Preparing to Produce Steel
During these three days, Feng Yu Heng did not leave the county princess’ manor. She also refused a number of guests. She hid in the medicine storage room and dove into her pharmacy space. She did inventory on the items in the space before taking out some special medicines that could ease the effects of drug addiction along with some needles.
She placed these things in the most visible counter so that they could be taken out at a moment’s notice.
Going to the military camp this time, Feng Yu Heng understood that her most important mission, aside from training the Divine Intent Army, was the production of steel. Producing steel was different from producing iron. The people of Da Shun had never been exposed to this technology, and she herself was not a professional blacksmith. What she had was knowledge of the theory, but she lacked experience. Without any steel-making blacksmiths handy, she had to choose some suitable blacksmiths to train. There was also a need for apprentices to be chosen carefully. Not only did the people training to produce steel need to be smart and diligent, they also had to be able to endure hardships. Most importantly, they had to have strong morals and convictions, and they had to be absolutely loyal to Da Shun.
She sat in front of a desk in her rest area. Spreading out a piece of paper, she went down through the procedure for producing steel in her head. She then took out a pen and wrote it down from the production of slag to melting to refining to the addition of carbon to pouring out the steel, a total of 20 steps were written down. At the same time, she also wrote down the method for each steps along with the things that required additional attention.
This was equivalent to giving herself a quick lesson. Speaking of, this knowledge was something that she had learned from a master of arms in the military. That person was quite odd. In the 21st century, everything was available ready-made, yet he liked to make everything from scratch. He did everything from acting as a blacksmith to making steel. All of the weapons that he had made were a little denser and were tougher than other weapons.
While he was producing steel, she had been curious and watched, but she had never actually done it herself. This process was something that she had memorized, but theory was just theory. Feng Yu Heng did not have a complete grasp on whether or not this would succeed. Everything still needed to be analyzed.
She remained in the space for one day and one night, coming out in the middle to eat. At all other times, she did not come out even once. She prepared herself to the fullest extent in order to produce steel. She also tidied up the blueprints for some weapons that she had designed, picking out some of the simpler and more practical designs for use. This would also be an improvement on the weapons that the soldiers of Da Shun were currently using.
When she finally finished her homework and came out of her space, Qing Yu was standing outside the door with a stack of accounts. Seeing her come out, she quickly said: “These are some reports for the shops from after the end of the year. Young miss will be heading to the military camp soon, so please take a look before leaving.”
When Feng Yu Heng saw the reports, she felt her head swell. Thinking of when she had run her pharmacy, the accounts had been handled by a professional, who only showed her a summary. She pretty much only needed to provide a signature. Moreover, all of her business was done online, which left her with easy-to-read forms. Even if there was a need for her to check the accounts, she would rely on the automated software for businesses. Every time Qing Yu brought a pile of accounts for her to see, she felt her head swell. Even if she could bring them into her space to quietly calculate these things, she would still be annoyed.
Seeing that Feng Yu Heng was annoyed, there was nothing that Qing Yu could do: “This servant knows that young miss does not like seeing these things, but I do not know when young miss will be back. Only because of that did this servant bring these things over.”
Feng Yu Heng pondered a little then said to her: “I have also thought about this matter. This time, going to the military camp is important, but the matters inside the capital cannot be ignored. I am not too interested in Phoenix Pavilion and Wonderful Treasure House. They are just businesses that exist to earn money, but Hundred Herb Hall is the important one. Qing Yu, at the end of every month, go to the military camp. I will leave two hidden guards for you. When you come, bring along a few imperial guards from the county princess’ manor. You must ensure your own safety.”
Qing Yu nodded, “Young miss, don’t worry. Qing Yu understands.”
Feng Yu Heng received the accounts then said: “I will look at these one last time. In the future, these will all be left to you. In the future, you only need to tell me about Hundred Herb Hall’s situation. As for the others, if there is a profit, place it directly in the county princess’ treasury.”
She spent the afternoon looking through the accounts.
Feng Yu Heng’s mind was not on the accounts at all. She knew that with Qing Yu here, there would definitely be no mistakes in the accounts. There was no need for her to worry about her businesses. It was the Feng manor’s side that she was a bit pressed to handle. There were many things that she feared she would not have time to arrange or handle. She could only do things one step at a time.
That night, Feng Yu Heng continued to prepare to depart. She had decided to keep the imperial guards dispatched by the imperial palace at the county princess’ manor. Another two hidden guards would be kept behind to protect Qing Yu, and the rest would go along with her. Yao shi would also be going with her. Qing Lan, who usually took care of her would also be going. There were also Huang Quan and Wang Chuan… Counting like this, there would be quite a few people going.
She only slept for half of the night. Early the next day, she brought Huang Quan and headed over to the Feng manor to pay respects to the matriarch.
In regards to Feng Yu Heng’s arrival, the matriarch was a little surprised and a little nervous. She had not prepared herself to face Feng Yu Heng so soon. For a while, she did not know what she should say.
It was Feng Yu Heng who took the initiative to break the ice, telling the matriarch: “Granddaughter will be leaving the capital tomorrow for the military camp in order to produce steel. This trip will require a year and a half or more. On the lower end, it will still require many months. During this, I will only be able to return occasionally, but I will not remain for long. I came today to tell grandmother and to hear if grandmother has any advice for granddaughter.”
Feng Yu Heng’s words caused everyone to feel surprised. Everyone knew that she would be going to produce steel for Da Shun sooner or later; however, nobody thought that it would happen so suddenly. Especially after Yao shi had been secretly harmed, and she had just whipped the third prince, the people in the manor were all in a daze. Even Feng Jin Yuan was slightly crippled when walking because he had spent a night kneeling. Everyone felt that Feng yu Heng would definitely stay at the manor for a little longer in these sorts of circumstances. In the end, she said that she would be leaving on the next day. This was truly too sudden.
