Chapter 241 – Politics are Trickery(3)
* * *
The next day, there was a boulder the size of a small child at the very top of the Palatino hill.
The boulder strangely had a luxurious piece of silk draped over it. People who passed by would turn to glance at the boulder at least once because of this. Some people would even examine the boulder carefully because they thought that the rock might be some sort of sacred object.
However, no matter how much they looked at it, it was a normal-looking rock.
Everyone tilted their heads in confusion.
“Why is something like this in front of the Grand Assembly Hall?”
“Maybe someone placed it here as a joke? Jeez, youngsters these days.”
“Do you think people have enough silk to spare to do this as a prank? Don’t make fun of young people just because you have some wrinkles, old man.”
The Grand Assembly Hall referred to the courthouse that was built under Dantalian’s command.
Demon Lord Dantalian called this a courthouse, but the villagers started to naturally refer to it as the Grand Assembly Hall because of how often they would gather here for trivial and important matters. In order to distinguish this place from the buildings the villagers used to originally hold their trials, they called this place the ‘Big House’.
“There’s a decree written on the silk.”
A small portion of the people knew how to read letters. It was the people who were born in households that belonged to landowners. They noticed that words were written on the luxurious piece of silk.
“It says to move the boulder to the bottom of the hill.”
“Huh? Why’d they have to write a decree to order something like that?”
“I don’t know either…….”
The man furrowed his brows as he read the rest of the text.
“But it says that 100 gold will be given if you move it.”
The people went silent for a moment as they turned to look at each other.
They then laughed.
“As I thought, it’s a joke. I told you so, didn’t I?”
“You’d probably end up as a laughing stock if you got caught doing this. It’s obvious.”
It was obvious that someone would laugh at them if they took the words written on the piece of cloth seriously and actually carried the boulder down the hill. They’d use up all their stamina and also be treated as the joke of the town for a while.
The people ignored the boulder as they entered the Grand Assembly Hall. The people came back out after the assembly was over and the boulder was still there next to the entrance.
“What idiot decided to defile the entrance to this place when His Highness was the one who had this building constructed!?”
People scowled at the boulder.
“Oi, Old Man. You should’ve gotten rid of this a while ago. Why have you left it here?”
“Don’t call me an old man, you old man. Who’d call a 17-year-old guy old?”
Parsi walked out from the Grand Assembly Hall behind them. People laughed.
“If you received a high position from His Highness, then you’re an old man regardless of your age. You say you’re 17, but your mug doesn’t look it at all. You’ve already lived your entire life, you aged child.”
“Fuck off. I’ll definitely get a bride by the end of this year.”
People laughed even louder.
“Sure you will. I’m sure a guy like you who looks like the son of a bear will be able to get married.”
“Ah, I said to fuck off!”
Parsi was someone who could ax a village chief in the head if they got on his nerves, but he was usually just a young man who was fun to tease. Furthermore, most people knew which lady Parsi had a crush on and how futile that crush of his was.
Parsi had a crush on His Highness the Demon Lord’s wife, Laura de Farnese. It was love at first sight.
Considering his appearance and status, it was an impossible love. The beautiful blonde girl was also the one who had implemented the new law throughout the domain. It was clear even to the commoners that she wasn’t someone who would plow the fields like a farmer’s wife.
A few people started to whisper to each other in the back as they hid behind the people who were laughing.
“That guy really is a retard. Does he think another girl will catch his eyes if he gets his heart taken by a girl as beautiful as that?”
“Tsk tsk. Not only is he a village chief, but he also received His Highness’ trust so he could probably take the hand of any girl he wants if he lowered his standards. He’s kicking his own luck…….”
They let out a sigh. That guy is an idiot.
“My wife said that she saw His Highness and the blonde lady banging in the middle of a wheat field a while ago! There’s no marital compatibility as good as theirs, so this guy is utterly hopeless.”
“I heard the rumors, but I didn’t think it was actually true.”
“Ah, it’s true. I saw it as well. Our Highness is quite the man!”
They cackled. They made a bet about whether Parsi would get married within 5 years or 7 years. Parsi, the precocious Lord’s representative had no hope whatsoever…….
“In any case, Parsi, get rid of that unsightly rock. Why is this in front of the Grand Assembly Hall? If you want, we can give you a hand.”
“I’m not sure what you old coots are thinking, but.”
“That isn’t there as a joke. It was placed there officially by His Honor.”
The others furrowed their brows further.
“What is His Highness thinking……?”
“Do you think I understand everything His Honor does?”
“He told me to put it here, so I did. Damn it, I thought my back would go out trying to move this rock at the crack of dawn.”
“You should take care of your back since you’ve never even used it yet. Keke.”
“Fucker. Do you old coots enjoy messing with me?”
“There’s nothing sweeter than this.”
A few people fell into deep thought while the others were laughing.
From the people’s perspective, Demon Lord Dantalian may have not been a virtuous lord, but he was at least a wise one. He did have some bizarre sides to him like when he would perform shameful deeds with his lover in a wheat field or when he would personally work in the fields despite being the lord.
