TALES OF A WITCHER - Season 6 Episode 74
Summer began with a heavy rain.
Raindrops spattered on the windows, making the outside scenery a blur. One could only distinguish between the town and the remote mountains through the silhouette of the colors.
Standing in front of the French window and looking at the blurry sceneries in the rain, Roland still felt the singing of “The City of Love” reverberating in his ears.
He did not expect that, combined with Echo’s ability, the first drama show performed three days ago could have such a striking effect.
The whole room had fallen into silence when the show finished. The audience had been so touched that their eyes had been filled with tears. Roland thought this scene could only be seen in the high-end opera house of the era where he came from. Even the audiences in the commercial cinemas aimed at the masses of his era could seldom be moved that much, let alone the ordinary people who lived in this backward era.
Even Roland himself who had seen all the scenes that made people shed tears, could feel the shudder deep down in his heart.
That was the strength of the “Resonance Song”.
Roland recognized the importance of the inspirational singing during an enduring war in which the machines would not tire, but people would. Even if the guns and ammunition could be unceasingly transported to the battlefield, people would still be struck down by the endless pressure of survival, especially when the tide of battle was unfavorable and the army suffered heavy casualties. This kind of emotion was easily magnified, causing the soldiers to lose their faith in the ultimate victory.
Throughout history, people had thought many methods to boost the morale of the army. This first type of method included making sure the soldiers could eat as much hot food as possible or air dropping ice cream. The second type was assigning a commissar or an army chaplain to go with the army. But these methods were impractical for Roland. The former required a very good logistical supply ability and the latter was hard, in such a short period of time, to cultivate a group of core members who had strong faith that were also good at encouraging people.
Echo’s ability let him see a shortcut to boosting morale.
It might sound a little absurd, but it was more reliable compared with other methods.
While he was thinking, he heard a knock on the office’s door and then Barov walked in.
“Your Majesty, the recent house purchase statistics are available now.”
“What’s the result?”
“Just as you expected.” He excitedly unfolded a list on the mahogany table. “Since the first night of the new drama, people who come to the City Hall to apply for house renting and purchasing has significantly increased, even the people who apply for marriage registration has increased a lot too.”
“Really?” Roland went back to the table to look at Barov’s statistics. “The City of Love” was not just meaningless entertainment. Apart from advocating that labor was glorious and construction was great, it also transmitted another opinion which linked marriage with a stable residence. Instead of letting the outsiders develop a sense of belonging slowly and making the locals accept those foreigners step by step through daily contact, it was better if he set a simple standard himself to advance the fusion of the refugees.
That standard was housing.
“You’re one of us if you have a house in our place.” This saying might seem a bit rude, but it saved a lot of time in this special period.
To gain people’s recognition and build up their own families, the foreigners had to have a house. And once they owned real estate here, they would defend everything in this place voluntarily. Of course, these ideas were unsuitable to speak out directly, but they would be naturally born in mind by the audience seeing the drama stories.
It was just like diamonds.
The classics advertising verbal’s “A diamond lasts forever” made it the king of jewelry, and everyone would want one when they got married, making people completely forget its true nature which was not rare or precious.
Compared with diamonds, housing at least was far more practical.
However, in order to realize his goals, he could not set a too high standard, making people feel it was impossible to reach. In his city, now people could apply for renting a house with one gold royal and after that, they only needed to pay one gold royal as rent every year. When the rent they paid equaled to the house price, the house would belong to the renter spontaneously.
The target was not easy to achieve, as even the cheapest single room would cost 20 gold royals. That meant all the workers, for example, the temporary workers and handymen, would take 20 years to afford such a house which was less than 15 square meters and could only contain one bed, one table and one bathroom. People would call him a black-hearted realtor in the era where Roland came from.
All in all, according to Barov’s statistics, “The City of Love” was undoubtedly successful in promoting his idea.
Most of the renting applications came from the several batches refugees and serfs who arrived in the Border Area first, and house purchase requests were mostly proposed by the craftsmen with higher salaries and the broken nobles who had carried properties with them. After they all settled down here, they would become part of the City of Neverwinter forever.
Based on this successful experience, Roland had already figured out the contents of a new drama whose theme was getting married and working hard to buy a big house.
“Well done.” He rolled up the list and gave it to Barov. “Besides, the recent solicitation of the refugees should continue to expand its scope, the plentiful population is the base for the development of the City of Neverwinter and other tasks can be put aside for it.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” Barov laughed till his mustache was curled up.
“By the way, go and get Scroll. I have something to tell her.”
“Your Majesty, did you want to see me?” Scroll walked into the office in a black skirt and white blouse, looking very capable.
“I want to expand the education scope, which will cover the refugees who have just arrived at the City of Neverwinter.” Roland poured a cup of tea for her. “If the education only aims at the official citizens, the refugees would have to wait at least one more year to receive primary education.”
“I’m afraid this is untenable now,” Scroll said after several minutes consideration. “There’re too many of them. The current teacher couldn’t take care of them all and the classrooms are not enough either. If we do as you ask, the number of the education ministry’s staff would need to be doubled or tripled.”
“I have a method which can reduce the teachers’ pressure.” Roland paused for a while and continued, “Let them study by themselves.”
“Yes, every week we give one public lecture which only teaches them the basic reading and writing, and let them use the booklets with pictures and pronunciations to do some exercises by themselves in the rest of the time. There are no achievement tests and no mandatory requirements, and they learn according to their own free will.”
“This…” She ran her fingers through her hair which was soaked wet by the rain unconsciously. “It’s unlikely to have any effect. Your Majesty, without supervision, nine out of ten people won’t learn well.”
“It doesn’t matter. I just want to offer them an opportunity,” Roland laughed and said.
There was always someone who was unsatisfied with boring, low-paid jobs and was eager to achieve their goals quickly. In order to prevent these people from stepping aside, he must guide them to improve themselves in the right way.
In the future, more and more jobs would have literacy requirements, and the salaries for these jobs would be much higher than the handymen’s. Given that, for those who wanted to buy a house and get rid of their poor and exhausting lives, it would be a better choice for them to learn how to read and write by themselves.
Through this method, those hardworking people could participate in the city’s construction quickly.
To keep the new regime’s vitality, the most important thing was never, ever blocking the way of promotion from the bottom layer.
That was what Roland believed.