The so-called subordinates follow the example of their superiors, Lin Yuan’s actions and behavior were trends and the people were willing to spread Lin Yuan’s virtues. They were also willing to spread Lin Yuan’s absurd behavior in a kind tone——after all, the South Bodhisattva was a young person, and what young person was not absurd? Which family did not spoil their child more or less. The young masters of rich families acted even more absurd.
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In that case, what did it matter if the South Bodhisattva acted somewhat absurd?
This was like modern people chasing a star. Fans wanted nothing more than for their idols to have everything. Even if their idols did bad things, they would say, “He is still young, what’s wrong with making a few mistakes? Can you guarantee that you won’t do anything wrong for the rest of your life?”
Or “We are happy to spoil him, no matter how he acts, we are happy.”
Moreover, these fans were not only “girlfriend fans” but also “mother fans”, “daddy fans”, “brother fans” and “sister fans”.
They loved Lin Yuan in all aspects and because Lin Yuan was also young they had unlimited tolerance.
With Liu Yi and Chu Lin, Lin Yuan finally had secretaries. Although the role of these two secretaries was to accompany him when meeting guests, just like Er Liang. Chu Lin was better than Liu Yi. He was the gongzi of a large wealthy family after all. Not mentioning his smarts and talents, but holding an ordinary chat was enough. After all, he had studied the Confucian Six Arts (TN: rites or etiquette, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy or literacy, and mathematics).
Liu Yi would accompany the female guests. She would chat with them and play the guqin. Although her status was not high, but because she was the only woman next to Lin Yuan, the female guests never looked down upon her.
Another advantage of their appearance was that fewer people urged him to marry.
People no longer doubt Lin Yuan’s health.
Sometimes people’s minds were very strange. They felt that a man having many concubines was a very glorious thing and proved the man’s health and ability.
Now Lin Yuan’s move of placing these two attractive people at his side was like proving to the people of his health.
It proved that his sexual ability was healthy.
It was very effective to use this method to stabilize the people’s hearts, and now even old father Lin didn’t nag him.
However, compared with Lin Yuan, Jia Fuqing’s recent days had not been so easy. When he first came, the court had still intended to recruit Lin Yuan. He came as an envoy to the court, so he deserved some preferential treatment. He had beauties by his side, rich clothes and food, and a luxurious manor. He could get almost whatever he wanted.
He sent a letter to the court, saying that Lin Yuan had no disloyal intentions and given time, he would surely be able to recruit him.
But how could he have forseen that this person not only had a disloyal heart, but his wolfish ambition was practically obvious to all. He watched this person repel the army of the court and capture Changshu in one breath. What made him even more frightened was that, the people in Huzhou and Songjiang rebelled, and not only did they rebel, they also offered up the two lands to Lin Yuan, letting Lin Yuan capture two provinces without any effort.
Lin Yuan now had Taizhou, Gaoyou, Changshu, Huzhou and Songjiang in his hands.
Jia Fuqing wanted to send a letter to the court again, but found that he had become a prisoner, a bird in a cage.
He still lived in the original place, but the luxuries from before were all gone, the beauties were all gone, and even the servants were unwilling to take care of him. He couldn’t go onto the streets, and couldn’t go out of his manor. The hot tea became cold tea, cold tea became cold water. The food had changed from delicacies to the most common sweet potato rice.
The guards by his side when he first arrived were long gone. After such a long time, Jia Fuqing didn’t see anyone around him who was not a servant.
He finally understood that he was abandoned by the court, and not only did the court abandon him, but even the South Bodhisattva no longer had any regard for him.
He had become an abandoned pawn, a useless person.
Jia Fuqing wanted to leave this cage. He no longer cared whether he could gain success and recognition.
Being locked up here, without even the freedom to go out, what future would there even be?
After being in confinement for a year, Jia Fuqing’s pride was completely worn away. He finally lowered his head and told the servants that he wanted to see the South Bodhisattva. He had something to discuss with him, and it was a matter relating to Pingjiang Lu.
The servant had already received the order from above and reported it to Lin Yuan without any delay.
Lin Yuan put down his books with a smile on his face.
“It has been awhile. Brother Jia looks quite haggard.” Lin Yuan had on a smiling face. He had a handsome appearance so with such a smile, it caused people to feel that he was being very sincere. “Yuan had been too busy these days to spare time to see Brother Jia, it is Yuan’s fault. I hope brother Jia will understand.”
