Here's the first release of the week.
Lorist started working again the moment he returned to the dominion. Being the dominion lord was akin to having work that he could never finish. Despite only taking his three friends to Morante for a short trip, a mountain of paperwork had piled up on his desk. Even though most of the matters had already been dealt with, Lorist still had to sign off on the orders to acknowledge that he had been informed.
Blademaster Claude and Instructor Anfya refused his offer to accompany them around The Northlands. They requested only that he give them a guide to take them and the other Dawn Academy instructors around so they could search for a place to build the new academy.
Lorist had initially wanted it built at Northsea, but when Count Kenmays, Baron Shazin, and Baron Felim found out about Claude's intentions, they all fought for the opportunity. Count Kenmays was especially vigorous in his temptations. He mentioned that if they were unable to find a suitable place at the Nortons' dominion, they could build it anywhere they wanted in The Northlands and everyone would chip in to support the endeavor.
The Nortons' dominion alone had over 1.2 million people. Coupled with the dominions of Count Kenmays, Baron Shazin, and Baron Felim, The Northlands' population was around two million. If Dawn Academy were to rebuild there, there would be no shortage of students. Even if only one student in a thousand qualified, they would still have at least two thousand new entrants each year.
The dominions' citizens were quite well-off. All the houses within The Northlands had followed in Lorist's tracks and focused on developing their dominions instead of reaping their citizens like crops. This allowed most of the families in their dominions to be able to afford sending their children to school.
Additionally, the one resource all the houses lacked was talent. The Dawn Academy was one of the few multi-disciplinary academies in the world and was ranked in the continent's top ten. Their students were usually skilled in more than just combat. If they were to start a new branch in The Northlands, they would probably be able to supply most of the area's demand for talent. Cultivating in-house talent would greatly benefit everyone, in the long run, so Count Kenmays and the others were incredibly supportive of the idea.
At the end of the 10th month, the academy's expedition returned to Firmrock, followed by Count Kenmays, Baron Shazin, and Baron Felim. It had been decided that the academy's new grounds would be at the foot of Bing Mountain. It was not in any of the houses' territories, nor had it seen even the slightest development.
The location had likely been picked exactly because it was completely undeveloped. With how focused the four houses had been on developing their lands, a patch of land would only be undeveloped if it wasn't in anyone's territory. Not only was it out of anyone's jurisdiction, it was also right in the middle of the four dominions.
Claudes explanation for his choice naturally didn't touch on this factor, however. He explained his choice as resulting from a desire to be able to draw from the populations of all four dominions, which naturally made the spot he chose the best choice.
The four dominion lords had a lengthy discussion and finally agreed to cede portions of their territory around the location Claude had chosen, which added up to roughly a barony's worth of land, to the academy. A mutual treaty was signed soon after, and the land officially belonged to the academy. They also gathered a million gold Fordes between them for the academy's construction. Half of the money came from House Norton, with House Kenmays paying three tenths, and Barons Felim and Shazin each contributing one-tenth.
When that matter was concluded, Blademaster Claude and his group returned hurriedly to Morante to prepare for the move. House Norton's transportation fleet would be incredibly busy in the following year and they would have to spend one whole year to fully transport everything the academy had to The Northlands. After all, rebuilding the academy in completely was a time-consuming job. Lorist estimated it would take about two years before the academy was ready to start accepting applicants.
When Lorist tired of dealing with paperwork, he placed his feet on his desk in frustration. His mind soon wandered to matters of less consequence.
Why do the transmigrators in other novels just focus on killing and fighting all day? They usually only need to give out vague instructions and their minions will take care of all the troublesome bits -- without needing any supervision. The commoners in their dominions also seem to behave like NPCs all the time; they do what they're told without causing any trouble...
Lorist read the document on his desk a second time, slightly slower than the first time. His brows furrowed, but he eventually drew a circle on it and wrote two lines of words inside: 'Guilty as charged. Sentenced to Death'.
This was the first case of murder within the dominion. To think that something like this happened after only a few short years of life without worry for food or wear. The case involved two neighbors that partnered up to start a snack stall. They very quickly began to make a good profit, and in just two years they wealth had become quite impressive. The happiness didn't last, however.
One of the two started an affair with the other's wife. When the other found out, the cuckolded man strangled his former friend, neighbor, and business partner to death. He tossed the corpse into the nearest well to cover up his misdeed.
The case would have gone unnoticed had the man not got together with dead man's wife openly shortly after the incident. Additionally, the neighbors soon discovered the corpse and notified the police, who quickly put the puzzle pieces together and arrested the couple, still insisting that the man had fallen into the well and drowned. In the end, it was the former security chief of Whitebird Town, now the head of law enforcement, Kriston, that found evidence pointing to murder.
