The night was deep, but Li Yuanmin still hadn’t gone to sleep. He spread out a small roll of silk cloth with small handwriting under the lantern and candle light, carefully inspecting it.
His foundation was not deep, so when he first arrived in Lingnan, his eyes and ears were practically raspy. This period of 8 years was exhausting, and finally he was able to take a great deal of trouble and effort to bury a lot of hidden threads.
A few days ago, Old general Li’s spy placed inside the capital brought him an unexpected piece of information–It turned out that Yuan Chongsheng had actually been sent by Wang Chaoluan to Lingnan to collect wealth on her behalf.
He didn’t even know that in such a remote boundary of Lingnan, he could still be hung up by Wang Chaoluan. A sneer appeared at the corner of his mouth, and he put the silk on the candle flame and burned it.
Presumably, the silver money used to make up the disaster relief’s deficit in Zhexi in those years had already made Wang Chaoluan unable to make ends meet over the past few years. Her mother’s family was not prosperous, and she had to move a lot of silver money around. But as Emperor Mingde’s age grew older, the stricter the eldest prince had kept watch of things, thus she had to stretch her hands on this place – compared to other territories, Lingnan was remote and the Emperor was far away, so if something unusual happened here, a round of reports would take at least 10 days to half a month. There were also gaps between the workflow in reaching to the high authorities. Moreover, Lingnan’s vassal state king was the weak and coy son of the West Cold Palace in her heart. This territory was a good place, so how could she miss it?
Recalling that gorgeous but spitting poison viper face, Li Yuanmin couldn’t help but rub his brows.
Wang Chaoluan’s thoughts were meticulous and she had some heavy misgivings. At that time, regarding the tiger matter, although he made the truth hard to be discernible and making people suspicious, Wang Chaoluan may not have suspected that he had done it. She also was unaware of the lie he made up about the hungry ghost of Zhexi at that time too and may somewhat believe in it until today.
However, since there hadn’t been any revolt for many years like this, it’s likely that she must still have some taboos in her heart.
In any case, since the fire has burned to his doorway, he had to take a stand. Sometimes, backing down from everything will not necessarily be able to save himself from the problem. Instead, it would just allow for jackals and wolves to come closer step by step until there was no room to retreat. He took root here in Lingnan with great difficulty, and he couldn’t let other people destroy the smooth stability here so easily.
It is just that he must be cautious every step to avoid any side issues from arising.
Maybe because it was late at night, there were a lot of things in his mind concerning fate.
Fate was really too difficult to think through, even if he resurrected a lifetime and changed a part of his fate. The counterpart events that occurred were all out of his expectations, as if everything was completely out of his control.
Just like in order to save Ni Lie, he lost his only best friend in his previous life. Just like how he stopped Wang Chaoluan from taking the Zhexi’s disaster relief corruption, nevertheless it made Wang Chaoluan extend her hand to Lingnan. Compared to the previous life, the suffering has now changed from Zhexi commoners to Lingnan commoners instead.
He didn’t know if this time around Lingnan’s state of affairs would be caught unprepared due to his decision. But no matter what, he must think things through thoroughly to control the situation and avoid worsening the current situation.
Nowadays, Lingnan had undercurrents causing instability. The new law had seized up the commoners’ harvest in addition to the Xuntai government neglecting the barbarians’ invasion into people’s livelihood. Lingnan commoners’ complaints and grievances and fear have already reached the peak.
After living for two lifetimes, Li Yuanmin naturally deeply understood how terrible the “people’s grievances” were. Perhaps at the beginning it could be suppressed with silver, and ruthless laws could suppress the violence. But that kind of suppression was only superficial. On the outside it was all calm and quiet, but in fact the secret sore skin will fester, until they could no longer hide it. Once it broke out, it would evolve into a bloody catastrophe.
In his previous life, Zhexi’s flooding caused the commoners to become displaced. The imperial court ordered the Ministry of Revenue to put aside disaster relief money to appease the victims. But no one knew how Wang Chaoluan collaborated with Zhexi prefectural magistrate to embezzle the money. That ultimately brought about the disaster of the revolt from the victims. Later, a great drought occurred in the Lingnan region, which stimulated countless hungry people. In order to settle this catastrophe that lasted intermittently for five years, Bei An lost nearly 30% of its troops, laying the foundation for a fallen dynasty.
