Chapter 460: Nigel Elliott
Chapter 460: Nigel Elliott
The conditions for subway access differed across various countries, where the Underground Federation managed distinctive authority levels.
Austere-Winter Dukedom could only use the subway for cross-city transportation in the “Winter Year” due to its small temperature regulation barriers. In addition, the Winter Hand responsible for surveillance, counter-espionage, and assassination work had a higher privilege to take the subway.
Except for a few monitored targets, which were not allowed to enter the underground, most civilians could take the subway as long as they had the money.
However, it was different in the Noah Kingdom.
In Noah Kingdom, almost 90% of the subway capacity was used for freight and cargo.
As the world’s most prominent grain, minerals, and timber exporter, the Noah Kingdom owned four subway lines, which transported goods to foreign countries almost daily. They would buy livestock products in large quantities from the Papal Kingdom and luxury goods and artwork from the United Kingdom. At the same time, the Noah Kingdom purchased Frost Beasts via the Underground Federation from the Austere-Winter Dukedom.
The shipping route on the Dukedom side of Austere-Winter was completely terminated after the Noah Kingdom had a war against Austere-Winter. It had not yet reopened until now.
However, Austere-Winter Dukedom still had various exports to the Papal Kingdom and Underground Federation.
In addition to the Frost Beasts, there were high-quality stones, chilly iron ore, lead ore, gold ore, and non-melting ice. However, due to the limitation of transportation capacity, most of them were sold to underground folks directly, and these people were responsible for transporting them away. Therefore, if the Noah Kingdom wanted to buy the Frost Beasts’ blood, they had to go through the underground people.
Thus, it was vital to control the price.
If unaudited people were allowed to go underground, there would be many smugglers, which would disrupt the market. In other words, the Noah Kingdom controlled the right to use the subway not for political purposes but for economic purposes.
Subway access was only granted after getting the signature of the Minister of Transport. Even if the local nobles had the signature and could use the subway themselves, they could not give away the permission to use the subway to others, let alone grant others the right to enter the subway station.
The signature was not the end of it. After getting the signed pass, the applicant had to apply to the local subway hall a few days in advance. In this process, the application letter would be sent to the royal capital through a ritual. After checking and confirming that the applicant’s identity was alright, the designated time for the subway usage would only be approved.
It was a troublesome procedure.
Annan felt a headache just by listening to it.
This was probably why the Noah Kingdom urgently needed to build an overground railway.
However, if Annan reopened shipping to Freezing Water Port, it would also reduce the demand for overground rail in the Noah Kingdom.
“Welcome, Your Highness Annan.” The receptionist in the subway hall took out a booklet, put Annan’s access card on it, and validated the password. He then politely handed it back to Annan and replied respectfully, “Your Excellency Yiyi, Your Excellency Suuankou, Your Excellency Jiu Er… The deep well is ready to be used.”
He could only speak so calmly because he could not understand the meaning of the players’ names.
Annan thought to himself and nodded calmly, “Alright, Viscount Horatio. Thank you for your hard work.”
“No, no… You’re pulling my leg…” Viscount Horatio apologized in a panic and even wanted to take Annan and his entourages to the [Deep Well] in person.
Indeed, the receptionist was a viscount. Although he was a relatively marginal viscount, he was still an aristocrat.
—But, it was because he was a noble that he could comprehend what Annan’s identity signified.
Although he was the viscount of the royal capital, he was not qualified to participate in the king’s funeral. Therefore, although he knew the existence of His Highness Annan, he had never seen Annan.
When he saw Annan for the first time, he was still attracted by the splendid appearance close to a deity. Even though he knew it was a bit rude, he couldn’t help but glance at Annan a few more times.
Of course, it was not his fault.
After Annan had adopted Frosty Hair, he appeared closer to Old Grandmother and the Paper Princess.
As the Paper Princess who controlled the element of “Beauty”, Her appearance was the highest standard of “Beauty” for the humans in this world. Although Annan only had his hair color changed, his presence was at another level since he was closer to the Paper Princess.
This was why Annan decided to temporarily not use this identity to operate underground.
Boys should protect themselves when they go out so that some strange ladies don’t kidnap them.
