Chapter 50 - City Walls
Having finished adjusting the Material Reserves Department, Ouyang Shuo turned around and announced the 2nd item.
He looked around, smiled, and said, “I have decided to start a very large project while taking advantage of the winter break and the break in construction of the territory. The manpower and material requirements for this project will be massive. I am putting this forward to discuss with you.”
Cui Yingyu smiled. “If Big Brother has anything to say, say it directly. No reason to beat around the bush.”
Ouyang Shuo stared back at her. “The fence around the village was constructed when we’d first built the village. It was tested at the Siege of Beasts. Seeing that we are going to upgrade to a first grade town very soon, it is very necessary to upgrade the fence.”
Zhao Dewang and Zhao Dexian both nodded involuntarily. They were among those who had built it originally. Thinking back to when Shanhai Village had just started at the beginning of the year, they were both quite emotional and naturally impressed.
As the secretary of Construction, Zhao Dewang spoke first. “There are 2 ways to upgrade the fence. One is to remove the existing fence, and reconstruct a new one on the same area. Another is to retain the existing fence, and build a new one in a different area. What does my lord think?”
“The existing fence is in accord with the grade 3 village construction standard. Seeing the territory will upgrade, it will be unable to meet our standards and will naturally be removed. My opinion is that we should build in accord with the grade 3 township standard, 3 square kilometers, a totally new wall,” Ouyang Shuo responded.
“If that is the case, what material would the lord like to use for the wall? Wood, brick, or earth?” Zhao Dewang had presided over the Construction Division for some time, and naturally had some insights here.
Ouyang Shuo shook his head and said, “Those three materials are too common. This wall will be permanently retained. Even if we expand the city in the future, it can be used as an inner wall. Therefore, I propose pure stone to be used for a masonry wall. The specifications of the wall will be nine meters high, and five meters wide. I estimated that the whole wall will need nearly 600,000 units of stone. I can give you a construction time of one month. Are you confident you can complete this huge project?”
Zhao Dewang heard this, and his scalp started tingling. He slowly said, “According to the lord’s requirements, that is an average daily consumption of 20,000 units of stone. The quarry alone will need 400 people in order to meet the stone supply needs. The Construction Division will require 3 to 4 hundred craftsmen for the building of it!”
Ouyang Shuo glanced at Gu Xiuwen. “For deploying the people, can the Household Registration Office make the arrangements?”
“If we take the workers from other industries, we can barely do that. More importantly, we will upgrade to a grade 1 town soon. At that time, staffing will not be a problem.” Gu Xiuwen was full of confidence.
“Big Brother, as the Secretary of the Financial Division, I need to remind you that with so many laborers, their wages are going to be a large sum, you have to be prepared.” Yingyu tossed some cold water on his plans.
“The reason why I dragged the project over to privatization was to provide the villagers with an opportunity to earn some extra money. Right now it is the winter break, and be it farmer or herdsmen, they have very little to do. If that’s true, the territory can help them out with their current financial situation,” Ouyang Shuo explained with a smile.
Yingyu nodded in response, saying no more.
At this time, Fan Zhongyan took the initiative to stand up and say, “Since the lord is so ambitious, why don’t we do this more thoroughly? I recommend that we set up 3 gates in the new walls. Every gate should have a tower built. In the 4 corners, we should also build turrets, to further improve the defensibility of the walls.
“In addition, I recommend we now start the excavation work on the moat. From the Friendship River upstream into the moat, we should dig it 8 meters wide, and then merge it into the east side of the canyon stream, forming a perfect river system. This is not only conducive to the city’s defenses, but will also facilitate the city villagers taking water, thus serving two purposes.” Tian Wenjing contributed this last, not to be outdone.
After listening to the recommendations of the 2 ministers, Ouyang Shuo said, “Those 2 proposals are very good, and will be put into the plans for the project. This will all be brought forward by the Administration Department, Material Reserves Department, and Financial Divisions together.”
Everyone nodded. Participating in such a vast project had the feeling of getting their blood boiling passionately. After the completion of this project, Shanhai Village’s defense capabilities could rise by several grades!
The meeting completed, everyone dispersed.
At 3 PM, all the talented people in Shanhai were invited to the chamber room to attend the signing ceremony by the Material Reserves Department for the shop agreement.
The ceremony was chaired by the newly-appointed director of Material Reserves Department, Tian Wenjing, and Ouyang Shuo was also invited to attend. Advanced woodworker Lu Guangzhi and master tailor Mu Qingsi were seated in the front row.
Zheng Shanpao signed on behalf of the Transportation Division, and the woodshop signed the wooden ox-horse processing agreement. Du Xiaolan signed on behalf of the Resource Division, and Little Mu signed the garment processing agreement for her tailor shop.
Witnessing the signing of these two big orders, every skilled talent who was invited to attend gained confidence, and were also anxious to immediately get a big deal.
