Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
Correction: 36 Clans’ chief: Gardena → Gardner
Gardner Jr. was expecting me at a small distance outside the dining hall.
“Lord Cohen, my ladies.” He greeted, and he seemed to be a bit depressed, “We’ve been waiting.”
“That doesn’t concern me.” I answered casually, “The meeting was delayed.”
“My Lord’s business matters more.” said Gardner Jr., “We ought to wait.”
“Is that so? What did they tell you this time?” I asked, “Did they give you another hard time?”
“Nothing like that, my lord.” Gardner Jr.’s mouth corner tugged sidewards, “It’s just they’re new to the place and can’t timely get used to it, so they’ve been a little moody. However, it’s not personal. I have to work it out as a chief.”
“Junior, let’s cut the crap. It won’t do you any good to speak for them.” I unraveled his lies, “Moody? I’d say not. They’re here to claim title and power eagerly!”
“It is my bad. I’m a lousy chief.”
“I know you’ve always wanted to be a chief like your predecessor. I intend to help you.” I tapped his shoulder, “They elected you because they knew you’re weak and had nothing to hold. Here, if they want to conflict my men, I’ll make them suffer, and they shall smile at it.”
“My lord, you…”
“Remember how I told you that you couldn’t be a yes-man chief?” I stopped walking, “From now, no matter what you do, you can’t let your subordinates overpass you.”
“I do remember, but my lord,” Gardner Jr. nearly cried, “it’s too hard for me.”
“Don’t be sorry; trust me, it’s a good thing. You wanna learn it the hard way.” said I, “But have a little faith because as of tonight, you’ll become a man with actual power.”
“Yes, my lord.”
We’ve passed the dining hall perimeter. Gardner Jr. made himself quick into the hall to tell the ones inside that we were here.
“My ladies, are we ready?” I smiled at Flynn and all, “Let’s get onto the stage. A reminder, it’s not any easier than fighting a war.”
“I don’t see a problem.” Carey tilted her eyebrows, “I wouldn’t flinch when facing a blade, let alone this.”
I laughed and made the first into the dining hall door.
“Greetings, Lord Cohen, my ladies.” In the hall, knelt a great many patriarchs and leaders of the 36 Clans. They did shower themselves and put on new garments.
“Well, well, well, I’ve kept you waiting.” I talked loudly, then introduced my wives to them, “These 3 are this viceroy’s wives as well as the most powerful internal affairs supervisors in Dark City.”
All the man on the ground were speechless at my statement. I knew their customs had gotten them used not to kneel to females.
“Caught you off-guarded, am I? I should apologize.” I made a prolonged laughed again, “Here’s what’s on my mind: since you’ve joined Dark City, you might as well meet your future bosses sooner. Tell you, my wives are of the same status as myself. If the king was here, they’re even higher than this governor, do you get me?”
What else could they say after learning these 3 supervisor mistresses were the ones they’ll have to report to. Hence the old-timers showed their courtesies to my wives.
Looking at the leaders with bent knees, Flynn simply lifted and dropped his chins and said, “You’ve come a long way here.”
“Here in Dark City, it’s our home.” Winslet said with a smile, “Make it yours as well.”
“Indeed, spare your courtesies.” Carey hadn’t derived her mood from her strong prior statement, so she merely leveled her hand and said, “Get up.”
“Grateful, Lord Viceroy, My Ladies.” The leaders stood up though; I knew they were not feeling comfortable.
“You must be hungry for waiting so long.” I hinted everyone to sit, “Let’s eat and talk.”
My master-servant who kept himself at a corner thereafter managed to serve dishes.
There were a total of 6 dining tables full of men. I sat with my wives and Gardner Jr. The rest joined other tables due to their statues.
I saw stiff faces on the other 5 tables because the servants brought us only 2 kinds of food: squared tapioca soup with beans, the other was buns stuffed in a tiny basket.
“My lady,” I put away my smile, faced Flynn, “We’re entertaining the clan leaders tonight, and we’re having only this?”
“Is there something wrong?” She asked.
“The leaders are my guests. They’re new to the city.” said I, “They deserve more than this!”
“My love, this is your order. Everywhere from the viceroy’s mansion to establishment locale are bonded to shrink on all cost. Isn’t it the first decree the day you returned?” Flynn frowned, “If you don’t like the food, fine. Where am I going to find all the exquisite foodstuff? The only thing you’ll find is the fine delicacies reserved for the king.”
