Duke Windsor glared at the two in front of him with a dark look on his face.
“What did you say? The merchants have all run away? Why? Where? What are they doing?”
The two subordinates gulped at the same time and carefully looked at Duke Windsor before one of them hesitantly replied, “Lord…..Lord Duke, the merchants running away, the reason is probably…..probably related to you……”
“Related to me?” Duke Windsor knitted his brows and asked in a sharp voice, “What do you mean? Could it be that I expelled them?”
The two officials who were responsible for the finances of the southern province revealed helpless bitter smiles at the same time.
Recently, the people of the southern province had been leaving the southern province and their key companies were moving to other places in the empire. When they looked for the reason, they found that it was because of the Lord Duke in front of them.
The reason for this was very simple, it was because the Lord Duke had given the order not to allow any goods related to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce to enter the southern province.
After the emperor changed his attitude towards the Frestech Chamber of Commerce after being convinced by the chief of the financial department Marquis Hastri, there were countless Frestech Chamber of Commerce magic machines that came from the Stantine Duchy and the Lampuri Kingdom through the southwest province into the Candra Empire.
After the Candra Empire navy reached a private agreement with the Frestech Chamber of Commerce with the silent approval of the emperor, they opened a sea trade route together and even more goods from the Stantine Duchy flooded into the Candra Empire.
These goods were not just the magic machines from the Frestech Chamber of Commerce and the other magic machine companies, it also included various other products that had the Frestech Chamber of Commerce’s influence.
Because these products were better than the products that were found locally in the empire, they were very welcomed.
For the keen merchants, there was a clear hidden opportunity.
So without the Frestech Chamber of Commerce wasting any effort, the merchants of the Candra Empire were like dogs as they flooded the southern ports and the Candra Empire’s border with the Norton Duchy. The reason for this was to snatch the Stantine Duchy’s goods as soon as possible and sell for a good price after transporting it back.
With this tide of business, the ban that Duke Windsor made before became even more prominent.
This ban not only prohibited the Frestech Chamber of Commerce’s goods, it also banned products related to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce.
This “all” included all the goods that came from the Stantine Duchy and the Norton Duchy.
Because the products that were very popular in the Candra Empire, not a single one wasn’t related to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce.
Even the only product that the Stantine Duchy could import into the Candra Empire before, the fruit farmed in the Stantine Duchy, had also been greatly influenced by the industrialization of the Frestech Chamber of Commerce.
For example, take the canned fruit that had very high sales, it was a product that was made with the new magic machine industry of the Frestech Chamber of Commerce.
Actually, in the Candra Empire, it wasn’t just Duke Windsor that was against this large amount of importing because they thought that this would have a large impact on the Candra Empire.
But the others were just against the Frestech Chamber of Commerce. The Frestech Chamber of Commerce supported the Rudson Kingdom which was an enemy of the Candra Empire, so they were also the Candra Empire’s enemy and the empire couldn’t cooperate with then.
Only Duke Windsor was against everything related to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce, so there were many things that he targeted.
With the high suppression policy of Duke Windsor, there wasn’t any product related to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce that entered the southern province. This made the southern province merchants who smelled this opportunity very depressed.
To let these merchants give up this chance was like having a cat not go after fish, it was impossible.
But these normal merchants wouldn’t dare openly go against Duke Windsor in the southern province, so these merchants directly moved out of the southern province, going to other places in the empire that weren’t against cooperating with the Frestech Chamber of Commerce.
Actually to be honest, even if these merchants cared about developing in the industries related to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce, they didn’t give up all business in the southern province.
But now this situation made it seem like the merchants were escaping the southern province.
For Duke Windsor, the most direct representation of this was in the financial report.
After entering April, the southern province conducted its financial report for the first quarter.
In that report, it showed that the grain yield of the southern province was the same as last year and there was no change in financial gains from those grains.
But in terms of business tax income, it had clearly dropped compared to last year, dropping by 13%.
This wasn’t much for Duke Windsor because he was a traditional noble of the Sines Continent, caring the most about grain yield.
If nothing happened to his grain yield, he wouldn’t think that there were any problems.
As for the business tax, it was good as long as it wasn’t too bad.
