Chapter 252 New round of purchases
As the Lord of the Western Region, Roland naturally didn’t need to do the job by himself, he merely had to draw a rough outline on a piece of paper, and could then recruit a tailor and make clear what he wanted to create.
Although he had never come in contact with a bra with his own hands, with all the different advertisements, television programs, and movies he had actually already seen plenty of them before, so he could still design some of them in accordance with their different styles. In the end, he chose to create the most frequently seen shoulder strap type, which fastened at the back. To make it, he decided to use three copper hooks, which allowed for the wearer to choose a level of relaxation that was within a fixed range.
Since this kind of close-fitting clothing needed to satisfactorily bind the chest, Roland decided to call for the maids in the castle to be measured by the tailor. Because of the tailor’s wealth of experience, from so many years of cutting out and tailoring clothes, she was immediately able to understand the function of a bra after hearing the Prince’s explanation. In the end, together with the actual measurement results, the bra’s sizes had been divided into several grades, and each grade could be adjusted to a certain extent.
In fact, within this era, the prototype for the bra had long since made its appearance – it was the skin-tight corset. However, the corset wasn’t developed in order to let woman feel more comfortable, rather it was used to tighten up their waistline as much as possible, while at the same time also pushing up the bosom, so that the body would form into an hourglass-like figure. Those gorgeous aristocratic dresses had all been tailored in accordance with the form of a small waist, so without the aid of a skintight corset, Roland was afraid that those dresses with their extremely thin waist would be very difficult for the average woman to wear. Furthermore, when the waist was constricted too much, it would also make for a very uncomfortable experience, and in serious cases could even affect the blood circulation which in turn could lead to fainting.
While the bra, in addition to supporting the chest, also fixed the bosom and lessen its shaking, making it even more comfortable for the woman to wear it daily.
Just two days later, the old tailor had already cut out twenty bras. For the material, Roland had provided her with silk and first-rate cotton; both were pleasing to the eye and breathable, and the workmanship was also exceptionally intricate.
But before Roland was even able to send the gift over to the witches, the caravan from King’s City had once again arrived in Border Town.
Compared to the previous month, not only was the fleet too late, but its size was also far smaller than last time, even so much as to give a deserted feeling when they came to dock in Border Town’s expanded pier.
“Your Highness, and so we meet again,” Margaret said with a smile.
“Welcome, previous by helping me to transport the refugees I’d put you through a lot of trouble,” Roland said and looking at the fleet on the river bank, “This times, it seems there are a lot fewer sailboats.“
“That’s because… of some unexpected accidents,” she wiped the sweat from her forehead. “If you do not mind, could we go to the reception hall to talk about this, it is much too hot out here.”
“I also feel the same,” Hogg mumbled to himself. “I’m a man from Graycastle through and through, this awful weather is killing me. If it weren’t for the purpose of receiving the first steamer, I would not want to even leave the house right now.”
Roland nodded and the entire group of people all returned to the castle. Walking into the hall, the cold air from inside was the first thing to fill their lungs, and after he had taken a deep breath Hogg said in relief, “Thank God for the existence of such a wonderful thing… if I hadn’t seen its course of production with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have been able to believe that it had been made from manure. Oh, there is even ice water! Your Highness, may I –?”
“Of course,” Roland signaled that he should go ahead, and then went to sit at the Lord’s seat, to start his talk with the merchant woman, “With this done, what was the accident which led to this month’s sharp decline of saltpeter?”
In accordance with the contract, she had to provide Border Town with three ships of saltpeter each month, but this time, only one ship had been loaded with saltpeter.
“It is because of King’s City Alchemy Association, they have recently purchased all the available saltpeter. Furthermore, they only offer to buy at a low price, but since they have the support of Prime Minister Marquis Wyke, no one has the possibility of resisting. Therefore this isn’t really a simple business transaction. Instead, the merchants think that it would be bad if they did not sell.” Margaret said, “I guess that the order was given by Timothy himself, after all, he is practically blowing steam from his nose out of anger.
