Chapter 13 City Wall
Soon the cement production got on the right track, in order to permit Anna a sufficient amount of rest, the kiln was only used two to three times a day. To obtain the most out of each calcining process, they had to get more raw materials. For this, Roland once again issued orders to recruit more workers, until their current numbers were doubled.
But he also knew that he could not rely on only Anna to do the firing. People who were working long-term in a dusty environment, would eventually become sick; furthermore, once future production scale increased, Anna alone would not be enough to satisfy the demand.
The witches should not be used as consumables.Instead, they should serve as an engine to promote the development of civilization. Although Roland was already aware of this fact, at the moment, he could only invest all of his energy and manpower in building the city wall. After all, If they couldn’t stop the demon beasts, everything else would become unimportant.
Digging out the foundation for laying the City wall had already started in order to connect the northern slope with the Chishui River To increase the production speed, he personally took charge of the overall project. He dug out the first shovel of earth with his own hands in front of the shocked masses of surrounding onlookers.
Roland thought after the problem with the cement was solved, building the city wall would be easy and relaxing. But he soon found out that his prior experience in engineering wasn’t enough to understand a word from the project. How deep and wide did the foundation have to be? How to resolve the different heights of the sections? How to ensure that the more than six hundred yards long wall would be built in a straight line? He had previously seen the construction of a road by a group of young men. They were looking at a scale on their measure instruments; it was called a theodolite and level, right? But both of those tools didn’t exist here!
As an unfortunate mechanical engineer, although Roland and the civil engineer next door were called the two engineering dogs, the content they were actually learning was poles apart. Of the mud artisans who he’d hired, no one had ever been involved in the construction of major projects, it could even be said that his own understanding was better than theirs. Therefore, building the wall started very slowly, it took an entire week to dig out barely half of the foundation they needed.
Once a project got out of control, it would be difficult to say how the final product would look like. For example, this dug out foundation which was hard to dig, came out as shallow groove, rather than the foundation of the wall. It more suited to be called a drainage ditch. Despite Roland’s descriptions, the width they dug out was more or less individualized. Thus, the width got clearly out of shape, becoming more and more narrow. While standing at a distance, the foundation practically resembled a curving and twisting snake.
Even so, Roland was unwilling to stop the project. With little else than the digging on his mind, as long as it was not the time of the firing,which was Anna’s job, he would stay at the northern slope for the rest of the day. Adjusting the direction of the pit’s extension with the naked eye, slowly moving forward. Simultaneously he also doubled the reward for enlisting stone craftsmen.
Fortunately, this predicament did not last long, when Roland was preparing the sixth cement calcining; Barov the Assistant Minister reported that a stonemason responded to the recruitment. It was said he was a former member of the mason guild. The people who were waiting for an audience had been already taken to the outside of the hall.
When he got this information, he nearly burst for joy, in his memories the Graycastle mason guild was a famous organization, even the fourth prince had heard their name. But in the end, because of a construction error, they were ordered to disband.
But how can we finish this without help from stonemasons?
“Take him in,” Roland put on a calm expression and nodded. He originally wanted to tell Anna she should leave, but then he thought it wouldn’t be a problem. Border Town had more than two thousand people, very few had seen the true face of the witch. Moreover, her look now, in a bizarre new dress, and her appearance before, when she wholeheartedly courted death, when she was not her usual self, was worlds apart. He estimated that even if she was seen, she wouldn’t be recognized.
Karl van Bart felt restless when he was lead into the courtyard by the knight; he intended to inform his Highness, that this time of year was unsuitable to carry out a large-scale project. After acquiring his Highness’ trust, he could slowly change the prince’s view on witches. In the rumours his Highness always acted wild, what should he do when it seemed he would get the contrary result of his advice?
With his thoughts in a whirl as he bowed down, when he lifted up his head again, he suddenly stopped and stared blankly – the girl at the side of his Highness looked so familiar, he had felt that he was dreaming. Karl rubbed his eyes, then looked once again, he could not help but cry out, “… Anna!”
Roland’s heart stopped for a beat. How was that possible? He just wanted to hire a craftsman, but who could know that the craftsman was also the witch’s neighbour? He could tell, that the other was absolutely familiar with Anna, if not, it would have be impossible to recognize her immediately. He looked at Carter. The chief knight got the hint, he immediately pulled the latch, blocking the only exit.
Anna’s reaction let Roland’s spirit circle for a while before he came back to complete consciousness, what, teacher?
“It’s really you, Anna, I … I …” Karl only felt his eye socket warming up, and then there was something flowing down. He knelt powerlessly on the ground, constantly repeating, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry …… very good, too …… well ……”
After Karl van Bart was able to calm his mood, he slowly stood up and then bent over once more to pay tribute to Roland again, “I’m very sorry, your Highness, I forgot my manners.”
“This, in the end what is going on? Aren’t you a mason?”
“I used to be,” when Karl had regained a calm mood, his speech became very fluent. His Highness had not killed Anna! The one who was hanged on the execution ground was substitute – being aware of this point, he already knew how to progress further. Although it was unclear why the other party rescued a witch; but regardless, even if his Highness wanted to take her as his concubine even that would be much better than being crucified. This showed that the prince wasn’t afraid that the witches were the evil incarnation described in the rumours.
He described his experiences of living in this Border Town, since the time he fled out of Graycastle. Including, that he had opened a college here, and that he had found out that Nana Paien, one of his students, had also become a witch. Finally, he pleaded to his Royal Highness, that he would also take Nana into his palace, so that she would be safe from exposure.
Anna, who stood at the side had a caring expression on her face, while listening to the plea for Nana, but from the beginning to the end she never said a word.
Yet another new witch! This truly was important, and good news, but he seemed to remember the name Paien. When Roland quietly asked the assistant minister, he got to know that this was in fact, a small aristocratic family of Border Town.
“You can take her to see me, if she is a witch, I will make sure, that she doesn’t get hurt,” Roland promised, “But I cannot take her away from the Paien family, especially when she had not suffered any threat from her material family. Also, me rescuing Anna is not what you think … “He considered, telling the truth would be better,” I need her help. The idea that they are the Devil’s force is absolutely nonsense. I believe that the power of the witch, regardless if it is good or evil, can be controlled. So Anna, Nana or any other witch, as long as they do not break any other law, I won’t condemn them to death. “
“Next, we will turn to the town business, you participated in the construction of the Graycastle city walls?” The prince quickly changed the topic back to the construction matters.
“Yes!” Karl nodded. Although, his Highness the fourth prince did not resemble his prior knowledge of the prince; he did not expect that the prince would need a witches’ assistance, however, his wish to protect Nana was accepted, that was enough.
“Well, I’m going to build a wall from the Chishui River to the foot of the northern slope. The goal is to ward off the demon beast invasion. From now on this project is your responsibility.”