About Knot Reed, think of it as the Canals of Amsterdam, but instead of semi-circular, it is fully circular. Enjoy the chapter!
ED: clover, eristol
There are two large rivers on Ichthyes.
From Hafan’s lake as the source, pouring through the boundary between Lucanrant and Aurelia towards the west via Lindis to Knot Reed, the Varnalis River.
From the lake at the boundary between Hafan and Aurelia, Alleska River flows into the territorial waters of Ignitia while meandering towards the southwest via Lindis.
Both of them have little rise and fall differences and people can enter the inland areas with large vessels.
In addition, each branch are divided into more than twenty small rivers covering the majority of the continent, forming a circulation of important traffic routes in the Federal Kingdom.
After the skirmish in the north-west after Aurelia’s arrival by ship, the dam was built by the migrants from Aurelia at the mouth of the river of the largest branch of the Varnalis River.
This was the beginning of Knot Reed.
Everything flows into Varnalis River, which is the cornerstone of water transports.
Therefore, everything gathers at the port of Knot Reed which was built at the mouth of the river.
And the shipbuilding industry to transport them is also explosively growing by harmonizing with Aurelia.
Not only merchant ships and fishing vessels but military vessels are also built in the shipyard areas located in the city.
Battleships for Aurelia built with numerous athanor cannons.
Cruisers equipped with magical armor which can also be called huge spellcards exclusively for Hafan’s mages.
For the country of dragon knights Ignitia, an air carrier to operate 10-meter class dragons on the sea.
“What was built this time is a new type of aircraft carrier incorporating a state-of-the-art mechanism in the power section.
The dragon knights of the former aircraft carrier who are stationed at Knot Reed will switch to the new model during the launching ceremony.”
“Which one is the aircraft carrier?”
“The old aircraft carrier seems to be on the ocean in order to train for the demonstration that will be carried out in the launching ceremony.
Don’t worry, when the launching ceremony begins you will be able to see both the old and the new aircraft carriers.”
Saying so, father stroked my head.
There was a huge shipyard in the direction pointed by him.
I am interested in how big the ship which is being built is, but it seems that it would be a sight to see during the launching ceremony.
In the meantime, our merchant ship arrived at the harbor.
However, our voyage doesn’t end here.
We will switch to a small rowing boat along with a few servants.
It is a rowing boat that looks just like a gondola.
It seems that it is faster to go through the canal whenever you go to the canal street of Knot Reed.
We got on the small boat and looked around the city as we moved through the canal.
Many ships were coming and going near the mouth of the river and it was very lively.
A cargo ship with various kinds of luggage, a tourist ship bigger than our small boat.
The origin and occupation of the people riding them were also diverse.
Turning back a little, our small boat entered an area where large buildings such as cathedrals were lined up along the canal.
The religious building had white walls and gray roof.
It had calm colors, but the elaborate decorations made it look luxurious.
We came across a group of nuns who were just going to move by boat and we waved and greeted them.
When we were passing by a place corresponding to the intersection on the road, I saw the other side and I felt dizzy.
Like an infinite loop of a mirror, similar scenery was repeating.
“Otou-sama, it seems like the canal is continuing everywhere.”
“The large canal has 20 rings. Including the smaller canals, there are several times more than that in total.
Knot Reed is made up of one hundred islands separated by canals and two thousand bridges.”
“That’s very amazing.”
“Aah, it’s a land that has been developed for trading since ancient times.”
It is said that the canal stretches concentrically around a river flowing in the center.
It is also said that the transportation cost is overwhelmingly low, thanks to the terrain called the canal rings.
After passing through the gray roofs area, we entered the red-orange roofs area.
Various specialty shops had joint eaves, and in the distance, there were signboards with designs concentrated like beautiful accessories glittering under the sunlight.
The voices of sellers who were attracting customers could be heard.
It was a vibrant part of the area with an overwhelmingly large number of people.
“This is Knot Reed’s most famous place, 〈Town of All Kinds of Goods〉.
Just like the name ‘All Kinds of Goods’, the merchants here boast that there is nothing they don’t have in this town.”
“I’m sorry, but we cannot afford to stop by for a while.
After the launching ceremony, let’s look around even between my works.”
“Yes, I will look forward to that.”
I was really brimming with the intention to sneak away and visit this Town of All Kinds of Goods.
As I was feeling a pang of mild guilt, I replied to father with a smile.
The small boat crossed the canal under the big bridge.
Suddenly, a huge building appeared in front of my eyes when the field of vision cleared out at once.
It looks like a religious building and feels solemn but is decorated with secular architecture everywhere.
This is the place where we are going to stay, 〈Water Palace〉.
Our party of Aurelia got off the boat at a small square in front of the palace; we were guided by the servant of the palace who had been waiting.
The interior of Water Palace was precisely decorated based on white and gold.
It is a technique of advanced craftsmen who give a luxurious but pure impression, a fusion of Aurelia-style and Hafan-style.
There are hundreds of rooms in this vast palace, which is also called the Labyrinth Palace.
It seems that I will get lost if I am not careful.
Because it is a palace with many rooms, I was given a room for myself.
Well, since it will make it easier to sneak out, I am fine with it.
We quickly changed from our traveling outfit to formal attires in our given room and headed to the hall where other aristocrats had arrived earlier.
The owner of Water Palace is the Turm family.
Their ancestors were masons and mages from Hafan.
However, they seem to have been immersed in Knot Reed’s shipbuilding and water transportation and they immigrated some time ago.
