Due to the Newcastle riots last year, the King ordered the construction of a military base castle there as a core hub for controlling Newcastle. The project had been underway for nearly eleven months, but the construction speed was not fast because there were still sporadic violent activities in the area.
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At the moment, the transport vessel that should have arrived a few days ago did not show up, the construction had stalled, and the common people and craftsmen staying in Newcastle were in a state of anxiety. They didn’t know what was going on, and they didn’t know if the project could proceed smoothly or if they could return home as scheduled.
As the architect of the entire castle, James anxiously walked through a pile of messy wooden frames and into the camp of the resident military commander.
“What the hell happened!”
James angrily slapped a pile of reports on the commander’s desk.
“The stone material can be dug on the spot, but there is no more wood material left! Not even one piece of wood left! What do you want me to use to build? This is your sincerity? Throwing me into this damned place, and then giving me nothing, asking me to conjure up a castle out of thin air for your great Majesty? Why don’t he just cut off my head altogether?”
James’ anger was understandable. He would have become the architect of St. Jo’s Cathedral, but after reading his resume, the King’s order of appointment was passed and instead he had to come to Newcastle where recent turmoil had just ceased.
The good thing was that James was a very responsible architect. Despite his grievances against the King, he did his best to build the entire castle. He seemed to treat every building he designed as his own child.
During these days, the commander was often yelled at while having his nose being pointed at. Criticisms such as the quality of the wood not being good enough, and that the hardness of the stone was not high enough…..Of course, the most frequent complaint was the speed of the raw material transportation. In his words, the transport ships of the Five Port Alliance became “a pile of rubbish that was slower than a snail.”
Today, the commander was extraordinarily calm.
He poured a glass of red wine for James: “The ships of the Five Port Alliance will not come.”
James’ endless curses came to an abrupt halt. He looked at the commander in astonishment for three seconds, and then jumped up like an old cat with its tail stepped on.
“What! Are you going to abandon this half-built castle? Holy Lord! Those of you who desecrate buildings, you all will…..”
“Stop! Stop! No matter what you say, I won’t go to hell right away.”
The commander stood up and pulled on his cloak.
“The ships of the Five Port Alliance will not come anymore, but the castle will continue to be built. Come with me.”
Newcastle was located in the northwest region of Legrand, and the wind felt like knives as it blew past. James and the commander walked through the snow to the southwest gate of the castle. In order to prevent vandalism by scattered mobs in the area, the gate of the castle had been closed. The commander said a few words to the guard on the tower.
The suspension bridge was lowered down.
The city gates opened.
The commander said.
James took two steps forward.
The gates of the city were open, and a cold wind rushed in. A long line appeared on the snowy field outside, with scarlet flags flying above the procession. The royal family’s iron roses bloomed on the flags that flapped in the cold wind. The procession made its way over slowly from far to near, and a small armoured cavalry accompanied the procession.
James saw it clearly.
It turned out to be a long transportation team!
Their carts were loaded with neat piles of wood and other materials, the long convoy arriving in a meandering manner. The armored cavalryman in front of the team found that the city gates had been opened. He urged his horse forward and saw the commander and James standing behind the city gates.
The cavalryman dismounted: “The first batch of supplies has been escorted, and the remaining supplies will be delivered as soon as possible.”
James looked at the wooden materials and then at the commander.
The commander rubbed his hands and laughed. He patted James on the shoulder: “My dear Mr. Architect! You should take your eyes away from those piles of stone and wood once in awhile. In the future, our supplies will be directly delivered from Ingres! The amount of wood will be as much as you want, and it will definitely not be rotten wood that has been soaked in sea water!”
It took James a long time to understand why.
The State of Ingres had the highest density forest in the entire Legrand, and the best quality iron tree forest in the entire Legrand. It was not far from Newcastle, but the relationship between the State of Ingres and the royal family was tense before, and during the construction of the castle they often had to guard against attacks from Ingres, so don’t even mention such a thing as direct transport of timber from Ingres.
But now everything has changed.
The State of Ingres bowed down to the royal family, and the highest quality iron trees would be continuously transported out of the peaks of Ingres. The King would now build the strongest castle.
The cavalryman on horseback also showed a smile.
He was the person sent by the State of Ingres to protect the supplies. He grew up in Ingres and was used to seeing the Ingres people being rich in lush forest but impoverished in everything else. They lived the hardest life on the most rugged land, but now Legrand’s trade had once again opened for them.
The timber was transported from the State of Ingres, and the golden pounds flowed into the pockets of the Ingres people. They were even allowed to trade with various places on the way of their escort. For the first time, commodities that could only be obtained through robbery could now be easily obtained——if one could come and go peacefully, who would want to shed blood and die?
This was just the beginning. The days when Ingres could not even afford a button on the King of Legrand’s clothes with their one year’s tariff revenue would be a thing of the past.
