Chapter 22 - Laws and Decrees
Chapter 22 – Laws and Decrees
“Come here guys, Let me introduce our newest member!” General Gu clapped his hands as a signal to gather everyone around.
“This is Yi Xu, our new guardsman.” After introducing Xu Yi, General Gu also introduced the rest of the members to Xu Yi one by one.
It surprised Xu Yi when he realised that, including himself, there were merely six others in total. No wonder General Gu said that they were severely undermanned.
Xu Yi politely bowed to every colleague. His complaisance left the other members with a good impression.
Soon, General Gu dismissed the group and led Xu Yi to the main hall, to proceed the official procedures – registering, taking his uniform and receiving his Yao Pai …
General Gu specified to Xu Yi that the monthly salary would reach fifty taels of silver, as well as other welfares. Later, he took out a huge book with the title ‘Laws and Decrees of Empire Yue’. The book fell on the desk with a loud thud. “If you have any spare time, just read through this book. It’ll greatly benefit you, trust me.” General Gu advised Xu Yi, before he left.
The next day, after Xu Yi had finished his daily chores, he made his way back to his new job.
Suddenly, Xu Yi had become a civil servant in this town. He never imaged this to happen, after he had arrived here as a kind of refugee. However, Since he was in the government system now, he didn’t need to worry about his identity anymore. Xu Yi believed that even the lowest ranking guards had some authority. He was more than happy to study the thick ‘Laws and Decrees of Empire Yue’, because that was the theoretical guidance for his new job.
He chose a place next to a window and started reading. As he was reading, he got slightly distracted by the verdant plants outside the window, which were full of life force. The luxuriously green color really pleased Xu Yi, he would occasionally raise his head to look at this scenery, as he was reading.
Xu Yi’s level-headed and forward-looking soul was a blessing for him. He learned to enjoy the loneliness and to accept this seemingly ridiculous life. Moreover, his powerful soul also bestowed him with extra abilities – he could be highly-focused on something and remember everything. Now, for example, as he was reading the ‘Laws and Decrees of Empire Yue’, it would probably take him only four hours to finish this gigantic book. For all the 108,650 articles of laws and decrees in this book, Xu Yi was able to recite, not all, but most of them.
The sunlight outside was already fading away and the setting sun appeared on the peak of the Hui Yin Mountain. Xu Yi realised that it was already time for him to make some dinner for Autumn. Without any delay, he grabbed all of his belongings and headed towards a restaurant.
Half an hour later, Xu Yi bought several boxes of take-out. On one hand, Xu Yi really didn’t have much time to cook by himself and for energetic boys like him, cooking was extremely boring, he’d rather spend his time practicing Wu Dao. On the other hand, the cost of the take-out food was as low as two taels of silver. It was totally affordable for him, as he still reserved some precious golden discs that were stolen from Junior Zhou’s family.
As per the official exchange rate, one golden coin could be converted into 200 taels of silver. Plus, golden coins were only regarded as a common currency among the upper-class. If it appeared in the public and someone reported this to the government, the owner would be forced to change it to silver coins. To use gold coins in public was considered as something, that wasn’t worthy of the upper-class.
Indeed, in the underground market, one golden coin could be valued as high as 500 taels of silver. Sometimes, the price could be even higher than that. The official exchange rate of 200 taels of silver per golden coin was just a mandated price, which let the government have a finger in the pie itself.
Now, that the personal property of Xu Yi accumulated to an enormous amount – the two golden discs were worth thousands of golden coins, plus the ten golden coins he had stolen from Elder Feng. He could easily afford to live a luxurious life. And he wouldn’t be cheap towards the Mu Family either. He honestly wished to improve their livelihood.
On his way back to the Mu Family, when Xu Yi walked along the Dragon Beard River, he stopped for a while to peacefully enjoy the setting of the sun. The numerous sailing boats from afar looked like small dots on the surface, the dots grew larger and larger , as the boats returned to shore. He knew that he was rarely so emotional since his dog’s death, but now, he was really touched by nature’s beauty. Actually, since Xu Yi had met Elder Mu and Autumn, his heart seemed to have been melted by their kindness.