Of course, they have to be wary of strange middle-aged men too.
The group went to the [Deep Well] with their luggage.
The so-called “Deep Well” was a steel structure shaped like a hydraulic elevator.
The group stood on an empty shock-proof board of at least 50 square meters and signaled to the staff.
The staff pressed a button. The group descended quickly alongside with slight vibrations and creaking noises.
“It’s too extravagant.” Suuankou whispered, “They only transport four of us, even with such a large space.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. This should be used for unloading goods at usual times.” Lin Yiyi replied casually.
Annan nodded and added, “Noah Kingdom does not have many people who can take the subway. The number drops further for those who can actually bring their man along. Thus, only a few of us will be on this journey.”
Before he finished speaking, the Deep Well had already reached the next floor.
In front of them was a strange man in his fifties with short brown hair carrying a large luggage bag, hunched slightly and alone on the platform.
When the man saw Annan, he was slightly startled.
Annan was keenly aware that it was not just an ordinary gaze. Instead, he noticed a hint of surprise.
Does this person know me?
Before Annan spoke up, the person turned around and greeted him. He asked in a low voice, somewhat nervously, “Hello, Your Excellency. I’m Nigel Elliott. May I take the liberty to ask you a question?”
“Please speak. But I don’t promise I’ll answer it.” Annan glanced at him and replied calmly.
Annan did not say his name.
In front of Kafni, Senior Salvatore and the players, he occasionally acted cute and harmless. However, in front of outsiders, his mannerism and aura were imposing.
However, the person’s question startled Annan, “Excuse me… Are you acquainted with ‘the Paper Princess’?”
Nigel asked respectfully.
He did not know I’m Annan Austere-Winter, but he knew I was related to the Paper Princess.
Annan was silent. He suddenly remembered where on earth he had seen this name.
Shortly after Delicious Wind Goose arrived at Noah, Old Goose had seen a portrait of the Paper Princess in the newspaper. There was a painter having a brief encounter with the Paper Princess. With a fleeting “fuzzy impression”, he roughly restored 90% of the true appearance of the Paper Princess.
But, the last 10% was beyond common sense and incomprehensible, “the Truth of Beauty”.
In fact, the painting that he expressed was more like Annan compared to the Paper Princess.
It was expected of him to be shocked when he saw Annan.
Annan thought so in her heart. He said with an amiable tone and a smile, “You are the ‘famous painter’. I heard the Paper Princess mention you. You are a diligent person and have a good talent.”
He had emphasized the word “famous painter” specifically.
The person waved his hands again and again, ashamed, “I don’t live up to that yet. I know that the Paper Princess I painted is really too ordinary, far from the thrilling and fantastical beauty. The painting is on display, but… the money the newspaper agency gave is too much…”
“Well, I understand.” Annan nodded and comforted in a warm voice.
Hearing Annan’s consolation, the middle-aged painter was so grateful that he almost held Annan’s hand. However, when he looked up to see Annan’s face, he lowered his head subconsciously and forcibly withdrew his approaching hand in embarrassment.
“By the way,” Annan threw a question to dispel the painter’s embarrassment, “Where are you going? Maybe we can journey together.”
“I’m visiting the province of St. Felix in Austere-Winter Dukedom, Your Excellency. Coldwind Fortress in the province of St. Felix.”
The painter Nigel did not ask Annan’s name or whereabouts but directly stated his destination.
Surprisingly, we’re on the same path.
Annan and the others were heading to the Razor Territory of Bloomfield Province. That place was two stops after Coldwind Fortress and three stops after the Frostwhisper Province.
Of course, that was the destination they would disclose on the surface.
Their real destination was the underground city under the Razor Collar — the Sporeggar Mill.
But there was no need to tell this passerby.
“We are heading toward the same direction.”
As Annan said so, the train had already rumbled from a distance.
He closed his mouth and glanced at the entrance.
Annan turned to Nigel and smiled, “Let’s get in the carriage first, Your Excellency Nigel.”
He added, “I still have some things that I want to ask you for advice.”
Annan had realized something.
Nigel Elliott rubbed the corner of his shirt nervously, opened and closed his mouth, then nodded again and again.