“Ah, shit. Does she think that just saying the word will get the job done? Why is she so stubborn?”
‘You don’t have the right to complain!’
Isaac began grumbling immediately after Rivelia left the roof to unpack her luggage. All of the administrative body who heard Isaac’s complaint had the same thought.
“Sigh, I guess I have no choice. We’ll get it done.”
“Gathering the funds will be a problem, but we will prioritise diverting our tax revenue and business profits to build up funds for the projects.”
“We’ll sort out the acquisition of land for construction by negotiating with the syndica- I mean, your representatives.”
“We’ll do a census to figure out the number of orphans and elderly who live alone and screen the children who are fit to enroll in schools.”
Isaac clicked his tongue as all of the work was set into motion smoothly.
“You heartless, uncaring bunch. The only thing you guys knew was to speak against everything I did, yet you are so eager to get the job done when it’s that damsel who’s giving the order.”
Isaac’s comment triggered a reaction from some of his employees, who awkwardly avoided eye contact with him. It was at this time that Kunette and Reisha came back to the roof with their hands full of snacks.
“Are you guys done unpacking?”
Kunette walked next to Isaac and collapsed on the floor, munching her snacks. Reisha began to answer, her mouth smeared with sauce from kebabs.
“Sunbaenim, when are you going to give me that ‘exciting experience’? All of the others seem to have had their share already!”
Reisha began to nag at Isaac, fuelled by jealousy from watching the other elves working.
“I heard you haven’t graduated yet, and aren’t you’re just here for social studies? Just do your work as a member of the police force for now.”
“Eeh! Sunbaenim, that’s so harsh!”
“You can do whatever you want after you’re finished with your work hours.”
Truth be told, it was a decision only Captain Helvent had the authority to decide, so Isaac sneakily changed the topic of conversation.
“So, how do you guys like your rooms?”
“It’s lovely! I’ve never seen such a pretty room before! But how come only some of the knights, Kunette, and I were given a hotel room?”
“Mayor Rivelia and Captain Helvent were also given a hotel room, although those two get VIP rooms.”
“Hm? Then what about the rest?”
Isaac turned to Kalden when Reisha asked her question.
“You explained to them properly, correct?”
“… Yes. The barracks for the police force were constructed hastily next to the loudest shooting range in the Meta District, and we’ve told them to book a residence of their own if they have any problems. We’ve also provided all of them with an employee’s card.”
“Seeing how they’re spending, I don’t think they’ll last more than a few days.”
“Make sure their cards are declined if they spend more than they’ve earned.”
“Do we really have to go that far…”
“How else will we make them beg their parents for money? I’m sure their parents will give plenty of money to their lovely, rich sons.”
“Uwaah! You’re so mean, sunbaenim!”
“… Isaac, bad.”
Isaac picked up a cigarette as Reisha and Kunette commented on his practices.
“The number of insults received is directly proportional to how much money you make. And I’ll need to make lots of money to feed you two with tasty treats.”
“Ah! Is that how it works?”
“… That’s fine then.”
Reisha and Kunette seemed convinced by the explanation, but everyone else in the vicinity mentally repeated in unison.
‘There’s no way that is okay!’
Work efficiency changes drastically depending on whether the workers are forced into work or if they are eager and motivated. This lot, who would have lagged off had they been working under Isaac’s orders, were very quick to accomplish every task Rivelia had set. This fact irked Isaac.
“We’ve begun construction of the schools and hospitals. Construction will finish in 3 months, according to our estimates.”
“Thankfully, the construction guilds that were originally deployed in the shooting ranges have decided to construct not just the schools and hospitals free of charge but also the orphanages and retirement homes. It has drastically reduced the amount of funding we needed.”
“The magical spires have agreed to provide for the necessary teachers and healers to a degree.”
“Um, good job, all of you. It must not have been easy, but all of you have done well very quickly.”
Rivelia rewarded the administrative body with a nod of approval, and they didn’t even attempt to hide how happy they were to receive such a reward, squirming with a mix of happiness and embarrassment. The sight had frustrated Isaac even further.
“So all that’s left is the issue of having one house for every resident…”
The administrative body descended into a hush when Rivelia muttered those words. Every other problem could be solved with their hands, but this was a problem they had no solution for.
