Chapter 134 Morning Light
First, Roland recorded Prius future treatment on a paper, and he then put down the quill and rubbed his aching neck.
Moments later Nightingale’s voice could be heard from behind, “Your Royal Highness, would you like me to help you relax?”
“There are still more than 30 other prisoners I have to deal with, maybe later.” Roland smiled and nodded in disagreement, he instead took the bell which was placed by the side of his table and rung it a few times. The earlier he finished these chores, the sooner he could start with the Border Town General Education task. After seeing Anna’s new ability, he was now full of expectation of what the future would hold.
The next person who was brought into the hall by his guards was a tall man and Roland’s first impression of him was that he seemed extraordinarily handsome. He wasn’t that far off compared to Carter, who had the face of a male god. Of course, in Roland’s eyes he immediately got negative points for his handsomeness. After glancing on his list, he asked, “Ferlin Eltek?” But there was something different between him and other people, behind his name there were also additional comments, so Roland read further, “Head of the Knights of the Lions, Morning Light, First Knight in the Western Territory… you have so many titles.”
“I do, Your Highness.” Ferlin acknowledged, at the same time going down on one knee.
“I thought people like you, the Head of the Lions would be in the first in line during the charge,” Roland raised his brow. “How were you able to survive?”
“I hid within the rows further behind,” admitted the knight, “so long as your control over your horse and its step size is good enough, you can let it looks like you are in full sprint, while in fact, you haven’t raised the speed by much.”
Roland had never expected that he would get such a straightforward answer, he thought that the other side would try to find some excuse to cover up their own fear of fighting, hiding the fact that they had escaped. It seems that this matter wasn’t as simple as he had at first thought.
Sure, enough, the knight quickly explained his behavior further: “On the morning of the third day of your pursuit, in other words, at the day of the Duke’s death, I have been standing by his side, trying to find an opportunity to kill him, but he still had a large number of guards by his side, which were tightly surrounding him. So, I did not find the right opportunity to start my assault, but fortunately, your troops were able to kill him in the end,” during the whole time he told his story he had held his head down. “Your His Highness, I express my gratitude for what you did, so regardless of where you will send me, I will give it my best.”
The last sentence could be nearly seen as a plea of allegiance, stunning Roland for a moment, when he had finally collected himself he said: “Stand up and explain it to me further, in the end, what has happened between you and the Duke?”
“As you command, Your Highness. My wife, Irene, was originally a civilian who worked at a well-known theater in the stronghold. We met each other on a lucky encounter and we immediately fell in Love. I had hoped to marry her, but my father and mother did not support the wedding. So, I had to leave the territory, and rent a room on a farm near the stronghold. That was also the place where we had held the wedding. However, shortly after our marriage, Irene finally got the opportunity for her first formal performance.” Speaking up to here, the Knight’s voice became smaller, “The Duke also watched the drama and immediately took a fancy to her, and it didn’t take long before he broke into our room and assaulted Irene while I was still out on a mission.
“It took me a long time before I finally got her to tell me what had really happened, and the moment I heard about it, I wanted to find the Duke and hold him responsible for his deeds, but Irene knelt down and begged me not to act recklessly. Deep down, I also knew that if I tried to do something, my chance of success weren’t very high. Even if I was able to kill him, I would never be able to escape the hands of his personal guards, and Irene… most likely would become the object of revenge for the Duke ‘s heir. With no other option left to me, I could only suppress my thoughts of revenge, until he decided to go on march against Border Town.
“Although I wasn’t able to take personal revenge, but now Irene will finally be able to feel fall asleep without having to worry that someone will break into her room during the night. For me it was also a heavy burden which is now finally lifted from my heart, so please allow me to thank you once again.”
“So that’s what happened.” Roland tapped with his quill on the table, a sign he had previously agreed on with Nightingale, telling her to check whether the other side had lied. Soon he could feel how Nightingale pinched his left scapula, which represented that the other side had told the truth… but this pinch was slightly too hard, letting Roland a little flinch. “Are you able to read and write?”
