The reason Marquis Duberon’s family desired New Port City was simply for the money. The Marquis’s family was so inflated with pride and the honor of names that it transformed into greed and arrogance. They wanted something which no one else in the world possessed, and the order of battle knights was exactly that. It took almost ten years for this order of battle knights to be ready for battle, their swords and shields sworn as the honorable protectors of Marquis Duberon.
All of the knights were selected when they were just children after being tested for their talent in battle. The family provided them with expensive but nutritious food and educated them in manners and every kind of culture. Their weapons and armor were crafted by the famous dwarves and tailored to each individual.
The process was arduous and painful. Funds ran dry as the project went along, but their pride wouldn’t allow them to give up on the project. They were like fools who bought a luxurious car beyond their means, unable to maintain it with only their assets and ability but taking loans in order to do so. They pushed onward out of fear of the sneering and mockery that they’d receive from those around them. The Marquis slashed the budget for their administrative body, raised taxes, and laid off employees. Their pride won out at the end, and they completed the project, although at a heavy cost. Everything else in the Marquis’s territory was in shambles. With their vault empty, the cracks in their administration began to expand. The biggest problem was that after emptying their entire treasury to create this order of knights, they had no purpose. Armies were organisations which only consumed resources, and the knights were perhaps the greatest examples. Providing a thousand knights with food, salaries, and equipment was a great burden on the Marquis, who was already drowning under heavy debt. They were playing a game of chicken; would the the order of knights disband first, or would the Marquis go bankrupt before then? But in this moment, a ray of hope appeared in the form of New Port City.
If they got their hands on New Port City, their coffers, which were as vacant as a desert, would be filled to the brim. They even had a good excuse, provided by their lost cause of a prince. They used all of their manpower and connections to force their claim on New Port City to go through while expecting fierce resistance. They were, however, met with cooperation from the government, which quickly responded to the Marquis’ demand.
Of course, there was a secret deal happening in a back room, and they had their suspicions as to why they wanted the lunatic of a prince. But they decided that giving up on an insane successor to maintain the strongest order of knights was worth the trade, regardless of the government’s aim.
It was very obvious that those within the Marquis’s territory would descend into chaos when they received the news that the knights, who were supposed to come back with the promised victory, were instead annihilated. Before they could recover from the shock of losing their knights, the Emperor’s decree made it clear that it was now impossible for them to gain New Port City and all that they were left with was an enormous debt. With no way out, the only option now was for the Marquis to declare bankruptcy.
“Honestly, having nothing to do is the best feeling.”
Isaac smiled, satisfied as he wasted his time drinking fruit wine and smoking cigarettes while basking in the sun on the rooftop. It was a scene bound to be the subject of ire of his hubaes and merchant employees, who were busy carrying out his orders and supervising the removal of the rubble in the Meta District. That didn’t include the refugees and the documents, which needed to be processed in preparation for the new Mayor, who would most definitely work unlike Isaac. Sadly, they didn’t even have the time to witness Isaac’s laziness.
“Perhaps it feels ever more so because we were so busy until recently.”
The North Bears and elves were dealing with guests, whose numbers were beginning to return to their previous heights, and they enjoyed the streets of New Port City. Thanks to the Arc Royale’s surprise visit, they now had a fairytale-like story to boast about. The guests listened closely to hear about how the Arc Royale acted, which they’d never get to see in their lives, and the speaker would be encouraged to continue. The only people dying in work were the hubaes and the merchant employees.
“I know. I wish the rest of my life could be like today.”
As Isaac wished into the sky, Soland came up the stairs with a stiff face.
“What’s the problem? There’s no issue with taking over the districts right?”
“Yes. Most of the lands in New Port City were owned by Port City, but it was done so through the name of a representative in New Port City. So we simply made deals with these representatives, making it perfectly legal.”
“Make sure you give the actual owner of the land double the price of the land and clearly state that the land is sold. They can take that as a gesture of my generosity, since they won’t get anything if their representatives ran away with the money.”
“… Yes sir. We’re currently hard at work finishing the ordeal in one fell swoop.”
