Chapter 165

The interviews for recruiting new city officials ended a little past noon, which was earlier than expected. It was thanks to the presence of Viscount Moraine that the corrupted officials of the past cleared up on their own during the interviews.

The total number of people selected was 24. All of them were to be assigned heavy responsibilities as middle-level management.

“As you already know, those who are left here now will work as city officials in the future. You will all be assigned to departments that you expressed interest in during the interviews, and the specific positions will be announced in four days.”

“Yes, your excellency!”

The successful candidates answered with one voice. Even though it was winter, the table of the grand banquet room was filled with various seafood dishes. It seemed that Leus lived up to its reputation as a port city.

“As the new governor, I was deeply moved by the fact that Leus possesses so many talented people. However, there are a few things I would like to mention.”

The crowd became a little nervous.

The new governor was much younger than them, but they had heard various rumors about his personality and demeanor. Moreover, they had personally experienced the governor’s attitude during the interviews.

He did not discriminate based on status, and he was a strict man that distinctly separated private matters from personal matters, unlike the previous governors.

“First, anyone who receives bribes or accumulates wealth in dishonest ways using their status as a city official of Leus will be fired immediately and sentenced to port labour.”

The successful candidates nodded as if it was only natural. When Sagunda was governor, numerous citizens and port workers suffered under the tyranny of the officials, and they were among the many victims.

They would never do such foolish things now that they had achieved their dreams at last.

“But I also know that it was somewhat inevitable because the salary of city officials of Leus was lower compared to other cities before. In consideration of this, the city officials, regardless of rank, will receive an increased salary of 20% from before, and depending on the rank, 10 to 20 pounds of pork or lamb will be distributed as well.”

“Wow…!”

Everyone was astonished.

This could be considered a significant, impactful change.

Most of them would be put into middle management, so earning an additional 20 percent meant that they would be receiving two or three more silver coins every month. In addition, pork and lamb could be consumed directly, but it could also be sold in the market to earn some extra money, perhaps equal to about 20 or 30 percent of their salary. The characteristic of a port city was that seafood was cheap, while other types of meat were more expensive compared to other regions.

In the end, they would be receiving up to a 50 percent increase in their salaries, so it was natural for the successful applicants to be joyous.

“Second, the salaries of city officials and guards shall be paid in Pendragon gold.”

“…..?’

Everyone in the room displayed puzzlement at Raven’s words, including Viscount Moraine and his troops.

But their questions were quickly resolved at Raven’s subsequent remarks.

“Pendragon gold used in other regions will have a value of 80% of the existing imperial gold coins, but here in Leus, exchange rates will be one-to-one. It has already been approved by the emperor himself, and the edict will soon be announced.”

“Ah…!”

“Furthermore, any business conducted in my city of York Town will use Pendragon gold as the primary currency as well, meaning it’s a trustworthy currency.”

“Ohh.”

Most nodded their heads. They were not completely sure in their understanding, but they were satisfied if the Pendragon gold coins had the same value as existing imperial golds. They knew that they would not make a loss if even merchants were using the currency.

However, a few of the successful applicants’ expressions changed immediately, especially those related to financial affairs and imports and exports. They were already aware of the existence of Pendragon gold.

They were aware that the gold content was 70 percent of the imperial gold, but the exchange rate would be set at 80 percent.

Merchants who travelled from and to York Town had spread the rumors while they passed through Leus. The biggest rumor was that the Giovanni Chamber of Commerce was set to receive all their proceeds from the contract in York Town in Pendragon gold.

The gold content was 70 percent, and the exchange rate was 80 percent, but now they were hearing an even more incredulous tale. The new governor had just announced the exchange rate of Pendragon gold to imperial gold in Leus to be 1 to 1.

This meant that the conversion of Pendragon gold coins to imperial gold coins available in Leus would yield significant gains.

If a currency that contained less gold but had equivalent value was to spread into the city, it was obvious that the value of the existing imperial gold coins would shoot up.

Furthermore, the gold coins were cast in the new governor’s estate, the Pendragon Duchy. In addition to the giant trading metropolis known as York Town, he would be able to spread the new currency into the city of Leus.

Then, once city officials and merchants started using the new currency, it would naturally flow into the hands of ordinary citizens as well. The gold coins of Pendragon would seep its way throughout the entire empire.

‘The new governor is amazing to a degree it’s almost scary…’

The few who were knowledgeable about the economy felt a chill run down their backs.

Technically speaking, it was certain that Duke Pendragon would accumulate great wealth during his reign, just like the previous governors. But unlike his predecessors, he would gain wealth purely from his achievements.

No one in the trading city of Leus could berate the rewards of Raven’s own reaping. It was a legitimate way that did not parasitize the citizens of Leus or take bribes from merchants.

“Ah, by the way, about the issue of city guards…”

Everyone in the 7th regiment perked their ears at Raven’s remarks as the new governor turned towards Viscount Moraine. The new governor had not brought along any troops, so the 7th regiment was currently in charge of security of Leus and its gates as well.

