Chapter 40: Third World (12)
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After unraveling his heart knot, Zhou Mo’s mood finally passed through the rain and sunshine, and the atmosphere in the court also eased down, making Bai Duan misty again and harvesting the grateful eyes of many colleagues — among them, there were a few people who showed sympathy, as if Bai Duan was a hero who fed tigers.
But all the former officials who survived the screening from Zhou Mo were people with many eyes and good observation. The emperor of the former dynasty was dull and indulgent in enjoyment, and for some time, he liked the opera organized by children and was spoiled by good-looking women and beautiful eunuchs. Fortunately, the emperor’s wives were not ordinary and very skilled, which led him back to the right path.
For men in love, these knowledgeable officials were not surprised, and since they were very good at observing, they had long seen the Regent Zhou Mo’s unusual care for Bai Duan, and now the two made such a scene. Everyone thought that they had done it on purpose.
In this way, coupled with the new officials who followed Zhou Mo to fight the world and knew about them for a long time, most of the people in the court understood the peach-colored relationship between the Regent and Bai Duan. Even the little emperor listened to several others. As a very precocious child growing up in the Royal family, he also appreciated the Regent’s emotional life.
For such a development, everyone maintained a well-known but secretive attitude. In this age of ‘three unfilial piety and three great successors’, it was impossible for them to publicly support Zhou Mo and Bai Duan’s deviant treason of ‘cutting out children and being the dying grandchildren’. Therefore, such tacit attitude was the greatest recognition.
Most of the people around and under Zhou Mo were civilians who suffered from hardship. Marrying a wife and having children must be put after preserving themselves. Therefore, they did not attach much importance to the future generations. They were deeply impressed by Zhou Mo’s kindness and righteousness, admired him to the utmost, and had long been accustomed to obeying his orders. They believed in all the choices Zhou Mo made. As long as Zhou Mo felt happy, they would not make a fuss. Moreover, Mr. Bai was also a high man. He was able to produce the weapons that led them to victory. In the eyes of many soldiers, Bai Duan was like a fairy that fell down to earth, but also matched Zhou Mo very well.
As for those royal families and old ministers who still believed in the former dynasty, they were more pleased with it. They had feared that the Regent would become bigger, control the Dynasty and override the imperial power. Now Zhou Mo liked a man and had lost his descendants. Even if he held a high position of power, it was impossible for his descendants to continue his work. Once he was old and dead, the power of the Regent would naturally collapse and the imperial power would stabilize.
It could be said that Zhou Mo’s love with that man just solved their most worrying problem. How could they not like Bai Duan and wish Zhou Mo and him last for a long time? Even the little emperor was relieved. He became closer to Zhou Mo, and his previous fear of being a puppet emperor for a lifetime dissipated most of his sense of rejection. Even if Zhou Mo was unwilling to relinquish power, he could always put his opponent to death…
Because his original wish was to protect the Liang people, Zhou Mo took a lot of pains in choosing this child to inherit the throne. First of all, the child should be young, or he would soon grow up to be a pro-government man after learning the way of emperor, which would affect Zhou Mo’s ‘quality of life’. Secondly, the child should not be too silly, cowardly and unable to support the empire. After all, Zhou Mo had to expect him to be a good emperor and continue to let the people live in peace. Zhou Mo did not ask for Liang, but he could not have the whole Liang suddenly collapse, right? This would affect his evaluation of accomplishing the task.
So, choosing by all means, Zhou Mo finally pulled the present little emperor out of the many descendants of the Liang royal family and promoted him to the throne. The little emperor was young, intelligent, steady, tolerant, and had no bad personality or hobbies. If he was properly taught for a period of time, he should be a good emperor, at least to be more than enough. And when the little emperor can take charge of his own affairs, Zhou Mo can return to the government in his puzzled years, and then support him for a period of time. When he was in his fifties, he would basically retire completely and enjoy himself at ease with Bai Duan.
Ancient people have a relatively short life span. Seventy or eighty years old was already a high life span. In addition, when they were young, they had either been banished or allocated to the army, and were wounded in battle. Their body wastage was relatively serious, so they would probably lose their life span. In this way, the time he spent with Bai Duan in this life would not be long enough — I really don’t want to waste all the good time on the official duties of the court…
With such a melancholic mood, Zhou Mo returned home and fell down on the bed with Bai Duan. He took advantage of his youthful strength and best physical strength to make a solid wave.
Bai Duan, who was lying on the bed moved by the waves, was confused and did not understand what stimulation the snake had received.
In a word, as their feelings became closer and closer, Zhou Mo no longer concealed his feelings for Bai Duan in front of outsiders. After a period of the unsuitable stage and discovering that people were not surprised at their intimate behavior, Zhou Mo became accustomed to this kind of behavior of wanting to show love all the time. Sometimes, even unconsciously, people around them felt blinded — but they dared not complain at all because of the Regent’s dignity.
If they were willing to show kindness and love, what else could they do? Anyway, with every successful show of love, the Regent would be in a very good mood, and they could follow the glory. So they would just pretend to close their eyes and keep smiling…
Under the careful instruction and undisguised eccentric promotion of the motherland, the official road for Bai Duan was also smooth sailing. Soon, an ordinary ministry official stepped into the position of the Ministry of Industry to publish books. The speed of his promotion made people startled and jealous.
Of course, the officials who were trampled over by Bai Duan for promotion would not be able to sneer at him privately because they held the regent’s thigh and climbed the high branch, but soon these rumors disappeared — because Bai Duan really made good achievements in this position. People thought that Bai Duan was only good at designing weapons, but he was originally a poor peasant. Instead of military warfare, he knew more about people’s livelihood and what people needed.