“So did you come up here to give me this report?”
Soland hesitated for a moment before he continued.
“Well… There’s someone who’d like to see you.”
“Now they’re starting to ask you for a chance to visit me? You do know you’re risking your life for this?”
Isaac never approved of a meeting from those outside the city unless it was truly important or they were of special relations with him. It was an obvious course of action for Isaac, since most of these people were only aiming to take Isaac’s wealth in the form of requests, investments, or some special business projects.
Soland was also aware of the situation, but if he still decided to go ahead, it either meant that Soland had gone over his head or he believed it was significant enough to require Isaac’s attention. Although, just because Soland found it important, it didn’t mean Isaac was going to think likewise.
“Well, since it’s you who’s asking, I’ll show my face. Bring that person here.”
Isaac nodded in approval, but Soland hesitated again.
“Well… the person asked for a private meeting.”
“Hoh. So not only did that person ask to meet me but also told me to come to them? It must be quite an important person.”
Soland flinched at Isaac’s smile and began to doubt whether he was really doing the correct thing. But as someone who was in the know with Isaac, he could tell that there was nothing good that was going to come out of this meeting if it were to happen in public.
“Well, fine. I may as well pay them a visit since I’m bored. I’m looking forward to the meeting now. You do know I hate being disappointed, right?”
Soland led Isaac to Milena’s district. It was the same room where the syndicate bosses gathered for a meeting when Isaac first arrived in new Port City.
“Hohoho. Nice to meet you, hubae. You’re better looking than I thought. I am Debora Whiskus Duberon.”
As soon as Isaac entered the room, he was greeted by a woman with a warm smile. She was quite a beauty, with her exceptionally tall stature and sharp nose. Her elegant eyes and long thick hair were fiery red. Isaac couldn’t stop himself from looking down, where her plump bosoms were further highlighted by the design of her dress. But Isaac’s eyes quickly noticed the golden stars which shone brightly on her left chest.
“Well, well. I didn’t know you were my sunbaenim. It’s nice to meet you.”
The nine stars decorating her chest meant she had graduated from the College in just nine years. It was proof that she was talented enough to impact the world. Isaac expected the Duberon family to send someone, but he didn’t expect the delegate to be a woman. A genius among women who graduated from the College.
Debora seemed quite intrigued by Isaac’s reaction, locking their arms together and leading Isaac to a chair while staying right beside him.
“So what was the reason you wanted to see me privately?”
“Oh dear. You’re cutting straight to the point? It’s no fun when a man rushes things.”
Debora, who sat opposite to Isaac, crossed her legs, and her dress opened to expose her smooth legs and thighs.
“I get a little anxious when I hear the name ‘Duberon,’ you see.”
Isaac seemed unshaken despite Debora’s attempt to tempt him. Debora’s eyes shone, and she straightened her posture and looked straight at Isaac.
“I am having quite a headache. I’ve been warning those idiots in the main family all this time, but they still went ahead with the creation of that order of knights and ruined everything.”
“Should I say sorry?”
“Hohoho. No. In fact I am grateful.”
“Ho, it’s a relief to hear that I was of help.”
It was a mystery as to what Debora found funny, but Debora laughed. She then got up and sat on Isaac’s lap. She wrapped her arms around his head and whispered sweetly into Isaac’s ears.
“I want to take over the Duberon family. Can you help me?”
Isaac smiled at Debora’s blatant act of seduction. He reacted with a smile and placed his hand on her waist.
“Do I have the power to do so?”
“Hohoho, of course you do. With your help, I’ll be able to weed out the idiots in the main family and take the seat of the family head.”
Debora pulled Isaac ever closer as she whispered, and Isaac grabbed tightly at her waist with one hand while the other carefully caressed her smooth thighs.
“So what do you need me to do?”
“Hohoho. It’s so nice of you to be understanding. I’m really starting to like you.”
Debora laughed and gently bit on Isaac’s ear, and Isaac grabbed tightly at Debora’s thigh.
“I need money to clean up the mess those idiots at home made. A lot of money. Can you help me, hubaenim?”
