My Father in Law is Lu Bu Chapter 373-374
At Shouchun, with Lu Bu and Zhang Liao as the witnesses, Zhang Lei finally paid respect to Liu Mang as his foster father. Many ceremonious clothing was made according to the standard. Although everyone was busy, this had also swept away the shadows of war.
Lu Bu could not help but make a strange expression as he watched Liu Mang receive his foster son. Lu Bu had two foster fathers, Ding Yuan and Dong Zhuo. However, both of them did not meet a good end. Both of them had been killed by Lu Bu, giving him the reputation of a foster father killer. He noted the irony of how his son-in-law is now becoming the foster fathers of others.
The ceremony was complicated as this was still in ancient times. It could not be simplified or avoided like how Liu Mang preferred it to be. Once all the preparations were finished, Zhang Lei knelt down in front of Liu Mang, called him foster father and served him tea. One of the changes to being a foster son is the change in name. One example was Liu Bei’s own foster son, Liu Feng. This man was not really a Liu. However, Liu Bei was already at the age of forty and he still did not have a son. Most people would already have a few children at that age and on top of that, their children would already be assuming responsibility in something.
Yuan Shao and Cao Cao already have children that were above twenty years old. Cao Cao’s son Cao Ang was killed. Lu Bu married his daughter away. Meanwhile, Liu Bei still has no children. He was worried to be without heir which is why he got himself a foster son.
The people during ancient times were different from modern people. They placed a lot of importance in surnames. Changing ones surname is the same as changing families and they would not be buried together. If Zhang Lei truly accepted being a foster son, his name would change to Liu Lei. However, Liu Mang allowed Zhang Lei to remain a Zhang. This would make Zhang Lei fall under the other type of foster son that does not have inheritance rights like Lu Bu to Ding Yuan and Dong Zhuo. If Lu Bu had inheritance rights, why would he kill those two? After all, they do not have children of their own.
One of the reasons Liu Mang let Zhang Lei remain a Zhang was because he was the only descendant left. Although Zhang Xiu had been Liu Mang’s enemy, he was not able to end their family tree.
The second reason was because Zhang Lei still had his uses. At that moment, he could be used to pacify the Xiliang Cavalry. After all, the Zhang Family still had prestige amongst the Xiliang Cavalry. They would then also be able to use Zhang Xiu as an excuse to start a war against Nanyang and Jingzhou. The people would approve of Zhang Xiu’s son avenging Zhang Xiu.
After everything was settled, Liu Mang gave Zhang Lei the ‘Analects of Confucius’ and a sword. The sword was also something brought from the future and was made with titanium alloy. The material used was as strong as the Aries God Cloth. Liu Mang gave these two different things so that Zhang Lei could eventually do both. Liu Mang’s high expectations for Zhang Lei who used to be his enemy’s son, made his reputation reach new heights. Ge Jun and Zhang Hu knelt down shedding tears. They could be considered to have been converted.
After a few days, Lu Bu took his Wolf Cavalry along with Gao Shun’s Formation Breaker and left Shouchun as he still had things to do at Lujiang. As Jiangdong and Jingzhou were busy at war, it is unlikely for them to provoke an attack. That was why Lu Bu took a few days before leaving. Meanwhile, a dozen ships had been given to Gan Ning who took his men across the Hongze Lake and eventually returned to the naval stronghold. Only two thousand navy soldiers were left behind. These people were needed by Liu Mang to test out the new ships and to train an ocean navy. There would be stronger winds at the ocean which meant that more preparations was needed.
All that was left at Shouchun was the Urban Army, the Black Flag Army, the White Horses and the Xiliang Cavalry. All of them were elites but the White Horses still needed to be established while the Xiliang Cavalry was being trained by Zhang Liao. All that was left was the Yiyang Troops that was starting to be made and was returning to Shouchun. However, Liu Mang had them wait at Guangzhou while obeying Hao Shao.
When it came to discussing official matters, the officials all gathered and sat at their seats.
Sitting at the front was the Military Advisor of Yangzhou, Xu Shu, followed by Liu Ye. Sitting at the back was the new addition, Jia Xu. Although Jia Xu was not inferior to the other two, he knew that he had to settle for third place as he only just joined. Besides that, Jia Xu knows that the two men in front of him did not like him. Jia Xu would only be inviting trouble to himself if he went and fought with the other two for sitting positions. With no contributions or anything, the third seat was already good enough. Yang Hong could have sat in front of Xu Shu but he went to Lujiang to bring Liu Mang’s wives over.
