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Chapter 281: Dragon King’s Invitation

    Chapter 281: Dragon King's Invitation

    Translator: Ninetales  Editor: DarkGem

    Once the huge bridge was connected, the numerous officials from Ministry of Works flew up and surveyed the surroundings of the dam. Qin Mu saw many people holding stakes and stabbing them into the dam, one stake every three hundred yards.

    Beside each stake stood a person and someone erected a huge bell on the heart of the river. With a resounding clang of a bell, the stakes trembled and the people beside them leaned in to listen to their trembling.

    "What are they doing?" Qin Mu couldn't help being bewildered.

    Ling Yuxiu walked to his side and said, "This you wouldn't know, but Mud River frequently flooded its surroundings back in the day, thus Imperial Preceptor ordered the assistant minister of Ministry of Works to govern it. A lot of financial resources went into it, so father was very angry and asked why the assistant minister had spent so much money and on what he had spent it.

    "He was told that a copper wall was erected on both sides of Mud River. The copper walls were two inches thick and two feet tall. They were laid out along with the dam and stretched for ten thousand miles. The copper walls were covered with rune markings, so to check for any hidden cracks or thinning of the walls, they could just ring the bell. The sound would activate the rune markings to resonate together, and the sound waves could be used to judge if there are any hidden cracks or loss in thickness."

    Qin Mu looked toward Heavenly Works Hall Master who was busy and praised, "What a great idea."

    Si Yunxiang also came over and said, "Emperor almost executed him because he spent too much money."

    Ling Yuxiu took a glance at her and said, "The assistant minister had spent too much money. In the recent years, he has manufactured a flying ship, decorated pleasure boats that sail in the sea, ships that runs on land, flywheel carriages, smelting factories for the ore mountains, arms workshops, and manufacturing plants in various regions. Various cities even had a revamp which included the sewers under the city, the paving of roads, the cloud chariots used to invade cities, the stronghold at the borders, and even machine manufacturing.

    "I wasn't born then, but I heard from second brother that the amount of money spent by the assistant minister had made father and all the princes, concubines, and Empress Dowager tighten up their waistbands until they turned green from starvation. The empire's treasury was emptied out in a short while and the officials' salaries were owed them for a few months."

    Si Yunxiang smiled. "What happened next?"

    Ling Yuxiu sighed. "After that, the smelting factories were popularized, and all kinds of flying ships and decorated pleasure boats were sold to merchants. The manufacturing plants continuously produced goods and before two years were gone, the empire's treasury was filled to the brim. A few more treasuries had to be constructed to hold the money, thus father was glad he didn't kill the assistant minister.

    "Ministry of Works is the best at spending money, while the next best spenders would be the officials of the Water Department. They constructed irrigation works and transportation in various regions like water-drawing chariots, flood-discharging lakes, all kinds of dams and bridges, and opening canals. They spend money like flowing water, but they also improve the quality of life for the common people."

    Si Yunxiang blinked and said, "It seems like it's always the assistant minister and the officials that are spending the money, so what's the government minister for? Seems like all the work is being done under the orders of the Assistant Minister Shan Youxin, while the government minister seems to not be doing anything."

    Ling Yuxiu also blinked. "The government minister supervises their spending."

    Si Yunxiang gave a shallow laugh. "The government minister should be placed to supervise them yet the emperor isn't reassured, am I right? After all, the assistant minister and these officials are all people of Heavenly Saint Cult. The emperor knows they are hall masters and incense masters of Heavenly Saint Cult so he isn't certain about them."

    Ling Yuxiu's gaze landed on her body. "Junior Sister Yunxiang seems to be very considerate of Heavenly Saint Cult."

    Si Yunxiang smiled sweetly. "This little sister is untalented, I'm just the saintess of Heavenly Saint Cult so I naturally have to be considerate of them. Cult Master Qin is the cult master sacred teacher, so he is also concerned about this area. As the saintess, the questions I ask princess are also the questions cult master is concerned about."

    The two girls stared at each other with wide eyes.

    Qin Mu ignored them and looked into the distance. He saw the officials of Department of Water and Department of Land checking the land and irrigation works. In the meantime, the Department of Harvest was checking on the fruits and vegetables, thus he walked forward.