It was about dinner time, everyone in this town seemed to be enjoying some free time after a long and hard day of work. The wine restaurants and tea houses were swarmed with people. Street pedlars occupied every usable space, seizing the business opportunity, that was brought by the influx of a large number of people.
The bargaining noises, the exotic baubles displayed on the stall, all of these were new to Xu Yi. At this time of day, the whole marketplace was alive. Xu Yi looked around and felt as if his life became as vivid as the marketplace.
Looking into the distance, Xu Yi believed that Elder Mu was in one of the homeward sailing boats. So he decided to pick him up before going home.
After walking for several steps, Xu Yi halted and narrowed his eyes, trying to see clearly what was happening in the distance.
“ Ah, Elder Mu, you have caught such a big carp. What a lucky day for you!”
“Come on, guys. Look what Elder Mu got today. I guess this big carp will weigh at least one hundred kilograms.”
“I’m so envious of you, Elder Mu. For the price of such a big carp, it is worth several months’ earnings.”
“Every dog has its day! When luck knocked on your door, maybe the big carp just jumped into your net. Haha.”
“Look at those small fish in my net, it is worthless compared with Elder Mu’s.”
With great effort, Elder Mu was dragging the carp on shore; Sweat had long soaked his clothing.
Soon, all the nearby fishermen had gathered around Elder Mu, amazed by the mere size of the carp.
Carps were the traditional speciality of the Evil Dragon River, the meat was tender and greasy. Quite a number of high-ranking celebrities or government officials were fond of the carp soup. They were willing to pay a high price to enjoy this classic cuisine.
The price of the carp was best known by its demand. Usually, the large carps lived in the deeper areas of the river; it was extremely difficult to capture them. Even for experienced fishermen, capturing a big carp was just a matter of luck. As for the carp captured by Elder Mu, a hundred taels of silver might even be a conservative estimate. This was an extraordinary amount of money for a normal fisherman.
All of a sudden, the crowd was separated, as if someone terrifying was approaching.
“Get the hell out of my way! Ah, Good news travels fast. A big carp? Let me have a look!” A man in black clothing, who was escorted by several strong bodyguards, dashed through the crowd.
With a shrieking sound of ripping, the man in black clothing tore the net open. He then immediately grabbed the carp by its head.
“Hmmm, what a delicious carp. I was just wondering what to offer to my distinguished guests for dinner. Ah, what a coincidence. This must be a gift bestowed by the heavens.” The man in black clothing scrutinized the carp, while shamelessly saying these words, as if the carp was already his own property.
“Your Excellency, you’re so lucky to get this carp!” A middle-aged man squeezed to the front and smiled at the man in black clothing. Turning around, his friendly smile quickly disappeared, as he harshly yelled at Elder Mu: “Hey, old man. What are you waiting for?! Hurry up and bring that carp to our warehouse.”
“Zhou Yuya, wait, wait…” Elder Mu replied and called some familiar fishermen to help him carry the carp with him.
The middle-aged man was named Zhou Yuya, the boss of the fishing industry here, who had monopolized the whole fishing market in this small town. Every catch was supposed to be sold to him, usually for a rather low price. Although Yuya had reaped most of the profits, it was still convenient for the fishermen to earn some silver coins by selling it to him. After all, they didn’t have a better way to sell their fish.
Elder Mu was an honest man, so he silently agreed to the deal, despite the fact that this rare carp would hit a higher price on the street market.
When Elder Mu, together with two strong fishermen were about to grab the carp, the man in black clothing suddenly moved the carp from its original spot. Obviously, by doing so, he intended to make a fool out of these fishermen.
 Yao Pai: a plate used as a token of identity, which will be attached to the waist.