Release that Witch Chapter 453
Probably out of safety concerns, the only waist-high window in the office was equipped with metal railings on the outside. When the daylight hit the room, he could clearly see a stripe of sun ray splash over the old fur rug while feeling a sense of aloofness as if he were standing against the world.
"Anna would definitely love this place," Roland couldn't help thinking. However, to him, the brightly lit town office with large windows suited his taste better. Even though it was small, it was comfortable.
As for Nightingale, he could tell by her habit of sleeping by the fireplace that she would not like it here at all.
Suddenly, someone knocked on his door.
"Come in." Roland placed the Secret History of the Western Region he was holding back onto the bookshelf.
"Your Highness." Petrov Hull entered the office and placed a stack of paper onto his desk. "I've finished collecting the data you asked for."
Roland walked back to his desk and read through the list of the nobles carefully. "These are all the nobles left in the Western Region?"
"Yes." Petrov explained, "They're divided into two main categories, guilty and innocent. After that, I ranked them by family names. There are 64 people who are guilty, and 137 people who refused to rebel or had no knowledge of the rebellion. The innocent people are mostly free knights, knights, and lower-level nobles."
Roland flipped to the first page and saw the name of Roman Candy, the Earl of Maple Leaf Family, listed on the top. According to Iron Axe's report, this great noble hid in a wine barrel in his basement after his castle was seized, and he soiled his pants out of fear when the First Army found him. He was also the noble with the highest rank among the captured in the war of unification.
Next was an entire page of the nobles from the Maple Family, which included two sons, other relatives, and knights.
The six families of the Western Region had literally become history—Lion Ryan, Maple Leaf, Wolf, and Wild Rose were completely crushed, and although Honeysuckle and Elk still remained, they were no longer feudal nobles. Now, all the power in the Western Region belonged to Roland.
"Your Highness..." Petrov hesitated for a bit before asking, "Sir Iron Axe convicted the people on that list. Could there be any... misjudgment?"
Roland couldn't help chuckling. "He's a very skilled interrogator and didn't use torture to force confessions, so I think his final judgment is trustworthy."
Meanwhile, his interrogation was just a matter of formality. After all the nobles were locked into prison, Nightingale double checked each of them—it only took her a few simple questions to determine if they had involved in the rebellion. This was also why Roland felt confident in addressing the noble with a heavy hand. With Nightingale's help, he could ensure that he wasn't missing any guilty people or condemning any innocent ones. He didn't have to worry about shedding innocent blood or exonerating the real culprits.
"So... what do you plan to do with the guilty nobles?"
"Why do you ask?" Roland raised his head and glanced at Petrov. "Are some of these men your friends?"
"No, Your Highness." He shook his head. "I just think that if you hanged them all, it might harm your future rule."
"You were talking about an eye for an eye a week ago." The prince raised his eyebrow curiously. "Now you want to spare them?"
"I do want all these people to go to hell, but even if I strangle them all to death myself, it wouldn't change anything... It might even cause the other nobles to hate the Honeysuckle Family. Also, if everyone learns that you've executed the nobles, other cities might resist your rule."
After hearing this, Roland was quite surprised. This was the logic of a seasoned politician, who set aside personal emotion while weighing the pros and cons... "It seems that this battle hasn't made him hate fighting but actually helped him become mature."
"It doesn't hurt to tell you this beforehand." He stood up and walked to the window. "I'm going to announce everything about this matter to the people and hold an open trial for all the rebels at the square, including the nobilities, guards, squires, and mercenaries... the ringleaders and direct organizers of the rebellion, as well as scoundrels with the people's blood on their hands. They will all be hanged. People who are guilty of following their orders will be stripped of their titles and sent to the North Slope Mine."
Petrov sighed in relief. "Your Highness is merciful."
When the eldest son of the Honeysuckle Family left, Roland felt an unfamiliar feeling of satisfaction.
This operation had cleared all the obstacles for him in the Western Region, so he could easily make laws and distribute orders throughout this vast land.
More importantly, he gained the support from many people and nobles—after the rebels were removed, only supporters would remain.
This was especially true for the nobles—after losing their feudal and legislative power, they would have to wholeheartedly follow and spread his policies if they wanted to continue living a comfortable life. Since the nobles had more resources than civilians, it wouldn't take them much thought to figure out how to profit from them.
Once they started to gain small profits, they wouldn't ever want to go back to their old lives —after all, these low-level nobles had never gained much from their territories, and sometimes even went into debt if they didn't manage them well. They would soon realize that as long as they played by the rules, they would live an unimaginably comfortable life.
There was no doubt that he had taken a big step toward his city-building plan.
Roland wiped off the water vapor on his window and looked at the city enveloped in snow—since he still had to stay in Longsong Stronghold for a while to deal with governmental affairs, he might as well refurbish this office to his own liking.
For example... he would start with the French windows.