The sun was shining all over the earth, and it was rare to have such a good weather in winter. This winter was always overcast, the wind and cold dampness soaking through to the bones. The people in the farmstead were thinking about sitting in the square after finishing their work to enjoy the sun. Maybe even get the mattress out and dry it. The south was humid, and there was always a feeling that the quilt was also damp.
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Only half an hour after starting work, the sound of a bronze bell rang and echoed in the square.
“Have you heard? There is a drill today and we can all go and watch it.”
“It’s the new group of people, the leader surnamed Chen, who brought a hundred and twenty brothers here. They will be doing drills with our people here!”
“It’s a sparring, but you are not allowed to aim for the vital parts of the body. You can’t get up again if you fall to the ground and the weapon is a wooden stick. We’ll see who is more powerful.”
“Then I have to go and see!”
“This is the first time I’m encountering such an awesome thing!”
Lin Yuan was also sitting on a high hillside to watch the proceedings. Jiang Gui sat beside him.
As for Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong, they each commanded a hundred people to fight each other.
Although there were only a hundred people, Lin Yuan also wanted to see who would be more formidable when the numbers on both sides were similar.
Jiang Gui looked at the people below, chewing the salted fried soybeans in his mouth, and asked Lin Yuan, “Which side do you think will win?”
Lin Yuan said: “Just keep looking and you will know.”
Zhu Yuanzhang was only a young man in his twenties, and he had not fought any battles. In addition to having just a bit of theoretical knowledge, Zhu Yuanzhang’s knowledge came more from actual combat training. And the actual combat training he experienced was only twice and both were small battles, maybe even not much different from a group scuffle between two villages.
But Chen Baisong was different. He had survived by fighting different bandits and bandit villas. He has no theoretical knowledge or even literacy, but he had rich experience.
The more Lin Yuan looked at it, the more he felt that Zhu Yuanzhang still needed to learn.
In history, Zhu Yuanzhang was just a small soldier at the beginning who charged at the forefront in every battle, leading the way.
All his experience and decision-making on war came from the experiences of having repeatedly brushed against death’s door.
In fact, Lin Yuan also thought that Zhu Yuanzhang might one day not be willing to follow the orders of others, perhaps one day he will stand on his own.
But Lin Yuan didn’t want to never promote Zhu Yuanzhang or even kill him directly just because of this possibility.
He was not originally a person of this era. From the time he came here, his first thought was to guarantee his life.
He didn’t need to have any wealth, but just wanted to have a place to take care of the original owner’s family.
Later, he wanted the farmstead to grow positively and be self-sufficient.
Now he felt that the general trend was upon them with the farmstead now having more than a thousand people, food and money——although it was just fake jade. All of this added up to a sweet steamed bun that would incite covetuous eyes. So he felt that he needed to strengthen his fighting force to protect himself as well as guarantee the lives of everyone in the farmstead.
Lin Yuan lowered his head, he didn’t know if he had developed ambition.
But how many men have no ambitions?
Lin Yuan clenched his fists.
It was never wrong to have ambitions, but it was wrong to have ambitions but not enough intelligence to match said ambitions.
Lin Yuan rubbed his neck and continued to look at the following battle. He thought that from the first step he took, he was already prepared to enter the chaotic situation.
He could accept the final result no matter what it would turn out to be.
Have him take his people to join the Red Turban Army? That was unrealistic. The problem with the Red Turban Army lay in internal conflicts. Despite both belonging to the Red Turban Army Guo Zixing and Sun Deya had fierce internal fights.
He asked brother Dao, Yang Zi’an, Li Da, and Zhang Shicheng to go to Xinghua. The purpose was that Zhang Shicheng understood Xinghua and made friends with the salt miners at the bottom. Brother Dao and the others could also use this to break into the ranks of the salt miners. When Han Shantong and the others rebelled, from within the salt people they could instigate rebellion internally, and when the time came, this internal force should cooperate with the outside, and it would not be difficult to capture Xinghua.
The reason why he didn’t tell the truth to Zhang Shicheng was because he didn’t trust him.
He could trust brother Dao, Yang Zi’an and Li Da.
Brother Dao was reckless, but he had brotherly loyalty. This was a rare personal charm and would not be a problem to become brothers and friends with the salt people. He estimated that six or seven months of familiarity would be enough for him to make hundreds of sworn brothers.
