Two days later, Tong Zhenye rushed to Nine-peaked Mountain. The moment he saw Ren Baqian, he picked him up and shook him like a chicken.
"Sir Ren, is it true? Can you really produce salt?"
Tong Zhenye's boorish face was filled with excitement and nervousness. He feared that Ren Baqian might say "no."
"Put me down first..." Ren Baqian yelled. He was seeing stars after being shaken by Tong Zhenye's pincer-like hands.
"Oh!" Tong Zhenye let go of his hands and Ren Baqian fell to the ground.
"Do you have something against me?" Ren Baqian had a bitter look on his face. Just now, he felt that his body was going to fall apart.
"Sir Ren, is it true?" Tong Zhenye asked anxiously.
"Do you think I would lie to you?" Ren Baqian replied while massaging his own shoulders.
Previously, when Ren Baqian revealed on the radio station that he could produce salt, the chat group for the court officials went silent. Following which, it exploded with joy and incredulity.
When Tong Zhenye heard of this news, he rushed to the Shi residence to ask for more details. Then, he rushed over here.
"So have you made some salt already?" Tong Zhenye asked.
"I was waiting for you to arrive before I start making it," Ren Baqian replied. "Don't worry, I'm quite confident that it will work."
"This is such an important matter that you must be completely confident in doing it," Tong Zhenye said solemnly.
"There's no point in talking so much about it now. We will know once we try. Have you brought the things that I need?"
"Yes, I have." Tong Zhenye asked his subordinates to bring out two huge buckets that were filled with milk. However, Dayao's weather had caused it to go bad.
Other than the milk, there was also a huge wok, a sieve, and a piece of rough cloth.
Ren Baqian asked his men to bring out a few huge buckets that contained the two types of brine collected from the Black Pool and the mountain stream.
"I need a few assistants!" Ren Baqian yelled at the group of students. Immediately, several students stepped forward.
At this point in time, an enormous group of people was surrounding the empty plot of land in the center of the stronghold. There were students, imperial guards, and officials from the Ministry of Works. Ironically, the resident aboriginals were pushed away from the center of their stronghold.
Most of them still did not know what was going on. Na Gu merely mentioned to them that Ren Baqian was going to use the two types of poisonous water to make salt. However, most of them did not believe Ren Baqian would succeed. The water was indeed salty, but it was poisonous as well.
Now, however, a seemingly powerful court official had arrived.
"Record down the process," Ren Baqian reminded. Then, he asked someone to pour the black brine and yellow brine into a basin according to a specific ratio. Soon after, tiny pieces of white crystals appeared at the bottom of the basin.
"The sulfuric acid in the black brine and the barium in the yellow brine will form an insoluble barium sulfate," Ren Baqian explained to his students. Even though they had not learned this yet, it was still a valuable experimental experience for them.
After asking someone to filter out the white crystals, Ren Baqian said to Tong Zhenye, "Keep these small pieces of barium sulfate, we will need them in the future."
The next step was to fry the salt. Ren Baqian instructed someone to start a fire and boil the brine. Then, he poured some milk into the boiling brine. Logically speaking, soy milk should be used. However, there was only a bean-type plant called "legume" in this world, and they could only be found in the northern region of Great Xia. Furthermore, their output was very small.
Dayao did not have this plant at all.
After doing some research on Earth, Ren Baqian discovered that milk could be used to substitute for soy milk. In Dayao, milk might be expensive, but salt was even more expensive.
"The protein in the milk can filter out the valence electrons in the brine. The residue will then be absorbed..." Ren Baqian continued to explain.
Even though the students were listening to him attentively, they did not understand what he was talking about at all. They did not know what proteins, valence electrons, and barium sulfate were.
Similarly, Tong Zhenye and the other officials did not know what was going on either.
However, they still tried their best to record the process down.
Before salt was formed, a milky fragrance was emitted from the wok, causing many people to feel hungry.
