Chapter 271 – War Again
The houses are built with cement! After the engineers used up the cement at the square, Liu Mang brought Yang Hong with him to inspect the houses. The industrialization of cement was a major breakthrough and was a cornerstone. If there was no cement, everything would be useless. For example, factories and a variety of other buildings require the use of cement. It could be said that the cemented buildings were the second trial. The first trial was for it to be able to be manufactured at the industrial zone. The second trial was the present. If the cement works well, it could be used for the city walls and on the dams. There were four dams around Shouchun. The purpose of these dams was originally for irrigating the fields. It was an important water conservancy project. However, Cao Cao had used it to cause a flood in Shouchun as it was low ground. Liu Mang would not allow this to happen. That was why Liu Mang did not want to rebuild the dam. He was afraid that someone would come and flood Shouchun. The power of nature was not something that could be endured by soldiers and horses. Even if it was shameful, the power of nature could only be utilized, not conquered. However, the four dams needed to be rebuilt because it would be able to expand the fertile farmlands of Shouchun without end. Now that there were over a million people, Liu Mang does not have enough fertile farmlands. On top of that, the weather had been dry for the past two years. There had been rain but there was not much. It was not enough water for the fields. On top of that, the rain is a single heavy rain after a hundred years. The four dams was to also make sure that the Huaihe River would not breach. Liu Mang was afraid that the flood would destroy Shouchun. Now, with cement, Liu Mang did not need to worry about so much.
This was because the cement was quite hard. Unless explosives were invented in that era, there would be no worries that the dam would be destroyed. As a result, the four dams were now able to irrigate the fields and defend against the flood. This was why Liu Mang came to visit once the houses were built.
Liu Mang was still gazing at the cement. It is cement! Even though this is a major breakthrough, Liu Mang would not have made it if it was not because of the overwhelming need for housing.
“Can you live in this house?” The common people that remained around expressed their doubts. They saw the building constructed. It was built with water and dirt. There were no bricks used. It only used wood and cement. The cement introduced by the officers were soft and looked like it was in a terrible state. Can we really live in this house? It might collapse the moment we enter it. The ones that were most worried were the elderly. This was because even though they could not afford to use bricks in their own houses, they still used chunks of broken stones. However, the house in front of them lacked these stones. These caused the elderly to be afraid to enter.
“It is made out of ashes, wood and bamboo strips. This is scary!” The old man that voiced his opinion had stayed inside the tent for many days. With a new house available, people would not be willing to sleep outside. While they have tents outside, the air would still blow in at night. The young were still strong and could endure it but the elderly and the children could not.
“I might as well go back and live in the tent!” The frightened old man was really afraid that the building would collapse from the strong wind at night.
These people were already at the end of their lives. Although old, they still wanted to live the last few years of it happily.
“Yes. Yes. We will still continue living in those tents!” The other old men echoed. They did not dare to enter the house that was a mix of water and ashes. It was like a trick that could claim their lives.
At first there was a few people. After that, a small group of people. The number of people afraid to stay in the cement building increased.
“Old man. Are you staying in here or not?” The official in charge of letting these people stay in the new house was a little anxious. Liu Mang had given the order to have the first batch of people living in the houses within five days. This was because the tent was not for long-term use. The area south of Huaihe River had a lot of rain and the ground was very damp. Staying there for long periods of time would even give young people fungal infections and a lifetime disaster.
“No. We won’t stay in there even if you beat us to death!” The elderly naturally had their elderly stubbornness. The elderly were people that would not let go even if they die.”
“You!” The official became angry. If these people would not live in the house, his lord, Liu Mang, would become angry. If Liu Mang becomes angry, how could a small official like him still have a happy life? On top of that, he was a poor child before he was recruited from Liu Mang’s recruitment order. Naturally, he was reluctant to abandon such a chance to show his talent. In his anger he raised the whip in his hand.
“Stop!” Liu Mang frowned. He and Yang Hong came out wearing casual clothes. By his side was Huang Zhong and two other guards. With one look, it could be seen that an official was raising his whip against an old man. They were all Han. Liu Mang did not need an official riding on the back of the common people.
Huang Zhong vigorously stepped forward and took the whip from the official’s hands.
