Bangqiu had decided to set sail from Tianjing, the closest port to Khanbaliq and the home port of the Zhou Dang Imperial Navy. Besides the on-going war efforts, there were shipbuilders who worked for merchants and other private concerns. Beatriss and Tetsukichi had declined to leave their families to explore unknown seas and continents, but Betriss's protege Bayan was for up for the adventure. She assisted Bangqiu in finding a shipbuilder and a captain. The shipbuilder demanded a high price, but Bangqiu had collected much wealth over his adventures. With the help of a broker, Bangqiu traded Sakatha's crown for a promise to construct the ship over 6 months, built sturdy and fast, along the lines of a war junk, except that, by Imperial decree it would not be permitted to carry cannons.
As Captain, Bangqiu hired Huan, a seasoned sailor, who did not balk at the strange voyage Bangqiu proposed, but merely quoted his price, while asserting that he was the best captain and navigator alive. Again, Bangqiu parted with a large share of his treasure hoard, turning over to Huan enough money to pay for the first half of what he estimated to be a year-long voyage.
While the ship was being constructed, Bangqiu traveled to Pasar to say farewell to his parents. While there, he became acquainted with Bo Jing, Batzorig, and Pasar, and paid for them to travel with an Imperial Caravan to Khanbaliq so that they could join him in Tianjing for the voyage.
As the ship was nearing completion, Bangqiu was introduced to an intriguing pair of monks seeeking passage to Dar E Lan, a distant city, reached only through dangerous waters contested by the rival Zhou empires. Dai Duo, was an itinerant holy man, advanced in years, who neverthless showed a confidence in rough and seeedy sailor's taven that suggest great power, probably of an supernatural source. Pao Tiānkōng was his young companion, a farmer's son who bragged of his own experience as a sailor (on a lake) when Bangqiu quoted a high price for passage.
Dai Duo, agreed to the price but said they couldn't pay it until they reached Dar E Lan. Bangqiu was willing to accept this arrangement, especially because Dai Duo offered to help Bangqiu equip his ship with canons. Bangqiu would have to provide the money but Dai Duo knew how to evade the Imperial embargo. And again, Bangqiu would get the money back once he brought Dai Duo and Pao to Dar E Lan.