October 1432, the port of Koszoya.
The cold wind from the Abyss Strait blew over the high and low rock buildings. Here was the headquarters of the Five Port Alliance Brotherhood. This city was the wealthiest city on the southeast coast of Legrand. It had the best harbor, the most ships, and the smartest merchants in the entire empire.
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From day to night, merchant ships hung with canvases of various colors came and went. Gold flowed and circulated among the network of ships.
Like the Five Port Alliance itself, the city of Koszoya had a special political position in the Legrand Empire.
It was the largest autonomous city in Legrand.
Today, the largest port of Koszoya was blocked, and ordinary merchant ships could only dock in other places. The patriarch of the Ross family who oversaw the city of Koszoya was waiting in the port himself. The Five Port Alliance had five southeast coastal commercial cities as its core, and each city had its own unspoken lording family.
The most powerful family in Koszoya was the Ross family.
The Ross patriarch was also the chairman of the Brotherhood.
“They are here.”
The bright red carpet spread from the mooring platform to the shore, and the white-haired patriarch of the Ross family had his eyes closed slightly in rest, leaning on a heavy wooden walking stick inlaid with many precious stones. He had an iconic hooked nose, and thus nicknamed “Eagle Beak”. In the business circle, he was a terrifying old bird of prey.
The secretary behind him alerted the tough old man softly.
He opened his eyes.
Four extremely magnificent and gorgeous ships slowly sailed into the port, and each one was like a small fortress floating on the sea. If it had not been cleared in advance, the port would definitely become too crowded at this time. But even so, their appearance still brought brilliance to the entire port.
A certain degree of tacit agreement was maintained between the four ships, and they arrived at the port at almost the same time. When they were lined up, there seemed to be a certain sharpness in the air.
The gangplank was lowered.
From the ship with a cobweb as its emblem stepped down a beautiful lady wrapped in a black dress. Walking down from the ship with the emblem of an ancient coiled snake was an ordinary looking middle-aged gentleman. Walking down from the ship with a flamingo in flight as its emblem was a feminine looking man with long hair tied back with silk. The person who walked off the last ship was the youngest, with brown hair and brown eyes, and appeared a bit more low-key than the others.
The Ross family patriarch smiled slowly, although the smile was not amiable, but rather gloomy instead.
The bell of the port was struck.
Everyone knew that the meeting of the Five Port Alliance Brotherhood had gathered urgently.
The headquarters of the Five Port Alliance.
In the luxurious hall, the patriarchs representing the families making up the Five Port Alliance and their attendants all sat down at the long table. The meeting was held as usual, first discussing the commercial volume of each port, and the internal and external disputes of the alliance during this period. The Five Port Alliance was formed in the 11th century. After three centuries of development, they had pulled open a large net on the southeast coast.
In 1312, the most prosperous period of the Five Port Alliance, the Legrand Council passed the relevant “Port Alliance Regulations.” Since then, the Five Port Alliance had the legal jurisdiction over the ports, decision making over the herring market, and the most important rights of autonomy.
The meeting of the Brotherhood held today was a microcosm of the rights of autonomy the Five Port Alliance possessed.
The meeting kept advancing, but there remained an anxious atmosphere in the air. Those who attended the meeting were important business family leaders. They all knew exactly why today’s meeting was held, but not one of these veterans of the business circle was willing to be the first to bring up the topic.
Patriarch Ross swept his gaze over his allies, disappointed to see that even the youngest Patriarch Dawson smiled as if nothing was wrong.
In the end, as the chairman of the Brotherhood, Ross let out a light cough.
“I think you all know the true purpose of today.”
Finally it came out.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
“The Gelug family has taken refuge with the King.” Ross said indifferently, “They chose to abandon the purpose of the Chamber of Commerce Alliance and betray our supreme freedom. Since everyone here is willing to come despite short notice, I imagine we are all worried about the same matter——how the King plans to deal with us.”
He didn’t say it directly, but everyone sitting at this long table knew exactly what good deeds they did some time ago.
Smuggling the Gulundi heavy cavalry across the borders, transporting armaments and supplies for Grand Duke Grice, and greeting and sending off the Pope’s envoy…..any one of these things was enough to anger the King.
“Mister Ross, please speak freely.”
The lady in a black dress spoke up, she looked as charming as a socialite at any dance party, but whoever really regarded this notorious “poisonous spider” as an airheaded socialite would not end well.
