Chapter 315 Celebration Feast
A grand celebration banquet was being held in the main hall of Border Town’s castle.
In addition to the witches, the high-ranking staff in City Hall and the First Army all fully attended this feast. There were the nobles Barov Mons and Carter Lannis, and also Iron Axe and Kyle Sichi who were from a civilian background. Especially for the latter, Roland had to spend a lot of effort to persuade him to come out of the laboratory and attend this according to him “meaningless” banquet.
To include his subjects in this joyful event, besides giving a public speech he’d also ordered the kitchen staff to bake a large amount of white bread by using the leftover refined starch from manufacturing explosives, and distribute the bread to all of the town’s people. As long as they were in possession of an identification card, they could get a limited amount of delicious food at the City Hall. Even while the First Army was on their way home, most of the town’s inhabitants had already learned of their victory in battle.
Of course, they may not necessarily understand the purpose and significance of the expedition, but as long as there was free bread it counted as a day of celebrate for them.
This was also Roland’s first time imitating those “lofty” banquets hosted in King’s City.
There was no barbecue and no large pieces of stewed meat, all the food was cut into small pieces and splendidly arranged on spotlessly white plates. At the edge of the table stood several basins that contained all kinds of seasonings, so that they could flavor their food according to their own taste, similar to the buffets of later generations.
“Welcome back,” Roland said, carrying two glasses of wine to Anna, “The journey must have been hard for you.”
“You already said that at the pier,” Anna took one glass, “And my answer is still the same, ‘it wasn’t hard’.”
When their glasses faintly touched each other, her eyes were filled with a sweet smile. Seeing this, Roland had to struggle to resist the impulse to embrace her on the spot. Instead, he went on and exchanged a celebration cup with the other witches.
“What about me?” Lightning shouted.
“You’ll also get your share,” Roland said, calling over a waiter from whom he then took a glass of cider for her, “Work hard.”
“I demand to drink white!” The little girl looked at him with big eyes.
“Uh huh…” After thinking about it, Roland finally decided to fulfill her wish. After all, this kid’s curiosity had always been quite high, so if he refused her all the time, maybe she would learn from Nightingale and sneak into the kitchen, but she’d be stealing wine instead, “Alright, but only one drink.”
When Roland handed her a weak white wine mixed with ice and grape juice, she suddenly approached and gave him a kiss on his cheek.
“Keke… Is this the custom from the Fjords?”
“Sure,” Lightning nodded seriously, “That’s what my father told me!”
Because it wasn’t the first time they saw it, the other witches of the Witch Alliance didn’t feel that it was too strange. However, Sylvie’s eyes became round from shock before throwing an accusatory glance at Roland, and saw he was moving along while wearing an awkward expression – does there really exist such a custom of kissing the head when celebrating heroic deed in the Fjords?
Then it was time to exchange a toast with the ministers.
When it came to the chief alchemist’s turn, the man leaned over and whispered, “Your Highness, since you gave me the ‘Intermediate Chemistry’ I have already read it twice, but, there are still a lot of things that I can’t understand.
“If you are talking about that sub-atomic constitution of matter, that part involves a lot of physical knowledge, so you have to read another book to understand it.” Roland pointed out, “So, I suggest that you first read the ‘Elementary Physics’ before going through the remnants of the Intermediate Chemistry again. This way, many of your doubts should be answered.”
“That’s what I was going to do, but…” he hesitated for a moment before continuing, “Your Royal Highness, why are the colors used on the cover of each ancient book different? Does it have any special meaning to it?”
“That is…” Roland pondered for a moment, “The color represents the requirements and time needed to comprehend it.”
“It was like this?” Kyle mused, “From green to purple. So, it seems that the deeper the color, the more profound is the knowledge recorded within. In that way, ‘Advanced Chemistry’ must surely be black?”
“No, it is orange.”
“Ah,” Kyle got startled, “Why?”
Roland smiled, “Who knows?”
Halfway through the banquet, Roland stepped out of the hall and went to the castle terrace. Standing in the gently blowing evening breeze, he couldn’t help but feel a slight chill. Half of autumn has already passed he realized, so in other words, it wouldn’t be long before the lengthy winter would cover the whole Western Territory with snow and bring about the Months of Demons.
But the situation during this year and the previous year had become as different as black and white. The trade with Margaret’s Chamber of Commerce had brought in a lot of floating amount of money, and in exchange for food and materials many of these gold royals were paid to the people in the form of a salary. According to statistics from the convenience market, the recent sales of products has shown a lot of growth, from which some of the goods would significantly improve the people’s quality of life. Sales for products such as steak and eggs was growing especially quickly.
There was no doubt that this was a sign of the gradual improvement in the living standards for the people. In particular, the indigenous population had all received new free housing, while their salary, compared to before, had also increased a lot. Nowadays, they had even started to buy food which they usually could only enjoy during festivals. The newly introduced population was still at the stage where they were busy saving money in order to purchase a house, but when they manage to settle down the market was bound to usher for a new peak in sales.
What exactly do people need? Sometimes, eating and drinking one’s fill was already enough to be grateful to their Lord and follow him until their death.
During this era, most civilians were easy to please.
“Your Highness, beware of catching a cold,” Nightingale said, and appeared behind him with a thin coat in hand. She threw the cloth to Roland, took out a piece of dried fish from a bag and came to stand beside him, “What’s going on here?”
“Nothing,” Roland said, showing her a smile while he put on the coat, “I just suddenly had the urge to see my territory.”
“It seems the town is still very busy,” Nightingale said and pointed to the still brightly lit town square, “It’s already night time and there are still so many people who haven’t gone home.”
“That’s because today was the first time they were showing the new drama, ‘Dawn’,” Roland explained happily, “Furthermore, it was also the first show after the troupe’s several months of departure from Border Town. So, the villagers have probably been full of anticipation to see Miss May and Misses Irene again.”
But that being said, Miss May would soon become Lady May Lannis. He actually had never expected that his own Chief Knight would act so decisively to hold the hands of the Star of the West. When the other side had informed him with a sincere face about his intention, he was first stupefied for a while before he was finally to respond. The wedding of the Chief Knight needed the approval of his Lord, but Roland naturally had no objection to this kind of happy event. In the end, the wedding for the two was scheduled for after the end of the Months of Demons, more precisely, for the day when Border Town officially became a city.
“It was a dead place when I first snuck into this town,” Nightingale exclaimed, “But now, even while standing in the castle, it seems I still feel the joyful atmosphere surrounding us.”
“Life will improve, day by day,” Roland looked up, looking at the cloudless night sky as he took in a deep breath. There were still many things left to be done such as expanding the scope of education, setting up a public health care, increasing the amount of cultural constructions, encouraging birth rate and so forth. All these things would transform the Western Territory into a stable force and lay out the foundation for the unification of Greycastle.
Nightingale tilted her head and looked at him with keen eyes as she asked, “So what about us?”
“Of course, the same is also true for you,” Roland said as he patted her head, “I promise.”