It was a melee, but the opponent was beginning to show exhaustion while Lin Yuan’s side was picking up momentum. Expectedly, the bandits were defeated. When the last bandit fell, Lin Yuan barely had any strength left, he felt like this day used up his energy from both lifetimes.
In the era of cold weapons, physical energy was consumed much faster than in modern times.
“Have you counted? How many people are there?” In the bandit residence Lin Yuan washed and bandaged his wounds, on his back, arms and thighs there were both deep and shallow wounds.
Lin Yuan:“It hurts hurts hurts hurts!”
Zhu Yuanzhang chuckled:“It’s almost done, boss, with your delicate skin, next time leave the fighting to me.”
Lin Yuan also chuckled:“I can’t avoid it my whole lifetime.”
Zhu Yuanzhang:“Why not? I see those nobles, when they meet a situation they send their servants to deal with it. They never do it themselves.”
Son of money and riches, do not sit in the main hall. (TN: line from a poem, refers to people who have wealth and high social status and power should not stay in dangerous places, must consider their safety and that of their wealth.)
Lin Yuan had not expected Zhu Yuanzhang to also understand this reasoning.
Though he used plain common speech to say it but Lin Yuan still let out a sigh.
“In total 264 people, 100 or so dead leaving 121 left.” Zhu Yuanzhang reported.
Lin Yuan:“The leader?”
Zhu Yuanzhang:“All executed.”
Lin Yuan nodded, he knew Zhu Yuanzhang did the right thing. Only this way will the mid and lower level bandits be obedient.
Lin Yuan took in a deep breath:“Check over the supplies, we rest for 2 days before heading back. Today use fine grains to make rice, cut more meat also.”
The bandits have smoked meat, chicken, duck and fish meat. The fish is salted fish, their storage of salt was also quite considerable. Looking at these spoils, Lin Yuan thought raiding mountain bandits is a good way of becoming rich.
“There’s actually this much.” Lin Yuan cupped a handful of grains. Though they cannot compare in size with modern grains but it had the unique scent of wheat grains. Lin chewed on one and confirmed that it was this year’s harvest, not old grains so his mood was even better.
Originally resting, the exhausted Lin family soldiers suddenly perked up, bloodshot eyes staring at Lin Yuan. If one didn’t know any better it was as if they were about to pounce on Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan added:“There will also be smoked meat!”
“White rice and meat!”
“Heavens, this is the life of landowning masters!”
To them, white rice and meat were luxury items, being able to eat it once in a while was better than the New Year’s holiday.
Because they were all men with not many knowing how to cook, Lin Yuan could only have the bandits’ original cook do the cooking. On the side were 3 men supervising. The cook fearfully finished cooking and obediently reached out both hands to be tied again.
For the love of God, he was just a cook, originally working for the family of a merchant. The bandits raided his previous master and the spoils included himself. His whole life, he had only killed livestock, not people.
But he dared not speak, only daring to sit quietly and pretend to be invisible.
They used the bandits’ cutlery, ate the bandits’ rice and meat. Every one of them enjoyed the delicious meat, even the heavily injured ones struggled up from their laying position and had their comrades feed them some spoonfuls. As they ate they casted contemptuous looks at the bandits.
Boss told them, injured soldiers like them can have time to recover, whenever they fully recover they will then pick up work. In the meanwhile, they will still eat the same as everyone else, their meals and benefits will not be lessened despite their injuries and inability to work yet.
This was not something they had ever experienced. In the past working for landowning masters, they were not given any food when they fell ill.
They also do not believe their injuries were for the sake of the farmstead therefore the farmstead should give them benefits. Their thinking was that, now that they were injured and couldn’t work, would boss abandon them forcing them to survive or perish on their own so that they won’t waste the food supplies.
Since Lin Yuan declared his position their minds were all at rest. After all, having followed Lin Yuan for so long, they all think he is a true man, not one to go back on his words.
“Bring back these 100 or so to the farmstead?” Zhu Yuanzhang asked.
Lin nodded:“The supplies need people to pull along, the injured also need to be carried. You can’t expect our people to win a victory and yet put to manual work?”
Zhu Yuanzhang was slightly troubled:“If they do not conform to the rules……”
Lin Yuan smiled coldly:“They work, our men supervise on the side with weapons. If they can even escape in such a situation then we deserve to be unlucky.”
Hearing this Zhu Yuanzhang became at ease:“That’s true.”
“So delicious.” The Lin soldier let out a satisfied sigh as he ate, taking precious bites of the white rice, chewing slowly, afraid that if he were too fast he would miss the delicious taste.
