The people say life’s three bitter professions were boat rowing, metal forging, and tofu selling. Now that Toqto’a had reached this state, he understood that none of these three were bitter. He was born in Mongolia’s Merkit clan and belonged to a noble family. His father Mazhaertai was an important minister of the Yuan Dynasty, his uncle Bayan was once the prime minister and even became the Minister of the State for eight years.
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 )
He had a prominent background and was given an official post at the age of fifteen.
As a young man he had been very proud and successful, but he did not expect that his ending would be like this.
Even if he didn’t use his brain, he knew that when he was “saved” and taken from his Jiangnan exile, seemingly his life was saved but his family was also finished.
After being rescued, Toqto’a was kept in a courtyard house, and he didn’t even know where he was.
Everyday he would just see the same few people, and these people would not talk to him or even communicate with each other.
Even if he wanted to know where he was and who had plotted against him, he couldn’t find any breakthrough.
Toqto’a looked up and saw his eldest son standing at the door. For a while, he was speechless, his mouth gaping but unable to utter a word.
He thought…..he had thought his entire family would not be able to escape death!
Toqto’a watched his son rushing towards him, his heart full of conflicted emotions.
“Father!” Hala Zhang knelt at Toqto’a’s feet, tears running down his face, “This son is not filial! This son came late!”
Toqto’a bent down and hugged his eldest son.
He had raised his eldest son with hopes he would be the pillar of the family. So that when he was not at home, his eldest son could support the family. He taught him with the strictest attitude and held him up to the strictest standards, but practically overnight their family met with calamity. His eldest son had barely come of age so how could he preserve their home against the lofty imperial power?
Hala Zhang whimpered: “The slaves and domestic servants were all taken away by the court. Younger brother is dead, and Mother’s well-being is unknown. Father, it is this son’s fault that I couldn’t protect them!”
“This is not your fault!” His arms tightened, tears in his eyes, “It’s Dad’s fault, it’s Dad…”
Hala Zhang suddenly raised his head: “What wrong has Dad committed? Dad has worked hard for the well-being of the people of the world, and uses his own power to fight for the better. What wrong has Dad committed?”
After all, Hala Zhang was young: “Dad, you serve the Emperor with your sincerity, but has the Emperor treated you with sincerity?”
Toqto’a shook his head: “Hala Zhang, that’s the Emperor. If the Emperor wants his minister to die, then the minister has to die.”
“That’s what the Han people say!” Hala Zhang’s eyes glared. “The Han people also said that the world can only be ruled by the capable!”
Toqto’a: “How did you get here?”
Hala Zhang relayed his entire experience: “Dad, the South Bodhisattva may not be a good person, but he has vision and boldness! Besides him, which Han Chinese can tolerate us? Dad, I have thought about it. He wants to win the hearts of the Mongols, he will not do anything to us. On the contrary, he will definitely treat us as distinguished guests!”
Toqto’a said: “I will not shed the blood of my compatriots for the Han people!”
Hala Zhang: “That’s not the case, Dad! That South Bodhisattva told me that he knew of Dad’s ability and will not force Dad to be an enemy of his old acquaintances. He only hopes that Dad would pity the common people and take care of farming and irrigation works. He will even send bailiffs and officials to help Dad!”
Toqto’a paused: “Agriculture and irrigation works?”
Hala Zhang: “Exactly!”
Toqto’a glanced at Hala Zhang, and sighed: “This person is unpredictable. His methods seem bright and righteous, but in fact they are extremely insidious. Towards such a person, if we serve him we might not end well in the future. If we do not serve him, then us father and son will never step out of this door.”
“Hala Zhang, to accompany a tiger, have you thought about it?”
Hala Zhang’s eyes were firm: “Dad, I have thought about it!”
Toqto’a looked at his son. From childhood to now, he had already grown up. He had more thoughts, and also now possessed desires to achieve and accomplish great things. He, the father, could only support him from behind.
Whether or not they had made the right choice, it was all a matter of fate.
Toqto’a said: “I will go to meet that South Bodhisattva.”
