Chapter 202 The road to development
Roland took a sip of his tea, then said: “In addition, I intend to set up a primary education system in Longsong Stronghold, which will be the examination project that decides whether you will continue serving as the administrator or not.
Hearing the word “examination”, Petrov’s ears immediately stood up, “Primary education system?”
“Yes,” Roland nodded with a smile. Now, after the church had been destroyed, the High Priest killed, and the Church’s forces weakened by more than half, it was a good time to start the fight over ideological positions. He didn’t expect to transform all believers into potential workers who met with his standards; he only hoped to weaken the Church’s influence even further. In case the Holy City wanted to meddle in Longsong Stronghold again, Roland had thought about many ways to keep them away; they shouldn’t even think about building a new church here.
“The primary education should be attainable for all of Longsong Stronghold’s residents under the age of forty, regardless of whether they are men or women. The training will include reading and writing, simple calculation, the spread of natural knowledge and also ideological education.” Roland waved his hand, holding off the other’s questions, “Rest assured, the cost will be deducted from the tax paid to Border Town. From the beginning of the next month, you only have to pay 20% of the tax; the remaining 10% will be used as special education fee. With it can you recruit a few scholars from King’s City, or hire local nobles, knights or squires, but these people won’t need so much money. 10% of the tax are at least 1000 gold royals, so you have to do much more than just hire people with it.”
After thinking for a moment, Petrov opened his mouth and said: “Your Highness, do you mean to say, that I should use the money to motivate the civilians to attend the education courses?”
This guy’s mind is indeed very sharp, Roland laughed, “That’s right, with the exception of the children, most people have to earn their livelihood during the during the day, so their education courses have to be held in the evening, allowing them to carry out their work during the day. And after being busy the whole day, instead of resting, no one wants to come round only to hear other people’s nagging them, not to mention using their brain to learn how to read and write.
“Because of this you have to lure them with some means to learn, such as providing them a dinner that has meat, or if they are able to speed up the learning process they can also get a monetary reward, etc., and of course, a bright and spacious classroom is also essential.” He paused, “In short, you must try every means to popularize attending the education courses to all the residents of the stronghold. As I said, this is also your examination: After one year, more than 50% of the stronghold’s population needs to have reached literacy.”
“But Your Royal Highness…” Petrov hesitated. “No matter if they are scholars or belong to the nobility, they fundamentally have no experience with teaching civilians how to read and write, even less teaching them natural knowledge and ideological education,” he had to read the hard to pronounce noun of the parchment. “In fact, even I do not quite understand the words myself. By employing these people, I am afraid you cannot achieve your desired result.”
“Do not worry, I have already taken all that into account,” Roland paused. “I’ll send a group of officials from Border Town’s City Hall to help you realize it. Furthermore, all the books you need for the education will be provided by Border Town. They have a wealth of experience in how to teach, so they can show the people you recruit how to teach, and then, your personal will have to start to educate the residents. At that time you and they will have comprehended all the necessary details, the specific arrangements will be done when they arrive.”
This way, as long as Petrov wanted to keep in control of Longsong Stronghold, it was inevitable that he worked together with the Prince’s staff, and by placing his aids at critical positions within the Ministry of Education, news reaching or happening in Longsong Stronghold could also be passed on to Border Town in the first moments.
Seeing that Petrov didn’t show any objections, Roland began to explain his final command: “Thirdly, I plan to build a road between Longsong Stronghold and Border Town to shorten the traveling time between the two locations for pedestrians and caravans.”
“Your Royal Highness, don’t we already have a way between those two?” Petrov asked in surprise.
A mud path created by people walking over it can be counted as a road? With a width less than two meters, filled with mud by the rain, and furthermore, with all its holes, it will never be suitable for high-speed carriages.
Roland shook his head. “I want to build a road that can accommodate at least two carriages side by side. A road that is flat and straight, and won’t be covered with water during rain, exactly like the road in Border Town.”
“You mean a macadam road?” the Acting Duke looked a little surprised, “The costs of such a road isn’t low, it requires the mason to cut the stones and then they have to pick out the stones with the right sizes which can be used together. A gravel road to Border Town would at least cost five thousand gold royals, and with all due respect Your Highness, we will never get so much money without a tax increase.”
“The stronghold only needs to provide the workforce.” The Prince stated bluntly, “You will issue a recruitment notice throughout the whole Western Territory, not just Longsong Stronghold, including all of the other noble’s territories. The monthly salary will be six silver royals, with that sum, I believe there should be plenty of applicants.”
“For laborer, six silver royals are quite a high salary,” Petrov nodded, “may you tell me how many people you want to recruit?”
“At least two thousand people,” Roland replied.
The monthly cost for such an amount of handymen wasn’t a small sum, together with masons and gravel workers, in the eyes of others, it would definitely regard as a ridiculously high costs. Very few Lords would be willing to put their money into building something which seemingly wouldn’t provide and return. This thought process could also be seen in Petrov’s expression. But now, with Border Town being able to sell steam engines, and to maintain the balance between income and expenditure, putting the remaining money into upgrading the infrastructure was undoubtedly the best choice to make. After all, Roland never intended to store all the gold royals in a vault, which was often the desire of many of the newly rich.
The construction of a high-quality road connecting the stronghold and Border Town was of the highest importance, not only to facilitate the trade between both places, but was also a prerequisite for the rapid deployment of the armed forces. If the trip is an inconvenience, even if I receive the news of an attack on the stronghold at the earliest possible moment, I would only be able to reach the stronghold in three days, I am afraid that by that time, the enemy’s banner will already be flying over the highest tower.
“I understand,” Petrov said.
“Now that you have so much to do, I will soon return to Border Town. Do a good job, ‘Mr. Ambassador’, don’t let me down.”
“What do you plan to do with the people held in jail, Your Highness?” Petrov asked, after a moment’s pause.
For the first time, Roland didn’t know what to answer, and after a moment of silence he spoke, “Contain them, they won’t be able to live for long anyway.”
Climbing onto Little Town, the Prince embarked on his homeward journey.
“You do not seem to be in a good mood?” said Nightingale after appearing next to him. “Is it because of the civilians?”
“They were all forced by Timothy,” Roland sighed. “If they hadn’t taken those pills, they would not act like his minions at all and wouldn’t have to die on an unfamiliar land.”
“This is not your fault.” The Nightingale reached out and held his arm.
“Of course not,” Roland said without hesitation, “If I hadn’t stopped them, Border Town would have become the victim of Timothy’s desire for power. And of course, the Church that made those pills is also one of the culprits.”
“That’s the reason why you will wreck the Church, to end the dispute, so that people no longer have to kill each other for such senseless reasons, right?” Nightingale asked with a smile, “No matter if they are ordinary people or witches, under your rule, they will all live a happy life. ”
“…” Roland looked into Nightingale’s shiny eyes and gently nodded, “Ah, that’s a promise.”