Chen Baisong took Ni Wenjun away, pretending to defect to Chen Youliang, and attack him while the other was off guard.
Li Congrong would lead troops to follow behind, and would support them if the situation was bad.
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Lin Yuan was in Hanyang, handling Hanyang’s government affairs, as well as wait for news from Anfeng.
Zhu Yuanzhang stayed in Hanyang City. It had only been a few months since they won Hanyang. If there was no strong army to guard it, no one could say whether there wouldn’t be anyone bold enough to stir up trouble.
Lin Yuan had people divide and organize Hanyang’s market well, just like Gaoyou, setting up various factories to enable poor people to find jobs.
As for the big officials and big households in Hanyang, Lin Yuan had Yang Shaowei go deal with them.
He was now free to take action and focus on the common people’s livelihood.
Hanyang’s economy was not bad. Although the imperial court was corrupt, the market was still there. The common people could not be considered doing well, but after all, it was in the capital of Tian Wan, so it could not be considered too bad either.
But in places other than Hanyang, such as counties, districts, villages and towns the situation was much different. The heaven was high and the emperor was far away, so the local officials were the local tyrants. Even a village chief could do whatever they liked.
It was the surrounding villages and towns that You Ming planned to make his move on. If the villages and towns were changed, it would gradually also affect the cities.
Li Family Village was at the foot of the mountain. People here rely on farming and hunting for their livelihoods, but the land here was not fertile. When the court was in charge in the past, they planted and hunted by themselves, but they couldn’t support themselves at all. After having children, each family or household only kept one or two.
While the other children were sold away. After selling them, the family could afford the money to eat a few full meals, and the children could also have a chance to survive.
Li Er was an ordinary villager in the Li Family Village. His family had no land. They had been hunters since a few generations ago, and now his generation was still hunters. But after several generations, the prey in the mountain had gradually decreased. Although he couldn’t die from starvation, life was not much better than that.
Now, the people above have changed again. They heard that it was the Southern King. They have never stepped out of this small mountain village in their entire lives so naturally, they don’t know who the Southern King was and what deeds he had accomplished.
The days seemed to not have changed at all.
It didn’t matter whether the person on top had changed or not.
“Li Er, someone from above has come.” The villager ran to his door breathlessly, “They want us all to go over, no one can be missing. You should also hurry. Don’t make them wait.”
When Li Er hurried over, he took all his family members with him, his parents, wife, and three children.
No one knew what happened or what the reason they were gathered over for.
The wife walked behind him and asked cautiously: “Head of the house, it won’t be that something has happened, right?”
Li Er didn’t know, but he comforted, “There should be nothing wrong. Don’t be afraid. If there is anything wrong, I will protect you all and escape.”
The wife fell silent.
But they all knew in their hearts that if something really happened, they wouldn’t be able to escape, but they also didn’t dare to not go over, so they walked towards the village entrance with fear.
They saw a group of soldiers in the distance, about a dozen, each holding a weapon, looking vicious, like bandits. Many of them even had scars on their faces that were extremely hideous.
The wife grabbed his clothes, her whole body shaking.
Li Er gritted his teeth and led his family to continue walking.
The common people were simple, and most of the time they could only accept things passively instead of making their own choices.
There were not many grown men in the Li Family Village. Most of them had been conscripted. There was only one grown male in each family. There were more women than men. The old, weak, and disabled were also a lot. Even if they want to run, they wouldn’t be able to run while bringing along their family of old and young. So they could only go over obediently.
Li Er walked into the crowd, his family squeezing close together, seeming to want to draw strength from each other.
“Everyone is here.” The village chief said to the leading soldier. He bent over and lowered his head, squeezing out an ingratiating smile on his wrinkled face.
The soldier said: “Since everyone has arrived, then I will make the announcements.”
“Now, you are all under the rule of the Southern Bodhisattva. From now on, you will also be the citizens of the Southern Bodhisattva.”
“We are not here this time for conscription, but if you want to join the army, you can just come to me directly.”
No one dared to interrupt while the soldier spoke. The villagers looked up at him, their plain faces blank and confused.
The soldier continued: “The South Bodhisattva has said, there are requirements for each village to fulfill in the future. Your village will be raising chickens. We will build the sheds and you also don’t need to spend money on the chickens. After raising them, we will come here and buy the chickens at the market price.”
“Each village will be given a chicken-raising expert.” The soldier gestured with his eyes, and a middle-aged man who looked like a farmer waved at the villagers quickly and smiled awkwardly.
“Alright, that’s it, you all can go back to doing what you were doing.” The soldier said, “If you have any questions, you can come and ask me.”
When the crowd dispersed, Li Er took his family home again, and the whole family sat together at the table.
The wife couldn’t help asking: “Raise chickens? How many chickens?”
“Can you eat chicken?” The child was young, when he heard chicken he thought of meat, “Are there eggs to eat?”
The wife also asked: “Are we just raising chickens for the lords above?”
Li Er was sitting on the side, keeping his hands busy in the process of weaving rattan baskets. He raised his head after hearing the words, with a confused expression: “The soldier said just now that they will build the sheds and the chickens don’t cost money. And they will only catch the chickens that have been paid for.”
The wife asked carefully: “Does that…..mean if the chickens are raised well, we can also divide some?”