Jia Fuqing naturally had to say: “The South Bodhisattva has compassion for the people. It is the blessing of the people. Jia is just a small and humble person, how can I blame the South Bodhisattva. If you say this, it will seem as if Jia is a disagreeable person.”
Jia Fuqing had come to surrender. He told Lin Yuan the court’s deployment on Pingjiang Lu, how many soldiers there were, and how many old, weak, sick and disabled soldiers made up the ranks. Although it was only a rough estimate, it was enough for Lin Yuan.
After all, Jia Fuqing was only a civilian official, and his position did not give him access to higher level secrets.
He didn’t let Jia Fuqing leave until Lin Yuan was sure that he had dug up all the information Jia Fuqing possessed.
However, Jia Fuqing still did not get “freedom”.
He was still locked up.
Maybe it would take some time before he finally understood.
In the chaotic situation of now, people like him no longer had any place to stand.
As a a subject and offcial, loyalty was the most important thing. If he could betray the court, then one day he could also betray Lin Yuan.
No one would use such a person.
Even if he was only told the most trivial news, he would still spread it out.
From the moment he set foot in Taizhou, he was destined to have no future.
The soldiers under Lin Yuan had already been dispatched. With the increase of the refugees, the number of people in the army had also increased. Most of the soldiers were bachelors. They had lost their parents, wives and children on the way, and came here alone. They were unable to find a goal in life and didn’t have anyone they needed to support, so they joined the army. The army was in charge of their food and housing, and they didn’t have to worry about anything. There was a new set of clothes every season, and the army paid their salary every month. If in the future they retired from the army they could also rely on the money saved to marry a wife. They didn’t need to worry about the food and clothing after getting old.
Lin Yuan’s army had expanded from 300,000 to 500,000, and it was still increasing.
For the people, being a soldier was hard work. After all, the weapons had no eyes on the battlefield, and no one could guarantee that he would survive everytime.
However, in the five places under Lin Yuan’s rule, the people actually felt that it was a good thing to be a soldier. They were martyrs who died on the battlefield, and their wives, sons and daughters would be protected after their deaths. So long as they tell others that their husbands died on the battlefield, they would all be respected.
And every month there was a pension from the South Bodhisattva. Although it was not much, so long as there were people working in the family, plus this pension, there would be no problem for the family to survive.
If they were injured and disabled and could not go on the battlefield anymore, the South Bodhisattva would give them a certain amount of compensation money as well as find work for them.
The status of soldiers had risen unprecedentedly, and almost every household had a member in the army.
When the people saw the benefits, they would naturally rush forward. So long as there was one male left in the family to carry on the ancestral line. And even if there were no sons they could recruit son-in-laws. Thus, they didn’t worry that their ancestral line would be cut off.
Of course, they would feel heartache for their son/husband/father, but compared with the huge benefits, this was an acceptable sacrifice.
Sometimes Lin Yuan felt that when the common people decide to be ruthless, it could really make one shudder.
They knew that the probability of death for those who served in the army was much lower than the probability of surviving, but they were still able to send their family member away to the battlefield even as they shed tears.
Lin Yuan was not in a hurry now, so he listened to Luo Ben’s suggestion and did not directly attack Wujiang. He had Li Congrong lead a hundred thousand people and surround Wujiang. Wujiang had no food and the land was not fertile. Just relying on self sufficiency simply was not enough to feed so many people. When this 100,000 army arrive, they surrounded Wujiang and did not let people in or let them out.
They surrounded Wujiang until the city surrendered voluntarily.
The governor of Wujiang still wanted to call for help from the court, but neither the common people nor the big households could wait anymore. Although they still had some food, but no amount of food could withstand such a long siege.
So the governor opened the city gate and Li Congrong went in and took over Wujiang.
After more than a year of siege on the city, when Li Congrong entered he was shocked by the hell on earth the city had become.
On the streets were the starving. Emasculated people were even fighting each other over dead bodies.
The big households had their doors closed tightly.
Only then did Li Congrong realize that these big households were not as inactive as they appeared. A dozen smaller wealthy households had gathered together and swallowed up the bigger wealthy households. After losing contact with the outside world, everyone in the city turned from human to beast. But when the city gates opened they once again picked up moral etiquette and began to give gifts of bribery to Li Congrong.
