Buying grains was easier than Lin Yuan had thought. Da niang‘s surname ws Zhao and her husband’s was Zhang. The people here called her Zhao da niang or old Zhang’s wife. She called her husband back from the fields and warned him: “Don’t be stubborn, even if the price is a bit low but at least it’s better than have it taking up space in the granary.”
Her man said impatiently: “I know.”
Zhao da niang: “Remember what I said!”
The price was easily agreed upon and Jiang Gui bought all of Zhao da niang‘s old grains as well as a few other families’ storage of old grains. In all it took ten carts to carry it all.
They could not afford to buy more ox so the only choice left was to hire or buy people to manually pull it back to the farmstead.
“How much money do we have left?” Jiang Gui handed a bowl of water to Lin Yuan who only just noticed his too dry throat. He calculated mentally before saying in a low voice, “Only 50 taels left.”
They had brought along almost all of their money.
Jiang Gui: “Buy people.”
Lin Yuan nodded. They must go to another town to buy people, the place here had no people to buy. The food could be left here and no one would steal it since the people here don’t care for the old grains. Zhao da niang agreed readily and promised to watch the foodstuff for them.
50 taels did not look a lot but nowadays the price for a grown man was only 2 taels while women and children were all 1 tael. And this was according to better circumstances, but now the price woulf have probably dropped to 1 tael for a grown man and half a tael or less for women and children.
Lin Yuan did not plan to follow the ethics of modern times. In the modern era, human trafficking was of course an evil sin but in this time, the people willing to sell themselves were poor people who had no means of livelihood so they wanted to be bought by a good master family so that they may have a chance at surviving.
The motive and the era was different, therefore you could not use the same ethics and values to treat the same issue.
On the way to the next town, Lin Yuan said to Jiang Gui: “Brother Jiang, what do you think this world will turn into? Even worse or slowly get better?”
Jiang Gui looked into the distance, his expression complicated, in the end he sighed: “Even worse. While working in the city government I have heard how the current emperor does not bother with state affairs and the officials are all doing what they like. Before Wu City fell, the prisons were all filled with the common people.”
“There is also a plague in the north and it will only spread south with the northern refugees flowing in.”
Lin Yuan knew about the plague, it could be counted as a major reason for the collapse of the Yuan dynasty. Some scholars believed that the plague during Yuan dynasty was actually Europe’s black plague, but there was no proof, just a theory.
In this time, plagues were incurable, anyone who was infected could only wait for death, wallowing in despair.
But Lin Yuan had not expected the plague to arrive this fast; it took him completely off guard.
He had thought it would appear during the last couple years before Yuan dynasty officially ended. But there was a large discrepancy between reality and his expectations.
“Fourth brother.” Jiang Gui said suddenly, he rubbed his chin as if embarrassed, “When disaster hit Wu City, your sister-in-law and I were both scared, scared that you would not take us in.”
Lin Yuan was about to say something but Jiang Gui continued: “If you were not willing to take us in I would not blame you. It is all fate.”
That kind of situation, if he was in Lin Yuan’s place, perhaps he would not have so readily agreed.
Jiang Gui said: “Fourth brother, gege‘s life is saved by you. If you have any problems, let me know, gege I, can even give up my life.”
Lin Yuan smiled: “Third brother, we must live to enjoy a good life, think positively.”
“To be able to eat fully and dress warmly, that is a good life.” Jiang Gui smiled.
Lin Yuan discovered, since the Wu City disaster, Jiang Gui had become more reticent and steady. He was likely under a lot of stress, a family of six, all relying on him to support. So he was filled with trepidation, not daring to even take a break.
Probably because he was afraid that once he fell, the rest of his family would not be able to continue to stay on.
Sworn brothers might sound pretty, but just how reliable was the relationship?
When they arrived at Baishan town Lin Yuan felt as if his strength had completely sapped away. It took three days of travel and when he saw the town’s sign he almost fainted in excitement. No wonder Liu town (the town they just left from) had hardly any outsiders, not only was the road mushy but also rocky. In the end they had to get off the cart to lead the ox.
Compared to Liu town, Baishan town appeared more pitiful and depressing. The streets were filled with beggars in rags and poor people looking to sell themselves. There were no street vendors either and the tea shops and restaurants were all closed. It was just three days of travel, but on one side it was heaven while the other side was hell.
Luckily, the inns were still open. Lin Yuan and Jiang Gui both checked in and saw that the inn had very little customers, the price was also very cheap.
The waiter was a malnourished young man, he waited on them attentively with the hopes that the customers would give a small tip.
Lin Yuan knew that before long, money would begin to lose their value. The most important thing was foodstuff.
When the time came for the sound of rebellion, foodstuff would become even more important.
Therefore, this time Lin Yuan planned to buy grown able-bodied men and women. Normally they would farm the land but if needed then they should also be able to take up their hoes and fight off bandits.
An entire street was devoted to people selling themselves to potential buyers. Some had been befallen with bandits, their whole families dead, leaving them alone.
There were also entire families out on the streets together, hoping to meet a kindhearted buyer who would buy their entire family.
Lin Yuan and Jiang Gui walked a few rounds to decide on their choices. Young men and women that had families, with children or elderly in tow would be even better.
This kind of person was the least inclined to betrayal becuase their families were their weak points. They would not just think of their own survival but must also think of their family’s survival.
But Lin Yuan had also informed them, if they wanted to bring their families along, then he would not pay more money, just the price of the young man or woman. But he could guarantee that their families would have food to eat.
The group of people were all willing.
They no longer needed to live a vagrant life and could now have food to eat. As for the money they get for selling themselves, it was not as important to them.
These people would be accompanying Lin Yuan and Jiang Gui back to Liu town the next morning. They didn’t have any posessions to pack so they could leave anytime.
In total, Lin Yuan bought 40 people, with an additional 80 people who wrre family members.….
When they arrived it was just the two of them, but when they left it was quite a large procession.
The entire way, almost everyone walked, even Lin Yuan and Jiang Gui——there was no helping it, the road was too rocky and tricky, if not careful they could fall off and be crushed or worse.
The people were rather reverent of Lin Yuan, and dared not talk amongst themselves, only focusing on walking. The ox cart was packed with foodstuff, just some dry bean curd cakes. There was no water, but there was a river in the woods. No one bothered boiling it in their hurry to continue on, even Lin Yuan drank directly from the river.
Lin Yuan could only comfort himself with the knowledge that the possibility of parasites and disease-causing bacteria in living water was relatively small.
Ten carts of foodstuff in total, one and a half cart must require four grown men to pull.
Luckily, they had one ox with them, with only some difficulty it should be enough.
It was about time to return, Lin Yuan’s heart was set on speeding home.
If you like the content (or want more ;p) then please consider supporting the translator! ლ(⌒εー)ლPrevious