After rejecting Yun Feiyu’s villa, he saw several other locations, and finally chose a mountain villa with an open terrain that can accommodate four or five hundred people.
Speaking of the origin of this villa, Su Mu was quite speechless. The place was built by a wealthy businessman from the south, but he just finished building only to come upon Su Mochi beginning his havoc causing ways. In the beginning, the wealthy businessmen could persist for the money.
But three years ago, after Su Mochi’s massacre of the nine cities, this wealthy businessman was frightened into a stroke and ran away to the neighboring Jin kingdom with his family overnight. Since then, he did not dare to step into the Qing kingdom.
And as for his villa, it was put up for sale. It’s just that what rich person would run to Su Mochi’s territory to buy a house!
The house had been empty for three years and cannot be lived in for the time being. Su Mu ordered people to clean the house and hired a few commoners who could make rough paper. Of course, their families would live with them in the villa.
Half a month later, there were already more than 100 people in the villa, most of whom were slaves and belonging to Su Mu’s private property.
Su Mu sat on the chair of Chinese cedar, behind him was Han Yi and Han Yang who were dressed in plain clothes but still not at all lacking in their out of the ordinary aura. Su Mu’ demeanor was also even more unspeakably noble.
The slaves and craftsmen stood in the courtyard waiting for instruction, some of them couldn’t help but peek at Su Mu, and then realized that they couldn’t move their eyes.
That little skin is so tender! That little mouth is so attractive! Those little eyes are so bright……
Of course these were the descriptions by a certain infatuated commoner who lacked vocabulary.
Most people just think that Su Mu’s handsomeness was out of the ordinary, knowing just from a glance that he was a dragon or phoenix among men. Privately they couldn’t help but look forward to the coming days. After all, the wages negotiated at the beginning were not low.
A sharp gaze swept across the crowd, and those who were peeking at Su Mu suddenly startled and hurriedly lowered their heads to listen to the instructions.
Of course, there was no need for Su Mu to come in person to give out instructions, he just came to have them recognize their furture master. And also to take care of the matter of soap, toilet paper and movable type printing.
After Han Yi made threats and promises, Su Mu brought three old men who could made coarse paper to the main hall.
After seeing Su Mu sitting down, the three of them bowed lowly and said: “Don’t know what orders Gongzi have for the three of us.”
Su Mu looked at the three elderly men who were visibly nervous and said with a smile, “The three of you don’t have to be so formal, please sit down.”
The old man hurriedly said: “How can this be done? This old man, I can just stand up. If you have any orders, please just let us know.”
Su Mu did not force the matter, putting down the tea cup, he said: “It is like this, I want the three of you to help me make a paper that is as white as snow, soft as silk, thin as gauze, and melts in water.”
“This……” The three old men looked at each other. As thin as gauze and melts when in water. What can this paper be used for, it would definitely be impossible to write on!
An old man in his early fifties stepped forward and said: “Don’t know what Gongzi wants this kind of paper for. Forgive this old man for saying so but this kind of paper that can neither write nor be used to paste windows, no one will be willing to buy. Also how can paper be white ike snow, soft as silk, thin as gauze, and melts in water?”
Su Mu said: “How it can be made, I don’t know, but I know it can definitely be done. Just follow the usual steps, but slowly make changes and improvements, this requires the three of you to spend more energy.”
“Gongzi is joking, this is originally what we should be doing.”
After the three old men left, Su Mu called in two other people.
“Master.” These were two middle-aged men who were demoted to slaves for offending officials, and both were literate.
Su Mu said: “I need two people to use grass dust and grease to make things that can wash clothes stains, how much grease and grass dust should be used, you two slowly experiment. You can also try to add other things.”
The two looked at each other, and then replied in unison: “Yes.”
After calling in the third wave of craftsmen to tell them how to make movable type printing, the sky was already dark.
After Su Mu left a dew dozens of guards to guard Qingye Villa, he went back home.
The outskirts of the city had particularly bad roads, causing Su Mu to become dizzy while sitting in the carriage, thinking to himself that he must quickly repair the roads.
But, he, had, no, money!
Su Mu felt that he was going crazy from being poor, so Su Mu who had been pretending to be a statue during morning assembly after it was resumed, felt that he should act.
The next day, after all officials had reported their official affairs, Su Mu who had not spoken in the hall for a month, suddenly smiled.
All the officials suddenly got a bad feeling.
Sure enough, the Crown Prince’s voice immediately sounded: “The whole of Qing kingdom, with a territory of hundreds of thousands of miles, but the treasury has only a mere five hundred thousand taels.” Su Mu paused, an expression half angry half amused on his face.
The officials below felt like their hearts were swinging up and down.
Su Mu beckoned to behind him and took a memorial from the old eunuch.
Su Mu casually opened the memorial, and sneered: “Using swallow’s nest soup to rinse mouth, ginseng decoction to soak feet, gold to pave the floors, white jade to construct tables……”
Along with each word recited by Su Mu, the officials’ faces became even more pale. For so many years, the Emperor had no interest in political affairs, spending whole days in the harem. The Crown Prince also only knew how to kill people and snatch men, disregarding of everything else. So these officials vigorously embezzled money to the best of their ability. Who knew that the Crown Prince would suddenly change his behavior, seeming to make better efforts.
And everyone knew who was mentioned in the memorial.
Su Mu closed the memorial, and stared at a certain official with sharp eyes, throwing the memorial to the floor on the spot, and said angrily: “Lord Zhang, Zhang Fu’an, you are truly rich!”
Zhang Fu’an knelt on the ground with a plop, howling and crying: “Your Highness, please spare me, Your Highness, please spare me……!” Zhang Fu’an knocked his head on the ground, not daring to stop even after he began bleeding from his forehead.
