*Edited by LazyCat
After taking Changshu, Lin Yuan had more people under his rule. After all, Changshu was a province. Although the population was not too large, not as large as the population in Shangzhou, but the number accounted for one-third of the total population under his rule. The people would always be the foundation of a country.
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It was just like the saying “the more people the more powerful”.
It took at least more than ten years for a person to grow up from birth.
The more labor force the better, even the weak, so long as they had a use, the more the better.
“The imperial court prepares to abandon Jia Fuqing.” Chen Baisong was holding the news report relayed back from the scouts, “They are going to transfer troops from nearby provinces and counties, and appoint Naghachu as the general.”
Lin Yuan: “Naghachu?”
Chen Baisong handed the letter to Lin Yuan: “Did I read it wrong?”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “You didn’t read it wrong, those three words are indeed pronounced Naghachu.”
Naghachu, a famous Mongolian warrior at the end of the Yuan Dynasty. He was already a wanhu of Taiping Lu despite his young age. In history, Zhu Yuanzhang captured him alive after seeing that he defended the city desperately and loyally and thus couldn’t bear to kill him. And seeing that no matter what he would not be recruited, in the end he let him go back north. Naghachu returned to Northern Yuan and was still entrusted with heavy responsibility. He repelled seven attacks from Ming soldiers. In the end, after the Ming Dynasty became strong enough did they completely deal with Northern Yuan. Naghachu persisted until the end before surrendering.
Zhu Yuanzhang even awarded the title of marquis and bestowed the Red Iron Scroll to him. (TN: a scroll made of iron with words written using cinnabar ink that emperors give to a minister who had given outstanding service. It represented superior treatment or exemption from being punished for a crime)
“When will they send troops?” Lin Yuan asked.
Chen Baisong replied: “The end of the month.”
Lin Yuan thought for a long time: “Have Zhu Yuanzhang prepare early.”
Chen Baisong hesitated, appearing to want to say something.
He himself was the servant of the Lin family, and he understood what what was hierarchy.
Lin Yuan asked strangely: “What do you want to say?”
Only then did Chen Baisong say: “Why doesn’t Boss send me?”
Lin Yuan looked at Chen Baisong intently. He looked at Chen Baisong’s determined face and dark, sharp eyes, and asked, “Do you want to lead the soldiers?”
Chen Baisong said: “When it comes to leading soldiers to fight, I am not inferior to him.”
He didn’t know why Lin Yuan attached so much importance to Zhu Yuanzhang.
As a courtier, he could not question the master’s decision. But this did not mean that he was willing to accept being less than others.
Chen Baisong knelt down on his knees and took the initiative to offer himself for the assignment: “I wish to share the worries with my Lord!”
Lin Yuan stretched out his hand to help Chen Baisong up, and said softly, “How sure are you of the outcome?”
Chen Baisong raised his head, his eyes were like that of wolves: “I will completely destroy the enemy, not even a fragment of armour will remain!”
Lin Yuan sighed: “Then you can go.”
Chen Baisong’s heart felt relieved.
Lin Yuan sat down and poured tea for himself only after Chen Baisong left. He didn’t need anyone to serve him at this moment.
He felt that his thinking had been too simple. Chen Baisong and the others were now likely starting to chase after power.
Even if every time they finished fighting they must return the military tally. Perhaps they were still unaware of it, but they had already begun to rely on their intuition to pursue these things.
Lin Yuan didn’t want to one day, because of his wariness and fear of the unknown future, raise the butcher knife to these subordinates.
He must find a way that would make them loyal without allowing them to have excessive power.
Perhaps he could use the method of gifting titles of nobility.
……Still, it had become a bit troublesome.
Lin Yuan felt that if he was a politician before transmigrating, maybe he would have more ways to deal with this.
Unfortunately, he was not.
The court finally lost patience and planned to use force to make them surrender. But it was beyond Lin Yuan’s expectation that they were able to endure it for so long. This time he had to defeat and intimidate the court’s army enough to gain them time for the three places under his rule to recuperate and regain their strength.
The more chaotic the world, the easier it was to establish a new order. In such a world the people would have nothing to rely on and therefore, could only rely on him.
The three places under his rule now were currently changing according to his ideal.
People had jobs. The women were now no longer confined to their homes and were able to support themselves. He needed everyone to create value.
