Maps and Explanations
Maps and Explanations
The Stage of Danger — The Central Continent —
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The Central Continent is the centre of civilisation in this world. It is warm enough for the cultivation of wheat throughout the land and is also a manufacturing base, truly the centre of human civilisation.
However, because of its rich, viable land, wars have been fought continuously to gain control of it. At the very least, the region has been locked in conflict for hundreds of years.
As a result, much of the arable land has become wasteland and the blessings of the earth are not appropriately utilised.
However, everything changed twenty years ago in response to the Demon Invasion. The consensus was that the Human Kingdoms should no longer fight among each other, but instead respond to the bigger Demon threat. The Central Continent thus united and wars between countries were effectively abolished.
As a result of this, the agricultural sector stabilised and the economy became far stronger than it used to be. Of course, a lot of financial aid was also provided to the Kingdoms in the South.
The now-united Central Continent boasted an economic power, political power, and military power that far exceeded any of the Kingdoms throughout the Human World. No Kingdom could exist so long as it opposed the might of the Central Continent.
The Kingdoms of the South which had to face the brunt of the Demon Invasion found themselves especially bound to the Central Continent through financial and food aid.
At the heart of the Central Continent is the Holy Empire, where the Primarch of the Church of the Holy Spirit resides. Since all Kingdoms receive their mandate to rule from the Holy Spirit himself through the Church of Light, the Holy Church and the Holy Empire have unparalleled power.
In the Central Continent, some might even say the Holy Church and the Holy Empire are one.
The Stage of Danger — The Demon World —
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The Demon World is devoid of seas. As a result, salt is a true luxury. However, there are still streams and lakes flowing through the Demon World. Some of these lakes have very high salt contents, similar to the Dead Sea in the real world. These are, although, insufficient to feed the demand for salt for the entire Demon World.
The Demon World is not structured into countries, but rather organised into Tribes without clear delineations and borders between them.
As a result, arable and liveable land is quickly claimed and settled by some Tribes, while land in which it is very difficult to support life is owned and lived by nobody.
The Demon World offers many disadvantages from the Human World, but many advantages as well. The Demon World is far warmer, due to its position on the latitude, and hence the weather does not change very much. This is very suitable for growing crops. Therefore the Demon World has such an abundance of food crops that famine is almost unheard of.
Trenches and Oblique Formations
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The Disciple Soldier used two military innovations during this battle.
The first is the trench. First of all, being exposed during a ranged battle (here the weapon is the crossbow) is extremely dangerous. Furthermore, a shield that can stop an arrow has to be very thick, and hence very heavy.
However, by digging a hole in the ground, it is something which can be done by anybody and it is also cost-free. The earth is also a far stronger barrier than any shield. By exposing only the head, hidden behind a helmet, the danger of being struck by an enemy arrow is greatly reduced.
The second innovation is the oblique formation. This is a formation designed to bait and lure the enemy in. Basically, while the army may wish to advance in a straight line, if the enemy is attacking diagonally, the army may be forced to move diagonally in response. This can funnel the army towards a straight line while the enemy rolls up around and behind him, trapping and flanking the force.
Usually, a U-shaped formation is used to completely trap the enemy in the middle. However, due to terrain advantages and considerations, a half U or oblique formation, is sufficient to surround the enemy.
——- The Young Merchant’s Lecture
Fire Dragon Lady: “What’s this piece of paper… Hmm? — Wheat Future Certificate.”
Young Merchant: “It’s a type of contract.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “What’s a Wheat Future Certificate? I’ve never heard of it.”
Young Merchant: “That’s because I’ve only just invented it. It’s a contract that says: ‘I would like to buy 100 sacks of wheat for 300 gold pieces next year. Here’s the money, so just deliver the wheat when the time comes.’ I pay money to the various landlords and wait for them to fulfil the contract. In other words, I pay first and get the goods later.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “If you want wheat, why don’t you just buy it directly?”
