Chapter 226: Man Proposes, Elanitia Disposes

“Your Highness.” One of the King’s clerks greeted him as he entered Aled’s study.

“Is there something to report? Perhaps Duke Burn finally feels like showing up?” The King was having second thoughts about not pursuing Duke Burn when he had the chance. Even if he knew that it might not have been successful and few of the north-eastern lords would have followed him in the endeavour. The man was being a complete pain to him now. 

It was clear that the Duke was dragging his heels on the matter of marrying off his daughter to try and gain more concessions from him. They both knew that at this point there was no real hope for the Duke to actually win a fight between the two of them but that he could still cause considerable pain if they actually came to blows. And that was something that Ale wanted to avoid after just putting down Duke Ryder’s rebellion. 

“Unfortunately there has still been no word from the Duke yet, Your Highness. Rather it is a report from Wathamalin.” The clerk shook his head to the King’s hopes. Aled desperately needed a wife, going without an heir after sitting on the throne for so long was not a great thing for him. Especially since he no longer had the excuse of a very fractious court.

“From Wathamalin? Which branch guild has gotten into so much trouble that they would actually ask me for help?” That was usually the only time that he would hear anything of note from the city. Even the main guilds in the capital let them do their own thing since it was just less trouble that way. He would have to deal with it eventually but he was not looking forward to when it actually happened.

“The guild leader of the local cloth merchants sent word this time.” The clerk said as he handed over the letter.

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“Cloth merchants? How badly do you have to f*** up to be in trouble as someone selling cloth?” Aled could hardly imagine that there were many people that could go for a long time without cloth, especially not the peasants. If his memory served correctly there were no other merchants in the east that dealt in cloth other than those that worked with the guild.

“Ho, so he wants to play politics.” It did not take long for Aled to express his surprise, he did not even need to read the full letter to get the gist of what the man wanted from him.

“Look into which lords are hiring mercenaries in Wathamalin.” Aled told the clerk before dismissing him to continue reading the letter. It was not hard to tell that the self important merchant was looking to play retribution games with some lord or other. Not that it stopped him from looking into something as interesting as the mass hiring of mercenaries in the city.

“For him to pay such close attention to one knight. It has been half a month already, he must be pissed. Though I doubt that he saw everything. He is not a professional spy.” Aled doubted very much that there was only one lord hiring mercenaries in Wathamalin after the political shakeup that the country had just been through. He just had to make sure that he kept tabs on who was hiring mercenaries and how many. It was one thing to know roughly how large a lord’s standing forces were. It was another to know if he was hiring mercenaries or not. And since this knight was hiring slowly over the course of the past few weeks, it was clear that his lord did not want anyone to know about it.

Only allowed on

“Hopefully it is not Burn, it would be a shame if we had to duke it out after going to such lengths to avoid it.” He did not want to fight the Duke but that did not mean that he would let the Duke do whatever he wanted unopposed. If the Duke thought of increasing his military capacity at all, the King would come down hard on it. He could not afford not to. There was a reason why Duke Burn was still alive right now and that was because he was just troublesome enough to be a threat but not troublesome enough to need exterminating. If he knew what was good for him, he would keep it that way.

“Haha, it seems that the King will be sending somebody to investigate.” A fat man started laughing once he read the response he had received from the palace. The letter merely stated that a royally backed investigation into hiring mercenaries would be going on in Wathamalin and asked for his compliance but that was more than enough for him. He did not doubt that every guild leader in the city had been sent a similar letter. And it would only take a small bit of ‘convincing’ to get his associates to cooperate too.

“You should not have gotten yourself involved in this dispute, now you will suffer the consequences.” He had been trying for months to find a way to get that annoying new Viscount, now Earl, to stop backing the damnable man that had taken away his daughter. He had lost out on significant amounts of profit from the endeavour and was so close to trapping him until that happened. Nothing and no one would get in between him and showing that even a lord of Fiveria could not deny him his money and power without consequences. 

When he had found that a knight of the man that had caused him so many headaches was hiring mercenaries on mass, he had thought that he was dreaming. Such a golden opportunity had dropped onto his lap out of nowhere. If it had happened a year ago there would have been nothing to be done, but now the King was at his zenith of power. How could he allow something like that?

“Let me see how I cut you down to size without your new backer, Archer Ellis.” He had no real disputes with anyone that was backing Viscount Ellis but that did not mean that he would shy away from taking them out if he had to to deal with him. Even if that backer was a newly ascended earl.

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