After autumn, the temperature began to drop, the autumn wind was bleak, and countless yellow and dead leaves fell from the trembling branches.
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Lin Yuan felt that the temperature this year was lower than last year. He changed into cotton-padded clothes early, and had Qiu Niang calculate the necessary coal to be used when Jiang Guang bring over the agreed 500 people.
He was sitting next to a burning fire, with bracken roots smoldering inside. This was a plant root and when it was heated, it became soft and tasteless. Lin Yuan treated it as a snack. On the side Er Liang pushed aside the coal and picked out the bracken roots, wiped off the dust on the outside, and then peeled the outer layer before handing them to Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan broke it into two halves, half of which was handed to Er Liang.
Er Liang took it with a smile, and said, “Thanks young master for the reward.”
Lin Yuan took a sip of hot water and looked at the people outside the window who were busy harvesting. He was quite satisfied.
This year’s harvest was not much different from last year, but more land was opened this year so the harvest had doubled. And with the grains saved last year, another thousand people coming in won’t be a problem at all. The grain supply was enough for this many people to eat for nearly a year.
At least it could last until next winter, but by then there will be another harvest next fall.
So there wasn’t much need to worry about the food. After the harvest next year, they should be able to set off to Xinghua.
There were salt mines in Xinghua. It could be said that the cities that Zhang Shicheng captured were the richest locations.
Among the leaders of the uprisings during the last years of the Yuan Dynasty, there was a saying “Chen Youliang is the most cruel and Zhang Shicheng is the most rich.”
Er Liang squatted next to the coal fire. He was still wearing the old cotton-padded clothes. Cotton-padded clothes do not hold up well against frequent waashing and in addition to the fact that few people could afford them they were considered luxury items. Most were worn until it was too worn out and then thrown away. If there was just a hole or something, it could still be patched and worn.
The life of ordinary people was basically a true portrayal of “three years worn new, three years worn old, and another three years after stitching and repairing.”
“It’s getting colder this year.” Er Liang began to say, “A lot of people will freeze to death.”
Er Liang said: “I used to think that the south is not cold in winter, but now I feel that even several layers can’t prevent the cold air from penetrating through.”
Lin Yuan did not explain the difference between the cold weather in the north and the south. He only agreed: “A lot of people will die this winter.”
Er Liang scratched the back of his head: “Our farmstead should be okay?”
Lin Yuan patted Er Liang’s head, but after touching it, he remembered Er Liang hadn’t washed it for a long time, so long that he probably didn’t even remember the last time he had washed his hair. Lin Yuan looked at his palm and couldn’t resist going to wash his hands before coming back to continue sitting. After sitting for a while, he remembered Er Liang’s question and replied: “The farmstead will be fine.”
There was sufficient food and coal, and the infrastructure was all completed. It would not be easy to freeze people to death. Even if they got sick, there were still medicinal herbs. As long as the condition was not serious, and it was not an incurable disease, then it was basically safe.
The day Jiang Guang brought the people was the lowest temperature in this period of time. It was not yet winter, but it was as cold as last winter. Lin Yuan put on a thick padded jacket, looking very much like a round bun, before going out to meet them.
This time Jiang Guang had also hired someone to escort him. Chen Baisong and the others were the escorts, but this time there were quite a few of them. He guessed that almost all the people in the villa have come out.
It seemed that Chen Baisong and the others were not doing well these days.
Jiang Guang got off the horse. When he got off the horse, he almost fell onto his bottom due to his big belly but in the end managed to stand firmly. He took a few quick steps to Lin Yuan and said, “Little brother Lin, take a look. I brought you all of them, including twenty more extra.”
Lin Yuan first had people pull the newcomers into the hut built some time ago, where they were to tidy up their hair. Those with fleas had to shave their heads, and those without fleas had to change clothes.
The women have been busy for more than half a year, and they have made a lot of clothes. Because the division of labor was clear, the efficiency was much higher. There were more than 3,000 sets of pseudo-cotton clothes made from grass stuffing, not to mention simple underwear.