However, the 7th regiment was an imperial regiment under the command of the emperor, so they could not continue to serve as peace officers of Leus.

“His imperial majesty told me that I was responsible for taking care of the city’s security and protection. So I was thinking, what if three companies of the 7th regiment took turns every few months in guarding the city? Of course, I will be responsible for all the expenses that come out of it.”

“Hooh…”

Viscount Moraine showed an interest, and the rest of the knights and soldiers showed a hopeful expression. It would be much more comfortable to be stationed in Leus on guard duty compared to sailing on the inland seas in harsh conditions.

“It will not be a bad deal for the 7th regiment either, correct? You have to recruit extra troops anyways, but it will take some time to get the required funds from the imperial castle after approval. In the meantime, you can take care of the security of Leus and do naval training. At the same time, it will make it easier for you to recruit new soldiers.”

“Hmm….”

The 7th regiment waited silently as Viscount Moraine sank into thought. One word from their commander could place them in either heaven or hell.

“Good, let us do that. Once every two months, three companies from the 7th regiment will take turns.”

“Wooooh!”

The knights and the soldiers of the 7th regiment shouted out loud. But their joy was instantly shattered.

“For the time being, you will be in charge of commanding and training the security forces, Sir Isak.”

“At your command!”

Isak took a step forward and saluted. The expressions of the troops turned worse for the wear. They could not believe that the Ghost Blade of Mulade would directly command and train them…

They thought it might even be preferable to go out to the sea on a battleship.

“Then how shall we pick the companies… Shall we draw lots? Or maybe we should play the ladder game?”

Isak smiled brightly.

Goosebumps appeared on the soldiers of the 7th regiment, the very same soldiers who displayed their bravery all over the inland sea.

The dinner continued in a friendly atmosphere.

Unlike in the past, the soldiers and knights of the 7th regiment naturally mingled with the successful applicants that would soon become officials. Raven also drank with them and clinked glasses with Viscount Moraine throughout the evening.

Word quickly spread that the new governor had hired new city officials.

Some coony merchants brought wine and food, and even bands and sensual dancers under the excuse of celebration and offering congratulations. Eventually, the banquet hall of the governor’s residence became even more crowded and noisy.

It felt a little over-the-top, but Leus had its own customs and traditions as an old port city, and Raven tolerated it. Vincent had given him advice not to stop the people of Leus from uplifting themselves after months of confusion and fear.

“Nice to meet you, your excellency governor-general. I am in charge of the Leus branch of the Jonathan Brothers, I…”

“I have heard a lot from Sir Giovanni. I oversee the Leus branch…”

Powerful, influential merchants that moved Leus came one by one to offer their greetings to Raven. Of course, all of them were aware of the new governor’s nature, so none of them brought expensive gifts or conspicuous bribes.

“I hear you have undergone a lot of difficulties due to the unpleasant incident. From now on, I promise that you will be able to focus on your business.”

Raven responded to their greetings. Everything was going as he predicted.

As the banquet continued with the 7th regiment, merchants, and to-be-officials, several more people arrived in the banquet room.

***

‘There are more people than I thought.’

‘It’s a good sign.’

As soon as they entered the banquet room of the residence, Rollo and Carlin exchanged subtle glances. This truly was the best conditions to carry out an assassination.

“Whew! It makes me feel great that so many people are lively and having a good time!”

Baltai buzzed as he observed the giant room filled with around a hundred people. Romeo, the temporary butler, responded with a proud expression.

“Perhaps because it is the first banquet since the governor-general took office. It is all thanks to his excellency.”

“Haha! I am glad to see His Excellency Pendragon is so popular! It seems Leus will develop a step further.”

“Oh, I agree completely!”

Romeo nodded in assent as Baltai praised his master.

As the two exchanged pleasantries, a certain lady was dying to meet her love.

“Duke Pendrag…. No, where is the governor-general?”

Romeo pointed in response to Luna’s question.

“Yes, Lady Seyrod. His Excellency the Governor is over there.”

Four people’s gazes turned simultaneously.

Raven’s face came into her view. He was surrounded by several people under the escort of Isla and Leon.

“Um…!”

Luna’s small lips exuded a low exclamation of joy and embarrassment. Her gaze tightly fixated on Raven.

‘Do you know how much… I missed you?’

Her whole body trembled and her heart beat rapidly.

In that moment, Raven happened to turn his head, and the eyes of the two people met in the air.

“Ah…!”

Luna blushed and lowered her face when the deep blue eyes met her own.

“Hmm?”

Raven displayed surprise after noticing Luna.

Why was she here now when she should be in York Town?

He scanned the figures that were by her side with a tilt of his head. There was a young boy with rosy cheeks and a reliable-looking young man.

And…

“……!”

Raven’s expression changed instantly.

He saw a face that he recognized. He was without the ogre skull helmet, but Raven would never forget that face even after he spent an eternity in hell.

“Bal…tai…”

Nemesis.

Raven muttered the cursed name in a suppressed groan, and the White Dragon’s Spirit began to rise like wildfire over Raven’s entire body.

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