
Philip frowned with annoyance as he crossed his arms: “I’ve told you several times already, but you never listen. Your focus was always spent on your divine magic research.”
After a long time, Du Wei lets out a long sigh as he gave a sincere and apologetic look: “General Totoro…. I’ve let you seen a joke. I never would have thought such a thing could happen under my own eyes.”
After witnessing the show that just transpired before him, Totoro is also at a loss, not sure whether if the two were really going at it or just putting up a show. One thing is for sure though; he has a whole boatload of words he wanted to say but cannot.
However, the fact that Magicians doesn’t like to deal with mortal matters is also true. This was very unusual but also very reasonable. Aside from this, these types of young nobles lords are usually spoiled brats, so why would they know about financial management?
Looking at it this way…. It seems the blame really shouldn’t be on this young Duke. It’s all on that Bohan……
“General Totoro, please rest assured.” Du Wei immediately showcased a pair of obligatory appearance: “I will immediately send someone to negotiate with that Bohan! No matter what, I will have him throw up whatever money he swallowed! When the times comes, I will definitely have the military funds in your hand!”
Totoro can only feel his stomach churning…. Throw up?
He’s been in the Northwest for years and it’s not the first time he’s had dealings with this Bohan, so he’s well aware of how powerful this guy is. The moment money falls in his hand, you can damn well expect it to disappear! And you are merely kid, what can you do?
Wait till you get your money back then pay, wouldn’t that be the same as never?
Totoro immediately cut in: “But your Dukeship, the military funds cannot be delayed……”
Not waiting for the general to finish, Du Wei already cut in: “General, you see it too, we’ve been played by Bohan. All my money was swallowed up by him. I may be more than willing to help you, but my men already said it. Right now, the Desa Province really cannot afford to pay this military fund.”
“But your city……” Totoro is still skeptical, after all, to be able to finance the construction of a whole city then what is the measly sum he is asking?
“I know what you want to say.” Du Wei spoke in a light tone: “I won’t hide it. The majority of the expenditure is from my private fund. My aide tried to dissuade me at the time, but I really didn’t want to stay on that tattered looking Anglia City. As a result, I took out my own wealth to build the new city.”
What else can he say?
Even if he is here to retrieve the military fund, he’s not shameless enough to request the military funds to be financed by Du Wei’s personal wealth.
In this case, whether it is publicly or privately, it is not reasonable.
In private…… When a powerful figure takes up a post like this, the common occurrence is to stuff their own pockets as much as possible. Never once would you hear a story of someone losing money! Totoro is also a general, so it’s not like he doesn’t understand these types of political rules. In this case, he is just too embarrassed to say it aloud.
In public…… Using private money to pay the military, what are you trying to do? Going about it lightly, you are trying to bribe the military! Going about it heavily, you have treasonous heart!
“From the looks of it, i seem to be powerless.” Du Wei followed up: “In my place, please inform Army Head Rugaard of my deepest regret. But this matter is something I will try to make up. In a moment, I will send someone to meet governor Bohan in Mulan City. No matter what, I will recover the money and find justice for the Northwestern Army!”
Looking at the sincere appearance of this juvenile teenager, Totoro had a difficult time telling if this is fake or real. As for whether Bohan really swallowed everything before leaving the Desa Province, Totoro can easily find out. After all, the Northwestern Army has taken roots in this place for decades, so they would of course have their own sources to verify the news.
Thinking of this, Totoro has already stood up, his face looking a lot colder: “In this case, I’ll take my leave. I have to report back to the General Rugaard of what happened today…… As to what happens next is not up to me.”
Du Wei showed no attitude as he personally stood up to send the guy off. Even before the guy left, Du Wei added in a few words: “General, this move of Bohan’s really annoyed me, but……. I’m after all a new arrival in the Northwest and he is a veteran in these parts. I think he won’t yield over this matter so easily. So….. I fear it won’t be enough with just my pressure. If necessary, I hope the Northwestern Army can also lend a hand and put some pressure on him. After all….. You funds are also in there, is it not?”
Totoro ponders for a moment. Not daring to be rash in his promise, he only said that he had to report it first before making a decision.
Thus, Du Wei temporarily fooled the Northwestern army.
Sending off the head of logistic department in the Northwestern army, Du Wei and Phillip both shut the door and had a good laugh in the background.
Once Philip finished enjoying the moment, he frowned and said: “My Lord, while we managed to make him go away for now, but he will definitely come back. Then……”
“Then what.” Du Wei grunted: “Bohan emptied my coffer and this is the fact. The Northwestern Army only needs to check and they will know we weren’t lying. It’s not like they can do anything because our finances are really tight. Plus, even if the Army Head Rugaard comes in person, he won’t have the face to ask me to pay out of pocket. The political circle has its own way of doing things. The ideal outcome from this is to have the Northwestern Army go after that old guy Bohan….. Hump! He swallowed such a big sum from me, if I don’t give him some trouble, I won’t feel comfortable!”
But then Du Wei also started to smile as he glanced at Phillip: “I’m just venting. The Northwestern Army was always fighting with Bohan anyways, so it won’t make a difference even if I added this tiny bit of fuel to the fire.”
Philip frowned: “It’s just that this excuse will work for this quarter, but what about the next?”
Du Wei is also frustrated inside. Smiling wryly, he answered: “We can only stall as they come.”
The god damn “temporary regulation” sure is troublesome, but Du Wei also knows that the central command has no courage to repeal this legislation! Prince Son just took power, so the main issue at hand is to stabilize the situation. Instead of hoping for the capital to send help, he be better off relying on himself.
Philip thinks for a while before suddenly crying out: “…… Sir, I have an idea! After this, the Northwestern Army can start dreaming if they ever want to take another coin from us!”
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