Chapter 223 Premeditation
During these days, Theo stayed in an inn of King’s City, anxiously waiting for the reply from Border Town.
A towering inner wall divided King’s City into two separate worlds, and the people would be strictly controlled when entering or leaving. No matter if they were aristocrats or wealthy merchants, everyone could only enter after going through a thorough inspection inside of a small room. Once they had any sign of disease, such as fever, flushes, or dark spots, they were not allowed inside. In case they left the inner city, they would have to return in the evening hours at the latest. Otherwise, when the sun went down, the gates would be closed and they would have to spend the night outside.
But this still couldn’t stop the spread of demonic plague, yesterday he had heard the rumors that there were also nobles living in the inner city who had become infected. In case the Church had not finally released their first batch of Holy Elixir, Theo believed that the nobles would have soon started to evacuate from King’s City.
Six days after sending out the letter, he was finally informed by Margaret’s Chamber of Commerce that news had arrived. He hastily rushed to the agreed location a tailor shop, where on arrival he was led into the basement by the clerk, and there he met the the Chamber of Commerce's owner who had been waiting for a long time now.
On entering he saw Margaret sitting at a low table, a pot of ice water was placed in front of her, which continuously emitted bursts of cold air. Theo who was sweating from rushing over, sat himself cross-legged on the opposite side, only to suddenly feel a surge of cold breeze on his face, which immediately lifted his spirits.
"His Highness asked me to give you this letter," with this words Margaret handed him a sheepskin envelope, taking a closer look the envelope's sealing wax seemed to still be intact.
Theo was impatient to open the message, the letter he had taken out gave him a brief account of the operation plan, the news that the Army had set out, as well as the tasks he himself had to complete. After carefully reading through it again, he put the letter into his pocket, looked towards Margaret and asked, “Was there anything else His Highness requested you to do?"
"No, he just asked me to send a messenger informing you about the letter's arrival. Of course, since it was an express delivery there are some extra charges, I was free so I already wrote it into the account.”
"Keke, all right." Theo cleared his throat. "His Royal Highness wants all the refugees to be transported to Border Town in the shortest amount of time, so he wants you to supply a lot of ships for an uninterrupted transportation, not only those two fleets."
"Even if they are already infected?" Margaret asked with great interest, "I do not think he wanted to turn the whole Western Territory into a death zone, so... has His Highness found a way to cure the demonic plague?"
"He did indeed," he nodded, "In fact, there were already infected people present on the first transport, at the time we send them out the disease had merely not broken out yet, only when they came close to Border Town, was it discovered. They are already on their way back to King’s City, with all crew members on board, safe and sound."
"His Royal Highness is indeed an incredible man, even the Church wasn’t able to come up with an antidote so quickly," Margaret exclaimed, "Then, how many days does he intend to use for the boarding of the refugees? A week?”
Theo stretched out three fingers.
"This... impossible!" For a moment, the business woman was stunned, only to repeatedly shake her head soon after, "Even if half of those people died, there will be still be more than 5,000 people. Being able to transport them within three days means that I will need to prepare nearly a hundred ships. Even if the Chamber of Commerce stops all its other shipping transportation, I would just about to meet this number. However, this way the losses I would suffer will be in the thousands of gold royals or more. And the loss I would make by losing because that is uncountable, even if the steam engine was to become free of charge it still wouldn’t be enough. So… I am afraid I have to refuse. "
"If all the people were sitting on the deck, rather than lying in beds in the cabins, the number of individuals a ship could carry would be doubled," Theo insisted, "Furthermore, as long as we don’t pay attention to their comfort, the two masters which are used for the transportation of ore can also be used to move the people. As long as the top of the hatch is opened, one ship can then load about 200 people at the same time. This kind of vessels, your old friend Hogg should have a lot of it, right?”
"He should definitely have several ships of this type, in Silver City..." Margaret still looked a little hesitant, "Moreover, according to your arithmetic, it should probably be possible to reduce the number of ships needed to 50. But... this really isn’t a good deal.”
Theo also had the same thoughts, allowing dozens of ships to converge on top of the canal, just the scheduling and coordinating would require an enormous amount of energy. Also, all the charter costs would be paid out of their own pocket. After expending such a large amount of effort and taking all that trouble, the 'harvest' wouldn’t account for all the work that was needed. This really couldn’t be regarded as a good deal. At this point, he could only put forth the final resort.
At the end of the letter His Highness wrote a short line: If Margaret doesn’t want to help, tell her that Lightning is also coming.
Reading the sentence had made him a little puzzled, is there any particular relationship between the businesswoman and the cute, little blonde girl? Looking at their appearances it doesn’t seem like that ah... but His Royal Highness must have his own reasons when he speaks so certainly of it. Coming to this conclusion, Theo slowly opened his mouth, "There is a reason why there is no alternative than concluding the transportation within three days. What His Highness is doing is the equivalent of going into a tiger’s den to seize its food. If this is dragged out for too long, the Church might be coming to their door and Lightning is also within their ranks, if they discover the existence of a witch, it might become dangerous for her.”
"What did you just say?" Her voice suddenly rose up. "Lightning is coming?"
"His Highness’ letter did indeed say so," Theo put on his most honest face, "Probably, in order to guide the troops and offer an early warning. After all, we are currently within the domain of the New King."
"I got it," Margaret stood up, "When do you need a vessel?"
"They ought to arrive in four days in case they aren’t delayed on the way."
"I will go to my greatest extent to arrange it," she went to her desk to the side, took up her pen and began to write, "But I have a condition, you have to tell me the position of His Highness troops. So that in the case that they want to enter the city, I can arrange adequate rooms for them."
Alright, it seems that this trick is indeed useful, "I think this point shouldn’t be a problem," Theo was secretly delighted, "In addition, I have one more thing I will need your help with."
“Speak," Margaret sighed.
"I need a procession of carts with wine barrels, the more barrels there are, the better. But they mustn’t be filled with ale or wine, but with river or well water." According to His Highness' letter, the crucial person to solve the demonic plague is the witch Lily; she can transform ordinary water into a cure for the disease. But there is a dangerous flaw in His Highness plan, if the street rats were allowed to come near the camp and get to know that there were people who could continuously produce the “Holy Elixir,” I bet that on the next day everyone in the city would come to know about it.
"River and well water?" Margaret raised her eyebrows. "Are you sure?"
"Rest assured, His Royal Highness will pay for this." Theo declared laughingly.
In considerations of confidentiality and security, transporting the water from the troops’ camp to King’s City could only be done by him personally. In case he would just carry a water bag to cure the fugitives from the Eastern Region of the demonic plague, it would not only be troublesome, but its efficiency would also be very low. Because of this he had to come up with a method which allowed him to bring as much of the purified water through as possible in one round.
Installing a large barrel on a cart was clearly a good choice.
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