Chapter 15 - Apprenticeship
As Ouyang Shuo led the line of militiamen through the village, the villagers looked curiously at the cage of small piglets.
The piglets were only half a month old, brown-haired, black stripes on their backs, truly very cute. On the road, he had looked at their stats.
Mutated Small Wild Boar Piglets: Produced by the wild boar king and mutated elite wild boar sow, these wild boar piglets are very adaptable, their meat are delicious, and they have a growth cycle of three months.
Before they returned, Zhao Dewang had already arranged for people to build a pigsty. It was built behind the dining hall, so it would be convenient to feed them.
The pigsty was a small room with an inner and outer area. The inner area was 3.5 meters long, and 2.5 meters wide, for sleeping and eating. The outer area was 50% bigger than the inner area, with a drinking trough, and was open to the sun. Hay was scattered inside and outside the pen, making it easy to keep the pens dry and clean.
When Ouyang Shuo’s militia carried the pig cage to the pigsty, Cui Yingyu and Zhao Dewang were waiting for them. Behind them was a third man, some 30 year old man with an honest but cautious face. Yingyu introduced him as Zhu Baocai, in his original village he was a famous pig master. He had been selected by Yingyu as their pig keeper and domesticator.
Ouyang Shuo had faith in Yingyu’s eye, directly handing over the to Zhu Baocai, saying to him, “Master Zhu, the task of domesticating these pigs, I give to you. It is a lot of trouble for the territory to cultivate a good species of wild boar. Wild boar farming will be a core industry in the territory one day. At the right time, we will expand the scale of the pig farms. I hope that the first true pig farm can be raised by you, Master Zhu.”
Seeing the lord as very easy-going, Zhu Baocai was no longer so cautious and talked about his skill at raising pigs. He seemed even more confident, he solemnly said, “Please do not worry about this pig breeding, I already have some experience. Look at these little piglets, all so strong and healthy. They are a fine breed, I have great confidence in raising them.”
After finishing with the pig master and saying a cordial farewell, Ouyang Shuo returned back to his office. As he sat down, Gu Xiuwen came in. Ouyang Shuo asked him to be seated and asked him if he had anything for him.
Gu Xiuwen said, “Sire, I discussed with the people in charge of three divisions today, and did the personnel distribution for farmers, builders, fisherman, animal rearers, craftsman, the five industries. Please approve this, sire.”
“Oh, your efficiency is very high! Let's talk about how you allocated things.”
“In the territory are 130 farmers. 39 households were allocated to the Reclamation Division to cultivate farmland, and the original 40 farmers were maintained and moved under the management of the Material Reserves Division. The fishermen were allocated 25 people until there were more fishing boats. After they start fishing, they will be moved under Material Reserves Division as well. For shepherds, we only have two people, responsible for pig farming. The carpenters were assigned 24 people, their main project at this time is the salt pan field construction under General Shi.”
Ouyang Shuo pondered for a moment, then asked, “On the shipyard side, are you clear on the progress of the fishing boat construction?”
“According to my understanding, the construction of an ordinary fishing boat requires 50 units of timber, and each boat can carry two fishermen out to the sea to fish. The shipyard, at its current size, can build one fishing boat a day. The first fishing boat was requisitioned by General Shi, who is using it to transport personnel and materials for construction of the salt pan.” Gu Xiuwen was well prepared as a clerk of the territory to understand the latest developments in all walks of life as one of his basic tasks.
“Not bad. Let's stick to the distribution plan. Beginning tomorrow, other than special talents, everyone is to be assigned to the Salt Pan Division. At the same time, in addition to the five fields, set up a separate household. Personnel information is as important as military information and must be kept confidential. As for the Salt Pan Division, you must pay close attention to it. I will clear this up with General Shi.”
“In addition, starting from tomorrow, we will be changing the meetings to once per week. Who attends should also be fixed, in principle, only the secretaries of the various divisions need to meet. If there is a need, you can take one or two deputies along to go to the meetings. If you have problems from day to day you can report to me directly.”
Gu Xiuwen nodded and seeing his lord had nothing else to say, rose and departed.
The next day, Ouyang Shuo stopped in on General Shi, asking about the construction on the salt pan fields.
Although he was a military man, General Shi was quite familiar with military books and reading. Even in an unfamiliar area, he was still able to think clearly. He stated unambiguously, “The intrinsic principles of the Sun Drying Salt technical manual are solid and backed by experience. You need an average of one salt worker per two mu. The average monthly harvest is 200 units of salt per mu. As our manpower is currently limited, I will recommend the first phase of the construction to be one hundred mu of salt fields. According to final estimates of the whole, the whole beach is expected to open up tens of thousands of mu of salt fields.”
Ouyang Shuo made some mental measurements. In the Market, a unit of salt sold for 20 copper. In other words, a mu of land could produce a gold coin in pure profit, which was very impressive. Unfortunately, the sea salt cycle took an entire month. To obtain the first harvest, they could not count on it when they were building the grade 2 village.
