Chapter 0373 Ballast
There could be no more appropriate word to describe Ryo for the past few days.
Of course, he had his meals.
And also got a decent amount of sleep.
Even while eating, all he thought about was the ship.
Even when sleeping, he dreamt about nothing but the ship.
On the fourth day into it.
Ryo finally had a breakthrough.
“Hehehe… Mr. Neil, now I get what you were trying to do. To think you were trying to load ballast water, that’s nothing short of amazing. That’s how you intend to fix the balance problem… It’s a wooden ship, but it’s certainly possible on ‘Phi’ where magic and alchemy are prominent. What’s even more frightening is Mr. Neil who came up with that idea…”
Ballast water is the water that is taken into the ship, depending on the amount of cargo, to stabilize the ship.
The method of stabilizing ships by loading stones and other materials has been a common practice on Earth since ancient times.
In recent years, that had been replaced by water, which is easier to adjust than stones, but what Neil Andersen was trying to do was to use alchemy to control where the loaded water was placed, and even the shape itself.
Certainly, the loading of ballast water was understandable if it were a submarine, for example, but… his way of thinking is astonishing to arrive at this idea from that knowledge.
Ryo had finally solved the mystery, and everything else thereafter didn’t take much time.
He instructed the engineers to complete the blueprints and, through the first-class inn, arranged for the necessary materials, including the magic stones.
And when everything was in place… he finally made a proposal to Chairman Girolamo.
“Please sell me that ship.”
Chairman Girolamo took a breath before answering.
“Okay. But I have a condition.”
“Please hand over the modified blueprints, the alchemy formula, and so on. The ship was originally supposed to be our trading company’s latest invention. But with the departure of Sir Andersen, the construction stopped… so we don’t mind selling the ship. But later, when we restart the project, we would like to take advantage of the new path that the Duke pioneered. How about it?”
Girolamo’s eyes were determined.
And as far as Ryo was concerned, it wasn’t a big deal.
“So, how much do you have in mind for the ship?”
“The cost of materials, labor, etc., up to this point is quite enormous. But if we deduct the cost of the blueprints, etc., from that, how about 100 billion Ducats, or 100 billion Florins in the Central Countries’ currency?”
“We have a deal.”
It was a quick decision.
Since a clipper ship of that size was a bargain even at 100 billion Florins.
“I heard that the ship will be used for maritime research with other Western Countries, especially the Theocracy. So, I assume you’d prefer if the crew were not from the Republic?”
Ryo nodded to Girolamo’s words.
A clipper ship of that size requires a decent crew to operate it.
Both in numbers and in skill.
“It would be better to recruit sailors from the neighboring Goslon Duchy, who learned their craft in the Republic. The Goslon Duchy has produced many popes in the past, so it has a very good relationship with the Western Church. It is also a unique country that has never been at war with us, their neighbor. So, their citizens are well received both in the Republic and the Theocracy and yet possess solid seafaring skills. If you wish, our company can make the arrangements for you.”
“Oh! Sure, that would be great.”
It was a godsend.
“Once she is ready, we will sail her to Goslon Harbor and rig her up there. That will also allow the sailors of the Duchy to get accustomed to the ship. Your Excellency might also want to stop by Goslon Duchy before returning to the Holy Capital. Since the perks of possessing the Holy Seal issued by the Church in that country is quite fantastic.”
“I see. I like the sound of that. Thank you.”
Thus, all the problems were cleared up.
Finally, the launching ceremony.
The name of the ship, Ryo came up with, was ‘Skidbladnir’.
It was taken from the name of a magical sailing ship that appears in the mythology of Earth.
Ryo’s expression as he watched the launching ceremony was full of satisfaction.
Indeed, it was not Ryo’s personal ship, but that of the Kingdom of Knightley.
The Kingdom government paid for it.
However, since he was involved in the design changes and alchemy, his satisfaction was almost like he owned it.
It was only natural for him to grin.
((Didn’t think you had it in you, Ryo.))
((I’m in a good mood today Abel, so I’ll let that condescending attitude pass.))
((Hey, you should listen to yourself just now… that was super condescending of you, Ryo…))
That night, Ryo slept over at Doge Pietro, of course.
The next day.
Appetizing dinner, comfortable sleep, delicious breakfast.
As he had experienced many times, it was simply perfect.
After breakfast, Ryo did some light stretching and then headed for the reception.
He would be checking out of the inn and then leaving the Republic, stopping at Goslon Duchy on the way, and then returning to the Holy Capital.
Checking out was no stress whatsoever.
