TN: Should I even warn for some slightly disturbing content? I mean this is a historical fiction taking place during a turbulent period in history and the author is quite realistic about the situation. Anway, a certain section in the first half of the chapter is slightly disturbing, squeamish folks, you have been warned.
In the end, it was the San zi who went out. Lin Yuan didn’t relent on his decision despite Wu Yuelian’s initiative. From his point of view, San zi was obviously better at this kind of mission than Wu Yuelian. As a minor bandit, San zi was not so courageous. Physically he was also thin, short-armed and short-legged, there was almost no sound when he ran, and his eyesight was very good. Lin Yuan had given them all a simple vision test earlier.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms.wo rd pr es s. c o m )
Most people here have different degrees of vision problems. Many people think that because the ancients did not touch electronic products, waking up at the sunrise and sleeping at sunset, the vision would definitely be better than most modern people.
But in fact, some of them have been malnourished since childhood. And if they want to do something after nightfall, the poor use the moonlight, while the richer use the oil lamp, and none of them have access to glasses. Therefore, the weakness of their eyesight was inevitable.
Many people have night blindness, it was just a matter of severity.
San zi left hesitantly, one step at a time. He bent his waist, tucked in his neck, and walked out through the narrow door behind.
This narrow gate could only allow one person to pass through and this person cannot be too fat or too bulky. San zi was already considered thin among men, but it was still a bit difficult to get out.
Lin Yuan sat in the clearing and felt his emotions calmed down a lot. He didn’t seem to be afraid of having enemies anymore, as if he had completely accepted this fate.
From the time he transmigrated to here, he worked hard to do what he could do. Although he told himself that the Yuan Dynasty was going to fall, the land was going to be up in chaos, and those who had the ability could reap in the profits.
But he still couldn’t help but doubt himself.
He wondered if he could do it.
In fact, thinking about it carefully, Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty, had a very bumpy first half of his life. The education he received was irregular and not a formal education. In this era, any scholar could win against him, but he still became the emperor, and countless scholars could only bow down to him.
How much advantage can modern people’s theoretical knowledge have when taken to the ancient times?
Talk about gender equality?
Everyone would think he was crazy.
He had previously mentioned a joke “who said women are inferior to men” to Qiu Niang, and Qiu Niang looked at him with an incredulous look.
Invent the train and cannon? He thought about it, but the fact was that he knew nothing about the process.
He knew steam power, but he didn’t know how to build a steam train.
If the one that came here was an all-round engineering boss, maybe he could have opened up another path.
But the heavens just sent him, a liberal arts student.
Was he better than Zhu Yuanzhang? Better than Fang Shicheng?
Lin Yuan searched in his heart, no, he was no better than anyone.
To be precise, he was weaker than them, and much weaker.
Because even if he knew the history, he could actually do very little, but Zhu Yuanzhang and the others don’t need to know the history. They seem to be born with a gene, and this gene prompts them to do different things under different circumstances.
Most people in this world were creatures of profit, pursuing personal interests and family interests. They can’t do big things, but they also don’t make big mistakes.
Zhu Yuanzhang and the others were the smallest group of people. They were born as creatures of power, creatures of politics.
They have more keen insight than ordinary people, and they also understand better than ordinary people how to get more support from the people.
Lin Yuan looked at the white clouds up in the sky and fiddled with the blades of grass in his hands. His mood was more peaceful. It seemed that since he admitted that he was not that strong, the burden in his heart had been lightened a lot. Since coming here he had always had this feeling that, standing on the shoulders of giants, he will definitely do better than the ancient natives, so every time he did something, he would think and deduct repeatedly.
But actually, after figuring out that was not the case he let go of it all, releasing the shackles he had put on himself.
Just take one step at a time, in any case, this second chance at life was gifted freely to him.
Even if at the end, he was submerged in the torrent of the times, it would just be an established destiny.
San zi was crawling in the grass, scared and nervous. It was the first time he acted as a scout——as the boss called it, though he still didn’t understand what a scout meant. He lay motionless in the grass, and even when a bug crawled over his body and face he did not move at all.
