For the sake of this water jade smuggling operation, the Debs clan had paid a very high price. Bernard ordered his Third Brother to be responsible for this affair, and the Lanseer brothers were his Third Brother’s right and left hand men.
Standing in the middle of the meeting hall, Linley remained calm. The Shadowmouse, Bebe, also quietly stood on Linley’s shoulders.
The man and the magical beast both just stood there as though nothing were happening, quietly watching it all. Even though he saw the begging look Bernard had trained on him, Linley didn’t react in the slightest.
After a while…
The sound of heavy chains could be heard. Two golden-haired men in shackles entered the meeting hall, under escort from the palace guards. These two men were shackled by the feet and by the hands as well. Just judging from the thickness of those leg-irons, the shackles must have been one or two hundred pounds heavy.
Such heavy shackles were used expressly for collaring those warriors with powerful strength.
“Milord clan leader.”
Upon entering the discussion hall and seeing Bernard who was kneeling on the ground, strange smiles appeared on their faces. They actually called out to Bernard respectfully.
Standing to the side, Linley understood.
Most likely these Lanseer brothers were two of the major leaders in the smuggling operation who most likely had some secret connection with the Debs clan.
“The Debs clan is going to be in trouble now.” Linley just quietly watched.
Seeing those two shackled golden-haired men, Bernard reacted with confusion. “Uh? Lanseer and Langmuir [Lan’mu’er], why have the two of you been imprisoned by his Majesty? Didn’t I give the two of you a 100,000 gold coins a few months ago and tell you to go enjoy life?”
Those two golden-haired men were briefly startled, then they laughed.
“Milord clan leader, are you jesting?” Lanseer laughed.
Next to him, Langmuir snickered as well. “What, lord clan leader, do you still think that you can lie and hide? Forget it. You might as well admit your guilt.”
A look of rage appeared on Bernard’s face. He suddenly rose to his feet, staring angrily at Lanseer and Langmuir. “Lanseer, Langmuir, my Debs clan has raised you and cultivated you since you were little. The two of you should know very well how I have treated you.”
“It’s true, you have treated us brothers very well. But the two of us have also risked our lives for the Debs clan for many years now.” The elder brother, Lanseer, said coldly.
Bernard’s rage grew. With a trembling hand, he pointed at the Lanseer brothers. “The two of you truly forget favors and violate justice. True, you two have worked on behalf of the Debs clan for many years now, but all these years, you have been acting corruptly so as to gain money that belonged to the clan. After that event half a year ago, considering that the two of you had worked for us for so long, I spared your lives and even gave you a 100,000 gold coins and told you to go home and enjoy your lives. But…but you…not only are you not grateful, you’ve now participated in smuggling? And after getting caught, you sully the Debs clan?”
Lanseer and Langmuir were totally caught off-guard, and they stared at Bernard in bewilderment.
“We…we were corrupt? You…you gave us 100,000 gold coins?” Lanseer and Langmuir were totally flabbergasted.
Bernard’s rage exploding, he suddenly turned and knelt before Clayde. His tears cascading onto the ground, he said, “Your Majesty, these two are nothing more than a pair of insatiable wolves. When they were young, I saw that they were two pitiable orphans and so I took them in, and later gave them important positions. But they only acted to shovel my clan’s wealth into their own pockets. Despite that, considering the many years of affection between us, I spared their lives and even gave them 100,000 gold coins. This can be considered to be extremely benevolent and merciful of me. But now? Now they actually come here to sully and frame my Debs clan. They want to destroy the Debs clan! How vicious! Your Majesty, my heart is broken. My heart is broken!”
Seeing the miserable cries of Bernard, many of the nobles in the meeting hall did indeed begin to wonder if Lanseer and Langmuir really were framing the Debs clan.
“Bernard, you…you…” Lanseer and Langmuir were so enraged that their faces turned red, but they weren’t able to say a single word.
How much had these two brothers sacrificed for the Debs clan?
They were even willing to engage in smuggling for the clan, precisely because the two of them didn’t fear death. If it weren’t for the fact that this time, the offer from King Clayde was simply too enticing, they wouldn’t have betrayed the Debs clan.
