Fierce “Husband” – Chapter 220

“Prosperity brings suffering to the people, downfall brings suffering to the people.”

 “Sir, what are you saying?”

Elder Weng turned around and saw it was his wife. He said: “Nothing, just some thoughts. What brings you here?”

“It’s cold, so I had some mutton soup made and brought it for you.”

“Thank you, my lady.”

Elder Weng sat down behind his desk and took the mutton soup his wife personally brought. It had been many years since Elder Weng could sit down and enjoy a hot bowl of mutton soup on such a snowy day. Lady Weng looked at her husband’s gradually darkening temples with unconcealed joy on her face.

The elixir bestowed by the Emperor had been shared by Elder Weng with his wife. Lady Weng didn’t know how many more years she would live, but she was sure she would see the coming of a prosperous era.

As cold wind blew in, Lady Weng got up to close the window, then sighed: “Who knows when this snow will stop?” She worried about how many people would die in the capital again.

Elder Weng put down his bowl and said: “A good snow promises a bumper harvest. This should be a fruitful year. My lady, this soup is delicious, I’d like another bowl.”

“Sure.”

Seeing her husband enjoying the soup, Lady Weng immediately instructed the maid to fetch another bowl from the kitchen. Looking at his wife’s smooth face, Elder Weng felt less worried. The snow was heavy this year, but the number of people who would freeze or starve to death would be the fewest since the founding of Great State of Yan.

Prosperity brings suffering, but he believed that with the Emperor and that person, the Yan Kingdom would become more prosperous, and the people’s lives would get better.

For the common people at the bottom of Yan Kingdom’s society, natural disasters meant hardship and even death. However, this year, although some still froze to death and some were crushed by snow-collapsed houses, these were negligible compared to the number of survivors. The heavy snow had collapsed their homes, but in the relief centers, they could eat hot porridge, wear clothes, and cover themselves with blankets. Those helping them said that after the snow disaster passed, the government would provide them with new homes and money to resume farming. The disaster-stricken people felt like they were dreaming, but day by day, more people arrived at the relief centers. No one fought over food, and no one bullied them; they seemed to see hope.

In the Disaster Relief Bureau, Young Master Murong was busy organizing the next tasks for his officials and men. Since the snow disaster began, Young master Murong had only been home twice—once during a break for the auction, and once for his father’s wedding. Now, Young master Murong was no longer the chubby man he used to be, he had lost a lot of weight, and his skin had darkened significantly. Those who didn’t know him well would not recognize him as Young master Murong.

Young Master Murong was very busy and tired, but he felt unprecedentedly fulfilled. Since the snow disaster started, with the Loyal and Brave Marquis taking the lead in donating, the Empress’s relief fund providing money, and then Shao Yunan initiating charity performances for disaster relief—even the prostitutes on Red Street joined in to raise funds. After that, everything from silver to bedding, even old clothes, could be donated. Young master Murong, as the chief responsible for this disaster relief, followed Shao Yunan’s disaster relief outline and adjusted it according to the situation. This disaster was severe, but the relief efforts were unprecedented.

With full support from the Loyal and Brave Marquis and his husband, and strong backing from the Emperor and Empress, Young master Murong demonstrated his capability and boldness in this disaster relief effort. But what made him proud wasn’t his performance, it was the fact that he could do such things for his country.

On the streets of the capital, freshly cleared snow was quickly covered again by heavy snowfall, yet there were no homeless disaster victims. Nearly all the houses in the slums had collapsed. Officers and soldiers from the Disaster Relief Bureau were braving the snow to clear the debris, while many former residents waited nearby, hoping to salvage anything usable from their ruined homes. According to Shao Yunan and the Empress’s plan, after the spring thaw, the relief fund would allocate money, and the national treasury would provide additional silver to build resettlement houses for the disaster victims. These houses wouldn’t be large, but they would be built to withstand future disasters. The blueprints for these resettlement houses had already been approved by the Emperor and sent to the Ministry of Works.

This method of disaster relief was unprecedented, and there were officials who opposed it. But when those who opposed and doubted saw the now orderly disaster victims, with no displaced people, no children being sold for food, and no street children, they gradually fell silent.

At Jingyou Palace, Jiang Kangchen was reporting the disaster relief situation to the Empress.

“Your Highness, after this snow disaster, the people are extremely grateful to the ‘Relief Fund.’ They say you are a living Bodhisattva who has come to save them from suffering.”

The Empress smiled faintly: “I am not a living Bodhisattva.”

Jiang Kangchen hesitated and then said: “The people also know that the Loyal and Brave Marquis and Lord Shao are great philanthropists. Many people have set up statues of you, burning incense and praying for you daily. They have also done the same for the Loyal and Brave Marquis and Lord Shao.”

The Empress did not mind his reputation being tied to others, but he said with emotion: “If it weren’t for Yunan suggesting the establishment of the ‘Relief Fund,’ and if he and the Loyal and Brave Marquis hadn’t led the donations, who knows how many people would have died or become homeless in this snow disaster? The Emperor would not have had a peaceful New Year either.”

Jiang Kangchen said: “Lord Shao is a blessing to the Emperor and to you, Your Highness.”

“Indeed.”