The matriarch awkwardly asked her: “Why are you leaving so suddenly?”
Feng Yu Heng smiled and said: “It cannot be considered sudden. From the new year celebration to now, if it was not for father getting married, A-Heng might already be at the military camp.”
The matriarch had nothing to say; however, she thought to herself that her leaving was also good. After she left, she could finally let out a sigh of relief. There was no need for her to worry at all times that she would come to investigate.
In truth, many people thought this way. They were afraid of being investigated, but they could not stop themselves from doing evil.
Feng Yu Heng looked at the matriarch then looked at Kang Yi, who was at her side. She could not help but smile and say: “Since grandmother does not have much advice to give, does mother wish to say a few words?”
Kang Yi was one very capable of saying kind words. Seeing that Feng Yu Heng spoke to her, she immediately said: “You are very understanding of the things that happen on a daily basis. Mother will only advise you to put forth your full effort in producing steel for Da Shun. This is an important matter. As for the family, you do not need to worry. I will definitely take good care of elder madam and your father.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, “That’s good. For Princess Ru Jia, I have already given all of the medicine and treatment methods to the imperial physicians. I have also told father Emperor to allow mother to enter the imperial palace every half a month to visit her.”
Kang Yi was delighted and repeatedly gave her thanks. It was just that her repeated thanks were quite ironic to the people of the Feng manor. Fen Dai wanted to say that it was her who had whipped her daughter to this degree, yet now you will thank her? However, when she recalled that Han shi had said that she absolutely must not offend her second sister. She even dared to kill a prince, so what was she in her eyes? Thus the words that had reached her mouth were swallowed back down.
It had to be said that the paying of respects at Shu Ya courtyard used to be quite lively. Whether it was Chen Yu or Fen Dai, including the late Chen shi, they all fought to curry favor with the matriarch. Afterward, there was Jin Zhen, who would always be massaging the matriarch’s legs or shoulders. But the matriarch gradually began to enjoy less and less of these treatments. Like today, for example, after Feng Yu Heng finished speaking, the hall fell silent. Occasionally, the sound of teacups being put down could be heard along with the sounds of everyone’s breathing.
The matriarch began to feel bored and simply decided to wave her hand, dismissing everyone: “Alright, if there isn’t much, everyone can leave.”
These words were like an amnesty, as everyone let out a long sigh. Standing up, they saluted then left.
The matriarch watched the quickly departing figures then suddenly felt the hypocrisy of the world. Looking at Kang Yi, who had stayed behind, she began to feel a little sour. She said to Kang Yi: “In any case, allowing you to enter the palace to visit is quite good.”
Kang Yi sighed gently and said: “It’s all a problem caused by Ru Jia. Mother, don’t worry. Kang Yi will not hold a grudge against anyone.”
The matriarch nodded, “That’s right. If she is able to produce that new steel, perhaps the entirety of Da Shun will be able to do as it pleases.”
Kang Yi wanted to say that Feng Yu Heng did as she pleased right now! But these words could only be said in her heart. How could they possibly be said out loud? Moreover, at this time, she had to worry about another matter that was much more important. Feng Yu Heng was about to go and produce steel.
Qian Zhou and Da Shun have always maintained a superficial appearance of ruler and subject, but the real situation was one of inauspicious and dark waves. Originally, Qian Zhou was doing everything in its power to acquire the ability to produce iron essence. Unfortunately, before they could even obtain it, iron essence had been rendered obsolete by Feng Yu Heng’s steel. Hearing that the prince of Zong Sui got along well with Prince Yu, Qian Zhou’s crisis deepened.
She closed her eyes. She absolutely could not allow Feng Yu Heng to succeed in producing steel. She absolutely could not!
The small gate in Liu courtyard that connected the Feng manor had been sealed up by Feng Yu Heng. When she had come to the Feng manor, she had entered through the front gates. That was why she had to go around through the front yard when returning.
Xiang Rong followed Feng Yu Heng after leaving Shu Ya courtyard, even following her through the Feng manor’s entrance. Feng Yu Heng was truly helpless and stopped to ask her: “If you want to say something to me, you can call out to me. If you had just kept following me, how far would you have gone? In a while, I will be entering the county princess’ manor. Will you be going in or not?”
Xiang Rong’s eyes immediately turned red, “Second sister.”
“Don’t cry.” Feng Yu Heng pointed to the imperial guards in front of the county princess’ manor, “I already told them that if you had any problems in the future, just go and find Qing Yu. When you come over, they will not stop you, but while I am not here, be a little more vigilant. Make sure you don’t get eaten alive by the people of this manor.”
Xiang Rong’s tears continued to fall, “Second sister, you don’t blame me?”
Feng Yu Heng gently sighed, “This matter is unrelated to you. If I assigned blame to someone for every little thing, would I not view everyone as a beast in the future and avoid them like the plague?”
As she spoke, An shi also followed them out of the manor and chased over. Feng Yu Heng advised her: “If Kang Yi causes you trouble in the Feng manor, the Cheng shi sisters will help out. If anything more troubling occurs, come and find Qing Yu. She will contact me.”
An shi did not think that Feng Yu Heng would trust them so much. For a while, she was extremely moved.
Feng Yu Heng, however, smiled then said to them: “Go back. I still have a number of things to prepare. Remember, it’s good enough if you can live peacefully. Everything else can wait until I get back to discuss.”
Bidding farewell to An shi and her daughter, Feng Yu Heng brought Huang Quan back to the county princess’ manor. While walking, she said to her: “Inform the gatekeeper. Before tonight, another person from the Feng manor will come to visit. Tell them to allow them in. You should also prepare yourself. First thing tomorrow, we will be heading to the military camp!”