Duke Pendragon - Chapter 109
The second floor of the only pub and inn of York Town.
Recently, the influx of people into York Town had increased tremendously. To compensate, the inn owner had renovated the second floor of the inn, which was originally his residence, to accommodate more people. In a small room, two men sat facing each other.
“We have decided to provide the building engineers and equipment. Read through it, it is documented in detail.”
A man in his 40’s received the papers from Dos Giovanni in a polite manner. The man’s shock became apparent.
“Isn’t this the Ukrainian formula? There is someone from the Pendragon Duchy that knows this?”
“The drawings are even more spectacular.”
Giovanni responded as he sat with his hands crossed in a straight posture.
“Huh! A pentagonal spire! And an eight-mile wall? Ah, I guess if they were to employ the general construction method, it would take a minimum of four to five years, just for the outer walls alone. There was a reason they are employing the Ukrainian formula.”
“Yes, they can drastically shorten the time it will take to build the outer wall with that method.”
“Then why are they asking us for so much equipment and personnel?”
“They plan to create a whole new city with the village as its center. They want to implement a government-general in the city.”
The man’s eyes widened again.
To create a government-general in the duchy meant that York Town would be more than a free economic city.
“But young master, the population will be a problem, correct? Even with the influx of workers required for the construction and their families, there will be a little more than 10,000 people at best. When the construction is finished, most of them will lose their jobs and become poor again.”
“Yes, that is correct. Do you know what His Grace Pendragon wanted in return for leaving us with these big projects?”
“What is it?”
Giovanni rose up slowly, and slowly looked over the town hall where Alan Pendragon was.
The subordinate did not come to an immediate understanding. Giovanni beckoned him.
“Look over there.”
“What? Ah, yes.”
The subordinate turned his gaze as Giovanni instructed. The brown plains of York Village stretched wide under the autumn sun.
He had already seen the scenery on his way here. Even though a river flowed alongside it, it was a land that was unfit to build large-scale wheat farms because there was a lot of sand. If they could farm on that land, they could easily make a living for tens of thousands of people.
“Yes. The Pendragon family wants to turn all that land into cotton fields.”
The subordinate responded with trembling eyes as his eyes scanned over the vast fields that stretched to the end of the horizon. The land was unsuitable for wheat, but cotton would be able to grow even if the temperature and the ratio of sand were somewhat high.
“A little over 40,000 acres. Imagine if even half of the land was filled with cotton fields. Think of how much manpower would be needed to work the fields. Besides, if they start a textile business…”
“10 years at the latest, 3 or 4 years at the earliest. It will become the largest city in the Midwest. Once the population grows, villages will form around the cotton fields. Then, York Town will be able to function properly as a government-general city.”
The subordinate’s eyes became slightly dazed, as if he could actually see the tens of thousands of people working all over the vast land.
Giovanni closed the window, then returned to the table and looked down at his tea, which had already grown cold.
“The most important things for a person to live are food, sleep, and clothes. His Grace Pendragon’s business strikes all three of them.”
“That’s right. Huh! How could a young man who’s not even 20 have planned all of…”
“It’s not His Grace Pendragon. I am certain that the advisor named Vincent Ron is behind these plans. Well, the final word belongs to the lord, so I guess, all in all, the duchy’s heir is a man of great insight.”
Giovanni smiled faintly when he recalled his younger self. He had merchants playing on the palm of his hands for decades without so much a change in expression.
The subordinate became quite surprised when he saw the smile.
‘Huh! For the young master to smile… Alan Pendragon, he must be a greater man than I thought.”
He had seen Dos Giovanni smile three times as he served him for a period of over ten years.
First, when he received a pawnshop in Eden Port, one of the most popular port cities, from his father and president of Giovanni Chamber of Commerce, Isco Giovanni.
Secondly, when he grew his business and overtook the richest man in the city by delving into the salt, iron, and spice business in Eden Port in just three years. He had then built the Giovanni Bank headquarters in the Royal Batallium.
And the last instance was just a year ago, after meeting Prince Ian, the strongman of the empire’s political circle.
“I thought Prince Ian had Alan Pendragon playing in the palm of his hands, but it just might be the opposite.”
Everyone knew that the second prince of the empire had a strong relationship with the Pendragon family’s young master. Most people thought that Prince Ian had taken the Pendragon family under his wing as the most influential figure of the empire.
“Even if 30% of the wandering population of the Midwest find their way here, the population of the Pendragon Duchy will exceed 100,000 within a year.”
“It will increase over time. In about three years, there could be two, or three hundred thousand.”
“That’s right. As you know, the reason for Pendragon Duchy’s small population is simple. It is due to the special nature of the mines, which they gained when they made a covenant with the White Dragon. If they fail to establish a contract with the dragon, the mines become closed as well.”
