Chapter 339: Assassins

Chapter 339: Assassins

When Vader took off his patch-covered coat and put on his brand new uniform, he began to feel his entire body warming up nicely.

The top layer of the clothes was a thick leather material, and the inside also had a cotton lining. They possessed both the heat retention of leather, and the softness of the cloth. Just these materials alone were worth several silver royals.

Although in shape it was similar to the uniforms of the city hall, the color was, on the contrary, worlds apart. The predominant color of the outfit was pure black while the shoulders, collar and cuff had a white stripe border, making it very eye-catching. After the fifteen of them had put on their new uniforms and once again stood in a row, they were unable to restrain their emotions and stuck out their chests a little.

“Not bad,” Carter revealed a satisfied smile. “Now, all of you follow me.”

At this point, the snow was still drifting in the sky. For Vader, it was still the first time he had witnessed snow falling unceasingly in autumn. Snow would occasionally fall in Valencia, but it would stop after one or two days at most. When that happened, children would frequently line up snowmen along the street. They would roll the snow up into snowballs and throw them back and forth between each other. As a result, children thought of snowy days as holidays.

These were days of extreme inconvenience to the grown-ups, however. The excess snow made their shoes wet and moldy, which made it extremely difficult for them to traverse the streets. Shops ended up virtually devoid of people... The weight of snow would even cause the roofs of houses to occasionally collapse.

At such a time, the patrol team would be dead set on staying indoors. Even if they had to go out, they would only find a tavern for everyone to sit around the fireplace. Drinking warm ale, they would flirt with the barmaids.

However, none of that was evident in Border Town.

Every day, there would be someone clearing the excess snow from the street, and sweeping it to either side of the road— This was a job that the city hall had long been recruiting for. It was possible for one to work on a daily or monthly basis and people considered it a job with a low but fast return.

There were a large number of residents heading to and fro on the streets. Some were wearing straw hats, while others had cloaks draped over them. All of them were busy minding their own business. If one could get rid of all of the fallen snow in the town, it wouldn’t be too far out of the question to call it summer.

If he hadn’t witnessed it with his own eyes, Vader would absolutely not believe that a small town at the edge of the kingdom would appear much livelier than Valencia. If it hadn’t been for the absence of a tall chapel and bell tower in the town, he would have seriously believed himself to be in some large city.

The party arrived at the wharf very quickly. Ten or more sailboats had been docked on the Redwater River and several hundred people had already gathered near the shore. Seems like I’ve encountered such a scene before… that’s right! An image came to Vader’s mind. When he, and other refugees from the Eastern Region, had arrived at this small dock, this was also the scene that had greeted them.

“Permission to speak! Were those people...”

“They were refugees from the South and the North. In order to allow them to get through the winter safely, His Royal Highness specially sent people to bring them to Border Town. Your role is to assist the city hall in maintaining order and to get those people in a line into the inspection checkpoint. Once that is done, you will quarantine them and write each of them into the record,” Carter instructed them. “As the police officers are still few in number, the First Army will be assisting you. However, this job will be assigned to all of you to accomplish on your own in the future.”

“Yes, sir!”

From the sound of it, it wasn’t a hard task at all and was little more than directing refugees into a queue to collect their porridge. Vader walked towards the front of the checkpoint and began to yell in a loud voice so that everyone could hear his instructions clearly and approach him in an orderly manner.

“What’s your name? Where’re you from? Do you have any thing you’re good at? Can you read?”

Every refugee that passed through the checkpoint would be subjected to a round of inquiries by the clerks in the city hall, following which their responses would be roughly recorded. Vader knew that this was just a rough estimate. Once everyone had settled in, a further investigation would verify everyone’s responses. The people who possessed special abilities or knowledge would be prioritized in their transfer into the inner city.—This process was something he had personally experienced once.

Suddenly, a burst of commotion rang out behind him. Vader turned his head only to see a man clad in a furry gown arrive at the wharf under the protection of a group of guards. The long, grey hair blowing in the end made his status clear—He was the feudal lord of the land, HRH Roland Wimbledon. A number of people dressed up in fine clothing, who ought to be the people in charge of city hall, stood beside him.

Never in his mind had he imagined that His Royal Highness would brave the flurry of snow to personally observe this batch of refugees. In a severe winter, it was rare to find a higher noble who was willing to leave a warm bed at the crack of dawn, especially when there were servants present to take care of everything.

“My name is Jockmau, and I am from the Northern Lands. Er... my sp-speciality lies in farming. I can’t read.”

“Farming?” The city hall official checked the relevant box on his form. “Okay, pass on.”

It was at this exact moment that Vader noticed the individual casting a glance in the direction of His Royal Highness. There was not the least veneration present in his eyes. In its stead was an emotion completely different from that of the other commoners.

“Hold it.” He said unconsciously.

“W-What’s the matter?”

“You’re a farmer, right? Can you tell me which month one should sow their winter wheat?

The city hall official looked at him as well with a somewhat annoyed look on his face. “I am only going through the preliminary registration for now, and I don’t have the time to distinguish whether every single one of them is telling the truth. Didn’t Sir Carter explain clearly how the process should work? All I need you to do is maintain order around these parts.”

After hearing what the official said, the man immediately shut his mouth.

Seriously, what an idiot! Vader pursed his brow and continued speaking, ignoring the official. “The way you speak doesn’t resemble a northerner. Instead, it is similar to the accent commonly used near the middle of the kingdom. Which town in the North did you come from? I’m very familiar with the places there.”

Jockmau hesitated for a moment, but remained silent.

“Your attire is also strange. Even if you were lucky enough not to freeze to death in the North in this outfit, your fingers ought to have developed frostbite by now. The temperature there is below freezing all year round, you know.” Vader grabbed his right hand. “What about your gloves? Don’t tell me you threw them away because you realized when you arrived that it was slightly warmer?”

Even the personnel manning the checkpoint had now noticed the fishy part of his tale. It might be understandable if one lied about being skilled at something, probably trying to obtain better treatment. However, if someone chose to conceal their own origin, that action was much more suspicious. “Where exactly did you come from?”

Jockmau clenched his teeth. Suddenly, he took out a red pellet from his breast. He slapped it into his mouth and yelled, “Out of my way!”

Vader suddenly felt his wrist became scaldingly hot. Although his conditioned reflexes kicked in and made him want to pin the man down to the floor, he found that even with all of his strength, he was not moving at all. Jockmau raised his shoulder and Vader felt his entire body fly into the air.

He fell to the ground heavily and a scorching pain ignited in his back. Dammit, my wound opened! Spitting out a mouthful of saliva, he shook off some of the dizziness in his brain and turned over, getting himself up. Alas, Jockmau was no longer in his original position.

Four or five refugees scuttled out of the crowd, and their actions were as nimble as the demonic beasts outside the town walls. With a few steps, they vaulted over the temporary railing set up by the City Hall and ran toward the prince.

The goal of the group of people was painstakingly obvious. They were here for the high-ranking officials of Border Town, as well as their feudal lord.

Recalling the monstrous strength that had erupted from Jockmau, Vader’s mind could imagine the prince’s royal guard being torn to shreds on the spot. Even the prince himself would be hard-pressed to escape that fate.

However, that did not come to pass.

He quickly heard a string of bangs—the same as when the soldiers stood off against demonic beasts.

In front of the prince, clouds of white smoke floated upwards into the sky.

Within the sea of smoke, Jockmau’s head had blossomed into a sea of blood.

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