Chapter 107: Leave or Stay?
Wangye Jing and Wangfei Jing wanted to buy the entire Fan Hua Town because of their daughter, including several mountains surrounding the town. This news was known throughout the town the following day.
“Town Elder, did you say the truth?”
Around ten enraged villagers had come to talk to him. Listening to their Town Elder, everybody was dumbstruck. The first person who could get a hold of himself asked to confirm since he thought he had misunderstood.
“Of course, it’s true. He’s the Wangye of Da Hui Empire. Why would he trick us?” Wang Geng Fa shook the ashes out of his pipe and said solemnly. Actually, yesterday at the Lins’ House, he was astonished for a long time after listening to the Wangye and Wangfei’s proposal. Until his wife furiously pinched his thigh when he got home, he finally got himself together. It’s Fan Hua Town’s fortune, isn’t it? He had a rough night he couldn’t sleep well as he kept thinking it over and over. At dawn, his wife told him, “If it’s a good opportunity, why would you hesitate? You should go and ask around. Who doesn’t agree to it?”
That’s right! He slapped his thigh. He quickly finished his breakfast then came to the village’s ancestral hall, releasing the news that the Wangye from imperial city wanted to buy the entire Fan Hua Town. If someone had any objections, just come and talk to him. But who would agree? So the head of each family was sent to voice their opinions.
“Where does such a good opportunity come? They don’t want our houses or lands and they even give us twenty silvers each? Is that what you call “buying the entire Fan Hua Town?”
“Mhm. Are they really planning to spend a great amount of five hundred silvers just to buy some wasteland and mountains?”
“Yeah, right. Town Elder, you were tricked, weren’t you? It’s easier said than done. When you sign the contract, it would be different. Be careful, don’t get scammed.”
“Yes, yes ah!. Otherwise, who would spend silvers to buy those wasteland and bare mountains as though money is just trash to them? Oh, they said they would pave new streets, construct a school, build flower gardens, etc. Tch, tch, it’s pleasant to the ears. But too good to be true!”
“Elder, I deem that our Fan Hua Town can’t compare to Qing Tian Town with thousands of good paddy fields, or the Luo Shui Town with rich aqua products. We have more wasteland than rice fields, and we got only one narrow river. Who would want to spend a lot of money on us? Just to build more houses?”
Eh? Since when did theTown Elder’s voice become so powerful?
“My daughter doesn’t want to leave Fan Hua Town. That’s why I want to buy the wasteland and mountains around to build a private mansion for the prince’s mansion. Folks, if you have any question or request, just ask now. This Wangye will surely satisfy you.” No one noticed when Jing Wangye, Liang Xuan Jing, and his wangfei, Feng Cai Yun, had come to Fan Hua Town’s ancestral hall. They had heard all the questions and suspicion the villagers had voiced.
Wang Geng Fa stood up and led them into the house. He pulled two benches for them to sit down. The ancestral hall was used to discuss the village’s matters. There was no decoration in this room except for a bā xiān table* and four matching benches.
(八仙桌 bā xiān table – a square table to seat eight people)
“So, His Highness and Her Highness are here to explain your doubt. If you have questions, just ask. We got a good chance today. If you don’t voice your concern today, then tomorrow, Prince Jing’s Mansion will become the owner of this town.” Seeing the two appear, Wang Geng Fa felt calmer. Giving the two guests a smile, he turned around and reminded the bewildered villagers.
“Don’t worry. This Wangye bought this Fan Hua Town just to improve it; to make it better and more convenient. I agree not to interrupt your daily life. If you want to stay, your house and fields are still yours. Other than the one time payment of twenty silvers, Prince Jing’s Mansion will also bear all of your yearly taxes.
“If you want to move out of Fan Hua Town, we will pay you twenty silvers each acre. You should hand over your houses and lands to Prince Jing’s mansion. Of course, you can only sell to Prince Jing’s mansion. If you sneakily sell to someone else, hmph…” After Liang Xuan Jing rose his voice and expressed himself, he turned to look at Feng Cai Yun. Was that sufficient?
He was the imposing Wangye Jing, but he had to calmly negotiate with those villagers. Just that thought had greatly aggrieved him. Feng Cai Yun smiled as she reached out and squeezed his hand, gently appeasing him.
“Wangye, are you really telling the truth!? If we stay here for generations, we don’t need to submit taxes and we will still receive twenty silver?” The bold Fang Da Sheng asked out to make sure.
“True.” Liang Xuan Jing replied without lifting his head.
“Your Highness, we have two acres of houses and four acres of good rice fields. If we move out of Fan Hua Town, will you pay us one hundred and twenty silvers? We can move our furniture with us, too?” The Hua family’s wife happily intervened. Their family had always wanted to move to the city to enjoy the convenient life there. And now, a good chance was right in front of them, of course, they would grab it tight.
“True.” Liang Xuan Jing couldn’t help but roll his eyes. If he had known it earlier, he would have brought the extremely patient Chief Manager, Old An, here. He was the best for this job.
“Could it be that good?”
“Yeah, then should we move out or not?”
“I think it’s better not to move. Twenty silvers aren’t a small number. I’ve never seen so many silvers like that before. Not to mention our taxes will be exempted too…”
“I think so too. Under Wangye Jing, we won’t be afraid of robbers or thieves later.”
“But if we do like the Hua family, we will get more than one hundred silvers…”
“You jealous of them? Then you can move out like them.”