Li Da took a bite of smoked meat, not daring to chew with his mouth open, afraid the scent of meat would dissipate through the gaps of his teeth.
None of them spoke, heads down and working away at the food, as if they plan to eat until their stomachs will explode.
On the side, the bandits were frightened and terrified, expression becoming even more dejected when the delicious scent reached them.
Their meat……ah, no. Actually they had no chance of eating the meat as it was all reserved for the bosses and their close confidants. Even the white rice was something they rarely see on their plates.
After eating and drinking their full, the recently having experienced their first bandit surpressing fight Lin family soldiers laid down for rest, gloating to each other while picking at their teeth.
“I see the bandits aren’t that terrifying, us fellows only used farming tools before and only knew how to farm the lands. They aren’t even our opponents, could they truly hold up against the imperial court?”
“The imperial court doesn’t bother with them at all.”
“That’s right, there are only a few of them.”
Prideful from their recent victory, the Lin family soldiers became more and more ridiculous. Lin Yuan feels that he must increase the difficulty of their training when they get back, otherwise it would be bad if they became too prideful and underestimate their opponents.
An arrogant army will not be able to last for long.
After resting for 2 days and the wounds of the injured became stabilized, they got ready to head back to the farmstead.
The manual work was all done by the ‘captives’, the Lin family soldiers only had to watch on the side with their weapons.
As for the women who had been captured by the bandits, Lin Yuan asked for their opinions. Those who wanted to leave he will give them a bag of grains, those who wanted to stay Lin Yuan promised them they will no longer live as they had under the bandits. As long as they were diligent, they can even be able to support their children.
Hearing this, none of the women chose to leave, all willing to follow Lin Yuan. In truth, this was something Lin Yuan expected. Even if their families were still alive and they successfully reunited with them, their future might be even worse once their families know they had been sullied by the bandits.
They were unwilling to return home, preferring to have their families believe them dead instead of letting them know that they had been sullied by the bandits.
Lin Yuan also asked them, were any of their rapists among the surviving bandits. The women replied with a negative as only the bosses came to see them. The bandit leaders treated the women as their harem, considering themselves as king of the mountains, the top leader sometimes even refering to himself as ‘zhen’ (TN: form of imperial use for I and we).
Hearing this Lin Yuan’s mouth twitched uncontrollably. Indeed, being the emperor was a dream a lot of people had. After all, Lin Yuan remembered that when new China was established, there were several examples of people referring to themselves as emperors. The most notorious was an old farmer who ascended to his throne in a small village, bestowing minister and official titles to others and even having 2 empresses, one East Empress and one West Empress. He was discovered after several years and was then jailed.
Another famous case was a woman who modeled herself after Wu Zetian. But the only similarity was having a male harem, made up of young boys. She was also discovered and jailed.
The women put on cotten clothes — taken from the dead bandits but none of them were bothered. Most of them were pregnant and could not walk too quickly. Luckily, they were on the road back and with a large supply of foodstuff. The road was very safe with no other bandits. Still it took double the time to return to the farmstead.
Because the lack of manual workers the city wall construction had paused halfway but with the addition of the captive bandits the contruction could finally speed up.
“I am unafraid that you will try to escape, it will only mean less wasting of foodstuff.” Lin Yuan said to them, “whoever does good work, they will be able to move into the dormitories, otherwise you can only live in the grass huts without any cotten blankets or bed.”
“San zi.” Lin Yuan called.
San zi stepped forward trembling, afraid he will be executed right there.
But Lin Yuan suddenly smiled:“You performed very well so you can live in the dormitories. You don’t need to build the wall either, but join in the training with three meals a day.”
San zi froze in place, unable to believe what he heard, he……he could sleep in a room with a bed, with a cotten blanket, three meals a day. All he had to do was train with soldiers who could wear vine armors and carry weapons? Such a good thing?
San zi could barely react, but once he came back to himself he discovered the bloodshot eyes of his fellow captives. Every one of them was staring at him, thinking he had stolen their opprtunity. Their eyes had a ferocious glint as if they will murder San zi once their ropes were loosened.
The terror and hatred previously focused on Lin Yuan now all transferred over to San zi.
They were obviously much more capable than San zi, more stronger, why should San zi have such better treatment?
San zi swallowed, head down, rapidly he stood behind Lin Yuan among Lin Yuan’s men, as if this way he would have a sense of safety.
The once former comrades became enemies, and enemies turned into comrades. San zi trembled from his place behind Lin Yuan. From now on he must hold tight to Lin Yuan’s thigh otherwise he will be torn to shreds by his former comrades.
