Tongzhou, the prefectural government office. Lu Hui was currently sitting in the government office chatting with others.
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“Have those big households take out their food supply, not mentioning eating until the beginning of spring, even eating until this time next year is enough,” The Sub-prefect said.
Lu Hui: “Easy for you to say.”
He knew that the reason he could live without worrying about food and clothing, sitting on piles of gold and silver was all due to the big families in Tongzhou. As for the people? Those were all just filthy commoners, it wouldn’t matter even if some starved to death, in fact, it would save some food next year.
But if too many people died, then the court would send someone to ask, forcing him to spend money to smooth the problems away.
Those things that were naturally born without an asshole, only going in and not going out. Their mouths were wider than anyone else and were so difficult to be satisfied.
Earlier, he had become interested in Taizhou. If he could capture Taizhou, not mentioning the rewards from the court, the Xinghua salt fields alone would be enough for him to make a lot of money——by then some people having died would be very common.
The Sub-prefect suddenly said: “There are still too many filthy commoners. My lord, I heard that the South Bodhisattva has been accepting people? Wanting all kinds of people. This subordinate think that he is just putting up a pretense to gain the people’s hearts. Tell those filthy commoners to go to the places that South Bodhisattva has rule over. We don’t even need to do anything, those filthy commoners will surely drag down that South Bodhisattva.”
“To put it bluntly, that South Bodhisattva is just a young master from a landowning background. If after occupying just a few land, he doesn’t know how much capability he has, letting any kind of people into his land, then he is nothing but a newly rich upstart.”
“Since he wants to take in people, then we’ll send the filthy commoners over.”
“While he is eaten poor by all those filthy commoners, we will not only not need to worry about too many people dying we’ll even get credit from the court, practically capturing Taizhou without any effort or blood shed at all.”
The Sub-prefect squinted his eyes and smiled, as if that scene was already playing out in front of him.
Lu Hui touched his chin: “This is a feasible way, I’ll go ask.”
They felt that there were too many people in Tongzhou, all filthy commoners. Even if they held conscriptions, it wouldn’t affect them at all. Although they just built grass shacks outside the city, their numbers were increasing, and the big households in the city was beginning to worry. As a result, they gathered together to put pressure on him as the provincial governor, telling him to think of a solution.
What solution could he have? Kill them all? He wouldn’t be able to explain it to the court and it might also cause them to do something out of desperation. The gains would not be worth the losses.
Lu Hui also knew that the areas under the South Bodhisattva’s rule were originally selling food, but later the South Bodhisattva ordered to kill a group of merchants to stop it. From this it could be seen that their food supply was definitely not much.
After thinking about it, Lu Hui went to meet with the big households in Tongzhou. These big households were people who had lived in Tongzhou for generations. From a certain point of view, the sum of these people’s influence was greater than his own. Lu Hui gave his suggestion and the big households all agreed.
They didn’t care about the affairs of the state and the well-being of the people. They only cared about their own interests and safety in Tongzhou.
After the two parties reached an agreement, Lu Hui sent people to drive away the “filthy commoners”. Those people had all wandered over from various other places, also called “refugees”, but the people and big households in Tongzhou considered them to be “filthy commoners.” If it weren’t for the fact that they had committed a crime or sin, how could they be unable to stay in their own hometowns? Natural disasters was the warning and punishment from the heavens.
These refugees did not live well in Tongzhou. They could not enter the city, and there was only bare land outside the city. They tried hard to fill their stomachs, but despite the many miles of bare land, they did not have seeds so they couldn’t even cultivate the land by themselves.
There were also some people who wanted to continue walking, but they no longer had the courage. Many of them had already lost their families on the long travel from their hometowns to Tongzhou. Although Tongzhou would not give them shelter or food, it was still a place for them to gather. The refugees gathering together also felt much safer.
When the soldiers came to drive them away, the refugee camp burst into loud screams and crying.
“Don’t touch my mother! Don’t touch her!”
“Soldier sir, I kowtow to you! Don’t drive us away! Don’t drive us away!”
“Soldier sir! I beg you, please……”
The soldiers were only obeying the order to drive them away.
But some of them said, “Go to Taizhou. There is a South Bodhisattva in Taizhou who can give you food and a place to live. Go to him. Tongzhou can’t support you. Taizhou can. Go.”
But most people didn’t want to listen to such words.
They were abandoned!
Abandoned by the court!
The court did not want them!
The refugees had no strength and no weapons to resist. They were expelled like beasts. After the soldiers drove them all the way to outside the Taizhou city wall, their way back was then blocked by the soldiers of Tongzhou.
They gathered together, their faces filled with tears. In the end, they decided to head towards Taizhou.
Their only thought was to live.
When Jiang Gui learned that a large number of refugees were gathered outside the city gates of Taizhou City, his whole person did not feel good. He didn’t know how to deal with these people. They were huge in number, but if he didn’t do something about them, who knew when they would cause trouble. And if Taizhou accepted them then they would have to spend a lot of food to feed them.
In this era when food was capital, Jiang Gui was in a dilemma.
