This explained why Soland tasked one of his loyal minions to call Isaac instead of visiting him personally. Soland couldn’t risk this important piece of evidence being destroyed by traitors who could still be hiding.
“So some bastard used my warehouse to store something in secret, and they happened to be firearms? Kalden must’ve found something odd as he read through the documents, so he came to check it himself since there wasn’t anyone around because of the ceremony. He found out there were firearms hidden in the warehouses, realised how serious it was, and immediately ran for the City Hall. The warehouses then exploded without warning, and Kalden was shot in the back before he could notify anyone.”
“That’s what it seems like. The first person to see Kalden’s body also testified that they found it on the path towards City Hall.”
Isaac scanned the remnants of the burnt warehouses. His head was in scrambles after finding such unexpected evidence. Who could have used the warehouses? Was there more to destroying the warehouses than just screwing him over? They were spotted by Kalden, so they must’ve killed Kalden to maintain the secret, right? But the timing was too impeccable.
“Interrogate all the warehouse managers. There must be one bastard who opened the warehouses after accepting a bribe.”
“We are currently investigating but it’ll take some time. There are some who were caught in the blast. We can’t even find their bodies. ”
“Don’t look for who survived. Find someone related to warehouses who spent more than they should have with their pay. People will always spend more when they have more. There must be someone who’s been spending extravagantly, albeit not completely outside their means.”
“And they most definitely didn’t plan to store these goods indefinitely. Find out where they came from and where they were supposed to go. You’ll find something when you fuck over the smugglers. No—make your men investigate. You’re coming with me.”
“Huh? Where are we going?”
“Central has been waiting to receive a report on our recent incident.”
“… They’ve been waiting?”
“The lowly Central should wait when our great Syndicate Boss calls for me to meet him. I’m sure they’re all eager to meet you right now.”
Soland’s face paled in despair. Isaac called over Flander, who paced around the area hesitantly.
“Hehe. Did you call?”
Flander immediately approached Isaac with a conniving smile, hands already rubbing against each other. His eyes gleamed, anticipating a reward.
“You’ve done very well this time.”
“Nonsense! It’s an honour to be a help to you, even if we’re just a speck of dust.”
Isaac remembered something when Flander flattered him. He asked Soland, who was still sunken in despair.
“By the way, did you finish taking care of everyone I left you with?”
Soland hesitated to answer, but Flander quickly interrupted.
“We’ve taken care of those despicable, ungrateful rebels—unfit to be used even as fertiliser—that rose against you. I am simply in awe and admire your benevolence to allow them to live despite their treachery.”
Isaac smirked, looking at the contrast between Soland and Flander, the former frowning while the latter stood tall with his nose high with confidence. It seemed Flander was aiming for Soland’s position.
“Stop trying to fight a poor, innocent victim. I’m going to give you a mission some back alley scrub would have never dreamed of in their lifetimes.”
Flander’s face brightened immensely and spoke.
“Just give us the order and we’ll fulfill it perfectly!”
“Are you really planning to bring them into Central?”
“Is there a problem?”
“He’s a complete nutcase.”
“I can’t argue against that.”
On their path back to City Hall, Isaac and Soland walked side by side while Flander and his mercenaries walked some distance behind them—clearly frustrated and unhappy about being an outsider to their conversation. Watching grown men pout with their cheeks puffed was somewhat distasteful.
“Why don’t you just continue using Security agents? They’ll definitely listen to your orders going forward.”
“I don’t have enough of them. They’ll need some servants to aid them while they roam the vast lands.”
“I feel like things will worsen if you do hire them.”
Soland glimpsed behind. Flander immediately growled when their eyes met. Soland couldn’t help but sigh.
There were plenty of thugs eyeing his position in the slums, but they just wanted to take over the districts to enjoy its immense wealth for themselves. Flander, on the other hand, aimed for the position purely to become Isaac’s close aide, always looking for an opening to capitalize and interfere with Soland. The situation was starting to drive Soland insane.
“There’s chance that even I will be summoned to Centr… Hm?”
Soland, who was about to tell Isaac that he might be sent to Central, shut his mouth when Cordnell approached them.
“It’s an emergency!”
“I’m amazed that there’s an even greater emergency than a threat on my life.”
Cordnell jumped at Isaac’s nonchalant reaction and shouted.
“The Port City protestors entered New Port City!”
“Wow! My boys lost?”
Cordnell slammed his chest in frustration at Isaac’s eccentric reasoning, while Soland answered stoically.
“Most of the New Port City personnel who were holding back the Port City protestors were sent to the mining district to restore it. Since they lost the object of their scorn there, they seemed to have flocked into New Port City rather than dispersing.”
“Makes sense. One dog can just bark loudly, but it takes two dogs to make a ruckus.”
“Now isn’t the time to make some useless idioms! We’ve warned them that Lord Isaac has declared that all who joined the protest will have their wealth confiscated in an attempt to disband them, but it just turned them into a lawless mob! They’ve already begun looting the casinos and shops!”