Jiang Kangchen kept some details to himself. The monument funded by the Loyal and Brave Marquis’s residence now stood tall outside the Temple of Loyalty. The incense offerings there nearly rivaled those at the Rainforest Temple. Before the snow disaster, it was not the Buddha who brought hope to the suffering people, but the Loyal and Brave Marquis. The monument bore Wang Shijing’s name, and with the ancestors of the Dai family enshrined in the Temple of Loyalty, the grateful and hopeful people who had no place to worship the Loyal and Brave Marquis and his husband now did so at the Temple of Loyalty and in front of the monument.

Shao Yunan knew about this, and he was quite moved. What he had done was normal in his world, but here, it had brought hope to countless people. However, Shao Yunan could only stay at home, unable to go anywhere. He was due to give birth in at most three months, and Wang Shijing was very nervous, even Jiang Moxi visited more frequently.

Dai Zhanxiao had been staying at the Loyal and Brave Marquis’s residence. He had requested twice to return to the border, but Emperor Yongming did not approve. Khan Keqin was still imprisoned in the Dai Temple jail. Emperor Yongming sent a letter to the Huhar Kingdom with a long list of items required for Khan Keqin’s ransom, including five million taels of silver. The Huhar Kingdom did not produce silver, so five million taels was a significant amount for them. The Khan of the Huhar Kingdom replied, asking Emperor Yongming to ensure Khan Keqin’s safety and saying they could not send the ransom until spring due to the approaching winter. However, everyone knew this was just a delaying tactic. In the spring, when the ground thawed, the Huhar Kingdom would launch a major offensive against the Yan Kingdom, using Khan Keqin’s capture as a pretext.

Dai Zhanxiao wanted to return to the Tiger Pass early, but Emperor Yongming kept him back. Dai Zhanxiao was puzzled until his grandfather took him to the secret office at the private affairs bureau. After that, Dai Zhanxiao was in a daze for many days and stopped mentioning returning to the Tiger Pass.

On the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, the snow disaster had passed, and the disaster victims began busying themselves with post-disaster reconstruction and recovery. On that day, the General’s Residence, the Loyal and Brave Marquis’s Residence, and the Cen Residence celebrated a lively Lantern Festival together. On the sixteenth day of the first lunar month, Dai Zhanxiao led the Winged Tiger Army, which had accompanied him to the capital, to escort a batch of important supplies back to the border. Emperor Yongming allocated funds from the national treasury, and the Loyal and Brave Marquis’s Residence generously contributed. The Yunlong Group, in conjunction with the Ministry of War, worked overtime to prepare a batch of special supplies for Dai Zhanxiao to take to the border. After delivering these supplies, Dai Zhanxiao was to return to the capital, hoping to make it back before his brother’s birth.

At Jingyou Palace, Emperor Yongming was contentedly eating freshly cooked instant noodles.

“Cooking the noodles tastes better than just soaking them in hot water. Yes, they must have an egg and sausage. Why didn’t Yunan come up with this delicious thing earlier?”

The Empress was helpless: “Your Majesty, you have already eaten six bowls of instant noodles today.”

“It’s cold. I need to put on some weight to have the strength to fight the Huhar people.”

The Emperor sounded like he was ready to lead the army himself.

The Empress also loved the taste of instant noodles, but he couldn’t indulge too much as a pregnant man.

Holding his waist, the Empress stood up with the help of eunuch Jin, the rich aroma of instant noodles wafting around him. His mind, however, drifted to the border.

When the national treasury is fuller and the ‘Relief Fund’ receives more donations, the soldiers of Yan Kingdom will eat not only instant noodles but also canned food, sausages, and compressed biscuits…

With a gleam in his eye, the Empress asked: “Your Majesty, should we assign some people from the Ministry of War and the Ministry of Works to assist the Loyal and Brave Marquis? We can’t always have the Marquis and his husband figure everything out themselves.”

Emperor Yongming paused.

“Instant noodles are one thing, but how to dehydrate and preserve the flavor packets is another. I heard the Loyal and Brave Marquis and Yunan put a lot of effort and thought into it, even getting brother Moxi to help.”

Emperor Yongming, looking serious, immediately decided: “You are right, I overlooked this. How about you select the personnel? Make sure to choose carefully. Once selected, hand them over to the Loyal and Brave Marquis. As for what to call this office, let Yunan decide. What do you think?”

“Excellent.”

Wang Shijing, who had been looking forward to relaxing at home, suddenly received a secret decree from Emperor Yongming. After receiving the decree, Shao Yunan laughed heartily.

Wang Shijing had planned to do nothing but wait for the birth of their child and stay home to raise the child. Shao Yunan took the decree, glanced at it, and irresponsibly said: “The Emperor has thought it through. Let’s call it the ‘Food Research Institute.’ We can research not only military rations but also civilian food. Hey, Shijing, you’re the director now.”

Wang Shijing’s face darkened. He didn’t want to be a director, he just wanted to be a stay-at-home dad!

Thus, the Great State of Yan famous “Food Research Institute” was born from the Empress’s casual remark. The establishment of the Food Research Institute greatly improved the lives of the border generals. As Great State of Yan national strength gradually increased, the people no longer dreaded conscription, instead, they eagerly volunteered to join the army. Because being a soldier meant good food, good clothing, good benefits, and even if one died in battle, the state would take care of their family, and there were welfare policies for the disabled.

From “History of Yan Kingdom: New Calendar Era”:

In the prosperous era of Emperor Yongming, the Empress loved the people like his own children. Every time the Food Research Institute developed a new product, Emperor Yongming always led by example, testing it himself…

 

Edited by: Jaisland

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