Chapter 34 - Volume 2
Isaac forced the elves and North Bears into Port City for two reasons. One was so they could get accustomed to living in a human world. The other was to buy him some time to refine his plan.
Changing New Port City in just three years was impossible, even if he had multiple lives to attempt at it. To rebuild this city by the book would require considerable support from the government, funds, and an army.
Well, Isaac never planned to change this city in a normal fashion. In fact, Isaac realised that New Port City held the potential to become a land where money rained from its skies as long as it was developed properly. This was way back when Isaac gathered information about New Port City when he was first assigned to this city. This possibility was neglected simply because he didn’t have the authority, funds, or manpower to do it. But most important of all, he had no reason to do this bothersome task.
“Is it time to start it all?”
With the holidays over, Kunette and Reisha, who didn’t want to go back to Campus were forcefully evicted from the city to be returned to Campus. Isaac then gathered Cordnell, Lanburton and Rizzly with the plans which detailed the future projects to some degree.
“What is this?”
Lanburton tilted his head to the side when he was given a sheet of paper from Isaac. Cordnell, on the other hand, quickly realised what it was after a single glimpse.
“It’s an employment contract.”
“Yeap. This kind of thing should be done properly.
“But we are already paid by the contracts made with our guilds.”
“Even better. You’ll make a small fortune after three years if you get paid from both here and your guilds.”
Cordnell tilted his head, trying to process the situation. He then decided to sign the contract as the representative of all seven employees after concluding that there was nothing to lose from signing it.
Lanburton, on the other hand, handed the paper back to Isaac after watching Cordnell sign it.
“Elves do not form contracts. Every word we speak is an oath we make.”
“I have no choice because of tax issues. If I don’t have proof, I can’t give your pay.”
“Having a new experience is a pay we are more than content with.”
“You’re going to live for 3 years penniless? Well, that’s good for me, but if people find out I’ve been working the elves without any pay, I’ll be constantly harassed by Department of Law for tax evasion and exploitation of labour. I’d really like to avoid that situation if I can.”
“I guess there’s no choice then.”
Once Lanburton signed his contract, Rizzly gathered the contracts and began comparing them with his. His voice quivered as he spoke.
“Um, what is this exception clause on our contract?”
“Ah, that? No matter how I think about it, I think the North Bears love honey too much. I can’t trust you guys to resist bribes made of honey.”
Both Cordnell and Lanburton nodded to Isaac’s words. The martial prowess of the North Bear Tribe should make them one of the favourites for jobs regarding security or escort, but in truth, almost no one hired the North Bears.
The reason was because they could not refuse any request when honey was being given to them. A single pot of honey was all it took for a warehouse to be emptied or for them to desert in the middle of their mercenary contract.
“D, do you know what this means?”
Rizzly’s body began to shake, unable to hold his emotions in check. Cordnell found Rizzly’s reaction to be puzzling and decided to sneak a peek at Rizzly’s contract.
“If the employee is offered honey from anyone who isn’t the employer for requests in any shape and form, they have the duty to take the honey but ignore the request and report to the employer? Wow!”
“Ha! How creative.”
“It still needs some changes, but this is truly a decisive clause.”
Cordnell and Lanburton shouted out in admiration, and it was now Isaac who was puzzled by their reactions. He looked at them in confusion.
“What? Why are you guys so surprised?”
“This will become the key method to fix the problem that has been plaguing the North Bear Tribe!”
Rizzly shouted. Because of the damn honey, the men of North Bear Tribe were limited to a very narrow set of tasks. Many of them wished to travel out into the world, but because of the lack of job opportunities, they had to stay in their own tribe.
Even the men who followed Kunette out from the tribe were warriors of the tribe who possessed exceptional mental resilience to resist honey to some degree.
But now, the North Bear Tribe, which was forced to sustain itself on its own, could leave out into the outside world.
Isaac spoke with a baffled look at Rizzly’s explanation.
“All I did was play around with some words, but nobody came up with this simple solution?”
“The North Bears have been stuck with the image that they will ruin their work at the sight of honey, nor was there any work that desperately required the North Bears. It was a difficult problem because of how simple it was. Ha! To think there was a solution like this. With this clause, the North Bears no longer have a reason to betray their employers and can receive the bribes without a problem. Hahaha, Sir Isaac, you have given a great gift to the North Bears.”
Isaac looked to the three, who still seemed touched by this clause. He began to question if those three were making fun of him in his mind but decided that it was all good in the end. He finally had someone he can confidently claim is on his side in this hostile world filled with watchers.
“Then work hard for the next 3 years.”
“We swear our loyalty to you!”
“I don’t need your loyalty, just your contract. Now, shall we start?”
“Give us an order!”
Rizzly bowed his head as if proclaiming that he would give his life for Isaac, while Lanburton’s and Cordnell’s eyes flickered, who knew that things would finally be in motion.