“And what will I get in return?”
“I wonder? I’m in a bit of a hurry too. To the point where I wouldn’t mind a rumour that I sold my body. Well, I don’t care if the rumor happened to be true.”
Debora’s red eyes shined.
“I think you’re being too cheap. 8:2. I’ll need at least that much to be able to boast about it back at home.”
“Dear me. I think that’s very difficult, considering I have multiple projects which require money too.”
Isaac rejected her proposal, and Debora placed her breasts on Isaac’s shoulder and seductively whispered into his ears.
“8:2. And you get to have me. How about it?”
“Man. Now that’s an offer I can’t refuse.”
“Hohoho. So we have a deal?”
Debora kissed on Isaac’s cheek as an act of sealing the contract. She got off Isaac’s lap and began to excite Isaac with passionate eyes.
“How would you like it? Here? Or…”
Isaac ignored Debora’s eyes and got off his chair.
“I’m impressed by your determination to face defamation in the process of taking over the Duberon family. You have my full support. It’s much better to have the Duberon family as an ally rather than a vengeful specter.”
“You’re just going to leave? Am I that unattractive to you?”
Debora seemed surprised and her face grimaced.
“I’m scared I’ll get a stomach cramp if I had you.”
PR Note: He’s implying that if he really did take her up on her offer, he’d go wild with the sex. Stomach cramps after rough sex is a relatively common phenomenon.
“Oh my. You’re scared of that?”
Debora softly approached Isaac and wrapped her arms around him as she looked him in the eye. They were close. So close they could hear each other breathe. Isaac made the first move and kissed Debora’s lips. Debora’s eyes widened with surprise, and Isaac looked at her cute reaction.
“Well, I think I’ll be satisfied knowing I got to steal a beauty’s lips.”
Debora blushed in embarrassment.
“Ah! One more thing. There’s something I need to do here, so can I stay here for a few days?”
“Sure thing. You can stay here as long as you want. The city will provide everything you need.”
“Really? I knew I could trust you!”
“Ha. It is common manners to take care of your sunbae.”
“Is it also possible to use the money in advance? I’m in a real hurry.”
“Don’t even worry about it. I’ll take care of it in advance.”
“Oh my! I couldn’t have asked for more.”
The two of them practically stayed glued together for a little more, exchanging sweet words while Isaac continued to caress Debora’s waist and hips. But soon, Isaac left the room, leaving Debora seemingly disappointed. As soon as Isaac came out, Rizzly approached him.
“Who did you see in there? Sniff sniff! Huh? That smells like a woman. Wait! Did you see a woman in there? Did you perhaps…”
Isaac ignored Rizzly, who continued to sniff around him and look at him lecherously. Isaac took out a cigarette and walked away stiffly.
Rizzly realized Isaac seemed unusually uncomfortable, so he stopped being nosy and followed quietly behind Isaac.
‘What was that? A side effect? No, I definitely felt some lust there.’
Isaac frowned and muttered to himself as he looked at his hands. He could still feel Debora’s warmth in his hands. Her skills in seduction were enough to make any man go crazy. But that was it. The moment Isaac was getting in to it, his burning body quickly turned cold as if he had an icy shower, and all of his sexual drive disappeared. Was it because he instinctively knew Debora was dangerous? Isaac quickly denied that thought. He knew he wasn’t such a sharp or lucky man.
Plus, Isaac had been somewhat aware of this question he was having now for some time. This was just the first time he confirmed it. As someone who had been through it before, he knew something was off when he had no feelings of attraction back in the Campus, when he was but a teenager going through puberty. When he arrived in New Port City, there were plenty of women to enjoy just at an arm’s reach, yet he never had the thought of relieving his sexual needs. Rather, he never had such a drive in the first place.
Why was that? A man’s instinct when seeing a beautiful woman is to look at her face, breasts, and ass. This fact was still true for Isaac.
Perhaps this was why Isaac realized this fact so late. Maybe Isaac could understand the Campus days since his mental state was that of Joon Young’s and Isaac was still just a child, but New Port City was different.
