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When he came out, Ming Yu’s eyes were slightly red, and his mood was very heavy. After truly being in contact with the commoners, he understood them a lot more. Ming Yu felt that the burden on him was heavy, and the commoners shouldn’t be carrying that much. Most of them were kind and simple. They only asked for their lives to be peaceful, and that would already be their greatest fortune.
The wars since ancient times have brought disaster for the innocent commoners. The only way to solve the problem from the source is to stop the war. The solution is either to negotiate for peace or to knock the enemy down.
“Xu Daren, do you know the reason for the war between the Great Yan and Suixi Kingdom?” Mingyu only knew that the disputes between the two countries had a long history. The Great Yan people hated them to their bones and the people of Suixi Kingdom were brave and fierce, they often invaded the Great Yan Kingdom’s border.
What he knew now was really too little, no matter how he planned. Nevertheless, know yourself, know your enemy, only then could he have the ability to have methods to deal with it.
Because His Highness was in a bad mood, those who accompanied him did not dare to provoke him, and only followed silently. Xu Wen was even more cautious and did not dare to breathe out loudly.
Hearing Ming Yu’s question at this time, Xu Wen followed two steps closer. He cupped his hands and said, “The Great Yan and Suixi Kingdom are close to each other. Ever since the day the Great Yan was founded, the two countries had already been crossing swords with each other. It was because the Suixi Kingdom’s barbarians grazed to make a living, so many of their supplies and goods were extremely scarce. It used to be tolerable before, no more than a scale amount. But during the fall harvest of food time, small groups of barbarians would come to snatch some food and leave after snatching them. It’s the strike of the autumn wind that everyone often talked about.”
He paused, and found that Wangye was listening very seriously, and continued: “However, in the past few years, Suixi Kingdom had been suffering from natural disasters continuously. I heard that many cattle and sheep had been frozen to death. As a result, many barbarians have also died of starvation. Then, at that time, Tuo Bahong, the new Han* of the barbarians came in power. He was outstanding, ambitious and vigorous. In order to divert the barbarian’s grief, he started a war against the Great Yan. They obtained great benefits in the war, therefore, they weren’t able to stop themselves. It is precisely because of this that the barbarians send out large armies to take the cities and seize territories every year, and had captured many of the Great Yan’s commoners.”
(Han: king but term used for barbarians, if you’ve watched C-drama then you would hear that Kehan, kedun, so basically they’s like emperor and empress)
“Most of these abducted people, those who were physically strong, were sold like animals and became slaves. Women and children were also sold to the rich and powerful officials for pleasure and entertainment.”
This place, Liangzhou, with nine out of ten rooms empty, except for the people who were slaughtered, most of them were abducted to become slaves or victims of war.
Xu Wen spoke slowly. Everyone who heard it gritted their teeth in anger. Ming Yu tightened his clenched fists. He looked up to the sky and took a long, deep sigh. What are these commoners’ sins to suffer this kind of cruel calamity?
He was now the king of this place, and he had the responsibility and obligation to protect the people in his territory. He must think of a way to change this situation of being trampled on.
Ming Yu looked back at the auspicious and peaceful village not far away. This auspiciousness and peacefulness was merely in appearance. They had no idea when they would be trampled on by the enemy’s armored horses. He only hoped that the village would be truly auspicious and peaceful next time he came.
In the next few days, Ming Yu visited many different villages and learned many things.
Afterwards, Ming Yu returned to the prince’s mansion and stayed in the study room for three whole days. He ordered Xu Wen to find a lot of books about Liangzhou and Suixi Kingdom, and read them slowly by himself. Whenever he encountered any difficulties, he would invite Xu Daren to come and ask. Fortunately, Xu Wen was indeed a talented person and many questions were all easily solved by him. Because of this, Xu Wen was always prepared to answer His Highness’s questions and within a few days, Xu Wen’s eye circles were dark. His whole person was floating when he walked.
Xu Wen stared at Ming Yu, watching him write and draw on the paper. There were even words that he could not understand, or it could be said that he had never seen these kinds of characters before. Xu Wen was a passionate person, and he knew most of the Sui language from the Suixi Kingdom, but he didn’t know anything at all from Mingyu’s very simple strokes.
