*Edited by LazyCat
Hundreds of years ago, the Wu family was also prosperous and influential. During the Song Dynasty, the ancestor of the Wu family had been a Grand Master of Remonstrance. They were also among the top official families in the local area. They wore silk and satin, ate rare delicacies shipped from all regions, and even the tea they drank was the best tea produced in tea fields to be paid as tribute for the Emperor.
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The Wu family was also quite popular in the local area, to the extent that even after the change of dynasty, they were also recruited by the Yuan Dynasty. In order to protect the family, they bowed their heads in submission to the new imperial court.
But though they may have lowered their heads, it did not mean that they wholeheartedly accepted the Yuan Dynasty. The Wu family waited quietly, waiting for the day the Yuan Dynasty would also decline.
Wu Changqing was now forty-two years old. He had been waiting for this day for half his life, and it had finally arrived.
“South Bodhisattva.” Wu Changqing was very well maintained and looked to only be in his early thirties.
Among the ancient people, the poor people were worse off than the modern people. After all, they had to do more physical work in order to make a living. But the rich people in ancient times were much better off than the modern rich people. The food they ate had no additives, lived in big manors, and don’t even have to do anything themselves in daily life.
Lin Yuan smiled at Wu Changqing: “Wu Laoye, I have heard much about you for so long.”
The smile on Wu Changqing’s face became even brighter, although he also knew that this was just courteous talk. If Lin Yuan had known of him a long time ago, how could he have not come to see him for so long.
However, since Lin Yuan had already spoken courteous words, he naturally had to be more sincere.
“Wu Laoye and this old man, we are very good friends.” Song Shizhao also began to speak courteous words, and exaggerating in his praises for Wu Changqing. After all, he was the person to introduce Wu Changing to Lin Yuan. The more talented this person was, the more capable he would appear to be——but no matter how talented Wu Changqing was, he would still not surpass him.
The people below also experience jealousy.
There was no difference between courtiers and officials competing amongst themselves for the Emperor’s favor and concubines competing against each other within the harem for the Emperor’s favor.
The methods were all the same, pestering the Emperor, flattering the Emperor, and then do something practical and merit worthy.
Then form cliques and suppress outsiders. And the best scenario would be that the Emperor had no other useful ministers besides himself.
If the concubines also wanted to get involved with the imperial court, then the courtiers would have to compete with the concubines for the Emperor’s favor as well.
Dealing with the concubines was even simpler. Directly point out that the harem cannot participate in politics. If a concubine participated, then bad luck, she would be labelled an evil seductress. And with such a good reason, the courtiers could easily force her to die.
The courtiers were not only colleagues, but also competitors. If one person gained favor, then another would definitely have lost it.
It was much easier to understand their relationship as that of colleagues in modern workplaces.
The only way to rise up in the ranks was to cooperate with each other when working. But when fighting for benefits, instantly all cooperation would go out the window, and they would become even more fierce and unforgiving towards each other than if they were facing the killer of their own father.
But in the modern workplace, promotion only meant a higher salary and being in charge of more people.
However, the promotion of officials in ancient times had more room for benefits and personal interests, so one couldn’t blame them. It could only be said that the people above were not smart enough to keep these lower ranking officials in line.
After a brief greeting, the three finally got to the point.
Wu Changqing sat at attention, with a smile on his face, and said: “When I had yet to arrive, I often heard the people say that the South Bodhisattva was a young hero, born with the heart of a Buddha, and an expert at appointing people according to their abilities. After seeing with my own eyes today, it turned out to be true.”
Lin Yuan: “Wu Laoye can speak directly.”
To have respect for the wise and talented did not necessarily mean that they were all wise and talented. The main thing was to show respect and welcome like they were, so that more people would come to join him.
Maybe there were a few among these people with real and valuable skills. As for those who don’t have the skills, most of them were just fed for free. It was estimated that a lot of people have gone bankrupt from feeding aides and advisors.
After all, people were not cats and dogs. Supporting them must not only include taking care of their food, but also their daily clothing, housing and transportation.
In short, the Wu Changqing in front of him, whether he was really capable or not, Lin Yuan would still keep him, and even entrust him with an important position to express his desire for talents.
Establish a signboard so that those who were still observing would come and recommend themselves.