“From Ingres to Newcastle, the blood of the empire will continue to flow where the royal rose flag will fly!”
The cavalrymen bowed over and spoke as if making an oath.
The King received a report that the construction of the castle had continued.
With that, the architect James, who never wanted to appear in the report, actually attached a letter.
In the letter, the fellow who seemed to only see architecture dryly praised the King’s achievements and then made a request towards the King. The ironwood shipped by the State of Ingres had been grown for a long time and the texture was extremely hard. James had a new idea——he wanted to maximize the military function of the castle. He wanted to build a higher survey tower than originally planned and build more military towers that could correlate with each other.
“…..They will be observation towers standing high on the ground of Legrand. If they can be equipped with the crossbow banned by the Pope, they can even be called terrible killing machines…..All the abnormal movements on the northern grasslands will have nowhere to hide…..”
When talking about his ideas, James’ tone clearly became more frenzied and obsessed.
When the King saw this, he couldn’t help but feel that the tone was somewhat familiar: “Did our Lunatic Academy of Sciences miss a member?”
Look at this fellow, how was he a church architect? He was clearly a war machine fanatic.
At the end of the letter, James revealed his true intentions:
——He reached out to the King for money.
The King picked up his pen and struck out the astronomical figure set by James and ruthlessly wrote another number.
Want more money?
Fine, speak to me again after the Five Port Alliance has sunk.
The royal family was really poor now.
Although it was cheaper to buy timber from Ingres than from the Five Port Alliance, the quantity was too huge. In addition, after the injection of new blood among the county lords, the militia recruitment and selection had begun. Some time ago, the parliament had agreed to the royal family’s request to expand the militia, and Baron Sheehan also became busy.
The King did not intend to select his private soldiers from among the aristocratic knights, as that would mean his military reform would be in vain.
New soldiers would be selected from various places and avoid too much connection with the old aristocrats.
According to the King’s request, this newly established private army might not be strong enough at the beginning, but it must have high potential——so long as it had potential, it could be cultivated through later training. Although the knights of noble origin were better than the common people in physical fitness, their loyalty on the other hand…..the King had no choice but to raise a question mark on this matter.
Every day the army was maintained, it would consume a day’s food supply and a day’s military pay…..
In short, one sentence: He was unable to make ends meet.
The King was more and more eager to have the Five Port Alliance sink into the ocean with their pile of rotten monopoly systems.
He put aside the pen and took out the Legrand Port Free Trade Act, which had been drafted, and checked it again.
The name of the bill was drawn up by the King himself, and when he wrote the word “free”, he smiled slightly.
It was time.
The resistance movement of the chamber of commerce in the southeast region had reached the stage of a collective strike.
The originally busy port waa quiet at this time, and the boats were all moored quietly in the port. Large amounts of cargo on the ship were not unloaded, and the workers who made a living helping to load and unload the cargo gathered at the dock every day and watched the merchant ships while sighing anxiously. The impact of the port’s shutdown and the merchants’ strike was huge.
At this time, petitions like snowflakes flew to the capital from various places.
People affected by the merchant resistance movement hoped that this movement would be subdued as soon as possible——undoubtedly they wanted the King to make concessions.
However, no matter how the resistance movement of the chamber of commerce in the southeast intensified, the royal family persisted on not making concessions.
The local aristocrats in the southeast chose to be neutral and remain on the sidelines——the new “Port Restriction Regulations” had no small appeal to them. But they also did not intend to support the King, because the current situation seemed to be more favorable to the Five Port Alliance, and the royal family seemed even more unable to withstand the commercial stagnation in the southeast.
It was said that the ancient Ross family had prepared a feast to celebrate the victory in advance at the Port of Koszoya, the headquarters of the Five Port Alliance.
Just when the situation elevated to the point that even the small merchants’ guilds and small cities became uneasy, the royal family finally acted.
The King announced a new maritime commerce bill.
The Legrand Port Free Trade Act.
This was a regulatory and anti-monopoly bill in the name of “freedom.”
This bill broke the illusion of victory for the Five Port Alliance.
Almost as soon as the bill was announced, the gathering of the all-member meeting of the Five Port Alliance was issued from the port of Koszoya, flying to various coastal commercial cities.
The King did indeed make concessions.
But not for the Five Port Alliance, but for all merchants along the southeast coast.
Koszoya Port. The Five Port Alliance’s all-member meeting was held.
Unlike the Brotherhood of the Five Port Alliance, the Five Port Alliance’s full-member meeting included all members along with the core five ports. In the Five Port Alliance, there was a strict hierarchical division, and each city’s chamber of commerce was divided into formal alliance members and informal alliance members depending on their respective power and influence.
The protagonist of the meeting had always been the core five ports.
But it had changed today.
The entire hall was silent.
