The Empress's Gigolo Chapter 222
Chapter 222: It Is Indeed Terrifying To Have No Culture
Chapter 222: It Is Indeed Terrifying to Have No Culture
Translator: YHHH Editor: Book_Hoarder
Early the next morning, Ren Baqian went out to join Tong Zhenye. In addition, the Overseer of Military Arms Feng Hou, and the Junior Overseer of Military Arms Zhe Hongbo accompanied them on this expedition as well. The group of people, along with the imperial bodyguards, majestically headed straight to the outskirts of the east gate.
Ren Baqian rode on a fork-horned cow, which was the most commonly seen mount in the plains of Dayao. He was in the midst of the crowd and from time to time, the fork-horned cow would twist its buttocks as if there were nails on the ground. It was really uncomfortable to ride on this thing and was inferior compared to the mountain-gazing bird.
But, it required a lot of courage for one to ride a mountain-gazing bird in a crowd. Let's not talk about the Dj vu of sneaking in an Alto among a fleet of BMWs. The faint but nose-assailing stench that would infiltrate one's nose was enough to push the majority of the people far away.
It was the first time Ren Baqian traveled towards the east gate of Lan City. After going out of the east gate and going forward for about an hour, they would have to change their direction and head towards the north for another hour before seeing a small hill. From afar, they were able to see black smoke emitting from that small hill. When they got closer, they saw a wall which was surrounded by rocks and was about the height of an average human. There was an enormous door right at the front and this place seemed desolated. This was the Jingtian Furnace.
In general, iron ores from Mount Liucui would be smelted first in a small town outside the mountains. After which, they would be transferred over here together with the iron ores from Mount Damo.
The guards at Jingtian Furnace opened the door upon seeing a group of people coming from afar. After everyone had entered, they were able to see a huge piece of vacant land. It was sparsely packed with iron ores and copper ores after their initial stage of smelting. Also, there was a large pile of firewood which was currently drying in the sun.
In addition, there were also the ores which Ren Baqian had seen at the Ministry of Works yesterday. Those piles of ores had also been transported over and piled at the side. There were also people smashing them into pieces.
Firstly, a few fierce-looking burly men put the limestone onto an iron plate. After that, they smashed it in one move and it immediately turned into tiny pieces. In no time, a pile of fragmented ores appeared on that iron plate. Following which, another person would transport these fragmented ores onto another iron plate at the other side. There was a huge stone roller placed on top of the iron plate. It was similar to the calendar roll at the front of the road roller. The two people, one on the left and one on the right, pushed the huge stone roller forward which immediately crushed those fragmented pieces further into tinier particles. Then, they pushed it back again.
After going through this process for a few more times, there was an additional piece of ore powder as well as a little slag left on the iron plate. Then, someone came to save it aside and used a sieve to sift out the fine powder.
When everyone turned their heads and looked at the burly men smashing the ores, the people of the Ministry of Works rushed out to meet with them and ushered them inside.
It was said that an earthen kiln was found inside. However, it would be better to say that it was made from cylinders that were made of clay. It was two meters wide and three meters tall. After putting the iron ores inside, a large quantity of firewood would also be put inside to melt them. But, the speed was very slow. Furthermore, it was also necessary to add a relatively rare firewood called Flaming Timbre to raise the temperature to a sufficient temperature to successfully melt the iron ores.
After which, molten iron would flow out of one of the troughs below.
The iron obtained in this way were soft, but there were a lot of impurities in it. However, it still required a smith to pound the impurities out after burning it for a long time.
It could be said that the efficiency for the methods of smelting and wroughting the iron was considerably low. Also, it was time-consuming and the consumption of firewood was also great.
As Ren Baqian walked, he listened to the supervisor of Jingtian Furnaces introduce the sequence of processes over here and nodded to express that he understood.
However, when Ren Baqian was walking inside, he saw huge boxes that were as tall as an average human, place by the side of each furnace.
It was the box bellows that Ren Baqian had mentioned to Feng Hou previously.
"With this box bellows, the temperature of the furnace has increased a lot and the speed of smelting iron is also much faster. This is all thanks to Deputy Prefect Ren." Feng Hou nodded his head at Ren Baqian.
That Ministry of Works official looked at Ren Baqian as he heard Feng Hou's words. The box bellows which he heard of from Feng Hou, was actually suggested by Ren Baqian?
