Chapter 124 – Sacrifice to the Heavens
The next day, the sun shone from above as many farmers carried their tools and walked towards the river. They each wore linen shorts and looked strong.
“Why do we have to widen the river again? It’s not like our city doesn’t have enough water to use…” a man complained. If it weren’t for the promised pay, he would’ve been resting at home before the busy farming season started.
Another person in the same village said, “In any case, they’re paying us twenty wen for half a day’s work. Where else would you find such a great opportunity? Even if you don’t want the job, there’s still a whole line of people waiting behind you for it.”
They chatted aimlessly and soon, many people gathered by the riverside. The group walked towards Huzui Bay, which was the first part of the Yulong Canal.
When they passed by the place Gong Yi Mo blew up yesterday, someone shouted in surprise.
“Wasn’t there a rock in the middle of the river before? How come it’s gone?”
The other people glanced at him, “You probably remembered wrong. There’s nothing there.”
The person who called out continued to move forward. He racked his head as he walked, “I clearly remember there used to be…”
Huzui Bay forms a narrow shoal at the end of the Yulong Inner Canal. There were hills on both sides that extended into the river, leaving only a small opening for the water to flow through. Since the waterway was blocked by boulders that fell from the hillsides, it was difficult for the river water to gush through. Thus, the river not only needed to be widened, but also cleared up.
The river wasn’t too deep on this end, so the workers could go to the area and start digging. As the workers stared at the heavily blocked waterway, they couldn’t help but sigh. They heard that they actually had to expand the opening up to more than a dozen meters on each hillside.
Today, only more than 10,000 workers arrived. Since Huzui Bay was quite small, Gong Yi Mo thought that 10,000 workers would have been sufficient for a day’s labor. However, she called many more of them for the sake of her propaganda.
After seeing that the crowd had gathered together to fill the flat land by the river, Gong Che stood up before them. Today was their first day of construction, so they had to offer a sacrifice.
Gong Che wore a white robe as he stood before the newly built altar and looked down with a gentle gaze. His affluence and handsome appearance made him look like a god.
Since the people among crowd were mostly concerned about their food and clothing for their daily necessities, their vision and experience was very limited. This was the first time they had ever laid eyes on such a beautiful person. It was almost as if the prince had walked out of a fairytale. It was no wonder that the Crown Prince was truly a son of Heaven.
As such, the people immediately fell to their feet and worshipped him while shouting, “We greet Your Highness, the Prince.”
The prince smiled and replied, “You don’t have to bow in ceremony.”
The men soon stood on their feet, but unlike their previous slack attitudes, they were now cautious.
Seeing the prince gave them a sense of awe for imperial power. Behind the prince was a dark and heavy pressure emanating from the army of guards who protected him. This caused the peasant worker to tremble in fear. If they didn’t do their jobs, does that mean they’ll be trodden down?
The plan was too complicated for these people to understand, so Gong Che only spoke a few words to them.
My Father has given his command to dig a canal here, starting from the tail of this Yulong Inner Canal. Aside from this, we need to complete the task of widening and clearing more than a dozen miles of river along Xing City within a month. This will require a total of 80,000 men, do you understand?
His words caused the peasant workers to feel angered. If 80,000 people were hired to split the work for just the Yulong Canal, with 40,000 digging in the morning and the other 40,000 in the afternoon, the workload would have been reasonable. But if in addition, they had to clear more than a dozen rivers like Huzui bay, how was it possible to accomplish this feat in a month?