Release that Witch - Chapter 644: Diplomacy in the New Era
After lunch, Roland summoned Barov into the bedroom.
Barov, the Director of City Hall, who came to Roland’s bedroom for the first time, seemed more cautious than usual but looked very excited.
Seeing his behavior, Roland could not help thinking of a story that a celebrity in history ran out to receive his subjects with his clothes in disarray, which considerably touched the visitors. It felt like his lazy behavior unexpectedly aroused a strong feeling of trust in his Director of City Hall and he had not intended it to.
He had to say that male official had a unique advantage in loyalty. For example, he could talk with him overnight, share one bed with him, and so on. But if it was Edith Kant, those things would be regarded as gossip.
Roland smiled and shook his head, setting aside those distracting thoughts. “How many letters have you received during the time I fought and slipped into a coma in the Northern Region?”
“A total of 16.” Barov quickly reported. “Most of them are from lords of various domains asking for trade or visiting, and two confidential letters are from the Eastern Region asking for a peace negotiation. I’ve answered them all as you’ve required.”
They had concluded the arrangements in a council meeting before the war. When the king led the army and marched on war, Barov would temporarily deal with the administrative affairs of Neverwinter in the king’s absence. He would be responsible for reading all letters that were sent to the king. And the letters which were of particular importance and beyond Barov’s power to answer would be sent to the battlefront by carrier pigeon.
“Just for a peace negotiation?”
“Yes… They’re unwilling to surrender the right of enfeoffment. Moreover, they advise you to keep the tradition and honor of nobility.”
“Next spring, those people will naturally know what kind of choice they should make.” Roland shrugged. “Where are the letters for my attention? Where are they from?”
“One came from Astrology Association of the city of Dawn, the other from the Kingdom of Dawn,” Barov said, handing over two sheets of paper, “They arrived in the moment you were in a deep slumber, and it tells something that is a bit… weird.”
Roland first spread out the parchment with the constellation pattern on it.
It was written by Astrologer of Dispersion Star. He had spent the first half page on greetings and gratitude. The astronomical telescopes Roland had sent to observatory had been put into use. Certainly, they should thank him for that, Roland thought, but the rest of the letter numbed him for a while.
“They’ve tracked the Star of Extinction in the sky?”
“A star that was sparkling red and was located in a permanent place?”
The first thing that came to Roland’s mind was a synchronous orbit.
Judging from his poor knowledge of astronomy, he knew that only objects that traveled on a synchronous orbit could remain relatively still with the planet.
“If Bloody Moon appeared on this orbit, it would definitely influence the planet. Plus the observation also showed that its size should be extremely small.”
“So Bloody Moon was not a natural celestial body, but a man-made satellite?”
After thinking for a moment, Roland denied his speculation. “If it was a satellite, how could it be descending to Earth?” According to Agatha’s view, the moment Bloody Moon showed up, the entire continent would witness it. It was greater and brighter than the moon, and its scarlet light dyed the walls of Holy City bloody red. Even on a bright day, one could see its outline.
“It made no sense.”
He was silent for a while before putting the letter aside. “Write a letter. Invite the astrologers to come to Neverwinter.”
“But they rejected you last time,” Barov said with hesitation, “I’m afraid this time…”
“Things have changed. Now that the Astrology Association has found the star they want to pursue, they’ll just observe the sky where the star is located,” Roland tapped the table and said, “You told them in the letter that Neverwinter has developed a better astronomical telescope and found some ancient books about the Star of Extinction. I believe they’ll come.”
He spread out the second piece of paper, or a slip of paper as he would call it. As per usual, a message delivered by a carrier pigeon was always very concise.
“The King of Dawn died, and his eldest son Appen Moya succeeded the throne.”
“He ordered the elimination of believers of the church, cut off the trade route to the Holy City and has begun to hunt down witches.”
“As a result, a rebellion broke out on the border that affected our caravan.”
“The original plan may temporarily be suspended.”
Roland could not help frowning. He knew that it was normal for Barov, who was unclear about what the church had done to the Kingdom of Dawn, to be confused. After Isabella and others retreated, the King of Dawn would sooner or later die of a lack of pills. He just did not expect that Appen would hate the church so much that he even involved witches.
Of the policies Appen had given, eliminating believers seemed reasonable. But the unilateral ban on trade basically cut off the source of wealth for border lords. The church must be behind the rebellion. Yet, hunting down witches was something that absolutely went against Roland’s interests.
An order of such impulsion could not be drawn from the ideas of the three powerful Families. The only possible explanation was that the new king had lost his mind when seeking revenge for his father.
Roland had thought that the Kingdom of Dawn would be a potential ally, but this fact had disappointed him.
“Send a formal diplomatic letter to Appen,” Roland said slowly, “First of all, it’s to congratulate him for his coronation, and then warn him to stop hunting down witches. A pure witch isn’t the same as a common witch and Graycastle has established a formal witch organization. Anyone who treats them as enemies will be against the Kingdom of Graycastle.”
“Uh… Your Majesty.” Barov wiped the sweat away from his forehead. “Are you sure you want to put those words in the letter?”
“Are there any questions?”
“He won’t take it seriously. He may think you’re threatening him.”
Roland was very clear that sometimes even the feudatories under the local lords would not follow the king’s order, let alone foreign kingdoms. But the era had changed. If the kingdom did not understand diplomacy, he did not mind teaching them what it really was.
“I’m threatening him,” he answered nakedly, “If Appen Moya insists on his way, I may as well support a new king of the Kingdom of Dawn next year when we conquer Holy City, a wise king who’ll fight with Graycastle against the Battle of Divine Will. Andrea of House Quinn will be a good choice.”
Diplomacy in the new era would be built on steel firearms. Anything he failed to earn on the negotiating table would be taken by force. To deal with other kingdoms, intervening in their internal affairs, changing heirs, supporting oppositions, and directly stationing the troops into their lands would be common ways. Roland did not want any other kingdoms to stand in his way before Bloody Moon came.
Therefore, the core of this diplomatic letter meant to show “Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.”
“I, I got it,” Barov Mons answered with a complex look in his eyes. He was astonished, excited, and undisguisedly awed… He bent down deeply and said, “I’ll send your will to the Kingdom of Dawn.”