Ch 19- Chancellor
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I really need to find some alternative to tea. Coffee and wine was a nice change, but every gram drank meant one gram less for the future. There were no plants in this world that stimulated one like the black beans, if you didn’t count the alchemical concoction that they feed to soldiers, that is. As for the wine, while I was sure that I could mix up something acceptable with experimentation, it surely won’t compare up to the quality stuff I had.

“Are you going to do it? It might be a little rushed.”

I said as I brought the today’s herbal tea to my mouth. It was bitter.

“I have to, Lloyd. I am sure that you can also see that. Thing are about to get complicated, and a council system won’t do. Introducing currency, training soldiers, kick starting the industry and more. Someone has to take charge.”

I think yesterday’s tea was better than this one. Other one was at least drunk cold, unlike this boiling hot one.

“You are talking out of your backsides again. I am pretty sure you just see an opportunity in bad times. Be careful, though, lest you turn into a tyrant.”

Silva gave me a small smile. It wasn’t one of the fake ones either.

“As expected, ‘Master’ knows best.”

A grunt was more than enough of an answer to that. She knew that I didn’t like it when she called me that. At first, I hadn’t thought much when she started to say it. As far as I had seen, it was normal here for students to call their teachers that. Only after the incident with the alchemist did I learn the other reason behind my new nickname.

“What are you going to do about Milan? He might not be able to put up a fight when you put it onto motion, but he still has some weight with the guards.”

Old man’s downfall had been his inability. Sometimes, not playing at all is much better choice than playing and failing.

“There isn’t much to worry about, really. First, with the addition of guards from the  refugees, and the recruitment we are going to do tomorrow, his say with the soldiers will be diluted. Second, I have another job for him, so it should keep him busy from meddling with soldiers, while also satisfying his desire for power.”

I was curious about what she had in mind, but it was at this moment that Josse notified me of the presence of Brian. Josse had already opened the bay door for him, and he would be here in a few seconds. Nodding to Silva, I poured another cup while refilling the other 2 cups.

“Come sit, Brian. You have been busy lately. So, tell me, how are the projects going?”

He drained half of the cup in one big gulp as he sat down. He was still only Tier one, so walking couple kilometers to here was harder on him.

“Thank you, teacher. We are doing well with cement production. Workers are more than familiar with the furnace, ball mill, and the steam engine. I don’t think I have to go down there again. With more workers, we were able to mine more limestone, so we had to build a second furnace. One is lit at all times, while we wait for the other one to cool down. Right now, we are making about 150 tons of cement a week. I think this is our limit, as its taking longer to load and unload it to ships. But it should be fine, as we won’t need more than a week for us to have enough of it for the houses. Teacher, you will have to drag it back with your cart at that time.”

At least something was going better than expected. Until Silva, or rather ‘Mary’ interrupted.

“I don’t think that will be enough cement. We should keep producing until we can’t anymore. You know that we are going to start using currency, right? We need to open up cement to people, so they can build whatever they wish to. Also, I am sure that the guards won’t mind a short wall around the village, would they?”

Here it was. She was still only a council member, yet, she was taking control. Not that she was wrong in what she was saying. But, it was my turn to talk to my student.

“Right. One more thing before others arrive, Brian. I want you to try finding someone else to supervise the construction work. If you want to learn machining when the monsters come, that is.”

His love for metals was clear from his ears, which started to bob up and down when I said machining.

“One more thing. You also need to find couple of people to also become a machinist. Find and teach them mathematics and basic physics, along with the one you choose to take over as the architect.”

There were many things to talk to him about, but the council was had reached us. Alchemist, veteran, Galdwin, and the blacksmith entered and took their seats. Mary didn’t allow them any reprieve, as she started the meeting that very second.

“Before we start talking about the agenda, is there anything new to note or report?”

First to go was Henry.

“Finally, I don’t have to keep banging nails any more. The 2 new smiths are not too good, but nails, axes and picks, that they can do. Now that I don’t have to do the apprentice work, I can focus on the guards’ armors. But don’t expect anything for now. I have to upgrade my forge. The small one can’t deal with adamantium or zorikanium.”

