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Chapter 400: The Land of Wuxi, the Future Granary of Great Wu!
And this matter quickly spread throughout the entire White Elephant Country.
The White Elephant citizens who were causing trouble were all excited.
“Is Wuxi recruiting farmworkers?”
“As long as we work there, can we get food?”
“If the harvest is good, will we get some grain? What a great opportunity!”
“Look at Great Wu, they’re so good to their own people, truly a great nation! White Elephant Country can’t compare, they want to exploit us to death! The cruelest to their own is always their own!” ”
“I can’t stay in White Elephant Country anymore, I’m going to Wuxi now!”
“Yes, I’m going to Wuxi too!”
So, on the second day, more than 300,000 White Elephant citizens rushed over.
By the third day, the number increased to 400,000.
By the fourth day, it peaked at over 500,000,
And by the fifth day, the number, although slightly reduced, still reached 300,000. In just these five days, nearly 2 million White Elephant citizens flocked to Wuxi.
And most of these people were originally involved in the revolution because they had no other way to survive. But now there was a way out, who would be willing to risk their lives?
So they all came running.
The internal turmoil in White Elephant Country naturally subsided.
The White Elephant Country’s ruler was very surprised, never expected that the internal turmoil that had left him powerless would be so easily quelled.
And without a single soldier, not a drop of blood was shed.
He had to once again give Lin Beifan a thumbs-up and exclaimed, “Prime Minister Lin, you’ve resolved this internal turmoil so easily, I truly admire you! Thanks to you, White Elephant is thriving and getting better and better!”
Lin Beifan smiled and said, “White Elephant Country’s ruler, it’s not a big deal for Her Majesty! Now that the situation has been resolved for you, it’s time for you to fulfill your promise! Deliver the letter of submission, and White Elephant will bow to Her Majesty! At the same time, within three months, you must deliver the promised tribute! Otherwise, I won’t be able to explain it to His Majesty!” Delivering the letter of submission was no problem for the ruler of White Elephant Country. Now that Great Wu was so powerful and had a strong army, he, as a small country’s ruler, bowing to them wasn’t a big deal.
What made him cringe was delivering the promised tribute within three months. The time was too tight, and they had just experienced a severe ice disaster, their royal court suffered heavy losses, and they simply couldn’t gather that much tribute. But they had to do it, offending Great Wu wouldn’t be good.
“I promise, I absolutely won’t break the agreement!” The White Elephant Country’s ruler promised loudly, a hint of severity in his eyes.
The reason he had to pay such a huge price was because his citizens below him were not obedient, and they wanted to overthrow his rule. Now that the war had subsided, it was time to settle the score!
Wool comes from sheep, and if I can’t gather enough tribute, I’ll use your things to make up for it.
The White Elephant Country’s ruler left Lin Beifan and hurried back with a knife in hand. At this moment, Lin Beifan’s resolution of the turmoil in White Elephant Country quickly spread throughout the world.
Many people admired this strategy, but even more people mocked it. “Let over 2 million White Elephant citizens go to Wuxi to reclaim and farm, what were they thinking?”
“Wuxi is a barren land, the soil is poor, if they could have planted crops earlier, why wait until now?”
“Great Wu is burdening itself with a heavy load!”
“Over 2 million people, providing food and resources for them is a problem! The key is, do they have enough food to feed them?”
“Just experienced an ice disaster, every country is facing shortages, the most important thing now is to secure their own food! But Great Wu is generously giving it away, feeding another country’s people, something’s wrong with their heads!”
“If they can’t grow food, they’ll be in trouble!”
“They definitely won’t be able to grow it, I’m looking forward to seeing Great Wu’s failure! Haha!”
Although everyone knew that Great Wu had developed a high-yield rice variety called “Taiping Rice” that could increase production when planted in fertile and well-watered areas, they were skeptical about its success in the arid and water-deficient Wuxi region.
So, everyone was waiting to see Wuxi’s failure.
At this time, Lin Beifan was very busy and had no time to pay attention to external public opinion.
He had mobilized many officials and manpower to register and document the White Elephant citizens, then organized them into teams and sent them to various places in Wuxi to reclaim and farm.
At the same time, he had to gather enough food and supplies from the court to feed these people. By the evening, he had to sneak away.
Wuxi lacked water? Then he would bring heavy rains!
Wuxi was barren? Then he would use earth-shaking techniques (earthquakes) to bring up fertile soil from deep underground!
He also diverted rivers from the Phoenix and Qinlong mountain ranges.
In this way, the soil in Wuxi was greatly improved.
Combined with the drought-resistant and heat-resistant Taiping Rice, Lin Beifan believed that this year would surely bring a bountiful harvest here.
If they continued farming for a few more years, this place had the potential to become a food source for Great Wu.
At this moment, the 2 million White Elephant citizens had already begun reclaiming and farming. What surprised them was that the land in Wuxi didn’t seem as poor as they had imagined. It appeared that growing crops here might not be a problem. Why did everyone outside say that the land here was barren?
