My Castle, My Castellan
Chapter 27 – The Start of Trade
“This is a lamp that uses a built-in micro steam engine to generate lightning-like energy through steam power. This energy is very specific, and it can emit intense light through specific metals. Steam lamps can make use of coal and fire crystal nucleus to generate dual power, such is like a primary fire crystal nucleus, it can theoretically continuously illuminate for one month. If you use the same size of coal, you can only illuminate for an hour.”
Lance took an object that looked like the upper half of the Earth, while he was explaining it to McQueen. The steam light looked exquisite, and there’s a little button on it. When you press it, the head-shaped bulb would emit light, and the light was a bit scattered but very bright.
“It’s an almighty invention.” McQueen smiled plainly, “how about a kilowatt of rice to trade with a steam lamp?”
Lance was so scared that his hand was shaking, he hurriedly said, “no, no, McQueen, this is not possible. This is the greatest invention of the gnomes. Anything below 500 kilograms would be an insult for it.”
“The greatest craftsmen, to be honest, I can’t see what it’s used for. It can at most replace an ordinary lamp or some candles. For Toss City which is already exhausted from wars, it’s at most an extravagance. It’s good-looking but it’s too energy-consuming. A crystal nucleus can only work for one month. It’s too extravagant. You need to know that a primary crystal nucleus is worth a silver coin. With a silver coin, you can buy 50 kilograms of rice. Its annual consumption will be greater than its cost, it’s just unrealistic.” McQueen was talking as if the steam lamp was just a piece of crap. However, he was still struggling, as he was determined to get it anyway. It’s such a great invention, and he was seeing the gnomes as Edison.
“McQueen, my city lord, the price of 5 kilograms of rice is too low, please don’t make things too difficult for me. The cost of making it alone is far more than that.” Lance lowered his head after listening to McQueen. In this case, the steam lamp was just a failure.
“Oh, but we’re friends, right?” McQueen raised his head and sighed, “let’s do it this way. Let’s do 50 kilograms of rice.”
“Can it still be higher, my highly respected city lord?” Lance’s eyes brightened and tested carefully.
McQueen knew that if he went for it, he would certainly get the 50 kilograms of rice. However, he wanted this trade to be a sustainable deal, and this thing would certainly be worth a high price, so, he said, “let’s do 50 kilograms of rice for one steam lamp, and I’ll pay for the materials, what do you say?”
“Okay, deal.” Lance was afraid that McQueen would say no later, that’s why he hurriedly accepted the deal. Every gnome knew how to make a steam lamp, and if he could sell one for 50 kilograms of rice, it was already a nice deal for Lance.
McQueen was actually quite happy for it.
After discussing about the price of the steam lamp, Lance took out an ultra-small round iron block, it’s about the size of a cup lid. There was a small pointer inside the iron block, and it had a white and a red end.
“Is this a compass?” McQueen asked hopelessly. Gnomes, don’t tell me that you’ve transmigrated from the Earth.
“Ah, does McQueen know what it’s for? What a genius. If we put this thing on the ground, its red needle points to the south, and the white needle points to the north. But we call it the north needle.” Lance puts the compass on the table, the pointer swayed and then steadily pointed to the north and south directions. Lance repeatedly turned the compass, and the needle always pointed to the same direction. “Our wrench tribe relied on this compass to excavate the passage, all the way to the magic cave. When Sir Will wanted to dig the tunnel and return, I even lent one for him.”
“Well, Lord Lance, you are really generous. You’re even lending a compass to give us.” McQueen stressed on the word “lending” and continued, “this compass’s worth is not higher than that of a steam lamp. If we have to trade one for 20 kilograms of rice, then I want 500 of these, if not, then we’ll forget it.”
Even if McQueen said no, it’s just a way of his negotiation. If the gnomes didn’t accept it, then he’d surely raise the price. Although compasses weren’t that useful for ordinary people, for adventurers and soldiers, they were one of the treasures.
Lance accepted it without hesitation, “then we’ll trade 20 kilograms of rice with one steam lamp, and we’ll pay for the materials.”
He even dared to mention about the materials? McQueen couldn’t help but start despising Lance. Aside from the needles, what materials did it require? “1000 steam lamps and 500 compasses, with these things, I’ll have to give 60,000 kilograms of rice and a lot of materials. Oh my God…Lance, you’re good at doing business.” McQueen looked pitiful.
“Oh, for us it’s easy, we’ll need to pay for the materials fee too.” Lance laughed and took out the third object at once. Well, he didn’t need to take it out, since it’s tied on his wrist, it’s a round iron block and a chain.
The gnome must have been to the earth, that’s why he’s showing off his watch .
