Chapter 48 - Bitter Victory
After the opening ceremony was over, everyone dispersed.
Little sister Qing’er did not leave, dragging Ouyang Shuo along into the bank. She went straight to the counter, handing over the vouchers she had just received, and proudly said, “I want to exchange these.”
The staff at the counter was a young man, who was thinking that the bank had just opened, and they had business already? The bank’s money was what Ouyang Shuo had just put into the vault, there was none at the counter for her, how could he exchange it? Thinking she was very troublesome, his anxiety and embarrassment made him go very red.
Ouyang Shuo didn’t stop Qing’er’s antics, wanting to see how the staff would react and see their standards. Yingyu, seeing Ouyang Shuo stay silent, immediately understood his intentions. Acting immediately, she addressed the young man, and told him to go back into the treasury, and get some silver coins there.
In less than 10 minutes, Little Mu had exchanged her coupon for 20 silver coins. She was grinning from ear to ear as she put them into her own cute little purse. Combined with her gold coin from earlier, she had suddenly become a well-to-do woman.
Ouyang Shuo stood aside, nodding with satisfaction. The work efficiency of the bank was still pretty high.
Running back to the Lord’s Manor, Qing’er handed Gu Sanniang the food and meat coupons she had also received. After privatizing, everyone in the Lord’s Manor, apart from Ouyang Shuo, would have to pay for their food, and would no longer eat for free. She was very conscious of that point.
Thus, starting tomorrow, Gu Sanniang would have to go to the rice and butcher shops to buy food. She couldn"t get them directly from the warehouse. Ouyang Shuo hoped that doing so would lead by example, showing the various divisions and making them follow.
For now, the divisions were concentrated in the Lord’s Manor, with no changes. After the territory expanded, the Divisions would start working out in independent offices. He did not want that kind of mixing of private and public matters to happen so early on in Shanhai Village.
Living in the Lord’s Manor, apart from Er Wazi, everyone was getting good pay. As for Er Wazi, Yingyu took the initiative to say that she would take care of her maintenance.
Ouyang Shuo was now the only person in the territory without a salary, instead being completely supported by the territory. This was not him being hypocritical, but required by the system to maintain the authority of the lord. After all, this was still an ancient society. He had to follow the basic rules of the game. He could not play a modern society with democratic values, unless he had water in his brain.
Gu Sanniang had been with Ouyang Shuo for a long time, and was naturally aware of this. She did not try to decline, taking the ticket handed over by Qing’er, smiling and saying, “Thank you for these 2 tickets, they will help!”
Little Mu was very fond of Gu Sanniang, who was just as close as Cui Yingyu. She took Gu Sanniang’s arm, opting to act spoiled, and said, “Gu Sanniang is making fun of me, I don’t understand.”
Ouyang Shuo looked at her acting childishly again, and shook his head with a laugh. When would this girl grow up? He could not help but quip, “Little Mu, you just got some money, and are you not prepared to buy your tailor shop? You are the only tailor in the territory right now, if someone else does it first, you can’t come crying to me.”
“Yes, I had forgotten! Quick quick!” Regardless of his joking manner, Qing’er hurriedly ran into the nearby office, where Zhao Dewang’s Construction Division was located.
Ouyang Shuo looked at this thick-skinned little monkey, no matter how much he wanted to get angry, he couldn’t get angry. With a tacit glance at Yingyu, helplessly shaking his head, he walked into Dewang’s office.
In the office, Zhao Dewang was going over the price of shops with Qing’er. “According to the pricing schedule, the price of a tailor shop is 56 silver coins. This can be a one-time payment, or you can make monthly payments.”
“So expensive, oh, oh, oh,” Qing’er was muttering, and with some dismay took out the gold coin from her purse. Looking pitifully at Zhao Dewang, she said proudly, “I want a one-time payment!”
Zhao Dewang looked at the gold coin, shaking his head with a wry smile. He didn’t have the ability to make change right now, asking Ouyang Shuo for help. Ouyang Shuo, who had just come in, had to help out. He took the gold coin, put it into his storage bag, and took out 100 silver coins in exchange.
Dewang took 56 silver coins, and returned the rest to Little Mu. He then took a letter from his table with the seal of the lord, earnestly filling in the real estate owner’s information. Without the training of the adult literacy class, it would have been impossible for him to do so.
Qing’er took the lease, grinning proudly, and shook it in front of Ouyang Shuo, showing it off. Ouyang Shuo mercilessly knocked on her little head, smiled and said, “Take care of it, you had best not lose it, or you won’t be able to make it up!”
She rubbed her head in an exaggerated manner, glaring at Ouyang Shuo, and then ignored him to run over to Yingyu and show off more.
