That afternoon, the empress summoned all the court officials to discuss these matters. All of them reacted even more strongly than the empress.
Someone immediately suggested killing Gu Zicheng as a sacrifice to the gods and attacking Great Xia afterward.
No one cared about how the Seventh Prince died or who killed him.
Everyone had the same idea.
I never provoked you, so how dare you find trouble with me? Since you want a fight, I will give it to you. Do you think I'm scared of you? Now, we even have a chance to ransack Great Xia!
Only Shi Qing and Zhe Kouhai, who were both old and wise, remained silent while stroking their beards.
"Great Elder, do you have anything to say?" The empress wasn't surprised at everyone's reaction.
It was normal for the aboriginals to have such a reaction.
Whoever had the bigger fist was the boss. Only weaklings defended themselves by using their mouths.
"I feel that we have to alert the Protectorates of the North, Northeast, and Southeast; especially the latter two. The Yun Nation and the Chen Nation might take actions too, hence these two protectorates have to be on high alert at all times. Also, we need to look into the issue of salt. I'm afraid the number of salt merchants coming to Dayao from the Yun and Chen Nations will reduce greatly after the war starts. This will pose a huge problem to us. The citizens living in the mountains will have a tougher life from now onward," Shi Qing said solemnly.
Hearing these words, the empress nodded.
The availability of salt was indeed a huge problem for them.
After the war started, the trade routes would definitely be affected. By then, the amount of salt transported to Dayao would drastically decrease.
Now, they had to depend on Ren Baqian's trip to the mountain.
"Your Majesty, rather than putting up a defense against them, why don't we strike first and gain the upper hand? We should attack Yun Nation and seize their salt pans. This way, the issue of salt availability will be solved. Otherwise, we can also ransack their cities. I don't believe their cities don't contain any salt," Qin Chuan stepped forward and said.
The empress did not say anything after hearing these words. It was not difficult to withstand an invasion from the Yun Nation with 15,000 men, but it would be impossible to invade and penetrate Yun Nation.
However, the success rate of ransacking the Yun Nation's cities for their ironware and salt seemed rather high.
Of course, Dayao would have a higher price to pay this way. Doing so would cause Dayao to be attacked by the Yun Nation and Great Xia at the same time.
Simultaneously starting a war on two fronts would be strenuous for Dayao despite its formidability.
Defending a city was completely different from attacking a city.
"How's the recruitment for new soldiers coming along?" the empress asked.
"Your Majesty, the recruitment has completed. We have recruited a total of 20,000 new soldiers, and their training has just begun. It would take at least half a year before they are operationally ready. However, I'm afraid we don't have sufficient weapons and equipment. The military armory is nearly empty. The last bit of resources was transported to the Protectorate of the North two months ago."
The empress nodded. "Let the new soldiers practice with wooden swords first."
Following which, the empress asked Feng Hou about the availability of weaponry in Dayao.
Talking about this matter, Feng Hou had a cheerful look on his face. Currently, Mount Damo was producing tens of thousands of catties of iron every day. In less than three months, they had produced 600,000 catties of iron, which was enough to forge 30,000 weapons.
Currently, a huge number of iron ingots was sent to Jingtian Furnaces every month. However, at this point in time, sabers were still forged by hammering the iron repeatedly to get rid of the impurities and adding in beasts' blood to give them the characteristics of an alloy. Even a master blacksmith could only forge a maximum of three standard sabers in a day.
Jingtian Furnaces had a total of over 20 master blacksmiths and some ordinary craftsmen. They could produce less than 100 weapons per day.
Currently, there were approximately 3,000 standard sabers piled up in Jingtian Furnaces.
This number had made Feng Hou overjoyed.
Everyone was stunned after hearing his words. They did not expect that so much weaponry could be produced in two months.
Following which, all of them looked very happy.
At this speed, they would be able to fully equip a 10,000-man army in two months' time.
One had to know that Dayao only had 90,000 soldiers in the past.
Given the aboriginals' fighting capabilities, 10,000 of them was equivalent to 100,000 soldiers from the other nations.
The empress nodded. "Can it be faster?"
After thinking about it, Feng Hou replied, "We can make 150 weapons every day at the most."
This way, they could make 4,500 weapons every month. Every official in the court had a look of satisfaction on their faces.
However, the empress still felt that it wasn't enough.
Even though she appeared speechless after hearing Qin Chuan's words, deep down she was actually only slightly affected.
Dayao was lacking in too many resources.
Especially after she followed Ren Baqian to Earth, she realized Dayao was lacking in all kinds of resources. To reach the development level of Earth, Dayao needed not only knowledge, but various kinds of resources as well.
They needed salt, iron, copper, bronze, and all kinds of various metallic resources.
They also needed an enormous amount of manpower.
How could she build a new city if she did not have money and manpower? How could she reconstruct the roads if she did not have money and manpower?
The imperial treasury was empty, and the resources that sustained Ren Baqian's cultivation could only last for one more month. What could she do without money?
Ren Baqian had thought about this problem as well. However, his solution was trade-based.
On the contrary, the empress's solution was much more direct.
Seize them from other nations!
What should they do if they did not have enough manpower? The armies and citizens of the Yun Nation could be the manpower they needed! Ren Baqian did mention that the best solution was to transform those people into laborers and make them build roads.
At that time, even though the empress had not said anything about it, she did make a mental note of it.
What should they do if they had no money? They would have money once they took down the Yun Nation.
