IS, V5, Chapter 1: Envy Part 1

*Author’s Note*

So yeah, Envy is in ‘Parts’ but from what I can tell, each part is way longer than a Tapas Episode, so if I added all of them together… Let’s just say it’d be way too much for a single Chapter lmao. FFS, this first part is 2200 words by itself and this chapter has 12 parts…

*Lorelei’s Perspective*

Reporters used to ask me “Oh great and adorable Lorelei, how did you manage to remove poverty from Alfirin?” The answer was simple: Always have more jobs than there are people. Well, there was also another thing… No matter how poor a person might have been, they always had something left to sell.

Prostitution was generally frowned upon, but there were plenty of other ways to make money off your body. After all, isn’t that what everyone who works usually does? There was once a time, back when Black Mithril was in such terrible shape that there was almost no hunting. Yet my shop never seemed to run out of ingredients.

Back then, people were so desperate and hungry, loads of them literally killed each-other for food. My Papa had a saying: “You can either be the butcher, or the meat.” It was meant to be metaphorical, but I was five fucking years old… How the hell was I supposed to know that?!

Cannibalism was actually a crime in ‘old’ Black Mithril, and I was almost arrested a few times, but I found that… Killing was just so much easier than running or hiding. Even when a squad of royal guards caught me carving up some miscellaneous Dark-Dwarf, they underestimated me because of my size and age. I just looked like a Rat-Tribe child to them. Though I definitely remember the men talking about the things that they wanted to do to me. So many naughty things~!

Anyway, the point is, people can definitely be eaten, just like any other animal or plant. Well, once that earth-dragon showed up and wiped out a majority of the population, food wasn’t as big of a deal.

I definitely don’t condone murder and I didn’t go around slaughtering all the poor vagrants. Nope, poverty has always been caused by a lack of jobs or resources. As long as there’s plenty of those, anyone who refused to work did so out of their own freewill!

However, even people who chose to do nothing, were still valuable in their own way. Science, technology and magic were all steadily advancing, so there was always a heavy demand for participants in clinical trials and research or test-subjects in basically every field of expertise.

Granny Nadja used to tell me “Gold can’t buy happiness.” but that was a bunch of ratshit! While I was struggling to make ends meet by butchering assholes, she was living in a goddamn palace, eating ‘fancy’ food, and having sex with men who were barely legal! Okay,, a lot of the food may have included some of the meat from my shop… But she thought she was eating venison!

In Alfirin, under my guidance money could buy just about anything. Sure, prostitution was technically illegal, Trixie wouldn’t budge on that, but the federal laws only covered so much…

Basically, don’t rape, enslave, or murder people. Try not to cause cataclysmic events: That one was directed mostly towards a certain dryad buddy of mine. All races had equal rights, regardless of their body-structure, lifespan and just about everything else. Lorthon was the main language, and no one was allowed to change that for whatever reason. You can learn as many other tongues as you want though. I definitely didn’t stop at just one or two after all.

New citizens had to submit to a telepathic scan and a full medical screening before entering the country. How else could we make sure that there weren’t any crazy bastards or spies coming to destroy us? Definitely wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened… Remember Belial?

It was against the law for a person to willingly become a slave or allow themselves to be raped: No idea how that second part was supposed to work, but Trixie made me add it in. Maybe she wanted to add a bit more incentive to people who were too scared to do anything, even when they had the power to save themselves? I think that part of the law got amended or removed at some point after… Uhum, anyway, back to what I was saying.

Everyone had the right to defend themselves under any circumstances, regardless of social status or arbitrary religious beliefs. Sure, there may have been a ‘few’ conflicts between law enforcement and civilians because of this little rule, but it was pretty good overall. At least it kept the police and military from abusing their power… You know, after Trixie and I were out of the game.

There was a lot of controversy about pedophilia, mainly because each race matured at a different speed. Fortunately, Yuri had a comprehensive list regarding every single race in Lorthon Forest and at what ages they reach adulthood. However, there was a little bit of leeway, but if a fully grown person had sex with a child it was considered statutory rape, and~ punishable by death.

Last but not least, it was illegal to have sex with strangers for money or other forms of compensation. Obviously, that rule was pretty vague and depending on the state laws, there were plenty of ways to get around it. For example, it was perfectly fine to marry or date someone because of their wealth, and in the end, very few people ‘wanted’ to be prostitutes anyway.

If a person had to become a whore to stay alive, then every time they sold their body it would technically be rape, and it was a pretty controversial topic. Also, there were lots of religions and cultures within Alfirin, but even in places where prostitution was commonplace, it was still viewed with contempt… Even by the scumbags who used their services.

However, since the main problem was related to the potential for exploitation, I was able to come up with a few ideas. One of my favorites was called pornagraphy! Basically, people would either draw or paint pictures of naked men and women, often while having sex, and then we would use that amazing printing-press machine to make copies.

Compared to Ael Tol and Angren, where it was pretty normal to walk around completely nude or ‘mate’ in public, Black Mithril and White Mithril were a lot more conservative. Luckily, that just made them even more prone to a concept and I… Well~ I didn’t really ‘invent’ it, but I definitely made it popular: Stripclubs! They were essentially places where girls or guys would perform erotic dances for tips, and it was actually a sweet source of revenue for Lorelei Incorporated.

Of course, since we were technically a form of government as well as a company, regardless of how much money we made, our expenses were always ridiculous. I set limitations to how much each county, city, and state could tax their citizens. It would have negatively impacted the economy and our profits if people couldn’t afford to spend money.

