Chapter 13 - Institutional Adjustment
It was evening when the militia team that was out leveling finally returned. Dinner had already started cooking in the dining hall, a smoke plume rising from its chimney. The villagers were gathered in twos and threes after a busy day, talking excitedly about what their lord had done.
Running out to Ouyang Shuo, Er Wazi took his horse and weapons from his hand. Greeting everyone politely, Ouyang Shuo quickly headed to his room, his work for the day completed, and logged off.
The morning sunshine was warm as he ran the district’s park trail. Breathing in the fresh air, the night’s fatigue was soon cut in half. Today was the weekend, and yesterday he had promised to take Bing’er to a picnic. Being on her own every night for the last ten days, as Ouyang Shuo was busy playing the game, his little princess had been getting vexed at him.
In the city suburbs, the cold wind blew. Luckily the winter in Ling Nan wasn't too bad and could be compared to autumn in other places. The grass in the park was just starting to yellow out. He watched Bing’er pretending to be a bird as she zoomed around, making the zoom-zoom sound of an airplane as she pretended to fly. Ouyang Shuo sat down on the picnic blanket, most of the blanket was occupied by potato chips, small cakes, fruit juice, and other snacks.
“Bing’er, come eat something!” He shouted out.
She promptly headed towards him, sweeping her arms back into a diving posture, and ‘roared’ her way in a dive into his arms. Sitting on his legs, her hands around his neck, looking sweet and tired, Bing’er said, “Brother, the suburbs are really fun! Sister Xiaoyue did not come, it is her big loss.”
“Xiaoyue wanted to sleep late this weekend. Bing’er has been well behaved, have you been listening to your big sister?”
The little girl nodded vigorously, innocently saying, “Bing’er has been good, big sister tells me a story every day, and is also helping me with my homework. She treats me so well!”
Ouyang Shuo smiled. “Since Xiaoyue has been so good to you, since you’ve come out to play, wouldn’t it be nice to bring your big sister back a little gift?”
Bing’er nodded cutely, and then frowned, her little brow furrowing as she scratched her little head. She asked charmingly, “Ah, what you have said is right, but what gift should Bing’er bring big sister?”
Ouyang Shuo pinched her little face, coaxing her, saying, “Today, your brother will teach you how to make a garland. When you personally hand a wreath to her, Xiaoyue will love it.”
Bing’er’s small hand quickly grabbed his hand, smiled, and said, “Well, okay, teach me quickly, brother! Also, Bing’er should also wear one!”
So, the brother and sister got up and gathered a big pile of green grass stems. Ouyang Shuo showed her step by step how to use the grass stalks to make a ring the size of a person’s head. Then they added on some green leaves and wildflowers, dotting them in the grass ring until it looked good. He put his wreath on Bing’er’s head, at which point she quickly stood up, turned in place a few times, and asked him if she looked pretty.
When they arrived at home in the afternoon, Bing’er went to Xiaoyue’s door and offered the garland she had woven up like a treasure. She placed it on Xiaoyue’s head, saying, “Big sister, this is the garland I have personally woven for you!”
Sun Xiaoyue was touched by the gesture, and gave Bing’er a big hug, saying “Bing’er is really good, remembering to bring me a gift when she went out.” She lifted her up and gave her a big squeeze of affection.
Ouyang Shuo stood aside and watched, the big and little sister made a very pretty and happy picture.
Once again coming online, it was another new day in the game. He played with the little Black Fang puppy, which had already become grown half a circle in these last ten days, as it ran around quickly.
As usual, in the morning, he did an hour of spearmanship practice before going to the Chamber for morning proceedings. When the village infrastructure was complete, he had to arrange the next step of the village. In his head, he already had a plan for what he wanted.
There were a full eight people summoned today. In addition to the normal five, the newly appointed clerk Gu Xiuwen, the soon to be appointed shipyard director Zheng Dahai, and the original mason from Zhao village, Zhao Dewang, were all also in attendance. Previously, Dewang was Zhao Dexian’s deputy on the construction team, but Shuo had a new appointment for him today.
Ouyang Shuo sat down and directly said, “Gentlemen, Shanhai Village, after ten days of joint efforts, other than reclaiming farmland, the other infrastructure has been completed, and even exceeded with the completion of four additional buildings. For the next step of development, I am sure you all have some of your own ideas. That will be today’s main topic of specific planning. I would like to ask Secretary Gu Xiuwen to report the territory demographics so that everyone is aware of them.”
Xiuwen stood and bowed in salute to everyone before speaking. “In accordance with sire’s instruction, I have these been preparing the population roster for these last two days. Today, the total population of the village is 162 people. In four days, we are expected to exceed 200 people. In addition to the staff here, there are 10 people in the territory; 13 skilled people, including 4 shipbuilder apprentices. For lumber workers, we have 30 people, quarry workers 10 people, construction workers 90, most of all them farmers by trade.”
Ouyang Shuo nodded and praised him for his efficient work, then said, “From the population distribution of the territory, there are two major problems. One, the population management is too extensive, not conducive to fine management. So, we will divide the farmers into agriculture and industry, largely fishermen. There will be five categories: farmers, quarrying, and miners into workers, fishermen, herdsmen and breeders into herdsmen, and all the masons, carpenters, etc into the craftsmen.”
“After this division is complete, there should be a corresponding proof of household registration. After getting registered, there should be no need to change the permit or registration without my authorization, and household location should be adjusted accordingly, with the same groups of people living closer together. To this end, I have decided a new body will be established to be responsible for this matter, to be called the Household Registration Office.” Pausing here, Ouyang Shuo looked at Gu Xiuwen, smiled, and continued, “Xiuwen, since you have done this task so well, the responsibility of this agency shall fall unto you.”