It was as if he was just a rock by the roadside.
He was still looking, carefully listening for the sound of footsteps and movements around.
After he confirmed his safety, he quickly stood up, and started to run.
While running, San zi also observed the road ahead, where there were branches and where there was mud, he could see clearly. Stepping on the soft soil, feet avoiding all the branches. For the sake of his life, even if there should be no one around, he still made sure to not make a noise.
Timidity and fear became his capital for survival at this time.
After finally seeing brother Dao and Zhu Yuanzhang and the others, San zi’s heart finally dropped back down from his throat.
“Captain Li, Captain Zhu.” San zi felt that it was safe so his back straightened a little bit. He reported the news on the group of bandits stationed outside the farmstead, and then quickly relayed Lin Yuan’s plan.
San zi had a very good memory. He didn’t need brush and paper. Once he remembered, he could repeat it verbatim: “Boss said, after you get closer, the farmstead will raise the red flag, which is the signal. The city gate will then open, and together we attack those people on both sides.”
Li Congrong and the others came back with the things Chen Half-Immortal and the others needed. At this moment, they could only first find a place to hide the things——these things were not easy to buy, as now people cannot even eat fully, let alone these things that cannot be eaten. Having said that, it was also common for high-ranking officials to support a few Daoist priests, including quite a few alchemists, but not every high-ranking official support a personal group of alchemists, especially such a large group.
They bought it from an old Daoist, and the Daoist asked for a low price, but he only accepted grain, coarse grains and fine grains. Coarse grains were the best, as the quantity was large. If they were old grains, even better as he could trade for more.
The old Daoist needed to support more than himself. His Daoist temple had more than 20 small turnip heads, all children who have no parents or mothers. They had followed the old Daoist since childhood and learned their skills from the old Daoist.
Daoist temples were different from Buddhist temples. Many Daoist temples were actually unoffical temples. In difficult times, the court will not give them a grain of rice.
Buddhist temples also have unofficial ones, but as long as one enter an official Buddhist temple, such as Huangjue Temple, there will be food provided from the court.
Li Congrong really wanted to bring back the old Daoist and the group of small turnip heads. He was a bit smarter now. He felt that if he brought these people back, fourth brother will definitely be able to use them.
It was a pity that the old Daoist did not agree.
But in these times, it was normal to disagree.
The days outside were now even more difficult. When they came back, they passed by a village, the men rushed out to stop them while the women opened up their clothes revealing their chest and told them they could touch for just some beans, if they wanted to do something more, then they will have to give a handful of grains.
They depended on this for a living.
Before that, they were probably just simple villagers in marital harmony. If other men even looked at their wives they would hit them.
When Li Congrong watched them wait for their wives and other men to finish their business with numb expressions, and then hunched over to ask for the promised grains, a chill rose from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head.
It was not only women, but also some men who were good-looking.
What they want was just a bite of food that can allow them to stave hunger pains.
He also saw with his own eyes a boy with slender arms and legs being pressed down by a strong man. After the strong man left, the boy’s butt was covered in blood, but he still crawled to the grains left behind by the strong man, shoveling it into his mouth with his hands. The food was not washed or boiled, and was chewed directly in the mouth.
As for whether he will die, he probably doesn’t care about it himself, only whether his belly can be full.
It was clearly already spring, but the vitality seemed to have not arrived.
Everyone thought that after the beginning of spring, with wild vegetables to be found, everyone could at least live a little bit better.
But the belief was just a belief.
Li Congrong didn’t know why, but he also felt a sense of sadness. If he wasn’t lucky, if it wasn’t for fourth brother selecting a good location for the farmstead, where would he be now?
Become a refugee or become a bandit, or just like the people in the village, find a wife and ask her to sell her body for food?
“Brother Dao?” Zhu Yuanzhang called him.
Only then did Li Congrong come back to his senses.
Zhu Yuanzhang said to Li Congrong: “We go from here, they are here.”
