“Zhang Jiuliu, the general wants to see you.” The person who carried the word glanced at Zhang Jiuliu, envy and jealousy in his heart. Of the four brothers of the Zhang family, Zhang Jiuli was now a commander of ten thousand. Of the three younger brothers, Zhang Jiuwu was still just an ordinary soldier, Zhang Jiuliu had been promoted to platoon leader a few days ago, and Zhang Jiuqi while not good at martial arts, was good at scholarship and had become a student of Manager Song.
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Zhang Jiuliu was a bit confused.
He was born tall and was even sturdier than his eldest brother, with thick eyebrows and big eyes, looking like a very honest man. When on the battlefield, he would always charge in the front and therefore had a fair amount of military merits. He also married a wife and was rewarded with a big house. In the future, even if he had 8-10 children, the house would still fit all of them.
Zhang Jiuliu was worried that he had done something wrong, so he followed the person who brought the message in an anxious manner, pondering about it the whole way.
It should be a good thing. If it was a bad thing he was being called for, it would not just be a person with the message, but soldiers to arrest him. He was also a platoon leader. If he had committed anything major, a review meeting would be held.
When Zhang Jiuliu returned to the dormitory in a dazed manner, his comrades in the dormitory asked him enthusiastically: “What is it? Are you going to be promoted again? It will be the battalion commander next on the promotion ladder. Then you will also be the youngest battalion commander. That’s too impressive.”
Zhang Jiuliu looked at him blankly, and then said, “The general, told me to go to Gaoyou.”
“Why Gaoyou? The soldiers at Gaoyou hardly fight and don’t have much military merit. Being stationed there is safe though.”
“Yes, even though you can’t get military merit, you at least don’t need to live with the prospect of dying on the battlefield.”
The comrades were all comforting him. After all, if he was still a platoon leader when he went to Gaoyou, it would be equivalent to a demotion.
Zhang Jiuliu swallowed: “The general asked me to take 10,000 people to Gaoyou.”
“Zhang Jiuliu! Are you going to be the commander of ten thousand troops?!”
They stared at Zhang Jiuliu, as if this person they had been facing every day and night suddenly grew three heads and six arms.
Zhang Jiuliu couldn’t restrain his emotions, he had always admired his eldest brother.
From his point of view, his eldest brother was practically omnipotent. He was righteous, tall, and after his eldest brother became the commander of ten thousand troops, he also wondered if one day he could become a commander. At that time, would that mean that he and his eldest brother were the same kind of people? And that he could stand shoulder to shoulder with his eldest brother?
“By the way, you have all been promoted this time, should you not change your names?” A comrade asked.
Zhang Jiuliu smiled and said: “We have thought about it a long time ago. My eldest brother said that the reason us brothers can come here is because of a person who has the same surname as ours. If it were not for him, we would not have today. So my eldest brother took the name of that benefactor.”
“Us brothers followed this name when choosing our own names. My second brother is Zhang Shixin, my name is Zhang Shide, and my younger brother is Zhang Shiyi.”
Comrades: “This name! Honesty, trust, virtue, and justice, what good names!”
Zhang Shide said with a smile: “My eldest brother thought of it.”
Someone next to him said: “It’s a pity that some people have nothing to do with the word trustworthy.”
Zhang Shide was taken aback for a moment, and immediately knew who the other was talking about, and asked, “My second elder brother went to gamble again?”
The man: “Who said no, you got a house as a reward last time, and didn’t you give it to him? Yesterday he went to the gambling parlour, and when he left, he lost the house you gave to other people. If you ask me, you shouldn’t give him anything. And he is actually your second elder brother, yet he is not even as good as your younger brother.”
Zhang Shide also had a headache. His second elder brother was not like his eldest brother. Since his eldest brother became the commander of ten thousand, his second elder brother acted like he didn’t even know what his surname was, becoming arrogant and conceited.
Now that he had also become a commander of ten thousand, his second elder brother would likely…..
When Zhang Shide thought of this, he couldn’t help but show a bitter expression. Gambling was not a big deal. Generally, when caught, the punishment at most would just be a fine.
But it would only be during these few years where there was a shortage of people and soldiers. In the future, when the world was peaceful, and his second elder brother still loved gambling, then what could be done?
“If you ask me, your second brother is not a soldier’s material, and it is better to tell him to stay at home. The monthly salary you and your eldest brother receive is enough to support him, so don’t let him implicate you when the time comes.”
“Exactly, think it over carefully yourself.”
Zhang Shide thanked his comrades first before packing up his things and preparing to leave.
He had very clear thoughts. The general told him to go to Gaoyou, and it must not be for him to go over there to enjoy life. If Gaoyou was fine, the original troops stationed there were already enough. That he was sent over meant that Gaoyou had a problem.
Serving as a soldier, he could only climb up the ladder by fighting, and if there were no battles to be fought, don’t know how long it would take to climb up that ladder.
Although it was not an easy job to be a soldier now, it was not a difficult job either.
Nowadays, as a soldier there were many opportunities to earn military merit. So long as one was not timid, basically one would be able to earn some savings. After retiring, they would be able to spend a few years of leisurely retirement. Even if they didn’t look for things to do, they still won’t starve to death. Moreover, the South Bodhisattva had issued a decree the other day saying that even if soldiers retired, the superiors would still arrange things for them do.
