If you like this series, please give a rating and review at the following link: https://www.novelupdates.com/series/i-am-a-corrupt-official-yet-they-say-i-am-a-loyal-minister/
or you can send manually to paypal account thunderkirin['@']gmail.com
Chapter 385 – Proud, My Country!
At this moment, at the Hulao Pass, refugees from Great Xia followed the Great Wu soldiers to the refuge.
Feeling the warmth coming from inside and the bustling sounds of people, even though the weather was still cold, their hearts were warm and excited.
They could finally stay in the refuge, no longer enduring the cold and hunger. This meant they had a chance to survive!
They had traveled a long way, risking their lives to come here for this moment. Wasn’t this what they had hoped for?
Now their wishes had finally come true. Thank God, thank Heaven!
No, thank Great Wu for giving them the chance to live!
But then, sadness struck. The place they were in, the village they were in, was also bustling with people. Due to the ice disaster, their parents, wives, children, neighbors, everyone had died one after another!
Only they remained! To stay alive, they had to leave their hometown, carrying a one-in-a-million chance to come here.
How many people knew the suffering and heartache they had endured?
At the right moment, the leading general from Great Wu stopped and turned to warn them, “We’ve arrived! This is the refuge we’ve arranged for you. From now on, you must stay here, and you absolutely must not wander around! Otherwise, we will take necessary measures. I hope you don’t make it difficult for us.”
The Great Xia refugees immediately reassured, “General, rest assured, we will definitely not run around! We came here for refuge, and we won’t abuse it!”
“We will definitely follow the rules!”
The Great Wu general nodded slightly and said in a gentler tone, “Good, you can go in now. We are taking a great risk by letting you in. If something happens, we will be subject to military law. I hope you understand.”
“Yes, yes, General!”
The refugees entered the refuge. Inside, it suddenly became quiet.
The common people all looked at them with curiosity and some hostility.
The refugees from Great Xia understood. The two countries had fought a war this year, so some hostility was normal. Moreover, by coming here, they were essentially using their heating resources, so it was understandable that they might be unhappy.
They didn’t want trouble and certainly didn’t want to quarrel with anyone. Under the arrangement of the guarding soldiers, they found a small place to rest.
Now, all they wanted was to peacefully endure the cold and survive. They didn’t want anything else.
The on-duty soldier shouted, “Since we’re all living together, everyone must follow the rules. No fighting, no causing trouble! If anyone breaks the rules, I’ll have to kick them out. Do you understand?”
“We understand, sir!” The crowd responded vaguely.
With the warning from the soldiers, everyone behaved very obediently and didn’t show too much hostility. For the next two days, the refugees from Great Xia mostly stayed in their own small area and didn’t go anywhere else.
When the witnesses sang loudly, they remained silent. During meal times, they queued up to receive their porridge, ate quickly, and were very low-key. They were more well-behaved than others, and gradually, everyone began to accept their presence.
However, life in the refuge was undeniably boring. Some of the locals from Great Wu couldn’t stand the loneliness and came over to socialize with the refugees. Among them was a young man named Wang Er Gou, who dressed like a rascal. He came with two others, squatted down, and grinned at one of the Great Xia refugees.
The Great Xia refugee appeared to be around 20 years old, quite young but very frail. His face was red and blue, as if he had suffered from frostbite. He curled his arms and stepped back against the wall, warily asking, “What do you want? Don’t cause trouble; I don’t want to be kicked out!”
Wang Er Gou chuckled, “Don’t worry, I won’t cause trouble. I’m just bored and thought we could chat to pass the time.”
The Great Xia refugee lowered his head and thought for a moment before reluctantly saying, “What do you want to talk about?”
“I don’t know, whatever comes to mind. We’re just bored and looking to pass the time, right?” Wang Er Gou sat down cross-legged like a monk. “I heard you folks are from Great Xia, seeking refuge here.”
The refugees nodded, “Yes.”
“What’s your name, and where in Great Xia are you from?” Wang Er Gou asked.
The Great Xia refugee replied, “My name is Liu, Liu Chu Ba, born on the eighth day. So that’s why they gave me this name. I’m from Mo Shi Village in Great Xia.”
“Mo Shi Village! I know that place; it’s over a hundred li away from here!” Wang Er Gou exclaimed.
This remark attracted everyone’s attention, and everyone in the refuge turned to look.