It can be said that although it was the Red Tiger Army that broke through the gates of the capital, the root cause of this was the “people’s resentment.”
Although Li Yuanmin had compassion in his heart, his ability to solve the problem was limited. If it was not crucial, he wouldn’t meddle in other people’s business. But the things that happened in his previous life caused him to have no choice but to value the people’s livelihood and will, which is why he was anxious right now.
Li Yuanmin looked at the difficult chess pieces on the chessboard, and couldn’t help but gently nibble the chess piece on his fingertips. His eyes were heavy.
These days, the Guang’an mansion soldiers had been taken by Ni Lie to form 2 to 3 groups to converge with every clan elder in the territory to set up militia for self defense. But regarding the vast and sparsely populated Lingnan, it was by far not sufficient. People’s grievances were boiling over, making all kinds of lamentation, but Yuan Chongsheng was still immersed in his pretty dream of accumulating wealth for Guifei Niangniang in the capital.
——Since the matter had already reached this point, then there was no need to conceal it any longer, and they could simply catalysis it.
Li Yuanmin’s eyes moved. He touched the chess piece in his hand, and gently dropped it on the chessboard.
Inside the vast clan hall, many clan elders stood in a circle and watched several women and children crying and weeping. On the ground, laid a man with a white cloth wrapped around his head, motionless, face blue. It was unclear whether he was dead or alive.
At the doorway, Li Yuanmin who was in a plain green robe hurried in under the escort of several accompanying people.
His facial appearance was grave. He immediately asked Uncle Qian behind him to come forward to help treat the injured, while going forward to help support the women and children who had knelt on the ground.
Seeing the appearance of King Guang’an who resembled an immortal being, the woman who was the leader of the group cried even more. Her heart that was full of resentment finally got a place to go to now, she spoke in a tearful voice: “King Guang’an, you have to obtain justice for this lowly woman!”
This woman was the wife of the seriously injured person lying on the ground. The wounded person was Jiang clan elder at the Qinghe border. And Qinghe was bordered by Jiaozhi. Several villages had been looted back and forth by the barbarians several times already. Not only did the Xuntai government not send any county guards to take care of them, but the farmsteads in the territory was also levied a heavy tax by the Xuntai government in the name of the new law. How could the villagers be able to endure it, so under the leadership of clan elder Jiang, a large group of people rushed to the Xuntai mansion to ask for an explanation, then under some fierce condemnation, they clashed with the officers and men of the Xuntai mansion on the spot. While waiting for fellow clansmen to arrive, the people who went ahead were already injured and locked up in prison. Everything was in chaos.
“They told us to not make any trouble!” The woman was full of hatred and tears: “In the past years, we could still make a few new sets of clothes for our children, but now there was nothing. They collected 60% of our duties, and after such a deliberate turn around by the barbarians, we can’t even have a decent meal! This evil Xuntai is forcing us to go die!”
“My husband just saw that the villagers could not make a living well, so he found a few clan relatives to demand an explanation. But unexpectedly, this time even his life was almost taken! ”
“Your Highness! Please help us obtain justice!”
As soon as that woman cried, the women and children around her also cried, and the entire hall was miserable.
Li Yuanmei sighed and hurriedly asked A Ying to help the women and children to rest.
Old Clan Elder Qizu greeted him with a solemn face: “Thank you for your trouble in making this trip, Your Highness.”
“It’s no trouble,” Li Yuanmin frowned slightly, “A few days ago, Ben Wang also went to Xuntai mansion to persuade him, but…”
The crowd knew the last words, and their faces could not help but show indignation.
Li Yuanmin looked around at the crowd and sighed: “I’m not worried that everyone will laugh at me, although Ben Wang has a royal title, but in this Lingnan territory, my power is not as effective as the Xuntai government. Even though I intended to advise Xuntai Daren to send troops but without him nodding in agreement, I am just as powerless…there are many things that Ben Wang can’t overcome.”