Without food there was still gold and silver jewelry.
Their hope was that Li Congrong would not attack them.
They would give whatever Li Congrong wanted.
The master of the city might have changed, but they still needed to live on.
Compared with Wujiang, it was not so easy in other places.
Kunshan and Jiading had closed the city gates before Chen Baisong and his army arrived. They had gathered an army and also asked the court for help.
At this time, the imperial court did not have much military strength to spare, and only 100,000 troops were able to be sent for support.
Among these 100,000 people, there were many old, weak, sick and disabled. Among them, 50,000 were auxiliary soldiers. Their role was to carry munitions and use their bodies as shields during the battle to help clear the way for the soldiers behind.
These people were cannon fodder.
But the cannon fodder was also useful, and the usefulness was not small. So long as they could block the Lin family army for a second or two, the soldiers behind them would be able to stab forward with their weapons——that’s right, they even stabbed their own auxiliary soldiers, stabbing through them to get to the enemy.
So Luo Ben thought of another way. He sent someone to sneak into the enemy’s barracks, kill an auxiliary soldier, put on the clothes of the auxiliary soldier and then mix in among the rest of the enemy soldiers. It was not difficult to get in, all the auxiliary soldiers were unkempt as if they hadn’t taken a bath in a few years, maybe haven’t even washed since they were born. They stunk unbearably, and every one of them was like the walking dead, likely not even recognizing the person sleeping next to them——after all, there were people dying every day.
The person in charge did not care about them either.
After all, the auxiliary soldiers were not the core of the army, and they didn’t need to have any thoughts of their own. They just needed to rush onto the battlefield when told to.
It happened that these “human-shaped livestock” that no one cared about and could only act as cannon fodder actually had huge potential power.
The person Luo Ben sent was named Zhao Cheng. Luo Ben gave him the name, but he himself was a very good undercover agent. He had been to and survived the battlefield several times with the auxiliary soldiers to pretend to be more like them. He also gained the trust of the other auxiliary soldiers, having saved more than ten auxiliary soldiers.
Then he secretly told the auxiliary soldiers he had saved that he wanted to escape.
This move was very dangerous. So long as one of them informed the superiors what he said, he would not escape death.
But don’t know if Zhao Cheng was just that lucky, or his judgement of people was just that sound, but none of them betrayed him.
On the contrary, the auxiliary soldiers were full of yearning for the Gaoyou that he described.
——They wouldn’t be forced to be cannon fodder, they could eat enough, find work, and eat meat.
What kind of heavenly life was this?
So in the middle of the night, Zhao Cheng fled with more than 20 auxiliary soldiers.
It was the time of day when the barracks were changing defenses so the twenty-odd auxiliary soldiers fled to Chen Baisong’s encampment. From then they were now free. Whether they stayed on as a soldier of the Lin family army or went to Gaoyou, it was all up to them.
All these twenty people chose to go to Gaoyou.
Zhao Cheng returned to the enemy military camp again.
These 20 people who fled first were not discovered. After all, people died every day, and the army bookkeeper only recorded the number of main soldiers, not auxiliary soldiers. The loss of auxiliary soldiers were too high. It would be too labor-intensive to count their numbers every day.
Slowly, Zhao Cheng took away more and more people.
There were so many that had fled that it could no longer be ignored.
When the enemy general realized it, of the original 50,000 auxiliary troops, except for those lost on the battlefield, only less than 10,000 were left.
Without auxiliary troops, the combat strength of the Yuan army had dropped significantly. With no cannon fodder charging in the front, the core soldiers had to charge in the front themselves so their casualties had become heavier.
Chen Baisong and Zhu Yuanzhang were not in a hurry. They had ample supply of grain and grass, enough explosives and trebuchets, and merchants were even now sending a steady stream of military supplies over. The soldiers had warm tents and food, and they were practically at an advantage on all accounts.
Unless the court suddenly dispatched an army of 300,000, they didn’t need to be anxious at all.
It took two years for Lin Yuan to capture the entire Pingjiang Lu and Pingjiang province, and his territory was further expanded.
Although no one came to offer up entire provinces like before with Huzhou and Songjiang during this period, there were still quite a lot of cities and counties being offered to him.
