She was stuck in her study every day and only looked at ledgers.
Until there were no more ledgers left to look at.
Ugh! I think I’m going to die.
A record of a total of six years from the time Sheardrick inherited the Grand Duke title until now.
She did not think she would review all those documents.
When she first asked for the account books, the administrator in charge looked at her with suspicious eyes, which were now different from back then.
“You have worked hard, Your Grace.”
The administrator in charge of the records took the last book back and bowed his head deeply.
The people of the Grand Duchy called her ‘Your grace the Grand Duchess’ or ‘Madame’.
The administrator mostly used the address of ‘Your Grace’, and those of the Grand Duke’s residence mainly used the title of ‘Madame’.
Neither of them seemed familiar.
When she found it awkward being called ‘Madame’ because she felt like an old lady.
And when she was called ‘Duchess’ or ‘Your Grace’, she felt like she had become some great person, so she was embarrassed.
But it’s no use no matter how much I ask them to call me by my name.
Tallinn and Jen, who first accompanied her to the Grand Duchy, were the only two knights that did it without hesitation.
It seemed that it was easier for them to talk comfortably because she met them first in the capital, not the Grand Duke’s residence.
I think I should look around the Grand Duchy in person now.
The ledgers were neatly organised, but whether there was a discrepancy from the reality was a different matter.
It’s best to see it with her own two eyes.
But the Grand Duchy was very large.
Since it occupied most of the eastern part of the empire alone, it was unreasonable to look at all of them like when examining the ledgers.
While reviewing the papers, she had no choice but to look around places where she thought there was a problem first.
The most urgent thing right now is…
It was the cocoba farm area.
Cocoba was the main product of the Grand Duchy, and it was a crop similar to modern cocoa.
After the cocoba fruit was harvested, the seeds were picked and then produced into chocolate.
Since chocolate was a high-end food consumed by the aristocracy, it was sold at a high price, so cocoba seeds, the raw material, also cost quite a bit.
More than half of the Duchy’s revenue came from the sale of these cocoba seeds.
However, in the books she reviewed, it was recorded that the cocoba production had recently decreased significantly.
If cocoba production decreases, the Grand Duchy’s profits will drop as well, and if it does, so will my money…
That would be a problem.
For my splendid independence, the Grand Duchy must earn more money than it does now!
From the moment Sheardrick said that he would regard her paid as her personal asset, it was as if they had become comrades on the same boat.
Three years of hard work and comfortable living.
However, the product that was responsible for the main business profit of the Grand Duchy was in crisis.
The only thing that appeared in the ledgers was the number of reduced yields, so it seemed like she would have to look around the site to figure out the problem.
“Now, would you like to tour the cocoba farmland”
As if reading her thoughts, the administrator smiled and said.
It was such exquisite timing that she wondered if she was voicing out her thought.
Perhaps, even that thought had been read properly, the administrator opened his mouth, still smiling.
“He said you would definitely want to tour the cocoba farmland after reviewing all the account books.”
“The Grand Duke”
His Excellency the Grand Duke told us to have it ready for inspection at any time.”
“So he said that…”
It was ambiguous whether she was taken care of or whether she was being tested.
Of course, her sense was leaning more toward the latter.
Although the cheeky thing was that he was expecting her actions in either way.
“The documents said that the farmland is not too far from the Grand Duke’s residence.”
Just climb the steeple and you will be able to see the farmland right away.
It’s very close to the Duke’s manor.
It’s just a short ride in a carriage.”
“Then let’s go right now.”
I shall you myself, Your Grace.”
“Thanks to Violet, I’m excluded from training.”
Unlike back in the capital, Jen, dressed in comfy activewear, looked around and smiled.
It’s fine for Violet to move around comfortably inside the Grand Duke’s residence, but she needed an escort whenever she went out, so he followed her.
But to have a black knight as an escort…
Was it really alright for her to take a knight from the Third Great Knights Division of the Empire just for farm inspection
She thought it was a huge waste of manpower, but since the person looked so happy…
She sighed inwardly and looked around the Cocoba Farm.
Green trees were planted on the vast expanse of land, full of light green and scarlet fruits.
Contrary to the figure indicating that the yield had greatly decreased, it was a very rich land.
