The Human Emperor - Chapter 150: Investing in the Zhang Clan (1)
“Clan head, I feel that we should negotiate with Chong gongzi of the Wang Clan. Even if we don’t earn any monetary incentive from working with him, I believe that we’ll benefit from a partnership. The Wootz steel sword is currently standing at the peak of all weapons, and if we manage to procure Wootz steel, we’ll surely be able to suppress all of the other clans. This way, we’ll have sufficient time to look for a suitable mine without worrying about our market share being stolen by the Cheng, Huang, and Lu clan.”
One of the elders suggested.
To the swordsmithing clans, superior ore wasn’t just money; it was their lifeline. The moment a clan lacked superior ores, its market share would immediately plummet.
It would be impossible for the other clans to not exploit this opportunity.
The moment a clan lost its market share, it would be difficult to regain it. What all of the swordsmithing clans were vying for was market share! Furthermore, this matter had a chain reaction.
Once the market share of a clan plummeted, the swordsmiths in the clan would become idle. They would then leave the clan to join another faction.
If such a situation were to occur, the clan would have truly fallen into decline. It would be for naught even if the clan still possessed a large sum of money. Money was just like flowing water; without a steady income, it would be emptied out quickly.
The Zhang Clan was one of the oldest swordsmithing clans, and having experienced such dangers before, they were extremely familiar with it, so they feared it greatly.
They didn’t wish to experience it once more.
This was also the reason why everyone was gathered here today. The danger had already reached an unimaginable level, and it would blow up in three months at latest.
Before this, they had to find a solution.
“It’s no use! Before the matter at the Bluebottle Pavilion, we might still stand a chance. However… You all should know that he sold a saber in the Imperial Army for three hundred thousand gold taels! With such profit, how could he be willing to share it with us?”
A plump elder objected.
These words sent everyone into silence. The Wootz steel sword had already become a legend in the Central Plains. Despite the standard market price of around six hundred to seven hundred gold taels for a single top-notch sword, Wang Chong managed to sell a saber for three hundred thousand gold taels. To the prestigious clans, this was completely unimaginable!
Just the thought of it placed immense pressure on their shoulders.
Before the incident at the Bluebottle Pavilion, Wang Chong was just an unknown figure. Everyone in the room could be considered as his seniors.
But now, this fifteen-year-old youngster, along with his Wootz steel and forging techniques, had become a towering mountain to them, an existence that they couldn’t comprehend and could only look up to.
“… Actually, this matter isn’t completely impossible!”
Suddenly, a voice sounded, grasping everyone’s attention in an instant.
“Zhang Jian? What do you intend to say?”
Everyone immediately turned to look at Zhang Jian. Speaking of the third son of the Wang Clan, Zhang Jian and Zhang Cong were the first to come into contact with him, so they had the most authority in this aspect.
“Haven’t you all realized yet? Until now, we haven’t heard any news on him buying a forge or him working with anyone. Furthermore, even though his Wootz steel sword managed to fetch an astronomical sum, he can only produce one per month!”
Zhang Cong spoke slowly.
The head of the Zhang Clan looked at Zhang Jian and Zhang Cong with a contemplative look.
“What I mean is that even though it has been a long time since the Wootz steel became famous, he’s still working as an individual. The Wootz steel is a lucrative business, and if a clan could support him, his burden would be eased. In other words, this is an opportunity for our Zhang Clan!”
Zhang Jian revealed what was on his mind.
“How could a single swordsmith match up to the efficiency of a swordsmithing clan? He doesn’t have much experience in this field, so he would surely require help on many aspects, be it looking for swordsmiths, the location for the forge, and many other things… We can these terms as a leverage for a partnership. I believe that as long as we show sufficient sincerity, there’s no reason for Chong gongzi would reject a partnership.”
Upon hearing those words, everyone fell into contemplation. Even though Zhang Jian’s words made sense, the matter regarding the Wootz steel sword wasn’t as easy as it seemed.
Every single Wootz steel sword could potentially fetch up to several hundred thousand gold taels, why would anyone be willing to split the profit?
In any case, if it was them, they would definitely reject all partnerships. However, left with no choice, they could only pin their hopes on this slim chance. It was just a matter of time before their mines were dug out, and news would start spreading soon. Or perhaps, it might have already reached the ears of others.
At the very least, this matter was worth giving it a shot.
“Zhang Jian, what do you need then?”
“I require the clan head to grant me the privilege to negotiate freely!”
“Alright, I’ll give you the permission to make decisions on behalf of the clan. As long as it isn’t overboard, there’s no need for you to report the negotiation to me!”
The head of the Zhang Clan replied gravely.
“Yes, clan head!”
Zhang Jian was delighted.
