When Old Master Weng and Old General Dai arrived at Jingyou Palace, the smiling Emperor Yongming immediately offered them a seat and then took out two thick books and said, “Old Master, Old General, you must see it.”
Eunuch Jin stepped forward to take the two books and then gave them to the two elders respectively. Since the Emperor asked them, the two old men opened the books and looked at them without asking what they were about. In Old Master Weng’s hand was a book about the economic development of the Great State of Yan and in the hands of Old General Dai, was a book about the relief fund.
Emperor Yongming drank chrysanthemum tea and chewed some spiced peanuts, very leisurely. After a while, Emperor Yongming smiled mischievously towards the Empress, making the Empress also smile. The two looked at the agitated Old Master Weng and Old General Dai, understanding their mood at this moment.
Old General Dai finished reading first and raised his head excitedly. Emperor Yongming immediately said, “Don’t worry Old General, you can look at the book in Old Master Weng’s hands later.”
In front of the Emperor, it was really inconvenient for Old General Dai to urge Old Master Weng, but he was still very anxious. ‘That person was so slow! Reading through the book so slowly!’
Finally, after about an incense stick of time, Master Weng finished reading it. Old General, who had been waiting impatiently for a long time, directly grabbed the book from his hand and put his own in Master Weng’s hand, before starting to read. The old man couldn’t care less whether the Emperor and the Empress were present or not, he just couldn’t wait to read it.
By the time the two old men had finished reading, the Emperor had already begun to drink a second cup of chrysanthemum tea. After finishing, Elder Weng caught his breath and said, “Your Majesty, just what is this?!” Although Master Weng had already heard about it from Jiang Kangchen, seeing these two books still gave him a shock. How could Shao Yunan’s introduction of modern concepts for business and the structure of a foundation not cause shock in ancient times?!
Old General interrupted Master Weng and directly said, “Your Majesty, Empress, I might not understand anything about ‘economy’ and ‘business’, but whatever you want me to do, I will do. It is up to Your Majesty and the Empress to decide. But this relief fund…”
Old General Dai stood up and was about to kneel, making Emperor Yongming hurriedly get up and go over to him, startled. “What is Old General trying to do? You can say what you want sitting down.”
Emperor Yongming and the Empress personally helped General Dai to sit down. After the Emperor and Empress also sat down, General Dai eagerly said, “Your Majesty, Empress, this relief fund must be implemented! If this relief fund exists, the soldiers at the border will have no more worries. Good deeds will only accumulate blessings and virtues!”
Master Weng also followed, “This is for the greater good! Great good! Your Majesty, Empress, I would like to donate 1,000 taels of silver to this relief fund!”
General Dai… “I will also donate one thousand taels!”
Dai Qiyou expected these two people to get this excited, especially his uncle. The dead and disabled soldiers have always been the thing the Old General was most concerned about. This relief fund had also not yet been established, but it had already received a donation of two thousand taels of silver. Dai Qiyou believed that under the leadership of these two respected veterans, the relief fund would at least get a lot of donations from court officials. But…
Dai Qiyou asked eunuch Zhuo Jin to serve tea to the two old men and said, “There is no rush to donate the silver. We must first set up this relief fund and create some detailed regulations. This is also one of the reasons why the Emperor invited you two to the palace. However, the origin of this relief fund is something I should tell you more about.”
“I’m all ears.”
Dai Qiyou nodded towards Zhuo Jin, who immediately opened the box placed next to the phoenix chair, making the two old men puzzled when they saw it filled with gold. Dai Qiyou wistfully said, “There are 3,500 taels of gold here, which was gifted to Young General Dai by Wang Shijing, a villager of Xiushui Village and his male wife Shao Yunan.” Old General Dai’s face changed abruptly and he stood up immediately. “No! This matter must never be done!”
Knowing that his uncle had misunderstood, Dai Qiyou just said, “Uncle, don’t be anxious, I haven’t finished yet. Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan are the people who created the new tea and wine.”
Master Weng was aware of this matter, but Dai Qiyou didn’t tell Old General Dai about it because of his health and to avoid suspicion. He just sent him the new tea and wine, which the Old General liked very much. Old General Dai also didn’t ask any questions about it and just asked for the Empress’ explanation.
“These 3,500 taels of gold were originally the dividends the two of them earned, but Wang Shijing voluntarily gave all of it to Young General Dai. Instead of giving it away, it is better to say that it was to share the Emperor’s worries and do his bit for the court. Wang Shijing was once a centurion under the command of Young General Dai, but after he was wounded, he was allowed to return home.
Wang Shijing said that the Young General was very kind to him and he knew that the court could not pay the soldiers enough money. He was concerned about his fellow soldiers and friends who were still at the border, so he donated this money with the hope that it would provide more food and animal feed, warm clothes, and meat for the soldiers at the border.”
“These gold were brought back by Jiang Kangchen. At the time, Jiang Kangchen was deeply moved and also wanted to donate money. However, if we donate it all to General Dai Zhan, it will definitely cause dissatisfaction among the other generals, but if I donate it to the other generals, I am afraid that the money will end up in someone’s pocket. In this way, Shao Yunan came up with the idea of the relief fund which was later discussed by Elder Cen Yuebai, the county magistrate Jiang Kangning, Elder Cen’s student Kang Rui, and other people to improve it, finally becoming the book you two elders read.”
Elder Weng immediately said, “This old minister already heard from Kangchen about this matter. Its very good! That Wang Shijing deeply remembers the kindness of the young general and was also once a soldier under his command. Now that he has a surplus, he wants to repay the kindness and do something practical for the soldiers at the border. He is really righteous! I am willing to do my best for this relief fund!”
Emperor Yongming sighed. “The court doesn’t have enough money, but if it had more generous people like Wang Shijing, the soldiers at the border wouldn’t be starving. After all, it’s still me, the Emperor, who is incompetent.”
The Empress, Elder Weng, and Old General Dai all become anxious. If they wanted to blame someone, they should blame the old Emperor! Emperor Yongming waved his hand and said, “That Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan are willing to donate so much gold makes me grateful to them. Although they do not want any reward, with their contributions to our Great State of Yan, I will gladly do it.” He looked at the person who was still frowning because of his earlier remark and reached out to hold his hand. “Why, has the Empress thought of how I should reward them?”
Edited by: Jaisland