If the women were all trapped in the inner courtyards, he would lose one-third of his labor force, perhaps more.
He needed to increase literacy. Efficiency could only be improved if there were more people who could read.
He also needed researchers, find more talents and professionals.
Lin Yuan knew that he could not build a completely ideal country.
But he wanted to replace the old rules with new rules to the best of his ability.
“I can’t see through Boss’s thinking.” Luo Ben was drinking with Song Shizhao.
They drank rice wine and there were even side dishes on the table. Song Shizhao drank a sip of wine and then smiled at Luo Ben, “What Boss sees is different from what we see.”
Luo Ben: “How is it different?”
Song Shizhao smiled and said: “What we are looking at is the now, or a few years from now. But Boss sees the long-term. He sees ten years, decades, or even a hundred years from now. We see the change of dynasties but Boss sees the people of the world.”
“Do you know what is the difference between the people in the three places under Boss’s rule now and before?” Song Shizhao asked.
Luo Ben said: “Both men and women can work, the bailiffs will patrol the streets, each person perform his or her duties, each person take care of his or her own affairs, and each person serves his or her proper purpose.”
Song Shizhao nodded and said, “Boss is changing things, changing all the things he thinks are wrong.”
Luo Ben asked strangely: “Since ancient times, the rules have never been changed. The man takes care of outside affairs and the woman takes care of the inner courtyard. Why is Boss so different?”
Song Shizhao suddenly said: “It is exactly because of the actions of Boss that nowadays there are more literate children, the people have money, and there are more merchants.”
“The people are not stupid. They have benefited from all of these changes. If the court comes calling at this time, guess what the people will do? Or even if the Red Turban army comes calling?”
The people were living a good life now. If someone showed up and asked them to surrender their vested interests and go back to living the old days, they would probably bite that person to death.
Even if Lin Yuan was forced to flee at that time, so long as he regrouped and announced his return, naturally there would be countless people willing to follow him.
Luo Ben sighed: “Boss’s disposition is beyond comparison.”
Song Shizhao poured a cup of wine for Luo Ben: “Lord Luo, you don’t have to make it difficult for yourself. You are a strategist on the battlefield. You don’t need to worry about these things.”
After taking a sip of wine, Luo Ben asked Song Shizhao, “When did Manager Song throw in your lot with Boss? I heard that Boss only had a farmstead in the early days, and you were there at that time.”
Song Shizhao said: “At that time, I was nothing more than a refugee who could barely feed myself. Now when thinking about it, it feels like a world away.”
“Lord Luo, I knew then that Boss is a sage ruler, standing upright and never looking down on the common people despite being in such a high position. Moreover, he is also decisive and never showed excessive tendency to clemency.” Song Shizhao said, “The people in this world can be divided into several kinds, ignorant people, cruel people, weak people, strong-minded people, kind people, and self-disciplined people.”
“But in this world, not everyone can become a person whose heart is big enough to fit in all of the people in the world.”
“Persons in positions of authority must have kindness, kindness towards the people.”
“They must also be cruel, cruelty against corrupt officials.”
“They must also be strong-minded, to not be moved by outside factors.”
“They must also be strict with themselves, to neither be pleased by external gains nor be saddened by personnal losses.”
“If he is the most merciful person in the world, he must also be the most fierce and cruel person in the world.”
Song Shizhao finally said: “I was originally worried that Boss would be too benevolent, but now it seems that I worried too much.”
Luo Ben thought of that face that was always smiling, and sighed: “Ben was also worried, for fear that Boss would feel mercy for the Jiang family.”
The Jiang family did not surrender and chose to persist. Lin Yuan must be cruel, not only to stabilize the people’s hearts, but more importantly, to show the people of the world, surrendering to him was a way to survive whereas not surrendering was a dead end. There was no other choice.
Lin Yuan had confiscated the wealth of all the wealthy people in the three places under his rule, but he did not ask them to die.
Was this not kindness?
So long as one was alive, there was always hope. It was after all, better than death.
What was more, so long as one had hands and feet, one wouldn’t need to worry about starving to death.
If one had the abilities, was able to work, knew how to read and write, climbing the social ladder would not be difficult.
Song Shizhao drank his last sip of wine. He looked out the window, his cloudy eyes flashing brightly: “I, Song Shizhao, was waiting exactly for this moment, waiting for the rising wind and scudding clouds, overturning heaven and earth!”