“Ah, my bad. Pardon my lousy memory.” I made an apologetic smile to Flynn then turned to the clan leaders, “Bad time calls for certain approaches. You have to forgive me!”
The leaders shared their eyes. They did not believe the governor of Dark City would feed on this.
“I don’t see a problem.” Seeing that everybody was low on mood, Gardner Jr. hurried to stand, “We’re fine with it if Lord Cohen is eating with us together.”
Shame, his statement didn’t work out because the leaders spared Gardner no attention.
I did not speak either. I only grabbed a piece of bread from the basket, tossed a slice into my mouth. Carey fetched herself one as well then shared half to Winslet.
“Don’t say that, Gardner.” Flynn intended not to go into the subject immediately; she took over the conversation, “The leaders of the 36 Clans are decent men, how could they not understand.”
“We do, with profound respect. Like Lord Cohen said, the situation calls for certain approaches.” An aged leader spoke out, “Let’s eat, people. Help yourselves.”
This old timer seemed to be very influential among the other leaders because the rest put their hands on the food after his words.
I was so starved that I managed to swallow 2 buns then was able to draw my eyes back onto them.
“People, you know I’m a busy man and even busier once I’m back to the city. I did not have time to meet you all officially and individually.” I clapped my fingers to loosen the crumb, “However, looks like you have things to tell me as I heard from Gardner Jr.?”
“Indeed, Lord Cohen.” One of the leaders stood up, “We do have things for you.”
“Don’t stand up. It’s supposed to be a feast. Relax.” I had him seated, “Now, tell me about your difficulties or questions. I’m open to suggestions today, or I wouldn’t make my precious time for you today.”
“Yes, yes, My Lord. You’re quite busy, forgive us for occupying your precious time.” The first clan leader sat down, “Please look after yourself, my lord.”
“I know you care.” I eyed them and smiled, “Pity, I’ve already sat on the viceroy’s bench. Therefore I have no choice. You all have a basic idea of the situation within the empire. If I don’t keep myself busy, there won’t be any chances for us!”
“You don’t need to, my lord.” One of the leaders said, “Lord Cohen’s problems are ours. We’re not going to sit and watch. Tell us, my lord. We never regret following you.”
I waved my hand with a bitter face and made a deep sigh.
“I can tell your affection to the viceroy by saying so.” Flynn placed her goblet, “It’s not a common knowledge to you that it’s only been several years after the establishment of Dark City and the construction works are wrapping up. As a huge province, public affairs are many and diverse. Your daily clan affairs cannot compare. The different IA businesses, military headaches are a multitude of things which will degenerate the whole picture if even one was badly dealt with.”
“But don’t worry. I’ve promised Gardner I won’t abandon the 36 Clans people.” said I, “As well as your future, I kept that in my heart.”
“Fortunately for us, it is exactly the thing we wish to tell you about, my lord.” A clan leader said meticulously, “We wonder how Lord Viceroy will tie and knot us the 36 Clans?”
Tie and knot!? This guy talks like I’m marrying his daughter!
However, it was a question I cannot avoid anyhow.
“The reason for the meeting earlier to last deep into the night is due to an argument on the settlement for you people.” I pretended to be laden with a heavy heart, “The City Hall has finalized a solution for you. IA Supervisor Flynn will enlighten you.”
All nodded to agree on the thing they cared most.
“You see, due to the king and viceroy have paid extra attention to this matter, the City Hall has been considering the proper settlement plan for the 36 Clans.” Flynn languidly sipped water, her postures properly resembled that of a distinguished bureaucrat, “However, I was told by the directors on today’s meeting that in an effort to make room for you, they’ll have to migrate several alien races including the aqua clan, the orc clan out of their indigenous localities. Answer me, is it possible?”
“I don’t see it’s impossible.” A clan leader on one of the table grumbled.
“I cannot deny the 36 Clans have sacrificed enormously for the province as well as for the king.” Flynn made a light smile then raised her voice slightly, “However, you ought to know that every alien race who’s able to find a place in Dark City has their own fair and share of contribution, much less first come, first serve.
“In that case, can you find us a relatively considerable area to build homes?”
“That’s not possible, I’ve done the calculation.” said Flynn, “If we’re placing all 36 tribes in 10 pieces of lands, there will be several thousand people per village. That’ll end up derailing hundreds of old villagers. The magnitude of migration will be too much for us to bear. Tell me, you’ve had experience moving an entire village or clan away from home, harsh or not, under the hostile domestic scenario, we do not allow to do any of that.”
