Chapter 103 The Honeysuckle and the Elk Families (Part 2)
“What happened?” Petrov went through the crowed and asked.
“Sir Hull, they were talking about the Lord of Border Town,” answered someone that had seen the Honeysuckle crest on his chest. ”He has confiscated all the belongings of our people from Longsong Stronghold!”
“You can call me Petrov. Tell me about the situation,” Petrov ordered.
“Let me explain it to you, Mr. Petrov,” Simon said while pressing through the crowd, revealing a pleasing smile. “This is how it is. We serve the Duke with our lives, so I lived in the Border Town where I was responsible for managing the mines. Every Winter we will take the town’s residents back with us to the Longsong Stronghold, where we are able to protect them from the demon beasts attack. But this year, after the end of the Months of the Demons, when one of my colleagues, Cornelius Fletcher came back to Border Town, the lord told him that his house has been demolished by the town’s people and that he wouldn’t receive any compensation for it!”
” ‘If you don’t admit that the house didn’t belong to you I will put you in prison for desertion, where you will wait for the day of your hanging,’ ” he said, exactly copying the 4th Prince’s words, “Sir you have to understand, what he called defection, is the procedure we have used for over a hundred years.”
Petrov couldn’t stop himself from imaging the young man’s appearance in his mind. Although to the outside world the Prince was extremely unbearable, but compared with his personal experience of their two meetings, Roland Wimbledon was no pushover. Also, his method of handling the crime of defection hit the nail on the head, however, the other side didn’t try to think the matter through and was only looking for a reason – but the Prince never thought to convince the group of people with reason.
He has already broken away from Longsong Stronghold long ago, Petrov thought. Or, when he thought about it further, how can it be that the Prince never knew that the nobility would seek refuge in Longsong Stronghold? Obviously, that isn’t possible. He clearly knew, yet he still forced a criminal charge upon them, forcing the other side to make a choice. But in the end, he still let the other party come back to Longsong Stronghold to report such a barbaric act, in the end, what is it that the Prince wants to achive?
“But he is still the Lord of Border Town,” said the man who Simon previous laughed at, “As the Lord, he has the power to dictate the rules within his own land.”
“Border Town still belongs under the jurisdiction of the Western territory!” Simon retorted unhappy with a cold voice, “Do you question the authority of Duke Ryan? As the Duke, it’s his job to supervise the mine, and he appointed the nobles to do it in his name. But now Roland had taken all the houses of the nobility for himself, which is openly pitting himself against the six Families, Duke Ryan will never stand by and only look as he does as he pleases.”
“You’re speaking about the man who hanged Dimitry Hill?” Petrov didn’t know when Rene came over, “My father has been furious.”
“Young Lord,” Simon said greeting him with a salute, “It is exactly that man, and now he is behaving even more wildly. I’m afraid that only Duke Ryan can stop the Prince, and I hope that you will convey this issue to the Duke.“
“Don’t worry, even with or without this matter, Duke Ryan is already prepared to play his cards.” Rene seemed not the least bit concerned about the future, “It is for exactly this matter that I’ve come back, it is just that at this moment my eldest brother is still in the King’s City setting his name under a trade contract, so at the moment only I can lead the Elk Family.”
“Really? That’s great,” Simon said happily.
Petrov frowned, he himself knew that since the moment he came to deliver the trade offer and the Prince chose to stay for the Winter in Border Town, that such a day would come sooner or later. But he had never expected that his own friend would be fighting in this battle. Despite all the onlooking eyes, he pulled Rene directly to his side, trying to discourage him: “You shouldn’t go to battle, that is a Prince you’re fighting.”
“I know he is a prince, the Prince of the Mountain,” Rene patted on Petrov’s shoulders, “Rest assured, Duke Ryan will not hurt the Prince, maybe just as in the past he will surrender when he meets resistance. Even if he wants to resist, as long as we launch an attack on our horses, those farmers and miners will scatter. The 4th Prince has never brandished a sword or spear, I think he won’t even manage to cut a hair.”
No, I was worried that you would be hurt by him... But he was unable to say it, he knew that the others would never believe him, because even for himself it was still difficult to believe. The Prince can only rely on farmers and miners, while the Duke can rely on knights. I do not know why, but my heart becomes uneasy when I think about it.
“Master Petrov, your father called for you, he has something to discuss with you.” A white-haired steward suddenly rushed to the side of Petrov and talked into his ear.
“I’ve got it,” Petrov nodded, and after an early goodbye to Rene, he took a coach back to the House of Honeysuckle with his housekeeper.
“Father,” he entered the study and saw his father Shalafi Hull writing something by the table.
When he heard Petrov’s voice, the count did not pause his writing, “You have to sum up the number of people and their income within our domain and deliver your summary to me, I will then arrange the soldiers for the spring expedition. Duke Ryan has already sent out his call for weapons, When the snow melts, we and the other five families have to provide him with knights and mercenary, which will then march against Border Town.”
“How much do we have to provide?”
The count put the pen down and raised his head, “What happened? Until now you have never concerned yourself with this kind of problem.” He reached to the side of the table and opened a letter, “We have to send at least twenty-five knights, together with their corresponding squires and horses. Also for the mercenaries, they must be fully equipped, and lastly we have to send 100 free people or serfs, who have to be equipped with simple weapons.
Petrov summed up the troops within his head if I add all the soldiers provided by the five families we will provide more than 1000 soldiers. Together with the
Duke’s own troops, it will add up to a force able to sweep away any power in the western territory. Even if the Longsong Stronghold didn’t send their
defending troops, this force isn’t something that Border Town can resist. After all Border Town only has two thousand inhabitants.
“Father, can you please stay away from the battlefield?” Petrov asked hesitantly.
“What do you want to say son?” the Count asked strangely.
“I’m worried about your safety.”
“His Royal Highness only has a few knights and less than 50 guards. Our numbers are more than ten times greater than his!”
Theoretically, this was the case, but his father had never seen the Prince before, but Petrov did. “But… Father, everybody said, that the wall made up out of mud paste will soon collapse, but the Prince presided over the construction and it still stands. They also said, that Border Town using only miners and farmers as soldiers, cannot stop the demonic beasts. His Royal Highness has not only done this, he was even able to defend his town until the end of the Demons of the Months, and during the whole months, no one fled from Border Town. “The more he said the more disturbed his heart became,” Now, once more, everyone thinks that Duke Ryan will defeat Roland Wimbledon, running over the Prince as easily as running over an ant. Father, are you certain that it will be as easy as you think?”
“That’s enough!” Shalafi slammed his fist onto the table. He shook his head and stood up, then he went to the wall – the wall on which the portraits of their ancestor hung. “You always liked more to be a businessman and buy and sell goods than riding a horse and going to war, this is fine for me. But being a merchant is not equal to being a coward. Those merchants who cross the ocean were threatened with death every day,” he shouted, pointing at the wall. “Look at the portraits, your grandfather, your grandfather’s grandfather, they all leaned on their longbow or their sword and defended themselves against demon beasts, bandits and brigands. You disappoint me, being so afraid of fighting! ”
No, Father. Petrov bowed his head, no longer motivated to argue, but within his heart he thought, you are talking about grandfather and grandfather’s father but if you took a closer look at those powerful faces, and then take a look at your loose belt and your overflowing double chin. Father, do you really believe you are able to use the bow?