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Chapter 706: Tour of the Capital Part ll
After having a conversation about the German Youth Corps, Henrietta led Dharya and Priya into the nearby trade district, where they could witness the splendor of Austrian prosperity. There were people from all walks of life entering and exiting stores, and carrying their goods across the street in hemp bags.
The first place that Henrietta wanted to show the kids was the nearest grocery store, and because of this, she led her two guests inside of it. The children reacted with shock when they saw the food that was lined up in the aisles. From fresh produce, to canned goods, and even slabs of meat that were salted, treated with rosemary extract, sealed in waxed paper, and were resting in ice chests.
The abundance of food that was regularly available to the public was stunning to the two children who had never before seen such an abundance of meat and produce in their lives. Henrietta saw their shocked expressions as they excitedly walked through the store, looking at all the different items that were littered across the shelves.
Dharya reacted in shock as seemingly common people took the ma.s.sive stockpiles of meat, cheese, and eggs, and carried them in their wicker baskets. They would purchase these goods at the entrance of the store, until then they were free to carry them throughout the building. He could not properly comprehend the idea that even commoners in the German Empire could get their hands on meat as if it was a common part of their diet.
Priya was less interested in what this meant about German agricultural production and was more enamored with the variety of foods that were being sold in the store. When Henrietta witnessed Dharya’s gaze, she spoke to him with a smile on her pretty face.
“Are you surprised to see so much food? While a grocery outlet like this is a common sight throughout Austria, the rest of the German Empire is slowly producing enough yields to establish stores like these within the cities. After all, it has only been a couple of years since the Empire was unified. It takes a while to export the agricultural technology produced in Austria to the rest of the Reich.”
Dharya was even more befuddled when he heard this before asking the question that was most dire in his mind.
“You mean to tell me you have more places like this?”
Henrietta raised her brow in confusion, not realizing that the boy had a.s.sumed this store was one of a kind. She did not know how devastating the truth would be to the young Indian Emperor when it escaped her lips.
“Of course! This is a just a small outlet. There are even larger grocery stores further into the trade district. As for the other major Austrian cities, like Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, and Trieste, they have a number of their own grocery stores as well.”
Dharya felt his heart suddenly grow weak. He had not expected that the agricultural devices he saw on his journey to the Capital could produce such high volumes of food. While the tractors and other mechanical devices made it easier for large plots of land to be farmed by a single household. The true reason for such large crop yields was the implementation of the four field system, irrigation, and advanced fertilizers.
There was also the fact that Berengar had introduced selective breeding as a standard practice in the Empire’s agriculture. He taught farmers and ranch hands of the German Empire to select plants and animals with ideal traits to reproduce. Over a span of eight years of this process becoming standard practice, it had attributed greatly to the increase in the food surplus.
Dharya could not bear to look at the sight any longer, knowing very well how his own people were lacking in comparison. He quickly grabbed hold of Priya’s arm and led her out of the store.
“Come on, we’re leaving!” ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇ ꜰʀᴏᴍ. ᴄᴏᴍ.
Henrietta could somewhat understand how conflicted the boy must be. All foreigners who visited Austria for the first time had a similar state of depression. There was a reason merchants typically stayed in Germany until the day their visas expired. They could afford luxuries here in the Reich that they could only dream of back home.
Henrietta did not bother keeping Dharya behind. If he did not want to gaze upon the success of Austria’s agriculture any longer, she would not insist. Instead, she led the two children to a street vendor to cheer them up. This street vendor was an ice cream cart, which sold homemade ice cream to citizens of the city. Henrietta approached the merchant and made an order.
“Three vanilla ice cream cones please, and do you mind adding some chocolate sauce?”
With the recent introduction of chocolate to the Empire, different merchants were experimenting in the best ways to make use of the substance. Naturally, Berengar had a bit of influence on the rapid development of chocolate deserts. The ice cream vendor did not mind the request and took Henrietta’s payment before handing the three cones to the woman and the two foreign children by her side.
After thanking the man for his service, Henrietta led Dharya and Priya through the city’s streets while slowly eating their ice cream cones.
This delicious treat excited Priya. Of course, she had enjoyed everything she had consumed since entering the city. Dharya was still sulking, but he enjoyed the ice cream cone, nonetheless. Upon seeing his mood had improved, Henrietta checked up on him.
“Are you feeling better now?”
Dharya nodded his head instinctively before complaining about the overwhelming prosperity he had witnessed so far.
“I just don’t understand how a place like this can exist. It appears as if you have everything in abundance… Your commoners are able to easily afford luxuries like meat, eggs, milk, and treats like this! I thought the abundance of food in your Palace was simply because your brother is the monarch of this Nation. However, it appears that even your commoners are better fed than most of our n.o.bles.”
Henrietta merely smiled as she answered the boy’s question to the best of her ability.
“It wasn’t like this before big brother rose to power. It is because of him, and his ingenious inventions, that the Austrian people, and by extension the German People are able to live such carefree lives. Our neighbors are all envious of our success, but because of the overwhelming power of the German Army, we force them to calm their avarice.
My brother always says that without the proper force to deter our neighbors, having such luxuries is simply asking to be ransacked. We have fought many wars these past few years. If not for the sacrifices of our Kingdom’s soldiers, then I dare say we would not have seen such success. Even then, our enemies still eye our borders, and the wealth of the fatherland.
We must forever be vigilant, as the world will always envy us for being so prosperous. If our neighbors were to unite against us, then we will stand our ground, and repel them from our borders no matter the cost.
Luckily, we have forged powerful alliances that are used to help deter our enemies from making a move against us. Though should the day come when it is Germany against the entire world. We will not falter and do our duty to ensure the safety and prosperity of the Reich and its people. That is the spirit of resistance that the Kaiser has instilled in all of our hearts.”
Dharya could see this so called “spirit of resistance” in Henrietta’s azure blue eyes as she spoke about the Reich, and its Kaiser, with a glint of pride on her face. She was so enamored with her speech that she forgot she was speaking to two foreign children. They could never understand the struggles that Germany had gone through to unify under a single banner. Nor the sacrifices the men of the society had to make in pursuit of this goal.
Thousands of German men lie in the cemeteries across the Reich, brave heroes who had fought for, and gave their lives for a dream of a unified Germany. Currently, the German Empire was in an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity, but Berengar knew that would not last for long. Soon, the entire Catholic world would be united against him. Enemies would surround Germany on all sides, and the peaceful days the people enjoyed would come to an end.
Naturally, Henrietta was not scared of this future, as she knew the might of the German Army would overcome any obstacle thrown before it. The reason for this was simple: the Kaiser, her brother, would lead their forces to victory, as he always had. After having her moment of propaganda, Henrietta smiled before leading her two guests deeper into the city. She wanted them to see the sacrifices that had been paid in order to ensure the current state of the Reich.