“Do you not even have a proper plan at this point? What’s happened, Administrator?”
Isaac took a deep puff of the cigarette in his mouth when Rivelia began her questioning.
“Do you really want me to solve this issue?”
There was a hint of worry in Rivelia’s mind when Isaac seemed like he wanted confirmation from her. But Rivelia was confident that no matter how cunning and resourceful Isaac was, he wouldn’t be able to solve the problem of a lack of land.
“Of course. You must fulfill your duty as the Administrator.”
“Then I’ll take it that you don’t have any problems, and I’ll proceed then.”
Isaac nodded and ordered Rizzly.
“Go and bring the representatives of the construction guilds.”
Rizzly quickly ran out of the meeting, and Rivelia frowned at the sight.
“What are you trying now?”
“I’m just trying to follow my Mayor’s orders dutifully.”
The atmosphere became heavy as Rivelia and Isaac stared at each other, trying to figure out what the other was thinking. The staring match continued for a while without interruptions. Finally, Rizzly brought the representatives of the construction guilds up to the rooftop.
“May we ask why we were brought here…”
The man who carefully asked the question was Roberten. As the eldest member of the Headstone Merchant Guild, he was forced into being the Representative of the Construction Guilds.
The construction guilds’ weren’t acting charitably purely out of good will when they decided to build the orphanages, rest homes, schools, and hospitals. It was their way of escaping the impossible task of building one home for every citizen in the city; it would be their excuse when push came to shove.
“I am planning to announce a call for bids.”
Roberten’s tongue was tied when Isaac mentioned the residential problem that he tried so hard to avoid.
“I will build homes fit for just one person. Its height will be only slightly higher than an average adult male, the width of which will be enough to have two people lie side by side. The rest of the interior will be up to the guilds to decide. You’ll have an easier time if you use the hive buildings in the slums as examples.”
“… Wait! Administrator, what are you doing?”
“Making homes, what else?”
“How could anyone call that a home!?”
Rivelia shouted out what was on everyone’s minds. Isaac simply tilted his head, unable to understand.
“How is it not a home, when their beds have a roof above their heads and walls to shelter them from rain and wind?”
“How can it possibly be a home when there’s not a single living space in it? That’s just storage for the living!”
“The kitchen, toilets, and showers will be shared by the residents. The construction guilds will be paying for this. And I don’t need windows. Just put in some residential magic circles such as air purification, temperature maintenance, magic lamps, and anti-fire measures.”
Despite Isaac’s ludicrous demands, Roberten couldn’t help but begin to calculate how much that would cost out of habit as a merchant.
“Um, that would exponentially increase the cost of each home…”
The costs for creating magic circles differed wildly, and although residential magic circles were on the cheap end, it was still a magic circle. Creating a single magic circle was considered a great luxury for commoners, and stuffing so many into such a small area was like throwing money down the drain.
“I will compare each guild’s proposals before deciding on a final design. And the chosen design will be sent to the Department of Administration to be licensed as one of New Port City’s special goods. Any merchant guilds that plan on selling the design must pay a commission to New Port City.”
Roberten began to think if there was any merchant guild out there that would accept such conditions. The design of the building was different from the norm, but that was it. Roberten couldn’t understand where Isaac got the confidence to call it his ‘special good’ and ask for a commission to boot.
“Um… if you do approve a design, how many do you plan to buy?”
Isaac asked his employees when Roberten followed up with that question.
“How many single people are there in the city?”
Trentor, who took a census of the city population, spoke hesitantly.
“Around forty thousand people live alone in the city.”
“You heard that? I’ll be ordering fifty thousand to have some in reserve too.”
Roberten’s jaw dropped. The criteria were challenging and the conditions were unfavorable, but if the contract was approved, they were going to sell fifty thousand of them on the spot. This was perhaps the largest construction contract in existence. To merchants, profit was everything. Whether it was possible or not was a secondary concern.
Just before Roberten was about to accept Isaac’s proposal, Isaac’s employees began to make a commotion.
“That’s impossible! We don’t have the space to build them even if we covered an entire district with those houses.”
“And if you consider the roads and public facilities that must be there too, we will be short of land no matter what! And how are families supposed to live in those places!”
