I don’t guarantee a 100% perfect translation. Feel free to correct me in the comments..
And like my disclaimer stated, i did screw up in the translation in last chapter. As many of you energetically discussed in the comments, the sentence was the other way around, Roland thinking that if it were to be Chinese it would take longer to learn to read and write.
Anyway, I apologize. As some of you might have read in the discord, I recently started learning Chinese and I no longer rely on the LNMTL version to translate, only on the raws, so I might screw up here and there.
Last chapter should be fixed now, with some other minor changes, in case you want to read it again.
Enjoy the chapter!
At the side of the wharf, over ten sail ships were lining up, the tops of their masts covered in snow and ropes that seemed like wires with that white-silver layer. The refugees lined up from the ships to an open space in front of the wharf.
This was not the first time Border Town received refugees from all over of Greycastle, so the process continued in an orderly manner.
Four iron railings divided the crowd into two slender columns, helping control the flow of people and avoiding them stepping on each other. On both sides of the railings there were police officers helping with the inspection, with a short stick to keep them from pushing and climbing the railings. There were punishments, but naturally also rewards, as a mean to comfort those who had been through hard times. A bowl of steaming hot gruel was available to those refugees after crossing the inspection points. After all, a full stomach would effectively reduce the refugees’ fear and discomfort of an unfamiliar territory.
This time, besides the police, the First Army and the City Hall officials, Nightingale and Sylvie were also participating in the inspection, in order to find the pill-users that Timothy might have planted in the crowd. Under the scrutiny of their magic sight, both berserker pills and Snow Powder had no place to be hidden.
“Thank you for everything you have done for the western region,” Roland turned around and said to Margaret who was at his side, “if not for your fleet, these people may had spent the winter in the slums of other cities.”
“It was rare for Your Highness to ask for my help with such urgency, it was natural that I would do my best,” she smiled, “but many of my sailors were unwilling to sail in these heavy snowy days, so I could only arrange for 13 ships.”
“It is still better than no ships,” as Roland replied, a white vapor cloud came out of his mouth.
Since he knew there were large numbers of refugees in Silver City, Redwater City, and Willow Town, he had sent a letter requesting for Margaret’s help to the Chamber of Commerce, in hopes that she could recruit a fleet, and help with the transportation of the stranded refugees.
Although the 13 ships were less than enough, but in two more trips they could bring the rest of the people—according to the boat’s capacity of around 100 people, and the round trip of two weeks, the stranded 3,000 refugees were about a month and a half away.
The gold royals carried by the First Army could not support them all that time, so in the return trip they also had to carry food and warm clothing. Roland did not want the refugees cling to the ships, only to eventually not reach their destination alive.
Thanks to Lightning, Margaret had eventually set the transportation cost just at twice the normal price. Any other merchant might think of this as a stupid business—the cost of the transportation alone was worth more than the goods themselves, on average a pair of gold royals per person. According to the current market value, you could buy several strong and sturdy slaves with the same money.
Margaret had also raised this topic several times, but Roland still insisted on getting these people back to the western region. From the moment they followed the messengers he sent, they were already people of the western region, it was his responsibility to provide shelter for them.
And in the eyes of Roland, these refugees were far more valuable than slaves. After education, training and re-employment, the wealth they will create with their new jobs will be enormous.
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Back in the Castle Hall, Roland had the kitchen staff bring Margaret a thick soup to drive out the cold, “Drink this, your hands and feet will become warmer.”
“Thank you for your kindness,” the merchant woman scooped up a spoonful close to her nose, “it seems like it contains white wine?”
“Indeed,” he smiled, “In addition, there is also pepper and honey, the base is made of chicken soup.”
Concentrated liquor was excellent at cold times, by heating it with the chicken soup it made the taste more mellow, and the added seasoning hid its astringent flavor, making the bowl of soup more fragrant and slightly spicy. People who did not drink could also easily enjoy it.
Margaret slowly drank the thick soup, then released a long breath, “It’s really good, every time I come here, I’m always filled with expectations, wondering what kind of novelty you’re going to show me. Unfortunately, next year I believe I won’t be able to patronize your territory as frequently.”
“Do you mean, as in trading opportunities?” Roland keenly captured the meaning of her words.
The merchant woman nodded, “Timothy has issued an order banning all saltpeter transactions, and now it’s not just King’s City, even Silver City and Redwater City are not allowed to sell it. In addition to the enforced low price to sell it to the Alchemist Association, it can only be sold to them or the city’s nobles.”
“And according to the news I heard from a contact in the town hall, he seems to be plotting a complete blockade of the western region, so I’m afraid it’s not only about saltpeter, even merchants will be intercepted at Redwater City.
“Not only Border Town, even Longsong Stronghold and Willow Town will be affected. Even though many nobles were opposed to this plan, I doubt Timothy will revoke that order.” She shook her head in a helpless manner, “So in the next year, not only will I be unable to transport saltpeter and ingots here, but even the steam engine trade deal may need to be suspended.”
It appears like he is indeed pushed into a corner, otherwise he would not have made such a harmful move to the royal family, Roland thought, a rash intervention to the trade of the other territories before the centralization of power, is likely to stir up a revolt of the city lords and other big aristocrats.
Even if Timothy sent his own troops to enforce the land and river blockades, it would be easy for the local lords to manipulate the behind-the-scenes to eradicate them—as long as he enforced this policy for a year or so.
But trade was one of Border Town’s key points, let alone one year… even half a year could not be allowed.
Saltpeter was one of the raw materials for the large-scale acid manufacturing, and since the issue of the synthetic ammonia had not been resolved yet, its importance was enormous. Once the supply stopped, the 152-mm artillery cannon would be nothing more than an ornament, and the improvements of this new weapon would have to be postponed.
But compared to weapons, what was worse was the steam engine trading—there were not many gold royals left in the City Hall’s vault. A part of the money was used for infrastructure, increasing the number of jobs, and another part was used to pay the salaries of the city workers, so that through food, convenience goods, and housing transactions, it would be recovered, turning it into a cycle.
This economic model needed to constantly inject gold royals into the market, at least an equal amount to the wealth created by the people.
Right now, Border Town was in the early accumulation state, and had not released a credit currency, so once the steam engine trading income is gone, it would be easy to get into a state of unpaid salary, which would lead to an overall collapse of the economy.
In any case, the disruption of trade income was an absolutely unacceptable situation.
“This situation will not last long,” Roland said, “I believe you will soon be visiting this town again… No, by then, what you should see is a brand-new city.”
Margaret was slightly surprised, “You plan to build a city here?”
“After the Months of Demons are over,” he smiled, “in addition, I’m going to open a trade route that is directly connected to the Fjords, not through the Seawind Region or Clearwater Port, but directly from the western region, straight to the Fjord islands.
“I was wondering, are you interested in participating?”