The cheapest accommodation that Ivel had found also functioned as a pub on the ground floor. Ivel was enveloped by the bar’s loud rowdiness the moment he entered, and a man looking to be the owner called out to him when Ivel walked to the counter.
“3 Giga a night.”
“… I plan to stay for about 10 days.”
“Then 25 Giga.”
Ivel could only sigh at what remained of his funds after this. It wasn’t much, but it’s all he had to survive on.
“Just go out through that back door. I provide breakfast, but you won’t get jack if you come down late.”
The man instructed as he handed the key to Ivel. Free breakfast on top of the accommodations was the main reason Ivel picked this place. Those free breakfasts were all he was going to eat during his stay—all to save money.
Ivel left the pub through the back door as instructed. The man quietly picked up the Communicator hidden under the counter.
“Yes. He’s just arrived. Yes. It seems he’s running low on funds. Sorry? Yes. I’ll keep an eye on him.”
Ivel was impressed by the view when he exited the back door into the lot behind the pub. In front of him were containers stacked together like a beehive.
“So this is the famous single room.”
Designed by the vile Isaac, these rooms were no longer in production due to the creator’s infamy. But its functionality was proven, so the single rooms that were already constructed were distributed into the market. As a result, they were commonly seen at cheap inns and accommodations.
“My room is 2-17. Does that mean I have to climb the ladders?”
The rooms were stacked together like stairs, with just enough room for 1 person to walk in between each level. Ivel climbed to the 2nd floor and entered the room he was given.
“Wow. It’s tiny.”
The place was barely large enough for him to lie down. But Ivel was somewhat satisfied with this. This was much better than sleeping on the streets.
Ivel unpacked his belongings and counted what was left of his funds. There was enough for him to at least buy some bread, so he headed into the pub.
“I’d like some bread and milk.”
Ivel placed a 1 Mega coin on the counter as he ordered. The man on the counter scanned Ivel from top to bottom and smirked.
“That won’t do jack to fill you up.”
Ivel laughed awkwardly. The man on the counter handed Ivel some bread and milk, along with a small stack of paper. Ivel looked curiously at the man, who replied crudely.
𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕔𝕙𝕒𝕡𝕥𝕖𝕣 𝕦𝕡𝕝𝕠𝕒𝕕 𝕗𝕚𝕣𝕤𝕥 𝕒𝕥 𝕟𝕠𝕧𝕖𝕝-𝕓𝕚𝕟.𝕔𝕠𝕞
“These are tickets to New Port City’s buffets. I’m only giving you this because you don’t look like the gambling type.”
“Huk! Thank you so much!”
Ivel was keen to express his gratitude. The man snorted.
“Hmph. There’s no need to thank me. Not like I bought this myself. All accommodations in the city get subsidised with those tickets. And I get to choose who gets it.”
Ivel carefully placed the tickets in his pocket like treasure. Ivel was wondering how he could repay such kindness—and then realised he didn’t need to worry about money for meals anymore. So he added on his order.
“Um, can I get a bowl of noodles as well?”
Ivel considered himself lucky, receiving such kindness from a man with such a cold demeanour. Ivel was waiting for his food when his ears picked up a news broadcast from a monitor to the side.
-Currently, the political world is in turmoil with the rumours of a hidden successor to Duchess Pendleton. The Duchess’s official spokesman has yet to mention anything, but according to a leak, the Duchess will make a formal announcement about her successor soon. Experts believe that under-the-table discussions have been ongoing but have been kept informal until now because of Duchess Rivelia’s perfect health. But early this year, Duchess Rivelia suddenly announced her retirement at the Empire’s Royal Palace, quickly bringing the issue to the surface.
-But hasn’t Duchess Rivelia been single all this time?
-That’s right. which is precisely why this new successor has become the centre of the scandal. Meanwhile, New Port City has begun calculating the likelihood of succession for likely candidates. Tens of names are on that list. Among them is the Marquis Alpendle, vassal to Duchess Pendleton, with 1.3 times the return and the strongest candidate so far. Behind him is Count Hidington with 1.5, Count Colpen right around the corner with 1.7.
To think they would gamble with who will become the next Duke of Pendleton. Ivel looked dumbfoundedly at the monitor, while others in the restaurant mulled over the topic.
“There’s no one like Alpendle when it comes to blood relations. He is the nephew of the previous Duke Pendleton and Duchess Rivelia’s cousin.”
“But Marquis Alpendle has only 4 daughters. And considering his age, he’s unlikely to have any more kids. Unless they’re going to repeat this again, they’ll look for a permanent solution.”
“That would make Count Hidington the most likely candidate. He’s young, and although he hasn’t graduated from Campus, he’s administered a fief of his own under Count Hidington’s guidance.”
“But you can’t ignore education and connections. Count Colpen is a College graduate, you know.”
