Volume 4 Chapter 44 Being king isn’t a happy matter
Eric stared at the document in his hand and deeply knit his brows.
After a while, he let out a long sigh and put the document down. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to relax a bit.
After reviewing documents for an entire afternoon, taking no breaks other than going to the washroom, he was naturally very tired.
Looking at the high pile of documents on the table, Eric couldn’t help revealing a bitter smile.
Before taking the throne he had fantasized that it would be a very happy and satisfying matter if he could become this country’s king.
But now that he had taken the throne, other than being happy for the first few days, he had been working without stop for the past half a year, having no time to rest at all.
This very busy life made him think fondly of the time when he could lounge around as a prince.
At that time, he didn’t need to think of national matters, he could eat, sleep, and play whenever he wanted.
But now that he was king, because he was too busy, he couldn’t sleep well, he barely had time to eat every day and didn’t have a moment of free time.
As for playing? He was even reviewing documents in his dream!
He didn’t care when he saw his father busily managing documents, but now that he was doing it himself, he understood that being a king really wasn’t a comfortable thing.
Actually, he knew that the reason why he felt tired was because he wasn’t satisfied.
Why did he want to become king? Naturally it was because being king gave you the greatest power in this kingdom.
But after he became king, he found that he didn’t control any power at all.
No one cared when he spoke or gave an order, so what meaning was there in being a king?
There was a knock from the door and before Eric could answer, it was opened and a familiar figure came in.
Seeing this middle aged man who always walked casually in front of him and acted like a ruler slowly come up in front of him, Eric forced out a smile.
“Duke Stagg, do you need something?”
Duke Stagg bent his waist slightly, which could be considered a bow to Eric.
“Your majesty, I’ve disrupted you now is to tell you that the military budget conference is coming up in three days.”
Duke Stagg’s tone was calm without any waves, but Eric’s heart skipped a beat when he heard this.
After being silent for a while, Eric finally asked, “Duke Stagg, is there something you wish to mention regarding this?”
“Yes.” Duke Stagg nodded, “I’ve heard that your majesty wants to increase the budget this year, especially the budget for the northern army, right?”
Eric knit his brows. He only started a slight rumour and this Duke Stagg came right away, not giving him any room at all.
But he was only thinking this and still had the same smile, “Un, I did have this idea. According to the reports, the Sack Kingdom is preparing to cause trouble. In order to protect the border, it’s appropriate to increase the military budget. Moveover, the kingdom’s revenue has been good this year, so there shouldn’t be a problem with increasing the budget.”
Duke Stagg was silent for a bit before asking, “Your majesty, have you not considered a very important problem?”
“At the beginning of next year, the loan that you owe many nobles will expire. If you can’t pay this debt when the time comes, you’ll lose many important supporters……”
“Debt?” Eric deeply knit his brows.
This so-called debt was the investments the nobles had made in him before he took the throne.
Only those fellows had called it a donation before. But once he took the throne, these donations immediately became debts and they requested Eric to repay these debts.
The ten companies that the magic machine industry management department chose were backed by these fellows.
Eric had always found the Frestech Chamber of Commerce a nuisance, so using this, not only did he cleanse the Frestech Chamber of Commerce, he also repaid his debt. This was killing two birds with one stone.
Moreover, having the Frestech Chamber of Commerce hand over the technology was very good for the kingdom.
So Eric had always tolerated the small actions the department took against the Frestech Chamber of Commerce, his main goal was to steal income from the Frestech Chamber of Commerce.
But it was still too short and adding in the fact that the ten companies couldn’t compare to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce’s influence on the market, they couldn’t take much of the income during this time. The debt that the nobles talked about was something that Eric worried about a lot.
“If the funds are allocated to repay this debt, the kingdom’s finances will be tight next year.” Eric said in a helpless voice.
After taking the throne for half a year, Eric found that compared to a king, he was more like a merchant.
Because every moment of every day, he was always worried about money. He was even worrying about small things like one gold coin that he never cared about before.
