When they finally returned to the farmstead, the temperature had completely cooled. On the way here, quite a lot of people stuffed dry grass under their clothes for warmth. Luckily there were many of them so they could use body heat to warm each other at nights so no one came down with a cold. The boundaries between men and women were also put away and the women also sat close to the men at nights for sleep.
“Finally back.” Walking out of the woods they finally saw the farm fields. The crops that could be harvested in winter were few so currently only Chinese cabbage and spinach were planted.
These vegetables make up the rare greens that could be found on the table during winter.
But only for awhile as most of it would have to be pickled with the salt brother Dao bought from a private salt merchant which was cheaper than the salt sold by the government.
Sometimes brother Dao would also take the men to hunt in the woods——the only catch being a wild pheasant and a wild boar, both rather skinny but at least it was meat.
The farmstead did not raise livestock so there was no meat to eat.
Seeing that Lin Yuan had returned with foodstuff, everyone sighed in relief. These laden filled carts contained quite a lot of foodstuff and in addition to the grains from the fall harvest, it was enough for them to eat for one to two years.
This was the advantage of few people but there was also a negative side.
They didn’t have weapons as they couldn’t even afford copper, let alone iron. The price for just one iron pot would take up an entire common family’s life savings.
Lin Yuan thought on how to get his hands on some iron, but even if he had iron, without a bkacksmith it would be useless.
The sharpness and durability of knives and swords required a blacksmith’s work.
If the casting was not up to par then the weapons could easily break which could cause one to lose his life if it broke in the middle of a fight.
Actually, axes could be a good option. Lin Yuan rubbed his chin, axes were not easily broken nor did it require much training and had a heavy weight that could deal extensive damage.
The most important thing——they were familiar to people who farmed the land.
Though they wielded hoes easily as well.
Lin Yuan asked Jiang Gui who just got down from the ox cart: “Third brother, do you know where they sell axes?”
Jiang Gui: “Before when working in the city government I had the connection, but now…..”
Whether the city government still existed was still in question.
Lin Yuan sighed, he could only leave it for later.
“Axe?” Zhu Zhongba suddenly in5serts himself into the conversation, smiling with white teeth, “No one is selling anymore?”
Anything related to iron was almost impossible to buy.
Lin Yuan sighed, his heart full of despair. Where did the rebel armies even get their hands on iron weapons, he really wanted some too!
“But I know where an iron ore mine is located.” Zhu Zhongba said, “except it is heavily guarded by soldiers. Even if we were to steal, it likely won’t be successful.”
Zhu Zhongba: “But nowadays, everywhere is in upheaval, the armed soldiers should be less than before.”
Lin Yuan’s eyes lit up.
“Big brother! Second brother!” Lin Yuan called to brother Dao and Yang Zi’an, “there’s something we need to discuss! To the meeting room!”
Meeting room as the name implied, was the place to hold meetings and was dubbed by Lin Yuan. He was not a real ancient person, he might have the original owner’s memories but memory did not mean he could remember all of the books the original owner had read. So it was best to stick with what he was familiar with.
Brother Dao leaned on his hoe and rubbed the back of his head: “Strange, not resting after a long travel but discussing official business, os fourth brother made of iron?”
Yang Zi’an said sarcastically: “Better than you swearing brotherhood all over the place.”
Brother Dao wass not happy: “How can you describe it like that? I am making important brotherly ties. Let me tell you, the world will only worsen, with more brothers to have each other’s back is better than fighting alone.”
Yang Zi’an: “Fine, fine, you are right, let’s go.”
Brother Dao did not move from his spot, shamelessly putting on an expression that said ‘if you don’t apologize then I won’t move.’
Yang Zi’an ignored him: “It’s up to you.”
Brother Dao followed along, crestfallen.
Lin Yuan first introduced Zhu Zhongba, not in detail but only saying that he had a beggar background and was trustworthy.
Brother Dao’s gaze when it settled on Zhu Zhongba changed——this was a good candidate for swearing brotherhood!
“Big brother, second brother, you both know what it is like nowadays. I predict that soon rebellion will sound, when the time comes even remote places like here might not be safe.” Lin Yuan said calmly. He could trust the people in front of him. Besides, if they weren’t trustworthy, where would they go to report? Wu City? No one would be that foolish, besides they all were aware of each other’s roots so there was no need to hold suspicion.
“Then what should we do?” Li Congrong was shocked.
Everyone else looked at Lin Yuan, they all understood the reasoning but they were still unsure how to face the situation at hand.
Lin Yuan only remembered that Zhu Yuanzhang joined the Red Turbans when he was 25 and the year was the 13th year of Yuan Shun. Therefore, the Red Turbans rebelled before the 13th year of Yuan Shun.
A rebellion that hadn’t made it past two to three years was not much of a threat, therefore the Red Turbans possibly rebelled in the 10th or 11th year of Yuan Shun.
The leaders of the Red Turbans were Han Shantong, Liu Futong and Xu Shouhui.
Han Shantong later proclaimed himself the emperor of ‘Great Song’. He was not only a leader of the Red Turbans but also had connections with the White Lotus (TN: a religious and political movement that appealed to many Han Chinese who found solace in worship of Wusheng Laomu, who was foretold to gather all her children at the millennium into one family).
“Presently, we need more people.” Lin Yuan said, “this way we can have the ability to protect ourselves. These people must also have weapons, or else we would be just like a fish on the cutting board.”
Including Zhu Zhongba, everyone swallowed.
Jiang Gui: “This is….what do you mean? Raise a private army? This, this is something to be executed for, if the imperial court finds out…..”
Brother Dao also agreed: “Right, right, right. The imperial court has how many soldiers, what are we, something for them to pick their teeth with?”
But Lin Yuan shook his head: “It’s not like we are going to be obvious about it. Here we are surrounded by mountains and rivers, away from the eyes of people. It is already hidden, we juat need to be careful then the imperial court will not discover us.” He did not mention that before long the imperial court would have their attention taken away by the other rebelling factions.
The death of Han Shantong was exactly because of the imperial court managing to encircle his troops and annihilate him.
“In order to have weapons, we need iron.” Lin Yuan looked at them, “big brother, second brother, third brother, please listen to little brother. No one can be exempt during turbulent times. If we do not rebel but follow the flow, this is one path, but when war begins will we truly be able to remain unaffected?”
“When the time comes and we can’t protect ourselves, we would be lamb for the slaughter.” Lin Yuan also said, “let’s put this aside for now but what about bandits? Can we hold up against bandits?”
Their only weapon being hoes, whereas the bandits that could pose a threat all had weapons. Even if they were not of good quality but it was at least better than a few hoes used for farming.
Everyone looked down, raising a private army…..their ancestors had all been honest commoners, and had never done something that might as well be a rebellion!
Zhu Zhongba lost his entire family, so he said: “I think brother Lin is right, even if we don’t rebel we still should have the means for staying alive. We need food to fill our bellies, weapons to fight off bandits. Only when there are more people can we have the ability to protect our livelihoods.”
Brother Dao said with an expression showing his world had just been overturned: “I….I need to think for a bit.”
Yang Zi’an also did not say anything.
Jiang Gui sat fidgeting as if he was sitting on needles.
No one wanted to rebel, who would when they could have a safe and easy life?
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