Chapter 5-10 : Thugs Ⅱ (part 1)
「Anyway, I’ve decided to add a tax on the medical herbs in this village!」(Kirk)
「I see. Certainly, a feudal lord has the right to decide the tax. I can’t deny it.」(Sarasa)
It has nothing to do with me, an alchemist, though.
「Hmph. You seem to have more knowledge than this ignorant noble’s daughter.」(Kirk)
「What did you say!?」(Iris)
Iris-san tried to step closer to Baronet Kirk, but I immediately grabbed her shoulder, trying to calm her down.
「As a feudal lord, you can indeed add a tax on the medicinal herb fields in this village, but unfortunately, none of the villagers own medicinal herb fields here as far as I know.」(Sarasa)
After I said and smirked at Baronet Kirk, the disgusting grin on his face disappeared. He frowned and glared at me.
「Huh!? You think I’m stupid!? There’s a huge herb field next to this house, isn’t there!?」(Kirk)
「That’s right! No matter how you look at it, it’s a herb field without a doubt!」(man 1)
「Do you think we wouldn’t know just because it’s surrounded by high fences!?」(man2)
Baronet Kirk pointed his chin toward the herb field next to my store and shouted. Some of the men behind him also shouted at me.
They looked angry, thinking that I was trying to fool them. I shook my head in response to their anger.
「Aah, that herb field is mine, not the villagers’. Everything that is owned by an alchemist, including fields, is not subject to regional or local taxes. It has been decided by the law of the kingdom. Don’t you know that?」(Sarasa)
To be precise, alchemists don’t have to pay any taxes to the local lords. They only have to pay taxes to the central government in the royal capital.
By the way, even though the herb fields cultivated and harvested by alchemists are subject to state tax, if the herbs harvested from them are processed into potions, then the tax will be added to the annual potion sales, not to the fields themselves.
Because of that, the annual tax reports of alchemy stores can be more complicated compared to other businesses’.
「You are a feudal lord. A noble. But you have no idea about it, huh?」(Sarasa)
Baronet Kirk was at a loss for words. His face gradually turned redder as if his blood rushed to his head.
I think this man deserves an insult for making fun of Iris-san’s family.
The Lotze Family may indeed be poor, but they are splendid nobles, especially Iris-san’s father, Adelbert-san. He was willing to live in debt so that his people could be free from hunger.
He can’t even be compared to Baronet Kirk who has never done anything good for his people even when this village was suffering from the Hellfire Grizzly attack.
Nevertheless, I didn’t want problems with a feudal lord, so I hoped that he would just go home right away, but he didn’t seem to want to give up yet.
「D, Do you think you can get away with that bullshit!? The people who take care of that field must be the residents of this village, right!?」(Kirk)
「They are. So, what? It doesn’t mean that the herb field is theirs, right? Or you say that, if I, an alchemist, hire a clerk to take care of my shop, then my shop will become theirs? If you really think that way, then your foolishness is beyond help. As an alchemist, hiring assistants is a matter of course, you know?」(Sarasa)
The ones who take care of my herb field are Michael-san and his wife, Izu-san, and they depend their lives on the harvest of the field, but even so, the herb field itself is still mine. They both just work for me.
There’s no problem in calling that herb field “An alchemist’s herb field”, unless Michael-san and Izu-san sell the harvest to other people without me knowing, but I doubt honest people like them would do that.
「How dare you speak to me like that!」(Kirk)
「Well, I’m sorry. But if you still have complaints, please feel free to speak to the judicial authorities in the royal capital.」(Sarasa)
「Enough with your lecture! This land belongs to me! As long as you live here, you’re also a citizen of this territory! Just shut your mouth and pay your taxes already!」(Kirk)
「No, no. No matter where alchemists live, they are still registered as residents of the royal capital, so even though I live here, I’m technically still a citizen of the royal capital, not this territory.」(Sarasa)
I tried my best to calmly reply to Baronet Kirk who was ranting and raving.
