Chapter 298 “Deadly scheming”
Nine hundred and sixty two year of the Roland Empire, this year’s winter was exceptionally cold.
Once out of the palace, Du Wei did as he intended and participated in a welcoming party orchestrated by Biliabuer and Taklanshan on this evening.
In this banquet, over ninety percent of the participants belonged to the Regent’s faction. So when they finally met up, those that had welcomed Du Wei outside the city gate all made an uncomfortable and awkward face when looking at him.
These usually affectionate dignitaries knew it themselves too. Due to the issue of the auction house, mainly because the Regent handed down the tight lip order from above, they have indirectly snubbed Du Wei by catching him off guard and pushing him up to the stage. For that, Du Wei’s bound to be dissatisfied inside.
Du Wei sneered inside because this was the so called nobility circle. On the surface they will intimately call you brother, but behind….
This may be, but he also knows this was an unavoidable phenomenon so he didn’t dwell on this matter. After all, he did leave the imperial capital for close to two years now, it’s about time he strengthened his bonds with these dignitaries. Pushing down his annoyance, he makes a heaping smile and never once brought up the Pope’s decree again.
After all, one must have quite the level of thick skin to be able to reach this high in their status. Since the Duke himself wasn’t mentioning the awkward topic, these underlings naturally won’t be stupid enough to go rattle the cage. Moments later after downing a few cup of wine, the atmosphere immediately warmed up.
In order to curry favors with Du Wei, the fatty Taklanshan had spent quite the hefty sum on this party. However, everyone knows by now this Duke Tulip wasn’t all that fond of the opposite sex. Back when Prince Son, Biliabuer and Taklanshan had gifted Du Wei with a set of beautiful quadruplets, forget about touching them, he didn’t even take the girls back home and directly tossed the quadruplets into his shop for work. If the Duke’s not into womanizing, then….
If one was a magician, then they are bound to like different types of precious gemstones. Not for the sake of value, but for the sake of using them as research materials and making magic tools.
Taklanshan was after all the number one weapons merchant on the continent. During the banquet, this fatty gifted Du Wei with over fifteen strands of purple crystal necklace: “I heard the Duke just got engaged and that the future Duchess is also a powerful sorceress. This set of crystal necklaces can count as a gift to the future duchess. Aside from being a beautiful accessory, these crystals can also be used as magic material in experiments. A gift fit for both worlds.”
Towards all the gifts, Du Wei didn’t hold back and accepted them all.
Lasting until midnight with only a few guests remaining, Du Wei hasn’t enjoyed a red night lantern feast of this type in a rather long time since moving to the Northwest. He may be a Duke, but his lifestyle has remained relatively simple so this truly was a treat.
And as luck would have it, because he’s already engaged, the nobles that have been eyeing him thus far finally gave up the idea of trying to sell their daughters to him.
Once late into the night with the majority of the guests departed, Taklanshan, Biliabuer, and as well as the financial secretary Sack, invited Du Wei into a small private room for a meeting.
This Gold Spending Cave outside the imperial city was truly luxurious. Aside from the handmade carpets paved along the floor of this tiny room, even the crystal lamps were glowing in a variety of colors. First sitting himself on a very comfortable sofa filled with velvet cushions, Du Wei raises a cup of wine up to his lip: “Well then, is there something you three like to say to me by asking me here?”
Exchanging a look with the other two, Taklanshan was the first to speak as he smiled: “My Duke… Now that there are only the four of us here in this room, I won’t beat around the bush then.”
Biliabuer also nodded: “Du Wei, since there are no outsiders here, then I’ll get to the point. The three of us have something we would like to discuss with you.”
Du Wei bellowed out a laugh as his face became friendlier: “Uncle Biliabuer, no need to say discuss, that’s too polite. If you have any request then feel free to say it, I won’t turn it down.”
Du Wei’s one call of “Uncle Biliabuer” immediately made the guy’s face turn red with happiness, even Taklanshan and Sack on the side was making an envious face.
Baron Sack coughed to clear his throat before opening his mouth.
