All of us fell silent in an instant—right, we all forgot about tax collectors. All of us were already taking into consideration of everything except taxes from the kingdom or should I say the rent for this land which is mandatory even if the territory has no funding. Not to mention, the fact that their farming equipment has been broken for half a year means we will have to spend even more money on purchasing that equipment.
It would have been better if the equipment were simply rusty but to think they were broken—AAAAAAA, I wanted to scream as loud as I could but endured. In the end, there was only one route for us all along and that is through the bank. Though… I might need some help from Kaori this time to make the town exempted from taxes and rent until our situation stabilizes, basically a state of emergency in a sense.
“Haaa… I’ll handle those but I will need to go to the nearest town and take out a loan from the bank under the town’s name simply because we can’t afford to go forward in this situation as for the taxes, I’ll personally send a letter to the Queen to declare the town as an incapacitated state which should allow us to be exempted from taxes until we manage to stabilize the situation here,” I smiled wryly.
Though as much as I want Kaori to immediately approve it, I also want to go the fair way and send the request to the council instead. I could already imagine Kaori signing the request within a second after seeing my name which is simply unfair to the other town and that would only make my life way too easier for this to be called a main stage.
“I will bring Raeliana and Lia with me while Tanya and Faron will monitor and handle the situation of the town while I am away but before all that, I would like to make an announcement to the entire population while the rain is away so we can start distributing the first wave of bread and move on with our plans,” I said before looking at the town chief, “You should be able to gather as much people as possible towards the town hall right?”
“It is possible for me to gather people near the town hall, but I can’t guarantee that everyone in the town will come especially since most of them have already lost hope on reclaiming the town’s former glory,” he smiled wryly.
“That’s fine even if it is only fifteen people, as long as the other people can see something different, they will naturally come here soon after. Imagine this, if fifteen people who suddenly came back from the town hall were to return with loaves of breads on their hands, what would the others think?” I smiled.
“It seems like milady is utilizing the words: ‘Actions speaks louder than words’” Raeliana giggled.
“Anyway, let’s not waste time. Try to gather as much people as you can, rather… I would actually prefer if all of you were to go and attempt to bring all the people here instead to make it faster,” I looked at the other four who also nodded, “If the loan goes through, we’ll immediately start on farming and reconstruction of the buildings here.”
“We’ll also fix the sanitization issue on this place. As for water, I can create at least a few large buckets of water which should be enough for the people to drink on for a few days as long as the buckets are clean and uncontaminated within those days,” I added.
After saying those last words, I soon clapped my hands before saying, “Let’s not waste any more time! Everyone, get moving right now so we can end the day soon!” as everyone stood up from their place and started moving with the town chief heading upstairs while the others going outside.
Meanwhile, for me—I was stuck thinking of some kind of speech that was as persuasive as possible while also not being cringe at all… the nervousness was once again getting up to me as I sat down on the couch and looked out from the window with a wry smile.
The entire town looked a bit different from the first time I arrived here two days ago, it didn’t look as dry as before. I could see tiny lushes of greenery from the long stretch of land, the buildings were all wet and the streets were moist. The temperatures outside looked a little cold which was in itself good considering how hot it was before.
“One day, I will be able to look out from this window and see the smiles of people… someday,” I mumbled with a smile. I could feel my other persona—Ayumi Windsor wishing inside, patiently waiting for that day when she could see people running around the streets with bright smiles on their faces.
It may not be anytime soon but someday; this town will be flourishing once more with smiles of children. The former glorious town would once rise again, allowing its people to boast of their hometown proudly—all their sufferings will one day vanish like a passing nightmare.
“Milady, it’s time to head outside,” Raeliana who came back inside the town hall shouted towards me as I took a deep breath and stood up with a bright smile on my face. My body was shaking from nervousness, I was not suited for public talks, but I understood that if I can’t do it then who would?
Who would persuade the people to hand their trust over to us once more—to believe in us one more time…? If it isn’t me then I doubt anyone else will. I understood that this speech will be a critical moment in our plans to bring back the glory to this town which is why I don’t want to surrender yet.
“You shouldn’t face this alone, my lady…” Tanya suddenly held my other hand as Lia suddenly hugged me from the right as the two of them looked at me with smiles.
“If you can’t handle the eyes of the public then you don’t have to, my lady…” Lia whispered as Raeliana looked at me with a similar gaze to Lia. I could feel tears welling up inside of me, I felt weak and useless—even though I tell myself to face this for a better future… I wanted to run away.
To escape from this responsibility on me but I also felt the need to withstand the storm brewing outside—rather than me… it felt like Ayumi Windsor was screaming at me… telling me to move forward and finish what I need to. Her sense of responsibility was overwhelming me.