“The New Royal Party nobles paid a huge ransom, and the Gelug family paid with their loyalty, only then did the King forgive them.”
“Isn’t that great?” The poisonous spider smiled. “We can also pay the little king. If he wants, the Diggin family can even build a genuine golden carriage for him. Mister Ross, you wouldn’t like to have conflict with that majesty again, would you?”
She had a soft voice, but there were sharp knives hidden in her words.
“If you really think that building a golden carriage is enough for the King to close his greedy pockets, then I have nothing to say.” Patriarch Ross responded without a change in expression, “Allow me to remind you that the King has long had the intention to rewrite the “Port Alliance Regulations”. What price do you think we have to pay this time to earn the King’s forgiveness? Autonomy? Legal jurisdiction? Like the Gelug family, surrender the freedom that we should have?”
The air suddenly tightened.
Everyone had ugly expressions on their faces.
The Five Port Alliance was known as the “Uncrowned King of the Sea and Commerce”. This was something they were all proud of. In the most prosperous time, in the mid-14th century, the naval fleet they provided to the royal family repeatedly defeated Bressi’s expeditionary forces. At that time, all Legrand’s internal and external armistice agreements would be sent to the Alliance for opinions and suggestions. 
This situation changed since William III came to the throne.
During the reign of William III, the Five Port Alliance’s privileges to make political suggestions were withdrawn, and the five Port Alliance leaders were no longer granted the title of baron. If it had not been for the early death of William III, the “Port Restriction Ordinance”  would have been passed. For the core families of the Five Port Alliance, it was simply an apocalyptic disaster.
In the “Rose Crisis,” they chose Grand Duke Grice not only because of the bargaining chips he possessed, but also because the five families were trying their best to save themselves.
However, they lost the gamble.
The situation had become even more precarious.
The “forgetfulness” of the King did not mean nothing would happen, but a more terrifying crisis to come. It meant that the King probably did not want to reconcile with them at all, but rather intended to completely sink the big ship that was the Five Port Alliance.
Don’t look at the brilliant prosperity they showed off when they arrived, it was just a way to cover their anxiety.
“Are you willing to accept the restrictions? Are you willing to surrender the legal jurisdiction and autonomy that we should have? We have spent hundreds of years, loyally providing our fleet to the royal family every time, helping the royal family time and time again with sea warfare. Without us, what would he use to build the castles in the north, and what would he use to fight Bressi?!” Ross growled, his voice filled with terrible anger.
“Are you willing?”
The expressions on the faces of the people in the conference room shifted.
The youngest Patriarch Dawson glanced at the faces of the others, and unsurprisingly saw the greed and unwillingness on their faces——profit was the most terrifying devil in the world, and it could drive most people crazy.
Patriarch Dawson sighed softly in his heart.
He suddenly stood up, and Patriarch Ross looked at him coldly: “Does Patriarch Dawson want to express any wise opinions?”
Patriarch Dawson smiled and bowed at everyone slightly, maintaining a gentlemanly demeanor: “What wise opinions could I have? Compared to you, I’m just an immature boy. I just recalled that I have something urgent to take care of. Please allow me to leave first.”
“I recall that the Brotherhood does not have any rule that members can not leave early, yes?”
He smiled while speaking softly.
The room fell silent, and Ross’s face was so cloudy that water could have dripped from it.
But Patriarch Dawson bowed again as if he hadn’t seen it, and left with his attendants.
“Who else is going to leave?” The Ross patriarch asked coldly.
Whispering voices, flickering eyes.
In the end, no one left.
Ross smiled: “Then let’s continue.”
The candlelight flickered.
“That damn old bag of bones.”
Walking to the dock, the attendant behind Patriarch Dawson cursed in a low voice.
“Of course he dares not expect the King’s forgiveness——the illegitimate child of that idiot is still in the royal prison. He has no way out and wants to pull everyone into the water with him. Do the others have no brains?”
The attendant was referring to the fact that the illegitimate son of Ross sent someone to rob a merchant ship, but ended up robbing the royal family.
Although it was well-known that the Five Port Alliance engaged in piracy at the same time, openly robbing the royal family’s merchant ships was the pinnacle of idiocy. However, who the hell knew why Ross valued his illegitimate son so much, and even became the first to join Grice’s side.
“They are not without brains.”
Patriarch Dawson replied lightly.
“It’s just that the benefits are alluring enough.”