Luo Ben was also infected by Song Shizhao and stood up also with his hands behind his back to look into the distance.
For them, nothing was more attractive than having a hand in stirring up the world affairs.
For this reason, all fame and fortune could be set aside.
So long as they could leave a trace in the history books, even if it was just a single name, it would be enough for them to fight for it their whole lives.
Just before the court’s punitive army arrived, Lin Yuan had the heads of several people beheaded.
There were always merchants who were desperate for profit. They wantonly bought the food in Gaoyou, and the price of food had risen so fast that it was jaw-dropping.
There were also corrupt officials——Lin Yuan paid them quite a decent salary but they had yet to change their habit of embezzling money that had been cultivated before.
This time, many people felt that the ground was stained red, blood seeped into the soil and the only scent under the the nose was that of the metallic tang of blood.
Those who were caught cried bitterly, knocking the ground with their heads in kowtows, and begged the soldiers.
But no one listened to them.
They were pulled out one by one, and beheaded one by one.
Before each one was beheaded, someone would read out his crimes.
Once the reciting was finished the head would fall to the ground.
After this time, many people fled but Lin Yuan did not pay it any heed.
They were afraid of him, and they should be afraid of him.
Lin Yuan sat on the high seat. No one could see his face and even Song Shizhao did not dare to speak.
He also persuaded Lin Yuan to take his time, carry things out gradually.
But Lin Yuan said: “I lack artisans, more scholars, and people who can cultivate the land. The only thing I do not lack are people who want to make a fortune or want to be officials. If I don’t establish order at this time, then should I wait for them to be completely unafraid of me to establish it?”
Song Shizhao understood after listening.
Lin Yuan was not afraid that others were afraid of him. He was even more afraid that others would not be afraid of him.
The benevolence of the emperor should be scattered over the people like the rain.
The wrath of the emperor should be as frightening as thunder.
Lin Yuan had already used benevolence to win over the people. What he had to do now was to deter those lurking in the dark with wrath.
But to Song Shizhao’s surprise, the people who fled did not seem to have broken or even affect the order of the three places under Lin Yuan. Nor did it cause the people to flee. On the contrary, they seemed to be more at ease.
“Those people should be killed!”
“What the South Bodhisattva does naturally the South Bodhisattva has his reasons. Or do you think you are better than the South Bodhisattva?”
“Whatever the South Bodhisattva wants to do, does it need to be explained to you? Who do you think you are?”
When Song Shizhao heard these words on the street, he finally understood where he had forgotten to consider.
He had always thought that Lin Yuan was just a leader in the eyes of the people.
But it now seemed that he had already been mythologized by the people.
In the eyes of the people, he was already the emperor.
Only the emperor was right in everything.
If the emperor wanted to kill someone then that person must have done something wrong. The emperor was never wrong.
The common people would explain and justify themselves.
Because Lin Yuan was no longer a human in their eyes.
In the eyes of the people, the emperor was not a human either.
But a God.
Song Shizhao discovered that Lin Yuan had changed. He had learned how to grasp people’s hearts naturally and without being taught.
The reason why he chopped off so many heads was because he understood. No matter what he did no one would be able to shake his status.
“It seems that I am too stupid.” Song Shizhao said to himself and laughed at himself, “Thinking I was so smart.”
Song Shizhao sighed: “The affairs of the world……”
Zhou Fu stood in the dungeon with a cup of tea in his hand and looked at the merchants who he had dealt with before. These people, like him, lived on the edge just to have more benefits. And indeed, they probably got a lot of benefits for raising the price of Gaoyou’s grain to almost as high as the price of gold. When the common people saw that it was worth this much money, they would naturally sell their grain.
When the common people were no longer able to take out any food, the South Bodhisattva could only open a granary to distribute food. But no matter how much food was in the granary, it would still not hold up against such malicious business practices.
Xie Zichang was also looking at these people. To be precise, all the merchants of the Merchants’ Guild had come to the prison. Looking at these people who once gave them gifts and bribe fees, they all felt very complicated.
The merchants detained in jail cried out: “Chairman Zhou! We are blinded by lard and fell for the schemes of treacherous men! Chairman Zhou, save us!”
“Chairman Zhou! Zhao is willing to donate all my wealth to Chairman Zhou, everything, Chairman Zhou, save me!”
