The City of Hess
Doehring Cowart was rendered momentarily speechless by Linley’s question.
“Linley, I must tell you, if a weapon has just a little bit of adamantine alloyed into it, the weapon’s durability will increase to a very high level. If a weapon were to be totally made out of adamantine, even if you gave it to a Saint-level combatant and let him try to break it, he wouldn’t be able to scratch it, no matter how long he tried.”
Doehring Cowart was very resigned.
Linley clearly didn’t fully appreciate how valuable adamantine was.
“Then, Grandpa Doehring, can I use this adamantine to forge a ‘heavy sword’?” After listening to Doehring Cowart previously explain the benefits to using heavy weapons, Linley wanted to acquire a heavy sword of his own. Originally, Linley was planning to spend some money and buy a good one. But now that he had this chunk of ‘adamantine’, naturally he had to put it to good use.
Right now, Linley didn’t lack for money.
“Forge a heavy sword with adamantine? A heavy sword is rather large, and will most likely need this chunk of adamantine to be mixed with some other metals. But of course, I don’t know anything about blacksmithing myself. However, I have heard that forging weapons out of adamantine is extremely difficult. Adamantine is extremely tough. Most master weaponsmiths are not capable of melting and reforging it.” Doehring Cowart chuckled.
Linley nodded to himself.
Adamantine was a material which even Deity-level combatants supposedly would find tough to break. But since it was possible for adamantine to be forged into a weapon, naturally there had to be a special technique for it as well. Only, the technique was probably too difficult.
“Got it.” Linley nodded.
Linley and Second Prince Shaq continued speeding northwards, and the farther north they went, the sparser the magical beasts became. After travelling another three or four hundred kilometers without a single magical beast appearing, they reached an area where the local cities and towns hadn’t had any people die.
But these villages and towns were very sparsely populated. Most likely, people were afraid of the danger and had moved northwards as well.
“Haha, good, it seems the Kingdom of Hess hasn’t fallen.” Shaq laughed loudly. “It’s been quite a few days. Finally we can rest.”
Shaq looked at Linley.
Seated on his horse, Linley seemed as solid and unmovable as an old oak, not wavering in the slightest, seeming very stable. His face was calm, and he had been silent, giving him a reliable, taciturn aura. Towards Linley, Shaq had always felt a hint of dread. Although he was a few years older than Linley, he always respectfully addressed Linley as ‘Master Linley’.
“Master Linley, look. That’s a military camp up ahead.” Shaq and Linley were riding side by side.
The Radiant Church had clearly decided to set up a line of defense here at the borders of the Kingdom of Hess. Seeing those countless military camps lining the border, one could tell how many soldiers had been deployed here.
“Two kingdoms and five duchies lost. That’s about a third of the territory of the Holy Union. I expect the Radiant Church isn’t willing to retreat any further.” Linley chuckled. Linley and the knights made their way through the guarded pass, and were quickly allowed in.
This guarded pass was to defend against magical beasts.
Naturally, no humans would be denied entry.
“Second Prince, shall we rest here?” Linley seemed very tranquil.
“The city of Hess is one of the agreed upon places that my royal father and I settled upon. We still have around three hundred kilometers before arriving at Hess City. If we hurry, we should be able to reach there by nightfall today.” Shaq said unguardedly.
Linley memorized this name. “Clayde. Hess City shall be where you die.”
They continued their journey. Linley, Shaq, and the thirty mounted knights kicked up a trail of dust in their wake. By the time Linley and Shaq saw the city of Hess, the sun was just setting, casting its red glow upon the earth.
“Hess City, the capital of the Kingdom of Hess. It’s only slightly smaller than Fenlai City.” Seeing the silhouettes of the enormous city walls, Linley couldn’t help but be awed.
How much manpower had it taken to erect such giant walls?
Arriving at the gate to Hess City, Linley and his squad found their way barred.
“Dismount!” A gate guard of Hess City ordered in a loud voice.
“Why should we dismount?” Shaq shouted back angrily.
The gate guard saw that Shaq’s group was definitely an extraordinary one, and thus answered the question. “His Highness has ordered that no horses may be ridden within the boundaries of Hess City. Everyone, right now Hess City is overflowing with people. There’s simply not enough space to ride horses. It’s best if you all dismount.”
“Let’s dismount.” Linley smiled at Shaq.
Linley and Shaq could both imagine that many people had fled here from the two ruined kingdoms and the six destroyed duchies. Most likely many of the people living near Hess City had fled here as well. Those two kingdoms and six duchies possessed a combined population of hundreds of millions.
Even if 90% had died, millions would have survived. And of course, there had been no magical beast sightings within hundreds of kilometers of the Kingdom of Hess, so virtually all of the people who lived in that area had survived.
“So many people.”
Stepping into Hess City, Linley and Shaq and the knights were all shocked. Hess City normally could only accommodate at most a million people. But by Linley’s calculations, right now there were at least several million people within the city, because every single street was clogged. Even in the city of Fenlai, Linley had never seen anything like this.
“Go find a hotel first, then come back here to pick me up.” Shaq immediately ordered his men to go reserve a hotel suite.
“Lord Linley, let’s go eat dinner first.” Shaq said with a laugh, and of course Linley wouldn’t refuse. Shaq immediately led Linley and the others to a nearby restaurant. The bottom floor of this restaurant was full, but there were still dining rooms available in the upper levels.
“Three rooms.” Shaq said magnanimously.
But when they sat down and Shaq saw the prices on the menu, he was somewhat flabbergasted. Shaq grabbed the nearest waiter and shouted angrily, “Do you take me for an idiot? With prices like this, a table of dishes would cost several thousand gold coins. You are trying to cheat me!”
Although this restaurant was a high class one, Shaq, as a prince, had naturally been to many high class restaurants.
