From the Imjin War to the Qing Invasion Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Word of Mouth!

I visited the rice paddies daily from the day I sowed the rice seeds.

Usually, if someone is a servant of a noble family, they would be pressured to study books to revive the family’s fortunes, but our family was different.

Perhaps it’s because we already had many successful officials in the court or because they were considerate of my memory lost, there was no pressure to study.

Yes, with war breaking out in 10 years, it would be much more practical to pull a bow and swing a sword once more than to read what Confucius and Mencius said.

And more than that, it would be a hundred times more effective to grow the economy of Joseon.

To do that, a large force is needed, but if you wield power in the wrong way in this era, you’ll be caught up in Stalin’s specialty[1].

It’s because that bastard King Seonjo can’t stand the idea of regional powers gathering forces.

Ahaha, isn’t this more difficult than being a king in terms of difficulty?

Well, even the king would face an immediate rebellion if he made a small mistake, so the only option was to spend time looking for opportunities.

There’s a mountain of things to do, and time is running out.


“Damn, I really can’t get used to this screeching noise!”

But still, I’m learning how to deal with this cursed noise.

Whenever I have negative thoughts, the screeching noise gets worse; on the contrary, if I have positive thoughts, it gets a little better.

I set aside my worries momentarily and try to imagine a positive situation.

At first, it was hard to find even the seedlings, but green sprouts grew in the rice paddies after about a week.

Seeing that, my emotions were mixed.

The first emotion that came to mind was the relief that the knowledge of fertilizer-making I learned to write novels actually works in reality.

The next emotion was feeling like I had lit a small candle in the dark, bleak path ahead.

Like the lyrics of a famous singer’s song, there was another candle next to that small candle, and by lighting the candles around me, wouldn’t the suffocating darkness pressing down on my heart eventually retreat?

“Ahem, Kang Cheol! Let’s go to Yeomposan again today!”

Every day, I went to my rice paddy to observe the growth of the rice.

“Hehe, young master! You’re truly dedicated to watching the rice seeds every day.”

“Do you know by any chance? These guys might grow better if they hear my footsteps.”

“The story that rice has ears and recognizes its owner is a first for me.”

Well, it’s not much different from pseudoscience in the 21st century, but it’s not entirely nonsense, either. If the owner visits their rice paddies every day, then it will make the farmers work even harder.

“Ahahaha! I meant it would be nice if that were the case.”

Kang Cheol followed me like a shadow and accompanied me on the way to Yeomposan.

Usually, if Grandpa or Father were not busy, they would come along, but all the elders in the family were busy solving various problems because of the start of the farming season.

So, today too, Kang Cheol and I headed to Yeomposan together.

The green sprouts in the rice paddies constructed at the foot of Yeomposan had grown from ankle to knee height.

“Growing day by day, isn’t it amazing how the rice grows so fast? Kang Cheol, don’t you think the rice in my rice paddy is growing similar to the third-grade rice?”

I compared the rice in my rice paddy with the rice growing in the first-grade soil and the rice growing in the third-grade soil.

Honestly, the rice growing in the first-grade soil already looked different in color from my green sprouts, but the difference between the rice growing in the third-grade and the rice growing in my rice paddy didn’t seem significant.

“Hmm, it looks similar to me as well. Especially, the rice in that paddy in the middle looks particularly blue, and it doesn’t look any different from the rice in the second-grade soil.”

The fertilizer used in that rice paddy was made by fermenting fishmeal, fish sauce, and nuruk[2] for 20 days, which required quite a lot of effort.

Is there a payoff for investing money and care?

I was looking forward to how much rice the capital-invested fertilizer would yield as nutrients.

Ahem, by the way, this should be enough to hold a business presentation, right?

I had no knowledge about farming, but I could still feel how healthy the rice growing in the rice paddies was.

After spending a while looking around the rice paddies slightly smaller than a soccer field, I heard someone calling me from a distance.

“Oh, my dear young master~~~!”

No doubt, it was Samsik, who was in charge of my rice paddy.

“Did you come to see the rice paddy again today?”

Samsik always greeted me with a warm smile even though I might be annoying.

Hmm, I should treat him to a delicious meal today with the excuse of a proper report.