Isaac quieted the commotion with a simple explanation.
“I don’t plan on making only one-story houses. We will be stacking them up as necessary. So the material and structural integrity of those houses must be strong enough to handle the weight.”
“That means we’ll need to use high-quality materials, so the cost of just building one of these units will be higher than the costs of building an average home.”
Isaac smirked at Roberten’s comment.
“Are you seriously talking about money problems to me?”
Roberten shut his mouth, but Cordnell’s face went pale.
Isaac turned to Rivelia and his employees and made his stand.
“You can always put a stop to it if you don’t want to do it.”
‘Trying to weasel out of the issue I see.’
Rivelia thought to herself and nodded. But she had to be satisfied, knowing that she managed to distract Isaac for now.
Once those residents were in place, the citizens of the city would be redistributed appropriately, and it would help to screen for the ‘angelic’ and ‘demonic’ turncoats, since they would have to come out of their hiding spots. She had no reason to object, since it was going to make her job easier.
“Fine. I like it. Proceed as you suggested.”
Isaac looked to Rivelia in astonishment, seeing her so satisfied. He wondered if there was something wrong with her or if she was feeling sick. This residential housing design was completely identical to the concept of dorms back in his old world.
These glorified coffins were residential areas made for the starving young adults who struggled to even gather enough money for a security deposit to rent a flat. It was a business targeting the poorest of the poor.
Isaac was planning to use Rivelia’s rejection as an excuse to weasel his way out of work, but he didn’t expect her to accept it so easily.
“Maybe you should put some more thought into…”
“No. We will provide personal residences for those living alone. I’m sure we’ll have some land to spare by doing so. And with the spare land, we will construct homes for families. Those living in personal residences can move over to family homes once they get married and start a family. By doing so, we will be able to increase the marriage rate, which would also lead to increases in the birth rate and lead to population growth.”
‘Wow! You vicious bitch!’
Isaac thought to himself, admiring Rivelia’s idea. To force the already-dejected loners into a single area and make them feel defeated as they watch couples and families living out happy lives from afar. It might be able to instigate some of the people to get married out of sheer resolution. But it was going to imprison everyone else in the personal homes forever.
‘I guess it doesn’t really matter.’
“You heard that? On another note, you and your guild will be kicked out of New Port City along with all of your businesses if you don’t relay the message properly to the other guilds. I like my competitions fair and square, you see. Hm? Why are you guys looking at me like that?”
“Do you really need an answer?”
“Have I ever been unfair in a fight?”
Even Rivelia was at a loss for words in the face of Isaac’s shamelessness.
“Administrator, the Mayor wishes to speak with you.”
A police knight came up to the roof to relay his message. Isaac sighed and made his way toward the mayor’s room. It had been more than 3 months since Rivelia was appointed the mayor, and Isaac’s time of idling had completely disappeared. All of the projects Rivelia ordered had progressed smoothly. Although the one-home-per-citizen policy greatly concerned the public, there weren’t any revolts from the citizens, as the syndicate bosses’ control over their districts had become stronger after they had eliminated the old rebels. Isaac did his usual, simply giving out the orders and directing all of the work to his underlings. The administrative body were exhausted, moving about through the city to organise all of the small details regarding the projects.
Plus, any bribery that had occurred previously in the city had disappeared in fear of getting caught by Rivelia, so the bidding process for the contract was made fair to all the guilds, just as Isaac had demanded. Isaac chose the Mountesion Construction Guild for the final product. Their block-shaped design made organizing the apartments neatly feasible, and the buildings could be assembled through the use of prefabricated materials, shortening the construction time significantly and reducing the difficulty of transporting the materials. These factors were key to winning Isaac’s approval.
Ever since then, Isaac tried to idle around as much as he could, simply receiving midterm reports from his employees on the rooftop. But Rivelia didn’t seem to like Isaac’s attitude, so she called Isaac over whenever she had time to nag him about the smallest problems.
No matter how many times Isaac told her to call someone else over since he had no clue as to how a project was going, Rivelia persisted in calling Isaac over to demand a midterm report from him or to ask how a project was going in general. But Isaac was sure she was only doing it because she didn’t like the fact that Isaac was lazing about on the rooftop.
