Chapter 241: Genuine Patrols
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Kohen stretched and let out a big yawn.
On the street, a little girl hugging a yard of cloth could not help but glance at Kohen’s tall figure.
“Reduce your movements. An attendant should have the mannerisms of an attendant,” Raphael walked beside Kohen and said with a frown. “We’re surrounded by Northlanders—it’s hard to say if any of Lampard’s spies are here.”
Kohen snorted in discontentment, but he still lowered his head obediently and smoothened his Northland flax cloak.
He rubbed his lower jaw and sighed.
The dark paint on his face… did not allow his skin to breathe. He felt that his skin was slightly tense.
The police officer glanced at the carriage behind him and said with a frown, “Is this really going to be effective?”
Raphael ignored him and glanced at the carriage behind too. He then continued forward.
Soon, Raphael saw their destination.
This time, Thales clearly knew. ‘This is a dream.
‘A dream that feels like déjà vu.’
In the dream, he was still leisurely and happily sitting in his classroom. He listened to others around him as they described something.
‘”Poggi’s book mentioned that as the feudal system developed into absolutism, the hierarchical country—this is a German word, St?ndestaat, do not search for it in your English-Chinese dictionary—was an important springboard that could not be ignored.
‘”Emerging urban groups demanded for a stable and secure political and economical environment. Obviously, this was incompatible with the traditional suzerain-vassal model, which was tied with personal relations. So for their benefit, these urban groups began short-term cooperations with the rulers. Through hierarchical meetings and other similar methods, they began to participate in the ruling. Their appearance actually weakened the feudal elements, turning the dual feudal system of kingship-dukedom, and suzerain-vassal relations into a complicated triangle relationship.
‘”But this was far from our notion of a centralized authority. It was just the process of achieving this result: These third forces recognized and supported the special statuses of the rulers instead of just treating the rulers as peers like the feudal dukes did. Through the implementation of many taxations via the hierarchical meetings, the rulers strengthened themselves and their territorial rule.
‘”Additionally, the rulers also bestowed the civilians with privileges, and recruited servants—through this process, a huge, specialized, and prudent systematic public management organization gradually revealed its fledgling state. It established the foundations for the successive absolutism rule.
‘”Bureaucracy, or say, administration—although I don’t really fancy this translation, it easily gives you a subjective bad impression—this is a fundamental concept you should have come into contact with in your textbooks during your time in university. For the students who did not come from specialized majors, there’s no harm in making up with Webb’s original work. Although it is difficult to read, it must be more interesting than the second-hand summary you get from your textbooks—”‘
A slight vibration was heard and it woke Thales up from his deep sleep.
In the Camian’s carriage, Thales opened his blurry, sleepy eyes. As he wiped off the saliva by his mouth in a fluster, he looked dizzily at the several other people in the vehicle, “I fell asleep?”
Outside the carriage, the coming and going Northland residents all appeared to be worried. The White Blade Guards had changed their clothing long ago and dressed up as ordinary Northland servants. The Constellatiates by the fleet—including Kohen and Miranda changed into Camian apparel instead, matching the two Camian carriages Thales as well as the others were riding. They were adorned with symbols, which consisted of a dagger and grain.
“Keep calm, Your Highness.” By his side, Putray turned his head around steadily. With a show of politeness, he did not look at the prince’s embarrassed state as he observed the circumstances outside the vehicle. “By the looks of it, we are arriving at the First Gatehouse soon.”
Sure enough, at the end of the road outside the vehicle, the outlines of the gatehouse and Heroic Spirit Palace came into view—many curious civilians wanted to come closer, but were driven away by the patrols under the gatehouse.
Thales arrived at the First Gatehouse he had stepped into when he first came to Dragon Clouds City.
But it had now fallen into the enemy’s hands.
Heroic Spirit Palace was right behind it.
Thales breathed a sigh of relief, pacifying his thumping heart as he chased the dreams from his mind.
He cast his gaze at the serious Nicholas opposite him.
“It’s time.” The Star Killer looked up. “We shall part ways here. I’m going to the other carriage. We have to leave with Lady Walton…”
“As for you”—Nicholas narrowed his eyes—”good luck.”
Thales exhaled out of his nose.
“I would like to thank you and your brothers. Thank you for taking us here.” The prince looked out of the window at the carriage behind them. He frowned. “Take good care of her—as a Walton, being in this circumstance is not a good thing.
“We will take care of the rest.”
Nicholas’ complexion turned grim.
But he immediately raised his head and looked at the captive beside him—Marquis Shiles, and hatefully said, “Be smarter, old friend, otherwise… I assure you that you wouldn’t want to provoke a former commander of the White Blade Guards who’s in hiding.”
With his mouth shut as well as his hands tied behind his back, Shiles nodded and strenuously displayed a calm, courteous smile.
Unfortunately, this smile of his looked slightly awkward because of his gagged mouth.
At that moment…[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
The carriage stopped.
Everyone in the vehicle subconsciously looked outside the window.
Outside the vehicle, dozens of soldiers dressed in patrol apparel waved as they gestured at the fleet and walked towards them.
