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Chapter 268: Accusing Us of Shamelessness? Who’s More Shameless?
After Lin Beifan and his group left, the Great Xia delegation was furious and indignant.
“Lin Beifan is despicable. He doesn’t even regard us!”
“He’s deliberately making things difficult for us! I’ve never seen such an arrogant person in my life!”
“Perhaps we should report to the Empress of Great Wu and request someone else to negotiate!”
“There’s really nothing to negotiate with him! It’s hopeless!”
At this moment, Mr. Wang let out a sigh of resignation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please calm down. We’re in a precarious situation. What else can we do? For the sake of our prince and Great Xia, let’s bear with it for now and not jeopardize the bigger picture!”
Everyone let out a weary sigh. “Mr. Wang is absolutely right.”
The negotiations continued on the second day. Since sitting down, Lin Beifan hadn’t said a word, waiting to see the other side’s sincerity.
Mr. Wang, the representative of Great Xia, took a sip of tea to steady himself and then spoke with a composed expression, “Mr. Lin, after we returned yesterday, my colleagues and I considered what kind of conditions could satisfy you. So, we thought it would be best for you to propose them.”
Lin Beifan nodded slightly, “That works too. I finally see a hint of sincerity.”
“This negotiation primarily involves two matters,” Lin Beifan raised two fingers, “First, the issue of redeeming the 600,000 Great Xia soldiers, and second, the redemption of Great Xia’s Prince Xia Tianqiong. Let’s start with the issue of the Great Xia soldiers.”
“Please go ahead, Mr. Lin. I’m all ears,” Mr. Wang replied in a serious manner.
Lin Beifan asked, “I want to know, how much is the annual salary for your ordinary soldiers?”
Mr. Wang answered, “Around 100 taels of silver.”
Lin Beifan continued, “How many years do they serve?”
Mr. Wang replied again, “They start serving at 18 years old and usually serve for two years! After completing their service, they become part of the reserves and engage in farming and other labor. But if a war occurs, they must be called back for duty.”
Lin Beifan asked again, “On average, how long can your retired soldiers in Great Xia live?”
Mr. Wang answered once more, “Due to their physical strength, retired soldiers in Great Xia can live to around 50 years old on average.”
They went back and forth with questions and answers.
Mr. Wang gradually became puzzled, “Mr. Lin, why are you asking these questions? How are they related to our negotiations?”
“The reason I’m asking in such detail is to calculate the value of Great Xia’s soldiers so that I can determine a reasonable price. Now, I’ve figured it out!” Lin Beifan took out a small abacus from somewhere and started clicking it. “Your Great Xia soldiers serve for about two years, receiving an annual salary of 100 taels of silver, which amounts to 200 taels during their service period.”
“Retiring to farming and labor, they can earn around 50 taels of silver per year. Living until 50, working for thirty years, they can earn about 1500 taels. Adding the 200 taels from their service, a Great Xia soldier’s lifetime value is roughly 1700 taels of silver.”
“However, being a nation that values etiquette and modesty, I’ll make a modest proposal,…” Lin Beifan looked up, smiled faintly, “For one Great Xia soldier, I only ask for 1000 taels! This demand isn’t excessive, is it?”
“What? 1000 taels per person? Isn’t that unreasonable?”
The Great Xia delegation was about to have a stroke from anger.
Mr. Wang stood up, his anger evident, “Mr. Lin, 1000 taels for one Great Xia soldier, that’s 60 million taels for 600,000 soldiers! Our Great Xia treasury has an annual income of just over 100 million taels. You’re demanding too much. This is outright robbery. I’m sorry, but I cannot agree.”
The other representatives also stood up in anger.
“Mr. Wang is right. You’re outright robbing us!”
“60 million taels of silver, your demand is way too much!”
“We cannot agree! Our Emperor will never approve of this!”
Lin Beifan calmly took a sip of tea, “Ladies and gentlemen, please calm down. I’m not randomly setting a price. I’m calculating based on the information you’ve provided. It’s well-founded! And I even gave you a discount. For one Great Xia soldier, I’m only asking for 1000 taels. You’re still making a profit of 700 taels!”
“Not only are you ungrateful, but you also have the audacity to accuse us. What kind of logic is this? It’s one thing to be shameless, but not this shameless, don’t you agree?”
The Great Xia delegation was almost on the verge of collapsing.
Accusing us of shamelessness?
Who’s more shameless?
Lin Beifan continued, “Besides that, you also need to compensate for the funds required for my army’s departure, as well as the pension for the fallen Great Wu soldiers! I’m not asking for much. Just casually give me 20 million taels!”
The Great Xia delegation turned pale with anger.
20 million taels?
Is this something they can casually offer?
Adding to the previous 60 million taels, that’s a total of 80 million taels!
It would almost empty their treasury!
Their Emperor would never agree!
And Great Xia would never agree either!
Mr. Wang’s face turned pale, muttering, “You’re asking for an exorbitant sum. How can the negotiations proceed?”
