Duke Windsor had a small party after leaving the manor, only having the housekeeper following him. He had changed into normal cotton clothing and rode a worn out horse carriage as he came out the back door, slowly moving into Canberra City.
It didn’t seem that different when he went through the streets, but if he looked carefully, he would find that there were less people out.
There were the sounds of people calling out in the streets, but there were less people shouting and there were less people who were willing to stop.
Looking at both sides of the road, a lot of the stores there had closed. There were even several stores that had closed in a rush and didn’t even close the front door, so one could see the empty place inside with several homeless people squatting inside, using them as temporary residences.
Seeing this, Duke Windsor couldn’t help slightly knitting his brows.
“Ricken, why do you think this is? Even if those other places had more business opportunities because of that damn Frestech Chamber of Commerce, that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance to earn money in our southern province. Why would these merchants just close their stores here?”
The middle aged housekeeper was the Ricken that Duke Windsor called for. He was different from others who were always respectful and scared of Duke Windsor. He was calm when he faced Duke Windsor and although he was still respectful, he wasn’t afraid of him.
Hearing Duke Windsor’s question, Ricken was silent for a bit before raising the leather whip and making the horse carriage change directions.
Duke Windsor and Ricken had grown up together, so he knew that this was his personality and he didn’t care that he didn’t answer his question.
But seeing that Ricken had changed directions, Duke Windsor knew that he had an answer in his heart. So after falling silent, he looked at the scene around him while taking this horse carriage that slowly went out of the city.
The horse carriage brought Duke Windsor and Ricken out the west gate of Canberra City and they continued two to three hundred kilometers, until they reached a village that had around a hundred families.
It was late spring right now and adding in the fact that the southern province was in the south, the wheat fields around them already had golden ears of wheat.
This should be the most important time where the farmers would go to the field to protect their mature wheat, but when Duke Windsor took a look, he found that there were only a few scattered farmers and they didn’t look busy at all.
Duke Windsor couldn’t help knitting his brows again.
“These lazy farmers, they’re still being lazy at such a critical time! Could it be that they don’t know it’ll be the spring harvest soon?”
Ricken turned to look at Duke Windsor before shaking his head, “Master, it isn’t that they are lazy, it’s just that there’s no one here.”
Duke Windsor was surprised, “What does that mean?”
Ricken pointed at the fields in the distance, “Please look, there are only old people in the field, there aren’t any young people.”
Duke Windsor seriously looked over the fields around them and found that it was indeed the case. He couldn’t help being even more surprised.
“Why is this? Where’s the young people? Could it be that they are lazing off? Or did something happen? Ricken, what do you know?”
Ricken shook his head without answering. He drove the horse carriage beside one of the fields and jumped off.
There was an old farmer who looked to be at least sixty in the field who was looking over it. After hearing this sound, he looked up to see Ricken who had jumped out of the horse carriage walking over.
“This old brother, why are you here alone? Where’s your family members? Where’s your son and his wife? Why didn’t they come?”
The old farmer looked at Ricken. Although the other side clearly had a different status compared to him, his tone was very friendly, so he put down his guard and said with a smile, “Them, they’ve all gone out to work and they’ve left this old man and woman at home to take care of the fields.”
“Word?” Ricken had a surprised look, “Where are they working? They can’t even do farm work?”
“They said that it was called…...A city called Niel something and they said the Frestech…..” After saying this word, there was a cautious look that appeared on the old farmer’s face and he gave two coughs before swallowing back his words.
Ricken acted like he didn’t notice this at all and asked in a curious voice, “You’re talking about the Frestech Chamber of Commerce, right? That Niel something, it should be Saraniel City, right? That place is in the Torea Province, it’s a little far from here.”
Hearing him mention the words “Frestech Chamber of Commerce” that was banned in the southern province without hesitation, the old farmer relaxed a bit and shook his head with a smile, “So what if it’s a bit far, it’s good if they can earn money. They can earn five gold coins a month if they go there and if they work a bit harder, they can earn over ten gold coins, it’s much better than staying home to farm. If it wasn’t for me and my wife not having good bodies and being unwilling to leave this place, we might have gone with our two sons to work.”
“Oh? Ten gold coins a month? That really is quite a bit.” Ricken looked up to look around before asking, “I see that it’s all old people like you in the field. Are the other families in the village the same? Did all the young people run off to work?”
