Chapter 322 Western Territory Security Bureau
Returning to the castle hall, Roland went to sit in the Lord’s seat that was overlooking the subjects gathered within the hall beneath him.
In his memory, the only time the 4th Prince has ever used his right to exercise a trial was the first time he had come to Border Town. Later, after his fallout with the nobles and his dissatisfaction with his current lifestyle in general, he had thrown everything into the hands of Barov, never asking him anything about it.
Seeing that everyone was present, Roland called for the trial to begin.
At first, he let all sides state their case, then he asked them questions of his own – with Nightingale there secretly assisting him it wasn’t necessary for him to determine who was deliberately lying and who spoke insincerely, nor did he need to have the meticulous mind of a grim reaper, concluding who was responsible became effortless and simple.
Soon the whole truth of the story was revealed.
At heart, Khoya Harvie was unwilling to accept that he was deprived of his identity as a knight, at the same time he had also grown tired of the tedious writing work at the City Hall, which resulted into a stomach full of resentment against the refugees. He made use of the opportunity presented by the distribution of the wheat porridge to purposely charge the refugees a fee and instigate dispute between both sides. He deliberately told them that it was because the serfs didn’t turn over all their grain that the wheat stock wasn’t enough and for that reason they could not give out porridge free of charge.
In fact, what made Roland the most aggravated was that Khoya was only able to charge them for several days because he had been wearing the eye-catching uniform of the City Hall and that the refugees had been worried about the possibility of retaliation from officials that they kept silent. Until today, when a refugee named Vader had stepped out in protest against his behavior, and from this commotion everything had then been exposed.
When Roland finally understood the whole situation he felt relieved.
An organization on the rise should be brimming with vitality, full of youthful energy. Later on, when the situation was more stable, corruption and rigidity would be inevitable, but that should only be something that happens after the unification with Longsong Stronghold. If those problems were to appear in the beginning, then the organization would be doomed to never go very far.
However, it now appeared that Khoya had acted on his own and that none of the other officials of the City Hall had been related to this matter. Furthermore, it was only a matter limited to extorting money, and not the thing he had feared the most, which was serfs selling and reselling grain in private.
Of course, to some extents, Roland was also the one responsible that the situation had develop to this. Due to City Hall originally being so desperately short of manpower, Roland had placed the surrendered Knights under Barov after only giving them a warning about the circumstances and no further screening or training. The result showed that not everyone had been able to accept the job without complaint or bare the great mental pain of dropping in rank from a knight to a civilian.
Roland called Barov to his side and asked him in a low voice: "What would other Lords do in this case?”
"Your Highness, there are two possibilities," the latter respectfully replied, "If the offender is a nobleman, after paying a few gold royals the situation would be turned over and they could be let go without any further punishment. While the punishment for a civilian attacking a noble can be big or small, from cutting off one hand to flogging."
"But Khoya is no nobleman," the Prince responded, "I have deprived him of his title."
"Yes, that’s true, Your Highness. In this way, the disposition will be based entirely on the mood of the Lord."
"There are no fixed numbers?"
Barov shook his head.
Hearing this Roland began to frown, that it is entirely dependant on the mood of the Lord means that in the eyes of the nobility it doesn’t matter how civilians are treated, they do not consider them as “people” at all.
"In addition to cutting off hands, breaking feet, whipping and pulling fingernails are there any common punishments? For example, imprisonment?”
"Imprisonment?" Barov asked startled, "You mean to simply lock them away? What kind of punishment would that be? A prison is only a temporary place for holding the sinner, sooner or later they will be brought to trial and their case will be closed. During their imprisonment, you have to feed them the whole time, I’m afraid that it would be a reward for some people.”
Well, it seems that the general term of imprisonment used in later generation won’t be very useful here. After thinking about it for a moment, Roland decided to follow the rules of the castle. He stood up, and let his gaze wander over the people gathered beneath him, "I'm ready to give my verdict now."
