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“A nobleman shouldn’t stand under a dangerous wall. The places outside Liangzhou are not stable.” Xu Wen cupped his hands and said it as tactfully as possible.
“Ben Wang knows what you mean, but if one is too scared to go out because there are bandits near his home, then what good does Ben Wang have in coming here?” Ming Yu said with a smile. “What’s more, Ben Wang is just going to inspect his own territory.”
“…” Xu Wen couldn’t refute it.
Ming Yu took out a map from a drawer on the side. He spread it in front of Xu Wen, tapped his finger and asked, “According to Xu Daren, where should we go first?”
Xu Wen settled his mind and his eyes fell on the map. In fact, he didn’t need to look at the map. The whole terrain of Liangzhou was in his heart. When he was young, he followed his father and ran this way and that. Later, he became a small sesame official and traveled everywhere all over Liangzhou.
At this moment, he pondered in his heart. His opinion and whether Wangye listened to it or not was secondary. The most important thing was where Wangye wanted to go, and what was Wangye’s purpose for this trip? Was it merely to inspect his own territory?
His train of thoughts went back and forth for a while. Seeing Ming Yu’s waiting appearance, Xu Wen clenched his teeth, then pointed to the nearest village to Liangcheng. The closer the village was to Liangcheng, relatively speaking, it was also safer.
Ming Yu glanced at him with a smile yet not a smile. Without making things difficult for him, he nodded and said, “Okay, we’ll go there today.” He gave the order after finished speaking.
Xu Wen sighed. He was afraid that Duan Wang would not listen to his words and persist with his view. Now it seems that Wangye was quite easy to talk to.
Ming Yu put down the map and once again talked about the commoners’ livelihood in Liangzhou. Most of it was Xu Wen talking, while Ming Yu listened attentively, and occasionally raised one or two questions. Xu Wen also answered all of them one by one.
The carriage advanced forward quite fast, thus, the group arrived in the village close to noon. There were some people watching the carriage and went back to report. Someone squeezed the hoe in his hand, poked their head out cautiously, and asked the half a wall tall person from a far: “Who had come and why have they come?”
It’s not strange for them to be cautious and timid. They have been wreaked havoc by barbarian invaders and bandits. Only seeing that the carriages did not look like those of the barbarians, bandits and so on, did they dare to inquire.
Immediately someone stepped forward and answered on behalf of Ming Yu, “We are merchants from Qingzhou, passing by this place. Is it possible to stop on our way for a rest here?”
This speech was what Ming Yu had already explained at an earlier time. Their troops were indeed built as a caravan scale, so in this way, it would not arouse suspicion.
Hearing the answer, the villagers obviously relaxed a little. Several people gathered together muttering to discuss. Before they could consult for the reason, they saw a bunch of people following an old man out. The old man in front should be of high position, since the villagers’ attitude toward him was respectful.
When the few villagers saw the old man, they quickly greeted him. One of them whispered what he had just said.
When the old man heard this, he carefully sized up Ming Yu and their carriages. Seeing that it was indeed a caravan, he stepped forward and said with a smile: “Everyone, please don’t blame us for our negligence. Lao Xiu is the village head. These sirs had come from afar and there isn’t anything inside the village, but we can still offer these sirs to drink a bowl of water.”
(Lao Xiu: form of address from old people, it’s like I but in elderly address, lol)
Ming Yu had already gotten out of the carriage. Hearing the village head say this kind of thing, he clasped his hands together to thank him. Then, he ordered everyone else to rest on the spot. He took Xu Wen and a few of his personal guards into the village.
Seeing that only a few of them entered the village, the villagers finally let go of their guards from the bottom of their hearts and their actions also became excited.
“I haven’t seen a caravan coming over for many years now. Why have Ming Gongzi come to Liangzhou? Liangzhou is not peaceful.” The village head led Ming Yu and the others into the village. They had introduced each other just now, and he also knew that this caravan was owned by this, Ming Gongzi.
(Ming Yu + Gongzi = Ming Gongzi)
Ming Gongzi’s caravan unexpectedly arrived here safe and sound in good condition. It could be said that Ming Gongzi’s luck was quite good. It’s not that there were no caravans coming to this side before. However, in recent years, the fire of war between the border of the Great Yan and Suixi Kingdom had intensified and there were even more bandits carrying blades to break into houses for robbery. Today’s Liangzhou territory was really a dangerous place, and many merchants have long since stopped coming here.
It was a miracle to be able to see a caravan of this size today. In recent years, there had been frequent wars in the borderland, thus there were rarely any caravans that came over.
“Hai! I also don’t have any choice. I had a big argument with my family and received an order. I must make some achievements first before I can go back with peace of mind. As the saying goes, riches, honor and danger come together. So, how could I not want to give it a try?” Ming Yu spread his hands and said helplessly.
Xu Wen’s eyes twitched when he heard this. His Highness’s ability to lie through one’s teeth was really matchless.
The village head seemed to believe what he said and had no choice but to believe it. This youngster Gongzi, who was as round as pearls and as smooth as jade, from one glance, one would know he came from a rich family. Young people do everything with enthusiasm. Saying something about looking for riches, honor and danger, he’s afraid it was a newborn calf who doesn’t fear a tiger.
“Ai! Young man, Lao Xiu advises you to leave Liangzhou, this dangerous place, as soon as possible!” After the village head finished speaking, seeing Ming Yu nod his head, but obviously doing it only for show, he stopped talking. His words ended here. It was up to him to listen or not. In short, he can’t control what others do.