“Hm? What happened to their guards?”
“Mr. Soland already told you! They’ve all been sent to the mining district to repair the facilities! All that was left were a small number of guards!”
Isaac clicked his tongue. That was why mob consciousness was dangerous—it paralyzed logical thinking, pushing everyone to act on pure emotion.
It only took a flip of a coin for an uncontrolled protest to turn into a mob. The actions of people within the mob became self-justifying, even if they were illegal to begin with.
Isaac was no expert in social psychology or even just mob mentalities, but Isaac was very experienced on how illogical their actions became proportional to the mob’s increasing size.
It was different this time however. Isaac had been restricted by the red tape back then, putting him on the back foot. But there weren’t such laws in this world.
“I see they really turned this place into a shithole.”
The plaza in front of the City Hall was filled with people. It seemed every citizen of Port City had come here. No shop in the vicinity of the City Hall escaped the looters’ wrath. The merchants simply lay on the ground, their faces in utter despair as all their goods were stolen in front of them.
Those who tried to stop the mob seemed to have been beaten into submission, their bodies lying on the ground. But the ferocious mob didn’t care for their wellbeing, solely focused on their raid.
The shops near the City Hall sold some of the more expensive goods in New Port City. Not even citizens of Port City were rich enough to purchase all the extravagant goods sold in these shops, but now they were free to grab for them all. A frenzied mob was not outside of the realm of possibility.
“What are those retards doing?”
Isaac sighed watching those Security agents form a perimeter around the airship, giving their best effort at holding the line. Then again, the Emperor’s airship was the most expensive thing here.
Just ripping off one of the decoratives on the airship would secure them a fortune, which was why the mob pushed on greedily despite the fierce look of the Security agents.
The power of numbers was indeed great. These citizens, who would have been no match against the Security agents in any way, persisted in probing for openings with their numbers. The agents, on the other hand, only prevented them from approaching the airship, merely pushing the mob back if they got too close. The mob grew bolder as time went on.
Isaac watched the raid unfold with a cigarette in his mouth and spoke to Soland.
“Bring your boys and make sure not one of… Actually, no. Who am I asking? They’ll just accept a bribe and create an opening for them.”
Soland couldn’t argue back against Isaac’s mumbling. He wasn’t confident his thugs would reject the bribes himself.
Isaac continued to watch the mess with a cigarette when Kainen noticed Isaac and pushed through the mob to approach him.
“We’d been defending the Airship as ordered by Lady Rivelia. We are now awaiting your orders.”
Isaac smirked. It meant that they only followed Rivelia’s orders as the second-in-command when Isaac wasn’t present. And now that Isaac was here, they’d listen to him no matter what.
“I see you guys are shitting your pants? But how come it’s only you guys here?”
Even if the mob had charged in here, they would not have been able to cause this much damage if the non-humans were present. But only Security agents were present here; not a single non-human was in sight.
“They’ve been sent to lock down the Ceta Distract to prevent the protestors from spreading out, as ordered by Lady Rivelia.”
“There’s no reason for them to go anywhere else when everything that’s worth a damn is all here.”
“They were sent to stop the citizens of New Port City, not the protestors.”
The citizens of two cities despised one another already. If the two groups were to clash, it wouldn’t end with just a few dead.
“Where’s the damsel?”
“… She’s trying to quell the protestors, but it doesn’t seem to have much effect.”
Rivelia’s reputation as a Sword Master and a Pendleton would normally inspire a mix of awe and fear, but the frenzied mob didn’t care about that at this point. She patrolled the lines, suppressing the protestors without injuring them, but the mob’s numbers were just too great.
“She’s trying so very hard.”
Isaac was watching Rivelia busily move about to suppress the mob when the mob noticed Isaac and shouted.
“It’s Isaac! Isaac is over there!”
“Waah! Kill him!! Kill Isaac!”
“Oh? Now they’re digging their own grave, aren’t they?”
“What should we do?”
Kainen asked, watching the mob charge toward them. Their numbers might have been overwhelming, but they were still no match against those who trained their entire lives to fight on battlefields.
Even against a disorderly mob, they couldn’t use lethal force outright per Rivelia’s orders. And so they had been meekly holding against the crowd thus far. But now, quelling the dissidents would only take moments with Isaac’s order.
Isaac chuckled as he watched the mob roar and thunder toward him. He then took out an eggbomb from his pocket, twisted it, and threw it into the crowd.
Concerned about the mob’s safety when they charged towards Isaac, Rivelia immediately noticed Isaac throwing the eggbomb. Adrenaline pumping, she dashed through the mob and kicked the eggbomb into the air before it could land among them.
With a deafening explosion, the manastorm shook the air above them. The mob screamed in terror and ducked. Suddenly, a cold silence befell the plaza. The mob slowly began standing on their two feet, the explosion bringing them back to their senses.