“You have a large province. Isn’t there even one place for us?”
“There is! We have huge areas of blank space on the edge of the province where armies are unable to attend. You want that?” Flynn promptly answered, “I’m not favoring one over another. For us, you’re all our people and citizens to this empire. But we simply don’t have a choice.”
“But our contribution triumphs theirs.” A rather young clan leader said, “Countless sons and brothers of us have fought for Lord Cohen, we’ve bled, sweated, thousands of us even paid with their lives. We never complained. If you cannot attend us as a whole, who’s going to care for the families of the dead. I’d rather leave them to our people.”
I did not make a sound, but my eyes were on Winslet.
“I can assure you, everybody, the City Hall is obligated to look after the families of the deceased.” said Winslet, “Those whose only son died in the war will be spared of taxes after their parents are over 45 of age, they will receive foodstuff equals to duty taxes of that year. Those whose dead son is not the only child in their families are deemed tax free before all brothers and sisters come of age. Besides, all sub-town and villages will offer various help. The above mentioned will be implemented once the domestic situation improves.”
“Madame, I’m not questioning your solution.” The prior leader said, “Will the town and village management carefully carry out what you’ve said?”
“What’s wrong with you? You ARE questioning an IA supervisor” I knocked on the table, commented him with a softened voice, “If the management is not able to do its jobs, I still have you, the 3 IA supervisors, or even myself, the viceroy!”
“Forgive me, my lord. Young men tend to talk recklessly. His father died in the Clay City battle, so he’s a bit anxious.” The earlier old leader came forward, he scolded the young man and said, “Apologize to her!”
He did as he was told.
“Don’t be nervous. I fight only on battlefields. This is a feast, and I won’t do that war thing to you. You’re all my subordinates.” Seeing that Winslet was ok with the young man, I abandoned pursuing guilt, “As a matter of fact, we’ve considered it. How do you see those who led you, fought together? Are they worthy of your trust?”
“Sure they do. The friendship was built during the war, with blood!”
“I’m glad you do. Precisely because of that, my 3 supervisors stood on their ground above all other opposing ideas to place thousands of disabled soldiers to village heads. You’re free to ask Gardner Jr. how intense the discussion was on the meeting.” I loudened my voice, “With these trustworthy villages and town heads, the families of your died people will not be bullied and be well taken care of.”
This way, all the clan leaders went speechless, and they all owe my 3 wives’ huge favor.
“We’re very appreciated.” One more leader man stood up, “Lord Cohen, if the 36 Clans are separated, how about us, the clan leaders?”
As I expected, the primary reason for these leaders to insist on settling as a whole was self-interest!
How I hate this kind of people.
“About that, you know what?” Carey opened her mouth, and she was not pleased, “Son of the vampire clan’s chief is merely a city construction foreman. Son of the sandman’s chief is nothing more than a deputy director of the City Hall logistics division who manages workers. Son of the dwarf’s chief is just a manager of the forging factory. They’re best friends and brothers with my husband since boys before he stepped into politics.”
All sunk into silence, some lowered their eyes, some touched noses, some were swallowing puns. They were not letting me get what I wanted if I cannot make a promise to them.
How should I put this? They did help when I was fighting nose and tooth with enemies, and they did not hinder my plans. By ritual, it made sense to give them a position in court. But in my City Hall, there were clear rule to check when it came to anointing or removing a position. They will not succeed.
If I cannot deliver their wishes, these men will undoubtedly scheme to give me trouble.
When I was choked with anger, the head servant came arriving.
“What is it?” I asked with a lowered voice. Usually, the head servant will not come unattended.
“Lord Viceroy,” he said, “King Fischer has learned you’re dining with the clan leaders, considering the mansion is underfunded, he had me bring a case of fine wine.”
“I see!” I nodded, “Okay then, pour’em.”
As the servants were pouring red liquid, the head servant leaned close and talked to me, “The king’s words, Viceroy Cohen must handle with them with calm. If things go south, you’re free to go rough on them. The king will pick things up for you.”
I nodded slightly and sipped my wine. The head servant retreated.
“For His Majesty’s good intention.” I stood up, “Let’s have a toast for King Fischer’s health!”
