Chapter 121 Looting
When he had talked to all of the five noble families, Roland felt slightly relieved.
When he leaned back into the chair, Nightingale took the initiative to step behind him, putting both her hands on his shoulders and began to massage them.
From the moment of defeating the Duke, up until he had taken over the Lord’s Castle, had needed merely one day.
Things were going much smoother than he had initially thought, the moment after the Duke had died, most of the people had chosen to surrender. For mercenaries, it was more usual to change their sides during the war, so they just kneeled on the ground, saying that they were willing to fight for the prince.
So the mercenaries became responsible for guarding over the surrendered knights and nobles, while the First Army was responsible for guarding the mercenaries. Like this, the big group moved further towards to the east, and in the afternoon at 3 p.m. they finally arrived at Longsong Stronghold. When the guards saw the head of the dead Duke and the other captured nobles, they had immediately opened the gate, letting the 4th Prince into the city.
Roland didn’t wait until all the nobles were gathered, giving them the chance to welcome him with great fanfare and to declare him as new City Lord, instead he immediately left for the Lord’s Castle.
The castle was placed in the middle of the city and looked like a city within the city. When he entered the castle area a small skirmish broke out, Nightingale had to use an explosion cachet to blow open the entrance to the flower garden. Within the garden, more than twenty guards loyal to the old Duke tried to stop Roland from stepping in, but they all were quickly killed by the First Army. However the guards had still been able to use their hand crossbows, resulting in five injuries of which two had been seriously injured, fortunately Nana had come along with the military operation and had quickly been able to heal them.
In the meantime, ten personal guards used this opportunity to take the rest of the Duke’s family to flee through the backdoor, but they were still spotted by Lightning and were captured soon afterwards. The Duke’s wife and her two sons hands were tied and were waiting to be judged – even now they were still in the dark, ignorant of the fact that the Duke had been defeated.
When Roland gained control over the Lord’s Castle, Border Town’s First Army immediately swarmed out and took over the castle district. When comparing the Lord’s Castle in Longsong Stronghold with the castle in Border Town, Roland had to admit that the stronghold’s castle had a much more magnificent shape. It had a hexagonal outline with six watchtowers on its wall, and a five-story high tower in the middle – during this era it was really rare to build places that were this high. Within the castle grounds, there were also the residences of the castle’s inhabitants, warehouses, stables and everything else they needed, the Duke even had his own personal prison under the castle’s basement.
He put the valuable prisoners like the Duke’s family into this exact prison, the civilians were all freed, while the mercenaries had their weapons confiscated and placed into the castle garden or it’s free rooms. At the same time he also picked out some leaders and paid them to keep watch themselves – in Roland’s eyes, the Northern Slope Mine would be the best destination for these opportunistic people, but at the moment he still had more important things he had to do.
Until now, he had still to do the most important task after a battle – which was commonly known as looting the corpse.
Roland together with a witch kept looking over everything over and over again inside of the castle, he hadn’t even let go of the God’s Stone of Retaliation he had found in the vault. After they had searched through everything, the gain was really impressive. Just within two boxes they had discovered in the basement, he found already more than 10.000 gold royals alone. Within a hidden chamber in the bedroom Nightingale discovered several scores of eyeball sized gems. Echo found another chamber hidden behind the fireplace, which wasn’t only filled with a variety of gold crafts, such as the scepter, the crown, etc., there were also many pieces of dazzling jewelry, neatly hung on the wall on a wooden frame.
This were all the Duke’s personal financial resources!
When Roland saw all this great wealth in front of him and compared it with the five hundred gold royals he had gathered in the last two season, his heart was filled with myriads of regrets. He wasn’t prepared for how alluring the feeling of looting was, if he didn’t come from a highly developed industrial era, he most probably would have kept everything for himself.
But now he could only sigh with sorrow, he had to think of the greater picture. In the foreseeable future, the working population in the Border Town would increase substantially, and before he could develop his territorial agriculture, he would need to import large amounts of grain from other sources.
So all the treasure was stored into boxes and were lightened by Hummingbird, then under the protection of Iron Axe and several personal guards, they were brought back to his own castle storage in Border Town. With the time included to enchant everything, the delivery would take around three days.
Because of this, after the second day Roland no longer took in gold royals as ransom. Eating the Duke had brought him many benefits, and now he only needed more living people and animals.
“Your Highness, do you really only want to stay here for a week?” Asked Nightingale.
“What?” Roland had closed his eyes, enjoying the tingling burst coming from his shoulders.
“This is the largest city in the West, right?” She whispered, “compared to Border Town, why don’t you want to stay in this more prosperous place?”
“The power structure in Longsong Stronghold is tangled and complicated, it isn’t suitable for doing what I want to do. And with my plan, we would keep the status quo, what isn’t so bad. If I want to change it, the resistance I would encounter would only become larger, and if I would use cruel ways they would lump together trying to sweep me away.”
Roland smiled and said, “Of course the most important part is, that the people here in the stronghold are deeply affected by the church, so it would become difficult to get the people to accept you. I have once said, that I hope that the witches will be able to walk freely through the streets, and in Border Town, this is now possible.”
“Yeah,” Nightingale said softly, “you have already fulfilled your promise.”
Early on the third day, Petrov brought in his list in a hurry, and as usual Roland received him in the hall.
“Your Highness, I have made my decision.”
“I will take a look.” Said Roland and received the list from him. And just like he had expected, on top of the list with the biggest amount of needed points were serfs with the value of 2, about 800 people, also 100 cattle and 300 sheep for a total of 900 points, the rest were paid with all kinds of craftsmen.
“Your Royal Highness, is this acceptable?”
“Of course, you only had to scrap 3000 points together,” Roland returned the list to him, “By when will you be able to gather all these people and supplies?”
“Today will be possible, at least in the case of the people and other properties they will stay in the Honeysuckle territory, but Your Highness, if you want to bring them back with you to Border Town, it may take about two weeks’ time.
“It’s up to you to organize the transport to Border Town,” said Roland, tapping the table. “As a merchant, you should have the experience of organizing a caravan.”
“Yes, sir.” Petrov hesitated for a moment, “Then my father…”
“You can take him back with you today,” said the Prince laughingly and handed him a parchment scroll. “If you think there is no problem with it, just sign it and imprint your thumb onto it.”
“This is… the representative’s contract?” Petrov only had read the beginning and then he spoke agitated. “Do you really promise to grant the right to govern over Longsong Stronghold to the Honeysuckle Family? Please wait for a moment.” He spread out the scroll and began to read the contract carefully.
Seeing that Petrov showed caution Roland nodded with satisfaction – as a collaborator, paying attention to the contracts is the most basic requirement.
After a while, Petrov raised his head, “This contract and what you told me yesterday, is basically the same, but there is one thing…” He pointed to the end of the contract, “Your Royal Highness, shouldn’t I write my father’s name here? The Count is after all the representative of my family.
Roland smiled, “Of course not, it was you, not your father, who talked with me about the post as representative, so it’s naturally to write your name at the end of the contract.”
For a moment Petrov became startled, he couldn’t believe what he had heard so he asked: “Your Highness, you don’t mean that – ”
“Yes, you will take over the place of the Duke and rule over the stronghold,” Roland nodded. “If you’re able to fulfill the contract, you can continue to rule over the city even after I became the King.” Here he paused and smiled, “But if you break the contract, you will meet the same end as the Duke – since I was able to break into Longsong Stronghold once, there is no problem to do it for a second time. Let’s work well together, Mr. Ambassador.”