“Yes, they can even earn ten gold coins a month by working, that’s over a hundred gold coins a year. If they stay here to farm, after paying the grain needed for rent, it’s already good enough to feed ourselves. Not to mention gold coins, we won’t even have a few silver coins left. If you had the choice, what would you choose?” The old farmer asked back.
Ricken gave an un sound as he gave a nod, “I would choose to leave too if it was me, but going that far for work, is it reliable? If something happens……”
“Che, what could happen?” The old farmer curled his lips, “Anyone, people like us only have cheap livs, if there is a chance to earn gold coins, we have to grasp it. Then again, the other side is the Frestech Chamber……”
After saying this, the old farmer’s expression froze. He looked around before lowering his voice to continue, “It seems to be related to the Frestech Chamber of Commerce. You know about the Frestech Chamber of Commerce, right? They are a large company with plenty of money, they wouldn’t trick people like us.”
Ricken was a bit surprised, “You know this much about the Frestech Chamber of Commerce? How do you know about this company?”
The old farmer’s response was even more strange. He looked at Ricken with a surprised look and after looking around, he forgot to lower his voice as he asked, “Don’t you find it strange asking this? Why can’t I know about the Frestech Chamber of Commerce? The Frestech Chamber of Commerce’s things are so easy to use and cheap, if I didn't even know about this, I would be too inexperienced.”
“Oh? How do you know that the Frestech Chamber of Commerce’s things are cheap and easy to use?”
“Didn’t the Frestech Chamber of Commerce and those other companies come before? They brought many things with them. Then before the Lord Governor made that ban, there were quite a few merchants that brought things here and there’s still quite a few of those things in our village. Compared to the profiteers in Canberra City, the Frestech Chamber of Commerce’s things are easier to use no matter what they are.”
After saying this, the old farmer seemed to have thought of something. After hesitating a bit, he asked, “Actually, I heard that the Frestech Chamber of Commerce was planning on investing in a company in Canberra City when they came last time? Tell me, if the Lord Governor didn’t make that ban and those companies were built, would my son have to have run to such a far place like the Torea Province for work…..”
“This means…..you don’t agree with the Lord Governor’s ban?”
“Yes, there’s no advantage to this ban at all…..” The old farmer’s eyes suddenly popped out as he looked at Ricken, quickly waving his hand, “No, no, no, I didn’t say anything, don’t randomly guess. The Lord Governor’s ban is his matter, it isn’t related to people like us.”
Ricken nodded and didn’t keep asking. He changed the topic to talk about the upcoming spring harvest with the old farmer.
The old farmer was actually a bit worried about the upcoming spring harvest.
In the past springs, the entire family would work for an entire month to harvest the ten mus of land that they had under them.
Now that his two sons, their wives, and his teenage grandsons had all left, just with him and his old wife, it was only possible to harvest at most two mus of land.
“But that doesn’t matter. Now that my sons are living well, these two old fogies can just get enough grain to feed ourselves, there’s no need to be that tired.”
“Then what about the land rent?” Ricken asked.
“Land rent? At worst we’ll just buy some grains to turn over. Anyway, my eldest son said in his letter the other day that there was a large ship that came with cheap grains from the Stantine Duchy. With their current wages, they can buy several hundred pounds of grains each month, so there’s more than enough to hand over.”
Ricken was speechless.
The old farmer said with another sigh, “Oh, I actually heard from a relative last time that the Frestech Chamber of Commerce has something called the agricultural magic machines. They said that it won’t even take half an hour to harvest a mu of land with that thing. If the Lord Governor didn’t ban it and could get some agricultural magic machines, we wouldn’t need to worry about this field.”
Ricken and the old farmer looked at the golden wheat in the field and were silent for a long time. Then he waved his hand at the old farmer before returning to the horse carriage.
Duke Windsor had seen Ricken talking to the old farmer through the window of the horse carriage and because he wasn’t far away, he had heard everything the two had said.
When RIcken came back, Duke Windsor looked at the broad farmland for a bit before pulling down the curtain in silence.
After a while, Duke Windsor suddenly gave a sigh.
“Ricken, I have something for you.”
“I heard that there is a company in the Lampuri Kingdom called the Cantona Chamber of Commerce that specializes in harvesting, contact them for me.”
Ricken looked at Duke Windsor before giving a nod.
Duke Windsor lifted the curtain to look at the old farmer in the field for a bit before giving another sigh and having Ricken drive off with the horse carriage.