Chapter 126 Wheat Transformation
For villages and small towns, it didn’t matter whether or not they used the rotation farming system. However, for big cities where the surrounding land was scarce, this system wasted a lot of land. For example, Silver City, Fallen Dragon Ridge, and King’s City were such places, so every month they had to import a large amounts of grain from other cities.
The first step in using fertilizer was to collect the manure. This was also the reason why Roland decided to establish the public toilets as soon as possible. With the toilets, he could reduce the spreading of disease and even beautify the living environment; it was such as simple action but it offered so many improvements.
His goal was for the toilets to already be constructed by the time the rest of the new citizens have been shipped over. As for teaching them how to use compost and cultivate the arable land, Roland decided to select a small group of experienced farmers during the next few days and teach them the system first. After all, the land was still in its clean-up phase, and it would still need at least a week before it would be useable.
After finishing all the work at hand, he decided to go meet Leaves at the back garden and take a look at her experiments.
Since Leaves improved all categories of seeds, there could be seen many different kinds of crops in the garden. She has also followed Roland’s suggestion and divided her farming area into several small blocks which were all given a number. With this, she could compare the developments of two groups of test crops.
When Roland stepped into the yard, he was stunned by the picture of golden and dazzling wheat swaying in the wind in front of his eyes.
"Your Royal Highness." When Leaves, who was squatting beside one of her fields became aware of the Prince, she immediately stood up and bowed in greeting.
"Are these the results of your improvements?" He waved his hand trying to stop Leaves from going through the ritual greeting went then to pick one of the wheat plants, feeling the caryopsis with his fingers.
Previously he had no idea what the wheat would look like, but in contrast with the wheat fields in the prince's former memories, those were not only smaller than the ones in his hand, they also had a lot fewer grains.
Leaves nodded in acknowledgment, "I let the wheat grow with my magic, then I harvested the ripe seeds and then planted the seeds once more, what you have in your hands is the result I got out of it. However... I repeated this process several times, but after two or three rounds of planting, it became difficult to grow the wheat as long and large as before, and I just can’t understand where the problem lies.”
Unfortunately, I cannot help you with that, Roland thought. According to his own pitiful junior high school biology knowledge, it was probably because of self-intersection defects? In the southern area there were only rice seeds, which were poles apart from wheat. So in order to raise the output they always had to purchase new seeds. But even with only two generations of planting it still had a practical value, after all, one wheat plant can produce more than 130 seeds, and if he the let Leaves first transform the generation of seeds, and afterward let the farmers uses those seeds, he could still use the seeds for two years.
"Why is this one empty?" Roland asked when he noticed a field with only a few dry straws.
This is the area where I planted first, but perhaps because I had planted here too many cycles," Leaves was clearly unsure. "I can only let the plants grow when I cast my magic, but when I remove my magic they will wither soon after.
It seems that even when she used her magic to let the plants grow she still used up the land’s supply of nutrition, and without the nutrition, the plants could not survive. Roland went to the last flower bed, there the planted wheat had a very strange shape, on an arm-thick stalk of wheat with several blue grain ears, and the center stalk even had several branches which were with green leaves. So, the volume of grains per plant were very large, but on the whole field, there were only two plants.
This was the area Roland has asked Leaves to create new plants like a ‘wheat tree’.
He had envisioned to turn a wheat plant into something similar to a banana tree, where he could harvest the fruit from the branches, with the possibility of a regular harvest, thus eliminating the need for sowing, and if they could grow even larger, they would get more green leaves, improving the photosynthesis and reducing the land requirements. But at present, the thick and solid wheat stalks together with its branches took a lot of space, furthermore the grain ears would only grow on the top of the stalks and branches which weren't what he had originally imagined. Perhaps, should I ask Leaves to transform them in the direction of grape vines? Roland thought, after all, Leaves had never seen real banana trees, but grapes were not a rare product within the Kingdom of Graycastle, and as long as she had an image it should be easy for to imitate.
