On the rooftop of City Hall, a meeting table had been set up. Isaac sat at the head of the table, quickly glimpsing through a handful of documents. When he was done, he placed the documents on the table and asked a question.
“Why is Port City processing the documents for the lawsuit?”
Cordnell was unable to answer Isaac, as he was still suffering from the aftereffects of Anton’s aura. So the task fell onto Kalden, and he began to explain to Isaac after a brief sigh.
Law is naturally an incredibly complex and difficult subject with a very few number of experts. On top of a limited number of experts, the Department of Law only accepted individuals whose records were spotless, leading to a persistent shortage of manpower within the department.
In order to deal with this, the Department of Law grouped cities and villages into sectors, and a designated judge would rotate between all the cities and villages within a sector to settle all incidents and lawsuits.
There is an exception, however. Lords have the authority to determine the final verdict for all crimes within their own territory, according to the laws of the Lordship. Only when the verdict is appealed would the Department of Law send their investigators, and the investigators would decide whether to close the case or transfer the incident over to the Department of Law.
As New Port City grew in population, so too did the number of crimes and small infractions, and all of these cases were sent over to Port City to process. New Port City didn’t have the experts to process the documents in the first place, and these lawsuits had no impact on the relationship between the two cities, leading to minimal clashes regarding the subject.
This had been going on seamlessly until the recent fall of Port City. The administrative body that had been processing the documents was paralysed. It was overloaded with lawsuits and complaints due to the riot, so Port City stood its ground and refused to process documents for New Port City, which was the cause of it all.
The biggest problems were the casino guests that had been brought over through Bluff. They were indeed sons of incredibly rich families, but they were also great scoundrels to the point where even their own families had given up on them. Their personalities didn’t change when they arrived at New Port City, and they made impossible demands and complaints, causing massive spectacles. However, they almost always escaped with minimal punishment, because the incredible power of their families held made it difficult for them to be punished them harshly. This murder case regarding Dogman Duberon was one such case.
“Where is that troublemaker now?”
“We’ve locked him in one of the hotels.”
Isaac looked baffled when he heard Cordnell’s answer.
“A hotel? You’re letting a murderer stay in a hotel?”
“… Shall I move him to jail now?”
Kalden questioned Isaac, and Isaac shook his head after a moment.
“No. Good job. Lock him in the most expensive hotel room and give him everything he requests for. But does this mean I have to preside over and judge all the court sessions from now on?”
“It was your duty to perform that since the beginning.”
“That’s annoying… fine. I’ll preside over the first court session. Make sure you watch and learn carefully, since this will be the standard for all court sessions to come. Also, choose someone to become the judge for future sessions.”
“Are you really going to act as the judge?”
“How could I play around when there’s work to be done?”
Everyone in the meeting looked at Isaac; he had no right to speak such words.
Kalden raised his hand carefully.
Isaac thought for a moment and then nodded as he made his decision.
“The court session would be an excellent way to advertise if it’s open to the public. All court sessions will be open to the public from now on.”
“What? Where? We don’t even have a courthouse!”
‘We’ll just do it at the plaza.”
“Are you planning to make the defendants a spectacle?”
“What do you mean ‘a spectacle’? They are just having an audience. Hm, should I accept a fee to watch as an audience? I think that’d be a good idea.”
All of the employees rallied against Isaac as he muttered those words to himself. It was clear as day that the Department of Law would erupt if they got word that Isaac was planning to not only make the sacred law into a spectacle but also earn money while doing so.
Anton warned Isaac that he would regret his decision, but Isaac considered it as an empty threat. There weren’t many methods the so-called Great Lord of the South could use to pressure New Port City when he was so far away. Not to mention that it was Isaac, a man who cared not about his losses, who was running the city.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
Hundreds of soldiers marched across the streets in sync. Wearing fully-plated armour, they held their two handed swords upright at their chest. Their disciplined movement and the menacing armaments were enough to instill fear into ordinary citizens. People quickly ran away from them in terror, and the street which was once filled with laughter was replaced with cold tension.
Isaac watched the scene from the roof and asked Kalden.
“What are those?”
“They are the famous Order of Heavy Combat Knights that Marquis Duberon is so famous for. Every member of their order is a combat knight.”
“Wait, every single one of them is a combat knight?”
Isaac asked again with surprise when Kalden gave him the answer. Combat knights were treated as the tanks of this world, and their upkeep was also comparable to that of a tank. In fact, just having a third of a battalion composed of combat knights was enough for it to be called an order of knights.
