Isaac glared at Rivelia resentfully. Rivelia pleaded, desperation in every word.
“Suppressing and killing are on two wholly different scales. You have to consider the public eye.”
Isaac may have been Central’s Director of Security, but in the public eye, he was just the Lord of New Port City. As a Lord, he had a duty to govern by law; that meant arresting and punishing rioters through the court system. If Isaac were to kill them as he wished without any trial proceedings—in plain sight no less—Gabelin would not be able to remain silent at Isaac’s action because of public outrage.
“The public’s eyes… I guess I did come far. To have someone advise me over something like that.”
Rivelia’s eyes were taken with worry, unable to predict the next words that would come out of Isaac’s mouth. Isaac took out a cigarette and looked at the rioters, who seemed to have regained better judgement and started to inch backwards.
“Yeah. The public eye. I’ll consider it. Cut off a limb of any who resist. I don’t care if it’s an arm or a leg.”
Rivelia protested Isaac’s orders, but Isaac commanded silence with a single hand.
“One more word from you, and I’ll slaughter them all instead.”
Knowing Isaac wasn’t bluffing, Rivelia didn’t dare open her mouth. With Rivelia silenced, Isaac turned to Kainen.
“What are you doing?”
“… Shit! It’s the Lord’s order! All personnel, unsheath your swords! Cut off the limb of any who resist! Commence!”
Kainen only hesitated briefly before bowing to Isaac’s stare. He grit his teeth and bellowed his orders. The Security Agents raised their swords at Kainen’s orders, their expressions torn.
“What? Cut what? Is he serious?”
The mob who heard Kainen mumbled to one another with uncertainty, when one man stepped out and made a show.
“Everyone! That’s just an empty threat! If we stay together…”
Kainen, as a show of force, cut off the man’s leg before he could finish his sentence.
The man fell to his side, grasping at his ankle, screaming. The mob, terrified by what they had just witnessed, began scattering in all directions.
The Security agents followed Kainen, gritting their teeth as they slashed apart the legs of those standing in front of them. Blood was spilled, and people fell one by one.
“Make sure you make it a clean cut. We’ll need to reattach it later. I must say, this world is pretty good when it comes to that.”
“This, this is a massacre.”
Rivelia trembled as she stared at Isaac amidst the tragedy. Isaac, on the other hand, took a puff of his cigarette and looked back, bewildered by her reaction.
“What’s the problem? I’m not killing them all, just cutting their limbs. You can reattach it later anyway.”
“That’s not the issue! How are you going to deal with the aftermath!”
Isaac smirked at Rivelia’s scream.
“Hey, damsel, you heard them say ‘kill Isaac’. Don’t you think this is a rather good way to put an end to it, considering the public eye? No? Should we really go to court with this?”
It was just as Isaac said. Not only did the mob loot Isaac’s property, they had cried for the death of Isaac, a Lord. Even if it was purely out of emotion and without reason, Isaac was completely in his rights to arrest them as suspects of a rebellion.
This was entirely within Isaac’s jurisdiction as a Lord—no matter how hard the Department of Law and Empire’s other departments that hated Isaac tried to stop him.
And if Isaac really wanted to follow the law to the letter, the Empire’s officials who were related to Port City citizens would be executed—not just the citizens that resided in Port City.
“And does it look like I have attachment to this city or wish to remain as its Lord? Do I look like I want a promotion? Or do I look like the merciful sort?”
While Rivelia protested in silence, Isaac spoke to Flander, who was more than eager to join the fray.
“Ah. The mercenary band has been officially hired by New Port City now. Go help out your superiors over there.”
“… Are they our superiors?”
Flander asked back, slightly dissatisfied. Isaac burst out in laughter.
“Kuku. Don’t talk back to them and listen to them well. They are more important than you think. You’ll know the reason why once you start working with them.”
“Yes Lord. You heard that, grunts! It’s time to work! Kill all the dissidents who dared lay their hands on our Lord’s property!”
“You’re not supposed to kill them!”
Rivelia’s pent-up frustration had found a new, less untouchable target: Flander. He flinched and changed his order.
“D—don’t kill them, but cut their limbs off. Clean! Got it?! Clean, so they can be reattached!”
Rivelia gazed at Flander contemptuously, who immediately dropped his tail and watched Rivelia’s mood warily.
“Ah. I forgot to ask this. Where did you find Kalden’s body?”
“We found him on one of the streets near the City Hall. I thought he was shot by the Expeditionary Forces as he was making his escape?”
Sharp as a nail, Rivelia immediately deduced that Isaac had found new evidence and asked him.
“I thought so too, but turns out, that wasn’t the case.”
Leaving the mop-up of the protestors to the Security agents and mercenaries, Isaac entered the airship’s meeting room accompanied by Soland and Rivelia. Within the room was the Emperor looking haggard, Duke Pendleton with a stiff expression, and the Queen leisurely sipping on her tea. She beckoned at Isaac with a welcome wave.
“Hey! It’s been a while.”
The haggard Emperor shouted at Isaac the moment he entered the room.
-What do you think you’re doing?!”
“Succeeding you, father.”1TLN: This is a reference to the human campaign ending of Warcraft 3 and is a frequently used meme/phrase in Korea. Watch the ending here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvwk5jpJ8Ec
The emperor asked back, dumbfounded. Isaac shrugged.