"The seeds of these three wheat plants cannot be used for sowing," Leaves explained, "I tried already, but the seeds wouldn’t germinate after they were planted. However, they can still be harvested several times, you see the grains are the second batch."
Can’t germinate means that every plant would be a unique wheat tree and that Leaves would have to personally create every tree, so for the current situation, it doesn't have any true value.
"You have done a great job. The wheat plant with the big grain ear will be called golden one. I will create a test field for you south of the Redwater River, it will be surrounded by fences and clapboards, to hide it from the view of other people. There I hope we will soon harvest a batch of golden ones. As for the garden, you can continue to use it to improve and create new wheat varieties. I also came up with a lot of new ideas, not only for the wheat crops but also for the grapes," said Roland.
Unfortunately, Leaves only has a macro level understanding of the characteristics of a crop, so she can only change it to get more fruits, sweeter taste, denser branches and so on... If she could understand it on a micro-level, she wouldn’t only be able to manipulate the genes, wouldn’t she also be able to fine tune it? Such that the plants could even absorb light other than from the visible spectrum – such as ultraviolet, x-rays, and even ionizing radiation for photosynthesis, getting a direct output of starch, glucose, sucrose and other energy storage substances, so that we could directly harvest what is needed.
During the evening, the 4th Prince lit a bonfire near the Redwater River, and let Carter and his guards gather all the serfs together. A huge cauldron with more than 128-liter capacity was brought over and placed on the frame of a new simple mud stove, to cook congee over the fire.
With the fire at his back, the serfs could only see the narrow image of their new Lord, and the moment they became aware of him they would fearfully lower their heads. Only some of them were bold enough to secretly glance at the Prince from time to time.
Roland who stood in front of the bonfire began to announce his new rules to the crowd of more than a thousand people.
"I am Roland Wimbledon, the 4th Prince of the Kingdom of Graycastle, the Lord of Border Town, and the Ruler of the Western territories."
"Today you were all summoned here, the day that you came to my territory was your lucky day! As long as you work hard, you can break away from your current status and place!”
"That is right, I will give you a chance to get rid of your status as slaves, becoming free people!"
Hearing this within the serfs an uproar broke out. The serfs clearly knew what a status as a free person meant, they could no longer be cruelly abused by their owners, without any rest always forced to carry on farming endlessly, and they would no longer have to turn over the crops they produced on their fields to their owners, their sons and daughters would no longer be turned into the next generation of serfs.
Roland waited for a moment to let them calm down then he continued, "From tomorrow onward, each of you will get a fixed field assigned to him, and at the same time someone will guide you in the process to get a better harvest. In the first year, 30% of your harvest will belong to you, while the other 70% will belong to Border Town. The people who get the best harvest results will be promoted to free people!“
"After becoming a freeman, your family will be exempted from slavery, and then you can decide if you want to continue farming or if you want to find another occupation in the town, it will be your own decision. If you choose to continue farming, 20% of your harvest will belong to Border Town as rent, while the other 80% will belong to yourself. Later you can buy the land from the Lord and then you will no longer have to transfer any food to the castle! “
After his last word faded away, only the sound of breathing could be heard, until someone shouted, "Your Royal Highness, was what you said was really the truth?”
"Of course," Roland answered, stressing every word. "As a Lord, I would never deceive my own people.“
"His Royal Highness is merciful," some people couldn’t help themselves from saying out loud, then the sound quickly became louder, "Long live His Royal Highness the Prince!"
Suddenly the first serf in front of him kneeled down, followed soon by the second person, then the third person...
Until the whole mass of people kneeled in front of him, still calling his name, getting louder and louder. Until the thousands of voices turned into the same rhythm, "His Royal Highness the Prince!" "Long live the Prince!"
Hearing the crowd so clearly understanding his intent, there was no need for him to drag things out for any longer, the Prince thought to himself.
He clapped his hands then said to the bodyguard behind him, "Bring the meal!”
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