“What are you saying, Your Highness!” Old Clan Elder Qizu saluted him, “These past years, we’ve all observed what Your Highness has been doing. Not to mention the hard work of the past. Also for the barbarians attack, it was also King Guang’an mansion’s soldiers that took a lot of trouble and expended a great deal of effort in helping these commoners at the border to set up the militia. If it’s not like this, then those barbarians would be even more rampant!”
Everyone agreed one after another, and another said, “If only Xuntai Daren had a little bit of Your Highness’s kind hearted love for the people, then there wouldn’t be this kind of circumstance. The root cause of everything is because of the calamity brought by that evil Yuan!”
After the words were spoken, a big bearded man behind old clan elder Qizu slammed the table:
“This dog official, not only did he swallow up our harvest! Even with the barbarians dropping a visit at his doorstep to invade already, he is still unconcerned about it. What do we need this Xuntai government for? Fu*k him, why don’t we just burn it all down and make a clean sweep of everything!”
Although these words were vulgar, they were powerful and resonating, causing everyone to echo one after another. The crowd was excited.
Li Yuanmin hurriedly obstructed: “Everyone must not be impulsive. If you act rushly and go forward like this, you will only end up with the same fate as clan elder Jiang. It’s useless, and there is no need to sacrifice your life meaninglessly like this.”
“Mother F*cker! There’s no way we can live anyway! It’s better to do it in one breath! Even if we see blood, and Laozi will fall down, at least I would have tried my best to reprimand him! Who’s afraid of him!”
“Are you still reluctant to cut off flesh off your body? Laozi soon can’t live! ”
“We will fight with that evil Yuan!”
Li Yuanmin paced a few steps in place, his face solemn, and he seemed to have made up his mind and walked to the hall: “Well, since everyone has such determination, Ben Wang is willing to help, but we must consider this matter in the long run.”
Li Yuanmin glanced at old clan elder Qizu lightly, and he agreed, immediately making a gesture to the Inner Hall: “All the clan elders, please come with me.”
After returning from the ancestral hall, it was already late at night, and Li Yuanmin dragged his tired body back to the mansion in a carriage.
After bathing, scattering his hair, and looking at the slightly tired face in the carved bronze mirror, Li Yuanmin suddenly remembered another face with a cold and stiff expression. That child was constantly on the move at the border now, and he should be more exhausted than him.
Carefully calculating, he had left the city for more than half a month.
It’s just that every few days, a letter came, and there were a few simple words on them. It was either to pay his respect or state that everything is well with himself without saying anything else, not even a word to draw a person’s wild and fanciful thoughts.
Since he arrived at Lingnan border, Li Yuanmin had not been separated from him for such a long time. He sighed, slowly stepped up and laid down on his bed, and pulled over the thin mattress.
In the dim candlelight, he took out an ancient jade pendant tied by a red rope around his neck. He put it on the side of his cheek and rubbed it, feeling reconciled by this warm touch. He couldn’t help but feel a sour and astringent feeling in his heart.
At such times, he always felt that time was particularly long and slow.
Suddenly, there was a loud sound outside. Li Yuanmin put up his guard, hid the jade pendant in his bosom, and immediately got up,
“Qing Zhu?” He called out the name of the little boy servant.
There was no answer from outside.
Li Yuanmin frowned. His black hair draped on his back, a pair of snow white bare feet landed on the ground, and he lightly pushed the curtain aside.
When he saw the tall and straight man, his eyes turned hot.
It was Ni Lie who had not taken off his armor yet. His face brought about the appearance of one who spent the night in the open covered by wind and dust. His whole body was tanned, making it look even more sturdy, and there were hot rays of light flashing between his eyebrows. Li Yuanmin only had time to shout out A Lie, before he was carried by the man and carried into the inner room.
The sky was spinning, the earth went round. He was thrown onto the shiny silk surface.
The person in front of him hurriedly untied his armor and threw it away. He didn’t even have enough time to remove his robe, when he stormed inside with his head down, impatient, hot and dry, just like a wolf that had not had meat and fish for many days.
Li Yuanmin could only call out to him with a trembling voice like this.
He was like a fish thrown onto the shore, like a bird with folded wings, being moved. It was difficult to say a second word.
The night was dark and deep.
Ciacia/N: OMGGGGGGGG T-T IM DYING, IM DEAD!!!!