For the next two days, Ren Baqian went to the academy in the morning and dawdled at the Ministry of Works in the afternoon. He was discussing two important matters with Tong Zhenye. These two matters were regarding the blast furnace and the steelmaking method.
The blast furnace that he introduced was frequently used in the Song Dynasty and was already very close to a modern one in terms of its mechanics. Furthermore, it used charcoal instead of coal, so it was quite suitable for Dayao.
It made use of hydraulic power to operate the furnace bellows through a water wheel beneath it that was driven by flowing water. Utilizing wheels, axles, tension bars, and gears, the furnace bellows would open and close repeatedly. The higher the wind power, the stronger the fire burned.
This method allowed pig iron and wrought iron to be obtained easily. Furthermore, pig iron and wrought iron could be produced indefinitely now. When the blast furnace was turned off, molten iron would flow out from its side. The iron ores could be inserted into the blast furnace from its top.
This would save a lot of manpower.
Afterwards, Ren Baqian taught them the method of steelmaking. By hammering pig iron and wrought iron together, the carbon content in each type of metal would diffuse across to the other. This method could increase the speed that the iron became steel by several times. Furthermore, this method did not require any craftsmen. It could be driven solely by a hydraulic system. The craftsmen were needed only for the last part of the process.
With this method, Dayao's speed of smelting iron and forging weapons could be increased by least 10 times.
Other things could be slowly developed in the future. After all, there were many things that were very useful to Dayao. However, given the current technological level of Dayao, they still couldn't be produced.
"Can you see that? Water will flow down from here and push the wooden wheel. In turn, the wooden wheel will spur the tension bar. Then, this hammer will automatically strike..." Ren Baqian was using a small model to explain how the blast furnace worked. He personally oversaw the craftsmen in rushing out this model.
A tiny wooden wheel was placed above a wooden trough. When water was poured down the wooden trough, the wooden wheel would be pushed by the flowing water and would revolve about its axis, displaying the process that Ren Baqian just talked about.
"I see..." Everyone in the courtyard nodded.
In the courtyard, there were Tong Zhenye, Feng Hou, officials from the Ministry of Works, and some craftsmen. All of them were staring at a wooden plank placed in their center. On top of the wooden plank, there were a few models that Ren Baqian displayed for everyone to see, including the models of a blast furnace and a hydraulic system.
"So you can produce steel by doing this with these two types of metals?" The craftsmen looked slightly doubtful. They had been smelting iron their entire lives and found it hard to accept someone teaching them what to do.
Most people's eyes lit up. Previously, they didn't think that this could actually be done.
These things weren't difficult to understand, but they would never have thought of them if it weren't for Ren Baqian.
Especially at this critical moment, the things that Ren Baqian showed them were extremely useful.
"Choose a suitable location to build this. If you encounter any problems, send someone to notify me. I will be entering the mountains for quite some time. Otherwise, you can wait until I return," Ren Baqian said to everyone.
"By the way, this water wheel can also be used to irrigate fields if you make some tweaks to it. You can think about it."
Following which, Ren Baqian left the Ministry of Works with Tong Zhenye.
"Sir Tong, I've already given you the blueprints and the models, and I've also told you the issues that you should take note of. The rest will depend on all of you."
Tong Zhenye nodded. Naturally, he knew the importance of this matter.
"Sir Tong, I still have something to do. Follow me to the Great Elder's residence first!" Ren Baqian said.
Under the company of the imperial guards, both of them arrived at the Great Elder's residence. Then, they were led to Shi Qing's study room by one of his servants.
"Greetings, Sirs!" The moment Ren Baqian and Tong Zhenye entered the room, they saw Shi Qing, Zhe Kouhai, Qin Chuan, and their counterparts surrounding a box on a table.
"Sir Ren, will this thing really work like what you said?" Qin Chuan asked with doubt.
He felt incredulous after being summoned and told by Shi Qing that this thing allowed a person to communicate with another person who was a thousand miles away.
"You will know after we try it. Yesterday, I had already sent some men to Jiaozi. By now, they should have arrived." Ren Baqian nodded at everyone. Jiaozi was a town situated 400 miles away from Lan City.
"What is this?" Tong Zhenye asked curiously.
"It's a radio station. If you place one in Lan City and one in Ping City, they will allow the two cities to communicate with each other at any time, just like how two people talk to each other face-to-face. There is no delay and messages can be transmitted instantly. We will not need yiniao anymore," Ren Baqian gave a simple explanation and gave Tong Zhenye a fright.
"See this button? This is the switch for the radio station. Switch it on and adjust the frequency..." Ren Baqian explained to everyone as he read the instruction manual.
"The instructions on how to use this are written on this paper?" Tong Zhenye immediately asked.
"Yes. After I leave, you can ask the students from the academy to read it for you."
"Hey! Hey!" Ren Baqian yelled at the box on the table.
This radio station had a transmitter and a receiver attached to it.
"Just like this?" Qin Chuan and the rest looked at the box with doubt.
"The radio station there hasn't been switched on. Wait for a while, and they will contact us later," Ren Baqian explained.
"Buzz, buzz." After some time, a buzzing sound emitted from the radio station. Following which, it gave off a doubtful voice. "Is this how it is supposed to be used? Sir Ren told us to press this button..."
Hearing this voice, everyone was shocked.
"Hey, can you hear me? Where are you now?" Ren Baqian asked again.
"Eh? There is a voice!" the person on other side exclaimed. Following which, he realized who it was and continued, "Is this Sir Ren? I'm Xu Le and am in Jiaozi now..."
