After having been stagnated for nearly two years, Lin Yuan once again felt the large-scale influx of the population. However, unlike before, in addition to the Han people from other places, there were even Mongolians flooding in——although the number was not large, about 20-30, and they were all from the same family.
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They probably heard the news that Toqto’a was in Pingjiang. Although they were still not sure, they took the risk. Toqto’a was still very popular. He himself also sighed when he heard about this. The imperial court did not remember his good deeds but there were some people who still remembered.
This family had a high degree of Sinicization, and even the oldest of them could speak Chinese. Only their clothing and dressing style maintained their own ethnic style. Lin Yuan could only have someone to settle them first, and then call Toqto’a over.
Unlike the Han people, the Mongols generally followed their own regime. When the Yuan Dynasty still existed, they all gathered at the capital whenever something happened. Later, when the Yuan Dynasty was defeated, they all migrated back to the northern grasslands. Although they lived mixed with the Han people, and after so many years there have also been many intermarriages, there were still very few truly equal interactions.
Toqto’a adjusted his clothes. Standing in front of the door, he was both nervous and uneasy.
“Father?” Hala Zhang was still holding fried dough sticks in his hand and a bowl of soy milk in his other hand. He asked strangely, “What are you doing standing at the door?”
Toqto’a turned around and glanced at Hala Zhang.
After all, Hala Zhang was still young, and young people easily forget.
He seemed to have already forgotten life back in the imperial court, and that his meaning in life was to inherit his father’s position.
Now no one mentioned this anymore.
In recent days, Hala Zhang was practically absent from home almost all day long. Toqto’a just watched and never asked for any explanation.
Hala Zhang was no longer the child who needed parental care. He was learning this new world by himself, wanting to find his own place in this new world and take back the glory that once belonged to his family.
How could Toqto’a say to Hala Zhang: “Give up, we are Mongolians, and you can only sit around waiting to die.”
He couldn’t bear to say this to Hala Zhang.
Rather than living soberly, sometimes it was better to be a little confused. This way life would be happier.
Hala Zhang and Chu Lin have gotten very close recently. The two were about the same age and they were also living in the same place. Hala Zhang was angry with Chu Lin at first. Although he knew that they had different standpoints and Chu Lin couldn’t do anything else. But it didn’t feel good to be deceived, especially since he was sincere on his part while Chu Lin’s sincerity was compromised.
It was Chu Lin who visited several times and made a bunch of guarantees before the two reconciled their relationship back to before.
Now Hala Zhang was doing business with Chu Lin. The business Chu Lin had to take care of was very varied. He could be found wherever there was a need for someone——no one dared to let him do important things as Chu Lin was really not someone who could do practical things, but small, unimportant tasks were still fine.
For example, receiving envoys from the imperial court.
The imperial court now sent people to Lin Yuan every few months, mainly for recruiting him over and expressing goodwill.
After Hala Zhang had breakfast, he separated from Toqto’a, the two having different things to take care of. Toqto’a looked at his son’s back and sighed silently.
In the eyes of Hala Zhang, was it likely that there was no place for the emperor anymore?
Even if there was, it was no longer the one in the Yuan imperial capital.
Hala Zhang was tall and vigorous. He was young and moved like the wind. He was like a young cheetah who while still being young, was able to stand on his own. In addition, as his appearance was obviously different from that of the Han people, no matter where he went there were always many people watching him.
“Brother Chu!” Hala Zhang ran to the side of Chu Lin who was chatting with people on the street.
Seeing that he arrived, Chu Lin hurriedly said to the stall owner: “I really am busy! I have to leave first, sorry!”
After saying this, Chu Lin grabbed Hala Zhang’s sleeve and ran away like a ghost was chasing behind him.
Hala Zhang was puzzled. So, after the two stopped, Hala Zhang asked: “What are you running for? That uncle doesn’t look like he has a bad temper. Did you offend him in some way?”
Chu Lin’s face blushed. He was born too good-looking, and when the blush stained his cheeks, it only emphasized his red lips and pale skin, his eyes seeming to be like two pools of spring. With just a glance from him like this, it could captivate 0and enchant people.
Hala Zhang swallowed, looked away and said, “Where are we going? What are you doing today?”
Chu Lin said depressedly: “Entertaining the envoys, I only sent one away last month, and another one is here again this month, ai, always eating and drinking with them, my dad said I even look a little fatter than before.”
Hala Zhang said seriously: “You’re not fat.”
Chu Lin smiled at Hala Zhang. And for some reason, Hala Zhang let out a shudder, and his face also turned a little red. But his skin was dark and it couldn’t be noticed as easily.
The two of them walked forward along the road. Hala Zhang wanted to say something several times, but when he opened his mouth he didn’t know what to say. He secretly looked at Chu Lin’s profile. Chu Lin was born too good-looking, no matter how one looked at him, he was always beautiful. If before Chu Lin’s beauty only existed on the outside, then Chu Lin’s beauty now went deep into his bones.
After washing away the low self-esteem and confusion, Chu Lin was like a gem that had the dust covering it wiped away.
Hala Zhang suddenly asked: “Your parents haven’t arranged a marriage for you yet?”
