Chapter 50: Search High and Low

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Governor Wilcox was not in a good mood. He had just received the words that the king had said when he heard that the princess had run away. How was he even supposed to find her in a short amount of time? It had been several months at this point. She could be anywhere in northern eastern or western Ezaes by now. It was not like he had not been searching already, but there was not a clue of where she had gone after leaving the land he governed. 

*sigh*

“Why did that girl have to try running away under my watch? She could have tried when she was back in Atan. We just don’t have any influence in Ezaes.” The governor was conveniently forgetting that that was a major benefit if one was trying to escape. All he knew was that his job was not only harder but his life was on the line after this. The King would not treat him kindly if he could not bring back the princess.

*knock knock*

“Enter.” He was brought out of his frustration by a knock on his study door. He had ordered not to be disturbed unless it was of utmost importance. He could not risk ignoring it, though woe fall on any man who ignored his order. Wilcox was not in the mood for frivolity.

“Reporting. We have managed to track down the fisherman who brought her out to sea. He brought her to a merchant vessel bound for Leigh, like we suspected.” The man reported immediately, he had obviously heard of the governor’s order. Any matters about the princess would definitely be deemed as ‘of utmost importance’.

“And do we know where this merchant vessel or it’s crew are now?” Wilcox asked. It was useless just confirming their suspicions if they could not follow up on them.

“The captain has ordered an undercover search for its whereabouts. According to the fisherman, it was sailing under a Leighian flag. So it should be somewhere on the northern coast of Ezaes.” The response was not satisfactory to Governor Wilcox. That was too large an area to search for just the knowledge to where the second princess was headed. He doubted she had told them much about her destination. She was too smart for that.

“Then make sure that you find them. I want to know where she went as soon as possible. Tell your superiors that this takes priority over all other matters, search high and low. The King wants her back in the palace as soon as possible.” Unlike the King, Wilcox did not jump into a fit of rage, but the menacing look in his eyes still did plenty to frighten the man before him.

“If she is not found, forget about the King’s wrath. None of you will escape mine. Do. I. Make. Myself. Clear?” He spoke in a measured tone normally but the emphasis put on his last sentence scared the messenger. He was most definitely not speaking in hyperbole.

“Understood, Sire.” The man nodded as fast as he could before bowing and leaving the room. He did not want to stay a moment sooner. Governor Wilcox had been known to make good on such promises in the past, he did not want to be a part of the latest example.

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Braydon had wanted to go talk to merchants in the south once he returned from the capital, but his duties had other plans. Whilst he had been away, the neighbouring lords had decided that they had waited long enough after the court’s decision and year’s end to start making a visit to their new neighbour. He had received several letters from all of his neighbours and even those who had land a bit further away. 

After all, having a fief the size of a small earldom was a different kettle of fish than a poor viscounty on the other side of a mountain range. He was not someone that they could so easily ignore. Even if the lords did not desire to be friends with him, they at least had to sound him out. He had a relatively decent army and iron that could be sold to their enemies at a moment’s notice.

The first thing that Braydon had been greeted with when he sat down in his study was Steven dumping a pile of letters announcing the intention for a visit in the near future. He would need to respond to them all.

“How many are there?” Braydon sighed, deflated by the amount of people he would have to say pointless pleasantries to. ‘Is it not enough to just send a letter, why do you need to meet me if you have nothing to say?’

“There are 18, Sire. Though that would be all of the nobles in the east and a few in the north east too.” Steven replied with a straight face. He would not let Braydon skip out on any of them, they both knew he would try.

“At least I won’t have to do this again any time soon. That is after all this is over though.” Braydon was unsure to be happy at that point, this looked like a month of speaking to other lords. He knew the personalities of a number of nobles and almost all of them he would rather not speak to. Braydon just hoped that these nobles would be somewhat better than those he had met while growing up in Heimron.

“You do know that you will have to speak with at least some of them again.” Steven pointed out. Braydon groaned in response, of course he would. Life would never be that easy.

“Why do I have to speak to so many annoying people?” Braydon started to complain. His go to when he was stressed, annoyed or felt like being petulant.

“Because you are a noble, it comes with the territory.” Steven answered before going silent. No matter how much Braydon moaned as he wrote out responses, he acted as if he were deaf, dumb and blind. It would only let Braydon slack on his duty if he responded to the complaints.

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