Jia Xu was also indifferent. He was not like Sun Qian and Pang Tong. In his opinion, gold always shines1.
Amongst the military generals, Zhang Liao sat in front as he was the veteran that followed Lu Bu for a long time. Even if this was not so, Liu Mang would have placed Zhang Liao in front because Zhang Liao was a great general with multiple talents.
After Zhang Liao, it was Cheng Yu, Xu Sheng, and then Zhao Yun. These were the main Generals of the army. They were then followed by the Deputy Generals, Wang Wei and Huang Xu. As for Huang Zhong, the man did not take a seat but instead stood behind Liu Mang.
“Is everyone here?” Liu Mang looked at his officials. Almost everyone was present except for those like Wei Yan and Hao Shao. Even Ge Jun and Zhang Hu was present.
“Milord. We are all here!” Xu Shu said. As a civil officer, he was the one managing the people in the army.
“Alright. Let us begin!” Liu Mang also decided to start the council. They needed to discuss about the direction they needed to take in the future. Although they have managed to chase away Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu’s armies and survived their stratagem, Liu Mang and the others have also suffered heavy losses.
“Yuanzhi. Have you dealt with the family register?”
“Milord. Using your methods, the family register have already been completed. Only the ones at Guangzhou, Hefei and Lujiang is still in progress!” Xu Shu gave Liu Mang some documents as he spoke. On these documents was the family registry and the number of citizens. Even a modern person would have been amazed if they could see this as it was easy to comprehend. After all, it was written in Arabic numbers. The reason why it had been so troublesome for the ancient people was because their calculation methods were more troublesome. It was still alright up until ten but problems appear it comes to much larger figures. Even simple things like the amount of provisions and troops they have, would need an entire morning to count. What was known as Han Xin’s troop counting method simply relies on a person’s own ability. Liu Mang found this complicated and taught Arabic numbers.
Xu Shu who obtained this new method immediately worked with new efficiency. In Shouchun, there were almost two hundred and forty thousand households. Each household would have about four to six people. The total population was about 1.12 million. By estimate, there would only be a few tens of thousands of people at Guangzhou and Hefei as most of the people were at Shouchun.
1.12 million is not a small number. A great man once said that a million small problems would be a very big problem. Liu Mang had been considering the provision problems in the city. Even if one person eats a catty worth of food a day, there would still be a million catty used up at the end of the day. As they had already sent people out to buy provisions, what they needed now was residence.
“Milord! The first batch of cement houses have already been occupied by the people.” Xu Shu reported. These were the buildings that began construction before Liu Mang left Shouchun. During that time, Liu Mang split up the population to about ten thousand men and sent them to search for lime to make cement.
“How is the quality of the buildings?” Liu Mang asked. The people during those times mostly lived in short wooden houses. Once a building caught fire, it would easily spread to the whole city. This was why fire was extremely dreadful. Using cement would make the building more resistant to fire. Cement buildings were also drier than wood, making it more comfortable than the damp building in the long run.
“It is strong and firm!” Xu Shu replied. He found the cement extremely useful. Normally, they would need a lot of wood for a building. The entire process of cutting down the trees to the finishing touches of the building would usually take several months at best. Yet, only half a month was needed for the cement and on top of that, it was of better quality than a wooden building.
“Good. That is good! Now, a hundred thousand people would have a place to settle down!” Liu Mang nodded. Cement buildings were not only economically better but also brought benefits to the future expansion Liu Mang was planning to do. One of the reasons was that the wooden buildings could not be as orderly built as cement buildings.
“Haha. Milord. This is not only a hundred thousand people but four hundred thousand people that now has a place to live!” Xu Shu shook his head and laughed.
“Four hundred thousand?” Liu Mang was stunned. Liu Mang had only ordered for thirty thousand buildings to be constructed with three to four people occupying each building. This is because he did not know how firm the building would be.
From Xu Shu’s explanations, Liu Mang realized that he had underestimated the ancient people’s capability to endure hardships. Ten people simply squeezed into the building that was fifty square feet wide. To them, it was good enough as long as the building could shield them from the wind and rain.
