News about the Emperor waking his little brother up early in the morning and chasing him for a beating spread like wildfire.
One brother is in his forties and the other only ten. Their late father had passed away much earlier. No matter how you look at these two, their relationship look like a mixture of a sibling duo and a guardian + child combination. It is only natural for the elder brother to discipline the younger brother.
But Li Yuanying will never obediently take his beating. When he sees that the situation is bad, he would run away. Seeing this, the Emperor gets even more agitated and swears that he will not stop until he hit him!
Yuanying is still conscientious.When he saw that Li Er couldn’t run anymore, he detour back and dragged Li Er indoors and started massaging his legs.
“Look at you. Your health is not very good and you are still run around!” (Li Yuanying)
The Emperor is always entangled in state affairs and it is not a given that he will find time yearly for a summer retreat. This year he couldn’t go to Jiucheng Palace.
Seeing Li Yuanying sitting beside him pretending to be obedient, the thoughts of hitting him stopped. What can I do, I am the one who spoilt my little brother. I will just have to bear with him! He raised his hand and tapped Li Yuanying’s head, scolding: “If I do this again next time, I’ll rip your skin off!”
“You started this blame game.” (Li Yuanying)
Li Er was too lazy to pay attention to him.
Although this incident was detrimental to Li Er’s reputation and everyone looks at the Emperor with pitiful eyes that hinted “I heard that you were dumped”, the whole affair with Wu Mei ended well. Others will not think that the Emperor’s action is absurd but instead feel that he has became more humane and is a man of his words. Once a word is spoken forth, the decision cannot be changed. Even the Emperor himself has to stick to his promises!
Li Yuanying summoned Dong Xiaoyi to the palace and updated him to handover both the school and the library to Wu Mei to handle. He will focus on completing the handover of corn and peanuts to the Emperor.
Finding out that Wu Mei was the collateral of exchange for all their crops, Dong Xiaoyi felt like he was in pain. However, once Wu Mei quickly drew up the school development plan and implemented it, Dong Xiaoyi understood why she was worth all the corn and peanuts. With such a talented person leading the team, the academy’s first batch of students will be trained into useful talents and will help them expand quickly once they move back to their fief!
In addition to training talents, Wu Mei also selected a group of older students and volunteers from frequent library users to help with the management and started something called “Library News”.
This library newspaper is modeled after the official state newspaper. It collects interesting information and stories from visitors all over the world and puts it into the library for people to read. Ordinary articles and worthless news submitted will be placed within the library while the well-written and valuable ones are carefully picked and published the next day. These are selected by people and will be posted on the bulletin board outside.
Wu Mei felt that it’s a waste to only give but not receive. She wants to use the energy of these visitors as much as possible. Since they have already invested in this project, we can’t just keep giving without expectation. It’s best if we can motivate people through the pride of their work to use them as news sources and as independent writers. She wants to establish the library as a holy place for scholars! This way, as long as the library is in operation, scholars will remember all of Prince Teng’s contribution!
Of course, Wu Mei didn’t tell Li Yuanying her plans directly. She’s well aware that Yuanying is not interested in being appreciated. Therefore when she sold the idea to the boy, she used “this way you can get lots of exciting stories every day”.
Li Yuanying was super happy. He felt that it’s such a good deal to exchange corn and peanuts for such an amazing person!
In early August, Li Yuanying received his first library newspaper.
Li Yuanying pridefully showed off the newspaper that Wu Mei had transcribed to the Emperor.
“See?! Mei Niang is amazing! I told you it’s your loss!” (Li Yuanying)
This is exactly what Li Yuanying wants! Stories he has never heard before as well as some good articles written by scholars!
Yuanying sat close to Li Er and showed him the first page of his publication, the epigraph written by his eldest nephew and a few others. The first passage was from Li Chengqian to the newspaper and then followed by Li Yuanying’s statement. With the endorsement of the Crown Prince, the reader’s enthusiasm will definitely be high!
Yuanying said triumphantly: “How’s this? Do you regret it? See how smart Mei Niang is!”
Li Er reacted with a side glance.
“Even with so many around you who can tell stories, it’s still not enough?” (Li Er)
“It’s not the same! Everyone has a different story to tell. Those in the palace only talk about things inside the palace, the library is outside and people are free to travel in and out. That way I’ll be expose to stories from all around the world!” (Li Yuanying)
His Majesty Li Er raised his eyebrow. “You do talk big.”
Since Li Yuanying has finished showing off, he ran off happily.
Just this month alone, the young prince was given two piece of good news . First, his paper workshop updated that they have successfully mastered 3 different methods of paper making creating bamboo paper, reed paper and straw paper. They’ve also experimented with other rare materials but results were not too great due to high cost or low quality. These 3 recommended materials are easy to find and available in different seasons.
Entering the Autumn season, various places started harvesting. One of the craftsmen named Deng Qing, 19 just got married. His wife’s family asked for his help to run errands and he obliged.
