Chapter 71 Spy (Part 2)
In addition to starting the fire in the fireplace, Barov had also placed a mahogany candelabra on the table. This candelabra had one base which split into four branches. One in the middle, which was also the highest, and three branches which enclosed the middle branch in a triangular shape. A burning candle was placed on each branch, and the candelabra looked like a bright mountain as they burned.
The room was full of the scent of pine oil, resembling a sweet and rotten wood odor, making people feel drowsy. However, within Border Town, Barov could not ask for more. In this land of poverty, he couldn’t ask for anything exquisite or anything elegant. Here, everyone was happy if they had a shelter over their head, so Barov could call himself quite lucky with his big room.
His room within the castle wasn’t far from the courtyard, as it was the location of the former Lord’s city hall. Of course, when the Lord left the castle, he took his whole staff with him, so now the room belonged only to Barov.
From time to time, he could hear the rustle of voices from within the castle and the howling wind from outside the window, giving him the impression of two different worlds. The old wooden table Barov was writing at was full of books and scrolls. On both sides, he had arranged a table, forming a “U”. Usually, the tables weren’t occupied by anyone. He only used them to display his manuscripts. When necessary, he would summon his disciples, and place them at one of his side tables. There, they could organize his information or write the first draft for an official document.
The candles in the lamp were already changed three times. Beside changing the candles, Barov didn’t stop his hand from swiftly working through the documents. To him, time was a very precious thing. There was already a stack of documents at hand, waiting for him to deal with, plus, His Highness’ proposed expenditures would also still need to be reviewed.
Barov’s average work time was 10 hours per day, but he didn’t feel tired at all. On the contrary, this was where he could show off all his skills, so he had the feeling that his body had inexhaustible energy. This is how it should be, he thought, no one is talking around me, all of my apprentices are self-responsible, and no one is holding the others back or creating a mess. As long as they fulfill the Prince’s command, he can handle the specific administration process without outside help.
If the Prince’s commands could only be a little more normal, while Barov thought this he gnawed on his lips regretfully. For example, at present, all of Roland’s official correspondences were sealed with his seal like the last one he sent to Willow Town. In it, Roland asked for additional administration staff and a brig. The answer note said: With the price you offered, you cannot hire the captain, helmsman, and the sailors.
After reading, Barov was left dumbfounded, without these people, how would they deliver the boat? Would they walk back after delivering the brig? Also, why do we need to buy a boat? This was the most crucial point. At the moment, the trade between Border Town and Willow Town was stable. Even after the end of winter, if we want to expand the ore trade, we would only need to send a notice, and they would immediately increase the number of vessels for the trade. It just isn’t worth it to buy a boat; the town’s pier is just for parking and unloading, it isn’t usable or maintenance. And without sailors who could care for it, it won’t be long before we have to abandon it. Was it another of His Highness’ crazy momentes?
As for the first request, contrary to what one might expect, Barov could understand it.
At present, there was no one with any free time in the whole town hall, Barov had already brought more than ten people over to supervise the business, they were responsible for the statistical reports and settling income and expenditure. Barov himself was responsible for the administrative and legal work – which was obviously illogical. Since His Highness wanted to separate these sectors, it was necessary to expand the size of the employees in the city hall. Under normal circumstances, the assistant minister didn’t want to let go of so many responsibilities. Every person who had this much power in his own hands would feel a sense full of satisfaction. He wanted to be like his teacher, the kingdom’s finance minister. He was the only one responsible for Graycastle’s finances and was also the King’s right hand.
Ahem, well, now only Border Town is important, added Barov in his heart. Although Roland had promised him that he wanted to fight for the throne, there was still a long way to go. Barov didn’t know when it happened, but today he actually contended the 4th Prince as a true candidate for the throne. Compared with the past it was the difference between heaven and sky, previous he had thought that such an ignorant and dandy character could never become the king.
But since he came to Border Town, he got one surprise after another. Up to now, Border Town was still able to survive by only relying on the militia. The fact that they were still able to hold was really praiseworthy. Don’t even mention all the strange stuff he invented, the fact that he could handle all these people is totally unlike the 4th Prince. He seems more like the Devil who knows everything.
At this time, he heard a thunderous sound at his door, making him stop his work and answer, “Come in.”
The door was opened by one of his favorite disciples, “Filler” Yarrow.
“Respected teacher, we have caught another “mouse.” “
“Oh? Did you already question him?”
“He said that Timothy sent him. During the body search, we found cement powder, some coins and a letter on him.” Yarrow walked up and handed Barov the leather-wrapped envelope, “As for the other information, we are still interrogating him. Teacher, how to deal… “
“Just like the previous times, write down all the answers into the book and then hang the convicted spy.” Ordered Barov.
“Yes,” Yarrow saluted and said, “This disciple will leave now.”
When the door was closed again, Barov didn’t continue to work. Instead, he went back to his table, and opened the sealed parchment with his letter opener, taking out the letter.
The fourth … he thought.
Long before the Months of the Demons had started, Roland Wimbledon had summoned him and discussed this matter.
His Royal Highness believed that when the cement powder, the new snow powder and the witches were revealed, his siblings’ hidden spies would be unable to bear to not let their master know about it, which would be the best time to eliminate the mice. Thinking about it, Barov had to agree with the first part of his statement, but not the second part. In his view, Border Town had more than two thousand residents, which made it impossible to control everyone. They just didn’t have the manpower, and the people they had weren’t trained for it.
However, His Highness seemed to not see his points and said, “Why should we need so many people? Every person within Border Town will be our eyes.”
Barov couldn’t believe that the Prince believed his own words and let this ignorant, stupid and ordinary monitor for everyone to find the mouse? That’s just impossible!
But the people showed him that he was wrong.
When Roland ordered the first census after the beginning of the winter, he gave special orders to the people who had lived for five years or longer within Border Town: Surely Longsong Stronghold had tried to drive Border Town into bankruptcy after their attempt to burn the food, but they had not given up yet. Instead, their spies sent should still be lurking around. Most of them should be disguised as relatives of townspeople or merchants who were too late to evacuate, always on the lookout for an oportunitiy to harm Border Town. So if anyone saw a suspicious character, they should immediately report them to the City Hall. Once it was verified, they would receive a reward of 25 silver royals.
The results of this move showed that it was extraordinarily effective.
Naturally, in the beginning, they received some false positives, but it was not long before they found the first mouse and thus arrested them.
Barov remembered that Roland said this awkward sentence proudly.
What did he say again? He thought for a moment, yes … “Let the enemy sink into the bottomless sea of fighting against commoners.”
This sentence had a really strange syntax; the assistant minister shook his head and spread the letter within his hands.
The person named “Groundhog” repeatedly stressed that various phenomena showed that the 4th Prince, Roland Wimbledon, had been replaced by the devil, and Barov could clearly read his fear between the lines. When Barov thought about how the Prince used several people, he actually could not help but feel a glimmer of recognition. He took a deep breath, and then he held the letter above the candle, the former of which soon caught fire and turned into ashes.
Since he didn’t fear the God’s Stone of Retaliation, he couldn’t be controlled by the devil, right?