Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > 191 The Teeth of the New King

191 The Teeth of the New King

Petrov took a sip of black tea. Leaning on the soft chair for the lord, he exhaled deeply.

It'd been for two months since he took over the management of Longsong Stronghold. He found he had gradually grown a fondness toward this hall—the escalating structure under his chair enabled him to overlook the officials and guards standing in front of him, which gave him the satisfaction of taking everything under control.

At the beginning of the first month, a few nobles occasionally stood out and publicly questioned him, or secretly planned riots—of course, those who incited them were most likely from the big families like Elk and Wolf. Taking his father's advice, Petrov did not hang those civilians and Rats involved. Instead, he prisoned the minor nobles and planned to expel them after their families paid their ransom.

After these hardball measures being adopted, the situation quickly subsided. After all, except the Honeysuckle Family, all the knights of the other big families had been dispatched to Border Town, so they could not resist Petrov's policies openly. He planned to distribute part of the earnings of Longsong Stronghold to compensate for the big families' losses caused by the subsidence, in order to integrate the nobles as a relatively stable interest group.

Now 30% of Longsong Stronghold's earning was turned over to Border Town; another 30% was to maintain the city operating; 20% was to pacify other great nobles; what was left, the final 20% went to Hull's domain.

Right now, the portrait hanging on the wall behind the lord's chair was shifted from Duke Ryan to Prince Roland Wimbledon. Petrov hoped one day his own portrait could be hung there—the portrait of Petrov Hull.

If he could completely own Longsong Stronghold, the domain he owned as an earl would be integrated with Longsong Stronghold, which would become the domain of a duke. The 50% of annual earning to turn over and to pacify would be saved and used elsewhere—to invest in the operating and trading of Longsong Stronghold and generate more generous payback.

Of course, for that to become true, Roland would have to be crowned, namely, to become the King of the Kingdom of Graycastle.

"My lord." A guard walked into the hall and presented a letter. "It's a message from Border Town."

Upon hearing the word "Border Town", Petrov instantly stood upright.

He took over the letter and shook the sedge-made paper to level it. Judging from the poor quality of the paper used, the letter was from the confidants he placed in the serfs.

The battle happened two months ago ended in an inconceivable way. Although Petrov did not attend it personally, the story he heard from his father was rather bizarre. In order to figure out the reason led to the duke's failure, he placed a few confidants among the men he sent to Border Town. Disguised as craftsmen, herdsmen, and serfs, they were supposed to send information they collected back to Longsong Stronghold.

Petrov believed other big families would do the same.

But until now, except for the two confidants disguised as serfs were still sending back new information every month, the others disguised as craftsmen and herdsmen were totally mute, as if they had vanished into thin air.

Have they betrayed me, or have been discovered and eradicated by the prince?

Shaking the head, Petrov focused on the confidential letter.

The letter was written with a charcoal pen. It was not with a single line straight, and filled was water spots. It seemed the man had sneakily written it while working on the land.

The first paragraph said speculative iron towers were being constructed by Redwater River. Giant iron cans were put on top of the iron towers. Up until then, three such towers had been completed, each with a height of the stronghold city wall. It seemed the iron towers were manufactured by the blacksmiths within the town, then shipped to the river bank in a whole, and finally the soldiers of the First Army would set up baffle plates around the towers. The next day, the towers would stand up as a miracle.

"'Construct'... this word again," Petrov thought, "Same as the previous letter. Judging from the information collected, the prince is constantly building the little town. The last letter said there was constructing roads and bridges, while this letter said there was constructing iron towers. Could it be the prince would not stop until he spent out the gold royals he extorted from Longsong Stronghold? Besides, the towers are speculative... After all the confidants he sent to the little town weren't real serfs but well-informed guards. If the towers were to be used as observative towers or embrasured watchtower, they would have known it at a glance."

"Perhaps it's hard to judge before the completion of the iron towers." Petrov shook his head. "Maybe next month I'll get more details."

He continued to read the second paragraph.

It said that a large scale of merchants' fleet headed east after stopped at the little town dock for a week. The ownership of the fleet was unclear. During its stay at the dock, a lot of ore ingots and saltpeter were unloaded of it.

The demand for saltpeter was easy to understand—the second month in summer would be very hot, so the castle needed a large amount of saltpeter to lower the temperature; it could also be used to cool wine and juice. As a royal noble, Roland would definitely avoid being sweaty all day long, which would make him as shitty as a farmer working in the field.

But the purchase of ore ingots bewildered Petrov. Border Town was an origin place of ores. He remembered during the Months of Demons when he went to the little town as an envoy, Prince Roland even exaggeratedly said that he would double the ore sales volume, but now he stopped ore export and started ore ingots import?

Associating with the iron towers as tall as the stronghold city wall mentioned in the previous paragraph, Petrov found it harder and harder to understand what His Highness was up to.

While the last paragraph totally startled Petrov.

In the previous two weeks, several open-air plays were performed in the Border Town square?

There was no charge for an entrance fee, the title of the play was unheard, and serfs were encouraged to go and watch. What startled him the most was that the recently missing Star of the Western Region, Miss May was in the cast!

What's going on?

May's recent missing was big news in Longsong Stronghold. The leading actresses of several plays had to be replaced due to her missing; nobles left in the middle of the plays as protests; the theater had to put an announcement, stating that May had left the theater without explaining to anybody, and her whereabouts remained unknown. The news caused an uproar among the play-loving nobles in the Western Region.

"She went to Border Town? There isn't even a theater! She even played for civilians and serfs..." Petrov found it hard to imagine. His impression of Miss May was that she was not an amiable actress.

After thinking it over, he decided to write His Highness Roland a letter to officially inquire about it, saying as a play-lover himself, he not only had not seen the Star of the Western Region's splendid acting performance for a long time but also had fewer chances to invite Shirley. "Since the plays were publicly played at the little town square, it's not strange that they were seen by a businessman from Longsong Stronghold, which is how the message passed to my ears." Thought of this, Petrov felt the guard he placed in the little town disguising as serf should not be exposed.

Just when Petrov was about to tell a guard to draw up the letter, a knight hurriedly walked into the hall and urgently said, "My lord, a guard in lookout tower of the east gate finds a knight troop is approaching Longsong Stronghold!"

"Knights? Can you recognize where they're from?" Petrov instantly stood up.

"They were holding banners with images of high-tower and double-spear on," the knight replied, "If they're not shamming, they must be a troop of the new king."