"Father, do we really have to do so much for them?"
Hawn Quinn watched the busy workers at a clearing outside the City of Glow and asked a little indignantly.
Before the two people was a rectangle square, its length about 1,000 meters and width around 500. After the construction team of Graycastle came to the Kingdom of Dawn, the nobles started to use the new measurement.
Unlike the square built with beautiful slabs in the king's city, this square was built with grayish, plain cement. Although not visually appealing, it was fairly easy to build. It had only taken them less than a week to excavate the ground and build the base.
All the workers for this project were from the Quinn Family, which showed how important this project was.
"Hmm," Horford Quinn, the current King of Dawn said while casting his son a glance with some interest," what are you referring to?"
"King Roland probably asked you to do too much," Hawn said while counting on his fingers. "He asked you to build a bridge and a road. These are both big projects. You summoned all the family workers to work on the construction. Then who'll take care of the domain? The castle has to be refurbished as well.
Of course, Hawn was unhappy about something else too.
His father was too obedient to the King of Graycastle.
He even prejudiced his own interests.
The cement was apparently a very promising alchemical material. If their family could have a monopoly over that, they would gain huge profits.
Just because that King Roland had instructed in his letter to "produce as much cement as possible", Horford had summoned all the great nobles to the palace and told them how to produce cement. With the help of those nobles and various chambers of commerce, soon several cement plants were built. As a result, the Quinn Family did not profit much from this new technology.
When it came to the road construction, however, the situation reversed.
The great nobles all refused to cooperate, which left Horford no choice but to do it on his own.
The Quinn Family took care of all the construction work, from the recruitment to the collaboration with the Graycastle construction team. Despite that they had accumulated huge wealth after taking over the country from the royal house of Moya, they had spent a great deal on this project. Hawn's heart ached when he saw the gold royals in the treasury decrease every day.
Road construction was different than a business investment that could bring in more money. The road connecting the Northside River and the Cage Mountain could not bring anything. The two areas were not even under the jurisdiction of the Quinn Family! Even if the road did, somehow, flourish the local business, only the lords along the road would profit from it.
From what Hawn could tell, King Roland definitely wanted to build something more, for example, this strange, useless square. If they keep squandering money like this, his family would soon encounter a financial crisis. In fact, many distant branches of the family had started to complain about Horford's action.
What annoyed Hawn most was his father's attitude toward the Graycastle men.
He not only made inquiries of every project but also summoned the construction team to the palace frequently and asked whether they had any needs. Hawn was particularly resentful after he learned that these "officials" were all civilians rather than nobles. His father was a king, and it extremely irritated Hawn to see they sit equal at the same table.
And today, when Horford heard that Graycastle would send their ambassadors, he immediately went out to the city to greet them. This was so incredible. As a ruler, he could have definitely met the guests in his castle. What royals would greet the guests outside the castle in person?
Hawn suspected that Horford did all this because of his daughter, Andrea. Everything started after his daughter left.
"What can I do?" Horford said, shrugging. "Nobody else is willing to work. I can't let them do what they want. You've seen how powerful Graycastle is. Do you think without the support of the Wimbledon Family, I'd still be able to be the king of the country?"
"No, father... I'm not asking you to resist Graycastle," Hawn explained while waving his hand. "You just need to ask others to work for you, and Roland Wimbledon won't say anything about it. You can negotiate with the local lords for the funds. A business deal is a sort of negotiation. You told me that a good businessman has to stay calm to get the maximum benefit."
"But the Battle of Divine Will isn't a trade."
"That's right, but..." Hawn broke off and bit his lip. Finally, he bursted out, "But you don't look like the King of Dawn at all but a minister working for King Roland Wimbledon!"
Hawn expected to see his father throw a fit, but the latter simply stared at him for a moment and smiled airily. He said, "Why do you think there are only four kingdoms on this continent instead of three or five?"
"Well..." Hawn was totally unprepared for the question. "Because... because we're the strongest four families?"
"More precisely, we're the strongest in our own domains." Horford said, "Our power can't extend throughout the whole continent. The so-called border is actually the furthest we could extend our power to. However, the balance between the four kingdoms has been broken. Roland Wimbledon could completely take over all of the Four Kingdoms if he likes. If that's the case, why can't I submit to his ruling?"
Hawn retorted fiercely, unable to help himself, "Father! The Graycastle army is powerful, but they can't control the whole continent! You're exaggerating..."
"You aren't realizing the change in Graycastle, child," Horford sighed deeply. "Perhaps, Roland couldn't in the past, but now he has extended his power beyond his own territory. You didn't really look into what he has done, so of course you don't believe that he has that ability.
"How... how did you know?"
Horford answered with a smile, "Andrea replied to my letter."
Hawn's heart sank.
When he was about to talk more sense into his father, somebody shrieked.
Then there was a loud, dull buzz coming from a distance.
Hawn looked in that direction, slightly surprised at a line of black shadows in the sky that was streaming toward the City of Glow.
Were they migrating birds?
However, he soon realized that he was wrong. The black dot expanded immediately, and it became larger than any birds he had seen. It was still expanding.
Hawn's eyes were wide open. They seemed to be artifacts!
All the workers dropped their tools involuntarily and started to scream.
Many cavarans that passed by also stopped and looked up at the sky.
"That's incredible... He really did that," Horford commented while smiling faintly. "My guests are coming."
Hawn, at this point, was completely aghasted. Were these huge birds the transportation tools invented by the Graycastle men?
How could it be possible?
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