The administrator sighed next to her as she looked at the cocoba trees questionably.
“The epidemic has reduced the number of people able to harvest cocoba.
For a while, there was no harvest at all.”
It certainly looked like there were fewer people working compared to the size of the farm.
The doctor had invented a drug that can cure the plague, so this problem should soon be resolved.
“However, even before the epidemic, I saw that the cocoba yield had already started declining.
Isn’t there another problem”
That’s because there’s a problem with the fruit…”
“What’s wrong with the fruit”
“It’s probably faster to see for yourself.”
The administrator called a worker passing by to bring the fruit.
The worker nervously cut the ripe scarlet fruit in half and politely held it out in front of them.
Then Jen, who was standing behind, quickly snatched the fruit, put its flesh into his mouth, and handed her the seed embedded in the centre.
“This is the raw material from which chocolate is made.”
The seeds were relatively small compared to the large fruit.
I heard that the flesh is discarded and only the seeds are used.
There seemed to be a lot more wasted than expected.
“How does the flesh taste”
When she asked Jen, who was muttering while chewing the mesocarp, he shrugged and offered it to her so she could try it herself.
At his unconcerned attitude, the administrator standing next to him got startled and pulled the hem of Jen’s clothes, but she had already put the piece that Jen had handed out into her mouth.
As soon as she put it in her mouth, she could feel the sweetness.
The texture was similar to tangerines, there was no sour taste, and the sweetness was very rich.
“Are you throwing away all this delicious food Are you only selling seeds”
“It’s because it often goes bad during the distribution process.”
The administrator shook his head as if it could not be helped.
“If we sell it as a whole fruit without removing the seeds, it will be less damaged, but the seeds are much more valuable…”
Obviously, considering the distribution structure of this world, it was difficult to sell the mesocarp of the fruit.
Then, what if we make a transferring cart that has a refrigeration function
The thought crossed her mind but soon she shook it off her head.
She could make blueprints using , but it was obvious that it would require extremely hard-to-find materials.
“Then what is wrong with the seeds- …”
The moment she grabbed the cocoba seed while asking that, the seed lost its original shape and crumbled.
“Are the seeds really this weak”
“No, not really.
Originally, it was solid.
So it was possible to process it and sell it.”
Could it be that not only people but also the fruits were ‘sick’
That said, the overall condition of the fruit looked very good.
The question was quickly resolved.
“It’s not to the point of calling it a drought, but the amount of precipitation in the Grand Duchy has decreased significantly recently.
For that, the fruits’ flesh has become sweet, but it seems that the seed lacks moisture…”
The administrator looked up at the sky and blurred the end of his words.
The sun was shining brightly without a single cloud in the sky.
“At least, we are selling the ones that are in good condition.
As you can see from the ledgers, about a third of what we normally sell has decreased.”
“It’s a huge loss.”
But the weather is bad luck, it gets out of hands, we can’t do anything about it so everyone is troubled.”
She could see why Sheardrick just stood by watching the yields drop with his own eyes.
Even if water is drawn from nearby areas, it would be impossible to wet all of this large area.
As the administrator said, this is a matter of nature.
It was not an area that humans could control.
In that case…
Let’s deal with the part humans could handle!
“Let’s raise the selling price.”
Chocolate made with Cocoba was a luxury.
Since it was a snack eaten by nobles, no matter how high the price of cocoba, they would have no choice but to buy it.
‘I couldn’t buy chocolate because it was too expensive’ would be a detriment to their self-esteem and faces.
“If we have a monopoly on the supply of cocoba seeds, this is possible.
But there are other households selling cocoba besides us.”
In other words, if they raised the price, buyers would flock to other sides and their Cocoba seeds would remain.
“Can’t we make an agreement with them and all raise the price The other party might want to sell Cocobar at a high price too if possible.”
“I don’t know if our competitors will join hands with us.
Rather, they might be using this as an opportunity to take our prospective customers.”
“Isn’t there a lot of production on our side”
We have the most, but there is another formidable one as well.
That’s why we are always competing on prices.”
The answer was simple.
There could be a problem with their cocoba as well.
“Where is the family that produces as much cocoba as the Grand Duchy”