They were the first ones to develop a merchant ship with expanded interior by space manipulation magic, sell it and gain funds.
What made them rise as a wealthy merchant family was the time when they made a killing by introducing maritime insurance for the traders.
Approximately twenty years ago, the predecessor of the Turm family bought the Viscount rank and became a nobleman.
Because the Visitor’s Clan don’t care about the status system, some nobles don’t have territories in the western region to buy a rank like them.
In the case of the Turm family, there is a view that they govern huge networks and multiple ships through multiple businesses instead of a territory.
After we gave our greetings to Viscount Turm, I was taught about the beginning of the Turm family.
The current head is a bald middle-aged man who seems to be talkative and is surprisingly said to be the eldest son among thirteen siblings.
Inferring from the palace and his attire, the predecessor of Turm who bought the court rank seems to be a capable person.
A luncheon was held in the hall of the Water Palace and it was a place for socializing.
To attend the launching ceremony, aristocrats who came from neighboring aristocracy such as Ignitia were gathering.
The luncheon itself was a casual event, the nobles were making groups and talking with each other there.
I greeted a few people with father while searching for the person I had in mind.
(Yup, there he is.)
Long red hair, dark green eyes, with a sturdily large build.
In addition to the typical north-western characteristics, he had a mild baby face and somewhat nervous atmosphere.
When the man saw my father, he waved his hand and came close to him.
It was similar to the case when an introverted type of person found a few acquaintances among the people he was meeting for the first time.
(He closely resembles Harold. His personality seems to be quite different, though.)
He is the current Earl of Nibelheim, Harold II.
The third scenario’s capture target, Harold Nibelheim III’s father.
“I am honored to meet you here, Duke Aurelia!”
“I have heard many things about you, Earl Nibelheim.”
“No, no, no, I and the others are not a match for you.
Your ‘Refining by the Spirit of Lightning’ based on Hafan’s spirit theory!
That’s what I call innovation!
I always wanted to talk about this theory upon meeting you.”
As soon as he greeted father, Earl Nibelheim shook his hand.
As soon as father replied, he began to develop professional talks on metallurgical alchemy as quickly as possible.
Based on what I have learned in Aurelia, the finances of the Nibelheim territory should be stable.
Nibelheim territory of his ruling is a rich land with a long history.
Located in the coastal part of the tributary of the Varnalis River, there is an industrial zone and the mountains have mines in it.
Their specialty products are high-quality silver and beautiful silverware produced from the processed silver.
About ten years ago, it seems that the silver ores withered at once.
However, Harold II developed a new refining technology.
It seems that Nibelheim’s industry, which was on the verge of financial collapse, had a miraculous V-shaped recovery.
Earl Nibelheim’s rambling has just changed into a talk about his new refining technology.
It is a method of separating any impurities contained within low-quality silver ore by smelting.
Application of father’s technology will improve the refining efficiency not only in the silver industry but also across the continent by a few percents.
Even though there were many technical terms, I managed to understand them somehow.
After the end of the ramble by Earl Nibelheim, finally his eyes met mine.
“Ah……I apologize, your daughter is with you too. I have been rude.”
“Yes. Erica, give your greetings.”
“I am honored to meet you, Earl Nibelheim. Please don’t be concerned about that.”
When Earl Nibelheim got a hold of himself, I pinched my skirt and greeted him.
He has the ability to concentrate and is full of enthusiasm.
He is an excellent alchemist with a researcher’s mind, and his ability to solve problems is high from his background.
However, he has problems in attention.
Instead of the impression of being someone who easily gets immersed in things he has interest in, he gave me the impression that he has a narrow field of vision.
Even if that is an excellent quality for an alchemist, that might be fatal for a nobleman.
Because of that weakness, from the point of view of a cunning scammer, his territory will seem like a fat defenseless duck.
After all his efforts to make his hometown flourish, in the end he would be deceived and he will fall into ruin, what a cruel story.
Earl Nibelheim moved to other influential people after a light chat.
“He is very enthusiastic about research, huh.
He was doing research on Otou-sama and Onii-sama’s theory.”
“Aah, he is a very good alchemist.”
While talking to father, he brought out the information about Nibelheim.
Their economic situation and relations with the neighboring nobility and others are good.
It seems that the fraud case hasn’t occurred yet from my roundabout investigation.
This is the most valuable information.
I quietly took a breath.
If I strike right now, I might be able to break the destruction flag of the Nibelheim family.
After the luncheon party, father and I returned to our guest rooms.
After taking a small break, if it goes as originally scheduled, there would be inspection and talks.
Until the launching ceremony begins, newly arrived nobles will be added to the roster, and a similar schedule will continue every day.
Originally, I only need to smile beside my father.
I quickly took off the dress and changed to a dark blue attire with a cape like what a town girl would wear in autumn.
When Palug in her kitten form crawled under the dress, in the next moment, she stood up looking exactly like me.
“Well then, I will leave it to you. Palug.”
“Ufufu, I’ll act like a noble lady more than you, Erica.”
“Please do it in moderation. Don’t do funny things without my knowledge, okay?”
“Joking, joking. I will behave like a meek doll.”
Palug laughed pleasantly.
Since she was inherently mischievous, there was some anxiety, but well, I trust her.
After I waved to Palug, I leaned my body forward from the window.
Tirnanog who was already waiting on the other side of the window immediately caught me.
Tirnanog leaped and we landed in the garden of the Water Palace.
Now then, it is the beginning of the investigation.