Nevertheless, when it came to managing the land, he always held on to disciplined and moral principles. Disciplined referred to how he would never repeat something he had already said before his people and his moral principles referred to his flexible rule that knew how to adapt to the time and place.
For example, Dantalian had thoroughly kept his promise that he would not take taxes from them.
His people were prepared to accept it even if he were to put a bunch of different taxes on them. Most of them were sons and daughters who had run away from other territories. They were completely used to tyranny.
This was an era where tyranny itself wasn’t the problem, but the degree of it was.
In this regard, it was firmly engraved into everyone that Dantalian was a well-disciplined lord. Our Lord doesn’t lie. If he says he’ll do something, then he’ll do it. This was what they believed.
‘The Lord probably…….’
‘Yeah. He is probably planning something with this.’
The old elders exchanged a conversation with their eyes.
They nodded. His Highness was probably planning something with this. This was more than enough for them. They believed that trying to figure out the Lord’s intentions would be presumptuous of them. In truth, they didn’t have to either, right?
Different from the elders who would always be two steps away from life, a youngster stepped forward with lively steps.
“If His Highness is guaranteeing it, then that changes things.”
The youngster’s name was Yammer. He was the second son of a landowner.
Just like the other second sons in this era, Yammer didn’t inherit his parent’s land. Instead, he entered the tenant land that Dantalian had placed a 30% tax on.
‘It’s all thanks to His Highness.’
The youngster was grateful to Dantalian since he had given an opportunity to second sons like him. As he was someone who always thought this, as long as it was His Highness the Demon Lord giving the order, then he would gladly do it even if it seemed like a joke.
“Move out of the way. I’ll do it.”
“Hm? No, but there’s no way he’d give 100 gold for moving a single rock.”
The rest of the people who had yet to understand the situation tilted their heads.
Even Yammer didn’t believe that 100 gold would be given. He simply thought that he should naturally carry out this order since His Highness was the one to give it.
“His Highness was the one to give this order, so I doubt it’d be a lie, right? He might even give the silk that’s draped over this boulder. This alone would be enough to be a profit for me.”
“Well, you’re right about that…….”
“Even the silk would be good enough.”
The others nodded.
There were now people who were staring at the rock with greedy eyes. It was because the silk alone had quite the value. However, it was first come, first serve, so people could only smack their lips since Yammer had stepped forward first.
“Hgggh. Up we go!”
Everyone watched as Yammer used all his strength to carry the boulder. It was considerably heavy.
“Kuuh……! Parsi. Is it fine to place it anywhere as long as it’s at the bottom of the hill?”
“He didn’t particularly say anything about the place, so do whatever you want.”
“All right! The Mighty Yammer is heading oout!”
Yammer walked down the hill with big strides.
The others followed Yammer down the hill as they watched in interest. The only thing everyone had left to do was return to their respective villages since the assembly was over, so they figured they’d stick around to find out what kind of joke His Highness the Demon Lord was planning. Yammer’s limbs trembled every now and then as he barely managed to walk.
“How can a guy who does farmwork be so weak!?”
“Booo! You’re going slower now! The Mighty my ass!”
The spectators got excited as they started to jeer. A vein popped on Yammer’s forehead, but his face was red because of the weight of the boulder. He didn’t have the leisure to listen to their complaints.
“Kuhaaa! God, my body!”
Four minutes later, Yammer arrived at the bottom of the hill. The boulder let out a loud thud as he dropped it on the ground. Yammer lied down on the ground right then and there.
“This thing is damn heavy!”
“Look at this guy. He’s lying down after carrying a little rock.”
“Who knows if he’s able to show his wife any love with strength like that.”
It happened right when people started to laugh loudly.
A couple of public order officers, in other words, members of Jeremi’s assassin group who had followed Jeremi here, approached the crowd after they watched everything unfold from the outpost at the top of the hill. The village people knew that the public order officers weren’t people to mess with, so they became somewhat nervous. Did something happen?
The elven public order officers brought out an extravagant box.
“Who was the one who moved the boulder?”
“I-It was me.”
Yammer hastily stood back on his feet.
One of the officers shouted.
“The rest of you listen! As I will be following the decree given under Dantalian’s name, I will now be giving this individual his promised 100 gold.”
“This is the reward given to you by His Highness the Demon Lord. Please accept it humbly.”
Yammer’s eyes immediately became refocused.
He held out his swollen palm that had ended up this way after moving the rock. The officers handed him the box courteously. The box was as big as his chest. The people gathered here knew that just selling that box would be enough to net you a few gold coins as well.
“So, you’re saying that……this is, uh.”
Yammer audibly gulped. He opened the box resolutely with a determined look on his face.
There was actually a pile of gold inside of the box.
Yammer unintentionally let out a cry. Was this a dream or reality?
The other citizens became like a choir as they also let out cries. Even the elders who were calmly waiting to see what would happen forgot about their age as they also cried out. It was gold. Gold coins that farmers would never see in the countryside were piled up before them!
TL Note: Thanks for reading the chapter. Uh, I honestly have nothing to say this chapter. Nothing new has really happened lately for me to bring up. This chapter isn’t particularly noteworthy either. So, uh, yeah…
I’ll see you guys in the next chapter.