Release that Witch Chapter 512
Although it was a rather backward city, and those magnificent buildings meant nothing in Roland's eyes, it was still the most brilliant pearl in the Kingdom of Graycastle.
In terms of population, the number of noblemen here far exceeded that of other cities—the first thing anyone who lost their rank and land would do was to come to King's City to seek new opportunities. If landless nobles and knights canonized by the royalty were counted, then the population was even bigger. For example, nearly 20% of the citizens in the Inner City were noblemen. Most of them received primary education and could read and write, making them all potential officials who deserved training in Roland's eyes. After all, without land and property, they would not resist the new policy too much, and their excellent insight would allow them to accept new things quicker.
In terms of industries, King's City also hosted the best men of all trades. Besides the merchant and craftsmen unions, it also had the biggest alchemist association and the only astrologer association. Roland coveted these talents and summoned Barov and Kyle Sichi to utilize these men as much as possible.
In terms of wealth, the value of all the collections in the palace was ten times that of Duke Ryan, with gold royals, jewelry, and golden handicrafts filling up several storehouses. This, combined with the properties of the other ministers who fell from power along with Timothy, totaled an astonishing number. If their properties were all confiscated, then the City of Neverwinter would be well taken care of for two or three years. However, Roland did not plan to take away all of the treasures, since it would waste too much time. Besides, he would need a lot of wealth to take over King's City and maintain its stability. Neither keeping the money stacked up in the basement nor using it freely was meaningful, so it was best to circulate it.
If possible, Roland would love to spend half a year to process all these resources. But compared with King's City, which lay far in the middle, it was more important to take Fallen Dragon Ridge and the Southernmost Region, which lay next to the Western Region.
Soon after Iron Axe left, one guard reported, "Your Majesty, outside the palace, a businesswoman called Margaret wants to see you."
Roland's eyes lit up. "Bring her to me."
When the businesswoman walked into the hall, he smiled and arose from his seat to welcome her. "We finally meet again."
"I didn't expect we would meet in the palace of the Kingdom of Graycastle this time." Margaret raised her hem and curtseyed to Roland. "You always surprise me, Your Highness... no, now I should call you Your Majesty."
"You're not anxious about this, and you do behave in a kingly way." Margaret covered her mouth and smiled. "From now on, there will be business opportunities everywhere in King's City. As an old friend, you should take more care of me."
"Of course, even if you didn't come to me, I'd find you." He laughed openly. "You may not know this, but Border Town and Longsong Stronghold are going to be integrated into one big city. The steam engine company has opened several more production lines, and the yield will triple. It'll also produce more new commodities, and I promise they'll be unparalleled in the Four Kingdoms."
"I've already seen how creative you can be, so we can talk about these things later in great detail." Margaret nodded. "But that's not why I'm here today. I want to ask another favor from you."
"Oh?" Roland asked with great interest. "Tell me."
"Could... we move to another place to talk?" she glanced around the room and asked quietly.
"If the Chamber of Commerce's financial resources can't solve this problem, and now we have to be secretive about it... Has she really encountered so much trouble?" The prince thought for a moment. "Then let's go to my study."
The study, located on the top floor of the Tower of Crown, belonged to King Wimbledon III originally, and it was also where Prince Roland wanted to be the most when he was a child—this was the only place where he could see his reticent father. However, the reason that Roland picked this place was only that it was too high to have any secret passages, and there was only one set of winding stairs leading to the top of the tower, making it easy to defend and hard to attack.
"Can you talk about it now?"
There were only him and Margaret left in the room, plus Nightingale, who had already hidden herself.
"Sorry, Your Majesty, I swore to someone that I'd tell this to only you..." She bowed respectfully. "Thunder wants to see you."
"Thunder?" Roland was shocked. "You mean the most famous explorer in the Fjords? Didn't he... just die in a shipwreck?"
"A real explorer may believe in the three gods, but he wouldn't go to them so easily." Margaret shook her head. "He doesn't want to reveal his whereabouts, especially to Lightning, which is why I need to tell you in secret. Thunder had planned to contact you through Tilly, but he didn't expect that you'd occupy King's City so soon, so he changed his plan at the last minute." The businesswoman halted for a while. "He also said that he found some unbelievable things in the east of the Shadow Islands that you'd definitely be interested in, and that they may have something to do with the ruins from hundreds of years ago."
"Yes, he arrived here yesterday. He made this decision after meeting with me."
"You don't seem surprised by his coming back from the dead." Roland was surprised. "Have you known about it for a long time?"
"So the reason that you came to Border Town to do businesses the first time wasn't that I sent the guards out, but to find Lightning, right?"
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you this from the start," she said while holding her hand to her chest. "Lightning wore a Magic Stone, so Thunder could find where she was. He sent me there just to make sure that she was safe. After learning that Lightning was settled in your domain, he decided to hide his information to keep his daughter far away from being an explorer."
"That's it." Roland understood it instantly. "I didn't ask for more details about Thunder's death at the time, and Margaret did speak the truth in some sense, so Nightingale couldn't detect her lies but could only tell that she had no bad intentions towards witches. So there was a reason for this 'coincidence'. Without Lightning, my steam engine trade wouldn't have found business routes so quickly."
"Now King's City is still a mess, so I can't leave the palace," Roland said, after a minute's consideration. "If Thunder wants to meet me, you can bring him here. I promise I won't divulge his information to Lightning."
"Thank you for your kindness, Your Majesty." Margaret looked very grateful and she bowed again. "I'll deliver your reply to him as soon as possible."
Soon after the servants sent the businesswoman away, Roland heard his guard's report when he got back to the hall. "Your Majesty, a nobleman outside the palace claimed to be your old friend and made a fuss about coming inside."
It surprised him a little. He knew the lower noblemen who were not influenced by the spring offensive would come here to snoop, but he did not expect they would come so soon. Logically, they should have waited to see the policy trends, and they should not come forward so proactively before Timothy was beheaded... He also used to be a prince, so how could he be on good terms with a lower nobleman? "What's his name?"
"Sir Yorko, Your Majesty."