Translated by Gamer @ endlessfantasytranslations.com
900 craftsmen would repair the ships. These people were of the lowest in the social strata of Jiangdong and a craftsman was also the lowest profession in Jiangdong. All these people added up was not even 1,000 gold. However, each of the craftsmen have their own unique skills such as repairing ships or building hulls. It was in an era where the ships were mostly used on the river only. However, the risk was high. If they were not careful, the entire ship could be eliminated. Even in the age of modern science and technology, these were required skills. Even during the Yuan Empire, their strong and large navy, got destroyed by strong winds.
One of the reasons the Jiangdong navy was strong was because of their ships. Their shipwrights were strict while building the ships and each ship was of high quality.
Sun Ce would not let the shipwrights leave to other lords as that would allow the others to be able to make ships. Now Lu Bu wants shipwrights to make more warships.
Now the only ones who could build warships was Liu Biao, Sun Ce, Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. However, the only one with real craftsmen was Sun Ce. Cao Cao could not wholeheartedly build warships while he is busy conquering the Central Plains. This is one of the reasons Cao Cao unwittingly allowed Pang Tong to tie up his ships with iron. When that happens, everywhere is a dead angle and it was like asking the enemy to attack.
Yuan Shao could also build a navy but he did not care. He looks down on the navy because he thinks the navy was only useful as a transport. They are not as important and ground forces because the ground forces are the ones who ended up sieging cities. This is why Yuan Shao has a lot of troops and cavalries but very little navy.
Liu Biao placed importance in navies as well. However, the ones in charge of the navies was the Cai and Zhang family, so he does not have the ability to do much.
Lu Bu’s Wolf Cavalry could be said to be the king of the land and would give anybody who encountered it a headache. 10,000 of them would be capable of blocking all movements of the enemy. They were also willing to charge into 10,000 infantries with only 800 cavalries. Now, the Lu Bu’s Army only had 5,000 Wolf Cavalry. Gao Shun does not like to boast but he is confident that as long as they are not facing against 100,000 soldiers, he would not be afraid. The Sun Ce’s Army have also experienced the might of the Urban Army, the Black Flag Army and the Danyang soldiers before. In comparison to the elite soldiers of Jiangdong, Lu Bu’s Army is much stronger.
The only reason Sun Ce is not afraid of Lu Bu is because of the Yangtze River’s natural barrier.
He depended on his powerful navy and the construction of warships. He knows that in Wan Cheng and the rest of Lujiang does not have any craftsmen to build ships. All of the shipwrights are already gathered at Jiangdong. Jiangdong was full of docks and craftsmen. They do not only build warships but also ordinary transport cargos.
Although Liu Biao and Sun Ce were at war, the business people have nothing to do with it. They continued to do business between Jingzhou and Jiangdong despite the battles. As long as it is not weapons, both sides ignored them. After all, everyone still needs to find a living. Jingzhou has salt and iron while Jiangdong has grains and cereals.
If they had given Lu Bu shipwrights and docks, the Yangtze River would have a new formidable enemy that has even defeated them before!
Although they were strong, their ships were their weak point. The moment Lu Bu has lost his ships, he would no longer have any ships. On the other hand, Jiangdong could continue to build ships. The relationship of their army was now like Japan and United States during the World War 2. The Japanese navy was small and powerful and attacked Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, the Japanese ship build capabilities were not as good as the United States. In the end, the Japanese could only face failure.
If Lu Bu was given shipwrights, they would no longer have a limit to their ships. Although Lu Bu still does not have a strong navy, they have that strange weapon. That weapon caused the defeat of the Jiangdong Navy despite the advantages of the Jiangdong Army. If Lu Bu could build ships as well, he would be unmatched in naval battles.
“No!” Zhang Zhao did not hesitate to refuse. Even if he lost the 9 noble children, at most it was the hearts of 9 noble families. However, if Lu Bu had shipwrights, the whole of Jiangdong would be lost.
“Is it really impossible?” Yang Hong also knows that this is a difficult request. As long as the people in Jiangdong are not idiots, it would be impossible for them to give away craftsmen. However, the objective to obtain craftsmen was given by Lu Bu as an order. He must definitely find some. Otherwise Lu Bu will be stranded and could never cross the river. Even if he has defeated Liu Biao and Sun Ce, he would not be able to gain any benefits.