Giovanni spoke while leisurely enjoying his tea, and the subordinate answered as he looked over the rest of the documents rather excitedly.
“But if the focus is shifted to York Town with cotton and textile businesses, the population will be maintained regardless of their status with the dragon. Hmm.”
The subordinate raised his head with a bewildered look.
“W, what is this? The payment will be in the Pendragon Duchy’s gold coins?”
“As written. The duchy is manufacturing a new currency.”
The subordinate’s expression distorted as if he was dumbfounded. But soon, he sank deep into thought, then responded with a calm expression.
“How much gold is contained in the new coin compared to the imperial currency?”
“It will be either 70 or 80 percent. About half the size of the imperial coin.”
“The exchange rate has not been decided yet?”
“That’s right. But it will be soon. His Grace Pendragon is set to leave in a few months to visit the emperor in the imperial city.”
“What does young master think about…”
Giovanni answered with a look of conviction at the quiet, sharp words of his subordinate.
“It will be one-to-one for at least half a year. As the royal family is indebted to the Pendragon Duchy, they will have no choice but to listen to the duchy’s demands.”
“…young master, why would you take such bad money for payment? If things go wrong, our association may receive a huge blow.”
The subordinate took on a serious expression.
“Yes, it is bad money. A very bad money that could drive out the imperial coin, the good money. That is why we have to get it.”
Giovanni took a small pouch from his pocket and sprinkled the contents on a piece of paper the size of his palm before carefully wrapping it.
It took quite long, but the subordinate stayed silent. Dos Giovanni only smoked once a day, and when he did, there was always something important to be said.
Giovanni finally finished rolling his cigarette. He bit on it and lit it up before continuing.
“What do you think will happen when that bad money starts circulating in the empire?”
“If our company distributes it, it will circulate for a while, but then soon disappear…”
“You are like the others I saw earlier. Those idiots were considering melting the duchy’s gold coins with that same thought.”
The subordinate’s expression turned awkward. Letting out a puff of smoke, Giovanni continued his words.
“The disappearing currency will be the imperial gold coins.”
“Coins that are small and easy to carry around. But the exchange rate will be equivalent for the time being. In other words, the value of the money is the same, but the value of wealth is higher on one side. What would you do?”
“W, well, I do not know. If it were me… Huh?”
The subordinate’s eyes grew bigger as if he was hit on the back of his head.
“Yes, wealth is collected, but money is spent. Ultimately, the Pendragon coins will become money, and the imperial coins will take the place of gold bars.”
“There will be no use changing the exchange rates in half a year. By then, a large portion of Pendragon coins will be in circulation all over the empire. Prices across the land will change based on the Pendragon coins. Finally, the Pendragon gold, the bad money, will drive out the imperial gold, which is good money.”
The subordinate could not utter any decipherable words, letting out breaths of astonishment. Something tremendous, something that could shake the foundation of the empire, was being discussed in a small inn room in a town called York Village.
“We will be gaining hundreds of thousands, no, millions of such gold. Then the profit we will make…”
“I will get them ready right away.”
The simple, clear response from his subordinate put a second smile of the day on Giovanni’s mouth.
It was then.
Boom! Boom! Booom!
The earth-shaking roar caused the subordinate to jump in surprise and rush to the window.
“What is going on?”
Stretching his neck, the subordinate looked in all directions for the source of the loud noise. But Giovanni stood up in a relaxed manner after putting out his cigarette.
“What do you mean? We need basic materials to start construction. That must be the delivery.”
“Huh? I did not hear of any lumber mills or quarries being near this place. Who, and where would… Ugagah!”
The subordinate fell backward in surprise, then raised his trembling hand to point outside.
“Y, young master! W, what is…”
“What are you so shocked about? This is the Pendragon Duchy.”
Giovanni lightly patted the subordinate’s shoulders before slowly heading to the windows and turning his eyes towards the outskirts of the village, where the sound was originating from.
It was a long distance, but humongous monsters completely covered one side of the sky. With an eagle’s head, a large body, wings, and a long tail – they were griffons, monsters that usually resided in deep mountain ranges or in distant seas.
Every time dozens of griffons descended to the ground, large logs and rocks fell from the sky. As many as a hundred griffons, that were known to be extremely difficult to tame, flew in and delivered raw materials in an organized fashion.
“This is the Pendragon Duchy. You should not be surprised at anything that pops up.”
Giovanni spoke in a low voice to his shocked, lifeless subordinate. But even his voice quivered slightly as he reassured his subordinate.
The logs and the stones delivered by the griffons were all of similar size and trimmed to some extent.
The people had flocked to the wooden fence and looked on at the incredulous sight with pale expressions. It was terrifying to see griffons, which could easily decimate a village with five or six members, circle above the village in hundreds.
But soon, something even more surprising occurred.
“W, w, what…!”
From a dozen or so griffons, gigantic orcs jumped down onto the ground through the air.