    "Cult Master, before the yellow autumn crop can be collected, they will be attacked by pest insects."

    The official of the Department of Harvest was the incense master of Farmer Hall. He dug around the soil for inspection and picked up a couple insect eggs while speaking to Qin Mu. "Even though the winter was very cold, these eggs weren't frozen to death. In some three to five days when the weather becomes warm, these eggs will hatch. Since most of the vegetations were chopped down and burnt by the victims of the disaster during winter, the insects will start to eat crops, since they'll have nothing else to eat. It's best to be on guard early to prevent insect damage. Once they hatch, they should be killed immediately."

    Qin Mu asked, "Incense Master, how can insect damage be prevented?"

    "Have the experts of sword skills stationed at these cultivated lands, or experts of spells with needle spells. Otherwise, we could also let experts of venomous insects come forth to release their insects to eat the pest ones."

    The official from the Department of Harvest stood up and patted his hands, dirt plentiful on both his body and hands. "The disciples of Sword Hall, Spell Hall, and Venomous Insect Hall can all come out to gain experience."

    Qin Mu nodded and invited Fan Yunxiao over. "Brother Fan, pass down my orders for a dozen disciples from Sword Hall, Spell Hall, and Venomous Insect Hall each to come here."

    Fan Yunxiao called a bandit over and told him to send the order.

    The Department of Water was rectifying the irrigation works, cleaning out the sludge that had accumulated in the aqueduct. They also replanned the waterway to make it more convenient to water the cultivated land.

    On the other side, the official from the Department of Land was measuring the land. He took out heaven measuring rulers, and with his vital qi, the rulers opened up from their overlapped state and became longer and longer. On the rulers, the marked scale of the measurement appeared, and an imperial scholar recorded the numbers, clacking on an unusual abacus formed by his vital qi.

    Meanwhile, the assistant minister brought everyone from the Department of Works to fly into the sky and survey the situation of the roads in various parts of Auspicious Prefecture from the sky. They recorded down which parts of the roads were destroyed before going forth to repair them.

    'Shan Youxin is a capable man!' Qin Mu exclaimed to himself. The officials from the Ministry of Works of Eternal Peace Empire had a methodically arranged way of handling things and what they were doing indeed benefited both the country and the people.

    In the city lord's manor, the magistrate of Auspicious Prefecture reported the situation, and Ling Yushu listened for the entire night. He then summoned the official registrar to check the various records and was so busy that he didn't even sleep for a moment.

    When it came to the second day, Ling Yushu and the magistrate of Auspicious Prefecture were both slightly exhausted. Just as the crown prince walked out of the city lord's manor, the government minister and assistant minister came over. Assistant Minister Shan Youxin handed him a few scrolls. "Your Highness, the problems regarding the irrigation works, transportation, as well as vegetables and fruits have already been handled. Only the problems under the Department of Land requires Your Highness to handle them."

    Ling Yushu was astonished and cried out, "So fast?"

    Shan Youxin said, "After Your Highness finishes reading, you can get ready to kill people."

    Ling Yushu had a grave expression. "Are the acquiring of lands that severe?"

    Shan Youxin nodded.

    Ling Yushu called the magistrate of Auspicious Prefecture over and placed the scrolls in his hand with a solemn look. "Don't go to sleep yet. I won't sleep, and you shall read these with me! We will read them as we capture and kill the people. Those who should be captured will be captured, and those who should be killed will be killed! In these unusual times, we will have to hand out severe punishments!"

    The magistrate of Auspicious Prefecture had an ashen face.

    Qin Mu summoned Chen Wanyun and the rest. "Your task is here. You guys shall follow the officials to capture the people later."

    Chen Wanyun muttered, "Cult Master, didn't you say it would not be dangerous? To be able to acquire lands in the times of chaos, these people will all be tyrants of these regions. The strengths of the influential families are no joking matter!"

    Qin Mu smiled. "You guys are experts from Imperial College, elites of the empire, so how could you be scared of the tyrants in these regions?"

    Wei Yong, Yue Qinghong, and the rest couldn't wait to make their moves.

