A year’s worth of budget in the city of Leus, or rather, the annual budget of the entire region of Merlade did not reach 100,000 gold coins.
But now, the governor had made an incredulous claim. Three times that amount was on its way to Leus.
“The exchange rates with the imperial coins will be one to one for now. But the gold content is…”
Some merchants had already begun calculating profits by ferociously moving the abacus in their heads, and Delmont, who had been trying to educate the new governor, could only open and close his mouth repeatedly with a dumbfounded expression.
The local leaders showed a similar reaction.
They possessed some land in the city as well as its surroundings. They were able to quickly figure out how big an impact 300,000 gold coins would bring.
The new governor had stated that it would only be for a few months, but they were certain that the main currency of Leus would be converted into Pendragon gold.
Most importantly, money from other regions would be driven towards Leus and York Town. Any merchants would go crazy at the opportunity that the Pendragon gold would bring.
‘Should I just head over to York Town?’
‘It’s in full development, so quite a few towns should be erected in its vicinity as well.’
‘Now I think of it, I heard that they were starting a large cotton business in York Town, right?’
The merchants looked towards the chairman while such thoughts passed through their minds. The governor was looking at them with a mysterious smile.
The agenda he had just proposed was not actually a proposal. Rather, it was an absolutely irresistible gift for them. The heavens must have been rewarding them for the struggles of the past few months.
However, they also knew that nothing was free in the world.
It was clear that the new governor would demand something in return.
“If there are no more questions, I will ask for a vote on the agenda.”
People who were whispering quickly came to their senses at Raven’s words.
As the attention of the hall shifted back towards him, Raven continued while looking around at the parliament.
“Members who are in favor may voice their opinions in front of Goddess Illeyna and the emperor.”
The majority of the participants raised their voices to express their approval. In essence, the result had already been decided, but Raven spoke again. He could not ignore proper procedures.
“The dissenters shall speak in front of Goddess Illeyna and the emperor.”
There was no voice of opposition.
Raven tapped the hammer with a satisfied expression.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
“I hereby declare that the bill has been passed in the name of Goddess Illeyna and his Royal Majesty. The secretary must post the results in front of the hall by noon.”
Nodding at the secretary’s answer, Raven looked at the parliament with a smile.
“Well, we have solved one problem. Then, I will move on to the next agenda.”
The parliament fell silent.
The parliament was composed of local leaders from noble backgrounds and merchants. All of them noticed that the new governor was about to speak to his demands, what he wanted in return for the gift.
“You must have all heard that I am trying to build up the 7th regiment.”
The participants swallowed their saliva with a slightly darker expression. Surely enough, the most sensitive topic had been brought up.
“I will no longer talk about the relationship that the traitor Sagunda had with the pirates of the inland sea. I don’t care whether you knew about it or not, because matters gone are matters past.”
Some looked to be slightly relieved.
Obviously, they were those who once had a symbiotic relationship with Count Sagunda.
“Due to such happenings, the most important thing for me now as Governor-General of Leus is the safety of the city, and the safety of those who trade from various kingdoms in the south. That is the way to preserve the tradition and reputation of Leus as the first port city of our empire.”
The participants nodded their heads. They had immediately seen through the deeper meaning of Raven’s words. He had packaged it as ‘tradition and reputation’, but he was actually promising them the continuation of good money.
Since they profited from the business and the trades in the port, the guarantee of safety in the sea was what the merchants wanted most.
The participants exchanged glances.
They had a rough idea of what the new governor wanted.
“I have been trying to fortify the 7th regiment, even using the capital of the Pendragon Duchy, but unfortunately, I am a little short of funds. That is why I would like to ask for your help as members of the Leus Parliament and long-standing supporters and protectors of this land.”
Raven paused briefly. The participants had nervous expressions. They were anxious about how much the new governor would call out. Raven continued.
“We need about 1,000 more gold coins to recruit naval forces and build galleys. I would like to suggest sharing this burden with the members of parliament, all of you who have worked hard towards regional development.”
The participants quickly began calculating in their heads. As they quickly finished calculating the proposed input by the number of participants, all of them nodded inwardly.
‘That’s a steal.’
‘It might be a bit of a burden, but it is much better than giving it all to the pirates.’
‘I should be able to score a better relationship with the 7th regiment commander with this.’
The participants looked around with satisfied expressions.
But Raven had not finished yet.
“In addition, I was told that all of the past governors brought their private soldiers to handle the city’s security when they took office. Or they hired mercenaries to do the job.”
“That is correct…”
The participants narrowed their eyes with curiosity.
The 7th regiment was responsible for the safety of the sea and the areas outside the city, but the security of the city always fell as the responsibility of the governor. The past governors always brought their own knights and soldiers or hired mercenaries.
The new governor, however, had not brought along any troops. Inwardly, the members had been worried about the security due to this fact.
No matter how strong orcs were, security required numbers, not individual strength.
“Don’t you think it is time for us to stop wasting the city’s money as salaries for soldiers brought by the governors? Their loyalty lies with the governor, not to Leus, and they will be gone after the governor’s term ends. What do you think?”
The participants stroked their chins while sharing glances.
The governor had brought up a point that had been long discussed in secret for decades. Realistically, it was a waste of money for the City of Leus to pay salary and provide equipment for the governor’s soldiers when they were only staying temporarily.