His sphere of influence was getting wider and wider, so wide that even the Red Turban Army could only barely compare with him.
However, Lin Yuan had not been idle for the past two years. He had drastically reformed the areas under his rule.
Taizhou, Gaoyou, and Changshu basically did whatever he said. No one would question him. And Huzhou and Songjiang didn’t dare to question him. As for the remaining places, they had just been beaten to the ground so it was even easier to break the old rules and establish new rules.
First let these places undergo change, and then when more places joined they could be used to better influence the new conquered lands.
He first issued a clear decree that stated “everyone who establishes a household can keep private property.”
No one opposed this decree. After all, people were now used to women earning money, and it didn’t seem to matter if they could now register their own households. After all, after getting married, it was still one family, and the property would belong to the whole family.
Then there was city planning.
The roads were separated so that now there was both pedestrian walkways and space for carriages to move through. If there was a carriage on the pedestrian walkway, regardless of whether it was a commoner, a person from a large wealthy household or an official, they would all be fined.
For the first offence, only ten coins was fined, on the second offense the fine would be one hundred coins, and if there was a third offense, it would be one thousand coins.
Another thing was to vigorously rectify human trafficking.
Lin Yuan could buy people from outside, but the common people and big households couldn’t. They could only hire, and the slave contracts were all abolished.
The common people didn’t react much——they didn’t have the spare money to buy people.
The big households were very unhappy, but there was nothing they could do about it. No one wanted to try out the sharpness of Lin Yuan’s blade.
Although the big households promised, they didn’t take it seriously. After all, their maidservants and manservants were all paid monthly, which was no different from the employment requested by Lin Yuan.
The only difference was that the master could kill these servants who came with slave contracts.
——Although there were laws stipulating that the master could not kill their servants even if there was a slave contract, but even if they were killed, they would be fined at most, which made this law ineffective.
Since no one was going to sue, naturally no one would care.
And the master’s family often gave money to the magistrates and other officials so they wouldn’t preside over justice for the servants anyway.
The servants were not even counted as one of the common people. They were of even lower status and no one would care about them.
There was a big family in Gaoyou, whose surname was Yang. The family was originally of the landowning class. Later, when the South Bodhisattva captured Gaoyou, they directly bent their knees in submission. Not only did they kneel, they also knelt very quickly and decisively. They immediately offered their farm fields and land to Lin Yuan in order to save their dozens of shops in Gaoyou. They not only gave up their lands, they also gave up their slaves and money. In short, they worried about whatever Lin Yuan worried about, thought whatever Lin Yuan thought, completely regarding themselves as Lin Yuan’s sycophant.
Whatever Lin Yuan said was good, they would respond with agreements right behind.
Whatever Lin Yuan said was bad, they would scold and curse at it.
So as soon as the slave contract was abolished, they consciously felt that it was once again time for them to shine, searching everywhere and stirring up trouble.
The first unlucky target was actually close relatives, the Liu family. The Liu family was different from the Yang family. Their family was not as big as the Yang family and were reluctant to give up their wealth, so their offerings to Lin Yuan were not as big as the Yang family’s.
The Liu family was a small family. The family only gave birth to an only child when they were over forty years old.
So they couldn’t help spoiling the child.
The current eldest young master of the Liu family was called Liu Zitao. He was an unlearned hedonistic son of wealthy parents. He had lived in a large manor since he was a child and didn’t know the sufferings of the people. He had seen his parents beat and kill servants and in his opinion, this was not a big deal.
Could servants count as people?
So he never cared about the lives of those servants.
In his opinion, only those who had the same or even higher status as him were called people.
One day he discovered that one of his most cherished robe was missing. He had bought it at a very high price. It was covered with exquisite embroidery and took more than 20 seamstresses and a whole year to embroider. He was furious. He sent someone to investigate, and then he realized that it was the new maidservant who had accidentally torn it when washing. She was afraid that she would be punished, so she didn’t report it.
He had someone beat this little maid fifty times with her pants pulled down. She was beaten bloody and her waist was directly broken as a result.
The little maid was only twelve years old. She was able to cry at first, but then she couldn’t cry anymore.
Her life was not worth as much as a piece of clothing.
