The Empress's Gigolo Chapter 549
The place was an insignificant small town in Dayao with no special products, wasn't on the main road, and had a population in the tens of thousands.
"The salt team is here! The salt team is here!" The city instantly came alive with the arrival of the salt fleet.
Many people ran toward one corner of the town with their bags, but it was already crowded with people by the time they reached the place.
A young man with bushy eyebrows and big eyes felt the crowd pushing from behind, so he turned his head and shouted, "What are you pushing for? The supply is only slightly larger this time, and it would be considered not bad if one out of 10 could buy the salt. Those at the back might as well go out of town and pick up stones to lick. If you go later, you might not even find any stones!"
These so-called "licking stones" were a type of marble that was bitter, salty, and slightly poisonous. However, there was a lack of salt recently, and many people without salt had to go out of town to bring back stones of this type to lick with each bite of meat.
If Ren Baqian was here, he would have known that this was a type of carbonate rock.
Following the young man's words, a commotion broke out at the back that soon escalated into fights. An old man of about 80 years old jumped two or three meters into the air, and his kick was accompanied by the sound of strong winds… A middle aged lady caused many to suffer black eyes with her punches, while a 10 year old boy in the crowd even used his legs to kick at the crotches of other people from time to time.
Even among the commoners of a seemingly simple town, fighting was in the blood of the aboriginals.
Therefore, fighting over small matters was as common as eating a simple meal.
The general approach was, "What are you looking at?" and "I will whack you!"
After that, there would be a fight. As for a massive melee like today, they only happened each time the salt fleet came.
Due to the lack of salt, many people felt that they had less and less energy.
By the time the newly formed militia had stopped the fights, many people were already suffering from injuries and glaring at each other, but would be laughing again shortly.
Not long after, the militia moved several wagons filled with bags of salt to an open space in front of the crowd and sold the salt at a low price under the auspices of the warlord. Everyone was limited to purchasing three taels worth.
"The price is so low, yet it's a pity the amount is so small! Otherwise, I would buy more to keep at home and save it since there's always no salt," someone at the front whispered.
"Dream on! Fortunately, you came early. Otherwise, you wouldn't even be able to buy it."
The people behind them were disappointed after seeing the amount of salt available. As mentioned by the fellow earlier, it wasn't bad if one in 10 people could buy it.
"When will there be salt again?"
"Yeah! We have no energy without eating salt!"
"Everyone, the Yun Nation, the Chen Nation, and Great Xia have cut off our salt supply. Not even one bag of salt has come in during the last two and a half months!"
"Kill them! Bring back the salt!"
"Kill them! Go over and kill them!"
"Kill! Kill! Kill!"
The people below began shouting, and the originally simple commoners became murderous and fierce looking.
If people from other countries saw this scene, they would understand why the aboriginals, with so few people, could compete with other countries regardless of population, financial resources, or equipment and could even win the war.
Even though they had lived in the plains for 70 years, these commoners were still full of wild spirit.
Even the children, who didn't grow up hunting fierce beasts in the mountains, were still full of fighting desire.
"Everyone, our Dayao no longer needs to bring in salt from outside. We have our own salt fields," the warlord said.
Everyone below was stunned when they heard this.
Even the children knew that Dayao depended on other countries for their salt. Since when did Dayao have salt mines?
"First of all, I would like to thank the principal of Black Bamboo Academy, Sir Ren. It was him that discovered a way to extract salt from the brine water in the mountains."
Everyone in the crowd was left wondering, Where was this Black Bamboo Academy? Who was Sir Ren?
They didn't remember that there was such a person in the court.
Someone managed to figure out after a long time that it might be the gigolo that the empress found.
"Warlord, is Sir Ren the gigolo of the empress?" someone asked.
"Rude!" The warlord became serious and then pondered. These words were somewhat disrespectful to the empress, but there seemed to be nothing wrong with them. He knew slightly more than the commoners and had heard the news about the war with Great Xia in the north. In his heart, however, even he still regarded Ren Baqian as a gigolo at times, let alone other people.
"It's because his face is fair!" the warlord added.
"I didn't say anything else!" The voice from the crowd made everyone laugh. The warlord might as well have not said the previous sentence.
"No matter what, thanks to Sir Ren, we have salt to eat. The salt has been produced for only a few months and has been distributed to the various cities, but right now, there's a slight shortage. However, more and more salt will be produced in the future, and there's no need to worry because everybody will have it."
The crowd laughed boisterously as the tension caused by the lack of salt had eased greatly, and their impression of Ren Baqian was enhanced.
The reputation of Ren Baqian had risen tremendously.
Ren Baqian and the empress had stayed in Tianjing Basin for three months, and during this period, many things had happened in the world outside.
There were three things that drew the attention of everyone. First, there was the battle between the Protectorate of the Northeast and the Yun Nation.
Before the empress entered Tianjing Basin, Zhu Wuzhen had diverted some troops from the city alliance to invade Dayao with the purpose of destroying the strongholds. This tactic was the same as the one used by Great Xia.
In the beginning, some villages on the border were devastated, but those villagers also taught the allied army from the Yun Nation a lesson.
These soldiers, numbering less than 2,000, were humbled by the villages that had about a 100 people each and made the city coalition forces lose face.
The reason was that the unprepared villages had no time to run and nowhere to retreat. As a result, they fought to the last man.
Yet, the allied army of coddled soldiers would retreat when their losses crossed 15 percent and would collapse when it exceeded 20 percent.
In addition, the adult aboriginals were mostly equivalent to Man Wheel level experts.
As a result, the progress made by the Yun Nation in the early stage was extremely slow.
By the time they painfully managed to form a big army, the newly trained aboriginal recruits arrived.
The outcome could be imagined…
By the time Ren Baqian returned to Gu City, Zi Donglai had already defeated the soldiers of four cities from the Yun Nation.
The second matter, which had already been expected earlier, was the declaration of war by the Chen Nation.
The battles in the southeast regions weren't intense, and Zhuo Yue and the Chen Nation seemed to be uninterested in fighting. Both sides glared at each other and occasionally engaged in skirmishes that were more like shows than battles.
Dayao was delighted with this situation, but didn't know how long it would last.
The third matter, which was the most important of all, was the cutting off of the salt supply routes from Great Xia, the Yun Nation, and the Chen Nation. After the Chen Nation entered the war, not even a grain of salt was brought into Dayao, and this made many people very nervous
Fortunately, the imperial court recently released a batch of salt consisting of around 1.2 million catties. This was enough for over three million people to use for one month, and with some restrictions, it was barely enough for seven million people.
Plus, the court was still vigorously promoting Ren Baqian's effort to produce salt in the mountains.
The people of Dayao highly trusted the court and, like what happened in that small town, publicized the production of salt to alleviate the tension everywhere.
However, what was known to only a few people was that this amount of salt would take exactly half a year to scrape up.
Although the salt production rate was higher than in the past three months due to more salt mines and salt farms being built, the monthly output was only 360,000 catties, which was barely enough for one million people.
The important step to take next was to depend on Zi Donglai to rob from the Yun Nation.
Therefore, the empress's first order was to summon Zi Donglai to occupy the Yun Nation as soon as possible and bring back to Dayao all the salt found in every city.
Following the order from the empress, Zi Donglai was freed from all inhibitions and went full swing with his attacks.
After six more months, Ren Baqian and the empress finally returned to Lan City.