Translated by Tianic, contributing editor LordBunnyBone, Tana N
Note 1: Please click on the character name for their illustrations, if any.
Note 2: An editable text of this chapter, click here.
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Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- Flynn, Carey, Winslet: Cohen’s wives.
- Marfa, Jack, Wilder, Moya: Cohen’s childhood friends and firm supports.
- Fischer Summers: Cohen’s friend and the prince of the Swabia Empire.
- Lorenzo: The Royal Academy headmaster.
- Cersei: Lorenzo’s wife.
Ainally we saw the majestic walls of Dark City once again. After half years without seeing it, the main part of the Dark City project should have been finished by now.
A fleet of light cavalry escorted us as we entered the vast city gate. Thus the soldiers stepped onto the blue flagstone road in the city.
There were trees planted on both sides of the flat and straight streets. Behind them were lodging houses that were either 2 or 3 floors high. Between the buildings stood cheering Dark City residents. Humans were tossing flowers at us; dwarf kids were dancing their neat and traditional wild dance; orcs were bumping their chest and roaring; there were vampires as well who revealed their fangs while they smiled.
Elves flicked their fingers to create several mini yet brilliant magic spheres that exploded above the streets. Some of the balls went off course and exploded next to some flying wingmen above the crowd. Those playful wingmen pretended to be hit and screamed to fall and rise again, which made the crowd laugh out of kindness.
They were not welcoming the Knight of Protoss, nor a nobility lord, nor the Viceroy and prince. They were merely welcoming their friends.
I was glad that they would call us by our names. In fact, many alien people, most of the times, would rather call you ‘Lord’ instead of your name. Addressing people by their names was a way to call their most familiar friends.
After we had finally stepped onto the stairs of the Viceroy’s mansion, a City Hall bureaucrat ran into the center of the street and yelled, “Alright, dear residents, His Royal Prince and Viceroy have rushed all the way here, they’re tired and have tons of business to attend. Go home now!”
The residents laughed uproariously and dispersed. These people, which the Holy Temple had documented as ‘foolish beings who don’t yield to force; slugs who stinks and don’t possess the sense of shame.’ were leaving while waving their hands with a smile.
I was overjoyed that I came this far as a Viceroy. Seeing those residents from different races treated me like their family, despite that I might ask them for more in the future, I will not regret!
I turned to my house and faced the gate. The guards immediately roared, “Your Highness! Viceroy!”
I nodded with a smile as I was about to stride into the gate with proud, but a man’s voice came, a loud one.
My scalp tingled.
“My Prince, allow me.” This old bastard Lorenzo bowed to Fischer and said slowly, “As a senior official, you should respond explicitly and ably to your subordinates’ greetings and salutes, which should never be perfunctory! It is the basic courtesy knowledge a nobility should possess.”
Now you must have known why my scalp tingled. Since this old bastard joined us on the way, he has never stopped judging me. He was not satisfied with my language, my manners, my everything!
Honestly speaking, since Fischer had decided to take him in, I was ready for such an outcome. I admit that he was a very competent person. Moreover, he was a person which Dark City currently lacks. But it did not mean that I had to endure him as a whole.
I can endure him judging me, what intrigued me the most was that he never talked about matter with me. Usually, he would, after I said or did anything he thought to be inappropriate, seriously tell someone of the highest status around me, without any traces of politeness, which has underestimated me and seriously embarrassed me! As of now, even my valet saw me with eyes full of pitiness.
I have asked Fischer about as to why this old bastard Lorenzo did not just tell me directly about such issues, which would make me feel much better.
Fischer replied with a smile, “I’ve asked for you, the Dean has vowed to not speak with you since the thing that happened in the royal palace washroom. And as a noble gentleman, he has to keep his words…”
I was speechless.
And if I reacted none to his words, he will keep on saying it. And if nobody was there to hear, he will hail loudly to the sky ‘His Light God!”, then continue until I felt the eager to kill myself and until I altered my behavior as he pleased.
“Greetings!“ I leveled my right hand in front of my chest and strode into my mansion. My pleasure had long gone, now what was in my mind was all about how to throw the Dean into a zoo cage.
My brothers and subordinates behind me all acted cautiously: greeted the gate guards one by one and entered.
Because it was our first time to visit the Viceroy’s mansion. Thus the vampire Kennen (Windsor’s elder brother), the general director of the Dark City project accompanied us throughout the tour.
The newly completed mansion had a simple style and was naturally sculpted. It was without too much decoration. There was a small square after entering the gate as well as a three-deck conference building which faced the gate. The conference building was the place where directors from the departments of the City Hall conduct their businesses. Out of the intention of convenience, the directors’ assistants all worked in the offices in the City Hall, which was located right next to my mansion’s conference building. There were also multiple tunnels between the estate and the City Hall.
As for the guards, either open or secret, radiated from the center of the Viceroy’s mansion and the City Hall.
