014 Leveling Up (Part 1)

Pairs of little hands are placed before Liang Li Dong. If it was on Earth, children of this age normally have white and clean hands but here, he can only see pairs of brown-yellowish of hands filled with calluses. Even Behring as a girl, has big calluses on her hands. The commoners of this world are always hardworking, yet they can never fill their stomachs. If there is a minor drought, someone will starve to death. They worked hard in farming their small piece of land and of the crops harvested, 60% is passed to the fief lord, the remaining 10% have to pass to the village head too, they only remain 30%.

When Liang Li dong became a lord in the game, he only imposed 20% crop tax. From what he can see, this is already very high, he even does not want to collect tax. However, Holevin’s policies does not allow him to do so. Lord collecting crop must be at least 20% and 60% at most……Holevin’s NPC lords all collect the highest crop tax, Liang Li Dong’s fief’s crop tax is the lowest, commercial tax is also the lowest hence it attracted a lot of NPC commoners to emigrate to his fief to live and develop.

His fief turned from a little penniless rural village into a major commercial city in a few years. Not taking into account the fluid population, there is more than 400,000 local citizens. Although it is incomparable to those historic cities that have millions in population, if it continues to develop at this speed, becoming millions in population is just a matter of 10 to 20 years of time. However, because too many commoners migrated to his fief from the surroundings, NPC lords that have fiefs next to his are very hostile to him and joined forces numerous times to attack his fief with all kinds of baffling reasons.

However, it is a pity that he has many player friends. To become a lord with a player identity, there is only 4 in the whole server and all are of the Class Divine Noble while he is one of them.

Typically, players like to gather and move around in player lord’s fief because there is a sense of friendliness, hence the fiefs of that 4 players are referred to as 4 main cities by players. Players gather to this 4 cities by themselves and make all kinds of exchanges or commercial activities. Each time those nobles nearby attack Liang Li Dong’s fief, players will voluntarily protect his fief, Class-ers are not something those ordinary soldiers can stand up to. Furthermore, there is a major guild stationed in Liang Li Dong’s fief.

To players from major guilds, each time those enemy troops attack are very good opportunity to ‘grind’. They wish the enemies will just attack every day while Liang Li Dong was very wise too and implemented the policy of befriending distant states and strike at those neighboring.[1] His relationship with other Holevin nobles are not bad but to those lords bordering his fief, he always hurled insults at them, brought small group of cavalry to their cities and shout using magic to harass them. Since they are the one to start it, Liang Li Dong played along and made life unbearable for those lords.

A few lords once wanted to seal off commercial routes of Liang Li Dong’s fief but because of the presence of players, this became just a dream. Merchants will put up an escort quest at the mercenaries’ guild and players will form small parties to accept the quest to ensure the merchants’ safety. If they encountered any border trying to make things difficult, they will just plow through. Players can revive after dying but NPC cannot. After some time, the few lords signed a peace treaty with Liang Li Dong privately. They were very humble and paid quite a price.

Liang Li Dong’s war against the lords almost always ended up in a victory except for that Prophecy event once.

In the game, Liang Li dong implemented low crop tax, low commercial tax and he even used the lord system to put up many maintaining law and order quest for players to accept which made the security in the fief very good, even ordinary commoners had a good life, at least they were full and warm.

Now that he sees these children hungry, sallow and dirty all over, his mood is a bit uncomfortable: “From now on, not only do you lot need to wash hands before writing, you have to keep your hands clean normally. Labor is a glorious activity but after labor, you still have to clean your hands and keep your hands as clean as possible. Also, you have to take a bath every day……If your body is dirty, that is a disrespect to words. This is it for today, but from tomorrow onward, you lot have to wash yourselves clean before coming. Your clothes can be old and patched but not dirty. I don’t accept students that profane words here, understand?”

All the children nod heavily.

Liang Li Dong did not preach anything complex to these children. In this age of low productivity, doing things in the name of religion has better effect than simply lecturing. At the start of many civilizations, the so-called etiquette are actually self-cleansing actions before worshiping gods and are evolution of religious rituals. A clean person has lower chance of getting ill. After faintly feeling this advantage, it slowly transformed into ordinary people’s daily life. In other words, the initial worshiping of religion or ancestors made human love to be clean.

Seeing that all the children has listened to his words, Liang Li Dong raises the board beside him and takes out the plant pigment that Village Head sent someone to deliver and wrote 3 light red words in Holevin language on the board:

‘I’

‘You’

‘He’

Holevin’s words are pictography too hence every word can represent 1 or multiple meanings and these 3 words are sufficiently simple to write. There is only 2 to 3 strokes and is very suitable to use it as rudimentary teaching materials.