“For King Fischer’s health.” All raised their cups and saluted, “Cheers!”
I swallowed the wine but gained no taste. I told all to sit, and myself stepped to the center of the call.
“We haven’t spent long days together, but we’ve fought quite a few drastic wars. Since the Clay City, all sorts of things have tested our relationships. Though you’ve all made safely to Dark City, to think back, your decision to entrust your whole clans to me was essentially a risk.” I said with emotion, “I, myself know it better than others. I’m an irritable man, and I somehow threatened you at that time.”
After my speech, the air in the dining hall eased a bit, and the leader made light touches of laughter.
“Along the route, we didn’t come into much trouble. However, your millions of people had to keep pace with the army’s marching speed. That ain’t no easy job! You’ve traveled under the sun and moon, you’ve lived in constant fear. I won’t mention much.” I walked as I tapped all’s shoulders, “Besides, you had to calm your people, discipline your clansmen. You didn’t give me much headache. You are to be rewarded!”
“All in all, I remember.” When a servant poured my goblet full again, I raised my wine, “This is for you and a thank-you for your hard works!”
Seeing I talked like that, the clan leaders all thought I would give them what they want. Everybody tossed off the cup.
“Ahem, however, delivering the 36 Clans into towns and villages is imperative and I don’t wanna lie to you anymore.” I tangled my eyebrows to express my regret, “Since you’re going to separate, your people will not be led by the old leaders. You being leaders ends today.”
“Is it for real?”
“My Lord, please reconsider.”
“My Lord, we…” There were sobbing voices.
I told a servant, “More wine for them.”
“Now, I won’t go to the detailed settlement plan for now. But I’d like to let you know, after this, if you still consider me as your lawful viceroy, empty your cup.” Hand held my container, I said imposingly, “It is a difficult choice for you, I understand. And I don’t intend to intimidate you. If you trust me, drink up your wine and have a little faith in me that I will treat you with fairness. Drink up your wine, and trust me I will not do you harm.”
I led then eye around the hall through everybody, my wives and Gardner Jr.
Though reluctantly, things have gone this far, most of the leaders did as I asked. The few left cannot overturn my decision, so they helplessly emptied their cups as well.
They all knew if they did otherwise, they’d consider me untrustworthy and not acknowledge me. And their outcome would be unpredictable.
It has proven that I’ve intimidated them well.
I smiled at these much-depressed clan leaders and started offering my carrots.
“I’m glad you consider me trustworthy, so put away that faces of yours.” said I, “As a matter of fact, following me will only do you good.”
My eyes lingered on Gardner Jr.’s face for a second.
“Lord Cohen!” He declared loudly, “I have a few requests!”
“My Lord, the names of the leaders are succeeded for generations. Please allow us to retain them.”
“There is nothing else than the affections to our people for us the leaders. My Lord, don’t make our people apart.”
I nodded, “I’ll work it out.”
“The leaders… there are no more leaders…” Gardner Jr. sobbed.
“My husband,” At this moment, Flynn spoke timely, “I have an idea.”
“These people here have basic principles and are capable of bearing the overall situation of the world. They’ve also been leading for quite a while.” said Flynn, “Their experience, practicality are abundant. Most of all, they are loyal. Could we come up with a way to let them keep leading their people?”
All clan heads’ eyes lightened up.
“Oh, I consider you have an idea in hand?” asked I, “If we let them be leaders, the City Hall would be having a hard time.”
“We’ll work it out. I suggest setting up a new role in the management levels that’s in charge of helping the 36 Clan people to fit into the big family as well as deal with disputes.” Flynn approached, “And sure they’re not called clan leaders, that’ll be questionable of our management capability and not fit for morale. Let me see, call them senators. The title equals the local high directors. If he’s proven to be capable, we’ll let him bear more titles and take part in managing other departments. As for Gardner Jr., his rank will equal to City Hall directors.”
“You heard her. Could it work?” I pretended to be overjoyed, “I could never come up with this excellent idea.”
What else could the clan leaders say? Hence starting with Gardner, all but none started appreciating Flynn.
“It’s settle.” said I, “Now I would ask you to get busy around to settle your 160 million people and go to your new posts! Bottoms up!”
They were duped. Once the City Hall has settled the clansmen with the leader’s help, I will drive them all into academies and let Lorenzo the fossil dean fix them for good.
Leaders of the 36 Clans have seized to exist from tonight on.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.