Chapter 18 Ambassador (Part 2)
The banquet went on.
There was a fairly harmonious atmosphere during the dinner. The 4th prince didn't talk about ore trade as he found it inconvenient to say anything.
When the prince told the maid to deliver the dessert, Petrov tentatively mentioned the trade.
"Your Highness, according to the previous procedure, today should be the day when you deliver the ore, but I don’t see any ore in the terminal yard."
Roland put down his small wood sticks and nodded, "Unfortunately, the northern slope mine collapsed a while back, this month my people can only try to resume production. However, the gravel from the collapse has not been cleared yet. According to the schedule, we will be able to start mining again at the beginning of next year."
The mine collapsed? For a moment, Petrov was stunned, was that a coincidence? However, he quickly realized that the prince did not have the need to lie. Otherwise, if he himself went to the North Slope Mine, everything would be clear, so it was obvious that with a lie Roland would only beat his own face.
"Then... what happened to the ore from before the collapse?"
"That wasn't much, the amount mined was according to the convention, my people were unable to mine more than the amount set by the convention.." Roland emphasized the words in a practiced manner, "Mr. Ambassador, you should also remember what happened during the Months of the Demons two years ago, right?"
Of course Petrov remembered it, the cold lasted for four months and in Border Town nearly one out of every two people starved to death. The cause of this was municipal Administrative Governor Reynold’s avaricious and insatiable greed. Between the aristocracy there was naturally internal opposition, some nobles even wanted to punish governor Reynold afterwards. But at the end of this incident nothing happened, only because he was the husband of the Duke’s second daughter.
Now when this was mentioned by the prince, Petrov got a bad feeling.
"This time it will be even worse," Roland sighed, " with what we could mine before, it was probably only enough for two months of food. I will try to support my people,but I'm afraid they won't survive the winter, sir. The old ways of trade must be abolished!"
Petrov opened his mouth, but he didn't know how to refute. He wasn't a professional diplomat. In face of such a good reason, he really couldn't point out any problems, so he could only delay the matter for the time being, "Your Highness, I have to express my regret. This time will not be a repeat of the tragedy before, I can afford to loan you a month of food, and when your people are able to resume production next year, they can slowly repay the debt. "
"I already sold the ore to Willow Town, we can slowly repay you with their money."
"There is no ‘but’, however," Roland immediately interrupted him, "they are willing to buy the ore with gold royals, and at the same time they sell wheat, cheese, bread, honey and more at market price... which we can buy with the royals we got from the former transaction. But,Mr. Ambassador, even if you are willing to lend us a month of food, would the other five factions agree with your decision? As far as I know, it isn't even easy for Duke Ryan to reach an agreement with the other families."
Petrov kept silent, the 4th prince had put it right. Not just the remaining five, he even feared his own father wouldn't agree. If they wanted to maintain the monopoly, it would be necessary to modify the trading scheme, but he did not know how he could have the last word. He was called an ambassador, but in reality, he was just the spokesperson. Perhaps the Duke did not want someone to come to any private agreements with Border Town, right? Whether it was during the time of the former governor or now with the 4th prince, he assigned a different candidate every season, and these people were never the rulers of their families.
Regardless of the outcome, he had to try, so when he thought up to this point, Petrov spread out his last cards. "Thirty." he held up three fingers, "Longsong Stronghold will buy the ore and rough gems for less than thirty percent of the market price. I think this price should be higher than the price of Willow Town, Your Highness."
Roland responded, "Indeed it is higher, but there is still the old question, can you guarantee the agreement of all 6 families?"
"I will immediately go back to Longsong Stronghold tomorrow. After I get an agreement, I will come back with a new contract."
"But my people are unable to wait that long. You should know, that if you want to reach an agreement between the aristocracy, it is usually very time consuming."
"Your Highness, the cooperation with Longsong Stronghold would be a better choice for you and your people. Willow Town isn't too far away, so you and your people can also escape to them during the Months of the Demons," when speaking up to this point Petrov felt that his throat became dry, "but the road isn't easy... it is quite dangerous."
Good God, what the hell am I doing? Petrov’s heart pounded madly, did he really threaten the prince?
"Ha ha ha ha!" surprisingly, Roland did not fly into a rage, but instead laughed, "Mr. Ambassador, you seem to have mistaken something, I never thought of retreating to Willow Town."
"What do you mean…"
"Of course, I didn't intend to go to Longsong Stronghold either." Roland watched the ambassador’s expression with interest, "I'm not going anywhere."
Petrov momentary doubted whether his ears got it right or wrong.
Fortunately, the prince didn’t let this awkward silence continue for long, and he then explained, "This winter, I will always stay in Border Town. Border Town will become the new border of our kingdom. Do not be so surprised, my friend, I'm not spouting nonsense, I can show you the new masonry wall at the Northern Mountain Slope. "
"Yes, connecting the North Slope Mountain and Chinshui River is a twelve foot high and four foot wide stone wall. With this, we can defeat the demonic beasts here at Border Town."
Petrov felt his brain power wasn't enough, when the former ambassador got back last season, he did not mention any city walls. No, at that time the lord of Border Town and the people were at Longsong Stronghold, how could they build the wall with the limited manpower they had? In other words, when the 4th prince arrived, he immediately began to build the city walls? Even so, until now it had only been only three months, so how could they have built something in this short amount of time?
Also... What was it His Highness just said? Twelve feet high and four feet wide, connecting the North Slope Mountain and Redwater River? Petrov estimated this in his heart, building a wall of this size wasn't something possible to be done in less than 3 to 5 years, and first of all he did not even have enough stone masons for cutting and grinding so many stones! Even more, Border Town was only a mining town, most of the people living here were only common people.
When he hadn't even digested this news, Roland’s next sentence also shocked him incomparably.
"As for the ore sales, starting next year, I will be willing to reduce the price by half, sir, but we will not only sell to Longsong Stronghold, because you don't really need that much ore. I think compared to the low profits of ore, you would prefer some more metal products, such as spades, shovels and the like." Here again he paused, waiting until it seemed like Petrov understood the meaning of his words," As for rough gems, we will sell them in the form of an auction, the businessman with the highest bid will be able to buy them. I would prefer to polish the stones myself, but unfortunately in the current Border Town there is no one with such an ability. "
But you're saying you have the ability to build the wall in this few months! Petrov’s heart nearly burst from anger, and what does he mean, that Longsong Stronghold doesn't require so much ore? It's a mere output of one thousand gold royals, even if the production would be increased, Longsong Stronghold could double it! Two thousand gold royals cannot be handled by Longsong Stronghold? That is a bit too arrogant!
He forced back the grievances of his heart, and tried to maintain a composed look, "Everything you said I have remembered, Your Highness. I will immediately go back and negotiate with the six families. But, the city walls you mentioned before... I first want to have a look. "
"Of course," Roland smiled, "but do not be into too much of a rush, let us first enjoy and finish these kingly flavored pastries. After that, it wouldn't be too late to start, right Mr. Ambassador?"