“Quickly get the second batch of buildings done. We cannot let the people sleep outdoors or in tents anymore!” There were still a lot of people sleeping in tents as there were plenty of rundown buildings in Shouchun.
“Milord. Building houses is easy but we need more cement!”
- Basically, Jia Xu doesn’t care even if he sits at the back because he knows he is talented enough for a good Lord to take note of him. This is unlike Sun Qian and Pang Tong who is more interested in one upping each other.
Xu Shu explained that the lime needed to be processed before it could become cement. However, the industrial zone have not been set up yet.
“Ziyang. I will leave the repairs of the industrial zone to you!” Liu Mang said to Liu Ye. Liu Ye was not any worse than Xu Shu. The two of them simply had different strengths. Liu Ye was better at organizing while Xu Shu was better at internal affairs. Because of this, Xu Shu was the commander for the overall situation while Liu Ye was in charge of the industrial zone. “Ziyang. You can take all the money required for the industrial zone from Yuanzhi.” Shouchun still had a lot of money left behind by his other father-in-law, Yuan Shu. Money was not a problem.
“Understood!” Liu Ye cupped his fist and replied.
“Milord. There are millions of people in the city. Although we have enough provisions to feed them, this would not always be the case.” Most of the problems in Shouchun such as food and housing had already been solved. However, the people had nothing to do. The lands also remained unused as it was not farming season. The idling citizens would eventually cause problems in the future. The rulers in ancient times set high taxes for two reasons. One is to have more provisions for war. The other was to keep the people busy.
“I was just about to discuss this with Yuanzhi and the others!” Liu Mang nodded. The people now have land as they had registered themselves. However, they could not cultivate the land because the season was wrong. They were like unemployed people. Almost ninety percent of the population aside from soldiers were unemployed. If would be strange to not do anything about it.
“Yuanzhi. Amongst the millions of people, there are seven hundred thousand strong people. Pick out three hundred thousand. I will have them form an army!” Amongst the seven hundred thousand people, two hundred thousand were women while the rest would be between fifteen to forty years old. After all, the weak would not travel long distances and even if they do, they would perish along the way.
Liu Mang’s words stunned everyone. Three hundred thousand men were too many people. Shouchun was only able to hold a hundred thousand soldiers. Yuan Shao would need to gather his soldiers in four provinces to even reach that number. Expanding the army would also exhaust their provisions. Another problem was the weapons. They would not have enough even if they empty Yangzhou. Besides that, Liu Mang also still needed to set up the White Horses and the Xiliang Cavalry that would also need weapons and armor. Even Zhang Xiu did not dare to be so militaristic at Nanyang. More importantly, the people must also be willing to join the army. After all, there would always be those that refuse to become a soldier. It is also not be able to force the unwilling to become soldiers.
“Milord please reconsider! Being militaristic has always invited disaster!” Xu Shu immediately opposed Liu Mang’s decision. Liu Ye immediately knelt and added. “Milord. If we add this together with our current troops, we would have four hundred thousand men! How are we going to train all these soldiers?”
Although having higher numbers was an advantage, it would not mean much when the soldiers were not wearing armor. They would simply consume the provisions. Liu Ye and Xu Shu was afraid that Liu Mang wanted to increase their numbers as it was the lack of soldiers that forced them into a defensive position during the war. It was possible that Liu Mang’s anger caused him to act recklessly.
The only advisor that have not spoken was Jia Xu. He was also frightened by Liu Mang’s intentions as expanding the army recklessly would bring trouble. One example was the Yellow Turbans. They had millions of soldiers but in the end the three Zhang brothers died with the Yellow Turbans being supressed. Jia Xu did not say anything as Liu Mang seemed calm. It did not seem to be a reckless and impulsive action. The way Liu Mang brought it up also looked as though he was collecting opinions. Jia Xu indifferently watched the situation develop. He wanted to see what his new Lord was up to.
