Chapter 802: The Arena
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“This is a cotton seed that can be grown to weave clothes. It’s much more comfortable and cheaper than leather. It’s a subtropical crop that can be planted in areas to the north, close to Great Xia.” Ren Baqian placed a few bags in front of Ge Yihong.
Nowadays, several kinds of high-yield crops had already been promoted throughout the entirety of Dayao. There were even traces of these crops in Tianjing Basin. The food shortage problem was starting to resolve, and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock could now put more focus into other areas.
Cotton was naturally the primary economic crop. The market was vast and closely related to people’s livelihoods.
After all, Dayao’s weather was very hot all year round. Clothes made of cotton would be much cooler than leather. They would be both more breathable and finer than coarse cloth. After mass planting, the price could even be cheaper than the coarse cloth that was currently being used in Dayao, and it would be attractive enough.
Whether it was for personal use or for selling to the Yun Nation, it would create high value.
Of course, although clothes made of animal hide were hot, they also had advantages: they were sturdier.
The aboriginals fought with beasts all the time, so the sturdy animal hide clothes wouldn’t be replaced in the near future.
Cotton was of huge importance to Ren Baqian, but this wasn’t the case for Ge Yihong. After all, compared to clothes, he preferred crops such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, and pumpkins that could fill one’s stomach.
Ren Baqian guessed this when he saw Ge Yihong’s expression, but there would be development if there was demand. Once cotton appeared on the market and the prices of some crops started to fall, Ge Yihong would then be able to realize its value.
“This is sugar cane. It’s sweet like honey. The most important thing is that it has a high yield. It’s a good plant and can also be used to make white sugar.”
“Sugar?” Ge Yihong emphasized this word. “The thing that merchants brought from the Yun Nation?”
“Yeah, that’s right. It’s even better than theirs.” Ren Baqian was highly confident.
In fact, he knew what kind of sugar it was that the merchants brought from the Yun Nation… The palace had always used honey.
However, limited to this era, Ren Baqian felt that the merchants’ sugar wouldn’t be at the same level as white sugar. As such, he was very confident in it.
Sugar cane wasn’t merely a type of plant. The most important thing was to introduce a new type of seasoning to the market. After that, he could open a sugar factory.
He had enough confidence in the prospects of a sugar factory.
The empress alone could consume half of its production.
He had even thought about the name of the factory since there wouldn’t be anyone who could sue him for infringement.
After confirming that Ge Yihong was paying enough attention to the sugar cane, Ren Baqian took out the last item, the one that he valued the most.
“These are sunflowers and peanuts. Their fruit can be used as food, and 500 kilograms of it can be harvested from one mu of land. Its oil can also be extracted. They aren’t as greasy as animal fat and the price is very low. This is very important, so we must arrange it as soon as possible,” Ren Baqian urged.
With these seeds, he felt that in the future, it might be a common sight for people to fight on the streets with onlookers snacking on peanuts and sunflower seeds.
However, he didn’t tell Ge Yihong his real intention since Ge Yihong wouldn’t understand it anyway.
Ren Baqian’s real intention was biodiesel.
Although the steam locomotive was still being stored at the warehouse outside the city, he had already set his sights on another product that would change the times.
It wasn’t a car, but a tractor!
In all of Dayao, there were only three to four million aboriginals who resided outside the Sixty Thousand Mountains. The Yun Nation was only half the size of Dayao, but it had a population of seven to eight million. This population, scattered over such a large area of land, was equivalent to scattering beans in the desert.
Not only did these three to four million people need to feed off of and cultivate the land, the various factories of today also required labor, regardless of whether it was a salt well, a steel factory, or a cannery.
There was also the replenishment logistics of the army and the militia of the cities… Three or four million people scattered over such a large region of land was also similar to scattering beans in the desert.
In order to resolve this situation, part of the population had to be transferred out of the Sixty Thousand Mountains and part of them had to be liberated from the fields.
The tractor would be an excellent solution.
It was sturdy and easy to maintain. With its capabilities, it was able to do farm work and even transport goods. Although it was far worse than a car, compared to an oxcart, it was a turtle and snail race.
Also, compared to oxcarts, tractors would be less affected by the terrible conditions of the land in Dayao.
In Ren Baqian’s eyes, nothing was more suitable for Dayao’s current situation than the tractor.
Even manufacturing tractors wasn’t considered too big of a problem.
The only problem was energy.
At present, there weren’t any traces of natural oil in this world, so biodiesel had become the only choice.
As a result, these two crops were the most important to Ren Baqian.
“I got it. I’ll make arrangements, Ge Yihong promised after seeing how serious Ren Baqian was.
Ren Baqian’s value had long since been established through the introduction of various new products. These included glass, high-yield crops, solar-powered furnaces, and steam engines. If there was something that he valued, it must be good.
Although Ge Yihong didn’t know what Ren Baqian’s objective was, his thoughts were as simple as what he had voiced out.
