The Empress's Gigolo Chapter 156
Chapter 156: Mining Iron Mountain Is Hard
Chapter 156: Mining Iron Mountain Is Hard
Translator: YHHH Editor: Book_Hoarder
"It had been nearly one century since mining started on this Mount Damo and still very little progress has been made. Mount Damo could be described as entirely made of iron, incomparably hard and extremely hard to mine. For so many years, the mining had only progressed to the stage you are seeing now. One person might not even mine a piece per day.
As Gu Qiong led the crowd in the direction of Mount Damo, he gave an introduction on the geography of the mountain, with special emphasis directed at Ren Baqian.
Gu Qiong actually recognized Tao Jiyuan as he had met him several times before. As for this Imperial Deputy Prefect from the palace, his status was extraordinary and this was also his first time here. Thus, he had the need to brief him on the situation.
Ren Baqian's knowledge of iron ore mines was obtained from the internet. Only after hearing Gu Xiong's introduction, he realized that Mount Damo was quite different from what he envisaged.
As they approached Mount Damo, they met the prisoners of war from the other three nations.
Except for those guards, very few outsiders would come here.
Especially when there was one Dayao official who stood out from the rest of the aboriginals, causing the eyes of the people to light up upon noticing him.
These people had been detained here for at least five years and as long as twenty years. They were always thinking of leaving this place and going back to their hometowns.
However, the three hundred armed guards were enough to suppress any riots. Those who entertained the idea of rebelling or escaping failed to survive.
This made the ones that were left behind, somewhat resigned to their fate.
However, at present, they unexpectedly saw a Dayao official who was not an aboriginal. This gave them a little bit of hope and one after another, they stood up transfixed and looked at him with high expectations.
"What are you standing there for? Get out of the way and work! If you dare to loaf around on the job again, I will hang your head on the outside wall." Several guards took their knives and drove the crowd away.
"Where are they from?" Ren Baqian also noticed that these people obviously came from the other three countries.
"Do the aboriginals engage in slave trading?" The thought arose immediately in Ren Baqian mind.
These are the soldiers of Great Xia, the Yun Nation, and the Chen Nation. Also, there are some from the south who are on death row." Gu Qiong explained to Ren Baqian. He was also curious about the identity of this Imperial Deputy Prefect who was not an aboriginal and yet was a Secondary class, Rank 5 imperial official. Moreover, he was the imperial officer responsible for various important matters in the imperial palace which made it hard for him not to be curious.
The rumors about the empress's husband had spread feverishly to Lan City, the surroundings, and even some mountain villages. But, he obviously hadn't heard anything about it yet.
After hearing this, Ren Baqian realized that the aboriginals were not stupid either and knew how to use prisoner of wars as miners. As for the prisoners from the south who were on death row, they should be the remnant citizens of the Hao Nation.
Ren Baqian observed these people as he walked along, their outward appearances were alright, not like the sallow complexions he'd expected to see and many were muscular.
After all, even a normal person would develop muscles after working for a long time here. However, a normal person would not be able to survive here for long if they work here.
Everyone was wearing tattered pants while their tanned upper bodies were covered with scars, some caused by mining and some from whip lashes.
In addition, there was a rope twisted around each person's feet. Three prisoners were tied together, with a length of about two meters between them.
After asking, it was known that the rope was made from the bark of a sturdy branch tree which was soaked in oil. It was very tough and couldn't even be torn by a practitioner at the Man Level. Even if a sword was used to cut it, it would still require heap lot of effort.
On the way up, Ren Baqian saw a few people with missing limbs and they were using their hands to pick broken pieces of slag to put into a basket.
While observing these people, he noticed they were looking at him with expectation and their numb eyes were filled with longing.
Ren Baqian knew what they were longing for, but he was not able to help them.
The people in front were driven off and Ren Baqian followed Gu Qiong to the front of Mount Damo.
After disembarking at the site of the mine, the first thing they came across was a big flat platform and many wooden houses for visitors to rest in. Further up the road was a small flat platform and beyond that was blackened landscape, without soil or weed and Mount Damo seemed to be composed of fine iron.
The mining was done from the outside inwards, the iron ore removed layer by layer and without digging any holes.
There was a lot of scaffolding in front of Mount Damo, which people used to climb up and slowly mine the ore from the side in a slightly easier way.
However, after a certain height, which the platforms could not reach, they had to dig deeper.
"Sir, this iron ore from Mount Damo is hard to extract, with my ability I can only shave off one small piece at a time." Gu Qiong picked up a pickaxe by his side and smashed it into the dark iron wall with a whistling sound.
There was a "clang" sound as if Mars had exploded. The wooden handle of the pickaxe broke and the head of the pickaxe flew and spun out into the air before falling onto the ground.
Following the flying pickaxe head were some small broken pieces about the size of a fist.
"Those people cannot even produce a piece as big as this per day."
"So hard?" Ren Baqian was taken aback even though he had heard it before.
Although he didn't know the ability of Gu Qiong, since he held the highest position in this mine and was in charge of 300 guards, his strength couldn't be that low.
Moreover, Ren Baqian clearly saw him executing the blow, the handle of the pickaxe which was as thick as a wrist was smashed and the strength exerted was between 800 and 1000 kilograms, only smashed a fist-sized iron ore out.
This was not a mine, it was actually an iron mountain.
Ren Baqian reached out his hands to touch the surface of the rock, it felt like iron of ninety five percent purity and above, with very little rock content.
If not for some rock content, Ren Baqian would have thought it was manmade, rather than it being the natural form.
Although there was some rock content, it were also very hard. Ren Baqian picked up an iron hammer and aimed at the point where the iron ore and rock met. He used all his strength, the sparks flew and the only white dot appeared on the surface of the rock.
Seeing such a situation, Ren Baqian was not too sure of the explosives that he had brought along.
Even if it was effective, it might not reach his expectations.
"I have no other ideas, you two sirs feel free to look around." Gu Qiong did not expect any hope to be given from the two persons. In fact, he felt he could only mine in this slow way and was not optimistic that these two could help him.
Tao Jiyuan was very clear about the situation here, he was casually watching Ren Baqian to find out whether this person, who was specially handpicked by Her Majesty for this job, was really capable.
He had interacted with Ren Baqian for a few days, and based on the way he conveyed his thoughts, that man really had some novel ideas, some of which were very strange. However, just speaking with the mouth was just useless plain rhetoric, and it wasn't like the other countries lacked such people.
He was unwilling to accept the fact that this guy was receiving unexpected favor from the empress.
As a result, he would also like to know whether it was due to the great love of the empress or just fantasy, whether this guy was just bluffing Her Majesty or really had some ideas.
It would be interesting if the person handpicked by Her Majesty on a grand scale for this job had to go back dejectedly with his tail between his legs.
At least it would make it difficult for him to do anything in future. Even if Her Majesty gave the orders, everyone still had to agree outwardly.