But when they handed their first quarter report to the kingdom’s department of finance, the department had called them out.
According to the explanation from the department of finance, the southern province’s first quarter business tax revenue was second from last out of the nine provinces of the empire. It was only better than the northeast province that was famous for being barren in the Candra Empire.
Compared to before when they were in the middle of the pack, this was a clear drop.
Moreover, the southeast province that was by the sea next to the southern province had their first quarter business tax greatly increase. The southeast province’s business tax broke thirty eight million gold coins, far surpassing the southern province’s measly seventeen million gold coins.
With this striking contrast, the southern province’s drop compared to last year was even more noticeable.
Duke Windsor who had suffered at the department of finance was filled with rage and when he came back to the Governor’s Manor, he immediately demanded to know the reason.
The two officials who were responsible for investigating gave him a reason that stated “large amounts of merchants escaping the southern province”, so naturally he was very unhappy.
“Lord Duke…..actually, this subordinate thinks that…..compared to the issue of the business tax, we should care more about the issue of the grain yield…..” One of the officials shrunk his neck back and hesitantly brought this up.
“What?” Duke Windsor glared at him, “Could it be that you want to tell me that there is a problem with our southern province’s normal grain yield? Let me tell you, the important spring harvest is about to come and if there are any problems, not to mention you all living good lives, even I will be in trouble!”
The two officials gave bitter smiles again. The one who had spoken just now looked at his colleague and hinted at him to speak as well.
The other official couldn’t do anything else, so he braced himself and said, “Lord Duke, it isn’t that there’s a problem, just…..It’s just that we’ve found that as long as you change your mind, our spring harvest will go even more smoothly and we might even be able to increase the fall harvest’s yield.”
Duke Windsor was a bit surprised, “We can greatly increase grain yield if I change my mind? Are you kidding me?”
“No, we are not kidding.” The official took out a document from his chest for Duke Windsor, “Lord Duke, this is a report that Baron Domingo has asked us to give to you related to our province’s agriculture, please take a look.”
“Domingo? Why didn’t he bring it to me himself?” Duke Windsor looked at the two of them with doubt.
“This…..” The two officials revealed bitter smiles, “Baron Domingo said that he was afraid that you would be angry after seeing this report and didn’t dare come, so he asked the two of us.”
“Oh?” Duke Windsor looked at the two of them, “Then you two aren’t afraid of me being angry?”
The two officials gave another bitter smile.
“Anyway, we can’t escape.”
Seeing the bitter looks on their faces, Duke Windsor gave a cold snort. He took the report and after reading it for a bit, his face turned dark.
“It’s nothing but nonsense, of course he didn’t dare come!” Duke Windsor angrily threw the report on the ground and angrily pointed at the two, “Help me tell Domingo that if he insists on introducing the Frestech Chamber of Commerce’s agricultural magic machines, he should never appear in front of me again! It’s the same for the two of you! Don’t think that I don’t know what you are thinking, you are the same as those merchants who only care about gold coins! You want to force me to cooperate with that damn Frestech Chamber of Commerce? Ah? Isn’t that right?”
The two officials lowered their heads and didn’t dare look at Duke Windsor.
They knew that the Lord Duke was truly angered this time.
Duke Windsor scolded the two of them before waving his hand.
The two officials looked like they were pardoned and quickly gave a bow before leaving.
After the two left, there was only Duke Windsor left in the room. He panted for some time before gradually calming down.
After looking at the report on the ground for a long time, Duke Windsor hesitated a bit before reaching over to pick it up and carefully read it over.
This time, he was more serious compared to before.
It took him half an hour to finish reading this report and after seeing the last page, he was silent for a long time. Then he suddenly gave a sigh and he looked like he aged by more than ten years.
“Could it be that this is the changing of the times?”
Duke Windsor gave another sigh before coming back to the desk to pull a string by it.
A middle aged housekeeper silently came into the room.
“Master, what is your order?” Different from the others, this middle aged man addressed Duke Windsor as “master”.
Duke Windsor waved his hand, “Make some preparations, I want to go out.”
The middle aged man looked at Duke Windsor with a bit of surprise in his eyes, but he didn’t ask anything. After lowering his head in compliance, he left without making a sound.