Chapter 274 “Political tactics of the royal house” (part one)
In a blink of an eye summer was over. As the westerly winds began to blow on the tenth month of this year, which was when the busiest time comes to an end, notices of conscriptions were posted all along the town junctions of both the Desa Province and the Nuling Province.
Sanctioned by the imperial high command, this large scale cross border conscription sent the entire Northwest into an uproar for the number of soldiers reached an astronomical number of sixty thousand people!
To the surprise of everyone, in the announcement from the Duke of Tulip, he levied that the pay and treatment of the his family’s private army would be slightly higher than that of the government’s offering. Facing such a situation, the Northwest that was gradually calming down after the battle from before livened up again.
Looking back in time, such large scale conscription hasn’t happened for many years. Even if the population of the Desa Province doubles in size from what it was now, sixty thousand soldiers in one go was still a heavy burden to shoulder.
But to the surprise of the outsiders, it seems that the governor of the Nuling province, Bohan, was quite supportive of this plan. Even at the expense of the population and some winter exercises, he specifically drew a number of his officials and soldiers from other events to maintain order at the recruitment sites.
And on Du Wei’s side, the person sent over to be responsible for the cavalry conscription was the reputable “Mini 250”. Although the guy’s a little on the rude side, but there’s no denying he’s a good hand when it came to leading cavalry charges. As for the one in charge of the infantry recruitment, it’s none other than Knight Robert, this faithful follower of Du Wei’s.
According to Du Wei and Governor Bohan’s secret agreement, an infantry and cavalry division will be split fifty-fifty between the two. And the area close to the border of both provinces, a permanent military stronghold had already been constructed. Then in the following year, this base will be further expanded to eventually house an army exceeding a hundred thousand soldiers. From a geographic perspective, this military fortress will certainly play a role of clamping down at the Northwest Army’s continuous growth.
Conscription was a tedious and complex process; therefore, Du Wei ordered the process to be strictly done by the book in order to minimize the possibility of hostile forces infiltrating his ranks. With the help of Governor Bohan, each new recruit would have their background screened before acceptance.
Fortunately, Bohan’s been operating in the Nuling Province for many years. When it came to administrative work, this person’s experience shined like no other.
In addition, Du Wei also ushered in some very good news.
Du Wei’s old friend, Snow Wolf Mercenary group’s leader Beinlich, personally brought the next cargo shipment from the north and expressed his wishes: many retired mercenaries would often face misery in their senior years. Although some have accumulated enough savings to get them through their remaining life, many more faced a serious problem of having poor financial skills. Or to be exact, through the long years of living an adventurer’s life, these people have accumulated a strong habit of spoiling away their money on drinking and gambling.
No matter what, these people are still veteran mercenaries, it be a pity to let them fend for themselves just like that.
Upon listening to Bienlich’s request, Du Wei immediately slapped the table and made his decision: in the future Du Wei will accept any retired individuals sent by the Snow Wolf Mercenary group, regardless of their original employer if the person in question was willing.
After all, these people did spend their life adventuring through the harshest terrains of the continent. Though disabled and old, they are perfectly suited as martial art instructors for the new recruits in his private army!
Towards Du Wei’s generosity, Bienlich was extremely grateful. Without delay, he immediately sent letters out to some of the smaller mercenary groups he was acquainted with and instructed them to send over any retired brothers that needed help.
This way around, Du Wei naturally did a big favor for the other side. But in actual fact, Du Wei also solved a serious problem at hand and that was the shortage of manpower.
Like Bohan that was going full throttle in his work of conscripting new recruits, Du Wei wasn’t lazing around either.
Following the command of the imperial high command, the twenty thousand strong cavalry regiment finally arrived at Loulan City and has stationed themselves outside the city barracks.
Naturally, Du Wei handed the matter over to General Longbottom to pick out the best among this group. According to the secret agreement between Du Wei and Prince Son, he’s allowed to take six thousand cavalry knights for himself.
