Hey guys, I know this is rather late (coz of the holidays and new year's), but here's your first regular chapter of the week! Hope you guys enjoy it!



Time flew by and one month passed fleetingly. There had already been 20 or so shipments carried out from the Redriver Valley Bastide to the construction site, but Shadekampf reported that only half of the resources within the bastide had been transported over and said that it would require at least another full month before they would be able to fully transport everything. Apart from asking his men to increase the speed of the shipment, there was nothing else Lorist could do. Not to mention that many carriages had been damaged during the course of the shipment and there were currently more than 100 or them awaiting repairs.

It was a rather pleasant day, at least to Lorist, as the first outer wall had been completed. Currently, Lorist was standing atop the new wall which was around 7.5 meters tall and 3.5 meters wide. Its length was around 86 meters with two other walls extending at right angles from both ends, effectively forming into a '|_|' shape.

The main difference between this outer wall and the one at the other end facing the Norton Family's dominion was that Lorist had borrowed elements from Ancient Chinese architecture to build blockhouses[1] on the face of the walls with each extending outwards from the wall by 2 meters and having a width of 5 meters while extending upwards to 1 meter above the wall itself, causing the whole stretch of the wall to look rather imposing.

Patting on the crenels of the wall, Lorist felt rather satisfied. Now that they had completed the construction of that essential defensive structure, there was no worry that the construction site would fall into the hands of others easily. What made Lorist curious was the fact that not a man from the Kenmayses have been detected recently according to Josk's reports, even though they had just increased the frequency of the patrols recently. It was as if the Kenmays Family had completely forgotten about the Redriver Valley Bastide. Logically speaking, upon getting to know that the viscount's bastide had been occupied, it only made sense for the Kenmayses to be wary and scout the surrounding area for any more of the Nortons' movements. The fact that Josk hadn't found anything like that was definitely a sign that something fishy was going on.

That shouldn't be possible... Unless... The Kenmays Family still haven't received news about the occupation of the bastide. Was that even possible? Lorist thought as he laughed. That would be too good to be true... Oh well, I shouldn't ponder upon it too much. We'll cross the bridge when we come to it. It's already fortunate that I managed to get so many benefits from their bastide, so it would be going too far to hope for such an ideal scenario.

"Old Man Balk, have you finished planning the arrangements of the construction of the second wall with Miss Telesti?"

Balk who was standing beside him replied, "Miss Telesti had tasked me to first lay the foundations for the wall but stopped me from doing anything else as the details of its design still hasn't been confirmed yet."

"I see. Then I guess I should go pay her a visit," Lorist said.

Telesti was within the center of the 5 buildings on the wall as usual. When Lorist went inside, he bumped into Grandmaster Ciroba. Letting out a frightened cry, the old man ran to the corner of the room and curled up into a ball as sounds of dripping water could be heard. It seemed that his bladder had loosened from his terror once again.

Annoyed and feeling a little awkward, Lorist thought, how many times has it been? Every time I come to visit Miss Telesti, Grandmaster Ciroba would become like that. And then there's Little Vinny...

As he had expected, Lorist heard Vinny's startled gasp. "Mistress... Not good! The man-eating demon is here again..."

A snicker rang out within the room...

Lorist walked into the room with a gloomy expression without giving Grandmaster Ciroba any heed. Ever since that old man started working under Telesti, he would keep repeating that Lorist was a man-eating demon, and the others all knew that the old man behaved as such because he was completely terrified of Lorist. However, Telesti's young maidservant, Vinny, thought it was funny and even secretly went up to ask Lorist whether human flesh was delicious. At that time, he was in a rather playful mood and opened his mouth wide to pretend to bite Vinny, only to send her scurrying away in terror. Ever since that time, Lorist had properly cemented himself as a demon in Vinny's mind.

"Ouch!" Vinny's pained cry rang out from within the room. "Mistress, why did you hit me?"

Telesti said, "Why else would I hit you? How can you believe in something as ridiculous as that? You even ran inside my room and messed up all my models!"

"Mistress, I'm really not kidding. At that time, he almost ate me alive... Oh no, he's coming in..." said Vinny before she crawled under Telesti's chair to hide.