Young Merchant: “Of course, most merchants do that. They’ll buy the wheat once it is harvested every year. Depending on the supply of wheat, the price will naturally change. But… Something very interesting happens when you use this certificate.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “What’s that?”
Young Merchant: “I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “…Hmm.”
Young Merchant: “The hint is that, the higher the price of wheat, the better.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “…Hmm, I see. So if the price of wheat goes up, then this contract is to your advantage. Using this contract you only pay the price of wheat at the time the contract was signed.”
Young Merchant: “Correct.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “But in reverse?”
Young Merchant: “Hmm.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “Don’t hmm me. If you invest lots of money into this and the price of wheat drops then what will you do? You’ve practically given your money to the landlords for free, haven’t you?”
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Young Merchant: “That’s right. But there’s a way for this to benefit everybody. Otherwise, this would be a very pointless contract. There are many landlords who urgently need cash, especially those that need to fight in wars. Using this contract, they can quickly raise up the capital to field their armies.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “So how much wheat have you bought with this… Don’t tell me…”
Young Merchant: “About 4,000,000 gold pieces worth.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “?!”
Young Merchant: “Hahaha. I used up all the reserves of the Merchant’s Union. That’s the measure of my fighting power. With this much spending power, no one is out of my reach. Hahahahaha!”
Fire Dragon Lady: “Four million—?!”
Young Merchant: “If the price of wheat climbs from 3 gold pieces to 4 gold pieces a sack, I will have made a profit of 1,300,000 gold pieces. If it climbs to 5 gold pieces, I will make 2,600,000.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “But you could lose just as much. If the price falls to 2 gold pieces, then you’ll lose 1,300,000 gold pieces. The debt— “
Young Merchant: “If that happens then I probably wouldn’t be able to keep my head.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “Why are you willing to gamble so much… What do you see, no, what are you hallucinating about?! This is just a senseless waste of money. Is this what merchants do?!”
Young Merchant: “—Milady. Do you know just how much is 4,000,000 gold pieces?”
Fire Dragon Lady: “Well—I heard that a farmer makes about one silver piece for a day’s work.”
Young Merchant: “That is correct. A merchant makes about 100 gold pieces a year.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “…”
Young Merchant: “That’s an idea of how much it is. 4,000,000 gold pieces poured into these Futures represents about 20% of all the wheat produced in a year in the Central Continent.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “20%?!”
Young Merchant: “Let’s assume that next year, the wheat harvest is extremely successful. The price of wheat will drop. Do you know why?”
Fire Dragon Lady: “Because when the harvest is good, there is more wheat…”
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Young Merchant: “That is correct. Let’s assume that next year, the production of wheat goes up by 10%, either way I’ve bought 20% of all the wheat. In other words, as long as the production of wheat doesn’t go up dramatically, the total amount of wheat in the market has effectively decreased. And hence, prices cannot rise.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “—”
Young Merchant: “Moreover, I knew there was going to be a war. With the focus of the labour market and the economy shifting away, there’s no way a satisfactory harvest can be achieved. On top of that, when people hear that I’ve been buying wheat like crazy, they’ll jump on the bandwagon and further increase the demand of wheat from the market. That’s what causes inflation.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “So you’re trying to artificially create a shortage of wheat? That’s a bloodstained path…”
Young Merchant: “That’s not actually something the Union can do, but in any case, it’s an unavoidable scenario. In preparation for the war, the Landlords would have been buying up great stocks of wheat. If I stay silent, then there really will be a shortage of wheat. The most I can do is to try to discipline this shortage.”
Fire Dragon Lady: “Discipline—”
Young Merchant: “That’s right, it’s a matter of lives here. This has a 90% success rate, but some unexpected things could occur. If the production of wheat doubles from last year, then my plan would have failed tremendously. If that happens, the Union would probably have to disband.”
Fire Dragon Lady: (If that happens, there would probably be a lot of people trying to assassinate the Young Merchant. He’s playing with his life here…)
Young Merchant: “I don’t know what you’re thinking about, but don’t worry. If soldiers have to risk their lives on the battlefield, it’s not that far-fetched for me to do the same here.