“Your Majesty!” The artisans knelt on the ground excitedly, their foreheads pressed against the ground.
Lin Yuan was wearing his casual robes as he stood by the lake. He said to the people around him, “Try it in the water.”
A boat was parked next to them. This boat was not big and looked inconspicuous, but the biggest difference was that it had no oars.
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It was a boat that was powered by foot.
Lin Yuan just told the artisans the theory. It took these artisans two years to get the boat out. Fortunately, Lin Yuan could provide the materials for them to experiment. Otherwise, it would be a loss-making business if they couldn’t make ends meet.
Even Song Shizhao didn’t understand why he kept spending money on these things.
However, Lin Yuan said: “What they have made may not be able to achieve anything in ten years, or even a hundred years, and it would not bring us much benefit.”
“But in the long run, what if one of them was successful?”
“If one of them succeeds, then there will be earth-shaking changes.” Lin Yuan’s eyes were glowing when he said this, “Did the first person who saw a horse thought that the horse could be ridden? Who made the saddle? When there was no saddle, it was impossible to fight on horseback at all! With the saddle, everything was different, but was this change achieved overnight?”
Song Shizhao understood, and since then, he practically tried his best to squeeze out the money and move it to the Artisans Bureau.
The boat went into the water soon, and two crew members were able to pick up the boat. There was also a boat with oars next to it. When the two boats were compared, the boat that could be powered by feet was naturally faster, and both sides used their full strength.
Although the artisans expected this result, when they actually saw it, everyone was excited.
They made this boat!
They didn’t know how much time and materials they spent in order to make the gears turn accordingly, and they didn’t sleep well for many days and nights, but the moment they saw the results, they felt that all the efforts they had put in were not in vain!
Even if they were just artisans and craftsmen, they could see how much benefit such a boat could have!
Lin Yuan was also very satisfied. Now that there was no automatic power, it was a very big improvement to be able to use manpower to the fullest.
As for the steam engine, there were also special artisans building the boiler, but after all, the theory was vague, and they have struggled for a few years without making any progress.
Compared with the steam engine, the results of the gear boat made Lin Yuan very satisfied.
Gears existed as early as before the common era, and there were also gear boats, but the effect was never so good. The artisans used circular gears, which improved the life usage of such gears and reduced the degree of wear.
The formation of the navy was imminent, and whoever had speaking rights on sea could occupy the most wealth in the world.
Great Ming’s silk, cotton cloth, tea spices, etc., could open the door to other countries with maritime trade.
Today, there were only so many people in Great Ming, and it was difficult to pull up poor areas only by domestic demand.
“Very good.” Lin Yuan said with a smile, “Begin building, we have to build a giant ship that you have never seen before, that can withstand huge waves at sea. Each ship must be able to accommodate at least 200 people, and there must be places where cannons can be incorporated.”
“There should also be places to rest and eat, and to store weapons.”
The artisans did not dare to breathe.
“Caomin has received the decree!”
Lin Yuan added: “All who participated in the shipbuilding will be rewarded.”
Everyone was rewarded with five taels of gold and a swath of brocade.
Five taels of gold was enough for these artisans to eat and drink their fill for the rest of their lives. If they spent it without restraint, it would still last them ten years.
Since the rewards increased, the artisans came up with endless inventions.
There were even many strange curios among them that even Lin Yuan had never seen before.
Although he had to affirm the efforts of these artisans, most of them were whimsical inventions. For example, one artisan thought that he could build flying machines, but in fact, it was just tying super-large artificial wings made of feathers on the arms. After a few experiments, he found that it couldn’t fly him up, so he thought it was because birds have tails and people don’t, so he made a tail as well.
Lin Yuan didn’t stop it, mainly because he was worried that the people would stop experimenting.
But after making the tail, it still didn’t fly, so that particular artisan created claws and put them on himself.
Lin Yuan even thought that that person might turn himself into a bird completely in the end. He heard that he had recently started to learn bird calls, and said that he wanted to copy eating insects like birds.
This was just one of them, others were more absurd.
Probably because there were too many positive examples in the court. After all, there were many artisans who have successfully invented things, and were not only rewarded with money, but also gained status. Therefore, people who were not very good at studying books felt that they have found the ladder to heaven, especially some of the hedonistic sons of rich families.
These hedonistic sons didn’t like to read the Four Books and Five Classics, they liked to read some “crooked books”.
Many skills have been lost, so they started to tinker on their own.
There were actually two of them who managed to get results after messing around. Their families turned a blind eye to them, feeling that so long as they didn’t cause trouble for the family, it should be something to be thankful for. If they wanted to mess around then mess around, it was better than going out to spend all their time and money getting drunk after all.
One of them was surnamed Xie, and was called Xie San by outsiders. He was the third son and did not need to take responsibility like the eldest son, nor did he need to forge ahead like the second son. He had chosen a good birth and in this life he didn’t need to work hard like others.
Xie San liked to read all kinds of strange books. When he saw the trebuchet in the book, he wondered if he could make the trebuchet smaller so that it would not be used to attack cities, but to hit people.