On the spot, advanced fisherman Kangshu said that he was willing to act as a representative for the fishermen, and right away signed a bargain and purchase agreement with the Material Reserves Department. Prior to the privatization, the fishermen had accumulated nearly 20,000 units of fish for the territory, and nearly all of it had been stored in the warehouse.
After privatizing, the fishermen salted the fish and sent it out through the Basic Market for export. Ouyang Shuo earned the difference of the 20% transaction tax from the Market, amounting to 12 copper coins per unit. His main income was through the collection of commercial taxes, however.
With the purchase and sales agreements signed, everyone soon dispersed.
After the end of the matter, Ouyang Shuo called on the Material Reserves Department to arrange for people to ship the fish out to the Basic Market to sell. In addition, they had acquired 31 million units of meat, and had salted out 160,000 units of bacon. 60,000 units of the bacon were put in reserve, but the rest were sold with the rest of the meat.
All the fish, meat, and bacon sold for about 15 coppers each, taxed at 20%. This made him about 144 gold coins. Having the market there to provide convenient transactions was nice, but it also felt like it was drawing blood from him.
Now, Ouyang Shuo had 246 gold coins. Taking advantage of the extra funds, he hardened his heart, took out 120 gold coins, and bought the dark gold tailoring kit he had promised to Little Mu.
Name: Tailor Kit (dark gold)
Properties: Enhances tailoring efficiency by 25%, improves tailor skill proficiency by 25%.
Evaluation: The dream of all tailors, a necessity for master class tailors.
Returning from the Market, he passed by Little Mu’s tailor shop. He gave her the kit he had just bought, and she was crazy happy to get it.
Going back to the Lord’s Manor, it was already 6 PM, so Ouyang Shuo went back to his room and logged off.
The next morning, Ouyang Shuo went to the military camps to change the classes of 6 recruits. The last bandit camp raid had wounded 4 and killed 2 soldiers, with the 4 being arranged to retire.
Destroying the bandit camp this time had losses, but not without a harvest for the cavalry. They had seized a large amount of weapons and armor, enough to ensure that they had spare equipment.
More importantly, through that bitter fight, the 50 veterans had all been promoted toth rank 5f veteran soldiers. Zhang Daniu, Zhao Sihu, and the other group leaders had been promoted to rank 7 elite soldiers in one fell swoop.
Among the new recruits, most of them had risen to rank 3 ordinary soldiers. If they had an outstanding performance, they were promoted to rank 4 veteran soldiersth. The outstanding performers were naturally noticed by General Shi, and prioritized for leadership positions. After the battle, all the vacant group leader positions were now filled.
Among the new group leaders were two exceptional ones, whom General Shi pointed out to Ouyang Shuo. One was named Zhou Feng, 23, who had been appointed as Cavalry 2nd Squadron’s second team group leader. The other was called Liao Kai, 25, who had been appointed 1st Squadron’s third team group leader.
Heading back to the manor, Tian Wenjing was waiting for him in the office. Ouyang Shuo poured himself a cup of tea, smiled, and said, “Sir could not wait at the door?”
Wenjing was expressionless as he said, “The lord makes fun of a matter. Yesterday, I looked over the territory, and noticed something with the animal breeding. Of all the husbandry operations, we have only 2 types, pig and cattle.”
“Indeed, and what are you thinking about?”
“In fact, in addition to pigs, sheep, cattle and other large livestock, poultry such as chickens and ducks can also be bred. I do not know what the lord thinks of this?”
Ouyang Shuo forcefully knocked his head, his expression depressed. “Oh, how could I not think of that? It completely escaped me, I was just thinking of domesticating livestock from the wild, and ignored the small poultry.
“Do you think that this kind of poultry raising should be run as a large scale farm operation by the government, or distributed to the various households?”
“In the end, the territory is an enclosed circle. It will be difficult to find sales, and profits will not be high. Thus, I think that the villagers should be allowed to stock them, or directly distribute them to the households to help their food situation,” Tian Wenjing calmly said.
Tian Wenjing’s experience was definitely showing. He had just taken over the Material Reserves Department, and was already able to check its shortcomings, and had taken the initiative to come over and advise him. With this level of competency presiding over the Material Reserve, Ouyang Shuo could be completely at ease.
“I will go to the Market shortly. I will buy chickens, ducks, and a variety of eggs, and put them in the name of the Material Reserves Department in the rice shop for sale.” Ouyang Shuo said.
Tian Wenjing nodded, got up, and went out to arrange matters.
Ouyang Shuo once again went into the Market. A chicken egg was 3 copper, duck eggs 4 copper, and geese eggs 5 copper. He bought 20,000 chicken and duck eggs each, and 10,000 goose eggs, spending a total of 19 gold. He specifically addressed the staff of the Material Reserves Department, telling them the price of the various eggs. They would strictly be sold at half of the original price directly to the villagers, and there would be no private increase of pricing.