Charade was laid down on the bed and according to the herbalist Lundmorde, he had collapsed from overworking for a few nights straight. Even though Charade had Battle Force of the Three Star Silver rank, he still couldn't take that kind of fatigue and had to rest for three days before he would be able to recover.
Lorist was incredibly regretful, especially when he witnessed the sight of Molise carrying Charade's son, Charade Libert, as she stared at her husband worryingly. He realized that he had put too heavy a burden on Charade to the point that he did not have enough time to be with his own wife and child.
Molise's pregnancy had been discovered during the 6th month of the previous year and Charade was ecstatic when he was notified of it. When the convoy was going through the Andinaq Kingdom just before it reached the imperial capital, he had Potterfang, Terman, Yuriy and the other Dawn Academy students bring Molise and her grandfather, Engelich, to the War God's Shrine and he got officially married to Molise with the blessings of a priest there.
During the snowy night of the 8th day of the 2nd month at Kobo City, Molise delivered a healthy son for Charade.
Lorist recalled that moment when he suggested for Charade's son to be named Snobby with a devious smile on his face. The others who were unaware of what it really meant praised that it was a good name. However, even though Charade didn't understand the word either, he rejected that name right away as he understood that Lorist was never up to any good when he revealed a smile like that, much to Lorist's dismay.
At that moment, Charade was still worrying about the management of manpower and resources for the wasteland development even though he was bedridden. Lorist patted on his hand and asked him not to worry about the other matters and rest well and told him that he would take over the work so that Charade could have a month of vacation to rest and accompany his family.
While Lorist did promise to take over the work, it was easier said than done. Only after he started did he realize the true complexity of the work handled by Charade. He had to deal with tons of reports even to the most trivial ones and had to come up with a solution for every one of them. Busy to the point of exploding, Lorist could only catch a breath of rest after burning the midnight oil for three whole days.
No... Charade's breakdown is my own fault. He's basically a living Zhuge Liang who can handle all matters, big and small. While he had no choice but to be in charge during the convoy's journey, I can't let him continue without rest anymore.
Lorist understood Charade's frustration. Given that they only just arrived at the dominion and were short on time, Charade couldn't afford to familiarize himself with the officers within the family dominion and could only make do with the ones he had worked with during the northbound journey, which was a very limited number of people, causing him to eventually collapse from fatigue.
As the dominion lord himself, Lorist wasn't as attentive and adept at working long hours as Charade and his eyes were already bloodshot from working for three days straight. Right now, the only thought on his mind was how he could lighten his burden. He notified Supervisor Hansk, Supervisor Kedan, Supervisor Spiel, Butler Boris, Shadekampf and a few other officers that used to work for Charade within the convoy to gather for a meeting.
During the meeting, Lorist got to the point straight away and said that he would form a development committee for the Felicitas Settlement comprising everyone present. The committee would be made up of multiple departments with Hansk being the manager of the allocation department which would approve requests for resource and manpower.
Spiel would be the manager of the finance and resources department and would be in charge of managing and distributing said resources.
Kedan would take the role as the human resource department's manager and everyone within the development villages would fall under his jurisdiction. Additionally, he was also tasked with setting up a comprehensive registry for the citizens of the settlement.
Butler Boris on the other hand would take charge of the main development projects of the seven sectors and manage where the manpower and resource be distributed and the various farmland development tasks. In other words, he was the main lead of the project.
Shadekampf would represent Lorist in checking on the three supervisors and the development of the seven sectors. Additionally, he had complete authority regarding the handing out of punishment for any transgressions in regulations. Apart from having to report anything he deemed deserving of a death penalty to Lorist, he was free to hand out any other punishment or solution he pleased.
As for the other officers who worked for Charade during the days of the convoy, they would be allocated to the various departments according to their respective capabilities. Lorist gave them three days to set the departments up, after which they would begin the development according to Charade's plan.
In the end, Lorist clapped his hands and encouraged for them to work hard and said that he awaited the completion of the settlement which would be only the first of the many good things that would come. He told them that the settlement would be divided into seven administrative districts according to the seven sectors and that the district chief would be recommended by the managers of the various departments before being appointed officially by Lorist. He also said that as administrative officers, they would be given an honorary noble title if they performed their duties well so that they may enter the ranks of nobility. Also, there would be a yearly bonus which would be given according to what Lorist thought about their work performance.
Faced with the 'encouragement' Lorist had just given, every officer present felt incredibly excited. They quickly bowed and pledged that they would give it their all for the family and the successful development of the Felicitas Settlement and assured Lorist that they wouldn't give up regardless of the difficulties involved and asked him to be assured and wait for their success.
Lorist then returned to his quarters and slept for a day and night straight. After waking from his long sleep, he leisurely sipped on some tea as he read some books before he entered his office during noon only to find that a stack of beastskin documents had piled up on his desk.
What's going on? Why are there be so many documents? Didn't I allocate the workload already? Which department are these reports from? Lorist thought as he picked up a few documents in annoyance.