When these words were spoken, both of them were taken aback. Chu Lin shook his head and said, “I am not going to marry.”
He was now doing even better than his older brother. When going out, others would call him Lord Chu. Even if he did not have an exact official position, everyone knew that the South Bodhisattva liked him and was willing to use him.
Now if he was to find an in-law, it would definitely be a better family than that of his sister-in-law’s.
At that time, how would his older brother act?
Once he married, he would have to face a more complicated situation. Would he have to fight for the position of the next patriarch with his older brother in the end?
He would definitely win, but what about his older brother?
It was better not getting married, anyway, he didn’t have much interest in the female sex.
Hala Zhang felt his throat become hot and dry, and he felt that his face had become even hotter. He was clearly walking on the streets, with many people passing by. But when he heard Chu Lin say that he wouldn’t marry, his heart couldn’t help becoming hot. Impulsively and without thinking he also said: “I’m not going to marry either.”
Chu Lin looked at Hala Zhang strangely, and Hala Zhang was also looking at him.
Chu Lin quickly retracted his gaze as if frightened by something, and said, “Walk quicker, lest the envoy waits for too long. Although he is a member of the court, courtesy must not be lacking, and let others get a handle on us.”
While he said so, he quickened his pace.
Hala Zhang didn’t understand, but he also followed Chu Lin quickly. On the way, Hala Zhang wanted to talk to Chu Lin again. But every time he spoke, Chu Lin would change the subject.
Compared with Hala Zhang, Toqto’a’s situation was different. He was sitting in a carriage, and the destination of the carriage was the house of that Mongolian family.
The name of the head of this family was Bu He. He had a big dark face, broad hands and feet, a strong body, and his shoulders were also extremely wide, making his head look rather small.
Bu He married a Han Chinese wife. His wife gave birth to three sons and three daughters. Both the eldest son and the eldest daughter had already married.
According to what Bu He said——as early as a few hundred years ago, his family was likely servants of Toqto’a’s family. In short, he insisted on a relationship of some sort with Toqto’a.
When Toqto’a was invited to the main seat, he did not refuse. Only when he sat down could the others sit down.
“Where did you come from?” Toqto’a also felt strange. When most Mongolians see that something was wrong they would generally take their families to the imperial capital so how come they came to Pingjiang instead?
Bu He’s wife poured two cups of milk. Toqto’a took a sip, and suddenly sighed.
He hadn’t tasted such a flavor in a long time.
Bu He: “We came here from Zhongqing.”
He rubbed his knees and said with a smile: “On the road, I heard people say you are here, so we came.”
It was simply impossible to continue traveling on the road.
There were too many people and belongings. Although they didn’t bring cattle and sheep with them, they brought everything else they could.
With so many things, naturally they couldn’t make a long journey.
Toqto’a didn’t know what to say.
He thought they would have some other plans and considerations, but he was just told very honestly: “There is nothing else, we just couldn’t bear the cost.”
Toqto’a could only console: “Since you are here, then just live with peace of mind.”
Bu He still had his own worries. He said in a worried tone: “They are all Han people!”
The relationship between the Han people and them was not bad a few years ago. But as the state of the world got worse, their relationship also got worse. The Han people felt that the Mongols would harm them, and the Mongols also felt that the Han people would harm them.
Toqto’a asked him: “Then what can you do?”
Bu He counted with his fingers: “I only have two daughters left to be married, and two sons not yet married.”
He said: “I’m going to find a matchmaker!”
This was Bu He’s wisdom.
Becoming in-laws was the best way to assimilate into a new environment. He quickly found a son-in-law. There was no shortage of son-in-laws. There were young men eager to marry a wife all over.
But Bu He couldn’t find wives for his remaining two sons——so he did another shocking thing. After asking Toqto’a, he stuffed his two sons respectively into the homes of two widows.
Both widows were not newly widowed. They had been widows for at least ten years, since before the world became chaotic. They also had no children. Because they were widows, their parents and brothers could not visit them too much. They lock themselves up at home all year round, sometimes even the neighbors don’t even remember when was the last time they had come out.
When everyone was still watching the show, Bu He had already gained a firm foothold in Pingjiang.
The two girls married into a big local family——this kind of big family refers to the large number of people within the clan.
The two sons married the widows, and the widows’ natal family also started making contact with them.
Bu He also rented land outside the city near the mountains, bought cows and sheep, and quickly became familiar with the surrounding residents. The ewes and cows they bought had just given birth to their young, and were full of milk. So Bu He sold the milk bucket by bucket.
With a place to live, with “relatives and friends”, and with work, their hearts could finally be at ease.
Lin Yuan looked at the dairy products that his servants brought over. There was a lingering smell on the tip of his nose as unprocessed raw milk could not avoid such a smell.
Lin Yuan said to the servants, “Go and ask Bu He if his family can make milk tofu.”
If it could be made, the soldiers would have more convenient food to replenish energy when they march.
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The people below would not report such trivial matters to him. If it was reported to him, he really would be annoyed to death, but if it was not reported to him, he would be unable to stop himself from thinking about it all the time.
Lin Yuan sighed, feeling that he was born to toil.
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