Ouyang Shuo looked at Zhao Dewang. “The way I see it, the Construction Division should just have someone in the bank to do this. That way, the villagers can buy a house and get a loan at the same time, saving them from running back and forth.”
“Ah, sire has great foresight. I will personally set this up and make sure it runs properly,” Dewang said, as if receiving a military order.
Ouyang Shuo nodded and turned away from the office.
At 5 PM, the cavalry returned from their raid. Getting the message, Ouyang Shuo rode out with Administration Department to welcome the triumphant return of the warriors.
General Shi was leading the line of horses. Seeing Ouyang Shuo there, he immediately dismounted and went down to one knee, loudly saying, “This officer and his men greet the lord!”
Behind him, the rest of the cavalry had dismounted and gone to one knee, saying in unison, “We greet the lord!”
Ouyang Shuo spoke to General Shi, smiling and saying, “The soldiers have worked hard!”
Captain Lin Yi was responsible for the escorting of trophies, which would be taken care of by the Administration Department, Financial Division and Material Reserves Division. Ouyang Shuo rode with General Shi back to the Lord’s Manor, there to take his report of the bandit raid.
After sitting down, General Shi began his report. “This time, in order to destroy the bandit camp, we still wanted to use some tricks and traps. According to the plan, we used the same plan that sire used last time, sending men in to lure some of enemy out. Once outside the camp, the cavalry’s mobility would easily take care of them.
“We did not expect the leaders to be very cautious, but although they did not see us lying in wait, they only set out a dozen bandits to pursue the lure. So, we had to attack the camp directly and engage the rest in close combat.”
Ouyang Shuo nodded heavily. “So it seems the next time we expand the army, it will be necessary to expand the infantry. Attacking a base camp is more a job for infantry than cavalry, and tantamount to giving the enemy an advantage.”
“Fortunately, this time the enemy was not so strong, the soldiers fought bravely, and with the grace of the lord, we exterminated the bandit camp.”
Ouyang Shuo was fully aware that the real process of warfare was nowhere near so relaxed, and recalled how tired the troops looked. He dared to ask, “Casualties among the troops?”
“This time, the cavalry unit along with the military intelligence division, a total of 122 people attacked. We had 1 death, 5 serious injuries, and 24 slight injuries.”
Hearing that someone had actually died, Ouyang Shuo twitched and asked, “Someone died. Has his family been informed yet?”
“At the end of the day, the soldier was an orphan, and he had no family in Shanhai Village.”
Ouyang Shuo silently nodded. This situation was not rare out here in the frontier. Most of the displaced were alone. Those that managed to survive with their families were rare.
One hundred and twenty people fighting, 30 casualties. Close to a quarter of the number of men. The victory seemed a little bitter.
Ouyang Shuo knew that General Shi was a fierce fighter, and victory was his fundamental pursuit. Normal casualties were not something he was going to worry about. Therefore, in the development of his battle plan, he didn’t have many scruples about the lives of ordinary soldiers.
This time he had let General Shi lead the expedition, and it was a major mistake for Ouyang Shuo. If he had been present, he would not have allowed a direct raid into the camp.
But, in the end, General Shi had won, and Ouyang Shuo didn’t want to criticize him for a victory. They talked a bit more before General Shi headed out to the barracks.
With General Shi gone, Ouyang Shuo got up to visit the hospital and see to the wounded.
With 30 patients coming in at one time, Dr. Song was naturally extremely busy. Fortunately, most of them did not have severe injuries, and simply stitching and bandaging wounds was no problem. The important note was the five serious injuries, with broken legs and severed arms. It would be a small miracle if they even managed to live through the night.
Leaving the hospital, Ouyang Shuo was in a heavy mood, with some inner grievances against General Shi. His troops were a treasure he didn’t know the value of, really a rigid military thinker.
Of course, he was a true ruler, and wasn’t going to show this attitude. If anybody saw him, they’d just see a kind and gentle ruler.
After dinner, Shanhai Village held a cremation ceremony in the square. In addition to the death of the orphaned soldier, another soldier died in the afternoon, which was even more painful for Ouyang Shuo.
Because the village was now the center of the territory and would eventually be a capital, there was no place suitable for a cemetery, so he could only choose cremation for the dead. Ouyang Shuo intended for the ashes to be stored after cremation in the ancestral hall. After the upgrade to town, they could then be buried in the cemetery.
The villagers gathered spontaneously into the square to send the heroes off. Ouyang Shuo personally ignited the fire. It raged up quickly, raging and devouring everything. As he watched the fire, Ouyang Shuo’s expression was solemn, the people unable to think what he was pondering about.