Isaac’s new business project swept the Empire like a storm. Magical artefacts were vital military resources in the Empire because of the cycle of perpetual provincial wars, but the problem was that there were too many spires which produced these goods.
But because all of the spires competed for business in a single market now, customers could haggle for lower prices and promotional bundles when purchasing products. Buyers flocked to the city in order to utilise this market to its fullest, and their payment for lodgings went straight into the city’s coffers.
Also, the chance to use these rare magical artefacts piqued the curiosity of the general populace. Some entered the area to try these artefacts themselves, while others that couldn’t afford it came to watch as bystanders.
Dividing the business in three different forms of entertainment was also very effective. People who were frustrated or stressed out headed straight to Form 1 buildings, blowing both their stress and the building to smithereens. They were more than happy to advertise the cathartic effect afterwards.
But the more popular types were Forms 2 and 3, where many were tempted by the reward of ten thousand Giga. Isaac also stipulated that the construction guild which constructed the building that withstood the greatest number of magical artefacts would also receive a reward. After some practice, the construction guilds began constructing buildings which gave the illusion that it was about to collapse even though its true structural integrity was sound. Of course, the contestants were taunted by these structures and threw shot after shot at these buildings. Each time the building withstood the blow, the grin on the construction guilds grew larger.
PR Note: The activation mechanism of these artifacts is ambiguous. The book doesn’t explicitly say how they are activated, but we can assume that they are projectile weapons of some sort. What type of projectile weapon (e.g. guns, bullets, lasers, grenades, etc.) they are similar to is unclear.
The spires were quite happy with the fact that they could reduce the funding on their marketing department at first. But it soon became a battle of pride between the offensive and defensive spires, where the strongest spears were pitted against the strongest shields.
A strong defensive magical artefact was necessary to create a strong structure. Offensive artefacts were tasked with breaking these structures. It was the most simplistic form of battle between the spires. Form 3 entertainment was where this battle of pride was highlighted the most. Since it was a contest of hitting a target with an artefact, all sorts of artefacts were used to dodge, avoid or increase the accuracy rate no matter the cost. It also clearly indicated which spire maintained superiority. This battle of pride and technological superiority was fought fiercely by the spires.
In order to deal with this, more employees were deployed into New Port City to respond in a timely manner in the ever-changing battlefield, which also led to added lodging revenue for New Port City.
Bringing in the revenue from all sorts of people by starting a battle of pride was good and all, but Isaac was still frustrated by the employment rate, which was much less than what he originally anticipated.
“Hm, this isn’t enough. Isn’t there something else?’
New Port City’s workers only had three choices of occupation: construction, clearing debris, or running small errands for the spires and construction guilds. But there was a problem.
“They should have stayed the hopeless, dreamless people of the slums they are. Why are they working so hard instead of slacking off at every opportunity?!”
Rizzly sent a troubled look to Isaac, who grumbled on.
Just as Isaac said, the people in New Port City were hard at work. They originally expected to hire two or three times the number of workers to operate this business in New Port City. Isaac and his administration assumed that because New Port City was stricken by poverty, the subpar quality of work would have to be made up with numbers. But all of the workers completed their tasks in a degree of quality on par with an average worker, so the employment rate did not increase as much as Isaac hoped.
Because of this, Isaac had to think of a new project to increase the employment rate, which frustrated him even more.
Isaac looked to the plaza from the rooftop. The crowd gathered at one of the buildings near the plaza; it housed the Communicator which was used to speak with the Emperor for the first time. Humans were animals which loved to give symbolic meaning to simple tools, but Isaac couldn’t understand why so many people gathered to look at some cloth and a few machines.
Isaac had no choice but to take good care of those tools, however, since it led to a huge increase in the number of guests. Isaac tasked Cordnell with the job, and for the first time, Cordnell, who loved to complain about unnecessary expenditures used as much money as possible to get the job done. Isaac remembered Cordnell’s smile as he did this, and the smile on the crowd began to match with this memory. The sadistic nature inside Isaac began to surface.
“I’d like to practice my hobby for once.”
Rizzly flinched and stumbled back. From the surface view, Isaac’s hobby was playing the violin, but Rizzly was confident that Isaac’s real hobby was to watch others around him suffer in pain.
Isaac’s scornful gaze forced Rizzly to action after a moment of hesitation. He picked up the violin and walked toward Isaac. But in an instant, Rizzly tripped and dropped the violin on the ground.
“Ahaha. I apologize. I think it’s broken. I’ll bring you a new instrument soon.”