Only after becoming the king did he understand how bad of a situation the Lampuri Kingdom was currently in.
Although the Lampuri Kingdom’s tax revenue had greatly increased in the past two years, the stats still estimated that the tax revenue this year wouldn’t surpass three million gold coins.
It was fine if this was in a city, but for a country, this was a very pitiful matter.
Not to mention just covering military expenses.
In the reports from when Eric led the northern army to attack the Sack Kingdom, they spent around fifty to seventy thousand gold coins a day.
After fighting with the Sack Kingdom for less than a month, they had already spent over a million gold coins.
This battle wasn’t that intense. If they were to fight a real war, the military expenses would be several times that.
Of course, in order to create momentum for Eric at the time, the nobles in the kingdom had invested large amounts into the northern army, which was far beyond the normal consumption of the normal army.
But even with the standard consumption of the northern army, they required one hundred thousand gold coins even if they didn’t fight.
Adding in the other armies of the kingdom, the previous military budget of three hundred thousand was already very stretched.
Eric had been on the battlefield, he had seen the fierceness of the Sack Kingdom. He naturally understood that he had to raise the strength of the northern army to increase the safety of the Lampuri Kingdom.
But the problem lied in…..money.
The kingdom’s finances were around three million gold coins a year. Taking aside the basic expenses of one million gold coins, adding in the benefits the nobles received, that cost another million gold coins.
For the remaining million coins, a part had to be taken out for the kingdom’s infrastructures.
For example, the agricultural department had proposed building farms that were like that around Banta City, which had an initial cost of two hundred thousand gold coins.
Then adding in the other things, there weren’t much gold coins left.
To squeeze out at least five hundred thousand gold coins for military expenses like Eric wanted wasn’t easy.
“Your majesty, I understand your concerns.” Seeing the difficult look on Eric’s face, Duke Stagg said with a faint smile, “First, enhancing the military strength of the kingdom to protect the kingdom is of course necessary. But you don’t need to consider increasing the military budget, right?”
Eric was surprised, “If I don’t increase the military budget, how can I increase the army’s strength? I have been in the northern army, I know that without money, the soldiers can’t even eat their fill, how could they have any strength?”
“That is correct, but your majesty, haven’t you ever thought that the kingdom’s military budget is limited and it is hard to increase. Instead of supporting a large number of soldiers with this limited budget, which means not being able to maintain the battle efficiency of these soldiers, it is better to reduce the amount of soldiers and train elite soldiers. This makes it easier to increase battle strength.” Duke Stagg said.
“Elite troops?” Eric deeply knit his brows, “Duke Stagg, our kingdom’s army has less than fifty thousand troops, it’s already very hard to defend the kingdom with these numbers. If we reduce them again, wouldn’t there be holes all over the kingdom? Even if we can defend against the Sack Kingdom, what else can we do?”
“It’s very simple.” Duke Stagg was clearly prepared as he said with a smile, “The royal army will mainly be in charge of the defenses, as for the other tasks, nobles like me naturally have a duty to defend the kingdom.”
Eric was stunned, “What do you mean?”
“Take the northern army guarding the northwest province. Currently in order to prevent the Sack Kingdom’s invasion, not only do they have to guard the northern border, they also leave troops in the northwest province, but I don’t think there is a need. The northwest province has seven private noble territories, so just have those seven noble families be in charge of guarding their territory. We have them share the duty of defending the border.”
Eric shook his head, “How can that be? That is the responsibility of the royal army, the guards of a noble are only in charge of defending their territory, how could they be involved with defending kingdom territory?”
“Your majesty, when you led the northern army to attack the Sack Kingdom, you also received the help of many private guards from nobles. Why won’t you allow them to share this responsibility now?” Seeing that Eric was hesitating, Duke Stagg added, “The most important thing is that the expenses of these private guards are taken care of by the nobles, the kingdom’s finances won’t matter. Wouldn’t this help with saving on military spending?”
Eric knit his brows and fell into deep thought.
After a while, his right hand unconsciously patted the table as he softly said, “This…..it seems like it might work…..”