Chapter 212 Caravan and new information
It was already the second month of summer, and as scheduled, Margaret arrived on the day of midsummer.
This time, the amount of ships brought by the business group was far more than the pier could accommodate, so many boats now had to dock by the river and wait for the other ships that were in front of them to finish unloading, and allow them to access the pier for themselves.
This caused Roland to realize that the town’s pier would have to be expanded.
This month, Graycastle Industrial Company has finally completed their task, by reducing the scrapping rate to forty percent, they had successfully produced three steam engines for the day of delivery. Although compared to the current third generation used in Border town, the ones the factory produced for foreign trade were lacking in power, leaked air, were noisy, rattled and had other aspects that made them of a much lower quality. But compared to the former number of produced machines, it was still a great deal of progress.
The Crescent Moon Bay Caravan brought an artisan team of three hundred as had been arranged. Roland placed all of them in the industrial park at the southern side of the Redwater River. In addition to building a new wooden factory besides the original plant, he also ordered Karl to build an employee dormitory near the river. So that they could finish these facilities within a month, all the the huge logs needed were transported to the scene and then cut by Anna along with Karl’s technical guidance. Like this, the originally most time consuming task of processing the wood was completed in just two days.
When Teacher Karl saw Anna’s new ability he was stunned, in just six months, this weak and quiet girl had become so self-confident and seemed to always be in high spirits.
At the castle, Roland held a sumptuous dinner, welcoming the arrival of the business group.
At the same time, it was also the first time that White Liquor appeared in their line of sight.
"Every time we come here you will have developed new stuff, Margaret really did not lie to me," Hogg yelled, "even the wine is so out of the ordinary...this…"
"White Liquor," Margaret reminded.
"Yes, white liquor! Compared with this ale and wine are absolutely bland and tasteless,“ and with a grin, Hogg tossed the cup of liquor down. “Your Highness, this stuff, you must sell me a few boxes of it."
"I think its flavor is too hot, or with to say it differently, the fruit wine is more suitable for me," the businesswoman smiled and shook her head.
Roland smiled, "That has to do with personal preferences, the high concentration of distilled liquor isn't with everyone taste. I also don’t plan to spread it out, but since I happened to have made some, I thought I could let everyone have a taste."
In this era brewing and drinking wine was still the mainstream, but distilling alcohol clearly offered a great potential to open up a new market. Like the White Liquor, Rum, Whiskey, and Vodka were all distilled spirits with higher alcohol content. And together with these distilled spirits, they also came the corresponding string attached to the bartending culture. However, for the present, it was still too early to open up this industry in Border Town.
"Your Highness, I have brought some news with me according the matter you mentioned in your previous letter," Margaret began, "Now, after the Church has taken over the Kingdom of Endless Winter, they haven't brought up many changes. Currently they are facing a very strong resistance of the Wolfsheart Kingdom. Because of this they have gathered all their troops at the Broken Tooth Castle, but even with them they have not been able to take a step forward during the last two months. In addition, the Kingdom of Dawn has sent a message to Graycastle, that the Church goal should be to eliminate the witches, instead they want to take over the Four Kingdoms. They suggested that the two countries should establish an alliance, expelling the forces of Church out of the kingdom, and jointly fighting against the Holy City of Hermes."
"How did the King's City respond?" Roland asked
"The Kingdom's Prime Minister, Marquis Wyke, has immediately refused this proposal, and even denounced the other side for speaking nonsense." Margaret shrugged her shoulders, "This matter has caused a large commotion in King's City; even the nobility is unable to reach a consistent view. As far as I know, many people are in support of the idea of an alliance. After all, at present, the Church hasn't shown a sign that they will return the sovereignty to the successor to the Kingdom of Eternal Winter.
"Did Timothy not step forward?"
"The answer was certainly to incite Timothy, at the moment he himself is rushing with his army to the East," Margaret showed a somewhat dignified expression.
