Release that Witch Chapter 456
He needed a lot of people in order to maintain the area's daily perimeter patrol. In a time before the general literacy rate improved, he had to rely on the nobles. Most of them had their primary education and they had experience in management. If there was a noble that distinguished himself from the others, he would promote them and place them in charge of a city or territory on behalf of himself. If he was still living in his previous world, this position would be referred to as a governor or a mayor.
Several minutes later, Roland brought up the next topic.
It was time to crack down on crime.
In his idea about the new order, the Black Street organization wasn't needed. Everyone in the city could find work and they didn't need to pillage, so there was no demand for stolen goods. He probably couldn't have accomplished this in a highly developed, modern city with a population in the ten million range. The over saturation of minimum-wage jobs in the market would create a high unemployment rate. Fortunately, the population of the Western Region, including Longsong Stronghold and the whole suburban area was no more than 60 to 70 thousand people. Since the major development had yet to start, the townspeople could find work as long as they wanted a job.
"How much do you know about Rats?"
"You mean... Black Street Rats?" Rene Medde coughed. "I've done business with them before."
"What kind of business have you done with them?" Roland asked with interest.
"Um..." Rene swallowed hard, a little embarrassed. "I was the leader of the Ragingfire, and I fought with several Rat gangs over territory."
"Bahaha." Several people broke into laughter.
Roland was astonished. He had never expected that the Earl's second son used to deal with Rats. Besides, Ragingfire... was such a lackluster name. He started to doubt the legitimacy of Rene being the Earl Medde's son.
"Your Highness, the truth is," Petrov started to explain, "several years ago, Black Street Forces were running rampant at the dock. Almost every day both civilians and foreign businessmen were killed, and the patrols would turn a blind eye to the matter. Earl Rene couldn't stand it anymore, so he brought in his own guards and a group of people from the refugee camp and together they drove the Rats out of the dock. At the time, he was writing to me daily to keep me updated on the progress of the operation. I was far away at the King's City during that time. In the letter, he told me it was a war that equaled the one against the demonic beasts, so I think..."
So that was the reason. It was just the impulsive, yet gallant, actions of a young noble, which was a demonstration of his chivalrous demeanor. Roland believed that the second son of the Elk, who loved fighting as a youth, enjoyed nothing more than to command a group of followers. So, while Ragingfire was not a real army in the sense, what they fought was indeed a real battle.
"What of this gang now?"
"Uh, I don't know." Rene scratched the back of his head. "After I went to defend Hermes and fight against the real demonic beasts, I stopped all contact."
Roland nodded. "Actually, I'm going to eradicate all the Rats in Stronghold to enable everyone to live a peaceful life."
"Your Highness, I'm sorry to say this," Rene hesitated before saying, "but... that's probably impossible."
"Why?" He frowned. "I have the First Army at my side. Are the Rats more difficult to deal with than the knights?"
"That's not what I mean." Rene seemed to be looking for the right words to phrase it. "They're weak, timid, and with no weapons or armor. They don't even know any operation tactics, basically, they're by no means comparable to knights. However, if you execute them as you execute the rebels, that's to say, execute them just because they used to be Rats, I'm afraid there won't be many civilians left in Stronghold after the cleanup."
"You mean…" Roland said.
"Rats and civilians are mixed together, they are one and the same, Your Highness." Rene replied respectfully, "After a particularly bad year, when the Months of Demons are long, many civilians have to become Rats to sustain themselves. That's why most lords turn a blind eye to the existence of Black Street. An internal conflict is apparently better than an external riot caused by starvation."
Roland's face clouded over. He had never thought about how the Rats came into being. "What about their organizers?"
"A few of these people are habitual criminals and some of them are supported by the local nobles, but there are also some criminals from other towns."
"Well, I hope none of you are supporting any Rats now," the prince stated while glancing around the long table, sullen expression clear. All the nobles hung their heads in response. The prince sighed, "It doesn't matter now. As long as you help with my cleanup plan, I will forgive your past misdeeds."After a pause, he looked at Rene. "I have a task for you."
"Yes, Your Highness."
"In the coming month, I will be focusing on cracking down on all of the criminal activities in Stronghold. You should cooperate with the First Army to eliminate all of the Black Street gang leaders and completely break down all their organizations. As for the specific methods, I'll send someone to you with instructions."
"I'll let Petrov open the barn and distribute food to the citizens until the end of the Months of Demons."
The nobles around the table started to protest, "Your Highness, that's not going to work!"
"That type of support will just make things worse!"
"After that, everybody in the town will become a beggar!"
All of the nobles ventured to prevent him.
Roland slammed his fist down, hitting the table hard. "I've made up my mind and I don't want to hear your protests any longer!"
Roland knew the nobles thought the worst of people and believed them to be lazy, ignorant, incompetent, and filthy. They believed that the citizens were very greedy in their nature and considered them to be absolutely hopeless. However, Roland thought differently and knew the strength of the people. They may appear dumb, but with guidance and a role model, they could be a game changer. If people were really as useless as the nobles thought, how were they able to keep changing the world?
In fact, trying to better people was the best investment. Even the slightest positive change would have a larger payoff than could be expected.
"Finally, I want you to spread this message as soon as possible." Roland looked to Petrov, "You have experience in this, so I want you to work on it. If the subjects can't read the message, get someone to read it to them. Just make sure the written message contains what we have talked about here today."
"All of what we have discussed?" Petrov asked with a surprised look. "Even the information about the Rats clean-up plan?"
"Yes, include that and the information about the barn opening to distribute food." Roland glanced at the nobles around the table, challenging them. "These are the conditions that create a well-functioning City Hall and are a necessity in order for it to run properly. Publicize the policies, answer the people's questions, and accept feedback. This is the best way to implement a change to policy."
Roland believed he needed to first teach the nobles, and then unify the law by consolidating the administration, as well as enhance public safety, all the while carrying out political propaganda before re-establishing order.