Then Xie San went ahead with his idea.
He first found a carpenter, and asked the carpenter to study the details together with him to find the principle and theory of it.
Then he used charcoal to draw diagrams, trying again and again.
In the end, he really managed to get it out. It was all wooden, with some small parts inside.
It could shoot out small wooden balls. This thing was a bit heavy, but both men and women could lift it.
Only children couldn’t.
After the small wooden ball shot out and hit people on the flesh, it would make people feel a piercing pain, but it would not cause any damage to the body.
Xie San also gave this thing a name. He said that since the big one was called the trebuchet, then this small one would be called the hegemonic device.
No one else understood the connection between these two names.
Feeling that he was quite brilliant, Xie San used his hegemonic device to hit people for fun everywhere.
Hitting fellow hedonistic sons who had a good relationship with him. Though some of them ended their friendship with him because of this.
When his parents heard the news, it was because another family came knocking angrily at the door. Only then did they know that their son had come up with this new thing.
Father Xie was about to beat this unfilial son to death, but Mother Xie stopped him and said, “Laoye! Don’t beat him! Our son did not do a bad thing!”
Father Xie had a grim look on his face: “Not a bad thing?! Then tell me what is a bad thing? Could it be that the imperial court would actually send him a pennant! The good reputation of our Xie family is completely ruined by this unfilial son! Many sons have been ruined by loving mothers! Look what you spoiled our son into!”
Mother Xie cried: “What! He is not only my son, but also your son! Now, didn’t His Majesty set up an Artisans Bureau? Just to have those artisans make new things, isn’t this what our son made? Maybe it will be appreciated by His Majesty, and he could really get a pennant?”
Father Xie’s eyes widened: “It’s expected that he messes around! But just listen to what you are saying! Artisans are lowly servants! Have my son be an artisan? The shame!”
“Mother!” Xie San suddenly widened his eyes and said, “You are right! I should go to His Majesty! His Majesty would definitely understand me!”
After saying this, Xie San ran away. Mother Xie hugged her husband’s waist tightly and watched her son run out.
Although Xie San was a hedonistic son, he still had a few friends. After listening to his request, his friends introduced him to Zhao Lin. Zhao Lin was now the head of the Artisans Bureau. Everyone thought he must be reluctant as he was a successful candidate in the imperial provincial exam. But the fact was that he had done a good job in the Artisans Bureau, and they heard that he was quite appreciated by His Majesty.
So Xie San went to find Zhao Lin. He went directly to Zhao Lin’s house and waited for Zhao Lin to come back at the door. After the morning assembly, Zhao Lin still had to work in the palace, and he would not go home until the government office closed.
Zhao Lin didn’t expect Xie San to come to him, and asked curiously, “Why did you think of looking for me?”
Xie San showed his hegemonic device to Zhao Lin, and said seriously: “My father thinks that I am shaming him, saying that I am doing the work of an artisan.”
Xie San: “But I don’t think I’m an artisan, I don’t rely on this to make a livelihood, I just find it fun.”
“I think, if His Majesty can look at me and praise me, then my father will not be able to scold me in the future, maybe I will even be able to honor my ancestors!” Xie San thought happily, “Lord Zhao, you are in charge of the Artisans Bureau, can you help me mention it to His Majesty?”
Zhao Lin didn’t know whether to laugh or cry: “Then tell me, what’s the use of this thing?”
Xie San demonstrated it to Zhao Lin.
Zhao Lin couldn’t understand even more. This thing could only make people feel pain at most. It couldn’t be used on the battlefield, and it couldn’t kill people. What use could it have?
But he still promised Xie San, even if it was to give the Xie family face.
So when meeting Lin Yuan, Zhao Lin still mentioned this matter.
Lin Yuan: “It can hurt people?”
Zhao Lin: “Yes, but it’s just pain, not even a cut…..”
Then Zhao Lin saw His Majesty’s interested expression: “Tell him to enter the palace, and let him bring in his…..hegemonic device, I want to see it for myself.”
Zhao Lin was still in a daze when he brought Xie San into the palace.
One could enter the palace just like this? What kind of sh*t luck did this kid Xie San have?
And His Majesty seemed to be quite interested as well.
…..Maybe he should read more books and make something that would interest His Majesty?
He wondered what he could make?
Xie San entered the palace for the first time. It was just like the palace in his imagination. It was just as splendid, high and gorgeous. Every inch of the floor tiles seemed to be elegant and extraordinary.
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He followed behind Zhao Lin, and asked in a low voice, “Lord Zhao, did His Majesty say why he summoned me?”
“Did you tell His Majesty how powerful my hegemonic device is?”
Zhao Lin’s face was expressionless, thinking to himself, the name of your hegemonic device was quite awe-inspiring, but in fact it was actually a turtle device, completely useless really. (TN: both hegemonic 霸王 and turtle 王八 share a character that means ‘king’ but the latter is used as an insult that mean a cuckolded husband or a stupid man)
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