Saki woke up very early. She was the first one to get up in the courtyard every day. She had to clean and dress up before waking up her companions. Now she could earn money to support herself by teaching the new arrivals the official language of Great Ming. In fact, not only enough to support her, the money could also allow her to buy many things that she never dared to think about before.
She just bought a silver hairpin yesterday, when in the past how could she have dared to think about such a thing? When she was in her own country, the most valuable thing at home was a clay pot——it was used to cook rice, but the clay pot would crack in a short time. Iron was not available, as it was used to make weapons for the samurai, and commoners could forget about wanting to own an iron weapon in this life.
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Not to mention gold and silver, those were only owned by nobles.
The girl from the same village as Saki became the lover of a nobleman, yet she didn’t see her wear any jewelry.
Saki cherished this silver hairpin very much.
She remembered that when her parents were still alive, her biggest wish was to buy a piece of cloth and make new clothes for her mother.
If only they were still alive. Now that she had money, she could ask the merchants to bring her parents here too.
“Saki.” The girl in the same room with her also woke up. Her Chinese was not very good, but she was fluent. They agreed that the bitb of them would only use Chinese to talk, so that they could get better at it earlier.
Saki also greeted her: “Yuka.”
Yuka was a little younger than Saki. She was just thirteen years old this year. She said excitedly, “I’m going to see a merchant today. I’ve saved enough money, and I’m going to bring my parents over.”
Saki was a little envious. Yuka had parents, but she didn’t, so she said, “Then you have to be careful, be polite to the merchant, and ask him nicely.”
Yuka nodded eagerly: “I know, I know!”
The merchant agreed very readily. After all, he was also planning to go to Japan. It would be easy to bring two people back on the way. So long as they were not samurai, the nobles over there would not care. Besides, no matter how small mosquitoes were, they were meat. Those who dealt in business never complained about too much money, and it was not like it would take much effort.
Moreover, when merchants like him do business between the two countries, it was convenient to bring along these women who could speak Japanese. If he ever had to ask them to do business in the future, and the two sides already have a slight friendship, it would be easier.
The merchant’s surname was Zhang, and he said to Yuka, “If your parents are still alive, I will bring them back. If I can’t find them or they are dead, there is nothing I can do.”
Yuka hurriedly knelt down, and before Merchant Zhang tried to help her up, she kowtowed: “Laoye! I know, I know.”
Merchant Zhang sighed and helped Yuka up: “Alright, you just wait for my good news in the city.”
Merchant Zhang soon left with his caravan. He also recruited a group of armed escorts, all of whom were originally Japanese pirates. These Japanese pirates were now living outside the city. Some of them sneaked into the city after learning Chinese, and didn’t live outside the city , and even went to the government office to set up a household registration, becoming a Ming person, and began to do some proper legal business.
But more Japanese pirates have no other skills, and were unwilling to bow their heads to be ordinary common people, so they just wait for merchant caravans to recruit them outside the city.
Before, these Japanese pirates also caused trouble a few times and several were killed as an example. Now they were a lot more obedient, and nothing happened for two years. Merchants were also gradually willing to use them.
After all, no one was more familiar with the situation in Japan than them.
They were also samurai, they knew where to go, who was in charge of which land, and who had real power. They knew very well.
Merchant Zhang recruited a team of Japanese pirates this time, and the leader of the team was a warrior named Ida. Speaking of, it was strange that these samurai ended up divided into several factions when they were clearly all from Japan. There were four leaders in total, each of them having no friendly feelings with each other, but neither did they completely shed all pretense of cordiality.
A few years ago, he heard that there was a fight between them, and many people died.
However, the Japanese pirates who came here were basically all absorbed by them.
The Japanese pirates never harassed the border city again.
The reason was also simple.
They needed daily necessities, food, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar, which were available only in the city. If they harass the people in the city, once the city gate was closed, they would not be able to buy anything.
And their money all came from the merchants. When merchants recruit them to do business, they could earn money. If they were not recruited, they would earn nothing.
Gradually, they also got used to this way of life.
And many of them have lovers in the city, and they were basically the women from Japan.
With women and money, Japanese pirates started families, moved to the city, lived with their women, and raised their children.
Those Japanese pirates who were still outside the city wanted to make more money, save some money, get married with their women, and eventually move to the city to live. No matter how bad life was, it was not as bad as it was in their own country. As samurais, they couldn’t serve their lord, but were forced to leave their hometowns instead, so they themselves didn’t have the face to go back.
Ida’s Chinese was very good. After they were recruited, apart from their clothes that they themselves must be responsible for, the merchants were responsible for food, accommodation and transportation. This was when their days were at their most extravagant. Wine and meat were available at any time, and they did not need to load and unload the goods.
When they got off the ship and walked up the dock in their homeland, the Japanese pirates were very calm.
They were very excited when they came back for the first time.
But after being excited, what was left was a deep confusion, the homeland in their memory, was like this?
There were dilapidated villages everywhere, men, women and children were barely clothed, there were corpses of starved children on the side of the road, and the screams of women sounded right in their ears.
Was their country always like this?