It was obvious that Rizzly did this on purpose. Isaac stared at Rizzly disapprovingly and then turned away. Isaac could hear Rizzly let out a sigh of relief, but he tried his best to ignore it. To be honest, only Rizzly, Isaac’s personal butler, could have the nerve to destroy the instrument. If it was anyone else, the person would have been thrown into an endless cycle of torture disguised as work.
“Ah! Was creating jobs always this hard? How can I not have work to give out?”
Isaac was well aware that scolding the merchant employees and his hubaes to come up with more jobs would be a fruitless endeavour, since they were already at their limit with the current number of jobs. So the task naturally fell onto Isaac.
Back when he was in the old world before the wars, Isaac was the kind of man to cooperate with the quartermaster to force his men into some makeshift work just because he couldn’t let them be idle and enjoy their time in the army. With a record like that, it hurt his pride to see that he wasn’t able to provide enough jobs for those who were in desperate need for work.
Isaac grumbled with his arms folded and continued to look down at the plaza in hopes of coming up with a new idea. Suddenly, there was a roar and rapturous applause at one of the corners of the plaza.
Isaac’s eyes flickered to the area, his eyes shining. The grin that came upon his face was sinister at best, and he turned to Rizzly and shouted.
“Tell the administrative body immediately.”
“What am I supposed to tell them?”
“Tell them to get ready, because I’ve come up with a new project.”
The administrative body hurriedly came up to Isaac and performed all sorts of feats to stop Isaac in his tracks. The elves and North Bears, however, were supportive with Isaac and mentioned that it sounded fun; the syndicate bosses simply said ‘do as you will,’ since Isaac was their lord, in a way. Outnumbered and outgunned, the administrative body lost and Isaac’s new industry was implemented.
“W, what is this?”
“Huh? Is someone supposed to ride it?”
“It looks like a palanquin.”
The guests who just crossed the sky bridge to visit New Port City were confused at the sight of a group of men offering them a ride. Behind them sat a bunch of poles and a comfy looking chair placed in the middle. The guests wondered what bizarre event was happening again in New Port City.
“Hey, what is all this?”
“Yes, this is the method of transportation for guests, provided by the city.”
“Ha! You’re telling us to move around here on a palanquin? In this age?”
Why would one travel in such a primitive method as a palanquin when there were much faster methods of transportation utilising magical artefacts? One of the confused guests asked another question.
“How much is it to use this?”
The young man, brainwashed by Isaac’s speech to be kind to any who will pay them, responded with a polite bow and a friendly smile.
“This is a transportation service provided free of charge by the city, honoured guest. Just tell us where you want to go, and we’ll take you there swiftly and safely.”
“Free, you say? Then mind if I try it out?”
Tempted by the word ‘free,’ the guest got on the palanquin. With a huff, the men raised the palanquin. The guest flinched at first but was soon enraptured by a strange feeling.
The guest did feel like he had become a spectacle, but what really took over was the fact that others had to look up to him, as if he had become a king. He soon acted like one, burying deeper into the chair and tilting his chair up arrogantly.
“Ooh! This is quite good. I will have to use it from time to time.”
“Thank you for using the palanquin number 27. If you call out our number again, we will come to your side in a moment’s notice.”
The guest’s mood lightened when hearing those words from someone who seemed to be the leader of the group and tipped him. The tens of men bowed at the same time, and shouted out their gratitude.
“Thank you for your patronage!”
The guest’s mood was even better after that, and similar events happened all across the city.
“I guess the employment rate is settled for now. If there is anyone else who uses the lack of an available job as an excuse to not work, throw them into the mines.”
Isaac smiled with great satisfaction after reading the report that was handed to him for the monthly meeting. The project launched the city’s expenditures through the roof, but its reception was overwhelmingly positive.
“How can this work… Was it my common sense that was flawed?”
Cordnell spoke with a sense of doubt in his words, and Kalden replied.
“Basically it goes like this. There’s nothing that can’t be done if you have money.”
These were business projects which could never work unless the factors of limited time, a large unemployed population, and extravagant funds were all present.
“Now, I guess all of my work is done, so you guys better do your part.”
“There’s a few things you have to take care of beforehand.”
Isaac frowned when Kalden spoke those words.
“What? Don’t tell me you’re only saying that because you don’t want to see me play around.”
“That’s not it. These are subjects which require your permission.”
“I thought I told you lot to take care of it yourselves.”
Isaac had even given the authority of the Lord’s Representative to them, so there was nothing they couldn’t do.
