Shao Xuan and Guang Yi’s swords were left at Gongjia Heng’s place so he could fix it. However, Heng looked at the sword with a slight cringe- after more experience and learning higher-level techniques, he had improved a lot compared to when he first made this sword. He would probably make drastic changes to this one.
As for Guang Yi’s sword, that was basically a useless weapon to him, Heng did not even look at it.
When they left, Shao Xuan and Guang Yi brought with them two swords Heng had given them for temporary use. They weren’t very good swords but a lot better than the one Guang Yi was using.
Black Bear was also thinking of asking Heng to fix his large knife but unfortunately, this wasn’t the time. He must wait and have patience. He was already allowed inside and Shao Xuan also helped mentioned that Black Bear passed the sword testing. Now that Heng knew him, the next time he visited, he might get Heng to make him an axe.
When they left, the potholes left behind from the fight were being filled. There were people from both the Black Bear and Linlu tribe. Both sides helped fill potholes far from each other. They hadn’t actually fought when the tension was at its peak and everyone had already calmed down. While they had their own opinions, none of them really wanted to fight. However, this situation could change at any moment.
Both sides had already sent gifts to the Gongjia family. The Linlu tribe was planning to send the gifts on the next day but when they saw Maoda and his men return with many gifts, they dared not fall behind either. This was King City and they might need the Gongjia family’s help in the future. Especially that Master Heng that recently became famous-- even if they hadn’t met him yet, it was not good to offend him.
Black Bear was not worried though. After seeing how friendly Heng was with Shao Xuan, he was very relieved and grateful. They had helped the Flaming Horn people because of the incident at Anba City. He hadn’t expected to be so lucky. The Flaming Horn tribe hadn’t set foot into King City for decades, and when they arrived, they had already known Ji Ju and Master Heng!
Even if the people here had forgotten the tribe, after today, more people would remember the tribe that provoked multiple incidents here. One must not underestimate how nosey these people were.
After meeting Heng, Shao Xuan got himself some clothes. He’d sold two sacks of Ji Ju’s grains to the Black Bears so he had some gold leaves with him.
On the next day, Shao Xuan, Guang Yi and Black Bear went to the Golden Grains fields.
Previously, they had agreed on allowing Shao Xuan to stay for a period of time in the field so he wouldn’t attract attention going in and out every day. That was why Shao Xuan prepared clothes for about five days so he could learn more about Ji Ju’s planting methods, crops and local customs.
Black Bear was just there to create an impression for himself and borrow Shao Xuan’s name to get himself some newly harvested grains. He could not stay for long because Ji Ju did not invite him to. He understood that. After the successful trade with the butler/main housekeeper, Black Bear left happily.
Ji Ju did not usually care about the trades. If everything required him, what were his butlers for? That was why he only managed the planting parts, all trades were left to the butlers, who were basically managers. Does the outsider want grains? Fine, go look for the butler. Kiss his ass if you need to. That was why a butler was a very powerful position here.
At the fields, autumn was the season with the largest harvest. Although there were also crops harvested during other seasons, they were relatively lesser. At this point of the year, the fields had already harvested one batch of grains. The unripe grains were ripening now. That was why the slaves were very busy harvesting, caring for the plants and prepping the crops for winter.
“Every ‘block’ is important to the Thousand Grain Gold. Once they achieve a breakthrough, the growth rate would accelerate until the next peak. That’s why you shouldn’t underestimate them right now. After the second block, they’ll grow very quickly. After the third block, they’ll grow grains. It’s a pity you won’t be able to witness that,” sighed Ji Ju. He wanted to show off but Shao Xuan must return before winter. This was the custom of the tribe. When the grains ripened, the prayer ceremonies might be over already.
As he spoke, Ji Ju watched the slaves in charge of the Thousand Grain Gold pour the fertilisers. The components were separated into different tanks. These were specially formulated by Ji Ju before they were brought out here. Then, the second mixing of these fertiliser components was performed before pouring into the ground.
Just like how factories made medicine, they would first prepare the individual components labelled Liquid A and Liquid B, etc, then when needed, you’d follow the manual to mix them together.