Liu Mang shook his head as he listened to Liu Ye and Xu Shu. How is it possible for him to lose his head because of Zhang Xiu and Liu Bei? Although it was also true that Liu Mang felt regret for not having enough soldiers. However, Liu Mang had won the battle. Liu Bei had lost his White Eared Soldiers and Chen Dao. Zhang Xiu was also already dead. Based on this, who do you think is the one that should feel angry? “Ziyang. Do you think that I would not need to spend money and provisions if I do not set up this army?” Liu Mang asked, causing the other two to become stunned.
When Xu Su and Liu Ye heard that Liu Mang wanted to expand the army, they immediately rejected his idea. However, they had forgotten that even if Liu Mang did not expand the army, they would still need to feed 1.2 million mouths.
“Little Lord.” Zhang Liao called out. He was the currently the only one around who would do this as his real Lord was Lu Bu. Although he still listens to Liu Mang’s commands, his way of addressing Liu Mang have not change.
“Little Lord. Where are you going to obtain three hundred thousand sets of equipment from?” Naturally, weapons and armor were needed for soldiers. It would be foolish to send them out barehanded.
However, Liu Mang did not believe that the people needed army weapons. “There are weapons all around us!” Liu Mang gave a simple reply. He then realized that Zhang Liao did not understand him and explained. “The soldiers can just make their weapons from the tree barks.”
“How could such soldiers go on the battlefield?” Zhang Liao wrinkled his brows. Zhang Liao was someone who had higher sitting position compared to Liu Mang in the Lu Bu’s Army. That was why he was not afraid of offending Liu Mang. If Liu Mang listened to advice, all would be well. If Liu Mang refused to listen and have a falling out with him, he would just apply for transfer back to Lujiang. Training the Xiliang Cavalry truly made him feel uneasy. “Little Lord. It is best not to learn from Zhao Kuo.1” Zhang Liao’s speech became more provocative instead of polite. This was pretty much saying that Liu Mang’s tactics was worse than useless.
“How dare you speak like that to Milord! Who do you think you are?” Xu Sheng and Huang Xu could not endure anymore but they were stopped by Cheng Yu, Wang Wei and Zhao Yun.
Although Zhao Yun also felt discontented with Zhang Liao, he knew that violence must not be used during such discussions. On the other hand, Cheng Yu and Zhang Liao were acquaintances while Wang Wei was someone who tries not to offend anyone.
Liu Mang felt helpless from his subordinate’s actions. At first, there was only one group which belonged to Liu Mang. Now, there were two more groups. The first one was the Xiliang Cavalry along with Ge Jun and Zhang Hu. They haven’t made any noise yet as they were surrendered generals. The other group was Zhang Liao. As a veteran of the Lu Bu’s Army, Liu Mang had to give him face. Zhang Liao wanted to return to Lu Bu and not stay at Yangzhou.
“Quiet!” Liu Mang quieted them down and then said, “General Wenyuan. You are right. It would be difficult for such soldiers to go onto the battlefield. But right now, this King don’t want these soldiers to go onto the battlefield.” Liu Mang understood Zhang Liao’s anger. The Wolf Cavalry was half defeated and his brother is dead. Now, he is asked to leave the Wolf Cavalry and become the general of his sworn enemies. Of course Zhang Liao would not be in a good mood. Liu Mang allowed this but that does not mean that Zhang Liao was allowed to take out that anger on him.
That was why Liu Mang called himself ‘This King’. This was to alienate himself from Zhang Liao. It was also to warn Zhang Liao that he was only a general while Liu Mang was the son-in-law and the King of Shu. It would not be wise to speak so rudely as a mere subject of the court.
Zhang Liao turned silent. He also knew how to be humble. Besides that, he was an extremely loyal person. As he respected Lu Bu, he certainly had a sense of respect for Liu Mang as well. Earlier, he was extremely frustrated but now his emotions were in kept in control again.
“These three hundred thousand men are not going to be on the battlefield. They would be engineering troops! They would also be reserve troops in times of war. When there is no war, they would only train themselves, build stuff and keep the peace!”
“This is just an estimated number. What I need is for the people of appropriate age to prepare themselves!” Liu Mang was definitely not able to immediately add in several hundred thousand soldiers to the army. These people would only be obstructions at the start. As there were a lot of things to do at Yangzhou, Liu Mang would not start a militaristic nation.
However, Liu Mang needed them to quickly reestablish the system at Yangzhou for the peace at Shouchun.