The body may be that of Isaac’s, but Joon Young had many experiences with women before. Isaac did enter the brothels back in the past to gather information, and he did feel some lust. But Isaac looked away from that feeling, thinking that gathering information was a priority. That’s what he convinced himself of in the past. But looking back, it was the same as this time, where his sexual drive disappeared just before he was about to get serious.
It was a mystery. The fact that he was dropped into this world was beyond human understanding, and the more he tried to find out why, the more mysteries he faced.
There aren’t many reactions to choose from when one experiences something that cannot be explained. One will either put in the effort to try to understand it, worship it as something omnipotent, deny it, or reject it.
And Isaac had been rejecting it all this time.
Let everything be.
There was only one truth Isaac recognized during the war he experienced. No matter how much a single person struggled, the world moved on, irrelevant of the man’s efforts.
That was why Isaac turned away from trying to understand the unexplainable and instead maintained his own lazy, comfortable life.
“The Marquis’s family problem seems quite interesting.”
“Eek! Did the Marquis present you a woman?”
Rizzly who had been following uneasily due to Isaac’s silence, realized what Isaac’s words meant and shouted out.
“Watch your mouth. She’s a woman named Debora. She said she’ll be staying in the city for some time, so order some of your men to follow her. You better watch out, because she’s from the College.”
“Huk! The College?”
“Yeah. She’s a nine star.”
“Um, if she’s a nine star, she’s at the level of a countess…”
“Is it impossible?”
“It isn’t, but it’s very likely she’ll find out.”
“I’m sure she’ll be expecting it, so just try not to make it too obvious. Just look from afar as to what she’s doing.”
Debora received the money from the weeping Cordnell and stayed in the city for a few more days. Only after she left did Isaac find out as to what she was doing.
“Hm, so that’s how the rumors are now?”
“Yes. The rumors say that it was Anton who tried to escape with the ships when the fire broke out.”
“It’s the classic sacrificial pawn. I guess if the world found out it was the commander of the knights who left behind half of the knights during his escape, the honor of the Marquis’s family would be tarnished to the point of no return.”
For the Marquis’s family, which valued honor above all else, a rumor that the commander who should have been leading at the front ran away first was a disgrace beyond belief. The nail in the coffin was that the commander left behind half of the knights when making the escape.
Leaving behind the mercenaries wasn’t much since they were outsiders, but leaving behind the knights, who were in a way vassals to the family, would destroy the foundation the Marquis had built up, so something had to be done regarding this matter.
“As expected of a College graduate. What incredible ability.”
Most of the people who were caught in the chaos of the fire died or were mortally wounded and simply counting down on their remaining days. But some of the mercenaries who managed to get on the ships survived.
Unlike the knights with their heavy equipment, the mercenaries were lightly armored and managed to stay afloat long enough to be rescued. These survivors were being treated in the hospitals of Port City and New Port City.
Debora used threats and negotiations to switch the places of Commander Dike and Anton. Dike tried his best to control the situation when the fire broke out, but Anton cowardly escaped. Anton’s escape threw the knights into chaos, making it impossible to control the fire, and everyone died because of it.
All the blame and dishonor was shifted to Anton, while Dike’s and the knights’ honor was now substantially elevated. It was a textbook example of controlling the press. Debora’s ability to achieve this in just a few days was enough to impress everyone. Truly, the graduates of College had the ability of protagonists.
“But can this really cover up the incident? There are so many witnesses.”
Rizzly seemed worried. If this lie was ever to be uncovered, the Marquis would be in a greater peril than before they manipulated the press. New Port City would be roped in together because they stayed silent despite knowing the truth.
Everyone loves to trick someone, but everyone hates being tricked by someone else.
Rizzly’s worry was met with a smile of ridicule from Isaac.
“There’s a saying like this. When money talks, truth remains silent.”
“Humans turn a blind eye when it’s profitable and there’s no harm from doing so. Well, there are a few odd ones who cannot stand such injustice, but there’s no room for such people to intervene in this situation.”