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Chapter 101 – Trentheim and the young lord (1)
“Ciel, I want you to speak with Raban and Cornelius, and have them send out their most trusted men to search for the southern armies. The majority of the people that we have sent out earlier and are most likely gone.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“As for you, Gaspard. Tell Leto I have already started preparing for Count Randner’s counterattacks. He should continue to monitor what Lord Palas is doing and inform me of any changes. I’ll leave everything else to his judgment, but I won’t suggest him to attack any other regions other than Macsen. Oh, and one more thing, if there are still refugees following you and if you have spare blacksmiths from the Macsen region, send them over here.”
“Understood, my lord.”
Brendel gave his instructions and thanked Gaspard before he dismissed everyone. He then sat back in his chair and continued to study the reports.
The city walls and other areas that needed repairing were progressing in an organized manner, but it was projected to be finished at the beginning of the next month, which was a week later than was estimated. The resources spent on it were also much greater than projected, and the only people who benefitted immediately were probably the workers when they received their compensation.
[It seems like the start of the project wasn’t smooth.]
He remarked to himself before moving on to the next page.
Nobody was willing to work for the young lord who took over Firburh ‘illegally’. Graudin’s presence still lingered, and Count Randner’s infamy weighted down on their hearts like a mountain.
The policies that Amandina set up in a generous manner was immediately met with resistance. Dangling resources in front of the citizens hardly convinced them and could not conquer the fear from the other nobles, or perhaps it was because they feared retribution that might come in the future.
Based on her observations, if it were not for the mercenaries around Firburh, along with the fact that the citizens who also held the same fear towards Brendel as a noble, a massive number of citizens would have fled the city long ago.
In the end, she realized where her mistake was and started to use forceful measures to correct it, becoming like what a noble’s lackey would do.
She bade the soldiers follow her, came to the outskirts of the city during the morning, and forced the citizens to gather at the city square. Tools were handed out to them and the mercenaries watched them perform the tasks given to them.
Even though she tried to reduce bloodshed on her part, her actions still invited a riot. The people who incited the riot were beaten severely, and the title ‘Lady Devil’ quickly spread throughout the masses.
But their attitudes started to change when this Lady Devil arranged an extravagant dinner for them.
Loaves of white bread that were rarely eaten by commoners and a pot of stewed meat soup—
Well, it was not exactly stewed meat soup. When it was poured into the bowls, there were only a few pieces of shredded meat and the soup was almost as clear as water. One could see the bottom of the bowl, and even Amandina frowned when she saw the lacking contents in the pot.
But it was not the mercenaries trying to be mean or miserly. They hunted in the forest and gotten quite a few kills, however, it was hardly enough to feed hundreds of men.
Amandina was worried that the workers would grumble about the given meal, but it was proven that the outcome was contrary to her expectations.
The citizens of Firburh were more like impoverished refugees who experienced a famine. Their eyes became brighter than the starving wolves in the forests when they smelled the aroma of the soup.
They considered the loaves of white bread to be a delicacy, only bought or made during celebrations and important days. As for acquiring meat, it depended on Graudin’s mood during the end of the year, where the remaining scraps would be sold from his feasts.
It did not matter whether the soup was clear.
Amandina again found a mistake in the way on how she perceived things when she saw the workers gorging themselves on the food.
When she lived in Bruglas, the food that she ate was just small slices of hard black rye bread every day, and after she left with Brendel, she was actually highly pleased to return to having proper meals and never looked back to her old life.
One could only imagine how much more desperate the citizens were to acquire food.
With the response that she saw from the first dinner given to them, she was certain that their minds would change with the right persuasion.
She declared that everyone could enjoy the food every day if they continued to work.
This promise caused a commotion amongst the workers. Even though they were doubtful about the promise, the majority of them were interested to see if the promise was upheld. Though, even if they did not want to, the mercenaries would put on fierce expressions and made their choices for them.
Their suspicions were eventually dismissed with each passing day. The Lady Devil’s promise was indeed true. A loaf of white bread and a small bowl of ‘thick’ stewed soup was served every dinner.
This decision quickly diminished the sources of meat available in the city because the mercenaries did not succeed in getting good hunts every day. Small amounts of cured meat made from sheep or pigs were used to supplment the lack of meat. Livestock meant for Graudin and his men’s consumption were also included.
The supplies eventually did not meet the required demands, and Felaern repeatedly grumbled about it to Amandina. If this continued, Brendel would not have a decent meal when he came back from Schafflund.
This apparently succeeded in persuading Amandina. It was between her respected noble lord and the citizens of this city who were strangers. She spent almost no time to decide on it.
However, she continued to enforce her promise. She had the mercenaries cut down on their training and got them to hunt longer in the forest to make up for the lack of meat.
This action brought an unexpected positive effect. The workers apparently got news on how the Lady Devil provided their meals.
She made the mercenaries hunt in the lord’s private hunting grounds.
This action moved the citizens, and there were even a few who secretly requested the mercenaries to tell her that the loaves of white bread were good enough for them.
It was possible that the young lord of this city would punish this generous and trustworthy girl.
Amandina’s confidence was bolstered when she heard their gesture and told the workers that it was not her, but the young lord who issued the instructions, so they had nothing to worry about.
This small explanation pushed all the credit to Brendel.
The youth’s action of suspending the taxes was quickly remembered, and he gained unquestionable prestige overnight.
Brendel still did not know about this matter, as the report in his hands only described the actions that Amandina did.
Approximately ten days into the repairing the walls, the workers asked if Amandina needed more men to repair the wall.
This was a signal to show that her actions had attracted more people. Not only that, the power held by the nobles were starting to weaken against the trust in their new lord.
People were starting to waver.
However, despite the increase in manpower, the project was still delayed. They had a bad start and no one was proficient in construction.
Grandmaster Bosley more or less limited the mistakes made, but he was obviously more suited to create a magic armor over laying down rocks on the wall.
Brendel finished reading the report and went to Odum again.
The dwarf nodded as he listened to Brendel’s explanation, stated that he would check the site immediately, and was soon escorted to the site.
Though he was not really reliable, he did learn a few things from the Mountain Dwarves and was able to rectify unresolved issues. The repairs eventually progressed faster and were finished at the end of the month, saving time from the estimated delay.
Amandina invited Brendel and his important confidants to take a look at the completed repairs. They stood quietly and approached the city walls, which appeared in and out from the morning mist.
She sighed with relief, though she lightly frowned in the next moment and looked back at Brendel with an apologetic expression:
“I apologize for wasting so much time, my lord—”
But Brendel’s eyes were full of praise when he looked back at her.
[This is a priceless treasure that I dug up from Bruglas. I haven’t realized it till now. I used to think I was lucky to find someone who can create Magicite but she’s much more than that. This is even better than finding gold coins on the floor!]
Amandina was a quiet girl, but she had her own principles, dreams, and beliefs. Brendel wondered what sort of karma he had to get such an extraordinary manager to work for him wholeheartedly.
He was worried about the progress of the city walls’ repairs dragging on from unforeseen circumstances. Additional delays would lead to even more delays and the probable snowing would be an issue. Examples would include an increased expenditure of food and risk of injuries.
Bosley and Odum’s performances were also satisfactory, though the latter seemingly appeared to be a little timid all the time.