Black Iron’s Glory - Chapter 177

Published at 13th of May 2019 05:27:21 PM

Chapter 177

ity of Whitewood


Limasosya's roads were relatively worse . They were muddy and covered with puddles, making it really hard for carriages to traverse . Oask cursed as he turned the carriage around to avoid the puddles, potholes or giant rocky protrusions .

A rainstorm raged from midnight to dawn and wet the roads like never before . It didn't help that Limasosya's terrain was hilly either . The carriage had to dredge along the difficult path one step at a time .

"These roads are a little too shabby, aren't they? Why can't they just maintain it or something?" Claude said, seated beside Oask . Sitting in the cabin on such a bumpy road was pure torture . Nobody would be able to endure that constant bumping .

"It's not that it can't be fixed . Nobody bothers to . It's gonna revert back to its current state anyway not long after . Limasosyas is an mining prefecture and the roads linking it to the outside are mostly in this shape, mainly from the pressure of the heavy mine carts that carry loads of ores . The toll they collect from the mining companies can only barely cover the maintenance of roads in nearby towns and cities . Anything else is beyond their means . "

Claude came to understand that the roads in this world were basically made from stone powder . Basically, the road was flattened and covered in cobblestone . Then, the gaps would be filled with crushed rock, clay and a layer of stone powder to firm it up . It would be fine for normal cargo carriages to drive through, but heavy horse carts transporting ores were far from what the roads were designed to handle . They would easily be crushed in time .

While this world had a material such as concrete, the amount produced wasn't large and the cost of production was also rather high . It was one thing to erect a building or two with it, but building a whole road out of it wasn't something people could afford . It was also said that even after the concrete treatment, the road still wasn't able to withstand the mining carts .

There used to be a busy commercial street in the royal capital whose road fell into disrepair . To attract more customers, the owner of the street gathered funds to repair the roads with concrete, but in half a year, the road ended up being ground up by the carriages once more . Potholes were all over the place and it even got in the way of pedestrians walking . The owner had no choice but to rebuild the whole road with stone tiles instead .

"We have to take a rest a little up ahead . Just look at the two horses' hooves . They're all submerged in mud . I have to scrape it off them so that they can run more relaxingly . The road is also a little too wet, so resting for two hours or so while waiting for the sun to dry the road up would make it easier for the rest of our travels," Oask said with a furrowed brow .

"Alright . We have time, after all . A day or two won't make a difference," Claude consoled .

"Then, let us stay in Whitewood tonight . I planned to reach Bentario by tonight so that we can arrive in Gourneygada tomorrow . That way, you can report to Fokby Hill the day after . The journey would've taken six days as planned, but looks like we'll have to delay it by another day . The hilly path here is too hard to travel through . " Oask was quite frustrated that the trip didn't go according to plan .

After another stretch of road, the carriage stopped at the side and Oask got a small piece of wood to scrape the mud off the hooves of the horses . Claude didn't slack off and found some twigs to scrape mud off the wheels of the carriage .

"Uncle Oask, are you familiar with Limasyosa prefecture?" He tried to find any topic to talk about to kill time .

"I am . When I was still in service, I was stationed here for five years . After that when the second war between our kingdom and Nasri broke out, a unit of Nasri troops fought their way to Bentario . I was tasked to defend the city and before I fired a shot from the wall, I was blown away by a grenade and bled lots . When I woke up, I found myself at the field hospital . By the time I recovered half a year later, the war was already over and my unit had to be reorganized following the retreat of Nasri's troops before I got to earn any merit for myself . "

Oask had only participated in three battles in his life, and in that particular one he got hurt and spent his time recovering only to find that the war was over . He did say that he got out lucky, though, given how the casualties amounted to two-thirds of the troops . But thanks to his injuries happening in the beginning of the conflict, there was still ample support to send him to the field hospitals to be treated . It was said that the later stages of the siege resulted in heavy casualties and many injured soldiers were just left to die because of the sheer difficulty of moving them away from the battlefield .

"After I retired, I worked as a guard for a trading convoy and would come here a few times a year . Most of the time, the convoy would come here to purchase ores and other products, but they began to decrease in number over time . Apart from you and the family I transported to the prefectural capital here, Kritataro, I haven't come here in the past three years . The man of that family seemed to have been employed as a high executive of a large mining company and I heard he earns a crown each month . How envious . "

"Uncle Oask, you mentioned that this prefecture is heavily dependent on mining, right? What are the resources mined here? The geography books I read said that there are more than ten mineable resources being produced here . Is there really that many?"

"Ho, you bet . Gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, tin, and coal are the common ones . There are also limestone, granite and saltpeter . Your geography books are right, but there's far more than that . The metals alone easily number more than ten . I heard some convoy owners say that the whiteroot powder, greenflower stone and fluorescent stone essence produced here are always short of demand . The prices of those goods are always rising year by year . "

Greenflower stone was a building material similar to marble . It had a smooth and glossy texture and was considered the best building material there was . The other name for fluorescent stone essence is earth crystal . It was an earth-attribute magical crystal .