But everything which Bernard was saying now was false!
“Oh? There’s an event such as this?” Clayde glanced at Bernard.
Clayde could sense that Bernard had come prepared, as otherwise, he wouldn’t have suddenly come up with all these lies. If he were to investigate, most likely he wouldn’t be able to find any flaws.
“Hrmph. It’s a pity that Third Brother of Bernard’s leapt into the river. We weren’t even able to find his corpse. Otherwise, with his Third Brother in front of him, Bernard would have nothing to say.” Clayde was furious.
Smuggling water jade.
Water jade mines were part of the national wealth of the kingdom. Which was to say, it was part of Clayde’s wealth.
Illegally mining and smuggling water jade meant stealing from him, Clayde. Naturally, Clayde would feel furious.
But that Third Brother of Bernard’s had leapt into the river to commit suicide, while Bernard had seemingly been prepared for Lanseer and Langmuir’s betrayal.
“Bernard, I won’t unjustly accuse an innocent man.” Clayde said solemnly.
“Thank you, your Majesty! Thank you, your Majesty!” Bernard’s face was covered with tears.
But Clayde announced coldly, “However, I also won’t forgive a person who has betrayed the interests of his kingdom. Based on the intelligence that I have, it seems that the person responsible for this smuggling operating was your Third Brother.”
“My Third Brother?” Bernard stared questioningly at Clayde.
Clayde stared coldly at Bernard. “What, do you have something to say?”
A wounded look on his face, Bernard said, “Of course I do. Your Majesty, I really don’t know why you said what you just said, but over a year ago, my Third Brother left the Kingdom of Fenlai and began on a training excursion tour to various other countries. Just a few days ago, he sent a letter back to us.”
Clayde’s gaze grew colder.
His men had personally reported that when they were in the process of apprehending Bernard’s Third Brother that the man, being heavily wounded, had elected to throw himself into the river. They couldn’t find any trace of him.
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! You must deliver justice!”
Bernard cast a furious glare at Lanseer and Langmuir. “You simply cannot believe the lies of these two despicable men and cast aspersions on the heart of a clan which is loyal to the kingdom.”
“Bernard, you! You!” The furious and anxious Lanseer brothers didn’t know what to say.
Clayde suddenly rose to his feet, staring coldly at Bernard. “I’ve already said that I will not unjustly accuse an innocent man, nor forgive a man who has betrayed the interests of his kingdom. Based on the evidence I have at hand, there is at least a suspicion that your Debs clan has betrayed the kingdom. Guards!”
Bernard’s face instantly changed. “Your Majesty! Your Majesty! I am loyal and faithful to the Kingdom!”
Two palace guards rushed into the meeting hall.
“Bernard.” Clayde smiled at Bernard.
Bernard raised his head, looking beseechingly at Clayde, as though he were a child looking at his parents.
“Whether or not your clan is loyal is a question that will only be settled by evidence. I will give you a chance. I will not exterminate your clan right away.”
In his heart, Bernard let out a sigh of relief. What he feared the most was that the Debs clan would instantly be exterminated. “Fortunately, I found those ashes and those remains within the secret room. It gave me the chance to prepare.” Ever since that day, Bernard had been preparing. He had in fact made multiple levels of preparations.
“Guards, deliver Bernard as well as the successor to the Debs clan to the Blackwater Jails. As for this case involving the smuggling operations of the Debs clan, let the Right Premier Merritt [Mei’li’te] investigate.” Clayde ordered.
Immediately, those two guards took Bernard away.
“Your Majesty! I believe in your Majesty’s wisdom!” Bernard called to Clayde, even while being dragged away.
That night, the Greenleaf Road became a very energetic place.
Hoof steps and shouts unabated. Hundreds of knights directly surrounded the Debs clan’s manor, terrifying all of the members of the Debs clan present.
“What are you doing? What are you doing? Do you know what place this is?” Kalan’s second granduncle, the second uncle of Bernard, immediately shouted at those palace guards.
The leader of the knights said coldly, “Do you dare to go against the dictates of his Majesty?”