“Prime Minister.” Lin Yuan sat at the top. He had been sitting in a position of power for a long time. He didn’t notice it, but everyone around him noticed that he had changed and his aura had become different. He didn’t need to pay attention to his appearance or his demeanor. He was the only authority. He represented the rules.
Toqto’a sat beside Lin Yuan as the servants served tea with light hands and feet.
“I never thought that despite South Bodhisattva’s young age you could have such methods.” His eyes were like two torches, just looking at his aura, he didn’t lose the slightest bit.
Lin Yuan smiled: “Yuan has not treated the guests well and neglected the prime minister.”
Toqto’a sneered: “South Bodhisattva has good schemes and good methods. If I don’t serve you, then it has become my fault, not knowing what is good or bad.”
Lin Yuan: “The prime minister has been living high above the people for a long time, and must not know that the general trend of the world is no longer on the court.”
Toqto’a: “We are foreigners, not Han Chinese, otherwise…..”
Lin Yuan sneered: “The prime minister must be joking. Back then, when Genghis Khan conquered the world, how stable was the world! How come now that the great foundation laid down by your ancestors has been ruined, it has become the fault of being a foreigner?”
“The prime minister is not a blind man. Naturally, you can see how the court has governed the country over the years.”
“Governing the country is not about raising pigs and dogs, just giving a bite of food is enough.”
“Furthermore, even if you raise pigs and dogs, it’s not as if you don’t even need to give a bite of food?”
Lin Yuan mocked: “If the court is full of officials like you, then it is not unjust that the Yuan Dynasty will meet its end.”
Toqto’a was dazed for a moment, he thought that Lin Yuan would pay the courtesy of one hoping to recruit talents and wise men, so how come suddenly he became so acrimonious. He stared at Lin Yuan as if a flower was blooming on Lin Yuan’s face.
“You wanted to fix the Yellow River but caused the banknotes to become waste paper.” Lin Yuan said again, “Because of your actions, the Yuan Dynasty’s vitality is greatly injured.”
Toqto’a was full of anger: “What do you mean?! The lives of the people are not lives anymore?!”
Lin Yuan looked at him: “You actually understand this truth?”
Toqto’a fisted his hands.
Lin Yuan smiled and said: “Prime Minister, if you are just a general or just a prime minister, or just an irrigation works official, you wouldn’t have ended up like this.”
“When holding great power, if you can’t dominate the government like your uncle Bayan, then you are just a target.”
“Hama is in the top position, and it was all because of your helping hand. You thought it was Hama who harmed you, but have you ever thought that if there was no hint from the Emperor, would Hama still dare to harm you?”
Lin Yuan: “Why do you deceive yourself? Hama is a sycophantic official. He relied on flattering and carrying out the Emperor’s will to get to his position of power. The Emperor being afraid of you and your power is the real reason why you ended up like this.”
“I imagine if you really died, the Emperor would punish Hama and give you justice.”
Toqto’a was so angry he was trembling: “You…..you shameless villain! His Majesty is just being deceived by a traitor!”
Lin Yuan: “Oh? What’s the difference between you and Bayan? Bayan was ousted from power directly by you. With your status in the court and your prestige and power, it would be a strange thing if the Emperor doesn’t fear you!”
“Does the Emperor really need you?”
“In addition to you who can lead the soldiers to war, there is also Cha Khan. And if there was no Cha Khan there would still be many others.”
“If you are no longer in charge of irrigation works, there will be other ministers to take your place.”
“Not to mention political affairs.”
“Toqto’a, you regard yourself highly, but have you ever thought that you are not irreplaceable?” Lin Yuan asked him.
Toqto’a’s mind was completely blank.
Yes, he had thought that the Emperor could not do without him, but that was not the case.
If the Emperor wanted to use him, then he would be useful. If the Emperor didn’t use him there were many other people who would offer their service to the Emperor.
Without their family, the Emperor had other people available to use.
At this moment, Lin Yuan suddenly walked down the steps. He stood in front of Toqto’a, their eyes level and he raised his hands in a salute.
