Chapter 247 – Battle Rations
It was an answer that was beyond Wales and Yale’s expectations. Friendship battle flags were very important to beastmen, which would not be gifted away easily, but compared to being a sole grain dealer to a whole race, it should be expected that everyone would choose being the sole dealer instead of a flag.
But Wales and Yale were clever people. They immediately knew Zhao Hai’s intentions. Zhao Hai was telling them, that between him and them, he’d rather choose friendship than profit.
Wales looked at Zhao Hai just as Zhao Hai was also looking at Wales calmly. After a moment, Wales raised his wine cup towards Zhao hai and said, “As you wish, brother Zhao Hai.”
Zhao Hai smiled and he raised his cup, “Thank you, brother Wales.” Both of them smiled and drank the wine in their cups in one shot.
Sometimes, friendships between men are truly strange. There is no need to say a lot and there’s also no need to do a lot. Perhaps it’s just a drink, and they will become friends. Yet sometimes, this friendship needs to be tested.
The two of them drank for 2 more cups before Zhao Hai spoke, “Brother Wales, where are you headed now? If you still want to go forward, you might run into Iron Wall Fortress’ cavalry. One mistake and there’ll be conflict.”
Wales smiled, “The reason why I’ve come here is simply because I want to take a look at Iron Wall Fortress and nothing else special. Now that I’ve run into you, I can’t possibly go to Iron Wall Fortress. Grains are more important than sceneries.”
Zhao Hai smiled, “Seems like you’re not letting us go. To tell you the truth, I want to set up shop in Beast God City, hehe. You should know that I not only have grains, but also plenty of vegetables, all fresh. Do you think opening up a vegetable shop in Beast God City will make a lot of people buy them?”
Wales looked at Zhao Hai with a bitter smile, “My brother, are you joking with me? Do you know how expensive vegetables are to us beastmen? You can use vegetables to exchange an argali of equal weight to your vegetables, and without market price. Do you think people will buy your vegetables?”
Zhao Hai smiled, “Seems like it’s really a good thing. Oh yes, brother Wales. You beastmen really like to eat mutton. Have you done a lot of research regarding the making of mutton products? Can you make canned mutton?”
Wales did a double take, and then shook his head, “We can’t, my brother. You know that things like cans could be stored for a long time, but there aren’t that many cans, so we have no way to produce them. In fact, producing cans is too troublesome, and frankly, the flavor of the cans doesn’t suit our tastes too well.”
Zhao Hai chuckled, “Then is there any method here that can create long term preservable mutton? Of course, the taste has to be good as well.”
Wales looked at Zhao Hai with incomprehension, “My brother, what are you trying to pull? Why ask these questions?”
Zhao Hai laughed, “My fief is too large, my brother, but my subordinates are few. I need people. Lots of people. That’s why I want to buy some slaves from here. My grains can exchange for a lot of argali from your place, but once they’re in human lands, they won’t survive for a long time. There’s no argali related business on the continent, so in such circumstances, the argali can only die when I bring them back. That’s why I want to find a way to process them for long term storage after killing them. This way, I can take my time to think of a way to sell the mutton. What do you think?”
Zhao Hai wasn’t telling the truth, of course. He could toss as much of the argali into the space as he wanted. But there was one thing Zhao Hai had to admit, and that was he wanted to earn even more money. If he could build a mutton processing factory, then he would be able to earn even more money.
He had a large fief right now, but just using it to plant things wouldn’t be able to earn too much money. If it weren’t for the cheating device like the space, Zhao Hai wouldn’t possibly have this many funds by now. To earn money, a factory was needed. With industry, even more money could be earned this way.
There was one more thing Zhao Hai was worried about. He could buy slaves from the beastmen, but beastmen wouldn’t know how to plant things. They may learn, but it would take a very long time. Once in winter, the slaves would have almost nothing to do. It would be better to do some side jobs.
Wales agreed to Zhao Hai’s suggestion. In fact, many merchants who did business with beastmen had meat processing factories or leather factories in human lands. The higher ups of the beastmen knew about it as well.
What were merchants? They were people who maximized profit. They wanted to bring argali back to the continent which, except for a portion which was sold directly, had to undergo thorough processing.
Goat skins can be made into clothes shoes, while cow skins and other magic beast skins can be made into leather armor or other leather products. How could the merchants be willing to leave such a big slice of the cake to others? So except for some merchants who didn’t have a lot of strength, many large dealers who did business with beastmen had their own factories on the continent. Their fortune was very shocking.
But the so-called thorough meat processing on the continent was seriously bad. Except for canned meat, which was ham and the like, there were no other ways.
After they did it in such a way, the price of mutton on the continent had become high on end and a lot of civilians couldn’t afford to eat them at all.
Zhao Hai didn’t think about changing such a situation, because that way, he would touch on a chain of profit too large to break. He had no way to withstand the backlash.
But he could develop new foods, like specialties on the prairie, which was why he asked Wales whether the prairie had mutton products that could be stored for a long time.
Wales thought about it and replied, “There IS a kind of mutton production method that’s very in line with your conditions, but there’s a catch. You humans might not like how it’s made.”
Zhao Hai laughed, “Do tell. It’s totally better than wasting it.”
Wales laughed and replied, “Battle rations. They’re the most common food beastmen bring during battles. To put it directly, this type of food is actually jerky. We kill the magic beasts and then cook them, air dry them, and after several times of processing, the meat will become jerky. The size of the jerky is very small. The meat of an argali can even fit into a grain sack in the end. But do not underestimate the jerkies, as the small size is also their greatest advantage. During battle, every beastman will bring a sack of them. Just bring a piece and cook with water. The meat will become large again. One small piece can feed an adult beastman for a meal. It’s the best battle ration.”