“What is going on?” Liu Mang was not someone who does not know how to be flexible and he was not someone who only sees what was in front of him. This was why he did not immediately accuse the official and first asked what was happening.
“Ah… Ah! Milord!” The official was someone who was at Hefei and was naturally impressed by Liu Mang. He stuttered when he saw Liu Mang walk up to him and talked to him.
“Lord? Is Your Highness the Sagely King?” The old man at the side was not a fool. Hearing how the official spoke, he knew who this person was. Liu Mang’s reputation among these people were very high. On top of that, the Emperor gave the decree for Liu Mang to be known as the Sagely King. The ancient people respected the Emperor although not to the extent of the Son of Heaven like the foreign country in the East. Unless they were unable to make a living, they were very docile. The moment they saw the Sagely King, they quickly knelt. “The people greets Your Highness!”
“What? This young man is His Highness?” Some people could not believe it. Their impression of Emperors and Kings were all old men that could not grow any older. They should have white beard and magnanimous face instead of a young boy dressed like the common people, looking like someone’s neighbor.
“Quickly kneel down! This is the Sagely King of the Han!” Everyone then began to kneel.
“No. No. Don’t do that. Quickly get up!” Liu Mang could take it if it was his subordinates. He would bear with it if it was one of the famous heroes like Zhao Yun and Xu Sheng. However, Liu Mang could not stand it when it was the elderly. This was because it was Chinese virtue to respect the old and cherish the young. Having the elderly kowtow to him made Liu Mang feel like he was getting more than he deserves. (TN: 折寿 Getting more than one deserves to the extent that their life may be shortened.)
Liu Mang wanted to help the old man up. However, there were many more people kneeling behind him. Feeling desperate, Liu Mang coldly said, “Are you not going to listen to the words of the Sagely King? I am asking you all to stand up!” The ground was damp and kneeling would be uncomfortable.
As Liu Mang’s cold voice sounded out, the others stood up one by one.
“Speak. Why did you want to bring the whip down on the old man?” Liu Mang coldly looked at the official. The man was from a poor family. Liu Mang had given him the opportunity for a promotion. All of Liu Mang’s officials were all poor people. They all should have came out from the common people. Compared to others, if they only intended to bother the old men, they had better scram or give an appropriate reason.
“Milord. This is…!” All the officials were starting to give cold sweat. Liu Mang had already told these people before. You are all officials. Even though I, Liu Mang, am the one that hired you, the money did not come from the sky. They come from the taxes of the common people! It could be said that the common people are the one paying you. They are your livelihood. Without them, you would not be able to eat. If you become an arrogant official1, do not blame me for being ruthless.
Now that the official was caught red handed, he was definitely anxious. It was no longer a time of peace. If he was lucky, he would lose his job. If he was unlucky, he would be killed by Liu Mang. Feeling afraid, the official was unable to speak dexterously.
“Where did this whip come from? Are you trying to enslave the common people with whips?” Liu Mang took the whips from the officials and asked in a very flat and frightening tone. The official then said, “Milord, spare my life. This subordinate has been too enthusiastic and had not been thinking straight.”
Did he really become an arrogant official? Liu Mang’s eyes flashed coldly. This kind of person does not need to remain in the Liu Mang’s Army. Liu Mang gave the whip to Huang Zhong and wanted someone to drag the official away. One must be killed as an example to the rest. The first to break the law is often the unluckiest. Liu Mang initially thought of expelling the official but it looks like now he would really need to kill him.
Although it was a significant burden to have over a million of the common people, Liu Mang continued to resist. He also knew that this may be one of Sun Ce’s and Liu Bei’s plots but he had no choice but to take it. This is because population is very important in the war for hegemony. Having more people would mean having more manpower and resources. The reason why the Chinese had not gone extinct after so many years of war was because they had a large population. It does not matter whether there was a civil war or a battle against foreigners. They cannot be subjugated and could only be assimilated.
Liu Mang did not allow the officials to be arrogant and domineering. Besides the fact that Liu Mang did not like it, there was also another reason. The other reason was that the rural people were united just like how the mountain people were united. Had the official brought down the whip, there would be a big trouble. The elderly still has prestige amongst the young people. If the common people were to start making noise, things would become troublesome. There would be huge implications.
