This was the fourth time San zi had fought in a battle. He was now a small squad leader. His face was scarred by the enemy during the last battle. There was now a terrible scar on his face, and women dared not look directly at him. San zi was also very sad. He always wanted to find a wife and then give birth to a plump, healthy baby. Since he was taken to the bandit villa he was separated from his family. Later when he was taken away by the South Bodhisattva he felt that life had meaning again.
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It was a pity that after he became scarred, his prospects were gone once again.
Fortunately, there was a blind woman who was willing to be with him. She couldn’t see what he looked like and he didn’t care that she was blind. San zi also bought a house with all the money he had saved and would go home and spend time with her on off days.
His superior told him yesterday that he could go back and say his goodbyes to his family.
So he told the woman where he hid the money and also told her that if he could not come back and she was pregnant with his child, he hoped that she could give birth to the child and then put him or her in the Children’s Home. He was a soldier. The South Bodhisattva said that if they died on the battlefield, their family members would receive the care they deserved.
The South Bodhisattva would not lie.
The woman agreed.
Although they didn’t know whether the woman was pregnant or not.
But San zi felt that the woman must definitely have his child in her belly, his bloodline.
Then, San zi walked out of the house and left without looking back.
He did not dare to turn his head. He was afraid that once he turned his head, he would not be able to go to the battlefield again.
He finally had a home after much difficulty.
As a small squad leader, San zi was in charge of ten people. They all wore helmets, wore vine armor, and held re-polished sharp weapons in their hands. After assembly, they left Gaoyou City with the large army unit and marched out the city wall. San zi would be afraid every time he went to the battlefield. It was the fourth time already but he still couldn’t get used to war.
After walking out of the city wall, he finally couldn’t help but glance back.
What a great wall, it must be very strong.
His woman would definitely be able to live well in the city. Maybe if she had a child, she would not send the child to the Children’s Home, but raise it by herself? It was better for children to be with their parents.
If……if he could come back alive, he hoped that his child would already be born before he was called to fight next time.
No one spoke during the march. Everyone was silent. The military discipline was strict and the pace was steady.
San zi saw the army not far away. It was the army of the imperial court. He could only see the people in front wearing their helmets, anything else couldn’t be seen. He heard the sound of war drums, the sound of horseshoes, and the roar of the generals in the front.
The battle started.
San zi charged out with the people around him.
His long knife accompanied him in several battles and was stained with the blood of the enemy, perhaps also his own.
Sam zi held the knife in both hands, stabbed the knife into the enemy’s stomach, and then pulled it diagonally. The enemy’s stomach was cut and his intestines fell to the ground. San zi raised the knife and slashed it towards the person next to him.
But this time, the enemy was wearing a helmet, and he heard the sound of his knife slashing against the iron covering.
The enemy’s weapon pierced his chest.
Even if one had on vine armor, it was not foolproof. The enemy had great strength.
San zi felt the other pull his weapon away and then turned it towards his comrade beside him.
He fell to the ground. San zi wanted to reach out to cover his chest. He no longer felt the pain.
It was a bit cold, San zi thought as he lay on the ground. He turned over with the last of his strength. The people next to him were still fighting, but he was able to look at the white clouds in the sky. He recalled his life before the bandit villa. The days before being a soldier.
His parents were still there. Although the family was poor, the family lived happily together.
That was a truly good life……
If he had known that he would really die, he would not have asked the woman to have his child. A child without a father was too pitiful.
San zi died.
His eyes were still looking straight up at the sky, not closing his eyes even in death.
There must have been something he wanted to say before he died, but no one would know what he wanted to say now.
Chen Baisong charged at the forefront, fighting with the enemy general. He had a spear in one hand which he used to knock the opponent’s knife away. Chen Baisong was not afraid. He seemed to be born for war, and his eyes were calm and gaze steady, watching the opponent’s movements. He knew what the opponent would do next before he even did it.
Naghachu, who was fighting against Chen Baisong, was gritting his teeth. At this time, Naghachu was still a young man. Although he was a wanhu at a young age as well as ordered by the court to encircle and suppress the rebels, but a battle of this scale was also a first for him.
Naghachu also knew that the enemy in front of him did not possess any ostentation in his movements, every blow was made with the intention of taking his life.
He did not expect this. Among the rebel parties, the one with rule over Taizhou, Gaoyou and Changshu was the one with the least presence. They had no king or dynastic name. If it weren’t for more and more people fleeing here and presenting a convergence of popular support, the court would not have the energy to deal with them.
In fact, the imperial court believed that the only reason they were able to capture these three lands was because these three lands had low military strength, and they depended entirely on luck.
