Derrick felt a shiver run down his spine. He remembered the absurd costs that had been discussed, and if he based his assumptions on Jack's facial expression right now, they had definitely been blown out of proportions.

"How much did it all cost?"

Jack didn't keep Derrick hanging for very long.

"Your Highness, we're currently building 4 farms that were designed by people with cattle knowledge. We, of course, vetted them to make sure that they weren't 'fakes' that wanted to take advantage of the system. However, they also laughed when we first talked about how we wanted to do things. Our initial estimate of 10 000 iron coins per farm jumped to 25 000, obliterating the budget"

Jack took in a deep breath, and dropped the remaining bomb on Derrick.

"That, coupled with the new stalls and housing, racks up to the astronomical sum of 140 000 iron coins"

Derrick felt his heart crumble, and his first reaction was to open up Akata's tab to see if he had enough money in his coffers to absorb the blow. If not, he would have to directly take gold coins from Akata Loans, which hadn't even begun operating. His heart was furiously beating, hoping he wouldn't have to default on his first payment. If he did, the consequences would be disastrous for his newly created institution, as the people would have no trust in something that could rob them blind.

[Akata Village]

[Level : 4]

[Population : 32 678]

[Soldiers : 1516]

[Funds : 80 979 iron coins, 892 gold coins (Akata Loans : 10 000 gold coins / week)]

[Tax : 5% on sales (Income : 2644 iron coins / day), Business permits (? / week)]

[Businesses : Iron Mine (Production : 1 ton / week), Gold Mine (Production : ? ton / week - 2 months until depletion), Resources Factory, Restaurant District]

[Institutions : Forge, Military Quarters, School, Akata Loans (In Progress), Market (In Progress)]

[Mood : 89/11]

His fears had come true, as he was short on funds, at least with iron coins. However, there was still a saving grace for him, as he hadn't fixed a conversion rate from iron to gold coins yet. He figured he would be able to pay everything if he pooled all his resources together.

Jack saw the distressed expression on his Lord's face, and he immediately got down on his knees and began to kowtow.

"I've failed you, Your Highness. It was my duty to supervise and lead the project to its end, and I failed.."

Derrick looked at the old man at his feet, and he shook his head with a slight smile.

"I'm the one who asked you to do this. You have nothing to apologize for, and we will pay for everything we ordered. If a Lord can't even pay for what he wants, he has already betrayed his populace"

Jack's anguish lessened, and Derrick's inner turmoil as well. He hated the idea of taking away initial funds from Akata Loans, but what had to be done would be done. It would also be an injection of funds directly into the city, which was what he was ultimately after.

After getting the remaining details from Jack and the overall progression, he proceeded to his next step, which was Lacha and Akata Loans.

He arrived in the City Hall, where a heavy military presence could be seen. Derrick even had to remove his cloak to enter, which caused the guards to almost choke on their saliva when they recognized their Lord.

A minute later, he entered a recused room where he was face to face with his wife and her assistant.

"How may I help you?"

Derrick hadn't spoken since entering the room, and Lacha had kept her eyes on the parchments in front of her, madly calculating everything related to the new institution. It seemed like she was now rather invested in its well-being and success, as she definitely didn't want to be associated with something that could possibly fail. Her young assistant was the same, and their resemblance was uncanny.

"Do you have a minute?"

Derrick's voice made the two women instantly raise their eyes, and the assistant instinctively rose from her seat, followed by an immediate bow. The action seemed rehearsed, which gave Derrick a chuckle.

"At ease, at ease.. May I have a moment with my wife?"

The young woman nodded and almost fled the scene, continuing to amuse Derrick.

Meanwhile, Lacha's cheeks had become slightly red. She had never gotten used to him calling her his wife, and the fact that they were now alone was raising her expectations. After all, they had done nothing so far, and she wondered when the big day would happen.

Derrick was not immune to these feelings, and he felt the atmosphere change, with his cheeks slightly becoming red as well. He also remembered the moment where he kissed hers and left, making him even more embarrassed. He couldn't believe that, even after everything he had gone through and all the near-death fights, he still felt like that in front of a woman.. Some things really never changed...

"How is it going?"

Derrick finally broke the awkward silence that had taken place, to Lacha's relief.

"It's going well! I was wondering if you went to get funds?"

"Yes, they should be ready shortly. I came here to discuss something with you"

"What is it?"

"You know that our main currency right now are iron coins, right? I want to create a conversion rate between iron coins and gold coins, but also take into consideration copper coins and silver coins"

Derrick's demand honestly exceeded Lacha's knowledge.

"You know you need to ask someone else for that, right?"

She threw him a warm smile, and his brain clicked.

He sent a guard, which came back a few minutes later.

"Who the hell summoned me at this hour?! I want to sleep for fuck's sake"

Kuro stormed the room in his typical fashion, loud and angry.

"Kuro, you know we usually call you for important stuff only"

Once he heard the necromancer's voice, the elder suddenly calmed down and took a seat.

"What do you want this time?"

"I want a conversion rate between iron and gold coins while maintaining the traditional structure of copper to silver to gold. Do you have an idea on how it should be done?"

The old man was elated by the news. Gold was finally making its way into the economy! He had to painfully reevaluate all his products, and by doing so had suffered major losses. He could, at last, charge back what he originally did.

After calming himself down from the good news, Kuro delved into his thoughts and began analyzing the conundrum. The standard structure was easy to follow because every superior coin was worth 100 of its lower one, with copper coins at the very base.

Introducing a new tier into it was tricky because you didn't want to devalue the base, namely copper coins, as they would eventually make its way into the economy as well, but you also couldn't put it too low or what the population had been earning would immediately become worthless.

After a few minutes, Kuro came to the only conclusion that made sense, at least to him.

"You have found a gold mine, right?"

"Yes. The gold is currently being melted into coins that'll be introduced through Akata Loans"

"I see.. Well, the only way I can see this working is by fazing out the iron coins entirely"

Derrick was shocked by the radical idea, but didn't interject, as he felt Kuro had more to say.


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