Just like the state tax, this is also the kingdom’s policy.
The kingdom can’t allow the alchemists who they raised by investing time and money to be ‘stolen’ by local lords, that’s why all the alchemists who graduated from the Royal Alchemist Training School are registered as residents of the royal capital.
That’s the reason why we, alchemists, pay taxes to the central government.
The only exceptions are those from aristocratic families who govern a territory. They won’t be registered as residents of the royal capital. However, they would still have to pay taxes to the central government.
So, basically, all alchemists are under the jurisdiction of the kingdom.
「Don’t tell me… You have no idea about it either? And you call yourself a noble?」(Sarasa)
Baronet Kirk got even madder after I said that.
I was trying not to make him even angrier but I couldn’t help but make fun of him for a bit.
「Now you know there’s nothing you can do here. I suggest you go home now. You’re just wasting your time here.」(Sarasa)
「You little…!! Don’t get so full of yourself just because you’re an alchemist! A filthy commoner will always be a filthy commoner no matter what they do!」(Kirk)
Baronet Kirk stamped his foot on the floor as he mocked me.
It seems that there’s no point in expecting a good attitude from this person.
However, what he said was kind of true. Even though as an alchemist I’m legally protected by laws, I’m not a noble. I’m still a commoner in his eyes.
Only master-class alchemists like my master have high social status. She’s not scared of nobles at all.
However, unlike her, I’m just a novice alchemist who just graduated from alchemy school less than a year ago.
I’m not a citizen of this region, but considering my relationship with the villagers in this village, I should try my best to avoid conflict with this person.
Should I just do what he said and pay the taxes…?
I’m afraid that if I keep being stubborn, he will vent his anger on the villagers…
「Baronet Kirk, may I say something?」(Iris)
Seeing my troubled face, Iris-san stepped forward.
「You better choose your words carefully when you talk to Store Owneー I mean, Sarasa-san.」(Iris)
「Hmph! Why should I speak carefully to a commoner!?」(Kirk)
「She’s not a commoner. Sarasa-san and I are already engaged, and when we get married, she will be the head of the Lotze Family.」(Iris)
「That’s right. When we get marriedー…. Eh?」(Sarasa)
Iris-san suddenly said something that surprised both me and Baronet Kirk with a smirk on her face.
I was so confused, but luckily, Baronet Kirk didn’t notice it.
「Marriage…!? Between women!? Are you messing with me!?」(Kirk)
Yup. He reacted as I expected.
Marriage between the same sex in aristocratic society is not prohibited, but it’s not common either.
Not just Iris-san, Kate-san also stepped forward and glared at Baronet Kirk.
「Oh? So you think that same-sex marriage is weird?」(Kate)
「Of course it’s weird! It’s unnatural!」(Kirk)
「Hee~ I wonder if it’s okay to say that.」(Kate)
For some reason, Kate-san looked so confident that she would be able to handle this raging man.
She smirked at him and said someone’s name.
「…Marquis Filmus… I’m sure you know that person.」(Kate)
「Ghh!! That’s…! Ko… Koho! Koho! *cough cough* …Dammit, it seems that I have a bit of a throat problem so I said something I shouldn’t have said! Dammit! Koho koho!」(Kirk)
For some reason, Baronet Kirk started to act weird after he heard the name Kate-san mentioned.
He obviously pretended to cough while wandering his gaze around.
「Y, You guys just misheard things, so I warn you not to spread any strange rumors! You hear me!?」(Kirk)
After talking hastily like that to us, he quickly turned around.
「I, I’ll leave for today! Guys, let’s get the hell out of here!」(Kirk)
「「Y, Yes, sir…!」」(men)
Not only me but the tough-looking men who were following him were also confused by the sudden change in his behavior.
However, they didn’t say a word and followed Baronet Kirk, leaving my store in a panic.
I have no idea what just happened but I let out a sigh of relief when I heard the sound of the shop door closing.