They were troops that received their salary from the city but were loyal to the governor. Most importantly, the previous governors were typically High Lords, so the knights and soldiers under his command were arrogant but unskilled.
“So are you suggesting that Leus should build its own army?”
When a participant raised his hand and asked, Raven lightly shook his head.
“To be exact, it will not be an official army. I guess, more of a militia?”
The attendees began to buzz.
Silencing them with his hammer, Raven continued on.
“Their official title is unimportant. Anyway, my suggestion is to organize a 200, 300-strong unit in charge of urban security. Of course, the cost of recruiting and maintaining the troops will be procured by the city and the parliament together.”
Some frowned lightly.
All in all, he wanted them to pay more.
Moreover, the governor was calling them troops of Leuse, but in reality, they might become a unit that would be under the control of the governor.
Raven laughed inwardly when he noticed that the expressions of the members had changed. In fact, he had also shown a similar reaction when he first heard the plan from Vincent, as Vincent had brainstormed most of what Raven had said today.
Raven thought that the parliament members would not pay money out of their pockets to create a force that might be empowering the governor. However, as usual, the raccoon that dominated the empire’s commerce was a few steps ahead of the average man.
“We will elect a civilian commander from the parliament. The parliament will discuss and decide everything, including the equipment to be provided, the number of troops to be maintained, and the term of the civilian commander.”
Everyone put on a bewildered expression and unknowingly exhaled a sharp breath.
“The militia will serve only Leus and listen to the orders of the parliament. Of course, there might be a possibility that they might come to possess different ideas, but I do not think it is a cause for worry. They will not be the only military force residing in Leus and Merlade.”
“Right. The 7th regiment is located just around the corner…”
The imperial army consisted of professional soldiers numbering dozens of times more than the militia. The militia would not even consider the possibility of a rebellion with such a scary watchdog right under their nose.
The events that transpired after the death of Count Sagunda proved their ferocity. None of Sagunda’s relatives in Leus were able to escape through the 7th regiment’s encirclement, as they procured both the land and the sea.
“Moreover, the parliament will be holding the purse strings for the budget, right?”
“Hmm! Then they will listen better than the forces that the previous governors had brought in.”
Everyone’s expressions brightened at once.
The governor’s suggestion regarding security could be considered an additional present. Naturally, the budget would come out of their own pockets, but the Leus Parliament had long hoped for an independent force belonging to the City of Leus.
The new governor had presented them with such an opportunity.
“This is only my prediction, but if all the items on today’s agenda are passed and the announcement is made, the people will love it. The parliament would be lighting up the lights in a city that has been in turmoil for months. Would you not agree?”
Raven’s soft, calm voice delivered the final blow. Everyone had an epiphany at Raven’s suggestion.
It was just as he said.
The 7th regiment had intervened after the treason of Count Sagunda was exposed, and the city was devastated. The object of their resentment was Count Sagunda and his relatives, but no matter the circumstance, it was hard for the silent parliament to avoid the arrow of criticism.
In such times, however, Governor Pendragon took over and did various things, regaining the trust of the citizens. However, the public favor was still against the members of the parliament, even though they had spent many years with the residents as local natives.
Hence, when the governor announced the reopening of the parliament, the eyes and ears of the citizens naturally headed towards it. Everyone, including the residents and the merchants, were wondering what would come out of the parliament, especially since it was being held for the first time since the inauguration of the new governor.
“Well, we will have to pass the vote to see any reactions, but… Anyways, I will ask for the vote of the members.”
All participants eagerly raised their voices.
“Members who are in favor of these changes. Speak. Parliament members will be responsible for the budget for the recruitment of naval forces and the production of galley ships, and a militia unit will be created to ensure the security of Leus. Speak in front of Goddess Illeyna and His Majesty.”
A roar filled the House of Parliament.
That afternoon, a notice of all agenda items adopted by the parliament was posted in front of the parliamentary building and on the Leus Central Square bulletin board. It was the first notice from the parliament in several months.
Needless to say, ordinary citizens rejoiced and praised the new governor and the parliament. Active mercenaries based in Leus also welcomed the new changes as well. The post stated that any man over the age of 17 could apply to become a member of the militia, and that long-time mercenaries of Leus would be given preferential treatment.
The 7th regiment was favorable to the changes as well.
With the construction of a militia, city security would no longer be their responsibility, and they could finally focus on defending the walls of Leus and the surrounding seas.
Furthermore, the training of the militia was to be left to the 7th regiment. This bolstered their pride as imperial soldiers.
But not everyone welcomed the decision of Raven and the Leus Parliament.
When their fears became reality, the pirates, southern smugglers, and those involved with the Arangis family felt suffocated and grinded their teeth in frustration.
The decision made by the governor of Leus was an open declaration of his attitude. He would grasp the City of Leus in his palms and punish those who opposed him.
It was an impenetrable net.
The plan was meticulously woven to ensnare the entire City of Leus and to catch the public, merchants, parliament, and even opposing forces.
But they were ignorant of the true depth of Raven’s plans.
The web weaved by Raven and the genius Vincent Ron was not ‘only’ covering the City of Leus… In fact, it was a huge net that would cover the southern part of the empire, including the inland seas.Previous Chapter Next Chapter