Ivel watched the crowd discuss among themselves on who to bet. Ivel couldn’t help but think that had they applied themselves to the studies with the same enthusiasm, they could have enrolled themselves in Campus or even College.
“Wow. So this is New Port City.”
Ivel crossed the Sky Bridge connecting the two port cities, thoroughly impressed by what he was seeing. It was hard for him to take his eyes off the clean streets and fabulous buildings.
“Do you need a ride?”
“Ah, sorry. I’d like to walk.”
“Don’t be, just give us a call if you need us.”
Ivel refused the overly eager but kind group with an awkward smile. The palanquins, put into service by the villain Isaac to fulfil his impossible mission, had become an attraction of its own in New Port City.
The palanquin service was free in the past, but charges had been implemented since then. But the palanquin could take you anywhere in New Port City, followed you everywhere until you left the city, and even acted as a guide, making them popular among tourists. Apparently, famous palanquin teams made ten thousand Giga every year; it wasn’t as simple of a job as it first seemed.
Ivel walked slowly as he looked around, eventually reaching the City Plaza—the location of New Port City’s landmark.
Ivel’s astonished voice escaped his mouth, and many other tourists joined him as they looked at the City Hall. The Golden Dragon. Although it was an official City Hall, it was an airship that could take off into the skies at any moment. It was the symbol of New Port City and was always present in any of Duchess Wolfgang’s official ceremonies.
Ivel entered the City Hall and quickly checked his clothes once more. He then touched his upper left chest, revealing the silver badge with a star and a separate miniaturised pen and paper, showing that he was a Campus graduate of administration.
The woman on reception noticed Ivel’s Campus badge and went silent. Just as Ivel was about to speak, the woman handed Ivel a pen and piece of paper.
“Fill the application as required.”
“Sorry? Um, You’ve got the…”
“Hey now. I don’t know what gave you the idea to come so late, but interviews started already. Fill up the documents quickly.”
“I mean, I’m not … okay.”
The woman’s ferocity took him by surprise; he couldn’t even state the reasons for his visit. He reluctantly took the application form.
Ivel looked at the form, double checking what he’d written—when she took the paper out of Ivel’s hand and pointed him to a door to his left.
“Pass through there and go to the 2nd floor, and you’ll see the waiting room for the interviews. Just wait there. Go anywhere else and bears will come out to scold you, so don’t even think of strolling off elsewhere.”
“Um, I’ve been trying to say that I’m not…”
Ivel, somewhat frustrated by how the woman was pushing him about into her own way, tried raising his voice. But the woman looked up from her desk furiously and glared back.
“Ah. Why are you so slow? You better be the one assigned to me when you get hired. I’ll fix that lazy ass of yours. I get that you’re proud of yourself as a Campus graduate, but you’re not the only Campus graduate around here.”
The woman tapped on her somewhat voluptuous upper chest, revealing a silver star of her own. Ivel quickly bowed and walked toward the path the woman pointed at.
“I said you’re late! Run!”
The woman scolded, and Ivel was now in a full sprint. The woman smirked.
“He’s pretty cute.”
A man, who had been watching it all unfold from afar, took out a Communicator and reported.
“Scenario 3-7, job recruit and mentor relationship. Can possibly lead to future marriage. Requesting more info regarding the female receptionist working at New Port City’s City Hall.”
Where is this. Who am I. Ivel pondered how things came to this as he looked at others in the waiting room with him.
Ivel had come here to meet someone—not because he wanted to work here.
“Thank you! I’ll do my best!”
A man did a 90-degree bow as he exited the door and carefully closed it behind him. Those in the waiting room looked enviously at the man, who seemed to have gotten himself a job.
The other applicants glared at the man with almost murderous gleams in their eyes, while the man smiled victoriously as he walked away. Soon enough, an elderly lady walked out of the room. Other applicants immediately looked straight ahead like stiff dolls.
“Hm. Mr. Reinhardt?”
“Yes! I am here!”
A man, clearly from a military school, walked to the elderly lady boldly. He almost completely eclipsed her with his height and giant frame.
The elderly lady was practically treating Reinhardt like an eager puppy as she waved him into the room. She then addressed the other applicants in the room.
“Mr. Cassidy? You’re next, so make your preparations.”
“Yes! I understand.”
A man who looked like a hooligan responded stiffly at the lady’s words. Then again, who could possibly speak back rudely at her? She was such a famous lady that even Ivel, who didn’t even apply for the job, knew of.
She was one of the first members of the Isaac Cartel, a group of people that had worked under the villain Isaac in the past. She was Count Selia, financial minister of Duchess Wolfgang, wife of Count Cordnell, and a senior graduate of Campus. To the very young hubaes of Campus in the waiting, she was intimidating to say the least.