“Y, your Excellency Governor Pendragon!”
“The Governor-General of Leus has arrived!”
Hundreds of troops from the 7th regiment crossed the main road of Leus while accompanying Raven and Viscount Moraine, which caused a huge commotion from the crowds. Countless people quickly flocked to the side of the road, and soldiers were forced to step out to control them. The crowds were composed of residents, sailors, and even foreigners. All of them gathered to cheer for Raven and threw their hats into the air.
The Duke of Pendragon was both a hero of the South and a benefactor for those who lived off the inland sea. He worked alongside the 7th regiment to exterminate the pirates of the inland sea, making the sea routes safer and greatly increasing trade.
“It is good to see all of you.”
Raven waved lightly atop his saddle. Although he disliked empty formalities and being hassled, he answered the enthusiasm of the crowd with a smile of his own. This was a natural duty and obligation for him as the governor to respond to the crowds.
However, the news of his arrival in Leus spread so quickly that people continued to flock without stopping. Raven was unable to reach his residence for an entire hour.
The employees of the residence stood in a row and bowed deeply as Raven entered the residence. Romeo, the butler of the residence, was present at the front of the line.
“Long time no see, everyone. How have you been?”
Raven dismounted his horse and held their hands while expressing friendliness.
“Thanks to the grace of Your Excellency, our humble selves have been living a comfortable life.”
Some of the women even stole tears of joy. Raven patted them on the shoulders before heading into the residence.
Raven became impressed as he passed by the reception room. Not a single speck of dust could be found on the floor and the furniture. They were practically glowing under the bright sunlight, and nothing had changed at all since his last visit.
“I must have troubled you to have the place so tidy by announcing my visit so suddenly.”
“Oh, no. Not at all! We cleaned the bedroom, study, and the reception room every single day without fail. All the employees, including myself, have been looking forward to the governor’s return and preparing.”
Romeo bowed with embarrassment.
Raven was quite moved by Romeo’s attitude. It wasn’t just the personnel of Conrad Castle who worried and waited for him. The people of Leus were also genuinely concerned for his well-being as well.
“Great work. Ah, yes. The baggage on my horse contains gifts I brought from the South for all of you.”
“Heuk! H, how could we dare…!?”
Romeo and the employees were at a loss. How could the exalted governor bring gifts for their humble selves?
Raven felt a little embarrassed and called upon Leo instead. The young knight stepped forward and spoke in a proud voice.
“The duke praises all the employees of Leus for working hard, even in his absence. He will bestow all the employees of the Leus residence with five Pendragon gold coins, spices from the South, and silk.”
“Oh my gosh…!”
All of the employees were greatly moved, regardless of their age or gender. In most cases, nobles would bring along mundane gifts for their employees after being absent for a long time. Items such as wheat or dried meat were among the most common gifts.
The employees would usually go to the marketplace to trade it for something they needed.
But gold coins, spices, and silk?
Five gold coins alone was a huge amount of money, but southern spices and silk were precious items that poor commoners couldn’t even dream of their entire lives.
“We will never forget your boundless grace until the day we die, Your Excellency!”
“We will not forget!”
The rest of the employees echoed Romeo’s words with emotional voices.
“There’s no need to go that far. It’s nothing much. Many people will be with us tonight, so I would appreciate it if you could give it a little more attention.”
Raven hurried into the study after finishing his words. He felt embarrassed to be receiving such grateful gazes.
“Please leave it to us!”
The employees answered in a unified voice. Vigor and energy overflowed in their voices, as if they could even catch whales bare-handed.
“Let us talk about the situation in more detail.”
Viscount Moraine nodded at Raven’s words. They were seated around a table in the study.
“For now, as Your Excellency knows very well, the threat of pirates has almost disappeared in major waters of the inland sea. Although the annihilation of the three great pirates played a big part, John Myers also contributed a great deal.”
“Hmm, I had assumed as much. He sends detailed reports regarding all of his activities every so often.”
Raven seemed rather satisfied. John Myers once led the largest pirate group in the inland sea, but now he was acting as the captain of the Winter Storm Fleet, the naval division of the Pendragon Duchy. It appeared he was doing better than expected.
Raven had been worried of John Myer’s betrayal since the inland sea was very far from the Pendragon Duchy, but it appeared he had been worried for nothing. John Myers was a competent leader with overflowing charisma. He took charge of the newly built fleet, eliminating opposing forces and squashing any complaints.
Of course, eliminating didn’t only refer to killing. Instead, the enemies were thrown onto deserted islands with drinkable water. That way, they would not starve to death but were locked up to live the rest of their lives on the islands.
In addition, John Myers took care of the slaves he freed from the other pirate groups. Combining them with the residents who already lived on his islands, John Myers fairly distributed the aid he received from the Pendragon Duchy.
He picked out crops that could endure the strong sea winds and annual storms, then started various farms around the large islands. Moreover, livestock such as pigs could eat just about anything, including rotten fish. Such animals were being reared on the islands as well. Until now, the islands located in the inland sea had been dependent on fishing. If they were unsuccessful in their endeavors for a long time, they were sometimes half-forced to resort to pirating.
John Myers recognized the crucial point, devised, and implemented a plan to allow the residents of the islands to live a stable life that wasn’t entirely dependent on fishing. He had been an imperial nobleman before becoming a pirate, so he was able to fulfill his duties and responsibilities as a ‘vassal lord’ of the Pendragon Duchy at sea.
