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Chapter 567: Expansion of Power (Part 2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Saleen was only familiar with some of the warriors behind Gurney. Gurney said warmly, “My Lord, the mages wanted to welcome you, but I was afraid that something might happen at the temple so it had to be here instead…”
“You did well, Gurney. You have worked hard. Later I will send you to Lex so that you can learn even more from her.”
Gurney was overjoyed. If one wanted to learn swordsmans.h.i.+p, Saleen was the right person to go to. If one wanted to learn command of armies and politics, then Lex would be the right choice. Saleen did not have anyone who had such abilities. By saying this, it meant that Saleen was prepared to groom him.
“My Lord!” The mages rushed to him. Saleen’s heart was filled with joy as he saw their familiar faces. Kredian, Francis, and Basta were all here, but what made him happiest was seeing Pasatilo and Kanuka because the both of them had advanced from grade-4 to grade-5 mages and were the same as the rest now.
Although the people around him were getting stronger, it was a pity that he did not have any sorcerers. As Saleen headed towards the temple, there was a huge team behind him now.
The newcomers to his team, including the four demons and the demonic spirit, were all awed by how imposing the temple was.
The construction of the temple had been completed. It stood at six levels, it was eight-hundred yards in width and looked magnificent. In Saleen’s eyes, it seemed as if the temple had been totally reconstructed. Every level was twelve yards high, so six levels would equate to seventy-two yards. It was already taller than a grade-9 magical tower.
A grade-9 magical tower was only fifty-four yards tall. The height of the temple might increase even more. Other special constructions would be built on top of this temple in the future. Jason possessed the blueprint of Sky City and while it was impossible to replicate it entirely, they could still build a miniature version; a Floating Tower!
“Finally, I have some capital!” Saleen could not hide his delight as he led everyone into the temple.
Indeed, the temple had been reconstructed. On the interior of both sides of the door were mezzanines and within them were soldiers standing guard. The entire first level had been constructed so that it was a wide s.p.a.ce without walls, but with a platform that was six-yards tall in the middle of it and about sixty huge pillars evenly spread around it. The pillars were hollow and their insides were spiraling staircases that led to the second level.
On the exterior of the pillars were stone carvings. With one glance, Saleen knew immediately what the carvings were about legends and myths that had been pa.s.sed down all these years. Stories of the battle between humans and G.o.ds!
If one walked up the stone steps onto the platform and raised one’s head, he would see that there was a small courtyard above it that led directly to the highest level of the temple.
At this moment, extendable metal staircases were let down from the four corners of the courtyard. Everyone took them to reach the second level. Daniel said, “The second level is for bodyguards. The meeting room is on the third level.”
“Let’s not have a meeting first. Everyone is tired,” Saleen said.
“No problem. Constructions here already complete so there are all sorts of facilities.” By the time he finished, they had already reached the third level. Daniel led everyone past the long corridors and reached the meeting room before saying, “My Lord, there is a resting room here for cleaning up. For meals, you can have them in the meeting room if you like.”
“It’s okay. I suppose there is a canteen here?”
“Yes, this level is for meetings and discussions and can hold up to one-thousand people. I did not take in any servants, so my Lord can consider using some puppets.”
Saleen nodded. There were secrets hidden underneath the temple and it would eventually serve as a home for the people from Sregl Island in future, so there should not be any outsiders. In times of insufficient manpower, they would have to make do with puppets.
Some soldiers brought Eleanor and the rest to wash up. These soldiers were also swordsmen from Sregl Island. There were too many sailors in the city after the defences for the port had been constructed and the two combat vessels on patrol only recruited pirates and some newcomers. Daniel was cautious to recruit those sailors that were without a job and were trustworthy enough to work at the temple.
Saleen need not wash up as he could use the Cleaning spell. When mages bathed, it was more out of enjoyment than necessity. Eleanor was uncomfortable to be served by the swordsmen so she stayed behind as well.
Daniel and Diyabannersa led Saleen, Eleanor, and Nailisi into a moderate-sized room. This was a small meeting room. The big meeting room could hold up to one-thousand people so there was no need for them to use it now. Behind them were the mages from Sregl Island.
After everyone had sat down, Saleen asked, “Daniel, tell me all the things that happened after I left.”
Daniel finally started to talk. Shortly after Saleen and the rest had left, many n.o.blemen, including those from Phoenix and Luolan arrived to take refuge. It seemed that when Lex had went to Caucasus initially, she had also solicited a group of n.o.blemen from Luolan.
After the Grand Duke of Luolan died in battle, these n.o.blemen had neither support nor land anymore. Many of them flooded into Qin while some escaped to Laiyin Duchy.
Daniel followed what was done previously and sold a few houses and lands to these n.o.blemen. The duchies with affiliations to Qin had similar practices to them. When the n.o.blemen escaped, they brought along all their craftsmen as well. A large number of bodyguards, craftsmen, slaves, farm animals, mages, grains, and coins all came together along with the n.o.blemen from Luolan.
Those that were willing to take refuge here must be in it for the long haul. Although the location of the city was remote at least it would not be at risk of being embroiled in the war. When Lex invited them, she also promised that they would have new land and ranks of n.o.bility again. When they arrived, they were led out of the city shortly after to pick their own lands from those that could be cultivated.
