Release that Witch is a web novel created by Er Mu, 二目.
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“Twin Dragon Island hasn’t been so bustling for a while.”
Thunder said as he stood at the top of the bridge of the “Snow Wind”, watching the boisterous dock down below.
Thousands of people were congregated here, busy loading their s.h.i.+ps. From above, they looked like ants moving in a line. The dock area was filled with the yellings of vendors, the shoutings of sailors, as well as the sound of tidal waves foaming on the beach. All these sounds preluded their upcoming journey.
The other side of the dock was packed with sailing s.h.i.+ps, their masts soaring into the air, forming a sea that stretched away endlessly.
Thousands of banners and flags streamed in the air, including those of Crescent Moon Bay, Sunset Island and Shallow Water Town. All the influential Chambers of Commerce at the Fjords had gathered here, ready to commence their voyages.
The last time Thunder had attended a big event of this scale was when he had reached 22 years old, when all the Chambers of Commerce had a.s.sembled to explore Shadow Waters.
Margaret said smilingly, “Not only Twin Dragon Island but also the entire Fjords are exhilarated by your news. A route that used to be the least profitable has now become the most popular one. The newborn generation is really lucky. They don’t have to risk their lives to become real explorers.”
Thunder curled up his lips into a smile.
He knew Margaret was talking about the route leading to the Festive Harbor.
When the news that “as long as you find something interesting at the Endless Cape, you can claim rewards from the King of Graycastle” spread to the Fjords, the explorer community was stirred.
Fjords people had a crazy obsession with the t.i.tle “explorer”, for the t.i.tle represented fame and wealth. However, it was not easy to discover a new sailing route, a new island or a big secret without a large amount of money, and more often than not an attempt would end up being fruitless and might even cost their lives.
Yet the recruitment campaign held by the King of Graycastle had altered everything. He had opened a very well-developed and relatively safe route between the Fjords and the Endless Cape. The brand new port city, the City of Festive, brought huge business opportunities. Even if one did not make any new discoveries, he would at least be able to profit something from this trip.
If one, with a stroke of luck, did find something invaluable, it would be even better.
Plus, the King of Graycastle made it very clear that those ancient ruins might bear a significant relations.h.i.+p to a secret with respect to Three G.o.ds. Anyone who contributed to the revelation of the secret would have a chance to be t.i.tled “Honorary Lifetime Explorer” by the king. Although Graycastle, as a kingdom on the continent, employed a different system from the Fjord Islands, this condition for a lifetime explorer was fairly reasonable. As a matter of fact, Fjords people took this requirement more seriously than Graycastle citizens.
After all, the exploration had something to do with their faith in Three G.o.ds.
As the new route was so lucrative, it inevitably raised some suspicions among a few explorers. These skeptical voices, however, were soon drowned out by enthusiastic merchants. The name of the King of Graycastle had spread throughout the whole Fjords market when Chaos Drinks and perfumes had been introduced to the islands. With the democratization of Graycastle commodities at the Fjords and a wide use of paddle steamers, more and more Fjords people started to include Roland Wimbledon in their daily conversations. A stereotype gradually formed among Fjords residents that Neverwinter citizens were all ultrrich people.
Meanwhile, the foundation of the Joint Chamber of Commerce further strengthened people’s faith in Roland Wimbledon.
Since their employer was a powerful king, it made sense that he set up a relatively high threshold for people to receive that honorable t.i.tle.
Hearing the news, almost everyone at the Fjords started to take action. There were generally two groups of people. The more experienced and adventurous ones joined Thunder, whereas the others who preferred a safe journey while hoping to make a good fortune out of the trip headed to the Endless Cape, attempting to find themselves a good spot at the Festive Harbor.
Thunder would have never believed a country across the channel could exert such a huge impact on the Fjords if he had not witnessed it himself.
This drastic change had only taken place in the past one or two years.
Thunder said to Margaret as he squinted at the distant horizon that looked like a thin thread of silver, “Thanks to your help. I couldn’t have been dedicated to the exploration if you didn’t take care of the Chamber of Commerce for me. If truth be told, I’m good at nothing but taking adventures. I’m not even a good father. You have helped me so much over the past few years…”
“You should know that I’m most willing to do these things for you,” Margaret answered as she put her hand on the back of Thunder’s. “Doesn’t it hurt one’s feelings to appreciate a person who doesn’t want anything in return? We’re going on a long trip soon. It’s better not to talk about things like this.”
“Margaret…” Thunder said. He turned around and their eyes met.
“Having said that, it isn’t exactly accurate to say that I ask for nothing. There’s something… that I do want,” said Margaret as she winked. “So just bear in mind that I am up to something, and please don’t feel that you owe me.”
Thunder knew what Margaret wanted.
He was glad to see Lightning and her get along well back in Neverwinter.
Now he suddenly realized that he had been accustomed to Margaret’s company.
It was weird that a man like him, who could steer his s.h.i.+p against whirling hurricanes and waves, would feel a little hesitant to confess his feelings.
Thunder was debating whether he should hold Margaret’s hand when his first mate interrupted their conversation.
“Captain — ” The first mate craned his neck, yelling on the terrace of the bridge. “All the caravans are waiting for your instruction!”
Thunder coughed and said, “Got it! I’m coming!”
He then took a deep breath, turned to Margaret and said, “Time to go.”
“Off you go.” Margaret smiled at him while nodding. “Do what you’re best at, as His Majesty said…”
“Right,” Thunder said, “… to the new world.”
He walked down the tower, pa.s.sed the bridge, crossed the deck and reached the bow, facing the spectators gathering about at the dock.
The crowd below immediately burst into loud cheers.
Thunder waved his hand and said, “I think everybody has known that the farthest we have been to is Shadow Waters. However, this was just a tiny step we made in the past. There’s a huge Swirling Sea out there for us to explore. This time, we’re going beyond Shadow Waters, crossing the incredible Sealine and visiting the distant land in the east — a bleak emptiness not yet imprinted with human feet!”
“I’ve seen a vast continent in the Shadow Ruins. It’s a land as splendid as the Four Kingdoms. But where is it? Is it to the east of the Sealine? We’re now going to find the answers to these exciting questions. If it does exist, Fjords people would no longer need to struggle on this overcrowded land and live in fear! Also, this new land will probably bring us much more wealth than all the fortunes we have made over the past years altogether. This is also one of the reasons I encourage every capable man to join us: It’s so lucrative a business that everybody would have a chance to benefit from it!”
His speech was interrupted by a rush of cheers from the crowd. Thunder waited for the crowd to fall silent again and then continued, “Yet I want something else other than gold royals and fame, that is, I want the Fjords to const.i.tute a part of our history! Up to now, Fjords people are seldom mentioned in the history of the Four Kingdoms. There are neither prominent families dwelling on the Fjords for generations nor a king governing the land. We’re far apart from the continent, living on an isolated island with no influences whatsoever on people across the channel, except for traveling caravans.”
“But this will all change soon. When we discover a brand new land for mankind, history will remember us. We’ll be remembered as the most adventurous explorers in the world! I hope you understand that this upcoming trip will not only alter the present but also determine our future!”
“Hoist the sails, lads!” Thunder threw his arm in the air and shouted, “To the new world!”
The crowd below also raised their arms and shouted together. Their tumultuous cheers whipped through the air.
“To the new world — full speed ahead!”
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