Oask pointed ahead and said, "We'll arrive at Whitewood in another stretch of ten or so kilometers . That place is most famous for producing whiteroot powder . It's said that back then, the workers who dug up those fossilized plants thought it was junk rather than the metal ore they were searching for .

"The mining settlement here was later named Whitewood because of the fossilized plants they found . It was only after a herbalist heard about the matter and rushed down to see, only to find that they were the materials used to produce whiteroot powder . Trash became treasure instantly and Whitewood became a proper town, and was later elevated to city status . "

Does that mean that the most ingredient of alchemy experiments are produced here?Claude's interest was piqued . "Uncle Oask, Do you know how much the whiteroot powder produced here costs?"

He shook his head . "I'm not too sure either since I'm not too interested about it . It isn't anything cheap, mind you . But if you really want to buy whiteroot powder there, you must be careful because there are lots of scammers here who employ children to sell other powders as whiteroot powder . Some of the kids will claim that they stole some from the mines and wanted to sell some to make up for their family's needs . Many people who don't understand how things work and want to get a cheap deal will fall for it easily . The convoy I traveled with bought from a proper mining company there . Even though it's more expensive, at least the quality is assured . "

After another two hours of rest, the muddy path dried till it cracked . Claude and Oask had some dry rations before continuing on their journey . By four in the afternoon, they arrived at Whitewood .

Claude was checked and questioned once more before he entered the city gates . The guards inspected the conscription order from Bluefeather and the stamp on the passport before putting down their own keeper stamp on it and allowed the carriage entry . Oask only had to show his dignitarian identification and wait on the carriage while Claude was checked .

Claude found the security of Whitewood to be really tight . Each gate of the city was defended by a tent of keepers . Other than that, they were even more alert within the city that outside it . Only four soldiers were in charge of the checking during the entry, but eight were stationed to guard the gates from the inside . A tent of troops also patrolled the walls nonstop and they had their attention focused inside the city . Most notably, the slow matches of their guns were lit and they were ready to fire at any moment's notice .

Sponsored Content

Oask wasn't surprised by that in the slightest . He saw his fair share of such situations when he was in service . Perhaps there was a situation in the city, such as an escaped convict on the loose, so the they increased their security to make sure nobody could escape .

"Most of the time, it's not a big deal . A few escaped convicts trying to break through the walls are just trying to get themselves killed . Back when I was in service, we arrested the fellows running a private gambling ring and the boss of the gang got more than 40 men charging towards the gate defended only by a quadron of troops . Even though one volley of fire killed only four to five of the, the others immediately begged to be spared and flattened themselves on the ground . "

Claude learned quite a bit throughout the journey, such as the checks and stamps on his passport, the constables being put in charge of security of the city, and the defense of the gates handled by the keepers . As for the local garrison force, they could run checks but not grant a stamp of passage on passports .

Oask brought Claude to a tavern called The Pullcart . It was the favorite place for coachmen of the heavy mining carts to gather . Claude saw that more than 20 mining carts were parked at the backyard . There were three stables build of logs that kept many work horses within . Some six coachmen were busy feeding their horses .

Since there was still an hour or so till dinner, Claude decided to go take a walk . He didn't want to drink and boast for a whole hour like Oask was inclined to do .

He turned left after leaving the tavern and walked along Mario Street . Oask told him that most of the shops of those mining companies were opened there . It was close to The Pullcart, only some ten minutes away .

But he was stopped the moment he stepped on the streets . A scrawny, rat-faced man asked, "Friend, do you want whiteroot powder?"

Claude shook his head with a smile .

"It's really cheap, friend, a box only costs one crown . I got it from the mines myself and can guarantee the quality . Those shops sell one box for three crowns, you know . The profits are all taken by the selfish company owners . We mine for them to make a living, but the arrangement is too unfair, so we stole some from the mines to make up for it . We're not that greedy, you know . All we want is to be able to earn a little more to eat well…"

Sponsored Content

The scrawny person continued to mutter and stopped in frustration . "Do you think I can afford anything that costs a crown a box? What's whiteroot powder anyway?"

"I knew that you wouldn't be able to afford it… What a waste of my time and saliva following you all this while," the guy cursed, "Hey, fool, give me  athale to buy a cup of ale to quench my thirst, will you? Look at it as an apology for wasting my time . "

Claude swallowed his rage . "Hey, why do I have to apologize?"

"Hah, foolish kid… You're a stubborn one, aren't you? Want me to get someone to beat you till you're kneeling and begging for mercy? You waste so much of my saliva and time, so of course you have to pay me back for it! Give me your money…"

Claude's eyes flashed as killing intent oozed out of him . "Buzz off!"

The scrawny man started backwards, but he still talked back stubbornly . "Just… just you wait!"

Claude ignored him and turned to leave .  What a second-rate annoyance . After failing to trick me, he's gonna resort to extortion? Looks like Uncle Oask was right about there being many scammers here .

The man watched as Claude left for the distance . He grit his teeth and followed behind, but staying a good distance apart, intent on seeing where he was going .