Amongst the four empires, only Qin’s n.o.blemen treated their farmers decently, so many of them also came along. These farmers should not be mistaken for poor peasants as they were actually farmers with decent fortunes. Some of them might even be richer than the lowest-ranking Baron from the n.o.ble families.
In the present moment, large portions of the land north of Metatrin City had already been given to these n.o.blemen. Most of their wealth was still kept in the empire’s bank and could not be taken out yet. They had no choice but to take loans out from Daniel. Many castles had been built since then.
Metatrin City had plenty of stones and wood and the large number of slaves made the work much easier. Most of the n.o.blemen that had arrived in Metatrin City had been satisfied so far. Although the terms and conditions that came with the loan was a little strict, at least all their new castles were designed by mages.
Daniel was also wise to ensure that the distance between the n.o.blemen’s castles were near to each other. It might give one the impression that their proximity was to enable them to look out for each other, but in actual fact it was to ensure that they would not be able to expand their influence.
Although these n.o.blemen had not lost too much of their wealth, they had little cash on hand. As a result, they had not been able to recruit and feed too many soldiers and most of the available private soldiers ended up being taken in by Daniel instead.
At the moment, Saleen had more than twenty-thousand soldiers under his command. On top of that, he still had Lex’s swordsman’s camp. The defence of the city was finally a force to be reckoned with. Even if the Three Kings had summoned a large number of death troops, the city walls should still be safe after some replenishments were made.
After a few rounds of construction, the three city walls of Metatrin City were six-miles long and would be difficult to defend without at least ten-thousand soldiers.
Aini and Irene had also used their own channels to buy large amounts of grain. The entire north and Phoenix’s grains could not be sold to Qin so most of them had all been bought by Metatrin City instead.
Out of the twenty-thousand soldiers under Saleen, eight-thousand of them were new and were Caucasus people. Aside from the four-thousand or so barbarians, the remaining ten-thousand or so soldiers were originally from Luolan and had escaped here. Lex’s men helped to train them before splitting them up into two swordsman’s camps.
Both the Rolande family and the Tiffany family had also began to extend their reach to Metatrin by buying businesses and opening shops in the east of the city. Now all the four biggest Qin families were invested in Metatrin City, one way or another. The influences of these four business families could not be dismissed. Half of the city’s businesses were sustained by them.
A battle also took place during this period of time. A combat vessel from Lianyun City came to Metatrin with the intention to take over the sea route, but was eventually sunk by three patrolling combat vessels.
After the new Grand Duke of Lianyun City lost the battle, he was forced to use gold to redeem his warriors and combat vessel. Since then, the sea routes had been safe. The Grand Duke of Lianyun City did not have enough money to redeem all his warriors, so he had to use slaves in exchange. There were a total of about four-thousand soldiers that were captured and each soldier was exchanged with five slaves. Without spending too much money, Daniel managed to obtain about twenty-thousand slaves and most of them had been sent to the east for mining.
It was clear that the battle was only to feel out Metatrin’s defences and was something that Holy Rock City had tacitly consented to. After Metatrin City won, there was no more news from Holy Rock City as they were busy deploying most of their troops and puppets to the west border to guard against Tanggulasi empire.
“So this means I am about to have another city?” Saleen heard that a new city was being built west of Metatrin City and was pleased. With this city as a buffer, Metatrin City finally had a barrier against invading forces.
“Yes, it is about two-hundred miles away from Metatrin, just beyond the mountain. The foundations of the city has been completed, but the stone materials are taking some time to transport over. Although the roads have been constructed we do not have enough wagons. It would be too expensive to rent more.”
At this point, Daniel was seething in his heart. The prices set by the Tiffany family were too high. He would rather take a longer time to build the city than to rent their wagons to transport the stone materials. The city walls of the new city must be built with the white stones from Metatrin City. The stone materials there were too brittle and could only be used to build the buildings within the city.
“The Rolande family are selling weapons at a really cheap price, my Lord. I think they are being sold at close to cost price. Taking into account the expenses of transportations and logistics, they may even be making a loss.”
“Oh? Who is heading the Rolande family now?”
“Baroness Guya, my Lord. She wants the weapons business here and has promised to continue selling weapons to us at the same price in the future.”
“Have you given your word?”
“Of course not. For such matters, it is best if you discussed it with her yourself.”
“There is no way we will allow her to dominate the entire weapons business. I will gather the leaders of the four big families and let them come up with the prices themselves. I will take over this. Let me think about it.”
Saleen could see that his city was finally taking shape and was pleased in his heart. He asked again, “How many castles are there now?”
“There are two middle-sized castles and one-hundred and seventy-two small sized ones in the east and west of the city. Those that guard the roads all belong to us. Winter is coming and construction work will have to stop soon. By next year, we should be more than three-hundred castles. Those that have not been repaired are too far away.”
“So many! Do we have enough soldiers?”
“It was Lex’s men that came up with the idea that even if it was just a Baron, we will also be in charge of building a castle for them. They are just small castles built for one-hundred to two-hundred people anyway. When they have enough money, they will have to pay us back. In the north, we have already explored as far as fifteen-hundred miles. There are many lands suitable for cultivation, but they will need to use puppets since the buffalos will be captured by magic wolves.”
At this point, Daniel smiled. Lex’s men were cunning. If those n.o.blemen wanted to continue living, they would have to rely on Metatrin City from now on. Without the help of mages, it was close to impossible to cultivate the lands in the north.
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