Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 492: Reality & Illusion

Chapter 492: Reality & Illusion

Chapter 492: Reality & Illusion

Translator: TransN Editor: TransN
As she followed Roland back to his office, Nightingale muttered to him, "I failed to protect you..."

"No, you did well," Roland responded, shaking his head. "Think, why did the assassin, Shio, choose the meeting hall of all places? Because he knew that I'm being protected by an extremely powerful witch, and if he didn't trick her away, he wouldn't have a chance. The more arrangements he had to make, the weaker his attack became, and he was ultimately able to strike me with only a tiny dagger."

"But he nearly succeeded."

"It can't be considered a success without killing me right there, and your presence served to restrict this possibility." Roland laughed. "What would he have done if I didn't have you? He would have waited patiently for a chance to launch a fatal attack—there would be chances as long as he could remain in the castle. This shows that you've already protected me very well. In fact, the safer the territory is, the safer I am as well."

"These aren't empty words of consolation..." Nightingale mused. "His Highness seems to really believe so." She felt a warm surge run through her body, and the nagging feelings of remorse allayed considerably. "Understood. But you mustn't let Lightning and Maggie off the hook this time!"

"Uh, what did they do?"

"When I wasn't around, they should have been by your side to guard against lurking enemies!" Nightingale pointed out. "Like in today's situation, the assassin wouldn't have been able to hurt you at all if Lightning was there to fly you up."

"She's just a little more active..."

"That won't do! Wendy and Scroll will definitely agree with me if they're around. If we don't let Lightning and Maggie understand their mistake, things may go wrong the next time when something like this happens!"

"Oh..." The prince deliberated briefly while stroking his chin. "I got it. I'll punish them by forbidding them to go outside until they complete three sets of MPC (Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry) comprehensive exercises. How does that sound?"

Nightingale inhaled a mouthful of cold air. "Comprehensive exercises... the math section is still okay, but the physics and chemistry sections are even scarier than the basic natural principles. Just the first page alone can make you sleepy, especially those weird formulas and diagrams, which are no different from the incantations in the legends." If it was herself who had to do the exercises, she would likely never be able to go out ever again. Yet, she was the one who came up with the suggestion and thus she felt that it was inappropriate to take it all back. Hardening her heart, she nodded at Roland and affirmed. "Great. This way, they'll surely recognize their mistake."

...

The afternoon meeting proceeded smoothly, with Nightingale staying behind and guarding Roland until it was dusk. The general framework and first batch of candidates for the secondary City Hall were finally confirmed.

Petrov Hull was appointed as Chief Executive of the Longsong Region. Apart from overseeing the City Hall, he was also concurrently Minister of Finance, while his father, Earl Hull, served as Minister of Construction. Therefore, Petrov could be considered one of the biggest winners among the Stronghold nobles this time. Even Nightingale gasped silently at this decision. Indeed, His Highness did not place the blame for the assassination attempt on the Honeysuckle Family—by the lords' standards, this could be considered to be a wonderful expression of fairness and clemency.

The other ministries were to be helmed by several outstanding people from the lower nobles. These people were formerly barons or knights, who would normally not be qualified for the higher levels of government. They were highly touched by His Highness' decision to remove the restrictive criteria and thereby expressed their willingness to serve him for life.

Although they sounded sincere, Nightingale had no doubt that should the situation ever change, such as if Timothy or the church captured the Western Region, there was a high chance that these people would quickly forget about their vows.

Before the meeting was dismissed, His Highness repeatedly emphasized two employment principles—the manpower of each family could be used within the ministries, but the proportion must not exceed 30 percent, and their files had to be reported to the City Hall beforehand. Another point was that no matter whether family manpower was used or not, the salaries of all employees would be paid by the City Hall, and any ministry head who kept the money would be harshly punished as criminals.

Nightingale was completely uninterested in these details, and thus she yawned repeatedly as she listened, until she caught sight of Maggie flying back into the castle with Countess Spear on her back, and her spirits lifted at once.

After the dinner party, a line of people followed Earl of the Elk Family to Shio's residence—it was a regular bungalow located in the castle quarter, and the inside of the house was extremely clean, such that not a single shred of paper could be found. Apparently, Shio was well-prepared and had destroyed all possible evidence before he acted.

"Shio spent his days in the castle, and thus we only need to reconstruct what he did at night." The prince advised Summer. "I'll need to find out everything he did here from the first time he contacted patrol member Maans until today. Every segment of activity in this house is important."

Countess Spear summoned her magic power to connect Maggie and Summer together.

Obtaining an abundant amount of magic power temporarily, Summer began to recreate the details of each night. Shio seemed to come back to life. He would sometimes sit in deep thought by the fireplace, and sometimes write things down on paper. All of these segments were recorded by Soraya's eyes.

On the fourth day, he sat as usual by the fireplace, but this time he had an emblem in his hands.

"Wait... I think I've seen this thing before." Roland's voice sounded surprised. "Draw it for me."

By using a Magic Pen, the emblem was quickly drawn on paper. It was roughly the size of a thumb, and its body was a gem that was polished into the shape of a button. Identical logos, comprising of a tower and a spear, were engraved on both sides—this was the typical emblem of the royal family.

"Could he be Timothy's man?" Nightingale asked unconsciously.

Roland frowned without saying a word, and seemed to ponder for a long while before he shook his head faintly and said, "No, this is the keepsake of King Wimbledon III."

"Are you saying... your father?" Rene looked completely astonished.

"Wasn't the king already.... by the eldest prince, Gerald..." Petrov was equally shocked.

"When I was little, I saw this emblem on my father's study desk and even asked him what it was. He told me that every piece of gem represented a warrior who was loyal to the royal family, and therefore the more gems there were, the more stable the throne was." The prince then took a deep sigh. "By the looks of it, Shio was a pawn placed by my father by Duke Ryan's side, and helped him to monitor the development and trend of the entire Western Region."

"If so, why did he want to kill you?" Rene asked.

"Most likely, Timothy found the gem list and ordered the assassination... to these warriors, the emblem means everything, and hence any and every order must be carried out."

"That's why..." Nightingale glanced at the illusion of the assassin—he observed the emblem for a long time and eventually tossed the gem into the fireplace. His expression seemed a little sad, and at the same time, he revealed a hint of relief on his face. Probably, in Shio's eyes, the order represented a kind of freedom.

Having understood clearly the reason for the attempt, Roland did not seem relieved nevertheless. With a grim face, he stared at the sparks in the fireplace and did not shift his gaze for a long time.

...

Late at night, after Summer had fallen asleep, Nightingale quietly snuck into Roland's room.

Ever since she was admonished by Wendy, she had not done this again, until now. The assassination attempt had caused a constant undulation of her emotions, and without the presence of Wendy and Anna in the castle, she felt a little more unfettered and free.

Watching Roland Wimbledon in his deep sleep, she emerged from the Mist and quietly walked up to the bedside. She bent down and kissed Roland on the forehead.

Sorry, Your Highness, I can't control myself.