Several large huts were built in the farmstead, which became places for the women to work.
Almost all pregnant women have given birth to their children, though some have died in childbirth.
Lin Yuan buried them in the cemetery, and people in the farmstead sometimes went to give offerings.
“Follow me in first.” Lin Yuan took Jiang Guang into the farmstead, but caught sight of Chen Baisong getting off his horse and staying at the gate of the city, seeming to not plan to go in. Lin Yuan said to Chen Baisong, “You can put your weapons over there in that hut, come in together to get warm.”
None of Chen Baisong’s brothers put down their weapons, their knives were all pinned to their waists, and their hands were on the hilt of the knives, as if they were already stuck to it.
In the end, Chen Baisong said: “Go place it over there.”
These people seemed to be very loyal and obedient to Chen Baisong, taking off the knife around their waist and putting it in the hut without saying a word, and then followed Chen Baisong inside.
Lin Yuan took them to his own house. The house was originally built with just one entrance and one exit. It looked simple, but it was very large. It was not difficult to sit in the main room with more than 20 people. These guys who came out with Chen Baisong, seem to be much more relaxed now that they were out of the cold. They held a cup made of bamboo and filled with hot water and even some syrup that Lin Yuan had someone add in as well.
The water tasted quite sweet.
Even these rough guys liked it very much.
After all, ancient people had very few ways to take in sugar.
Lin Yuan had Yang Zi’an to accompany these people first while he took Jiang Guang to another room farther away from the main room.
Jiang Guang sat on the chair, taking a deep breath first, and then took a sip of hot water, stretched his neck and rubbed his wrists, finally feeling more alive.
“The journey was not easy.” Jiang Guang said, “I was afraid that they would starve to death and freeze to death. It costed me a lot of money to get them all here intact.”
Lin Yuan said with understanding: “Naturally, I should be responsible for paying for any expenses.”
While speaking, Lin Yuan took out a fake jade, Jiang Guang took it with a smile, and said, “You are too kind”, while acting swiftly and simply to pocket the fake jade.
“Brother Jiang, where did these people come from?” Lin Yuan said, “If desperate criminals, then my side can act early.”
Jiang Guang waved his hand: “Hai, I don’t cheat you. I received them all from others. What they did before, I don’t know.”
Lin Yuan nodded, knowing that it was impossible to ask Jiang Guang to do background checks, so he could only spend some time doing it on his own.
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At the kind invitation of Lin Yuan, Jiang Guang decided to rest for a few days at Lin Yuan’s place before starting on the road again. He stayed so naturally Chen Baisong and the others would stay as well.
The place where they will live was easily arranged.
Eating was also at the cafeteria with the farmstead people.
This group of people probably had never seen so many people living in such a collective life. While vigilant, they also felt that it was rather incredible.
“This farmstead is really big, and there is a gate wall, just lacking a moat.”
“They all eat like this every meal?”
“There are multi-grain buns every day? There is also oil in these vegetables.”
“They also said that sometimes there is meat to eat.”
These rough guys were a little envious. Everyday they face danger but still may not be able to eat enough, but these people only need to do the work they were responsible for and could eat fully every day.
And when they saw the disabled in the farmstead, this feeling of envy reached its peak.
Although Chen Baisong treated them not harshly, once someone was injured, especially after becoming disabled, it was just a matter of waiting for death.
Lin Yuan’s farmstead also had people with disabilities. Although there were not too many, these people basically do the same work as women, all transferred to logistics. In Lin Yuan’s view, the importance of logistics cannot be ignored.
As long as value can be created, disabled people were not considered disabled in his eyes.
Chen Baisong chewed on the buns and listened to his brothers chatting together.
He knew what life his brothers want to live, but he also knew that they couldn’t live like that.
The reason why they could survive was because of the sword in their hands. Retiring and go back to farming? That would have to be the days after victory was won and the world was peaceful again.
