Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 877: The Long-Forgotten Hometown

Chapter 877: The Long-Forgotten Hometown

Chapter 877: The Long-Forgotten Hometown
Translator: TransN Editor: TransN

"He changed his family name? What happened?" Roland frowned.

"Probably because it's easier to merge with another family than to manage the territory all by himself." William was surprised that Roland was paying particular attention to some petty noble. "It requires a huge amount of money to live a decent life. If one isn't really capable of managing domestic affairs, his domain would be a burden rather than an asset."

"Could it be possible that he was compelled? For example, somebody wanted to take his land by force?"

The earl replied meditatively, "Not... very likely. I've seen them attend some banquets before, although I didn't really talk to them. That Gilen, who changed his surname, seems to be pretty happy with the Somis. I don't see he was forced by any means. If you want to know about this, I can send for Viscount Dott Somi..."

"That's fine." Roland interrupted him after receiving Nightingale's whispery instructions. "I was just curious. Not a big deal. But it appears that the Gilen didn't show up this time?" He thought that Nightingale should have recognized him if his brother Hyde had attended the banquet.

The senior lord clapped his hand over his chest and said apologetically, "That's my fault. I usually stick to our tradition when sending out invitations."

Roland immediately understood what he meant. Even though the Gilen had changed his name and become a branch of the Somis, he was still not considered for a place on the invitation list. Although the booming mining industry in Silver City stimulated commerce and trades, making the city more or less similar to City of Glow in terms of its livelihood and style, people in here apparently attached greater importance to wealth and power than titles and reputations. William's answer, in a way, also reflected that the glory and pride of the Gilen Family had almost diminished and faded out of people's memories.

Roland knew Hyde had inherited his father's viscount title after the departure of Nightingale.

It was really pathetic to see him be reduced to such poverty.

Roland returned to the campsite. As soon as he shut the tent curtains, Nightingale revealed herself and explained voluntarily, "Your Majesty, you must know that I have no interest in prying into Hyde's business. Ever since I left Silver City, I've severed all relationships with the Gilens. Please trust me... I was just, just a little surprised at that time."

Roland could barely suppress the urge to tease Nightingale when he saw the latter try to convince him with a look of absolute honesty. Nevertheless, he soon changed his mind at the thought of Nightingale's incredible obstinacy, for he did not like to seek trouble. As such, he simply coughed and nodded airily. "I know. You never lie to me in this regard."

"You don't believe me... Nope, you don't believe me at all!" Nightingale retorted immediately.

Apparently, his reply was not quite convincing, for Nightingale had discerned the mocking tone of his remark with her ability. He thus took a deep breath and cleared his mind. Then he looked into her eyes and said more seriously, "I believe you."

This time, it was Nightingale's turn to feel abashed. A rosy blush rose to her cheeks. She immediately looked away. "I was just surprised. I have nothing to do with the person who betrayed me."

Although Roland wanted to tell her that it was normal to show some concerns for her brother, he felt it more advisable to tag along in this situation. So, he asked, "Why were you surprised?"

"The Somis once had a good term with my father..." Nightingale replied in a low voice. "After my father passed away, they often came to see me at the old Gilen mansion. However, after my family knew I'd become a witch, old Gilen forbade me to see them. I didn't expect that Viscount Somi would adopt Hyde."

Roland, who had lived in this world for so many years, instantly understood the underlying implication. If the two families did have a good term, the Somis should have helped Nightingale's brother revive the house after the decease of old Gilen. Indeed, it was common for a noble to help an heir of a diminished family regain its power. The latter would then return his benefactor with incessant wealth and even further a union through the marriage of their children. It was a kind deed people loved to talk about.

Yet to ask the sole heir to change his surname would be a totally different story.

That meant the end of the Gilen bloodline as well as their viscount title.

Since Roland had determined to forfeit all feudal rights, the noble status did not matter anymore. However, from the point of view of a traditional noble, having an heir change his family name was far worse than stealing his property. It did not sound like something that a family with whom the Gilens had a good relationship would do.

"If you sense something unusual, look into it." Roland sat back at the desk and unrolled a stash of parchment to review the statistics of the local population and the financial status of the local government, a routine task that he always did when visiting a new city. "Sylvie and the God's Punishment Witches will protect me here. I'll be perfectly safe at the campsite, so you don't have to stick around all the time."

Nightingale hesitated for a moment. "But it's the business of the Gilen Family. I have nothing to do with them..."

"It's your father's domain essentially, so you're more or less involved. Plus, the mansion where you grew up is also within that domain, right? Since we've already arrived here and that the church is no longer coming after you, just take this opportunity to revisit your old abode." "Although all the land now belongs to the kingdom," Roland remained the rest of his words unsaid.

Nightingale appeared to be persuaded by the notion of "the old mansion where she grew up". After a long silence, she made her decision. "OK, but you have to promise to summon me when you want to leave the campground. It would be a quick trip. I'm not going to do anything."

"You got it." Roland shook his head in amusement. He had this weird feeling that he was forcing Nightingale to return to her native town, but he believed the historical issues of her family would only be solved after she confronted them with courage. Avoidance would never help with the problems.

If truth be told, Nightingale was still a little... too young to understand the philosophy of life.

***************

Nightingale left the campsite at dawn. She headed to the east of Silver City along the main street.

She remembered it was a grand mansion. There was a farmland close to the two-story building, vast enough to hide all footprints. A brook, which originated from the depth of the forests, wrapped around the farmland, where she used to hunt for crabs in summer. In the farther east lay a deep ravine, which was where her families had believed a gem mine was hidden. Her family had once promised that they would pick the biggest gemstone down there as her dowry.

Nightingale had not known that her family's domain was actually the smallest among nobles until she had left Silver City with the Witch Cooperation Association. Their land was pretty much of the same size as the domain of an ordinary knight if compared to nobles in other towns. Since their only water source was this brook, the expansion of the farmland was greatly limited. The so-called gem mine down the ravine was probably a pure dream of her families'. Even if the mine did exist, they would not have enough gold royals for further development and operation.

This place did not change much during her prolonged absence. Although the bushy farmland both appeared to have shrunk a little bit over the past several years, the reminiscence of her childhood seemed to have brought life back to this place, making it as fresh and vivid as ever.

Nightingale somehow started to understand the underlying meaning of Wendy's words, "erasing the nightmares of the old days doesn't mean abandoning the past".

When Nightingale approached the mansion, however, she was astonished.

She had thought the deserted house would be dilapidated, but to her dismay, it was not only refurbished but had also expanded a great deal on top of the original building. She walked through the yard fences and saw many people inside, all poorly dressed, some of them even as shabby as beggars. Several servants were passing porridge to the crowd, and the crowd, from time to time, expressed their gratitude to their benefactor.

Nightingale wondered if they were distributing relief food.

Over the crowd at the end of the yard, she noticed a man standing at the entrance of the mansion, smiling back to the grateful peasants. His attire and every act of demeanor revealed that he was a well-bred aristocratic gentleman.

As Nightingale had expected, the man was her long-forgotten brother.

Hyde Gilen.