“As for you all, two flat bean cakes a day.” Lin Yuan said, “there will be someone to supervise, every 7 days there will be someone who did the best work selected and he’ll have the same treatment as San zi. Understood?”
The bandits said lowly:“Understood.”
These men still have an aura of a bandit, with no respect for human lives. No matter if they killed another or not, once they get into the mindset ‘killing this person means I will have food’ then their only way of dealing with conflict was to kill.
The longer the days passed, their mental state will be even more problematic, killing will be the only thing remaining for them to deal with problems. Lin Yuan dare not use them without whittling away all their bandit habits.
Therefore, he must have them do high levels of difficult manual work, everyday 10 hours of carrying bricks and manual work. Even if they wanted to cause trouble they won’t have the energy to do so.
As for the soldiers, they train in the morning and work in the afternoon, farming or hunting or building. Though their hours for building the wall is not as long, ending when the sky darkens, then they only need to supervise the bandits.
The bandits lack weapons, unable to eat fully, everyday they must also spend all their energy building the wall. But with San zi this carrot bait in the front, they will work desperately hard.
Now the farmstead has 200+ grown men. Lin Yuan still feels this number is still too small. There should at least be 1000 in order for it to be considered a stable fighting force. But 1000 men……he can’t afford it.
At least right now he couldn’t. If next year they can farm all the surrounding land, even if it is all yellow beans, he will have the courage to gather 1000 men.
But that is next year’s business. Next year is the 10th year of the current emperor’s reign, only a year left before the Red Turban rebellion and the empire erupting into war.
The bandits were given over to brother Dao to manage. Having been idle for so long brother Dao was very excited:“I knew fourth brother still thinks of me the most!”
Lin Yuan grimaced from the back slap, his wounds had yet to fully heal.
Brother Dao flexed his biceps and cracked his kuckles:“I almost grew moss from the idleness.”
Lin Yuan asked:“How goes the metalwork?”
Before leaving Lin Yuan had brother Dao try to see if they could use the coal to melt the metal pots and tools so they could then make weapons.
Brother Dao let out a sigh:“How can it be that simple, we’re still trying!”
If only they had a blacksmith, Lin Yuan also sighed.
Indeed, non-professionals must spend more time and effort. Wouldn’t it be great if a blacksmith fell from the sky? He would definitely treat him well.
“You’re a blacksmith?” Lin Yuan looked at the short and small bandit with disbelief.
He was truly short for a grown man, not even reaching 1.5m. Even among the average height of 1.6m of now he was short.
Lin Yuan had measured his own height, and it was just 1.7m and that was already considered tall amongst grown men. But it was likely the limit and was all due to his body’s original owner having come from the landowning class, able to eat well and sleep well.
Brother Dao and Yang Zi’an were also around 1.7m, you could imagine they must have had good childhoods.
Zhu Yuanzhang however, recently increased in height, around 1.75m despite not having many good days during his growing years.
The bandit was called Wu Sansi, he nodded carefully, saying eagerly:“Boss, at the bandit residence I only did chores. I haven’t killed anyone or robbed anyone. My family were originally blacksmiths. My grandfather’s skills was inherited by my father and my father passed down his skills to me and my brothers.”
Hnn……not bad, so it was a family business, with an inheritance.
Lin Yuan did not doubt it after all lying to him would not have any benefits.
“Alright.” Lin Yuan said, “you can also move into the dormitories, but if I don’t see any results……”
Wu Sansi quickly guaranteed:“Boss, not mentioning anything else, but metalwork is something I wouldn’t ever forget, even if I forget my name or ancestor!”
Lin Yuan became amused:“I don’t need you to forget your ancestor, go on.”
Sure enough, his transmigration has a reason, in that moment, he felt like he was the son of heaven, he was just about to sleep and someone sent him a pillow (TN: expression referring to all your problems being solved and wishes fulfilled without you doing anything).
Wu Sansi was like a sparrow turned phoenix, from grass hut to dormitory. Though he had to share the same bed with San zi but since it was winter it wasn’t much of a problem, in fact it was much warmer.
In addition, the both of them became the common enemy of the bandits, they both had sympathy for each other.
But they still have differences. San zi relied on understanding his position and surrendered the fastest. Wu Sansi relied on having necessary skills.
Therefore, Lin Yuan’s people treated them differently. They don’t think much highly of San zi but Wu Sansi had their respect.
Wu Sansi had spent several tough days in the grass hut but now his living standards improved drastically, all he had to do was teach others his blacksmith skills. Though he didn’t want to, the choice was out of his hands.