Ouyang Shuo knew that the population limit for the second village was 500 people, a gap of 300 people from the first village. According to the average flow of immigrants, it would take 20 days to reach the full population. With that delay, because he’d need some additional funds for work in the secondary village, he’d have to think of another method.
General Shi stood aside, watching him standing there in a daze, amused at Ouyang Shuo’s bemused expression as he wrestled with the problem.
Ouyang Shuo blinked as he returned to normal and asked, “When can the first phase of 100 mu be completed? You needn’t worry about the labor, I have already discussed it with Xiuwen yesterday.”
General Shi relaxed. “According to current progress, we’ll be finished tomorrow afternoon.”
“Excellent, I’ll be waiting for your good news!”
General Shi nodded and walked away, just then, there was a spate of system announcements.
"System Notice: Congratulations to the player Chun Shenjun for becoming the second Lord in China to upgrade to the Grade 2 village, reward 1000 merit points!”
"System Notice: Congratulations to the player Chun Shenjun...”
"System Notice: Congratulations...”
The Tianhe Consortium had really strong financial resources. Chen Shenjun had managed to become the second in China to upgrade to a Grade 2 village.
Unfazed, Ouyang Shuo knew that the most important thing to do now was the things on hand. Today he was ready to do only one thing, and that was to visit the territory of all the skilled talents one by one to encourage them to take on apprentices.
Among those people, Advanced Shipbuilder Zheng Dahai had enrolled four apprentices and did not need to be visited. Basic Carpenter Zhao Youfang and Basic Stonemason Zheng Shangun were designated as part of the civil service and were no longer suitable for training apprentices.
Yingyu had found two young business apprentices, a man, and a woman. The man was called Qian Lifei, originally the owner of a brothel. His village had been looted, and he had come to Shanhai Village. The woman was called Du Xiaolan, also the daughter of a businessman. Yingyu took her in and deliberately kept her around, teaching her carefully. Both were temporarily placed in the Material Reserve Division by Yingyu, acting as her assistants.
Ouyang Shuo’s first visit was to the small courtyard of Dr. Song. He was the first high-level talent in Shanhai Village, but he had not yet recruited an apprentice, which made Ouyang Shuo a little dissatisfied. Thinking about this, it was all well and fine for the doctor, because he was living in the house of the lord as a symbol of the lord’s power. But the old man, except for going out occasionally to gather herbs and mix up his golden medicine, did not do anything else.
As Ouyang Shuo came in, Dr. Song was in the room reading medical books leisurely. Seeing him come in, Dr. Song said lightly, “I did not know sire was coming. You haven’t been caring for me, it is strange to see sire. I don’t think you came to see me, what is the matter?”
Seeing Dr. Song with this attitude, Ouyang Shuo’s heart was even more irritated. Seeing that he needed help from the person, he patiently said, “The recent affairs of the territory have kept me busy and I have neglected Elder, please don't worry!”
Dr. Song’s feelings were stirred up, saying, “Sire’s words are heavy. I'm a free man, not doing anything, I'm fine. Sire is the lord of the village. You obviously have many things to do.”
Talking with him, Ouyang Shuo rapidly understood the crux of the problem. The old man was not as indifferent to fame and fortune as he thought he was. Ouyang Shuo said some words of courtesy, and in turn, he listened well.
The doctor’s meaning was obvious. He lived in a small courtyard, the other people had found official positions, and he was alone. When Ouyang Shuo came, he was the lord who treated him with respect and cares for the future. Now with another helper, he did not put him in mind. So many days, he didn’t say even a word of greeting. Even Yingyu, that girl, who was so busy, had no time to see him! He had turned invisible. That Er Wazi did not speak with him, so how could he not vent?
Shou had not expected this. The old man looked so grand and strong, but his desire for fame and fortune were so heavy. Hey, yeah, a desire for recognition was good. He was really afraid he would not accept his request and did not know where to start again.
So, Ouyang Shuo smiled and said, “Soon, I will set up a special medical institution, a hospital, to take over the medical affairs for the whole territory. To get it started, there must naturally be enough people. Elder is a noble person, so I should not disturb you. But there is no one else in the territory who can help me at this time!”
Dr. Song was moved. “Sire, do not worry. These bones may be old, but I can certainly handle teaching three or four younger folk without a problem.”
Ouyang Shuo laughed, “Then I shall leave this to the great elder of Shanhai Village without worries!”
After speaking with Dr. Song, the other skilled folk was much easier. For Basic Blacksmith Li Tiezhu and his wife Lee the Basic Chef, Ouyang Shuo promised to arrange for them a separate small courtyard at the right time for them to live in. The couple was happy to promise to recruit two apprentices each.
Merchant Li Fugui had recruited an apprentice yesterday but had not reported it yet. Today, Ouyang Shuo promised to build the first-class carpenter, Lu Guangshi, a Carpenter’s Workshop for woodworking, and to look for a for his research. The carpenter immediately agreed to recruit two apprentices.
After a round of all this lobbying, Ouyang Shuo ’s voice was hoarse. However, it had all been worth it, for the territory had ten more apprentices. Adding in voluntary enrollment, that brought the total apprentices to seventeen. When they finished their initial training, the village was going to have a small outbreak of talent.