Chapter 136 The Dilemma
The last two weeks in Clearwater Port seemed to be one day of festival after another, even standing above the ground, on the balcony of the Lord’s Tower, Ryan could still feel the exuberant atmosphere within the city.
The people and materials they had moved from Eagle City had greatly expanded the strength of the harbor city, the looters had really a fruitful harvest and the slavers haven’t been any less successful. After this series of fighting, the Black Sail Fleet not only did not have many losses, they could even increase the ranks of the sailors with new slaves who were currently standing at the edge of the harbor undergoing a rigid drill. In a few days, they would set sails towards the Islands of the Fjords beginning this year’s first looting operation.
Her Majesty the Queen has also openly declared the Slave Act, as long as these captured slaves from Eagle City were able to capture new slaves, they could exchange them for their replacement. Like this, they could jump from the rank of a slave to a full citizen of the Clearwater Port. With such a decree of encouragement, they could guarantee that the former residents of Eagle City, who had now become slaves, would do their best to fight for her Majesty.
Today, the defeated Timothy should have returned to King’s City and shouldn’t have any possibility to block the conquest of the Queen of Clearwater. As long as time passes, Garcia Wimbledon was bound to become the Queen of Graycastle. Thinking of this, Ryan couldn’t understand why he didn’t see even a small trace of happiness on the Queen’s face, but to the contrary, her eyebrows were always forming a frown.
“Your Majesty, the Clan Heads of the Sandstone Clan and Black Bone Clan have come to see you.” At this moment, the voice of a guard could be heard through the door.
Ryan looked at Her Majesty, only to see that the latter didn’t show any sign of listening, so he could only shout, “Bring them in.”
His Majesty, whether it was to rest, to convene a meeting or just to meet with people, she was always at the top of the tower. As long as the weather was good, the terrace was the place where Garcia’s could be found. Most people weren’t conformable with standing in mid-air, facing the slightly fishy smelling sea breeze. And the people from the Extreme South were no exception to this.
The Clan Head of the Sandstone Clan was a petite woman, but she also acted as the clan’s own goddess. When Ryan had heard of this for the first time, he had scoffed within his heart, what Goddess? She is nothing more than a corrupted witch. The Clan Head of the Black Bone Clan was a tall man, whose face was covered in scars and whose arms and legs were exceptional muscular. Each meeting, they had to place three to four guards to surround him, in case he planned to act against Her Majesty the Queen.
The moment they set foot on the terrace, the two Clan Heads invariably raised their eyebrows, but they soon changed their expressions back, and instead they went down on one knee to pay their respect to Her Majesty. “May there always be an oasis in front of you, and may the stars of heaven always light your path.”
“Stand up,” Garcia said while she herself sat down on the parapet. “How is it, are you satisfied with your new home?”
“Everything is fine,” answered Goddess Kabala rushed. “Here the land has water and forests, which is much more comfortable than the life in Sand City, where the wind blows the sand all over the place.”
“When everything is to your liking, then why did you come to me?”
“Your Majesty, you have to”
The moment the Black Bone Clan Head opened his mouth to speak he got already interrupted by Kabala, “Yes, your Majesty. After the last battle, many of our warriors became weak and dispirited, only after a new dose of pills did their symptoms get any better, but we don’t have enough pills in our hands. So, we would like to ask you if you could give us more pills.”
“I meant to say the same thing” muffled the Black Bone Clan Head after he received a glare from Kabala.
“These pills are very complicated to produce and have rare ingredients, I do not have much surplus. But rest assured, when the new batch of pills is produced, I will give them to you as soon as possible. But don’t forget to prepare the gold royals, if they aren’t enough, you’ll have to pay in other ways.”
“Your majesty, I beg your pardon for my asking,” Kabala hesitated for a moment. “I wonder when the next batch will be made.”
“I’m unable to give you this information,” Garcia stroke through her hair, sorting the chaos created by the sea breeze, “All the news about the pills are top secret, you can only go back and wait patiently. Those soldiers are just dispirited, just let them rest a little bit more, then everything will be alright.”
After receiving a hint from Garcia, her guards walked forward to surround the Clan Heads and lead both of them back down, without giving them any chance to say a few anymore words.
