Chapter 29 – Reward
Zhao Hai stood up happily and said, “Bring me to this person. Quickly.”
After he finished, he held Meg’s hand as they walked outside. Meg was startled before she glanced at the hand that was held by Zhao Hai. A trace of joy flashed across her eyes before being replaced by embarrassment.
But Zhao Hai wasn’t in the mood to notice this. Maylin and the others didn’t notice it either. They just followed Zhao Hai out of the castle.
Once they went out, they saw a slave standing there. But this slave surprised Zhao Hai a little, because it was a girl.
Zhao Hai thought that the one standing there would be an older one, but he never thought she’d be this young. Zhao Hai stood there idly as he looked at the slave girl standing at the gate between the outer section and the castle.
This slave appeared to be no more than 20 years old. Perhaps due to malnutrition, she appeared to be starved thin as her figure was very petite. She had a head of brown hair which looked rough, and she was wearing rough rags for clothes. Her skin was very dark and coarse, while her looks were rather ordinary.
She stood there nervously, and it seemed like she was shivering. She even kneeled down the moment she saw Zhao Hai and the others, not daring to make a move.
Meg spoke to Zhao Hai immediately, “Young master, it’s her. She’s called Dou, and she’s 20 (years old) this year. She just looked for me and said she knew grass-weaving.”
Zhao Hai nodded. He knew that slaves in this world wouldn’t have surnames. Their names would only be singular words. If a slave’s name were to be two words, it would be a transgression, which would warrant execution.
Zhao Hai looked at this girl called ‘Dou’, and spoke, “Raise your head.”
Dou raised her head with jittering, but she still didn’t dare to look at Zhao Hai and just kept kneeling. Zhao Hai nodded, “You are Dou ?”
Dou planted her forehead to the ground, “Yes, master.”
Zhao hai nodded, “Are you good at grass-weaving? Where did you learn it from?”
Dou replied, “Replying back to master. I became a slave the year before last year. I was a commoner, and I would use grass to make things most of the time. I learned it over time.”
Zhao Hai nodded. He found out that while Dou was timid, her words were in order. It appeared that this was closely related to her past of being a commoner.
Zhao Hai nodded and then ordered, “Bring some grass. Make something for me right now.”
Dou heeded immediately and then went away. Not long after that, she brought a bale of dried grass back. It seemed that she was prepared. These grasses had been washed beforehand, so they had become more tender.
Dou bowed to Zhao Hai and said, “Pray pardon my insolence, master.” Zhao Hai nodded, and Dou immediately sat on the ground to start moving her hands with the grass. It could be seen that she was making a grass mat, and her movements were very quick. It didn’t take more than a short while for a small mat to be finished. The mat appeared to be very smooth and soft. Its appearance was very beautiful as well.
Zhao Hai nodded and then spoke to Dou, who was kneeling yet again, “Alright, Dou. You have offered a great contribution to Buda family. From today onwards, you are no longer a slave. You are our Buda family’s citizen of the black fief. You no longer need to kneel down when you see me. A simple bow will do. You will also have a single room for the sake of work, from which you will have a single silver coin every month as a wage, and I’m giving you the surname ‘Buda’. From today onwards, your name is Dou Buda. Mmmh. Dou as a name isn’t too suitable for a girl. Let’s call you ‘Ju’.”
Everyone in the yard heard Zhao Hai’s words. They truly didn’t expect Dou to become a citizen simply by being skilled with grass-weaving. She even gained a wage, and most importantly, a surname from Zhao Hai. This was an incredible matter. One should know that there were many commoners on the continent who didn’t have a surname.
Dou, no, Ju Buda knelt excitedly on the spot now, her whole figure trembling. She had never thought that she would really become a citizen. She was no longer a slave. All of this was like a dream.
The reason why Ju had the courage to be the first one to say she had skills was completely due to the thought of an all-out gamble. Her family hadn’t originally been enslaved, and had still been a normal family 2 years ago. They had their own plot of land, though it had only been 5 acres, which had barely been enough to support the whole family. Her father had been somewhat good at masonry, so the family didn’t need to worry about food and clothes.