The first beastskin document was actually submitted by Supervisor Kedan and according to him, there wouldn't be enough beastskins within the whole family dominion to make a registry for more than 500000 citizens and also noted the extreme costs involved. That's why, one of the subordinates of Kedan suggested that thin wooden sheets be used temporarily instead until the beastskin requirements could be fulfilled.
Kedan suggested in his letter for that subordinate of his to be awarded five gold Fordes and also submitted an estimate of the cost of making the thin wooden sheets which included the building of a factory and the cost of paying the woodworkers. It would amount to roughly 100 gold Fordes a year and the proposal had already been submitted to Supervisor Hansk.
Hansk was of a similar opinion that the solution was a good one. However, he didn't dare to make the decision himself and waited for Lorist's approval.
What's there to hesitate about? I can only have 5000 beastskins made within a year for 100 gold Fordes whereas I can have 15000 wooden sheets made each month with that money. That's obviously the better choice! Lorist then signed the document, indicating his approval before stamping it with his seal, thus resolving the problem of the registry.
Lorist felt that the remaining few documents were mostly trivial matters. Some of them were merely reports of things that had already been settled while others were decisions that the departments hesitated to make which was sent to Lorist for the final say. Even though the number of documents was easily half there previously was, Lorist still felt rather frustrated for having to deal with all that paperwork.
"Sol, why is such an important matter stuffed all the way down here?" Lorist exclaimed angrily.
That was a report about Loze who was cleaning up magical beasts in the wasteland. Josk and the rest submitted that report that stated that they had already swept their way to the third sector and killed many magical beasts in the process with near 10000 carcasses already piled up. However, most of the beasts were herbivores like magical bulls and goats and they submitted the report because they wanted a solution to manage the animal carcasses so that they don't rot to waste from the harsh tempering of the natural elements.
To Lorist, the so-called magical beasts were not much different from animals. While they had some amazing powers according to the legends, with the end of the magical civilization, the magical beasts had also lost many of their amazing magical abilities. The surviving ones to this day only retained their bestial ferocity along with their tough hide and stunningly aggressive physical features.
The reason they were still distinguished from normal animals was because of their aggressive tendencies. Putting the carnivores aside, even herbivore magical beasts would attack right away the moment their territory was infringed upon.
"Reidy, call the three supervisors to come over," Lorist said angrily.
The three of them soon arrived at Lorist's office. Lorist tossed the report to them and asked, "Tell me what's going on with this. Why hasn't a report as important as this been seen to already?"
"Milord, we haven't even seen this report before either," replied the three supervisors in unison.
"Huh?" Lorist mused, before he took up the report and checked the date once again only to notice that he had made a mistake. The report was submitted only three days ago when the departments had yet to be formed and it wasn't weird that they didn't get to know about its existence. Lorist had missed the report because he was too worn out from three straight days of work previously.
"Fine. Then, do you have a solution in mind?" Lorist said hurriedly to change the subject.
"Milord, we should mobilize any workers with butchering skills to deal with the carcasses right away. We might also have to allocate some female leather workers as well as those well-versed in meat preservation to handle them as the beasts can also be a good source of food for us," suggested Hansk.
"Not bad. The three of you should prioritize dealing with this for now, especially with the mobilization of resources and workforce to the three sectors. Have Shadekampf guide you along with this process," Lorist said as he nodded.
"Milord, we might not be able to mobilize any of our family's forces as escorts," noted Kedan worryingly.
"There should be no problem. The three sectors have already been mostly cleared up and there shouldn't be any magical beasts left," Spiel said.
"What if there's one or two that managed to escape? These workers don't have the ability nor courage to face off against those beasts. If we really did encounter any, chaos would break out."
"Alright... Send my orders to Pesha for her to lead the female garrison unit to escort these people to the third sector. Right now, only her female garrison unit is not occupied with anything else. Additionally, she is already at the Two Star Silver rank, so she shouldn't have any problem handling those magical beasts. After settling this matter of the three sectors, there are four more that still have lots of magical beasts roaming around that must be dealt with," Lorist said.
During the next morning, just a while after Lorist entered his office and looked at a few documents, Potterfang entered the room.
"Milord," said Potterfang as he made a knight salute.
"Oh, Pog. How's the transport of the resources going at your side?" Lorist asked as he raised his head cheerfully.
Lorist was actually referring to the various goods left at the transit point at Count Spenseid's dominion. The important resources and immigrants had already long been moved into the family dominion through Firmrock Castle.
While they were of lesser importance relative to the things that had been moved first, the value of those goods were not to be underestimated. For example, among the furniture plundered from the duke's manor was a huge bed which was enough for six people to sleep in that was crafted intricately by an experienced artisan. It was left behind to be transported last because it wasn't convenient to ship it first.
"Milord, it should be done in another month or so. Currently, only two companies numbering around 1000 men and near 1000 carriages are left there. At the rate of one shipment per two days, we would still require tens of more shipments to ship everything over," Potterfang replied.
It was currently the 26th day of the 7th month and Potterfang had stated that the transportation of the items would only be complete by the end of the 8th month. Potterfang's forces were also stretched rather thin as well. Currently, most of his available men from the heavy-armored infantry unit were stationed at the immigrant camp near Firmrock Castle to maintain order there. Even though near 100000 of his men had been sent to develop the wasteland, the 400000 plus immigrants placed an immense burden on the 10000 or less men Potterfang had left.