Yang Zi’an had the brains. Among the sworn brothers, Yang Zi’an was the most clearheaded. He could analyze the pros and cons and was also literate and understood logic and reason. At the critical moment Yang Zi’an would be the one deciding the endgame.
As for Li Da……he was just there to fill in and provide an extra hand, and Li Da’s wife was still in the farmstead.
Zhang Shicheng’s role was just a guide to lead the way.
And Zhang Shicheng’s brothers were also still in the farmstead.
As for Chen Youliang, Lin Yuan never considered this person from the start. Chen Youliang was a dictator. He was similar to Zhu Yuanzhang in the field of tactics, and was a typical example of keeping the power in the hands of a few people, but he was not as lucky as Zhu Yuanzhang.
He was ambitious and intelligent, but he was too suspicious and couldn’t trust anyone. If he took refuge with Chen Youliang and Chen Youliang eventually becomes the emperor.
Lin Yuan touched his neck.
It was likely that he will lose his head literally, let alone brother Dao and the others.
The current plan was just to take one step at a time.
The most important thing was to have the armed forces to protect yourself.
“It’s almost over.” Jiang Gui said from the side.
Lin Yuan concentrated his attention and stared at the battle situation below.
Chen Baisong won, as expected.
Zhu Yuanzhang actually commanded very well, but on the one hand, he and his soldiers were just ordinary people, and on the other Chen Baisong and his men were of bandit origin. The combat strength of the two sides was completely different.
Coupled with the fact that Chen Baisong’s command was also not bad, it was not surprising that Zhu Yuanzhang lost.
After all, Zhu Yuanzhang had not yet experienced the baptism of war.
The winner could eat meat today.
When Lin Yuan went down, he happened to see Zhu Yuanzhang sitting on the side. He had his head lowered, making it difficult to see his expression.
“What’s wrong?” Lin Yuan also sat on the floor, watching Chen Baisong and the others cheering in excitement.
Zhu Yuanzhang raised his head with the same smile on his face: “It’s nothing. If you lose, you lose.”
Lin Yuan asked: “Where did you lose at?”
Zhu Yuanzhang was taken aback for a moment: “Just now I shouldnt have broken into squads in order to flank the other?”
……It seems to be right……No!
Lin Yuan said: “You just lack experience. Chen Baisong and the others depended on this for their livelihoods. We have raided the bandits only once or twice. It was not as frequent as they had, and the battle was not only about the commander, but also about the capabilities of the soldiers.”
Zhu Yuanzhang nodded: “Boss is right.”
Lin Yuan patted him on the shoulder: “Don’t be discouraged.”
Zhu Yuanzhang looked at Lin Yuan, and he asked, “Boss, your temper is naturally born?”
Lin Yuan asked: “What temper?”
Zhu Yuanzhang smiled and said, “I have never seen you lose your temper.”
He had thought Lin Yuan was going to scold him.
Lin Yuan reacted and said with a smile: “Lose my temper? There is nothing to be angry about.”
Zhu Yuanzhang: “You’re not angry that I lost?”
Lin Yuan: “It is better to lose now than to really lose on the battlefield later, right?”
Zhu Yuanzhang asked in a low voice: “I wanted to ask when you had brother Dao and the others go to Xinghua, are you ready to……capture Xinghua?”
Lin Yuan knew that he would not be able to hide it from Zhu Yuanzhang. Zhu Yuanzhang was smart, tactful, and observant so it wouldn’t be possible to hide it from him. He just said: “I indeed have this idea.”
Lin Yuan asked him: “Do you want to ask why I didn’t have you go?”
Zhu Yuanzhang: “Sure enough, I can’t hide it from Boss, but I also know that Boss doesn’t trust me yet.”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s that the fewer people who know about this, the better. Even brother Dao and the others knew just before I had them leave. And with them leaving, there must still be people in the farmstead.”
Regardless of whether Zhu Yuanzhang believed it or not, at least at this moment he couldn’t show any doubts.
He nodded and said, “Boss is making painstaking efforts.”
Lin Yuan said: “You are now a battalion commander, and you are in charge of more than 200 people. I won’t say much about anything else. If you believe it or not, you think about it yourself.”
“I’ll go over there first.” Lin Yuan said to him.
Zhu Yuanzhang nodded: “Please go ahead.”
Compared with Zhu Yuanzhang’s low morale, the people on Chen Baisong’s side looked much more excited. After they knew that the reward was meat, their expressions became more vivid. They gathered around Chen Baisong and discussed whether the meat they got should be eaten directly or have some saved.