But now, Naghachu knew that this had nothing to do with luck.
The soldiers of Taizhou were very strong, possessing a discipline and combat capability that even the court army did not possess.
No general would not want such soldiers.
What’s more, they were not afraid of death.
They were fierce like hungry wolves.
Naghachu dodged and counterattacked while observing the battle.
Although it was not obvious, they were already at a disadvantage here.
An enemy team broke in from the flank and opened a path through the court’s army, as if their formation was suddenly penetrated by a long knife.
It was a cavalry, and even the head and limbs of the horses were protected by armor made of iron.
The soldiers on the horses wore a complete set of armor that covered even their faces.
Naghachu took a deep breath.
But it was this breath!
Naghachu was knocked off his horse and Chen Baisong’s spear was pointed at Naghachu’s neck.
So long as Chen Baisong moved forward just a hair’s breadth, the spear head would pierce Nahachu’s neck.
“Surrender.” Naghachu heard the man on the horse say to him.
Naghachu flushed red and the veins on his forehead popped. He roared, “Kill me!”
Chen Baisong pierced Naghachu’s neck, and the soldier guarding next to him hurriedly stepped forward and chopped off Naghachu’s head.
They had completely torn from the court, so it made no sense to spare Naghachu’s life.
It’s just that although Naghachu was dead, the military officers under Naghachu were still fighting hard and the soldiers didn’t know that their commander had been beheaded.
Chen Baisong led a small team and continued to charge forward.
He glanced at the sky as he rode forward.
The sky was bloody.
The red clouds caused the entire sky to look like it was full of bloody mist.
Lin Yuan couldn’t help falling silent for a while when he heard the news of Naghachu’s death. Although he knew that he had changed the original historical timeline, he never expected that Naghachu, who was supposed to have died of old age, would actually die like this. He was just killed by Chen Baisong in such an ordinary manner, and his head was beheaded in an equally ordinary manner by a soldier.
En……the head was currently placed in front of Lin Yuan.
A very young head.
And also very handsome.
Lin Yuan said: “After the war ends bury him properly.”
This head was still useful. They must hang it on the city wall.
Although cruel, it must be done.
The war lasted for a month. After Naghachu died, the person with the highest position under him took over his position.
Fortunately, Gaoyou had enough food and the soldiers used their own flesh and blood to keep the enemy outside the city wall.
The people trembled inside the city wall.
Wu Yuelian led the women to set up a tent on the edge of the city wall and accompanied the military doctors in taking care of the wounded. They hadn’t rested for a long time and no longer knew what it was like to take a bath. There was blood stains all over the body, the metallic scent like a perpetual cloud of perfume around them.
But no one disliked this smell.
These smells came from one soldier after another. These soldiers might end up dying in the end but they might also survive.
On the twentieth day, some common people signed up to join the army.
They didn’t know when this battle would end, and they didn’t know what was going on outside.
But they knew that there were obviously more wounded soldiers.
“Are you going to join the army? I’ll go too, you wait for me.” Someone said to the neighbor who was about to leave at the door of the house.
The neighbor could only stop and wait for him.
The first to join the army were those who had no family members. They had no wives, sons, or parents. They came to Gaoyou as refugees, had their own shelter, were able to eat fully and dress warmly. They were full of confidence in the future. When the court sent its army over they were all very scared. They hid in their houses and dared not go anywhere.
They saw the women rushing to the city wall.
They were so weak, some were even still trembling, but they walked firmly towards the city wall.
No one backed down.
“Am I not even as brave as a woman?” The first one to follow the women to the city wall was an apprentice in a blacksmith shop. He was more than 40 years old. In order to find a better job, he went to be the oldest apprentice at the blacksmith shop. Before going to the city wall, he also took the long knife he smelt by himself.
With the first person providing a model, one after another the men came out.
This was their home, where they lived. Even if they didn’t have family members, they all had hope.
This was the place where they would hold fast to.
Wu Yuelian was taking care of the wounded in the tent. The scents in the tent did not smell good. Even though she had tried to keep the tent clean, there was not enough staff. She used a clean cloth to wrap the wounds.
The wounded man was not seriously injured. His hands and feet were not broken and the wound was not deep enough to see any bone. After getting it bandaged a little and then getting something to eat he would be going out again.
Next time, she might be able to see him.
Or maybe she might no longer see him again.
After Wu Yuelian bandaged him she turned her head and wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes.
She thought she would not cry anymore.
After bandaging the last wounded, she rushed out of the tent and ran to a place where no one could see. She finally couldn’t help but burst into body wracking sobs.
