Chapter 302 The Bugle Horn of the Decisive Battle
At the palace in the Kingdom of Eternal Winter, flames were raging within the fireplace.
Compared to Graycastle with its four seasons, here the summers were especially short, and the autumn was only like an advance notice for the impending arrival of a severe winter. There wasn’t even enough time to change into shorter garments before the cold wind came back once again.
Garcia Wimbledon, sat on the throne with a fox fur coat draped over her shoulders, listening to the complaints and demands of the nobility.
She didn’t like the palace. The pillars, walls, and floors were all built out of snow white stones, each piece polished until it was smooth and shining, just like ice in general. Despite the fact that she already had two additional layers of cushion on her seat, she could still feel the bitter chill of the cold iron chair.
This damned castle is like an iceberg, absolutely frustrating! I'll wait for the situation to stabilize, and the first thing I’m going to do after that is to smash all of the walls and floors to bits then re-lay it with dark brown granite slabs afterward.
"Your Majesty, I hope you can bring justice for me,” a noble said, looking at her with a scowling expression.
Prior to this, he had used a lot of words, where in fact, a few would have been sufficient. At the time when the Church was occupying the Kingdom of Endless Winter, some nobles who had done many evils deeds had been put on a public trial which had been presided over by Archbishop Heather. Most of the nobles had been sent to the gallows. However, this guy was among the lucky ones and had only been punished with the confiscation of his assets, which had then been equally divided among the victims.
"I can understand your request; private property shouldn’t be plundered," Garcia pondered for a moment and then slowly said, "But the specific amount is hard to define. Well, if you can provide me with the testaments of the last five years of financial income and expenditure, I can evaluate an average value and give you a part of the of the seizures as compensation.”
"But the mob has looted my house, and I’m afraid the records are..."
"Then I can only follow the published announcement and compensate you according to your title." Garcia interrupted, "Take a look around you, they are all nobles who have suffered from looting, if I give you more, some of them would end up getting less.”
"That’s right! Only God would know if the number you reported is the truth or not!"
"Why are you so troublesome, Knight Halon, these gold royals aren’t yours."
"You have it already quite good, just take a look at your associates, they can only go to heaven and find God to demand compensation.”
Seeing all of the surrounding nobles glare at him, he was forced to shrink back, bow deep in salute and say, "In that case, please compensate me according to the standard. Thank you for your kindness, Your Majesty.”
"Excellent," Garcia smiled and then ordered, "Next."
"My regards to you, Your Majesty," a white-haired old man stepped out of the crowd and caressed the glittering silver heron family emblem on his chest reverently.
"Marquis Bodø, I remember that the Church's thugs didn't attack your territory."
"Yes, that’s right," he nodded, "Not that they didn’t want to, rather that they couldn’t... the Inundated Snow Ridge is difficult to attack. So, my Knights were able to block all of the invading bandits. However, my child wasn’t as fortunate. On the day of the riots, he was on duty within the imperial palace, and for the purpose of protecting the Queen, not only was he killed by the believers, but his body was also hung above the city gate. It was not until you arrived in the Kingdom of Eternal Winter, that he could be freed from his humiliation.”
"That’s truly a tragic story," Garcia assumed a grieving expression and sighed, before asking, "So, what is your request?”
"The name of the man who killed him is ‘The Butcher’, nowadays he is the leader of the remaining rebels. That group of people are hiding within the Impassable Mountain Range north of us. I want revenge for my child." The Marquis calmly declared.
"From the beginning, I didn’t have that many troops under my control. The are already keeping the peace during the day, patrol, guard the city wall as well as the granary; it would be quite difficult to split my men and dispatch the troop to the barren mountains and wild hills just to go find a group of one hundred exiled thugs." She shook her head and said in regret, “Furthermore, when the winter comes, the heavy snowfall will also close off the mountains, thus, making it impossible for them to get any supplies. So, they will freeze to death sooner or later; there is no need for you to be so impatient.”