Having mastered the power of the Ministry of Industry and receiving the strong support of Zhou Mo, Bai Duan soon carried out a series of reforms, designed many tools to facilitate people’s work and production, and greatly improved the efficiency of labor.
Bai Duan was responsible for the design and manufacture, while Zhou Mo was responsible for promoting these new instruments and teaching the people how to use them. Fortunately, after copying a large number of former dynasty officials’ home, the National Treasury was not too tight, so that the people could improve their efficiency and recuperation, which was the most important task of the Court Affairs at this moment.
Everyone was very confident in Zhou Mo. They had heard of Bai Duan’s brilliant hands earlier, and were naturally encouraged by the news. Anyway, the first tools were distributed free of charge by the court, and they did not need to spend money.
After experimenting with the advantages of the new tools, many people followed suit, and after deliberations between Zhou Mo and Bai Duan, the methods of making these tools were also made public, allowing the people to make them themselves, and further expanding the influence and dissemination scope of these tools.
With new tools of labor, production efficiency greatly improved. In addition to a series of policies of recuperation and reward for farming promulgation, social order, which had been on the verge of collapse due to years of war, had been rapidly rebuilt. Even many mountain thieves and vagrants who had been forced to forcibly fall into the invaders had been pardoned by the court and returned home. They put down their butcher knives and picked up their farm tools again. If they lived a prosperous and healthy life, who would like to go to those days when the knife’s edge licked blood and was precarious?
As for those who had been robbed of their nature and were unwilling to continue their work, Zhou Mo did not tolerate it. As soon as he received the news, he immediately sent troops to suppress them. How could those thieves and bandits follow Zhou Mo’s opponents in the battle against the world’s elite generals? Soon they disappeared and did not dare to make waves again.
Within a few years, the prosperity of Liang improved. The whole country was thriving and vigorous. Most of the people had surplus food and money. The tax revenue of the imperial court survived the most difficult situation of insufficient income. Finally, before the National Treasury was depleted again, it began expanding.
Subsequently, Zhou Mo and Bai Duan began to build water conservancy projects and expanded roads, on the one hand, to prevent droughts and floods, on the other hand, they gradually encouraged the development of commerce, and everything worked smoothly.
After another autumn harvest, Liang Empire was plentiful, and the Northern Hu people who had been beaten up by Zhou Mo, far away from the Liang border, after this period of revision, gathered enough troops and horses and began to look at Liang Empire covetously.
The people of Northern Hu originally thought that after the civil strife, the Liang Dynasty lost their troops and generals, and the National Treasury was empty. At least it took more than ten years to recover its vitality. However, Zhou Mo had been paying attention to the Northern Hu for a long time. When the other side changed slightly, he immediately pillowed on the other side.
The Northern Hu people were nomadic people and their residence was uncertain, so the news was not very clear. They only knew about the civil strife in Liang. Finally, Zhou Mo led the Rebel Army to invade the capital of Liang Dynasty and won. In this regard, they also quite disapproved that Liang’s officers and soldiers were too weak to fight even the civilian population.
The only thing they feared was Zhou Mo, who was rumored to be in power again. However, Zhou Mo, who was already a Regent and had a high position of power, would probably not go to the front and kill the enemy as before. After all, different identities and different things needed to be done. At this moment, Zhou Mo was not only the commander-in-chief of the army, but also more in control of the trend of the Liang Dynasty. He was called Regent and the Emperor’s man. But it was a very important thing to ‘resist driving and conscription’.
The Northern Hu people did not expect to be wrong. This time, Zhou Mo did not go to battle again, but this did not mean that the Liang Dynasty was weak and deceptive. Because Bai Duan’s war machines, which had once made the Imperial officers and soldiers afraid of the wind on the battlefield, were once again transported to the front line. Even Bai Duan had always been thinking of the Northern Hu people who had been the cause of his father’s death. He also designed several weapons according to the weaknesses of the nomadic cavalry, so that Northern Hu could enter again and invade at this moment.
Thus, when the Northern Hu people learned that the commander-in-chief of Liang was not Zhou Mo, it made them full with confidence, but they did not get any benefit, and even the border line did not only fail in invading, they were completely blocked by the Liang who had been prepared for it.
Those strange instruments they had never seen before gave the Northern Hu people a fierce headache. The Northern Hu people were careless and were turned upside down. Under the continuous defeat in battle, the army was in great disorder and had to flee in a hurry. Liang took advantage of the victory and directly attacked the hinterland of the grassland.
After this battle, the Northern Hu people finally realized that the beam was no longer the one they could invade and plunder at will. They did not admit that their army was weaker than the Liang Army, but had to bow to the odd ordnance, and finally realized the importance of science and technology.
Because of the different attitudes towards the Liang Dynasty, there were differences among the originally united Northern Hu tribes. The main warfare, the main warlord and the neutral faction were all at odds. Zhou Mo took the opportunity to send envoys to attract those tribes who tended to attach themselves to the Liang Dynasty, hoping to develop trade and learn advanced science and technology with the help of Liang. They further grasped the grassland’s trend and temporarily solved the northern frontier trouble. As for whether to fight or not for the Northern Hu people, they wanted to wait for the little emperor to decide for himself. Anyway, the current beam was not suitable for fighting again, and Zhou Mo was not bothered to spend more time on it.
After all, he had his little beauty now!