He also hoped to attract Luo Guanzhong. Whether or not Luo Guanzhong was an excellent military strategist, at least he had written the Romance of the Three Kingdoms! Passed down through the ages, a literary giant of the times! So what if he ended up supporting Luo Guanzhong for free? He was happy to do it for free!
Wu Changqing asked: “Has the South Bodhisattva ever thought about whether to stop here or to go further.”
“If it is to go further, has the South Bodhisattva ever thought of taking Hangzhou?”
Lin Yuan finally couldn’t help smiling. He said to Song Shizhao: “Mr. Song, it would seem that your seat is not guaranteed.”
Song Shizhao also smiled, but not so sincerely, but on the surface it was not too obvious. He cupped his hand and said, “I am willing to hand this position to the hero.”
Wu Changqing said: “Now the South Bodhisattva has two major generals Zhu and Chen, accompanied by the three lieutenant generals Li, Yang, and Zhang. But I wonder if the South Bodhisattva has thought about the issue, that the two generals Zhu and Chen are now unable to be promoted even further?”
Lin Yuan’s expression changed, he suppressed his anger and smiled: “I wonder if Wu Laoye has any ideas?”
Wu Changqing also knew that these words would inevitably displease Lin Yuan, but if he wanted to have a future, he had to say this. Otherwise if he just made superficial remarks then it would be difficult to make further progress, so he said lowly: “These two people are in charge of tens of thousands of troops, why don’t South Bodhisattva have them……”
The method he came up with was to pit Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong against each other.
This could weaken their strength and prevent them from uniting and trying to seize Lin Yuan’s current position.
Lin Yuan also knew that Wu Changqing was right, and he had avoided thinking about this issue all this time.
In the capture of Gaoyou, Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong contributed the most. They were made generals in order to stabilize the military spirit. But the problem was that people’s desires could expand infinitely, and the only position above generals was a princely title. (TN: in ancient China, non-imperial members could be conferred a princely title for special merits)
And he didn’t want to boil the hound once it caught the rabbit or to put the bow away once the birds were all gone in the future. (TN: idioms for getting rid of somebody once he has served his purpose)
Lin Yuan could only smile and say to Wu Changqing: “Towards Wu Laoye’s suggestion, I don’t know how to react, and I feel ashamed. I will definitely consider this matter seriously.”
Wu Changqing: “I shall follow the South Bodhisattva’s orders.”
Lin Yuan turned his head and said to Song Shizhao: “I see that Wu Laoye is an upright man, so how about being in charge of the people’s livelihood?”
Song Shizhao quickly signaled at Wu Changqing, and the two thanked Lin Yuan.
After leaving the Wu Manor, Lin Yuan frowned slightly. Song Shizhao stood on the side with anxiety. He did not dare to ask, but walked aside and waited for Lin Yuan to speak.
Lin Yuan: “This person is smart and keen, but he likes to take narrow paths. He is talented enough to be a small official. But as a big official, he will be a disaster for the people.”
Song Shizhao: “Exactly!”
Lin Yuan glanced sideways at Song Shizhao: “You’ve noticed this flaw long ago, haven’t you?”
Song Shizhao smiled.
Wu Changqing’s eyes did not see the people or the world.
What he saw was the human heart, the desire for power.
Such a person might have a little achievement, but he would never achieve anything too big, because his foothold was too small.
However, Song Shizhao said: “Although he has no major talent, he still has some skills, so why don’t Boss continue to observe some more.”
Lin Yuan nodded, his eyes a little melancholy.
Nowadays, that his army remained stable, and the people’s minds at ease, all relied on the name of the South Bodhisattva and the visible good days to come.
It did not rely on the personal charm of Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong.
Moreover, the soldiers they were in charge of were not fixed. Soldiers were all uniformly trained and occasionally shuffled, just to prevent them from developing any loyalty to a certain general.
Lin Yuan did not wish to see that the great cause had yet to be achieved, but the internal division had already developed, all fighting for their own independent interests.
Or see them divide into factions and cliques.
Wu Changqing’s suggestion was to separate them into factions and let them fight on their own, while Lin Yuan stood on the sidelines to win over the hearts of the people.
This was a narrow path tactic. With such a tactic, it would be too easy to destroy the foundation already built.
Zhu Yuanzhang and Chen Baisong put their lives on the line at the frontlines, meanwhile he schemed against them from behind?
Then he really deserved to die.
Disregarding anyone else for the sake of one’s own desires.