Behind them were at least several hundreds of their fellow patrols, traveling back and forth in different directions. They seemed to be surrounding the gatehouse, pulling up a line of defense.
“Patrols?” Thales was shocked. “Lampard’s people?”
“Yes. They’ve not only sealed the gatehouse, but unexpectedly, also laid out a defense line at such a long distance away.” Putray narrowed his eyes. “It looks like they conduct their checks quite strictly—though it is obvious that they’re fake, but the resemblance is almost uncanny.
“Get ready, we have to get past them.”
A shock ran through Thales’ heart. He looked at the First Gatehouse in the distance, envisioned Heroic Spirit Palace behind it, and those figures in it. He could not help but clench his fists tightly. His gaze began to turn resolute.
Opposite him, Nicholas’ face became tense.
The Star Killer cut off the ropes on Shiles’ body and extracted the strip of cloth in his mouth.
Putray smiled at Shiles. “It’s time for you to display your negotiation abilities, marquis.
“Do you know what to do?”
With that, Shiles breathed a sigh of relief as he leaned his entire body against the coach. “The Lady of Harvests is above, of course. But I want to say…”
The next moment, the marquis had his shoulders instantly gripped by the Star Killer.
As if electrocuted, the marquis immediately bounced off from the coach.
“Be honest. If I find out that you dared play any tricks…”?There seemed to be a faint threatening tone in Nicholas’ voice.
Shiles was hurting so much that he broke out in cold sweat.
“Relax, relax, Your Grace.” The Camian was sweating while shaking his head awkwardly. “If I am to negotiate with them, you will have to guarantee my safety, right?”
“I can’t guarantee your safety,” Nicholas said coldly, “but if something goes wrong, I guarantee that you will definitely die before we do.”
In this regard, the considerate and thoughtful Shiles could only express ‘understanding’ with a smile on his face.
Thales took a deep breath and revealed a reassuring smile to Putray.
Dozens of patrols walked into the two carriages with the Camian symbol. They looked at the Northlanders and foreigners by the vehicle with unfriendly expressions.
The window of the carriage was then opened.
“Good day, diligent gentlemen.
“I am Shiles Bamra from Good Flow City.” With his blond ponytail, the graceful Marquis Shiles nodded slightly at a noble, who looked like a disciplinary officer outside the vehicle. He had an easygoing expression and relaxed tone.
“My apologies, I have a very urgent matter and I need to enter Heroic Spirit Palace. Could you let me through?”
The disciplinary officer was slightly surprised. “A Camian?”
In the coach, everyone remained silent without a word as they awaited the results of Shiles’ negotiation with the disciplinary officer.
‘If he suddenly regrets his decision or…’
Nicholas gently stroked the hilt of his blade as he firmly stared at Shiles’ back.
“If you cannot make the decision, I believe your boss should know me—I mean your ‘immediate superior’. Shiles smiled and nodded.
That head disciplinary officer frowned, turned around and tapped the shoulder of the soldier next to him, saying a few words into his ear.
The latter seemed to have received the order, since he turned around and left.
“Of course, I’ve heard of your name before, sir. You’re one of His Majesty’s distinguished guests,” The disciplinary officer raised his head and nodded respectfully at Shiles. “But I’m also very sorry. Every carriage attempting to enter Heroic Spirit Palace, and every noble attempting to enter Heroic Spirit Palace must be inspected.
“This is an order from the prime minister.”
The moment his words fell, everyone in the carriage trembled in unison!
Thales and Putray exchanged glances, noticing the astonishment in each other’s eyes.
Shiles in particular was visibly stunned.
“Wait a minute.” Shiles unconsciously opened his mouth wide and looked at the surrounding patrols. He nervously questioned, “You mean… this is an order from the prime minister?”
The disciplinary officer also seemed somewhat surprised at the marquis’ reaction. He first glanced at his colleagues and subordinates before he nodded at Shiles.
The marquis in the carriage frowned with a face of suspicion, “You mean, Count Lisban, Prime Minister Lisban?”
“Yes, the entire city’s patrols are now directly under the prime minister’s command,” the disciplinary officer replied with a solemn expression. “Any problems?”
Shiles stared blankly at him. “The prime minister? Where is he? In the palace?”
The disciplinary officer shook his head.
“No, he’s right here.” The disciplinary officer pointed to the street next to him. There was a house guarded by soldiers. “He’s working in a temporary stronghold. I’ve sent someone to get him. If you have any questions, you can perhaps ask him directly.”
Shiles raised his head, and there was a complex expression on his face.
“The gatehouse, the First Gatehouse… It’s already time—why is it not opened yet?” the marquis asked hesitantly, while he gazed at the First Gatehouse and the vague human figures on it in the distance.
“Could it be that… something happened in Heroic Spirit Palace?”
The disciplinary officer’s expression changed.
“Of course not.” The disciplinary officer quickly reacted by shaking his head. His expression was solemn, seemingly allowing no doubt. “You know, the calamities just descended last night. We will be a little more cautious during emergencies, but please rest assured that everything is under control.”
