Joshua's eyes were moving up and down scanning the context of the letter that Alphonso set to him. Then he was muttering to himself in a low-pitched voice while he was walking back and forth in his study room. The warrior then noticed that the letter that Alphonso sent him had nothing to do with the auction. However, the letter still contained important information At the very least, the letters contained information about what was happening with the Empire.
Some information was about his family business and industry.
"Someone is targeting me? That's interesting indeed."
He then looked at the letter one more time and leaned back a little. Joshua was sitting on a chair with a comfortable cushion on it. Then he went deep into thought.
As everyone knew, regardless whether they were civilians or noblemen; businessmen or craftsmen, for most of the people in this world, money was the far most important among all. The same thing applied to Joshua's family. There was no exception at all.
For a frontier military family that was currently rooted in the North, because of the need to maintain an army of more than 2,000 people for many years and to maintain the defences for the gigantic Black Forest Fortress, the tax revenue in the territory simply could not meet the required amount needed to cover the cost for all that. Even if it was treated as a hypothetical checkpoint, it would not make sense for adventurers and caravans pay for passing by the roads of the region. What really could let the entire territory run normally was because of the Radcliffe family's mining industry that spread throughout the Central and Northern Empire.
Because they were working with the rune dwarves in the northern land to mine the treasured resources in Mount Great Ajax, the quality of the ore deposits that the Radcliffe family mined had always been excellent. Not to mention that the quantity of the ores they could mine was not small at all. Furthermore, their products had always been the preferred choice for blacksmiths and builders. Basically, they could sell as much as they get from their mining outcome. Also, the Empire would intentionally or unintentionally support the Radcliffe's industry from time to time. The Radcliffe family had even become one of the major raw material and weapon suppliers for the Five Armies of the Empire. Joshua joined the Black Raven Army and became the second in command in the army because of that one reason.
With the support of all those stable sources of income, at least Joshua did not need to worry about his family's future. He could even extend his family's condition better in the futurewhen Joshua's father was still alive and well, that old duke was not satisfied with the 'small' profit from selling raw materials and weapons. He wanted to become one of the best weapon manufacturers in the world.
With the runic dwarves aiding in term of skills in forgery, and the advantage of having the volcanic mining area and the mountain all to themselves, the Radcliffe definitely had the capability to forge the best swords and armor there were all over the worldunder the order of the late duke, the insignia where an arm holding on to a sword, the ore dealers throughout the Empire also began to sell weapons and armor.
Meanwhile, that action had naturally affected the profit of other merchants and dealers out there, especially the dealers that initially sold weapons and armor before the Radcliffe family did.
That was the source why there were people out there trying to aim Joshua's Family.
"Now that I've time to think about it, it seems that the real reason that the Wilson family was trying to aid my cheapskate uncle to get onto the throne was to take advantage of the Radcliffe's industry."
Joshua shook his head and muttered to himself softly, "Indeed. The idea of manufacturing and sell the raw materials is like declaring war on many parties. No wonder those people attempted to get my industry and properties while the situation in Moldavia was unstable."
Alphonso was currently in the Empire. He sent this letter to Joshua to inform Joshua about the current situation; most probably because in the beginning of the war with the orcs, a large group of families who sent out their merchants did not expect Joshua to survive the war and come back alive. Danlya had also succeeded in showing his 'friendliness' to many people before he went back to claim the title of the northern land's baron.
Therefore, when Joshua killed his own cheapskate uncle with ease and claimed everything that was supposed to be his in the first place, those merchants who intended to side with Danyla wanted revenge. Immediately, these merchants had sold their shops to the competitors of the Radcliffe family. Meanwhile, the competitors had accepted their offer without the slightest hesitation.
Furthermore, Joshua had already gone over to Moldova to provide support to the Scarlet family not long after he took over as the count. He did not detect the problem earlier on. Out of the five shops in the Empire, only two of the Radcliffe family's shops remained in the main city. Fortunate for the Radcliffes, the situations in the other cities were still alright, there was no sign of any large-scale purchase and sales happening over the other cities. So the loss that the Radcliffe suffered was not that huge yet. However, they suffered a major hit in their name.
"Short-sighted and idiotic. Siding with Danyla was not even a big deal. They would still be serving the same family. It's not like I'm a demon or something. If you're willing to serve nicely, only idiots would want to chase away a merchant with many connections all over the continent."