These combat knights had the power to turn the tide of battle just by showing themselves on the battlefield, but at no point in history was there anyone dedicated enough to make up an entire order of knights out of combat knights only.
“Yes. They are a knightly order whose founding was recently approved. They number 700 men strong and were given the title of the strongest knightly order in the south the moment they were founded.”
“Recently? Does that mean they’ve never fought on the battlefield?”
“Yes. They have been training under the Marquis ever since they were young, and they’ve just been released into the outside world.”
“So they are just a group of confident brats with no experience.”
Isaac never thought that the Marquis would mobilise his entire knightly order to save that troublesome son of his, but the armed demonstration made its effect. Already, the terrified people cancelled their bookings or requested for a refund.
“Is there no infringement of law when elite combat troops of a noble family crawls over to another person’s territory?”
Kalden smiled bitterly as he shook his head.
“They’ve come here for vacation.”
“The entire order.”
“So the entirety of Marquis Duberon’s elite fighting force came here for vacation?”
“That’s what it says on paper.”
“They must have come here with Anton. Are they resorting to armed demonstration because words weren’t enough to convince me?”
Isaac couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. He only made a single demand: to receive something in return for releasing Dogman, which they so dearly wanted. Isaac wasn’t someone who would cry words of justice. All he wanted was some compensation for his troubles. But Marquis Duberon moved straight to threats and blackmail, perhaps believing that negotiating with Isaac’s sort was below his attention and honour. Isaac watched for a moment as the army moved up and down the road.
“You said they’ve been training since childhood?”
“Yes. They were handpicked at a young age to be trained for the order.”
“Doesn’t that mean that they haven’t seen much of the outside world because of the constant training within an isolated environment?”
“That is right.”
Cordnell answered Isaac as a small suspicion arose in the corner of his mind, worried that Isaac was about to cause an incident again.
“Hm, maybe I should poke at them a bit. Crazy Bitch.”
Milena answered in confusion as she was suddenly called out by Isaac.
“Bring out your girls.”
“Why would you need my girls…?”
“I’m just curious if they can maintain their discipline while beautiful women are seducing them from all sides.”
Milena quickly understood Isaac’s intentions and smiled.
“Hohoho. Don’t you worry. I’ll prepare my best girls for the job.”
“I look forward to it.”
“That sounds like it’ll be quite a sight.”
Isaac and the syndicate bosses laughed amongst each other while the employees and Isaac’s hubaes desperately tried to dissuade Isaac from the idea. However, their attempts weren’t enough to change Isaac’s mind.
It was mandatory for the hundreds of men to move in unison when performing a ceremonial march, but they couldn’t help but glimpse at the sides due to their instincts.
“Hohoho, look at him looking over here! Kyaa! So cute!”
“Hey there, cutie! Come over to my place! I’ll treat you well!”
“Why would they even want to visit an old lady like you? You’d need to be at least my level!”
The woman raised her skirt slightly, exposing her smooth white thigh.
“What do you mean by that? I still won’t lose to anyone no matter where I go! These breasts of mine are more than enough to bring in the boys!”
The woman grabbed at her breasts, shaking them up and down.
With words of obscenities flying everywhere and women judging the knights at every angle, the formation was starting to show some signs of dissonance.
The reason why these women were so proactive was because Isaac declared a reward of 10 thousand Giga to the first woman to destroy the formation.
But rumors of the knights’ discipline held true as small ripples in the formation resolved as quickly as they had formed, and the knights marched on. Displeased, one of the women stepped out as she shouted.
“Let’s see if you can stand this!”
The woman threw away her clothes, exposing her breasts in the open. All of the nearby knights gawked at her breasts, their male instincts overwhelming years of discipline. This caused some of the knights to march at the wrong pace, and the formation crumbled down like dominos within moments.
“Hey! W, watch out!”
Just like that, the knightly order that seemed so intimidating was quickly turned into a laughing stock. There were still many tourists left on the streets, and they’d all witnessed the shameful display of the knights.
“Kuhahaha! I guess they are men after all!”
“Ah! What a sight to see!’
The knights managed to get back on their feet, but unable to handle the embarrassment and mockery from bystanders, they quickly fled New Port City with faces red as apples.
Isaac laughed as he watched the knights run with their tails between their legs, but the employees and hubaes felt as if the sky was crumbling. For them, it felt like they’d disturbed what should have been left alone.
Isaac spared no interest in what they thought however, and spoke as if he had just thought of a great idea.
“Alright! I will delay the court session indefinitely.”
“To make money. Why else?”
