104 35. The Gift Box.


    Meanwhile, John checked his notifications in WDS when all of this was taking place.

    "Administrative headquarters have been completed. Congratulations to Host for successfully creating an administrative department. You have earned 5 million exp points."

    "The winery has been completed. Congratulations to host for successfully creating a winery. You have earned 3 million exp points. You currently have 13.5 million exp points."

    John ordered, "open the gift box."

    "Are you sure you want to confirm it?"

    "Yes, Confirmed."

    "Congratulations to host for getting water-powered forges. You can power your machines via these machines from now on. you can also get other types of water machines blueprints. So go ahead and make use of that river in your city."

    Taylor meanwhile came in with a report.

    "Lord, certain circumstances have developed right now at Prince Hector's Banquet. Lord Vlad asked me to report you the circumstances that developed over there. It looks like Baron Mendez has decided to increase the taxes of the East port town. From this, it looks like they are intending to provoke us intentionally by only raising our taxes. And since we are landlocked it looks like they want to force our hand. Duke Fjord also announced their intentions to raid Morgan family fleets as revenge for previous humiliation of Lord Evan. And it looks like our soap machines were actually leaked to Prince Hector as he was openly displaying it over at the banquet. Previously we were able to repel Duke Fjord's fleet because of our Ballistas."

    John thought and spoke, "Hmm... we will endure for now and pay the taxes. We will clear the area north of that port town later so that we can get exclusive rights to sea. At sea, only power would matter. As for Duke Fjord, we don't need to worry since we have already installed the new ballistae in Eric's fleet. So we don't need to worry as their ship would sink first without even being able to engage. It seems Prince Hector is really challenging us, bring in Jake, it seems we really need to show off our prowess in assassinating his important men."

    Jake entered the room after one servant went to call him,

    "Jake you will have another mission right now, your job would be to assassinate this guy called Sylvan. Taylor and Master Vlad will provide you with details. How is the construction of the spy team ghosts going on?"

    Jake saluted John and reported the current situation, "I have already gathered men who are ready give an oath to you milord, it would only require 5 more days to fully integrate it, it seems after your previous actions that day against Duke Evan, many of the slaves have started believing you and thus wanted to work for you willingly."

    John smiled and asked Taylor, "I guess my bet was worth it when I defied Duke Evan. What do you say, Taylor?"

    Taylor nodded and agreed, "Yes, these actions of ours are finally bearing the fruits of our trust."

    John explained as Taylor said, "You see commoners can be trusted, unlike phony aristocrats who would change their tunes at the chance of profit or loss and hence my bet on commoners and slaves. Jake, you can start making preparations for your Sylvan's assassination. Though it is different about Aristocrats who deem honor above interests."

    Taylor, "Milord I would like to inform you of another thing, Duke Sapphire Rose has already arrived at North-frontier and has currently sent one of his men to meet us. From the looks of it, I think he has arrived in a disguise with his men. He is currently at one of the hotels we recently built. it looks like, he arrived as a trader from the south. Do you want to meet him right away or later on?"

    John thought and immediately made a decision, "We will meet him right away, you can inform that man that duke can come in his disguise to meet me right now. I would anyway like to make an acquaintance with him. I would also like to hear what sort of information he has right now."


    After some time a half-elf in a traders disguise came to John's Mansion.

    Taylor greeted him with a smile, "A very warm Welcome to Duke of Southern-forest, Sapphire Rose to Lord John's Mansion, I hope you enjoy your stay here during your tour."

    Watching Taylor's welcome all the servants in the Mansion were shocked and became alert after hearing Duke Sapphire's arrival. Instead of the usual slack behavior, they became alert as they knew that Duke Sapphire was an important guest.

    Duke Sapphire smiled and spoke, "I guess you are the personal butler of Count John. I heard you manage a lot of things in this town. I guess you have a lot of authority comparable to Forgemaster Tornwall in this town. I couldn't make it here a few days back when there was the Ballistae event."

    Taylor neither agreed nor disagreed, "It seems Duke has made his own preparations before coming here. As for not being able to come here, we understand that people have their own circumstances and we already got information from Marquis Ray that you were going to come here so we appreciate Lord Sapphire's good intentions."

    Duke Sapphire nodded and said, "I never expected to see something big of that sort when I heard that you were introducing a new weapon for your forces. I guess I missed out on the opportunity to see that weapon live in action."

    Meanwhile, John just came to the room and gave his suggestion,

    "I think we can still see that weapon live in action, Why don't we have some important talk later on."

    Duke Sapphire looked at Jake who was behind John and waiting upon him, "Looking at that boy behind your back it looks like he is preparing for something, I have some good news for you boy. However, it would be bad news for your Lord."

    Jake was confused as he asked, "What sort of bad news would it be for my Lord?"

    Duke Sapphire smiled after watching his reaction, "It seems you really care more about your Lord, Well I got some information from my men and it looks like Prince Hector is planning to assassinate Lord Evan so that Duke Fjord acts against you guys and they become their vanguard facing the brunt of your attacks when they start taking serious actions against you. I guess the operation is already underway."

    John thought as he spoke, "It seems Dearil may already know about it but I guess he already knows the outcome that he will be too late if he came to inform us. Jake, change of plans, we will assassinate Sylvan later, you will first go and meet up with Dearil in the southwest of North-frontier town after you go to the checkpoint of Master Vlad's hideout, I guess they will know the general idea of the location of Dearil. I think you would need closure at least even if Evan is dying at the hands of other men."

    Duke Sapphire was quite surprised at such a sudden decision by John without even flinching an eye. He thought, 'I guess he is quite a decisive man. Good as a potential leader and doesn't hesitate in front of unknowns and potential danger.'
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