They just wanted to live.
Why was it so difficult?!
But after crying she still had to return to her post and continue her work.
One month later, the enemy finally retreated.
For the first time, the people in Gaoyou finally felt what it was like to have a new lease on life after a calamity.
The Lin family troops was originally 60,000 strong, but after taking a count after the war only 30,000 were left.
The enemy’s losses were not much less than theirs. To be precise, 30,000 people died on their side, but 60,000 people died on the enemy’s side. But for the court, 60,000 more people would soon be recruited again in no time——no matter if they were captured or conscripted.
But for Lin Yuan, the loss of 30,000 people was a huge blow.
Even if they won against thw court this time, but what about next time?
But unexpectedly, many men joined the army after the war. Some of them were farmers, some were small vendors, and some were even refugees who had just arrived. They all put down their sickles and pots and walked towards the barracks to take up weapons instead.
Taking the place of those who had died and preparing themselves to continue to guard this land.
Guard the people on this land.
Not only Gaoyou, Taizhou and Changshu also had men joining the army.
Within a week, Lin Yuan’s barracks received 50,000 recruits.
After receiving the report of the number of people, Lin Yuan could not sleep that night. His eyes remained opened and stared up at the beams above his head. In a place where no one could see him, Lin Yuan, who had to show his strength in front of his people, rolled over and shed tears from the corner of his eyes.
So many human lives. They were the sons, husbands, and fathers of others.
So easily turned into dust.
Perhaps it would be recorded in the history books where there was a war and how many people died on each side. It would record the generals who had made great achievements in battle, but it would not record these ordinary people.
It was not the powerful figures who decided the life and death of a dynasty. It was these ordinary people whose names were unknown.
Lin Yuan had always felt that he was also an ordinary person.
He was just one of many who had to be constantly busy for his livelihood in the modern society, throwing away his health for financial security, often staying up late, and even occasionally feeling that if one day he were to die it would be from overwork.
Lin Yuan clenched his hands into fists.
This whole time, he had not had a clear goal.
But now, he found it.
He wanted to let the common people of the world to be able to live a good life, eat fully and dress warmly. They would be able to study if they wanted to and would be able to find work if they wanted to find work.
He wanted to make those crying faces smile again.
With such thoughts, Lin Yuan finally fell asleep at dawn.
After the war ended, Gaoyou quickly returned to normal everyday life. The most obvious change was that the small vendors took to the streets again and the children were released out onto the streets by their parents.
The problem was that there were more orphans in the Children’s Home.
However, these orphans were not the children of soldiers who died in battle. The soldiers successfully protected their wives and children, and their children still had mothers.
Most of these orphans were picked up.
Yes, picked up.
The patrol team often patrolled nearby and sometimes even patrolled outside of the city. They would pick up children in the villages or orphans wandering on the road. These children were brought to Gaoyou in this way.
The abandoned Children’s Hone once again had life in it.
After this war, they once again picked up many orphans.
No one knew how these children got here. Many of them were still too young to speak anything clearly.
The eldest was only six years old. He just remembered that his parents had been traveling with him on the road. Then one day, his parents fell down and never got up.
No matter how much he yelled, he could not wake them.
Lin Yuan took the time to take a look at the Children’s Home.
It was the women who were now taking care of these children. Most of them were women who had given birth. They would bring their own children with them, so that they would not miss their children while working.
The food in the Children’s Home was basically donated by merchants.
In addition to food, merchants would also donate some fabrics and toys.
Although the toys of this era were very simple, but for these children, these toys were the most luxurious things they had ever seen in their lives. Although it was also very luxurious to eat fully and dress warmly, the meaning of toys was different.
Children were actually much better at adapting to the environment than adults.
Once the environment became unfamiliar or dangerous, even the most naughty of children would become obedient and sensible.
A wayward and spoiled temper, that was something that only a safe child who was loved could possess.
When Lin Yuan walked into the big room where the children usually played, the first thing he saw was the children chasing each other around. They had yet to understand what an orphan meant. The women in the Children’s Home had a motherly heart and never told them. In the eyes of these children, the women who took care of them were their mothers.
And they had a dozen mothers.
They were probably the children with the most mothers in the world.
Even the women’s own children thought that these children who suddenly appeared were their own brothers and sisters.
The relationship between all of them was very good.
Lin Yuan had the servants following him leave first. The women were all very anxious. Their eyes looked at Lin Yuan with awe. To put it simply, they both loved and feared Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan smiled at them and made a gesture to let them continue to do their own things and to not mind him.
Then they watched Lin Yuan walk towards the group of children.
