Emperor of Steel

Chapter 190 - 2 Years Later – 2

All the retainers were already gathered in the meeting room of the manor.

They were all seated, and as Luke entered, he went directly to his seat and leaned back.

“The Lord has come!”

“Was it a month?”

After a brief greeting from the retainers, the meeting had begun.

As the estate developed, Luke felt like there needed to be a regular meeting. As the estates grew and the retainers placed in different duties, it wasn’t easy to gather them all in one place at one time.

Thus, a meeting was planned to be held every month where the important policies regarding the estate would be discussed and decided.

“Lord, with the recent census which had been done last week, our estate’s men are now 850,000, including 132 villages and 15 cities, including the Lamer. At this level, we can say that we are way past out title. Congratulations!”

“Oh! The population is large.”

The larger the population, the greater the productivity, and the more productivity, the higher would be the taxes collected.

The increase in taxes would help keep larger troops and territories, so the increase in population was definitely a thing to celebrate.

“Then, how much tax would be collected this year?”

Bald headed Dixon immediately responded to the question, “It will be around a million pesos, except for the Lamer city, which is delegated to the Merchant Union.”

“Well, that’s fine.”

It wasn’t just fine. It had recently become one of the richest nations in the empire.

“Then, how about we try to take control over Lamer now?”

The first delegation of Lamer city was to the Merchant Union. That happened because the Rakan Estate lacked the capacity to rule over such a large land.

But now the former Count’s men were completely gone, so Dixon thought that it would be beneficial in many ways if they decided to govern it. If they did, both Lamer’s administrative and military abilities would increase rapidly.

There were quite a few retainers who nodded and sympathized with those words.

However, Luke shook his head firmly.

“We don’t have to cut the belly of the goose which lays golden eggs. Just leave it as it is.”

The Merchant Union was successful in Lamer.

The doubling of the trade volume each year without any competition with the other large commercial or trading cities was all due to the environment in which the merchants would exercise their abilities without interference from the nobles or the lords; that was what Luke thought, and there was no need to touch them and limit their trade.

“However, Princess Reina is still missing, so why don’t we leave the land of gold over to the old retainers of Volga…”

“Executive Dixon!”

Mentioning princess Reina’s disappearance over the past two years was a taboo in Marquis Rakan.

As Dixon spoke about it, Hans quickly cut him off.

However, those words couldn’t be taken back, and the atmosphere in the meeting room turned very cold.

Everyone including Dixon was sweating, seeing that Luke opened his mouth.

“Whatever the reason, Reina will be found, so please refrain from mentioning her here anymore.”

“Sorry, excuse my words, Lord.”

Luke, changed the atmosphere in the conference room and asked Rogers, who was promoted to being the Commander General in the military.

“Baron Rogers, how is it going with the recruitment of troops?”

“Until now, we have been able to steadily recruit young people. That was a whopping 7,000 troops and a total of 30,000 troops in each region’s garrison, reserve, and security.”

In a war where Gigants were the main heroes, the presence of common soldiers didn’t have much importance.

However, the role of the common soldiers was very important when it came to facilitating the security of the occupied territories.

“And the number of apprentice knights has increased steadily to over 700 with 250 regular knights, and it still continues to increase.”

What Rogers said brought a smile on all of their faces.

As the estate grew, there was a need to expand its military power as much as they could.

There would always be a day when the Imperial family decided to take action on them, holding onto past grudges, so it was necessary for the Rakan Estate to increase their military power. It wasn’t an option.

“There is constant training to increase the solidarity of the soldiers. I think we will see some good results.”

Rogers had doubled the training of the homeland as there were far more migrants coming from other regions than the home region.

If there were people pouring out their sweat and fighting with others, it would only end up increasing their affection and loyalty to their estate.

“Is the Gigant power sufficient?” Asked Luke.

“Currently, Rakan knights and Unicorn knights have 30 Knight-class and 100 Warrior-class. There are another 40 which are old, but they are useful if kept in case of emergency or for civil construction work.”

After saying that, Rogers looked over to Mute and said, “All this was possible because of Katarina Magic Tower and Meister Mute, who are spurring the Gigant production.”

At Rogers praise, Mute shook his hands

“It is my duty. I just did what my Lord has asked me to do.”

Luke spoke at that moment.

“You don’t have to be so humble. There is no person here who doesn’t know your capabilities as a wizard.”

The two-year increase in the number of Gigants in Marquis Rakan was all because of the Katarina Magic Tower, which had devoted itself to the production of the Gigants day and night.

Except for a few Knight and Warrior class Gigants which were bought from the outside, most of the stilettos were done by Katarina Magic Tower.

In addition, with the recent expansion of the facilities and the increased production capacity, stilettos were being sold to the friendly estates.

Hopefully, it would contribute to the economy.

