The Human Emperor Chapter 711
Chapter 711: Recruitment Successful Ii
Chapter 711: Recruitment Successful (II)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"What are the Wushang up to?"
The soldiers were astonished. The impressive size of this group made them rather uneasy. They weren't planning on preventing them from leaving, were they?
Wang Chong silently smiled.
As expected, they came!
Wang Chong's face was indifferent, as if he had long expected this sight.
"Chief is being too courteous."
Before the Wushang Chief could come over, Wang Chong turned around and went to welcome him.
"Lord Marquis, my apologies; this decrepit one has come late. Last night, Lord Marquis disregarded past wrongs and assisted us. This great favor and kindness will be engraved in the hearts of every villager until death," the white-haired elder solemnly said.
"Chief is too polite. It was just a simple gesture."
Wang Chong waved his hand, not treating the matter very seriously. He had prepared that medicine for them in the first place.
"Big Brother, thank you for saving my grandpa."
A sticky-sounding voice came from the side as Fang Xiaoyan raised her head and gave her own sincere thanks.
When he saw this girl's sincere face and recalled how, twenty-five years later, she would be so savage, willful, and unreasonable, Wang Chong almost broke into laughter.
"There's no need to be polite. It was just a trifle."
Wang Chong patted her on the head.
With the girl's words, the atmosphere on both sides relaxed.
"Lord Marquis, our gratitude is indescribable. Yesterday, we were too rude. No matter what, I request for Lord Marquis to stay in our Wushang Village for a few more days. Lingering for a little longer will also allow us to display our gratitude as hosts," the white-haired elder said.
Many things could only be discovered long after the event. Last night, even with Wang Chong's help, eight villagers who had suffered early breakouts had died on the Night of the Lunar Eclipse before they could receive Wang Chong's medicine.
The symptoms of their illnesses had been exactly the same as everyone else's.
Just thinking about the fact that four or five thousand villagers had had flare-ups of their disease on the Night of the Lunar Eclipse left them shivering in fear. If not for Wang Chong, last night would have been an unimaginable tragedy.
It was not one bit excessive to say that Wang Chong was the savior of the Wushang. No matter how they repaid it, it would never be enough.
When they thought about the cold, harsh, and disaffected attitude they had treated Wang Chong and Li Siye with during the day, even the Wushang Chief couldn't help but feel ashamed.
"Haha, I appreciate Chief's kindness, but there's no need for a prolonged stay. We have some other matters to attend to, so we must take our leave."
To the surprise of the Wushang, Wang Chong waved his hands and refused them.
So surprising was this answer that the Wushang Chief and the elders were momentarily at a loss for words.
"This Lord Marquis, I will not hide the truth from you. This decrepit one has a request of you. The pills that Lord Marquis used last night are extremely important to us. Does Lord Marquis have any more? In addition, Lord Marquis mentioned rock salt yesterday. Might I ask what was meant?"
The Wushang Chief had a rather awkward expression, but despite his embarrassment, he still managed to get the words out.
"To tell the truth, I only had one hundred of those pills, and all of them were used last night. As for the rock salt"
Wang Chong smiled and he gave the Wushang elders a profound look.
"Wushang Village is cut off from the world, neither trading nor communicating with it. Although everything else can be cultivated, and vines can also be used as a substitute for food, the three meals of a day can't escape salt. How has Wushang Village resolved this problem?"
The Wushang Chief paused in hesitation, unable to speak.
This Young Marquis of the Great Tang Empire was far more perceptive than he had imagined. This land of steep mountains was nothing but rock and completely unsuitable for planting crops.
Thus, the Wushang ate vines, sealwort, and other such plants. This led their bodies to be much stronger and hardier than those of ordinary people.
But the only thing that they could not use ordinary methods to resolve was the salt that Wang Chong spoke of.
Consequently, the Wushang did not eat the same salt as ordinary people. Rather than sea salt, it was rock salt, salt that they found in a certain area of the mountains.
The rock salt there had been discovered by the Wushang's ancestors, and generation after generation of the Wushang had partaken of that salt.
"Haha, is Chief unwilling to say it out of fear that the Imperial Court will seize it for the common good and regulate it?"
Wang Chong grinned, at a glance seeing through the Wushang Chief's apprehensions.
For dynasty after dynasty, salt and iron had always been monopolized by the Imperial Court. 'Iron' here did not refer to the metal, but to the minting of coins. No dynasty would allow the common people to mint coins as they pleased.
Such a policy would lead to monetary chaos.
As for salt, just as Wang Chong said, it was indispensable for one's daily meals. The Imperial Court had at first implemented this policy to prevent a surge in the price of salt for the sake of private profit. If the common people could not eat salt, they would revolt.