It’s a pity that Ming Yu didn’t know his thoughts. He only minded his own businesses and wrote down the vague thoughts in his mind, gradually refining them. He repeatedly deduced the feasibility of the method. Furthermore, he also used a calculation formula to calculate the way for his own method to save up manpower and resources.
Ming Yu rubbed the swelling in between his eyebrows and stopped writing. Xu Wen asked, “Your Highness, what are you doing?”
Ming Yu remembered that Xu Wen had come early at dawn, and after asking two questions, he completely put him at the back of his head and forgot about him. Xu Wen didn’t leave either. He just stayed silently at the side without uttering any noise to disturb him. Although he didn’t know what Duan Wang was busy with, he would have questions to ask him here and there, so it would be better for him to just be there on standby.
Ming Yu figured out a few things at this time and felt quite happy. He smiled and said: “If we want the commoners to live a stable life, we must first find a way to deal with internal troubles. Here I have figured out some ways to deal with the bandits and barbarians invaders. Xu Daren, why don’t you take a look to see if there is any oversight here?”
Xu Wen was taken aback. What did His Highness Duan Wang just say? How to deal with bandits and barbarians? His Royal Highness had been neglecting sleep and forgetting about food these days so he could think of these kinds of plans? However, these bandits and barbarians have been a calamity for a long time. It’s not that no one tried to figure out a solution, but it was just helpless and incapable of being solved.
Now His Highness Duan Wang actually said that there is a way? How can Xu Wen not be stunned by this? It took a long time for him to retrieve his voice, “Your Highness, is what you said true? There really is a solution?”
Ming Yu picked up a neat stack of papers full of plans on the table. He nodded and said: “Naturally it is true.” After speaking, he handed the paper to Xu Wen. “You can take a look at it first, and ask any questions after you finish reading it.”
Xu Wen took it carefully. From the beginning, to be honest, His Highness’s handwriting cannot be described as nice. The curvings looked like the shape of a dragon, he could only figure it out with great difficulty. It was really not that different from children’s writing in school.
From the onset, Xu Wen read it quickly. His memorization ability was strong, so he just needed to sweep through it one glance, and he could remember almost all of it. However, after turning two pages, his reading speed clearly slowed down. From ten lines at a glance to one row to one line, even the places that were paused between words and sentences were all hard to let go.
In the end, Xu Wen’s eyes were shining and the excitement in his eyes had long been revealed. He strolled around in a circle twice, then asked: “Your Highness, this…this plan really can be used?” Before Ming Yu could answer, he clenched his fists and waved, minding his own business and said excitedly: “It could be successful, it certainly will be successful.”
Ming Yu smiled without saying a word. He took a sip of the tea on the table that had long been cold, and immediately the bitter taste made his entire face wrinkle. He then remembered that he had ordered Qingping to serve especially strong tea, which would be good for refreshing and clearing the mind.
Xu Wen fell into deep thought. He carefully studied Ming Yu’s paper and deduced it in his head. Then he bowed to Ming Yu, “Your Highness’s plan will definitely solve the current troubles. Let this subordinate thank you on behalf of the commoners.”
Ming Yu helped him up and said with a smile: “The people under the jurisdiction of the territory are originally the responsibility of Ben Wang. There is no need for you to express thanks, but can you speak your opinion first?”
Xu Wen pondered for a while before organizing his sentence and said: “Let’s talk about the first method that Your Highness proposed. First, it is to let the commoners in the village patrol the village every day, and even build a watch house. If there are any news of the enemy positions, then they can notify the others in advance and let them prepare for enemy attack. Second, have everyone dig complicated tunnel channels that secretly connect each household together, so that everyone can hide in the case of an enemy attack. They can also hide the extra food and financial assets in each household into the tunnel to leave nothing for the invaders. In this way, if bandits or barbarians come, there will be no damage, and the commoners can hide in advance. This will have the enemies rushing into thin air, and obtaining nothing. This method is indeed wonderful!” He stroked his palms and exclaimed in admiration. He sincerely admired Ming Yu for being able to come up with this kind of method. However, he paused, and raised his own question, “It’s just that if the enemy finds out any clues and uses water to flood and fire to attack, could the commoners’ safety be guaranteed?”
Xu Wen arrived at the critical point as soon as he asked, proving that he indeed had carefully pondered over Ming Yu’s plan. Ming Yu was very satisfied. His brain was indeed intelligent. Xu Wen’s performance these days, Ming Yu saw him and regarded as a rare and hard to come by talented person. Previously, he was just a small official in the prefectural government who took care of papers, records and so on. It really was a waste of talent.