"Success!" Ren Baqian raised his head and gave everyone a smile.
With this thing, Dayao would have an easier time fighting the war.
They could also discuss offensive and defensive strategies through the radio stations. All the armies of Dayao could be considered integrated now.
"Which part of Jiaozi are you at now?" Qin Chuan asked.
Following which, Qin Chuan and Xu Le asked and answered each other's questions for a while. Everyone could hear their conversation clearly, and they no longer had any doubt.
Shi Qing and Zhe Kouhai were very excited. Then, they looked at Ren Baqian in an extremely eccentric manner.
"What are you looking at?" Ren Baqian felt extremely uncomfortable.
"Sir Ren, this is called a radio station? How does it work exactly? Will my son learn about these things in the academy as well?" Shi Qing asked curiously.
"Of course. However, whatever things you do, it's best to take it a step at a time. They have a lot more to learn before they can make such a thing." Ren Baqian nodded.
"Good, good." Shi Qing smiled with satisfaction while stroking his beard. This thing had shown them how formidable Ren Baqian was.
It was much more valuable than the solar furnace.
"Sir Ren, is your academy still accepting students?" Zhe Kouhai asked after hearing Ren Baqian's words. He remembered he still had a few nephews back home who were quite smart.
Previously, he disapproved of Ren Baqian greatly. However, this thing that Ren Baqian took out had changed his opinion instantly.
"I might be taking in a new batch of students next year or the year after next year," Ren Baqian replied. He already had enough students for now and would need to wait for at least one year before he took in another batch of students. He would choose the two most outstanding students from the current batch to lead the new batch of students.
If he did not do this, he would be worked to death. This bunch of students had been causing his blood pressure to rise.
"How many of these things do you have?" Zhe Kouhai asked. Everyone else paid a lot of attention to this question as well.
"40, which should be enough. However, right now I have only 10 with me. It will take some time before the rest arrive," Ren Baqian nodded and replied.
"I will leave this radio station here. You can use it to contact me or Her Majesty."
"Sir Ren, you have done Dayao a meritorious service again this time around." Tong Zhenye chuckled, looking overjoyed. Even though he wasn't in charge of this thing, he could tell how important and valuable it was.
"When you're back from the mountains, I will treat you to a drink at House Yunyan!" Tong Zhenye patted Ren Baqian's shoulder heavily.
Fortunately, after attaining the level of Man Wheel, Ren Baqian's body had become much stronger. If it was in the past, he would have collapsed to the ground.
"Oh? Is that so?" A female voice suddenly came out from the radio station, sending a cold shiver down Tong Zhenye's spine.
"Your Majesty? Your Majesty?" Tong Zhenye pointed at the radio station with surprise written all over his face. He didn't actually expect to hear the empress's voice coming out from the radio station.
Wasn't Her Majesty in the palace?
"What?" the empress's voice came out of the radio station again.
Tong Zhenye immediately turned submissive. "I never expected to hear Your Majesty's voice coming out of this thing. I'm very surprised, but happy at the same time. Forgive me, Your Majesty."
When Qin Chuan saw Tong Zhenye's facial expression, he burst out laughing. "Old bast*rd!"
Had the empress not said anything, Tong Zhenye would have pulled Ren Baqian to the brothel. He had managed to avoid a calamity.
"I have tuned this radio station to a public channel. Since Her Majesty has a radio station as well, she can hear you talking." Ren Baqian grinned widely at Tong Zhenye.
On the third day, Ren Baqian had already finished grading the examinations. 24 students had passed the exam and would go on the field trip with him to the mountains.
As for the remaining 25 students, an endless amount of homework would be waiting for them...
Ren Baqian walked out of the academy and took a look at the imperial palace. He knew that the empress would leave Dayao tomorrow for an unknown period of time. Usually, they would be separated for only a few days. This time around, they were going to be separated for a few months. He was somewhat unable to get used to it.
After the empress left, he would go to Earth. After he returned to Dayao, he would set off and head for the mountains.
Along the way back to the palace, Xu Wei suddenly felt that something was wrong. An aura of death lingered in the air, putting him on guard.
He raised his hand and stopped the entourage, trying to find the source of the aura of death.
Suddenly, two black chains shot out from the ground, entangling Ren Baqian and the horned cow he was riding on.
"Great Xia's Spirit Wheel experts!" Xu Wei's facial expression changed drastically.
At the same time, he let out a howl to alert the imperial guards in the palace.
Ren Baqian's facial expression changed drastically as well. The two black chains gave off a bone-piercing chilliness. He felt as though his body was frozen in ice.
Then, he saw a man standing on an enormous sword while flying through the air. That man exerted strength through his feet and the sword flipped in the air, landing in his hand. The sword was bigger than the person. Like a falling comet, the sword sliced through the air and fell toward Ren Baqian and his entourage.
Bearing the brunt of this assault, Ren Baqian's eyes widened while his face was filled with horror. Suddenly, he vanished into thin air.
The chain that entangled him and the horned cow also disappeared with him, leaving the horned cow behind by itself.
A person hiding 100 meters away from the scene spurted out a mouthful of blood. He yelled miserably, "Where is my Immortal-binding Chain?!"
Blood was spilling out of his mouth while his eyes were filled with fear. He was in a complete daze. One had to know that the metal chain was a Spirit Weapon that he had formed with his own spirit. He nurtured it every day, and it had become one with him. However, it was now gone! It was gone! It was gone!
His Spirit Weapon had disappeared with his target! He couldn't sense its presence at all!
He felt as though his soul had been slashed by someone.