But in that exact year, her family suffered from a bug plague. 5 acres of crops had completely been eaten clean, without a single pellet of harvestable rice. There were plenty of people who shared the same fate. Then, due to the large-scale cessation of crop production there, which caused the prices to rise, her whole family had immediately been on the verge of starvation. In order to let the whole family eat well, her father had no choice but to work all day and night. But one time, he was injured and could no longer continue to work. The family had to sell their land and home in order to get a doctor for him, but it wasn’t enough. Out of options, they borrowed a high-interest loan from a noble, but her father couldn’t hold on and died from sickness. Without the ability to pay back the loan, the noble made her mother, herself, and her younger brother into slaves. Her mother died not long after that because of overbearing sadness. Her mother’s dying wish was to let their family become commoners again.
However, it was extremely difficult for a slave to be restored to commoner status. Ju Buda had also seen many slaves who were like them, who offered their own children in order to restore their status. But not only could they not regain their status, their children were soon tortured to death.
Ju became even more cautious after that. She did her best to avoid attention while taking care of her younger brother. The siblings depended on each other for their lives.
And then, their original master sold them to slave traders, and they were eventually bought by Greene and drafted to the Black Wastelands.
Ju’s heart moved when she heard that Zhao Hai would restore anyone’s commoner status as long as there were contributions made. But she didn’t stand out immediately, because she was afraid that her skills wouldn’t be noticed by Zhao Hai, since she only knew about grass-weaving.
After several days of observation, she found out that these nobles (Zhao Hai and the others) were not like the ones she had seen before. They were amiable, would let them eat until they were full everyday, and even prepared firewood to let them keep warm.
Ju couldn’t afford not to stand out today, because her younger brother was sick. Although it wasn’t a major sickness, it would be very dangerous for him to keep on working like this. Ju was afraid. Her younger brother was her family’s hope, so she had to save him no matter what. That was why she came out.
After a while of idling, Ju planted her forehead to the ground again, “Master, I dare not want your reward. I only wish that you can save my younger brother. He is sick.”
Zhao Hai was taken aback, “Oh? Is that so? So you have a younger brother here as well. Don’t worry, I will not take back your reward. Since your brother is here, I will let your brother share your status as well and have Buda as his surname. Oh right, what’s his name? Where is he? What sickness is it?”
Ju was stunned. She didn’t imagine that Zhao Hai would do this. He even restored her younger brother’s commoner status. Her mother’s wish was fulfilled this quickly, which moved Ju to tears. She spoke with sobs, “Master, my younger brother is called ‘An’. He’s now in a house.”
Zhao Hai nodded, “Rise. You are now a commoner, and you don’t need to kneel. Take me to your brother.”
Ju stood up obediently. She had only been a slave for a few years, so she wasn’t completely enslaved. Plus she was very clever herself, so she always had a great performance. She regained her composure soon after that.
Under the watchful eyes of the slaves, Ju led the way for Zhao Hai and the others to a stone house. It wasn’t very large as it was only around 20 square metres, which could fit 4 people. These people lived on the ground, which was simply covered with dried grass. Right now, a person was lying on the dried grass.
This person appeared to be about 17 or 18 years old with a rather sturdy figure and normal looks. He was wearing rags for clothes, and his forehead was branded with the Buda family insignia. But right now, he didn’t appear to be well. His face was green and his eyes were shut.
Zhao Hai took a glance and turned to Maylin, “Granny Maylin, can you see what’s wrong with him? Why is his face green?”
Maylin glanced at An and replied, “Young master, he’s been poisoned. It’s most likely the toxic grass we saw yesterday. It’s likely that he touched it without knowing at work today. He didn’t feel much because he’s strong, but the poison is slowly taking hold after coming back. That’s why he’s like this.”
Zhao Hai didn’t think that the grasses had such a great toxicity. He asked in a hurry, “Can he be treated?”
Maylin smiled, “Don’t worry, young master, he can.” After that, she chanted in a low tone, and a ball of aqua-colored light appeared in her hand. She then put the light into An slowly, burying it into his body.
An’s body seemed to slowly emanate a blue light, and then a green gas was forced out of him by the blue light. When the blue light completely took over, An’s complexion gradually became normal. The blue light also vanished after that.
Zhao Hai didn’t think that magic could be used to counteract poisons. It appeared that he always underestimated this world’s magical capabilities. Since this world was always developing a magical civilization, it now seemed to be at a limit. It was no longer a wonder when something like this could be done.
Maylin looked at An’s complexion and said, “Young master, it is done. The poison inside him is gone. He should be back to normal after waking up tomorrow morning.”
Zhao Hai nodded, “Granny Maylin, give Ju and An a room in the castle. Prepare some furniture for them tomorrow. They are now citizens of the Buda family, so they can’t have the same treatment as the slaves. Blockhead, haul them over to the castle after a while.”