The banquet room of the governor’s residence once boasted splendid grandeur, however, it was now bleak and quiet that one could even call it desolate. The floor was broken in random places as if telling the horrors of ‘that day’, and the antique fireplace in the shape of a mermaid was devoid of fire and warmth.
Raven walked towards the head of the long table which was made to seat 30 people at a time. He nonchalantly wiped the dust off of his chair and the table before sitting down. He scanned the guilt-ridden employees before opening his mouth.
“We should clean up later and get something to eat for now. Who is the cook here?”
The employees’ gazes turned to one person at Raven’s words.
“Oh, no, I…”
A middle-aged woman stuttered with a flustered expression.
Raven tilted his head in confusion, and the woman managed to barely answer while cold sweat decorated her forehead.
“Well, I, I’m not a cook, Your Excellency. I just helped out with this and that in the kitchen…”
“Hmm, I see.”
It made sense.
This was the residence of Leus’ governor, one of the most prominent ports in the empire. They would not have hired an ordinary middle-aged woman to do their cooking but rather skilled masters, probably led by a renowned chef. Sagunda would not have settled for anything less.
However, all of them must have left as soon as Sagunda died. Their previous experiences would have left the employees at a loss when the new governor asked for something to eat.
Thankfully, Raven was not a picky eater. Rather, he was a person who enjoyed all sorts of cooking and likely less fussy than the average citizen.
“Yes, my lord!”
Raven gestured with his head, and Leon took out a leather pocket. He reached his hand inside the pocket before holding out some gold coins to the representative of the employees.
“Use that to buy some essential things we are lacking. Let me know if you need more.”
“N, not at all. This is plenty, Your Excellency.”
One gold coin could feed a whole family of commoners for a month if used conservatively. Three gold coins were plenty.
“Is that so? Oh, by the way. The people who have remained here. How long have you been here after the incident?”
“It has been a little over a month.”
“Then you must have not been paid for the duration. How much did everyone get paid for their work?”
People hesitated while looking around at each other. It was not easy to talk about such a topic in front of the new governor, a member of the empire’s great nobility.
Raven clicked his tongue at their attitudes and turned to the boy who was responsible for helping the governor mount and dismount their horse.
“You, what is your name?”
“Yes, yes! It is Terry, Your Excellency!”
“Alright, Terry. What did you usually do? Not that crap about helping the governor with the horse.”
“I helped out Mr. Yorin and worked in the stable! I gave the horses food and took care of their grooming…”
“Okay. So how much did you get paid for it?”
“I got a silver coin every month!”
Terry seemed to pick up on Raven’s personality quite quickly. He answered without hesitating.
Raven nodded quietly and looked around at Terry and all the shabby employees. Decades ago, when he was a member of the Valt family, the family stable boy had received a silver coin every month. Even after such a long time had passed, Terry was working while being paid the same amount as back then.
‘What a piece of shit…’
Raven inwardly swore at Count Sagunda. He could figure out the rest just by observing this situation. While Count Sagunda accumulated great wealth as the Governor-General of Leus, he literally treated his employees like mere dogs and pigs.
Raven shouted in a voice laced with subtle emotions, and Leon quickly stepped up as if he had been waiting. He approached the stable boy and held out a silver coin.
“I will pay you with the same wage for today. A new, separate salary will be decided afterwards.”
“T, thank you, Your Excellency!”
Terry bowed his head with an emotional face. He had received a month’s salary just by keeping his place after the crackdown at the residence. Then, everyone else started to step up one by one.
“I am Pete, and I worked as the gardener, sir. I received three silver coins every month…”
“My name is Rosa. I worked as the waitress, I received two silver coins…”
Leon paid the employees their wages in turn.
After finally receiving their due pay, the employees could not hide their excitement and bowed to the new governor.
“Thank you, thank you! Your Excellency, governor-general, sir!”
“May the protection of the goddess reside over you and all…”
Raven calmly raised his hand and stopped the employees.
“You do not need to thank me for giving you what you deserve. From this moment on, you will be paid twice your salaries from before, so I hope everyone continues to work hard.”
The faces of the employees brightened with joy and they shared astonished gazes with each other. They felt like jumping up and down at the miraculous situation, although they didn’t dare to act foolishly in front of the governor.
“Now, let’s get something to eat. Prepare something that everyone can enjoy together.”
“Yes! Marilyn, go to the market and shop for groceries. Laura, Neri, quickly clean this place up. Terry! Go grab some firewood and light up the fireplace.”
The employees quickly became busy with their assigned tasks. For the first time in a long while, the governor’s residence bustled with life and activity.
Passersby of Leus’ main road held their breaths.
A group of horses and soldiers were slowly crossing the road.
“T, the imperial army…”
“It’s the commander of the 7th regiment.”
Those who saw the symbol of the seahorse armed with a sword and a shield quickly took off their hats and bowed their heads before retreating to the sides of the road. Residents of Leus, foreign merchants, and even nobles were busy stealing glances at the knight who was riding at the forefront of the group.
“It’s the 7th regiment’s commander.”
“Viscount Moraine, the Great White Shark of Mulade.”
