Release that Witch Chapter 543
He looked vigorous and radiant, and even his chest had risen considerably. His footsteps were powerful and conveyed a strong sense of confidence. He was not how a 50-year-old minister typically looked.
It seemed that the days he spent in the king's city was highly satisfactory.
"If I had known it, I would have called you back a little later." Roland joked.
"No, Your Majesty. Regardless of how prosperous the City of Dawn is, it can't compare with the City of Neverwinter personally created by you." Barov responded while smoothing his mustache. "Wherever I am, my heart will always be with you."
Why do these words... sound so weird and awkward?
Roland coughed twice and attempted to change the subject. "How's the situation over there?"
"Don't worry. With my students and the First Army around, the new assigned nobles aren't able to create trouble even if they intend to," the director replied smugly. "I've deliberately given them more space to fight for money and power among themselves. As long as they don't disrupt the normal livelihoods of the citizens, that is acceptable. I believe that, for a long period of time henceforth, they'll scheme and scramble among themselves to attain the tiniest amount of power—after all, they've had absolutely no qualification to enter the City Hall thus far."
"It's indeed a good idea." Roland commented and laughed.
Although he knew a thing or two about political balancing and other control strategies, he was obviously not as good at actualizing them as these old foxes who had been involved in politics for a long time. While they might not be the wiliest of foxes, they were definitely thick-skinned and vicious enough. It could be said that it was only now that Barov revealed the true extent of his talents.
As the king, Roland could stay out of dabbling in dirty political tricks himself. As long as he had the personnel, law and military power in his grip, nobody would dare to covet his authority.
"Your Majesty, may I ask where have you sent Treasurer Lauren Moore?" Barov revealed a little displeasure as he sighed. "The ceremonial officer told me that you didn't execute him."
"He siphoned off some of the relief rations distributed to the people, colluded with the former Prime Minister, and was involved in the exploitation of refugees." Roland shrugged. "His crimes didn't warrant execution, and while at his age, he wasn't suitable to be sent to the mines. The only thing I could do was to deport him."
"That's a real... pity."
"Why, you need him for something?"
Roland joined the laughter. "I believe that he could bring his whole family to the Kingdom of Dawn. Who knows, you may get to see him again one day." Let's not talk about this. I called you back because I intend to build a few factories. They're related to the upcoming series of major reforms in the City of Neverwinter."
"Do you need a lot of people?"
"Yes indeed, otherwise I'd only have to call Karl." Roland nodded. "I'll need at least 3,000 people."
Barov forced a smile. "Your Majesty, that's a huge demand worthy of you. In other cities, there's no chance that a project would require 3,000 people at the same time."
"The good news is, not every one of these 3,000 people needs to be literate. I'll only require more than 200 of them to have completed primary education."
"What do you want to build?"
Roland placed the records which were prepared long ago in front of the director. "A coke plant, a steel plant, and a forge."
"Is the steel produced by Miss Anna not enough?" Barov asked.
"The problem is that it's too inefficient." Roland sighed. "Her magic power should be used for more sophisticated manufacturing, rather than wasted on preparing the materials for steam engines. I hope that I can "de-witch" the basic industrial productions this year."
At present, the industries of Neverwinter had reached an turning point. If a breakthrough was not found, it would be hard to progress. This was because the source power machines heavily depended on Anna's materials, and therefore the scale of production could not be expanded. In fact, the steam engines could be produced without using such a high grade of steel. The first generation of steam engines was made out of iron only.
Now, the preconditions for a breakthrough had been fully satisfied. The coal mine was able to handle all of the coking processes—coke was one of the primary ingredients of large-scale steelmaking. The dozen or so earth blast furnaces in the Furnace Area also supplied an abundant amount of iron ingots. Steel could be smelted using a simple converter, while the steam hammers in the forge could be used to create components that the other factories could directly process. If these procedures could be made into a cycle, Anna would be completely liberated from her duties, and only normal people would be needed throughout the production process.
"I understand, Your Majesty. However, are these things really possible?" He appeared unconvinced. "Can we really obtain enough steel without relying on the demons'... ahem, witches' powers? You may not have known that in other cities, it's common for a piece of forged steel to cost 20 times the price of a piece of pig iron."
In this era, steel was forged by the blacksmith's hammer. The repeated hammering of the iron ingots caused excess carbon and other impurities to be oxidized until steel was formed. Of course, the efficiency of this process was unspeakably low, and a lot of raw materials would be wasted. A significant amount of iron would break off due to oxidation, and therefore several pieces of iron ingot were necessary to produce a usable piece of steel. This explained why a full set of body armor that was completely made of steel was the lifelong desire of many knights. It could even be passed down from generation to generation as a family treasure.
From a certain perspective, the laborious method of producing steel could give one the false perception that the effort put into it made it more exquisite and higher-grade. Now that City of Neverwinter could mass produce steel, believed by most people to be the witches' work, Barov's suspicions were not hard to understand. However, to Roland, steel was just iron with a different proportion of carbon.
"I won't say it's easy. Both coking and converter steelmaking require techniques that were discovered by trial and error. However..." Roland paused briefly. "These projects are definitely achievable. When they're completed, there'll be hundreds of chimneys in the industrial area. The monthly output of steel will exceed the current annual output. We'll then have an endless supply of steel to produce bicycles, ships, all kinds of machines, and even houses. Everything that you see will be made of steel. It'll be in everyone's homes, and even the common folk will be able to use steel utensils and tools."
Barov remained speechless for a long time before he finally replied, "I'll draw up a recruitment plan and financial allocation plan for you to review as quickly as possible."
"Okay, you'll be in charge of the preparatory work for this," Roland said in encouragement.
As Barov walked toward the office door, he abruptly turned back and bowed down at Roland.
"It'll be my pleasure and honor to see a world like that, Your Majesty."