    Not long later, the crown prince and the magistrate passed down their orders to capture the people, so Wei Yong and the rest immediately followed the officials and left. They only came back in the afternoon, all covered in blood. It was evident that they had gone through several fierce battles.

    Ling Yushu spent two days to settle the problems in Auspicious Prefecture, then continued to head east. On the journey, they managed the problems around Mud River as well. One day, they came to River Prefecture. This place overlooked the sea to the east and was far from the capital. Their waterways were developed, and they had a huge port. The merchant ships here were not only connected to all the ports in the world, they were even trading with foreign countries and had relations with the countries overseas.

    Everyone was already familiar with the routine and went to do their own inspections without any instructions from the assistant minister. After settling the tasks in River Prefecture, Ling Yushu could see that everyone was exhausted and said, "It has been hard on everyone, so why don't we take a few days break in River Prefecture before setting off."

    Everyone cheered.

    Qin Mu was pulled over by Ling Yuxiu to stroll down the street. "River Prefecture's trade and commerce are flourishing and they have many interesting items from foreign countries. Let's take a look at the fair"

    "I'll go too!"

    Si Yunxiang followed after them, and Ling Yuxiu took a glance at her while thinking to herself, 'Vixen!'

    'Little hussy...' Si Yunxiang thought with a face full of smiles.

    Sparks flew from the gazes of these two girls, but Qin Mu didn't notice anything. There were indeed numerous unusual and strange toys in River Prefecture's fair, but what attracted him the most weren't these strange items, instead, it was the foreigners.

    He saw numerous foreigners wearing strange and different clothing, and their appearances were different from those of the people of Eternal Peace. There were even some that were cyclops. They only had a single eye at the heart of their brows, and it was grown vertically.

    There were also four-armed and two-headed humans.

    He even saw a few maidens from the sea tribe that was gorgeously dressed. However, they had eight legs like an octopus and walked quickly. When he looked at them in detail, he could also see gills beside their ears.

    "They come from the sea," Si Yunxiang whispered to Qin Mu. "They are merchants of the sea tribe. I've heard they have founded a country under the sea."

    Qin Mu was astonished.

    The items that the sea tribe was selling were also very strange. He stopped in front of a blue coral tree which was automatically giving off water vapor while a huge ball of water was wrapped around it. Within the water vapor, there was a girl that was three inches high, riding a seahorse and singing a folk song whose words he didn't understand.

    After that, couple more maidens riding seahorses came down from the tree and began to circle the coral tree with some men, dancing and singing together.

    This coral tree actually had small tribes.

    Si Yunxiang and Ling Yuxiu were also entranced by it. Right at this moment, a slender and tall girl in a long dark green dress came forward and looked at that blue coral tree, exclaiming in admiration, "What a strange species, Xiao'hong, don't you think so too?"

    Qin Mu tilted his head and saw a red-colored jade earring hanging from the fair earlobes of that girl. Suddenly, that earring stretched itself and revealed itself to be a small red snake, opening its mouth to hiss at Qin Mu.

    "Long Jiaonan!"

    Qin Mu was astonished and wanted to pull out his sword when the woman smiled. "It's best if Cult Master Qin doesn't make a move, my Xiao'hong is of Seven Stars Realm and can swallow all three of you with a single mouthful. Cult Master, my father would like to see you."

    Qin Mu's scalp turned numb as he said solemnly, "Old Dragon King is here as well?"

    Long Jiaonan chuckled. "My father is known as the dragon king so how could he have no power in River Prefecture? However, all thanks to Cult Master, our Dragon Rider Sect got eradicated, giving my father and I no other choice but to hide in the east sea!"

    Si Yunxiang blinked and said in delight, "Congratulation Sister Long in capturing the Heavenly Devil Cult Master and Eternal Peace Sixth Princess! Since I'm not needed here, I shall take my leave first!"

    Long Jiaonan sneered, and the little snake suddenly swam toward Si Yunxiang, stretching out its tongue to lick her neck. "The eldest daughter of Si Family, the saintess of Heavenly Devil Cult, your worth isn't any inferior to that of Eternal Peace Sixth Princess. Did you think I didn't know who you are?"
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