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The people of Hu Family Village still had a good impression of Zhang Zhan. They did not know who this person was, but no one would believe that he could bring food for disaster relief so quickly after being saved. It was easy to add icing to the cake, but it was difficult to send charcoal in the snow. “We’re all here,” Village Chief Hu said to Zhang Zhan.

“There are two things. The first is that there will be no spring tax this year and no conscription until March,” Zhang Zhan said word by word.

The villagers were immediately shocked. Spring tax exemption? No conscription?!

“There’s no need to pay taxes or join the army for the time being. We can farm in peace this year!”

“Thank you, Lord Heaven! Thank you!”

“We can live, we can live!”

The villagers were first stunned before they were overjoyed. This time, they were really crying. They were even more pleasantly surprised than before.

How could the importance of the food distributed be compared to the spring tax?!

The excited villagers knelt down. One moment, they were kowtowing to Zhang Zhan, and the next moment, they were kowtowing in the direction of Changning City.

They kept shouting their thanks.

Little Ah Yu sat on Wang Erlang’s neck. When she saw the villagers kneeling down, she hurriedly slid down her brother’s neck.

She ran over and wanted to pull her aunt up. However, she had only taken two steps when Wang Erlang grabbed her arm.

“Ah Yu, don’t run around.”

Little Ah Yu was puzzled.

“Why are they kneeling? Did they make a mistake?” Only people who made mistakes would kneel.

Wang Erlang thought for a moment and said, “Perhaps it’s because of the spring tax exemption. The spring tax is very bad!”

In the past, in order to pay the spring tax, the family had to work from morning to night in the fields, fighting to improve the harvest.

Although it was called a spring tax, it was actually a food tax that had to be paid at the end of spring and the beginning of summer. There were sorghum, spring wheat, broad beans, peas, and barley. It looked like a lot, but the production of each of them was very low. Only by putting them together could one pay the amount of taxes.

Wang Wulang felt a headache when he thought of the spring tax. “That’s right, it’s so tiring. Last year, when Third Brother became a servant, we paid another portion of tax. That tired us out so much that we had no time to play!”

Wang Sanlang also felt depressed. “Our permanent land is not even enough to compensate for it.”

“What is permanent land?” Little Ah Yu felt that she had a lot of questions. She didn’t understand anything.

“It’s the land given to us by the Imperial Court,” said Wang Wulang.

Wang Erlang simply told Little Ah Yu what a permanent land was.

According to the rules of Great Chang, when a man reached the age of 14, he would be considered an adult man. After becoming an adult, he could originally obtain 30 mu of land. Among them, 20 mu was state land and 10 mu was permanent land.

The land of the country could not be bought or sold, nor could it be inherited. It lasted from adulthood to death and was taken back to the country after death.

A permanent land was permanently divided to individuals. It could be bought, sold, rented out, or passed down to future generations.

The composition of the villagers’ land was basically composed of the portion given by the country plus the land passed down by their ancestors, and the land developed by themselves.

It seemed like a lot, but very few people could have much land in their hands.

There were all kinds of reasons why they had to sell or swap their land. They did this out of poverty.

The Wang’s family’s land was given by the country to the grandchildren after they became adults. However, they had already sold some. The entire family lived a tight life.

A mu of fertile land could only produce 150 catties of grain. Everyone did not have much fertile land and usually only produced 70 to 80 catties per mu. It was not considered a good yield.

Each male had to pay one “shi” of food in spring and autumn. The others, composed of men who had yet to become adults, and women, would pay one “shi” of food per three people.

It sounded little, but combined, it was impossible to afford.

Little Ah Yu felt dizzy as she listened. Her two small eyes blinked as she tried her best to understand the contents of her brother’s words.

But she only remembered one thing. There was very little permanent land, and farming was very tiring.

She raised her arms and rubbed them with great effort. Under the surprised gazes of her brothers, she puffed up her cheeks and said in an exceptionally serious tone, “Don’t be afraid. Ah Yu knows how to farm too. Let’s farm together!”

Wang Wulang covered his mouth and laughed secretly. “You’re too young to farm.”

Little Ah Yu was anxious. “The vegetables Ah Yu plants are very delicious! They’re even more delicious now!” With the help of the elf, she could water the vegetables with the sweet water. The vegetables would definitely be even more delicious!

Seeing that Ah Yu was as anxious as a buggy fruit, the Wang Family boys could not help but laugh.

They fought to appease her. “Alright, alright, alright. Ah Yu’s vegetables are very delicious. Our land and farm will depend on Ah Yu!”