“My family, my children still need to rely on me, please spare my life!”
Zhou Fu: “If you had known it would come to this, why did you act thus in the first place?”
He turned his head and said to the members of the Merchants’ Guild: “Always be alert, don’t let their end become yours in the future.”
Some members asked in a low voice, “Will all of them be beheaded?”
The merchants in the jail became even more frantic and crazed when they heard the word ‘behead’.
Zhou Fu looked at them and sighed: “The most important thing for those in business is to judge and evaluate the situation carefully. If your life is gone how can you make money?”
“You all made the mistake of being unable to distinguish the situation. This mistake is enough to kill you.”
Zhou Fu said to the members again: “From today, not even a single grain should leave Gaoyou.”
For Lin Yuan, the role of gold and silver jewelry no longer had much importance.
He even had people go outside to buy food. However, he could not allow the food from the three places under his rule to flow out.
So many heads fell.
Merchants no longer dared to believe themselves infallible, everyone had now become much more honest.
From that day on, not a single speck of grain flowed out of the three places under Lin Yuan’s rule.
The people could not sell their food, but they were not angry at all. Every day, there would be people ringing a bell in the streets and explaining the reasons why merchants bought the food at high prices.
After six or seven consecutive days of explanation, even young children could repeat it.
“It can be seen just how sinister the intentions of these people are!” Scholars gathered together to talk.
“At that time, we will run out of food and the South Bodhisattva will naturally open a granary to distribute food. But then what?”
“There is no need for outsiders to do it, we will end at our own hands.”
“The common people are ignorant!”
“It is precisely because the people are ignorant that the South Bodhisattva must consider them even more.”
“The common people of the world are not as literate as we are and know the truth.”
There were also scholars who did not speak, their family having also sold food before.
Now that they know the concerns of the South Bodhisattva they were deeply ashamed. They were actually as ignorant as the common people and become blinded by temporary benefits, almost causing a big disaster!
“Don’t blame the common people! Blame the people behind the merchants for being too insidious and cunning!”
“If the common people are all smart, what need is there for officials?”
In order to reassure the common people, Lin Yuan had people go collect the grain. These grains were all used as military rations. When the common people had more grain in their hands, naturally they would want to exchange it for money. Lin Yuan knew their needs and paid with a decent price. In order to maintain the local grain market, he bought the grain himself at a high price, and then let the merchants sell the grain at a low price.
Those who had food sold it for money, and those who did not could now afford it.
But in this way, Lin Yuan’s pocket was once again a little empty.
Fortunately, there was still the Xinghua salt fields which balanced it all out.
Salt was not food. People would die without food, but there would be no big problems without salt. As for the price of salt outside, Lin Yuan didn’t pay it much mind.
At this time, Lin Yuan was looking at the middle-aged man who was kneeling in the middle of the hall. Dressed in a brocade robe, this man was originally just a small official. Lin Yuan had no one to use at the time so when he saw that this man seemed clearheaded enough, he promoted him to the county magistrate.
The person shivered on the ground. Originally, he didn’t dare to be greedy.
But then……he thought about the previous county magistrates, who were always able to eat and drink delicacies and had countless servants serving them. He also wanted to live a life like that. At first it was just a little money that he embezzled. But when no one noticed, he embezzled more and more. When he finally knew to be afraid, he could no longer stop himself.
Still, he had put his faith in luck. There were so many county magistrates and officials and there must definitely be someone like him. The big lords above wouldn’t be able to find out about him.
“I really don’t know whether you are stupid or treacherous.”
He heard the voice of the South Bodhisattva ringing above him.
“This humble one……this humble one……” He wanted to absolve himself, but he couldn’t say a word.
“You failed me.” He heard the South Bodhisattva speaking again.
With his head buried very low, he dared not look up.
“Drag him out, to be executed.”
These simple words determined his fate.
“My lord! My lord! I know who else has embezzled! My lord! Forgive me!”
The servants dragged him out.
Brother Dao was also in the hall, and he said strangely: “He says he know who else……”
Lin Yuan interrupted him: “Meeting dismissed.”
Lin Yuan was the first to leave the hall.
Brother Dao was bewildered.
Since more corrupt officials could be caught, why not?
If this person was killed, wouldn’t those other corrupt officials not be caught?