Next was the alchemist, who had been glaring at me since taking a step inside.

“I need more time, Lloyd. For the chemicals, I think I have the process. For the sodium carbonate, all I need is sulphur, which I can get from coal. Charcoal won’t do, and you will need to get it for the process, as I have no way to get any.

And for the other one, well, I can’t say anything definitive without any Niter, but I think it won’t be much of a challenge. The biggest pain will be the production of Nitric acid on large scale.”

“Alright. I’ll deal with the coal and niter. Try to focus on the other task.”

For the books, I had asked 4 thing of her. Sharing all the data she might learn, of course was a given. This world had a force that mine didn’t, Mana. There could be reactions and differences that I would miss, but an alchemist experimenting would not. Second and third conditions were for her to find a way to mass produce certain chemicals, and to train people to man the production facilities. She had to make a lot of precursor chemicals to manufacture what I wanted, but my targets were 3 of them; Smokeless powder, primer and sodium carbonate. First two was no brainer, as they were needed for the firearms. And Sodium Carbonate was just as valuable chemical, if not more. With it, I could kick start glass, textile, soap and most importantly, paper industry.

Rise of machining, producing cheap steel, lowering the cost of textiles, cement, invention of steam power, maturing of chemistry and lastly, universal education were the necessary blocks of the industrial revolution. With my help, this village of ours had taken its first steps into the future, but it was just a first step for now. One steam engine, one chemist and one machinist won’t bring a new age so easily. What we needed was education. And for that, you needed books. That was why, in my mind, Sodium Carbonate was much more valuable than any other chemical for this world, at the moment.

As silence fell to the room, Mary began speaking.

“Today’s subjects are how to introduce currency, recruitment of soldiers, preparing for the winter, setting wages, and kick starting the economy. However, before that, I have one vital thing that I wish to bring to your attention. I don’t think this council system of our can work anymore.”

“Please clarify yourself, Lady Mary. What do you mean by that?” Of course, Milan couldn’t help himself. His heartbeat was rising, according to my implants, but one didn’t need to have them to see it. His ears were slowly turning red.

“I was about to, had you not uninterrupted me. Council was fine when there was so few of us, and the things to worry about were so few. But, with time, things to manage has changed. No longer are worries about where to build houses, but about managing an economy. I am sure that you all know by now that I am no daughter of a merchant, but a noble. I have gone through the training necessary to keep thing running, but have you?”

“So you want to say is that you are better suited to rule us, rather than get tied down by us? I don’t think that is a good idea, Lady Mary.”

Ah, here it is. He basically gave her the keys to his defeat. It might have gotten better for him had he spoken more to the feelings. At least, he did not bury all his chances by questioning her qualifications. If he had, no one in the village could make much of a noise if she were to force his second retirement.

“Mr. Milan, I think you are not looking at the reality. Mr. Henry and Mrs. Larysa rarely leave their workshops, so it can’t be expected of them to deal with the matters of economics. Brian and Galdwin are also on the same boat, with one of them being busy with construction, and other with soldiers. That only leaves you, Mr. Milan, to be able to come to council whenever you wish. And do you have any education or experience in running an economy?”

Milan had no answer. He was outclassed when it came to politics. Next, Mary called in a vote, to dissolve the short lived council.

There were still many more cards that she could play had Milan chosen to drag the discussion. Originally, it had been fine, as everyone respected had been a member, but it was not the case anymore. The new refugees had people just as strong, and one couldn’t forget Mary’s guards either. Council was going to get too unwieldy. Also, there was one more bigger card that I had allowed her to use. Me. Almost everything in the village was dependent on me. Cement, new currency, steam engine, guns, everything.

The results of the vote were nothing surprising. Henry and Milan abstained. One didn’t have interest in the first place, and other had no choice. Alchemist, Galdwin and Brian voted in favor. Thus, the first self-proclaimed chancellor of this world was titled, even through she wasn’t chosen by the public, nor did she have a council to rule anymore.