In this room, the one with the lowest rank was this Sack. In terms of status and rank, he’s only a Baron that’s working as an official in the financial department. And in terms of seniority…. For example, Biliabuer and Taklanshan have for years been part of Prince Son’s faction before the Regent’s reign began. But this Baron though, he wasn’t even part of Son’s faction before the coup, he was merely a chief commander of the security forces in the capital city. To top it off, this Sack was overwhelmed and imprisoned inside his own office by one of Son’s own undercover agents. Then seeing the tide has receded, this Sack finally succumbed to Prince Son’s authority.
Once the coup was over, he then voluntarily surrendered his authority over the security forces. It can’t be helped. He wasn’t part of Prince Son’s faction back then and there are over ten thousand security soldiers in the capital.
Originally Sack had planned to give up his power and then return to his hometown for retirement with his family, but unexpectedly, this very conscious move of leaving on his own will attracted Prince Son’s appreciation. Rejecting his request to leave, Sack was then reassigned to the financial department since that day. Due to the fact that he wasn’t originally part of the inner circle to begin with, Sack worked extra hard compared to his peers and left no room for compromises in the cases he handled. And as expected, Sack’s performance was very good over the past year and was vigorously promoted for his effort. According to the rumors, though there are still a few people above him in the financial department, it’s said that once the current financial minister retires, Sack will be taking over that post and become the head of the department.
So, that’s why he has the qualifications to come into this small room to talk today. Du Wei, Biliabuer, Taklanshan, and Baron Sack, these four can almost represent all of the big giants inside the Regent’s faction.
“Your dukeship.” Baron Sack coughed to clear his throat, then immediately spoke in a solemn tone: “The truth is… After you left the palace this afternoon, I was immediately summoned to the palace by his majesty the Regent. Umm, his highness discussed something with me. It was about the future supplies for the military. His highness tasked me to make a preliminary budget plan….”
Du Wei’s eye lit up and looked at Taklanshan and biliabuer. One was in charge of handling the royal family’s asset, and the other the biggest weapons merchant in the empire. To invite him here can only mean they also want a slice of the pie.
Thinking up to here, Du Wei laughed at the idea: “Hmm, just perfect. I was going to discuss it with Uncle Biliabuer later too, but since Taklanshan you are also interested, and we are here already, then we might as well talk about the cooperation.”
The hanging fat off of Taklanshan’s face began to tremble, hurrying: “Interested, of course I’m interested!”
Pondering for a moment, Du Wei immediately made the decision. To provide such a huge entity like the imperial army will be a little strenuous by himself.
Moreover, a place like the northwest was limited in manpower and material resources. Over the next two to three years, the main spending’s need to be focused on expanding his own military armaments. If he allocated all of his resources on this business instead, he might end up hindering the development of his forces in the northwest. This business may be huge, but at its core it’s nothing more than fuel for the hot air balloons and gunpowder, and the others… The technical knowhow wasn’t high, and the cost was huge too with relatively low profit margins. Since it’s like that, why don’t he just let others do it so they can owe him a favor.
With an idea in mind, Du Wei took the initiative to put forward his own plan: hand over the hot air balloon production piece to Taklanshan and Biliabuer and let the two divide it among themselves. There are already imitations out in the wild, and Du Wei knows that Taklanshan had some hot air balloons of his own running.
As the four talked deep into the night, the matter was pretty much finalized by then. Du Wei, Taklanshan, and Biliabuer will choose a plot of land in the vicinity of the imperial city and set up a specialized factory workshop supplying only hot air balloons to the military. This was the idea Du Wei mentioned to the Regent earlier today, which was the “Boeing Airline”.
On the investment side Taklanshan and Biliabuer will split it between themselves, and on the profit end, Du Wei will get twenty percent for providing the technology knowhow while the remaining eighty percent gets split between Taklanshan and Biliabuer.
And Baron Sack here, the one in the financial department responsible for the procurement process, will naturally get his own set of benefits so that doesn’t need elaborating. Du Wei doesn’t care either way. The expenses for the factory are all covered by Taklanshan and Biliabuer. As for the bribes to the military bosses in charge, there’s Baron Sack to handle that on the financial end. Du Wei himself only needs to sit tight and wait for payment.