Little Ah Yu grinned, so happy that her two little buns swayed.

In her joy, she forgot to ask, “What is a conscription?”

Before Little Ah Yu could remember, Zhang Zhan spoke again.

When everyone calmed down, Zhang Zhan continued, “The second thing is about the fight between your village and Shanyang Village.”

The villagers all looked at Zhang Zhan, hoping to hear good news.

Zhang Zhan said, “We’ve already investigated this matter clearly. It’s not your fault.”

The few officials that Zhang Zhan had left behind not only stayed behind to protect the village, but they were also in charge of investigating the matter here.

On the way back, the Wang brothers had already explained the matter clearly. However, they could not listen to one side of the story only, so they naturally had to investigate.

The results of the investigation were similar to what Wang Chuanman and the others had said.

The people of Shanyang Village ate their own children. Later on, a few families who were stipulated to give their children to the village were unhappy and simply wanted to steal the children of Hu Family Village.

This was because they had heard that a child had been picked up from Hu Family Village and if they ate that child, the people of Hu Family Village would definitely not make a fuss.

In Shanyang Village, when Zhang Zhan asked about this, a man even said with hatred on his face, “We can’t even live anymore, but they actually still picked up children to raise! If they gave us the food they left behind, we wouldn’t have to resort to snatching the child!”

“That’s right. Their Hu Family Village is the poorest village in the first place. All these years, the villages around them have helped them a lot. Now that we’re in trouble, they only gave us 50 catties of food. How can we take this lying down!”

“Our villages are so close to each other, so we’ve interacted a lot. They would rather give the food to a girl they don’t know than give us a way out. They forced us to do this!”


“They even caused a few of our people to die. We want them to pay with their lives!”

“They even asked us to compensate them with money. Heavens, this is the most wronged thing in the world!”

The more the people from Shanyang Village spoke, the more agitated they became. They even requested Zhang Zhan to punish the group of ingrates from Hu Family Village.

This act of blaming others left Zhang Zhan and the other officials dumbfounded.

They could actually say that?

Not only did those who had eaten children say so, but even those who had never eaten human flesh before, including some respected elders, expressed that they were not at fault.

When Zhang Zhan left Shanyang Village after his investigation, his heart was very heavy.

He originally thought that the act of eating another’s child was extremely vicious and should be severely punished.

Unfortunately, the officials below reminded him that this was usually not within the scope of the investigation for the officials. It was more likely that such cases were handed over to the local families or country squires for trial.

If the victim did not complain, the matter could only be left unsettled.

At most, they would capture the offender and imprison him for a few days to teach him a lesson.


He originally thought that not everyone in Shanyang Village would eat their children. There would always be some people who were unwilling to be involved in this but were forced to.

But when he asked, “Is there anyone who wants to seek justice? I can help you.”

Everyone in Shanyang Village fell silent.

This included some women who had cried their hearts out when their children were taken away and eaten. He asked if they wanted to report their husband or father-in-law, but they kept shaking their heads.

“Lord, you can’t arrest him. How can we live without a man in the family!”

His face was cold. “They’re people who can ignore their own flesh and blood. Are you really going to forgive them?”

The women whimpered, not daring to cry out loud, but no one answered.

Their children were already gone. They could not lose their men.

Although he was an Imperial Envoy and he could interfere in this matter, he could not extend his hand too far.

In the end, he could not take it anymore and asked the officials to arrest those who went to the Hu Family Village to cause trouble and send them all to the county city.

Even if the matter of them sacrificing children to eat could be discussed later, they had committed a crime by causing trouble in another village and causing the death of their own villagers.

At this point, Zhang Zhan looked at the innocent villagers of Hu Family Village and composed himself slightly. He said, “Shanyang Village took the initiative to provoke you and cause trouble, and they injured the people of the Hu Family Village. This is a serious crime. You didn’t take the initiative to provoke them, and you retaliated for the sake of self-preservation. It’s not your fault that the snake nest was mobilized. Therefore, your village is innocent. But—”

Zhang Zhan changed the topic and everyone became nervous, afraid that he would say something.

“Shanyang Village took the initiative to provoke Hu Family Village first. Other than the medical compensation they proposed, Shanyang Village will take over your June conscription quota. If the Imperial Court summons the army, they can go in your place.”

As soon as he finished speaking, the villagers’ eyes widened.

Shangyang Village had to take over the June conscription quota for the Hu Family Village!

In that case, the men in their village would have at least six months to recuperate. This was something that they could not even ask for.

“Sir, are you serious?” The villagers were trembling with fear. They mainly wanted to ask if what he said counted.

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