Zhu Yuanzhang drew a simple map on the ground, which Li Congrong could also understand.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms.wo rd pr es s. c o m )
After determining the direction and tactics, they first hid the things they had to bring back, and then the group proceeded forward cautiously like thieves. All of them wore green vine armor, which was also a natural protective coloration in the spring woods.
A bit like camouflage clothing.
Lin Yuan stood on the observation deck and watched carefully. Now he was not alone on the observation deck. Everyone had to watch the surroundings intently. After all, they didn’t know where Li Congrong and Zhu Yuanzhang would come out.
“They’re here!” someone yelled.
Lin Yuan: “Raise the flag!”
A red flag was raised from the observation deck.
Brother Dao saw it, as did the group of people waiting outside the city wall.
As soon as Lin Yuan raised the flag, the city gate opened.
Everyone charged out at that moment. They were used to following Lin Yuan’s instructions, rushing wherever Lin Yuan pointed. Some were timid, but when everyone around them was charging forward, they could only follow the crowd.
Zhu Yuanzhang raised his knife, he kicked the person in front of him with one foot, and with the tip of the knife facing down, he pierced the enemy’s chest.
Then someone behind him was about to make a sneak attack with a knife, and Zhu Yuanzhang was about to draw his knife, but that person had already been defeated.
Li Congrong’s blood stained face appeared: “You should change this habit of yours.”
Zhu Yuanzhang tugged the knife up from where it was embedded: “I’ll remember it next time.”
These people were not as easy to deal with as the people they met before. They were a group of real desperate criminals, well-armed and with tall and strong physiques. Maybe when they passed by, they saw Lin Yuan’s farmstead and developed covetuous desire. But as they didn’t have a siege device, they could only stay near the farmstead temporarily, waiting like snakes for their prey to reveal an opening.
Maybe it was because of the vine armor, maybe it was because of other reasons. The deaths and injuries this time were not as tragic as Lin Yuan had expected. Although close to 20 people died, and a dozen seriously injured, with the rest sporting large and small minor injuries.
However, none of the bandits survived.
Previously, he accepted the bandits lile San zi because they were at the bottom of the ladder. In other words, they weren’t really big evildoers. They just wanted to eat fully, following whoever that could provide them with food. Such a person was easy to subdue, so Lin Yuan would accept them. As for the obedience and sense of belonging, this can only be cultivated slowly.
But these bandits were different.
Their butcher knife could point to anyone.
Lin Yuan could not allow the gamble.
With such a big farmstead behind him and so many people in the farmstead, if he lost the bet, he would not be able to afford the consequences.
For the twenty people who died, Lin Yuan had people prepare simple coffins for them overnight, and buried them not far from the farmstead. The seriously injured were moved indoors where the women with the lightest hands and feet took care of them. The lightly injured was even simpler, just have them apply the medicine from time to time.
Li Congrong and Zhu Yuanzhang were also seriously injured. Fortunately, there were the medicinal herbs bought from Jiang Guang. There were several kinds of hemostatic medicinal herbs, all very useful. After two days, the wounds turned pink with no more bleeding and no purulent infection.
Lin Yuan had always paid great attention to the hygiene of the hospital ward.
All the clothes of the patients have to be boiled and disinfected, and the people who take care of the wounded were all women who had cleaned themselves thoroughly.
Although there were not many oral medicines left, Lin Yuan was quite generous providing them meat porridge almost every meal.
Some people even felt that it would not be a bad thing to live in the ward forever.
Of course……when they have to solve the three urgent problems (TN: refer to the natural body processes to urinate, defecate, and let out gas), it was the men who helped.
Chen Half-Immortal and the others naturally knew what had happened. When the fighting started outside, they hid trembling in the alchemy room. After the incident, they gathered together and discovered the importance of exploding the furnace for the first time.
If it really was like what Boss said, after adjusting the gunpowder recipe and then adding metal beads in it, then in the face of such conflicts and attacks, they will lose a lot less people using such a weapon.