When the door closed behind them, Garcia sighed softly.
Ryan who had rarely heard such a tone from the Queen had to ask: “Your Majesty, don’t you think that it was wrong to let the Sandpeople settle down at our southern border? One day, when they become stronger…”
“No, Ryan,” Garcia shook her head, “I have never been worried about the Sandpeople, they won’t ever be a threat to Clearwater Port. The lake in their territory is exactly in the middle between the two clans, but the river ending in the lake goes first through the Port of Clear Water. So as long as I block up the river, the amount of water in the lake will be reduced and they will start to fight against each other. This is also exactly the reason, why I chose the Sandstone Clan and the Black Bone Clan, their relationship was never harmonious. “
“Then are you worried about the matter of the pills?”
Garcia didn’t give him a reply, however, just at this moment a guard knocked once more on the door and announced, “Your Majesty, the priest of the church, Dicar.”
“Bring him in,” the Queen stood up and her face became darker.
“Your Majesty, Garcia Wimbledon, I greet you on behalf of the Holy City,” the priest entered the terrace while bowing.
“Pills? Why is it that the previous batches of pills that had always been served timely, but this batch got so much delayed?” Garcia asked coldly.
“Your Majesty no need for anger, this is exactly the reason I came,” Dicar had to wipe the sweat from his forehead, “You asked to buy 5000 pills, but that is just too much, even if we take all the pills produced for the Hermes we can’t fulfill your request. This time I brought as much as I could with me.”
“How much?” Interrupted Garcia.
“One thousand.” Said Dicar in a consoling voice, “the rest will be sent after a while.”
“And it will still be the same as previously promised?” Garcia’s facial expression got a bit nicer, “You now I want to have as many as I can. Also where have you stored the pills? I’ll immediately send someone to fetch them.”
“In the church, the gold royals…”
“This time, I won’t reduce the number of gold royals,” Garcia stepped directly in front of Dicar and whispered into his ear, “but if the delivering of the pills get further delayed, your head will hang on the highest mast of my flagship, and I can guarantee you, the archbishop won’t shed a single tear for you.”
Hearing this the priest turn pale and directly asked to be excused.
When he had left, Garcia went back to the railing and looked out over the sea. Her hair was lifted up by the sea breeze, just like the flags of her ships, waving in the wind.
“You were right, I’m worried about the pills.” Garcia’s voice seemed distant. “If Timothy had waited two months longer, my preparation would have been more adequate, but he had moved too fast.”
“You’ve done a great job,” Ryan thought to himself, who could have done a better job? The moment she had occupied Eagle City, she had already started to prepare the path for her retreat. She had ordered her soldiers to take away all of the usable materials and residents, while at the same time she let ditches be dug out everywhere in the city, afterward filling them up with black water. Since they had a shortage of manpower, Garcia exchanged the territory between the Southern Border and the Wildland for the support of the Sandpeople. She then gave the Clan warriors some pills and let them attack Timothy’s knights from both sides, however, to ensure that her loyal supporters were able to resist the last overwhelming charge, they didn’t hesitate for a moment to swallow the secret drugs themselves.
“The secret medicine provided by the church wasn’t like what they had told, allowing alive without any obstructions. After swallowing them once, if they didn’t get the next dose fast enough, the medication will turn into poison, letting them become weak and later die in pain because of muscle atrophy. If it were only the Sandpeople I wouldn’t care, but the people who worked for me deserve something better. “She paused,” Ryan, take some men to receive the pills and distribute them under our heroic warriors. But only use half of them, this way we can last a little longer.”
“Just as you wish, Your majesty.”
As Ryan was already halfway to the door, they could hear the guards voice for the third time through the door, “Your Majesty, we have just received a secret letter from King’s City.”
“Wait a moment, let’s read the letter first and then you can go,” Garcia ordered.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” Ryan received the letter from the guard, broke the seal, and removed the parchment. Most of these letters contained information sent by the spies hidden in all parts of the country. They were never signed, never had a recipient written on it and its content was also always as concise and clear as possible normally. But when he saw the first sentence, his whole body was suddenly rooted.
“On the twenty-second day of spring, the church seized the capital of the Kingdom of the Eternal Winter, declaring that the kingdom is now under their rule.”