Nobody understood what Isaac meant right now, but as Isaac continued to explain, they couldn’t help but drop their jaws in astonishment at what he was planning.
“The greatest knightly order in the south is parading in our streets for free. Spread the word. Tell them they can witness the prowess of the Order of Heavy Combat Knights firsthand if they visit New Port City.”
“I can only give words of gratitude if they are willing to pay the entry fee every day and parade in our streets. I heard it’s Zeroman who’s letting those knights stay in the hotels for free. How much do you think it costs to feed and take care of hundreds of men? The longer this goes on, the better it is for us.”
“B, but we will face losses too!”
“Doesn’t matter. It won’t go on longer than a month.”
“What crazy fool would send away his greatest fighting force for vacation for more than a month?”
“Open up a new gambling option. I get the sense they will come here every day, so do whatever you can to destroy their formation.”
“I see! People can bet if the formation holds or breaks.”
“Plus, add things like how long it’ll take for the formation to break, or which method will break the formation, and so on. Think of everything you can to make the bets.”
“No! How could you use a Marquis’ army as a tool for gambling! That cannot happen!”
Cordnell and Kalden profusely opposed Isaac’s scheme.
“Why is that? New Port City is the city of gambling! Everything is a form of gambling as long as it is approved! It’s all in the Lordship’s law book.”
Isaac’s prediction was only half correct. Marquis Duberon seemed baffled that Isaac used his armed demonstration to earn money at first, but his pride wouldn’t allow him to end the marches. And with the announcement of the indefinite delay of the court session, Marquis Duberon used his wealth, trade goods, and connections to pressure Isaac from all sides.
Because of his title as the great lord, all of the cities and provinces in the south reacted accordingly. The number of travellers and tourists from the south diminished greatly, while some cities banned travel to New Port City outright.
The Seven Grand Merchant Guilds weren’t an exception either. The Hexton Merchant Guild was based in the southern province, and with them at the head, the merchant guilds collectively requested that Master Dogman be released.
Isaac glossed over these facts with a snicker because he had anticipated all of them already, but what he didn’t expect was government pressure.
“You’re telling me stop delaying the court session?”
Within the private Communicator Room, Isaac’s smile lay frozen as he met face to face with Mazelan. Mazelan replied with a bitter smile on his face.
-Marquis Duberon has influence within the Department of Law too.
There were many factions within the governing body of the Empire; each maintained their own strength through a cycle of unification and separation for political gains. Marquis Duberon was considered a high noble in the Empire, and he too sent his own family’s, in-laws’, and vassals’ Campus graduates to form a faction of their own. Even Mazelan, Isaac’s connection to the government, could do little in this situation. Isaac was already considered undeserving of the title of a graduate of the College, so few resisted the Marquis’s actions.
“Man, there are always some idiots who tries to have a battle of pride when all they need to do is negotiate.”
Isaac complained to himself, but Mazelan replied with a pained expression.
-Marquis Duberon has made an offer we could not refuse.
“What is that?”
Mazelan shook his head at Isaac’s question.
-I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you. It’s considered to be highly classified.
Isaac burst out in laughter.
“So you’re telling me, the person who has the authority to rule, to shove off and do as I’m told because the government has already made a deal with the Marquis?”
-Can you please just concede this once? Marquis Duberon is a great noble family who has incredible influence within the Empire. The Empire will pay the greatest compensation they can to the victims.
Mazelan tried to convince Isaac, but Isaac made a cold smile as he replied.
“I really like that method you’re suggesting, to solve the problem with money. There’s nothing you can’t do when you have money. But you see, I prefer to be the one using others through money to solve problems, not the other way around.”
-What do you mean by that?
“‘Is there a reason for me to beg for mercy when there’s nothing for me in return’ is what I’m trying to say.”
“Anyhow, I’m refusing your offer sunbae.”
-Isaac, this is an order!
Isaac snickered and retorted.
“According to the Empire’s law, the Empire doesn’t have the authority to order a Lord unless it is of great importance. And do you think I’m desperate to keep this title of mine? I’ll say these words again, but I will do as the law says until there is something for me in return.”
-Ugh. Then will you release Dogman as long as we give you something in return?
“Of course. I’ll open the court session in 3 days. I hope to hear good news by then.”
“I don’t like this.”
Isaac spoke with his arms crossed as he watched the tragedy before him.
“What are the damages like?”
“Two hotels have been damaged from the fire, while at least 3 have died and 6 are gravely wounded from the fight that broke out in the casino.”
“Were any of the guests harmed too?”
