Release that Witch Chapter 569
As the desolate spring came to an end, summer was drawing near. The population growth rate of City of Neverwinter enjoyed its first explosive peak.
The mission of attracting refugees in the southern and eastern areas began to take effect. With the experience from the previous year, the working efficiency of the envoy teams greatly increased. Every day, hundreds of refugees gathered in Redwater City and Willow Town, waiting for the boats from the Western Region to transfer them to City of Neverwinter, which was said to be rich and stable.
In order to appropriately accommodate these people, the City Hall also commissioned businessmen to rent temporary barracks at the gathering place, and offered porridge and water, to prevent any accidents before the refugees arrived at the Western Region.
The pier of the Border Area had become the busiest location of the city. Ninety percent of the police were dispatched to maintain order and register the population. There was always a long line of people in front of the barrier for medical inspections. The officers who were responsible for residential control divided the swarmed-in refugees into several categories and moved them into riverbank boardrooms, west-city cave dwellings, and formal residences accordingly.
For this reason, City Hall turned into a bustling place every day.
"Three sailing ships from Redwater City just arrived at the pier, 126 people are on board, a blue flag is hanging on the mask, and Bob is in charge."
"Again? How many batches have arrived today?"
"Four or five batches? Stop nagging. Go and receive them."
"Well, who'll take over Bob's job and go to Redwater City?"
"I will. Hang on, I'll be ready right away."
"Take some soap with you. You can't buy any there."
Listening to the noisy chatters outside of his office, Barov felt distressed, not because he was too busy though. Usually, when he worked in the City Hall, more work brought him more pleasure.
But recently, the situation had become complicated.
The reason lay in Edith Kant.
"Director, the Ministry of Justice is urging us for more personnel again," an assistant walked into his office and said. "His Excellency Carter asked us to recruit another 100 people as backup policemen. He said if he doesn't get more hands, the city's order will be out of control. If anything happens and His Majesty asks, we should take the blame as well."
[Now that he's the Chief Knight, he could put more words in front of His Majesty.] Barov thought to himself. But for minor stuff like this, he did not have time to attend. While drafting a document, Barov said without raising his head, "Put it on the desk. I'll handle it later."
As the assistant left the room, Edith's voice sounded in his ears. "Is this the recruitment order? Since you're too busy, let me help you with it."
[Here she is!] Barov moaned in his heart. [Not even using honorifics.]
[Of course, Edith is the daughter of Duke of the Northern Region, a status much higher than mine. Before I became the real Hand of the King, she could address me by name without using any respectful form. But no matter what, I'm about half a mentor to her, because His Majesty arranged for her to be an assistant to learn the departmental framework and government process of the City Hall in my office. Yet it seems she doesn't think so.]
"Um... okay, that's fine," he said involuntarily.
No matter how reluctant he felt, he could not find any mistake in Miss Kant's behavior. If he repeatedly rejected her, he would appear in the wrong. Especially at this crucial moment, he could not risk leaving any bad impression on His Majesty.
He should never forget that Roland Wimbledon was a man with great insight.
Soon, rustling sounds of writing came from the opposite desk.
Several minutes later, Edith put the recruitment order back onto Barov's desk.
"Judging from the drafts I went through recently, such recruitment orders usually require the personnel to be reliable and have a clean slate, but there aren't many such candidates left in the Border Area. Compared with posting recruitment bulletins on the square and asking for the candidates to apply for work at the City Hall, it'd be better if we extract the files of registered residence in the archives and select 100 unemployed locals. The Ministry of Justice is a large department in the City Hall. It provides relatively good salary and welfare. I think no one would turn down such a job offer. In this way, we'll save about a week over recruiting through normal procedures, and will, in turn, decrease the complaints from Chief Knight. If you approve it, I'll reply it on this recruitment order and give it to the archives."
Her voice was clear and sensible. It was hard to imagine that she joined City Hall only two weeks ago.
In the beginning, she was just quietly sitting aside and watching Barov review documents, seldom saying anything. But now, she could handle all sorts of affairs in the City Hall with high proficiency.
"Um... do it your way then."
For the moment, Barov could not find a better solution than Edith's suggestion. With his tight schedule, it would be possible that he ignored such petty things and just handled it in the usual way.
[Is this how a successor turned out to be after growing up in a duke's mansion and educated by the upper-level noble?]
Barov felt greatly threatened.
Yes, honorifics and respect were just minor details. What he really cared about was the power in his hands. [Now the propaganda that calls for submission is all over the Northern Region. If Edith is sent by His Majesty as an assistant to help set up a secondary City Hall in the Northern Region in the future, it would be no big deal. But what if she stays?]
[His Majesty is not yet married, and Edith is the daughter of a duke!]
At this thought, Barov could not help but feel distressed.
[This won't work. I must make her know that the management work in the City Hall can't be mastered that easily. His Majesty needs a minister who's able to take the whole situation into account.]
When Edith returned to the office, Barov cleared his throat and handed her a statistics form.
"We're in trouble," Barov said with a low voice. "The grain stock in City of Neverwinter might not last until the wheat bumper harvest day."
"Um, is it caused by an overflow of population?" Edith glanced at the form and said, "According to the consumption rate, the remaining grain should be able to last until the end of the summer. We can harvest the spring wheat in the middle of July. It should be enough if we stop accepting new refugees."
"But the City Hall can't stop accepting new refugees."
"Because of the population target of 100,000 set by His Majesty?"
"No, that's not the point," Barov said while shaking his head. "There's still a constant flow of refugees from both the east and south sides of the country to the gathering place. If we abandon them, not only will Redwater City and Willow Town face the risk of a riot, but also the image we worked hard to build up will be destroyed overnight. If we ever want to recruit refugees again, it'll be very difficult. His Majesty once revealed to me that the realization of his development plan needs a large number of people. 100,000 subjects are just the beginning, so the City Hall won't disrupt His Majesty's plan because of the grain problem. We must tackle this problem and it's also my responsibility as a minister." He paused, and then looked at Edith Kant. "Do you have any good ideas?"