Naturally, the Liu family would not let outsiders know about their own affairs. In their opinion, it was normal for a little maid to die. These years, was there a lack in the number of servants who died?
Afterwards……they didn’t know how the Yang family got the news but the whole Liu family was sued by the Yang family.
“This is too much! They insult me too much!” Liu Shizhao was furious. He broke all the porcelain in the house and said to his wife, “The Yang family, the Yang family are villains!”
Madam Liu wept and cried. She only had one son, Liu Zitao, and there was only this young master in the Liu family. She couldn’t lose him. She loved him too much. Her son was already 18-19 years old but she still slept with her son, even driving away his wife to sleep in the side room. She loved her son even more than her husband.
“Husband, we only have Tao’er this one son.” Madam Liu cried, “We can’t let him have an accident, you must go beg the South Bodhisattva. We can offer gold, food, slaves, whatever so long as we keep Tao’er.”
Liu Shizhao breathed heavily, he gritted his teeth and said: “Today’s humiliation, I will repay it tenfold!”
Liu Shizhao started to give gifts. He almost emptied the entire Liu family. Lin Yuan received a lot of valuable gifts, not to mention the small staff and officials below. While Lin Yuan accepted the gifts he did not slow in sending someone to arrest Liu Zitao either.
Then he sent someone over to ask at the door of the Liu family: “Does your Liu family have a disloyal heart?”
The Liu family naturally had to say no.
Then the person asked: “Since there is no such thing, why regard the South Bodhisattva’s decree as nothing? Do you look down on the South Bodhisattva?”
This practically scared the Liu family into peeing their pants, and they continued to say no.
The person continued to ask: “Since you have no intention of disloyalty and do not look down on the South Bodhisattva, then you are dissatisfied with the South Bodhisattva’s decree? Since you are dissatisfied, then let us go and have a chat in front of the South Bodhisattva.”
The Liu family wilted. They wept bitterly, indicating that they would absolutely obey the South Bodhisattva’s words. They were the most well-behaved people of the South Bodhisattva. Whatever the South Bodhisattva asked them to do they would do. They were ignorant before. The South Bodhisattva loved the people and they ask the South Bodhisattva to spare foolish people like them.
Liu Zitao was executed.
The common people also know that he killed a servant, but in the eyes of the common people, killing a servant was not a heinous crime.
It was too common, so common that even the common people didn’t think there was anything to it.
But soon someone said——
“He is openly looking down on the South Bodhisattva, if he doesn’t listen to what the South Bodhisattva said then he deserves to die.”
“Right now there is one person who did not listen to the words of the South Bodhisattva, but what if in the future people follow in his lead. When that time comes and the people are forced into slavery, do you think you will escape? The South Bodhisattva has a loving heart but you people are not only not grateful but also think this is unreasonable. It can be seen that the people are ignorant and really make people laugh in ridicule!”
“Why, do you think the South Bodhisattva is at fault?”
The common people soon felt that, that’s right, the South Bodhisattva had already ordered this, and if you didn’t listen, then you deserved to die.
Besides, whether of not the South Bodhisattva killed people, did he need to explain it to them?
The Liu family lost its only child and fell into a slump. The Yang family took advantage and immediately swallowed up the Liu family’s property and land, and then at a speed of lightning, they made a big circle and then offered it all up to Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan felt that it was really necessary for him to meet the head of the Yang family.
Speculative investment to this extent was also a talent.
To be willing to give up, to give up was to gain. The Yang family was too able to give up the benefits placed right in front of them, and too daring as well.
Song Shizhao also said at this time: “There are more males in the Yang family.”
Lin Yuan smiled and said, “Then give them the status of a free citizen.”
Because Lin Yuan was “interested” in men as well, people in many places, especially merchants, had begun to buy men from other places. There were more and more people, and after Lin Yuan restricted human trafficking, these men were naturally now his people.
When Song Shizhao knew that being “interested” in men had this benefit, his whole person was bewildered. He cupped his fist towards Lin Yuan: “My Lord is resourceful and full of strategems. Song can not even compare.”
Lin Yuan said with a smile: “Why does Mister have to be modest, come, let’s talk about how to increase the number of women.”
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When there were more men, the ratio of men to women would become imbalanced which would then lead to many troubles.
He wanted women, the more the better.
Fortunately, in other places, women were not valued.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to lure them over.
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