There was precedent for this in history.
Of course, it realized in the future that the salt business harbored enormous profits.
Although Wang Chong didn't know when the Wushang made their way into this valley, it was around one thousand years ago, precisely the period in which the Western Han Dynasty controlled salt and iron.
No matter how little Wushang Village communicated with the outside world, they probably understood. It was clear that if their salt deposit were discovered, the court would seize it.
"Haha, blessings come with disaster, and disasters hide in blessings. Has Chief heard of this saying? For every generation of Wushang Village, everyone will start to feel aches all over their body at the age of three. As they grow older, the frequency of the aches will increase, as will the pain. Have the elders ever thought about why this is?"
A light breeze ruffled Wang Chong's sleeves. As Wang Chong smiled at the Wushang elders, he seemed to be implying a deeper meaning.
Other people didn't know of Wushang Village's secrets, but as the commander of the Wushang Cavalry, Wang Chong was well aware. The Wushang spent their entire lives accompanied by this severe pain. Their skin would turn black and their bodies would convulse in unbearable pain.
And when Yin energy was at its strongest, particularly on lunar eclipses, the breakout would be extremely harsh. Not even when Wang Chong had recruited them had this changed.
Later on, Wang Chong had recruited all the most brilliant herbal masters and martial experts of the world, including the finest doctors of -Tsang, Mengshe Zhao, the Turkic Khaganates, and Goguryeo, as well as all the other foreign countries. Together, they spent eight years researching and experimenting, finally producing a medicine that could cure the Wushang of their lifelong misery.
This was the pill that Wang Chong had given them!
This was also why Wang Chong had come to Wushang Village with such confidence in his success.
The only problem was that this pill was very hard to refine. In the time available, Wang Chong had only been able to produce around one hundred, and they had all been used on the Night of the Lunar Eclipse.
The Wushang Chief felt his heart thump as he felt a strange sensation. The youth before him was at most seventeen or eighteen, young enough to be his grandson.
But for some reason, he could not see through this youth. The Wushang Chief had never found a young man to be so unfathomable.
And what confused him most of all was, how did he know of the rock salt?
This youth was covered in layer after layer of befuddling fog that no one could see through.
"Lord Marquis's meaning is?"
The Wushang Chief frowned, his face pensive.
"Hah, Chief, some salt can be eaten, and some salt can't. Not all salt in the world can be casually consumed, at least, not in the way Wushang Village consumes it," Wang Chong indifferently said.
Rock salt actually contained poison, with many of its components being toxic. It had to undergo special processing and refinement.
This wasn't the case for just rock salt. Sea salt also had to undergo special processing. And consuming industrial-grade salt might lead straight to death.
With the memories from that other world, Wang Chong could treat this all as common sense. But the Wushang were clearly not aware of this.
The Wushang began to consume this poisonous rock salt as children, and those poisons would gradually accumulate, seeping through their bodies. At the age of three, these symptoms finally began to manifest.
The most obvious symptom was that at three years old, a child would begin to convulse and feel aches over their body. As the poison continued to accumulate, it would seep into the flesh, hair, skin, and bones, all the way down to the bone marrow. As a result, even though Wushang Village had so many experts, few of them could live past the age of fifty.
Even fewer could live to seventy or eighty. Of the fifty or sixty thousand Wushang, they only had twenty to thirty elders.
And if the Wushang were so unlucky as to encounter a lunar eclipse, just like last night, they would experience grievous casualties.
This was the Achilles' Heel of the Wushang, the price the Wushang had to pay for their power!
"Lord Marquis means that all this is because we eat rock salt?" the Wushang Chief asked.
"Haha, don't eat the village's rock salt. This is my advice to Chief and the elders, for the sake of Wushang Village, for the sake of all the villagers. Of course, whether you believe is up to Chief and the elders," Wang Chong said.
His expression was calm and relaxed. There were some matters for which pushing them too fast would have the opposite effect. If he were too direct, it might result in a backlash.
Thus, although Wang Chong wanted to help the Wushang, this was all he could do. Any more would be superfluous.
With Wang Chong's words, the Wushang Chief and the elders exchanged glances. In the past, there had been many explanations for why the villagers were afflicted by this disease, like curses, hereditary problems, or environmental factors.
None of them had expected Wang Chong to claim that all this was because of that ordinary and unremarkable rock salt they consumed every day.
This was like saying that a person bled because they had taken an extra breath of air.
But from another perspective, Wang Chong had no reason to deceive them. Such an action was meaningless, and for a marquis, it was also very lacking in propriety.