“Samsik, you must have been working hard since early morning.”

Samsik was an itinerant slave who managed my rice paddy and three nearby rice paddies.

“I only know how to work hard, so I just have to do my best.”

“By the way, how does the rice in that rice paddy look to you?”

“It’s truly amazing. Usually, when we sow rice seeds in sixth-grade soil, we joke among ourselves that it’s a waste of rice seeds, but seeing the rice grow so well in the rice paddies where we applied compost is truly amazing.”

Hmm, even the expert acknowledged the effect of the compost.

“Hopefully, this year’s harvest will be a good one.”

“Ahaha, are you talking about this?”

Samshik warmly laughed and nodded his head.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen such good rice growing in a field with sixth-grade soil since I started losing hair. This field is sure to have a bountiful harvest this year.”

A long-term dedication to a task gives a person a sense of intuition based on experience.

A person’s experience may contain many errors, but wouldn’t a farmer like Samshik, who has touched the soil for a long time, have a pretty accurate feeling?

Now I have confidence in the compost.

It’s time to move on to the next step.

“Samshik, by any chance, can you visit the main house today?”

“Sure? I have some time in the afternoon after working in the field in the morning…”

“Please talk to my father about this field and have a meal together. You can look forward to the big octopus someone caught yesterday while fishing.”

An octopus was a very valuable fish in the Joseon Dynasty, known for its ink secretion.

Its value was so high that it reached the king’s table.

Still, it is considered a rare delicacy in coastal areas like Ulsan, and commoners could only taste it during local events.


“Would that be okay? I’ll finish looking at the field quickly and go to your place.”

“I’ll also pack a leg or two for Il-nam to taste since it’s quite big.”

Although everyone in Samshik’s family couldn’t be full of just one or two octopus legs, wouldn’t it be enough to fill their stomachs if they ate boiled octopus legs as a side dish?

“Oh dear, why are you so kind to someone like me?”

“Because what Samshik is doing now might be a very important task that could save the country.”

“Ahaha, I don’t know what to do with myself hearing that this ignorant person’s work is so important.”

Uncle shook his hands as if my story made no sense.

It’s not bluffing; it really might save the country.

Fortunately, that day at lunchtime, my father was at home, taking care of the house since he was busy with the village affairs.

“Father, how are you?”

“Oh, are you on your way to the field again today?”

“Yes! No matter how much I look at the rice growing in my field, I never get tired of it.”

Tsk, why did this boy, who can laugh so innocently, cause me so much trouble all this time?

Kim Hyeonmyeong felt annoyed for no reason seeing his son’s innocent smile.

“Hey! Why don’t you show me the field?”

Although Father could check the field himself, he hasn’t looked at it because I told him it’s not time yet.

“Ah! Today I invited Samshik to our house.”

“Samshik? Why did you invite someone like him, an outsider, to our house?”

“He’s someone who might increase the output of our family’s fields in the future. Since we have an octopus at home, shouldn’t we treat him generously?”

“Hmm, that’s true! But is it really effective, the fertilizer you made?”

In fact, my father was still half-skeptical about me, who lost his memory but still tried to start making fertilizers.

As all the money in the house was executed by my father, winning him over was the most important thing for my plans.

“Samshik will answer that for you.”

And the best way to persuade my father was to have a practitioner praise me rather than I boast about my achievements.

“Master, it’s Samshik.”

“Oh, come in. Samshik, you’ve been managing that field. How are the rice plants?”

“Don’t even mention it. The rice plants in the young master’s field are growing so strong and healthy, like they are in a third-grade field. Some even look like they’re from a second-grade field, even though it’s a sixth-grade field.”


Making fertilizers with the intestines of a fish that can’t even be eaten or sold, and it’s effective…

“Samshik, you’ve been through a lot. There’s a big meal prepared in the room, so go ahead and eat.”

“Yes, Master!”

“Son, what do you think about this matter?”

My father’s gaze seemed to pierce through me. I can’t reveal that I was reincarnated, but I’ve prepared countless scenarios to explain the situation.

I’m not a writer for nothing.

To win the quarrel with readers saying, “Writer, does this make sense?” it’s best to write a plausible scenario.

“As far as I know, a long time ago, a farming method used compost to boost soil fertility.”

