Just as Zhou Maohe arrived there, he fished out a woman who had thrown herself into the river.
The woman was about to get married but was kidnapped by the people under the Hongjiang Salt Farm, and was locked up for fun. She fell into the water because it was difficult to find an opportunity to escape after being chased. After becoming desperate and angry, she simply jumped into the river.
After learning about this matter, Zhou Maohe was infuriated, but it also so happened that, at that time, he met a group of people who escaped from Hongjiang Salt Farm.
This group of people were all from Hongjiang Salt Farm villages. As its name implied, they were people who specialized in salt-related work.
In Daqi, the craftsmen were artisans—people who specialized in boiling salt and cooking salt. These people were all salt workers.
Hongjiang Salt Farm needed to produce a lot of salt, and all this salt was to be boiled by salt workers at the salt farm. But these days, the salt workers were much more miserable than those who lived by the sea.
Those people are free and could go out to sea to catch fish to feed themselves. If they lived in peace, they wouldn’t be caught and killed. Food and clothing could also be guaranteed, but salt workers were different.
These salt workers were registered to Hongjiang Salt Farm, so they could only live on the salt farm. But the people of Hongjiang Salt Farm would treat them simply like slaves. Not only would they randomly scold them and not give them food to eat, but even their families, their slightly beautiful women or gers could not be kept.
This group of fleeing salt workers really couldn’t live like this anymore and wanted to go outside to fight for a better life.
These people who dared to escape were all young and strong. After Zhou Maohe met them, he learned that Hongjiang Salt Farm would brazenly and wantonly kill others. Then he took them to the place where Hongjiang Salt Farm was located, so he could discuss it some more and, finally, by mistake, occupied Hongjiang Salt Farm.
Theoretically speaking, a group of salt workers who have not fought with people plus a scholar wouldn’t be able to take over Hongjiang Salt Farm, but . . . Zhou Maohe’s luck was really too good.
When he took a group of angry people to the Hongjiang Salt Farm, it happened to be New Year’s Eve, so many people from the Hongjiang Salt Farm returned home to reunite with their families. The rest were still having fun, drinking with most of them unconscious.
It was because of the New Year that the woman, who jumped into the river,could find a chance to escape, and it was also because of the New Year that the salt workers could collectively flee because of the slackened vigilance. Finally, it was because of the New Year that they actually were able to occupy Hongjiang Salt Farm.
After the raid, Zhou Maohe found that the Hongjiang Salt Farm had done many appalling things, and even private salt was also made by them! Now, Zhou Maohe’s heart was in the right place.
Zhou Maohe immediately got angry and sent people to the capital to report it while contacting the nearby civil and military officials.
As a result, those people not only did not help him catch the people of Hongjiang Salt Farm, but also determined that he used the salt workers to start a rebellion on Hongjiang Salt Farm, sending troops to suppress him.
“He is so stupid. All these officials are related to Hongjiang Salt Farm.“ Zheng Yi sighed. “Now, the Hongjiang Salt Farm is in complete chaos. Not a single grain of salt can be shipped out, and I don’t even know what is going on inside.” The person he sent to follow Zhou Maohe was very resourceful and ran out after finding out that the situation was not quite right.
Because of this, he knew a lot, but the follow-up news was impossible to know.
Jiang Zhen listened to Zheng Yi’s story and also felt a little helpless.
He wanted Zhou Maohe to check the private salt, and then check the head of the Hongjiang Salt Farm, but did not expect Zhou Maohe to end up wanting justice for a group of salt workers and only then started investigating Hongjiang Salt Farm.
Because of this, the progress of the matter was also particularly fast and totally different from their expectation.
“Now the entire Hexing Province, together with Wuzhon Province in the north, are in chaos. Fortunately, we in He Cheng Country would be alright . . . I have sent a letter to my second uncle, but I don’t know how the court will handle this matter,” Zheng Yi said.
The county magistrate of He Cheng County followed the Zheng family. At most, when the boat carrying private salt came over, they would act as if they didn’t see it and didn’t get involved with it, so the He Cheng Country was also not involved in this matter.
But for other places . . . it was still a big deal that they didn’t know what would become of it. Zhao Maoke was also, at the moment, trapped over there, and no one knew what was going on.
Jiang Zhen did not speak, just used his small knife to sharpen the bamboo, making the bamboo into a thin piece.
“What are you doing?” Zheng Yi asked.
“It’s going to be the Lantern Festival soon, so I want to make a lantern,” Jiang Zhen said; after he finished, he threw all the bamboo and knife in his hands on the ground.
It was only because he had nothing to do in the past few days that he suddenly thought of making a few lanterns, but since this moment he had something to do, he naturally had no time to do these things.
“You are quite interesting,” Zheng Yi said. Once, he also made lanterns like paper kites but later, when he got older, he didn’t have time.
“No longer,” Jiang Zhen said.
Zheng Yi looked at Jiang Zhen curiously, but Jiang Zhen suddenly said, “I’m going to take someone to the Hongjiang Salt Field to see the situation.”
Zheng Yi was startled and suspected that he had heard it wrong. But Jiang Zhen was sure.
If in modern times he already had a wife and a son, it would be impossible for him to go to a very dangerous place where there were two people fighting each other; after all, if he accidentally ate a bullet at that time, he would die. But at this time there were no weapons that were too dangerous. What’s more, even if he stayed in Hexi Village and never went out, he couldn’t guarantee his safety.
Jiang Zhen made a decision, but before he would leave, he needed to make some preparation for the next two days.
After Zheng Yi left, Jiang Zhen went to find Zhao Jinge.
Zhao Jinge was talking to some Hexi people, asking them to follow him to Fucheng and help him manage the duck and chickens farm there.
They had almost finished talking, when he saw Jiang Zhen, so Zhao Jinge stopped talking and told them to go back first then looked at Jiang Zhen again. “Young Master Zheng went back?”
“Mm.” Jiang Zhen nodded and suddenly said, “I have to go out in two days.”
“To Fucheng? I’ll go with you.”
“Not to Fucheng. You can’t follow me this time either,” Jiang Zhen said.
“Where are you going?” Zhao Jinge, upon seeing Jiang Zhen’s serious expression, vaguely felt that something was wrong.
Jiang Zhen thought about it and decided not to hide it from Zhao Jinge. “I’m going to the seaside.”
“Why are you going to the seaside?” Zhao Jinge asked, puzzled. Jiang Zhen used to go to the seaside to buy goods, but recently . . . they didn’t do business there anymore.
Zhao Jinge suddenly felt a little uneasy.
“Something happened at Hongjiang Salt Farm. I have to go check it out.“ Jiang Zhen sighed and told Zhao Jinge everything Zheng Yi told him.
“It’s so dangerous there. What are you going to do there?” Zhao Jinge asked without even thinking about it.
“Although it’s dangerous over there, there are also big opportunities waiting. There are also my escorts . . . These people have never seen blood, so they need some exercise,” Jiang Zhen said.
“I’m going too!” Zhao Jinge’s brows furrowed. “I fight very well, much better than He Chunsheng and the others!”
“Jinge, you might be carrying another child in your belly,” Jiang Zhen said. Jiang Zhen did not know if there was another child in Zhao Jinge’s belly or not, but he still didn’t want Zhao Jinge to go to such a dangerous place. That’s for sure.
Zhao Jinge thought of what happened when they went to the capital and could not say anything more.
Edited by: Faro
Proofreader: Xiao Hua