Derrick then turned to Jack.

"How's the wall progressing?"

"There has been no delay, Your Highness. With the arrival of new workers, we're certain that we can shorten the timeframe by at least a month"

Jack was really proud, as he had to calculate everything multiple times to optimize every aspect of the project. The old man couldn't wait to see the reaction of Derrick. However, to his surprise, the necromancer only smiled, making his skin crawl. Something was fishy about this...

"Great! That means you can take on other projects, right?"

There it was! Jack should have trusted his gut when he felt something odd about this meeting...

"What did you have in mind?"

"Wells and sanitary installations. Also, we'll need more housing development considering the wave of new incoming refugees"

"I understand the need for more wells and houses, as it's also been on my mind, but what about sanitary installations? How do we implement it?"

Even though he hadn't used them, Derrick had seen the way Terra went about that particular issue. However, he didn't know its system in-depth, so he could only outline its major components.

"I want you to build decent shacks throughout the city, which will be separated between men and women. Prioritize heavily popular areas, and make sure that people can have privacy when using them. I want you to think of a system where we can dispose of the waste afterwards"

"I understand. I'll put my mind to it. Anything else Your Highness?"

"Yeah, I want you to meet with farmers and ask around if there are people that worked with cattle before. I want meat to be affordable for everyone, not just the wealthier individuals. When you've found some, build installations according to their suggestions. The city will subsidize their construction. Do you have an estimate on how much everything will cost?"

With the soaring economy finally came large expenses. Derrick couldn't escape them anymore, even when located in Akata. Luckily for him, the wall currently being built was under conscription, which meant that people were forced to work on it.

Of course, their lodging and meals were provided, but it was still way less expensive than giving them a salary.

"I think the stalls will cost around 10 000 iron coins, and that's to set them all up around the city. I'm basing that estimate on building one for every 30 people, which would require us to build a thousand of them. The price can be this low because we purchase bulks of materials. Of course, this doesn't include the maintenance costs"

Derrick was surprised by how cheap they were, but figured it made sense. He wasn't asking for anything over complex or luxurious. He simply wanted a place where people could safely and properly relieve themselves.

"Concerning the wells and new housing, a budget of 30 000 iron coins is needed. It also doesn't include the maintenance for the wells, which will have to be covered by the city. As for the cattle farms.. It's hard to estimate, but based on our previous constructions, we should be able to build them for 5000 iron coins each"

Derrick nearly chocked when he heard the numbers. They were outrageously high for his tiny budget and income. Jack saw his distressed expression, but still continued. He had become more bold these last few months, probably due to the fact he had completely assumed his role of Minister. Sugar coating things was not his style anymore.

"Your Highness, I know it's a harsh reality, but the workers are being handsomely paid nowadays. You also have to take into consideration that the price is for a standard farm without any bells and whistles. It could easily reach 10 000 iron coins with the suggestions"

It took some time before Derrick could answer.

"Thank you for going straight to the point. Proceed forward with the plans. Begin with 10 farms first, and we'll reevaluate our strategy once we see their production. We'll also have to procure the animals, and the turnover will take some time, as the beasts will have to breed to create a cycle. You're dismissed."

Jack nodded and left right away. The amount of work he now had on his plate was colossal, with no time to lose. His proudly acquired month of respite has gone into smoke just like that.

Now the only remaining people in the room were Derrick and the Scholar, William. It had been a while since the two had met.

"The reason I summoned you here is that I want to know if there is anyone promising in management attending the school. Akata's affairs are becoming incredibly complex, and I want an aid for Lacha to rely on. I'm afraid she'll tire herself out too much"

Derrick went straight to the point, and the Scholar didn't waste any time before rummaging through his memories. The ever-increasing attendance at Akata's school had transformed it into an institution, and William's hard work of forming new teachers had paid greatly. It was now time to see its dividends.

It took him a long minute before finding a result.

"I have someone you might be interested in. She's 16 years of age, and a prodigy with numbers. Her name is Lily. She also knows how to write and is surprising astute when facing problems. She's a diamond in the rough, and she can become a real asset if guided properly"

Derrick was ecstatic, and he immediately sent soldiers to summon both her and Lacha.

Their arrivals were near simultaneous and Derrick couldn't help but smile when they entered the hall. Lacha's face had a red tint, obviously still remembering their previous moment, which was totally forgotten by Derrick at the moment.

Lily was a pretty and small girl. She didn't have a wow factor yet, but one could clearly see that it was only a matter of time before she would bloom into a majestic flower.

When she saw Derrick, her heart nearly stopped, and she immediately got down on all fours, kowtowing.

"Your Highness, it's an honor to meet you!"

Derrick was shocked, and he couldn't restrain his laugh in time.

"William, is that what you teach them at school?"

The little jab made William awkwardly smile before responding.

"Master, you're the ruler of this city. Teaching them proper etiquette is only natural!"

Lily was unfazed by the conversation and remained still on the floor. She wasn't a stranger to the stories circulating about Derrick, and if even only a fraction of them were true, he truly was a strong and ruthless personage.

"Get up Lily, I have business to discuss with you"

Derrick had finally managed to control himself and now had a serious tone.

The girl didn't dawdle, quickly getting on her feet while maintaining a bowing posture.

"My wife, Lacha, will be your new employer"

Both women were dumbstruck by the news, forcing Derrick to rapidly explain himself.

"Lacha, I want you to issue a new decree stating that every business will need a permit to operate in the future. Those permits will give them legitimacy. A two week grace-period will be granted, but every non-complying entity afterwards will be shutdown and seized. This will be a massive undertaking, which is why I thought about assigning you an aid. She's apparently very bright"

Lacha finally understood the situation. She was graceful that Derrick thought of an aid, as Akata Loans already took most of her time. If she had to take on more, she would most-likely burn out.

Lily couldn't believe what was happening. Was His Highness offering her a job, and with his wife at that?! She was only a lowly commoner that had the chance of attending school, which was already a dream come true. People like her never had those opportunities. In Krakow, they would be flogged and shamed for even thinking of such things.

Lacha saw her disbelief, and she walked forward to present herself, with a radiant smile and plenty of warmth.

"It seems we'll be working together from now on. We'll discuss further details later. You can go and tell your parents the good news!"


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