It was already evening when Roland returned from the cemetery to the Wild Horse Tavern.
Since the queen's captivity was over and the curfew had been lifted, the streets were still full of merchants and pedestrians even now that it was nearing night, and there seemed to be a few more drinkers in the Wild Horse Tavern.
It was also much noisier.
Roland went up to the second floor and into the room under the watchful eyes of a large group of people.
Husseret had returned to the room. He was bragging with the group of friends, and when he saw Roland, he patted the chair beside him and said, "Sit down and have a drink first, I have something to tell you."
Downing a sweet glass of wine, Roland felt that his dry throat was much more comfortable. "All right, go ahead."
At this moment, the voices of the other close friends chatting lower, subconsciously not wanting to disturb the two of them.
Husseret's temperament was becoming gloomier and gloomier, and his voice contained the kind of flatness that reminded one of serpentine coldness. "According to the information that the Guild of Rogues gathered, the reason why the queen was taken is that the Association of Mages has a claim against the royal family. They are using this method to tell the king that 'we can take the queen and also threaten your safety—the condition we propose, you had better agree to it.'"
Roland frowned. "The Association of Mages is so arrogant?"
"They're definitely arrogant!" Husseret said, throwing up his hands. "Seventy percent of the personnel of the Association of Mages are nobles. This is a feudal society, and although the royal family is the biggest and strongest noble family, the lords everywhere are not much worse than them, and most importantly, the 'grouping' effect of the Association of Mages is too strong. They may be inferior to the royal family in pure battle power, after all, they have no military power, but the various intricate relationships are like a big net that has caught the entire country of Hollevin, such that even the royal family is very apprehensive. Now the situation is that leadership has been rendered ineffectual."
"So what are the demands of the Association of Mages?"
Husseret shook his head. "I'm not sure; even the Guild of Rogues couldn't find out. We only know that the headquarters' chairman talked to the king himself."
Roland listened attentively and subconsciously took a sip of fruit wine.
"The queen wasn't mistreated, and it is said that the Association of Mages deliberately threw the queen's clothes into the river to be found," Husseret said thoughtfully. "As for why the Bards were used as a sacrifice, no one knows except the two leaders. Kaka's fate was sealed from the start, after all, it was while he was on patrol that the queen was taken captive."
"In other words, if I tried to avenge Kaka's death, I won't even be able to find the killer?" Roland said, in a foul mood. "Do I have to go to the headquarter's chairman or the king to ask them?"
Husseret laughed and said, "Not necessarily, we can ask another party."
Roland couldn't think of who.
Roland was slightly surprised.
Three hours later, Husseret brought Roland to a remote manor on the western side of the palace.
The manor was surrounded by a dense forest, and the main gate was a small path that could only accommodate one carriage. Husseret brought Roland through the forest, the bustling of the capital seemingly cut off by these woods.
They came to the front door of the manor and saw a white mansion bathed in the moonlight.
But the mansion was silent, and there were no sounds of people: only a candle was lit on the second-floor balcony.
The flame was blown by the slight night breeze, flickering as if it would go out anytime.
There was a guard there at the entrance of the manor, and Husseret went over and handed the guard an odd white scroll.
The guard offered a strange smile and opened the gates of the manor.
Then Husseret pointed inside and said, "Only one person can go in."
Roland nodded, and when he entered the manor, the guard immediately closed the door.
He wondered why meeting the queen gave him a furtive feeling.
But he didn't think too much about it and followed the green stone pathway to the entrance of the mansion.
When he looked up, he could see a beautiful woman sitting on the balcony on the second floor. She was wearing a thin silk dress, and under the moonlight, certain special parts of her were showing indistinctly.
Roland frowned, feeling that something was wrong.
Then an elderly steward came out from the doorway, bent forward slightly, and said, "Please follow me, Mr. Mage."
Since Roland was already here, he decided not to think too much. He took a slight breath and followed the old steward up to the second floor, then to the entrance of the balcony.
The old steward bowed and left without a word.
Roland walked onto the balcony and saw a beautiful woman with long brown hair sitting on a chair.
She was dressed scantily. Silk was a highly visible fabric; the better the silk, the higher the visibility.
And the silk clothes this beautiful woman was wearing should be of the highest grade, usually used for ceremonial outerwear.
For a moment, Roland felt like he had nowhere to rest his eyes, but finally, he had to look at the woman's face. He sat down across from her.
"May I ask if this is Her Majesty the Queen?"
The beauty who had been looking outside turned her head. She sized up Roland and was a little surprised. "It's actually a young and promising Mage? I thought it was a fat-headed old thing. In that case, it's not much of a loss for me."
Roland seemed to understand something.
"Before we begin, I want to know your name." The queen's expression looked torn.
There was a kind of helplessness and fateful resignation emanating from her.
Roland shook his head slightly. "I'm here to ask you something."
"What? Just to ask me something, you used the very valuable atonement scroll?"
So the scroll that Husseret gave the guards is worth a lot of money?
The queen had been watching Roland's expression, and when she saw that he looked confused, she became rather curious. "You didn't know what was going on before you came?"
"I didn't know, I really just wanted to come and ask you some questions."
"Ask them. We'll both get to know each other a little better if we talk, and when we do things later, it might make my resistance a little less strong."
The wind suddenly got a little stronger and blew out the candle.
In the moonlight, the queen's smooth face reflected a bright luster, and her expression held resentment that looked quite charming.
Roland took a deep breath, feeling this a little inconceivable. "You're the queen, how did you end up in such a state?"
"The queen?" She laughed softly, her voice clear and weighed by bitterness. "After tonight, I will no longer be a queen. How can a woman whose reputation is tarnished and who will have to sleep with other men qualify to be a queen again?"
Roland was getting more and more puzzled.
"You don't seem to know anything." The queen looked at Roland again for a moment and asked, "Who gave you the atonement scroll?"
"My good friend."
"That's quite a sacrifice on his part."
Roland's expression was rather strange. "I still don't understand why the king would let you do such a… thing."
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