“Can you tell us of your plan?”
Cordnell, who had been suffering from Isaac’s leisurely behaviour until now, asked, and Isaac replied with a grin.
“I will make this city famous for tourism.”
Cordnell was dumbfounded by this plan, which was so simple that anyone could come up with it. Lanburton tilted his head as if he couldn’t understand. Rizzly clapped with his hands, not knowing what any of it meant; the plan had to be good if it was Isaac’s.
“But first, we need to clean this place.”
The Rose Inn was the cleanest and most modern building in the New Port City. Within the building’s private room, three people sipped on their wines in silence. Suddenly, Dinozo stepped into the room, and three pairs of eyes turned to look at him.
“They told us not to cooperate with the Lord’s Representative no matter what.”
The three sighed in unison. Axlon spoke through the grit of his teeth.
“Did you sufficiently explain to them the situation we’re in?”
“I did. They didn’t even bother to listen.”
“Shit! Do they think just giving out that order would sort out everything?!”
“This isn’t the same as all the times before. With the authority he holds as the Lord’s Representative, not one of us can guarantee our own safety.”
“Just one word from him and the foundations of our power will vanish into thin air.”
“Ha! You think I’ll die with my thumb stuck in my ass? Tell those masters of ours this warning. If I’m going to die, I’ll take the Administrator with me.”
Dinozo’s eyes narrowed at Axlon’s threat.
“May I take that as a declaration that you no longer need the backing from Port City?”
“I would never have been able to say this in the past. It’s thanks to those masters whom I’ve never seen the faces of that I managed to kill the previous boss and take his place as my own.”
“Yes. Your previous boss was betrayed because he tried to cut ties with Port City and go on his own path. And you are trying to walk the same path he did.”
Axlon snorted despite Dinozo’s retaliation at his threat.
“Ha! I’m just saying that I’ll take the rest of you with me when I fall. And betrayal, you say? Why don’t you try? Let’s see how many dumbasses want to become the leader of this crumbling syndicate.”
Everyone in the room frowned at Axlon’s adamant willingness to destroy everything. They have always been at odds with each other. The only reason they aren’t in open conflict is because they didn’t want Isaac to get involved.
“If anyone’s losing their place, I’d be the first one.”
Dinozo muttered those words, and even Axlon couldn’t stop himself from feeling pity for him. In truth, it was Dinozo who was in most precarious situation after Isaac had received his newfound authority.
The captains of the police are appointed by the ruler of the city alone. Even the masters in Port City had no power to stop Isaac. So if Isaac were to ever say ‘fuck off’ to Dinozo, he had no choice but to fuck off.
“And you’re already too late. You may have had the chance when he was alone, but do you have the confidence to kill him when there are so many non-humans guarding his life?”
Axlon clicked his tongue with dissatisfaction. Dinozo’s words were harsh but true. Even if he were to make a suicidal attempt at Isaac’s life, he had to slip through both elven and the North Bears’ security forces. It was impossible to distract them long enough to get at Isaac. It may be possible to distract the North Bears by luring them with honey, but that didn’t apply to the elves.
“Maybe we should just give up. My master had told me. If I donate a certain amount to him, he will let me live in Port City.”
Axlon turned to look at Milena as if she had offered the most pathetic solution.
“What the hell is in that head of yours? Why don’t you think for once?”
“Let’s say that you can somehow transfer all of your wealth over to Port City! What are you going to do then? Are you going to sell your body there too? Or do some business? Don’t you remember what happened to Foxt? Both you and I are convicted criminals in Port City.”
“Then what do you have to propose?! You’re just going to sit there as the sharks come at you? Do you have any idea how much money I’ve lost because of him?!”
Just as Axlon was about to retort to Milena’s enraged scream, the door slammed open and a group of men poured through the entrance.
“Who is it?!”
“Stay still if you value your life.”
The four stood up to resist against the sudden ambush, but they were quickly incapacitated; the back of their throats were firmly in the grasp of the group of men.
“Hey, I could hear your plotting all the way from City Hall so I decided to visit and help you guys out.”
Axlon muttered those words as Isaac sleazily walked in to the room. Rizzly, who was holding Axlon, didn’t hesitate to punch his ribs without a shred of mercy.
The bone-shattering noise was quickly followed by Axlon’s body collapsing on the floor, his body twitching in pain. The other three could only stay silent after watching the sight.
“You are not worthy to speak his name so freely. Stay still if you don’t want to die.”
Isaac was starting to feel uneasy about the North Bears and Rizzly, who have suddenly become so loyal to him. Once Isaac sat at the head of the table, the North Bears forced the four to their chairs. Cordnell and Lanburton also found a seat of their own.