Taking down the Yun Nation did not mean that they would ransack it and run away like they had in the past. Rather, it meant annexing the entire Yun Nation.
The issue of managing the citizens of the Yun Nation could be settled in the future
Furthermore, she had Ren Baqian to aid her.
He could think of solutions for her.
Ren Baqian's home country had 56 ethnic groups, so he should know what to do.
However, Dayao's current military strength was still not enough to annex the Yun Nation. It wouldn't be enough even if they had an additional 20,000 soldiers.
Sitting on her throne, the empress looked slightly dazed. Tong Zhenye stepped forward and said, "Your Majesty, Principal Ren might have a solution for the matter of weaponry. Principal Ren once said that there is something that can turn iron into steel. This thing allows metal to be forged into weaponry without having to hammer it repeatedly..."
Tong Zhenye's words brought the empress back to her senses.
"Alright, I will ask him later." After finishing her sentence, the empress remained silent as a pensive look appeared on her face.
Upon seeing the empress's facial expression, no one else dared to say anything either. All of them were waiting for her to say something.
"How many soldiers do you think we will need to successfully annex the Yun Nation?" the empress asked.
The atmosphere in the palace hall froze in an instant.
No one expected the empress to say such words with a straight face at this point in time.
Your Majesty, are you serious?
"Your Majesty, excluding the 20,000 recruits, we will need another 60,000 soldiers," Qin Chuan immediately replied with a loud and clear voice. From the speed of his reply, he must have thought of this for at least one or two days. Otherwise, he would have used his fingers to do the math.
"Actually, I have already thought about it. Right now, the Yun Nation has a total of 400,000 soldiers. If we engage them in a war, they will continue to recruit new soldiers. Given the Yun Nation's strength, they would have at least 700,000 soldiers. We will need at least 60,000 soldiers to take down the East Sea and annex Yun Nation. And if we attack the Yun Nation, Great Xia and the Chen Nation will definitely interfere as well. This will extend the battle line, and we will have to face several battle fronts. We will need an addition of 20,000 soldiers..."
If the battle line was extended into the interior of the Yun Nation, many areas would be affected.
"Get ready to recruit another 20,000 soldiers!" the empress said.
"Yes!" An excited look flashed across Qin Chuan's face instantly.
"Your Majesty... If we recruit another 20,000 soldiers, I'm afraid we don't have enough food and money to supply them. We have already stretched our limits by training the current 20,000 recruits," the Minister of Revenue, Tu Wan, immediately said.
Propping up her chin with her index finger, the empress replied, "There is money in the Yun Nation just waiting for Dayao's warriors to take. As for food..."
The court session last from noon to night. During dinner, when the empress told Ren Baqian about some of the matters discussed during the court session, he was stunned.
What's going on? I thought we were preparing to attack Great Xia? Why are we attacking Yun Nation now?
Everyone in the court discussed this with enthusiasm for the entire afternoon?
And this decision has been approved?
How headstrong are all of you exactly? How weird are all of you exactly?
After a long while, Ren Baqian asked with a helpless look on his face, "Your Majesty, are you serious?"
The empress wiped her mouth and rolled her eyes at him. "Even if Mount Damo can produce tens of thousands of catties of iron, we will still lack iron. If we want Dayao to reach the development level of your world, the amount of resources we need are immense. Just Mount Damo alone is not enough. Dayao lacks iron and the Yun Nation has a lot of iron mines. Dayao lacks money and the Yun Nation has plenty of it. Dayao lacks blacksmiths and the Yun Nation has a multitude of them. Dayao lacks manpower and they can be found everywhere in the Yun Nation. The Yun Nation has everything we need, therefore why shouldn't we annex it? As for the recruitment of new soldiers, we can recruit them from the countless fearsome warriors living in the Sixty Thousand Mountains. Currently, we are lacking other things. We have to think about the issues regarding the lack of weaponry and food. In the future, I also want you to come up with ways to settle down the people of the Yun Nation. Are there any more questions?"
Ren Baqian, "..."
Your Majesty, you have already evolved from "buying things" to "seizing things."
In the past, even though Ren Baqian knew that Great Xia would attack Dayao sooner or later, he still felt he was very far from experiencing a war. However, the current course of events still caught him by surprise. At the same time, he felt that the wars in this world weren't as uncommon as he thought.
Furthermore, Dayao did not lack manpower as badly as the empress thought. There were still roughly 10 million remnant citizens of the Hao Nation enjoying their retirement lives in the south.
"Your Majesty, why you don't want to attack the Chen Nation? The Chen Nation is situated at the south of the Yun Nation and is its only neighbor. It is a more suitable target than the Yun Nation, which has Great Xia and the Chen Nation as its neighbors," Ren Baqian asked curiously.
"The Yun Nation has many resources that the Chen Nation doesn't have. Furthermore, there are many waterways and rivers in the Chen Nation. There are many places where they can delay our military conquest by destroying bridges. If we annex them, we will have a lot of troubles to deal with in the future. On the contrary, we can gallop straight across the Yun Nation because is a flat land."
A look of realization dawned upon Ren Baqian's face. Following which, he gave the empress a thumbs-up and praised her, "Your Majesty, you have indeed thought long and hard about this decision. When other people are still thinking about Great Xia, you have already thought about the distant future and made plans for it. This will increase the speed at which Dayao develops. It is definitely necessary to plan for the future if we want to quickly establish a solid foundation for the coming of the Information Age to Dayao..."
The empress nodded solemnly.
Then, a smile bloomed on her face like a flower.