Chapter 803: Mission Reward, Road of Awakening!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Zhao Jingdian gave a faint smile as he confidently spoke.
"Everyone, be at ease. Such a thing will never take place. Before leaving, Young Master said that after building these cement roads, we only need to set up checkpoints on the roads. If merchants want to pass through, they would need to pay a fee.
"Our Great Tang is currently the wealthiest country in the world, at the height of its prosperity. Just who can count all the merchants within its borders, and how many people would pass through those checkpoints every day? These small fees will build up, many drops making an ocean, and each day will result in a massive sum. Thus, honored guests' worries about others taking advantage of your hard work, plucking the fruit of the trees you planted, simply will not occur."
In the world that Wang Chong had come from, building cement roads was an extremely expensive and resource-intensive process, so it was customary to pay tolls to use them. This was a matter that everyone could basically accept.
In that other world, this was absolutely normal, but the people of the Great Tang clearly did not have such a concept.
As expected, Zhao Jingdian's words immediately caused the eyes of these representatives of the great clans to shine, and their attitudes completely reversed.
"An excellent idea! But would they be willing to pay this fee?" an expert from a great clan asked.
"Haha, if they can transport more in a shorter time and with less jostling, why wouldn't they pay the fee?"
Zhao Jingdian chuckled. He didn't even need to think back to Wang Chong's advice to understand how to address the question.
Merchants worked in the pursuit of profit, and if they stood to make more profit, they would naturally pay the money, so these things the great clans worried about would never happen. This was a situation where both sides won.
"In addition, I don't know if any of you have noticed…"
As Zhao Jingdian spoke, he extended his right hand, receiving a large iron hammer from a guard at his side. He strode forward, and as the crowd looked on in shock, he smashed the hammer against the grey-white cement.
Shards flew everywhere, and yet Zhao Jingdian's powerful blow, carrying all the strength he could muster, was only able to create a small hole in the cement road. All of the clan experts were flabbergasted.
"Let me try!"
A scar-faced clan expert came forward and took the hammer from Zhao Jingdian. Raising it high into the air, he smashed it down.
Boom! This mighty strike again left only another small hole on the cement road, with none of that massive explosion that the crowd had imagined.
"This… is this really made from that slurry? How could lime and clay be so hard?"
The scar-faced expert was momentarily dumbfounded.
And it wasn't just him. The crowd had been so focused on the carriage, horse, and the thirty Wang Clan guards on the carriage that they only began to examine the road when Zhao Jingdian smashed at it with the hammer.
"Haha, come, take the hammers out. Everyone can try!" Noticing the change in the crowd, Zhao Jingdian immediately gave the order, and ten-some guards carrying bundles of hammers emerged. Since Zhao Jingdian had invited them, the crowd were quick to try.
"I don't believe that something made of lime and clay can be this hard!"
The clan experts took the hammers, walked up to the cement road, and began to wildly flail at it. Bangbangbang! Shards splintered off the newly-constructed cement road as the hammers whacked away, rapidly damaging it.
The Wang Clan experts wanted to stop them, but Zhao Jingdian called them back.
"Let them smash as long as they want!"
Zhao Jingdian had a calm expression, and his voice exuded a persuasive power. After spending a long time with Wang Chong, he had unwittingly begun to learn a little of that self-confidence.
Zhao Jingdian and all the Wang Clan guards stood to the side, silently watching the clan experts hammer away at the cement road.
An hour later, more and more clan experts had joined in, and these hundred-some people working together had finally managed to utterly destroy the cement road.
But it was this result that the crowd found even more shocking.
If they had been unable to destroy this road, they would subconsciously believe that there was something else strange about this cement road. However, even though it had taken a great deal of time and energy, they had still managed to completely destroy it. This meant that this toughness was all due to that 'cement'.
"Impossible, impossible! To use lime, clay, and whatever that lu ore is to create something that's as tough as rock! No, this is even tougher than rock! This is absurd!"
"This is man-made rock. The Young Marquis has a method of making artificial rocks! Quickly inform the clan! Our Lu Clan has chosen the right person to follow!"
"Just how was this done? Give me another hammer! I need to try again! Such a hard road isn't possible!"
"Hahaha, I've dug up a treasure! It's no wonder the Young Marquis is the Son of Heaven's disciple, the future Eighth Great General of the Great Tang! No matter what he does, our Chen Clan can't go wrong as long as we throw our full support behind him."
In a flash, the clan experts finally understood the secret of this road. It wasn't the horse or carriage, but the fact that this road was tough enough to endure an unimaginable weight. This was the true secret.