For a restaurant of this class, a hundred gold coins a table was generally more than enough.
“Milord, if you don’t wish to eat, you can leave.” The waiter seemed very confident. “Right now, Hess City is filled to the brim with people, including countless nobles who fled here with their valuables. All of them demand high quality service and are willing to pay for it.”
Shaq was instantly stunned by these words.
Right. The people who had managed to flee from the two kingdoms and the three duchies most likely all belonged to powerful clans or were powerful combatants themselves. Those powerful clans naturally wouldn’t penny-pinch.
Shaq snorted, but still placed his orders in the end. After Shaq and Linley had finished eating their meals…
“Your Highness, Second Prince.” The people who had gone looking for a hotel came back.
“And? Have you found a place?” Shaq asked.
That guard shook his head. “All of the rooms in the major hotels have been booked. Although we only went to five large hotels, we could already tell this wouldn’t work. There were too many people trying to make reservations. Your Highness, we arrived at Hess City too late. The members of the clans belonging to the five duchies and the Kingdom of Hanmu arrived much faster than us.”
“Sit and eat first.” Shaq turned to look at another guard, one with short jade hair. “Are you full yet? If you are, help me find a manor and buy it. I expect the prices here within Hess City will be quite high, but no matter how pricy it is, buy it. Remember, though; don’t buy something which is too gaudy and too large. This manor will only be a temporary lodging place for myself and my royal father.”
“Yes, your Highness.” The guard acknowledged, and then left to find a manor.
Linley quietly drank his wine, watching everything.
“A manor? I wonder which manor it will be. When Clayde comes, most likely he will head to that manor as well.” By finding out the place where Clayde was going to stay, all he would need to do was lie in wait. When the opportunity came, he would send Clayde to his death.
Hess City. A very ordinary manor on Keyan Road.
Under normal conditions, a manor in Hess City like this which was not located in the city center would generally be worth two or three hundred thousand gold coins. But Prince Shaq had to pay a million gold coins just to buy it. A large number of nobles and magnates had entered Hess City, causing inflation to skyrocket.
Linley also stayed in this manor for now.
“That Clayde, after he comes, should be residing in one of these two or three rooms.” Linley was walking in the middle of the manor, carefully inspecting its internal layout. He was making preparations for killing Clayde in the future.
The night wind was cool and refreshing, but Linley ignored it, only paying attention to the location and layout of every part of this manor.
“Lord Linley, why haven’t you rested yet?” That enchanting consort said to Linley in a soft voice, standing in the doorway to her room.
“Found being in my room to be too stuffy. Thought I’d get some fresh air.” Linley replied casually.
“I also feel it’s rather stuffy.” That consort walked out of her room towards Linley. Her coquettish gaze only made Linley feel apprehensive, and he immediately said, “Then Royal Consort, you should get some air. I’ll go back to my room and get some rest now.” After he spoke, Linley immediately left.
Watching Linley leave, the consort couldn’t help but let out a little hmph of displeasure.
The next morning.
“Second Prince, Royal Consort, Princess. I have some things to take care of, so I’ll leave now.” Linley bid his farewells.
“Lord Linley, why are you in such a rush to leave? Wait for my royal father to come back first, then decide.” Shaq immediately tried to convince him to stay.
Linley laughed coldly inside. “Wait for your royal father? If Clayde saw that I was living here, I probably would have to openly attack and kill him. The chance of killing him openly is lower than assassinating him.” Linley had already had enough setbacks.
This time, Linley wanted to be absolutely certain of success.
“This time, I’ll have to endure and be patient. I’ll wait for the moment when Clayde and Kaiser aren’t together. When Clayde is alone, I’ll kill him. That will definitely be successful.” Linley knew that so long as Kaiser was there, he wouldn’t be able to kill Clayde quickly.
But as long as Kaiser was not present, he definitely would succeed.
“Then where are you going, Lord Linley?” Shaq asked.
“I plan to leave Hess City and continue north. As for where exactly, I’m not yet sure.” Linley replied. “Alright. Second Prince, Royal Consort, Princess. I bid you farewell.”
Bowing slightly, Linley led Bebe away from the manor.
That very night, Linley moved into a small courtyard on the same street as Shaq’s manor. The manor which Shaq had bought took up a large amount of space, enough to very comfortably fit thirty people. But the house which Linley bought was very small, only enough for three or four people.
This little courtyard had still cost Linley 50,000 gold coins. In normal times, a few thousand coins would have been enough.
“Ah Da, Ah Er, have you seen anyone new enter the manor?” Linley was seated at his dinner table as he asked these two men.
Linley had casually picked these two men up from the streets for his employ. Right now, in Hess City, there were many commoners as well as nobles. After fleeing here, those commoners had no food to eat and place to live. All they could do was beg or do manual labor. Thus, it was easy for Linley to find people to work for him. A salary of two gold coins each day, with food and board included, was an opportunity which any of these impoverished refugees would have fought for.
Linley saw that these two men seemed the reliable sort, and so had chosen them.
“At night, you can sleep, but by day, keep a close watch. As long as any strangers enter the manor, especially in large numbers, you have to inform me. Pay special attention to a man who has only one hand.” Linley repeated his instructions.
There was no need to keep a watch at night, because the gates to Hess City were barred shut at night.
And Linley was confident that with two people watching during the day, as long as Clayde’s men arrived, he would definitely find out. Shaq and his people believed that Linley had really left the city, but in reality, Linley continued his watch from a courtyard very near them.
“Clayde, I’ll just keep waiting here for as long as it takes. Let’s see how long it takes you to get here.” Linley’s gaze was cold.
Seeing the look on Linley’s face, those two brothers shuddered.
“Go.” Linley ordered.