The three horse carts quickly arrived at the Dawn Academy Gold ranked instructor residential area. Lorist stood waiting at the gate of house no. 35. It seems that Kelly has awoken and already started cleaning the place up. I better not give her any extra trouble. Lorist instructed the three coachmen to move the books and some other stuff to the stables in the yard.

Giving each coachman three small silvers and thanking them before they left, Lorist looked at the two stables stacked full with books and laughed. It seemed that he would have to spend quite some time to organize all that. Lorist has been using a lot of the money he earned from mercenary missions to purchase books. Before he noticed, his collection had already numbered more than a thousand and was enough for him to start his own mini library.

However, these books were unlike those that were published on a large scale in his previous life. There was no such thing as paper in Grindia and any kind of reading material was made with sheepskin or some other kind of beast skin while the contents were almost always copied by hand. That’s why the prices of books were rather rare in the market and often quite expensive. For example, each of the volumes of “The War of the Gods” trilogy that he had collected weighed more than 2.5 kg. He had spent his hard-earned 3 gold coins to purchase them as he really wanted to understand more about the magic civilization.

There was a small study on the second floor of his new house, but the room wasn’t as big as the one at Wenna’s place. Lorist sorted his book into several categories: history, geography, culture, and general knowledge, which he would later move into the room. The remaining ones about legends, fiction and poems would be placed at the two big bookshelves in the lounge. He made a mental note to pay more attention to the books he would buy in the future. It wasn’t uncommon for merchants to give the same book a new title and cover and resell it as another book. Lorist himself had fallen for this trick before a number of times in the past and only found out when he read the book at home.

Having greeted Kelly, who was busy cleaning up the furniture, he carried the books up to the second floor. Just as he was about to enter the study, he saw the door to his bedroom ajar with a fatty laying on his bed fast asleep.

Sol, that fatty had already beaten me to my new bed… Having been given a kick by Lorist, Charade drowsily got up and said, “What’s wrong with you, Locke? Why would you kick me awake?”

Lorist said, “You should know best. What are you doing sleeping in my room during the day? Don’t you have more important matters to handle at the Enforcement Division?”

Charade only just noticed that he had been sleeping on Lorist’s brand new bed and chuckled. “Even I would be worn out, you know? These days affairs of the academy has left me so busy that I just couldn’t resist trying out your new bed here. Little did I know I would fall asleep just like that.”

“What business do you have with me?” asked Lorist.

“Sigh, what else could it be but the matter about the Swordsmanship Society? Brother, you really have to help me out here. The Enforcement Division has been so busy that two of its members even fell asleep in the middle of patrolling the academy yesterday! At first, we thought it was some kind of enemy attack until we noticed that they were only asleep… Surely from that you can see how tired I am, can’t you?”

“What about the society? How can I help with that?”

“Siiigh…” Charade took out a deep breath and said, “Brother, don’t tell me you forgot about the plan that you have devised yourself. Just before you left for the Relic Islands, I gave it my all and finally convinced the higher-ups of the academy to permit the formation of the Swordsmanship Society, and that the Enforcement Division would be allowed to use the elites in the society as backup members in case we need more help. I’m super short on staff right now, so why haven’t you settled the matters of the society and quickly send someone over to help?”

Oh, I did say something like that. Scratching his head apologetically, Lorist recalled the scene when he drank with Charade when he complained about how the stingy academy higher-ups were, unwilling to assign more staff to the Enforcement Division that only numbered a measly number of 80 and was in charge of managing the discipline of the student body as well as patrol the academy grounds.

Citing the number of students in the academy to be more than 5000 people, Charade said that his division didn’t even have one-fiftieth the number of people of the student body and stressed that if he did not have enough members in a time of urgency, then all hell would break lose.

Lorist had rebuked Charade for not being aware of the happenings in the academy. He mentioned that there was a group of students who wanted to form a society that researched sword techniques, but the formation of the society was rejected out of consideration that a training venue, club funds as well as support for unexpected situations would need to be provided. The students stirred up quite some trouble and it was rumored that they were gathering quite a lot of support. There was a policy in the academy that stated if there was a demand for a society to be formed from more than one-tenth of the student body, the academy administration must agree to give their cooperation.

Lorist suggested Charade to go negotiate with the academy. Since the society was going to be formed either way given the growth of the numbers of prospective members, why don’t the academy administration strike first and make the Swordsmanship Society a subordinate organization of the Enforcement Division? This way, it would solve the problem of the lack of staff members for the Enforcement Division.

Charade was elated and praised Lorist for his wit for thinking up such a scheme in almost no time and started working on that plan just as Lorist left for the Relic Islands.