“But would our Lord leave Jason region like that?” One of the retainers raised his hand and asked.

2 years ago, when Luke was given the title of Marquis, the emperor had given him the Jason Region.

Even if it was a far-flung estate, that land was known to everyone, but not a single investigator had been dispatched to look after it.

They thought that once their Lord returned, he would say something about it, but Luke hadn’t spoken to them.

“It was told to be useless, but it could be like the state when our land wasn’t that well, so…”

“The land is of no use to anyone. If we do research and install things there, we will only end up making people suffer and waste precious money.”

Luke, who hid the warlocks in there, hoped that the retainers wouldn’t be interested in the Jason Manor, but plans about what to do with it were always being asked.

“How far can we manage it properly just because we have the gold? The lords around it will try to occupy it. Maybe the Emperor has handed it over anticipating that such fight would happen.” Said Luke.

“But…”

“If you are feeling so bad about it, would you go there with your sons and look at the issue? How about we do that?”, asked Luke

“Ah, no. I will follow what the Lord says.”

The retainers quickly picked up the white flag.

The other retainers stopped showing any interest in Jason Manor as well.

Luke, who ended the topic about the Jason Manor, quickly changed the topic to something else.

“By the way, what is the situation in the magic world? Were there any signs of improvement?”

Luke was trying to keep track of the trends in the magic world along with the Veritas Magic Tower.

Mute responded with anxiousness, “The level of conflict is increasing. The power of Veritas is so great that the Magic Federation is still on the rise, but the reformers’ magic towers aren’t so small either, so the fight is very tight.”

2 years ago, a few towers withdrew from the Magic Federation by their own will.

At first, simple reports and verbal checks were being done.

But as time went on, violence began to take place as one of Veritas Magic Tower’s branch got burned down by Fiore Magic Tower.

It wasn’t like an assassination attempt on the other wizards or the destruction of the business.

It was like a massive fight between the magic towers as if they were in a war.

The battle didn’t end just between the magic towers; it ended up including mercenaries and nobles.

“In the beginning, the nobility and the heads of the nation were standing aside and then tried to intervene, but instead of reconciliation, they took sides and decided to not sell Gigants to the lords who supported the others.”

“So not just the magic world, but they are involving the entire continent as well?”

“Well, all thanks to that, we have benefitted.”

As of the moment, the ones, which weren’t involved with the fight, were private magic towers built by the nobles.

So the wizards who didn’t want to be caught in the fight entered Katarina Magic Tower, and the stilettos were able to hit the target groups which were left hurt by the conflict.

“Of course, there are difficulties. We are relying on imports for some important parts which we still can’t produce, and it is getting harder and harder to get them.”

While working on the development of the critical parts, the stilettos weren’t 100 percent made by Katarina Magic Tower.

When such critical components were hard to find, the Gigant productivity would fall, which would lead to disruption in the military power of the region.

Mute was worried about it and so was Rogers, but Luke didn’t seem to take it so seriously.

The Warrior class parts could be obtained from Dark Moon Magic Tower.

Of course, they were publicly available, and they had to be brought in through a secret process.

“That problem, even I will try to think of something. While in the army, I came to know a few magic towers.” Said Luke.

At the words of Luke, Mute seemed worried.

“Won’t we be caught up in the battle?”

“It is alright. I know someone who is neutral.”

When Luke said that, Hans opened his mouth thinking about something.

“Ah, there was a strange rumor going around about the magic towers’ war.”

“What is it about?” Inquired Luke.

“The other day, a knight wandering across the continent had come and said that there was a great mercenary on the side of the Magic Federation. It was said that he defeated a dozen war mages with just one stroke.”

“Is that strange?”

If one had good fencing skills, then that much could be done.

If he wasn’t a mercenary but a super knight sent by a nobleman who had a connection with the Magic Federation, it was a more convincing statement.

Hans shook his head at Luke’s question.

“It isn’t so strange… The mercenary is said to resemble your ancestor.”

“The warrior Rakan? Is that who you’re referring to?”

“Yes, I don’t know if it is true or not, but the man said he saw the mercenary build a golded aura…”

Golden.

It was one of the favorite tricks of Rakan, known to be made after learning the Gold Sword.

Anyway, mentioning the Gold Sword was enough to shake the retainers, and Luke’s face changed too.

He resembled his ancestor and used his skills as well.

What could that mean? Did Rakan had more of his kin out there?

Or…

‘Maybe the mercenary has the other part of the Gold Sword which hasn’t been found?’

It wasn’t just Luke who thought that.

Rogers too jumped out from his chair and spoke with a serious expression,

“Lord, I think we need to look into this mercenary.”

“I think so too. Let’s talk to Argos later.”

Luke later talked about some of the agendas and issues they had to deal with and then ended the regular meeting.