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Chapter 152: I am Loyal to the Prince, Why Do You Doubt Me?
In the land of Northern Hebei, at the prince’s residence, watching the repeated failures of the air balloons and air cushion ships, the Prince of Northern Hebei, Lei Ting, became furious.
“Advisor, tell me, it has been over three months already. The court has already produced hundreds of air balloons and thousands of air cushion ships. Why haven’t we been able to make a single one? What is the reason behind this? Tell me!”
The advisor, Zhuge feared and trembled, his face turning pale.
The prince was not usually angry, but once he got angry, it was absolutely terrifying! There was once someone who didn’t do their job properly and angered the prince, and ended up being torn into two halves–it was extremely bloody!
In recent years, in order to portray an image of eagerly seeking talent and respecting virtuous individuals, the prince had cultivated his character, suppressing his original temper and treating everyone with kindness and gentleness. However, after following the prince for decades, he knew the prince’s true nature all too well. In reality, he hadn’t changed one bit. Once his anger was provoked, the consequences were unimaginable.
Advisor Zhuge bowed and said, “Your Highness, ever since we obtained the manufacturing methods for the air balloons and air cushion ships, we have gathered all the craftsmen in the area and worked tirelessly to manufacture them. We have never slackened off and have been working diligently. Please investigate this matter, Your Highness!”
“Why did we still fail?” the prince angrily asked.
He had already spent millions on these two things, and the palace was on the verge of bankruptcy as a result! It also required a lot of manpower and resources, and they had been given enough time! Now that they hadn’t produced anything, how could he not be angry? The thought of killing someone even crossed his mind!
Advisor Zhuge shivered and said, “Your Highness, according to the craftsmen, the key to both the air balloons and air cushion ships lies in the air bags. But the ones they made were not durable, which led to their failure!”
“How come the court’s air balloons work then?” The prince was even angrier. “During the battle outside the sky a few days ago, two grandmasters rode the air balloons and flew 300 zhang high without any problems. My air balloons couldn’t even make it to 30 zhang. Tell me, what is going on?”
After some thought, he asked loudly, “Did you guys skimp on the materials and embezzle some money?”
Zhuge Mr. was frightened. “Your Highness, it’s a misunderstanding! We know how important these two instruments are to you, so we have been diligently and continuously monitoring them. No one dares to touch them! The craftsmen suspect that the manufacturing method has a problem. Using this method, they simply cannot make durable air bags!”
“The manufacturing method has a problem?” The prince frowned, his eyes gleaming with a cold light. “This manufacturing method was all from Lin Beifan. Did he deceive me?”
To be honest, he had always felt that Lin Beifan was suspicious. Although he always got things done properly, he also took a large amount of money from him every time.
His prince’s mansion was thus impoverished. He was a prince, how could he have suffered such injustice? If it weren’t for Lin Beifan’s usefulness, he would have sent someone to deal with him long ago!
“It shouldn’t be possible, right?” Advisor Zhuge said, “Whether this manufacturing method is true or fake, the top scholar has already presented it, and he cannot separate himself from it! If that’s the case, why bother doing this kind of thankless job that offends both the court and the prince?”
“That makes sense!” The prince nodded. A normal person couldn’t do such a thing.
Advisor Zhuge secretly let out a breath of relief. He had always strongly recommended Lin Beifan. If Lin Beifan had really caused a problem, he would also be done for. So he had to speak kindly to Lin Beifan and clear his name of suspicion.
“I suspect that there must be some problem with it!” Advisor Zhuge said. “According to the craftsmen, the manufacturing method has a complex process with strict material ratio. Any mistake is fatal! The court directly appointed the top scholar as the supervisor, which is why they were able to manufacture a large number of air balloons and air cushion ships in a short period of time! But we don’t have a top scholar here, only ordinary craftsmen…”
“What should we do? Tie him up and bring him over?” The prince spread his hands out and said loudly.
“Your Highness, that method is naturally unworkable. If we do that, the top scholar will be exposed and it will be detrimental to our business. But we have someone by his side. We can send people to slowly inquire, correct and improve the manufacturing process, and we will eventually succeed!”
“In addition, we can also think of a way to steal some airbags from the court! By comparing them, it should be easy to succeed, right?”
“It seems…” The prince sighed helplessly with his hands on his waist. “We have no other choice!”
So Prince Lei Ting of Northern Hebei conveyed this matter to Lin Beifan through Mo Rushuang.
Lin Beifan was very angry when he heard it.
Pointing to his own head, he roared, “I am loyal to the prince, I have done so many dangerous things for him. Why does he still doubt me? Is his conscience eaten by dogs? Let me tell you, you can insult my conscience, but you cannot insult my loyalty!”
