Release that Witch Chapter 678
A long-lost guest was ushered into Neverwinter on the end of the autumn twilight.
She was the businesswoman, Margaret.
Roland had prepared an extremely high-standard courtesy for the friend who was the first to come onboard and brought generous returns to Border Town during its difficult time. She was not only welcomed by the First Army's cannon firing but Roland had come to Shallow Beach to welcome her in person.
"That's very kind of you, Your Majesty," Margaret smiled and said, "I'm simply an ordinary businesswoman."
"The western region wouldn't be so developed today without your help," Roland said in ease, "Neverwinter will never let such a friend down."
Margaret's Chamber of Commerce was a great help in both the initial acquisition of a large amount of food and also in leasing ships to transport the refugees in the later days. Even Theo had depended on Margaret's network and support to gain a firm foothold in the old king's city. Although these were not provided free of charge, Roland was very clear that many things could not be done with only the money.
"It's my honor to be your friend," Margaret slightly bowed and said, "Other than to fulfill the previously signed perfume contract, I've brought you a new business opportunity this time." She pointed to her back and said, "They're the most popular businessmen in the Fjords and they're very interested in the plan of the steam-powered boat."
"Really?" Roland smiled. "Would you please give me a brief introduction later?"
According to his usual practice, eating and talking was the way to deal with the businessmen. The long table in the living room was filled with a variety of delicious food and the overseas visitors seemed to be particularly happy without eating fish. They had been trying to control themselves and behave as elegantly as possible as noble etiquette was not popular in the Fjords, but after a few drinks, the imitated etiquette was gone as the atmosphere was increasingly heated.
Roland did not really care about this as he preferred a lively dining environment as opposed to the complicated dining rules in the palace.
He also had a brief understanding of the visiting business group through the chit-chatting session. Other than Gammon and Marleen who first came to visit Border Town, there was also the Chamber of Commerce from Sunset Island and Shallow Water Town. Both of the islands in the south and the north next to Crescent Moon Bay formed a closely-connected business circle.
Although the three islands were not very big in size, they held the most population and power as the first residential area in the Fjords. Besides, it was very competitive among them as could be seen from the size and scale of their ships. Each of the three-masted ships parked at the dock of Shallow Beach could carry around 300 people and cargos of similar weight. The price of such sailing ships was around 5,000 gold royals each excluding the sailors. It was obvious that both of the Chamber of Commerces did not want to fall behind Crescent Moon Bay in the competition of respect and power.
After the desserts were served, it was time for the official discussion.
"Margaret mentioned that you want to purchase steam engine?"
"Yes, Your Majesty." Nibelung, the person-in-charge of Shallow Water Town's Chamber of Commerce was the first to speak. "However, other than the steam engine, we also hope to own a steam-powered boat like the one you sold to Crescent Moon Bay."
"I heard that the modification fee you previously quoted was 1,800 gold royals and Sunset Island is willing to pay an extra 200 gold royals to modify 5 ships at the price of 2,000 gold royals each," Atiyer, the businessman from Sunset Island said as he was unwilling to be left behind, "Sunset Island's Chamber of Commerce can pay half of the deposit upfront."
They were apparently referring to the paddle steamer that Crescent Moon Bay purchased a year ago which was an almost obsolete technology to Roland. However, it would be a very cost-effective transaction to him as he could train the workers with this order while earning a good amount of money.
"It'll take two to three months to build a paddle steamer and it'll take around a year to build 5 ships. Barov, the City Hall Director, will sign the contract with you if you can accept that."
"That's not a problem at all. However, Sunset Island has a small request," Atiyer cleared his throat and said, "We hope you can hire the craftsmen from the Fjords to build the ship."
"What do you mean?" Roland lifted his eyebrows and asked.
"It's just like the steam engine factory of Crescent Moon Bay, we'll provide you with a group of craftsmen and the ships they build will be first used by Sunset Island and then they can choose whether to leave or stay after the completion of 10 years."
"Shallow Water Town also hopes to sign the same contract," Nibelung added, "Five sailing ships are only for the first order. There'll be at least five ships to construct every year after that if you agree with our request."
"I see," Roland thought, "So, this is a big order which lasts for 10 years in which every completed transaction each year costs up to 10,000 gold royals. Additionally, they won't be controlled by others after 10 years as they'll have learned the detailed construction method by then."
In fact, he did not mind to spread this method at all. The paddle steamer was apparently outdated as compared to the steam turbine that was under development, along with the triple-expansion steam engine that was already in production.
His initial purpose of signing a 10-year contract with Crescent Moon Bay, rather than to prevent the technology leaking out, was was for the craftsmen to adapt to the life of the western region, and afterwards, they would refuse to return to the Fjords and become a member of Neverwinter.
It was just a seemingly beautiful castle in the air apart from the industry-based technology.
Thinking about it, Roland knocked on the table and said, "There's no problem in principle, but there could be some amendments needed on the details, such as changing the 10 year duration to five years..."
Speaking of it, both of the two businessmen looked extremely happy about it. It was an even better choice for them if they could master the construction method of the steam-powered boat earlier.
"I can even give a 20% discount on the price if Shallow Water Town and Sunset Island are willing to let the craftsmen stay in the western region. What do you think?"
Both of them immediately hesitated as it was difficult to train a craftsman. However, it was hard for them to determine if it was a cost-effective deal for reducing the duration to five years with a few hundreds of people and an additional annual saving of 2,000 gold royals.
"Your Majesty, may I answer you later after I discuss it with the others in the Chamber of Commerce?" Nibelung asked.
"Yes. Of course," Roland made a gracious hand gesture and said.
"Please excuse me temporarily." Atiyer subsequently left the living room.
"So..." he shifted his gaze to Gammon and Marleen and said, "Are you not here for the steam-powered boat?"
The representatives of Crescent Moon Bay had been very calm when both the Chamber of Commerce was fighting to be the first to discuss the business. They only occasionally talked about their previous business with Border Town and it felt like they were not here for business but casual chit-chatting... Such actions had raised Roland's curiosity.
"No, Your Majesty. We're also here for the steam-powered boat," Gammon took a sip of the white liquor and said, "but not the wooden paddle steamer. Crescent Moon Bay wants the indestructible steel ship that can split the storm, just like the one you built for Sir Thunder."
Margaret's look immediately changed after hearing this.