If it was several years ago, the craftsmen would not be a problem especially in Yanzhou and Yuzhou. This is because there were many craftsmen and shipwrights everywhere. However, there were very little now because Sun Ce and Liu Biao has recalled all the craftsmen. They were the kings of the river and did not want others to occupy the river. That way, others would not be able to have warships on the river.
“Absolutely impossible!” These were their trump card. How could they give it away?
Yang Hong shook his head. “What a pity. It looks like we could only approach Liu Biao and see if they are willing to provide craftsmen.”
“Do not try and threaten me! Like I said, we will leave Jiangxia and at that time, Liu Biao will not provide you with support to fight against Jiangdong. Did you think that Jingzhou would provide you with shipwrights? Keep dreaming!” Liu Biao was also one of the kings of the river. He would not surrender craftsmen to Lu Bu as he knows that Lu Bu is also strong enough to defeat the Jiangdong Navy.
“Who said Liu Biao would not agree? Liu Biao came to us with a messenger saying that they want our ballistae. There are a lot of conditions that we could give! The craftsmen are just one of it.” Yang Hong shook his head and pretended to leave.
“Wait!” Zhang Zhao quickly stopped Yang Hong. “What did you say? The ballistae!?”
“No, no, you heard wrong. I did not say anything!” Yang Hong lied blatantly and waved. “Zhang Zhao. You can go back the next day. I have already called back Gan Ning and you can take Lu Su and the other prisoners back to Jiangdong! Don’t forget to send us our prisoners as well! I will take leave here!” Yang Hong said as he cupped his fist to leave.
Cannot let Yang Hong leave! This was the first thought that appeared in Zhang Zhao’s head. This is because the thing that Yang Hong said was too scary! The ultimate weapon that send 30,000 of the Jiangdong Navy swimming in the river. The Lu Bu’s Army intends to discuss with Liu Biao about it. If it was just Lu Bu who had the ballistae, the Jiangdong Army would not need to worry so much. This is because the Lu Bu’s Army is small and untrained.
The Lu Bu’s Navy’s terrorizing ability is much stronger than their actual combat capabilities. This is why the Liu Biao’s Jingzhou Navy is still the Jiangdong Navy’s main opponent. Lu Bu’s Navy was left aside to finish off later. Now that Jingzhou’s Liu Biao wants to enter a discussion with Lu Bu, they may actually obtain that technology. As Jingzhou’s ability to build ships was as good as Jiangdong, Zhang Zhao did not want to imagine what it would be like if Jingzhou had the ballistae as well. Jingzhou also had a lot of good craftsmen because Jingzhou was one of the few places that were peaceful during the battle with Dong Zhuo. Jiangdong also had a mountain of problems and was not very peaceful. As a result, a lot of people escaped to Jingzhou, including the craftsmen. Although Jingzhou had better warships, they had weaker soldiers as there were less people to train them.
If Jingzhou managed to obtain this technology, the situation would change. Jingzhou was not lacking in warships and craftsmen. If the Lu Bu’s Army of 20 ships could sink 30,000 soldiers, then Jingzhou that could constantly build ships and outfit it with the ballistae would do even worse. The Jiangdong Navy would have no hope of living. The Jiangdong Navy could outnumber Lu Bu’s ship 10 to 1 but the Jingzhou Navy would have hundreds of ships. He doubted that Zhou Yu could stop 70,000 soldiers and their ballistae with just 30,000 soldiers.
“But if the Jiangdong Navy is destroyed, you would not receive any benefits as well!” Zhang Zhao said unexpectedly. If the Jiangdong Army is destroyed, the whole river would be controlled by Liu Biao and Lu Bu would not gain any benefits as well. The Jingzhou Navy would be able to block the routes and make sure that Lu Bu is trapped in Wan Cheng.
“What is the need to worry?” Yang Hong shook his head. “If they want to block the routes then just let them block! To begin with, we do not have much of a navy. It is not much different from letting the Jiangdong Navy block us! Could the Jingzhou Army even come ashore to fight us? What is the need to be afraid of Liu Biao? The Jiangdong Army could use the Yangtze River as a natural river but Jingzhou could not do that!” What Yang Hong said was correct. If Liu Biao were to block Wan Cheng, that is all they could do. However, if the Jiangdong Army were to block Wan Cheng, they could attack at any time. Besides that, even Liu Biao’s Jingzhou Army was less of a match to Lu Bu’s Army compared to Sun Ce!