Moraine’s reputation as an imperial knight and a warrior of the sea was high. It was to the degree that everyone that had any relation to the inner sea knew of his name. In particular, pirates operating in the inland sea were terrified of the 7th regiment and its commander.
Viscount Moraine had no mercy towards pirates. Local lords tried to coexist with pirates by offering bribes or tolls in fear of retaliation, but Viscount Moraine immediately attacked when he saw a pirate ship. All the pirates that were captured by him were beheaded and discarded into the sea. However, he stopped attacking the pirates three years ago. Naturally, it was not due to his own volition, but rather due to the actions of Count Sagunda.
After Sagunda was appointed governor, he turned a blind eye to any pirates on the condition that they did not operate in any waters inward from Gerolta Island, a place around 10 nautical miles from the port of Leus. Furthermore, even a pirate ship was allowed to enter Leus by boat if the ship was docked with a white flag starting one nautical mile from the port.
Of course, most pirates did not act in such ways. It would be bringing a great shame upon themselves as pirates, or at least, that is what they claimed. The real reason for their lack of action was something else. Even if they flew a white flag and docked on the harbor, Mulade’s Great White Shark would follow them and smash them apart as soon as they left the safe zone.
In fact, Moraine’s immediate move following Sagunda’s death was to send a battalion and three combat ships to search for any pirates operating in the sea of Mulade. Unfortunately, the pirates near Gerolta Island hurriedly escaped with their tails between their legs as soon as they heard of Count Sagunda’s death.
Now that the Great White Shark of Mulade had once again begun its hunt, the sailors felt awe and fear at the appearance of the 7th regiment and Viscount Mulade on the main roads of Leus.
“Where are they headed towards?”
“I think it might be the governor’s residence.”
“D, don’t tell me that they are planning to pick a fight with the new governor…?”
“Are you crazy? The opponent is the Duke of Pendragon.”
All sorts of speculations were made from the crowds. However, Viscount Moraine rode his horse towards the governor’s residence with a relaxed look, slowly heading towards where Duke Pendragon was.
“G, governor general! The 7th regiment and Commander Moraine… T, they have arrived in the courtyard!”
Raven was enjoying a lunch that was hurriedly prepared but fairly generous. The old representative of the employees, Romeo, had taken on the role as the temporary butler. He notified Raven in an urgent voice.
The faces of a few employees turned pale at the words of Romeo, and some weak-bodied women even started to hiccup. They were all first-hand witnesses to the 7th regiment’s actions at the governor’s residence. The soldiers of the 7th regiment had captured the relatives of Count Sagunda and mercilessly slaughtered anyone who resisted. Even now, they had nightmares about the incident, and their reaction to the announcement was quite natural.
“They don’t have any manners, do they? One should not even touch a dog when it is eating...”
Raven spoke in a cold voice. As the employees trembled with fear, Raven wiped his mouth with a napkin and slowly stood up from his seat.
“Yes, my lord.”
Isla and Leon immediately stood up from his left and right. Raven waved his hand to the frightened employees who attempted to stand up as well.
“There is no need. They have come to see me, so you can continue eating.”
Despite Raven’s words, the employees were at their wits’ end. Their lord, the Duke of Pendragon and the Governor of Leus, had stood up first, and as his employees, they could not continue to eat comfortably.
“If I say it is okay, it’s okay. Your jobs are to eat well and to work hard. Romeo, when you are done with your meal, you can direct everyone to their jobs.”
“Yes, yes! Your Excellency!”
Romeo hurriedly bowed his head and signaled to the other employees. Befitting his age, Romeo was quick to discern that Raven meant his words.
The employees finally squirmed back into their seats.
“Now, let’s go do our first job…”
Raven cracked his neck from side to side before moving his steps. Leon and Isla followed behind like Raven’s shadows.
“It’s empty. As they say, there are no flowers that bloom for ten days. Count Sagunda’s residence is now in ruins.”
Sir Isak, a battalion captain of the 7th regiment, murmured as he looked around the courtyard of the miserable residence. Bloodstains could be found in various places and the cold sea breeze swept through the lonely remains.
“Pff! That’s because you…”
Viscount Moraine started to laugh at Sir Isak’s words, but it was cut off by a voice colder than the desolate sea breeze. It resounded through the entire courtyard and caught everyone’s attention.
“You talk like it’s somebody else’s business. Aren’t you the ones responsible for the mess?”
The eyes of Viscount Moraine and the rest of the troops turned towards the voice simultaneously.
Someone walked out between two men – one of them expressionless to the degree that one could believe he was born without the ability to make an expression, and the other with well-defined facial features. The young knight was adorned with a silver chest plate and a silver cape, both of which were decorated with the symbol of a dragon. He strode towards the group and spoke while looking down at the courtyard with an apathetic expression.
“I am Alan Pendragon, the new Governor-General of Leus. Are you, Sir, Viscount Moraine, the commander of the 7th regiment?”
Viscount Moraine became a little startled but then proceeded to answer with a glee.
“That is correct. Nice to meet you, Your Excellency Governor-General Pendragon.”
Although he greeted Raven with words, Moraine did not bow his head or give a military salute. He observed the young governor while standing proudly and with a mysterious smile.
Isla’s eyebrows wriggled as he observed the sight from behind Raven’s back.Previous Chapter Next Chapter