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Chapter 185: Lin Beifan’s One Against Five in the Yan and Wu Competition?
At the grand meeting of the Great Wu Court, after the officials finished their words of congratulations, the Empress spoke directly.
“The triennial Yan and Wu Competition is about to begin again! The Great Yan Dynasty has already sent their contestants, who will arrive in the capital one week from now to compete against the outstanding youths of our dynasty! General Tang, are you prepared?”
Lin Beifan knew about this Yan and Wu Competition. It was a competition jointly organized by the Great Yan Dynasty and the Great Wu Dynasty, similar to the Olympics, with a history of over a hundred years. It was held every three years, alternating between the two dynasties.
In the Yan and Wu Competition, participants under the age of 30 from each side would compete in both literary and martial arts. The literary competition focused on skills such as music, chess, calligraphy, painting, poetry, and prose, while the martial arts competition naturally focused on martial skills.
Although there were no rewards for winning or punishments for losing, this competition was about honor and face, which was highly valued by the country. It was a must-win. Moreover, it was an opportunity to showcase the abilities of the younger generation of both countries. The more outstanding the young people, the better the development of the country, indicating a better future. It would have an uplifting and morale-boosting effect.
After so many years of development, this competition had become a grand event eagerly awaited by the people of both countries. The previous Yan and Wu Competition was held in the Great Yan Dynasty, so it was naturally the turn of the Great Wu Dynasty this time.
Zhao Jinli, the Minister of Rites, stepped forward and respectfully said, “Your Majesty, after months of preparations, the venue for the Yan and Wu Competition has already been arranged and is ready for the competition at any time. Your Majesty, please rest assured!”
“Good! Then how are the participants arranged?” The Empress was most concerned about this.
“Your Majesty, there is a slight inadequacy in arranging the participants,” Zhao Jinli’s forehead broke out in a layer of fine sweat. “Firstly, for the literary competition, I have learned that the Great Yan Dynasty will be sending the most outstanding young talents in history! The top three of this year’s imperial examination, as well as the first place in the second class, are all under 25 years old but possess the abilities of top scholars. They are called the Four Sons of the Great Yan!”
Everyone gasped in surprise.
The top four in the imperial examination were all young people under the age of 25, and they all had the ability of top scholars. This was truly terrifying. It should be noted that many scholars studied for over twenty years and didn’t achieve the top scholar title until they were in their thirties or forties. In the case of the Great Wu Dynasty, they hadn’t produced a top scholar under the age of 30 for many years. That’s why Lin Beifan’s appearance caused such a stir.
“In addition, the leader of the Great Yan team, Prince Yan Xinghe, is also a talented scholar with diverse knowledge and abilities. He once participated in the imperial examination in disguise and achieved the top two rankings. If his identity hadn’t been exposed in the end, he might have achieved the top three and not fallen short of Principal Lin’s abilities!”
Everyone gasped in surprise again!
This means there are five top scholars!
And they only have Lin Beifan, one person against five, how can he win?
Just thinking about it makes the chances of winning seem bleak!
The Empress’s face darkened. “Minister Zhao, are you suggesting that we are already destined to lose in the literary competition?”
Minister Zhao Jinli wiped the sweat off his forehead. “Your Majesty, we still have a great chance of winning! As the host, we can establish rules that are more favorable to us!”
“What do you propose?” the Empress asked.
“Your Majesty, we can adopt a rotation system, where one person falls, and another immediately takes their place. As long as not all of us fall, it won’t be counted as a loss! Compared to our other talented scholars, we may be slightly lacking, but we have Principal Lin. As long as he can withstand everything, we still have a chance of winning!” Minister Zhao reported loudly.
It really has become one person against five!
“But in this way, Sir Lin will suffer! This…” the Empress said with concern.
“Your Majesty, this is currently the best solution!”
“Please think it over, Your Majesty!”
Under the persuasion of the officials, the Empress finally relented. “It seems we can only adopt the rotation system! Sir Lin, we can only rely on you!”
“Rest assured, Your Majesty. I will do my utmost!” Lin Beifan said calmly.
Everyone was worried, but Lin Beifan wasn’t worried at all.
He had the cultural wealth of another world and integrated so many impressive character templates. It was equivalent to absorbing all their experiences and talents. His talent was expanding!
Lose to others?
What a joke!
But the Empress and the officials didn’t know!
The Empress looked at Lin Beifan’s calm demeanor and thought that he was pretending to be calm. She advised, “Sir Lin, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just do your best! If you lose, we won’t blame you! But if you win, you will have made great contributions to our court, and we will definitely reward you generously! Any objections from the ministers?”
“We have no objections!” the officials said in unison.
“Minister Zhao, how are the arrangements for the martial arts competition?” the Empress asked again.
“Your Majesty, there are also some shortcomings in the martial arts aspect!” Minister Zhao said cautiously.
“What do you mean the martial arts aspect is also inadequate?” The Empress was so angry she wanted to kill someone.
“Your Majesty, the five young experts sent by the Great Yan Dynasty this time all have a cultivation level of at least fifth-rank! Among them, one has outstanding talent and has reached the fourth-rank realm, with formidable strength! As for the young experts of our Great Wu, only three have reached the fifth rank, and the other two are at the sixth rank!”
As he spoke, Minister Zhao’s voice became much quieter.
The Great Yan Dynasty has four fifth-rank and one fourth-rank experts, while the Great Wu Dynasty only has three fifth-rank experts and two sixth-rank experts!
How you look at it, it’s certain that Great Wu will lose!