“I won’t surrender… the three of you really look at me weakly,” I wiped the tears on my eyes and smiled before closing my eyes for a few seconds and taking a deep breath as I spoke, “The three of you should stop underestimating your master, I am the heiress of the Windsor family… if I can’t handle this much then I am not worthy to be called your master nor would I be worthy of being the heiress of the great Windsor family.”
“That’s the spirit, my lady,” Tanya smiled as she and Lia released me before the three of them reached their hands out towards me as they showed a beautiful smile, “Let us go to the battlefield now, shall we… my lady?”
“Yes—it’s time to face the battlefield,” I said before taking a step forward as the four of us soon exited the room under the gazes of thousands of people gathered all around the town hall. Their eyes rested on me with curiosity, anger, and all kinds of emotions.
I could feel guilt rise inside of me in an instant, those poor faces of theirs… those malnourished bodies of theirs—I couldn’t help but feel guilty inside, gripping my fists together as I took several deep breaths before heavy silence engulfed the entire town as everyone anticipated for my announcement.
“Greetings people of Iana Town—I am Ayumi Windsor, the noble who is assigned on taking care of this town onwards,” I said before continuing, “The reason why I have called all of you here before me is because I would like to address a few drastic issues that have been plaguing the town ever since.”
“The first among them is the curse that has caused the downfall of the town, most of you can already tell now but in case you haven’t then I would like to happily announce to everyone that the curse is finally broken and from now on, the town can receive rainfall,” I said before all of theirs eyes shone as if they had heard something miraculous.
My hand was shaking really hard, I desperately tried to hide it behind my back as I looked at the crowd and continued, “That’s not all—we will be implementing a temporary rationing system for food and water until we can sustain ourselves properly.”
“After a short meeting, we have created a rationing system that will not only benefit all of you but will benefit the town itself. A few of you may have already seen but recently, we purchased a large supply of bread with all the money I had—the supply of bread is enough to last all of you for eight to twelve days.”
Immediately, all of them cried but their cries of joys only lasted short as I added, “But as much as I want to give all of the bread for free, I also don’t want to risk the future of the town therefore we came up with a new system which will allow you to earn a meal worth an entire day.”
“This system will reward you a piece of bread once you finish a certain amount of work—for example, if a man or woman were to finish an eight-hour shift of guarding the town then he or she will receive half of a bread, the same goes for other jobs. All are treated equally, so no matter what job you will do, as long as it contributes to bringing the town back to its former state then you will receive a meal,” I said before silence erupted around the town.
“What about the children… what about us who are too weak to work?” a man suddenly asked from the crowd as all of them nodded.
“We already took into consideration of the children, they will receive half a loaf of bread as well but the work they will do will be mainly assisting their parents if they have one or someone they want to assist whether it’d be in tailoring, farming, or guard work…” I spoke.
“As for the people who are too weak to work, we will be giving everyone a two-day exemption which allows you to receive two whole loaves of bread without doing any work but after that two days is up, all of you are expected to do some sort of work to receive at least a single meal.”
“Farmers will have a new method of farming that will be explained by your leaders once we finish assigning all the leaders while for the builders, we will be slowly changing the entire structure of the town which will indeed cost us a lot, but I will have a solution for that later. Also, we will be assigning leaders for all jobs and if anyone wants to volunteer, please come inside the town hall,” I said before looking at Tanya who nodded as she gestured the others to start preparing for the distribution of bread.
“Anyhow, the town meeting will have to end here. Everything I said just now will take into effect immediately, for anyone who wants to have their share of bread, please line up over there as for water, there will be a supply of water coming either later today or by tomorrow,” I spoke one more time before taking a deep breath while staring at the crowd who were all silent.
I could feel my nervousness rising up to the moon—the silence didn’t help at all as it made me feel like everything I said only made them dissatisfied but contrary to my expectations, applauses echoed throughout the town as the people smiled.
“Let’s go back inside now, my lady…” Tanya said as she grabbed me by the shoulder. I felt like all the stamina inside of me was drained as I turned around and nodded, sloppily walking back inside the town hall under the loud applauses before limply falling to the sofa as I looked out at the window with a smile.
“How did I do…?” I looked at Tanya and asked before she shook her head with a wry smile.
“If you want an honest opinion, you did fairly bad but it can’t be called a failure at all since you managed to move the hearts of the people… though I have to say, my lady… you really suck at public speeches,” Tanya answered.
I could only smile wryly as I turned my attention back to the window while closing my eyes, “Indeed but at least I tried, right?”
“Mhm… the most important part was that you didn’t surrender, that is what most of us who has been with you loves about you. You never like to give up even in the face of trouble, you are someone who constantly looks forward…” Tanya spoke.
“Then—I am glad to hear that I managed to fulfill your expectations of me,” I smiled.