Release that Witch Chapter 493
He put on his coat and walked to the window. The snow covering the buildings outside had partially melted to reveal some areas of red roofs and gray walls, which brought both colors and vitality to the landscape. Inside the room, it was still cold, but if you faced the sunlight, you could also feel a little bit of warmth.
The snow had begun to melt.
He stepped into his office and saw his breakfast arranged neatly on his desk. As usual, there was a fried egg, two pancakes, and a cup of warm water. Nightingale had prepared it for him just like always.
"Thanks," Roland said to the empty couch.
"How do you know I'm here?" Nightingale said from the couch as she gradually revealed herself.
"You'll never sit if you get the chance to lie down." He smiled and then put the egg between the pancakes and raised it up to his mouth. "Besides, the couch was sinking where you are sitting. How could I not know?"
"No, I like sitting, too." She dashed to the desk and perched herself on the edge of it "Like sitting here," she added.
Roland would never get tired of seeing her graceful, airy movements, especially the amazing ones she made when she quickly stepped in and out of her Mist.
"You look good. Did you have any nice dreams?"
"Uh-huh, Indeed, I had a very a nice dream," she answered while raising her eyebrow a little.
"Good." Roland hurriedly ate his egg and pancake "hamburger" and continued, "Today, you ought to follow me."
"Because of the assassin?"
"Yes," he replied, "If Timothy gave orders to those on the gem list, perhaps there are still other assassins in the Western Region. However, it's impossible for us to check every single person." He felt it was a shame that people so brave and smart and so loyal to the royal family were employed as assassins. People as capable as they should be placed on more promising positions. With this in mind, Roland became even more resolute to eliminate Timothy's influence as soon as possible.
"As you wish, Your Highness." Nightingale said with a smile, "Where are we going?
"The mine and the salt well. That's one of the reasons I came to Stronghold."
Having summoned Petrov and other relevant personnel in the castle, the exploration group proceeded to the suburb of the city.
Roland actually cared more about the iron mines of the Maple Leaf and Wild Rose families, but he still made the gem mine his first stop on the investigative tour, given that gem trade was the primary industry of Longsong Stronghold, and the gem mine was the closest one.
They went through a narrow passage and walked into the spacious mine cave, where the mineral vein lay. While 100 torches lined the cave, they could barely light the space inside it. Roland looked around and asked, "Is this a natural cave?"
"Yes, Your Highness." Petrov nodded and continued, "It was found by accident. It used to be a smooth rock wall, but about 300 years ago, it collapsed during an earthquake and revealed this cave. At first, it was only used by local hunters taking shelter from the rain in the entrance, but eventually, they ventured deeper into the cave, and they found these colorful stones."
"You know its history very well," Roland said with a smile.
"These stories are known to every household in the Western Region." Petrov waved his hands to beckon to a man and introduced him to Roland. "This is Denver Crain, the manager of the mine. He will know much more than I about the details of the cave."
"You're Duke Ryan's man?"
"No, Your Highness. The Crains doesn't belong to any lord," replied the man called Denver. He looked as if he was in his early thirties, but he spoke like a composed older man. "We've lived near this mine for generations and my ancestor was one of the hunters who found this gem mine. We've worked for three Dukes, and the mine maps my family has drawn could be piled up to the height of a man. No one knows this place better than the Crains."
He was extremely confident with his knowledge of the mine as he spoke with ease and fluency even in front of a prince of the Kingdom of Graycastle. His sedate manner and black uniform reminded Roland of the stewards of aristocratic families in movies he had seen before.
Due to the fact that everyone had been checked by Nightingale, Roland knew this man was not a lurker. So he asked "Why is nobody working here right now?"
"It's because the Months of Demons has just ended, Your Highness." Denver answered automatically, "The snow in the mountains will melt into water and flow down here. Even though we've built drainage ditches and pools to carry water through the mine, we can't take the water out as quickly as it flows in. As a result, we won't be able to get into the mine hole at the bottom. Based on our usual procedures, we have to wait until summer to resume normal mining."
"I've never been there, but I've heard that their iron mines are located in higher places, and their mine tunnels stretch upwards. I would guess that their situations may be better, but they'll still have to wait another month before they can mine in their pits."
"It seems that you may need several steam engines to draw the water out." Roland shrugged.
"Steam... engine, what's that?" Denver looked confused.
"A machine that enables you to continue your mining job in all seasons." answered the prince, smiling. "You have a lot to learn about mining."
Denver moved his lips a little in disbelief, but he was able to restrain himself from refuting Roland's comment.
Roland did not notice Denver's expression. He thought it was only a matter of time for this mine to be equipped with tram roads, water-drawing steam engines, and a traction system similar to those widely used in the North Slope Mine of Border Town. They had already successfully sold out a set to a mining tycoon in Silver City. Only he had little interest in gems, so he would put his focus on the iron mines first.
"Okay, we're done here. Let's leave for the next stop now." Roland turned around.
"Wait, Your Highness. The Crains have a little gift for you." Denver, surprised by the prince's sudden decision, walked fast to catch up with him. He took out a small wooden box and handed it to him.
"Ah?" Roland took it with interest. He opened the box and saw two glittering gems inside, reflecting dazzling red and green beams in the light of torches. He was startled. "Th-they're multicolored stones?"
"Yes, Your Highness. They were picked from the highest quality gemstones and a treasure kept by my family for hundreds of years," said Denver, with a hand on his chest. "The Crains are honored to work for the new lord of the Western Region."
Roland was so attracted by the gems that he missed the latter half of the sentence. They looked very familiar, and even a layman in mining like himself had heard their names.
They were called diaspores.