The common people were unwilling to travel long distances. When they couldn’t even get enough to eat, it was even more impossible to find the means for transportation. Horses were military supplies and even if the people had money, they couldn’t buy them. Cows were also luxury goods and only the landowning class could afford to use them. As a result, if the common people wanted to travel they must do so with just their two legs.
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 )
Hundreds of people in Haozhou embarked on the road of exile.
Those with males in the family were better off. They could pull a wooden cart while the females pushed from the back, the children following on the side of the cart.
If there were no males and only females in the family, they could only flee with light luggage. They would not bring clothes, but only some dry food and tinder.
Among the people who fled from Haozhou, not many were males.
Naturally, the officials also discovered this. They sent troops to station at exits to prevent them from leaving.
If a woman wanted to go out, they could ignore it. After all, with fewer people consuming food the better, but men were not allowed.
Men could farm, smith iron, and serve as soldiers. Even if their physiques were weak, they could also serve as auxiliary soldiers. In any case, they were useful in every aspect.
So the women escaped more smoothly. They gathered together, supported each other, and walked towards the unknown.
Yang Rong’s family was also stuck on the way out of the city. The men were driven behind temporary fences, like cows and horses, surrounded by soldiers. They didn’t dare to move in fear that their heads would be chopped off by the soldiers.
They sat on the ground, and the men around them were similar, sitting in place like stray dogs.
The females of the Yang family were still outside and have not left. They were waiting for their husbands and sons.
“Soldier sir, soldier sir.” The eldest Yang brother’s wife begged the soldier, who was about the same age as her son. She knelt down on her knees and grabbed the young soldier’s trousers. “We are all good citizens, we just want to go out of the city to see our relatives. Soldier sir!”
She kowtowed to the young soldier.
The young soldier looked less than fourteen years old, but his skin was abnormally rough, and there was an abnormal flush on his face. He looked at the eldest Yang brother’s wife and remembered his mother, so he whispered: “This is the lords’ business, they won’t die.”
The eldest Yang brother’s wife looked at him in confusion.
The young soldier said again: “…..Either be a soldier or go do hard labor.”
The eldest Yang brother’s wife felt as if the sky in front of her instantly darkened.
Whether it was being a soldier or a hard laborer, both were dead ends. Soldiers could not return home unless they became disabled, but what about the rest of the family if they became disabled? The family couldn’t afford to feed him, so being disabled was no different than being dead.
As for being a hard laborer, they would have to work till death.
When the eldest Yang brother’s wife returned to the group of female relatives, both the sister-in-laws and mother-in-law came to ask her.
“What did they say? What did the soldier sir say? When will they let them out?”
The eldest Yang brother’s wife was still in a daze.
Her mother-in-law scolded her: “Usually speaking more than anyone else, why did you become a sullen gourd now? Did you not kowtow just now?! Go kowtow! Kowtow until the skin on your forehead breaks! The soldier sir will definitely answer you!”
The eldest Yang brother’s wife shuddered. She lowered her head and said with tears: “The soldier sir said that they would either be soldiers or hard laborers.”
The female family members had no words for a while, and it took some time before someone broke the silence with a low sob.
Even her mother-in-law couldn’t say a word.
“What should we do?”
A female family member asked.
The eldest Yang brother’s wife sniffed: “Stay, or go.”
Her mother-in-law said at this time: “You all go, I will stay.”
“Mother-in-law, I will stay, you follow eldest sister-in-law and them. Eldest sister-in-law and the others all have children, but I don’t have any. I will stay and accompany my husband.”
The mother-in-law shook her head and said: “I am old and can’t walk that long distance. Listen to me, take the children away, raise them well, and tell them not to forget their fathers. I won’t care if you remarry in the future. But you must not forget that the blood running in their veins is that of our Yang family! Otherwise, even if I die, I won’t be able to close my eyes!”
The female family members cried together, leaving only an old woman behind, and then left this sad place with the children.
The boys were dressed up as girls. Fortunately, they were still young. Unless they took off their pants, no one could tell the difference.
The eldest Yang brother and the others were also watching from a distance, watching the women crying, and watching the women walking away.
Yang Rong smiled on the side: “Fortunately, the children can go.”
Yang Fourth, the youngest son, said: “I don’t have a son yet!”
No one responded to him.
The children were led by their mothers, and the youngest asked: “Mom, what about grandma?”
The woman bit her lip and said, “Grandma is waiting for your dad and grandpa to go together.”
The child had a pair of innocent eyes: “Then how come we don’t wait?”
The woman said with difficulty: “You’ll know when you grow up.”
These words were often used to coax children, but when it was used too frequently, the children would also no longer believe it. Although the children were young, they could also sense the emotions of the adults. Their keen intuition would stop them from making further inquiries.
Yang Eldest and the others were detained for three days, and during these three days, more people were pulled in one after another.
Don’t know how many times this has happened.
They even encountered a few familiar people, and they also discovered that the soldiers didn’t care what they were doing or what they said to each other. So long as they obediently remain in place and not think of escaping, they would not easily come to trouble them.
