Release that Witch Chapter 332
Chapter 332 What one has seen and heard
In the days before they would set out to explore the ruins Tilly's greatest interest was slowly strolling along the flat streets of Border Town, observing the remote territory which had already undergone such startling changes in the hands of Lord Roland.
This small town stands out from the masses, she thought, the more carefully she observed everything, the more she became aware of this. It was entirely different from any other place she had been to before… and what left her the most impressed was probably the gorgeous and unparalleled vitality which this small town radiated.
Even the up-and-coming Sleeping Island couldn't compare with it.
“Aren't these people afraid of the cold?” Andrea said, full of amazement at seeing the pedestrian coming and going on the street. “What did your brother do that they'd be willing to work during the winter?”
“It's still autumn,” Ashes retorted, “You can't even tell different season apart."
“But there is no difference between the current weather and winter. This is analogous with the argument which frequently appears within 'her dream, his country',” Andrea elegantly raised her long hair and said, “Of course, a barbaric woman such as you would never understand something like this.”
“What’s 'your dream, my dream'…”
“It is difficult to communicate with a vulgar person who hasn't ever even enjoyed the drama, but Lady Tilly must surely have watched this famous drama from the Kingdom of Dawn."
“There is no need for you to fight,” Sylvie sighed. “I think the reason behind this is quite simple. Usually the common folk do not want to be active during winter because it would increase food consumption greatly, in case they can't eat their fill it would be very easy for them to catch a cold. However, this issue doesn't exist in Border Town. The price of grain isn't high, firewood is also quite abundant, and Miss Lily is easily able to cure a cold. It would therefore be better if they continued to work hard even within the cold and snow, and try to earn one more day's salary."
“I am able to understand that there would be enough firewood due to the Concealing Forest West of the town, but the reason for the price of grain not being high… how is that possible?” Andrea asked feeling puzzled, “My family has also been involved in the food business so I know that crop failures caused by natural disasters could lead to everyone raising the price of grain by a lot. With such a bad weather, how could he keep the nobles and merchants from selling food at a higher prices?"
“Nobles, merchants?” Sylvie asked laughingly, “Here in Border Town, there is only one person who is allowed to sell grain, that is His Royal Highness."
“All those fields along the river belong to him?” Tilly frowned.
“No, that's the land of the serfs,” she told her what she had seen and heard, as well as the scene occurring during the bumper harvest. “He made two food prices, one was the purchase price and one was the selling price. Those two prices are fixed, with the latter being higher than the former."
“Isn't he forcing them to sell low and buy high?” Ashes asked while showing an expression of disbelief, “If he can sell at a high price, why won't he allow others to sell it at high prices as well?"
“No, it’s not the same,” Tilly said, “After the wheat is taken in, it also needs to be threshed, ground and stored in a warehouse. All this produces further cost, thus it's normal for the price to rise.”
“What Lady Tilly said is right. I had the same question, so I later asked Teacher Scroll about it,” Sylvie smiled, “She said that the extra expenses were paid off, some were paid to those who deal with the farmers, it is also used to build new granaries so that the production can be expanded, which in turn will provide Border town with new…” she stopped for a moment, thinking about the right word to use, “Jobs, right, that's what she called them. I heard that His Highness was very concerned about that."
“But he is still buying weak selling strong,” Ashes stressed, "Shouldn't trade be free?”
“Perhaps, but His Highness' selling price is at a rate that still allows everyone to buy it. Furthermore, if the price stays constant, people will also become more comfortable."
“Sometimes freedom isn't always for the best,” Tilly said, she already had a clear idea of what Roland was doing. The rule prohibiting anyone else from selling grain within the territory might at first seem overbearing and unjust. But in fact, it put an end to hoarding and profiteering, which could effectively prevent any events of food shortage. If it was King's City, which had to face times of snow during autumn, the food prices would inevitably rise up to five or six times more than usual with more than half of the populace starving due to not having enough grain to eat. If the situation went on for long enough, it could easily cause riots, and eventually, the palace might even be forced to release grain from their own reserves or dispatch the guards to suppress them. Either way, it would still be a big burden on the state's treasury.
Although this policy looked good, it also wouldn't work just anywhere. The majority of the grain traders were aristocrats and rich merchants who also owned large amounts of serfs and fields, making it impossible for the royal family to buy out all the grain and prohibit people from hoarding. However, here in Border Town, except for Roland Wimbledon, there was almost no other aristocratic family around, he was indisputably the one who had the final say in such things.
When Tilly expressed her own opinion, Ashes still hold some grievances, “What about the serfs? They normally would get more income when the grain price rise, but now they get exploited by fixed prices.”
“Pfft,” Andrea laughed, “As if these people could escape the same exploitation if they were in a city with free trade. At times of bumper harvest, not only wouldn't they be told to hand over more wheat, they'd even be told to sell it at a very low price. Yet when there is a poor harvest, they'd still have to pay their share, while it would still be a question whether the grain leftover would be enough for them to survive the famine. In contrast, fixed prices are actually more reasonable, as long as the harvest is better, the income should also be better.”
“Here they can choose whether they want to sell." Sylvie’s words slightly shocked the other three, “His Highness said that in case where the harvest reached a fixed amount, the serfs could be promoted to free people. From then on they can either continue farming or go and choose new jobs, completely according to their own will. However, free people would only need to pay 2/10 of their grain. Furthermore, according to this year's bumper harvest's price, their salary was also very impressive."
“Uh, His Royal Highness said that after two or three years there won't be any serfs left in Border Town."
So, actually it was like this, Tilly's heart was suddenly touched by what she had heard. That's the reason why the town is full of vitality… When he made his policies, he considered the people's way of thinking and added an incentive system to encourage them to work more and better. This way of handling things is completely different from any other noble. Motivation isn't only expressed through words, rather, he let the people achieve some tangible benefits through hard work instead of hiding his wealth in the castle treasury.
At this moment, she finally understood the real meaning of those red slogans at the river side.
However, the Roland Wimbledon in the royal palace was never such a generous person… So, is this also something brought forth by the sudden change in memory? In addition, those evening lessons of "Elementary Nature", and "Mathematics" are very fascinating too.
Tilly had believed that it would be difficult for her to find something new to stimulate her curiosity and interest after she had finished reading all the books in the palace library, but she now had discovered there were still many things left for her to learn.
Within her heart, she suddenly felt that even doing nothing more than just live in Border Town’s castle and flip through all those books filled with miraculous knowledge while watching the changes around the Town… it would still be a very enjoyable life.
Suddenly, a long ringing sound of a bell came over from the city wall, announcing a new demon beast attack.
Tilly immediately put her previous thoughts to the back of her mind, after all, nowadays, she was no longer the worry-free 5th Princes, but rather a leader shouldering the destiny of all the witches living on Sleeping Island. Now, some things could no longer be imposed solely according to her own preferences, thus she said, "Let's go to the wall and see if we can help the guards."
“Of course,” Andrea smiled, “That’s why we came here in the first place, so they can see how we Witches fight!"