“Boss, I think you have a good relationship with this farmstead’s owner.” When they left the cafeteria one of them who had a lively personality said eagerly, “Otherwise, you can discuss with him and ask if we can come to this farmstead too. Just like guarding Jiang, we guard them and they provide shelter and food for us.”
Several people next to him wanted to say this as well, but they didn’t dare. Now that someone brought it up first, they followed along.
“I think it’s quite good.”
“Yeah, this year is even colder. We don’t have much food left. This time when we’re done the food given by Jiang for payment will only let us eat for ten days to half a month. But after that what’s next? Starve to death?”
“Boss, now is not the time to stick to one’s pride.”
Chen Baisong walked in the front, his brows frowned, and said, “I know.”
He knew in his heart that this winter will be difficult this year. The bandits and bandit villas around them had been raided and cleaned up by them, and everything that could be robbed was robbed. If they must make a raid again, then they could only go down the mountain and rob the civilians.
Although they say that they must not do anything against the civilians, but when one was at a dead end, who will care about the one being robbed?
Jiang Guang did not always have work for them. During spring and summer they could make do, at least by relying on the mountain herbs and game they wouldn’t starve to death, just live a hard life.
But it would not be possible in autumn and winter.
As his brothers said, this was not the time to save face.
But Chen Baisong didn’t know how to speak to Lin Yuan.
It seemed that once he spoke up, he’ll have become like a poor relative showing up to take advantage.
It was the middle of the night, but the brothers were still whispering about what they had learned during the day. They now think that this farmstead was better than their villa. In the villa, they still live in huts they built and when it got cold, they must be crowded in together to keep warm. They don’t have time to burn coal on their own and besides the coal that they got on raids won’t burn for long, but here it seemed the supply of coal was neverending.
“The clothes those people wore were made by the women in those huts.” Someone said enviously, “I also want to wear clothes made by women.”
The person next to him laughed at him: “You’re hair hasn’t even finished growing out and already start thinking about women?”
The man said excitedly: “Would you like to try it and see if my hair has grown out?”
“I don’t dare to try, for fear that I’ll kill you by accident.”
“Boss?” They found that Chen Baisong had been silent and couldn’t help turning their heads to look at him.
Chen Baisong turned over, mind still whirring with thoughts. He just said: “Sleep first, think about it tomorrow.”
Several people saw that Chen Baisong was asleep so it wouldn’t do to continue talking. They also tucked in for sleep under a blanket.
Lin Yuan was now also discussing with Yang Zi’an, how to get Chen Baisong to stay, and if all the brothers in his command came over it would be even better.
Yang Zi’an said: “I can see that they are all physically strong, and everything else is easy to talk about, but I’m afraid they will have different allegiances.”
Lin Yuan understood what Yang Zi’an meant, but he also said: “In the future, we will only have more and more people. If we are always afraid that people will have different allegiances, we will stay here and not move? This is definitely not a long-term solution.”
Yang Zi’an sighed: “I only hope that your childhood friend still have some affection for you.”
Lin Yuan: “It’s useless to base everything on friendship. People’s hearts will change. I want to set up a military law.”
Yang Zi’an: “Military law?”
Lin Yuan explained: “Technically it can’t be called a military law, whatever it is called, as long as the rules are set, everything will be done according to the rules.”
Yang Zi’an touched his chin and thought: “This is feasible.”
“It just takes a lot of time.”
Lin Yuan: “It will naturally take a lot of time.”
During this period of time, Lin Yuan had always wanted to find a chance to have a chat with Chen Baisong, and put the pros and cons on the table, whether it was positive or negative, at least it could be resolved cleanly.
However, there was practically no hint of Chen Baisong almost every day. Lin Yuan inquired about it and found out that he took his own people to hunt in the mountains, but most of the time came back without any results.
Lin Yuan could only wait for him to return to the farmstead.
“You’re back! Good heavens!”
“More than ten sheep!”
“Is this havimg caught an entire flock of sheep?”
“How deep did they have to go to encounter such a flock of sheep?”
“The sheep are all dead?”
“Some are dead, some are alive.”
