Chapter 299 Information and Messenger
Graycastle, within a garden of a mansion inside King’s City’s inner city.
Today was the scheduled day for the exchange of information. While sitting on a soft chair in the living room, Theo was waiting for the arrival of the members of the acrobatic group “Pigeons and Hat”. Since the beginning of autumn, the closing of the inner gates had shifted to an earlier time in the evening, so the time for their secret meeting also needed to be changed to the afternoon.
Like always, the first to arrive at the mansion was Hill Fawkes.
On his upper body, he wore a blue collarless jacket made of velvet and around his neck he was wearing a white tie, while on his lower body he was also wearing shallow gray leggings and moccasins. He was dressed remarkably similar to an aristocrat. After giving his salute, he took the book “The Kingdom’s History of social custom” which was clipped between his armpit and returned it to Theo. The latter took the book, glanced at Hill and asked with interest, “Done with reading?”
“Yes,” Hill nodded, then hesitated a moment before asking, “Won’t you teach me some wrestling; fencing… or maybe, assassination techniques?”
“At the time of the demonic disease’s outbreak, you said you were going to train me to be a qualified spy,” he scratched his head, “But so far, you’ve only been giving me these strange books to read.”
“Are you speaking about the ‘Kingdom’s History of social customs’?” Theo asked as he took a cup of wine, and threw two ice cubes into it, then went on to say, “This isn’t something you should call a strange book, within it is written the origin of the nobles, their traditions and heraldry, as well as the specialties of all the regions within the kingdom. As a spy, you must first be experienced and knowledgeable, to roughly be able to distinguish between the information with value and those without. As for fencing and assassination?” He smiled, “I never intended to let you infiltrate into some organization or penetrate deeply into the enemy territory to scout for information. That kind of task is dangerous yet requires a lot of time and effort. Before we put in so much effort, it might be better if we directly step forward and bribe the informed people with gold royals.”
“But you cannot buy everyone,” Fawkes insisted.
“And those organizations from which not even a drop of water can leak out, are equally awful targets to try and insert an eye in. Without putting in ten to twenty years of effort into it, it is unlikely that one can submerge into them.” Theo shook his cup, and drank a mouthful of ice wine before he further said, “There are only two things required from a qualified spy: distinguish between information and keep yourself hidden. The reason I gave you these books was to lay the foundation for you to be able to identify information, as for the second point… as a former member of the acrobatic troupe, you should already be more experienced with it than I. For instance, the clothes you are wearing today, are excellent.”
“…” Just as Hill Fawkes was lowering his head to think about the meaning of these words, Clown and the others finally arrived at this remotely placed residence.
“Sir, everyone is present.”
“This being the case, we’ll start at once,” Theo said, put his cup down and opened a notebook, “Who will be the first?”
“I’ll go first, Sir,” Rocky Mountain, the tallest and strongest person among them said, “There’s a new batch of people who’ve moved into the camp East of King’s City.”
This unexpected message made the personal guard’s brow jump slightly, he hadn’t expected that the first news he received would already be something bad. Since Timothy had lost more than half of his Royal Knights, the garrison built on the outskirts of King’s City had now become the base for the militia. All the rats, refugees, and criminal Timothy had drafted were placed in the strategically placed camp east of King’s City before they would head into battle. It’s just a bit longer than a month that a team of more than a thousand militia had last left for the Western Territory, but they already found new people to replenish?
“How many have come?”
“There are only two or three hundred people at the moment, and it seems that most of them came from the Northern Territory… apart from them, there are also some Blood Sail rats, but the ratio of those are one to two. There aren’t many rats left who are willing to leave.”
“Keep a close watch on their movements, and whenever more than two hundred new people come to the camp, you have to report to me at once,” Theo ordered.
These people only have one use, which is, to be used as a consumable after being fed those pills. Now after the Queen of Clearwater has gone northward, there is no longer any opposition at the Southern Border. Thus, Timothy will undoubtedly continue his attack on His Royal Highness’s territories. I have to send this information back to Border Town as soon as possible.