The women prayed in their hearts that the children would not do anything that would offend the South Bodhisattva.
But children were children. They didn’t know who Lin Yuan was, they only knew that a stranger had arrived.
There was a courageous child who asked him in a high, childish voice: “Why is your chest so flat!”
Because they only came into contact with “moms” on a daily basis, they thought that only women could come take care of them.
They thought that the person in front of them who looked very much like a man should also be a woman.
As a woman, he was too unqualified!
Lin Yuan laughed and he said to the children: “I have candy here, do you want to eat it?”
Then he took off a cloth bag from his waist that contained milk candies. The current production of milk candies was not much. Most went to supplying the military barracks. Milk candies could provide energy and were sweet. Both adults and children loved it.
The children looked at Lin Yuan timidly.
But soon, the craving for sugar overwhelmed the fear of strangers.
The children surrounded Lin Yuan.
A girl asked in a low voice: “My lord, can you give us candy?”
Lin Yuan took out a milk candy and handed it to the girl.
The little girl took a lick and after realizing that it was indeed candy, she raised her head and showed a brilliant smile to Lin Yuan: “Thank you, my lord!”
Their “moms” had taught them that when someone gave them something or if they asked others for help, they must say “please” and “thank you”.
Lin Yuan stretched out the hand that did not hold the candy and rubbed the girl’s head.
These young lives would one day become the new pillars of their society.
Lin Yuan spent this day with these children.
These children didn’t know the identity of Lin Yuan. After they passed the first stage of unfamiliarity and got acquainted with Lin Yuan, they even showed Lin Yuan their treasures.
There were strangely shaped stones to flowers that were nearly withered.
The little boy said sadly, “This flower is the most beautiful.”
Unfortunately, it was about to wither.
Lin Yuan taught him how to dry and press flowers.
The girls also had Lin Yuan watch them kicking the shuttlecock. The played it very well, the little braids on their heads flying up and down like the shuttlecock.
“My lord.” The children sat around Lin Yuan.
It was getting dark and after nightfall the children had to sleep.
“Please tell us a story!” They made a request.
Lin Yuan told them the story of the “Dragon Pearl”.
In the story, there was a child from a poor family. His family worked for a landowner. The landowner treated them very badly. There was always no food in the house and his younger brothers and sisters were all starved to death. He was the oldest child in the family so he could only go fishing in the river after finishing the work.
One day, he found a pearl.
That pearl was so beautiful that the boy decided to take it back home.
He hid the pearl in the rice jar.
And on the next day, the rice jar was full of rice!
The boy’s family finally ate a full meal. They also found that so long as the pearl was put in with the grain, the grain would continue to increase.
For a poor family, this was such a happy thing.
But their neighbor told on them to the landowner.
The neighbor said they stole food from the landowner.
The landowner also discovered the strangeness. The family did not steal food and yet did not appear hungry, so the landowner followed the clues and ended up finding the pearl.
He asked the family to hand over the pearl.
On the night when the boy went to fish again, his entire family was killed.
Only he escaped the disaster.
After dawn, the boy went home. He had the pearl with him because with the pearl on him he could stay in the water for a longer time and catch more fish.
He saw the bodies of his parents.
He was discovered.
The boy was forced to the shore of the river where he used to go fishing. Countless former neighbors stood in front of him.
The landowner also looked at him fiercely.
They were all forcing him to hand over the pearl.
The boy who had nowhere to go eventually swallowed the pearl.
Then——he became a dragon.
The dragon hovered in the sky briefly and the sky began to rain heavily. Some people said it was the tears of the dragon.
The dragon flew away and never returned.
After listening to the story, a child whispered: “This story is so sad.”
“Why didn’t he eat the landowner and the neighbors!”
“Yes! The bad guys didn’t get retribution, this story is not good!”
Lin Yuan smiled and rubbed the head of the child closest to him. He said, “Because he is a dragon.”
The children were still very confused and didn’t understand what Lin Yuan was talking about.
Lin Yuan: “Go rest early. I will see you again when I have time. Come and say goodbye to this uncle.”
The children waved and said goodbye to Lin Yuan.
Once they grew up a little bit more and thought back to their experience today, they all felt like it had been an incredible dream.
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Some of them had their heads touched by the South Bodhisattva and some had even sat on the South Bodhisattva’s lap.
Just thinking about it was incredible.
Lin Yuan’s departure caused all the women to finally let out a sigh of relief.
Heaven knew, they were scared to death for a whole day!
TN: Remember San zi and Wu Yuelian back in the farmstead days? This translator cried a bit translating this chapter.
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