“Your Highness, please spare me, Your Highness, please spare me……!”
Su Mu’s eyes flashed with an icy light, and he coldly snorted: “You corrupt the law, selling and buying official titles and treat human life as grass yet you want Ben Gong to spare you?”
Wasn’t this model set by the Emperor and you? You promoted Liu Yuanhua for the sake of Liu Xi, and for Ye Qingfeng, you massacred hundreds in Xuefeng Villa!
Of course, the officials only dared to complain silently in their hearts, not daring to show the least bit of it on their faces.
Zhang Fu’an’s face was ashy grey and his whole body lost feeling. “Your Highness, chen, chen……”
A faint cold light flashed in Su Mu’s eyes, and he sternly called out: “Guards, take Zhang Fu’an away to be executed!”
The pleads and screams from outside the great hall doors came to an abrupt halt, and the officials in the Taihe Hall all broke out in a cold sweat, for fear that it would be their turn next.
Su Mu’s gaze swept the group of officials who appeared as obedient as little rabbits, and his mood became slightly happier. After a while of silence, he called out: “The Ministry of Justice……”
Before Su Mu’s words had yet to finish, the Taihe Hall began to eagerly echo with roof shaking screams.
“Your, Royal, Highness, this, old, chen, have, been, wronged!!!”
The harsh sound penetrated Su Mu’s ears, causing him to frown uncomfortably, and he shouted, “Shut up.”
Shangshu of the Ministry of Justice was like a duck pinched by the neck, his screams abruptly stopping.
Su Mu glanced at Chen Xurong, who was constantly wiping at sweat and shaking like a sieve. He frowned and said: “What are you shaking for? Ben Gong only wanted you to seize and confiscate Zhang Fu’an’s family property for the kingdom’s treasury.”
“Your, Your Highness……” Chen Xurong was overjoyed and promised that Zhang Fu’an’s estate would be seized and confiscated cleanly and completely, not even the newly born mice who haven’t even opened their eyes will be exempted.
Su Mu nodded with satisfaction, and slowly said: “The monarch is like a boat, the people are like water, and the water can carry and overturn the boat. Recently, 100,000 people are displaced by the Xijiang River flooding. Ben Gong’s heart feel anxious on their behalf but the treasury is empty and unable to provide disaster relief. In order to set an example, Ben Gong will donate 300,000 taels of gold and 100,000 taels of silver. I hope that you all will also contribute to the people.”
At the end of the speech, Su Mu’s tone had a clear chill, clear naked threat being conveyed. He donated his pure gold bed, do you all dare not to donate as well?!
Poor Zhang Fu’an was the chicken that was killed to warn the monkey (TN: expression that refers to punishing an individual as an example to others).
Su Mu’s intimidation techniques were very effective. After the morning assembly, hundreds of civil and military officials rushed home to check their property.
On the first day, two million taels of gold and 10 million taels of silver.
On the second day, seven hundred thousand taels of gold and five million taels of silver.
On the third day, one hundred thousand taels of gold and nine hundred thousand taels of silver.
In an instant, Su Mu raked in this much money that even when dreaming he would wake up laughing. But at the same time, he was deeply worried.
This country was already rotten to the roots, and it was as difficult to save it as it was to climb the sky. The Qing kingdom had yet to collapse so far because of Su Mochi’s horrifying martial prowess suppressing it. Su Mochi’s massacre of the nine cites prevented anyone from making a move, for fear of angering Su Mochi, and committing another “Bloodbath of the Nine Cities.”
Even so, the situation was already very bad. The borders continue to have friction every year and the kingdom’s territory was continuously shrinking. If this continued, sooner or later Qing kingdom will be wiped out.
Su Mu looked at the memorial reporting that the Southwest Army had occupied Luohuang city, and his expression became dark.
Luohuang city was located in the middle reaches of the Xijiang River, surrounded by tens of thousands of hectares of grain fields. One-third of the grains in the Qing kingdom came from Luohuang city and surrounding cities.
Su Mu rubbed his painful forehead, feeling that his head was about to explode. Most of the military officials in the imperial court were useless straw bags. And the only one capable, General Zhenyuan Qin Kunyu had hatred for him.
Su Mu thought about it for a long time, but he didn’t come up with anyone suitable for leading a campaign.
So the next morning, Su Mu asked directly: “Who is willing to lead soldiers to fight?”
Su Mu waited for a long time but didn’t see anyone stand out. The anger he had accumulated over the whole night broke out instantly, and the pure gold dragon chair under him instantly fell apart. “A bunch of useless pieces of trash, cowards, does the imperial court raise you for free, do you still have the face to go out in public? Ben Gong will ask again, who is willing to lead soldiers to fight?”
The officials practically wished to bury their heads into the ground, and the military officials in particular wished to shout out how wronged they were.
Who would dare to lead a group of soldiers who love ease and comfort but hate work and who can’t even lift their weapons? What’s more, most soldiers don’t even have weapons.
Suddenly, a plain-looking young general hesitated for a while and walked to the middle, saying: “Your Royal Highness, chen is willing to fight, but……”
Su Mu looked delighted and waved his hand, asking: “Just what, speak.”
The young military commander said: “It’s just that the soldiers have not been on campaigns for many years and lack weapons. Once they face the heavily armed Southwest Army, they will have no chance of winning.”
Su Mu silently paced back and forth. This was indeed a big problem. Without weapons it was just running to their deaths no matter how many soldiers there were, but the weapons cannot be made instantly.
In the end, Su Mu could only grit his teeth and swallow down blood, he will remember this account.
But Su Mu can’t do nothing, otherwise it would not just be Luohuang city that will fall.
TN: Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Thank you again for all the support!Previous