The journey back was peaceful as always, once again, the two carriages ran at their maximum speed which made me heavily nauseated but in return, we managed to return back to the town within half a day which sped up the entire process, allowing us to head to the Town of Yuka within half a day, slept a night then head back within half a day.
“The land looks fresher than when I first came here,” I smiled while looking at the large plot of land that once looked like a desert, it was now darker in color suitable to farm on with large lushes of greeneries growing. It was like the world was quickly recovering its hair.
“Indeed, the constant stream of rain and sunlight is speeding the process a lot faster… not to mention, I can feel a huge amount of mana concentrated all around the land which makes me suspect that the remnant magic power of the curse that kept on for years also cultivated the land in a sense,” Raeliana said.
“Hmm… actually, there is another question inside my mind, how did a town like Iana manage to sustain so long even with the curse? I mean, hasn’t the curse been going on for years yet somehow many of them are still alive… somehow,” I looked over at the silhouette of the town which was closing in soon.
“The answer is actually simple, my lady. The Town of Iana was actually a town that could be called a city at one point with resources so surplus that they even have an emergency-only storage room where they store all the surplus every year. From what I heard last time, they had enough surplus to last their population for a decade which has since passed one year ago,” Lia answered which surprised me.
If that is the case then their population must have decreased drastically within those years, I wonder how many people managed to run away to a new town on foot… I could tell from Tanya that a lot of them were evacuated as well since Tanya from what she said had once lived in Iana.
“How large was Iana in the past again?” I looked at Raeliana and inquired before she tilted her head as she answered.
“Around ten years ago, the Town of Iana had a population of 37,232 which was the average size of a city which is why I said it could be called a city at one point, but it was never recognized as a city because of legislation that requires towns to have existed and survived at least ten years before it can be called a city which is still in place even now.”
Hmm, so the town of Iana basically checked all conditions for it to become a city except for its lifetime—that sounds pretty dumb, in my honest opinion… I wonder why there is a need for such a law though, is it because they want to see how much a town can live without the benefits of a city… then again, what are the benefits of a city that makes it better?
“I can tell from your gaze what you are about to ask,” Raeliana teased before adding, “What makes a city better than a town, right? As you can tell, there are over hundreds of towns around the kingdom and there are only a few dozen cities all around.”
“The reason why many towns want to become a city is number one, attraction; people prefer saying they live in a city rather than a town for some reason, another part is being called a city means you are more attractive to merchants since they typically pick cities to sell simply because those places already have a large population which they can sell to and attract.”
“As for the last reason, it is because cities earn a long-term support from the royal family… well that was in the past but even then, the Queen is still going forward with the support; the first benefit is, the city will receive around twenty percent of the taxes they pay which is a large amount…” she said.
Indeed, twenty percent of five hundred gold coins is a hundred gold coins and for sure, cities pay possibly around thousands of gold coins as taxes which means, they are receiving around two hundred gold coins by simply paying taxes.
“Not to mention, they will utilize a lot of funds to keep a city alive like in cases when a city becomes cursed; they also receive an easy pass for funding when they wish to build a project that requires a lot of funding but with the new Queen in place, it’s becoming a little harder for them since the Queen is not someone ordinary… one time when someone tried to embezzle the funds she provided, the entire family of that person was suddenly found dead,” she added which made me shiver a bit.
I could tell that the person who did that was indeed Kaori—but it wasn’t her usual personality but most likely, her other personality which usually occurs whenever she is angry. After all, Kaori now has two personalities: the angelic Kaori, and the devil Kaori but I know both of her personalities follows a single principle, “Treat someone with twice the respect they give to you and ten times the cruelness they offer.”
“Anyhow, that’s enough lesson, for now, milady—and maybe Lia as well, we will soon be arriving at the town. We really need to refuel the central mana stone of the town soon since the lights are slowly getting dim which would not be good for travelers coming at night…” Raeliana said as she looked at the silhouette of the town which had a little bit of light, but it was fairly dim.
“I never seen or heard about a central mana stone yet, are they expensive to procure?” I asked before she nodded.
“They usually cost around a hundred gold coins but what makes them really handy is they can be reused easily, all you need is a group of people who has a large mana capacity to collectively throw mana directly onto the crystal which usually only costs around ten to twenty gold coins,” she answered.
And there go ten to twenty gold coins in an instant—actually, how much mana capacity do I have right now… I can’t check the numbers since the system won’t open for me, but I can tell I have quite the capacity in this body.