The children are listening earnestly. After Liang Li Dong finished explaining the meaning and the way to write these 3 words, he made them practice on the sand, this is also the reason for making them gather beside the small river. Naturally, if there is sufficient money, they can use paper to practice writing but the problem is they are all children from poor families. A parchment’s normal price is 38 bronze coins……Except for small portion of very wealthy nobles, no one is willing to use parchment to practice at the start of learning words.

Waiting until noon, all the children have already mastered the meaning and writing of these 3 words. After Liang Li Dong made them practice on their own in the afternoon, he dismisses them.

At this time, the young and prime-age laborers have already came back. They pour the stone materials at the flat ground in the center of the village and form a small hill. Eating the rations they brought themselves and water from water and after a short break, they begin to build the foundation. Whether a house can be built well depends on whether the foundation is firm or not. Some slightly older students are not in a hurry to return home but help the group of adults in building the temple.

Naturally, there are adults asking about how their learning situation is at this time. These few children say out Liang Li Dong’s request, if it is in the past, other people demanding their children to bath every day, washing their hands before and after meals, there is no way these adults will not spit and scold that person: Whoever has seen a child from a poor family bathing once a day.

However, Liang Li Dong is different, he is a priest, a spellcaster, a group of people more noble than nobles. And most importantly, their children are beginning to learn words now, they can barely be considered as half a ‘scholar’ in the future and not poor peasants anymore. Scholars have etiquette scholars must follow. Learning the most basic etiquette from now, is what they have to and must to. This shows that Lord Priest are not casually fooling them but seriously teaching the children.

This world does not have the saying of ‘One good turn deserves another’ but they understand that words are not something that can be learned with just money. Lord Priest is willing to teach, that is a blessing from Goddess Waukeen. Furthermore, if they were to learn words at the city themselves, a hundred words will cost 1 gold coins and that does not include making sure you mastered it and will not even teach you how to write it. They will only teach you how to recognize, even if you cannot recognize, it is none of their business.

Lord Priest is going to teaching the children 540 words, if converted to gold coins, it is 5 gold and 40 silver. This amount, even if everyone of their village does not eat nor drink and work for a year, they may not be able to pool that amount. If Seri Village’s village head sold the high grade beast skins in his house, he can get some gold coins but that is his savings from dozens of years. It can be said that those things were earned with his life, he cannot bear to change those into money.

Since Lord Priest is so generous, then they have to give their all to build the temple well so that they can barely repay this kindness.

Liang Li Dong does not feel how generous he is, in the eyes of players, a simple lesson on words is not worth much. To them, what is really valuable are all kinds of combat skills, Traits, or magic and character EXP……Teaching student can receive character EXP, it is actually a win-win situation. To players, character EXP is much more important than those petty money.

After having lunch, Liang Li Dong says to the Village Head: “Old Reed, can you lend me Kyle for an afternoon, I intend to go to Winter Wind City and buy some necessary magic alchemy items.”

In the game, Winter Wind City was destroyed in the hands of players, hence although Liang Li Dong heard of the name of Winter Wind City, he has not been there before.

“Lord Beta, Kyle is your student now, it’s only right that he helps his teacher out. Order him as you like, I have no rights to interfere.”

Kyle’s mouth is chewing on the egg steamed meat that Liang Li Dong made while nodding with all his might. As a lively boy, he naturally hopes to go sightseeing everywhere but paying headcount tax every time he enters the city made him unhappy so if there is nothing, he rarely goes to the city. However, if it is accompanying his teacher, there is no need to pay headcount tax, those soldiers guarding the city gates bully the weak and fear the strong. They dare to get money from commoners but if it is mercenaries, Class-ers or spellcasters, they will not dare to get a penny.

“Ok, bring Behring along too.” Liang Li Dong says after thinking for a while.

He already discovered it when teaching the children words just now, Kyle is the smartest among all the children, being able to recognize words at once and writing is learned easily. Behring is poorer but when compared to other children, she is considered outstanding too and is worth grooming. If he were to groom these 2 children into Goddess Waukeen’s believers, he can get the Devout points System gives out which can be used to exchange low rank Divine Spells. On the other hand, he can get 2 helpers to help deal with the trivial matters in the temple.

“Okay, I’ll go and call Behring over now.” Kyle stuffs the remaining bread into his mouth, wipes his mouth and runs out through the door.

“Lord Beta……” Old Village Head hesitates for a while, looks a bit troubled but still says it in the end: “If you encountered something you cannot deal with conveniently in Winter Wind City, you can go to Black Iron Tavern in the east area and look for an old man named ‘Iron Hook’. His skills are not bad and used to be a Class-er, if sufficient money is given, he is willing to do anything.”

Liang Li Dong raises his head, looks at the old Village Head and says while slightly puzzled: “Why did you suddenly tell me these things?”

 

T/L note 1: One of 36 Stratagems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems#Befriend_a_distant_state_and_strike_a_neighbouring_one

 

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