Jiangdong also has a natural barrier that prevents ground forces from attacking at full power. On the other hand, the Lu Bu’s Army would still be able to attack Jingzhou even if they were blocked at the Yangtze River.
“Elder Yang! Yang Hong! Brother Yang!” Zhang Zhao became shameless and quickly grabbed Yang Hong’s hand. “Brother Yang! Do not go! We can talk about this!”
“But Zhang Zhao was not willing! My Lord told me that I must obtain craftsmen and shipwrights! If I cannot get those then there is nothing to discuss!” Yang Hong was very indifferent. If he were to take out the ballistae, not only would Jingzhou Liu Biao panic but it would also make Jiangdong restless. Especially those that were on the receiving end of the ballistae. 30,000 soldiers were like 30,000 pigs. Out of the 30,000 soldiers, 10,000 were elites. They were elites like the ones commanded by Zhou Yu right now. In fact, even the 30,000 pigs would try and fight back. These 30,000 soldiers were simply destroyed without a chance to fight back.
“It can be discussed! It can be discussed!” Zhang Zhao was helpless. Yang Hong now has complete control of the discussion. It can be said that anything Yang Hong proposed right now would be accepted by Zhang Zhao.
“I want 100 craftsmen per noble!” Yang Hong was direct. The craftsmen were the main objective of the negotiation. If Lu Bu does not want to be trapped, he would need the craftsmen for development. Building ships was time consuming and could not be done immediately. Now that Sun Ce, Liu Biao, Cao Cao and Yuan Shao were busy, this was the best time for development. This opportunity must not be missed.
“Can! 900 craftsmen! Let me arrange it to send it over!” Zhang Zhao could no longer reject as the card played by Yang Hong was too big. It was so big that it could waste many years of efforts of Sun Ce and the Jiangdong Army. Even if Sun Ce was not willing to do it, Zhang Zhao had no other choice.
“This is the best! Since we have finished the discussion, I shall take my leave and report it to my lord!” Yang Hong said and left.
“Yang Hong! Wait!” Zhang Zhao could not let Yang Hong leave yet. He promised the 900 craftsmen because of the issue with the ballistae. If the Lu Bu’s Army gave the technology to Liu Biao anyway, his efforts would be wasted. “Yang Hong do you know about the matter with the ballistae!”
“The ballistae? It is our armies’ weapon. It is a killing instrument!” Yang Hong explained to Zhang Zhao about the ballistae extravagantly. Zhang Zhao did not know them! Although he knew that the ballistae could destroy towered ships, it was exaggerated until Zhang Zhao thought it was some kind of guided missile. (AN: That is if he knew what guided missile actually is.)
“State your price! Yang Hong!” Zhang Zhao looked straight at Yang Hong. This was one of his main objectives as the ballistae was the greatest threat to Jiangdong.
“Not for sale! This is the nation’s secret weapon! How could we sell it!” Yang Hong was firm and would not sell the technology. He even showed a confused expression as if asking how did Zhang Zhao even think it was possible to buy the technology.
Not for sale? You said you want to sell it to Liu Biao!? If it is not for sale, why did you tempt me!?
In fact, Yang Hong did not even want to mention the ballistae. It only appeared 3 times. The first time, it almost killed Sun Ce, the second time, it destroyed the siege tower. The third time, it destroyed the navy. These ballistae, was a weapon that should be hidden until the last moment instead of using it as a bargaining chip and sell it to the highest bidder. However, if the Little Lord said he wants to sell it, he also could not do anything.
“Yang Hong. Jiangdong is willing to raise the price!” Even if Zhang Zhao needs to take out several tens of thousands, he needs to bring back the ballistae to ensure the stability of Jiangdong. They have all seen the power of the ballistae and if they had it, their strength would increase further. They would also be able to permanently destroy the Jingzhou Navy.
After they defeated the Jingzhou Navy, they would come back and settle the score with the Lu Bu’s Army.
“10,000 gold!” Yang Hong opened his mouth. The 9 nobles was already 9,000 gold. Now one ballistae would be 10,000 gold!