"When will the other box bellows be ready?" Feng Hou asked that the Ministry of Works official again.
"It will be ready in two days' time." That official promptly responded.
"Are the raw materials used to make cement, mixed according to the proportion?" Ren Baqian questioned Tong Zhenye. Tong Zhenye looked at Feng Hou, Fenghou looked at Zhen Hongbo, and Zhen Hongbo looked at that official again.
"Sir, are you talking about the ores that were delivered yesterday? It has been mixed accordingly to the formula." That official replied at once.
Ren Baqian swept his gaze across everyone and noticed that there were all looking at one another. In that case, he felt that it would be better for him to just ask this official.
"How should I address you?"
"Sir Deputy Prefect, I am the supervisor of Jingtian Furnaces and you can call me Tie Mu. If there's anything that Sir doesn't understand, you can always inquire from me." Tie Mu said with his fists cupped. The husband selected by the empress was the only official in the imperial court that wasn't an aboriginal. Anyone would be able to recognize him.
Not to mention those who were officials.
"Transport the raw materials for making cement over." Ren Baqian nodded. "Let's take a look at the results after burning it."
Following that, someone brought over the cement powder. Ren Baqian checked it, and it was all fine powder that had been sifted out.
After which, they found an empty furnace and added firewood inside. Then, they filled a hollow clay pillar that had many fine holes, with cement before adding it into the clay furnace. Dense smoke soon spouted from the top of the clay furnace, drifting in all four directions around it. Everyone took a few steps back to watch from a distance.
In order to achieve Ren Baqian's temperature requirements, there was also someone standing amidst the smoke while covering his nose and pulling the bellows. He coughed every now and then before someone went to take over his position.
"How long do we have to burn it for?" Tong Zhenye asked.
"It shouldn't be too long. It will be fine as long as we can achieve the proper temperature." Ren Baqian wasn't very certain as well. From the data he obtained, there was only information on the changes in cement at a certain temperature. But, there wasn't any information on how long it should be burned.
"Let's try firing bricks," Ren Baqian suggested as he looked at the clay furnaces around him.
Originally, he was ready to wait for the cement to be burned before building a furnace for firing bricks. But at this moment, Ren Baqian felt that he could use these clay furnaces to experiment. In any case, they weren't really busy at all.
It had been some time since they retrieved that clay. Although they weren't dry, they have eroded to a certain extent and should be sufficient for firing bricks.
Following which, one of Jingtian Furnaces' craftsman began to pour the clay powder into the trough, added some water and stirred it till it became clay paste according to Ren Baqian's instructions. Then, he kneaded the mixture into bricks of fixed shape. He placed them inside, along the walls of the clay furnace before adding firewood in the middle and started to calcine.
"I'm afraid that this will require about ten days to burn without stopping the fire at all," Ren Baqian said to Tie Mu as he hurriedly noted it down.
Until now, he didn't even know what these big shots were burning clay for. In any case, he just had to follow accordingly to their arrangements. Nowadays, there wasn't much work at Jingtian Furnaces anyway. Within a month, they were unoccupied for at least two weeks.
The firing of cement was very fast. It quenched and cooled quickly before the sky turned dark. After that, they took that hollow clay pillar out and poured the cement onto the ground. It was already sintered pieces inside and when it fell to the ground, it broke down into even smaller pieces.
Everyone judged Ren Baqian. This was the cement which he claimed was similar to stone?
Ren Baqian crouched by the side of those worked materials and used his hand to grab some. In his hands were additional crystals that were similar to glass, it was sintered during the use of the high temperature.
"Eh? Are these precious stone?" At first, Feng Hou was astounded. Soon after, he revealed an expression that he had just discovered a big secret.
Just now, it was clearly soil when it was delivered inside. But after he exited the room, why were there gemstones in the room? Albeit the gemstones were small and didn't worth much, but they were still definitely more valuable than soil.
Although the materials didn't burn into stone like what Ren Baqian said, but if it was possible to obtain precious stones from the process, this was already considered a big step forward.
But everyone began to let their imaginations roam freely.
Where were these soils dug out from?
"It's glass. Or, it could be said that it's the crystallization of glass." Ren Baqian gave everyone the side-eye.