“So what’s the problem now?”
Isaac muttered to Rivelia as he entered the mayor’s room, which was quickly refurbished after Rivelia’s appointment. At this point, Isaac had realised that fighting against her was only going to tire him out even more, so he stopped with the taunting and glossed over most things with a laugh.
Rivelia’s well-toned figure was busy at work with her legs crossed when Isaac walked in. Her eyes glossed over Isaac and pointed to the sofa with her chin.
The room was the epitome of luxury because Cordnell spent lavishly to furnish the place; for once, it wasn’t his money he was using. The soft, luxurious sofa was already partly occupied by Kunette, who was busy eating honey.
“I thought I haven’t seen you much lately. Is this where you’ve been playing around?”
“…. Isaac’s not playing with me. Bad.”
Kunette turned her face away from Isaac with a pout. Isaac replied as he pointed to Rivelia with his finger.
“That’s because that mayor over there is keeping me so busy that I don’t have the time to play with you.”
Isaac shamelessly shifted the responsibility to Rivelia and then threw his body onto the sofa next to Kunette. He took out a cigarette and let loose a puff of smoke into the room. Rivelia looked at Isaac disapprovingly and threw a pile of documents in front of him.
“… What is this?”
“There’s been a murder in your fiefdom, Sir Isaac.”
With just a quick skim, Isaac found out it was in Axlon’s district.
“How did this leak?”
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘leaking,’ but I will be deploying my police force to investigate, as we agreed upon.”
“Wait, wait. Even if you call them police, they are just children who’ve never investigated a murder scene before.”
“So what? They’ve been trained thoroughly by Sir Helvent.”
Isaac looked to Rivelia with disbelief in his eyes.
“Trained? By that old geezer, who has been thoroughly enjoying his retirement one party after another?”
Most of the people working in the city were already aware that ex-commissioner Helvent simply took the title of captain in name only and had been playing around even more than Isaac.
Even Rivelia seemed to feel somewhat embarrassed and coughed dryly before continuing.
“Anyhow, it’s a first murder incident in New Port City. I will be deploying the police.”
‘You mean it’s the first murder incident that’s been leaked.’
Isaac remembered Axlon’s face and began to contemplate on how he was going to punish him as he made his comment.
“It’s an incident that happened in my land, so I’ll take care of it myself.”
“Oh, so you’re volunteering to investigate yourself?”
“No. I’m not saying I’ll be doing the investigation, but I’ll just be taking care of the incident…”
“Impossible. We’ve already agreed that any serious crimes must be investigated by the police force.”
Rivelia cut off Isaac coldly, and Isaac simply clicked his tongue.
“How about this then. Leave the investigation to the 3rd squad, and I’ll tag along and oversee the investigation.”
“Alright. If that’s what you wish.”
Isaac was relieved to hear Rivelia agree with him when Kunette tugged at Isaac’s arm.
“… I’m going to investigate a murder?”
“Yeah. Let’s go catch the culprit.”
‘And fuck up someone else along the way.’
“… I’ll catch the criminal.”
While Isaac reminded himself of Axlon and grit his teeth, Kunette nodded and raised her honey covered hands into the air as she made a vow.
The police force was split into three squads. But the reason why Isaac chose the 3rd squad of the police force was because the 1st and the 2nd squads were useless, proud bunches who didn’t listen to orders since their goal wasn’t to maintain public order but Rivelia herself. Meanwhile, the members of the 3rd squad included Reisha, Kunette, Krent, and Campus hubaes of commoner birth, who were easier to silence if needed.
“Alright. We’ll start the investigation tomorrow.”
“What do you mean by that? If you’ve taken responsibility for an incident, then you must solve the crime posthaste.”
Isaac’s comment, which was trying to stop Kunette from eagerly running over to the crime scene, was met with Rivelia’s shout.
“But it’s already evening, and I should head…”
“How can you prioritise going home when someone’s been murdered? Go take the 3rd squad immediately, and don’t even think about coming back until you’ve solved the crime!”
‘Since when did you care about the people of the slums dying…’
Isaac complained in his mind as Rivelia finally found a legitimate excuse to nag Isaac. Defeated, Isaac nodded, and his anger toward Axlon began to burn fiercer and fiercer.