While Telesti was initially seriously trying to reprimand her maidservant, upon seeing Lorist's defeated expression, she gradually let muffled chuckles until she could no longer hold back and laughed out loud.

"Am I really that funny?" Lorist said, dissatisfied.

"Haha... Hahaha... Man-eating demon... Hahaha..."

Lorist could see Vinny poking her head around from underneath the chair and suddenly felt in the mood to make a scary face while raising both his hands clawed, as if he was about to leap straight at her...

"Eeep!" Vinny squaeled in a terrified voice. Feeling unsafe despite being behind her mistress, the young maidservant took the risk and ran straight out of the room and closed the door tight behind her.

Seeing that, Telesti's laughter got even more severe to the point that she was banging on the table involuntarily.

"Hey, have you laughed enough now?" Lorist asked Telesti who was laughing so hard that tears were coming out of her eyes.

"Enough... Hoho... I want to stop... too... Pffft! But... Every time I look at you... I can't... Stop laughing!" stammered Telesti as she tried her best to catch her breath.

Annoyed and slightly pissed, Lorist started thinking of what he could do to make her stop.

Circling the table and pulling Telesti up suddenly, Lorist planted a kiss onto her luscious lips before she managed to react.

Her laughter finally stopped, but she was equally stunned as well. With both her eyes opened wide, she continued to stand there in a daze and only managed to react when Lorist teased her tongue with his own.

"Ouch!" exclaimed Lorist in pain. "What did you bite me for?"

Telesti pushed Lorist aside and breathed raggedly with her cheeks flushed red and said, "Milord, that's far too rude of you."

"Just call me Locke," he said. "Well, at least I managed to get you to stop laughing..."

"Locke, you should give up on any notion on courting me..." said Telesti with an embarrassed expression. "I've already taken an oath in the name of Siminglyde that I would continue my mother's research and will stay single for the rest of my life. I want to become an impressive scholar..."

Siminglyde was Grindia's God of Knowledge and Wisdom and his shrine was rather special even among the other deities worshipped by the people of the continent. It was shaped like a circular tower that was rumored to be based after the Magi's towers in the ancient times.

"Alright," Lorist said. "Then I give my best wishes that you will fulfill your dream one day and become the most influential scholar that you want to be so much. Can we now talk about the serious matters?"

Telesti sat down with her face still blushing and said without looking directly at Lorist, "Milord, what have you come here to talk about?"

"I've heard Old Man Balk that you still haven't decided on the design of the second wall. Why is that so?"

Upon hearing Lorist's serious tone, Telesti forgot about what had happened previously and said, "It's like this. The main reason is that Grandmaster Ciroba feels that if we continue to build the second wall as we have planned, the protruding part of the blockhouses would be a little troubling. Let me bring you to the models so the grandmaster can explain it to you."

"Forget it, he has already wet himself after seeing me once. I don't wish for him to have to change into another pair of pants again," Lorist said.

Telesti giggled as if she had thought of something and rolled her eyes at Lorist before she stifled her laughter and reached out for her tea cup, only to notice that it was already empty.

"Locke, please ask Vinny to pour me some tea." Telesti had used Lorist's nickname without much thought, but after she noticed it, her face flushed red again and she avoided looking directly at him.

"Alright," said Lorist as he opened the door to do as she said.

But right after he pushed the door open, Vinny's head almost bumped straight into Lorist's chest.

"What's wrong, Little Vinny?" said Lorist as he caught her to stop her from falling.

But this time, Vinny wasn't afraid of him anymore. After seeing Telesti safely sitting behind her desk, Vinny let out a breath of relief and said, "Sniff... Mistress... Vinny shouldn't have forgotten about you and left you alone in the room with him... Thank goodness you weren't eaten! Oh no! Vinny is caught by that monster! Mistress... save me..."

Upon noticing that she had been 'captured', the maidservant started making quite a ruckus.

"Stop fooling around, Vinny. Pour me some tea and bring me a basin of water for me to wash my face. After that, call Zanben to bring the model of the wall over here," Telesti said.

Seeing Vinny carefully circling around Lorist as she brought the tea, Telesti almost broke out into laughter again. Lorist on the other hand was suppressing his desire to tease Vinny once more and stayed seated without messing around.

