Black Iron's Glory - novelonlinefull.com
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Claude slept so deeply that he didn't wake up from the morning bell of the warG.o.d shrine. When his mother realized that he was waking up later than usual, she sent Angelina to shake him awake.
After simply giving his face a wash and rub, he took two pieces of white bread and his bag with him before rushing out of the door. He was almost late for cla.s.s. If he didn't arrive on time for the morning cla.s.s session, Instructor Weckham wouldn't mind letting him stand outside the cla.s.sroom for the entire period.
He entered the cla.s.sroom with ragged breath. He was rather lucky and he managed to enter right when the bell was ringing before Instructor Weckham entered, and that wasn't considered as late.
"Why did you arrive so late?" Eriksson asked, "The three of us waited for you outside your house and thought that you had already left earlier. We only found out that you weren't at school when we arrived."
Claude took out his arithmetic textbook and said, "Don't ask. I overslept and had to run all the way."
"Your eyes seem a little puffy and you have eyebags. You also look a little pale. Did you sleep late last night?" asked Borkal after he looked at Claude's face.
"Is that so?" Claude stroked his face and said, "You know how my father hosted dinner at home yesterday? After that, he had a long talk with the guests in his study until late at night before they left. And right as I was about to sleep, two cats in heat were crying out loud on the roof. You know that I live in the attic, right? How could I have fallen asleep? After I chased them away, I got too worked up and was unable to sleep well, causing me to wake up later than usual."
"Haha, your luck kinda sucks," Welikro said, "It's probably mating season right now. Those yowls are really pretty annoying. But there's a way to curb that. Just kill a stray cat on your roof. I'm sure that no other stray cats will dare to come to your roof in the future. Want me to lend you my rifle? Cat meat tastes rather good you know, it's even softer than chicken."
"Forget it," Claude said with a glare, "Do you think my father would let me shoot a gun at some cats on the roof? What if I break the roof instead of killing any stray cats? We'll have to fix it up later! You ought to go hunt for cats yourself if you want to eat them."
"Wero, is cat meat really softer than chicken?"asked Eriksson. Welikro had successfully shifted the subject.
"Of course. Let me tell you, back then..." The two of them got into a heated talk about how cat meat ought to be prepared. Had they not been in cla.s.s, Claude would be convinced that those two would head back for their rifles and go around town cat-hunting.
"Claude, I know about what they discussed," said Borkal in a hushed voice.
"Your father and the rest of course. My father was there too last night. He was talking about starting a maritime trade route from Whitestag to the Tyrrsim area on the Nubissia continent. If that is successful, Whitestag's status can be raised to that of a port city and we no longer have to be under Baromiss's jurisdiction. We will receive full autonomy in terms of budget distribution and be under the jurisdiction of the royal capital itself. We'd be on the same level as Port Neru..."
The longer Borkal went on, the softer he spoke. His mouth was so close that it almost touched Claude's ears.
"Why, that's big news." Claude knew why Borkal was being so secretive. If word of that were to get out, there would be a huge commotion. So that was what his father was planning all that time.
Port Neru was the only large port the kingdom had. It was also a military port where the only naval fleet of the kingdom is stationed. The fleet, otherwise known as Fearless, was in charge of maintaining security of the east coast of the kingdom. It was tasked to fend off enemy navies and pirates to protect the maritime trade routes.
Aueras was located in the east of the continent of Freia. Even though it had a coast that stretched 500 of kilometers long, there weren't many places fit for the construction of a port. Apart from Port Neru and a few shallow-water fishing ports, the rest of the coast was nothing but shallow waters, beaches, or cliffs that didn't allow for the docking of long-distance vessels.
Ever since Stellin X ascended to the throne, he altered the foreign policy employed by the former king to intimidate and suppress the other nations on the eastern part of the continent and instead tried to strike up better relations with them to open up trade routes and greatly encourage trade with the other nations.
In some way, Stellin X was more like a merchant wearing a crown. He loved money and prioritized profits. However, that didn't meant that he didn't fulfill his other duties as king. It was just that he had set his sights on the continent of Nubissia.
Nubissia was very huge and had at least double the area of Freia. Half of the nations of Freia, mostly the coastal nations, sent soldiers to Nubissia from time to time to occupy territory there and set up various colonies with the intention of expanding further into the continent.
In comparison to the other nations on Freia that were armed to the teeth and suffered losses numbering up to tens of thousands of people in a single war and even losing thousands in a small border skirmish, Aueras's expansion on Nubissia went smoothly without a hitch. It had used only seven years to expand the colony to an area two times that of the kingdom's and split that territory up into seven administered by the kingdom directly.
The most important point was that the kingdom didn't suffer huge casualties during their expansion on Nubissia. It was said that the number was around three to four thousand so far and the kingdom only sent around 100 thousand troops to that continent.
