There were more than a hundred thousand refugees- and this was only counting the ones who were forced to flee to survive. The number of victims was a few times, perhaps even more than ten times this number. You can imagine how much money and supplies they needed. It might not even be enough if only Ye Lang, a single prodigal son, wanted to save them all.
And because of this, Ye Lang felt like his money shouldn’t be squandered in other places.
“Yes, we do.” These refugees were all from the same area, so naturally were citizens of the empire.
“That’ll do. Do a headcount. Calculate the total entry fee required, every person here costs ten coppers. I’ll have to pay one silver coin for myself,” instructed Ye Lang. He didn’t only say this for the refugees to hear, it was also for the town authorities.
The town authorities now had a dilemma. Should they still let them in if these people indeed could pay the city’s entry fee? And if they entered but never left, then they’d place a strain on the town’s resources. The town might not be able to bear such a burden.
What has this got to do with you, you stupid ration officer? The guards glared menacingly at the ration officer. They’d never liked him, they weren’t going to start now.
“Ration officer, what position do you have to say that? Don’t think you can boss everyone around just because you’re the leader’s little nephew,” huffed the guard coldly. This was something related to their jobs, they couldn’t tolerate any of this.
“Hmmph, are you all tired of your jobs already, to be talking to me in that tone? Let me tell you this: Everything I say goes.” The little ration officer obviously wouldn’t back down, defending himself indignantly.
“Everything you say goes? Are you able to bear the responsibility? You may still be able to hide your tracks after stealing from the refugee food supplies smuggling them out, but you’ll never be able to hide this,” said the guard cooly.
Everyone finally understood why the person giving out porridge was so angry at the ration officer. It was all because of the ration officer and his crimes. Needless to say, the wateriness of the porridge was definitely his fault too.
You can imagine how unscrupulous this ration officer was from the fact that he could even steal from disaster relief supplies. We don’t know how many refugees have died because of his stealing, but we know there was at least a few.
“You deserve death,” said Ye Lang to the ration officer very directly after he heard their conversation.
Although everyone had always wanted to say it, no one would’ve expected Ye Lang to say it out loud. It felt good to hear him say that.
“What? They’re just lowly commoners. So what if some of them die? It would be a waste of our grains anyway.” The ration officer was still indignant as ever. He didn’t think he was in the wrong at all- this behaviour was revolting!
Everyone present, including those who were also from the town, all wanted to punch this ration officer. People like him were the scum of society, they didn’t deserve to live in this world at all.
They all held their breath. If this breath exploded, there would be disastrous consequences. And that vile ration officer would meet a horrible, horrible end.
“Go on. Beat him up. If he dies, I’ll take the responsibility,” said Ye Lang gently. While it was gentle, the words rammed straight onto everyone’s hearts. His words seemed to have cracked a hole, releasing their anger all at once.
The crowd surrounded the little ration officer, fists clenched. Step-by-step, they approached…
“What are you doing? Let me tell you, my uncle is… Ah…” When the officer saw what was happening, he was terrified to the core and yet refused to back down. He must’ve thought his uncle would’ve been able to save him in a moment like that.
Unfortunately, at a moment like this, even if his uncle were the emperor, he’d still drown in the sea of angry people.
“Beat the devil out of him!”
“Hit him! Harder!”
The ones who kicked and punched were initially the refugees, but soon, even the townspeople participated. They sneaked in a kick here, a punch there…
The officer’s shrieks of agony grew quieter, then finally, faded completely. The crowds didn’t stop though, they continued kicking and hitting.
Some people never understood how insignificant they were. Before a crowd, he was only a tiny existence, insignificant and vulnerable to the wrath of the masses. These were the people who’d stupidly ignite the fires of the masses, and then finally burn in it.
“Hey, are you done calculating?” Ye Lang went over to talk to the guards. He didn’t care about the commotion.
“About that. Sir, it won’t look good on me if all of you enter,” frowned the guard in a dilemma.
“What’s so difficult? We’ll enter and buy all your stuff, this’ll stimulate your economy a little. What bad will come out of it?” Ye Lang didn’t understand why they'll refuse something so good.
“Of course we want the benefits, but if you don’t leave…Wait, what did you say?” the guards suddenly noticed a problem. Ye Lang mentioned something about ‘buying’.
They were going to shut the refugees out because these people had no money to buy anything. They’d be completely dependent on donations. If these refugees had the money, then it’d be completely different, the gates would be thrown open for them!
Would they still be refugees if they bought stuff? More like tourists.
“Don’t worry, we’ll leave immediately. We wanted a hotel but I think it’d be more comfortable if we camped outdoors,” said Ye Lang. Camping with such a huge group would be an amazing experience.
“No, wait. I’m not chasing you away. Are you sure you all have money? Questioned the guards. This was unbelievable indeed.
“Of course we do! Hurry up and finish your headcount, we want to enter. If you’re still suspicious, you can follow me,” said Ye Lang. At this moment, Little Xin was once again summoned to his side, increasing his persuading power.
“Alright, alright, I’ll make the necessary arrangements immediately. You can all enter as long as you all buy our things. This little entry fee isn’t much, you can enter for free. Our treat.” The guards noticed that Ye Lang was different from ordinary commoners. They understood that even if the rest didn’t have money, Ye Lang definitely had a lot of it. That was certain.
“Oh, thank you. This counts as you all helping the poor disaster victims too, you know,” said Ye Lang politely, nodding.
“Sir, the man stopped breathing…” It was at this moment that the commotion on the other end finally ceased. Fear started to replace their initial anger.
Many people often only thought about the consequences after the deed was done. That was when the fear would kick in.
Impulse was the devil. This saying beautifully encapsulated what just happened.