It was close to entering winter before the employee dormitories were finally finished building. Artisans had stayed for half a year and it was time for them to leave.
Lin Yuan stood in front of the dormitory, quite satisfied. Compared with modern apartment buildings this building was not bad at all. Besides it had three floors which ws considered rather difficult to build in these times.
Apart from the artisans, the refugees that had built the entire half year had expressions on their faces that looked like they were attending a funeral. The refugees who worked here, although they did not receive ant wages, they could eat well and dress warmly however. Every few days they could even eat some meat, this kind of life was too rare during these times.
“Boss, I can farm the land.” The refugee saw Lin Yuan and immediately threw himself on his knees, his eyes tearing, “I don’t need any wages.”
Once he kneeled down the refugees behind him also followed his lead. They were all grown people in their prime, both men and women were all young but they already had the appearance of someone older.
Lin Yuan originally did not plan to have them leave. Currently the only people farming the land were Yang Zi’an and his friends. And even among them only 40 farmed while 20 extracted oil. Only 40 people farming the land and yet they handled it well. Aside from them being experienced farmers, the most important reason was because they were all physically strong.
These people were already preparing to bring over their families and settle down here.
Lin Yuan helped up the first person to kneel and patted his shoulder: “I never said to have you all leave. As long as anyone wants to stay they can. As long as you work diligently then you will be able to eat your fill.”
“Boss! Boss! I will give you kowtow!” It was unclear who shouted it but this crowd of people pressed their foreheads to the ground, none of them were feigning it, the kowtows were true and honest.
Lin Yuan did not say anything. He didn’t know what to say, it was too stunning.
When he still lived in the modern times, no one even bowed at him, let alone kowtow.
In the evening, the artisans left in an ox cart. Their families were all in Wu City. They earned a half a year worth of wages and it was time to reunite with their families.
Speaking of, during the period between early autumn and start of winter, Wu City’s refugees and residents unexpectedly did not have any conflicts.
Jiang Gui sent a message, and it turned out several of Wu City’s wealthy families provided flatcakes everyday outside the city. Likely because there were too many refugees, they could not afford to hand out porridge so it was replaced with bean curd cakes. The refugees weren’t picky, being able to eat was enough so Wu City’s tense atmosphere eased up a bit.
It was not easy for Jiang Gui during this period either. The government became increasingly busy. Originally as a minor official he did not need to manage too many affairs but there was not enough staff on hand. At the start of winter, Jiang Gui put on a cotton coat and was about to leave when he heard someone yell from outside his courtyard: “The refugees have charged in! The refugees have entered the city!”
The refugees had starved for this long and should not have any strength but when people were in desperate straits they would be able to burst out unimaginable potential.
Wu City’s military strength had a limit. This group of refugees did not have any weapons only using whatever they picked up on the streets.
When the first person died in a fight, the struggle could no longer stop easily.
One side must be completely defeated before it ended.
And before it ended there would be others who would die one after another.
Jiang Gui immediately bolted the doors and returned inside in large steps, telling his family to not leave the house. He then opened a crack in the window to check out the situation outside. Jiang Gui’s wife Chen shi covered her mouth, almost having cried out at the scene outside.
They saw a refugee clad in rags and appearing like a skeleton, throw himself on a passerby. Opening his mouth he bit down fiercely on the person’s throat. The passerby struggled but their struggle became less and less. The refugee tore at the passerby’s skin and flesh, blood trickling down his mouth.
He no longer looked like a person.
But his motive was not to cannibalize. When the passerby died, the refugee began to search the body for money and valuables.
Chen shi‘s face paled, grasping at Jiang Gui’s arm in terror, screams echoing in her ears.
From the refugees, and from the soldiers and passerbys.
If the soldiers were killed, then the refugees would break into the house.
Jiang Gui decisively made a decision: “Let’s go, you go call mom and dad and Da Wa, I will get the cart ready. Let’s leave now.”
Chen shi ran into the house in a panic.
When entering, she heard a scream coming from the next door neighbor’s place. This almost had her fall down trembling.
But still, with a pale face she called her parents and parents-in-law out.
The Jiangs’ house had two entrances, and at the back with a small path was where the donkey was tied. A donkey cart could not be compared to a horse carriage or a ox cart but they had four elderly and one child, using a donkey cart was much faster than walking.
Jiang Gui lead the donkey in the front, Chen shi walking at his side. In the back was Wu City, their home. Chen shi walked some steps and then turned her head to take a look, with every look a tear fell down. When they left, they did not bring anything, it was all left in the house. They fled with nothing, although their life was guaranteed but Chen shi knew that with no money or food, in such a large world where could they go?
“We go to my sworn brother’s place.” Jiang Gui saw his wife’s worries and said, “My sworn brother has land in the countryside.”
Chen shi was a bit hesitant: “We suddenly show up, I’m afraid……”
Jiang Gui knew what his wife was afraid of, afraid that Lin Yuan would be unwilling to take them in, after all in these times, taking in more people would mean more mouths to feed. Besides, they were sworn brothers and not blood brothers. And anyways, even with blood brothers there was possibilty of strife.
“Still……we must try.” Jiang Gui was also unsure.
They dared not walk the main roads, only the small paths. Once they heard the sounds of people, they would hide in the trees.
Nobody knew how Wu City had turned out, Jiang Gui also dared not think of it. “A fire has started.” Chen shi looked at the direction of Wu City where billowing smoke was filling the sky.
Jiang Gui: “Don’t look, let’s go.”
Wu City was finished, Jiang Gui thought privately.
Lin Yuan was surprised when he saw Jiang Gui. He knew Wu City would be in an upheaval, but he did not think it would be this serious. Jiang Gui practically described the place as hell on earth. Lin Yuan immediately consoled: “Third brother, you just stay with no worries.”
The Jiang family was settled in the employee dormitories. The beds were all made by the artisans and had upper and lower bunks. Six people could live in one room and there were chairs and stools. But they could not cook or boil water which must be done outside.
“Brother Jiang.” Lin Yuan visited Jiang Gui in the evening, “in a few days come with me to the nearest village, we must buy some storage grains back.”
Jiang Gui sat on the floor. He had already recovered his spirit and nodded in agreement.
Jiang Gui was clear that even if he and Lin Yuan were sworn brothers he could not take advantage and must do some things to prove he was not a rice bucket.
Currently, Li Congrong and Yang Zi’an must farm and the oil plant was still extracting oil. But the oil would no longer be used to sell but used by themselves. They would stop when they stocked up enough and the 20 people doing the extracting would then take up hoes and farm the land.
Yang Zi’an and Li Congrong did not say anything when they heard about Wu City.
The news could not be kept under wraps so very soon everyone also knew what happened in Wu City.
When working, everyone was silent and more strength was used. No one slacked off.
Sometimes, one extra grain might mean a bit more chance to survive.
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