Chapter 542: The Wicked Journey
“Sister, we’ve arrived.” Cole Kant happily rushed into the cabin.
“I’ve told you twice during this trip to not call me sister.” Edith raised her head and took a glance at him. “Have you forgotten?”
“No…” Cole shivered. “No, I still remember.”
“Then who am I?”
“My, my Clerk, Miss Edith.”
“Who are you then?”
“Father… No, the ambassador sent out by Calvin Kant, the Duke of the Northern Region.”
“Great. Make sure that you don’t make the same mistake for the third time.” Edith stood up, stretched her stiff limbs, and walked out of the cabin. “Call all the members of the emissary delegation. Let’s go to the inner city.”
This was a little trick Edith liked to play. She liked to secretly observe the person she was about to negotiate with and then only revealed herself after having a rough understanding of what kind of person the other party was. In doing so, she could take precautions beforehand and impress the other. If the one she negotiated with was male, he would most likely be interested in her.
She never tried to hide her gender; on the contrary, she used it as a social advantage.
Since she was called the Pearl of the Northern Region, she certainly needed to make good use of it.
“How about… the heads then?”
“Leave them on the boat, unless you want to hold them in your bedroom.” She twitched her mouth. “They have gone rotten.”
Walking off the trestle, Edith noticed that there were many boats on the canal. Many people were at the dock, most of whom carried big luggage. Judging from their clothing, they looked neither like slaves, nor businessmen. She was quite curious about it because as far as she knew, people in the other walks of life seldom traveled at the spring plowing season.
She sent for a servant. “Go ask them where they’re going.”
“What does it have to do with us?” Cole asked in bewilderment.
“Since Roland Wimbledon has taken over this city, he must have issued some new policies to declare his authority. What he said can, in a way, reflect his characteristics. So, it certainly has something to do with us.” Edith smiled. “Of course you can pay a few gold royals for the Rats to gather the information, but I personally prefer first-hand information.”
“Is, is that so…”
“You need to observe more, think more, my dear ambassador.” She said, “This is a rare opportunity.”
On the other side of the city gate, the streets were filled with more pedestrians. There were booths on both sides of the road. He could hear constant cries from vendors. A few years ago, Edith had been to the king’s city to participate in the fifth princess’ adulthood ceremony with her father. This city had not changed much. It was still as busy as it used to be.
If it were in the City of Evernight, one could have never seen such a crowd except for a holiday or a celebration.
All of a sudden, a speaker on the street caught her attention.
“Hold on for a while.” Edith ordered the troop to stop and joined the crowd with Cole.
“Can you saw wood? Can you lay bricks? Can you take care of cattle and sheep? As long you specialize in something, you’re the talents His Majesty is looking for! Go to Western Region. There, His Majesty is building a new king’s city—City of Neverwinter! Your talent will bring you a huge reward!”
“Talent?” Edith pondered on it for a while. “What an interesting name… However, what does it mean by a new king’s city? The City of Neverwinter? Is there such a city in Western Region?”
Pacing forward a little bit, she saw another group of people.
“Witches are innocent. This is the repentance the High Priest wrote down right before his execution,” another speaker said, waving the document in his hand. “They may be your close relatives, your daughter, your sister!” If you’re still afraid of them, send them to the City of Neverwinter! They’ll be well taken care of. If you hate to part with them, you can go with them! His Majesty has promised, the witches’ families will get an accommodation to protect from wind and rain. Plus, you’ll also get a decent job!”
“Has the High Priest been executed?” Cole said with his eyes wide open.
On the other hand, Edith frowned. “If this is Roland Wimbledon’s new policy, the way he promotes it’s quite melodramatic. Isn’t he afraid to provoke the church to a full revenge? That’ll be nothing like the fight among nobles, but a deadly war against the heresies.
No idea whether it’s a blessing or a curse to serve such a king.”
It took her an hour to walk through the street leading to the inner city. She found actually the street was full of such speakers who basically repeatedly told whatever His Majesty had done after conquering the king’s city. Anyone who came to the king’s city only needed to listen on the street for half a day to understand the changes His Majesty had made, without the need to get any help from the Rats.
“My Lady, I’ve found it out.” The servant who was sent to inquire about the news caught up with the team, panting. “They’re all going…”
“City of Neverwinter, right?” Edith interrupted him.
“You, you knew it?”
“Don’t bother finding a hotel now. We’re going to the palace to submit the emissary document.” Her heart was filled with a vague sense of foreboding. “Now, hurry!”
“What?” Cole asked in surprise. “His Majesty left the king’s city a week ago? Without even holding an inauguration ceremony?”
“That’s what the receptionist said,” the attendant reported. “At first His Majesty left a man named Barov Mons, his chief minister, behind to take care of daily affairs, but Barov Mons left the king’s city yesterday too. Apart from the servants, there’s nobody else in the palace. The receptionist said if you want to talk with the City Hall, he can pass the message for you.”
“That’s fine,” Edith said in a cold voice. She did not expect her hunch was right. She had been traveling non-stop all the way, yet still was too late to catch up with Roland. “Roland was really planning to move the capital, leave this splendid city behind, and rebuild a new capital city in Western Region! What’s exactly in his head? To build a city on such a scale as the king’s city would take at least 30 to 40 years!”
“What should we do?” Looking at the stunned members of the emissary delegation, Cole asked quietly.
After a long while, she said sullenly, “Turn around. Head for the City of Neverwinter!”
“They’ve left anyway. No need to hurry,” Cole said with a bitter face. “It’s been a week since I took a shower last time. I feel lice are about to grow on my body.”
Edith turned her head and found her collar also smelled weird. Finally, she sighed. “Let’s find a hotel for the night. We’ll set off tomorrow morning.”
In the next morning, when the emissary delegation arrived at the dock, they found their boat had been burned to a skeleton.
“What happened?” For the first time, Edith felt confused.
“Ahem, don’t be mad, sis-Miss Edith. Observe more, think more…” Cole waved his hand and stopped a passerby. “The dock will catch fire as well?”
“Ah, you mean that.” The passerby enthusiastically explained, “No idea who sneakily hid bodies on their boat. The Rats who tried to steal something from the boat smelled it.” You know, people are very cautious about such stuff. After all, half a year ago a demonic plague struck the city, which was exactly caused by the bodies distributed by the church. Anyway, to deal with them, burning is the safest way. The captain has been arrested by the guards for interrogation. Oh, do you know him?”
Edith was startled, not knowing what face she should put on. After a long silence, she uttered, “I don’t know him. Thanks.”
“It seems we need to find a new boat.” She thought. “I guess this trip of loyalty won’t go as smoothly as I imagined…”