That was mainly because the ones the kingdom's army had to face were bow-wielding, axe-throwing aboriginals. That reminded Claude about the colonial era of the west when they sent firearm-wielding soldiers against the aboriginal settlements. It was completely overwhelming. The difference between the advancement of technology allowed the kingdom's army to obtain victory without much difficulty.
When the first long-distance vessel returned from Nubissia filled with gems, gold and silver found in Nubissia and many other rare materials to Port Neru, the whole kingdom was shocked. Every person from every social cla.s.s praised Stellin X's magnificent new policy and foresight. He was the sole person who had pushed for the kingdom's 100 thousand soldiers to set sail for Nubissia despite the risks, and it now seemed that it was paying off greatly.
Stellin X had restored peace with the neighboring nations and allowed trade to prosper. He had also pushed for colonial expansion on Nubissia and brought back many riches from their overseas territory to further strengthen the kingdom. The series of achievements already proved him to be a magnificent ruler.
But at the same time, the rampant expansion of the Auerasian colony on Nubissia alerted the other nations of Freia.
The kingdom of Nasri in the east of Freia had always been Aueras's enemy. Even though Stellin X managed to sign a peace treaty with them, it was because Nasri could no longer take the horrible losses sustained from nonstop war and they took the peace offer from Stellin X when it came.
Unlike Aueras, that had invested large amounts of manpower and resources into Nubissia, Nasri only conquered two territories of relatively small area. Due to the power struggle occuring within the kingdom, their colonization didn't progress much.
Seeing Aueras continuing to expand their overseas territory nonstop and bring back mountains of wealth and other resources and growing stronger by the day, Nasri had finally grown desperate. If that were allowed to go on for another decade, they would no longer be able to keep up with Aueras's development. The Nasrians shuddered at the consequences of that happening.
Even though Stellin X went on frequently about maintaining the peace of East Freia and signed a peace treaty, the kingdom of Nasri that had been enemies with Aueras for so long had their own thoughts on the matter. Though Stellin X kept on going about peace, there was no saying whether Stellin XI would not advocate for war when they were more developed. The peace treaty was merely a formality. They could easily find an excuse for conflict in the future since victors wouldn't have to bother to justify themselves to anyone.
Nasri had failed in their land-based wars the past few times and they wouldn't dare to easily start a new one anytime soon. They were even more unwilling to start a conflict on Nubissa. The thousands of soldiers they sent there couldn't possibly compete with the 100 thousand Auerasian soldiers. It was a staggering difference and it would already be great if they could sufficiently defend themselves.
However, Nasri had its hands on the largest weakness of Aueras: its lacking naval force. There was a large turn on route from Port Neru to Nubissia. Long-distance vessels had to first sail through the eastern coast of Freia through the maritime territory of the duchy of Ledins, duchy of Askilin and duchy of Rimodra to reach the uppermost corner of the continent before sailing north through Storm Seas and Tranquil Ocean before arriving at the western coast of Nubissia.
That was a distance of near 2400 nautical miles which took near a month to traverse. It was a voyage that was filled with risk, especially since the announcement of the haul Aueras obtained from Nubissia. Their ships have been a target of countless pirates ever since.
Nasri allied up with the other four duchies on East Freia and formed an allied navy in the name of curbing pirates and protecting trade routes. However, it was a blade held to the neck of Aueras as it could sever the connection between the two continents whenever it pleased.
And the allied naval force was superior in scale and might than Aueras's Fearless Fleet. It would serve as a reminder to Aueras that the allied naval force could seal off Port Peru with Fearless in it should war break out. It could even dock at any of the five coastal nations with troop-filled ships, allowing them to target the Auerasian heartland at any time.
The allied naval force had already become a pain in the neck for the Auerasian officials. Ever since the formation of that alliance, many of the transport ships traveling between Nubissia and Aueras disappeared at sea.
The occasional wrecks they found had signs that suggested pirate involvement. But the kingdom officials were well aware of what was at play. They just didn't have any proof. The endless seas were the ideal place to wipe out all proof. Crimes committed at sea could be perfectly hidden without leaving a single trace.
Currently, the kingdom had no choice but to organize large transport fleets to maintain contact with its colony and even had to send many long-distance warships to escort it. However, that alone put quite a bit of strain on the kingdom's only port. Port Neru wasn't just the kingdom's naval base, it was also he sole trading port of the kingdom that facilitated much of the kingdom's maritime trade.
Every time the long-distance warships returned or set out, Port Neru would have to cease operation for a few days. Under such circ.u.mstances, the kingdom officials decided that they had to increase their naval force to be able to resist or even eliminate the allied naval force. The situation of Port Neru couldn't be allowed to continue.