"Is there anything you need since you came all the way here?" Lorist asked.
"Oh, it's not that, milord. The transportation of the goods and the immigrant camp is posing no problem. I just wanted to know how we should deal with the nobles and knights that we have captured during the last battle," Potterfang said as he placed a huge stack of documents on Lorist's desk.
"Gosh... Yet another huge pile of documents," Lorist complained, before he flipped the first page open only to see a familiar name on top of it: Count Spensied.
"Oh, Pog, did you find out what this old fellow's problem was? Why did he suddenly choose to antagonize our family? Did you interrogate him yet?" Lorist asked.
"I've already asked him. Milord, this old count said that he had answered the call to arms of the duke for justice and to defend the honor of nobles. That was also the reason he was the first to lead the charge towards Firmrock Castle. After incurring 400 casualties with only a company of men, he became akin to a toothless tiger and got oppressed by the other nobles to a point that he returned to his own dominion after being unable to stand the disgraceful treatment he was receiving. In the end, he fell straight into our hands," Potterfang replied.
"For justice and the honor of nobles?! Bullshit!" Lorist exclaimed.
Potterfang laughed and said, "In the end, his subordinate revealed the truth. Milord, didn't you hang a person called Baron Farad for harming our messengers?"
Lorist nodded and said, "Oh, come to think of it, I did."
"The butler of the count said that Baron Farad had always been really respectful to the count and he even wanted to wed his daughter to the baron. However, the baron was hanged by you, milord. Angered beyond his wits, Count Spenseid believed that you didn't have the right to punish another fellow noble for the sake of a few messengers. Had it not been for the troops you brought with you at that time, the old count would've launched his assault on you long ago.
"That's why he was the first to heed Duke Loggins's call and ended up losing his forces at Firmrock Castle. Milord, how should we deal with this count? We've already imprisoned him for two whole months and given how busy we all are, no one else can really afford to spend any time on him. Now that the transportation of the goods is almost done, it's about time you made a decision," Potterfang said.
"How many people are there among the nobles we have in captivity?" Lorist asked as he ran his finger through the stack of beastskin documents like they were poker cards.
"There are 16 nobles and 123 knights in total."
"Where are the family members of Count Spenseid currently?"
"They're imprisoned together with him. The old count has two wives, one daughter and one son. His 25-year-old daughter is a widow and his 14-year-old son was birthed by his second wife. He also had a family knight who perished during the charge towards Firmrock Castle," explained Potterfang in great detail.
"How are you so familiar with his situation?" Lorist asked curiously.
Potterfang blushed and said, "That daughter of his is really thoughtful and she tries her best to take care of her father and younger brother even though she's a prisoner just like them. I've seen her myself when I went over there..."
"Oh..." Lorist said with realization as a smile surfaced on his face.
Stretching his hand out to the bell rope beside him, Lorist called for Reidy to come in.
"Reidy, get Supervisor Kedan to come over here. I have something I want him to do."
Kedan quickly appeared before Lorist after being summoned.
"Supervisor Kedan, I'll leave this matter to you," Lorist said as he handed a stack of beastskin documents to him. After that, he took out Count Spenseid's file and said, "Go ask this old guy's daughter if she's willing to become the maidservant of our very own Knight Potterfang. If she's willing, we'll let her parents and brother return home."
Kedan revealed a smile and said, "Congratulations, Knight Potterfang."
Sweating with embarrassment, Potterfang thanked Lorist shyly. "Thank you, milord. However, the count won't be able to return home as their castle and town walls have already been taken apart by us with everything of value taken, including their citizens..."
"What? Why would we take apart their castle and town walls? Who made that call?" Lorist said as he thought, I would understand if they took the valuables, but I really don't get the point of taking down even their town walls.
"It was Shadekampf. He said that the construction of the seven towns within the wasteland will definitely require a lot of rectangular-shaped rocks. Seeing that the soldiers stationed at the count's dominion had nothing to do, he ordered them to dismantle the castle and town walls for the stones to be shipped back to be used as building material. Right now, almost nothing is left but a piece of flat, empty land," Potterfang said in a troubled fashion. He personally felt that the matter was going too far as well.
Sol! Shadekampf is even better at being a miser than Charade now!
"Oh well... Supervisor Kedan, tell the count's daughter that if she agrees, we will provide them with a residence within Firmrock Castle and pay them 100 gold Fordes yearly as reparation. If we are able in the future, we will once again construct a new castle at their dominion or move his dominion to another more prosperous area. That will be it for now," Lorist said.
"Milord, a few other nobles' dominions have also been ruined by the passing of our convoy," Potterfang reminded.
"Have those poor misers buzz off. Why would we waste food on feeding them? As for the rest, if they are willing to pay a ransom, let them go. If they don't have money, they can trade some resources instead as well. Settle this matter as soon as possible. Pog, you should follow Kedan there lest he gets the wrong person," Lorist said as he laughed.
"Milord..." said Potterfang with a flushed face.
"Understood, milord," Kedan said as he saluted respectfully before he left.