However, Lorist could never have expected that Charade would really get the administration’s approval with the plan that he himself had thought up on a whim. To appease the administration, Charade had to change something — the selection of the society chairman was entirely at the academy’s discretion — which essentially handed the management of the society to the administration. Nonetheless, the chairman also had to be someone with the necessary skills to be recognized and accepted by the members of the society itself. Charade brought the train of thought to its logical conclusion and nominated Lorist to be the chairman.

Wait, I am the chairman?! Lorist just recalled Academy Head Levins saying something about drafting out the regulations of the Swordsmanship Society at the meeting yesterday. Sol, are they trying to work me to death…

Lorist waved his hands and said, “Fatty, it isn’t that I don’t want to help you. It’s that I have just recently got back from the trip and had to move my stuff over here from the young mistress’s house. That’s why I didn’t have any time for the matters of the society. Additionally, I would need another few days to settle in and finish moving and focus on the dueling that is to come within the near future! I hardly have any free time! Why don’t you just delay that for a bit…”

Charade was almost at the point of tears, “Locke, you can’t do this to me… You’re essentially burning me on a stake here! In a few days, I would look so barely human that you might mistake me for a zombie… That is especially with the case after we posted the duel notices all over the place. The incidents in the academy has risen so much and further added to my burden. The members of the Enforcement Division are already slaving away like dogs. You can’t just ignore us and let us be!”

“You reap what you sow. Who asked you to push the position of the chairman onto me? Also, weren’t you the one who was so enthusiastically putting up those notices all over the place? You really deserve nothing short of a death from overworking.”

Having heard that, Charade came to a realization that he himself was the one who was responsible for Lorist’s troubles and tried to butter him up. “Oh, okay… It’s all my fault. I didn’t think that you would be overwhelmed like this. But you still have to understand my woes. If you don’t become the chairman, then there’s no way the administration will allow the society to be formed! The students wouldn’t be satisfied with anyone else as the chairman either! Only you can help our Enforcement Division solve our staffing crisis! As for the notices, you really can’t blame me for that. It’s all that old fox’s fault. If he were serious, he could easily grasp my weaknesses and make me suffer for them! As much as I’d like to spare you trouble, it really is beyond me…”

Lorist said, “Don’t give me that crying look. Sigh, let me think…”

Charade’s expression instantly changed. “Okay. Take your time to think up something that’ll get me out of this mess.” As he said that, he took out a book and used it to fan Lorist. “Tell me if you ever need anything. If you need someone to help, I’ll send some over to you. If you need money… Even I can’t help you with that.”

Lorist mulled for a while before saying, “How about this, let’s get Terman to help out. He’s a loyal and helpful friend who has a clear head. I shall appoint him as the vice-chairman of the society and assign the management tasks to him. Note this down. Let Terman form a committee for the Swordsmanship Society and get Yuriy and Steve to join it, followed by another three committee members of your choice. And isn’t there seven student leaders among the student body? Get them to join the committee as well and ask them to pick another 3 members. Including Terman and I, we would have a total of 17 committee members.

“Tell them that I will be the one to pick the committee members for this term and say that they will be allowed to nominate their own candidates three years later and let 12 with the most votes ones take over the positions at the committee. The Enforcement Division also gets to pick three people for the position of a committee member who will manage the events and activities of the society as well as the patrols and other tasks. After notifying the members I’ve appointed, get them to come up with a set of standards and regulations the society will operate by and don’t let them out of the discussion room until they have this settled.

“Other than that, tell Terman that he only has to oversee the proceedings and don’t have to engage in the discussion. Let the other 15 committee members discuss among themselves. You can make your demands known to your nominees so that they can fight for them in your interests. When they come up with a draft, tell them that each of the members have to suggest five elite students and fifty of them will be selected to become the reserve members of the Enforcement Division.

“Also, since the Swordsmanship Society’s authority is technically in the hands of the academy administration, the academy has the obligation to provide funds, helpers, as well as allowance to make up for the members’ time and effort. The chairman, vice-chairman as well as the 15 committee members should each get a remuneration of 3 gold coins for their service. The main office for the society would also need twelve people manning it. Pick the staff from the members of the Swordsmanship Society and give them a monthly salary of one gold coin each. It would probably cost around 10 gold coins to run the society per month, and get the vice-chairman to be the person in charge. Don’t forget to pay the reserve members of the Enforcement Division one gold coin per month as well for their services. The rest of the bonuses will be given according to individual contribution and performance.