The days were now full of prospect and the future looked bright. Soldiers were no longer like before, immediately spending all the money they earned. There were also fewer people who gambled. They wanted to save more money so that when they retired later, they could buy a bigger house, get married, and have a few children. It was also fine to marry into the wife’s family if they couldn’t find a wife to marry.
Gaoyou was the place where the South Bodhisattva first started. The atmosphere of Gaoyou had almost all spread to other places, especially the fact that women were now able to establish households and possess property. Since women could also establish households and were eligible to own property, the women have also gradually changed. There were some large families and scholars who felt that women have become untamed. Originally, they were sheep and went wherever the herder drove them.
At home they obeyed their father, when married they obeyed their husband. They could not survive without a man, there was simply no place for single women to survive in the world.
But now it was different. Many women who were able to set up their own households have established their own households when they reached adulthood. Five or six years ago, who would have thought that this would become so common. When walking down the streets, it was common to see single women doing business. Sisters and friends who had a good relationship before setting up their households teamed up and supported each other. If anyone tried to find trouble or harass them, they would go to the guards on patrol.
The more developed the economy, the later the age of marriage. Gaoyou was considered to be the most developed place. There was salt, and now it had the embryonic form of a market economy. Gaoyou originally had a laundry workshop dedicated to washing clothes for soldiers.
After setting up a household, a few women felt that this was a way to make money, so they invited other women to open a laundry workshop together.
At the beginning, no one asked them to wash their clothes, so they went door to door and even prepared some small snacks, which were not very expensive, but it was more sincere than knocking on the door empty-handed. In short, this method led to their first order.
Almost everyone in Gaoyou had a job. Slowly, many people found that sending clothes to be washed could save themselves quite a lot of time. After all, washing clothes was not easy work.
Soon, their laundry workshop got bigger and bigger, and more and more workers were hired, not only from Gaoyou, but also throughout Taizhou.
No one could have imagined that they would succeed.
Their success also gave a boost to the market economy.
Many people worked in the factories while also looking for work outside. Many people wanted to do business.
Chu Lin was now taking care of these things. Since Song Shizhao’s departure, these responsibilities have fallen on his head. Although there were people left by Song Shizhao to assist him, Chu Lin still insisted on taking care of everything personally, lest something happened and caused him to be implicated. This had won him a reputation, and the women also quite liked him.
In fact, iorder to see him a few more times, some women even caused some troubles that had one not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
People around him often made fun of him because of this, saying that if he was a woman, he would definitely be a demonic concubine who would bring calamity to the country and the people.
At this time, Chu Lin looked at the woman in front of him with a serious face. He had already learned to put on a pretense, at least he now looked like a cold and upright “lord”.
The woman’s surname was Li. Originally, she didn’t have a given name. After she established her own household, she named herself Li Shengnan.
She was in the food industry and ran more than a dozen shops selling cooked food. Today, she came to pay taxes.
Li Shengnan looked very frail and delicate, but the shrewdness of a businessman flashed in her eyes. She sat opposite Chu Lin, looking neither humble nor overbearing, and said, “My lord, this is the account book from the previous season. I already had my bookkeeper calculate it, and I have to pay a tax of 1,600 taels.”
All the people that Chu Lin met in person were big businessmen, and they could only see him when the taxes they paid amounted to at least over 500 taels.
Li Shengnan said: “There is another thing I would like to discuss with my lord. I want to rent the open space in the north of the city and construct a house for the employees.”
Chu Lin took a sip of tea: “How many years do you want to rent?”
Li Shengnan smiled at Chu Lin: “Forty years.”
Every ten years was a watershed, and prices would rise a lot.
Chu Lin said to her: “That’s not a small amount of money.”
Li Shengnan sighed: “My business is small, and the employees have accompanied from difficult times. Most of them come from poor families. And since they have given me their lives and entrusted their livelihood to me, I naturally want to treat them better.”
She had begun to bargain with Chu Lin.
Chu Lin smiled and said, “Boss Li is righteous.”
Li Shengnan hurriedly waved her hand: “How can this be called righteousness? The South Bodhisattva is the righteous one, and what ordinary people like us can do is limited.”
Chu Lin: “Boss Li is too humble.”
“I have here some people who have retired from the barracks.” Chu Lin said, “There are those with lame legs or those with amputated arms, but they all have a lot of strength and their disability doesn’t affect their work.”
Li Shengnan lowered her eyes and seemed to be thinking. After a while, she said, “Business is not easy now, and I can only accept another 20 people.”
Chu Lin: “Then Boss Li can go back and wait for the news. There are many people who want to rent the land in the north of the city.”
Li Shengnan: “My lord! This matter can still be discussed, sixty people, it really can’t be more!”
Chu Lin picked up the tea cup and hid his smile behind it: “Boss Li, please come with me and sign the land deed.”
Li Shengnan breathed a sigh of relief. She was born in a small family. She lost her father in childhood and was brought up by her mother. Her mother was born in a merchant family and felt that money was the greatest truth in the world. She remained a widow and tightly held onto the family’s money and shops and taught her daughter by herself. Li Shengnan grew up under such conditions. If there was no accident, she would also do everything possible to control the money and the shops after she married in the future.
But then, the South Bodhisattva came, and she didn’t have to marry, she could also set up a household like a man and earn her own money.
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Even her mother said to her, “I’m not as lucky as you. When luck comes, you have to take it.”
Li Shengnan agreed.
Gaoyou’s economy was developing rapidly.
It had become a shocking behemoth.
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