Chapter 33 – Sudden Inspiration
The slaves were busy, but there were smiles on their faces. Those smiles were full of hope for life, which made them look energetic, with the days ahead looking promising.
Zhao Hai couldn’t help but smile himself. He walked to where the corn stalks were piled up and put today’s share of stalks on top of them.
Zhao Hai didn’t feel like keeping his capabilities from the slaves, because they were branded, and their fates had been tied together with that of Buda family. There was no need to keep them in the dark.
The slaves had gradually gotten used to Zhao Hai’s various displays, so they didn’t have much of a reaction even when Zhao Hai brought out so many corn stalks.
Zhao Hai spoke to a female slave hugging a bunch of corn stalks, “These can be put on the ground or make fire, but remember not to cause a fire hazard. Also, these stalks still have moisture in them. It’s best to dry them under the sun before using them.”
The female slave and the others obeyed, but they didn’t kneel down this time. It seemed that Meg had managed to communicate with them smoothly.
Actually, Zhao Hai’s guess was off the mark. It wasn’t because of Meg. She may be the granddaughter of Buda family’s steward, but her position was so high above other commoners that she couldn’t get along well with them. Naturally, this meant that she couldn’t communicate well with slaves, who were even lower than commoners.
The reason for the slaves’ change was because of Ju. Ju had been a slave for a few years, and had been branded by the family, but had her commoner status restored by Zhao Hai. In the eyes of the slaves, Ju was much closer to them than Meg.
The biggest reason of all was that Ju still worked and laughed with them, so the slaves accepted Ju more.
Slaves were the lowest class of people on the continent, who sometimes could not even compare to a dog of their masters. There was a rumor that when a noble family’s dog died, 100 slaves were killed in a fit of pique. How much lower could the slaves get? That was why slaves bore a very strong caution towards anyone of a higher status or those related to one, and never believed them either.
Ju’s identity was special. She was a slave as well, but one who had had her commoner identity restored. Ju was always honest and sociable with the slaves, so they accepted her very quickly.
When women come together, they chat. Even the slaves were the same. Ju had no reason to keep anything from them, so she spoke all about herself. The slaves were very surprised, as they didn’t expect Zhao Hai to be so sociable.
Ju knew from Meg that Zhao Hai didn’t like people kneeling down in front of him for no reason, so Ju clarified that to the slaves. With Zhao Hai’s recent performance, the slaves let down their guards, so they no longer knelt in his presence.
To be honest, a modern day person would still not get used to people kneeling down everyday, even after inheriting Adam’s memories. He could only accept what was happening in order to avoid giving Maylin and Green things to talk about behind his back. Zhao Hai was even more at ease now that the slaves weren’t kneeling upon the sight of him.
Zhao Hai followed Maylin to the yard. Meg and the others tried to do the formalities, but he gestured for them to stop. He walked to an empty spot himself and put the rock down from inside the storage in the space.
Zhao Hai watched Meg and the slaves making grass mats. It was apparent that the slaves were adept as they did more things in their lives. Even those who hadn’t known how to do so had learned very quickly. Meg, on the other hand, was more clumsy in comparison.
Meg was on the ground while surrounded by more bales of grasses than each of the slaves. The grasses had almost covered her completely.
Zhao Hai couldn’t help but recalling a certain phrase from this sight: borrowing arrows using straw boats. It was how Zhuge Liang used scarecrows disguised as soldiers to stand at the front of the boats, with real soldiers steering the boats from behind and got a lot of arrows. Wait a minute. Straw boats!?
Zhao Hai clapped his hands once, as he knew what to use to make boats: grass. He remembered that on Earth, there was someone in the news that had used grass to make a boat in order to cross the Pacific Ocean. It wasn’t known if the lunatic had succeeded, but at least it confirmed one thing: grasses could be used to make boats!