Standing at the gate, Lin Yuan soon saw Chen Baisong and the others, slowly becoming more visible as they moved closer.
Chen Baisong was riding a horse. He was tall and on the horse he appeared even more majestic. His hair was tied up high, and his body heat was high from hunting, clothes opened at the chest. The people behind him drove the flock of sheep.
These were all wild sheep, and you could tell from the horns that they were not domesticated.
Chen Baisong rode his horse forward to Lin Yuan, pointed to the group of wild sheep and said: “It’s to make up for our stay for the past few days.”
Lin Yuan did not refuse either: “Then I will accept it.”
Only then did Chen Baisong show a small smile on his face.
“I happen to have something to discuss with you, come down and have a walk?” Lin Yuan invited.
Chen Baisong did not refuse, turning to dismount, his movements were smooth and unrestrained. His shirt was still open, and his body was hot and sweaty. Lin Yuan could also smell the sweat. Fortunately, Lin Yuan was used to it, and didn’t show any disgusted expression.
The two walked side by side, Lin Yuan was slightly shorter than Chen Baisong, and he had to lift his head slightly to see Chen Baisong’s full face.
“What’s going on with your villa?” Lin Yuan didn’t get straight to the point as soon as he started, and asked tactfully.
Chen Baisong had forgot to put down the riding whip, and he was still holding it in his hand. His expression was a bit solemn: “The people below the mountain can no longer get through the days. The surrounding bandits, all who could be raided, have already been raided and beaten.”
Lin Yuan understood: “It’s indeed not so good recently. Is there enough food?”
Chen Baisong revealed a wry smile: “Ten days to half a month should be enough.”
They relied on raiding to survive. Farming? Opening up the land? Their manpower was not enough.
Lin Yuan revealed his intentions at this time. He seemed to say unintentionally: “It just so happens that my farmstead is also short of people. If you don’t mind it, bring your brothers over, and I will accept all of them.”
Chen Baisong was silent for a while and then said: “Young master, you are always so kind-hearted. This way you will suffer.”
Lin Yuan: “Huh?”
Chen Baisong thought of something else: “No matter how much food you plant, there will be more and more people, but there will only be less and less food. You asked merchant Jiang to bring five hundred people, and then five hundred in winter. How will you feed them?”
Lin Yuan didn’t speak yet, but Chen Baisong frowned: “Young master, what are you laughing at?”
Lin Yuan leaned on to Chen Baisong’s shoulders and said amused, “You think I have so many people brought over just to spread kindness and do good deeds?”
Chen Baisong looked at Lin Yuan’s eyes with a serious expression and the question “aren’t you?”
Lin Yuan smiled and said, “It’s not that simple. Don’t you think that people in the farmstead live better than the people in your villa?”
“But logically speaking, you have fewer people, and everyone should get more. Why is it that there are more people on my side yet they all live better?” Lin Yuan asked.
Chen Baisong: “This is not the same thing. How long will it take for those five hundred people to work? You have to raise them for free before they could work.”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “It can’t be called free either. Do you know how many years it takes for a person to be productive?”
“Humans are different from animals. The animals take as little as ten and a half months, and as long as one or two years, they will be mature.” Lin Yuan said, “People go from 10 months in the womb to finally being born, from crawling to walking, from walking to running, from babbling to fluent speech. Since birth people will take ten years or more to finally be productive.”
Lin Yuan: “Therefore, many people can also be an advantage.”
Chen Baisong: “But it must also be within our means.”
Lin Yuan: “I have calculated it, and I think it’s fine, I can afford it.”
Chen Baisong didn’t know what to say at all.
The young master had become more stubborn than before.
Chen Baisong could only say: “I have a hundred and thirty brothers, all of whom are bachelors and without family. They all adhere to loyalty.”
Lin Yuan: “If possible, I hope you can bring them all.”
Chen Baisong looked at Lin Yuan: “Young master, more than one hundred and thirty mouths. When these people are here, they will all be eating your food.”
Lin Yuan waved his hand: “It’s fine, I can afford it. It’s not like they can eat for free and enjoy their days, they will have to work as well.”
