Release that Witch Chapter 1010
"Your Majesty... Your Majesty, please think twice!" Roland heard Barov shouting anxiously outside his office.
It was only after the City Hall Director had run to his desk while panting heavily that Roland finally put down his teacup and asked, "What should I think twice about? The coronation ceremony?"
"No. I meant your wedding announcement. You are going to marry a witch and make her your queen." Barov glanced toward the place behind Roland while wiping the sweat from his forehead. "Ah, Your Majesty, I'm afraid this isn't a proper way to handle the case."
Roland was not surprised by Barov's objection at all. He had anticipated as much when he first informed the City Hall of his decision. To remove the obstacles to his marriage to Anna, the City Hall would be the first group that he had to persuade.
After the Months of Demons, Neverwinter would send troops to the Fertile Plains once again to eliminate the demons' latest outpost in Taquila. Meanwhile, the City Hall would be busy carrying out the spring plowing plans, new construction projects, and trade programs. The coming year would be an exceptionally busy year for Graycastle, so it did not sound like a good idea to hold such a ceremony now. According to tradition, preparing a coronation alone would need at least two to three months, not to mention that there was a wedding after it. Preparing these activities would inevitably increase his administration's workload and thus would interfere with Neverwinter's production and military plans. However, Roland did not make this decision on a sudden impulse.
Different from the previous winters, this winter was peaceful. He wanted to seize this rare opportunity to hold both his coronation ceremony and his wedding, which would boost his subjects' morale without costing him too much effort.
More importantly, he really hoped to redeem his promise to Anna as soon as possible.
Of course, as a feudal king, he could do whatever he wished just like the rest of the self-indulgent rulers throughout history who had imposed their personal values on others and thus had forced their foolish decisions to get implemented. However, he did not intend to become such a ruler. He created this City Hall, and he was confident that he could properly handle this case without turning against his own administration.
In Roland's view, exercising his power while staying within the boundaries of the rules would be a much better choice than abusing his power.
"Why?" Roland knocked on the desk as he asked Barov.
"It's... it's because you need an heir," Barov said urgently. "Everyone knows that a witch can never give you a child. There's a war on the horizon. If some unexpected stroke of misfortune were to happen to you, the other nobles would covet your throne. An heir will make your people feel secure." Barov paused for a moment before adding, "If you just want to be with lady Anna, you don't really need to marry her."
"Oh? What do you mean?"
"You could marry a lesser noble's daughter," Barov suggested. "No one would oppose such a decision. You don't have to take her seriously. You just need her to stand beside you on official occasions, and you can still do whatever you want—"
"So you mean that Anna can't become the queen because she's a witch?" Nightingale suddenly interrupted.
"I don't think Lady Anna will mind such superficial things." Barov coughed twice to cover his embarrassment. "It's for the benefit of the country, Your Majesty. If you find it hard to tell Lady Anna about this arrangement in person, I can pass on your words to her."
"You aren't her. How can you know that she won't mind? I can bet that she would never want a third person between His Majesty and herself!" Nightingale insisted.
"It has nothing to do with personal feelings. It's about an heir..."
"Enough." Roland raised his hands to stop them. "I get it. I just need to find a legitimate heir to the throne to reassure my people."
"Find... a legitimate heir?" Barov was a little bit startled.
"Isn't this a good solution?" Roland replied with a casual air. "After I defeated the Pope, I absorbed her entire lifespan. I actually don't need anyone to inherit the throne. That's why I was able to decide to marry Anna. Unfortunately, there are only a few people like you who know about this matter. Most of the subjects know little about magic power and thus probably won't believe it. Under such circumstances, in order to give my people an inner sense of security, I must find an heir and let them pin their hopes on him. Am I right?"
Since the battle at Coldwind Ridge against the church, the senior officials of the City Hall were aware that Roland had gone through a spiritual battle called the Battle of Souls, in which the winner could inherit everything from the loser. They had found it hard to believe at first, but then the appearance of the Taquila witches and their Soul Transfer technique had reduced their doubts about it. During the first United Front meeting, Roland had confirmed this rumor and had used this advantage to win Pasha's trust. Ever since then, all the senior officials of the City Hall had bought the story that Roland now had a limitless lifespan.
"Yes, that's what I meant," Barov said, unaware that he was falling into a trap. "As long as you have an heir, no one will oppose your marriage."
"I have a simpler way to solve this problem." Roland shrugged. "A year ago, when we attacked Hermes, I happened to find Gerald Wimbledon's mistress. She's a maid working in a tavern, and she had a son with Gerald."
"What did you... say?" Barov's eyes widened in surprise. "Are you sure that the child is..."
"Yes, he has grey hair and grey eyes." Roland nodded.
"Why didn't you tell me at that time?"
"If I had told you, they would have been killed a long time ago." Roland picked up his teacup and took a sip. "How is it? We have a legitimate heir now. Isn't it a better way to solve the problem?"
Gerald's child was indeed a good choice. He was not a threat to Roland and could be replaced at any time. Even though he might ultimately never become the king, he would still be widely discussed and could greatly raise the subjects' spirits. Barov's eyes shone with excitement. Seeing this, Roland knew that the Chief Director had already understood what he meant. Now, he did not need to do anything except tell the subjects about this boy and bring him to Neverwinter.
As for the actual situation surrounding the little boy and his mother, he believed that the people would exert their imagination and creativity to make up their own legendary stories.
"If his mother is just a maid in a tavern, he can only be counted as a bastard child. We must give his mother a higher status. Otherwise, making him an heir will attract many disapproving comments. Fortunately, she's not a noble lady. It's much easier to control a civilian woman..." Barov started to plan the whole thing in his heart.
Roland felt his lips curling into a smile. Now he could avoid fighting a verbal battle against Barov to sell his ideas, unlike three years ago. The City Hall Director could easily follow his hints and help him plan out the whole thing. No one would doubt his words anymore, no matter how implausible they sounded, not even his claim of having eternal life.
"You go make a plan for this child and my coronation ceremony. We'll discuss the details later." Roland waved his hand to Barov, indicating that he was dismissed.
After Barov's departure, Roland heaved a long sigh of relief. "I never expected that you would speak up for Anna."
"I'm sorry. I just can't help it..."
"No, you don't need to apologize. You're absolutely right." He glanced at Nightingale deliberately and found that she looked much calmer than he had expected. "I just thought you would..."
"You thought I would look miserable and feel depressed hearing this news?" Nightingale gave him a cold stare. "I think this wedding is already too late. If it wasn't for Anna, I wouldn't have let you get away with it so easily."
Roland still remembered the relieved look on her face when she had appeared in front of him after disappearing for two days. He guessed that her change must have had something to do with the secret agreement between her and Anna.
Curious as he was, he still did not ask her about the secret.