I must never prove that I’m special.

In the Joseon Dynasty, the special ones usually were stabbed in the back.

Wasn’t the great Admiral Yi Sun-sin eventually forced to retire because King Seonjo did a Stalin-like purge on him? In the Joseon Dynasty, life goes downhill when one gets targeted by a top-ranked villain.

“However, there was a lack of materials for compost, so I looked for something to replace it during ‘that one month.'”

Even though I was still considered a promising family member, I had an invincible cheat key that applied only to the people in this household.

“‘That one month’? Is that what you’re talking about?”

When someone mentioned “that one month,” most adults tended to overlook the inconsistency and move on.

“Yes, and one day, I happened to meet Su Dal and heard that big fish were being caught nearby recently. And I also discovered that the fish’s entrails were thrown back into the sea immediately because they spoil easily.”

“Ah, so that’s why you told your grandfather you wanted to see the ocean?”

“I apologize. However, my desire to see the ocean was not false.”

The ocean was the future, whether in the past, present, or future.

At this moment, the absolute powerhouse dominating the world for a long time by reaping huge trade profits during the Age of Exploration in the West was about to change.

Well, it was just changing from the Chinese to the British.

Considering that the British had created a global problem, I wondered if the current Chinese were more beneficial to the Earth.

“Right, our eldest son used innards to grow his plants, but I, the father, was too careless.”

“But as you said, Father, we should save innards for any possible future crises, so I really did my best to make fertilizer.”

“Alright, you did well.”

My father patted my head gently as if to say I had suffered a lot during that time.

I finally confirmed that I had gained my father’s recognition.

“Then, do you have any more plans for the future?”

“Since my fertilizer has been proven to improve the soil’s fertility, shouldn’t we spread the word?”

“Spread the word?”

“Yes, we won’t be able to keep this secret anyway. We don’t know how much produce will come from a sixth-grade field, but at least by fall, the news will have spread throughout the village.”

“True, that’s probably what will happen. Even the government might send investigators.”

If we compare the results from a field with a first-grade field, it yields as much as a third-grade field on land that is twice as large.

In other words, the production per unit area has dramatically increased.

To prepare for the upcoming catastrophe, it’s not enough for just our family to survive.

“If not only our family but also the people of Ulsan and even Gyeongsang Province can eat their fill, where else could we find a way to serve the country?”

“That’s right, Sangseung, your words are correct. However, raising maritime trade is not an easy task.”

Well, Father, I have a slightly different idea.

Why did the Age of Exploration begin?

It started with a small crop called pepper.

The merchants wanted to supply more pepper transported by land more frequently, and they went to the sea to succeed in establishing a pepper trade route.

Previously, merchants who focused on agriculture turned their eyes to the sea, and naturally, capital flowed into it.

People from the Age of Exploration jumped into the sea to obtain this capital.

And that’s when the real Age of Exploration began!

Perhaps even now, Europe is scouring the world for slaves, spices, gold, and silver treasures, gathering them with their claws and increasing their national power.

Now it’s time to let the nobles of Joseon, who are the capitalists, know about the potential of the ocean.

“The reason why there is a small number of maritime trades is because there are few ships. If the nobles can increase the income of their own family’s land, will they give up this method?”

…I can’t give up even for the country!

“Here, this is the recipe for the fertilizer. First, you should tell our relatives about the recipe at the family gathering and then report it to the government after the fall harvest.”

“Absolutely! Reporting it to the country can be done after the results! First, let’s take advantage of our family!”

“Sharing a good thing is important, but isn’t it better for us to take the lead first?”

Why bother doing a favor for others?

“You are right.”

The next day, my father checked my field with me and immediately summoned a family gathering.

[1] In other words, to be purged.

[2] Nuruk is a traditional Korean fermentation starter used in making alcohol.

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From the Imjin War to the Qing Invasion

From the Imjin War to the Qing Invasion

Score 9.1
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: ,
In order to write an alternate history novel, one must study the respective era. While setting up the world of the work through studying, I fell asleep and when I woke up, I found myself in the Joseon Dynasty. Coincidentally, it matched the historical background of the novel I intended to write. The problem is, it was 10 years before the Imjin War.
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