“This is a timing tool that has been invented through countless generations of research. It is a round watch that records hours, minutes and seconds. This is yet another great invention of the gnomes, McQueen, let me tell you, the price is less than 500 kilograms of rice, but I’ll never sell it, since it only belongs to the gnomes. And it’s our greatest invention of all. Its role is to replace the hourglass that we used. It uses the units of hours, minutes and seconds. And we divide one day into 24 hours, the thickest and shortest pointer is turned twice…”
“Stop.” McQueen interrupted Lance. When Lance was talking about the compasses, McQueen was already trying not to argue. How could this peasant acting so proud? Was he really thinking that he had never seen a watch before? A watch is just a watch anyway. “Lance, the greatest craftsman, I don’t want to interrupt you actually, but I just need to tell you that I know how these things work, because there’s one in my bedroom, and it’s much larger than this one. We call it a clock, and it works the same way as the one you’re wearing now.”
“What? You already have it? How is this possible? This is an exclusive invention of the gnomes. It is absolutely exclusive.” Lance was shocked and could not accept this fact. “This is the greatest invention of the repairer Gelbin. How can this invention be so easily extended to you human beings?”
“In fact, it is true. However, I am still willing to buy a thousand of these at a price of 100 kilograms of rice.” McQueen laughed happily. He thought, it’s just a broken watch after all, how could Lance use it to show off? And even if it’s exclusive, wasn’t Lance using it for trade?
“Yes, it must have been one of us that sold me. He went ahead of me and sold this greatest invention to you human beings.” Lance gritted his teeth and he wasn’t listening to the quotation of McQueen.
“The greatest craftsman, please don’t get upset. Although it’s already lost its unique value, I’m still willing to buy 1000 of these with 100 kilograms of rice.”
“Okay, then I will listen to your advice, McQueen.” Lance was initially very excited to earn a huge sum of money, unexpectedly, after the response of McQueen, he had to drop the price.
Then, their folded backpacks were sold for a thousand at a price of ten kilograms of rice. Their umbrellas which could be closed automatically were sold for 500 at a price of 5 kilograms of rice. They also sold 500 of their steam fans at a price of 60 kilograms of rice…of course, these were just the beginning. At this stage, McQueen only wanted to test the market, and he didn’t really need these items. He was actually aiming at the entire Kingdom of Soladin, and he was planning to grab all their coins.
Of course, McQueen wanted to keep these items too. As the lord of Toss City and as a noble, he had the right to, didn’t he?
The first afternoon with the wrench tribe ended, and the next transaction would need to wait until tomorrow. Both parties needed to discuss internally and come up with a better plan for tomorrow. For today’s deal, it wouldn’t matter who gave way more, as the next day’s deal was more important.
After checking in a special guest house, McQueen summoned his men and they were squeezed into the room. In the afternoon, he and Lance would carry out some high-end transactions, while Bruce would lead the team in order to carry out the basic ones, such as using rice, fabric to trade for ore or local specialties. These were the items that one couldn’t use to cheat for more profit.
“Everyone, did the deals go well for this afternoon? I’m assuming you’ve got a lot of successful transactions.” McQueen was sitting on the main seat like a boss. These days, McQueen had already got used to his role of being a city lord. As a respected person, he was all in all the main focus of these people. And he was of course enjoying this attention.
Bruce clasped his fist and said excitedly, “my lord, we’ve got great profits! You know what, I’ve personally made a deal that’s worth 100,000 kilograms of rice! I’m so happy!”
“That’s the amount of several dozens of gold coins. Bruce, calm down.” McQueen said plainly.
“Yes, yes, but I’m just too excited. Haha, although it’s not a big amount for you, but it’s equal to my income of six months, and it’s enough to feed a family of three for several dozens of years.” Bruce laughed happily.
Sometimes, even if the person who said something didn’t have the intention to mean another thing, the one who listened to it might interpret it differently. McQueen seemed to be interpreting it differently.
“If the grains are cheap, the peasants are the ones that get affected. It’s still a loss when you use rice to trade. I didn’t expect the increase of the production of rice would increase because of the existence of magic. That has made the rice more unworthy. The annual income of ordinary peasants comes from the rice, but even several hundreds of thousands of kilograms is only worth several dozens of gold coin. Do you think their rice can be exchanged for a lot money? I’m afraid it’ll only be enough to survive.” McQueen suddenly talked a lot about life. When he started thinking about the torn houses in Toss City, he started to feel more determined about bringing a peaceful, more stable life to his people. He felt like a thousand pounds of weight was pressing his heart, making it hard to breathe.
This moment of enthusiasm had suddenly become a source of depression. He was the city lord of Toss City, and he had to rebuild the city and make it strong again. He had to enable his people to a better life.
“This desire will be fulfilled soon. I have already acted, step by step.”
McQueen listened to the report of his men, and he looked more steady. He was slowly having a sense of responsibility.
“It’s time to go back. I can’t let go of our city. This is what worries me the most. Or is it just my worry? Anyway, I’m McQueen and McQueen is me.”
This is my city, and I’m the lord of it…