It was not that none of the aristocracy in Mongolia suspected that this was a conspiracy of the Han Chinese, intending to cause the Mongolians to become degenerate for the sake of enjoyment.
But the benefits were obvious, and the detriments were too far away.
After all, the Han people would bring salt and sugar, and many other things that the grasslands did not have. Things that only nobles could have in the past could now be exchanged by ordinary Mongolians. Things that were worthless here could be exchanged to the merchants for a lot of money.
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The nobles would also receive gifts from the merchants.
Of course it was not free, but it was just for the price of a few words and they would get expensive silks, fine jewelry and real gold and silver.
Anyway, they wouldn’t sell their war horses and weapons. Since it was like this, why not do it?
It didn’t cost anything, but it also gained them benefits.
Could it be that if the merchants were driven away or the merchants were killed, would they be able to live better than they were now?
And the previously worthless slaves were now of worth as well.
The price of a slave could be compared to the price of a cow.
Moreover, slaves were easier to raise than cattle. Slaves were born and raised by themselves, but the number of slaves had never lessened.
In their eyes, slaves were animals, in fact, even worse than animals. When animals grew bigger, they could be killed and provide meat on their tables. What about slaves?
Slaves were also willing to be bought by the merchants.
Although they had to work after being bought, more and more slaves knew that so long as they paid off the money that the merchants bought them with, they could be free people in Han cities and could own property.
Scar was such a slave. The slaves had no names. He was called Scar by other slaves because he had a knife wound on his face. He had a tall and big physique, and even though he never ate fully, he looked much more stronger than other slaves.
Because of this, he was picked by a merchant.
But his mother was not picked away. His mother was already very old when she gave birth to him. Fortunately, the master was kind and did not throw away his mother. Before leaving, he promised his mother that when he became a free citizen he would come back to pick her up.
He didn’t know who his father was, all the slaves were like this.
They only knew their mother, not their father, and sometimes they might not even know who their mother was.
Scar just followed the merchant away. Sometimes he would carry goods like an ox or workhorse, and he would still eat and sleep under the open skies.
But what was different from before was that he could eat enough. The new owner was a very powerful master. He did business with the nobles, and after the business was done, he would return to the Han Chinese city.
It was the first time Scar had entered a Han city, and he walked with the slaves who were picked out with him.
“The city walls of the Han people are so high.” The companion had a new name, Tiger, which he chose himself.
Scar also looked up at the city wall, he had never seen such a high wall.
When they entered the city with the caravan, it was like entering another world.
The streets were wide and clean, and the ground looked like it was paved with stone, but also not stone.
The effectiveness of the newly made cement was very good. Although it was not at the level of modern cement, it was still much more effective than soil cement.
There were also many people talking on the sides of the streets.
There were Han Chinese and Mongolians.
They wore different clothes and spoke with different accents, but they were not hostile towards each other.
He recognized those Mongolians as slaves at first sight.
Scar looked at those Mongolians and then at his own hands.
Tiger asked beside him, “Say, when will we be able to pay off the master’s money?”
Scar: “Master said, I can pay it off with one more trip.”
“Then I can exchange it for a contract.”
Scar grinned, which made him look even more sinister: “After exchanging it for a contract, I will be able to get wages, and I can pick up my mother.”
An old female slave was worthless.
Scar didn’t need to save a lot of money to free and bring his mother into the city.
The merchant rented a house in the city, and the ten of them slept in one room.
This was the first time Scar had slept in a house, and on a bed. Although it was a straw mattress, it was still a bed.
Something he had never slept in before.
Tiger ran into the room excitedly and grabbed an inner bunk.
Scar slept next to Tiger.
No one in the room slept that night, they were all slaves.
They were all bought by the merchant, and the slave who had been with the merchant for the longest time had been with the merchant for almost a year.
He would tell the new slaves about the city before bed.
“You can’t fight,” said the slave named Beard. “If you fight, you will be arrested and locked up, without a bed or quilt.”
The slaves listened carefully to Beard’s words.
Beard said: “When you get the contract, you can go to the county government to register, and you will have a household registration in the future.”
Beard was a little proud: “I already have a household registration, and the master said that if I work for another year, I will be able to buy a house.”
“I also brought over my mother and father from our original owner.” Beard said to them, “I will take you to my house tomorrow if we have the time.”
The slaves were shocked: “Didn’t you say you can buy a house after another year?”
Beard: “Yes, but I have a household registration, so I can rent a house.”
The next day, the slaves did not hear from the merchant, which meant they could arrange the whole day on their own.
They have off days, because the employment system stipulated that in addition to statutory holidays, there must be one day off every seven days.