Liu Chu Ba nodded, “Yes, it’s indeed more than a hundred li away.”
Wang Er Gou couldn’t help but ask, “More than a hundred li, in this freezing weather, how did you end up here?”
Liu Chu Ba lowered his head, let out a weary sigh, and his voice was filled with helplessness and sadness. “Everyone in the village is dead. If we didn’t come here, where else could we go?”
Wang Er Gou was taken aback, “Everyone’s dead? Your family too?”
“All the people from my village are dead.”
“What? Everyone in the entire village is dead?” Wang Er Gou exclaimed. “From what I know, Mo Shi Village isn’t a small village. It has around 50 households, about a hundred people. How could they all be dead?”
Everyone was also very surprised. How could an entire village with over a hundred people all be dead? It wasn’t like they were massacred!
“It’s true; they’re all dead. I’m the only one left!” Liu Chu Ba’s tone was gloomy. “The ice disaster came so suddenly. No one was prepared, and no one expected the disaster to last this long. After a heavy snowfall, the entire village was buried under snow, and we couldn’t get out. We lost contact with the outside world.
“Our houses were all made of thatch, and the strong winds blew through. We couldn’t heat ourselves properly. We had limited firewood and quilts, and the firewood ran out quickly. There were only ten quilts for the entire village, not nearly enough. So, we had to take turns using them. We all went through it together.
“But in the end, we couldn’t endure it anymore. First, the elderly with the weakest health passed away. It’s comforting to know that they passed away peacefully without much suffering.”
“Then it was the children; they didn’t really understand. Their passing seemed peaceful, like falling asleep.”
“After that came the women. They didn’t exactly freeze to death; they went mad. Reality was just too hopeless. Watching their loved ones die one by one drove them to insanity.”
“Finally, even the men couldn’t bear it…”
Liu Chu Ba’s tone was remarkably calm, but it filled everyone with endless sorrow.
In such circumstances, who would willingly choose death?
“In the end, only I survived.”
Liu Chu Ba looked at Wang Er Gou with indifference. “Do you know how I survived?”
Wang Er Gou and the others suddenly felt a bit afraid. “We don’t know…”
“Because I was the hope of the whole village,” Liu Chu Ba chuckled self-deprecatingly. “I had a bit more education, knew a few more words than most, so I became the village’s hope. Everyone wanted me to live, to carry their hopes with me. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?”
The refuge fell eerily quiet, except for the crackling sound of burning charcoal.
Wang Er Gou opened his mouth but didn’t know what to say.
Finally, he managed to say, “My condolences.”
“Thank you. I’ve heard those words many times already, but I still appreciate it,” Liu Chu Ba lowered his head slightly and clenched his fists. “So, no matter what, I have to stay alive. I can’t die.”
“As far as I know, about fifty li to the east of Mo Shi Village, there’s a place called Qiang Shi County with a population of around 20,000. Why didn’t you go there for help?” someone asked.
A few other refugees quickly replied, “No need to go. We came from there, and it’s almost as bad. The government doesn’t care about us at all, so we escaped here.”
Liu Chu Ba added, “If there were a choice, who would want to leave their hometown?”
The locals in the refuge, from Great Wu, also sighed along with them. They hadn’t realized just how much these refugees had suffered. This kind of suffering couldn’t be adequately described in just a few sentences.
Initially, there was hostility toward them, but now, there was only sympathy.
“In truth, I envy you. You have a responsible government,” Liu Chu Ba said with tear-filled eyes. “If our Great Xia had been prepared, we wouldn’t be in this situation. My people, my villagers, wouldn’t have died. I hate it!”
He pounded his fists against the ground fiercely, not caring about the blood.
Everyone let out another deep sigh. While sympathizing with the refugees, they felt a strong sense of pride and security in their own government. It turned out that their government had been so good to them.
When other countries experienced disasters and their people were on the brink of death, their government had already shielded them from the icy disaster!
Proud, my country!
Next, Hulao Pass and other border regions continued to receive refugees. Based on the information gathered, the total number of foreign refugees accepted nationwide had reached over 20,000!
It might not seem like a lot, but considering the number of people who had died in the background, it was likely over two million.
And that was just the death toll in the border regions!
The border regions had sparser populations, yet so many had died.
Other areas were certainly no exception.
Lin Bei Fan sighed, “I hope this ice disaster passes soon. We really can’t endure it any longer.”