Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 883: A New Generation of Officials

Chapter 883: A New Generation of Officials

Chapter 883: A New Generation of Officials
Translator: TransN Editor: TransN

"Respects to Your Majesty!"

Following the ceremonial officer Blanche Orlando's lead, all of the officials knelt down in unison such that they formed a low human wall along both sides of the palace.

"Respects to Your Majesty!"

Next to follow were the servants and maids who took charge of the palace's daily cleaning and routine matters. As Roland swept his eyes across the hall, he saw that everyone's heads were lowered, and their facial expressions were filled with both respect and fear.

"Respects to Your Majesty!"

Last to follow were the soldiers of the First Army, who knelt down behind him. Their voices were the loudest of the three groups, sounding almost like an unceasing succession of tidal waves.

Roland had thought that he would be unmoved by such a scene, having observed numerous large crowds and spectacular military parades in his time. Yet, at the moment of experience, he realized that it was invariably heart-warming to be revered by so many people, no matter how many times it had happened before.

As the crowd continued to cheer loudly, Roland walked up the steps toward the core area of the old King's City - the Holy Temple of Double Towers.

After he had sat down firmly on the throne, the officials made their way into the hall one after another and arranged themselves in three rows in front of him. Roland could not help feeling a little emotional as he observed these nearly 100 people. The City of Dawn was indeed worthy of being the Kingdom of Graycastle's former center - it had taken only a year to recruit all of these officials, who were already equipped with literacy skills. Even more commendable was the fact that most of them were from humble backgrounds. This level of education was perhaps only rivaled by Neverwinter City.

"Your Majesty, this is your scepter." Blanche respectfully handed him a shining gold staff. Exquisite patterns were engraved all over it, while a translucent blue sapphire was embedded on its tip. "It's forged by a goldsmith who specializes in making these things. Every king's scepter is furnished with its own unique features."

Roland was normally uninterested in such meaningless symbols of power. He felt that people might get the impression that he was a young upstart if he acted overly unceremonious and rude. However, he quickly discovered that the artifact was not simply for display. After all, it was not easy to gather everyone's attention in such a large and spacious hall.

And the scepter was the best tool for this purpose.

He raised it up high before tapping it on the floor. With that, the crowd became quiet at once.

"All of you know who I am already, so I shall skip the introduction." Roland scanned the entire hall and spoke at a slow pace. "My goals for this expedition are simple. The first is to eliminate threats, and the second is to put things back in order. My definition of 'threat' isn't confined to military opponents, but includes anyone who hinders the implementation of the new policies, whether he be a noble, merchant, freeman or a rat. These people shall be dealt with no differently from rebels."

"To achieve the second goal, an administrative system similar to that of Neverwinter City will be put in place. By now, all of you should've heard that anyone who becomes a City Hall official shall receive generous rewards and benefits, while promotion won't be based on ancestry or family background. In other words, based on ability, a commoner can rise to the ranks of a minister or even the Prime Minister!"

A flurry of whispers and murmurs arose in the crowd at once. Before this announcement, even the minor nobles, let alone the commoners, could not imagine attaining such lofty positions even in their wildest dreams. The story of Barov, who rose from being a treasurer's apprentice to becoming a figure only second to His Majesty in power, was already well-known in these parts. Everyone's eyes began to sear as they contemplated their chance of becoming a minister one day.

"Of course, not everyone will be admitted into the city hall. You'll need to pass the examination first." Roland continued calmly.

The discussions grew even louder.

"Your Majesty, what'll be tested?" Someone from the crowd boldly asked.

"Questions that seek out the individual's reliability. This is no different from that done in the Neverwinter city hall," he explained with a smile. "A candidate shan't have to get every question right to pass, but there'll be a minimum score that has to be met. The specific contents of the examination shall be announced just prior to it."

In truth, the question set was adapted from the Ten Questions of Loyalty compiled by Scroll, plus a few more questions concerning the candidate's work attitude and expectation. The main purpose of the test was to ensure the purity of the administrative team, albeit it was not called a loyalty test as that might scare off people who thought too much. During this era, disloyalty was considered a terrible sin and could take several forms. For example, insulting the monarchy in one's mind, or discussing the king's deeds and misdeeds over drunk conversation, were considered acts of disloyalty by law. Yet, which citizen had never complained in private before? Not to mention the nobles. If people knew that loyalty was being tested, many would certainly stay away from the examination.

Of course, when the scale of recruitment expanded in the future, Nightingale would be unable to examine every candidate thoroughly. However, at this preliminary stage, Roland hoped that the dependability of the administration could be ensured as much as possible. After all, many of those handpicked at this stage would eventually become stalwarts of the administration as long as they could adapt to the new system.

"Anyone who's recruited into the city hall will have to relinquish their businesses," he added. "No official shall be allowed to have dealings with merchants, or they'll be heavily punished if caught. I hope that everyone will consider this point carefully."

These words had the effect of a pail of cold water, and the hall became somewhat quieter at once.

Unlike Bordertown, most people in the old King's City held long-term jobs, and thus it was a difficult choice for them to forsake all that they had built up and commit to a new job.

However, this was a necessary measure to promote the concept of professionalism. Perhaps, some people would simply hand their businesses to their distant relatives or hire other people to run their businesses for them, but nevertheless, it was important to maintain this policy on the surface at least. Roland fully knew that genuine "officials" did not exist in the Four Kingdoms; ministerial appointments were granted to nobles whom the king trusted, and as such, working for him was viewed as a form of glory instead of duty. And when their glory was not under threat, they would consider their personal interests first.

Through professionalization, the selected personnel would be bound to their jobs, and they would be held accountable for their departments' success such that it would be impossible for them to seek fraudulent benefits. The only way for them to obtain more benefits would be through the increasing prosperity of the kingdom.

By separating business and politics, it would also help to prevent situations where an individual was a competitor and an arbiter at the same time.

"My final point is, I shall personally record the name of every city hall official, regardless of his position." Seeing that the mood had dampened, Roland decided to throw out the sweetener he had long prepared. "Your position, as well as the benefits it warrants, won't only be effective in this city. All territories under my rule shall recognize your authority."

This was the biggest draw of a professional bureaucracy.

The significance of becoming a bureaucrat was self-evident. It was not only a form of recognition but also offered the greatest security. Though the people in the hall might not be aware of its entire scope of benefits at the moment, they would understand the wonderful taste of "eating national food" over time.

As the old King's City had already been through several screenings, the noble class had all but disappeared, and thus the city was much easier to reorganize than the previous few cities. Many people retained doubts about the proposed plan, but nobody came forth to openly oppose it, while many more were willing to give the examination a go. A long queue quickly formed at the registration area after the convention ended.

Roland returned to his study and was about to invite Theo, Yorko, and other old pals over for a private chat when a guard hurriedly entered the room.

"Your Majesty, we've just received a report from the unit stationed in the Northern Region. They've caught sight of the Kingdom of Dawn's army to the west of Hermes."