“Your Majesty, I’ll only be able to find peace if it’s me wielding the sword that kills my child’s murderer. I also don’t need you to send any warriors to search for the thugs. There are many natural caves at the foot of the mountain; they surely will be hidden within one of them. But most of the cave’s entrances are very narrow, and if they used stones to block the entrance, it would even be difficult for the Knights to attack them. I hope you can provide me with the alchemical creation that had been able to blow up the city gates; I’ll do the rest by myself.”
Does he want to get his hands on the snow powder? Garcia frowned, that stuff has a large power, and its strong enough to be the trump card in a hopeless war and alter the outcome, it absolutely cannot be allowed to spread out.
At the time, she was about to declare her refusal, the other opened his mouth again, "If you grant me this request, I am willing to return to court and serve you. The silver heron family will fully support your ruling over the Kingdom of Eternal Winter."
This sentence then made Garcia swallow her words. At the time, the Church executed the Queen; they also killed some chief ministers. Here, the Marquis of Bodø has a lot of prestige, if he were to serve as my Prime Minister, all the remaining nobles would follow along. To some degree, it can also make up for the deficient administration and also turn around this awkward situation.
"This request is not too much," she thought for a while, then after finally coming to a decision she said, "But I cannot put the alchemy powder directly into your hands. When you require it, I will send a special alchemist who will provide you with assistance to blow open the hole."
After the end of the court session, Garcia returned to the back room, where Ryan was already waiting for her with a cup of warmed fruit wine, "Thanks for your trouble, Your Majesty. As expected, those nobles were all taken over by you. In this way, even if we don’t depend on the Wolf King, you can still swallow the entire Kingdom of Eternal Winter slowly.”
"As long as there is no Church," the Queen said as she shrugged.
The Church, in their act of striping the nobles of their rightful inheritance, had pushed them to her side. Now, with the support of those very people, coupled with the crippling of the Church’s former base of power, it had been very easy for her to gain a foothold in the capital. But if she wanted to control the Kingdom of Eternal Winter, she still had a long way left to go – it was here where the people were influenced by the Church the most. When she’d dispatched her Black Sail Fleet to wipe out the Church’s bases in other major cities, they had continually suffered under the attack of the believers. Therefore, it was crucial to form a coalition with the Wolfsheart Kingdom. Not only so that they could resist the Church together, but also to weaken the influence the Church held over the population by accepting people from Wolfsheart Kingdom.
As for those stubborn civilians, it will be alright if they are just cleanly killed off.
"Oh, by the way, a messenger from the Wolfsheart Kingdom has arrived with a letter for you," Ryan informed her, as he took an envelope from his pocket, "Because you were dealing with government affairs, I didn’t dare to bother you.”
Garcia opened the envelope, took out the letter, and began to read the letter carefully.
"Is it bad news?"
"The Church has sent out troops once again," she said in a low voice, "They've taken the land route and are heading straight for Wolfsheart City. They’ve already broken through several of the recently set up defensive lines.”
"What?" Ryan started with big eyes at her in disbelieve, then he said, "The Months of Demons will be coming soon, don’t tell me they’ve set out while completely disregarding the New Holy City?"
Showing a frowning expression, Garcia sat back in her desk.
She knew that the Church would never let them go, but she hadn’t expected that the other side would move so fast. If they had just waited with the war until spring next year, her preparation would have been complete. However, the enemy apparently didn’t want to give them any space to breathe – if she just sat idly while the Wolfsheart Kingdom asked for help, and the kingdom got destroyed as a result, it wouldn’t be long before it would be her turn to disappear.
But this also contained an opportunity.
If she could make the Church waste its forces on the city walls of the Wolfsheart City, they would be facing a great disaster when the demonic beasts invaded Hermes at a large scale.
They might have sent out the God’s Punishment Amy, but by now, she also had formidable weapons like the snow powder, the hard to extinguish black river water, the demonic fire powder, as well as Wolfsheart City’s towering city walls. With all this, she would surely be able to consume a large number of their vital forces.
Thinking until here, Garcia commanded, "Pass along my orders, the Black Sail Fleet is to get ready for battle! This year, we will be spending the winter within Wolfsheart City.”
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