The ministers who were lagging behind only saw the back of the carriage when they came out. They sighed regretfully.
As soon as Jiang Danhe returned to the residence, he was informed by the guards that Li Shouji would not be coming back today—he would rest in the military camp for the night.
Jiang Danhe nodded to show that he understood. Then, he turned around and walked towards Li Shouji’s house.
His instincts told him that something wasn’t right.
Most of the time, Li Shouji hardly kept him informed of his whereabouts. Why was he acting differently today? His intuition told him that the more abnormal Li Shouji’s behavior was, the more suspicious it seemed.
Along the way, he checked the surroundings and did not find anything unusual. He then went to the backyard and found nothing there. So, there was only one place left.
When Jiang Danhe arrived at the entrance of Li Shouji’s house, he pricked up his ears to listen. Sure enough, there was the faint sound of objects colliding against each other.
Jiang Danhe rolled up his sleeves and pushed the door open. After a while, a man’s woeful screams sounded through the residence.
The sound alarmed the two chefs who were cooking in the kitchen. As a result, they accidentally added too much salt to their cooking, and they had to add sugar to remedy the situation.
“It hurts, it hurts…”
Li Shouji first tried to shield the treasure with his body before turning to look at Jiang Danhe, while begging for mercy.
“It’s good that you feel pain,” Jiang Danhe said faintly as he sat on a chair. “Show it to me.”
He wanted to see what this treasure was that could make Li Shouji neglect his duties.
Li Shouji looked at him reluctantly. “Promise me that you’ll handle it with care. I have yet to complete the last step of its construction, so it’s still relatively fragile.”
“Stop talking. Give it to me.”
Jiang Danhe pointed to the table and gestured for him to put it there.
Unexpectedly, Li Shouji shook his head.
“Huh?” Jiang Danhe thought that he was still asking for a beating, so he got up and prepared to grant him his wish.
“No, no!” Li Shouji quickly got up and revealed what was behind him. He explained, “This is too heavy. I can’t move it to the table. You can look at it here.”
Jiang Danhe looked at the unidentified object. No matter how hard he tried, he could not tell what it was.
“And this is?”
“My dear,” Li Shou replied quickly. Then, he saw the look in Jiang Danhe’s eyes, and he coughed. “This is… I don’t have a name for it yet, but I can show you how to use it.”
Seeing that Jiang Danhe’s face was turning dark, he couldn’t care less about the fact that his creation was still half-finished. He got down onto the ground and explained to him enthusiastically. He wanted to prove that he wasn’t fooling around, that he was in fact, making something really useful!
“This item is made mostly from copper, with some parts supplemented by iron. You can think of it as a firearm that is many times larger than a hand cannon. However, don’t underestimate it. It is a hundred times more powerful than a hand cannon. Once the explosives are fired, it could result in a lot of casualties.”
Jiang Danhe’s interest was instantly piqued, perhaps due to Li Shouji’s vivid explanation.
Seeing that he was interested, Li Shouji introduced it to him in detail. If this thing could be brought to the battlefield, it would be like adding wings to a tiger. They would have no reason to be afraid of the foreigners’ firearms. His invention was a hundred times stronger than their little hand cannons.
After hearing what he said, Jiang Danhe nodded to himself. It was indeed promising. He wondered what medicine Li Shouji had taken recently to make him behave like a normal person.
Li Shouji was overjoyed to receive Jiang Danhe’s praise. The rare praise made him feel like he was walking on air.
However, he quickly pulled himself back to reality.
“I know about rock bullets, lead bullets, and iron bullets, but what is this explosive that you are talking about?”
“An explosive is a bullet that can explode.”
“Cut the crap.”
“It’s mainly made up of sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal. The reaction between them produces an explosion. The heat and impact produced by the explosion will injure the target.”
Jiang Danhe couldn’t fully comprehend his words, but he could roughly tell that it was a good thing. “When can we try it out?”
If this thing was placed on the battlefield, it would really be invincible. It could protect many soldiers and prevent more casualties.
“…” Li Shouji’s smile froze and he hesitated. “There’s no hurry. I haven’t made the explosives yet.”
Jiang Danhe’s smile faded. “Why are you talking so much when you haven’t made it?”
“This thing needs to be carefully formulated. If any of the ingredients comes short, it won’t give us the desired results. So there’s no hurry. This will take time.”
“Alright, if it works, you’ll have unlocked a great achievement. I’ll request a reward for you when the time comes.”
Jiang Danhe patted Li Shouji on the back. He didn’t expect this kid to come up with something so useful despite him mucking around and reading strange books every day. It was totally unexpected to know that what he was reading could finally be put to good use.
“There’s no hurry. I can definitely make it by next spring.” Li Shouji said ambiguously while looking at Jiang Danhe with a smirk.
“Why did it have to be next spring?” A trace of doubt flashed across Jiang Danhe’s mind, but he quickly put it aside.
“Let’s go and have breakfast.”
Jiang Danhe brought Li Shouji to the hall. The chefs had already brought the dishes to the table. The two of them washed their hands and started eating.
Li Shouji picked up some shredded potatoes with his chopsticks. “You don’t say, this really tastes like Sister-in-law’s cooking.”
Jiang Danhe also took a bite. Li Shouji was right. Ever since Xiaoguo gave them the recipes, the two chefs had been spending a lot of time studying the dishes. The dishes they made were getting as good as those that were made by Xiaoguo. As the food became more tasty, everyone started eating more. Recently, everyone in the residence had gained quite a lot of weight.
After the two of them finished eating, Jiang Danhe had to go to the military camp to train. Li Shouji, who was supposed to go with him, was granted permission to work on the explosives. If he could figure it out sooner, it would become a great weapon for the Shao Kingdom.
In the end, after countless failures, Li Shouji found the exact formula. It was much faster than he had expected.
Today was the official launch of the new weapon. The emperor, with all the civil and military officials, were gathered at the Imperial Drill Ground to witness this moment. If it was successful, it would be a great boost of morale and confidence for the Shao Kingdom.
Li Shouji’s legs were feeling weak. Although he had tried out the weapon with Jiang Danhe without any problems, this was his first time presenting his creation. It was inevitable that he would feel nervous.
Jiang Danhe held his shoulder and cheered him on silently before retreating to the safe area behind him.
Li Shouji felt more confident and nodded at Jiang Danhe. He blew on the torch in his hand and lit the rope on the cannonball. Then, he held onto the firing strip of the cannon and pulled with all his might. With a bang, the cannonball was fired into the distance. When it landed on the ground, the ignition rope of the cannonball had also burned out. The explosives within were then lit by the fire on the rope, and there was an instant explosion.
Bang! A mushroom cloud appeared.
From the spot where everyone was standing, tremors could be felt through the soles of their feet. Thick black smoke was rising from afar. After inspection by the soldiers, they realized that many trees were destroyed, and raging flames were still burning around the explosion site.
If their enemy was at the receiving end, the lethality of the cannon should be quite substantial.
“Good! Good! Good!”
When Shao Zhan heard the results, he couldn’t help but laugh and exclaim in joy.
The other ministers congratulated and praised Li Shouji. When he heard the results, he heaved a sigh of relief.
After composing himself, Li Shouji was oblivious to the praises of the others. He immediately looked at Jiang Danhe and realized that the general was also looking at him. He could not help but smile foolishly. Although Jiang Danhe was always hitting him, which elder brother would not hit his younger brother? As the saying goes, hitting is a show of affection, and scolding is a show of love. Jiang Danhe definitely had a lot of love and affection for him.