“Can!” Zhang Zhao gritted his teeth. Now they have 10,000 gold in the storage. It was meant for Jiangdong to buy horses but now it is necessary to use that 10,000 gold.
“Haha.” Yang Hong did not say 10,000 gold on his own. It was a figure that Chen Gong gave to him. He had obtained most of the money from the noble children and also the crossbow. That way, Sun Ce would not be able to use the money on forage and horses.
“Then an additional 2,000 craftsmen. Total it up to 3,000 including the craftsmen discussed earlier!” Yang Hong continued to increase the price. Three thousand craftsmen and an additional 10,000 gold for the ballistae technology.
“3,000 craftsmen!” Zhang Zhao was stunned. There less than 10,000 craftsmen in Jiangdong. Now he is being extorted for 3,000 craftsmen and 10,000 gold. Zhang Zhao felt like he fell into a trap.
“Can the price be reduced?” Zhang Zhao asked. “We at Jiangdong could not suddenly come out with so much!”
“In that case you can forget it.” Yang Hong shook his head and did not let Zhang Zhao bargain. “The blueprint for the ballistae is extremely detailed. Just drawing the blueprint would take half a month. In that case, it would be better to sell it to Liu Biao first. When Sun Ce has enough money, they can come back!”
One blueprint needs half a month? If they really had given the blueprint to Liu Biao first, there would be a lot of variables in half a month. One Liu Biao has the ballistae, the warships of the Sun Ce’s Army would face a nightmare. Even if they managed to obtain the blueprint, the Jiangdong Navy would have already been destroyed. It was not a price that they could afford.
“Fine!” Zhang Zhao felt like he was slaughtered a pig. However, he had no choice. Whose fault was it that they lost? Who was it that send those 30,000 soldiers to die at the river? Now Zhang Zhao really hated Jiang Qin and Lu Su. They should have stayed in the water camp! Why did they go out for a decisive battle! You see! Now all of our soldiers were fed to the fishes! Zhang Zhao was confused. He did not know that there were only 7,000 soldiers on the opponent’s side while they had 30,000 soldiers. Jiang Qin also did not know about the ballistae and never thought it would be the deciding factor of the battle.
“Yang Hong! I have a request. That is, the first blueprint must be given to Jiangdong and if there were any other blueprints, it can only be given to Jingzhou one month later.”
“That is a bit troublesome. If they had paid for the blueprint, it would be difficult to not give it to them!” Yang Hong replied.
“An additional 500 craftsmen! Do not give the blueprint to Liu Biao until one month later!” Zhang Zhao wanted to have an additional month to create the ballistae. At that time, even if the Jingzhou Navy have the ballistae, they could only retreat.
“Another additional 100!”
“Still can’t! We, the Lu Bu’s Army, are honest to all customers!”
“Give you a full 4,000 craftsmen! If Yang Hong continues to be like this. Zhao would also have no alternative!”
“Fine! Since Brother Zhang is like this, it would be as if I do not respect you if I continued to reject you! It shall be 4,000 craftsmen! I will try and delay it for another month!” Yang Hong gritted his teeth as if he was making a great sacrifice but he was laughing internally. It won’t even be a month! The promise was not to give the blueprints. He did not promise not to give an entire set of ballista. He got a free 1,000 craftsmen.
Both sides agreed and were happy. Although Zhang Zhao sacrificed a lot, he was also very happy. With the ballistae, the amount he gave was very cheap. Even the 4,000 craftsmen he planned to send were not senior craftsmen. That way Lu Bu’s Navy would not develop as fast. It was impossible for Jiangdong to give the senior craftsmen!
Now that Zhang Zhao has obtained the ballistae, it can be said that Lu Bu’s navy was no longer a threat to the Jiangdong Navy. They could use their superior numbers and the ballistae to defeat Liu Biao and Lu Bu.
Yang Hong was also very happy! Chen Gong and Lu Bu gave him the minimum conditions of 2,000 craftsmen and the families of the Danyang soldiers. Now he obtained an additional 19,000 gold and another additional 2,000 craftsmen! The 19,000 gold itself was comparable to an entire year of tax money! How could he not be happy?
The two were very happy and had a banquet and even called each other brothers. Who knew that a few hours ago, they were red in face and trying to extort each other. Even their lords were trying to kill each other and caused tens of thousands of casualties. There are only interests. There are no real allies or enemies.