Chapter 244 Identity Registration
Outside of the western city walls, under the guidance of the First Army, the refugees were undergoing an unprecedented identification inspection.
By now, Barov had naturally come to understand that the resource which His Highness regarded as the most important was people. In order to bring all of these people back to Border Town, His Highness had spent a lot of gold royals and had even sent the First Army on an expedition to King’s City. When Barov had seen the final bill from Margaret’s chamber of commerce, he had almost climbed up the wall.
Adding up the caravan’s charter fees, the transportation fees, and the fees for the food supply after half a month, the Prince had spent more than two thousand gold royals, which was equivalent to the price of four steam engines. If they hadn’t received the deposit for the transformation of two ships by last month, Barov was afraid that the financial report statistics this time would have shown a deficit.
After the evacuation of the people, the task of creating this cumbersome and huge statistics had all been placed on his shoulders. Almost all of the City Hall officials and apprentices had been dispatched to set up the wooden sheds and the related lines for the crowd, so that they could start with writing the classification statistics. Seeing the more than a dozen lines of refugees all slowly going through the inspection, it was as if Barov was seeing a group of moving coins.
Compared to the lines for the ordinary civilians’ registration, the line for the professionals that he himself was personally responsible for was far more deserted. Until now, there had only been fifty to sixty people come in.
“I am… a carpenter,” a middle-aged man said after slowly walking over, “I heard that any craftsman can get their own place to live?”
“That’s right,” Sirius Daly then further asked. “What’s your name? Are you able to read?”
The former knight of the Wolf Family had come over from the Ministry of Agriculture. But he had managed not to make any mistake, which left Barov very satisfied that he chose him for this task. Although this had to do with demographic statistics, the City Hall unfortunately only had a small number of people who had learned how to read and write, so without any better option, they had no other choice but to pull all of the literate people from the other departments together here.
“Uh… to answer Sir, my name is Maser.” The other party paused, “I must admit, I have never learned how to read.
“You can’t read or write?”
“Yes,” the middle-aged men nodded.
“Well, as a carpenter then…” Sirius turned his attention to the pile of questions on the table, looking for the one marked with carpenter, “Ah, found it. Let me ask you a few questions.
The preliminary trial method was an idea His Highness came up with, he had gathered craftsman from all kinds of industries, inquired them about specialized knowledge together with some problems and their corresponding method to deal with them. He then recorded all of their answers and formulated a set of questions. As a result, as long as they compared the given answers with the answers on the form during the audit, they would immediately know if the other party was lying or not. It was the first time that he had ever seen such a method used to detect lies. Barov couldn’t help but want to applaud the devil’s mind, if the other side wasn’t engaged in the industry, most civilians would never be able to understand these concepts. In case someone wanted to feign his occupation, as long as they asked two to three questions, the liar would be choked speechless.
“What kind of tool is used to flatten a wooden surface?”
“It’s… a carpenter’s plane, Sir.”
“What are the commonly used saws?”
“Frame saws and two-man saws, occasionally hand saws when cutting small items.”
Several questions later, Maser could almost answer all of them, and with every further right answer, his voice became more smooth and easy.
“Ah, it seems you are indeed a carpenter,” but the moment Sirius wanted to write down his identity into the register, Barov interrupted him.
“Don’t be so quick with your judgment, first you have to examine his hands,” then he said to Maser, “Stretch out your hands.”
The moment Maser heard this command he felt startled, but he then spread out his hands with a look full of confusion on his face – the skin on his palms was very rough, fissured and had many traces of earth particles, furthermore below every finger were thick calluses, all in all, they looked very weather-beaten.
“If he was a carpenter, then his palms should not be so rough, especially those two pads beneath the palm, due to constantly rubbing over the wood, they should be smooth and hard. Furthermore, carpenters often need to use black paint to draw contour lines, therefore their palms will often be stained with a black ink that is hard to wash off, turning their palms black instead of yellow.” Barov calmly explained. “Another point, before he gave you an answer he would always break eye contact – many people who were trying to recall something that they didn’t usually do in the past, would show a similar kind of expression to this. However, if was a real carpenter, he would have given his answers in a very natural manner.”
