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201 Exotic discovery

11th July 1574

"I told you, your health is the most important thing right now. I don't care about small delays like this one, as long as I can make sure you are safe and sound!"

With all the meetings and matters in the capital concluded, there wasn't any point in the two of us wasting any more of our time there. After boarding our steam paddler, that just by waiting at the docks still managed to rack quite a bit of attention from all sorts of river-faring folks, I forced my wife to just lie down on the bed inside the reinforced shed of ours. 

While I already promised her that I would accompany her for most of the journey, there were still a few things that I had to deal with before I could seclude myself with her.

"So, how did it go?"

Turning to the captain of the ship, I could see how the last few days impacted both his mental and physical strength.

"Depending on how would we look at it, both great and terrible at the same time."

Pulling out a small sack from his belt, the middle-aged man started playing with its content while speaking.

"Great, because just as you expected, quite a lot of people came to inspect this boat and ask how it's operating. As instructed, both I and some of our crew were honest with explanations, while always directing them towards the Tarnowian market where they could buy one for themselves."

With his fingers finally achieving whatever he wanted, the man pulled out something that looked like your typical, naval smoking pipe that one could often see in cartoons, before stuffing it with some kind of brown leaves.

While this sight almost instantly raised my hopes up, just a quick logical analysis of the situation turned my own excitement down. After all, with the tobacco only recently discovered in the mesoamerican colonies of Spain, how could it make its way so far into the European continent so quickly?

"As for why it went terrible… Well, I'm not going to lie. We had to defend against seven attempts to forcefully board this ship. If not for those new weapons of yours, we would be overwhelmed. But with how we used them, the rumours about their repetitive fire are bound to spread."

While I was happy that people turned out to be interested in my steam paddler and in extension, in the steam horse, the fact that the news about my rifles would spread already was quite upsetting. After all, it was the military might that was the driving force behind human technology development, especially when it came to the Europe of the current times!

How was the gunpowder used when Europeans got their hands on it? To help with mining like I was using it right now? No, they instantly made so many cannons and guns, that the name of this product changed to a damned GUN-powder! Not firework-powder as it was used in China where it came from in the first place, not sparkling powder, not explosive powder, but gunpowder!

The same could be said about atomic energy. By the time the first-ever nuclear power plant appeared on the face of the earth, people were already sending nukes both beyond the atmosphere and detonating them way below the level of the ground, not to speak about two of those deadly adult toys being used in real warfare!

That's why when I heard that those sailors of mine were forced to defend the ship with the use of my weapons, I couldn't help but feel how this would come back to bite me right in the ass sooner than I would even want to expect!

Yet all my thoughts about the current problem disappeared when I saw the captain of the ship reach towards one of the burning torches with a small shard of wood, only to put it close to the thicker end of his pipe.

With his mouth moving as if he was a fish when he sucked in the air of this strange weed produced smoke, it took him only a moment to release the cloud directly into my face, with a delighted look on his face.

Wait, this smell…

While it was different from what I remembered from modernity, it was without any doubt, tobacco!

"WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE LEAVES FROM?!"

With all the worries about the future instantly disappearing in the face of this grand discovery, I caught the sailor by his shoulders with a desperate look on my face.

"Sir? Ah, it's a novelty sold for a few gold coins per pack on the market. I think the merchant that brought it should still have a bit. Would you like to some of my men to go and buy it?"

While this offer was quite tempting, I couldn't allow a bunch of people who had no idea what I wanted to visit a merchant that clearly had the goods from the damned Americas! As long as I would manage to rope him into my side, all his connections and sources could be used not only to bring huge quantities of various crops that could completely change the food habits of the entire continent but with the Spanish conquest of South America as well, I could be able to finally obtain the last and insanely important resource required to basically increase the growth of industrialization by the factor of two or even three!

Rubber!

With no means to synthesize it in a chemical fashion, I could only rely on the good old method of taking the raw rubber from the southern American forest, adding some saltpeper into it and voila! A proper rubber that could be used to improve the efficiency and stability of work of almost every single product of mine!

"Rather than letting others buy what I want, I will go there myself. Lead the way!"

Even though being able to obtain those exotic resources was bound to be costly, with how rich I was turning thanks to all my projects, there was no way I could miss on this opportunity! If it came to this, I was even willing to create a damned outpost at the black sea shore, build my own steam-powered ship and sail it all the way to the Americas to bring everything that I needed myself!

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