Chapter 211 Light Industry
Roland sat at his desk and was reading with great interest through the recent report of the First Army from his Chief Knight.
Compared to his meticulous appearance from several months ago, nowadays Carter’s iceberg like face often carried some other emotions, letting him appear much less calm, and instead giving him an aura of expectation and eagerness.
Most probably this has something to do with the Star of the West, Roland thought.
About the event of Carter’s and May’s recent stroll, Roland had also heard about it. After all, as one of the top members of the First Army, he also represented the Army, so every movement would naturally be noticed. Not to mention May, the woman walking at his side, belonged to the kind that would draw the attention of all men to herself.
When they had appeared side by side on the streets of Border Town for the first time, his guards had immediately passed along the news to his ears.
Regarding this kind of matter, Roland didn’t really mind it. Carter was roughly two to three years older than he was. So it was reasonable to say that it was a strange that he still wasn’t married. And if he could actually find his other half in the Western Territory it wasn’t that bad, as long as it didn’t interfere with his work.
According to the Knight’s report, the First Army had been equipped with about 200 revolving rifles, adding almost a dozen with every day – in fact, if the raw materials were sufficient, Anna’s production capacity could be increased by several times. But at the same time she was also in charge of the refining pig iron into steel and manufacturing the steam engine, which was slowing her down.
However, this speed was still acceptable. After all, the First Army was only 600 people strong, so another one and a half month would be enough to entirely replace all their weapons. Furthermore, before the next expansion of the population, the military’s size couldn’t be further expanded anyway.
Another point of the report was the formation of the Second Army.
In order to make the training convenient as well as maintain their secrecy, Roland had the people recruited from Longsong Stronghold all incorporated into the second army. Currently, they were all undergoing disciplinary training, which followed the same pattern as the military’s training. Then it would be time for ideological education in the evening, in the attempt to let these people as soon as possible think of themselves at the protector of the Western Territory, implanting in them the believe that their loved ones’ safety needed to be protected by them.
“At present, the training of the Second Army is progressing well; the current estimation is that they should be ready to start with the shooting practice in a week. By that time, enough weapons should have been replaced making it possible to have a flintlock to match every hand.” Carter concluded.
This was the advantage of guns, to train a cold weapon soldier, at least one year’s time was needed; to teach a knight, five or six years had to be spent on training; while soldiers equipped with guns could already be dispatched on military missions after only a month of training. Furthermore, the longer a battle lasted, the bigger advantage of firearms became – after all, pulling a trigger was much safer than fighting with a sword.
“During the shooting practice, the supervisors have to pay attention to the number of guns, how many have been given away and how many of them come back. The same applied to the gunpowder, when it was distributed for the training, the veterans of the First Arm would be responsible for its supervision.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“Very well,” Roland dismissed him with a wave. “That was all; you must be busy now as well.”
“Uh, Your Highness…” Carter hesitated. “Last time you said that the perfume mixed with the soap was made out of sugar cane, was that true?”
“Yes,” the Prince said, sitting up in his chair. “What’s the matter?
“That sugarcane, is it expensive?”
“No… they are just some common crops.”
“I’ve heard people say that a thumb-sized bottle of perfume could be sold for five gold royals in King’s City,” Carter scratched his head, “If this is the case, shouldn’t manufacturing the sugarcane perfume bring a huge income to the town?”
“Five gold royals?” Roland got startled; he had never considered this point. Recalling the previous life in the palace, the 4th Prince had never cared about the price of commodities, it was even more the case with perfume, something with which he had less contact ?only women would prefer a trinket that only delivered a nice fragrance.
His initial motivation to make perfume was his wish for fine perfumed soap. Otherwise, by only having running water and no bathroom soap, it felt like there was something that was missing. Ah, the sensation of having his whole body covered with bubbles.
If a small bottle of perfume could be sold for several gold royals, it was indeed a pretty good business idea. Unlike coated mirrors, the raw material of sugar cane and flowers were much cheaper than crystal glass was.
Thinking it through, Roland laughed, “This idea isn’t bad, I will consider it.”
“His Royal Highness, the… sugar cane, can I take one out of the castle with me?” asked the Knight with a look full of expectation.
“It won’t hurt,” hearing him speak in this manner, Roland could immediately guessed as to what he wanted to do with it. After all, this was the Western Border, unlike the Port of Clearwater, the crops of the Fjord’s relatively rare here. So it was a good choice as a gift when asking a lady from the West out, “They are growing on a wall in the backyard, just pick some for yourself.”
“Thank you, Your Highness!” Carter saluted.
Afterward, Roland called for Barov – still calling him assistant minister wasn’t quite appropriate anymore. As City Hall’s number one figure, he was already regarded as Border Town’s Premier Minister.
After Barov took his place, Roland roughly described the perfume business plan, “Do you think this could be something we can earn large sums of gold with?”
He did not reply immediately, but later asked with wide open eyes, “Your Highness, are you sure that perfume is produced out of the sweet crops?”
“Don’t you also use the perfumed soap? The reason for it fragrance is that I had mixed the perfume inside,” Roland spread his hands out, “It is indeed true that these raw materials are of little value. But I never knew that the perfume in King’s City was so expensive until Carter brought it up.”
“Far more than that, your Highness!” Barov said excitedly, “Perfume is King’s City Alchemist Workshop’s top-secret product, every year there are approximately one thousand bottles, only a small part of it is sold in King’s City. The rest is sold to the others cities in Graycastle, there they can raise the price by twenty to thirty percent, but in case they sell it to the Fjords or other Kingdoms, the price would almost be doubled. To prevent the merchants from making a profit out of the difference in prices, the association not only firmly controls the perfume prices in other places; they even assign all the merchants by themselves. So in case you can could produce perfume, even if you only sold it to Redwater City or Fallen Dragon Ridge, you would definitely obtain a generous payback.”
“So, that’s how it was.”
Your twenty years serving as an assistant of the Finance Minister wasn’t for nothing, Roland thought, regarding the commodity prices and current market situation, Barov is indeed magnificent. With this information, Roland formed a preliminary plan in his mind.
There were many ways to make perfume, the simplest method was to mash the petals or herbs with unique flavors and let them soak inside alcohol, letting the alcohol dissolve the plants, and leaving an aromatic oil remaining. Lastly, the remaining remnants will be filtered out and diluted with water.
The alcohol came from the juice of the sugar cane; while for the aromatic oil they could use roses, or the more commonly rosemary and vanilla. However, since it was necessary to achieve mass production, the best choice would be to let Leaves use her magic to transform a plant to directly secreting this fragrant oil.
In addition to perfume, the industry could also produce white sugar and liquor. Also, a lot of consumables would be needed, and their profit would be less than what was gained from the perfume, but if sold to the town’s people at a low price, it would enrich their diet, which could be regarded as a significant step forward for the people’s welfare.
Roland’s main reason for the slow development of the light industry was due to the shortage of a workforce, and the difficult to earn high profits with a small-scale production of daily necessities. Because of this, a limited population investing into heavy industry production, would be the most cost-effective approach.
Since the manufacture of perfume was incredibly profitable, maybe he could take advantage of this opportunity to make up for the shortcoming in environment.