After a busy day, Deng Qing noticed a pile of stalks with no grains lying on the ground. According to standard practices, these straws would be burned to create fertilizers for the fields. He look at them and remembered the gold ingots shown by Prince Teng as reward.
Let’s try something!
If you succeed, you’ll be rewarded with gold!
With this inspiration, Deng Qing tried making paper with the stalks with some acquaintances.
This resulted in a paper that is not very suitable for writing; some were too soft and some too hard. The color was not great too, there’s too many patterns on it. Deng Qing tried his luck and handed his creation to Dong Xiaoyi. He weren’t sure if this thing can be considered as paper and so he took it back to the palace to ask Prince Teng for instructions.
Yuanying was satisfied with it. The softer ones could be used as tissue paper while the harder ones as wrapping paper, so long as they were not used for writing. He instructed that the creators be rewarded with gold.
Straws were everywhere in autumn. It didn’t cost much. Just one Autumn is enough to manufacture lots of straw paper. Since Yang Liu is still raising elephants in Chang’an, we could use elephant dung to exchange for straw. After all Elephant dung composting is much better than burning straw as fertilizer.
Although straw paper is not suitable for writing, its a good material for making toilet paper! No one dares to wipe their buttocks with paper right now, as they would be cursed by scholars. The rich uses silk while the poor uses bamboo chips. Li Yuanying thinks that if he can produce many of this, it will greatly benefit many buttocks.
As for the paper for scholars, let’s focus on improving bamboo paper and reed paper. Bamboo can be grown everywhere and reeds can be found everywhere. These materials are cheap! If possible, he wants to start mass production as soon as possible. This way, he can help Sun Simiao print his book!
Since Deng Qing and others were rewarded, they started work with great energy to finalize the method for straw paper making.
After arranging all paper making matters, he got to know that the troop to war is returning home triumphantly and the whole city was ready to welcome them! This was the army led by Hou Junji and Xue Wanjun who took down Gaochang without battle. After months of walking, they are finally home and even brought back with them Gaochang’s new ruler.
Li Yuanying was very excited. Not only is Hou Junji and the army back, but Dai Ting as well! Also coming to him is his grapes and wine!
He ran to look for his older brother to find out the date of arrival. He then counted the days and rode out of the city on his pony to welcome his travelling companion back.
The first thing he saw after leaving the city was the huge army led by Hou Junji and Xue Wanjun.
Meeting Li Yuanying head on, Hou Junji and Xue Wanjun both stared at him.
Not sure if it was an illusion but Yuanying felt that their stares were weird. It’s as if saying “how can there be such a shameless person like you”.
He was a little puzzled but he still rode over to greet the generals and asked about Dai Ting’s whereabouts.
Hearing “Dai Ting”, their faces became even more sour.
Xue Wanjun said angrily, “At the back, just take a look and you’ll find out.”
Li Yuanying happily rode across the long queue, and finally saw Dai Ting and his group behind the army.
When he set off, Dai Ting only brought about a hundred men with him. Now taking a closer look, there seems to be nearly a thousand people. Everyone was carrying large and small bags, and some even had carts and cars! Li Yuanying also saw hundreds of camels with heavy loads.
Li Yuanying widened his eyes.
So many people and so many things!
Dai Ting also riding a horse saw Li Yuanying approaching from a distance and immediately signaled the team to stop. He went to greet the young prince. Compared to before, Dai Ting looks much older. There are a few clear scratches on his mask indicating that their trip was not all smooth sailing.
Li Yuanying asked Dai Ting enthusiastically: “Why did you bring back so many people?”
Dai Ting briefly explained. To summarize, the situation was similar to what Yuanying had predicted. Hou Junji was an extravagant man. When he took down the city without any fight, his team started looting.
But Dai Ting was picky. He waited before revealing his identity only to selected wealthy and powerful households in Gaochang. These people did not want to be rob clean by Hou Junji and so they agreed to join Dai Ting together with their family wealth and skills. Due to Dai Ting’s great foresight, he easily fulfilled his mission of collecting treasures, grapes, wine, books and talented people. With this group voluntarily joining them, they managed to gain much more than Hou Junji who looted!
Simply put, it’s winning the support of the people.
Hou Junji took the lead in looting. The people who didn’t want to be harmed all defected! The group brought along by Dai Ting also took the opportunity to assure the women of peace and managed to win their hand in marriage!
Now Li Yuanying understood why he was looked at with such eyes.
But he couldn’t careless about it.
He looked at the group of Gaochang citizens who have lost their country and left their hometowns.
His royal brother thinks that the four seas are still a family. No matter where someone is from, as long as they are willing to settle down and serve Tang Empire, we consider them as citizens of Tang!
Li Yuanying and Dai Ting murmured and he learned some Gaochang dialect from Dai Ting. He then stepped forward and gave a friendly look to the group of panic-stricken and helpless visitors.
“Welcome to Tang Empire, this will be your future home!”
Notes from the author:
Little Prince: The talents I’ve picked up are all super awesome!