The short-term goal that was given to me by Mikey, was to raise the quality of life while expanding our territory as quickly as possible. Fortunately, I had Trixie, Rae-Rae, Big Bro, Lyn, and Tentacle-Tree to help me out. My specialties have always been convincing people to buy shit that they really shouldn’t, and turning animals into cooking ingredients.

Before they left Black Mithril, Ethir and Raelin were responsible for creating Alfirin Academy, and the entire education-system. Of course, without my financial support, they wouldn’t have been able to do any of it. They pretty much invented ‘real’ enchanting, alchemy, and dozens of different classes of magic.

There was practically a spell for everything: What was life even like before then? I mean, seriously… I was never really much of a mage, but with a little earth-manipulation, I could swing around a meat-cleaver that was heavier than my own body!

Anyway, a lot of people thought that ‘General’ Beatrix was the ‘real’ power behind Lorelei Incorporated. She was the only who made and enforced most of the laws; she was in charge of the BCHAA and The Army of Michael. However, I was the one who was paying all of their salaries… Including the adorable black-furred rat-girl.

As far as police-forces go, each country, city and state had their own, so there was occasionally some corruption. Whenever someone abused their power, even if they were the elected mayor of White Mithril, it would be impossible to hide anything from her telepathic spies.

People had to learn the hard way that governing was just a job that needed to be done. It wasn’t about power or money, but actually giving a shit about their citizens. Public executions were pretty commonplace…

Well, we didn’t have any prisons or jails, so all crimes were either punished by death, fines, or ‘community service’. As long as they weren’t a murderer, rapist or slaver, they usually weren’t killed. Everything else was just a matter of compensation.

Even manslaughter could be settled with money. Which was important cause it happened really frequently once there were gigantic Kodiak Tribe walking around in cities filled with Red Goblins, Dark Dwarves, and Rat Tribe. Accidentally bumping into, stepping on or even crushing someone to death with their ass was a daily occurrence.

What were we going to do? Ban tall people or shorties?! Screw that! Besides, it was even more chaotic once mounts became more common. If you don’t teach your kid not to play with random giant monsters, then it’s your own damn fault that they get eaten!

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the idiots trying to get different drugs banned! Are we going to ban chocolate for everyone, just because a handful of canine Tribes get sick or die after eating it?! Should we get rid of Catnip to prevent the cat tribes from getting high?! I wasn’t really the biggest fan of Catnip Tea, but there were some people who loved it, okay?!

Calm down Lori, it’s fine, everything’s fine… You don’t need to deal with idiots anymore. That life is way~ behind you, phew~… Okay, back to what I was talking about before.

Even though the official punishments weren’t very severe in most cases, the crime-rate was incredibly low. Considering that most law-abiding citizens either learned magic, bought guns, or kept magical beasts as pets… Very few people were stupid enough to try to steal from each other.

There were still some bandit groups that cropped up on the fringes of our territory, but in the unlikely scenario that they managed to successfully raid one of our caravans, Trixie would personally lead a small army to annihilate them. The State of Beast Haven required the most attention. Angren City and Ael Tol were both within the third ring of Lorthon Forest, so there were always roving bands of relatively powerful beast races.

We didn’t force them to join us, but it was rare of them to simply fuck-off and leave us alone. Since there was little communication or cooperation between the various Tribes, they didn’t pose much of a threat to us. However, constantly defending our growing borders was certainly becoming a lot more expensive.

Luckily, we had the amazing Ailyn Ironheart and Yuri, The Spirit of Death, who kept inventing all kinds of ridiculous weapons. At first, the two of them were simply trying to outdo each-other. Lyn was always insisting that ‘mechanical’ technologies were superior, and the pink dryad claimed that biological advancements were better.

Tentacle-Tree developed a way to connect the minds of magical-beasts with their owners, effectively creating a method for people to literally ‘become one’ with their mounts and pets. She was also a strong advocate of ‘body-enhancement’, which was another controversial topic. There was plenty of discontent with the way she was mass-producing super-babies.

It wasn’t like I could sell the damn brats, and the Lorelei Incorporated Orphanage Charity was a massive gold-sink. My only consolation was that there were actually quite a few idiots willing to donate to us or adopt a kid. On the plus side, they grew really quickly, and after they fully matured in a few years, most of them would end up being significantly stronger than their unmodified counterparts. It was even better if they lived in a place with super-dense mana.

Lyn loved making guns, explosives, and all kinds of miscellaneous gadgets: Most of which were incredibly profitable. She was definitely the number-one expert in regards to creating conventional weapons and armors as well. My bestie also invented all kinds of extremely complicated mechanisms to improve them.

I don’t even know how we survived before ‘plastic’ and ‘rubber’ existed. Actually, what was the world like before electricity and the combustion engine? It makes me feel so old just thinking about how archaic and primitive our lives had been until then. Well, I was only eleven or twelve at the time.

Anyway, even the ‘bicycle’ was a pretty important invention for people who weren’t very talented in magic. It was pretty messy and dangerous to have a bunch of magical-beasts or even just horses and bulls, running around the city streets. Then there were motor-bikes, which only had to be steered and ran on either mana or a smelly flammable liquid called ‘gasoline’.

Meh~, I still have no clue how most of the shit that Lyn created worked, but all I needed to know was how to market and sell it. Although, as my company kept getting larger, my workload decreased by… Actually, I spent most of my time just drifting around. I even turned The Lorelei Mansion in Black Mithril into a luxury resort, because I never really used it anymore.

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