Release that Witch Chapter 684
Three days later, namely the second day after winter arrived, Barov delivered the message that the Joint Chamber of Commerce contract had been successfully signed.
The result of the negotiation was that Margaret got the dealership of the inner land of the Kingdom of Graycastle; Sunset Island and Shallow Water Town got the dealership of their own lands, Kingdom of Everwinter, and the Kingdom of Wolfheart; Crescent Moon Bay got the dealership of the Fjords islands and the Kingdom of Dawn.
To Roland's surprise, he saw an equation on the contract, which set some conditions into unknown numbers that would be determined according to specific circumstances. In this way, the annual shares could be derived for that year.
"Who wrote this?" Roland asked with curiosity.
"My student," Barov smilingly replied while stroking his beard, "While summarizing the numbers, he found a complex annexed table which could be better expressed by this formula and all three parties agreed with its precision."
"But I remember such a formula wasn't covered by the universal education."
"Didn't Your Majesty start an intermediate class? I bought each of my students a set of maths textbooks and asked them to attend Lady Scroll's class whenever they had time." Barov exclaimed. "I'm too old to catch up with these young fellas at learning, so I had to leave this opportunity to them. If I were 10 years younger, I would carry these materials that Your Majesty wrote and study them all day."
Roland was very much pleased by this flattery. His minister must have had good foresight if he realized that maths could be helpful to finance and administration.
"How about Edith? How did she perform during this negotiation?"
"Just so-so." Barov coughed twice. "Although those merchants were fascinated by her, when it came to the specific trade terms, she clearly showed a deficiency in experience. I guess she had little contact with maritime merchants. After all, the commerce and trade in the Northern Region are underdeveloped, unlike the old king's city where the Treasurer had to attend to visiting the Fjords merchants every day. There was a time..."
"I see." Noticing Barov was starting to reminisce, Roland immediately interrupted him. "Since that's the case, please put more effort into teaching her."
The old minister was startled. "Um, this... Your Majesty, actually she's..."
"It's decided," Roland said gloatingly. Judging from the frequency that Nightingale pinched the back of his shoulder, he knew that Barov was not telling the truth. But he did not meddle with such little snitching tricks among his subordinates, as long as they did not screw things up. "Well, what's the increase in population in Neverwinter? Has it reached our expectation?"
Although there was about one month before the end of the year, since the winter had come, the immigrant emissaries would gradually return to Neverwinter so it led to a drastic reduction of people moving away. The current figure would already determine whether the goal of population increase had been realized.
Once this was mentioned, Barov's face expanded into a smile. The wrinkles on his face were almost squeezed into ravines and the awkwardness also vanished into thin air. "Your Majesty, City Hall has made a calculation. The subjects that immigrated from other places exceeded 80,000, with 50% of them coming voluntarily. If we include the natives of the Border Area and the Longsong Area, the population in Neverwinter has now reached 110,000."
"Oh?" Roland was elated. "50% of them came voluntarily?"
"Most of them were from the center area of the kingdom and the Eastern Region. It was not obvious in spring and summer, but in autumn this percentage began to increase. At this rate, those Rebels who support Timothy will become anxious next year."
This must have been a result of Theo spreading the message of the church's defeat in the Eastern Region, but yet Roland had hoped that those nobles would resist longer. He was looking for an excuse to eradicate them altogether so as to give the Eastern Region subjects a stable and orderly new kingdom.
"Have you made preparations for winter?"
"Yes, City Hall completed preparations two months ago," Barov replied with complete confidence, "The Ministry of Construction had entrusted Miss Lotus to build a batch of cave dwellings between the Impassable Mountain Range and Redwater River, in replacement of the air-leak shanties. We've also hoarded a large volume of charcoal to ensure every civilian gets one basket."
After Roland's repeated emphasis, City Hall had finally gotten used to the slogan of "no one freezes or starves to death" as their administrative goal and implementing it to every policy.
Roland nodded with gratification and said, "Good. Please pass my word to Scroll and tell her not to forget about education during winter."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"Besides, I plan to wage a minor scale war on the premise, obviously without affecting the normal operation of Neverwinter. My target is the Southernmost Region. When Iron Axe has done the specific battle plan, please coordinate with him to assemble the supplies." Looking at Barov who was hesitating about replying, Roland walked to him and patted him on the shoulder. "Don't worry. I've everything under control."
After Barov left, Nightingale showed herself. She asked with bewilderment, "Are you sure this is alright? What he said about Edith was clearly far from reality. One doesn't have to use magic power to figure that out."
"But if I criticize him for that, he may never dare to suppress Edith openly again," Roland said with his hands laid out, "In order to maintain the balance in City Hall, there has to be someone who can restrain the Pearl of the Northern Region. As far as I know, Barov is the only one capable of that."
"But why do you want to restrain her? If she has the capability of managing City Hall, it wouldn't do you any harm."
"Because..." Roland opened his mouth but did not know what to say.
Right, why would I want Edith to be restrained?
Am I worried about her getting too strong?
That's highly unlikely. As long as I'm the king, I could get her replaced with one word. Besides, City Hall isn't allowed to interfere with the army, so even if she controlled all the departments of City Hall, she would still not pose a threat to my throne.
As a matter of fact, since all the employees in City Hall were selected according to the recruitment notices and paid by the treasury, the possible influence caused by replacing a manager would be minimized.
Am I worried that she would go behind everybody's back to falsify my policies?
At least it would not happen in Neverwinter because all the comments on his policies would reach Roland's ears. And since the city's area was limited, messages traveled in real-time.
Before he arrived in this world, check-and-balance was the method that he hated the most. Especially in his workplace, his boss regarded it as the Monarchy trickery, and thus he viewed his boss with contempt. But when he came to power, he began to realize its importance... If Nightingale had not reminded him, maybe he would have become the kind of person that he hated the most.
Indeed, check-and-balance was needed but it should not be achieved by playing the game of powers with another person or several other persons. Instead, it should be regulated by policies, structure and laws. Without violating any of these frameworks, an employee should be encouraged to put his or her ability into full play.
Roland let out a deep breath and curled his lips. He was about to thank Nightingale for her reminder when he realized she was staring outside of the window wholeheartedly.
"Look, it's snowing." She whispered.
Roland looked over and found that countless white flakes silently appeared from the gray sky and slowly descended as soft-footed elves.
The Months of Demons had begun.