Lin Yuan looked down on such a leader and was unable to become like that.
Wu Changqing quickly took office and became a county magistrate in the southern district of Gaoyou. It was probably because of the successful example he represented, Gaoyou suddenly swarmed with many outsiders, some with their families and some alone. They all came to Song Shizhao who had now taken on managing human resources in addition to business and trade.
Lin Yuan was now at ease with placing responsibilities on Song Shizhao. Song Shizhao was someone who understood reasoning and possessed a broad vision. His eyes saw the world and the people. What he wanted was not personal gain, nor the so-called leaving a mark in history, but to see that one day, the world would become united under one rule.
Moreover, Song Shizhao was quite knowledgeable.
He knew how to manage and control people and how to judge people’s characters.
Possessing these two abilities was essentially the same as standing at the forefront of the times.
Those who came to recommend themselves all lived in Song Shizhao’s manor, and Song Shizhao was responsible for the daily expenses. In addition to taking time out every day to show his face in front of Lin Yuan, he spent more time playing taiji with the newcomers. (TN: expression for going back and forth and doing social mingling)
As he played taiji with them, he really did found a few good ones.
In addition to those who came, he also learned that many hadn’t come, and reported them.
Lin Yuan took a look.
Liu Ji and Song Lian were among those who reported to Song Shizhao.
Liu Ji, or Liu Bowen, was Zhu Yuanzhang’s first advisor and often compared to Zhuge Liang.
Lin Yuan slapped the table with joy: “Excellent!”
“Someone, bring pen and ink!” Lin Yuan shouted.
Er Liang hurried into the room to spread out the paper and rub ink.
Lin Yuan wanted to write a letter of appointment, carry out the act of respecting the wise by inviting Liu Ji and Song Lian to come to Gaoyou to aide him.
He must display a proper attitude so he wrote these three letters of appointment personally, and killed a lot of brain cells in the process. After finishing writing, he felt that his literacy level was quite good, with plenty of quoting from the classics. If he was still back in the modern times he would definitely not understand a single word. But thankfully, the original owner had been a scholar with a high level of cultural attainment, otherwise he could only ask someone to write it for him.
“Give these three letters to Manager Song and have him send them off.” Lin Yuan instructed Er Liang.
Er Liang nodded, and left the room with the three letters.
In addition to Liu Ji and Song Lian, there was another one for Luo Guanzhong.
Liu Ji and Song Lian were advisor and civil court official respectively. As for Luo Guanzhong……if it really didn’t work out, then being just a mascot was also good!
Lin Yuan thought to himself: I don’t care, this time I will be willful. I want to look at Luo Guanzhong, even if he had no talent, as long as he could write the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I will place him on a pedestal!
After working conscientiously as a heretic god and rebel leader for so long he deserved to be willful just once.
The merchants came back one after another. After traveling for more than half a year, they brought a large group of people compared with just the couple of attendants and soldier escorts when they first left. These people were dressed in ragged clothes, their faces bitter and miserable from life’s hardships. But at the moment, their faces also appeared confused, as if they didn’t know what kind of luck had managed to fall on them to be taken to Gaoyou.
Nowadays, rumors had been spreading in the other provinces that Gaoyou’s conditions were the best. As long as one wanted to work, one could find work. Everyone could eat enough, and there was also an option of being a soldier if one couldn’t find work. And as a soldier the conditions would be even better. Soldiers could eat meat once every three days and white rice once every seven days.
Although they don’t know whether it was true or not, they all still felt that Gaoyou was a good place. But they didn’t expect that they would actually have the opportunity to come here one day.
The merchants met outside the city gate and greeted each other with a smile, calmly showing off how many craftsmen they had found and how many were relatives of the craftsmen.
Xie Zichang and Zhou Fu also encountered each other. The two of them didn’t like each other at all. The reason was that they felt that other merchants were inferior and only the other had the capital to be considered as rivals.
“How many people did brother Xie find?” Zhou Fu asked with a smile.
Xie Zichang also smiled, appearing even more elegant: “Not many, just over two thousand.”
Zhou Fu was surprised and said: “It can be seen that brother Xie’s ability cannot be compared with ordinary people.”