“I wonder if we can power it by ourselves, is it possible?” I looked at Lia and Raeliana at the same time.
“Well, we could fill it up to half or full if we use mine, Faron’s, Sheena’s, Tanya’s, Raeliana’s and my lady’s combined effort though my lady alone could fill it up to half with only her mana capacity but it’s not recommended to use someone’s entire supply of mana all at once because it could make someone’s mana core to explode…” Lia answered.
Indeed, it seems like the central mana stone isn’t that much to fill up then if I could fill it up with this body’s entire mana supply especially if you consider my old body having a nearly bottomless supply of mana that could be attributed with the leveling system, even Angelic Rose arrows take nearly half of this body’s entire supply of mana just to fire one shot.
‘I wonder if the world has this formula where beauty is equivalent to less power…’ I laughed bitterly inside… I now have the beautiful body I wanted but in return, I ended up losing a lot of my power in the past which made me super weak, though that stupid Goddess did say this body is made with divine power which could possibly mean it can be trained to become much stronger… I hope.
“Milady… are you there? We have arrived at the town hall,” Raeliana suddenly shook me several times, snapping me back to reality as I looked around with surprise as people looked at us with eyes that showed more emotions than days before. They didn’t approach us though, but you could tell they were eager to hear the good news which made me smile.
“Welcome back, my lady,” Tanya called to me from the side with her hand out as I smiled, hopping towards her before she caught me in her arms, placing me down as gently as possible.
“Thanks for the welcome, Tanya,” I said before turning towards the people as I showed a bright smile, “Tomorrow, I will announce plenty of good news for all of you. Please be patient in the meantime, we will continue on with our rationing program, but it will no longer be limited to bread.”
“We will start our optimized rationing program tomorrow, for tonight, please bear with bread while we discuss with ourselves over how to distribute all of these properly,” I said before loud happy cheers echoed but that wasn’t all the news as I added, “As for the work, we will immediately start rebuilding the houses, farmland and etc. tomorrow. We will have a discussion with the leaders first.”
“All of you will be paid a salary, naturally which can be used to purchase meat from our supply for the first week before we will retract our supply to allow for other people to sell their own meat. The minimum salary one will receive will be around 200 bronze coins though the salary for the jobs will vary,” I said before showing a smile, “That is all I will say, for now, in case you haven’t received your share of the ration yet, please receive it while you can.”
After speaking all of those, I immediately went back inside the town hall where all the goods were already stored inside. The meat and vegetables were packed in several dozens of wooden crates which were heavy enough, but it seems like Faron and Lia together with Tanya were more than capable enough to handle it.
I always wonder whether they actually have some sort of superpower—especially Tanya that makes them stronger since Tanya is the last person I would expect to be pretty buffed… she could have gone into training like those novels I read though which would make sense.
“Haa… I feel exhausted,” I said while resting on the couch.
“Good work, my lady,” Tanya said as she handed me a wooden cup of water.
“I didn’t do much though, it was Raeliana and Lia who did most of the work. I feel pretty useless over here,” I said with a bitter smile before she shook her head, sitting beside me with a very bright and warm smile.
“You did a lot of things, my lady. You probably don’t realize it, but our work actually revolves around all your orders. Without your orders, we wouldn’t be doing that or this since we would hardly have any benefit of doing so anyway…” she said before patting my head, forcing me to rest on her lap as she added, “You shouldn’t think of yourself as useless, my lady… no human is perfect, that is why we rely on one another to fill each other’s gaps.”
Her voice was like a melody to my ears, I could feel my heart warming up with each word she spoke… how long has it been since I was comforted like this, usually it would be Mana, Kaori, or even Leisha who would comfort me in these times… it felt weird but at the same time, nice to be comforted.
“Thank you, Tanya…” I said while looking at her as she showed a very warm smile before all of a sudden, the door to the town hall slammed open as a brown-haired lady with a brown coat and eyeglasses appeared, bringing along with her an exceptionally large bag on her back.
She looked around for a second before stopping her sight on me as she immediately jumped towards me like a tiger as she said, “My ladyyyyyy! Your dearest servant has arriveeeeddd!”
I could feel my entire body move by itself, dodging the impending danger as I fell on the floor with a loud thud while staring at the lady, trembling as shivers ran throughout my spine… the person was none other than Sheena—the clingiest person in the entire world.