The Magic Tower was undoubtedly the greatest power in Delpon, but someone always wanted to play dirty, including those from the mayor’s house.
Because the Magic Tower was short of hands, particularly when Roland was traveling and Vincent only had time for important matters, there were loopholes that escaped Vincent’s attention.
The nobles and merchants, on the other hand, were best at taking advantage of loopholes.
Andonara’s return meant that the Magic Tower was even more powerful than before. Also, as the queen, Andonara was familiar with politics, or she wouldn’t have been disappointed by the royal family and turned to Roland.
Besides, Andonara had Christina to serve her. Though Christina was basically useless during the day, she could handle the strenuous paperwork during the night.
The Magic Tower did not shelter her just for decorative purposes.
After a two-day rest in the manor, Roland visited Hawk and Link at the docks with Andonara.
After more than ten days of recruitment and reorganization, the docks seemed to be thriving again.
After all, it was Hawk and Link who built the docks from scratch. They treated the common workers fairly, and now that they came back, many people were willing to work for them again.
Hawk set up a table and entertained Roland and Andonara on the top floor of the highest building at the docks, where they could appreciate the view.
He had prepared a hot pot, the perfect food on such a freezing day.
Link didn’t come. Though the docks had been rebuilt, there were still many things to be settled.
Hawk picked up a piece of meat and pointed at the river that already sported a thin layer of ice. “The workers all say that it’s colder than usual this year. The river was never frozen before, and this is still early winter. So, I guess that this winter will be hard for the poor.”
Roland asked, “Are you implying that I should help the poor?”
“Yes.” Hawk nodded without hesitation. “You are the only person capable of helping them in Delpon.”
Roland looked at the horizon and saw a white layer of ice on the banks of the running river, but since the water was turbulent in the middle, there was no ice there. So, water was running with ice in this river.
He remembered that the river in Delpon indeed did not freeze the first winter after they entered this game.
“I’ll try my best.” Roland made the promise and said, “Also, I’m here mostly to discuss the sealed place with you. I’m planning to explore it with a team. Do you want to come with me?”
Hawk thought for a moment and shook his head. “No, thanks. I’m pretty occupied with the docks. I don’t have time for other things until everything is worked out here.”
“Then can you recommend a reliable Priest?” Roland asked. “Make sure that they’re decent.”
Although Roland was capable of Minor Healing and some buff spells, he was not as good as the Priests, who were professional healers.
Hearing Roland’s reiteration of “reliable,” Hawk couldn’t help but put on a bitter smile.
He understood Roland’s bias against Silver Wings because of the absurdities they did recently. With a bitter smile, he continued, “Don’t worry, she’s definitely reliable. But she’s in another city. It may take about ten days for her to come here.”
“All right, we’ll wait for her.” Roland nodded and said, “We can use the ten days to make arrangements for the poor who might die in the cold.”
Then, Roland finished his meal and left the docks.
Instead of going back to the Magic Tower, he took Andonara to the mayor’s house.
Stepping on the frost and snow on the lawn, Roland pushed the gate open.
Though two guards were on watch, neither of them dared to stop him.
The gate opened, and hot air surged out of the room, in major contrast to the coldness outside.
The fireplace where red flames were burning could be easily seen, and a maid was adding firewood to it.
Next to the dinner table, the mayor’s wife and his daughter were having afternoon tea. They weren’t wearing any thick clothes. After all, the room was cozy due to the fireplace.
Roland found that the mother and daughter seemed to be having afternoon teaon the terrace, in the courtyard, or before the fireplaceevery time he visited.
How carefree their lives were.
They weren’t as frightened as before when they saw Roland. They stood up and warmly invited Roland and Andonara to share the food and wine.
Andonara accepted the invitation, partly because she liked afternoon tea with other women, and partly because she didn’t want to follow Roland when he was here for a formal meeting.
Roland knocked at the door of the study on the third floor and walked in. He sat down in front of the unfriendly host and asked, “What measures do you usually take to prevent the poor from dying from coldness and starvation?”
“Nothing,” John Junior said coldly. “The untouchables who don’t work hard enough to survive a winter can go to hell. We’re merciful enough to bury their bodies for them.”
“How can the population increase if you don’t protect the ordinary people?” Roland sighed.
“Really?” John Junior smiled disdainfully. “When the Johns just became the mayors two hundred years ago, the population was only four hundred thousand, but now, it has surpassed a million, counting the towns and villages nearby.”
“They are tensile souls, aren’t they?” said Roland in admiration.
“The untouchables are just weeds. They will always proliferate as long as you don’t intentionally uproot them.”
Staring at John Junior, Roland said, “It seems that our ideas differ greatly. Right, I need to borrow your census officer for a while. Ask him to work with me.”
“Do you really need my permission?” said John Junior sarcastically.
Roland was not offended. “I’m just letting you and your supporters know that the Magic Tower will do something huge, and that you’d better not make trouble, or I won’t be very nice.”
John Junior said with a faint smile, “Would I dare? I’m just a coward.”
“Live your life well, and don’t think too much.”
After saying that, Roland left the study.
Then he went downstairs and took Andonara away.
John Junior furiously smashed the items upstairs. After this winter, the Magic Tower would be more respectable, and chances would be even slimmer for him to make a comeback.
The mayor’s wife and daughter, on the other hand, were thinking that they should invite the queen for their next tea party. They had a pleasant conversation just now.