In the end, Zhu Yuanzhang gave him the answer.
“Boss killed him as an example to show the other corrupt officials. The situation now is too busy to kill all those people. Can the people at the bottom step up to fill in their places?”
“Boss’s move is to tell those people that he won’t be holding them accountable, and anyone who has a working brain will naturally know to stop.”
Zhu Yuanzhang looked at the door: “When things are less busy, then there will be time to take care of them. The knife is hanging over their necks.”
“It’s the same as having the ox plow a few more acres of land before being butchered.”
Brother Dao: “……”
Brother, what are you talking about, I don’t understand!
But brother Dao pretended to nod his head seriously, pretended to show a profound smile, and pretended to chuckle understandingly: “As to be expected of Boss.”
Don’t know when, but he no longer called Lin Yuan fourth brother anymore.
The move of killing a higher ranking official was greater than the move of killing merchants and small officials.
“Heard that he failed the trust of the South Bodhisattva.”
“Then he really does deserve death!”
The people clapped their hands and applauded. They didn’t know what crime the man had committed, but if he failed Lin Yuan then he should die.
Chen Baisong was busy training the troops. The Yuan soldiers led by Naghachu were already on the way. According to the reports, the court was not stingy this time. Whether it was military reserves or food, there were more than before. This showed that the court attached great importance to them. No matter what, they could not be defeated.
If this battle was lost, then it would mean a complete defeat.
Even if they could regroup and make a comeback in the future, it would not be comparable to now.
There were three military officials under Chen Baisong, Zhang Shicheng, Li Bosheng and Feng Xin. These three were Chen Baisong’s confidantes.
Although Chen Baisong had not read many books, he inexplicably understood how to govern people. He didn’t play favorites and didn’t place importance on a certain person, but he never doubted his subordinates either.
He knew his position and he only needed to obey Lin Yuan and be loyal to Lin Yuan alone.
He didn’t care about anything else.
He sent a small team of men to make trouble for Naghachu along the way. By doing so, Naghachu wouldn’t suffer much loss. But that was fine since his intention was to exhaust the soldiers under Naghachu.
Most of these soldiers were infantry. There were not many cavalry. They would be exhausted from traveling through the mountains and rivers on their legs alone. Therefore they only needed to bring them some trouble and by the time they arrived in Gaoyou, their combat power would be reduced by a lot.
Whereas the people on their side would be full of energy.
The soldiers also knew that the court had sent troops.
“So what if the court sent troops here? Like we would be afraid!”
“That’s right! The way I see it, the court is full of weaklings with no damn use at all. I didn’t see any difficulties when we captured Changshu last time and Gaoyou before that.”
“Still we should be careful, after all, it is the court’s army.”
“I wonder how many of them there are.”
“Kill as many people as there are.”
“There are still many Han people among the Yuan soldiers.”
“A bunch of people who forget their ancestors and roots.”
The soldiers sat together to eat. They ate simple food, but large amounts that were very filling. Before, they used to gorge themselves, practically shoveling the food down their throats. Now they were a little more cultured. Having not been hungry for a long time, both their physical strength and physique have improved a lot.
“Anyway, being a soldier, it’s only best under the South Bodhisattva.”
“I only need to kill ten more and I will be promoted to platoon leader!”
“You only have this bit of ambition. I only need to kill 20 more and I’ll get a house!”
They could rest for half an hour after eating, lying on the grass and looking up at the sky while rubbing their bellies. They all had a beautiful vision for the future.
Serving as a soldier here, their military pay was enough to support their families and even have some left over to save up. Even if they were injured, they could retire from military service for a civilian job. Even if they wouldn’t be able to work, the South Bodhisattva would still feed them.
Why put in such desperate effort?
Wasn’t it so one could eat fully?
Wasn’t it so one could provide for their wife and children?
So long as they killed more enemies, they could live a good life even if they were crippled in the end.
The soldiers looked at the blue sky and thought of the past. They all felt as if it all occurred in a previous life.
Many of them had married wives and made homes outside the barracks.
Some even had children now.
For such a hard-won home.
They would put their lives on the line. Even if they died, the South Bodhisattva would not treat their family unfairly.
Their wives and children would also become the families of martyrs and would be respected wherever they went.
This was enough.
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 )
They could calmly step onto the battlefield and use their own lives to open a way to survival for the people behind them.
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