Chapter 229 On the eve of the day of return
On the third day, outside of King’s City’s eastern city gate.
Nightingale was hiding in her world of fog calmly watching the group of shabbily clothed refugees. Under Echo’s sound manipulating ability, one wave of refugees after another gathered together and slowly moved with Sir Brian towards the pier.
Nowadays they no longer acted like they had two days ago, where they had to push their way through the refugees to reach the edge of the camp, always only breaking away small chunks at a time. After a significant number of refugees had been brought over the rest of them had also noticed the movement, so as long as a wave of people was pulled away from the edge, the rest would continue to come over. By now, even the guards on King’s City’s city wall had noticed the what happened at their foot, but from their point of view, they only wished that these stinking refugees would hurry and finally go away from here.
The whole project was currently progressing very smoothly, the number of refugees in the eastern district was already running low, while the people at the North Gate had taken the initiative to move closer to their side. Perhaps by sundown, they could already smoothly sail away with everyone.
At this time everyone seemed to be busy, only Nightingale seemed to be leisurely. Compared to Echo, surrounded by a layer of “mercenaries”, who was responsible for drawing in the refugees, and Lily, who was under the heavy protection of the First Army and constantly producing new purifying water, her own guards' work seemed to be redundant.
Only when the “mercenaries” had to carry patients who were too ill to move by themselves, was there a need for her to be vigilant. Just then, Nightingale noticed Echo raising her head to look at the magnificent east gate and softly sigh.
"What happened?" Nightingale asked after going over.
"It’s nothing, I’m just somewhat down," Echo expression turned rather sad, "Before I had been sold to King’s City, I had to suffer the whole way along the road. Until now, I had always thought the reason that they were so cold to me was because of my identity as a Sandperson, which was something foreign to the people of Graycastle. But now it appears that they are equally ruthless to their own people, which shows me that there is not much difference between them and the people of Iron Sand City”.
Recalling that Echo had been bought and sold as a slave, Nightingale didn’t know how to answer her. In the end, she patted her on the shoulder and said comfortingly, "But not everyone is like them, there are also many people with good intentions, such as your sisters of the Witch Cooperation Association and also... His Highness."
"Do you want to say... that His Highness can actually end the disputes?" Echo whispered, "Regardless if they live in the huge Kingdoms, the Sandnation, the Fjord,or are just ordinary people and the witches, do you believe that they can all live together freely and in peace, without needing to fight each other?”
"In case it is done by His Highness, I think it will be possible," Nightingale replied in a cheerful tone, "And it isn't those strange machines or the amazing guns that give me the feeling, no he himself is... I always feel as if His Royal Highness and we are not the same type of person."
"Of course he is not like us. He is the Prince of the Kingdom of Graycastle."
"No, this feeling has nothing to do with his identity or his status," she shook her head, "I’m unable to say from where exactly this kind of feeling is coming from, it is merely my intuition, nothing more. Maybe people like His Royal Highness, who can come up with so many strange and eccentric theories... even wanting to repeatedly study all of us witches’ abilities until he understands them thoroughly, just have a different train of thoughts than the other people. Anyway, if he was to achieve such an amazing thing, I don't feel that it would be that strange."
"You really have confidence in him," Echo laughed out, immediately reducing the sad expression on her face, "I hope that one day, I will be able to go back to the South and meet with my people.”
Confidence? Regarding some aspects, yes, but regarding some others... she wasn’t so sure. Nightingale could not help but look towards the west, and ask herself what he was doing, now that she wasn’t at his side? Was he busy drawing those strange machines, or was he together with Anna... she forcefully shook her head, trying to disperse such thoughts.
Anyway, at the end of this day, we will depart back to Border Town, Nightingale thought, and when we get back, I can ask him anything I want, and he won’t be able to lie to me.
At noon when they returned to the camp to rest, Lightning also slowly came down to land.
During these days, Lightning had the hardest task of all of them, she had to constantly fly patrol under the scorching sun high up in the sky. Especially for concealing her body, Lightning had to wear a special coat with “sky camouflage", which tightly wrapped itself around her body, and even covered her head. This clothes with their strange name were apparently not designed as beautiful clothes by His Highness. Its surface was coated with a mixed pattern of gray and blue, allowing her to almost integrate with the background as she flew. As long as someone didn’t directly look at her, it would be hard to detect her.
After landing, the first thing the little girl did was to take off the coat, then grab a water pouch to quell her thirst. Nightingale discovered that her clothes were wet from the sweat inside and that her forehead and nose were also covered with sweat, while her windproof glasses had left marks on her white cheeks.
"It had been hard on you," Nightingale said and crouched down in front of her, beginning to wipe the sweat away.
"Fortunately, these people aren’t endlessly rushing over from the east," Lightning stick out her tongue, "Or else I would really have passed out from this sun.”
"Will you be able to go home tomorrow?" Lily went dispirited and downcast to Lightning’s side. "I haven’t taken a shower for several days; by now, I feel uncomfortable from head to foot."
Nightingale could not help but laugh aloud. Obviously, during their time in the Witch Cooperation Association; there had been times where they hadn’t bathed for half a month, and no one had complained about it back then, but now they did it already after a little more than a week. She suddenly had the thought that the development of the bathroom and soap was in truth His Royal Highness "conspiracy," and after they had all become attached to those strange and useful things of his, it had become difficult for the witches to make a firm resolution to ever leave Border Town.
However, the calm did not last until the end of the shipment project, after lunch, His Highness' man who was responsible for gathering news in King’s City, Theo, brought back some bad news.
"You mean that... Dreamland is gathering their forces, with the intention of surrounding the pier?" Iron Axed asked with a frown.
"Yes, they ‘might be’ preparing to encircle the pier." Theo correct him, “The first part was determined to be true, while the latter part instead seems a bit bizarre, so my informants are not sure about it. At present, all other black street organizations have already begun to act, they are preparing themselves in case Dreamland unexpectedly attacks them. However, compared to ‘encircling the pier’ this news can just be seen as deliberately sending out some smoke, I believe that this news was leaked by themselves midway, which could be seen as quite common thing for the rats to do. After all, most members of the black street organization are nothing more than bullies or dregs, making it fundamentally impossible for them to be a tightly-knit group. If my intelligence is correct, then Dreamland must be subjected to another force’s command, otherwise wanting to depart from their own territory would be a very challenging affair for them."
"They are just a gang of scoundrels," it seemed Iron Axe wasn’t the least concerned, "If these people scatter in all direction, will it affect your plan of selling the medicine?”
"It shouldn't," Theo said, "They are unable to get their hands on the patrol, so it is unlikely that they can hinder me from entering and leaving through the side door. As for after we entered the city, the skeleton fingers will provide a force to protect the transport of the medicine. The only thing I’m worried about is you, because tonight I will have to stay in the city and supervising the sale of the purified water, so I’m afraid that it is impossible for me to see you off tomorrow morning.”
"It won’t matter," Iron Axe patted his arm reassuringly, "In the future, His Highness will come in person to King’s City, we will see you again then."
Just like Nightingale had predicted at with the arrival of dusk, the last ship carrying refugees set sail into the direction of Silver City. And the rest of the more than 300 who weren’t willing to leave King’s City, were ordered to disperse by Iron Axe.
Then they all evacuated to the other side of the canal, waiting for the curtain of night to descend.
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