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The fire in the fireplace was burning brightly, chasing away the chill coming in from the door and window gaps. Atop of the fireplace hung a huge horned deer head, and under the shadows, the horns looked like huge claws.

Opposite was a dark red long wooden table, filled with parchment rolls and books, mostly executive orders waiting to be signed. Roland usually came here to deal with official matters—after converting the third level of the castle into an office, he gradually started to like it here.

Through the French window behind him, he could see the town extending into endless mountains. The mountain passed through the continents of the Impassable Mountain Range, dividing Kingdom of Graycastle and Wild Places into east and west. And North Slope Mountain was just a branch of the Impassable Mountain Range.

At the foot, you could see the garden surrounded by the wooden fence. The wooden shed built for Anna's training had been removed, and the brick pool was made into a long table for afternoon tea. When the weather was good, he would also go downstairs for a suntan, or lie on a specially tailored rocking chair to take a nap.

Although the castle was not big, at least it was still considered a villa with an independent garden. In his previous life, it would have been almost impossible to own a real stone castle. He would have had to pay for tickets just to have a visit. But now, he not only owned the castle, but also the town.

"Your Highness, recently you've had a lot of expenses from recruiting the craftsmen and the manual laborers. If we continue such expense, we won't be able to last until next spring." Barov held a pile of parchment while reporting the recent financial situation to Roland.

The original income and expenditure of Border Town was very simple. One line was ore in the precious stones trade. This line was monopolized by Longsong Stronghold, turning North Slope Mine's output into wheat or bread, with no tax in the middle, and Stronghold sent people to host the exchange of resources. As the saying goes, those nobles stationed in Border Town can be seen as regulators of the shareholders, and their fiefs are mostly in the east of Stronghold, where they are only temporary and different people are dispatched each year.

In fact, the history of Border Town was less than three decades long. Compared to nearly 200 years of Longsong Stronghold, it was a mere newborn baby. Originally Duke of Ryan was just going to build an outpost here as an early warning for the invasion of demonic beasts, but he did not expect to discover a wealth of mineral resources at North Slope Mountain after land reclamation. So he decided to set up the town here, and named it Border Town. In a sense, it was North Slope Mine that created the town.

In order to prevent theft and cover-ups, the duke did not employ the noblemen, but instead employed local residents, refugees and even criminals to serve as miners. The output of ore was evenly distributed according to the resources allocated by the investors. Longsong Stronghold only needed to provide the employers with a full year of grain and a small commission, which was a fixed amount regardless of the output of the mine. Border Town had more than two thousand residents and half of them worked for the mining area.


The rest, was the other industries in the town, such as blacksmith shops, pubs, textiles and so on. The meager tax of Border town came mainly from here, and not much was left at year's end. The previous lord did not take this barren land seriously. After Roland was sent by Kingdom of Graycastle, he simply stayed in Longsong Stronghold and did not come back.

Therefore, Roland could only pay people to repair the wall with his own money. If it was the previous Prince Roland, this would have been out of the question. But for Roland, as long as he could stabilize Border Town, he would not mind investing his whole property. Anyway, in the future, ore trade would no longer be bartered with food. If it used currency, then his investment would be just a small price to pay.

The only problem was Longsong Stronghold was not willing to give up the monopoly, and continued normal trade with Border Town—this was quite like snatching food from the tiger's jaws, but Barov's data showed inefficient manpower and transport hurdles. The annual value output of the ore was no more than a thousand pieces of gold royals. Compared to the entire revenue of Longsong Stronghold, it was but a drop in the ocean. The only loss was that of the nobles.

For the long-term development of Border Town, this line had to be recovered. Roland knew very well, that even if their investment was fully recovered ten years ago, the nobles would not easily let go. Even if this was a small piece of meat, yet this was a passive income without doing anything. He was willing to give the previous investors a certain amount of concessions and compensation, such as half-price purchase and the like. But dragging a ship of ore back in exchange for just half a boat of food was not allowed to happen again.

As Roland stared at the list, Barov was also watching him intently.

Over these three months, well to be exact in the last month, Prince Roland underwent some unspeakable changes. Outsiders might not notice, but he was with the prince every day, and the change could not escape his eyes.

At the Kingdom of Graycastle, he had already heard of Prince Roland Wimbledon's notoriety. He did what he liked, wantonly and without caring about noble manners. In short, he did not make grave mistakes, but he made numerous errors and was far worse than his two brothers.

When Barov was sent by His Majesty to come here, he was very disappointed. If not for the fact His Majesty promised to appoint him as the official Treasurer after the struggles of the throne ended, he would have given up ages ago.

In the first two months at Border Town, Prince Roland showed his usual extreme childish behavior, and offended almost all the local nobles. Fortunately, the town was very small, even if all the administrative staff vacated, he could easily fill their posts with the dozen civilian staff he brought.

And then, things started to change.

When did the change begin? He thought, probably... after he saved the witch.

Barov had considered that Roland was possessed by the demon, or maybe he was controlled by another witch. But this was a slim possibility. If demons and witches had such ability, would they look for Prince Roland? Wouldn't it make more sense to control His Majesty or the pope? What further dispelled his suspicions was the fact that he saw the prince hold God's Locket of Retribution.

This was the church's weapon to deal with witches. Any demon would collapse in front of the God's Locket of Retribution. Yet Roland held it directly. In other words, if he was not Prince Roland but a devil that did not even fear the divine power, then would it be necessary to expose him? Saving one's life was the most important thing.

The prince continued with his notorious behavior, but he left a different impression on Barov. No, Barov thought, the two had clearly opposing behaviors.

The biggest difference was in motive. He could feel Roland was planning something. In order to achieve his purpose, he had to use some inexplicable means. Just like how Roland tried to persuade himself to save a witch, the plan may not be mature and have loopholes, but the prince was indeed moving forward with his plan, and was confident about the results.

This was the most puzzling thing. The throne could be taken by any one of Roland's siblings, but definitely not the prince himself. He would have been clear about this fact. Talking about development in this small place, Border Town? Even the gods could not do it! What crazy plan was Roland making, trying to develop a border town to be more successful than Valencia? Even convincing himself that it would work?

If it was just a crazy fantasy, that would be fine, but Roland's construction of the walls proved otherwise. He really intended to be stationed here, relying on a type of alchemy product--"cement", to build a wall that was impossible to complete.

Barov's family had an alchemist, but he had never heard of alchemists creating such a thing. To build a wall based on what had never been seen, was this self-confidence or imagination? What else was Prince Roland concealing? He found himself starting to have a faint interest in the future.


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