507 The Wind-up
Chapter 507: The Wind-up
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Translator: TransN Editor: TransN
"Your Majesty, the road to the palace has been cleaned up, and the city is yours now!"
Iron Axe exclaimed in excitement as he knelt before Roland.
The battle started yesterday and did not end until early this morning. After entering the city, the First Army only spent four hours to complete their two main missions, seizing the palace in the inner city and taking the great church in the east. The next steps would be to clear out the enemies and eliminate Timothy's resistance.
Roland glanced around and noticed that everyone was exhilarated. The soldiers in the First Army and the witches were in high spirits. If he had made the official announcement, they would have probably been cheering for victory, but he had not yet. After Timothy's rule had been overturned, he was the King of the Kingdom of Graycastle even without a coronation ceremony.
However, Roland felt surprisingly calm and peaceful.
This "magnificent capital city", the political and economic center of the Kingdom of Graycastle, did not resonate with him, nor did he feel belonged to its soil. To Roland, it was simply an ordinary city, even less developed than Longsong Stronghold. The only thing that delighted him was that the chaos created by the Royal Decree on the Selection of Crown Prince had finally come to an end. Now he could concentrate on the development of his territory.
Having said that, it was still a victory, a significant triumph. Roland believed by the time the news spread throughout the Kingdom, he would have built a greater reputation and gained more booming authority in the country. Subsequently, he could use his influence to recruit more talents and further the reforms. The plan for the spring offensive that he had been preparing for the last four months was half completed. The only territory yet to be conquered was the south. Roland looked toward where Fallen Dragon Ridge and the farther Southernmost Region lay. That was the territory he had to seize.
He took a deep breath, put the thought behind him. "Let's enter the city!" he announced.
"Yes, Your Majesty." Iron Axe stood up with great respect and delivered his command to the guarding soldiers who had been eagerly waiting for instruction. "Column of Twos, protect your new King and advance!"
The soldiers raised their weapons in unison and shouted, "Long live King Wimbledon!"
"Long live His Majesty!"
Roland stepped off the warship and set out for the palace.
There were few people on the streets when the army entered the city gate. Traces of the fight could still be seen, more in the areas close to the palace than anywhere else.
In the inner city, he saw property destruction, traffic barriers, broken limbs and blood stains everywhere. Although the First Army was able to occupy the palace in a short time, it was the most intense battle they had ever come across.
Roland's heart ached when he saw the ruins on both sides of the street. The casualties were still unknown. However, there had been more than 20 soldiers' bodies sent to the rear, despite the fact that Nana had come to rescue in a timely fashion. If the little girl had not offered to help, the number would have been at least three times higher.
When Roland entered the palace area, the guards knelt down. Two columns of soldiers neatly lined up on their knees along the road leading to the castle. Such a scene was rarely seen among the First Army, where military salutation was commonly administered. Roland did not stop them. He could tell from their thrilled looks that these people were not greeting him as a military member, but were paying their respects to the new King as subjects of the Kingdom of Graycastle.
As Roland passed through the green castle garden, an old memory from childhood suddenly struck him. Three blue stone edifices arranged in a triangular shape surrounded the aquatic garden, it was where the Wimbledons had been living for generations. On the left stood the Hall of Sky Dome where banquets and ceremonies were often held. Unfortunately, it had been completely destroyed by a bomb, save the ten soaring stone pillars. On the right lay the City Hall and the library, both of which were guarded by the First Army at the moment.
In the middle stood the most magnificent Holy Temple of Double Towers. Its structure was similar to that of skyscrapers in the modern world, with an oval three-story podium building as its base. It was even bigger than the castle area in Border Town. On either side of the podium building was a lofty tower. One tower was shaped like a King's crown, the other a Queen's, both representing the supreme power of the royal family. In the center of the double towers hung two crossed iron cables, representing the two guns on the Kamon. Both the design of the architecture and the theory behind it were masterpieces that could go down in history and remain immortal.
Roland stepped onto the long spiral staircase and entered the Holy Temple. It was strange that he knew every single chamber and hallway here, despite this being his first visit. In the temple, aside from the armed soldiers, there was also a group of fidgeting nobles. When Roland went in, they all knelt to greet him.
Roland enthroned himself as a matter of course and surveyed them from above.
He caught sight of several familiar faces among the nobles:: Lauren Moore, Treasurer; Bullet Flynn, Minister for Diplomacy; Pilaw, Minister of Justice; Marshall, Director of Intelligence; Marquis Wyke, Prime Minister, etc.
These people used to work for King Wimbledon III, and some of their family histories could even be traced back to the time when the Wimbledon family settled in. When Timothy Wimbledon had succeeded to the throne, they had all pledged allegiance to the new King. Now, they apparently planned to play the same trick on him according to the usual practice.
Unfortunately for them, Roland did not need them.
This was not a negotiation but a trial.
"Timothy Wimbledon is suspected of the murder of Prince Gerald, treason, as well as collusion with the church. He's now been taken into custody and will be subject to severe punishment. Soon his conviction will be publicized and known by the whole country. Do you want to say anything about it?"
"These are all capital offenses. I once tried to stop him but failed." Marquis Wyke ventured first. "You've driven away a plague on the Kingdom of Graycastle, Your Majesty."
All the other nobles chimed in.
"Really?" Roland sneered. "When he was committing these crimes, were you standing with folded arms or holding a candle to the devil? Don't tell me that you tried to stop him with your vain persuasions."
"Well..." The Marquis frowned. "Your Majesty, you don't know the real situation. Timothy promoted a lot of his loyal followers, such as Lanry, Scar and Marquis Morris, after he took charge. We could command neither the knights nor the conscripted army."
"Yes, Your Majesty. That was indeed the truth."
"He didn't even try Prince Gerald before sending him to the guillotine." Pilaw coughed while defending himself. "The executor was also a knight. We couldn't stop him."
"So, you're saying that everything that happened this year had nothing to do with you?" Roland despised these ministers even more. They were not handy assistants to the King, but rather a group of bloodsuckers feeding on the benefits granted by the royal family, only caring about their own interests. Perhaps, these aristocratic ministers had been of great help to the King when the Kingdom of Graycastle had initially been founded, but they had gone downhill in the past few hundred years. "Well, since you insist on your innocence, let's play a game."
"G-Game?" All of them were taken by surprise.
"A 'trial game' where I question and you answer." Roland's eyes flitted across each of the nobles. "There are ten questions in total. You'll be out of the game if you lie. Remember, you only have one chance to answer each question."