“They insisted that they must receive permission from you, sunbaenim…”
“What is it?”
“As you know, there are many merchant guilds and spires which have sent their employees to work here. The children of this city are so cunning that they began making money by performing small tasks for these people.”
“We’ve known that for some time now. What, did one of the brats steal some goods?”
“That’s not it. It seems some of these employees like some of the children and wish to take them.”
“Take them? Like adopt them?”
“There are some who do wish to adopt them, but most of them would like to take them in as their apprentices or students.”
Isaac frowned and took out a cigarette when Kalden explained.
“Why do they need my permission for that? Tell them that if they want to take them, just take them.”
“We of course allowed such practice since it’d give the children a much better future, but these stubborn children insisted that it must be you who give the permission…”
Isaac snickered when he heard those words.
“What, are they hoping that I will give them a blessing on their farewell? Tell them to stop wasting time and grab onto the opportunity when it presents itself. Ah! Why don’t we make this one of the city’s policies?”
Cordnell responded very sensitively to Isaac’s words.
“Yeah. It’s always sad to not have proper support wherever you go, so the city will provide them with proper support. It takes quite a lot of money to study.”
“Is there a real need for that…”
“You have to look further than the present. If just one out of ten children that we support comes back successful, it will be a great profit for us.”
Cordnell calculated how much it would cost in his head, but he couldn’t go against Isaac’s orders. Because if he did, he would become the villain in a heartbeat.
“But the money… the funds…” muttered Cordnell with a grim face
Kalden looked to Cordnell with pity and carefully looked at Isaac before continuing.
“There’s another thing…”
It was apparent that Isaac was annoyed and wanted this meeting to finish as quickly as possible. Kalden hesitated, then continued.
“It’s not just the children, but some of the Blue Roses also need permission.”
“Have they been problematic lately?”
Isaac looked to Milena, who quickly shook her head.
“What have they done to require my permission?”
“Well… some of the guests have developed feelings beyond those of just customers, and there have been a few quarrels over it.”
“Are you telling me to butt into someone else’s relationship problems? Tell them to sort it out themselves. What’s a group of grownups fighting over some relationship problems?”
“That’s not it… some of the guests wish to take the Blue Roses with them.”
“Is it a one-sided demand?”
“No, the Blue Roses also wish to accept and leave with them, but they’re saying that they need your permission to leave the city….”
“What bullshit are you spouting? They can leave if they want! Why do they need my permission? Tell them to do what they want.”
“It’s not a problem for commoner guests, but the nobles…”
“Nobles? Hm, I guess nobles would be an issue.”
“Yes. Some wish to take them as their concubines, while others wish to take them as their mistresses. The Blue Roses would like to take the offer and leave with your permission since it’d mean an improvement in their life, but there is one complicated issue…”
“Whether they are concubines or mistresses, it’ll most definitely make it easier for them to feed their families. Tell them to go ahead. And if any problems arise and they wish to come back to New Port City, tell them that the city will support them with our full strength.”
Milena’s face brightened when she heard those words. She had seen many women who were thrown away after the noble’s interest dissipated after a short while. There was nothing more miserable for a woman than such an experience. Not only that, the Blue Roses were prime targets of harassment by nobles’ wives or their relatives and were in constant danger. But since the city was going to support them, they who had no assistance anywhere had a safe haven.
“I’m saying there’s one problem…”
“What is it for you to keep dragging on like this? You’re starting to annoy me.”
Isaac scolded Kalden, who kept hesitating and dragging on with his words. Kalden spoke with a troubled look.
“One of the nobles wishes to marry a Blue Rose.”
“Marry? What a strange fella. Who is he?”
Isaac snorted at the thought of a noble who would wish to marry a Blue Rose as he took out a cigarette and lit it.
“Well… it’s de Chester del Milros, the eldest son of the Count Milros.”
PR Note: While it is normal for nobility to sport a “de” or “del” in their name to denote their lineage, they are usually placed after the first name of the character. We are not sure why “de” is placed before the first name, but it is what it is in the raws (데 체스터 델 밀로스).
Those words shocked Isaac, and he coughed violently. His eyes were wide open, unable to believe what he had just heard. He stared at Kalden.
“Wait. So you’re telling me a man named Chester, the successor to Count Milros, is saying he wishes to marry a Blue Rose because it was love at first sight?”
“Wait. A successor? His age doesn’t make sense, though. Right?”
“Chester’s parents died in an accident. The current house of Milros is ruled by its previous head, who is technically your grandfather, sunbaenim.”
“Leaving the family tree issue aside, when did he even come here?”