"Did you bring any rations? There's not enough food in this stronghold to feed everyone here," Ren Baqian said.
Tong Zhenye brought 10 plus people along with him. Now, the stronghold had more than 100 additional people to feed. Furthermore, these people had extremely huge appetites.
One had to know that the more powerful an aboriginal was, the bigger his or her appetite would be.
Even though the hunting team and the imperial guards had caught some animals, the stronghold still did not have enough food to feed everyone.
Tong Zhenye took a glance at Ren Baqian. He did not need Ren Baqian to remind him of this because he understood the situation in these strongholds much more clearly than Ren Baqian.
Afterward, everyone ate their food while waiting for the process to end. The people that were initially standing in the center of the stronghold were sitting down now.
The aboriginal residents continued to watch the process from a distance.
During this process, someone had to use a strainer made out of the rough cloth to scoop out the impurities from the boiling brine. After boiling it for eight hours, they added more water into it. Eventually, the water evaporated and a layer of white crystals appeared on the wall of the wok.
"This is salt?" Tong Zhenye's eyes lit up. He had been waiting and observing for eight hours. He wasn't the only who had his eyes light up. Everyone was filled with anticipation.
One had to know that the contents in this wok would affect millions of people in Dayao.
"Wait a while more," Ren Baqian said. After some time passed, the water had completely evaporated. Ren Baqian then instructed someone to take out the white crystals from the wok and place them on the densely woven sieve. Following which, he poured some water onto the sieve.
Most of the salt was not dissolved by the water. Instead, the impurities in the salt were filtered out by the water.
"Is it done?" Tong Zhenye looked at the layer of white crystals left on the sieve with his eyes lit up, appearing as though he was about to pounce on it.
Ren Baqian dipped one of his fingers into the salt and placed it in his mouth. Then, he nodded and said, "It will be done once you let it dry in the sun."
Without any hesitation, Tong Zhenye dipped one of his fingers into the salt and placed it in his mouth. Following which, he burst out laughing. "Dayao finally doesn't need to suffer from the scarcity of salt anymore!"
Tong Zhenye wasn't the only one cheering. Even the students were cheering as well.
Dayao had suffered from a scarcity of salt for so many years. During those years, after their original salt source got poisoned, they descended from the mountains and wiped out the Hao Nation. Despite doing so, Dayao still did not have a steady source of salt. Both the citizens living in the cities and the indigenous people living in the mountains suffered from the lack of salt.
For so many years, salt had been one of the most important resources to Dayao.
It was very difficult for outsiders to understand Dayao people's thirst for salt.
Even though the students had done nothing other than fishing during this trip, they understood how important this trip was for Dayao when they witnessed how salt was produced from the brine.
It was as though a poor family had discovered a mountain of gold.
Ren Baqian was the principal of the Black Bamboo Academy. The more powerful and knowledgeable he was, the more things they could learn from him.
When those indigenous residents saw the group of people standing in the center of the stronghold cheer like madmen, they broke into an uproar as well. This was because they heard Tong Zhenye's words.
However, they were still doubtful.
Could this salt really be eaten?
One had to know that the water from the Black Pool had poisoned someone to death before.
Seeing how happy everyone was, a smile appeared on Ren Baqian's face as well. No matter what, he had done something good for Dayao once again.
However, the smile on his face quickly disappeared. Shi Gan, Du Laoliu, and a few other people grabbed his hands and legs, then threw him into the air.
Ren Baqian's eyes snapped wide open. I understand that you're very happy and you celebrate by throwing people up into the air, but who the hell throws people up to the height of a five-storey building?
Ren Baqian felt as though he was lifting off in a plane as he was being thrown tens of meters up above the ground and into the air. He even let out a series of cries.
"My god, I have acrophobia!"
"Whoever throws me up into the air again, I'm going to shoot him to death!"
A loud cry echoed across the entire stronghold.