The Supporting Female Character Refuses to be Cannon Fodder Chapter 66

Especially after seeing Jiang Chan casually propose the two-tax system, Jiang Miao felt even more aware of his own limited knowledge. After he repeatedly reviewed Jiang Chan’s test paper, he reluctantly returned it to Jiang Sen.

Only then did Jiang Miao finally feel genuinely convinced. He sighed deeply, saying, “I am far inferior to Jiang Chan in many ways!”

Jiang Sen carefully folded the test paper and placed it in the hidden pocket of his sleeve with great care. “Don’t be too discouraged. Little Chan has great talent. Such talents are not something one encounters every day.”

His words clearly indicated that Jiang Miao was indeed not as good as Jiang Chan. Jiang Miao, already beaten down to the point of almost losing a clear perception of himself, merely replied dejectedly upon hearing Jiang Sen’s words.

This private school was sponsored and co-founded by Liu Yuanwai and several other sponsors in town. It was also to form a good connection. The tuition fee wasn’t much, and they were currently looking for a teacher.

Coincidentally, Jiang Sen brought Jiang Miao over now, and they agreed that Jiang Miao could start the next day. As for food and lodging, there were rooms behind the private school, naturally sufficient enough to meet the needs.

The monthly salary was about one or two taels of silver, which greatly relieved Jiang Miao. One or two silver coins a month amounted to twelve a year, easing the family’s financial burden.

Jiang Chan had completely severed ties with the family, and from now on, the family would only rely on their father and him. Now that he had found a suitable job, Jiang Miao felt a considerable weight lifted off his shoulders.

Having handled everything, Jiang Sen didn’t stay any longer and quickened his pace to return home. Jiang Chan’s test paper had left him with many thoughts, and he wanted to return and discuss it with Jiang Chan in detail.

Left behind, Jiang Miao sighed and headed back to the village. He needed to pack his things as he would be moving to town.

As for Jiang Sen, the thought of Jiang Chan’s test paper occupied his mind, making even the delicious lunch taste bland. After lunch, he pulled Jiang Chan aside to discuss the two-tax system.

No matter how clever Jiang Chan was, it was impossible for her to explain everything thoroughly. Moreover, she had only learned a bit of history. However, just a glimpse of her knowledge was enough to make Jiang Sen ponder.

He decided to copy down Jiang Chan’s answers. Seeing Jiang Chan’s confusion, Lin Shi explained, “Your father wants to discuss it with his friends. The reason for copying it down is to prevent your handwriting from being exposed.”

People were strict with women at the time. A girl’s handkerchief falling inadvertently would attract criticism, let alone written correspondence. Out of caution, after copying it, Jiang Sen burned Jiang Chan’s original test paper.

Items like these were best viewed and discarded. If kept at home and found later, it would be hard to explain. Jiang Sen was cautious, and Jiang Chan understood his intention.

Watching Jiang Sen painstakingly copy the ancient books borrowed from Li Ruisi, Jiang Chan suddenly said, “Dad, do we have to copy everything by hand? Can’t we print them? It’s so tiring to copy everything.”

Jiang Sen paused in his writing. “Are you talking about block printing? That technique is very expensive and not comprehensive. Many books on the market aren’t available in print, especially these ancient books. It’s more practical to copy them by hand.”

Jiang Sen then realized that block printing was popular at the time. Block printing involved engraving text and images on wood blocks and then printing them. The wood blocks were typically made from fine-grained, hard woods like jujube or pear wood.

The wood was sawed into boards, the text written on thin paper and pasted onto the boards. Then, each character was carved out in relief. Once the carving was complete, the blocks could be used for printing.

However, if even one character was carved incorrectly, the entire block would be unusable. Moreover, the wooden blocks had a limited lifespan and often had to be replaced.

Block printing also had its limitations, being inflexible as the entire page had to be carved. Each book required its own blocks, making it impractical and expensive for less common texts. Hence, most people preferred hand-copying to save money and for convenience.

Only common textbooks like the Four Books and Five Classics had block printing templates.

Jiang Chan frowned. “Copying is so slow. What if we made molds for each character and carved the characters into the molds? Then, when you need to copy a book, you just arrange the characters, ink them, and print. Wouldn’t that be faster?”

Lin Shi put down her chess piece, eyes bright as she looked at Jiang Chan. Jiang Sen’s jaw dropped, astonished by Jiang Chan’s idea.

“Explain in detail?” He put down his pen, eager to hear more from Jiang Chan.

“I’ve already explained enough. It’s just a whimsical idea. It’s similar to block printing but with individual characters instead of entire pages.”

Movable type printing was one of the Four Great Inventions of ancient China, but Bi Sheng, the inventor, did not exist in this era. Jiang Chan shamelessly presented the idea as her own.

“I don’t know what material to use for the molds. It’s just an idea. Once you have the molds, you arrange them in the desired order, ink them, and print. No more tedious hand copying.”

Jiang Chan shrugged, speaking candidly. One should never underestimate the wisdom of the ancients. Given a spark of inspiration, they could create revolutionary changes.

“Movable type, arrangeable characters…” Jiang Sen muttered to himself before slapping his thigh. “Daughter, you are truly talented! If this idea takes off, books won’t be as expensive anymore!”

Receiving Jiang Chan’s praise, Jiang Chan pressed her lips together. She wasn’t a great talent; she had merely learned these things from history books. The true talents were those ancient people; they were the real great talents.

Shamelessly presenting these ideas as her own made her feel extremely guilty. Hearing Jiang Sen’s praise only made her more embarrassed. She was merely a conveyor of knowledge, not deserving of such high praise.

To keep a low profile, Jiang Chan could only get rid of Jiang Sen. “Dad, it’s best if this matter stays within the family and isn’t mentioned to others. We need to handle things discreetly.”

Jiang Sen thought it was reasonable as well. A girl’s reputation spreads everywhere and can easily be taken advantage of by those with ulterior motives. It’s better to keep things calm and quiet this way.


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