As for gunpowder and fuel, Taklanshan and Biliabuer knows very well Du Wei won’t hand over something that valuable, so they didn’t even bother mentioning the topic.
Discussing for an entire night, Du Wei didn’t feel much fatigue since he’s a magician, but the other three did fare so well. Exhausted, the only thing keeping these three going was the large amount of profits that’s about to land into their laps, making them very excited.
But in the end, Du Wei made an additional request.
“The production of hot air balloons will require a lot of leather goods, so it’s unavoidable that our joint factory will need to procure from an outside source… On the mainland, though there are cattle and sheep in the north, it wont be enough for us, and the price and quality are far inferior. So, for our sourcing, I recommend purchasing it through the natives of the prairie grassland! At least until the relationship between the Empire and the natives completely crumbles, we will do it this way!”
Taklanshan and Biliabuer both thought for a moment before the fatty spoke up: “What the Duke said is true. The prairie natives are good at herding so their cattle and sheep are all indeed top rate goods. But… We are talking about the military supplies. If we purchase only from the enemy, won’t we risk putting the production into delay when the Empire breaks off with the natives?”
It was Biliabuer who managed to think further ahead: “Du Wei, this type of big business will benefit the natives no matter how much we suppress the purchasing price in the long run. They are our enemy. I fear…”
Du Wei smiled as he slowly said: “Gentlemen, how can I not know of the situation with the natives when I’m living in the northwest. I understand what you two are getting at, naturally, I have a plan. As I just said, we will purchase leather from the natives… However, we will only procure sheepskin and not cowhide! This means we will only buy sheep from the natives and not cattle!”
“Only buy sheep?” Taklanshan and Biliabuer both looked at each other, confused over Du Wei’s meaning. But seeing the resolute appearance of this Duke, both men thought it didn’t matter since this issue wasn’t all that important. Sheepskin or cowhides, both are still leather in their eyes.
Maybe the Duke has a special attraction towards sheepskin…?
It was Baron Sack who had unintentionally hit the mark with his joke: “Only buy sheep and not buy cow… Such a big deal, I fear even hundreds of thousands of sheep each year will not be enough! Such high demand and profit, I say the natives might just forgo their cattle and directly focus on raising sheep! HAHA! After we’re through with them, I fear we might not get to taste the famed beef of prairie in which they are so famous for! Heck, I say the natives would end up having to buy beef from the north of the empire instead, hahaha….”
Those words caused Du Wei’s eye to flicker so slightly, but none in here noticed it.
Only Du Wei himself knows. This extra demand was in fact a carefully orchestrated scheme of his to deal a deadly blow to the natives!!
Du Wei already knew about this deadly scheme in his previous life. It was a country called Japan. That country used this exact scheme to make his motherland suffer greatly during turbulent times.
Animals like sheep are completely different from cows.
While herding in the grassland, though cows and sheep will both graze, but they do have some important distinctions. Unlike cows, sheep are a kind of animal that likes to eat not only the grass, but the roots too! Thus if one lets a large number of grazing sheep loose in the field, the pasture will quickly dry up and wither away!
And what’s the most important resource on the grassland? Not gold! It’s their vast, lush pastures! As long as they have the grassland, they can herd and breed large number of horses! But with this invisible knife tactic of letting the prairie natives earn large profits by raising their sheep counts, it will only be a few years before their vast stretches of greenery become withered and barren!
By then, we will see what will they use to graze their horses!
As a race of nomadic people, the prairie natives will always chase after the greenery for survival, meaning the grasslands are their lifeblood!
In a few years when the land becomes barren and dry, can the differing tribes still band together when their livelihood are at stake? Of course not! There’s bound to be a fierce competition for the right to the remaining pasture fields, meaning the trigger for war between themselves will be pulled!
Such deadly scheming… Though Taklanshan and Biliabuer are both clever individuals, but without the experience of Du Wei’s past life, they cannot understand it like he does.
Unmoving in his complexion, Du Wei did not bother explaining while constantly sneering inside….
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