The case was actually rather simple. Victims of drowning usually had lungs full of water, but this corpse's lungs were empty, which indicated that he was dead before he entered the water. When asked why they strangled the man before tossing him into the well, the couple admitted that if they had not done so, the man would have been able to call for help. Additionally, he was rather good in water and would not drown that easily. Since it was the first murder case in the dominion, the criminal couple was sentenced to death and Lorist was the one who would have the final say on their fate.
Sigh, this is troublesome! To think that a dominion lord would have to deal with so much stuff.
Lorist recalled that when Kriston had come over to report the case, he had mentioned that the house lacked investigators. Even though every town or settlement had their own police units, they could only deal with simple cases like brawls and robberies. They would only make a mess if they tried to deal with more complicated crimes. Additionally, according to Kriston, several underworld organizations had begun to take root in towns around Salus and Felicitas. The house had to take measures to keep them from becoming a threat.
Not only that, Kriston even suggested that the house come up with a new set of regulations that could accommodate the dominion's rapid development. Before this, the traditional laws of administration the house used to govern had been sufficient. But with the population approaching 1.2 million, a new set of laws was required to ensure everything stayed in order.
It all caused Lorist to do nothing but sigh all the time.
I've never read about transmigrators having to deal with troublesome stuff like this... In the webnovels I've read, they would be able to construct a 250-kilometer-long 50 meters high and wide wall with only 30 thousand people, and to it all in just three months! Some even camped at a small town and ambushed a force of a 100 thousand! One could even pay 3000 silver taels for a single meal and not have to bother with the change...
Compared to them, am I not actually super weak?! Those people can have huge harems with hundreds of beauties without any issues, yet a few women are already more than I can handle!
During the past two months, Lorist had gone to Maplewoods once as well as Nico Academy. When he got back to Firmrock Castle, the three Dinas were jealous and pinned Lorist down together to get their share of his attention and energy. Arriotoli's young aunt, Dilianna, even wanted to bear Lorist a child so she would have something to lean on when she gets older. Arriotoli on the other hand had her own goals. She wanted to push her younger sister, Fennazali to the position of the household matron. She felt that Irina, merely a maidservant, was far beneath her younger sister. The scholar at Nico Academy was completely absorbed in her research and had willingly given away her claim on the position. Her aunt had a rather dark history, so she wasn't fit to compete either. Her younger sister was as pure as jade and had offered her first time to Lorist. Being a mere concubine was out of the question, so, since there was no one to claim the position of household matron, it seemed only natural that she be the one to take it.
Lorist was rather troubled by Arriotoli. He couldn't be too hard on her, but he also couldn't let her prance around like she owned the place. Despite his displeasure at her behavior, however, he had to admit that he was rather satisfied with Fennazali. The younger Dina did not have any ambition at all, she was perfectly satisfied with having a stable life, her nightly activities with Lorist was a bonus.
Unfortunately, she would not stay the same forever. People grow and change over time. Lorist's maidservant, Irina was the boss of Maplewoods, where she resided -- nobody dared to go against her wishes. Lorist now understood why she was so insistent on staying there. If she had followed Lorist around, she would only be a concubine. But at the bastide, she called the shots. Lorist really could not imagine that the timid and shy maidservant Irina used to be actually had such ambitions.
Irina was now 27 and in the prime of her youth. She was incredibly proactive in bed and did her best to pleasure Lorist as best she could. Perhaps because she had birthed two of Lorist's children, she was no longer as timid as she used to be. She had even displayed coquettish behavior and thrown tantrums, not to mention requesting gifts from him.
All that aside, Lorist was most troubled by their two sons. The younger was one and a half years old and could still not walk on his own. Apart from being unable to sleep without Irina by his side, however, he had no discernible faults. The elder son, Waldbeck, on the other hand, was eight and behaved as domineering as a child his age could. It was especially the case given his status as Lorist's firstborn and the first in line to become his successor. The child was spoiled so heavily that he had become a little dictator. He insisted on having his way no matter what and would threaten to throw massive tantrums if his whims weren't catered to. Lorist had tried to tolerate Waldbeck's behavior the best he could, but when he saw the young kid grope a maidservant's rear through her skirt, he lost it. He caught the bastard and gave him such a thrashing that his rear was swollen like a bubble for a whole week.