“I guess that joke doesn’t work in this place.”
-That joke was understood by a very small proportion in the other world in the first place.
The Queen snickered as she answered. Feeling that he’d been made into a fool, the Emperor’s face turned bright red.
-Now is not the time to make jokes! Stop what you’re doing immediately!
The Emperor roared with a glare. Isaac pouted his lips as if he’d been hurt.
“Then shall we do it by law?”
The law wasn’t supposed to be used in this way, but Isaac continued to use it to his own benefit while the Emperor had no choice but to let Isaac be. The Emperor grit his teeth and maintained his stare, while Isaac ignored him and threw himself onto the sofa.
“How did you guys find out? We didn’t even have time to report it, did we?”
-We’ve already created a broadcast station, and they are already fulfilling their mission dutifully. The attention can’t be helped when the news reports just keep on coming. Everything’s been broadcasted live, from the protestors turning into rioters, the looting, and the calls to kill Mr. Isaac to the agents subduing them mercilessly as ordered by Mr. Isaac.
“Why didn’t you stop the broadcast, knowing it would get complicated?”
The fallout of a video broadcast compared to just words and rumours were worlds apart. The media would definitely demand someone take responsibility, and then it’d become that much harder to fix the situation.
Isaac couldn’t understand how all this happened when he knew that Central had complete control over the media. Stopping the broadcast or altering the video would have been simple.
-The citizens of the Empire cannot know that we can stop or alter the broadcast yet.
Now with the Queen’s explanation, Isaac realised why Central had created the media. The sudden reveal was because they didn’t know when the Expeditionary Forces would reveal themselves, now that they had escaped the Forbidden Lands.
Playing with the public could not be easier with propaganda and media manipulation. And since the broadcast system itself was in its youth, people innocently believed that everything they saw on screen was the truth—never even considering that it could be altered or changed.
Disguising the Expeditionary Forces as evil invaders using the media would sow seeds of antipathy among the citizens and could thwart the possibility of citizens joining hands with the Expeditionary Forces completely.
This trump card was only usable while the media was in its innocent infancy. As time went on and people got used to the media, they’d realise that you could create contradicting news with the same single piece of footage.
That was why Central couldn’t just stop broadcasting Isaac throughout the Empire. If people realised that the footage could be manipulated or halted, they would grow suspicious at the Empire’s words when they revealed the Expeditionary Forces.
“You really do need to keep it safe since it can only be used once or twice.”
Realising that Isaac figured out Central’s intentions, the three on screen looked at Isaac in a new light.
“In a way this isn’t such a bad situation. The people will believe the news even more after this. And with definite proof captured, we actually prevented the tragedy from being much worse than it could have been.
The Emperor glared at Isaac and sighed. In truth, Isaac had carried out a simple solution for a situation that could have become much more complicated. If Isaac simply arrested the rioters and put them on trial, the Department of Law, as the neutral third party, needed to make a ruling. But there was only one ruling for people who attempted to kill a Lord.
All of the Emperor’s projects would have been crippled if he had suddenly lost his officials, especially as they were all loaded with work. But with Isaac violently subduing the rioters, the Emperor could use it as an excuse to cover up the rest.
-… Cunning bastard.
The Emperor grumbled. Had it never been possible in the first place? The Emperor was reminded again that Isaac wasn’t one to join forces and walk the same path.
He knew that Isaac was already in a precarious situation, and one bad step would topple him. Once Isaac had served his use and fell, that would be perfectly fine; but in the meantime, simply looking at Isaac frustrated him to no end.
“I considered the public eye in my solution.It’s been a while since I used my creativity despite my law-abiding spirit.”
-… Law-abiding spirit?
“Of course! You know one of my virtues is abiding by the law to the letter.”
Everyone didn’t even bother to talk back to Isaac, knowing he’d always been like this.
-Even so, this isn’t something you can just cover up quietly.
The Queen nodded in agreement with Duke Pendleton.
-True. The news itself is shocking enough, but seeing it with their own eyes is a completely different matter.
With so many things to cover up, the media had pounced on every little opening and persistently demanded answers. For the average citizen, Isaac was just a mere Lord, and his actions were an act of violence and beyond his rights.
Video footage had a completely different power compared to words and letters. And it was obvious how the citizens of the Empire would react after watching people scream and have their limbs cut off.
Central, unable to reveal Isaac’s identity, needed to silence the media or punish Isaac accordingly to appease the angered citizens who’d no doubt demand Isaac’s punishment. Neither were easy problems to solve.
“That’s a problem for you guys to deal with. Meanwhile, I’ve brought something interesting, so why don’t you have a look?”
Isaac nonchalantly waved his hand without worry. Soland stepped up and laid the debris over the table.
“You heard about how my hubaenim that got shot in the back of his head working for me, right? After investigating how he got shot, I found this.”
Isaac spoke as he quickly looked at the three’s faces. There was bound to be the slightest reaction if they were involved.
The Emperor frowned and looked at the debris as if it was his first time seeing them. Duke Pendleton’s lips clasped together with a look of dissatisfaction, while the Queen’s eyes glimmered with interest.
- 1TLN: This is a reference to the human campaign ending of Warcraft 3 and is a frequently used meme/phrase in Korea. Watch the ending here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvwk5jpJ8Ec