After getting the things Li Congrong and the others brought back, Chen Half-Immortal and the others developed an unprecedented enthusiasm for work for the first time. They were holed up in the alchemy room almost all day long, even putting aside the production of fake jade. During meal times only one went to the cafeteria to bring take outs back for everyone, returning to the alchemy room to continue experimenting.
Lin Yuan also went to see it once and found that their method of adjusting the formula was actually quite scientific.
Because there was no accurate measurement tool, they use small wooden spoons. The size of these small wooden spoons was very consistent, and the error would not be too big. They would put them little by little, and the person next to them will record it.
When they felt that it was almost done, they took the small stove outside, sealed it, and lit the lead rope on fire.
Unfortunately, most of them just caught fire, but they did not explode.
Lin Yuan stayed with them all day, and found that they were eating steamed buns in their mouths but continued doing things with their hands, seeming completely wrapped up in their work. If they thought of something in the middle of the night, they rushed to the alchemy room to continue experimenting.
This group of people lost weight at a speed visible to the naked eye.
But their sacrifice did become fruitful.
On a day with clear blue sky, Lin Yuan received the best news in the past three years——
The homemade explosives were finally created.
Although simple and not very lethal, it could still explode and deter the enemy. To a certain extent, it was probably not enough as a weapon, but as a deterrent tool, its symbolic meaning was greater than its practical value.
Just like in the animal kingdom, many animals roar at each other before fighting to scare away the enemy.
In fact, people were also the same, but what people fear was different from what animals fear.
Chen Half-Immortal was also a little proud: “We have thought about the method you mentioned. You see, this bag is made with beads added.”
These beads were made by Wu Sansi. He had his own methods and experience with ironwork so it was not difficult to make beads of similar size.
In order to test the usefulness of explosives added with metal beads, Lin Yuan decided to sacrifice the simplest hut, and then threw the explosive into it after setting it on fire.
In an instant a loud noise was heard, and the top of the hut was blown up as a fire started to burn.
However, the fire was not too big, and Lin Yuan looked through the hut after the fire was put out.
Many beads were embedded in the wall. Although this shed was simple, the wall was still very strong. If this was a human body, even if they cannot penetrate through it, the beads will still be embedded in the body.
The addition of beads will increase the attack range and lethality of the explosives.
Lin Yuan was overjoyed, and as soon as he turned around, he enveloped Chen Half-Immortal, the wrinkly old man into a bear hug and patted his shoulder with excitement, “Half-Immortal! You have made a great contribution!”
Chen Half-Immortal himself was a little stunned. He really didn’t expect the explosives to be so powerful just by adding some beads.
“Boss……” Chen Half-Immortal swallowed, “that……is that really that pack of gunpowder I gave you?”
Lin Yuan nodded fiercely: “Yes! Half-Immortal, you are really amazing!”
Chen Half-Immortal got praised and finally became excited. Only now did he return to the ground from the sky, his feet finally landed on firm ground.
There were also many onlookers.
They were currently chatting and discussing.
“Good fellow! Such a loud noise! I thought it was the dragon god sneezing!”
“Did you see that the roof was blown up!”
“It even went on fire!”
“This is truly incredible.”
“In the future, if anyone is still waiting outside our farmstead, we will throw a few packets of this and scare them to death.”
Lin Yuan was in a good mood and waved his hand, everyone could taste meat again today.
Although it was just a bowl of meat flavored broth, it was still a supreme enjoyment to occasionally find some minced meat within.
Regarding gunpowder, Lin Yuan felt that these Half-Immortals alone would not be able to keep up with production. They were already quite old so if the workload increased, he was afraid that they would kick the bucket one day. These were talents who can’t even be exchanged for gold and must be well protected.
So Lin Yuan asked Wu Yuelian to take a few women who were not pregnant to study under them as apprentices.
Of course, Chen Half-Immortal and the others would not accept. Who would accept female apprentices? What’s more, it was not to worship the Daoist school of thought, but to recognize him alone as a master. Don’t know how Wu Yuelian did it but after several days of persistence, Chen Half-Immortal and the others began to teach them reluctantly.
Lin Yuan asked the women to go learn for a reason.