“He came here to sort out problems with the family’s shares in Port City’s casino when it crashed, but when he arrived, the whole thing had finished before he could do anything. So he decided to get some information in New Port City and came here multiple times, which is how he fell in love.”
“And how did you find this out?”
“He told me directly when I asked.”
“I don’t know if you’re aware, but Chester nim is also my sunbae…”
Isaac frowned as he took out a new cigarette. It was most definitely a problem if it was Count Milros. A noble having one or two concubines and mistresses was a common practice, so that wasn’t a problem. But having a Blue Rose as the official wife was definitely one.
“There must be some intent behind his action…”
Isaac’s mutter was met with agreement by all who heard it, who nodded with those words. They were all aware of Isaac’s past; the entire cause of this was because his father took in a commoner as a mistress. This could have been an act to taunt Isaac.
Plus, Count Milros’ successor who was definitely involved in this matter. Insisting on marrying the Blue Rose was definitely suspicious; there was definitely a conspiracy in the making.
“It may not be as you think. I’ve received a message from one of my colleagues who works in Count Milros’ territory. Apparently, Chester sunbaenim sent the message that he’ll be marrying the Blue Rose. The Milros family is in an uproar and have deployed their knightly order to bring back Chester sunbaenim.”
“He’d already announced it? Hm… it’s complicated.”
It looked like some romantic escapade between a man and a woman, but considering that it was the Milros family they were talking about, Isaac couldn’t take it at its face value.
“What a headache. Let’s just try to find out more since we have time. Crazy bitch, go talk to that Blue Rose and conduct a thorough investigation. Investigate her family, friends, all of her previous customers, and find out whether this is true or not. And make sure those knights don’t do anything funny when they get here. The rest of you are to do as you have until now. And make sure you do your work properly. I don’t want to hear the words that you need my permission again. I’m not their masters or anything, so why do they even need my permission to improve their own lives?”
The syndicate bosses smiled bitterly and bowed. Isaac seemed unaware, but he had become a beacon of hope to those who lived in New Port City.
He never treated them nicely or kindly. He never encouraged those around him and locked himself in the City Hall. Occasionally, he made the people suffer, but the people had already felt it.
Instead of a thousand empty yet extravagant promises, he had spoken with action.
First, he provided food to the hungry. Although it was done through the hands of the syndicates and the quality was nothing to smile upon, there was no such thing before Isaac had come here.
The people had given up on hoping for a change after a number of mayors came and went, left only with disappointment. But just when they had given up, Isaac had provided them with changes they could feel.
Even now, Isaac instituted policies which helped the orphans, prostitutes, and those shunned by society. To those who have nothing to rely on, Isaac’s policies were of great help.
At this moment, Selia, who didn’t attend the meeting with the excuse that she has to man the Communicator as the exchanger, rushed over to the rooftop, her shy nature completely gone. She excitedly shouted out.
“She’s coming! They said she’s coming!”
“What is she high on?”
Isaac looked baffled by her actions, but Selia continued to jump excitedly as she shouted.
“The mayor who will be sent here has been decided!”
“Who is it?”
“They say it’s Rivelia sunbaenim!”
A shock ran through the back of Isaac’s head. Isaac grabbed the back of his head, acting as if he’d just been hit in the back and asked again.
“We just received announcement that Rivelia sunbaenim has been designated the new mayor of New Port City!”
Rivelia was the idol of perhaps all women back in the Campus. Even Selia had a memory of attending the tea party together with Rivelia, so it was understandable as to why she was so excited.
“And why is that damsel coming here for?”
Isaac asked with a frown. Selia quickly came back to her senses, and her shy nature began to take over again and her voice slowly softened to that of a squeak.
“T… they say she’s been sent to New Port City along with some of the recent graduates of the College…”
Cold sweat dripped from Isaac’s back after receiving the sudden announcement. His hands began to shake. He took a deep puff of smoke and let out a deep sigh. His heart could only settle after that. Isaac screamed in his mind for it to not be true and asked Selia the question.
“… Are Reisha and Kunette included in those graduates?”
Selia nodded excitedly, and Isaac looked to the sky with despair. He looked to the clouds floating in the sky. How he wished that he could join them.
“Not just Rivelia-nim but Reisha-nim and Kunette too? Is this a retelling of the legends from the Campus?”
“I guess the good old days for Isaac sunbaenim are gone now.”
The whispers from the hubaes brought Isaac back to face reality. All he could feel were lingering traces of happiness and the ominous storm of his soon-to-be suffering.