Ming Yu nodded, “Naturally, these must be considered in advance. The tunnel is like a maze, and the tunnel entrance is set in a hidden place. It would not be easy for an average person to find it. Even if one found the entrance and even if people who don’t know of it enters, they still wouldn’t find anything. If the enemy is all alone, two fists would find it challenging to match four hands. The commoners can handle it easily. With the talk about using water to flood and fire to attack, then we will need to have a proper elimination of smoke and water plans for the tunnel. This will ensure the safety of the people inside.”
“As for the construction of tunnels, Ben Wang brought many skilled craftsmen from the capital. When the time comes, they will personally survey and plan out the tunnel maps, then the commoners will start excavating during the slack season. It is assumed that as long as the commoners work together for a common goal, we will be able to finish it in a short period of time. We can try to make a few of them first, and then spread it to the entire Liangzhou territory when it has achieved results.”
Ming Yu had already thought of everything. Xu Wen only had reverence and admiration from the bottom of his heart. Originally, he thought that Duan Wang was like most Gongzis’ of the rich. When he made Liangcheng his territory, he thought he would be the same as the rumors, that his head was already ruined. But these days when he came here, he could clearly see that Duan Wang had neglected sleep and forgot about food, all for the commoners. He really didn’t expect that Duan Wang would think of the commoners all this time, and exhaust one’s thoughts and ingenuity to plan for everything for the commoners. This kind of Wangye really subverted his usual thoughts. He was not like those influential and powerful officials, he was a good man. It was really the blessing of the commoners that Duan Wang was able to come to Liangcheng!
“Your Highness is wise!” Xu Wen cupped his hands and saluted while praising sincerely. He thought about it for a while and continued to say: “The second method that Your Highness proposed is to merge small villages into one big stockade village. When the time comes, the village will be built into an easily guardable while hard to attack fortress. Then we could have one or two troops of soldiers to defend, to advance and to repel the enemy, and to retreat to defend the villagers. In this way, the enemy will not be able to attack the stockaded village that was as strong as a turtle shell. This was really a good method to preserve the city, making the commoners able to receive the greatest defense. It is indeed, a hard to come by method. However, the cost should also be huge. Moreover, the construction is time-consuming. In addition, if we have the garrison troops stationed in the stockade village for a long time, if they have different kinds of thoughts, and clashes with the commoners, then it would be troublesome.”
Xu Wen was even more optimistic about the second method, but the stockade must be guarded by the real army, so that when truly facing the enemy, it will not be chaotic and they can command the commoners to fight the enemy together. This was also the biggest drawback. It was impossible for the soldiers to stay in line with the commoners. Moreover, the garrison has to guard against the invasion of the barbarians. The soldiers were already very nervous, and there was not enough manpower. When they distribute guards to protect the stockaded village, it will make them even more scattered. It would be hard to make Great General Wei nod his head in approval.
Raising the subjects of cost, money and soldiers are all sources of headache for Ming Yu currently. Manpower and material resources are indispensable for the construction of the stockaded village. Even the cleverest housewife can’t cook without rice, no matter how good her methods are and if it can’t be implemented then it’s equal to zero.
Ming Yu summoned up his courage and said: “I will find a way to make money. It is impossible to get the money overnight. I have to eat one bite at a time. As for the army troops protecting the stockade, I have also considered it and it is just as you precisely laid it out, so I don’t plan to let the garrison army come. After all, it is already very difficult for the garrison to deal with the barbarian troops outside the borderland. I will find a way to make additional arrangements for this.”
“Separate arrangements? If the garrison is not allowed to guard, how can the commoners resist when the enemy comes? If the enemy has a plan to attack the city, the stockade, from beginning to the end, would be inferior to the city…” Xu Wen said anxiously, but after thinking about it, he changed his words, “Your Highness. Could it be that you have some good ideas?”
“It’s better to rely on yourself than on others.” Ming Yu saw Xu Wen feeling anxious and getting heated and felt it somewhat laughable. He originally had a vague idea, so he no longer kept the listener in suspense at this time. He calmly said: “I plan to make the strong and vigorous young male commoners come to the military base for training every year, and after two or three months when they return back to the stockaded village, they will be able to take on the responsibility of guarding their homes and their families.”