But this second granduncle only raised his head proudly. “The orders of his Majesty? Who knows if you are falsely claiming that you have an order from his Majesty? Speak! What do you want?”
“Second Granduncle, what’s going on outside?”
By now, many of the members of the Debs clan had rushed over.
Even Alice and Rowling had gotten dressed and rushed over. In the Yulan continent, after the engagement ceremony, the fiancée normally would begin to live with the fiancé. But generally speaking, only after the marriage ceremony would the two of them enter their bridal chambers.
There were cases of people sharing a bedroom prior to the wedding as well, as long as both were willing.
“Big sister Alice, what’s going on outside?” Rowling was holding onto Alice’s hands.
Alice was bewildered as well. “I’m not sure.”
The hundreds of people within the Debs clan’s manor all streamed out, and most of them seemed bewildered. Only the core members of the clan who knew the truth about the smuggling operations began to feel frightened.
This smuggling operation of the Debs clan was an extremely large scale one.
Just to carry out the operation, they had used several tens of millions of gold coins. If they were successful, the profits would be several hundred million gold coins. What the Debs clan’s elders thoughts were, once would be enough.
But it seemed this one operation had proved problematic.
“Big brother Kalan, what’s going on?” Rowling asked Kalan as well.
Kalan shook his head, indicating he didn’t know.
The squad of palace knights had assembled outside the manor. Their leader, the knight-captain, upon seeing so many members of the Debs clan present, withdrew the tablet of command from his clothes, shouting in a bright voice, “His Majesty orders that, as the Debs clan is under suspicion of engaging in the smuggling of water jade, the leader of the Debs clan as well as his successor are to be immediately jailed within the Blackwater Jails.”
Instantly, the faces of every member of the Debs clan changed.
The faces of those core members of the Debs clan turned even more ashen, even paler. But Alice, Rowling, and those other members of the clan only felt astounded and bewildered.
Several guards stepped forward and grabbed Kalan.
“Take him away!”
The leader of the knights shouted.
At this moment, Kalan felt as though his limbs had gone soft. He allowed those guards to march him towards the gate. But once he reached the gate, he suddenly woke up and, turning his head, frantically called out, “Second Granduncle, Alice, you two have to save me, have to save me!”
Allowing Kalan to shout as much as he wanted, those palace guards emotionlessly escorted him off towards the jails.
Alice, Rowling, and the other members of the Debs clan could only watch as Kalan was taken away, unable to help. Their clan was powerful, true, but how could they resist against the king?
By the next morning, the news that the Debs clan was suspected of having engaged in water jade smuggling had spread across the entire noble circle of Fenlai City. Many of the nobles of Fenlai were paying special attention to this matter.
What’s more, this case was being personally handled by the Right Premier of the Kingdom of Fenlai, Duke Merritt.
Within Duke Merritt’s manor.
Lord Duke Merritt was already over seventy years old, but as a fairly powerful warrior, he looked as though he were only in his middle years. His short golden hair was slick and gleamed.
Right now, Duke Merritt was seated on a chair. He casually flicked a glance at his visitor from the Debs clan – the second granduncle of Kalan, Nimitz [Ni’mi’si].
“Lord Merritt, our clan has definitely been unjustly accused. I hope, lord, that you will be just to our clan.”
As he spoke, Nimitz pulled out a book from his side. “Lord Merritt, I know that you love to collect holy scripts. This holy script was issued by the Radiant Church over three thousand years ago. It’s a rather rare one.”
“Oh, a holy script?”
Merritt casually accepted it, but while flipping through it, Merritt suddenly noticed that stuck within the pages, there was a flat card. A flat card produced by the Golden Bank of the Four Empires. A magicrystal card!
A hint of a smile appeared on Merritt’s face.
Nimitz was carefully observing Merritt’s reactions. Merritt closed the holy script, putting it to the side, then smiled. “Nimitz, you should know that aside from holy scripts, I’m also a big fan of sculptures. A while ago, when I saw that ‘Awakening From the Dream’, I liked it very much. During your clan’s engagement ceremony, I saw that Alice. Oh, she looked so very similar to that person in the sculpture. I wonder…if it would be possible for me to have a private chat with Alice.”