The face of the Ross patriarch was even more ugly than ever. The Dawson family refused to participate in all the Five Port Alliance meetings after they left the Brotherhood last time. The remaining three major business families all sat on the high seats with dark faces.
“Everyone, your attitude towards the new bill is surprising. Do you really think it is a liberty bill? It is a unified jurisdiction of the chamber of commerce directly organized by the royal family. You plan to give up the autonomy that we have gained at the expense of the sacrifices of many generations?”
Suppressed anger colored his voice.
There was still silence in the hall, and silence itself was a terrible expression.
“It is you who has autonomy, not us.”
Finally, someone spoke up.
He was a representative of the Haines City Chamber of Commerce. Haines was one of the official members of the Five Port Alliance, and Ross originally thought that the first to speak would at least be an informal member.
The representative of the Haines City Chamber of Commerce stood up.
“Haines joined the Five Port Alliance three years ago, because if we don’t join the alliance, our ships will not be able to pass through the major ports smoothly, and the lighthouse tax we need to bear will be twice that of others.”
“After you became a member of the alliance, the alliance did not share the privileges of the main port with you? Didn’t give you protection?” Ross asked back.
“If you say that the privilege of paying more than what is given is the same as protection and equal treatment, then I have nothing to say.” The representative of the Haines Chamber of Commerce replied coldly, “We join the alliance, and citizens can indeed use the Alliance’s baron title, can indeed have a seat in your Brotherhood, and can indeed speak on Alliance affairs .”
He spoke more and more hurriedly, apparently having resented for a long time.
“But it’s just that!”
He pointed out sharply.
“We must share the naval services of the main port , must bear the cost of the main port’s participation in parliament and various royal ceremonies, and must provide a large amount of Alliance fees to the main port every year! But we do not have the right to vote! What’s the use in participating in various affairs, we are just mutes and bystanders! Whoever wants such privileges and autonomy, then I welcome them to take away!”
“The Haines Chamber of Commerce officially withdraws from the Five Port Alliance!”
The representative of the Haines Chamber of Commerce tore off the badge of the Five Port Alliance from his chest and threw it on the ground. He glanced directly at Ross as he stepped on the badge in front of him with his boot.
The Ross patriarch was so angry that his next breath almost got stuck.
The Five Port Alliance had the five main ports as its core, and the white boat symbolizing the Ross family was carved on the middle of the badge.
“Please allow me to take my leave.”
Another representative of a city’s chamber of commerce took off the badge on his chest.
“I also don’t think that we in Krate have real autonomy——our municipal officials are sent from the main port. If that’s the case, is it not the same to accept the royal family’s municipal officials?”
Another person stood up.
Metal badges were either thrown on the ground or on the table, making a crisp sound each time.
Ross, the old man who had always been tough and forceful, sat expressionlessly in his seat. The patriarchs of the other three families watched with indecisive expressions.
Why did it evolve in this way?
Because of the new bill issued by the King.
The Legrand Port Free Trade Act
According to this regulation, all chambers of commerce large and small in the southeast coastal area would be treated “equally” without discrimination.
The tariff protection privileges that originally belonged to the Five Port Alliance would be cancelled. The wool and red wine trade concession granted to the Five Port Alliance in the 13th century would no longer exist. The Five Port Alliance’s responsibility as the supervisory governor of the southeast market would be cancelled. They would also no longer be able to tax merchants because they managed the lighthouses…..
As long as the merchants announce their withdrawal from the Five Port Alliance and join the “Free Chamber of Commerce” to be established under the supervision of the royal family, they would be able to enjoy these rights.
The King’s purpose was very obvious.
He was happy to act like a spendthrift and transfer the various powers to all merchants, in exchange for the collapse of the Great Alliance of Chambers of Commerce created by the Five Port Alliance.
“Damned bastard! Is he crazy?! How dare he let everyone enjoy that kind of power!”
Ross couldn’t help cursing at the empty meeting place.
Only the main port members of the Five Port Alliance still remained sitting.
“What are we going to do?” The graceful poisonous spider lady in the black dress admired her white gloves and asked softly, “You must know, the Dawson family seemed to have walked into the arms of the King? What about us? Should we do the same as him?”
Ross flatly refused.
His expression was indecisive.
“There is still someone who can help us.” He said slowly.
The King was reading the news from the southeast in the palace.
“Without a decadent backbone, how can one fall when the wind blows?”
The King sighed.
The Head of the Households walked in lightly: “Someone wants to see you.”
The Head of the Households looked a bit conflicted: “Your…..scientists.”
It was very difficult for him to not directly utter the word “madmen”.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
AN:  After the 13th century, there was a huge difference between the privileges enjoyed by the main port of the Five-Port League of England and the privileges enjoyed by ordinary members.
 The main port here refers to five core port cities
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