Chapter 242 New Construction Area
The award and honor ceremony lasted until noon, as he had to fill two positions at the same time, commentator, and host, Roland couldn’t help but feel utterly exhausted by the end. Luckily the ceremony finally came to its perfect conclusion with the bell sounding at midday simultaneously with Echo’s gun salute. But when he came back bathed in sweat back to the castle and stepped on the third floor, he was surprised to see Anna smilingly leaning against his office door.
“You’ll know when you step inside,” she blinked with her pair of lake blue eyes.
It’s improbable that this would be a trap, Roland confusedly thought as he pushed open the door only to then freeze in surprise — at the sight of the twelve witches neatly standing in two rows in front of him, Wendy and Scroll were standing at the front. The moment they saw the Prince appear, they held the sides of their dresses, bent their knees in a curtsy and offered him a salute.
“Keke. What are you…”
Scroll was the first to speak, “Your Highness, with the action you have performed today, you have proven that everything you have told us was true. We sisters are all deeply grateful for this. No words can ever describe our gratitude, please allow us continue serving you.”
“So, it was like that,” Roland sighed in relief. “I almost thought that all of you wanted to collectively say goodbye.”
“Pfft,” Wendy couldn’t stop herself from laughing, “How could that be Your Highness? This place is the Holy Mountain us witches have dreamed of. As long as you don’t desire for us to leave, we hope that we can live here forever.”
“And that is exactly what I want to see… In fact, there is no need for you to be so grateful, my helping you wasn’t a selfless act, it was also in order to help myself. There is no need for you to be so formal, I prefer your relaxed and unrestrained appearances much more than this.”
“Humph! I already said that it wasn’t necessary for us to be so formal,” Lily snorted. “And as you can see, now he thinks we’re being too serious.”
“How can you say that? You also readily agreed to come over,” Mystery Moon whispered, “Traitor!”
“Alright everyone, let’s go to the dinning hall, His Royal Highness still needs to change his clothes,” Scroll ordered while helplessly tapping her forehead, “That’s right, I have heard from Miss Anna that recently you have gone to bed late every evening. Please take care of yourself, you must not fall before that one goal is achieved.”
“Feel relieved,” Roland smiled. “For I am in good health.”
Afterward, the witches left one after another, only Anna stayed behind.
“Why did you stay behind, do you also want to express your gratitude to me?” Roland asked mischievously.
“Ah, I wish to say the same as them,” Anna raised the corner of her mouth, ” ‘No words can ever describe my gratitude.’ ”
“And also… do you want to always live in Border Town?”
“No, not always. ”
These unexpected words startled Roland, and his heart began to jumping fiercely, “Why is that?”
“Because it is unlikely that you will stay in Border Town forever,” Anna said, tilting her head. “…no matter where you go, I will always follow you.”
His heart suddenly filled with warmth, from the first day since he had known her, she had never changed her promise. No matter if she received the invitation from the Witch Cooperation Association, or during the critical moment in the battle against the demonic beasts, she had always chosen to stand by his side.
At this moment, Anna suddenly took two steps forward, then gently hugged him.
“Wait, I’m covered in sweat,” Roland tried to warn her.
But rather than giving him a reply the young woman placed her head on his chest and took a deep breath as if she wanted to imprint his scent into her memory. He finally gave up any thought of pushing her away, instead opened his arms and enclosed her in his embrace, not releasing her for a very long time.
After lunch, Roland rushed to the bathroom to take a cold shower and afterward threw himself back into work.
He had called Karl van Bate over, spread a detailed map of Border Town out on the table, then pointed to a position along the Redwater River, “I want you to construct a bridge here.”
“Not a pontoon bridge?” After pondering about it for a while, Karl opened his mouth and said, “Your Highness, please excuse me for being outspoken, but at this place the Redwater River is already close to 100m wide, if you want to build there a stone bridge will be almost impossible to achieve. Even if we consider building an arch bridge, at most it would only cross one-third of the needed distance. Furthermore, the Redwater River’s water flow rate is so enormous, that it is impossible to anchor a bridge-pier for a very long time, even if we used stakes the size of a person, it would still be washed away after a time… With the exception of wooden rafts used as a pontoon bridge, it is impossible to build a bridge across the entire river.”