“I’m just casually saying . . .”
“I think it’s not wise to move out. Didn’t you hear the Wangye? He said that he wanted to renovate this place. At that time, perhaps the entire Fan Hua town would become a big garden.”
“Right, right. And, we will have Fan Hua School. My two mischievous kids will have a chance to go to school for a few years…”
“Yes, I also think it’s more profitable if we stay. . .”
The people packed the large hall clamored, exchanging thoughts and plans.
Eventually, the Town Elder noticed Wangye’s face turn darker, understanding his impatient temper. It was easy to read the expressions on Wangye’s face. On the other hand, his Guye, Lin Si Yao was a truly terrifying character. Wang Geng Fa couldn’t see him through at all.
“Alright, alright, you guys should go home and discuss. Come before shēn shí (3pm-5pm), to register at my house. If you don’t register before the end of shēn shí, I’ll mark down you as staying.” Wang Geng Fa knocked his pipe at the edge of the bā xiān table while announcing to the villagers. Immediately, they scattered, returning to their houses to discuss with their wives, husbands, or fathers.
“Ha… Why did Wangye and Wangfei comes here. This kind of weather will change in just a blink. Seems it’s about to snow.” Wang Geng Fa gave a smile, pouring Liang Xuan Jing and Feng Cai Yun two cups of hot tea.
“This ancestral hall should be demolished and rebuilt, it’s in poor condition.”
Liang Xuan Jing observed the place then gave a conclusion. The spacious yard outside was clean and neat. But the interior looked so shabby.
“This place was burned once. We haven’t done any renovation yet. We don’t have much money, and we don’t actually have many chances to gather here.” Wang Geng Fa nodded, explaining to Liang Xuan Jing.
Fan Hua Town didn’t have many households. Moreover, they were all content to their lots, living their peaceful lives. There wouldn’t be serious trouble. At most, it was just some quarrelling between the neighbors due to some old disputes. Matters like these would be settled by inviting him, the Town Elder. When something serious happens, he would summon them to the ancestral hall to talk. However, that kind of thing only occurs a couple of times throughout the last several decades.
“If Your Highness wants to fix the ancestral hall, of course, we are so willing. Haha…” As he was the Town Elder, Wang Geng Fa was definitely happy to sit in the new ancestral hall and talk people out of their disputes.
Early the next morning, Wang Geng Fa came to report to Liang Xuan Jing on villagers’ houses and paddy fields. Yesterday, he and Sun Yu Mao had checked the list thoroughly.
Fan Hua Town had twenty-nine households in total. Three of them had decided to leave. One of them, was not surprisingly, the Hua family, who had aimed high to become residents of a big city. The other two were newly settled in this town last year. They came and lived in this town since their hometown was flooded. And now, as they could exchange their houses and fields for nearly one hundred silvers, they decided to return to their hometown and rebuild their houses there. No matter what, the other generations of their families were there. It would be easier for them to return and take care of their ancestors’ graves during the Qingming Festival.
“We will do like that. When En Zai comes, we will sign the contract and disburse money. We’ll start the construction next spring.” Liang Xuan Jing took a sip of fragrant tea, nodded and talked. They had to wait for Liang En Zai to come here because right now he was the one who kept the seal of Prince Jing’s mansion. It would be safer and simpler to use the name of Prince Jing’s mansion to buy and build the private mansion. The Da Hui Empire’s law allowed the Wangye’s to have some privileges as they could choose one or two places to build their private mansions. Of course, the taxes of the private mansions would be counted altogether with the prince’s mansion. Moreover, the private mansions shouldn’t be bigger than the prince’s mansion. Once the private mansion was built, it became part of the prince’s mansion. To encroach on the private mansion would be the same as encroaching on the prince’s mansion, which was a big crime.
Liang Xuan Jing had never built a private mansion before. Firstly, he didn’t have time to think about that. And secondly, he didn’t have time to take a vacation at his private mansions. But now, he had found his daughter who they thought to be dead, and he had reclaimed his wife’s heart. Moreover, he had lifted the burden of as a Wangye. It was only an empty title now.
In the future, he had plenty of chances to accompany his wife to this town and visit their daughter and their son in-law. If Liang Xuan Jing used his own name to buy Fan Hua Town, that naggy son in-law of his would object, saying he was oppressing others with his name. However, it was hard if he wanted to oppress his son-in-law. His martial arts skills can be considered one of the best in Da Hui Empire. Liang Xuan Jing was confident that Lin Si Yao wasn’t an ordinary man. He was just a dragon sleeping in shallow water*. Thus, he decided to use Prince Jing’s Mansion’s name to buy Fan Hua Town. He wanted to use this method to protect his daughter. That’s how he could get approval from his son in-law. Sighing, Liang Xuan Jing shook his head. For the daughter he had owed sixteen years to, his explosive temper was about to be worn out. Fortunately, the imperial city was far from here. Those wicked-tongued, old friends of his don’t know his current situation. When he returns to the imperial city, he swore to regain his previous demeanor as Wangye. He wouldn’t let them find any excuse to tease and mock him. Especially his Wangfei, who was even more difficult to satisfy than a new bride. He’s at her every beck and call here, but when they go back to their mansion in imperial city, he must make her submit and admit her mistakes. Otherwise, Liang Xuan Jing’s, his face will be forever lost.
*(dragon sleeping in shallow water, 龙困浅滩 – someone who has ability, but won’t show unless necessary)
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