“Um… it seems all of the dead and injured were employees of the casino.”
“So they were aiming for us.”
A fire and a fight suddenly broke out in the casino simultaneously.
But there were only victims at the scene, while those who caused it disappeared as if they were ghosts.
At that moment, Milena and six or so other women came up to the rooftop. The women were beaten black and blue, crying. Isaac asked Milena.
“What happened here?”
“I noticed that some of my girls disappeared while doing a personnel check, so I went around to look for them. These girls are of the luckier ones; the rest were sent to hospital the moment we found them.”
“Who did this to them?”
“The girls are saying that they were doing the usual, finding customers and bringing them to the hotels, but they immediately started beating them the moment they got into a room.”
“So they’ve been planning this since the start. Who are the suspects?”
Soland who just came up to the roof replied to Isaac.
“I’ve been trying to find them, but most of them used false aliases as they checked into the hotels, so we don’t know their real names. But after remembering what they wore and acted, they are likely from Port City.”
“Is it revenge from Port City?”
“Rather than Port City, I believe it’s the knights.”
“Yes. Most of the women who were assaulted were… women who participated in disrupting the knights during their marches.”
“But that’s just our suspicion, not evidence.”
“If we acted without evidence, it’ll be us who would be beaten.”
“We can’t fight against the Marquis.”
“It wasn’t even a fight to begin with.”
“All the Marquis wants is the release of Master Dogman. Wouldn’t announcing probation be enough?”
“No one would blame you for kneeling against the Marquis’ power. We should try to resolve this with minimal casualties.”
All of the employees and hubaes suggested that Isaac release Dogman to appease the marquis. The syndicate bosses couldn’t help but silently seethe with anger.
“This is the kind of work I hate to remember because it’s so familiar to me.”
Isaac muttered to himself quietly. Terrorising the buildings and the populace to instill fear and make the people submit under terror. That was a method Isaac used often in the past, but it was a method that couldn’t be done by those with a sane mind, as the harm inflicted on civilians would attract the ire and wrath of powerful figures.
“Why in the world are they so desperate to poke at someone who’s just idling by?”
Isaac’s mood was tarnished. He didn’t want to remember the past, but everything happening around him was a constant reminder. With one puff of the choyu leaf, the frenzy that filled his eyes quickly flickered and disappeared.
He wasn’t a benevolent Lord or a just one either. All he wanted was compensation for their demands, but the Marquis cut Isaac out completely, made a deal with the government instead, and ordered Isaac to submit, all because his pride wouldn’t allow for it. And this was the answer Isaac received when he spoke out against that decision.
“I’ll do as you wish.”
The employees and hubaes who heard Isaac’s words celebrated with a smile.
“You’ve made the right decision.”
Meanwhile, the syndicate bosses seemed disappointed in Isaac. They knew there wasn’t any other choice, but in the corner of their minds, they had hoped that Isaac would be different.
“All of you can leave except the syndicate bosses.”
With that order, everyone left and only Isaac and syndicate bosses were left on the rooftop. The syndicate bosses seemed a little tense, realising that even Rizzly, Isaac’s bodyguard, left the rooftop.
“Can you find and fuck up the bastards that broke Crazy Bitch’s girls?”
The syndicate bosses looked at each other in surprise when Isaac made his question.
“Finding them won’t be much of a problem, but if they truly are knights, we don’t have the strength to fight against them.”
“Did the girls get paid?”
“Yes. They threw the money next to the girl’s heads when they passed out.”
“They’re not giving me any excuses. Very thorough of them. I wonder who came up with this plan…”
Isaac began to think for a moment and then checked again with Soland.
“Can you make a sketch of the bastards?”
Milena stepped up instead of Soland and replied immediately.
“You don’t need to worry about that. This place used to be quite notorious as you know, and we used to handle all sorts of weirdos. So all of our girls and their colleagues remember the faces of their guests in case they need some revenge.”
“Good. Draw their faces and get ready to spread it.”
“What shall we say?”
“A hundred thousand Giga for each head. If a hundred isn’t enough, add fifty. I’m prepared to raise it up to a million. Let’s see how long the Marquis will protect his knights.”
“B, but they are knights!”
“Is there any proof of that? They committed this crime while hiding their identities. If this gets found out, it’s not me who’s screwed but the Marquis. But if the Marquis throws those knights away, the morale of his knights will plummet.”
“The high nobles of the Marquis’ family want to play dirty. Let’s give them what they want.”
“We shall prepare immediately.”
Isaac made his decision, and the syndicate bosses smiled and bowed their heads with sincerity.