“Milord. Spare my life! Spare my life!” Liu Mang was very strict with the law. Those that went against the law would not be able to escape. It was to the extent that Liu Mang had even fainted from punishing himself. A person who was ruthless to himself would be even more ruthless to others.
“Your Highness! Allow this old man to speak!” The old man at the side was not an unreasonable person. He saw the young man kneeling on the ground and looked so scared that his mucous came out of his nose. The old man also felt moved.
“Uncle2. Please speak!” Liu Mang wanted to understand the entire situation.
“That whip should be the whip used to drive carriages.” The old man said as he pointed at the whip. This was the first batch of buildings being constructed. More would be built at the back. That was why the carriages were still coming and going. This was the whip used to drive carriages.
“Oh! Han Sheng. Return the whip to him!” It was not taken out to act like a tyrant. If it was only used for driving carriages, Liu Mang would not punish him.
“Uncle. Why did he raise that whip at you?” Liu Mang still wanted to ask this.
“That was because… That young man was angry!” The old man did not hide anything.
“Anger!” Liu Mang frowned again. If everyone was like that, wouldn’t the officials quickly become corrupted as well? During turbulent times, use harsh punishments. This was what Han Feizi and Shang Yang said. Liu Mang also firmly believe them.
“No. No!” The old man saw that Liu Mang had misunderstood. “Your Highness. This young man had said to us that he had two days to make us live in this new house. He was also helpless. If he could not make the arrangements well, he would be dismissed. But we really do not dare to stay in this house. Your Highness. This house is made from limestone and water. Don’t you think it would collapse from the wind?” It turned out that the official had been smiling and had been explaining patiently. However, the people did not believe him. After all, they did not know what cement is and naturally were not brave enough to live in that house. Even a patient person would not be able to stand it. That was before Liu Mang saw the official raise the whip. Even then, the official only wanted to intimidate and never had the intention to hit.
“Hmph!” Liu Mang coldly grunted. He also knew that he was strict with the officials. They would be dismissed if they did something bad. These made the poor people cherish their position a lot. This was Liu Mang’s fault. However, now that there were more than a million people, small problems would multiply by a million and become a big problem. This was why Liu Mang had to be strict. But it was much better if Liu Mang had waited until everything settled.
“The uncle has also already spoken for you so I will not pursue this matter. However, you still need to be fined for disrespecting the people. Your this month’s salary will be given to the uncle!”
“Yes. Yes! Thank you, Milord! Thank you, uncle!” The official nodded while giving his thanks. He would not dare to have any complains especially after he is allowed to keep his life. Now, Liu Mang not only allowed him to keep his life but also keep his job. One month’s pay was nothing in comparison.
“Go.” Liu Mang waved his hand.
“Your Highness truly deserves to be called the Sagely King for loving the people like your children!” The old man once again knelt down. There had never been an official like this. The old man came from Jingzhou. There, the officials have the people at their beck and call. Even if the people were whipped, they could only endure the pain.
“Your Highness truly loves the people like your children!”
“Get up! Get up!” Liu Mang was laughing on the surface but was laughing bitterly in his heart. How could I be successful if I don’t love the people? Although Liu Mang was a man from the present time and has feelings of equality for all, during the turbulent era of the Han, the hierarchy was very strict. Even the difference between a person with money and a person without money was large. Liu Mang loved them like his children because he wants to please the old men. Liu Mang’s army was already running out of food. A time would come when the people would not have enough to eat. If the Liu Mang’s army abused their power, the resentment of the people would accumulate and they would turn against him. Liu Mang does not need the common people for the survival of the Liu Mang’s army. However, by earning popular support, the people may be able to persist longer when there is not enough to eat and the chances of there being a riot would be lower.
When the Lujiang Governor, Lu Kang, was defeated at Anhui the people hid at the dungeons. At that time, there was no food. They would need to make their presences known. In order to appease the people, Sun Ce will have to let them go. They would then be able to live. However, the people did not have make any objections and finally all starved to death.
“Uncle. You do not need to worry about the problem with the house. This house is definitely sturdy enough. Rather than wind, it is also resistant to fire! The cement-built buildings are definitely superior to the stones.” Most of the ancient houses were made of wood so Liu Mang was afraid of fire. Once there was a fire, it would spread to all the houses and become difficult to extinguish. Liu Mang asked Huang Zhong to slash at the house. The cement had always been hard and he was afraid that the tool may become blunt. However, he was not afraid when compared to his drive. Although a few places were cut by the sword, a lasting impression had been given to the people.