In this era, no matter what artisan trade, the teacher never pass on all of their skills at once to their students. The first 2 years the student was practically like a servant doing whatever the teacher has him do. The tradition was that once they become teacher student relationship then the student must respect the teacher like he would his own father. In the future during holidays, the student must visit the teacher and bring gifts. And when the teacher grows old, the student might even have to be responsible for providing for his retirement support.
It could take 5-6 years or even decades before the student graduates, all depending on the teacher’s whim.
Additionally, becoming teacher and student was also not something that will happen because you wanted to. The teacher must be willing to accept you.
Though artisans do not have high social standing but it was also a path of livelihood for those farmers who do not want to work under a landowner.
The bandits seeing even a shorty like Wu Sansi could now live in the dormitories became even more envious.
Everytime they see Wu Sansi pass by they all wanted to strangle him. This lessened San zi’s pressure, but it scared Wu Sansi shitless.
Everyday he followed after brother Dao otherwise he would be unwilling to walk around the farmstead, holing himself up in the blacksmith shack.
Brother Dao complained to Lin Yuan:“That shorty, he has such small balls! I think if he were to see a mouse he would jump 3 foot high.”
Lin Yuan filled brother Dao’s cup with yellow wine taken from the bandits:“If it’s not too troubling then tolerate it a bit. After all, he is a blacksmith.”
Brother Dao had tried blacksmithing before without any luck and knew the importance of having someone who knew what they were doing so he sighed:“Ai, the way I see it, if he was thrown back amongst the bandits he would be torn to pieces.”
“But I see that those people are much obedient now, they won’t go left if you point to right, won’t go east if you point west. Why are they this obedient? Don’t look like bandits at all!”
Lin Yuan didn’t know how to explain it to brother Dao, it was a complicated question.
Similar to how when he was a manager back in his old company, the workers underneath him would have negative feelings. At that time, he would promote one of them who did better work, but not extremely better than the rest. This way the other workers will think ‘we are doing the same thing, our capabilities are also on the same level, why should he get promoted? Does he have some kind of relationship with the higherups? Did he send out gifts? Was it because he has a close relationship with the manager and often flattered the manager?’
Then their negative feelings will all focus on that person. The feelings previously had toward the company will instead decrease. This way things will stabilize, giving the company time to operate better and make it so that promotion is based on capabilities and merits. With higher pay and monetary rewards the workers will then work with ease.
The bandits were currently undergoing the first step. Lin Yuan called it the ’emotion shifting phase’.
They were currently feeling deep hatred for San zi and Wu Sansi, thinking they should have the same treatment, therefore they would become extremely obedient and work hard.
Once he began to reward them based on their good work and behavior they will naturally be converted to his side.
But this is the best case scenario, sometimes there are plain troublemakers.
Lin Yuan smiled:“Isn’t this a good thing?”
Brother Dao rubbed his chin:“It is a good thing, just strange. In the past when I was a gang leader, those members were more difficult than these bandits.”
“Right.” Brother Dao suddenly said, “one of the new women, her looks are not bad, eyes extremely beautiful.”
Lin Yuan rolled his eyes:“What are you thinking?”
Brother Dao blushed:“Look at me your brother, I am already this old and yet I don’t have anyone at my side. Aren’t they all saved by you? Go help me ask, if it works out then I will marry her.”
Lin Yuan laughed:“I can only help you ask, if it works or not, are two totally different things.”
Brother Dao confidently said:“Fine! I see it will definitely work out!”
The woman who Lin Yuan asked shook her head vigorously after hearing, biting her lip:“Boss, I can cook and sew, dirty and tiring work I can also take. Please don’t have me go serve men.”
Alrighty, brother Dao is still a happy old bachelor.
Brother Dao:“What’s not good about me?! Look at my biceps, my thighs, my waist!”
Brother Dao’s old bachelor heart was broken, his mood dejected for many days. Every time he saw the woman he would even sigh soundlessly.
Both Lin Yuan and Zhu Yuanzhang both feel that when a man like brother Dao becomes sappy, it truly causes one to have goosebumps pop up all over your body.
AN: In ancient times only the wealthy can afford having several wives and concubines. But among the poor, bachelors take up a large percentage, unable to even afford to have one wife let alone concubines. 10 out of 100 poor men are able to find a wife. But there is a practice among poor families and certain ethnic minorities where a woman has more than one husband, spending the first half of the year at her first husband’s place and the latter half of the year at her second husband’s place. Identifying children’s biological father rely on calculating the months.
TN: Haha poor brother Dao. And wow the AN is quite educational.
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