It provided Lorist a momentary sense of relief but only added to his trouble thereafter. Besides the fact that Irina cried the whole day, the child burst into tears whenever he saw Lorist after that day. He even refused to call Lorist his father. Whenever he looked at Lorist his eyes would hide a glint of hatred in their corners. Lorist decided that the kid could no longer stay at the bastide the day he first noticed the glint. He could not let the kid become the same kind of incompetent brat Lorist had despised so much as he grew up. He would not let his children undo his work and ruin the house he had shed so much blood and sacrificed so many lives to get to where it was today. He felt like a failure of a father, but he didn't have much choice in the matter. The house always required his unwavering attention so had never managed to spare the time necessary to take care of his children. As a result, his children's upbringing and education had been neglected.
He decided to visit Irina and the two sons, apart from also seeing the illegitimate child of his elder brother, Helias, who had been sent to be raised by Knight Pajik's family with the knight his adoptive father.
Helias turn twelve after the new year and would leave Knight Pajik's home according to the long-standing agreement. He was to be sent to Nico Academy for a few years of study before returning to Lorist's side when he turned 15. From there on Lorist would cultivate the child himself. He would be allowed to choose either to train in Crimsonblood Battleforce, the house's technique, or walk the same path Reidy had.
Lorist visited Helias and was surprised to see that his nephew had grown to become a handsome and magnificent young man. Not only was he talented, he was exceedingly polite. House Norton would have yet another talented individual if Helias was cultivated with proper care. In the future, he might even be on par with Howard in terms of abilities.
It was a shame that Knight Pajik was in seclusion for his preparation to break through to the gold rank. Otherwise, Lorist would have wanted to have Waldbeck put under his care as well. But after giving it some thought, he gathered that he could not rely solely on Pajik for raising his children. Additionally, Pajik's house was within the bastide and Waldbeck did not fear the couple as much as Lorist would like. He had to find an even more strict person to take care of his little troublemaker.
After a long time spent pondering, Lorist remembered Iron-faced Malek, a gold-ranked knight that was as good as emotionless. According to Loze, Malek's wife had a similar demeanor and was also incredibly strict with her children. The two sons and the daughter they had were prime examples of what children ought to be. Lorist decided to let Malek's wife take care of Waldbeck for four years until he turns twelve and would leave for Nico Academy. He would complete his studies there in three years and finally serve by Lorist's side.
Lorist wrote a letter to request Malek's return from Silowas. When Malek returned Lorist made his request, to which Malek eagerly agreed. He did not take any nonsense from either Irina or Waldbeck and soon left to return to his manor in Salus.
Malek's wife was waiting for him when he returned him.
"This child is an orphan of one of my deceased comrades," he explained as he tossed the kid through the door, "He's incredibly naughty and lies all the time. He constantly claims he's hour dominion lord's heir. I was worried for his sake, so I decided to bring him back here and instill some discipline in him."
His wife believed the story and took hold of Waldbeck. Malek didn't say anything else, nor did he waste his time at home. He turned around and returned to his post on Silowas right away. On his departure, the young master kept crying about how he really was the dominion lord's son and wanted to return home. Malek's wife, however, took it as a sign of the kid's intention to escape and gave him several thorough canings. Waldbeck was so frightened he nearly lost his voice and quickly fell in line.
The matter at Maplewoods was a damper on Lorist's mood, especially the way Irina had glared at him when he took Waldbeck away and how she refused to sleep with him. In the end, he left with a stomach filled with anger. Before he departed, however, he told Irina that if she insisted on Waldbeck's return, he would lose his place in the line of succession. The threat struck home and, though she cried unendingly, she didn't dare to go against Lorist's decision anymore.
Lorist went to Nico Academy, but Telesti refused his advances as well. She argued that she wanted to focus on her research and on managing the academy, and had little time for Lorist and his petty distractions. So, instead, he sent most of his time there with his two daughters for a few days. He returned to the academy a day after he left to drop Helias off before leaving for Firmrock with a heavy heart, only to realize the Dinas had been awaiting his return, filled with jealousy.
How do other transmigrators manage their harems? I have only five women in three different places, and it's already more than it's worth. It's even worse now that I have children. Even though I'm incredibly busy and unable to spend time with my children, those breeding stallion transmigrators always have at least ten beauties waiting for them. How do they manage it? There's a saying that goes, 'three women are like 500 ducks'. Wouldn't a whole harem with more than ten beauties be far worse? Seriously, how do those transmigrators do it?
Lorist continued to daydream with his feet on the desk as Howard entered the room. Seeing Lorist's posture, he sighed.
"You're a noble, Milord, a dominion lord! You should behave accordingly! The way you're sitting is not acceptable at all!"
"Save it," Lorist interjected, "Only you would come in without knocking. By the time others finish knocking, I would be in the proper posture. Tell me, what's going on?"
"Well, I just received word from a messenger of House Kenmays that Princess Sylvia is in The Northlands. She will arrive at the dominion around noon tomorrow," replied Howard.