Fortunately, before he even reported the issue to Lin Yuan, Lin Yuan had personally led people over.
These people were all scholars or could read and write. They either had a heart to advance their career and actively followed Lin Yuan, or they were coerced to come help by Lin Yuan. In short, it didn’t matter what the reason was, Lin Yuan now had people who he could use.
Lin Yuan went to see Jiang Gui, and Jiang Gui handed over management.
“Get the food ready.” Lin Yuan said, “You don’t need fine grains, the old coarse grains of previous years will do. Boil it into a mash.”
Lin Yuan’s prestige was huge now. As soon as he uttered his orders, no one below was lazy or did things in half measures. He arrived in Taizhou the afternoon before, and by the next morning everything that should be prepared was prepared.
The refugees didn’t have time to set up shacks and slept directly on the ground in the wild. Fortunately, it was not yet winter, and the temperature in autumn wouldn’t kill people. Several people huddled together to get a good night’s sleep. After all, they were used to this kind of living environment.
“Do you smell something fragrant? It smells like someone is cooking something.”
“I can smell it too.”
“Maybe it’s the people in the city cooking their meals.”
“I wonder if we can go into the city in the future.”
“Don’t dream, we’re lucky if they don’t drive us away from here.”
Just as they were talking in low voices, they saw that a side door in the city wall suddenly opened.
There were people carrying stools, tables, and huge iron buckets.
The smell of food was coming from them.
The refugees swallowed, but did not dare to act rashly. Sure enough, many soldiers also followed behind them.
Even more so they didn’t dare to move.
Someone whispered: “Could the food be for us?”
The person next to him laughed at him: “Are you daydreaming?”
But even though they said that, they still had hope in their hearts.
Just as they looked over at the city wall eagerly, a soldier rang the bell and shouted: “Come here to line up and get food! Enter the city after registration!”
What was “registration”? No one understood, but everyone understood the words “enter the city”.
Instantly, they walked over with their arms supporting each other, but they were ordered by the soldiers to line up in small groups. Dozens of wooden tables were set out and behind each wooden table was a scholar sitting. They each had their own tasks in putting these refugees on file and giving them household registration.
Everyone who had registered could get a bowl of rice mash.
There were sweet potatoes, beans, and some grains, as well as a little salt and oil.
But for the refugees, this bowl of mash was probably the most delicious meal they had eaten in so many years.
One registered person received a bamboo bowl of mash and directly dug in to it with his bare hand, stuffing it into his mouth. Fortunately, the mash was almost cooled down, otherwise his tongue and maybe his throat would be burned.
Lin Yuan stood on the top of the wall, looking at the crowd below. Jiang Gui stood beside him.
“So many people……” Jiang Gui was worried. “Just taking a look there should be thousands of people.”
There were not yet tens of thousands of people, but the people were still coming in continuously. This was just the first batch.
In the end, the number of people they accepted was likely to exceed 20,000 or even more.
Twenty thousand people was the population of a small city.
Lin Yuan: “It’s not considered too many.”
Jiang Gui’s eyes widened.
Lin Yuan smiled and said: “Even if 200,000 people come, it won’t overwhelm me now. What’s more, with more people coming, doesn’t it mean that we have more popular support? After the refugees come, the common people from other places will also come.”
Jiang Gui: “But we……our food……”
Lin Yuan smiled and said: “If we don’t have food, we can go take it from others. Aren’t there a lot of big households in Tongzhou? After taking all of their food supply, we will have the food to feed these people.”
It was not that he had no food because his food was enough to feed these people.
In his view, what Tongzhou had done was to just look at the short term benefits without seeing the long term consequences.
Now Tongzhou still had food, so they drove away the refugees.
When there was less food, they would drive away the common people who had not much wealth.
So long as they got a taste of the sweetness, Tongzhou would fall into a vicious cycle.
And then driving themselves into a dead end.
The common people were different from the refugees in that they had family assets, and some slightly wealthy ones even had servants.
If they came seeking shelter with Lin Yuan, then they would be able to inject new market vitality into the place under Lin Yuan’s rule.
Lin Yuan would not complain about too much money or too many people.
The people were also capital.
The more people the more power.
“It’s the South Bodhisattva.”
Don’t know who glanced up at the city wall and saw Lin Yuan standing there.
The soldiers all looked up one after another, and the refugees also looked up.
“It is the South Bodhisattva who came to see us!”
“South Bodhisattva pity us!”
Don’t know who knelt first. The soldiers and refugees all looked up at Lin Yuan, and then bent their knees. Lin Yuan looked at the people below. They knelt down on their knees with pious eyes and then bent their upper bodies to touch their heads to the ground, performing the most solemn rite in this world.
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No one spoke, and only the wind could be heard in Lin Yuan’s ears.
He couldn’t tell what he was feeling in his heart at that moment.
But it was at that moment that he suddenly understood what it felt like to have the world at his feet.
It was as if he had everything, everyone took his will as their own will, took his ideal as their own ideal.
This was the feeling belonging to “the emperor.”
It was enough to intoxicate anyone.
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