“Additionally, every probationary member of the Swordsmanship Society have to pay a small silver for the membership fee every month while full-fledged members have to pay one large silver. The elite members don’t have to pay any fee. Probationary members will be allowed to spar when swordsmanship lessons are in session as well as participate in other affiliated activities. Official members can join the parties lead by elite members to participate in mercenary missions and other adventurer activity and half of the reward must be handed to the society. These funds will be used to run the society and its events as well as award outstanding members every year.

“Well, that’s basically it. Let me reiterate, first get some people to join the committee and have them discuss the regulations of the society. Don’t forget to ask them to bring up the suggestions I mentioned earlier and let me see the draft for the regulations before submitting it. I’m sure you’ll have 50 reserve members by the time you finish all that within the day,” concluded Lorist.

“Tsktsk,” Charade clicked his tongue as he looked at the notes he had taken on the sheepskin in his hand. “Locke, you really are quite something to be able to think up such a complete plan within such a short time. I didn’t even know where to start after brainstorming for three days. I’ll do all that according to your instructions.”

Lorist asked, “What’s the schedule for my duels like?”

“It’s not finalized yet. Currently, it is suggested for one dueling day to be held every two days and have each academy send twenty Silver ranked instructors during those days from the next month. We’ll let them decide which academy gets to challenge first. If there are some Silver ranked instructors that weren’t picked to represent the academy, they may come to challenge you on the non-dueling days, which is when we will open the challenge to any Silver ranked combatant. We’re still waiting for the academies’ reply,” explained Charade.

“Sol, that means I won’t have any rest days at all! Do you take me to be a machine?!” complained Lorist.

“About that… Haha, Brother Locke, this house is great, isn’t it? The scenery is so beautiful around here. I’m so envious, Gold ranked instructors are really treated pretty well,” said Charade.

“You’re envious? Work that fat off your body and train hard for two years and break through to the Gold rank. Then, you will get your very own house like this one,” reprimanded Lorist.

The fatty merely kept quiet and thought to himself, so much talk even though you’re just an Iron rank… It doesn’t make sense!

As the two of them went downstairs, Lorist said, “Els might pay you a visit in a day or two.”

“What business does he have with me?”

“He wants to make a haul off the duels and said that you’ll get a 10% cut off the earnings.” Lorist subsequently explained the details of the plan Els suggested.

“That’s great! I’m definitely up for it. I’ve already had enough of letting that old bastard profit from all our hard work. Needless to say, I will make sure Els’s operation will run without any issues.” Charade’s eyes instantly brightened when it came to earning money.

Just when they were about to leave the house, Charade suddenly said, “It’s okay, Brother Locke. You don’t have to escort me out, I’ll take my leave myself..”

Lorist retorted, “Who’s escorting you out? I’m going outside to move the books that are still in the stable!”

Charade’s interest was roused and he followed Lorist to the wooden shed. Seeing the mountain of books on the ground, he said, “Locke, why did you spend so much money on all these books? Why don’t you start a book-renting service in the academy? I’m sure you’ll earn quite a bit of cash from that.”

Lorist shook his head and said, “I won’t be renting out my books out just to have them ruined when they’re returned to me. These books are part of my precious collection.”

Charade looked downcast and said, “That’s such a shame… All these books… Why don’t you lend some of them to me?”

“I’m not lending them out either, especially to people who don’t return things they borrow,” said Lorist.

“Then surely you can sell me a couple, right?” Charade was quite pissed as Lorist wasn’t even willing to give him some face over a few books.

“Do you have the time to read them?” Lorist looked at Charade with a suspicious gaze.

Charade’s face reddened with frustration. “Can’t I at least use them as pillows even if I don’t read them?”

“Alright, just pick any you like from that pile.”

Lorist pointed at the pile of books that were extra copies he had mistakenly purchased.

Having taken his time to pick out several books, Charade finally selected seven of them and said, “How much for these?”

“Why do I feel like you’re not buying them to read but for some other purpose?” questioned Lorist.

“Well, the bookshelf in my office is pretty empty, so it helps to have a few books up there to show how much of a cultured and learned person I am.” Charade revealed his true intentions frankly without a shred of embarrassment.

Shaking his head in abandon, Lorist looked at those books and came up with a fair price. “It’ll be three gold coins and eight large silvers, no negotiation. I’m already selling these at a loss.”

Charade understood that the price was indeed pretty reasonable, as it would normally cost seven gold coins in the market for the books he had picked. “Alright, that price will do.”

Stretching his hand into his pouch for quite some time, Charade placed eight large silvers in Lorist’s hand. “Alright, I’ve already paid you eight coins out of eleven. I’m sure you won’t be so desperate to ask me to pay the remaining three. See you, brother.”

Charade quickly ran off with the stack of books in his arms.

Lorist only stared with a dumbfounded face…





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