Saint Mesit Theocracy, Ascart Fiefdom.
In the brilliantly lit study room of the Ascarts’ manor sat a silver-haired girl. She was focused on looking through the report she was holding in her hands, and beside her was a huge stack of documents she had processed over the past few hours.
The arrival of summer meant that the weather in the Ascart Fiefdom had gotten considerably warmer. Due to that, none of the temperature regulation magic tools were activated, and the windows of the study room were left open. The night breeze that occasionally made its way in felt cooling on one’s skin.
Silver-rimmed glasses sat atop Alicia's nose bridge as she looked through the documents with a graceful demeanor. Her heart, however, wasn’t as calm as how she appeared on the surface.
“As expected, Lord Brother is truly a prodigy…”
Browsing through the figures in the accounting report, Alicia let out a small sigh as her awe for Roel rose another notch.
Alicia was the only one left in the Ascart Fiefdom ever since Roel left for Saint Freya Academy two months ago. She chose to pick up her older brother’s work and guide the Ascart Fiefdom down the path he had paved for it so that his earlier efforts wouldn’t go to waste.
Roel was initially hesitant to let Alicia take over his work due to her young age, timid character, and lack of experience in governance. These factors could make it difficult for her to exert her dominance over the subordinates, and she could end up suffering grievances as a result of that.
Despite Roel’s unrestrained doting toward her as an irreplaceable family member, Alicia remained very strict on herself, maintaining a high level of discipline when it came to official business. She wouldn’t butt into affairs that were beyond her jurisdiction, though she did dabble in some military-related administrative work assigned to her by Carter.
Nevertheless, she had a severely limited understanding of the plans relating to the fiefdom’s economic development, as well as the measures that had been put in place over the last few years.
Roel had indeed been thinking about getting someone else to take over his work prior to his departure, but he was reluctant to hand the family business into the hands of an outsider, especially when he couldn’t be around to monitor them. It was at a time like this that Alicia stood forward saying that she wanted to share the family’s responsibilities.
He was surprised by her initiative. Despite all the reservations he harbored, he eventually decided to let her give it a try, thinking that it would be a precious learning opportunity for her.
He secretly bore quite high expectations for her too. It would be a huge mistake to think of Alicia as just any other child. She was a prodigy on par with Nora and Charlotte, not just in terms of transcendent abilities but intelligence too. Her strong learning ability would allow her to swiftly gain competence; she was just severely lacking in experience at the moment.
Of course, there was a chance that she would mess up, but the damage would be limited given that there were many people around to advise her if she were to go astray. On the off chance that things really went south, he instructed the officials to inform him right away so that he could devise corrective measures.
Roel spent the last bit of his time in the Ascart Fiefdom familiarizing Alicia with her duties. Admittedly, there was only so much he could cover in a last-minute crash course, but it should be enough to give her a general direction to work toward.
With that, Alicia took over Roel as the proxy fief lord of the Ascart Fiefdom, becoming the most powerful person in the Ascart Fiefdom. It was only when she really sat in that position herself that she started to understand just how talented her older brother was.
Putting aside all of the wise government policies he had put in place, just the accounting report she had in hand had already surpassed her wildest imagination.
Roel had achieved many things during his tenure as the proxy fief lord, and one of them was to revolutionize traditional accounting by introducing double-entry bookkeeping.
It would usually take fifty accountants two months to tabulate the financial status of the Ascart Fiefdom using traditional accounting methods, but the double-entry bookkeeping required only ten accountants half a month to achieve the same results, causing huge savings in terms of time and manpower.
This was a prodigious invention that could have only come from someone who had a deep understanding of the field. However, not everything had gone smoothly in the process. When he first tried to introduce this new accounting method, he faced great objections from others.
Most of those who voiced their objections could see the benefits in using double-entry bookkeeping, but they were worried that it could result in many accountants losing their jobs, resulting in negative implications for the fiefdom.
Change was always frightening as it was hard to tell what would happen once the status quo was broken. The finance officials even visited Roel in droves to discuss this matter, but their reports only spurred Roel’s laughter.
“Don’t worry, what you’re worrying about won’t happen. You’ll only get busier and busier.”
These were the words Roel said back then. Alicia was present at the scene too, which was why she had a strong impression of this matter. It was just that her only thought back then was ‘Lord Brother is so dashing whenever he speaks confidently!’
For a period of time after that, she became obsessed with observing her older brother at work. She would drop by his office whenever she had time to accompany him while secretly spying on him.
She could feel her heart pound just by thinking of those times. It was just that she was seeing another side to them now that she had taken over as the proxy fief lord.
Roel’s incomprehensible prediction that others had taken as mere consolation had really come true. It was almost as if he was a seer prophesying the future.
None of the accountants in the Ascart Fiefdom lost their jobs; on the contrary, it had become one of the hottest occupations in the last two years.
On top of increasing the efficiency of accounting, the introduction of double-entry bookkeeping also greatly boosted the speed of commercial activities too.
Trading wasn’t as simple as just delivering goods and selling them. Whenever major merchants traded in the Ascart Fiefdom, they had to tabulate their costs and sales, compile them into a report, submit it to the tax officials for checking, and pay the respective taxes they owed before they were able to leave. This was a complicated process that could easily take over ten days, and that was assuming that the figures were correct.
However, with the introduction of the more reliable double-entry bookkeeping, the process was shortened to just three days. This meant that the merchants were saving over a week’s time!
Time is money for merchants.
The faster they concluded a business transaction, the quicker they could move on to the next one. If they could save a week each time they conducted a business transaction in the Ascart Fiefdom, they could easily make a few more trips in a year and earn more money.
Naturally, this was a huge plus point for the merchants. It was a no-brainer for the profit-driven merchants to operate in a fiefdom that allowed them to earn more money.
With more merchants and increased commercial activity in the Ascart Fiefdom, it was only natural for them to have to employ more accountants in order to handle their accountancy.
As a result, just as Roel had predicted, the demand for accountants shot right up. Once Alicia understood Roel’s logic, she finally came to a realization.
Lord Brother is a real prodigy.
Alicia believed that if Roel hadn’t awakened to the Ascart Bloodline and instead focused his efforts on developing the Ascart Fiefdom, it was only a matter of time before the Ascart House turned into an economic powerhouse on par with the Sorofyas. By then, she would serve as the house’s guardian, and the two of them would live blissful normal lives.
Tsk, that would have been perfect.
It pained her just to think about this. Unfortunately, there was no point in talking about what-ifs now. Roel had indeed awakened to the Ascart Bloodline, and vixens had started showing up in droves.
Thinking about the golden-haired princess and the auburn-haired noblewoman made Alicia grit her teeth in frustration. No longer in the mood to read the financial report, she turned around to look at the crescent moon outside the window.
She had already been working for a few hours now, and it was time for her to relax a little.
So, she walked out of the study room and headed toward Roel’s bedroom to engage in the relaxation method she had been obsessed with ever since the latter left for Saint Freya Academy:
Rolling in his bedsheets.