In the Wang Family Residence, Wang Chong was seated in his study, and placed on the table before him was a deed. Under his instructions, Meng Long had led a team to search the mountains around the spirit vein and dug at the potential locations of an ore deposit. Eventually, after spending a huge amount of manpower, resources, and time, they finally found the ore deposit in Wang Chong’s memory at twenty li northwest of the spirit vein.
He then spent another eighty thousand gold taels to buy the entire mountain of the ore deposit at the Court of Judicial Review.
And thus, Wang Chong earned himself another huge fortune.
However, accruing money wasn’t Wang Chong’s motive. Wang Chong didn’t intend to use this mine to earn money.
A war was a battle of resources as much as it was a battle of manpower!
Every single war machine counted in a battle!
And Wang Chong intended to use this massive mine to build himself gigantic war machines.
Under the circumstances that both armies were equal in terms of strength, the one that was better armed would possess a huge advantage.
This could be clearly seen by the might of the Abbasid Caliphate army equipped with Wootz steel in his previous life.
‘Those who analyze more in advance tend to be the winner whereas those who analyze less tend to lose. Since that is the case, lest needs to be said about those who don’t analyze at all.’ This is one of the adages on Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
A battle has already begun long before it is fought.
No one knew more clearly than Wang Chong how many huge wars there would be in the future. Regardless of whether it was the Hyderabad ores of the massive ore deposit, to Wang Chong, they were all in preparation for the wars to come.
Only by preparing from the very start would he be able to deal with the catastrophe of the future!
——Even if no one knew about it except for him.
However, a very practical dilemma laid itself before him:
Despite sitting atop a huge fortune and a massive superior ore mine, Wang Chong didn’t possess the capability to even develop it, needless to say, utilize it to create an abundance of war machines!
Wang Chong was capable of forging the astounding Wootz steel saber, Death’s Abyss, which was worth three hundred thousand gold taels, but the construction of war machine required massive manpower.
And Wang Chong wasn’t skilled in this aspect.
“Perhaps it’s time for me to approach a swordsmithing clan!”
Wang Chong thought.
In the capital, there were no better swordsmithing clans than the Zhang, Cheng, Huang, and Lu Clan. In terms of scale, manpower, and resources, they far surpassed Wang Chong’s capability as an individual.
“Young master, the Zhang Clan’s Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian request to meet you!”
Just as Wang Chong was deep in thought, a voice suddenly echoed in his ear. Turning around to take a look, he saw Shen Hai walking into the room.
“Hahaha, great! Truly, speak of the devil! Hurry up and invite them in!”
Wang Chong’s eyes lit up, and he hurriedly stood up from his seat.
Wang Chong met Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian at the lounge.
Wang Chong didn’t change much in the past few months, but on the other hand, Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian subconsciously started acting a little restrained before him.
The same people, yet under different conditions.
Right now, Wang Chong no longer needed them. It was them who needed Wang Chong!
“Wang gongzi, we are here for the Hyderabad mine. We would like to ask if Wang gongzi is interested in working with us…”
Zhang Jian pondered for a moment, and eventually, he decided to dive straight into the topic.
Even though he was the one who brought up the idea, he knew how implausible it was. There was a high possibility that Wang Chong would refuse them outright.
Yet, reality caught the duo off guard.
That single word caused the duo to suddenly freeze. The large lounge suddenly fell deathly silent.
Zhang Jian’s mind turned blank in shock, and Zhang Jian instinctively repeated Wang Chong’s reply doubtfully.
Wang Chong repeated his answer calmly.
Zhang Cong was stunned as well. He couldn’t believe his own ears.
This time, they came here with the future of the entire clan weighing on their back.
In truth, they were already prepared for failure. Yet, Wang Chong’s simple answer caught them by surprise.
Even when hearing it with their own ears, they couldn’t help but doubt if they were dreaming!
Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian stared at each other, and they could see the delight and astonishment in the other’s eyes. Happiness came too unexpectedly.
Zhang Jian took in a deep breath and calmed himself down. Contained within the Wootz steel trade were massive profits and opportunities. No rational man would agree to this matter so easily.
Zhang Jian knew that there had to be conditions to Wang Chong’s agreement.
“Then, may I know what gongzi‘s request is?”
Zhang Jian asked carefully.
Appreciation flashed across Wang Chong’s face. Indeed, it was much easier to communicate with smart people.
“I wish to become a stakeholder of the Zhang Clan!”
Wang Chong revealed his motive.
Zhang Cong and Zhang Jian stared at the youngster before them with a frown on their face. In their entire life, perhaps due to their ignorance, they had never heard of the term ‘stakeholder’.
“What does that mean?”
Zhang Cong asked in bewilderment.