Chapter 140 Seeds
Shortly after the assistant minister had left Roland’s office, the Prince received some good news.
The guard whose mission it was to travel to the Port of Clearwater and buy a few crops had just come back.
Directly after having received the message Roland went into the back garden, where he saw Shawn already busy unloading several sacks from the horseback.
It was almost a month since the day of his departure, and now as Roland looked at Shawn’s present appearance he discovered that the man’s skin had become a lot tanner while his body became somewhat thinner.
When he saw that the Prince had appeared in the garden, Shawn immediately stood up straight and greeted him with a salute. Roland then trotted forward to his side and patted his shoulder, “Well done, have these sacks all been filled with seeds?”
Shawn squatted down and unlocked the sacks on the ground, “Pearl Rice, Earth Eggs, Sugar Sticks… those plants are exactly as you have described them. All of them I could only buy in the Port of Clearwater and they were indeed mostly produced in the Fjords. There they have a lot of farmlands where they are cultivating these crops.”
“Did you ask the businessmen about the what the right planting method are?”
“I asked, but they couldn’t tell me any specific methods to use, they could only tell me that after these plants leave the South it will become difficult to plant them.” Shawn grasped a handful of yellow seeds from one of the packages, then showing it to Roland said, “Your Royal Highness, this is pearl rice. The trader said that if I bought them together with the pearl rod, I could get them for a little cheaper. But taking all the pearl bars would be too heavy and inconvenient to carry, so I only bought a sack full of pearl rice and the rest are all only normal seeds.”
There was no doubt that the pearl rice was the corn he was most familiar with. So, Roland excitedly picked up some corn grains and took a closer look at them. Some of them seemed to be dried fruits apparently they had been stored as winter rations. The yield of corn production was much higher than that of the natural wheat and it had a much lower soil quality requirements, coupled with Leaves’ transformation ability, he might be able to replace the wheat with corn as the new main ration.
Afterwards Shawn opened another package, within it Roland could see a mass of round and leather-like brown crop, “These were the earth eggs, I was able to eat them during my stay in an inn in the Port of Clearwater, they were peeled and cut into small pieces and then thrown into bubbling water. When chewing, it is very crisp, and has a light sweet taste.”
Seeing this familiar shape, Roland heart was full of emotions. This was clearly a potato! He dug his fingers into the potato and peeled it open, revealing the deep yellow potato meat. The next potato’s size wasn’t as big and its color also wasn’t to the darker side, not one earth egg looked like the other. He also noticed that there were some potatoes which had the same lengthily form similar to carrots.
“If this stuff get crushed first and then later steamed until it turned into a paste, the potatoes will become even more delicious.”
“Uh … you have already eaten them, Your Highness?”
“Well, it was during one of the feasts in the palace,” Roland decided to sprinkle a little lie, after all always hearing the name earth egg was just too confusing, “In the royal kitchen they didn’t call them earth eggs, but instead they called them potatoes and this delicious steamed snack is called mashed potatoes.”
“So it was something like this, it seemed that Your Highness is indeed really well-informed.” Shawn exclaimed, then he went straight to the next sack and open it, within it Roland could see many black sticks,” Your Royal Highness, I think this crop is the most important one I brought with me. The honey in the Port of Clearwater is so cheap, and it was largely because of this crop. I heard the news in a pub that more and more farmers have began to switch the crop on their farmland into these sugar sticks, and this magical plant is actually really sweet. When you cut open it’s outer skin, you can squeeze out a kind of syrup from it. Furthermore, its price is only one-tenth of that of honey and when it is mixed into a drink it tastes isn’t inferior at all to that of honey water.”
“…” Roland would have liked to say that he had also already seen this crop and that it was called sugar cane, but after thinking about it for a short moment he didn’t care any longer. They had already started to plant it in huge amounts, so by now it would already be too late to try and change its name. The other materials of the sugar cane, could also be used for many other things. For example, they could also be used to produce ethanol and this crop was able to raise the civilians’ happiness to a completely new level. After all, the bread made from normal flour was nearly tasteless, but after sprinkling some sugar on it, it taste would be enhanced by several times, even salt wasn’t as important as this, Roland thought.