To be honest, he really wanted to know the difference between Chen Baisong’s “bandits” and the “soldiers” he trained. If they come to the farmstead, he could set up a military exercise with a hundred people from each side.
Real knowledge comes from practice.
Chen Baisong repeated what Lin Yuan said to his brothers in the evening.
The expressions on their faces were very disbelieving.
“Boss, did the Boss here really say that?”
“This Boss is really……a kind-hearted person.”
“Ai, look at the people who have been brought here. Now they are wearing grass padded clothes, and they live in houses. Where is there such a good Boss now?”
“Kind people will be deceived. I think this Boss is too young to know that the world is a sinister place.”
“That’s the truth, but you don’t want to stay? Anyway, I’m happy to stay.”
“That’s right, what else can we raid back there? If this continues, we can only go down the mountain to raid the civilian’s food.”
Chen Baisong listened to them talking.
“Boss, are we really coming here?”
“Thinking about it actually, I think our villa isn’t too bad either.”
However, Chen Baisong said: “We come over.”
Several people sat up straight at the same time: “Really? Boss, what do you think?”
“Didn’t you say you want to think about it yesterday?”
“Did the Boss here tell you something to convince you?”
Chen Baisong’s voice was very calm. He said, “Apart from this, is there any other way? Go down the mountain to raid the civilians?”
A few people stopped talking. Although they were “bandits” in the eyes of others, they were not in their own eyes. Although they have become outlaws, they have not robbed civilians or killed good people. If there were merchants passing by they also escorted them a certain distance, and only then stretched out their hands for remuneration. Although it was a bit of like buying and selling by force, it was better than directly taking human lives.
They would also raid the bandits who really endanger the people.
In their own eyes, they were not evil people, but good people.
Naturally, they don’t want to make mistakes, and be forced to become bandits that will bring harm to civilians.
Chen Baisong: “There are still some things that I haven’t discussed with him, but I will be bringing everyone here. When we send merchant Jiang back, we will bring them.”
“Then we have a lot of things to pack.” Someone said.
“How many carts do we need?”
Chen Baisong: “Don’t bring anything useless.”
“Yes, it’s not convenient to bring so many things on the road, and if we encounter a robbery……”
“Bullshit, then we can rob them back!”
When winter arrived, there will be more bandits. Many nearby villagers who could’t survive will gang up. A group of people will act together to rob food and money. As long as they kill the first resister, these people will become accomplices and then begin to travel around commiting robberies on civilians.
What Chen Baisong was afraid of was that they will become like this too.
They have endured the past several years during which they have not stepped on a crooked path, and have not harmed the people.
“Anyway, there is no need to suffer the cold this winter.”
“I felt like I was going to die in the cold last year, and my hands and feet were stiff every day.”
“That’s nothing. If I hadn’t been sleeping with second brother Niu, I would have been frozen stiff already.”
“Second brother Niu snores so loudly, and you could actually sleep?”
“When you’re very sleepy naturally you’ll fall asleep. Besides, it’s better to suffer noise than freeze to death.”
They all had smiles on their faces. When they thought that they would also live in this farmstead, they were full of energy. Although they had only been here for a few days, they could see that this farmstead was not a place where the landlord will do whatever they wanted, not treating the people working for them as human beings.
And just regarding the food in the cafeteria, the Boss here was worthy of their admiration.
Chen Baisong said: “Go to bed, and get up early tomorrow. Let’s go into the mountains again, and look for more game that hasn’t migrated deeper into the forest.”
Several people responded: “Yes, we will catch dozens of wild sheep and come back.”
“It would be great if we could catch some deer, deer blood is a great supplement.”
“You need supplementing my butt, I don’t see you looking any weak.”
“Go to sleep, stop talking. You don’t do actual business but your words are more than anyone else.”
The room was dark. After a while, there were steady snoring, teeth grinding, and dream talk, forming a harmonious chorus.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
Chen Baisong turned around and thought: I have miscalculated this time, it was actually better when they were talking.
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