Release that Witch Chapter 932
Horford Quinn stood in front of the french window with a filled wine glass in hand and stared at the city covered by the night sky.
This was the center of the Kingdom of Dawn, also known as "the city that never sleeps." The lights started from the Rising Sun Avenue and extended to both sides like a lush tree of light. At the top of the tree was the most famous market of the kingdom, where countless rare products were sold. For the merchants, the night was when their day started.
To maintain the glittering glory of the city, the daily consumption of candles, firewood, and kerosene in the king's city was astonishing. The fish fat from the eastern harbor and the wood from the northern hills were continuously imported into the city ship after ship. This industry alone could feed nearly 10,000 people and more than 100 merchants.
And this was only a small part of the commercial trade of this city.
Normally, Horford's greatest pleasure was to enjoy the glow of the night city. Under the joint governance of John Moore's royalties and the three families, the city changed from a wasteland into today's famous bustling place. This was also due to the continual efforts of their ancestors.
But today, he felt tired seeing all of this.
The night scene of the City of Glow looked the same as before. It remained captivating and touching. Yet just outside the range of its glow, was a dark undercurrent could no longer be ignored.
Even while faced with such a brightly lit domain, he still felt a great deal of anxiety
Maybe he was getting old... Horford sipped his wine, but the bitterness in his mouth overpowered the wine's sweetness.
"Father." The study door was pushed open, and a young man came in. "Baron Alfonse from Northwind City would like to meet you."
"No," replied Horford, without turning his head. "Just say that I'm sick."
"But..." He hesitated for a moment, then waved his hand at the old butler.
The old butler immediately nodded, then turned and walked out of the study.
Seeing that only two of them were left in the room, Hawn started to voice out his worries. "Father, this is the 12th noble that you have rejected. Even I know that there's a problem in the palace. These foreign nobles' intention for entering the city was very obvious. If you refuse to see them, I'm afraid they will mistakenly think that..."
"Mistakenly think what?"
"Mistakenly think that..." He bit his lip and said, "That you're still on the side of His Majesty Appen Moya."
"Hawn..." Earl Quinn turned around and frowned at the heir to the Quinn family. "Do you think it's a mistake that the three families are on the side of the King of Dawn?"
"But now His Majesty no longer needs us," said Hawn, as he mustered up his courage. "Since our army suffered a huge loss in Hermes, he no longer asks for your consultation! You're the Prime Minister, and you can't even enter the Royal Palace. And now even the patrol team has been replaced by mercenaries. Just look at the kind of people who are summoned into the palace these days. There are only clowns, dancers, and geishas!"
The earl did not answer but just stared silently at his glass of wine.
Hawn was only eighteen years old, but even he could see what the arrival of the nobility from all over the country to the king's city meant. The other local nobles must have also already sensed the changes in the castle. In fact, when he learned of the defeat of their supposedly unstoppable army, he had already expected that this day would come—more than 10,000 troops and most of the lords of the towns were involved in trying to get a piece of fortune from the husk of the once mighty church. However, not only did they not earn any benefits, many of the troops even lost their lives.
It would have been fine if that was the only consequence, but the King of Dawn had come back alive with his knightage in shambles. The news of Appen's shameful return had spread like wildfire as it fulfilled two conditions at the same time—the need for someone to be held accountable for this failed mission; and the fact that the power Appen held was no longer enough to dispel the greed of the other nobles.
These nobles that sneaked quietly into the city at night gave out a clear signal. They undoubtedly wanted to see the reactions of the three big families before deciding whether to support or unite—but no one would ever agree to uphold the status quo.
Horford could guess the thoughts of these people even with his eyes closed. Since there was such a huge loss of resources in Hermes, they would obviously try to find ways to make up for that loss.
"Father," Hawn spoke hurriedly as he saw that his father was silent. "Things are not like they were ten years ago, and Appen Moya is no longer His Majesty Moya. Look at the house of Luoxi! Otto Luoxi is still locked in the palace cell! You're the Prime Minister of the Imperial Palace, and you're held in high esteem by the people. If you make a stand and get the support of the two other big families, I'm sure the nobles will be happy to follow your lead!"
"Make a stand?" Earl Quinn's eyes narrowed and his voice portrayed a hint of danger.
"Uh..." Hawn stammered, and he lowered his head in panic. He replied in defense of himself. "You don't have to stand on the side of His Majesty Appen, right? Otherwise, why would you claim to be sick, and refuse to receive anyone? If it were the old king, you would have personally persuaded those nobles to consider the stability of the kingdom first."
Horford sighed and realized that his son was still too young. "And if you're right, do you think that Appen Moya wouldn't have seen that coming?"
"What?" Hawn was stunned for a second.
"I bet there are eyes watching us just outside of our mansion. They're spying on who I've met and where I've gone recently, and I'm Appen is kept well informed of this." The earl returned to his desk and sat down. "Imagine what would've happened to me had I just went ahead and met those nobles. Don't forget that even if he lost his entire knightage, the control over the kingdom still wouldn't be that much weakened. From the day Appen ascended the throne, he had already begun to change the guards and the castle guards to his people! Rebel right under his very nose? Do you think that those noble lords will come to rescue me when he puts the noose around my neck?" He slammed the table. "And now do you understand why the Luoxi family and the Tokat family hadn't come to find me, but only the foreign nobles?"
Horn gasped, "Then why don't you go back to the domain first? At least your knights and mercenaries are there, together with the recruited serfs, so even if he wants to plan anything against you..."
The Earl shook his head and said, "The Quinn family has already settled down here for far too long. Our connections, distant relatives, productions, power... Even if I could slip out of the city alone, I wouldn't be able to bring everything out. Our people will suffer greatly at the hand of the King if they so much as make any suspicious moves, so I can't make such a rash move. In fact, my stay in the City of Glow is a guarantee in and of itself. Feigning illness was already the most that I could show. Other than that, there really isn't much that I can do."
Being closely tied to the workings of the king's city used to be a source of pride for their family, yet it has now become the Quinns' fatal weakness. This was certainly a kind of irony.
"Really... but I don't think so." Just then, a strange voice came from outside.
Horford's face changed drastically, as the speaker was obviously not a servant or guard of the household as intruding upon them like that was a serious offense. How did this person get through the guards? Why didn't anyone respond when the person spoke?
"Who's that?" Horn was equally shocked. He turned around in panic and looked for a weapon, but could only get his hands on a candlestick.
"It's me." The door opened, and a blonde-haired girl appeared before Horford Quinn. The strange girl for some reason looked familiar to him. "Do you remember me? My lord."