“Timothy?” Rowland asked puzzled, “Isn’t he still marching to the South?”
“That’s right,” she nodded. “It seems that Theo has already told you this news. I had heard when he had left King’s City he also brought many men and horses as well as fully loaded military supply wagons with him, their goal must probably be to go and find some trouble for Garcia in the South. Shortly after they had left King’s City, the Alchemy Association had also began to buy all of the saltpeter.”
On hearing of this matter, Roland was even more assured that sending Theo to King’s City was indeed a very fruitful. At the beginning, he had only received the message that Timothy was gathering the rats, so in order to guard against the other side’s sudden invasion, he had specifically asked Petrov to strengthen the defenses of Longsong Stronghold. But when Roland received the next secret letter sent by his personal guard, he could finally feel relieved – this time Timothy had headed straight to the South Apparently, this recruiting hadn’t been meant to go against him.
Regarding the use of the rats, Roland and Theo had basically the same opinion. Which was, since their discipline was even worse than that of the commoners and serfs, they wouldn’t be suitable for use in direct combat. So, the only way to use this group of people would be the same as the last time. First make them become addicted to drugs, and then force them to attack and kill the enemy. It seems that his counterpart was depending on the tactic of repeatedly using armies of cannon fodder, which with taking into regard that he was ruling over 2/3 of Graycastle, was contrary to what one might expect to be a safe strategy.
But why did the Alchemy Association suddenly begin to acquiring a lot of saltpeter? Snow Powder was originally one of their products, but with its huge error rate, it could only be used for salutes during rituals. Could it be, that nowadays, after the appearance of the correct formula for gunpowder, they intended on immediately starting mass production, or were they trying to determine the optimal mix ratio through a large number lot of experiments?
Roland shook his head, trying to get rid of the doubt within his mind, he guessed that it wouldn’t have too great of an impact. After all, the industrial production of three acids and two sodas would soon begin, which would allow allowing him to step onto the path of producing an even more advanced form of gunpowder.
“Then does it mean that you can also not guarantee next month saltpeter supply of three ships?”
“This… I don’t know,” also Margaret looked a bit embarrassed but she still bluntly said, “I already spent a lot of time and effort to bring this one ship into the Western Territory, I had to purchase it from Silver City. And now that we have to face the heat of summer, the demand for saltpeter is enormous, so I’m not sure of how much I can buy. However, if it is any other season, I can guarantee the supply of the three ships.”
“I understand,” Roland took a sip of ice water, “Then try to get as much as possible next month, there is no need for you to try to force it. I also still have some goods that I want to purchase from you.”
“Oh?” Margaret sighed in relief, “What is it? Ore?”
“Washing stones used for washing laundry,” he replied, “They are muddy white and look like a wafer or pillar, but when soaked in water they will give off a soapy feeling, those things aren’t uncommon in the capital’s inns.”
“Sure enough, it’s ore,” said the merchant, smiling helplessly, “You have a big mine in your territory, yet all the goods you acquire are still minerals, that’s really something that’s hard for people to understand. Well, it’s a really common thing, so the price shouldn’t be too high, what are you planning to do with it?”
“Naturally it will be used to make it easier to wash clothes,” Roland smiled.
Washing stones were something he had discovered in the memories of the former 4th Prince, its innate character was a naturally alkali, and its main component was sodium bicarbonate. It had a strong decontaminating effect, and when used together with plant ash and pancreas it was one of three outstanding cleaning tools used in the ancient times. In the absence of an ion exchange membrane, the efficiency of using the electrolysis of salt water to collect sodium hydroxide was extremely low. Furthermore, it wasn’t possible to purchase edible salt at the price of a cabbage either. Because of this, he planned to buy natural soda and make caustic soda. And by the time he had a sufficient amount of caustic soda he could start the large-scale manufacturing of soap… as well as one of soap’s by-products, glycerin.”