A samurai with a sword pressed a woman against a wall, laughing while raping her. The woman begged him, but he was unmoved.
Ida didn’t know what happened to him at the time. He only remembered that there was a wave of anger occupying his brain, which made his body disobey the command of his brain. He drew his sword and killed the samurai.
The woman looked at him in horror, gathered up her tattered clothes, said an inaudible thank you, and ran away.
For that dead samurai, the merchant who recruited him at the time lost a lot of money to the samurai’s lord.
Ida only felt that his heart had become desolate and there was nothing to rely on. He was a samurai. His parents and teacher told him that he should learn martial arts well and be loyal to his lord. If he could become a daimyo’s samurai, maybe one day he would become a city master. He could get the benefits he deserved, both land and beauty.
But they didn’t tell him what to do when a country was devastated.
In contrast, the Great Ming was like the kingdom of heaven.
He lived outside the city, but he could see people coming and going in the city every day. Some of them walked on their legs, some rode in horse-drawn carriages, and some rode in ox-carts. The women in Great Ming had smiles on their faces. But the women of his home country were always fearful and anxious.
The artisans and craftsmen of Great Ming were very respected. How many artisans and craftsmen were there in their country now?
Merchants come and go, they would bring a lot of goods into the city, and they would also take the goods from the city and pull them to other places to sell.
The people had plenty of food and clothing, didn’t worry about when there would be war, and didn’t worry about samurai or soldiers breaking into their homes and taking their wives and daughters.
Ida still remembered the merchant who took them there sitting on horseback, looking at the desolate scene, and exclaiming: “Is this hell?”
Hell on earth, this was probably what it looked like, right?
The merchant bought a lot of women from the lord. They were all refugees. They had no homes. Their relatives were also refugees. They had fled from other places. But the lord did not need these women. The most the women could do was to sell their bodies as there were no other methods they could make a living from, and thus did not present even the slightest contribution to the lord.
Ida watched them get on the boat, escorted them back to the city, watched them get better day by day, and one of them even became his woman.
Since then, he had often brought people back and forth between his homeland and the Great Ming.
It was just that the samurai and lords of his homeland thought he was from Great Ming.
And the people of Great Ming thought he was a Japanese slave.
When his Chinese became more and more fluent, even the people of Great Ming thought he was their compatriot.
Ida felt amused and desolate at the same time.
He grew up in his home country only to become a Ming person?
Even his woman said that it was better to be a Ming person than to be a native of their home country, and he scolded her for forgetting her roots.
But the woman said: “If we are still in our home country and I follow you, will you be able to feed me? If your fellow samurai want to f**k me, do you dare to break with them? Will the lord hold you in high regard and introduce you to the daimyo? In our homeland, you can only kneel! Living on your knees!”
Ida wanted to refute her, but couldn’t find any reason to refute.
There was chaos in the homeland and there were wars every day. The reason why he could say these words was because he was not in his homeland, he lived a good life in Great Ming, he had his own house, his woman occasionally came to see him and spend a wild and sweet night together.
He earned money to buy her rouge and jewelry, as well as fabrics.
Ida had no family, and his friends earn about the same amount of money as him, so he spent all his money on his woman.
His woman was a very shrewish woman. She was smart and beautiful. She used to always cover her face with mud back in the homeland. If not because she was afraid of pain, she might have even cut her face. When she came to Great Ming, she found that men couldn’t touch her without consent, she could now finally face others with a clean face.
Actually, Ida couldn’t tell why he became lovers with her.
She would spend his money indiscriminately, but she would also remind him to hide the money, rent a piece of land in the future, and build a small shop. They could start a small business together, she could make rice balls and pickled vegetables, and even if they couldn’t make much money they would not starve to death.
Ida remembered during his departure this time, the night before he left his woman said to him: “After this time, don’t go anymore, we have saved enough money, let’s rent a plot of land to open a shop, and I will give you a few children.”
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 )
Ida pursed his lips, showing a shy smile on his face that did not belong to one his age.
He had been wandering for a long time, and he also wanted to settle down one day, form a family with his woman, have a group of children, and live a good life.
Ida looked at the scorched earth that had been burned by the fire, and sighed softly, he still loved this land, but this land could not accommodate him.
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5 thoughts on “Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 183 One’s Homeland”
Reading this was really sad but I’m also glad the author didn’t brush things over as they were all happy to be Great Ming citizens and assimilated with no issues.
Somehow I feel like Ida’s short story hit closer to home than expected. Living in a multicultural nation I’ve always tried to understand my immigrant friends’ feelings on living a new life abroad. I feel like this chapter made me realise some nuances that I didn’t think about before.
Tysm for your beautiful work in translating this novel.. it is definitely one of my favs and something I always look forward to!
This is heartbreaking.
Who wouldn’t want to live with dignity, but in a war torn world… it’s worse than hell.
At least in hell, the people in there earn it. During war, that hell on earth, it’s the innocents that got the worst fate…
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This is so sad, war is always chaos and terrible place :<
Thank You for the new chapter ( ˘ ³˘)❤
Thankyou for the chapter!!
War serves noone but the commoners…the innocents are hurt the most (´;︵;`)