Chapter 243 Establishment of the Intelligence Organization
After the moon appeared in the sky, the hot air gradually cooled down. From Theo’s place in his garden, he could see the light that was coming through the windows of the distant pubs, brothels, and casinos. Within the curtain of the night, they looked the same as all the many stars in the night sky, showing a city’s bustling.
It was only possible to see such a scene in King’s City inner city – even though the demonic disease came to its end, nearly one-third of the population of the outer city had already died. However, all of that couldn’t affect the mood of the noble’s drinking parties. If he listened carefully, he could hear their subtle cries being carried over by the evening breeze.
He had spent one hundred and fifty gold royals to buy this house with its garden and pond. Its location was on top of a hillside that was near the outer edge of the inner city, and even during the day, there weren’t many people that were strolling through the neighborhood. Besides when Theo met with his informants to exchange the newest gathered intelligence, he usually didn’t live here. He would instead choose to stay in an inn for the night, or go to the Covert Trumpeter and stayed there for a few days.
“My Lord, by now everyone should be present.”
A man carrying an oil lamp came out of the house, it was Hill Fawkes, one of the members of the Skeleton Fingers.
“Take the candle, I will follow after you.” Theo nodded, and soon entered the house.
In the dim candlelight, he saw Hill and five other men sitting around a round table, when they saw the personal guard appear they got all up and bowed in salute. Theo expressionlessly sized all of them up, hoping to catch even the smallest movement in their expressions, to see whether they were reliable or not. Unfortunately, Miss Nightingale had followed the fleet back to Border Town, if she were still here, he would have been able to make accurate judgements almost instantly.
They were Hill’s partners, the former members of the acrobatic troupe “pigeon and cylinder”, who were full of hate against the New King and had sworn to exact vengeance. One week ago, prior to the attack on the pier, by lucky coincidence, one man had concealed himself as a member of Dreamland Water and had him informed him about the rats’ plan to attack in advance. Nowadays where the incident of the demonic disease had gradual settled down, he decided to meet with his men in King’s City face to face. If it was really like Hill had said, contrary to what one might expect they might indeed be pretty good seedlings to use as a spy.
“With the exception of Mr. Fawkes, all the others should give a simple introduction of themselves.” Theo began.
Taking the lead, the man with the most muscular body said: “My name is Rocky Mountain, Sir.” He was nearly six feet tall and with his bulging muscles in his arms he appeared to be incredibly strong. “Within the acrobatic troupe I played the role of the strong man. Currently, I’m a member of the Bloody Sails.”
“I’m a clown,” the little man sitting next to Rocky Mountain said, while pointing to his nose. He seemed to be the youngest of their group, around 18 to 19 years old. “Within the troupe it was only natural that I became the clown, however, contrary to the others I haven’t sneaked into the ranks of the rats. Instead I go from one tavern to another, and show off some tricks.”
“Joe and Neal,” the following two men were a pair of brothers, regardless of whether it was their appearance or their style of clothing, there was no difference between them and the commoners living in the outer city. They had offered all of their possession to Priest Ferry and were now so called, “devoted believers of the Church”. Theo couldn’t stop but ask himself, can it be that these two men had both felt affection for Hill’s wife at the same time? Forcing down his doubts, he turned to the last person.
“I’m called a magician by them all, Sir,” the last one said, saluting once again, “I originally pretended to be a frustrated person and entered Dreamland Water, but unfortunately most of them are already dead or fled by now, even ‘Fierce Teeth’ Tanis was killed by the Church’s Army of Judges. Currently, everyone else is occupied with seeking a new organization.”
“He was killed by the Army of Judges?” Theo raised his brow. “Weren’t they secretly supported by the Church?”
“I only heard the news from others,” he spread out his hands, “After their attack on the docks was repelled, Tanis and his men then suffered an ambush from the Skeleton Fingers during their retreat to the eastern district. In the end, he had only a few dozen people left by his side. On that same night, he left the nest once more and went to the Church in anger, but by the next day, only two to three of his cronies made it back. According to their explanation, Priest Ferry and he had began to quarrel, which was cut short after a Judge shot into his chest… All in all, Dreamland Water is dead.”
So, that’s how it was, Theo thought. Presumably, because he had nearly lost nearly all accumulated strength he had gathered after great difficulty, Fierce Teeth felt that his position as the gang leader was in immediate danger. In his desire to save it, he tried to seek the assistance of the Church but was refused which then led to the dispute. But all these minor details are unimportant, the only important news for me is that only the name Dreamland remains, yet in reality they are already as good as gone. This is definitely good news, maybe I can take advantage of this opportunity to draw in some of the homeless rats and use them to expand my intelligence source.
“Surely you all have already heard my name from Hill,” Theo knocked on the table and waited until the sound fell. “I am a personal guard of His Highness Roland Wimbledon, I am responsible for collecting intelligence from all parts of the kingdom. Since you all have willingly arrived here, from a certain attitude, it can be said that you have already made your intentions clear. However, to be certain that this dangerous mission will be successful, I still have to ask at least once, are you willing to work for His Royal Highness?”
“We are willing!” The five said in unison.
“As long as Timothy Wimbledon will receive his punishment, I’m willing to do anything,” Hill stated, slowly pressing out each word.
“Excellent, then by next week at the same time, we will meet here again. In case there is any critical information, you can also report it to me in advance – just put a pot of purple flowers at the entrance of my house.” Theo explained, “After I noticed it, I will be waiting in this room for you to come in the night. However, remember to knock on the door and use our secret signal of three-longs and two-shorts, understood?
Seeing them nod in unison, Theo said in satisfaction, “A qualified spy will never lightly expose themselves, so the first thing you need to do is to conceal your identity. No matter if you’re gathering information by yourself or are developing a network to collect suspicious information, you have to always bear this in mind. In case you need further money, you can come with the request to me… Remember, in every action, one must never act blindly, without thinking it over first. It is improbable that Timothy will sit on the throne forever, this is a promise given by His Highness Roland Wimbledon himself.” He paused, “With all this said, are there any questions left over?”
“Sir, today Timothy had returned from the Eastern Region back to King’s City,” Hill said, “You should have already heard of this news.”
This afternoon a procession of the new king’s knights holding up his banner had entered the City through the East Gate, which was a scene witnessed by many citizens. But he wasn’t sure if Theo had already heard about what happened afterward.
“But in the evening, I heard from Black Hammer, that Timothy intended to recruit some rats for his army, and in exchange for their pledge of loyalty they would receive the opportunity to become free people. Several leaders of the Skeleton Fingers already went to the royal palace, so it doesn’t sound like a fabrication.”
Drafting the rats? On the surface, Theo was able to keep a calm expression, but his heart suddenly sank. It was evident that those rats would never be able to serve as regular soldiers, so the most likely possibility was that they would be made to consume strengthening pills and would afterward be sent to start surprise attacks, the same as last time when they attacked Longsong Stronghold. The only question though, was who their target was going to be this time.
“That’s actually an interesting piece of news,” he said. “Remember to always pay attention to those rats whereabouts, in case you hear any other news, immediately come to me to report it.”
Hopefully, Timothy isn’t thinking of dashing against the Western Territory, Theo thought.