As soon as Lin Yuan came over, the group of bandits moved out of the away——they had already heard that Lin Yuan was a god descended from the heavens.
And they don’t know why, but they believed it very quickly, and Lin Yuan felt that it must be Chen Baisong’s contributions to fanning the flame on this matter.
“Unhappy about winning?” Lin Yuan asked Chen Baisong, who was expressionless.
However, Chen Baisong said: “The battle was onesided.”
Lin Yuan smiled: “In a few years, you may not be able to win.”
Chen Baisong turned his head to look at Lin Yuan, his eyes were deep, like the eyes of wolves and tigers, and seemed to be gleaming: “Young master underestimate me?”
Knowing that he had said something wrong, Lin Yuan quickly said: “I don’t underestimate, just making random comments.”
Only then did Chen Baisong curbed the look in his eyes.
The two talked as they walked.
“What do you think of Zhu Yuanzhang?” Lin Yuan asked.
Chen Baisong thought for a while and said: “Brave and intelligent, dare to fight, can advance or retreat, and in time he will be a fierce general.”
Lin Yuan looked at him strangely when he heard him speak so professionally.
After seeing Lin Yuan’s gaze, Chen Baisong asked, “Why does young master look at me like this?”
Lin Yuan: “Where did you learn these words?”
Chen Baisong was exposed and frankly admitted: “There is a scholar in my villa, and that’s what he said about me.”
Lin Yuan breathed a sigh of relief, he knew it, Chen Baisong didn’t recognize many words and was a bandit leader, so how could he know to praise someone in such a way?
Lin Yuan said: “When you have time, go and talk to Zhu Yuanzhang. You two can communicate more and learn from each other.”
Chen Baisong was not an arrogant person either. Just now when he had fought against him, he had naturally discovered Zhu Yuanzhang’s good qualities. Now, after hearing Lin Yuan’s words, he nodded and responded: “Okay.”
“Strive to train all the existing 1,000 people.” Lin Yuan said, “When the beginning of spring comes, I will organize a training session.”
Chen Baisong asked: “What is a training session?”
Lin Yuan: “It’s field training. You can’t bring anything except weapons.”
Chen Baisong only half understod, and he nodded in agreement with a bewildered face.
For a thousand people to do field practice, naturally they could only go deep in the mountains and old forests. In addition to exercising the body, the most important thing was to exercise their mentality. If they encounter bandits and bandit villas, they can even use it to practice their fighting moves.
It could be said to serve multiple purposes.
It would take almost a half month for the round trip.
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“So this is Xinghua.” Li Congrong looked at the city wall in front of him and couldn’t help letting out a sigh, “It really is a big city, different indeed from Wu city.”
Li Da said next to him: “How small is Wu city.”
Zhang Jiusi said from the side: “Let’s go in first.”
Because they were dressed neatly and orderly, and because they gave some money to the soldiers who guarded the city, as well as saying that they were here to look for their relatives, so it was not difficult to enter the city.
The population migration in the Yuan Dynasty was very convenient. Except for merchants who needed travel pass/authorization, there were no restrictions on ordinary civilians traveling anywhere.
Zhang Jiusi first took them to find a cheap inn, and then said: “My brothers are all outside the salt mine. They must be working now. We will wait to find them after dark.”
“Okay.” Li Congrong promised, “But I think Xinghua is not bad at all.”
Pedestrians were bustling on the road, vendor stalls were bustling with excitement, wealthy families in the city live in large houses with lanterns hanging at the doors.
Wu city was a small and remote city with a small population, and it could not even compare to Xinghua’s crowds and prosperity at its livliest time.
Zhang Jiusi said: “This is just the place where the rich lords live.”
Xinghua had a clear distinction between the poor and the rich. The salt people didn’t even have enough to eat, but the rich lords were ridiculously wealthy.
The scent of wine and meat come from behind vermillion doors, but the roads outside were covered with the bones of the frozen. This was the true portrayal of Xinghua.
Once you were a salt man, then for the rest of your life you were a salt man.
Generations could not leave the station they were born into.
It was getting late, Zhang Jiusi took Li Congrong and the others to the place where the salt people lived. Without the big mansions with carved beams and painted lanterns, what came into sight were low flat houses. The people who came in and out were thinly dressed and could not keep them warm in the winter. They walked along the road in a hurry, everyone with a bitter face.