There was a great deal of support from Raven for John Myers and the island residents. In addition, El Pasa and Count Cedric received a great deal of help from the Pendragon family’s Winter Storm Fleet. As such, they eagerly provided John Myers with anything he required. Their actions entailed a sense of gratitude and reward for those that fought together, but politically, it was advantageous for El Pasa to establish a solid relationship with the Pendragon family’s fleet.
The waters near the ports were secured, but the same wasn’t necessarily true for the deep seas. Merchant ships could travel with confidence if John Myers and the fleet took care of the waters that used to be full of pirates, including the Island of Death.
In other words, a port city like El Pasa could develop much more through establishing a friendly relationship with a man like John Myers.
Ultimately, it was certain that the ‘sea territory’ of the Pendragon Duchy would develop further through the actions of John Myers. They would ensure the safety of the sea while maintaining mutually advantageous relationships with the different forces at sea.
“I thought he was a mere pirate boss, but he is more capable than I thought.”
“It’s the least we should expect from him. If the atmosphere turns strange, we can have the 7th regiment visit at any time.”
Raven grinned and responded to the words of Viscount Moraine. It didn’t matter if John Myers was scheming something behind their backs. The Pendragon Duchy and the 7th regiment possessed something he did not have – the griffons. Griffons could be utilized in the inland ship by shipping them out at any time on a large battle ship.
John Myers had recently experienced the strength of the griffon army firsthand. It was certain that he would never have any other thoughts after recalling how powerful and fearful the Pendragon family’s griffons were.
“Anyways, I do not think we need to worry too much about the inland sea. John Myers is already doing a great job. Some of the small pirates are hiding in the waters near Crete Island, but I think it’s better to leave them be.”
“Hmm, I agree with you on that. Without any tension, people are likely to take peace for granted.”
Raven agreed with Viscount Moraine.
Most of the people who traveled on the inland sea were merchants. Merchants could change their minds at any time according to their own interests. If the sea became too calm, they could take it for granted and have other thoughts. Therefore, it would be better to leave some of the pirates to maintain fear and gratitude for the 7th regiment and the Pendragon fleet. It would take too much money and time to set out on an expedition to exterminate the remaining pirates anyways.
“All of the issues regarding the sea are being handled pretty well…. What about the port and the city?”
“I think it would be better for you to hear about the port and the city from the related officials…”
Viscount Moraine licked his lips as the conversation entered unfamiliar territory. Raven responded with a grin.
“You are right, but you will be serving as governor from next year, right? Don’t feel pressured. Let us talk about your thoughts.”
He coughed vainly before speaking.
“First of all, the number of merchant ships entering the port has doubled compared to last year. Leus is quite a large port city, so it can handle the issue to a certain extent, but the ships are being delayed due to a lack of manpower in the ports.”
“Hmm, so we will need to provide some extra manpower.”
“That is correct. But I don’t think it will be too difficult to solve the issue with manpower. I think the main problem lies somewhere else.”
Raven showed curiosity. Viscount Moraine replied with a rather serious expression.
“A lot of the ships and personnel entering Leus are new. They are foreigners to Leus.”
“Is this a matter of concern to you?”
“Yes. To put it simply, there are a lot of people who are unfamiliar with the culture of Leus and our empire. In fact, there have been far more conflicts between sailors at ports and nearby pubs compared to previous years. The friction between the foreigners and the guards has increased significantly as well.”
Raven took on a serious expression as well.
The port was a place where tough sea men gathered together. Conflicts and fistfights were rather frequent. If newcomers were coming to such a place and ballooning the problem, it would grow to be quite a serious issue. Above all, the Leus underworld was like an ownerless mountain of gold after the collapse of the pirates and the death of Toleo Arangis.
It was clear that bullies and former pirates would be gathering from all parts of the empire to aim for the vacant position.
“I think we should increase the number of guards for now.”
Viscount Moraine suggested a method that was befitting of his status as an imperial knight. Evil was to be suppressed with force. As a knight, it was the most legitimate way to subdue such problems.
But Raven shook his head.
“No. They will never disappear. If you press too hard, the problem may grow even bigger. Especially when the business is booming like now, it will be better for both the finances and residents to maintain a good atmosphere in the city and the port.”
Viscount Moraine nodded with eyes of admiration. Duke Pendragon was much younger than himself, but a remarkably capable monarch as well as a knight. Surely it would be inefficient to control such a huge city by pure force.
Even the imperial capital had a shady underground that had existed as long as the history of the empire.
“Then what do you think we should do?”
“Fortunately, my advisor has lived here for quite a while.”
Viscount Moraine nodded in understanding. He knew that Vincent, the advisor to the duchy and a knight of Pendragon, was formerly the henchman of Governor-General Sagunda.
“As such, I was able to obtain quite a bit of information about this place. There is no guarantee that everything will be the same as in the past, but I think we might be able to come to a solution if we can invite some of the renowned figures and have a good conversation…”
“Have a good… conversation…?”
Viscount Moraine asked with a puzzled expression while staring at the smile on Raven’s lips. His smile betrayed his thoughts. Raven’s definition of ‘a good conversation’ would surely be deviant from its original connotation.Previous Chapter Next Chapter