“Just average.” Xie Zichang cupped his hand and said modestly, “I wonder how many people Zhou laodi found.” (TN: affectionate form of address for a male who is not very much younger than oneself and can be translated into my boy or old pal)
Zhou Fu was so vexed his teeth began to feel a little itchy. Him calling the other brother was giving the other face. But the other actually called him laodi in return! As expected, shameless people would top the world. Still, he had to put a smile on his face: “This foolish brother is also lucky, no more no less, also just over two thousand people.”
Xie Zichang: “Zhou laodi is capable.”
Zhou Fu and Xie Zichang talked and laughed on the surface while secretly wishing on each other a fate of falling off the carriage, and it would be even better if the other cracked open his skull in the fall as well.
A total of 18,000 artisans were brought over this time.
The merchants all have various means, and many of these people were bought out of prison or tricked away from respectable families.
Others were found among the refugees.
These 18,000 people were placed outside the city. Because winter was approaching, Lin Yuan had people build dormitories outside the city after he captured Gaoyou. The dormitories were connected together, and there was also a wall surrounding the area. In order to allow these skilled people to live comfortably, the dormitories were all family units. Each family unit had two bedrooms, one living room, and a kitchen. Though the kitchen was shared on the floor, there were several stoves installed in the kitchen.
Lin Basan was a new artisan in Gaoyou.
He used to be a carpenter, and what he used to do was to make furniture for the surrounding neighbors and villagers to earn some money for living. When the world went up in chaos everyone in the village fled to other regions. His family also fled with the crowd and as a result, the whole family lived as vagrants. Without food and money they barely managed to survive.
As soon as the rich merchants showed up and discovered that he was a carpenter, they took him on the road, and even his wife was brought along——his parents and children had died on the road, only he and his wife had survived.
His wife’s surname was Qian, and was the sixth child in her family, so she was called Liu Niang. Liu Niang and Lin Basan walked up to the second floor together. Liu Niang was born in the countryside village and grew up there since she was a child. All she saw were low single-story houses with tiled roofs. Those were the houses for wealthy households. The peasant households had mud houses. And if these mud houses did not leak in wind or rain then that was already considered well off.
Liu Niang lowered her head and followed the person leading the way. She looked at the smooth path under her feet. For some reason, there were tears in her eyes. If her parents-in-law and the children could survive, wouldn’t that be wonderful.
“This will be your house.” The manager who led the way sighed. “You are a family, so you can get this house. If you are a single person, you can only be divided into a single dormitory with seven or eight other people, you both are quite lucky.”
Lin Basan hurriedly said: “Thank you, milord, thank you, milord, please let me know your name so that this humble one will be able to……”
The manager waved his hand: “Don’t call me milord. I was like you before. Having come here, all you need to do is to work diligently for the South Bodhisattva. The good days are yet to come.”
This small manager was Liang Da. He and San zi were both from the bandit villa, but they were later recruited by Lin Yuan. Now they were working as small managers among the people and their life was smooth sailing. When he looked at these newcomers it was as if seeing his previous self.
Lin Basan walked into the house with his wife after sending off Liang Da.
There were only two of them so the house they were allocated was the smallest on the corner. There was a bedroom and a main room. The kitchen was near the balcony. But going to the toilets was a little troublesome as they had to go downstairs. There was a public toilet next to each building.
“Old Lin, we have a house.” Liu Niang touched the table and chairs. Although the house was simple, it had a table and a stool, and there was a bed in the house. Even when their family was at their richest, they couldn’t live in such a good house.
Lin Basan was also deeply moved. He said to his wife: “The South Bodhisattva has built these many houses, and I don’t know how much money and food it had costed. Truly possessing the heart of a Buddha. I didn’t believe it before, but now, I only blame myself for being too narrow-minded.”
Liu Niang quickly said: “Then you have to work hard in the future! Only then can you be worthy of the kindness of the South Bodhisattva.”
Lin Basan: “This is natural! If anyone says that the South Bodhisattva is not good, I will break his nose!”
The couple saw the prospects of a good life, and after shedding tears together, they had to go out. They had to report to their respective team leaders to receive their work, and then go to receive their allotted clothes and bedding.
When they reported in, they also saw the people who were brought along with them. Although they didn’t have much interaction amongst each other, they still felt close when they saw the familiar faces.
Lin Basan said to the man: “Are you assigned to a house?”
The man also looked happy: “I’m assigned. I am alone, so I have to live in a dormitory for singles, but I also have a separate bed, and I can be assigned to a family house when I get married.”