In this world, how many people were not so immersed in the glory of the past that they forgot to see the sickle of death that was about to fall? Small commercial guilds were developing, free ships were flourishing, the monopoly of the Five Port Alliance was being challenged, and commercial profits were becoming greater and greater.
Or maybe it was not that they could not see it, but they were just reluctant to give up the privileges they had occupied for such a long time.
“What should we do?”
The young Patriarch Dawson raised his head, the sea breeze blowing at his face and bringing a damp and fishy smell: “Go and find out what the King’s commissioners have done.”
Don’t know why, but he kept getting the feeling that this time the King was not just conducting a political liquidation against those who betrayed him. What exactly did the King want? Should the Dawson family truly kneel before the rose badge like the Gelug family?
Their King was becoming more terrifying than ever, as well as more difficult to predict. The ancient glory of the Rose family seemed to be slowly recovering.
He must make a choice.
——Before the National Assembly convened.
The King’s commissioners were running up and down the country in the midst of winter snow.
They wore uniform black cloaks, and their investigation was more detailed than ever. Don’t know when, but rumors began to spread among the people.
It was said that the King was very angry with the New Royal Party this time and intended to carry out an unprecedented cleansing after collecting the evidence. Those with more political sense began talking about it. They didn’t hope for the King to be able to provide benefits for civilians like them, but they could take advantage of the King’s great purge this time.
Reporting all the “good deeds” done by the territory nobles that the King originally hated, and then taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the King purging his enemies to change the county lords.
This idea quickly spread like the flu, and when the territory nobles found out that the situation was not looking good, they could no longer restrain it. Those ordinary people who were usually oppressed began to take advantage of the dark night to quietly enter the tavern where the Gelug family’s carriages were parked, and then report to the King’s commissioners the evil deeds of local officials and make known their dissatisfaction.
So long as they handed the commissioners a small amount of labor fees, the commissioners would be happy to help them record these things in the books.
The local officials wanted to stop this from happening. In the name of safeguarding public safety, they expelled the civilians who tried to get near the tavern the commissioners stayed in.
But when the commissioners who were as greedy as the King himself discovered this, they simply began to live in the carriages, and directly receive feedback from the civilians in the carriages. What was printed on the curtains of the Gelug family carriages at this time was no longer the emblem of the Gelug family, but the Rose emblem of the royal family.
Officials did not dare to block the carriage that symbolized the King’s will, and could only watch this happen.
As a result, the King’s commissioners were also called the King’s “black wings”, referring to them as the shadow of the King’s power.
However, what neither the civilians nor the local nobles could think of was that when the civilians who took advantage of the dark to report left, the commissioners immediately handed over the collected coins to the members of the Gelug family who acted as supervisors, who would then clearly record the earnings down together.
In truth, the so-called rumor that the King’s anger could be used for the benefit of the common people was spread by the King himself.
The King knew exactly what his reputation was like among the people. Of course, he was also even more aware of the natural distrust civilians had of the government. Only in this way could they be prompted into reporting.
And these reports were exactly what the King himself needed most at this time.
The commissioners in charge of this matter admired the King’s wisdom. As the main executors of the investigation, they witnessed how the representatives of the people were silent in the square, but then eloquent in “reporting” at night.
The King got what he wanted, and he even earned a small amount of money on the side.
As for the people of the Gelug family…..
Thanks to their wise patriarch, they were lucky enough to pledge loyalty so early. They didn’t want to face the reckoning of such a monarch who not only had the courage and valor of William III but also the cunning of a poisonous snake. Believe them, this was definitely not a good thing.
According to rumors, their former comrade-in-arms, the Five Port Alliance, was still silent so far?
The people of the Gelug family sincerely hoped that they continued to remain stubborn, so that the King’s attention would no longer be placed on them, and they would have fewer competitors who could perform well in front of the King.
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Was it not better for others to go to hell than to go to hell yourself?
With such thoughts in mind, the Gelug family worked harder to find those “talents” for the King.
Speaking of, they really did manage to find some.
A few days later, the King saw these “talents” he wanted.
——In the royal prison of Metzl Castle.
AN:  After the battles of Dover and Trafford in 1216, Henry III once decided that any armistice agreement between England and the outside would be sent to the Alliance for comments. Although it is only for soliciting opinions, it also shows its status. When Edward I conquered Wales, he also received vital assistance from the Alliance.
 In fact, in 1229, the British royal family once promulgated the “Port Doomsday Judgment”
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