Feng Yu Jiu Tian Volume 16 Chapter 5.4
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Editor : Minak Amie
No wonder back then, when he was by Jun Ting’s side, all the personal guards were surnamed Jun. Most likely, many of them had changed their surnames.
For it to have been a ploy by the Jun Family to obtain all the talented people, holding on to the highest position in Dong Fan’s military. With them gathering more talents, the number of people in the family would inevitably increase.
It was a family with no deep affections for one another that would only use their daughters as a way to attract talented officers. An example would be Jun Ting, who always had on a serious expression. She would randomly whip dozens of people in the middle of the day in order to ease her temper. He finally realized that Jun Ting, from a young age, was deprived of the warmth of a family.
Feng Ming sighed.
Zhuang Pu misunderstood the meaning behind his sigh, thinking Feng Ming was disappointed that Dong Fan had fallen. The Heavens had given up on Dong Fan, leading to the terrible plague that wiped out many of its outstanding military officers. The method of preserving and gaining new high ranking officers had come to naught.
Feng Ming secretly shivered.
The terrible plague had been caused by Rong Tian and him. The number of deaths of Dong Fan’s soldiers was not few. Even now, many people believed that the plague was God’s will. They never would have imagined that such a plague could be controlled by a human being.
Even though they had no other option at that time, a life was still a life. For Feng Ming, this matter had never been something he was proud of. Listening to Zhuang Pu suddenly bring up the subject, he felt guilty, as well as sad. He quickly changed the topic. “Although the Jun Family cherished these talented officers, they still ultimately failed to overcome the concept of a hereditary system. I believe that Rong Tian’s selection method is still more comprehensive. In the future, everyone will understand his painstaking efforts. Come… come, we have spoken a lot. Let’s refresh our throats with some tea.” He drank ceremoniously with his guests.
They all drank the tea and tasted the pastries, continuing their talk afterwards.
Most of Zhuang Pu’s topics revolved around his profession. Feng Ming was quite used to this. Back then, on the Aman River, he had nearly fallen asleep listening to Zhuang Pu talk about military tactics. However, he did not expect Wu Qian, as a member of royalty, to be interested in military affairs. Gaining victory in wars wasn’t the only thing he paid attention to, either.
What surprised Feng Ming was that Wu Qian constantly expressed his sympathy for the tragic conditions of ordinary soldiers. “When considering things such as body armour,” Wu Qian said, “the majority of soldiers who fight in the forefront of battles usually do not have any to protect themselves, making them prone to casualties. Whereas generals, who are surrounded by numerous guards and are far away from the battlefront, are allowed to wear armour.”
Feng Ming was surprised.
When he arrived at this era, he had always been provided with the best clothing, and there were servants around to wait on him. He also had many guards surrounding him. Rong Tian had always feared that he would meet with an accident and could not wait to wrap him inside 3 layers of protection. While still in Xi Lei’s palace, Rong Tian had sent him a numerous amount of beautiful body armour, every piece being very well made. Even Qiu Lan had personally helped him sew a few sets of leather armour.
Why? Don’t tell me that because they want to show off their greatness, they would be willing to risk their soldier’s lived and let them be slaughtered by arrows raining down on them. While wearing no armour?
He had always been in contact with people who held high ranking positions in the army. Someone like Rong Hu, who, while in front of Rong Tian was merely a small attendant, was perhaps of high importance to others. Mian Ya, who was an imperial bodyguard, definitely had his own set of armour.
Thinking up to there, Feng Ming suddenly realized that his life and those of ordinary commoners was too far apart. There was very little chance of coming in contact with one another.
It appeared that the Xiao Family’s men also wore no armour.
He turned his head to look at Luo Yun.
Understanding what he was thinking, Luo Yun coldly said, “Our Xiao Family, up to now, has never used such things. How would we work if we wore them?” A trace of pride was laced in this tone.
Feng Ming also thought it was ridiculous. The Xiao Family had a lot of money, so of course they could afford armour. However, for an assassin to wear heavy armour and a helmet to kill… wouldn’t they become a joke?
It seemed like he could only ask Rong Hu.
So he turned his gaze towards the other man.
