Chapter 245 Means of transportation
Roland sat on his office chair, carefully looking over Barov’s report statistics.
It took the city hall three full days to sort out all 6000 refugees, coming out with the low number of 186 artisans who had managed to pass the audit in the end. Of course, this small number was also related to the effort they had put into the verification, after all, this involved the distribution of houses as well as IDs.
It was Roland’s vision that from now on, only people in possession of such an ID would be considered official citizens of Border Town. Thus he needed to install proper safety measures, while the numbers were still small, which would also help him to better control the his core supporters inside the town. Using this, when the population started growing further, he could use the strength of his people to help assimilate the newcomers among them. After all, humans were social animals, as long as the environment continued with this way of living, more and more people would eventually come to approve of his ideas. Furthermore, he would indeed lead his people into a better life.
“The final room arrangement for the artisans will be done by you, no matter if they are unmarried or have a family to feed, they will at least have their own apartment assigned to them,” Roland commanded.
“Yes,” Barov agreed, “May I ask Your Royal Highness, are these houses to be given as a present?
“They will be rented,” he shook his head, “The reason why the native citizens received houses as a gift was because most of them had already owned a house before this, it can be considered as exchanging their former house for a new home. But if we now also gift a house to the new inhabitants, they won’t be motivated to leave their houses and throw themselves into their work. Of course, we can still calculate a relatively cheap rent for them, and we can also tell them that as long as they work hard and save enough gold royals they could always buy their own house in the future.”
For a moment Roland was silent, but then he suddenly asked: “After the Award and Honor Ceremony, how many people have fled the town?”
“Up to today, there have been none among the ranks of native civilians, and there were seven within the ranks of the serfs,” Barov paused. “However, there were more within the refugees from the Eastern Region, of them a total of one hundred and fifteen has already chosen to leave.”
“Is that so?” Roland softly sighed, the moment he had decided to push the witches to the front of the stage, he knew that something like this would happen. Therefore, in order to assess the public response and to avoid any accidents from happening, Roland had especially stationed a firearm teams several miles away from the town. There they could temporarily stop these people from running away and at the same time could also count the number of fleeing people, this way they could hold a survey on the general level of the acceptance of witches.
Even though the result wasn’t perfect, it was excellent that at least the Border Town’s natives had ultimately come to accept the existence of the witches, something which was along his prediction. The number of serfs who have fled was less than that he had expected, showing that the effect of the theater performance was quite good. Yet within the ranks of refugees from the Eastern Regions who had openly accepted the treatment from the witches and were moreover also in a desperate situation – with their houses destroyed and no homeland for them to return to – had more than a hundred people who had chosen to leave, which came as a bit of a surprise to Roland.
“Your Royal Highness, I suggest that we sentence all of these people who have tried to flee to death,” Barov said calmly, “Since they still decided to leave, even considering their situation, they must be people who have been deeply affected by the Church. So, for the foreseeable future, they will never choose to side with Your Highness. In all likelihood they will become firm believers of the Church, for people like them, there is no need to show any kindness.”
“This is not necessarily the case… the truly devoted believers of the Church should be those three hundred people who decided to not leave King’s City and instead face the demonic disease.” The Prince closed his eyes, “Perhaps these people are just unable to change their minds, still thinking that the witches are evil and this made them want to flee.”
“Even if that’s the case, they are still your potential enemies,” Barov insisted.
In fact, if he met that group of people on the battlefield, Roland would defeat them without any hesitation, but that didn’t mean that he was following this era’s backward way of thinking, wantonly swinging the butcher’s knife to kill a group of civilians. Something like that would be against his ethical belief. So after a short hesitation, he finally rejected the suggestion, “I will let Nightingale go and interrogate the runaways, in case there is a hidden spy or scout in their ranks, they will be seized and hanged, all the others will be expelled from the Western Territory.”
Hearing his words, Barov gave him a meaningful glance and then lowered his head, only then did he slowly agree, “As you bid, Your Royal Highness. “
“Do you have anything else to report?”
“For the time being, no, Your Highness,” he coughed twice. “I’ll now go and deal immediately with the allocation of the houses.”
“It isn’t urgent, you can take your time with that issue,” Roland opened his eyes then stood up, “First come with me to take a few pictures and we can relax the mood.”
“Taking… pictures?” Barov asked shocked.
“You’ll recognise it immediately,” the Prince answered with a smile.
Entering the castle’s front yard, they saw that Carter, Iron Axe, and Soraya who he had previously called had already arrived. Placed in the corner of the garden were several pieces of four to five meter long planks, while an item on the ground that was covered with canvas.
“For now, Border Town is still considered small, but when the land in the south is developed, and the road between Longsong Stronghold and Border Town is finished, it’s scale will be dozens of times larger than it is now. By that point, you will have to spend one or two days on the road if you want to walk from the eastern side to the western one. Therefore, we need something that allows us to travel faster from one place to another. However, breeding horses is not only very expensive, but it is also impossible for every citizen to invest a lot of time for learning how to ride them.” Roland said as he opened the canvas, “Because of this, I plan to promote this new type of transportation method in Border Town, it is easy to use, and its price is also much lower than a horse.”
“What is this…?” Carter was instantly attracted to the novelty, “It has two wheels and an iron shelf, is it a cart?”
“The two wheels are placed in front of each other, instead of side by side, it will be tough to maintain balance,” Barov shook his head. “I do not see how it will be able to replace horses.”
Only Iron Axe kept silent, calmly waiting for the Prince to explain further.
Roland smiled, “This thing is called a bike, I will demonstrate how you should use it.” He placed both feet on top of the pedals, assumed a standard starting posture, one foot on a pedal, then he began to ride the bike along the path of the flower garden.
With Anna’s welding technique and Soraya’s coating skill, producing a bike manually wasn’t challenging at all. Its principle and structure didn’t hold any difficulty, for example, the rubber required for the inner tubes had been replaced by coating, which was directly drawn over a paper roll. With regards to this, Roland even customized a simple and easy to use bicycle pump. While the outside and the breaks of it were made with a hardened leather coating. The frame was made out of hollowed pipes, and for the brake wire, they had used a copper wire and an anti-corrosion coating. The only issue was with the chain, for it, he needed to completely rely on Anna, cutting and shaping one chain link after another and afterward connecting them all to a string. As for the kind of pedal, which were directly installed on top of the wheel as had been used for the first bicycles, he didn’t even consider them.
Coming to the end of the lap, Roland pressed the brakes, easily jumped off the bike and turned around only to be faced with a row of stunned men, which caused his heart to fill with pride. This was the reaction a change to a superior mount deserved. Compared with horses, that needed to be tamed and fed, bicycles seemed to be more frugal.
“I’m going to open a new bicycle factory in the industrial district, for the production of this transportation tool. But for this we not only need to recruit workers, but we also have to make them known the publicity, promoting them to the whole territory as soon as possible,” Roland briefly explained. “This is also the purpose why I called you over today. You will first learn how to ride this bike, and then let Miss Soraya paint a picture of you riding them on top of the planks. I want all my subjects to know that as long as they spent one or two gold royals, they can have the same mounts as the Lord, First Army Commander, Chief Knight, and City Hall Premier Minister all have.”