Li Er was not sure: “…..Probably?”
Soon, the soldiers began to build sheds. They were strong and moved quickly and efficiently. The wood used to build the sheds was cut by themselves from the mountain, building the sheds even faster than the carpenters. The villagers watched by the side and found that these soldiers didn’t have a big temper, so they plucked up the courage to ask, “Master soldier, what are you doing?”
The soldier replied: “Finish making all these pieces of wood according to the drawings, and then when it is all assembled completely, it will be much more convenient.”
The village chief also knew some carpentry work. He watched the soldiers and also started to do it together with them. Although he couldn’t understand the words, the pictures were still understandable. The more he looked at it, the more he was reluctant to put down the drawing.
But he dared not ask if he could take this drawing back.
The villagers did not dare to approach at first, and only dared to watch from a distance. Later, they found that the soldiers were very busy every day and didn’t have the time to pay attention to them. The big shed was built quickly, and when they finished their own work they would go over and watch. Watching as the chicken shed was built from scratch, and seeming to feel a strange sense of participation.
After all, the shed was simple, unlike a modern chicken farm.
The chicken farmer who was brought to this village said to the villagers: “You have to be careful about raising chickens. It is good to raise chickens. There are eggs and meat to eat. I have raised chickens for more than ten years. This chicken is just like a human. If you treat it well, it will treat you well.”
After the shed was built and the chickens were delivered, the villagers suddenly realized that the soldiers were leaving.
However, the soldiers warned them before leaving: “We will come every month. If you don’t raise them well, we will take the chickens back.”
“Also, if something happens to Zhao shifu (TN:qualified worker/respectful form of address for older men), we will also ask look to you for an explanation.”
Zhao shifu was a professional who was sent to the villagers to help them raise chickens. He used to raise chickens in Gaoyou very well.
This time he was sent to provide technical assistance. When he returned to Gaoyou later, his job title could be evaluated for a higher position, and he could also be assigned a larger house, as well as have his monthly salary adjusted upwards. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been willing to be transferred from Gaoyou to come to this poor and backward place.
Li Er was a person with active thinking. Seeing that he couldn’t hunt much prey in the mountain, he began to often show up around Zhao shifu.
He didn’t have complaints that raising chickens and ducks was a woman’s job. The most important thing for him was to find a job that could support his livelihood as soon as possible.
As Zhao shifu relied on this work to feed himself, he naturally had to ask him more questions about it.
“A few years earlier, when the South Bodhisattva first started out, Gaoyou was not like it is now.” Zhao shifu ate dried meat and gave Li Er a piece. Only Li Er went to him every day to talk, so he had to be nice to the other. “At that time, I relied on two acres of land to make my livelihood and had to pay taxes, but my situation was not considered the worst. The worst were the salt laborers, who could only transport salt. If the people above didn’t give money, they would have no food. Working more did not necessarily mean being able to get more.”
“I was already raising chickens at that time. After raising it big there is meat to eat. If it could lay an egg a day, now that would be the good days.” Zhao shifu laughed, “Chickens are not easy to raise. I raised grown ones at the start. The big ones are much easier to raise, and later when I got familiar with raising chickens, I started raising chicks.”
When Zhao shifu talked about the past, his eyes drifted a little: “Later, the minor official who governed our area saw that my chickens were well raised, so he had me raise them well, but every seven days I must give him one chicken and seven eggs.”
Zhao shifu: “Later I didn’t want to raise chickens anymore, but he still came to me to ask for them…..”
Li Er didn’t speak.
Zhao shifu: “So I could only spend money to buy it. I didn’t have a lot of money. The days became more and more difficult, so my wife ran away.”
“I don’t know where she went now, or if she is still alive.”
Zhao shifu wiped his face: “Fortunately, I still have a daughter. With my daughter still there I could keep continue struggling on.”
“After the South Bodhisattva came, he started to build factories and plants to raise chickens, ducks and pigs.” Zhao shifu had a smile on his face, “So many chickens! All of them were raised alive! I can’t even count all the eggs that were laid every day!”
Zhao shifu asked Li Er: “When was the last time you ate chicken?”
Li Er paused. Last time he hunted a pheasant on the mountain was last year: “Last year.”
Zhao shifu whispered: “When I was in Gaoyou, I could eat two eggs every day and I had meat every meal. Because I did a good job, I can bring a chicken back every month along with the monthly salary. A rooster or an old hen. It’s all up to me to choose, I like to choose the rooster as my daughter likes to eat it.”
Li Er listened, with a mouthful of saliva in his mouth, he also wanted to eat meat.
He hadn’t eaten meat for a long time since prey became fewer on the mountain.
He would rather trade it with the villagers for more grain than dare eat it himself.
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Zhao shifu patted Li Er on the shoulder: “You all are lucky! With the South Bodhisattva here, you can live a good life now.”
Li Er looked at Zhao shifu in a daze. He didn’t know if the South Bodhisattva was a Bodhisattva or not, but as long as they no longer had to be hungry, then he was a true Bodhisattva.
TN: Aiya! A new month of updates, I know you’re all hungry for it 😉 But this translator usually like to take the first week of the month off, for those of you who are wondering. Updates MWF as usual, enjoy~
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