“This won’t be a stone bridge. You will be building a steel bridge,” Roland answered, “Altogether it will have three spans to cross the river. However, the middle of the bridged piers will be handled by the witches. You only need to get the position of the bridgeheads ready in advance. Construct a slope on both ends of the bridge, so that the whole bridge is raised to such an extent that a river boat can pass it without having its mast touching the bottom of the bridge.”
“Won’t that be a bridge which reaches into the sky?” Karl asked surprised.
“It will be enough if those parts of the bridge are 6 to 7 meters above the ground,” Roland said as he quickly sketched the schematic drawing from the three-span iron bridge. “In order to quickly open up the south bank, as well as construct the docks, there must be a bridge there which doesn’t affect the passing ships on the river. Even though a pontoon bridge is very simple to build, it is the equivalence to blocking the river channel, making it unfavorable for future development.”
The expedition of the First Army to King’s City by river brought Roland a lot of information. Currently, within the borders of Graycastle, the river would open the roads in all directions, and the other major cities were also mainly built next to a big river. In the case that he carried out any further military operations within the kingdom’s borders, he would then have to possess several heavy river gunboats. With them he would have a powerful weapon which had enough firepower to use when besieging cities or conquering territory.
After all, the caliber used for the famous warship canon was far greater than what was used by the field artillery. And if he wanted to build more vessels, he would first need to build a dock, and due to this, the steel bridge plan had come into being.
“But I don’t possess any similar experience for building bridges…” Karl seemed to somewhat hesitate.
“Me neither,” Roland merely shrugged, “For the first time it is alright to go through the project slowly. It won’t be a problem if you first erect a test bridge at the shore, and afterward, moves it over to the Redwater River.” With this Roland incidentally also introduced the other side to the concept of using prefabricated components which could later be transported to the construction site, “Just like during the construction of the water towers, as Hummingbird reduced its weight, and your student Anna helped with assembling and welding the pieces together. If we will do it again like that, the project shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“I’ll obey… your order. Your Royal Highness,” he nodded.
“Apart from this, there is also another tremendously important project I will give you,” the prince moved his finger to the castle area, “I intend to expand the size of the backyard. I want it to contain all of the surrounding high grounds, and at the same time you should construct a three-story house here.”
If everything went well, next month Tilly’s five witches would arrive in Border Town, however, the castle no longer possessed any extra rooms. Although the rooms could temporarily be turned into three person rooms, the number of witches would only continue to increase with time, and it would be impossible for things to remain like this. Offering a superior living environment with all kinds of novelty and cozy experiences, was also a part of his strategy for convincing them to stay. No matter if they were people from ancient times, it would be hard for them to live in a frugal environment after becoming accustomed to luxury, or to use the sugarcoated-bullet method of modern people, ‘a good and easy life will always make people addicted’.
“A three-story… brick house?”
“Not an entirely brick house,” Roland smiled, “The correct name to call it with should be brick-concrete structure; the pillars, and beams of the house are all made out of reinforced concrete, similar to bones within a human body. A structure like this will allow us to build houses which are even higher, increasing it to a four or five story building wouldn’t be a problem either.”
“Reinforced… concrete?” Karl replied confused?
“It is a mixture consisting of cement, sand, and stone and reinforced with steel bars implanted into it,” Roland explained. “Of course, the precise amount of each ingredient will need to be strictly tested, but in case the project is successful, it will even be stronger than natural limestone.”
However, this was only theoretical, such a product would have a very broad range of quality, that was similar to concrete. The self-mixed cement bought in rural areas and the cement purchased at configured mixing stations were entirely different things. And the same was also true for the quality of steel reinforcing bars… Some people living in the rural areas, when they built their houses themselves, they wouldn’t even use pebbles or use thin bamboo or wire in place of steel reinforcing bars. When Roland had gone to the countryside, he had witnessed the whole building process of several of these “county estates”.
And now he also intended on doing it himself, after all, it would just be a three-story house, no matter how much they skimped on the job and stinted the materials, it would still be difficult for it to collapse.
In addition, he hoped that the witch’s residential building project would let Karl grasp the concept of it and let him change its form, to turn it into a perfect building material like engineered stone. As for its achievement within the construction industry, buildings made out of reinforced concrete occupied nearly half of the country. However, Roland wasn’t proficient in architecture, everything he knew was only superficial knowledge he learned during his time in the countryside. He therefore thought that broadening the mason’s horizons and leading him to path of developing it himself, was the right approach.
“Uh… will you also let me slowly explore it by myself? Karl finally asked.
“No,” Roland smiled, “This is something I can teach you.”