Upon shaking his head, Joshua looked at the letter. Then he narrowed his eyes and smiled coldly. "As for now This is treason."
Meanwhile, treason shall be greeted with no mercy or kindness.
The warrior stood up from his chair and picked up his pen. Then he wrote something in a notebook, "It's time to find a dimensional passage to the Empire to have a look at things over there I shall also look at whoever is trying to stab me and my family in the back."
After remembering the names of the people who were so daring to buy his family's properties, Joshua wrote the names down in the notebook. Then he looked at the last part of the letter that Alphonso sent him.
[ for that, I request for my liege to grant me the same power in managing your properties in the Empire. I have the uttermost confidence that we can stabilize the situation and even take back two of our shops.
To earn your trust, I am willing to swear allegiance to the Radcliffe family. On the name and honor of the Carlos' family, our entire family shall serve you henceforth.
Yours faithfully, Alphonso Carlos.]
"This man really knows when to grab an opportunity. Anyway, an owner of a shop that can take charge of a shop in a place like the Empire is basically a person was brought up and trained to do it. Some may even need to rely on close relatives who have connectionsAs for an outsider, a leader of a local guild, do you intend to rely on a few words and some money to acquire property in a place like the Empire?"
An image of a middle-aged man with a scar on his neck emerged in his thoughts. Joshua smiled and said, "Although he is just grabbing on the opportunity like a real merchant that knows how to secure his winnings, and even swore his allegiance to me,I really like his style."
The warrior did not dislike such a simple and direct way of doing things. Well, it was normal and natural for one person wanting to climb higher. Well, a person must have the desire before he or she could really fight for it. Since Alphonso looked up to Joshua and was willing to get onto that boat with Joshua, what harm could it bring if Joshua gave him a chance to try then? He was willing to purchase the special items for Joshua. So it would make sense that he wanted to serve Joshua with all his heart.
Suddenly, right by the side of the study room, a soft sound echoed.
The warrior turned his head and looked at the direction where the sound echoed from. As expected, the silver-haired girl that was lying on the sofa by the side of the wall had once again fallen asleep.
Upon approaching slowly and bending down a little, Joshua lowered his head and looked closer at Ying who was lying on the sofa that was made from orc skin. Her eyes were shut tightly. Her long eyelashes were moving along the air she breathed out. The female Divine Armament was breathing steadily. The expression on her face suggested that she was feeling very comfortable. She seemed to be sleeping comfortably at the moment.
" You should just get back to the room if you wanted to rest."
Shaking his head and sighing softly, Joshua did not know what to do. He smiled bitterly. "Now is not the time to battle. So why are you following me all around? Wouldn't it be better if you just take a good rest here?"
Without the intention to disturb his own weapon from resting, Joshua kept the letter that he was holding in his hand and sat back onto the chair before his study table. Then he continued to tidy up the other letters and documents on his table.
Meanwhile, Ying who was deep into her dream suddenly frowned.
She was having a dream
A strange and bizarre nightmare.
The sky was dark and the sun had disappeared. The land looked dimmed because shrouding clouds above it were spreading towards the end of the world. The dimmed red light that looked almost extinguished had formed a small dot shining on the edge of the sky.
When Ying opened her eyes in her dream, that was the scene she saw right before her eyes.
Right beneath her was a dead, silent land. The black soil was giving off a decaying smell all over the place. There was no sign of life at all in it.
Right above in the sky, the distorted and strange clouds were being blocked by the sky. The clouds were then charging into their own shapes slowly and steadily. They then formed into strange pictures that were bizarre. Some sort of evil power could be felt coming from them.
The silver-haired girl could clearly see everything in her surroundings.
In that dream, Ying was looking at everything from mid-air. She could clearly see everything. From the end of the sky to the other side of the earth, regardless of whether they were the mountains, the hills, the woods, the rivers or the ruins of the city, they were all shrouded by a thick layer of gray mist.The mist was so thick that people could get suffocated. It was also infused with some black dust all around the place, covering all things on the earth with a layer of contaminated crystal shell in the shape of a stone. Meanwhile, the rain was pouring down from the distorted clouds, spreading the power of Chaos across the entire world.
The power of Chaos had engulfed the entire world, causing everything on earth to descend into chaos.
Water no longer flowed, wind no longer whispered. The trees no longer grew. And the sun and moon no longer rose
Naturally, the flames no longer combusted.
The flame of the world had already been extinguished