Just a fourth-ranked person can wipe out all of Great Wu!
The Empress’s chest heaved with anger. “Zhao Jinli, I have given you several months to prepare, and you come up with these people? What use are they? Are you intentionally making a mockery of Great Wu?”
Minister Zhao forced a smile and bowed. “Your Majesty, I have searched through the three armies, Six Doors, Embroidered Uniform Guards, and even the Jianhu, but couldn’t find anyone suitable. Please forgive me, Your Majesty!”
The Empress’s face turned dark with anger, finally sighing weakly.
Great Wu’s decline seemed inevitable, with a heavy atmosphere hanging over the land.
The princes were in control, corrupt officials ran rampant.
The people suffered, and the dynasty was on the verge of collapse.
In such a dire environment, useful talents could not be cultivated at all.
Even if one or two talents emerged, they might be disappointed in Great Wu and seek employment in other countries.
In contrast, the Great Yan Dynasty was in its prime, with talents emerging endlessly.
Thinking back to two hundred years ago, Great Wu was also like that, talents budding like mushrooms after the rain, shaking the four seas and attracting visitors from all directions, as if they were the center of the world!
Now, everything was just a thing of the past!
At this moment, the Empress’s gaze couldn’t help but drift towards Lin Beifan.
This guy was a hidden grandmaster.
Even renowned sword immortal and saber saint were easily defeated by him. If he were to take action, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Unfortunately, this little brat always played coy. Sigh!
“Ministers, any good strategies?” the Empress asked, as the officials exchanged glances. The gap was just too big, and none of the methods seemed very effective.
At this moment, Lin Beifan stood up. “Your Majesty, I have a plan!”
The Empress’s eyes lit up. “What plan, Sir Lin? Tell us quickly!”
“Your Majesty, and esteemed ministers, have you heard the story of Tian Ji’s horse racing?” Lin Beifan smiled.
“Tian Ji’s horse racing?” Everyone looked puzzled.
“In ancient times, there was a country called Qi, where the people loved horses and horse racing. Among them, there was a man named Tian Ji who often competed in horse races against King Qi Wei. However, his horses were never as good as King Qi Wei’s. Do you know how he eventually won?”
“How did he win?” everyone asked in unison.
“It was because a military strategist discovered that although Tian Ji’s horses were not as good as King Qi Wei’s within the same grade, the difference wasn’t that significant. But there was a huge gap between different grades! So, the strategist suggested that Tian Ji use his best horse against King Qi Wei’s average horse, his average horse against King Qi Wei’s worst horse, and his worst horse against King Qi Wei’s best horse.”
“In this way…” Lin Beifan smiled. “Tian Ji’s best horse was stronger than King Qi Wei’s average horse, winning a match! Tian Ji’s average horse was stronger than King Qi Wei’s worst horse, winning another match! Tian Ji’s worst horse, of course, couldn’t compare to King Qi Wei’s best horse, losing a match! Three matches, two wins for Tian Ji!”
“Our martial arts competition is similar to Tian Ji’s horse racing!”
Everyone’s eyes lit up, as if they had already thought of something.
“But we only have three fifth-ranked masters. We can only win the martial arts competition if they all win. And each of their participants is at least fifth-ranked. How can we win?” Someone raised a question.
… …. …
“Your Majesty, we can gather information about the participants from the Great Yan Dynasty’s martial arts competition, analyze the weakest three, find their weaknesses, and come up with a way to defeat them. Then, we can provide specialized training to our own people! With this, our chances of winning will be high!” Lin Beifan reported loudly.
Finally, the Empress’s face brightened. “This idea is good! Ministers, is there anything you would like to add?”
“We have no objections!” The officials replied in unison.
“Good! Let’s proceed with this plan! And….” The Empress’s gaze drifted towards Lin Beifan and she smiled. “Sir Lin, you will be in charge of this!”
Lin Beifan was confused. “Me?”
“Yes, one task, no need for a second leader!” The Empress smiled warmly. “Sir Lin, since this was your suggestion, naturally you will be responsible for it. I believe you will not disappoint me!”
Lin Beifan panicked. “But, Your Majesty, I can’t do it!”
After all, he was a diligent and responsible corrupt official!
He wouldn’t do anything that didn’t benefit him!
“I don’t care, I leave it to you! Among all the civil and military officials, you are the one who puts me most at ease. Use whatever resources you need, and I will fully support you!” The Empress said with a smile.
Lin Beifan’s expression changed immediately. “Your Majesty, I need 500,000 taels of silver. Please grant your permission!”
The Empress: “…”
Wow, he really knows how to climb up the ladder!
Asking for 500,000 taels of silver, he dares to make such a request!
“Fine! I grant you 500,000 taels of silver! If anyone has any objections, speak up, and I will assign this task to them. If they fail to complete it, I will punish them!” The Empress said loudly.
The officials who were about to speak all retreated.
Lin Beifan smiled. “Thank you, Your Majesty!”
“But, Sir Lin, you are a scholar. Is this suitable for you?” The Minister of Rites advised.
The Empress scolded, “Shut up! Sir Lin is much more useful than you! I gave you several months to prepare, but this is the answer you give me? You disappointed me too much!”
Zhao Jinli, who had been scolded, shrank his head and felt a sense of grievance and frustration.
He had worked so hard and done so much, without any credit but with a lot of effort. He not only didn’t receive the Emperor’s praise, but was also scolded in front of all the civil and military officials.
Touching his heart, it felt as cold as water!