Zhao Hai nodded. He had heard of this method before. Back on Earth, as a pretending military fan, he once saw a forum thread which detailed the method of creation for rations created during the times of Genghis Khan. It was similar to what Wales just said. Although Zhao Hai didn’t know if the thread was being truthful or falsifying, what Wales said should be true.
The making of jerkies didn’t seem to be of much use to Zhao Hai, because making them was too troublesome. Even if they’re made, they might not be sold. People who could afford mutton wouldn’t buy the jerkies. Selling them to human troops on the continent would also be impossible, because troops had their own provision system, so they wouldn’t be having a rage over the jerkies. People who couldn’t afford mutton would also not be able to afford the jerkies, because after processing, they would be more expensive than normal mutton.
But then Zhao Hai thought about it. This type of jerky wasn’t completely without a market. In opposite, the market wasn’t small. He almost forgot that there was crowd of a very special occupation on the continent: mercenaries.
On Earth, mercenaries only existed in legends, which a homebody like Zhao Hai couldn’t possibly meet. Mercenaries on Earth wouldn’t eat the jerkies as well, because they had their own provision lines.
But on Ark Continent, it’s different. Those mercenaries would travel about in order to stay alive. Sometimes they would engage in rather special missions which would have a long duration. They would need to prepare a lot of edibles, and sometimes they had to hunt magic beasts in order to solve their hunger problems.
But many special missions wouldn’t let them receive additional provisions, so they could only only count on themselves. The main ration of the mercenaries some time ago was normally a kind of large rough flatbread. This flatbread was very hard, and it had to be boiled in water before it could be eaten. It could be stored for a very long time, but the price wasn’t cheap as well. As for the taste? Don’t count on it.
If Zhao Hai could really make the jerkies, then it would definitely be a blessing for the mercenaries. The jerkies would not only guarantee the taste, they would also be easy to carry with even richer nutrients. This would definitely be the mercenaries’ main selection.
Laura obviously never thought of all these, and neither did Wales. To be concise, the taste of this battle ration could only be said to be common. If it weren’t for a need during battles, beastmen wouldn’t make such jerkies.
After thinking about the use of jerkies, Zhao Hai’s face was full of smiles, “Thank you, my brother. This suggestion of yours is too marvellous.”
Wales looked at Zhao Hai and replied, “You must know, my brother, that the taste of jerky isn’t too great. We beastmen also don’t make them very much. We only make them when we have to fight battles, and ones that are long in time and in distance.”
Zhao Hai laughed, “Of course I know, my brother. But these jerkies are very suitable for type of people: mercenaries. Beastmen have no mercenaries, but humans have many of them. Every time and every moment there are mercenaries fighting, my brother. This kind of battle ration is like the best of delicacy to them.”
Wales and Laura were both stunned as they never thought about this aspect. Laura never made a lot of contact with mercenaries before. Her main clientele was common folk, while mercenaries were of a lower level compared to them. It could be said that they were people of 2 different worlds.
But you have to admit that on the continent, the amount of mercenaries were numerous. It was force that didn’t attract attention, but it existed nonetheless.
Once Laura heard what Zhao Hai said, her eyes sparkled. Her beyond ordinary business senses allowed her to discover the business opportunity immediately, but she thought that all of this still needed careful observation.
Wales looked at Zhao Hai and said, “Brother Zhao Hai, you are a smart person. You can even think of such an idea. Now I’m really curious as to where your fief is.”
Zhao Hai smiled, “Brother Wales, my identity isn’t too welcomed for the humans, hehe. That’s why no one knows where my fief is. Alright, let’s not talk about this. I want to open up a shop in Beast God City. I need your help in this.”
Wales laughed, “My brother, what are you opening up a shop for? I want all of your grains and all of your vegetables. What are you going to do that for?”
Zhao Hai laughed, “Believe me, my brother, you can’t digest the things in my hands. Just the vegetables alone will be more than you can handle, hehe. Of course, all of my things can supply the Herculean Bull Tribe first, and then sold to other people later, alright?”
Wales laughed, “My brother, I’ve been waiting those words. You don’t need to worry about the shop. I can help you settle it. But brother, you must ready the grains for me. We’re going to the Buffalo Tribe and Fighting Bull Tribe for a look. Buffalo Tribe is my teacher’s tribe, and Fighting Bull Tribe has relative ties to me as well. 4 of my older sisters were married into there, so I want to solve their grain problems.”
Even though Wales spoke of his situation to Zhao Hai in order to cooperate with him, he still couldn’t trust Zhao Hai completely. Besides, the things he told Zhao Hai could be heard from any tribe on the prairie. The fighting between him and Gasol had long been public knowledge. It wasn’t a big deal.
But grains were too important to Wales. If Zhao Hai really had a lot of grains, then he would have hope in defeating Gasol. But the pretext was that Zhao Hai really had the grains.
Zhao Hai didn’t object. To him, cooperating with Wales was just for the sake of getting the Herculean Bull Tribe’s friendship flag. It’s just as Zhao Hai said; he had grains in his hand and didn’t need to worry about selling them on Beastmen Prairie. But if he could get the friendship flag, it would have a lot of benefits in later business on the prairie.
He was simply selling the grains. What Wales would use them for and how to use them, wouldn’t be any of his business. To be honest, Zhao Hai really didn’t want to be dragged into the conflict between Wales and Gasol.
There was a great difference between the situation among the beastmen and the humans, and that was humans had already been treated with hostility on Beastmen Prairie. If Zhao Hai were inadvertently dragged into this sort of inner conflict of the beastmen, he would have nothing to gain. This was something he didn’t want.