“Were you able to find any other crops seeds?”
“This was all I could find in the Port of Clearwater,” after saying that, he took five to six small bags out and gave them to the Prince “But before I started my journey you explained to me, that in case I find any crop which we don’t already grow here in Border Town, I should bring them back with me. Within these packages are seeds of some plants I’ve gathered as I passed through the Fallen Dragon Ridge and Willow Town, they are grapes, soybeans, cotton, flax and olive tree seeds. But the farmer say that the grapes won’t grow out of seeds but you needed to stick the branches into the ground for it to grow. Although its seed can still be planted, but its germination process is very slow and the appearing grape has neither the highest amount nor is it very tasty.
Since I have Leaves here, this shouldn’t be a problem for me, Roland thought. Now that he had grape seeds, maybe he could have another try with his idea of a wheat tree. As for soybean, cotton, flax and olives they were also all very useful crops. After I let Leaves improve the soil in the West I will let some serfs cultivate them at a small-scale. So, that the Ministry of Agriculture who is responsible for summing up the planting process can add them to their manual.
“Your Highness, there is still some other news I have to report to you,” Shawn whispered, “it is about the situation in Clearwater.”
“Are they about my sister Garcia?”
Shawn nodded, “I spent nearly two weeks in the Port of Clearwater, and with the exception of the time I needed to buy seeds, I spent most of the rest of the time in pubs. There were rumors that your sister Garcia Wimbledon and the Sandpeople have reached an agreement. She has allowed them to live at the southern edge of her territory and the Sandpeople had instead decided to accept her as their Queen and to follow her recruitment orders. During my stay in the city, I also saw plenty of Sandpeople walking through the streets.
The Extreme South is the territory of the Sandpeople… Although the people of Border Town don’t ask others for their origin, but letting a large number of people from a foreign territory settle in your own territory is a completely different matter. It seems that in order to insure that she can conquer the throne for herself, Garcia is really willing do almost anything, Roland thought.
“The Sandpeople are divided into many smaller factions, so I cannot believe that all of them decided to listen to her instructions. Do you know which clans are the ones following her orders?
Shawn shook his head, “The Sandpeople are very wary of the people from our kingdom, even using some gold royals I still wasn’t able to buy any more information, but… there was one more strange thing that happened on the day prior to when I’d intended to leave the Port of Clearwater. On that day Garcia had returned after her victory at Eagle City and everywhere within the city they celebrate their Queen’s victory against the pseudo-king, King Timothy. But the next day, they detected four to five people murdered and one victim was even torn to pieces in the middle of the street.”
“In the following days the Port of Clearwater was closed down and so I had to stay continue to stay there for the next three days. During the time, all the pubs were closed, and everyone would gather in the inn’s lobby to talk about what information they had heard. Some people thought that it was the revenge of the pseudo King, but one of the fishermen said that he had witnessed one of the murders. The murderer wasn’t tall and also was clearly not a man of the Sandpeople, but his strength and speed wasn’t anything like what a normal man could reach. He was later killed by the guards, but even after being hit by a lot of knife slashes he still didn’t go down. In addition, his blood looked completely differently than that of a mortal and only after even more guards rushed to the crime scene, were they finally able to wear him down with their spears. When the closing order was lifted, I didn’t dare to stay for any longer, and immediately came back to bring you your seeds.”
“You have done a good job,” after thinking for a short moment Roland continued. “You don’t need to return the gold royals you still have left over from buying the seeds to the Town Hall.”
“Thank you so much for your reward, Your Highness!”
“A strength and speed far beyond what is possible for an ordinary person, ignoring the pain caused by knife injuries, all this just sounds like… the Church’s pills.” When Shawn had left Nightingale’s voice immediately sounded next to Roland’s ear.
“I thought the same,” Roland frowned, “according to Shawn’s explanations, Garcia got the pills even earlier than me. The Church supported both sides that are competing against each other for the throne at the same time… In the end, what was it that they have in mind?” Within his mind the traces of a bad possibilities popped up, can it be that the purpose of all their actions isn’t in order to insure a stable future for the Kingdom of Greycastle, but something else?