“Uh…” Now it was Ferlin’s time to get startled, showing that he clearly was unable to follow the Prince’s train of thoughts, “I can.”
“Then I’ll announce my verdict now,” Roland gave him the same choices that he had given to Prius, “… what is your choice?”
“Your Highness, do you not want me to fight for you? Whether it is a solitary riding duel or a group battle, I -”
“No, I do not,” interrupted Roland him, “there are no aristocrats within my army, and in the future, I won’t be recruiting any of them. They are a fully-armed civilian army, and you yourself, during the rest of your life you won’t ever get the opportunity to again take up a weapon.”
“Yes… so?” Ferlin was silent for a long time before he finally nodded, “I understand, that being the case, I choose to become a teacher.”
“You made a wise choice. Teachers can get free housing and their salary is also very good. I will send someone back to your home, to get your wife, so that you can live continue to live a good life here together.” After giving his judgment, Roland gave the signal that Ferlin could now leave.
“Wait, Your Highness, I beg you please let me ask a favor of you,” Ferlin, however, did not leave. “Did you mean that the other knights, as long as they are unable to become a teacher, the only option left to them is to work in the mines for twenty years?
“That’s exactly what I said.”
“Your Royal Highness… I have a man named Harlon, he is an experienced and old knight, but he is unable to read. Can I pay for him with gold royals, so that he won’t be sent into the mine?”
“Of course not,” Roland directly disagreed, “if you could redeem your crime with money, you would just go back to the stronghold.”
“But he’s almost fifty years old, and this kind of work where he doesn’t get to see the light of the day would only destroy his body.”
“He isn’t strong enough to mine, but he was still able to attack Border Town? Furthermore, my ore mine isn’t such a dark coal mine as you’re imaging. I also have a steam engine, which helps with the pumping and transportation and the staff even have a fixed holiday, don’t you think that’s good enough? Roland picked up the bell, ready to call for the next prisoner.
“My Lord!” Ferlin got frantic and went once more down on his knee. “My family has a treasure map, which is at least four hundred years old and I am willing to use that to buy his freedom.”
“A treasure map with an age of more than four hundred years…” The Prince became uncertain, “Are you sure that it wasn’t one of your ancestors who took some charcoal and casually drew a map to coax the younger generation?
“No, it’s not written with charcoal or ink,” the knight shook his head. Then he placed his hand on head as if was trying to recall the drawing. “I can’t tell you out of what material it is made of. The lines are very delicate, smooth and supple, and it’s been stored in our basements for decades, but the drawings and the text don’t have any signs of discoloration. My father told me that it was handed down from generation to generation and it describes the location of a treasure. It should be hidden deep in the Northwest of the Concealing Forest, but to get there you would have to cross past the Desolate Lands, so to us it was simply impossible to go there.
Roland tapped his quill once more against the table, and once more Nightingale pinched his left side.
“Well, even in the case that what you said was the truth, there is still the problem that this treasure map should be hidden in the basement of your family home. You have already given up the right of your inheritance, and I’m afraid they won’t willingly see you ever again.”
“What you say is the truth,” he firmly nodded, “But I have completely memorized the content of the drawings, the above patterns and the text I can roughly depict it”.
“Then draw it for me,” Roland pushed his quill and paper over the table into his direction. “If what you said is true, I can make an exception to your request.”
“His Royal Highness is too kind.” Ferlin went to the table and began to depict the treasure map.
It was true, Morning Light wasn’t only good at fighting; no, he was also talented in painting and calligraphy. Soon, a rough topographical map appeared in front of Roland.
The map actually showed the area behind the Impassable Mountain Range, the lower right corner of the map was occupied by mountains. Then around the center, he drew an equilateral triangle, and the three corners pointed to different places. One corner ended at the foot of the Northern Slope, and another corner pointed to a hexagonal star mark inside the Concealing Forest, which was most probably the so-called treasure’s location.
However, Roland’s attention was entirely attracted to the third vertex of the triangle, pointing to the middle of the Wild Lands, on top of a sawtooth-shaped mountain top, stood the word: “Taqila.”