Behind the main meeting building, was a smaller meeting place, which was the place solely for me to conduct my daily business. Although it was tinier than the one in the front, it was the highest building in Dark City so far with six decks. Kennen told me that one was able to see the whole city if standing on the top floor.
Behind my meeting place was a huge garden. The garden and the wall had divided the mansion into two parts. The rear part certainly belonged to my families.
Just as I went past the garden I saw three graceful and elegant beauties standing at the door of the backyard. Amongst them, the one with an elegant bearing was Flynn Rhona, on her left, the gorgeous Carey Rhona, standing on the right was certainly the gentle Winslet!
“My darlings.” I chuckled and reached out my hands to the girls, “I’m back…”
“Oh, you still remember to come back?” Flynn smiled, glanced me and asked quietly, “My great Viceroy, do you know what direction your mansion faces?”
“Er…” I can’t tell, I had not noticed!
“To the south.” Winslet chuckled, “You’ve always been so careless.”
“Yeah!” I grinned, “To the south!”
“Humph! If Winslet didn’t tell you, would you know that?” Carey was even cuter when her eyes were puffing, “I knew you were just too busy playing out there! He forgot all of us!”
“Nope! I definitely wouldn’t dare!” I pointed the finger at the sky and the other hand on my chest and said, “I’ve brought special gifts for you all. The stuff you can never find on the market!”
“Alright, alright.” Fischer who stood behind me advanced and said, “I can vouch for Cohen, he behaved very well throughout the days. He’s never cheated…”
“No, I didn’t!” I promptly took over the subject, “Let’s go inside…”
I watched as my wives opened their gifts with joy, when suddenly a man’s roaring voice came from behind.
My scalp tingled yet once again. My fists clenched.
“Hehhe…” Even Fischer felt embarrassed this time, “Well… let me introduce the new dean of the Dark City Academy – Mr. Lorenzo. There’re his wife and children.”
“Lorenzo?” My ladies paused for a moment. Carey reacted quickly and said with doubt, “Is he the DC academy’s basta… headmaster?”
I cannot blame Carey’s tongue slip because when we were together, we’ve always called Lorenzo ‘old bastard’. Thankfully Carey’s line of thought was quick, she didn’t come out ‘bastard’, or it would be even more embarrassing.
“Greetings, madams!” Lorenzo solemnly bowed to my wives, so solemn that even I felt sad for him, “I’m Lorenzo of the DC Royal Academy. I was appointed by His Royal Prince to build a new school here in Dark City. I will be needing your help in the future, Your Ladyship!”
“So…” Not even Flynn was ready for such a situation, “Well…”
“Your Ladyship! I believe,” Lorenzo cleared his throat and presented his unique skill, “as a senior officer of the empire, the first thing to do when he returns to his territory is to conduct his business instead of meeting his family. It is the basic work ethics of an empire bureaucrat. What do you think, Your Ladyship?”
“Please return, Your Ladyship!” The old bastard Lorenzo continued, “Public interests before private ones, God’s truth.”
My three wives helplessly shared a look with me, said goodbye to the others and left. Flynn ran off together with Lorenzo’s wife. Gosh, I would be lost in my own house if nobody came as a guide!
What a tragedy…
Thus we the managerial class entered the conference building and started dealing with the affairs that happened since I left. City officials from each department came running back and forth to pile enormous amount of documents that needed my personal revision onto my desk.
As a newly established province, there were still a big number of public affairs. During the half year period during which I was gone, a lot of refugees who possessed no money nor land came pouring into my province in batches. The population of all races climbed. According to the most recent census, the population of the region was nearly 3, 000, 000, much more than my anticipated number at the beginning.
Speaking of which, it was a great measure building the dozens of towns around Dark City, if it weren’t for them, these refugees would have bankrupted me already.
As of now, my City Hall was in good operation. Each department worked together to settle the refugees by building countless villages around Dark City and the peripheral towns. For the refugees, their viabilities were outstanding, I had to give them that. As long as you provide them with land and enough food before harvest, without too much help, 3~5 days later, a hut will appear, and the refugee family will be happily farming on their shared land.
Due to the difference in the varied traditions and customs, after I issued many decrees, I divided several prominent alien race settlements into separate areas and forbid future enrollment in case of large-scale conflicts such as the fight for more land and resource. Such conflicts were common among the refugees. If I did not contain them, it’d result in an even greater struggle.
“My Lord, they need more food since the population is increasing.” A City Hall official reported, “But we won’t be self-sufficient until the second harvest season next summer. Before that, we’ll have one more harvest, but that’s not enough to fix the food problem, what should we do?”
Fischer frowned and caught the key to the question, “Before we come with a solution, how long can we hold up?”