Gu Xiuwen quickly rose and said gratefully, “Xiuwen thanks sire for his trust, I will be worthy of it!”
“System Tip: Gu Xiuwen receives a promotion from his lord, his Loyalty is enhanced 5 points!”
Ouyang Shuo waved his hand, saying, “Another problem is more serious. That is, the proportion of skilled workers is too small. We need those who are skilled with technology, and we cannot just wait. We want to cultivate and encourage those skills by recruiting apprentices and improving the way we treat them. In this respect, Zheng Dahai has done well, recruiting four apprentices and making a good example. To this end, I have decided to appoint Zheng Dahai as Director of the basic shipyard.”
Zheng Dahai also rose and bowed to thank him. “Zheng Dahai thanks sire for his trust, I will be worthy of it!”
“System Tip: Zheng Dahai has received a promotion from his lord, his Loyalty is enhanced 5 points!”
Ouyang Shuo continued on. “I will take this opportunity to announce a few personnel changes. The logistics office head will be upgraded to the Secretary for Logistics, and former Ministry of Material Reserves secretary Cui Yingyu will take this position. Zhao Youfang will become director of the basic logging plant, and Zhang Shen will take over as deputy director of the stone mining factory.”
“The Land Reclamation Division, responsible for farmland, orchards, vegetable farms, and other land reclamation work, will be overseen by former Construction Team Captain and newly appointed Director Zhao Dexian. The Construction Team will be upgraded into Construction Division and will be in charge of all building jobs. Zhao Dewang will be in charge of this. Setting up the Salt Pan Division and working on the salt extraction project, for the time being, I will be personally responsible.”
This series of appointments would help the village-level administrative structure become more efficient, standardized, and orderly. His appointments placed a huge emphasis on three of the original Zhao villagers, occupying half the seats. This was both because they were competent in their abilities, but also because he wanted to treat his veterans with care.
With Zhao Dexian in charge of the Department of Reclamation, he was going back to his roots in agriculture, and could only be taken as the best move. Zhao Youfang, although not a carpenter born, had a flexible mind and was very respectful of his lord. Ouyang Shuo prepared to focus on his training, and as soon as he establishes a private school, he would send Youfang there to study. Zhao Dewang did not have great ability, but it wasn’t enough to really affect the construction work. With his pool of talent limited, Ouyang Shuo could only take the bad with the good.
Waiting for the crowd to accept their appointments, Ouyang Shuo continued to preside over the meeting.
“With the personnel adjustment completed, the next step is the upgrade to a grade 2 village. There are two major things that need to be done. The first is to reclaim farmland, for which I give the Land Reclamation Division full responsibility, we must till at least 500 mu of farmland. The second is the construction of the salt pan on the seashore. The Salt Pan Division is solely responsible for its construction and transport of men and materials via the shipyard, the militia team is responsible for security and security work.”
“According to the development plan of the territory, the Household Registration Office should be in charge of 3 divisions, and the proportion of the distribution of the five categories of farmers and workers, as well as follow-up staff distribution. In principle, act according to a 3:3:2:1:1 distribution.”
Finished with things to complete, Ouyang Shuo looked around and said, “If anyone has any questions or thoughts about what was proposed, you can now step forwards.”
Gu Xiuwen stood up first and asked, “Sire, I have a question. In the territory, except for Er Wazi, there are no herdsmen. At the same time, we have no livestock. How do we determine the number of herdsmen?”
Ouyang Shuo laughed and replied, “Er Wazi’s registration is to be included in the lord’s household, and not included in those numbers. Second, although we have no livestock now, yesterday we gained a ‘Wild Boar Domestication technical manual’. Boar domestication will be the beginning of the animal husbandry industry for us. Then, the militia team is responsible for acquiring more wild boars, the Construction Division will set up a pigsty, while training personnel to run and manage it is the responsibility of the Material Reserves Division.”
Giu Xiuwen sat down, clear now on what Ouyang Shuo had planned.
Cui Yingyu stood up and asked, “Sire, I have a question. In our territory, the only input we have is wood and stone, with no grain nor iron ore. I do not know what sire is planning?”
She indeed had a business background, Yingyu had zeroed in on material management with a strategic vision, and was not limited just by what was already done. Ouyang Shuo was pleased, he nodded and replied, “Yingyu, this is a very good question. I will first answer about the food problem. For the moment, we will be going into the market to buy extra food. This will need extra money to support us. The other is the development of animal husbandry and the fisheries. I have already explained what is going to happen with the husbandry, you have to give priority to the development of the offshore fishing. Give priority to the construction of fishing boats, lease them to the fishermen to encourage them to go fishing, and manage them well. This will temporarily be included in the Material Reserves Division.”
“To answer the issue of iron ore. Currently, the demand in the territory for iron ore is not large, it is mainly being used to build farm tools and other implements. Once we advance to a second village, we will start construction on iron mines. If the Secretary is now ready to do the preparatory work, arrange for personnel to find the right iron ore field to begin work on.”
Ouyang Shuo had largely finished, so it was General Shi’s turn to speak. “According to my lord’s arrangements, the militia team now has two tasks, namely the protection of the upcoming salt pan, and looking for small piglets. With the militia team only at 10 people, but also responsible for the safety of the territory, I do not know what my lord desires specifically?”
“This is indeed a problem, so I will appoint you as a supervisor of the salt pan, and is responsible for the training of the salt panning technical staff and the construction of the salt pan. For now, you will be stationed at the salt panning construction site. The militia team will be divided into two squads. Zhang Daniu will be the first squad leader, responsible for the task of looking for piglets. San Gouzi will be the second squad leader, responsible for territorial patrols.”
After answering General Shi’s question, no one had any more questions, and Ouyang Shuo ended the meeting.