Joshua sat inside a carriage and pulled open the curtain, looking at both sides.
It was a carriage Joshua had “borrowed” from the Duke of Bones. The driver was Zenarth at first, but the moment they entered the Human Realm, Joshua specially hired a villager to serve as the driver while Zenarth stayed behind in the duke’s domain on stand-by.
It took about three days for the carriage to get out of the mountain forest, which had been blocked by heavy snow, and the pedestrians on the road finally increased.
“Is the human traffic in Norland that large?”
Joshua watched the crowds on the road, and many of the carriages were so luxurious that they did not look like something a commoner would have. Along the way, Joshua also saw a large number of merchant caravans.
Just from the scene on the road alone, Joshua could already imagine how prosperous Norland was.
“The human traffic? I think they are messengers from various countries. Joshua, aren’t you here in Norland for the purpose of participating in ‘The Great Exhibition’ in two months’ time?”
Melina and Ynor were sitting across from Joshua. As a true blue businesswoman, she immediately guessed the meaning of the strange words from Joshua’s mouth.
The businesswoman looked at the caravans outside and remembered her goods, which had all been reduced to nothing half a month ago, and she could not help but sigh.
“No… I’m going to Norland with Ciri to visit a friend. Perhaps I will participate in the exhibition later.”
Joshua remembered that name. There was a similar gathering back on Earth. The British Empire had held the first World Trade Fair in the form of The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851. At that time, the empire on which the sun never set invited various countries across the world to participate in the fair.
“While it may be a little abrupt, could you reveal what you plan to show there? Of course, if it is not convenient…”
Melina immediately smelled a business opportunity.
Ever since Norland enacted the Patent and Copyright Law thirty years ago, the mages in Norland realized that the improvement of their own powers alone could not change the world. Many ambitious mages started to study the manufacturing of arcanotech, and Alchemic Ateliers rose across the country.
That led to Norland’s world-leading magic research to once again take a huge step forward.
Of course, this small country that was comprised of masters and adepts could not be compared to the large countries around it, so Norland had always taken a neutral position.
The only reason why countries did not dare move against Norland was that it welcomed all intelligent life in the world and shared knowledge with them.
That led to situations where the emperor of an empire was possibly an alumnus of a certain school in Norland, and his father may have served as a professor in a university in the country, so on and so forth.
Plus, Norland’s “Magi Ranking Qualification Certificate” was the standard that all countries around the world measured against.
However, the real check and balance against the countries in this world was the fact that Norland just had way too many powerful beings amongst their archmages.
Melina knew some superficial magical knowledge. She clearly knew how much value a new type of arcanotech was. If Joshua were to have such a device, Melina would not need to bother about her destroyed goods at all.
But that depended on Joshua’s willingness to give her the technology to turn her losses into a commodity.
“No harm in telling you. The thing I’m going to exhibit is here.”
Joshua pointed at his head, but the businesswoman wore a confused look instead.
“Don’t you worry, Mdm. Jant. I will talk business with you when the time is right. It will be a business that earns you immeasurable wealth.”
What Joshua wanted to express was, of course, the window before his eyes. As Melina did not learn the God of Order’s magic, she was not able to see the program Joshua had written.
“Then I shall await your good news, Joshua.”
Melina had originally planned to take advantage of the World Exhibition to make a fortune in Norland. Sadly, the unforeseen disaster totally ruined her plans, yet Melina did not seem to feel entirely down.
She held her hand out and touched Ynor’s long silver hair. The succubus was now in men’s clothing, and his hair was tied into a ponytail. Yet, that did not give Ynor any hint of machoness, rather it made him look even more like a tender young lady.
Nevertheless, Ynor had confessed his true name and gender to Melina. Despite knowing that, Melina still unselfishly accepted Ynor for who he was and was prepared to raise him.
To live in Norland, it was not enough just to have a house. Melina needed a stable source of income, and doing business was the only thing she knew. Without any capital or merchandise, Melina had no way to start, but Joshua’s response gave her a glimmer of hope.
Amidst the conversation, the carriage had slowly reached the gates of Norland. The city had no walls, rather a transparent magical barrier had been raised in its place.
“Norland was built on the ruins of an ancient civilization. The untouchable walls constructed by the civilization that returned to dust has made Norland the strongest fortress in the world.”
That was a narration Joshua had seen in “The History of the World”, and he had to undergo an inspection before he entered the city’s borders.
Melina did not carry any goods with her, so the tariff was only a few silver coins.
Despite that, the tariff itself was heavy enough for most commoners.
After crossing the border, they continued on for another two hours, passing through several small towns and villages along the way before finally entering Norland proper, the most prosperous city in the world.
Joshua opened the carriage door and got down from it. The air around him was much fresher than the Demonic Realm. The architectural style of the entire city had a hint of the 19th-century Victorian era, but the clothes of the pedestrians were more of a hodgepodge.
Dunefolks, lizardmen, elves, dwarfs, gnomes, and goblins… Joshua could easily identify the silhouette of the races on the streets.
However, the mages in robes numbered the most there.
“This is my address, Joshua… If you have any good news, you can find me there.”
Melina handed Joshua a piece of paper, and on it was the accurate name of a place.
“I will. Ynor, I hope you can get used to this city’s life as soon as possible.”
Joshua’s words were a command even when it sounded like he was wishing him well. Ynor immediately nodded in response.
Joshua then picked up his suitcase and closed the carriage door.
“Where are we going next?”
Ciri sounded weak as she stood beside Joshua.
The result of the Pong showdown during the whole journey was 1:210. Ciri was quite sure that Joshua definitely cheated, but as much as she protested, it had no effect.
“Didn’t you say you were here to see your sister?”
The city was now at its most chaotic moment, and to find the theater that the Duke of Bones had mentioned, Joshua needed to first find a way to get a map of the city. However, having a local to guide him was much more useful than a map.
It should have been a very joyous thing for Ciri to leave the Demonic Realm and return to the human world. Yet, when she remembered that she was going to see her sister in such a state, Ciri could not lift her head at all.
Ciri tugged at the “collar” around her neck. She had become too engrossed playing the game with Joshua on the way that she had almost forgotten she was Joshua’s prisoner.
“Alright, let me think. It should be here.”
That was not Ciri’s first time in Norland, and she was rather familiar with the surrounding of the city district. With Ciri leading the way, Joshua officially started his tour of Norland.