Chapter 194: Transaction
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
After half a day, Liu Ting and his men finished building the remaining parts of the straw hut. The roof was covered with thick thatch. Liu Yuan patted the dry and thick thatch and said to Mu Shi, “As long as there isn’t a heavy rain, there won’t be any problems with the roof.” With that said, he looked up at the scorching sun in the sky. Wiping his sweat, he sighed. “I would rather it rain heavily, though. Look, the river water is about to dry up.”
Mu Shi turned to look at the river at the side. The water level in the river had decreased drastically, revealing the stones in the river. Mu Shi stood in the deepest part of the water, and the water only reached his waist. There was only a foot of water left in the dug canal. Now, the water in the river could no longer flow into the canal.
Now that sunlight was sufficient, the wheat and rice were growing quickly. The wheat would enter the filling stages after another two days of irrigation.
With so many wheat fields, this bit of river water was definitely not enough to water them. A fight for water was inevitable.
At the thought that he was leaving the day after tomorrow, Mu Shi couldn’t help but frown. He went back to discuss it with his daughter. “Since I’m leaving the day after tomorrow, why don’t our family start fetching water to water the fields tonight?”
“Aren’t you waiting for news from the military camp?” Mu Yangling said, “Didn’t they say that Little General might open a reservoir to release water?”
“Even then, we still have to snatch it. While I’m still at home, I can protect you a little. Tonight, we’ll water the rice field first. Tomorrow, we’ll water the wheat field.”
Since Mu Shi had made up his mind, Mu Yangling naturally listened to him.
At the same time, Qi Ilaoran was also telling Fan Zijin about the irrigation. “Irrigation is a big deal this time. 1 think we should give the entire army three days off and let them go back.”
Fan Zijin looked at him with raised eyebrows. Sighing, Qi Haoran said, “I have no choice. Big Brother sent me a message. He said that out of the five divisions, only ours is in a slightly better situation. The other divisions didn’t even manage to get much from the tiller stage, much less reach the filler stage. This year’s rations mainly have to come from our camp.”
If Qi Xiuyuan wasn’t his big brother, Qi Haoran would have cursed his mother. But since they were biological brothers, cursing Qi Xiuyuan’s mother would mean cursing his own mother. Since he came here mainly to help his big brother, he could only bear this burden.
“The assistant commanders of the 3rd and 4th Division are here to borrow water again,” Fan Zijin said.
Qi Haoran pursed his lips and said, “Ask them to exchange weapons for it. 1 don’t want much, just 100 long sabers, 100 spears, and five horses. Let them have all the water in Reservoir No. 1 in exchange.”
Fan Zijin asked, “In total?”
Qi Haoran looked at him disdainfully. “How can that be? Of course that quantity is for each camp. Considering Reservoir No. 1 is so big, I’m already suffering a loss by only exchanging it for 200 long sabers, 200 spears, and 10 horses.”
Fan Zijin patted him on the shoulder. “Not bad, not bad. Since you think you’re suffering a loss, I’ll raise the price for you. If you propose this much from the onset, they’ll definitely try to bargain down the amount.”
“Then I’ll leave this matter to you.” Qi Haoran wanted to wash his hands off of the matter.
Fan Zijin turned around and proposed they each give 500 long sabers, 500 spears, and 10 horses each. The assistant commanders of the 3rd and 4th Division almost vomited blood.
It was not easy to get rations, but it was also not easy to get weapons. The general had given them a fixed number of things. In this aspect, they could not compare to the 1st Division and the 2nd Battalion. Every time good things came down from above, the 1st Division and the 2nd Battalion would have their pick first before it was their turn. As such, there was only so much that they had. Fan Zijin was really daring to ask for so much.
However, they did not have the confidence to turn around and leave.
Previously, the 3rd and 4th Divisions did not have any water conservancy measures, and their crops weren’t growing as well as the 5th Division’s. Now, the tilling of the wheat fields was only about 50% successful. If they did not ensure the filler stage went well, they might have to starve when it came time to harvest next autumn.
The general had scolded them two days ago, saying that they were inferior to Qi Haoran.
Qi Haoran, a child in his teens, was actually faring better than them. Although the two of them were aggrieved, they had to admit it.