“Our storage will be enough for more than half month, a month at most.” The man quickly said a few numbers, “The food was all from Darkmoon and DC since last time. Besides, we have required that the residents try to find their food on their own. But, they don’t have much of choice. The hunters have almost extinguished all games near the area. Besides, some people dig for wild vegetables, it’s also a problem since the field is now full of holes…”
“Fishing and hunting must be moderated; they can’t overkill! I see, you’ll get the areas that need support into two parts.” I desperately rubbed my forehead trying to come up a better solution, “Create one near Darkmoon, the other near Winper City. Give me a register of names and start building roads. Wait for my orders!”
“Dismissed! Don’t worry.” I knock on my desk, “I’ll bring more food from Darkmoon. Besides, the Winper businessmen should have more food stored, that should be more than enough.”
“That’s great! Thank you, Viceroy!”
I waved my hand to let him go.
“Viceroy!” The second official came near and said, “I have a problem.”
“Start talking!” I nodded at him. Now, go push all the fucking problem to me!
“You know,” I could tell that this man was prepared as his speech was well-organized, “we’ve built too many villages, though currently, we don’t have enough staff to manage them. Even the current village leaders are nominated by the villagers. We’re worried that if it goes on, the administration will be a problem. Besides, there’s a chance that our enemies would take advantage of it to penetrate our governance in large scale.”
“What’s the City Hall’s solution?” Fischer asked.
“You could say that we’re at a dead end. Although a village headman is a minor position, we can’t be careless, because that’s the most basic managerial position.” The officer explained, “Our first group of students in the school are at least one year and a half before graduation. And department backup trainees should be trained for at least 6 more months for them to have the necessary managerial power…”
“I see, now quiet!” I stood up and paced in the room, “Give me a moment.”
“Now write,” I told my clerk, and he immediately placed his quill above the paper and waited for my words.
Chief executives of all towns and villages within the Dark province will be appointed by Viceroy Cohen Kheda personally. City Hall denies all and any personnel or organizations nominated or established by residents. Every Dark resident has the right to refuse the unofficial assignment. Such personnel or organization has only the right to moderate instead of giving orders, they must cease all activities after an assigned official’s arrival! Anyone who objects will be expelled or hanged by law!
Cohen Kheda, Viceroy of Dark City
As I spoke word by word, Fischer stood by the clerk and checked my decree by sentence. He did not alter the meaning, only tightened, simplified and regulated my grammar.
I was content at the decree after his proof reading.
“Issue the decree immediately, but post them only in the towns instead of the villages.” I told my directors from the City Hall, “This way, no matter what kind of guys are those headmen, I can take advantages of them before our staffs are ready. Once I have enough people, they’ll be disposed! In fact, dispose them all, them trusted fellows. Move them to other villages and no appointments within three generations! How could they pull that off, fuck!”
“That…” A City Hall official was about to say something.
“It’s okay.” I said to him with a smile, “You’re not one of them, tell me about your problem.”
“Yes, Viceroy.” He said, “Isn’t it a bit unfair? They helped us to manage our people and require nothing in return. It’s one thing to just dispose them out of consideration, why do you move them to other places?”
“I’m glad you’re thinking. But like what you thought, there’re two kinds of people who would offer to manage, one is those who really want to help out, the other one are certainly the enemies we’ve been worrying about.” I laughed, “As for the former, we thank them, since they don’t require anything, neither money or positions, so it’s ok to treat them like this. As for the latter, once spotted, execute them on sight, those not spotted, it’s my mercy for them to be moved somewhere else. Do you understand my words?”
“I… I do!”
“Then do you know how to manage?” After dealing with my last business affair, I wouldn’t mind joking with my subordinates.
“I don’t!” He was full of confusion as all other officials who were in the room. They must be thinking about how could such question be justified with a sentence or two?
“I’ll tell you, no matter how much power you have, a manager is still a human being. His brain is no smarter than yours. In fact, a lot of them aren’t and their vision not as broadened. But the point is”, I stood up and put on the robe I just took off, “the most important is the way he deals with things! For the same matter, some measures might cause complaints, some could cover all the bases, that’s the point!”
“Tell us more!” A man was too anxious to let me go. I glanced at him, and he immediately loosened his hands, “I’m sorry Viceroy!”
“And, that is…” I suddenly recalled when was in Heaven Island shower room, I taught the priest how to deceive his superior and subordinates, “extremely loyal, kind, devoted and ethical!”
Having said that, I went downstairs with Fischer and headed to the backyard.
With my instinct and directed by the maidens, Fischer and I reached the small drawing room in the backyard.
“Hold it!” Fischer stopped me, “I remember that your wives and Dean Lorenzo are discussing a topic.”
“How did you know that?” I asked, “I wondered where that old bastard was! Are the gals planning to beat him up?”
“Get over your head! Carey took him while we were in the meeting building, you just didn’t notice.”
Fischer lowered his voice, “What’s your take on this? Perhaps they’re signing a treaty on how to deal with their husband…”
“Let’s check it out.” I was a bit scared, “Slowly, quietly!”
Fischer and I lowered our bodies, crawled under the window and concealed ourselves. What was conversing in the room clearly passed into our ears.