After waiting for another period of time, don’t know how many days and nights, Yang Eldest and the others lived on a bean curd cake a day——their luggage was taken away, and whatever the soldiers gave them they must eat. If they could not stand the hunger they could only dig the grass roots from the ground to eat. In such a way, they actually managed to hold on for so long.
When the soldiers told them to go out, they had already forgotten how long it had been since they were locked up.
There should be no one trying to leave anymore right?
Everyone was thinking this.
They were driven together like cows and sheep, and the older soldier would pick them out.
Able-bodied men were shooed to one side, the old, the weak, the sick and the disabled were shooed to another side, and Yang Rong himself was also separated from his sons.
“Soldier sir, soldier sir, they are all my sons. They cannot be without me. Please be merciful, please be merciful!” Yang Rong cried painfully and refused to let go after grabbing the soldier’s sleeves.
The sons also shouted: “Soldier sir, he is our father, truly!”
The older soldier was unlike the newly recruited young soldier. He was accustomed to life and death on the battlefield, and his heart had learned to be as hard as iron. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been given this task. At this time, his face appeared cold, looking like the god of death as he said in a mocking tone: “Do you think you are a father and son army? Are you even able to hold a weapon at your age?”
“Don’t drag your sons to do hard labor with you!”
It was better to be a soldier than a hard laborer. Soldiers had food to eat and could also take an occasional rest. If you were lucky and made some achievements, you could rise up the ranks and become an official.
But as a hard laborer you were likely to do hard labor until death. A human shaped beast of burden that could not stop working until death.
The sons still begged: “My lord, my lord, please, please, my dad just looks old for his age, he is strong, he can serve as a soldier!”
But Yang Rong didn’t beg anymore.
He said to the older soldier: “Soldier sir, my sons are strong and capable, and they are sure to be good soldiers, so I will be a hard laborer!”
The older soldier couldn’t help looking at Yang Rong a few more times, and said with amusement, “You have a fatherly heart.”
“In that case, you father and sons can talk some more, and I will come again later.”
As the father and sons cried together, the older soldier sat on the side of the grass mound and looked on. He was also old. The next time he went onto the battlefield, he was afraid that he would not be able to come back alive. The soldiers of this age all suffered some pain of all sorts, the old wounds not yet healed only for new injuries to be added. The physique could not be compared with young people.
“What are you looking at? Thinking of your son?” After finishing his task, a fellow soldier sat down beside the older soldier.
The older soldier shook his head and said, “Where would I get a son? I don’t even have a wife, let alone a son.”
He was thinking of his father.
He remembered that his family was poor when he was a child, and his father sold him to support his younger brothers.
As time passed, he even forgot what his family was like. As a slave servant in a landowner’s family, being beaten and scolded was commonplace. The maids’ monthly salary was more than that of those who did rough work. As a slave servant, only those serving at the side of the masters would there be any future.
Later, the family he served died and the family property was confiscated. Servants like them had a new place to go.
Men became soldiers, and women…..
The older soldier sighed.
He turned his head and looked at the Yang family, feeling a little envious.
If he hadn’t been sold by his father back then, what would he be like now?
Would his father be willing to be a hard laborer for his sons, or would he ask his sons to be hard laborers with him so that he would not suffer too much?
The older soldier asked his comrade: “Have you finished writing your will?”
Comrade: “I don’t know how to read or write, and it costs money to find someone to write it for me. I told my wife and son that if I can’t go back, she can remarry if she wants to remarry. I only insist on one thing, my son can’t change his surname.”
The older soldier smiled and said, “You are better than me. You still have two people you can miss!”
The comrade also smiled.
It was difficult to marry a wife. Even ordinary village wives were more willing to find a farmer than a soldier for a husband.
At least farmers could farm the land and grow grain. Those who were soldiers couldn’t take care of the family as they were far away and couldn’t act as a pillar of support for the family back home——even the monthly salary might not be issued every month, or be able to reach their family’s hands.
For example, his comrade’s wife used to be a prostitute, one who had been driven out due to being too old. Otherwise he would not be able to even marry a prostitute.
The comrade said to the older soldier: “Next time if we can come back alive, I’ll treat you to a drink at my house. The tofu made by my wife tastes like meat.”
The older soldier: “Then I really have to try it.”
The both of them looked relaxed.
When so many comrades died around them, it seemed as if dying was no longer all that frightening.
They were afraid before and couldn’t stop shaking when they heard that they had to go onto the battlefield. But later they didn’t seem to be as afraid.
Death had become an extremely common thing.
The older soldier said to his comrade: “The weather is good today, I don’t know what kind of weather it will be on the day we leave for battle.”
The comrade also looked up at the sky: “Who knows, the heavens won’t let us know in advance. You also shouldn’t be too kind, it’s about time to lead the people over.”
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 )
The older soldier stood up, his feet stomping on the ground. His shoes were too big, and it always felt a little unstable when worn.
“Over there! Come with me!”
Yang Rong took his eldest son’s hand: “Son, listen to dad, don’t insist on fighting, escape if you can.”
Yang Eldest could no longer speak from crying so hard.
How to escape?
Who could even escape?
This was their fate.
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