“Mr. Lin, that’s not what Prince meant!” Mo Rushuang said anxiously. “We and the prince do not doubt you! It’s just that we have been unable to produce usable airbags using your manufacturing method, which is why we asked!”
“The situation is too normal!” Lin Beifan said calmly, “We are all human beings, we all study the same Confucian texts, so why do some people pass the imperial examination and become scholars, while others study their whole lives but can never pass? Why is it that among fellow students who cultivate the same techniques, some become masters at a young age while others struggle to even break through a small realm?”
Mo Rushuang and the other person were speechless.
“That’s the difference! The difference between people, sometimes even greater than the difference between humans and dogs! Even in the workshop I oversee, out of 10 airbags, 5 of them are scrapped!”
Lin Beifan stood with his hands behind his back and concluded, “The reason they can’t make them is either because they’re incompetent or someone is cutting corners. This is too normal! After all, every place has its worms.”
Mo Rushuang and Guo Shaoshuai repeatedly asked, and Lin Beifan insisted that the manufacturing method he provided was absolutely genuine. The reason they couldn’t produce good airbags was due to their own lack of skill, not his problem.
They asked if it was possible to obtain some airbags made by the court for reference. Lin Beifan shook his head, “Forget about it! Since the two incidents of leaks, the court has attached great importance to this matter. They have stationed heavily armed guards and experts to ensure tight security. No one can take out a single airbag! Private manufacturing is strictly prohibited, and anyone caught will lose their head!”
Mo Rushuang and Guo Shaoshuai returned disappointed.
Representatives from the Southern Jiang Prince’s side and the Wuxi Duke’s side, and so on, came to inquire.
But Lin Beifan gave them the same answer: it’s not that his method is flawed, it’s their own lack of skill, so they shouldn’t blame him.
As a result, everyone focused their attention on the airbags of the Da Wu Dynasty. However, after suffering two losses, the Da Wu court had become smarter and strengthened the security of the airbag manufacturing workshop. 30,000 well-trained soldiers guarded it every day, and numerous experts patrolled day and night.
Obtaining court-made airbags became even more difficult than reaching the heavens.
As a result, everyone once again turned to Lin Beifan simultaneously.
“For the sake of the prince’s great cause, I have already risked my life twice and barely managed to survive! This time, I really have no way out. Please seek someone else’s help!”
Facing the envoy Wang Fugui sent by the Southern Jiang Prince, Lin Beifan declined.
“Principal Lin, if you don’t help now, we’ll be in trouble!” Wang Fugui said anxiously, “The prince is very angry that we still can’t produce qualified airbags. He’s already beheaded several people! If we fail again, my head won’t be safe either!”
“But if I help you, my own head won’t be safe,” Lin Beifan pointed to his head.
“Principal Lin, could you please help me! Only you can help me!” Wang Fugui gave him a dozen silver taels, “This is a small gift from the prince. Please accept it! There will be a big reward when it succeeds!”
Lin Beifan looked down and saw 300,000 taels.
This Prince of Southern Jiang really knows how to get to him!
As the saying goes, it’s easy to get money, but a true friend is hard to find.
As the saying goes, the gift is light, but the sentiment is heavy.
As the saying goes, where there’s money, there’s happiness!
So Lin Beifan reluctantly took the money and said, “To be honest, I can’t just give you the airbags. But I can provide you with an opportunity to obtain them. It depends on whether you can seize it or not.”
“Okay! Any opportunity is better than no opportunity!” Wang Fugui was overjoyed.
Next, Lin Beifan secretly met with others.
Every time he said it was impossible, but as soon as the other side offered a bribe, Lin Beifan was immediately swayed.
Each person gave him at least 200,000 taels, and some even gave up to 500,000 taels.
After a round of meetings, Lin Beifan easily made over 5 million taels.
“The opportunity will come soon. Just wait for my good news!” he said.
The next day at court, Lin Beifan stood up.
“Your Majesty, I have a proposal!” he said loudly.
The empress was surprised. This bastard usually doesn’t show any initiative and tries to avoid problems. Did he swindle money again?
“What is it, Sir Lin?” the empress asked in anticipation.
“These past three months, my colleagues and I at the Ministry of Industry have worked tirelessly day and night and have finally made 1,000 watercraft air cushion ships! I believe it’s time for a long-distance military exercise! This will not only test the effectiveness of the air cushion ships, but also demonstrate our national might and awe our enemies worldwide!”
This was a reasonable suggestion, and the officials did not object.
The empress agreed and smiled, “Your proposal is reasonable, Sir Lin! Since we have sufficient air cushion ships, it’s time for a military exercise! This will not only test the effectiveness of the air cushion ships, but also awe our enemies worldwide! This military exercise will be led by the Minister of War, Sir Li!”
Minister of War Li Kaiguang stepped forward and bowed, “I obey the order!”