There was definitely not enough water in the river, and only Qi Haoran had repaired the water conservancy facilities in the surrounding villages. Now, not only were they envious of the water in Qi Haoran’s three large reservoirs, but the local squires also wished they could come up and suck up to Qi Haoran. The two assistant commanders did not dare to be negligent now.
In the end, after a painstaking negotiation, the two assistant commanders managed to lower the price to 230 long sabers, 230 spears, and five horses per camp.
The two camps divided the water in Reservoir No. 1 equally.
Enlightened, Fan Zijin said to Qi Haoran, “1 think the grains you owe the Sun and Zhao families can be offset by this. Aren’t they worried about not having enough water to water their fields? Why don’t you offer them the water from Reservoir No. 2?”
Qi Haoran frowned. “No, 1 have to ensure my production first.”
“Are you afraid that you won’t be able to get water when you have so many soldiers? Won’t you be able to get water if you assign your men to Jialing Lake and dig a big hole before blocking the river downstream?”
If Mu Yangling was here, she would definitely scold Fan Zijin for being immoral.
Though tempted, Qi Haoran shook his head and said, “No, that Song Zhi will eat me alive. Moreover, this will also cause trouble for Big Brother. We won’t do that sort of immoral thing.”
“Then do you think you can return the grains after the autumn harvest? Eldest Cousin wants so much rations that I’m sure you’ll have nothing left. How are you going to return them?”
Qi Haoran tugged at his hair and said shamelessly, “What can they do if I refuse to repay them this year and choose to repay them next year instead?”
Fan Zijin:”…” He admitted defeat at the shamelessness.
Having made up his mind, Qi Haoran gave all the soldiers a break that same day. The next day, Reservoir No. 2 was opened. All the military households of the 5th Division could go to the reservoir to fetch water and water their fields. No fights were allowed.
That afternoon, Mu Shi had already picked up a bucket and started to irrigate water into the paddy field with his daughter and the others.
The reservoir was a certain distance away from their land. Since there was still water in the river, no one went to the reservoir. However, on the third day, only muddy water remained in the river. When one lowered a bucket into the river, half of it would be filled with mud.
Mu Yangling and the others had witnessed three bloody fights in the fight for water. At this moment, Mu Shi had already left for two days.
Madam Ma-Liu slumped on the ground and said, “Ah Ling, we have to go to the reservoir to fetch water too.”
Mu Yangling was using wooden planks to surround the cart. When she heard this, she said, “Great-aunt, don’t go to the reservoir. I’ll go look for Uncle and the others and go with them. You go to the fields with my mother. 1’11 transport the water back for you to irrigate the fields.”
“How will that do? This cart can hold nine buckets of water. It’ll take several trips back and forth. Anyway, since we still have buckets at home, why don’t I fetch another load?”
“No, it’s very chaotic over at the reservoir. If anyone accidentally bumps into you, what will happen to our family? Just obediently bring my mother to the fields. Otherwise, I’ll have to take the time to protect you.”
Before Great-aunt could make up her mind, Liu Ting’s voice sounded from outside. “Ah Ling, are you done?”
Liu Ting and Liu Yuan came over with a few cousins. Like Mu Yangling, they were all pushing carts. When Mu Yangling saw that her aunts were also carrying buckets, she asked, “Why are Aunt and the rest going too?”
Liu Ting smiled and said, “Your aunts are very impressive and certainly not inferior to us. Let’s go quickly while it’s still early and there aren’t many people.”
Mu Yangling waved goodbye to her family and pushed the cart away. Madam Ma-Liu wanted to chase after her, but Shu Wanniang stopped her and said, “Aunt, let’s not cause trouble. Let’s just wait in the field like Ah Ling said.”
Madam Ma-Liu glared at her. “You’re really broad-minded as a mother.” Smiling, Shu Wanniang said, “Don’t I have to be? When All Ling was only four years old, she told me seriously that one had to learn to weigh the pros and cons. After so many years, I’m already used to it. If it’s beneficial for All Ling for me to follow her, I’ll follow even if she stops me. But if it’s harmful to her, even if someone forces me with a knife to follow her, I can’t cause trouble for her..”