"Khoya Harvie, because of dereliction of duty, extortion of refugees, you are abolished of your position within City Hall, sentenced to work in the mine for ten years, and to be fined with three times the amount you have stolen.
"Vader, as the first to attack a City Hall officer you will be sentenced to ten lashes with the whip.
"All the other refugees and serfs involved in the fighting are fined two silver royals or five lashes with a whip.
"The distribution of the wheat porridge will continue to be free of charge, all previous extorted money will be refunded." He looked to the Prime Minister of the City Hall, "You will carry out the above ruling and also announce the result to the people in the temporary residential area."
"As you command, Your Royal Highness," Barov said.
Back to the office, Roland leaned against the back of the chair and stretched, he then felt a pair of hands resting on his shoulders and gently massaged them.
Closing his eyes Roland enjoyed a moment of leisure.
This matter had made Roland realize that with the increasing number of people in the city, the authority of the City Hall had also expanded rapidly and that they might already have to face the problem of internal regulation by now.
He did not want to set up an institution similar to the prosecutor’s office, but he was also unwilling to set up an independent public security bureau of later generations. Not only would the former need a larger number of literacy personnel, they were also prone to attack each other, interfere in the commission of the policies, the appointing and expelling systems of government, and hinder the implementation of new policies. While the latter weakened the Lord’s authority in disguise. It would still be better if he kept those powers, such as the formulation and interpretation of the law and holding a trial, in his own hands.
What he needed was a simple yet effective System which didn’t require many people to play the role of a supervising organization.
Roland took hold of one of the hands placed on his shoulders.
Feeling her hand being grasped, Nightingale stepped out of the fog and sat on the edge of the table while holding the Prince’s hand, she then crooked her head and asked: "What’s up?“
Her slender legs dangled from the table, swaying in the air, forming a perfect curve with her high tube moccasins and her close-fitting pants.
Roland coughed twice, "I intend to set up a new department which will supervise the City Hall, as well as arrest other people who attempt to harm the Western Territory or destabilize the community. This department only needs to report to me and will be completely independent of the City Hall or the First Army." Emphasizing every word Roland went on, “I will name it the “Western Territory Security Bureau” and I want the first supervisor to be you."
"Me?" Nightingale blinked confusedly.
"That’s right, only you can easily distinguish the truth of the spoken words. Furthermore, any cheats or tricks will be meaningless in front of you, "Roland nodded. "How is it? If you wish, I can provide you with my own afternoon tea’s ice cream during winter, and also…"
Nightingale gently pinched his hand, "It’s unnecessary to say that, I promise I will comply – anything, as long as it is something you want me to do."
"..." Roland suddenly felt a bit embarrassed.
She laughed, but didn’t let the silence continue for too long and instead said, "But what should I do?"
"Well, the supervising part will be very simple," the Prince got his emotion back under his control, "I will set up an accusation box at the entrance to the castle area, thus you only have to check the contents of the reporting letters inside.”
If he wanted to solve the problem in the least costly way, it would be to use the masses to supervise, as well as make the City Hall supervise itself. Just like last year when they had caught the spies during the Months of Demons.
For future generations, this method wouldn’t be easy enough to use. No matter if it was the reported target or the reporter themselves, it would need a lot of effort to verify. Simultaneously, there could also be cases of false reports, mistaken reports about correct situations, and not to mention deliberate framing. But in front of Nightingale’s ability these shortcomings wouldn’t be a problem. Verifying the information would be very easy for her, she merely had to question the accuser in person – truthful reports would be rewarded while false accusations and false reports would be punished. Centering the implementation around these two points, the system was bound to be extremely efficient.
"As for maintaining the stability of the Western Territory, and eliminating threats and hidden dangers, it will be more resemblant of a national intelligence system. However, for this, I will slowly extend your hands until your eyes are spread over the whole of the Western Territory.”
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