“It’s nice to see that the prominent leaders of this city are working so hard for the sake of this city. The future of this city seems so bright. As the Lord’s Representative, I am very proud of you all.”
It wasn’t just the four; even the North Bears looked to Isaac in confusion at his nonsensical phrases.
“I understand that business hasn’t been doing so well for you guys?”
The fours’ faces went red with anger. To think they would hear those words from the source of it all.
“So, I want to ask. Do you guys want to do business with me?”
“… Business, you say?”
“Yeah. I won’t ask you to come under me. I, Isaac Rondart, a Rank 1 Knight of the Empire, College graduate, and the Lord’s Representative of New Port City, can’t have criminals as his subordinates.”
“Wouldn’t it be the same to become business partners with us?”
Isaac made a surprised face when Soland spoke those words.
“I just wanted to talk business with the leaders of New Port City. Were you guys criminals?”
That blatant attitude explained everything. Isaac was going to use them however he saw them fit, whether as criminals or as business partners.
“So what ‘business’ are you speaking of?”
“I’m going to make New Port City famous for tourism.”
The four looked dumbfoundedly at Isaac. Here they were, expecting some revolutionary or creative idea, but what came out instead was bland and unoriginal.
Soland spoke with disappointment on his face.
“Who would come and visit New Port City when Port City is right next door?”
Isaac clicked his tongue at Soland’s reply.
“Tsk tsk, this is why you guys can’t become big. Why did the others before me fail? Because they had no funding, limited authority, and no one who cooperated; just maintaining the city would take up their entire lifetime. Most important of all, it’s because you four have constantly sabotaged them at every corner. Now, let me ask you a question. What do I not have?”
Funding? He’s got a million Giga. Authority? He’s the Lord’s Representative. Manpower? He has elves, North Bears and even the employees from Merchant Guilds. Sabotage? Just attempting it would make their heads roll. There was only one barrier left.
“No one would visit to look at the old and filthy streets of this city. You will need to renovate the city for tourism. If we use previous construction costs as a reference, a million Giga won’t even be close to renovating the city as a whole.”
Cordnell spoke those words monotonously; his voice carried the despair and disappoint that this was all Isaac could come up with after the deplorable lifestyle he had lived out for so long.
“Yeah, I know. That’s why they are excluded.”
While Cordnell sat there unable to understand, Isaac ordered one of the North Bears to the side.
“Bring it here.”
The North Bear brought a map of New Port City with its districts marked by a line.
Isaac pulled out a blue pen and began to draw a line starting from the bridge through the main street to the Ceta District before circling back. The shape he drew resembled the shape of a bottle with an extremely long neck.
He finished the drawing by pressing at the centre of New Port City, the City Hall, with his pen as he continued to speak.
“I will redevelop everything inside this blue line and leave the rest as it is.”
“I guess that seems possible…”
Cordnell’s words faltered, but Dinozo stepped in to speak his thoughts.
“No matter how elaborate you make the Ceta District, that alone won’t bring people in to the city.”
The reason why Port City was such a famous place for travel was because all of the goods and commodities gathered in the city. It allowed the people to experience food and specialties from all over the Empire, not to mention the lake next to the city. Redeveloping the Ceta District in New Port City was possible, but it held very little substance when comparing against Port City itself.
Isaac nodded to Dinozo’s words, acknowledging that he’d made a very good point.
“That’s right. We would only end up maintaining the status quo if we do the same things as other cities. We need something that only exists in New Port City in order to attract people here.”
“Have you thought of something?”
Isaac grinned when Milena asked the question.
“As of now, New Port City will legalise gambling and prostitution. Any adults are allowed to gamble so long as they do so in City-approved casinos, and the city will set the prices for prostitution.”
The non-humans in the room seemed apathetic to it all since they didn’t know much about the human world, but every human being other than Isaac dropped their jaws in dismay at the shocking news.
“Y, you, you’re going to officially run a gambling and prostitution institution?”
Cordnell stuttered as he shouted those words.
“Yeap. That’s why I asked for advice from a law expert. Gambling and prostitution is punished with a fine by Empire’s laws. But according to the Lordship Law, Lords have the power to determine how much is the fine. So I have placed a fine of 1 Mega to crimes regarding gambling and prostitution. That 1 Mega will be taken as an entry fee when they come to New Port City. Perfect solution, don’t you think?”
“So the people pay 1 Mega for a crime they haven’t even committed as entry fee, but they are also unrestricted by law and get to enjoy gambling and… women to their heart’s content?”
“Yes. The only city in the Empire to indulge in gambling and women. What do you think? Don’t you think this would bring the people here? It’s true that casinos and prostitution will be the city’s main source of income, but I have many other plans in mind.”
Cordnell was at a loss for words. Isaac’s declaration was beyond any logic he was even remotely familiar with, while the North Bears applauded with their hands despite failing to understand anything Isaac had explained.