Ji Ju would never tell anyone the ingredients. Although the slaves and butlers knew the ratio of the second mixing, no one knew the original ingredients. So how would they replicate it?
“As for the kind your tribe has,” Ji Ju thought for a moment and suggested, “If you’re planting it again next year, you can try letting some beast meat rot a little. Add some bones, especially fearsome beasts that like to eat grass, shoots and moss. If bones don’t work, try bone marrow.”
“You can do that?” Shao Xuan was shocked.
“Mm.” Ji Ju mumbled but did not elaborate.
Knowing that this might be related to some secret, Shao Xuan did not ask further. He memorised all Ji Ju’s suggestions so they could do it next year.
Ji Ju made another few suggestions while Shao Xuan memorised them.
Ji Ju felt like Shao Xuan had already told him everything about how he planted the Thousand Grain Gold, if he did not reciprocate, it would be very inappropriate. That was why while Ji Ju did not directly pull out ancestral secrets, other than giving some suggestions, he told Shao Xuan about the planting methods for other grains. Which grains suit what environmental conditions, how to plant them, critical techniques etc.
The Ji Family claimed to be the keeper of a hundred grains but no one was sure if that was true. However, Shao Xuan had already seen about thirty species at Ji Ju’s place over a few days. Once Shao Xuan described Flaming Horn’s geographical and climate characteristics, Ji Ju gave him some of his top-grade grains.
The grains from Ji Ju’s fields were a product that the tribe couldn’t buy even if they had a lot of money. They were just too far away. Therefore, Shao Xuan kept these carefully after thanking him. Although the Flaming Horn tribe now relied on hunting, no one could predict how they would live many years down the road. If they had the chance to return to the other side across the ocean, he’d bring this back there too. They had vast cleared lands of fields.
When Ji Ju introduced the grains in his fields, he often had his managers bring him the best grains of the harvest. These grains were put into several containers and once Ji Ju chose one, the manager would bring the containers away.
“What are those grains for?” asked Shao Xuan.
“They’ll be made into grave goods.”
“Grave goods? For whom?”
“Me, of course.” Ji Ju did not think it was awkward to tell him at all. “Our Ji family always had grains buried with them. In the past, when the Ji family was at its lowest point due to consecutive natural disasters and zero harvest, our people were able to alleviate starvation after retrieving grains sealed and stored in the tombs. Ever since I had my own piece of land, I’d choose some of the best grains of the harvest to be stored. When I pass on, these sealed containers of grains will be brought to my grave. At least I have something to show my ancestors. In the future, if my descendants are in trouble, I’ll be able to help them.”
Shao Xuan: “...” You’re living so well, yet you’re already preparing for your death.
However, this was something many Ji people did. They never cremated the bodies. Even the younger generations kept their good grains because this had become a tradition.
As for why he used clay containers and not metal cans-- that’s because metal might rust over decades unless they had been processed. Since not many had the technology or confidence, the Ji people used clay. Metal wares were just one of the grave goods. To other people, exquisite metal wares were important but in reality, to the Ji people, the grains in their graves were the most important. They put additional seals using a secret method so that these grains would be fresh even after centuries. Some containers without a cover would also be in the grave ‘for them to eat after death’-- this symbolised prosperity even after death.
If descendants entered their ancestor’s tomb and see the decayed grains- perhaps even just powder now- they would add new grains as a gesture of respect.
Some people had been brave enough to think of robbing these graves. Unfortunately, no one knew where the Ji tombs were. People who started searching never returned.
Due to peak harvest season, to avoid trouble, slave masters blocked off the roads outside. Shao Xuan didn’t see anyone pacing outside the fields anymore.
When he walked out of the fields, he saw more crops in another field. It looked like an upside-down cob of corn as tall as a human. Each plant only had one cob, similar to some plant he had seen in the wild but this was a domesticated, edible species.
“Whose plot of land is that?” Shao Xuan pointed and asked.
They were standing on higher land so they could see a portion of the other field.
“That’s the Yi family’s plot. I don’t remember who.” Ji Ju did not mind. It was just a small plot of land with very common crops.