Baron Romero, informed of the news of the collapse, immediately called Roman, hearing his involvement in it.N0v3lRealm was the platform where this chapter was initially revealed on N0v3l.B1n.
“Were you injured?”
“Just what were you thinking when going in to do such a dangerous thing? A collapse in a mine is an accident that even an Aura Swordsman wouldn’t personally want to go into. Fortunately, the results were good, and you managed to survive, but because of your recklessness, I almost lost you. This is not a simple bias because you are my eldest son. Even if any other miner in the iron mine had made the same decision as you, I wouldn’t have allowed them to put their life on the line and risk it for another’s.”
Baron Romero expressed his concern and anger because he himself had worked there when he was young. And because of that, he knew how dangerous Roman’s actions were.
“Father, I just did what I had to do.”
“Even if time turns back, I won’t change my decision. There was an accident in the iron mine, and I was right there to fix it. Do you want me to ignore the difficulties of people in the estate while being the eldest son of Dmitry, father? We can’t move forward if we always only do things like saving ourselves. As someone who carries the name of Dmitry, I think I made the correct choice.”
“…Haah.“ Baron Romero sighed. Even though his heart hurt at the thought of his son making such a decision, he was also a bit happy to see his son act with such pride. Although he was the lord of Dmitry, he was also a father.
He asked, “So you plan to continue working in the iron mine?”
“What is the reason? I don’t remember telling you to work in the mine, and as your father, I cannot understand why you choose to do that. I wouldn’t have bothered asking if you said you’d go to the forge.”
Regarding the mine and forge, Baron Romero spoke his mind. He did treat the miners with respect, but forge is what he had ultimately sided with. Finally, he said he wanted his son to show interest in the forge. Because he was the lord of Dmitry, he thought his son should at least learn to handle steel than just dig out ore.
“Father. I thought that in order to understand our estate, I must work in the iron mine. Although Dmitry is usually praised for its reputation for the smelting of the forge, in the end, it is the iron mines that made that happen. So, of course, I had no choice but to go to the mine.”
“And what did you get from that?”
“I was able to see firsthand what difficulties the people of Dmitry were going through.”
It was bizarre. Truly, it was an unexpected answer. Baron Romero couldn’t have thought in a hundred years that his son would try to figure out the hardships of the people by going to the mine.
“Obviously, all the miners working there respect you, father. They are paid higher salaries than other estates and are even given proper rest and safety precautions. Nevertheless, mining is still risky even though the safety is managed through our current methods. In the end, it is a place where one doesn’t know when the cave will collapse. And thus, accidents like today aren’t that uncommon. It is a place where anything can happen.”
“It isn’t as if I don’t know that. However, as you said, it isn’t something that we can prepare for.”
A natural disaster—There was one reason everyone called the accident in mine a disaster.
And as Baron Romero did his best for them, he didn’t think there was anything else he could do now.
However, Roman thought that he had to create results somehow.
“I must solve the problem.”
Working in the mine, Roman thought about it often. And after experiencing the accident that day, he reached a conclusion.
“We must use magic artifacts. That is the only way to make sure the workers remain safe.”
Magic artifacts—Perhaps Roman was talking about the magic devices. However, Baron Romero could only think that his son was truly out of touch with reality.
“The intention to use them for safety is good. But how much do you think one magic artifact costs? This isn’t a problem that can be solved with a few dozen gold coins. It costs an enormous amount for a single magic artifact and to bring enough artifacts to protect the entire tunnel… We don’t have a god showering us with money, son.”
That was right. The mine was a means to make money. To hire workers with the purpose of profits, they couldn’t spend additional money on safety that would cost higher than their profit. This was a different matter. And if they bit on more than what they could chew, even Dmitry would collapse.
Roman said, “I know that. We need to install an artifact that forms an Air Shield in emergencies to prepare for a collapse, but the cost is too high, even for us. Whether it will cost a hundred or thousand gold is unknown. Moreover, the performance of the artifact isn’t also permanent. If the magic loses its effectiveness, we would have to spend an enormous amount of money on replacing it too.”
“Even though you know that… you still say we need it?”
“Yes. I will explain the reason now.”
What Roman was talking about wasn’t idealism; he was being realistic now, and he next spoke about why he thought so.