"Oh, mistress, why is your face all red? It looks rather pretty this way..." said Vinny.

"It's all your fault for closing the door. The heat that caused my face to flush up..." said Telesti in an attempt to cover it up.

Lorist shook and chuckled upon hearing that while Telesti rolled her eyes to Lorist again in a fit of embarrassed rage.

......

After Zanben brought the model over, Lorist came to understand that his plan for the blockhouses had caused them quite some trouble. Castles in Grindia usually didn't have blockhouses that protruded from the walls itself but rather ones built atop the walls. Most city walls had blockhouses built on the front and back of the top part the walls to increase the their defensive capabilities.

The blockhouses protruding out of the wall that Lorist had asked to build wouldn't be a problem if it was only one wall, but they would definitely impede the construction of the second outer wall. The fact that the second wall had to be three meters taller than the first wall was even more of a problem.

The model Zanben brought over was modified to accommodate for that structure by giving a slight slant to the stairs that connected the blockhouses to the walls. While it did not impact its defensive capabilities much, it did look less aesthetically appealing.

Telesti said, "Look, milord. This design looks rather ugly. That's why Grandmaster Ciroba was very against it and believed that the blockhouses should be built individually instead of having them connected to the walls. But that would significantly lessen the defense..."

Lorist pointed at the model and said, "Then just build it like that. What I want is strong defense and not looks. If the second outer wall gets breached, we can easily close the main gates of the blockhouses of the first wall and effectively lock the enemy out. That way, we will also have more time to retaliate against those who have made their way beyond the second wall. If we separate the blockhouses, once they get conquered, the first inner wall wouldn't be able to hold out for long."

Telesti furrowed her brows and said, "But milord, it does look far less appealing like that."

"That's alright, just build it according to this model as I say. I will allow you to decorate the valley city as you please when we start working on it, but this wall only needs to be practical and tough. I will look forward to how beautiful you can make the city in the future," Lorist said.

"Okay, milord. Then we will begin construction according to this model," said Telesti while looking a little crestfallen as she waved for Zanben to put the model back.

"Milord, do you have anything else you need me for?" Telesti asked.

"Of course I do," Lorist said. "Vinny, you don't have to be so scared of me you know. Why don't you leave the room for a bit?"

"Nope, Little Vinny can stay here," said Telesti as she denied Lorist's suggestion without waiting for Vinny's response.

"But mistress, Vinny is really scared..." said Vinny.

Telesti held her arm and said quietly, "Um, Little Vinny... I am a little scared myself. So, I need you to accompany me..."

"Alright, mistress. Vinny will stay by your side..." said Vinny bravely before she gave Lorist a look and scrambled behind Telesti's back.

"Milord, if you have anything to say, don't hold back," said Telesti while lightly thumping the table to stifle her laughter after she looked at Lorist who was squeezing his eyes in an attempt to frighten Vinny.

"Oh, I was thinking whether you could spare some manpower to build two taverns in the area planned for the business sector," Lorist said.

Telesti widened her eyes in curiosity while awaiting Lorist's explanation.

"It's like this. didn't I say that I would give the slave laborers their freedom after the shipment operation is completed? That means I will need to pay them a salary when the time comes. But how would they spend the money at the construction site? That's why I think building some taverns and gradually developing the business sector would be important for the laborers to have a taste of true freedom," Lorist said.

"Milord, even though freedom doesn't only include being able to spend the money you earn, I will seriously consider your proposition. But at the moment, the immigrants forced by you to move from the Redriver Valley Bastide are currently staying there. Where do you think we should move them?"

Lorist pointed at the map on top of the table and said, "Over here right behind this first inner wall. Set up a camp site over here. Apart from the defense unit soldiers, have the rest of the people move outside the walls to camp during the night and have them move back into the wall when the construction begins during the day. This way, not only can we continue the construction without interruption, you will also be able to start developing the business sector. That will also increase the security by preventing any thefts during the night as it is getting harder to monitor the resources that are being shipped over as they increase day by day."

Telesti nodded and said, "Milord, even though it will still increase our workload, you've finally come up with a reliable plan. Good for you."

Lorist was completely speechless at that remark.


[1] A defensive fortification with holes to allow defending troops to fire at enemies from cover. See Wikipedia