Now the number of men was nearly 20 fewer, and he must find a way to supplement the numbers in the farmstead.
Also, men have to farm and train, and they really don’t have the time to learn how to make gunpowder as well.
Wu Yuelian and the others were different. They don’t have so much work, and they don’t need to go out to fight. The logistics of making gunpowder was just suitable for them. In addition women were always more careful, and the possibility of making mistakes will be reduced.
After the division of labor was clear, Lin Yuan called over Li Congrong, Jiang Gui and Zhu Yuanzhang to discuss recruitment.
In fact, if they recruit people in winter, it would cost less food, but now Lin Yuan couldn’t wait for winter, so he could only find a way now.
“Where is the merchant last time?” Jiang Gui asked, “He naturally has a way to buy people.”
Lin Yuan: “I don’t know where he lives.”
There was nowhere to find him.
Zhu Yuanzhang said again: “Or, I will take some people out looking again?”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “You still have to rest for a period of time. You have such a serious injury, if it rips open it will make it more troublesome.”
Zhu Yuanzhang touched his waist where there was a stab wound. Fortunately, it was treated in a timely manner so now it had begun to scab, and it was estimated to recover completely soon.
“When Jiang Guang brings the horses over, I’ll ask him to find some people for me.” Lin Yuan said, “If he doesn’t come, we have to go out and find people by ourselves.”
Jiang Gui suddenly said, “Why don’t you let me make the trip?”
They all looked at Jiang Gui.
Jiang Gui smiled and said: “I can pretend to be a taveling merchant. Not just buying people, I’ll also be faster at getting news than you here at the farmstead.”
“This is a good idea.”
“It needs to be planned in detail.”
Lin Yuan listened to them discussing, he needed people, and a lot of them. Their granary was full, and they have opened up all the surrounding lands that could be opened nearby so the harvest this autumn would be more than in previous years.
Lin Yuan planned on accepting another five hundred people to the farmstead, and wait until winter to accept another five hundred people.
Although a thousand people may not seem to be many, in fact, the armaments in each town were actually very small. With a thousand people, they could even attack a small city.
Lin Yuan was now waiting for Yang Zi’an to return. If he could bring Zhang Shicheng and his brothers, he could finally take the next step.
To attack and capture Xinghua.
There was a salt mine in Xinghua.
But it would have to wait for the Red Turbans to raise the flag of rebellion first.
Most of the imperial court’s forces will be directed at the Red Turban Army.
That way he would be able to hold onto Xinghua.
Zhang Shicheng, this person……
Lin Yuan felt it was hard to say right now. Zhang Shicheng was actually a very ordinary person. He had some talents and some kindness, but at the same time he also had the bad habits of ordinary people. After success, he became arrogant and proclaimed himself to be a king. On the one hand, he did business with the Yuan Dynasty, delivering food to Emperor Yuanshun, but at the same time he also asked the imperial court to recognize his status as a king.
However, in the early days Zhang Shicheng had some leadership ability, and he would not be afraid to stand up for his brothers, nor bow to power.
And would also pity the weak.
Robbing the rich and helping the poor, wanting to keep more people alive.
But when the power in his hands grew bigger and bigger, and more and more people followed him, with no one to voice objections, his whole person swelled up.
Most of the leaders of uprisings will go through this stage, but some people were able to suppress their egos, while other people really let their ego become inflated.
Lin Yuan didn’t doubt Zhang Shicheng’s original intentions. What he wanted at the beginning was likely not power. Living at the bottom of the social ladder, what he wanted was to live a life with food, clothing, and dignity, but when one’s power and influence grew stronger desire will also likewise increase.
Lin Yuan didn’t know if he will become like that one day.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms.wo rd pr es s. c o m )
He only hoped that if that day came for him too, someone around him would wake him up.
AN: In an uprising that originated among the lower class, leaders were especially prone to ego swelling. Many of them will proclaim themselves kings without even making sure their seat of power had stabilized or not. Then there will come conferment of empresses and concubines, ministers and officials. None of them succeeded in the end.
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