“Brother Zhao.” Zhang Jiusi knocked on the door of a house, its dilapidated wooden door had long lost its original color.
The person inside called out: “Who is it!”
Zhang Jiusi lowered his voice: “It’s me, Zhang Jiusi.”
The person inside came to open the door.
After the wooden door was opened, a middle-aged man of about 40 appeared in front of Li Congrong and the others. But his temples were already gray, his back stooped, and practically looked like withered wood with deeply wrinkled and loose skin. He said: “Zhang Jiusi? You are still alive?”
Zhang Jiusi said: “Brother Zhao, let us in first, it is not convenient to talk outside.”
Brother Zhao only just realized and opened the door to let them in.
Seeing Zhang Jiusi, who had been missing for so long, come with three people he had never seen before, brother Zhao’s expression became a little puzzled.
Zhang Jiusi chose him for a reason. Because this brother Zhao was a bachelor, he had no father, no mother, and no wife and children. He lived alone and only had to be concerned for filling his own stomach. So he was not worried about others being in the house. And apart from making friends with Zhang Jiusi, he had no other close friends.
Zhang Jiusi knew him well because Zhang Jiusi helped him before by giving him food when he was out of all grains.
It could be regarded as a life-saving grace.
“They all said you ran away.” Brother Zhao sat on the side of the bed. The room was very small, with only one table, a broken wooden cabinet and a bed. He greeted Zhang Jiusi and the others to come and sit. “Everyone said you must have died outside.”
Zhang Jiusi’s expression was complicated: “I’m not dead yet.”
Brother Zhao smiled and said, “I also know that you have a tenacious life, and you will definitely not die. Say, why did you come back this time?”
Zhang Jiusi: “Don’t talk about this for now, let me introduce them to you first.”
Zhang Jiusi introduced Li Congrong and the others, and then asked: “How have the salt people been recently?”
Brother Zhao sighed and thumped his leg: “What else? It’s still the same as it was, after all, no matter how much work we do, we still can’t have enough to eat.”
Zhang Jiusi was angry when he heard this: “A bunch of bastards! They all have black hearts.”
Brother Zhao smiled bitterly: “What can we do? Other than enduring it?”
Zhang Jiusi remembered his purpose, and said quickly: “Brother Zhao, I came back for this! The last time I left, I went to explore the way. A living Buddha descended to the earth in the south, anyone who followed him can eat fully and dress warmly. Aside from doing some work, you don’t have to worry about your livelihood.”
“He asked me to come because he heard that there are still many brothers who are the same as me who are suffering so he asked me to bring you all back together.” Zhang Jiusi puffed up his chest and said, “Brother Zhao, you can’t trust others, but can you still trust me?”
Brother Zhao suspiciously said: “Is there really such a good person? Such a good thing?”
Li Da hurriedly said: “He is right! Our Boss is a benevolent god!”
Brother Zhao: “Benevolent god?”
He had never heard of this god before.
Li Da recounted the words circulating in the farmstead and gave some examples.
Including how Boss took in the refugees, how they saved the ordinary people who were captured by the bandits, and how they cared for the weak.
Practically calling Lin Yuan an all around superman.
This stunned brother Zhao who had always been in the salt mines.
He looked at Zhang Jiusi, and Zhang Jiusi nodded in agreement, indicating that what Li Da said was true.
“No lie?” Brother Zhao asked finally.
Zhang Jiusi hurriedly said: “If there is a false statement, let me be struck by lightning.”
Brother Zhao was stunned for a long time, both overjoyed and deeply sorrowful: “Oh my heavens, there is such a person in this world, it is truly a god descended from the heavens.”
“If there are too many people, it may be difficult to leave.”
Yang Zi’an said at this time: “Before I left, Boss asked me to stop and wait for him to send a letter.”
Brother Zhao and Zhang Jiu Si asked at the same time: “What letter?”
Yang Zi’an said secretively: “Boss is a god descended from the heavens. Naturally, there are methods of the gods. How can he tell us casually? Boss said that by next May, there will naturally be major changes. This change is our opportunity. “
“He told us to come at this time, just to make the salt people feel at ease. Maybe by then, they can live a good life without leaving their hometown.”
Brother Zhao and Zhang Jiusi were confused.
“You guys just wait.” Yang Zi’an said vaguely.