Shiles narrowed his eyes.
He took a deep breath and looked at the house where the prime minister was located.
The marquis keenly asked, “Then isn’t the prime minister keeping watch in the palace? Why is he being stationed temporarily at a house instead?
“Between the patrols on the gatehouse and the defense line you laid out—it is a little too far, isn’t it?
“Don’t tell me that… you’re too afraid to go near the gatehouse?”
The disciplinary officer frowned imperceptibly.
“You’ve misunderstood. We intentionally put the defense line farther away from the gatehouse for safety,” he answered very seriously, as if to cut off all of the foreign noble’s unnecessary thoughts. “Before we can ensure safety, we need to block all possible threats outside Heroic Spirit Palace. Of course, even the gatehouse cannot lower its guard.”
Shiles raised his brows.
As they spoke, the soldier who passed the order returned to the disciplinary officer’s side and whispered a few sentences into his ear.
“Please come with us in your carriage.” The disciplinary officer turned his head and nodded respectfully at the marquis. “The prime minister wants to see you.”
Shiles’ expression changed.
“Oh.” He nodded gently as he concealed the surging emotions in his heart beneath his smiling expression. “Alright, we will come.”
Shiles first gestured at the coachman. Then, looking composed, he shut the window in a swift move.
The carriage began to move again. Following the patrols, it slowly moved forward.
He whipped around to look at the people in the coach.
The instant Shiles turned his head, his expression became nervous and heavy.
The people in the coach returned his look with pale faces.
Even though Shiles tried hard to suppress his emotions, Thales still heard a trace of unexpected panic in his tone, “These people, these soldiers… They’re not Lampard’s men, they’re not from Black Sand Region!”
The speed of Shiles’ words grew more and more urgent. He did not even care about the hilt of Nicholas’ blade, which was pointed at his back. He said in exasperation, “They’re the real patrols and troops of Dragon Clouds City! They’re direct subordinates of the disciplinary hall and garrison officer, not counterfeits!
A thought appeared in Thales’ mind as he watched the serious-looking patrols on both sides.
‘Meaning that these people are loyal to Dragon Clouds City, and to Walton’s influence?’
“What’s wrong?” Putray calmly asked. “Has Prime Minister Lisban appeared and managed to keep the situation under control?”
“That’s probably not the case yet.” Shiles shook his head, visibly strained as he thought through the circumstances. “I asked, and the gatehouse is still in Lampard’s hands—obviously, they’re still in confrontation or even in negotiation.”
Along with the Northlanders and Constellatiates, the two carriages were all moving forward. The gatehouse was towards their front right, whereas the house Lisban occupied was on the top left.
Putray clasped both of his hands and narrowed his eyes. “Looks like this prime minister is slightly more brilliant than we imagined—in this position, he’s already noticed something amiss in the gatehouse and even Heroic Spirit Palace. Hence, he came forward with troops.”
Thales sighed softly. He looked at Nicholas with firm eyes. “Now’s a good chance. You can seize this opportunity and evacuate with Lady… Lady Walton. Go look for Prime Minister Lisban—whether it is to seek help, or just leave, you can do it.”
Before his eyes, another carriage appeared. In it was that terrified little girl.
‘We’re going to part here…
Nicholas’ expression changed.
“It is of course convenient for the Northlanders, but the question is, what about us?” By the side, Shiles gritted his teeth and frowned. “When we get to see Lisban, what should we say? ‘We want to save your country, please let us go?'”
Thales took a deep breath and quickly thought.
‘In the original plan, they were supposed to let Shiles deceive the Black Sand Region soldiers in the gatehouse. Then, Shiles would find a way to send them into Heroic Spirit Palace.
‘But now, right before the gatehouse…
‘What’s to be done?
‘How do we face him?
‘Or, do we not face him at all?’
Once he thought of that, Thales raised his head pensively. “If we suddenly rush towards the gatehouse and let Shiles take us in, will we succeed?
“Will Lisban and his patrols intercept, or attack us?”
The carriage drove past yet another troop of patrol soldiers. They seemed to be more nervous than the other soldiers. They were gesticulating at the gatehouse while surrounding a noble.
Putray frowned. “But if it is as such…”
Nicholas’ expression shifted as he looked at Thales.
“You know what, you can actually meet the Prime Minister with me. We will explain everything, combine forces and act together,” Nicholas flatly said. “With his cooperation, it will be more convenient for us.”
The Star Killer glimpsed at Shiles as he spoke. His eyes were cold. “Anyway, we have an ‘enthusiastic’ witness from Camus bearing an account for King Nuven’s assassination.”
The Marquis of Camus’ complexion instantly changed in a dramatic manner!
A thought appeared in Thales’ mind.
The prince nodded and asked Nicholas solemnly, “If we seek Lisban… can he be trusted?”
Nicholas paused for a moment.
“Count Lisban, the king’s prime minister… He’s been His Majesty’s right hand over the years.” The Star Killer lowered his head and softly said, “Moreover, he is Dragon Clouds City’s direct vassal…”
Thales frowned as he felt something amiss in Nicholas.