All their worries vanished in a puff of smoke.
The situation had entirely changed. Right in front of Zhao Jingdian, the many clan experts were releasing their respective carrier pigeons to inform their clans, not caring about who was watching.
This was an incredibly important discovery. The uses for this man-made rock were not merely restricted to making roads.
Haha, success! Lord Marquis is truly a flawless planner. Everything was as he predicted. We can now begin wholesale construction of the roads.
Zhao Jingdian mentally gave a sigh of relief. The marquis's cement road plan required a great deal of time, manpower, and resources. It wasn't something that the Wang Clan, the Zhao Clan, and the Bai Clan could sustain alone. All the great clans of the capital needed to participate.
With this goal met, everything was possible.
Zhao Jingdian glanced at the Wang Clan guard next to him and whispered, "Write a letter for me to Lord Marquis telling him that he can begin his next plan."
The guard understood and nodded.
As night fell, the first cement road of the Great Tang was foreordained to be inscribed in the history books. Such a thing had never appeared in the history of the Central Plains, a landmark achievement that was certain to have enormous uses. Countless notable clans of all sizes were willing to invest their resources into this venture.
And Wang Chong was not being stingy, directly opening up the future tolls to be paid for using the cement road to all these clans. In addition, Wang Chong had established a special 'Clan Road Alliance' and drawn up a contract that established that all the earnings would be shared and the recipe for the cement made available to all the signees.
The alliance was responsible for overseeing the cement recipe. It could not be allowed to leak outside the Central Plains.
Wang Chong's 'generosity' received an enthusiastic response from the alliance. Upon obtaining the recipe, the clans of the alliance began to throw themselves into the venture. Lime, clay, sand, stone, aluminum, and a vast amount of iron bars—millions of tons of material were invested into building a road from the capital to the Western Regions.
And the advantage of bringing in all these clans quickly became evident. On the first day, eighty thousand laborers were involved in the construction. On the second, this had increased to one hundred and eight thousand. On the third day, it was three hundred and sixty thousand… In the end, seven to eight hundred thousand workers had congregated around the Silk Road.
The gray-white cement roads were built up at astonishing speeds along the Silk Road.
Such were the results that came from Wang Chong opening up the cement road to the great clans.
"Three feet of ice does not form from a single day of chill. One person alone cannot change a massive empire. Only the strength of an entire state can do so. When all the greats clans of the empire gather together, they are like tens of thousands of logs tied together, tough and unbendable. This is the roar of a slumbering empire.
"Congratulations to user! For completing 'Empire's Fury', the second phase of the mission, 'Road of Awakening', has been unlocked. User has been rewarded 800 points of Destiny Energy, and as more roads are built, user will continue to be rewarded!"
"Congratulations to user! 30 additional points have been rewarded!"
"Congratulations to user! 40 additional points have been rewarded!"
"Congratulations to user! 37 additional points have been rewarded!"
In the distant Wushang, Wang Chong stood on the walls as the Stone of Destiny unleashed a waterfall of messages in his mind. In this short period of time, he had been rewarded with more than 1000 points of Destiny Energy, a number that was still continuing to climb.
Zhao Jingdian, you can finally hold your own. With him handling the cement road, I don't need to worry about it.
Wang Chong glanced at the letter from Zhao Jingdian and then snapped his fingers, instantly pulverizing the paper into countless shreds that drifted down from the tower.
"Cheng Sanyuan, write a letter for me to Zhao Jingdian. Tell him that I already know about the matter regarding the cement recipe, and that he doesn't need to worry, as I already have everything planned out."
"Yes, your subordinate will do so!"
Cheng Sanyuan quickly took off.
What is lost at sunrise can be regained at sunset, and to gain, there must be losses. If I want to build a cement road to the Western Regions as quickly as possible and complete it before the Battle of Talas, I need the help of the great clans. As for the cement recipe, it was always rather simple. If any great clan wanted to get it, I wouldn't have been able to keep it secret for long, so I might as well just offer it to everyone!
Now that they're all in the same boat, they'll do their utmost to safeguard the secret and keep it from being leaked as long as possible.
As the winds buffeted his face, Wang Chong looked over the walls, a wise and profound light in his eyes.
With the cement road project on the right track and Zhao Jingdian overseeing it, Wang Chong could place his focus on other matters.
Let's take care of that matter next.
With this thought, Wang Chong quickly turned to another subordinate.
"Chen Bin, tell Zhang Que that Fumeng Lingcha is probably going to move soon, so he needs to keep an even closer watch. I need to know everything that's going on. Not a single gap can be permitted."