Toqto’a did not move.
Lin Yuan stood up straight and said: “If the prime minister helps me win over the Mongolian tribes, I will confer you the position of prime minister. The prime minister is replaceable for the Emperor, but the prime minister is irreplaceable for me.”
Toqto’a sneered: “The South Bodhisattva has truly divine calculation, but you can’t predict whether I will surrender to you or not?”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “You are a loyal official and a powerful official. You are loyal to the court and this will not change in life or death. Yuan knows this.”
Toqto’a: “Then why does South Bodhisattva bother to make such useless effort?”
“If you are to follow me, will that mean you are no longer loyal?” Lin Yuan smiled, “If I can protect you, then I can also protect the Mongolian people. The imperial court will meet its end. If Liu Futong or Guo Zixing rule this kingdom, will they protect the Mongols?”
Lin Yuan: “The prime minister is compassionate, even towards the Han people, so why won’t you think about it for your own people?”
“The prime minister can also wait, and when the court is overthrown, you can come to me again. But by then, I will not be as easy to talk to as I am now.”
Lin Yuan cupped his hands: “The prime minister can think it over, Yuan will be leaving first.”
As soon as the words fell, Lin Yuan strode out of the guest hall and out of the courtyard.
As soon as he exited the courtyard, he saw Chen Baisong standing aside, and Lin Yuan smiled at him: “What? Do you really think Toqto’a would dare to move against me?”
Chen Baisong stood up and walked to Lin Yuan: “He is a courtier of the Dog Emperor.”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “That’s not important. The important thing is that he is a Mongolian, and he was once a prime minister. He is a loyal and virtuous minister in the eyes of everyone.”
Chen Baisong: “…..Don’t really understand.”
Lin Yuan: “It’s okay if you don’t understand, knowing how to lead soldiers is enough. Also, your beard should be shaved.”
Chen Baisong touched his beard. He didn’t have a literati’s beard. He had let it grow wildly so now he only looked like a savage.
“What I said to the young master earlier…..” Chen Baisong mentioned again.
Last time when he mentioned to Lin Yuan about his male favorites, Lin Yuan did not answer him, only leaving with some excuse.
This time he must get a clear answer.
Lin Yuan didn’t expect that he would still remember this, and couldn’t help but smile: “I haven’t touched them.”
Chen Baisong looked at him, obviously not believing him.
Lin Yuan: “They are all sent to be minor officials. Would I send my male favorites to do the work of minor officials? Am I that stingy?”
Chen Baisong was taken aback.
Lin Yuan smiled and looked at him: “What? Are you jealous?”
Chen Baisong: “…..”
Lin Yuan comforted him: “Don’t worry, no matter how many people are around me, you will be the first in my heart, okay?”
Chen Baisong muttered: “…..Young master is trying to coax me, I can understand this.”
Lin Yuan: “It’s not just words to coax you.”
Chen Baisong sighed: “I’m just afraid they will serve Qin in the morning and then Chu in the evening.” (TN: idiom for quick to switch sides)
Lin Yuan smirked: “This phrase is good.”
Chen Baisong glared at him: “Young master, be serious.”
Lin Yuan quickly said: “Okay, okay, I will find someone who can meet the approval of you guys in the future, okay?”
Chen Baisong sighed and said, “There’s no need for that, as long as the person treats young master with all their heart and soul.”
Lin Yuan really didn’t expect that at this time, Chen Baisong would be worrying about his life’s major event. (TN: life’s major event=marriage)
Chen Baisong was a straight-forward person, and couldn’t hide things in his heart. He was such a person, so when Lin Yuan faced him, he also couldn’t help but speak honestly.
Lin Yuan suddenly became emotional and took Chen Baisong’s hand: “Brother Chen, you have to treat me like this all the time.”
Chen Baisong became stiff and only managed to nod after a long time: “En.”
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 )
AN: Chen Baisong: “What does he mean? Does he want me to ask if he has someone he likes everyday?”
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