Chapter 7 Training (Part II)
The raised fire under her feet soon faded away, thus ending the twenty-third attempt of her failures.
As beads of sweat continues to pour out of her forehead, Anna only uses her backhand to wipe them away before the crackling sound of rising flame sounded once again.
With no regards for the neatly folded witch uniforms to the side, she ends the current exercise with the start of a new one. If Anna hadn’t insisted on doing so, her new uniform would’ve already been burned to ashes.
Fortunately, with Roland’s identity as the fourth prince, getting a few spare robes for her to use was not difficult. Tasking his maid Tyre to deliver a whole bucket full of robes, these were gathered by the maids solely for Anna’s use.
Then by the twenty-fourth time she had finally yielded some progress. The flames no longer risen only from her feet, instead it appeared on the center of her hand from thin air. Gingerly moving her arm to guide the flame to her fingertips, her efforts ended in failure as the flame suddenly shook twice before engulfing her sleeve yet again. Rising up to her arm, the fire eventually incinerated her whole dress like the so many before this one.
Dismissing the flame, Anna unemotionally rips away the charcoaled remains of her maid outfit and turns to get a new one from the bucket.
This wasn’t the first time this had happened, but whenever it did Roland would look away so that his eyes would be averted to other places even if Anna herself didn’t care.
As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for Roland’s strong objections, she would have probably taken off all her clothes and practiced in the nude while in broad daylight! But even if Roland were to get a good view of her great figure that way, he wouldn’t be able to calmly work with a naked girl, especially when the girl can turn into flames and gave off an entirely different sort of charm with her body.
Shaking his head, Roland leaves his dirty thoughts behind. For the moment, it seemed that it wasn’t easy to master the power of magic. The actual goal he had set for Anna was that she should control the flame to such a degree that she could release it from her palm or her fingers without destroying her own clothes. However, he also wanted the flames to have a high enough temperature to melt the iron ingots that were in the yard.
After Anna’s thirtieth attempt had failed and before she could make for the next one, Roland stopped her and told her to take a break.
Aside from giving him a look in a startled fashion, Anna gave no other response.
In the end Roland had to walk over and pull the girl over to the chair and force her to sit down.
“You are tired; when you are tired you should rest. Do not be too impatient, we still have some time.” He helped her wipe the sweat off of her moist forehead and said, “let us partake on an early afternoon tea.”
Roland knew that the nobility of the Kingdom of Greycastle did not have the habit of drinking afternoon tea, nor would the ordinary folks of this world get the chance to taste such fine delicate foods like this when the productivity was so low. The people in this world weren’t familiar with the concept of three meals a day, let alone mentioning a fourth one. As for the noble sons, they generally gathered together around this time to have some fun in the bars or casinos.
If this habit doesn’t exist yet then he can just create one. No tea? Fine, he can replace it with ale. When the former fourth prince had learned of his fate in being sent to a barren border town, he had gathered his maids, servants and cooks along for the trip.
So in the castle’s rear garden, the first afternoon tea party of the Greycastle Kingdom was held in a wooden cottage.
As Anna eyed the dishes of exquisite snacks, she could hardly believe her own eyes. Since when could something meant to be consumed look so good?
Although she did not know the specific name of the cake she ate, it was pure white in appearance, and the bright red collection of fruit could increase a person’s appetite by just looking at it. Especially after seeing the edges of the pastry decorated in an exquisite pattern, all of this forced her to change her worldview once again.
Roland cheekily observed Anna’s bewildered expression. Isn’t it just a strawberry cream puff cake? Look at how scared you are, acting like a country bumpkin. And those strawberries are marinated in sugar and didn’t even taste fresh.
Roland found that appreciating the witch’s face while she ate was more satisfying than doing so himself. Roland watched Anna, who was carefully placing the cake into her mouth, her blue eyes almost brimming with radiance while her hair gently swayed under the breezes current. Seeing all this, his heart nearly exploded all of a sudden. Thinking to himself, it’s not good to cook anything worse!
Well, the cultivation of feelings as well as talent was also very important.
Not showing any interest in the government affairs, watching Anna while she practiced and accompanying her to enjoy the afternoon tea became Roland’s daily life at this point. And of course, Barov took care of everything else so things remained clear and orderly.
Three days later, Barov delivered the information of the border town’s industry that he had asked for to Roland’s office. This was an absolutely unbelievable moment. The former fourth Prince actually had never given the patience to see such a big pile of complicated reports.
As a matter of fact, even now he didn’t have it. Roland needed only to read two lines of text before he started to feel dizzy, “You will read it to me.” he directly said to Barov.
He spent an hour listening to Barov until he found a problem, “Why were the border town’s annual winter taxes and trade revenues zero?”
Since the winter temperatures were low, the decline in the harvest could be understood, but what was the meaning of directly returning to zero, do the local people have the habit of hibernating?
Barov coughed, “Sir, did you forget? The winter months, it’s the time of the ‘Months of the Demons’, the town has no ability to guard its borders so all the residents must evacuate to Longsong Stronghold. But rest assured, your safety is certainly the first priority.”
“Months of the Demons?” Roland seemed to recall having heard that phrase before. He didn’t take the take of ghosts and the legends of wicked witches seriously, he considered it as part of this uncivilized world’s nonsense. But now it seems that the monsters are not a fantasy since the witches actually do exist. Then… what about the other famous legends like ghosts?
When he got his education as a noble, his history tutor had explained the “Month of the Demons”’ in detail. Every winter, after the first snow fall and the sun gone behind the mountains, an intense darkness without light would descend. At that moment the gates of hell would open.
The evil spirits from hell would corrupt living creatures, and turn them into the slaves of the devil. Some of the animals would change into powerful demon beasts with only one goal, to attack humans. Most witches were born in this season, and their power would be far stronger than usual because of it.
“Have you seen them? The Gates of Hell,“ Roland asked.
“Your Highness, how can ordinary people go see them?” Barov shook his head again and again, “Don’t say nonsense, the mountains they come from cannot be conquered, even being close to the mountains will cause you to be affected by the foul miasma. First getting a mild headache, and then in severe cases even losing your mind. Unless……”
“Unless the person doing it is a witch. Only a witch can go and see the Gates of Hell because they have fallen from grace and became the devil’s minions. Naturally they don’t need to fear the touch of evil.” Mentioning witches, Barov glanced in the direction of the garden.
“The demonic monsters, have you ever seen one?” Roland knocked on the table to recapture the assistant minister’s attention.
“Well, I haven’t see them. Like your highness, this is my first time coming to the kingdom’s borders. In the center of the country, in the castle, only a few people would have encountered real demons.”
If he needed to evacuate once a year, how would he be able to develop this place? He initially thought that the border town may be barren, but it still had the potential for development. However, his initial plan seems to be nothing but a pipedream now.
“If we are able to resist the demonic beasts in Longsong Stronghold then it means they aren’t invincible and can be killed, why can’t we defeat them at this border town as well?”
“Longsong Stronghold has a high wall. Also, Duke Ryan’s elite troops are stationed there as well. It is nothing like this border town, this small place definitely cannot be compared to it,” Barov explained, “From the start, the establishment of the border town was to provide an early warning to the stronghold. Therefore the town was set between the slope of the North Mountain and the Chishui River.”
So his town was only cannon fodder to block the enemy. The only path they could cross, Roland laughed grimly as he heard this.
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