Regarding this force, Du Wei held some very high expectations! After all, they are not fresh recruits, they are experienced soldiers once known to be the elite among the elites. Not to mention many of the officers were personally trained by Longbottom himself back in the day, this correlation definitely played a key part in Du Wei’s expectation of their fighting capacity.
On this matter, Du Wei held nothing back from Prince Son. Tasking Longbottom to the job, this General 250 rode out to the city barracks and paraded through their ranks to choose only the best among the young.
Then with one swing of his pen, Du Wei sealed the deal. Though Prince Son retains most of the soldiers and left him with only six thousand men, Du Wei have practically stripped it clean of its most powerful assets.
And using the war-horses compensated by the people of the grassland, Du Wei assigned a good portion of it over to Longbottom for his newly absorbed strength.
As for the ten thousand pieces of cowhides … Du Wei had other plans for it over at Anglia City.
No more than five days later after the leather shipment arrived at Anglia City, the first batch of hot air balloons were officially launched into the air.
Hot air balloons, Du Wei played with this toy back when he was living in the Rowling Plains, but at the time the technology was far from mature. At most, it could only transport small batches of letters or small amounts of valuables.
Mainly limited by the dye used in the cowhide to retain heat while in flight, this limitation was finally resolved through the combined efforts of Du Wei and the researchers over at Anglia City. Using the formula provided by Du Wei as the base, the dye formula was then redesigned to include over sixteen herbal extracts and diluted through special machinery to get a workable concoction.
As a result of this major improvement, the heat retained by dipping the cowhides into this special dye produced a product that gave the best result in terms of buoyancy and stability
Like everything else inside Anglia City, the formula of this dye was highly confidential and the manufacturing process separated into different steps to preserve its secrecy.
Du Wei knows it himself that his monopoly on this technology may not be long-lasting, but one extra day was still one extra day, any advantage he can get was warmly welcomed.
Leaving nothing behind, the entire load of ten thousand cowhides were rushed through production to the manufacture his fleet of airships. According to the weight to load ratio, the largest airship can carry somewhere along the lines of four to five tons in weight.
Du Wei’s mind was clear on this. In terms of speed and defensibility, this product was very fragile and cannot be used in the frontline as his main combat force. At most, he can only utilize it for logistic purposes.
However, this was still an extra power in his hand. At the very least, you can say it’s a coating to compliment his ideal image of an “Air Force”.
Once the news spread through the use of his letters, Du Wei’s original business back in the Rowling Plains, “FedEx”, immediately came to set up a branch in the northwest – the first location would of course be inside Loulan City.
Subsequently, the details of the balloon airships became the hottest topic among the denizens of the northwest region.
It’s a shame that Du Wei had no knowledge in regards to stuff like steam engines and other industrial mechanics; otherwise he would have loved to bring forth an industrial revolution.
Nevertheless, even if he couldn’t reach that far, the results weren’t bad at all after going through his hand: total soldiers recruited numbering sixty thousand with a cavalry division stripped from a highly experienced division on the prairie. Aside from his ground forces, he also retains the only air force unit on the continent. Best of all, there’s not a single opponent that could pose a threat to this power at this time.
And then looking at his direct subordinates, he can say almost every one of them are masters in their own right: two fearless saint knights coupled with several outstanding magicians. (This includes Gandalf and Medusa, both of which are terrifying beings that mustn’t be trifled with)
With such strength, whether it be the Northwest Army or prairie natives, it wouldn’t be farfetched for him to say gaining a foothold on this land was within his reach.
The only thing that worries Du Wei now was his first knight Rolynn. Taking his entire fleet out to sea, it’s been over a year since Rolynn voyaged out for the ransom money, yet there’s been no word whatsoever…. Could it be that the United Nation in the Southeastern Sea changed their mind and wiped out his fleet? But this possibility was slim to none. Du Wei knows, with the boats of those indigenous tribes, it’s next to impossible to intercept his entire fleet. Moreover, Du Wei trusts Rolynn ability to resolve any danger she encounters. Even if anything does happen, a messenger should have returned with some news and not like the current situation.
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