Of course, Yang Zi’an was not talking empty words. Lin Yuan told him a few more famous events, all of which have not happened yet. He only needed to say something eloquently and mysteriously, and those who want to believe will naturally believe it.
Soon, there were rumors that sprung up among the salt people, and it spread far and wide.
It was said that there was a god descended to this earth, born with the heart of a Buddha, wherever his fingers point, the land will become fertile, wherever his eyes look, the people living there will find peace, and even the breath that came from his mouth could make people feel invigorated and at ease.
And this god found out that they, just lowly salt people, were suffering here, so he rescued Zhang Jiusi first——because Zhang Jiusi was a person with brotherly loyalty and was also a kind and generous person. He felt that Zhang Jiusi was a person worth saving, so naturally he also thought that the salt people were also worth saving.
Thus, he sent some people here.
And this god was very considerate of them.
In order to enable them to live a good life on the land where they were born on and had roots, he casted a spell to make a big event happen in May this year. In this way they will be able to welcome a good life soon.
What was the big event? This was a secret from the heavens, how could it be leaked?
As for the secrets already revealed by the people he sent——those were all trivial matters and were for the purpose of alerting the salt people. Therefore the living god used up some of his lifespan to let people leak those secrets out, just to reassure them.
All the salt people believed it.
Their lives were too lacking in hope. Now that they have something to place their hopes in, naturally none of them remained unbelieving.
“Second brother, those are really what the fourth brother told you? So accurate?” Li Congrong was also confused now, and he began to believe it as well.
Yang Zi’an himself was also shocked. He himself was skeptical at first, but in the end all Lin Yuan said was fulfilled. He also felt that Lin Yuan might……maybe…… have something special about him, maybe he really was connected to the gods?
Not only did the salt people believe it, but also many ordinary people.
However, what they believed was different, and what Yang Zi’an told them was also different from what he told the salt people.
The people believed in Lin Yuan and believed that they can lead a peaceful life if they place their faith in him.
They also gave Lin Yuan the name “South Bodhisattva”. (TN: I’ve been using Buddha before but for LY’s new title I’ll be using Bodhisattva instead as a Buddha is someone who has already achieved enlightenment, while a Bodhisattva is either someone who has almost achieved enlightenment or has delayed enlightenment out of compassion for the mortals. So the second usage seems more appropriate.)
Because Lin Yuan was in the south.
If they knew that Lin Yuan was from the north, they would probably change it to “North Bodhisattva”.
Lin Yuan did not expect Yang Zi’an to have the ability to turn both the salt people and ordinary people into believers.
He became the faith of these believers.
When the salt people chatted privately, the topic changed:
“It is only January, and there are still four months left.”
“I don’t know what’s the big event but I’m too anxious to wait.”
“Nowadays, I can endure all the yelling from the salt supervisors. Just wait some more, wait some more and we’ll be able to live a good life.”
Some people also asked: “So South Bodhisattva is truly that amazing?”
“Truly amazing, you don’t know, the people he sent over, their calculations had never been wrong, different from the jianghu liars.”
“Furthermore, who is Zhang Jiusi? He won’t lie to us, he also said that South Bodhisattva is a celestial figure, and the people he brought over there are eating well and drinking well, and their workload isn’t much.”
Because of Zhang Jiusi and Yang Zi’an’s “prophetic” ability, the salt people and the ordinary commoners were particularly convinced.
Some people even used mud to create a statue of Lin Yuan for worship, everyday offering some clean water and food.
Later, the rumors became more and more outrageous. In less than three months, even the wealthy in Xinghua began to believe it.
Especially the females of those families.
Because some people say that the South Bodhisattva can bless the birth of children, and can also guarantee the births to be sons.
Especially when a female believer gave birth just one month after believing in the South Bodhisattva. Not only did she give birth quickly, it was also a baby boy.
So even more people began to believe.
If the birth was not easy, the baby was not a boy then it must be due to a lack of pious belief. It was definitely not the problem of South Bodhisattva.
Otherwise, it worked for other people, how come not for you?
After the female family members became believers, the men began to half doubt half believe.
At this time, someone said that South Bodhisattva was an almighty god who can bless the favorable weather and the fertile land.
Then the farmers began to believe.
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By the time Xinghua officials found out, this wind had blown throughout Taizhou (TN: province, Xinghua is one of the cities in it), not just Xinghua.
AN: Lin Yuan: “???”
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