Although the sword was not able to cut down the building, the common people were still watching. Liu Mang nodded in his heart. It looks like no one wants to lead by example. These people would not live in here even if I am the one saying it. There would definitely be fear when met with unfamiliar things. It was the same as the proverb about the first person that ate crabs. Crabs were locust-like disasters in the past. Their pincers would prey on the young crops. That was why having crabs at the fields were a major event. They would catch the crabs and throw it into someone else’s fields. People were very afraid of these locusts. If it was not because of the first person to eat crabs, people may still thought of this as pests. However, once someone had eaten crab, things had changed. They had found out that crabs were delicious and could not be compared to other animals. From that moment, crabs became a dish instead of a pest.
“Han Sheng. Send someone back and help me bring my bed clothes over here. Have two women come here and help me clean up the place!” Liu Mang said to Huang Zhong.
“Lord this place…?” Yang Hong was confused.
“From now on, I will live here! This one, this one, and that one. I want those vacated! Take all the things from my military tent over here. I will do my work here. If you need to find me, find me here! Yang Hong3, dispatch a group of troops to take charge of the security here!” Liu Mang said to Yang Hong.
“You are staying here? Lord. You cannot!” Yang Hong was anxious. He also knew about cement and understood that it was hard. However, like the old men, he was also cautious about new things. On top of that, it was such a bare and flat place that cannot be compared to the Shouchun palace.
“At ease. At ease.” Liu Mang waved his hand so that Yang Hong would no longer try and persuade him. He would only be staying for about a month. He just needed to ease the worries of the people.
Huang Zhong had quickly brought over the things from the palace. A total of ten houses were occupied and guards were dispatched all over. Liu Mang then officially lived there.
With Liu Mang taking the lead, the other people also started to live in there one by one. After all, the Sagely King had already stayed in it. If the wind blows, the high ranking official would be putting his life on the line.
Sure enough, Liu Mang only lived there for about a month because something had happened. Zhang Xiu of Wan Cheng had dispatched a messenger to Lujiang to ask why Lu Bu had dispatch troops to take his gold. Lu Bu was accused as a robber stealing sixteen thousand gold.
However, Lu Bu was an arrogant figure. He felt it was a disdain to explain when criticized by someone. If someone dares to verbally abuse him, he would dare to kill that person. Zhang Xiu was also nothing to Lu Bu. His uncle, Zhang Ji, did not dare to treat Lu Bu badly. When Zhang Ji spoke, he greeted Lu Bu as Marquis. Now, a small person had dared to accuse him. Even if Lu Bu did rob him, what could he do about it? This was just looking for trouble.
Zhang Xiu was certain that Lu Bu had robbed him. After all, the gold was lost in around the territories of Liu Biao, Liu Bei, Lu Bu and his own. The person who sent the gold was Liu Bei. So he found it impossible for Liu Bei to go and rob his own gold. Liu Biao was busy with Sun Ce and could not come over to rob him. The only remaining one was Lu Bu.
First of all, Lu Bu had killed the messenger meaning he was enraged and had a guilty conscience. Second, Lu Bu’s cavalry was capable of coming over and robbing the gold in a day. Third, Lu Bu was now very poor. He must have exhausted his money on provisions and this must have been tempting for Lu Bu.
The gold was robbed and the messenger was killed. Zhang Xiu could not take it and started a war. Twenty thousand Xiliang cavalry sped towards Lujiang from Wan Cheng.
Raws didn’t use the word arrogant. Instead it was an ‘official that thinks of himself as the master and the people their servants’ or an ‘official that thinks of himself as a great person.’ However, the description is difficult to use in English despite arrogant probably not being quite accurate.
A respectful way of calling someone older(?) than you depending on culture (not only Chinese). Possible words used are grandpa, uncle, brother and its female equivalent, usually depending on the person’s appearance. The ones I mostly seen get used is uncle/auntie because you don’t want to make the other party sound too old. Otherwise they are called brother/sister if they are about your age. They do not necessarily have to be relatives.
Raws said Han Sheng which was Huang Zhong. It then said ‘Liu Mang said to Yang Hong’. I assumed the first one was a typo.