Town lord Crimus Ulban is accompanied by his son, knight Agito Ulban in his office.
"Hey there, Lecan. Thank you for coming. I see that you, Shira-sama and Eda were out of town for several days."
"Ah, that's better. Thank you."
"You look quite tired. I got back last night. Shira and Eda too."
"Yes well, I have been working on things I am not used to. But it is all very much worthwhile."
"Lecan-dono. I had gone to Vantaroy as a representative of this town's lord to negotiate with the town lord over there, I just returned the other day and I'd like to thank Eda-dono for her achievement, it was truly a great help."
"Hm? What is this about?"
"Well, have a seat for now. You too Agito."
"No, I shall remain standing."
"Will you. Then go bring tea here."
Lecan took a seat, but the town lord wouldn't start talking until after Agito got back with tea.
"Now then, Lecan. In order for you to understand the situation, I will have to narrate a tale not directly related to the matter at hand first."
"This country was born from a union between the northern royal family and the southern group of small powers. Being equipped with harbors, the towns of Gido and Smark are still the most prosperous towns in the whole kingdom even today."
Lecan has seen those towns on map before, they supposedly have a dungeon each.
"Gido and Smark are connected to the royal capital by great highways. Incidentally, the great highways connecting Trubolt, Egis, Parcimo, Wadd, Yufu, the five great dungeon cities to the capital are called Dungeon Highways, running in every cardinal directions that join together into one. The southern part is very well developed."
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"But then contrasting that, the area north of the capital, a region where many smaller states disorderly crowded together originally, lags far behind in development. There exists Daina Highway that connects the capital to the Dungeon City Daina, but the present state of that highway is so poor people call it Highway of Death."
Daina is supposed to have a great dungeon called <Dungeon of Death>. It's a city Lecan plans to visit some day.
"The capital is barely connected to Vantaroy by a highway, but north of Vantaroy are highways in name only, they are rural roads that only lead to Ninae and Golbul."
"And also Vouka."
"The road from Vouka to Vantaroy joins the road from Golbul to Vantaroy in form."
"Hm? Isn't it the opposite? It should be that Vouka-Vantaroy road is joined by roads from Golbul."
"Historically speaking, yes indeed. As Golbul is relatively a new town. However, the capital officially recognize the highway as a Vantaroy-Golbul highway."
"Hmm? I don't really get it."
"Lecan-dono. There was a time when Golbul town lord demanded tax to maintain the highways from our town."
"What the heck."
"They claimed that Vouka who joined a highway formally recognized by the capital without permission must be taxed should we want to utilize it."
"Hasn't the road always been there?"
"A false accusation then."
"Lecan. Doesn't matter even if it is, so long as they have a degree of ground to stand on, it might go through regardless. At the time, my father galloped his horse straight to the capital and appealed to the subordinate of the subordinate of Undersecretary-dono, he thankfully managed to annul the tax."
"Well anyway, the southern half part of this kingdom is flourishing, and with it comes a huge traffic of people and goods. Not the case with the northern half. This was a natural course of development for this kingdom."
"So what about it."
"Now now, hold your horses. As the northern half part is practically neglected. The people there take matters into their own hands since the capital won't. It's an inevitable outcome that's neither good or bad. If no one from capital is coming to help, then we can only rely on those within arms' reach."
"Yeah, makes sense."
"Hence, several economic blocs have been formed in the northern half of the kingdom. Around these parts, neighboring towns are united under Kogurus's banner."
"I've been to Kogurus before. It's a big town for sure."
"You have huh. I've never seen Kogurus with my eyes myself. Anyway, Kogurus holds the largest power around this area. Even towns and villages without direct interest in Kogurus have no choice but to obey them. Kogurus itself know how to make use of their position and have been gradually expanding their influence."
"Hence, it's in Koguru's best interest for roads located to the north of the capital, northeastern region in this case, to be limited. After all they simply cannot compete with the capital in term of furniture, foodstuff, weapons, everything even though theirs are the best in class in the northeastern region."
"So Kogurus don't want better items flowing from the capital."
"Indeed. That applies to information as well. Kogurus would prefer information on the northeastern part doesn't reach the capital. They don't want to be told and commanded. However, the more foot traffic there is, the more information naturally flows. As such, this highway maintenance project is not something Kogurus takes well to."
"I get it so far."
"Well now, I wonder if I've missed anything. Agito, what say you."
"Lecan-dono. Many neighboring town lords who have hitherto gotten in contact with us have been visiting us once they found out that the capital has taken charge of this Vouka highway maintenance project."
"Those town lords can sense it. The wind of change."