“Hey, when I heard it, I thought I was dreaming. I have to work hard and marry a wife early.”
Lin Basan was also happy.
The man asked Lin Basan again: “You and your wife are assigned a house?”
Lin Basan told the man about his living environment, and the other was really envious.
Likely with the two of them having taken the lead, the other people in the line also talked about their houses one after another.
Some were lucky and their whole family had managed to survive, so when assigned houses they were able to receive a big one. One family of five lived in a three-bedroom and one-living room house. He and his wife shared a room, his parents also got a room, and the children shared the third room. The happiness was enough to send him flying up to the sky.
As they chatted, they felt that the world was so big, but Gaoyou was the only place where they could settle down. Only the land the South Bodhisattva ruled over was the safest place to be. In their words, the support for Lin Yuan was very obvious.
This was the case for the people, whoever could bring them more benefits, then they would support him sincerely.
Most of the people were not literate, and they didn’t understand much, but they knew one thing——whoever could let them live a good life, then this person was a good person, and worthy of their support.
Lin Yuan breathed a sigh of relief as he looked at the artisans who were brought.
In Lin Yuan’s opinion, the value of craftsmen was higher than some prideful scholars who could only recite books. Such scholars were not aware of practical matters, and have no other ability besides a wooden word-by-word reading of the books. Even when tasked with spreading literacy they weren’t able to do well. They didn’t know how to teach students according to their aptitude. What could possibly be taught by treating six or seven-year-old children as adults when teaching them? Only a genius would be able to learn with such teaching methods.
And there were many of them, so Lin Yuan could only have them do household registration and transcribing.
The craftsmen were different. What they do could be implemented, and these craftsmen would teach more apprentices in the future.
In addition to the craftsman, what delighted Lin Yuan most was the crops that Zhou Fu brought back. He had told them before to pay attention to the merchant ships traveling coming in from the sea. If there were any crops that they had never seen before, they should still bring them back first, no matter if it was edible or not or if anyone had eaten it before.
As a result potatoes and sweet potatoes appeared before him.
Although no one knew when potatoes were introduced into China, sweet potatoes definitely only appeared in the middle to late Ming dynasty.
Both of these crops were high-yielding and highly adaptable crops. It was practically a given that their food reserves would increase.
Lin Yuan grabbed Zhou Fu’s hand in delight, a sincere expression on his face as he looked at the fat Zhou Fu in front of him like one would look at a beloved lover. In a tone as gentle as water he said: “Zhou Laoye, your merit will benefit the people! It will definitely be remembered in history!”
Zhou Fu smiled but privately he was a bit bewildered. He didn’t know what these two things were. When he saw the merchant ships at sea, he had gone to a lot of efforts to buy them from the foreigners. The foreigners were not willing to sell them and only after he paid a big price for them did they secretly stuff some to him.
He didn’t know whether they could be eaten or not, or how they were grown.
Lin Yuan also said: “Zhou Laoye has done a great job this time. If you have anything you want, just speak, so long as I can provide it I will.”
Zhou Fu’s eyes widened. He never expected that even though he brought more than two thousand people back he wasn’t given such treatment. Instead, with just these two baskets of things that he could make no heads of he got such a reward. He quickly said, “How can I claim credit for doing things for the South Bodhisattva? It’s all Zhou’s duty so South Bodhisattva should never be polite with Zhou. If there is anything, just give the orders.”
Lin Yuan smiled so wide that the back of his teeth could almost be revealed: “I definitely won’t be polite.”
“Come! There will be a banquet tonight, and all the merchants who had come back are invited!”
The servants outside loudly answered affirmatively.
Lin Yuan also said: “In the future, if you come across anything remember to bring it along.”
Zhou Fu nodded, also feeling very happy.
Who cared why South Bodhisattva praised him, at least he won against Xie Zichang this time. And the next time they see each other, he could use this to vex that old fellow.
Because there was only one basket of potatoes and sweet potatoes, Lin Yuan had someone take them and cultivate them first. When they were successfully planted then it could be distributed to the farmers.
After he explained how to plant it in detail, he left it to the experts, only going to see the situation occasionally.
In the famine years, don’t know how many people depended on sweet potatoes for survival.
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 )
Although he didn’t want the people to live on sweet potatoes to survive, but with an extra guarantee, more people could live.
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