“The next one to go is this humble Clown, this one bares some confidential information, or to be more precise, information shared due to the wondrous influence of alcohol,” Clown said in an exaggerated manner. “I’m unable to verify whether it is genuine or false, but according to a group of merchants, with a lot of face and a nose for money, this story can be regarded as the truth. They’ve said that Garcia Wimbledon’s Black Sail Fleet has appeared in the Kingdom of Eternal Winter, where they launched an attack against the Church, and with this also bringing the siege on the Wolfsheart Kingdom’s city walls to a stop. The merchants were all preparing to take advantage of the time before the beginning of winter, and wanted to try and sell some needed goods.”
The Queen of Clearwater actually went to the Kingdom of Eternal Winter? This information came somewhat unexpected for Theo. However, it wasn’t important whether this information was true or false, since she has chosen to leave Graycastle and sail northward, it was equivalent to having given up her right to fight for the throne, “That’s it?”
“Alright, I know that the source of the matter is a bit far from Graycastle,” he stuck out his tongue. “Next time I will make some inquiries about more immediately useful information.”
“Keke,” Hill coughed twice, “Sir, I found some new clues regarding the task you have entrusted with. Timothy has opened a new workshop in the inner city, recruited a lot of clay artisans, and is also shipping the recently acquired large amount of saltpeter to that place. However, the workshop is heavily guarded, which made it impossible for my people to learn anything more about what the saltpeter is being used for.”
“Oh?” Theo’s spirit was lifted, “They brought the saltpeter towards the workshop?”
“That’s right,” Hill confirmed, “I have personally tracked one of those carts to the workshop.”
This was a very valuable information. Since Theo had been at His Highness Roland’s side for such a long time, he naturally knew that the all-conquering gunpowder was a type of alchemic good, the main ingredient of which was saltpeter. Thus, when he noticed that the King began to acquire the saltpeter from the surrounding tanning fields in large amounts, he’d arranged Hill Fawkes to go and inquire about its whereabouts and use.
Now, after the other side had transferred it to a workshop of the Alchemy Association, their intentions have become very apparent – taking the next step from alchemic experiments to workshop manufacturing, indicated that they have now grasped the prescription of gunpowder. The priority of this intelligence was even higher than the need to gather new people in the Eastern camp.
“Well done.” Theo praised.
After the end of the secret meeting, everyone left the mansion in batches.
The moment before Hill left, he suddenly turned around and asked, “Sir, by doing all of this, will we really be able to topple Timothy from his throne?”
“Of course,” the personal guard answered, “Haven’t you seen the letter sent by His Highness? Timothy’s throne is already shaking.”
Later in the evening, when he returned to the tavern “Covert Trumpeter”, Theo was greeted by an unexpected acquaintance: Sean.
Just like himself, he was also one of the 4th Prince’s personal guards.
After arriving at his room on the second floor, they exchanged some greeting for a moment, before Theo closed the curtains and whispered, “How did you know where I was staying?”
“His Highness gave me a letter, and told me to look for Miss Margaret, who already knows about your whereabouts.” Sean took out a sparkling, pure red gem and waved it around.
“Does he have a new task?”
“It’s not a task, it’s a gift,” Sean said, and smiled as he walked to the window. He opened it to a slit and blew a whistle. Soon Theo saw three beige colored birds come flying into the room and drop on the table then immediately call out, “Googoo”. After feeding each of the birds with some wheat, they finally settled down.
It was Theo’s first time to see such intelligent birds, “This is…”
“These are a witch’s trained messengers.” Sean explained, while he stroked one of those beige colored bird’s neck, “The difference between them and a carrier pigeon is, that they can independently travel back and forth between two places, without needing a person to take them away. So, they can fly home on their own afterward. You only have to say a specific keyword to the birds; and they will deliver the message right into His Royal Highness’ hands. If everything goes well, you’d only have to wait a day before you’d receive a reply.”