As for the lack of water, they had been here for several days and surprisingly, it had rained several times, even more frequently than in White Elephant. Moreover, two mountain ranges had natural river flows coming down.
This water seems abundant as well. With this, everyone gained more confidence.
After all, they came here to reclaim and farm, and if the crops grew well, they would surely have a good life. If the harvest was bountiful, they could even get a share of the food.
So, everyone worked passionately, filled with determination.
Lin Beifan stood in the field, watching the energetic scene, and shouted, “Everyone, work hard! You’ve seen this land; it’s productive, and we have no shortage of water! As long as we grow food, everyone will have food to eat!”
An elderly man who was taking a break couldn’t help but ask, “Lord Prime Minister, if the harvest is bountiful, how much food can we get?”
Everyone perked up their ears. Lin Beifan smiled slightly and held up three fingers, saying, “Thirty percent!”
“Thirty percent!” Everyone exclaimed in surprise.
You see, when they farmed in White Elephant Country, even in the best harvest years, they could only get about twenty-five percent of the food. The rest of the food was taken by the court and the landlord nobles, leaving them barely enough to survive. It was a difficult life.
But coming to Wuxi, not only did they have the Great Wu court providing food, but with a bountiful harvest, they could get thirty percent!
Better than what they had in White Elephant Country!
Oh my, could there really be such a wonderful thing in the world? The elderly man asked excitedly, “Lord Prime Minister, is this true?”
Lin Beifan proudly said, “Of course, it’s true! I am the grand Prime Minister of Great Wu, also the Supreme Commander of the Army, a word of mine carries great weight. Why would I joke about this?”
Everyone cheered and rejoiced.
“To get thirty percent of the food is really great!”
“They’re giving us so much; we have to work hard!”
“It looks like we’ll have to work tirelessly!”
“It’s necessary; otherwise, we won’t be fair to ourselves!”
Lin Beifan, puzzled, asked, “Are you so excited just because you can get thirty percent of the food?”
This question seemed to touch a sore spot for the White Elephant citizens. Someone immediately lamented, “Lord Prime Minister, you don’t know, we’ve had such a hard life in White Elephant! We toiled all year, and in the end, the court took thirty percent of our harvest! Then, the landlords and nobles took away fifty percent, even seventy percent! What we had left was barely twenty percent, just enough to avoid starving!”
“That’s already quite good! If we encountered natural disasters or other hardships, it would be even worse! Like this recent ice disaster, we all suffered heavy losses, and the court still took away half of the harvest. Those noble landlords took another half, and sometimes even more than that! What we had left was less than ten percent; how could we survive like that?”
“And there’s something even more infuriating!” an angry White Elephant citizen exclaimed. “They took all the food from my house and then forced me to work for them in the fields! They don’t even give us food to eat and still make us work. Where in the world does such a thing happen?”
“That’s right! They’re utterly heartless!”
“Now that I think about it, I’m filled with anger!”
“These people are like beasts living among humans!”
Lin Beifan couldn’t help but shake his head and sigh, “I never thought that you were suffering so much; I can’t even imagine what those days were like. In Great Wu, we usually only collect ten percent of the food! Those landowners, at most, take about thirty to forty percent of the food. The rest, about fifty to sixty percent of the food, belongs to the farmers. It’s easy to sustain a family with that!”
The White Elephant citizens looked envious. “To get an additional thirty percent of the food? The people of Great Wu are so fortunate!”
“We won’t be able to get that this year; we won’t get it this year…”
Lin Beifan shook his head and said, “Due to the recent ice disaster, everyone has suffered heavy losses! Moreover, the three regions of Great Wu—Southern Jiang, Wuxi, and Northern Hebei—were plagued by feudal lords before, resulting in poor harvests and great hardships for the people! That’s why our court issued an order exempting the people in these three regions from paying taxes on food to the court! This way, the farmers can retain an additional ten percent of their food, making their lives a bit better!”
The White Elephant citizens’ eyes turned even redder. “To get an additional ten percent? The people of Great Wu are incredibly, incredibly fortunate!”
“Besides that, we have used cement to construct various water facilities, dredged canals, promoted the Eight Agricultural Methods, and introduced various types of new fertilizers… As long as it boosts production and increases yields, we’re doing it!”
The White Elephant citizens’ eyes turned purple with excitement. “The Great Wu court is doing so many good things for the people. The people of Great Wu are so, so fortunate!”
At this moment, they all had the same thought.
How wonderful it would be if I were a person of Great Wu!
At this time, Lin Beifan shouted, “Alright, enough talk about other matters; let’s get to work! In short, give it your all! The more food we produce, the more you can harvest!”
“Alright!” Everyone rallied and worked even harder. They were not only working for the promised food but also hoping to impress the court and become people of Great Wu.
Seeing this scene, Lin Beifan smiled inwardly. He didn’t believe they could resist such temptations.
Just at that moment, a graceful figure in purple arrived in the field.