Chapter 188 “On with the show!”
Two days later, after the visit to the North Slope Mine, Roland agreed to a new trade contract with Hogg and the Crescent Moon Bay Caravan.
Hogg’s eyeballs had nearly fallen out after he saw the smoothly operating railway-transport mining system. He even put forth an application to build a factory in Border Town, which would specialize in the construction of rail lines and their supplementary equipment, while the profits he obtained would be split in half, but Roland refused his investment offer as it would need even more of his people. After all, right now Border Town wasn’t lacking in money, but people.
Hogg, after all, was just a mining businessman. Although he possessed several mines, and managed an open-air silver mine for Count Kanbara at Silver City. The men below him were only miners. Which was on an entirely different scale compared with the strength of an entire island like Crescent Moon Bay.
In the end, he put his name under a contract ordering ten steam engines and a full set for the mine transportation system (including their track and tub), set to be delivered in six months from the date. The first half were to be delivered before the Months of Demons, and the second half around the start of the coming year.
The contract with the Crescent Moon Bay Caravan was of a much larger scale than his previous deals, including even a ten years contract with them. Next time the caravan arrived, it would bring a team of 300 people with it, mainly composed of blacksmiths and carpenters.
These people’s salaries would be paid for by the Crescent Moon Bay, while Roland only had to provide for their food and accommodation. The steam engines produced by them would be sold with the highest priority given to Crescent Moon Bay, and then after the ten years, the worker could decide for themselves if they wanted to stay or go back. This was a point that Roland had brought up several times during the negotiation.
Without a doubt, the people sent with the next caravan would be some of their most trustworthy supporters, even for the people shipped in later with the caravans, they were bound to try choosing people with the highest degree of loyalty to the Crescent Moon Bay.
So when it then came for them to making their decision, it was unknown if even half of them would decide to stay. However Roland could never have enough skilled workers, so even if only one of them decided to stay behind, he would still have made a profit. Something he always worried about was that, even though he had the technical advantage, he might not have enough people to bring the technology to reality.
Apart from the steam engine, the second largest order was for the transformation of their vessels.
Along with the three hundred craftsmen, the Crescent Moon Caravan would bring two inland sailing ships in the hope that Border Town would convert them into ships that could be driven by steam engine. Each ship’s conversion would come with a fee of one thousand eight hundred gold royals, which meant that the two ships would come up to directly exceed Margaret’s steam engine order. In contrast, despite that all three sides ordering the mugs, the total amount of the order was still less than 300 gold royals, even though Roland had already increased the price of the mugs to what it was in his convenience store by ten times. This let him feel the gap in the profit between civilian merchandise and industrial products. If you are unable to mass produce, it would be better to only satisfy the requirements of Border Towns inhabitants.
What surprised the Prince a little was that his iron breastplates, and the iron farming tools were completely disregarded. But later, during dinner, Margaret offered him the answer to his doubts, “Although your breastplates are indeed cheaper, however its yield is too small, if we want to resell it, we have to include the transportation cost together with the tax. So, in the end we would only make a profit of 5 to 6 gold royals. Moreover, your armor is either forged with a hydraulic hammer or by using the steam engine… In either case, with that method, the price of the armor will stay fixed, and the majority of the expense will come from the quality of the material, rather than the quality of its production.”
After a short pause she continued, “And buying them for our own usage, is even more unnecessary. On the sea, whether it be the sailors or the guards, they rarely wear heavy armor, which would only make them sink more quickly in the case they were to fall into the water. Most of the time, they see armor as fetters and handcuffs, not as protection.”
“It’s the same with your farming tools, if you cannot obtain an enormous amount of cheaply-priced iron, they will be cheaper but not by much when compared to similar local goods, which makes it difficult to make a profit off them. While the situation with those colorful cups it completely differently, their price isn’t at a fixed number, it can’t be said for sure that the nobility will fond of them, but it is still possible to earn several times our initial investment.”
“After thinking about it for a while, Roland had to admit that this was indeed the case… the price for the armor and farm tools was stable, and since the material costs accounted for the bulk of the price, it was still difficult to force the price down by forging them with his more efficient steam engine instead of the hydraulic hammer, so, in the end, the difference was too small to attract the interest of a big merchant.
In addition, these plate armors’ which had Soraya’s anti-stabbing coating on it, was actually a part of the First Army’s armament upgrade, so until the iron production didn’t go up, it would be impossible to sell in large amounts.
Soon, it was time for the anticipated theater premiere.
On this afternoon, even though Roland had demolished the surrounding buildings, which doubled the size of the former central square, the town square was still so tightly packed that not even a drop would be able to trickle through.
To promote the play, Roland had already started informing people about it a week ahead of time. Moreover, he had specially requested the Ministry of Agriculture to send people to the outskirts of the town and mobilize the serfs to come watch the drama.
Roland, as the town’s Lord naturally had the best view point. In the direction of the stage, directly facing the show, Karl had erected a temporary wooden platform. It was made up of three rows of wooden benches, which could accommodate about a 100 people, and the place in the middle of the third row was reserved for Roland. On one side, were places for the members of the Witch Union, with Anna sitting next to him, while on the other side the merchant group had taken their place, with Margaret sitting as his direct neighbor.
The first and second rows were mostly filled with City Hall officials and their apprentices.
In order to ensure their safety, the people surrounding the wooden platform were made up of members from the First Army, who could watch the drama while at the same time separated the location of the Prince from the civilian population.
Now, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the sun’s burning heat had already faded and together with a fresh breeze from time to time which was produced by Wendy, everyone on the platform could enjoy a VIP level treatment.
Under the applause of the crowd, the actors stepped onto the stage one by one.
To tell the truth, Roland was completely unsure of what kind of result the premiere would achieve in the end. After giving the script to Irene, he no longer interevent in the drama. The recruiting and rehearsal have been fully done by her and Ferlin. Now, in retrospect, how much experience could a theater newcomer, who had only appeared on stage once have gathered? And the friends recruited by her, were those people who had never gotten the chance to perform on stage in Longsong Stronghold, only here in a small town could they become actors.
In other words, this was a newly created team of new actors, who planned to perform a new drama.
Fortunately, Roland didn’t mind if it became a failure, after all, this drama wasn’t meant to sell tickets and also not there to promote a good script. The only goal of the show was to remold the people’s ideology and free them of their prejudices, for this to happen it had to be performed more than once. So even if this time they didn’t play out well, they would undoubtedly have improved by the time of the next performance.
“Now, I finally understand why you were so confident in this show,” Margaret suddenly exclaimed, “you invited Miss May!”
Roland got startled, “Who?”
“Do not tell me you do not know about it yourself, my God! Before I came here, I’ve also seen her show in King’s City,” Margaret smacked her lips, “No matter if it is taking hold of her character or the build up of emotions, she is the best. I do not know how many people she has already moved to tears with her performance in “Prince seeking for love”, even Kadin Faso was full of praise for her!”
“Who is Kadin Faso?” Roland went through his memories bus he couldn’t find any impression of him within his head.
“…Your Royal Highness, are you really a person from King’s City?” Margaret blinked with her eyes. “Please give me the liberty to ask, who is the most famous person in King’s City, apart from the people of the court?”
“Yorko ‘The Devil’s hand’ ” Roland blurted out, but directly afterward he knew it was the wrong answer.
“Oh,” the businesswoman gave him a meaningful glance. “The most famous playboy, I heard that with one hand alone he could get a woman to never forget him… I understand.“
“Relies only on one hand?” Anna leaned over, “What for?”
“No-Nothing.” Roland slammed himself on the forehead, “We had better earnestly follow along with the drama.”