Today was a rare day off.
After entering the grassland, there were no holidays or off days, but the wages would be more than back in the city.
Therefore, slaves all want to follow the merchants into the grasslands as soon as possible, so that they could become free people earlier and have their own property.
Beard’s mother and father live in the south of the county, where the rent was cheaper, and there were Han Chinese and Mongolians living there.
The house he rented was not big, but it had a yard.
Scar looked around enviously, because there was a tree in Beard’s yard. He didn’t know what tree it was, and he didn’t know what fruit it would bear, but Scar was still very envious.
He thought that if he rented a house in the future, he should also have such a tree.
“Brother!” A man with a similar appearance to Beard ran out and hugged his brother.
Beard was also very happy, and patted the man on the back: “Brother! Where’s mother?”
The man smiled and said, “Mother is cooking, said she had learned the craftsmanship of the Han people, and she wants to cook it for us.”
Beard introduced Scar and the others to the man.
The man was the elder brother of Beard, and was not picked by a merchant at that time because one of his legs was lame.
The man also had a name, which was given by his lover. His lover was a local. Because the city was close to the grassland, the folk customs here were very fierce. This girl was the only daughter of the family. She worked in a textile factory in the city and her whole family lived off her income.
So when she found a Mongolian slave as her lover, even if her family disagreed, they could not do anything about it.
She called him Ping An, and the man also likes this name.
“I’m learning craftsmanship now.” Ping An said, “Although my leg is lame, I want to be a cook.”
The eyes of Scar and the others widened: “You know how to cook?”
Ping An smiled: “I’m learning right now.”
Although his leg was lame, there was still strength in his hands. He might not be as good as others as a porter, but he was still able to cook and stir-fry dishes.
Scar and the others spent a day that was very much like a dream.
Only then did they know that slaves could also live like this, and the merchants didn’t lie to them.
So long as they worked hard, they could become free people and could go back for their relatives.
But Scar still asked Beard: “Don’t the Han people bully you?”
These slaves were different from ordinary Mongolians. They didn’t know the outside world, they didn’t have deep hatred for the Han people, and they didn’t feel that they were once the masters of the Central Plains.
The tribes were very different from tribe to tribe, not to mention between slaves and ordinary Mongols.
Beard said: “They do.”
Scar and the others were scared.
Beard added: “At most, they give us less cuts when buying meat.”
Beard laughed: “But after you become familiar, they won’t do that anymore.”
“You must learn to smile.” Beard was serious, “Han people say that one does not reach out and hit smiling faces, it makes sense!”
According to Beard, this small border town of Han people was a very remarkable place.
Han Chinese and Mongolians could live and work together, and Mongolian children could also go to school with Han children. They were not charged any money just like the Han, and only had to pay for textbooks, which were very cheap.
If you study well, you could get a scholarship to earn money for your family.
Beard also said that he would get married and have many children in the future.
Then his children would have children and the whole family could take root in this small town.
Scar and the others also quickly learned that Ping An had a Chinese lover.
When Ping An found a job, they would get married. Ping An would marry into the woman’s family.
After listening, they were very envious.
“After I marry into the family, I will be part of their family.” Ping An smiled happily.
Scar: “How is your lover treating you?”
Ping An nodded: “She’s a bit fierce.”
Beard chuckled beside him.
Ping An glared at his brother and said, “But sometimes she’s very gentle.”
“She’s the best girl I’ve ever seen.”
Scar and the others had only seen female slaves, and female slaves, like them, have to do a lot of work, they were clad in rags and were very skinny.
And slave owners didn’t like female slaves, unless they were beautiful and could be offered up to nobles.
Otherwise, when food was in short supply, female slaves would be thrown away.
Scar and the others soon met Ping An’s lover.
She was a very ordinary Han girl with small eyes and a flat nose. She didn’t wear a Han woman’s skirt, but pants.
Nowadays, many women dressed like this because it was convenient for work.
The small town used to be closed off and poor. But ever since the merchants came, the small town had undergone tremendous changes.
Women from all households have found jobs one after another.
The same was true for men. The men and women both work together, and the skirts that were inconvenient to work in were put away.
After all, the folk customs here were fierce and simple, and no one insisted on teaching them etiquette.
This girl was here to meet Ping An.
She only got off work at this time. It was close to the factory here so after work, she would come to Ping An, and Ping An would take her home.
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When Ping An and his lover left.
Scar and the others said, “That’s truly wonderful.”
Beard proudly said: “Fortunately, I was picked out by the master!”
Otherwise, he would still be on the grassland, living like an ox or workhorse until the day he died of exhaustion.
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