Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > 149 A Merchant from the King“s City Part II

149 A Merchant from the King“s City Part II



"Do you primarily sell saltpeter in the king's city?" Roland came straight to the point.

"No, Your Highness." The smile on Margaret's face was no longer a fake one of formality but became more sincere and cordial. "I sell many products, from gemstones to fabrics, and I also run inns and taverns. In fact, I just started selling saltpeter a month ago. The previous business owner lost everything in my casino and had to put a lien on his plant."

[She not only sells various goods but also involves in the service industry. What kind of businesswoman is she?] Roland knew it required more than capitals to operate a casino in the king's city. He knocked on the desk, but Nightingale simply pinched his neck, which meant Margaret was wearing a God's Stone of Retaliation that blocked her scrutiny.

Hang on... If Nightingale can't detect lies, why did she pinch his right shoulder earlier?

Roland coughed and suppressed the desire to turn around and question her.

He had heard some merchants from Fjords, after settling down in the four kingdoms, expanded their business and accumulated incredible fortunes. After all, Fjords natives were all born businessmen who were not only fearless and adventurous but also good at sniffing out a business opportunity. Although many of them were ripped off by the government, some managed to establish themselves. By lobbying with local authorities, they formed a relatively stable alliance with some distinguished figures. Could Margaret also be one of the successful ones?

If this was the case, Roland felt it would be better to save the small talks and directly state his needs. "I want a large quantity of saltpeter. The more, the better."

"But the Western Region of the kingdom isn't hot, especially for the towns close to the Impassable Mountain Range. Do you really need that much saltpeter, Your Highness?" Margaret asked curiously, "I own three plants in the suburb of the king's city, which will suffice the needs of nobles in a medium-sized city."

[Three plants!] Roland was internally exhilarated by the news but still remained expressionless. "I plan to build a freezer in the basement of the castle to preserve some food that goes bad easily. If you offer me a reasonable price, I'd like to purchase all your saltpeter."

Margaret nodded. "Well, since you're being so straightforward, I'm willing to ship all my saltpeter to Border Town and give you a 10% off on the current market price. But..."

"But what?"

"I don't really want gold royals. My warehouse is full of them. I've heard you have some unique products, which I'm really interested in using as a substitution for gold royals if you don't mind. I'll be happy to make the deal with you if you agree to this term."

"Some unique products?" Roland was surprised. Margaret was the first person that he had ever known who did not want gold royals.

"Yes. For example, an automatic machine made of black iron." The merchant leaned forward a little bit and said, "Your servant told me it only requires some boiling water to produce immense power. In fact, this is what made me decide to come to Border Town in person. Otherwise, I actually prefer to sell my saltpeter to nobles in the king's city. Border Town, after all, was very far, and the shipping costs a lot."


[This is indeed unexpected,] Roland thought. Although he did not know how Barov's apprentice found her and how they turned their subject to steam engines, it was evident that this merchant from the king's city was very interested in it.

Roland knew very well how enormous the profits industrial goods could bring, especially for those machines that only he knew how to manufacture. He had been worried that the money in the duke's mansion would exhaust eventually after Border Town stopped selling ores. Now, a great business opportunity had just been presented to him.

"I know what you're talking about." The prince smiled. "It's called a steam engine. Its operation mechanism is pretty simple, which is to convert the steam of boiling water into power. But only Border Town manufactures this kind of machine."

"So it does exist?"

"Of course." Roland spread out his hands. "But its manufacture process is very complicated and the price is steep. If you're interested, I can show it to you."

"I would love to see it." She rose in excitement.

...

When Margaret saw the roaring steel monster slowly pull the mine car out of the mine at the North Slope Mine, her eyes almost bulged out under her lids.

"Your Highness, it, it's... so inconceivable." There was a tinge of tremor in her voice. "I thought your messenger was just exaggerating, but the truth is actually more fascinating than his description... I'm afraid one... steam engine can replace... more than dozens of people's labor."

Margaret wanted to take a closer look but was stopped by Roland. "It's too dangerous to approach an operating steam engine. Don't get too close to it. See that white steam puffing out? A little can burn you."

"Do you use it only to ship ores?" As the machine was too loud, Margaret had to crane her neck and raised her voice.

"There are two in total at the mine. The first one is responsible for pulling mine cars and the second one for drawing water from the mine," Roland replied, "In fact, the machine can also replace windmills and watermills to grind wheat. It won't be affected by water currents or wind and can save a lot of manpower and animal labor. It can even set paddles in motion and thus be used as a power source for a sailing ship. With a steam engine, you can operate a sailing ship even without wind."

Roland knew what a boat that did not need to rely on wind power and wind directions meant to Fjords people. As he had expected, Margaret's eyes were glowing with excitement. "Make an offer. I want to buy it."

"I can't sell this one to you, as the mine needs it for production. You can pre-order some new steam engines. Once your saltpeter arrives, I'll send you my invoice."

"What about the price..."

Roland led her to a quieter spot slightly away from the mine. "500 gold royals," Roland answered. It was definitely overpriced, for the number was almost equal to the annual income of a knight in the territory. The overhead cost for a steam engine was around 20 gold royals. It would be no more than 50 gold royals in total after adding smelting costs, labor costs and installation costs, but it created big room for bargaining.

"Then that's the deal! I want to purchase 10 steam engines!"

"..." Roland was speechless for a second. 10 steam engines meant 5,000 gold royals, which was pretty much a five to six years' savings of Duke Ryan's. As Margaret did not even bargain, Roland wondered if this was normally the way an ultra-rich merchant did her business. He cleared his throat and asked, "Are you sure? This is a big sum of money. Plus, it isn't going to be a one-time investment. You have to spend a lot as well on future maintenance."

"I know. It's just like maintaining a boat. You need to clean it annually to get rid of algae and tiny marine creatures nested in the hull and replace new sails, ropes, etc.," Margaret said carelessly, "let me know what needs to be changed or added, and I'll purchase them. If that doesn't work, you can just sell me the labors who maintain and operate the machine altogether at another price."

Roland shut his mouth. There was only one idea in his mind: it felt so good to have incessant money.