With a serious countenance, Rong Hu said, “It is indeed like this. It is not possible to allocate armour to ordinary soldiers. High ranking officers, of course, want to take care of their soldiers and decrease any harm done to them, but there simply is no solution. Manufacturing armour requires materials and manpower. Both are extremely expensive. A kingdom’s army is tremendous in size and most of the expenditures go towards grains and food. They cannot be used to buy armour. The only ones able to possess good armour are high ranking officers. At the time His Majesty ascended to the throne, he had passed down an imperial decree that used a lot of tax money to add more armour. Therefore, allowing even lower ranked military officers to own armour. Some kingdoms are so poor that their low ranking officers simply do not have the opportunity to wear any.”
Feng Ming sighed in silence.
He had just recently praised all the good things about this era and how beautiful it was. But he had suddenly realized that such a privilege was based on a system of hierarchy. Only a select amount of powerful officials could enjoy these, so-called, benefits. Ordinary commoners already found it hard to survive, yet they are even recruited to serve as soldiers for the kingdom. They are people that should be cherished but are, instead, treated as worthless. Even important soldiers are treated harshly, let alone commoners who work in the fields.
Feng Ming stole a glance at Wu Qian and thought to himself. Rong Hu had said that Wu Qian’s mother was of humble origins. It appears that the information he received was correct. Probably because of his mother’s background, Wu Qian, compared to other royals, was closer to ordinary commoners. He seemed more human. It was a pity that his influence in the royal family was not heavy, otherwise, Tong’s commoners would have been able to enjoy better days. Alas… if only the person in power was changed to him, rather than that unreasonable Qing Li, then everything would be great…
Thinking up to there, his high opinion of Wu Qian had increased.
Feng Ming lowered his head and said, “The problem with armour involves thousands of soldiers’ lives. Is there really no way to improve this situation?”
Zhuang Pu sighed loudly. “If there was one, we would have already implemented it. Which general is not afraid of losing a large number of soldiers? If there were no soldiers, who would fight the wars? However, purchasing a large amount of armour is too expensive. Who would be willing to spend so much money? If all of Tong’s officials thought like Wu Qian, then things would be great. Half of the items in his official residence have already been sold. Even the stipends provided to royalty have been used by him to purchase armour for ordinary soldiers.”
Feng Ming looked at Wu Qian in shock.
Wu Qian smiled wanly and said, “Because of this, I have already been deemed as a fool within the royal family’s circles. However, I fear that even if I sell off all of my possessions, it will not be very useful. This amount of money is not even enough to provide for a group of soldiers.”
Zhuang Pu’s relationship with him was most likely very good, because he began comforting him. “What you have done is already considered really good. Let alone you, even the king cannot provide all the soldiers with armour. Look at all 11 kingdoms, which one of them can say that all their soldiers are fully equipped? If any kingdom could do that, then its strength would, absolutely, be enough to unify the world.”
Feng Ming’s heart suddenly jumped.
Seeing his expression, Zhuang Pu thought he was surprised due to Wu Qian’s deeds. In a deep voice, he said, “Young Lord, please do not mind. There is a reason why Wu Qian’s temperament is like this. His maternal grandfather and several of his uncles were former soldiers of Tong. All of them died on the battlefield. After news of his last uncle’s death arrived from the frontline, his mother broke apart upon reading the letter. That is why…” A heavy sigh followed after.
Wu Qian smiled miserably and spoke, “Why did you mention such a thing? When it comes to royals and commoners, why is there a need to divide them between who is inferior and superior? My mother waited upon the king and became pregnant. She then gave birth to me. Others saw it as her fortune, but her status in the palace was still the same as before. Because of her humble origin, she had always suffered from the insults and humiliation of the other imperial concubines. She never felt happiness, even up till the day she died.” His gaze turned towards Feng Ming and he gently said, “This matter has lingered in my mind for many years. That is why, when I heard Young Lord’s speech last night, it stirred so many emotions within me.”
ED Note: That scene at the banquet felt like so long ago, but not even a whole day has passed for Feng Ming. I want He Di to come back… Also, it’s amazing how Feng Ming somehow still gets kidnapped even after all that protection from Rong Tian. It’s simply a miracle.