It was flawless.
“Yet again, I had a wonderful stay. If I ever find myself in the Republic, I will be in your care again.”
“We look forward to seeing you again sir.”
It took three days to reach Goslon, the capital of Goslon Duchy.
At the border security checkpoint, he intentionally presented both the Holy Seal and the plate of the Duke of Rondo.
Thinking that doing so would surely get the Goslon government’s attention.
And sure enough….
As he passed through the gates of the capital, Goslon, a certain personage welcomed him.
It was Genesio, the crown prince of Goslon Duchy.
The heir apparent of Goslon Duchy, the next lord of the country.
He still looked young… maybe fifteen or six years old.
“Your Highness, the Crown Prince, thank you for coming all this way to receive me.”
“Of course…. The Kingdom of Knightley is a major power in the Central Countries. With their premier duke visiting, it’s only natural that he should be received by someone of high status. Normally, my father, Duke Goslon, should have been the one fulfilling this role, but he is not around. So, I am stepping in, in his absence.”
Prince Genesio replied politely to Ryo’s words of gratitude.
Even so, it’s not very common to hear that the Prince was waiting at the gates of the capital instead of the castle….
“I understand that Your Excellency also has a Holy Seal.”
The mystery was soon solved.
As Chairman Girolamo had said, the effect of the holy seal there in Goslon Duchy seemed to be quite significant.
They went straight to the government office to discuss the handling of Skidbladnir and its crew.
The basic arrangements, however, had already been discussed by the Franzoni Shipping Company of the Republic, so all that was required was confirmation and signature from Ryo.
The ship, Skidbladnir, was registered in the Kingdom of Knightley.
Owned by the Kingdom of Knightley and King Abel I. The agent was the Duke of Rondo.
Moored at the port of Goslon.
Maintenance and crew members were citizens of Goslon Duchy.
Since it was a ship owned by the Kingdom, a memorandum of understanding was also exchanged between the two countries regarding its maintenance and safekeeping.
The Goslon Duchy itself was responsible for the maintenance and storage of the ship.
And the Kingdom paid for the services….
Ryo deposited 10 billion Florins from the letter of credit to Goslon Duchy.
That was the cost of maintenance and storage of Skidbladnir for the next twenty years.
Maintenance costs of 500 million Florins per year… converted to Japanese yen, is a billion yen per year… which is quite cheap.
On modern Earth, it is said that the annual maintenance cost of a super luxury ship is about 10% of the value of the ship.
In other words, a 200 billion yen ship would cost 20 billion yen a year.
But here, it’s only a billion yen!
Wow, that’s one-twentieth!
Ryo signed off with such thoughts in mind.
Also, as the designer, he informed them of some of the features of Skidbladnir as well as things to watch out for when handling it.
Well, even though he was the designer, he didn’t tinker so much with the structure of the ship itself, but basically just tweaked the parts where alchemy was involved….
Anyway, the whole procedure was completed in one day.
All the documents were made in four copies, one to the Goslon government, one to Ryo, one to the Franzoni Shipping Company of the Republic, and the last one to the Kingdom Delegation in the Holy Capital, separately from Ryo.
The last part was a measure in case something happened to Ryo, which Ryo himself pushed for.
Because he would sometimes feel prying eyes on him.
((If they don’t make a move, then it’s all good. But if they do, then I just have to retaliate.))
((Well, at any rate, you did a good job securing the ship. I honestly commend you for that.))
Abel praised Ryo candidly.
((Nah. I did what I had to do as the premier duke.))
Ryo was also satisfied with the result of this matter, so he answered gleefully.
((Apparently, clipper ships are not at all common, so the crew needs some drilling to get used to them. Sounds like a lot of work.))
((Yeah… I’ve never heard of a clipper before either…. Are they common in Ryo’s hometown or something?))
((Nah… they’re not exactly common in my hometown either. I just knew of them because of their beautiful appearance.))
In fact, it was no exaggeration to say that clipper ships on Earth came out in the last days of the Age of Sailing era.
The era of steamboats was just around the corner.
However, it was precisely in that era that the masterpieces of sailing ships were invented.
The very masterpieces of ships.
The famous Cutty Sark, for example, can be said to be one of the finest masterpieces of the final years of sailing ships.
At the moment, the crew were still lacking in proficiency, but one day, when Skidbladnir reached the Central Countries… he would definitely love to sail on it… Ryo vowed firmly to himself.
Skidbladnir left a strong impression on Ryo in a different way from the Rain Shooter he saw in Whitnash.