Chapter 54 Bad News
Petrov didn’t think that he would visit Border Town again so soon.
He had not intended to travel during the cold winter. In particular, he had not intended to leave his warm house when the demonic beasts were ravaging the countryside. However, when Duke Ryan personally gave him the mission to deliver this letter with hot news to the hands of the 4th Prince, he had no way to refuse.
He certainly knew the contents of the letter – in fact, the entire aristocracy in the Kingdom of Graycastle were discussing the amazing news: The King of Graycastle had fallen because of murder committed by his eldest son, Gerald Wimbledon. Immediately after the news spread, the 2nd Prince stepped forward, announcing that the Kingdom could not survive without a King. Since he was previously the second in line, he was now the heir and with this would be the next King.
However, this behavior wasn’t approved by everyone. It was said that the process of Gerald’s trial was very strange, because during the whole interrogation, the Prince was only seen a few times, but he hadn’t said a single word and his hands were tied tightly. So, most Ministers were hoping to look into the matter thoroughly before deciding who would inherit the throne.
It was also rumored that the second son Timothy Wimbledon played a self-guided drama, where he was the real killer and was only placating a sad look, but in truth couldn’t wait to inherit the throne.
In the end, the debate about the true culprit was meaningless. Since the 2nd Prince had the full support of the Imperial Prime Minister, he could temporarily take over the position of King, so he was still able to grasp the right to be the Supreme Ruler of Graycastle. At the same time he took over the throne, he issued an order to recall all of his competitors – the battle for the throne was over, so the King’s sons and daughters should return to Graycastle before the end of the winter after receiving the Prince’s edict. Based on the ruling of their conferred territories during the last 6 months, the new King would then be officially canonized.
Petrov could clearly detect the urgent mood within the letter.
Through this, Timothy Wimbledon could firmly secure the throne. Everything depended on the reaction of the King’s other children. If they behaved and gave up the fight for the throne, and returned to Graycastle, Timothy would naturally become the undisputed Wimbledon IV.
All documents sent to Border Town would be transferred through Longsong Stronghold first. When Duke Ryan saw the recall order, his first reaction was to snort disdainfully. The former King was always fair towards the nobles, and gave them lots of freedom, but as for the 2nd Prince, his ascension to the throne by force would need to be incomparably harsh. This could be seen when Gerald was sentenced to death by the guillotine, so now, no one would go back to Graycastle, fearing to get the same treatment.
However, in the eyes of the six families of the Longsong Stronghold, this was a well-timed command.
Two months ago, Earl Elk set an unauthorized plan into action and made Duke Ryan very unhappy, especially since the plan failed. The Prince’s reaction was very intense, sentencing Hiller Dmitry to death by hanging. With this, both sides could be regarded as having an public and acrimonious conflict.
Duke Ryan had originally intended to wait until the end of the Months of the Demons so that he would have a free hand to solve the awful problem, but now he had this document. With this, he had a legal option. Roland Wimbledon was called back by the soon-to-be King, so when he left, Border Town would naturally be owned by Duke Ryan again. However, if he didn’t go back to Graycastle, Duke Ryan would be able to send him back by force – everything under the name of the new King’s banner.
In the end, the Duke didn’t care which hands the crown would fall to.
Thinking of his return to Border Town, Ambassador Petrov naturally didn’t feel very comfortable. Last time, he had vowed that by his next visit he would bring a new trade agreement, but in the end the result was that they were attacked by the Elk Family. Now he was back, bringing bad news once more – whether it was the death of his father Wimbledon III, the new king, or the recall order, Petrov believed that the 4th Prince didn’t want to see any of them.
Since the Kingdom of Graycastle laid in the South of the continent, the way to Border Town was smooth sailing because even in winter, the river didn’t freeze.
From time to time, Petrov went to the window and took a look outside. During the journey he didn’t see any person dead, starving, or even fleeing, which indicated that Border Town had yet to fall.
This made him a little surprised. After all, the last time he had visited, he had seen that the wall had yet to be built. Petrov didn’t have much confidence in them since they were building a stone wall out of mud.
Then, an even more surprising situation appeared, he saw a boat with the banner of Willow Town hanging on its mast slowly passing them on the right side of the river – this would usually be a familiar scene, but not during the Months of the Demons! Even when Border Town was fighting with the demonic beasts they were still able to do business? Without transferring all of their mining workers towards defending, how could they withstand the brutal attacks of the monsters?!
Three days later, Petrov’s vessel arrived at Border Town’s pier.
It was still the same dilapidated wooden dock, but now at its end was wooden shed. After the ship docked, two guards emerged from the shed, staring at the boatmens’ every move.
Petrov immediately understood what Roland intended with this arrangement.
Obviously, the 4th Prince didn’t want anyone to secretly leave the town by the river.
After identification by the guards, someone immediately brought him a horse and then took him to the castle while accompanied by guards.
Just like the previous time, Prince Roland Wimbledon met Petrov in the living room. Moreover, although the time was not the regular meal time, the Prince still commanded the attendants to prepare a rich meal.
Grilled ham, dried fish slices, an unknown salad prepared with wild herbs, as well as butter, bread, and vegetables that could be seen at any dinner party were prepared.
It seemed that the Prince liked to talk business during dinner.
While Petrov had such thoughts, his hands did not stop for a single moment. After all, in the last few days he hadn’t had much of a chance for a meal. Even his own Honeysuckle Family, when they had no dinner guests, would basically eat only bread with bacon.
After dinner, the dessert was served. During this time, Petrov respectfully handed over the letter.
Roland took the letter and opened the wax seal with his dining knife. Out of sight, he rolled out the letter and took a quick glance, then he became stunned.
The king was dead?
Roland had no feelings for this nominal father at all. Since his crossing over, he had been living in Border Town, so he had never seen his father face to face, let alone that in the 4th Prince’s memories of his father, his father had only blamed and resented him. Because of this, he felt that he was caught in a very embarrassing situation – should he have a sad look on his face?
Reading the following contents, he could smell a conspiracy. Wimbledon III was murdered by his eldest son? Under the identity of the new King, the 2nd Prince announced the end of the battle for the throne and immediately ordered all of his siblings back to Graycastle?
Roland coughed, and raised his head, just to see Petrov’s apologetic eyes.
So, he thought, I’m afraid Duke Ryan will be happy regardless what I do. No matter whether or not I comply to the new King’s orders, both are a dilemma of their own.
He didn’t bring the trading agreement, but instead brought a letter of bad news. I think at the moment he feels very sorry. Roland secretly smiled, then folded the letter again, “I got it.”
“Well, Your Highness, then what are you going to …”
“Even if I want to go, I will have to wait until the end of the Months of the Demons. Right now in the ice and snow, if I’m gone, then what would the people of Border Town do?”
If it was someone else, Petrov would certainly say something like, “Do not worry, my Longsong Stronghold will help you to handle this situation properly”, or any other diplomatic responses. But in front of the 4th Prince who he had only seen twice, he couldn’t speak carelessly. It was the first time that Petrov loathed his own identity as ambassador. In the end he merely nodded, “I understand; should I pass a reply for you?”
As an answer, Roland called his attendants to bring over a pen and paper. He wrote a quick reply and then sealed it with wax and his own stamp, and handed it over to Petrov. The latter glanced at the envelope. It was clearly written to Prince Timothy Wimbledon of Graycastle on the cover instead of King Wimbledon IV.
Petrov thought, now Roland has made his statement.