“Village head uncle said that Liangzhou is dangerous, but Xiaozi didn’t see anything dangerous when I traveled all the way here.” Ming Yu pretended to be puzzled and asked.
(Xiaozi: I, but speaking from kids or young people to old people)
The village head shook his head. It may be assumed that it was because of this fellow’s good luck. Hearsay, a while ago, General Xie of the Red Robe Army had set out to wipe out the intruders. With the prestige and glory of General Xie, the other bandits should have gotten wind of this and tucked their tails in between their legs, behaving themselves in integrity. That’s why this fellow has not encountered them. However, not running into one doesn’t mean that there aren’t bandits here.
“You are an outsider, so you’re not aware of it. Wars are frequent here. Not to mention there are barbarians who invaded from time to time, bursting into Liangzhou to loot. There are also bandits coming out from the mountains to loot. The commoners have suffered no small consequences. With your people’s caravan coming over here, if you run into these kinds of people, life and properties will have to be left behind.”
“It’s that serious?” Although Ming Yu was prepared, he couldn’t help but frown when he heard this, pretending to be worried. “Leaving aside barbarians invaders, those black-hearted humans, but aren’t the strength of those bandits inferior to the barbarians? Why don’t the local garrison send people to suppress them? Why let those bandits make trouble in this place?”
Hearing Ming Yu’s words, Xu Wen’s forehead broke out in cold sweat. What did Wangye mean by this? Is he possibly blaming them? But he couldn’t believe it would fall on the head of the local garrisons!
The old village head had a wise and farsighted vision. He explained with a smile: “You can’t say it like that. Firstly, the garrison needs to defend the frontier from the barbarian armies and the military strength is scarce. Second, those bandits are crafty and cunning. They never commit a crime in one place. As soon as they hear the officers and soldiers are coming, they would have long since fled to hide. The officers and soldiers always rush into thin air.”
Ming Yu only thought about it a bit and he already understood the reason why. Whenever the soldiers sent armed forces to suppress bandits, they would always make big noises. So, as long as a secret agent inquired about it, they would know and send a letter in advance for them to plan to escape on time and make those soldiers catch thin air.
He recalled the previous invasion by barbarians with only a hundred people. Their actions were like the wind, and several villages suffered calamities in just that short period of time. If it weren’t for the dispatched General Xie of the Red Robe Army, then he was afraid it would not be so easy to wipe them out.
“Is there really no other way?” Ming Yu rubbed his fingers, his frowned brows tightened.
The village head shook his head and sighed, “How many people are like General Xie in the Great Yan Kingdom?”
Only with General Xie setting out can one intimidate those bandits, but General Xie is already busy with his business. How can he be distracted by these trivial things when he wants to deal with the confrontational barbarian army?
When the few people arrived in the village head’s house, they sat down and rested. The house where the village head was living in was considered to be better compared to the whole village. However, the house was still the same as the others before, only left with four bare walls. There were also a few decent pieces of furniture. There was a big Kang(heatable brick bed) in the middle of the house for people to sit cross-legged.
The juniors in the family who received the order brought a few bowls of water over, and there were a few children at the doorway clinging to the door frame, exposing several little heads. It may be assumed that they were the village head’s young descendants. They watched eagerly as Ming Yu picked up the bowl and took a sip of water, then licked his lips.
Ming Yu was taken aback. There was a slight sweet aftertaste in his mouth. It may be assumed that the master of the house, in order to not appear rude to the guests, had especially added precious sugar powder inside the water. These children, each and every one of them, coveted with envy for this sweet water.
Sugar powder was just an ordinary thing in the capital, but here it was classified as a precious thing. People here didn’t have enough food to eat. How could they buy useless things like sugar powder, so it was normal for children to be envious.
Ming Yu beckoned them to come in. Several children looked back and forth at each other, then finally came in front of Ming Yu curiously. Ming Yu took out a delicate pouch from his sleeve, grabbed a handful of candied fruit from it, and handed it to them. This was what Qingping had prepared for him this morning. Occasionally, Ming Yu may have some symptoms of hypoglycemia when he wakes up early, so he often had sweet things like candied fruits prepared on his body.
The children glanced at their grandfather, and saw that the grandfather had no objection. They happily took it, thanked him, and ran out with hoots of laughter.
The village head kindly looked at the back of the children leaving, “Children are not sensible, so visitors, please don’t take offense from them.”
Ming Yu waved his hand to indicate that it was fine, then continued the previous topic and asked: “I saw that the living conditions here are difficult. Did the officials not think of a plan for this?”
“What choice could they have? The grain produced in the field nowadays will attract barbarians to invade like the autumn wind every time it matures. The painstaking hard work throughout the year has become the things inside someone’s else bag in an instant. Those barbarians are brutal in nature. Their fighting strength, besides General Xie’s Red Robe Army, when other armies confronted them, nine out of ten would lose their helmets and armors and be utterly defeated. Ai! it would be good if they could grab some food without hurting people. But they directly slaughter the villages and take the women and children away.” The village head said all of this from the bottom of his heart, and his words were filled with helplessness. “It is precisely because of this that the life of the people in Liangzhou is not good from one year to the next. We are still good here, being not far away from Liangzhou. In other distant places, people’s lives are more like having today but without a tomorrow.”
“In that case, why… why don’t you move out of this place?” Ming Yu asked with some difficulty, but he said what was in his heart.
“Hai! Our ancestors have been here for generations, this place is our root, where can we go? In fact, we also know it in our hearts. Furthermore, we still have the soldiers ahead to protect us, and we believe they are capable of defeating the barbarians. At that time, we will be able to live peacefully. “
Isn’t the commoners’ greatest wish to be safe and stable?