Anyway, in the worst-case scenario, it could still be used as food.
There would never be a problem of having too many varieties of food.
Afterward, Ren Baqian took out some soybeans, which were also a high value type of crop. They could be used to make oil, tofu, miso, and soy milk…
Coupled with sugar cane, he was very much looking forward to the discussion that would arise in Dayao regarding whether soy milk and soft tofu should be sweet or savory.
The war between the supporters of sweet and savory would then spread from Earth to this world.
The only problem was that the empress would definitely be a supporter of the sweet side.
After leaving the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Ren Baqian and his bodyguards witnessed a fight as they were returning to the palace.
However, it was a little different from usual this time. The combatants were fighting with blades.
After the occupation of the Yun Nation, Dayao gained a large quantity of iron ore and no longer had to worry about a shortage of weapons The weapons recovered from the Yun Nation and Great Xia, coupled with the production of iron ore from Mount Damo, allowed steel products to appear on the market at a much lower price.
A large number of weapons appeared on the market, and the first problem had already arisen.
The fights between aboriginals had evolved from using fists to wielding blades.
Ren Baqian sat on his mount and watched the brawl that was surrounded by a crowd. He frowned and yelled at his bodyguards, “Take them to the Public Order Bureau.”
“Yes Sir.” One of the bodyguards behind him jumped directly into the scene and pinned both fighters down without much effort.
After seeing that the excitement was gone, all the enthusiastic people nearby started to scatter.
Ren Baqian frowned, returned to the empress’s quarters, and saw several palace maids taking her measurements. She didn’t look too happy letting them circle around her with a ruler.
After standing aside and waiting for a long time, the palace maids came over and took his measurements.
“Your Majesty, this is…?” Ren Baqian felt a little lost.
The empress rolled her eyes at him and picked up the tablet before preparing to watch a television series.
Ren Baqian quickly came to a realization and understood that this was probably for the wedding outfit.
After the palace maids left, he sat beside the empress and looked over. She seemed to be watching a fantasy-romance-magical-action-ethics-sci-fi drama?
Ren Baqian cleared his throat and said, “Your Majesty, I witnessed something on the way back and feel that it wasn’t a good phenomenon.”
“Oh?” The empress didn’t intend to pay attention to him, but turned her head around after hearing what he said.
After he explained what he saw, she looked at him in confusion and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“They are fighting with blades!” Ren Baqian looked solemn.
“And then?” The empress continued to look at him as if she was waiting for something to happen.
Ren Baqian had to admit that fighting with blades wasn’t as serious to her as it was to himself.
This was an ideological difference between a world where martial arts were respected and the modern age of peace.
“Compared to fists, fighting with blades is more likely to cause unnecessary casualties,” Ren Baqian said in a serious tone. This was especially the case when the aboriginals were hot-headed.
“However, I can’t possibly outlaw them from carrying weapons!” the empress replied casually.
In the hearts of the aboriginals, the importance of fighting against beasts with weapons wasn’t something that he could experience.
Ren Baqian initially had the idea of imposing a ban on using blades, even if it would only apply in the city.
However, he had another idea, which he felt was more feasible.
“Your Majesty, we can’t possibly allow them to always fight on the street over small matters,” Ren Baqian responded.
The empress pondered for a bit and said, “The imperial court doesn’t have a good way of dealing with this. Even if they were to be flogged with a whip and rendered unable to get out of their beds for three days, once they get hot-headed, they would simply leave it all behind. Furthermore, it isn’t appropriate to make the punishment too strict. After all, fighting and courage are fundamental to aboriginals.”
One would have to suffer from lashes of a whip if he were to fight in Lan City. This whip was covered with barbs and three lashes of it could tear off pieces of flesh.
However, this didn’t stop their enthusiasm for fighting.
“So, stopping them wouldn’t work as well as permitting them,” Ren Baqian replied.
Seeing that the empress was looking at him, he added, “Build a fighting ground in the city or a wrestling ring or an arena. If there’s a conflict, they can only settle the score in the arena. Most importantly, they will have to pay money. If they privately fight in the city, the punishment will be more severe.”
Since three lashes weren’t enough to make them clear-headed, it would be 30 lashes instead.
They would be able to clearly judge whether taking 30 lashes or fighting it out in the arena was the better choice.
Besides, making the trip down to the arena would be more than enough time for them to clear their minds.
Even if they still had to fight, they wouldn’t easily suffer casualties under the constraints of the arena.
With the number of fights in the city every day, as long as a small fee was collected each time, Ren Baqian felt hopeful that the arena would generate revenue!
When he explained his thoughts, the empress’s eyes lit up.
She replied, “I actually hadn’t thought of this. I don’t need to beat anyone up, yet this also improves the law and order of the land. I will raise this topic at the morning court session. I don’t think there will be many objections to this.”