Release that Witch Chapter 1198
Chapter 1198: A Foreigner
At the Silty Bay in the Kingdom of Wolfheart.
As one of the two port cities in the Kingdom of Wolfheart, the dock here was always busy. Merchants from the interior loaded and unloaded their ships before they set off for their next undertaking from this harbor. Alternatively, they traded their commodities with local marine tradesmen. As such, the dock area was essentially a big marketplace where all kinds of transactions took place, from furs all the way to slaves.
White settled himself in his coach, languishing at the raucous coachmen while gazing upon the ocean.
Ever since the outbreak of the war between Graycastle and Hermes, local churches had stopped sending orphans to the Holy City. Having lost the main source of income, merchants in the Kingdom of Wolfheart struggled to live. What was worse, because of the friction between local lords, peace was not restored after the regime of the church was overthrown. Coachmen like White, being financially unstable, thus had to come to the Silty Bay to seek new employment for a living.
Although the war had also somewhat affected the life in the Silty Bay, the nobility still led their previous extravagant lifestyle. As the passage leading to the Cage Mountain was now under the control of the Token Family, it left other lords no choice but to rely on sea shipping to transport their luxurious goods, which, in a way, sustained the economy here.
Of course, the temporary prosperity was also partially attributed to the fact that the baron in the Silty Bay maintained his neutral position.
This was one of the reasons that White chose to strike root here.
He was old and did not want to wander about anymore.
White planned to carry cargo for a few more times and purchase a property with the money earned before starting his own small business.
"Hey, man, any work for you today?" Suddenly, a young worker clambered onto White's coach and jeered at him.
"Get out of my way. It's none of your business," White said gruffly while waving his hand in the same manner as he dismissed an annoying fly. "Don't you get on my carriage. You can't afford the repair of these beautiful wheels."
"Don't say that. Look at me. I'm tiny. Am I going to crush your wagon?" the young man protested as he patted his stomach and slumped against the compartment. He picked up a straw on the floor, sucked it between his teeth and looked around. "What did you carry last time? Why does it smell so funky in here?"
"Get off, or I'll kick your ass," White grunted. He did not know the young man's name, but all the other workers called him Smarty. White did not see any smartiness in him. To him, this young man was simply an unacquainted coworker.
"Really? With your artificial leg? I bet it hurts on rainy days, doesn't it?" the young man said casually. "It looks like it's going to rain soon. Your joints and bones should be hurting now, right?"
Speechless, White glowered at him, wondering when he had found out his secret.
"Haha, don't stare at me like that. I'm here to help you," Smarty explained while spreading out his hands. "There are so many people looking for work. You're an old man and certainly couldn't compete with young guys."
"What's your point?"
"Very simple. My coworkers will help you get a good spot. Are you interested in collaborating with us?"
"And in return?" White asked.
"A comission of 10%. A good deal, eh?" Smarty said, smiling.
White fell silent. The sky above looked sullen. Sea breezes whipped his clothes, preluding a heavy rain. It was true that his fake leg might hinder him from getting any business from his competitors, and employers would probably not entrust their cargo to a limped laborer.
Hearing no response from him, Smarty snapped his fingers and said, "Well, I take it as a yes?"
"You aren't... just helping me, right?" White asked at length as he stared at him.
"Ahem, if everyone comes to seek me for help, that'll save me a lot of time," Smarty answered evasively. "By the way, can't you switch the straw to cushion? The most popular products in the Silty Bay are the Chaos Drinks from Fjords and perfumes. Although nobles would normally bring their own carriages, you never know what will happen. They would always need a spare carriage. Your wagon is so smelly. Even if I bring business to you, employers probably wouldn't like to hire you..."
White cast a glance at the eloquent young man and finally understood why people called him Smarty. Yet as an aged and experienced man, he had also seen a great deal of life. He thus said, "Did you just ask me what I carried last time?"
"Cow dung that is used for fuel," he answered slowly. "They were sun-dried, but still it can be wet here and there."
Smarty stiffened. He spat the straw and started to retch.
White grunted triumphantly. A kid was essentially a kid. He rested his eyes back on the ocean and suddenly stood framed to the spot.
Several three-masted ships slowly came into his view, all from the Chambers of Commerce at Fjords, their masts almost 100 feet tall, their golden flags rimmed with black. He did not know what Chamber of Commerce that was.
Whatver ships they were, White only cared about the cargo on them. With such colossal ships, he was certain he would have some business even without Smarty's help.
White got off his coach and untied his horse. He was about to ride to the dock when Smarty suddenly pulled him from the back.
"Hey... it seems something is wrong there."
White turned around impatiently and started at what he saw.
More masts appeared behind the three main ships, their sails forming a "white wall" over the sea.
Those grayish-black ships covered every inch of the ocean. White attempted to make a count but soon abandoned this idea after he saw 50 ships come into his sight. As more and more ships followed, White found it hard to catch up with the count. There were probably 100 or 200 ships in total, and maybe even more!
There were giant three-masted ships but also numerous steaming paddle steamers. White had seen these new boats before, but it was his first time seeing so many of them. He was positive even sailors living at the harbor had not seen such a huge fleet.
All the pedlars, sailors and laborers stopped what they were doing and gazed at the approaching fleet.
The dock suddenly became incredibly quiet.
As the ships drew close, they could now see the flags more clearly. White could barely make out the coat of arms on those flags, which featured a lofty tower and spears. All the flags on those ships bore the same coat of arms. Hundreds of banners streamed against the wind and formed a new horizon that awed the spectators.
"Is it... the Graycastle flag?"
White muttered in disbelief, "Are you saying... that the King of Graycastle came here?"
As the Silty Bay could not accommodate so many large ships, most of the ships lowered their sails outside the harbor while the ten steam-powered boats came straight to the dock area.
As soon as the ships disembarked, a group of uniformed men filed out onto the trestle and the dock area, all as expressionless, frosty and reticent as seasoned soldiers.
White swallowed hard. For some reason, he was afraid of these men whom he had never seen before. White had the impression that all the people on the dock felt the same way. Soon, these foreigners occupied the entire trestle but nobody dared to raise an objection.
White realized that this fleet was not here for trading goods.
The air above the dock became thick and heavy.
The leaden clouds in the sky seemed to be even lower.