Yes, yes! It’s my fault in judgment! I will bring it right away.” The butler scurried away with a nod.
Before he disappeared, Apollonia didn’t miss the small movement from the viscount’s mouth.
The butler ran away to the library.
He opened the desk drawer and picked up a black ledger.
It was a false one prepared in case of any circumstances.
Apollonia inherited the estate when she was nine years old.
Already aware of Lishan’s difficult finances, she immediately reduced taxes on permanent residents.
Since she was not yet of age, the consent of her father, the Emperor, was needed to make such a major decision.
The Emperor, who only cared about his image, naturally wrote his consent.
He added, of course, an important piece of advice.
“Don’t worry about this kind of problem from now on.
All you have to do is play an instrument and dress up.”
Meanwhile, the viscount, who had already falsified the details of the tax management, was thrilled to hear the news.
And since then, he rarely reported about the estate’s financial state and reigned as the ‘Lord’.
He also allocated the extra money for his personal gain.
Nevertheless, he was prepared for the worst scenario.
Maybe the princess would give Lishan to someone as a dowry.
What if she would abruptly ask him to hand out the documents and titles
Just like today.
The false books weren’t a big deal.
The amount of taxes collected was difficult to alter, so it was written accordingly, but all the records were fabricated as if the funds was used for the estate’s development.
When a famine struck, he would make it seem as if he had sent a huge amount of grains for relief, when in reality, he only sent a little.
He also wrote that he held a festival to comfort the residents.
The funds were inflated even for basic costs such as soldier’s salaries.
As time went by, the evidence had already been destroyed, and everyone who lived on the estate listened to the viscount.
It would be hard to dig out any dirt even if you gave your all in investigating.
Apollonia folded the most recent books that the butler gave to her.
“The prices in Lishan are very high.
The amount of expenditure is this big, hmm.”
“We couldn’t help it.
That’s because we wanted to rescue the people who were suffering from disasters.”
“There aren’t many servants or soldiers, yet their living expenses are this high.
Weapons are expensive, too.”
“As I said earlier, our security isn’t very good… because of the multiple natural disasters.”
“It’s indeed a terrible price for maintenance expenses, but like I said before….”
The viscount’s shoulders flinched along with those of the leader who stood in the corner.
But Apollonia kept her eyes on the book.
“At least the servants were living in abundance.”
They’re very satisfied… and loyal to me, I mean, to His Majesty.”
Unlike the deceitful and calculating figure he showed before, he stammered a little.
So how exactly would she analyze this complicated book thoroughly The larger the expenditure, the harder it was to break down each detail.
She would have to stay up all night, rooting out the people involved and interrogating them one by one, and cross-checking the congruence of each statement.
If they found a fault in the minor expenses, he could just dismiss it as a mistake.
He tried to calm himself down.
However, unexpected words flowed from the woman’s mouth.
“What is your name and position” She pointed at the commander who stood in the corner, avoiding her gaze.
“Pardon Yes! My name is Stan Boris! I’m the commander of my lord, no, the viscount’s soldier!”
“I don’t know about the other servants, but I suppose you’re the highest paid among the soldiers.
That’s what the book says.”
Apollonia closed the book, resting her chin on her hands and staring at Stan Boris intently.
“How much do you get paid in a month”
Stan Boris, the viscount, and the butler stiffened.
She didn’t bother to check the complicated and large expenditures.
For simplicity and precision, she pointed out a small detail to match the book with Stan’s answers.
“On-one month…” Stan muttered.
Unfortunately, he only dealt with the work outside the mansion, and had no idea what was written in the secret book.
He didn’t even know that such a thing existed.