“Understood… then,” Sirius’ eyes became large.
Barov looked at the astonished Maser, then said with a heavy voice, “You should have heard the warnings of the First Army when they called you over, any act of impersonation, deception or refusal of register will be severely punished. Either by being sentenced to work in the mines, or being expelled from the Western Territory, so if you understand this, do you still think you are a carpenter?”
“No, Sir, I was wrong!” Maser said, falling to his knees. “My neighbor was a carpenter, I would just often watch him work!”
“Then go over there and line up.”
Seeing the other flee, Sirius asked full of wonder, “Sir, how do you know all these things?”
“During the Months of Demons, I have done a census for His Highness. I had to deal with every carpenter in the town, and at that time I conveniently recorded such information,” Barov answered while pretending to be unconcerned. But when he saw the admiration and shock in the knight’s face, a feeling of pride arose within his heart.
Although the devil’s methods appeared to be clever, in the end, some people will eventually deceive it, and only people like himself, have the talent needed to make up for His Highness deficiency.
But under the influence of His Highness, their recent approach to deal with such problems was no longer the same as it was in the past… Barov couldn’t help but secretly sigh. For example, commoners of the previous kind, in the past it had been important to punish them with in a thunderous manner, in order intimidate those who would otherwise begin to stir. But nowadays he had to let all of them go, this was most likely because the Prince wanted to save gold royals – after all, every refugee here was worth a lot of money. In case they didn’t live and work in Border Town for several years, they would simply not have been worth the expenses of transporting them over such a long distance by ship.
When the next refugee passed the specialized inquiry, instead of immediately writing him into the register, Sirius first looked to Barov for his approval.
Who in return seized the man up, and then nodded, “Write his details into the register, I will take him to see His Highness.”
After going through a passage in the city wall, they came to a stop in front of a shed set up for His Highness, which was also the last checkpoint.
Here, they would receive His Highness’s personal inquiry. If it is confirmed that there is no problems, they would be given a “Resident Identity Card (ID)”, and from then would become a formal resident of Border Town. With the current lack of houses in the inner town, they had no other choice than to give priority and provide the first living places to the artisans. While the refugees with no particular skill, had no other option than to wait outside of the wall for two to three months.
Barov also possessed a ID card – it was a sheet of hard paper painted with color. It was almost palm sized and on the left upper corner was a painting of his head, which looked the same as a real person. While his name, address and number was written in the middle. The back of the card in turn was covered with the Graycastle’s crest and His Highness personal seal. No matter if it was the paper itself or the film it was wrapped into, they were both very strange. Whether it was by soaking it in water or trying to burn it in a fire, nothing could damage the ID card.
There was no doubt that this thing was certainly made by the witch named Soraya. It seemed that His Highness intended to spread the ID card to the whole town, so that in the future whether it was to buy food or pay, they would have to show their certificate.
Since His Royal Highness had awarded the medal to the young lady of the Pine Family during the Award and Honor Ceremony, it had become evident that the Prince no longer intended to hide the existence of the witch. Which in turn meant Barov had finally to come to a conclusion of who was right and who was wrong, the Devil or the Church… unexpectedly discovering that there was a faint hope within his heart that His Highness can defeat the Church and ultimately unify the Kingdom of Graycastle.
There was no doubt, the higher position His Highness could achieve, the greater the reward he could reap would become.
Of course, there was still a long way to go before they reached that moment, so it could still be put aside and considered later on. By now the population of Border Town had surpassed Longsong Stronghold’s, furthermore, His Royal Highness had also revealed his next year’s construction plan – once the town was connected with the stronghold, more than half of the Western Territory would be turned into one city, with a size that was undoubtedly larger than King’s City, becoming the most magnificent city of Graycastle. And at that time, as the City Hall Premier Minister, what kind of promotion would he receive?
Barov’s heart was full of expectation for the future.