The troops from forced labor is placed as reserve troops. On top of that, the engineering soldiers would also be farming soldiers2. This would allow the peace at Yangzhou to be maintained. At this moment, Jia Xu finally spoke. “Milord. This farming soldiers is a good idea. It would allow a steady flow of supplies for our army.” Liu Mang’s plan would allow the people to be occupied and at the same time, it would allow the army to quickly replenish its troops. These people would stay as farmers but they would be trained so that when the time comes, it would be easier to obtain new soldiers. After all, it takes a long time to train soldiers.
“But Milord. You will need to have soldiers ready in case the people refuse to accept the forced conscription!” It was now a norm that good men don’t become soldiers. In ancient times, there were only two types of people that join the army. The first are nobles who want more wealth and fame. The second were the common people with no other options to choose if they wanted to live. Most of them would be starving. Although becoming a soldier would mean that they may die, it also meant that they could eat.
However, Liu Mang had provide them with food and land. Why would a well fed family send their children away to become soldiers?
“Yuanzhi, Ziyang. Is there no other way?” Xu Shu and Liu Ye also fell into contemplation. Recruiting soldiers was something hard to do. If one were to use force, there was a chance for a rebellion. Even if there was no rebellion, one would not dare to use such unwilling troops. In fact, there would be a high chance for them to backstab you in battle. That was why the Han were a meek race. They would not rebel unless their lives were on the line. They were more likely to adapt to the environment. It was also why they managed to fight back foreign invasions every time.
While Xu Shu, Liu Ye and the others were struggling to find a solution, Jia Xu looked composed. His eyes squinted as though he was falling asleep.
“Jia Xu!” Liu Mang had almost forgotten this person. The sly old man has obtained taken up many positions before. He was likely to have more experience when it comes to dealing with the common people.
“Mister Wenhe is even able to close his eyes during discussion. You must have already found your answer. Do you have anything to share with me?” Liu Mang looked at Jia Xu meaningfully. It was Jia Xu that pointed out that the most difficult problem was the people’s thoughts and not the lack of provisions. What would they do if everyone did not want to join the army? If Jia Xu had a plan, it could be implemented immediately. If he did not have a plan, the act of resting his eyes would be seen as a sign of disrespect, which would mean that Jia Xu needed to be taught a lesson. Liu Mang was not feeling happy and he definitely would not allow Jia Xu to feel relaxed.
“Eh!” Jia Xu was someone who did not want to involve himself in this matter. As he just joined the army, he would offend someone regardless of whether he was right or wrong.3 If he was right, he would offend the two strategist sitting in front of him. He would steal their limelight and showed that he is better than them. It would be like a provocation. If he is wrong, then people would mock him, pushing him away from a life full of glory and wealth. In that case, it would have been better not to say anything.
Jia Xu had planned to escape but Liu Mang would not let him go. Jia Xu shook his head with a wry smile. Now he had no choice but to step forward otherwise his new Lord would punish him severely. His new Lord have always played against common sense.
As Jia Xu had no choice, he gave his reply. “Milord. It is feasible to recruit soldiers but forcing them is impossible.”
Liu Mang felt like rolling his eyes after hearing Jia Xu’s words. These were absolute nonsense that even idiots know.
“If you force them to join the army, you would force them to rebel!” Another useless tidbit. If you do not force them to join the army, why would anyone join the army? People would not send off their family members to death.
“The people do not fear death!” Jia Xu explained that if you were to threaten the people with death, they would rise up against you as either way, they were going to die.
Jia Xu’s words seemed as though it was meant to mock and ridicule Liu Mang. If that was the case, Jia Xu would have already achieved his objective. Just as Liu Mang felt enraged, Jia Xu added, “But Taishi Gong once said that during chaotic times, men are creatures that strive for their own benefits regardless of whether they are nobles or the common people. If Milord wants the people to join the army, you will need to provide them with benefits!”
2 https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/屯田制 <More detailed explanation here. I cannot find the English equivalent for this term, so I will just call them farming soldiers. They are a group of soldiers that don’t need to fight but need to produce food for marches. Like normal farmers, they need to pay land tax. Unlike normal farmers, they need to fight to defend their land if the need arises. Liu Mang wants to do the same thing but for engineers.
- Then why are you acting so relaxed?