"I heard that there was a massive fleet east of the Seawind Region, which attacked and looted the eastern coast. They stopped at nothing, even the churches hadn't been spared and there were also many merchants of the Fjords who met with disaster."
"Many people have now become fugitives in the Eastern Region, Hogg and I have already given shelter to many of them."
Margaret then added, "They said that the looters were no longer only snatching just money. Nowadays they are even taking people with them, and after everything that could be moved was taken, they would burn everything that was left down. It seems that they want to turn the whole eastern territory into a white land. This is absolutely a severe blow to the eastern aristocracy who had recently been subdued by Timothy.”
Normally, hearing that Timothy was suffering under massive attack should be a joyous message, but when he heard that the other side even captured the population, Roland's heart was hit by waves of pain, "Those who were able to escape..."
"Are you interested in them?" Margaret lightly smiled, "After reading the letter, I already guessed that you might want to buy a large number of slaves to enrich the workforce in your territory. However, compared with the foreign refugees from the Kingdom of Endless Winter and the Wolfsheart Kingdom, the refugees of Graycastle may not be willing to sell themselves into slavery.
"I do not need them as slaves. As long as these people are willing to come to Border Town and settle down, there will be food and housing for them, and they will also be paid for their labour." Roland corrected, he also realized that this was a good opportunity to expand his number of people, even though the news arrived slightly late. "How many people are there?"
"Most of the robust and powerful refugees have already been taken in by the nobility and caravans, but there should still be nearly ten thousand people gathered outside of King’s City, however, most of them are younglings or women."
"Well, I'll still send someone on the way to screen them," the Prince said. "In case I want to take them, do I need to deal with the officials of King's City?"
"No, you don't," Margaret waved her hand to emphasise her words, "They will be ever grateful to have someone take those people away. Otherwise the food they have won't be enough. In the event that the number continues to increase, it might even become possible that the food shortage could lead to riots."
After the dinner, Roland returned to his office and called for Theo, his personal guard.
This incident made him aware of how backwards his intelligence system currently was. If he had received knowledge about the refugee problem immediately, he could have done the preparations earlier. In the end allowing him to bring even more people to Border Town. At present his understanding of the outside world laid only on the information he got from the caravans that arrived once a month, and a rate like that was simply unable to meet with his demands.
Even with his stationed army in Longsong Stronghold, which had been establishment as a relay post. he could only monitor the Western Region. If he really wanted to compete for the throne of Graycastle, he would have to extend his intelligence network to cover the whole kingdom, or even better, the whole of the mainland.
Right now, Roland did not have a sufficient number of loyal and devoted subordinates that he could use to establish a complete intelligence network, not to mention sending spies to all parts of the country to work as his secret agents. Therefore, he first started with laying down the foundation by sending some people over to King's City, and let them collect information from the city and the outer regions. It wasn't needed that they start with detailed monitoring, but this way he could still at least receive a rough understanding of the overall situation and wouldn't have to be passive any longer as with today.
Being aware of Theo's influence on King's City's black street rats, the prince knew that he was the best candidate for the job.
"You want me to follow the caravan to King's City?" Theo gawked in disbelief.
"That's right; you will have two duties. Your first mission is to meet up with the refugees of the Eastern Region. I will send a group of one hundred or so soldiers with you who will be in charge of the escorting them back to Border Town. I will inform you later about the specific conditions of the screening, but that will still be before the caravan leaves.
"Second, when the flood of refugees has calmed down, you will stay behind in King's City and starts to collect information from everywhere in the city for me. Since you're are already used to dealing with the underground rats, you should be clear about how you have to go through with it. Furthermore, Margaret's caravan will be fully supporting you, in case a tasks requires you to spend some money you can go to her. Compared with your task of going to Redwater City to spread the news about the witches, this time your funds will have no upper limit." He then put a revolver on the table, "Pay attention, and protect yourself, I hope that I to hear some good news from you soon."
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