Zhao Hai was so excited about the thought that he paced around in a circle for many times. This frightened Maylin greatly, who stood beside him. She asked Zhao Hai as she didn’t know why he was so excited, “Young master, young master, what’s wrong?”
Zhao Hai returned to reality after Maylin’s voice reached him. He looked around and noticed that everyone was watching him. He got embarrassed from this, and he replied, “Granny Maylin, tell Meg and Ju to come to the living room. I have something for them.” He walked hurriedly towards the living room of the castle after that.
Maylin didn’t know what Zhao Hai was going to do, but she knew it must be something good that Zhao Hai had come up with. She called for Meg and Ju without further ado.
Zhao Hai paced around in the living room after his arrival, while rubbing his own forehead out of habit. He stopped once he heard footsteps. Maylin, Meg and Ju had arrived.
Zhao Hai nodded, “Take a seat. I have something to say.” The 3 of them stood in front of him without sitting down.
Zhao Hai smiled and sat down himself. Then he waved his hand and said, “Please sit.” The 3 of them sat down, but Ju sat the furthest away from him with a lowered head.
Zhao Hai spoke, “I just thought of an idea. What we need right now is a boat, granny Maylin. That land in the valley needs to be attended to, but right now, we have too little resources and can’t make a boat at all. When I saw Meg making a grass mat, it came to me. Can we use grass to make a boat?”
Maylin and Meg were dumbstruck, while even Ju had raised her head. It was the first time they had heard of people wanting to make a boat out of grass.
Maylin asked uncertainly, “Is it really plausible, young master?”
Zhao Hai laughed, “Sure. It will work for sure. But the grass needed will be abundant. We must flatten the grass properly and use a lot of ropes to tie it all up. The grasses on the mountain are very sturdy, so they shouldn’t pose problems during the production of a boat. Okay, Meg and Ju, you go and try it with other people. Don’t worry about messing up. There’s plenty of grass on the mountain. We will make one for sure after several tries.”
Maylin didn’t say anything since Zhao Hai looked so confident. She thought, ‘Oh well. Failing in making a boat only costs some grass and rope. Not a big deal.’
Zhao Hai then said, “Come with me to the study, Meg. I’ll draw you a picture of a grass boat, and you’ll make one according to that.” Zhao Hai walked upstairs after that, with Meg following him.
Zhao Hai sketched the look of a straw boat according to his own memories. The concept wasn’t very complicated. The shape was like an arabic curve tipped shoe. The front was sloped up tall, while the back was flat, and the bottom of the ship was thick.
He had only seen a picture of it on the internet before, so whatever he sketched could only be used for reference.
He handed the finished sketch to Meg and said, “I roughly remember the look of the boat being like this. Just do it like this and see if it can be done. It’s alright to try it a few times.”
Meg heeded with a sound and walked away with the sketch. Not knowing what to do, Zhao Hai looked to the books in the study with a sparkle in his eyes.
Fortunately, even though Adam was a playboy, he had been of noble descent. The words on the books were things that Adam had known since he was little, so Zhao Hai knew them as well.
It was weird when he thought about it. The spoken language over here was largely similar to Chinese with minor differences, but the written language here was another matter altogether. If not for Adam’s memories, he would’ve been illiterate for sure.
Zhao Hai didn’t find the books to be very useful. There were only random notes and some history books. Some of them were obviously military books at first glance, and then some were related to magics and battle auras.
Zhao Hai read a history book for a bit, but he soon got dizzy. What sort of history book was this? It’s just a flat out mythology/bible, while the words were obscure and hard to understand.
Zhao Hai threw the history book aside after just a couple of pages, and then picked up a random note. It was written quite well, a bit like a traveller’s journey diary, with many details of the continent’s lifestyles and some legends. It suited Zhao Hai’s taste, which made him read it seriously.
Maylin was confused that Zhao Hai hadn’t left the study while Meg had already come out. She arrived at the door of the study and found that the door wasn’t closed. Zhao Hai was reading a book with a very serious expression.