Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > 459 Snaketooth Part I

459 Snaketooth Part I

During the Months of Demons, the streets and lanes in Stronghold were always desolate and the Rats here huddled themselves up, hiding in their respective evil territories. They were sharing the food that had been stored in the fall and waiting until a new prey emerged when it would warm up again.

This is the way it should've been.

"Shit, why do I have to struggle through the snowstorm to listen to some damned policy-preaching?" Snaketooth bitterly spat on the ground, "I don't give a damn what the lords will do."

"Put your collar up," he said to Joe, a small boy shivering next to him. "You'll die if you catch the cold-plague."

"He shouldn't have followed us out," Sunflower said, frowning. "Is it really necessary to send all the four of us just to get some information? Kanas must have it in for us."

"Save it, please. Even if he does, what can we do?" Tigerclaw, a strapping boy, said with disapproval. "He's our source for food." Though he sounded unconcerned, he still quickened his pace to walk in front of the other three kids. From then on, Snaketooth felt that the cold wind was diminishing considerably.

"Th-thanks," Joe whispered.

When it came to Kanas, every one of them was reluctant to say anything.

Rats had social ranks too. Kings were at the top and tails at the bottom. Different ranks had different places to stay. As for Kanas, he was neither a king nor a tail. He was the ruler of the Endless Lane in the Western Zone of the outer city. If he must be called something, he should be a waist or a belly. No matter what he was, Snaketooth and his friends had to respectfully call him boss whenever they met him.

There were six rulers like him in the Western Zone, but their boss, namely the king of the Western Zone, still remained unknown to Snaketooth.

Kanas had several teams of Rats and they were one of them. The only way to win more favor from the ruler was to show stronger competency than the other teams. Unfortunately, as street kids in the lane, they were obviously at a disadvantage in both number and strength. But Tigerclaw was different一it was incredible for him, who ate only half a piece of brown bread every day, to be so well-built.

The reason the brown-haired girl, Sunflower, thought that Kanas was aiming at them was because of their prior mishap. They didn't take the witch that appeared in the lane to Kanas because Snaketooth wanted to use her ability to make some money first. Not long after they went out, they unexpectedly met the big shot from the Honeysuckle Family and lost the witch before they made enough money.

Because of this incident, Kanas was extremely angry with them. He thought if they had given the witch to him earlier, he would have made a lot more by selling her to the nobility or the church.

"It's easy to say," Snaketooth said with contempt. "Selling her to the church for 25 gold royals? Where can he find those priests? The church is in ruins. The nobility won't honestly give gold royals to a Rat, either. He'll get killed instead of getting paid."

"Snaketooth is, is right." Joe agreed, still shivering. "If he re-really thought we made him lose 25 gold royals, he would have thrown us into the Redwater River."

"Kanas could only give the witch to the king of the Western Zone. He also needs to protect himself from her magic power and doesn't have any God's Stones of Retaliation." Snaketooth continued, "He's just disgusted with us."

"Stop saying 'selling'. She's Paper and one of us!" Sunflower gave Snaketooth a painful pinch. "You talk about her like she's cargo!" She suddenly paused a little here and asked, "Hey, did you sell her back then?"

"No, I didn't!" He exclaimed. "I tried my best to save her, but that person is the lord of the city."

"Is she alright in Border Town?" Tigerclaw sighed.

"How can she be alright?" Sunflower snorted. "What's the difference between being played by the prince and being played by the other noblemen?"

"Really... you say that now, but when you actually see the nobles' lifestyle, you'll desperately want to be played by them," Snaketooth said and twitched his lips.

When they arrived at the square of Stronghold, they were taken by surprise. Several hundred people there surrounded a wooden stage and there was a bonfire. It was such a rare scene on a snowy day.

"Someone will actually come here to preach," Tigerclaw rasped. "What kind of tricks does the nobles want to play?"

"It can't be good news." Snaketooth shrugged. "I suppose it's about tax collection or grabbing some able-bodied guys for military service. They've just fought a battle, right?"

"Whatever, it's none of our business." Sunflower said, "Let's finish this quickly and get home early. Joe, go over to the bonfire and warm yourself."


Snaketooth walked around the crowd to the edge of the stage. The man on it wore a thick, cotton-padded jacket, a wool hood, and a pair of deer-leather gloves. Snaketooth felt warm simply by looking at him. This was so much better than him and his dirty, old clothes. He thought of how great it would be if he had a chance to steal them, but also knew that was just in his imagination. The Elk Family label on the man's cloak indicated his identity.

A Rat could never afford to offend an attendant of the four families.

"Go with Joe to warm yourselves, I can take care of this here," Snaketooth said to the other two kids.

"Really?" Tigerclaw asked and raised his eyebrow a little.

"Of course, I've got a good memory." Snaketooth pointed at his head. "I remember everything—the words, the people, and the bitter hatred."

"Pfft," Sunflower scoffed. "Listen to you. Since you say so, I'll go. And thanks... Let's go, Tigerclaw."

"But you'll have to give me more at dinner tonight."

"We'll see. I don't know if there's any food tonight!" she said, throwing her hands up.

After they left, Snaketooth patted his cold face to draw his attention back to the wooden stage. The information was useless for a Rat tail like himself, but it might mean profitable opportunities for Rat bellies and kings. Unfortunately, even if they did make some profits, the tails at the bottom would still get almost nothing.

"My fellow citizens, here's a joint declaration by the lord of the Western Region, Prince Roland Wimbledon; Earl of the Honeysuckle Family, Shalafi Hull; and the lord of Longsong Stronghold, Petrov Hull." The man took a sip of his hot ale and continued to read a piece of parchment in his hand. "The City Hall of Longsong Stronghold now opens the grain market to the public. Any citizen who has extra grain at home can sell them in the market freely now. But pay attention please, starting next month, any unauthorized sale of grain will be considered a felony, and only the City Hall has the right to purchase and sell grain! Once someone is arrested for the unauthorized sale of grain, he'll be severely punished! The City Hall also welcomes public tip-offs about this kind of offense, and will reward anyone who offers correct information 25 silver royals!"

Snaketooth opened his mouth with surprise, for he never expected that he would hear such incredible news!

The nobility wants to forbid the private trade of grain!

Besides, both the grain purchasing and selling prices offered by the City Hall are extremely low. Who'll sell grain to them at this low price? The grain price in Stronghold has already increased threefold because of the early arrival of this year's Months of Demons and it's impossible to drop before the snow ends. If the City Hall sells grain now, no matter how much, the nobility and merchants will buy it all. Did the prince and the city lord never think of this issue?

"Wait... if they really do forbid private trade in grain, what will happen to us?" Snaketooth suddenly shuddered at this thought. Most of the citizens bought most of their grain from Rats. Once the policy was carried out and all the grain in the market was bought by the nobility and merchants, it would be a disaster for almost everyone!