“I heard this from a veteran in the mine. According to him, Dmitry has the best iron ores on the whole continent, but we cannot fully utilize the mines due to safety concerns. If the safety of the workers wasn’t taken into consideration, we would have gotten a lot more wealth till now. However, you didn’t want to do that and put the safety of the people as the priority, father. Because of that, we had to face the problem of reducing the ore production.”
Certainly, Baron Romero was a good lord; however, he wasn’t an exceptional one. If only he was greedy, there would have been better times for Dmitry.
“Installing artifacts isn’t something that has to be done simply for precautions. If the safety of workers is ensured by installing them, the production of ores will rise up too. It is exactly for safety reasons that we have been limiting the number of people who went into the mines, but if we add the artifacts, we won’t have to care about it. This is something that is sure to benefit us. Even if the amount is enormous, it isn’t a loss considering the money we make.”
And it wasn’t just that; there was one more thing. Roman continued, “And we also need people dedicated to safety. Why not make a solid investment in it and check their safety and use some of the resulting increase in profit for the welfare of the workers? This will be a good cycle for us. Surely, you will have to spend a lot of money on this, but Dmitry will benefit too, father.”
A family investment—That was Roman’s true purpose. Roman had hidden his true intentions under the cause of the safety of the people. As Baron Romero is good, he must have known it. However, this was such a perfect argument. Thus, after contemplating for a while, Baron Romero looked at his son, proud, and asked, “Fine. How much do I have to invest?”
“Now, I will go to my father and acquire a budget for safety and nominate you, Morkan, as the one in charge of handling the mine’s safety completely,” Roman remarked to Morkan 30 minutes ago. “You are one of those with the most knowledge about the mine because you have worked there for a long time. Therefore, I am confident that you will succeed in this.”
Roman’s plan was indeed perfect. Just hearing that an artifact would be installed made Morkan’s heart pound like crazy. However, as he knew Roman’s intention was to gain an advantage for himself, he thought he would have to pay back something too.
“…And what is it that I have to do?”
“What I need you to do is quite simple. As a safety officer, you will watch people daily and ask them what happened that day. They don’t have to be something huge, either. Just exchange small talk with them and remember what you saw or heard and record all the information you think is necessary. You might get a lot of information from people. People will start confiding in you about anything if the budget is used for their benefit. Additionally, those who provide helpful information may receive a portion of the funding. I need to gather information from you in order to safeguard the workers’ safety rather than utilizing Dmitry’s money to do so.”
Roman’s ultimate goal from the iron mine was to gather information. The mines employed a large number of people; thus, a variety of knowledge would accumulate there. Nevertheless, that is just the start. The miners also wouldn’t worry much if the information was obtained through Morkan. People will first confide in Morkan about the state of their families before talking about the intriguing tales they heard, and Morkan will report them back. It cannot be considered cheating, either.
As Roman told his father, people would listen to them in exchange for benefits. That’s right. Roman intended to use his father’s wealth to create an information network akin to that of the Lower District Sect in Dmitry.
In the world of Murim, there were two different sects that were recognized for their handling of information. They were the Beggars Union and the Lower District Sect. The two had something in common. The Beggars Union used their beggars to listen to the information people talked about. It was for one sole reason. They developed networks that allowed their people to access a variety of information, as opposed to those who kept their heads up.
And Roman had chosen the iron mines for that purpose. They were Dmitry’s everything, and he wanted to gather all the information through them. The workforce would be the workers there. Along with that, his father would get rich as well. His father would make more money, and the workers would work in a safer environment. It was a win-win. Honestly, it was a plan where everyone would be happy, so neither Morkan nor his father turned his offer down. Yet, Roman didn’t feel satisfied.
‘It isn’t enough.’
Roman’s concept of an information guild was not exclusive to the North-East region of Cairo. He intended to gather information from all over the continent. Although the local mines would serve as the main force, he hoped that there would also be a budget and force with which it would grow and resemble the Lower District sect.
Thus, Roman had other thoughts.
‘Morkan lacks experience in managing information. Ultimately, I require a person who can compile the pertinent information from him, connect it to what happens in the estate, and relay it to me. It must be someone who, unlike Morkan, is capable of thinking rationally—A veteran who has lived through such experiences since birth. I can’t create the information guild I envisioned without such a person.’
And there was one person who fit that description. Yes, certainly, he was the right person for the job. Thus, Roman called him.
“Did you call for me?”
It was the B-class mercenary named Lucas, the one who had made it through the recruitment test for Roman’s private soldiers.