“There wasn’t much to negotiate from the start! Whether you want to give or not is your business. If we can reach an agreement, good. If not, so be it!” Lin Beifan stood up and left, “Think it over, everyone. I’ll be back tomorrow!”
“Wait! There’s still the issue of redeeming the Crown Prince!” someone called out.
“We’ll discuss that after finishing this matter. Let’s talk about your Crown Prince later!” Lin Beifan left after patting his buttocks.
After leaving the negotiation table, Lin Beifan didn’t head to the office. Instead, he came to the Six Doors.
Even before reaching the Six Doors, Guo, who had received advance notice, was already standing at the entrance to welcome him, his face beaming, “Mr. Lin, what brings you here? Please come in!”
A particularly warm welcome, an extra degree of politeness!
You see, Lin Beifan was now a second-ranking official in the court, holding a noble title and being favored by the Empress. He could be considered the most influential figure in the court.
Being able to establish a good relationship with Lin Beifan was something that countless people dreamed of.
As someone experienced in officialdom, Guo naturally knew how to act.
Lin Beifan smiled, “Master Guo, I’m just paying a visit with nothing specific to discuss!”
Upon hearing this, Guo, even more delighted, thought, “It’s good when there’s something to discuss. When you have an issue, you come to me to solve it. When I have an issue, I’ll come to you to solve it. Isn’t this how relationships are built?”
“Mr. Lin, let’s have a private conversation inside.”
After a cup of tea, Lin Beifan became serious, “Master Guo, as you know, I’m currently representing Great Wu and negotiating with the Great Xia delegation. However, the negotiations aren’t going smoothly. So, I’m here to ask for your help!”
“Mr. Lin, please go ahead. I’ll do my utmost to assist you.” Guo’s expression became grave.
“Don’t be nervous; this is a straightforward matter!” Lin Beifan smiled, “I believe the Six Doors have personnel within the Great Xia territory, right?”
“Of course! We have personnel stationed in every country, monitoring the martial world’s movements and the court’s developments to prevent unforeseen situations. Mr. Lin, may I ask why you’re inquiring about this?”
“It’s easy with personnel!” Lin Beifan chuckled, “I’d like to ask the Six Doors to help me vigorously publicize the details of this negotiation. State that Great Xia is unwilling to pay to redeem their surrendered soldiers, that the Great Xia court doesn’t care about the lives of its soldiers, and such a court isn’t worth the loyalty of its people! The bigger the commotion, the better. It will put pressure on the negotiation delegation!”
Upon hearing this, Guo, the Six Doors official, immediately understood what Lin Beifan was planning. He thumped his chest and assured, “Mr. Lin, rest assured, this is a simple matter. You can count on me!”
“Then I’ll have to trouble Mr. Guo.”
After Lin Beifan left, Guo, the Six Doors official, fell into deep thought. Though this was a small matter, it was personally assigned by Lin Beifan. He rarely sought the help of the Six Doors. If he could handle this matter well and satisfy Lin Beifan, the benefits were unimaginable. Thus, he decided to personally oversee this task.
A week quickly passed. The representatives from both sides negotiated for a whole week, yet there was no progress. The Great Xia representatives hoped to reduce the redemption fee, but Lin Beifan refused to budge and stuck to his price. Every round of negotiations ended in disagreement.
Lin Beifan wasn’t anxious at all, but the Great Xia representatives were growing increasingly impatient.
Because they received news from Great Xia that the rumors were spreading wildly, accusing the court of disregarding the lives of the 600,000 surrendered soldiers, and the Great Xia court’s reluctance to pay for their redemption. This had caused unrest among the troops and an unstable situation.
The Great Xia Emperor was furious, sending an urgent letter pressuring them to swiftly resolve the matter. Otherwise, they shouldn’t bother returning.
“It must be Great Wu’s scheme!” one of the representatives said resentfully, “They’re dragging us while spreading rumors to pressure us. It’s despicable!”
“But what can we do? We can’t possibly come up with 80 million taels! Lin Beifan is essentially forcing us into a corner!”
Everyone ground their teeth, wishing they could throw that Lin Beifan, that bastard, out and give him a good beating.
Mr. Wang sighed, “Given the current situation, it seems there’s only one solution.”
“What solution?” They all asked in unison.
“Bribe Lin Beifan with money.”
“What?” Everyone exclaimed in surprise.
Mr. Wang sighed again and said, “Lin Beifan is immensely greedy, insatiable in his desire for money, and values money more than people. If we secretly bribe him, and get him to lower the redemption fee, this matter might work out.”
“But can that work?” someone asked with a worried expression.
“What other options do you have?” Mr. Wang retorted.
Everyone shook their heads helplessly.
“Regardless, we have to give it a try.”
So, on the next evening, they secretly reserved a luxurious restaurant and invited Lin Beifan for a drink.
When the drinks were flowing and the atmosphere was lively, Mr. Wang took out a stack of silver bills, slipped them into Lin Beifan’s embrace, and whispered, “Mr. Lin, could we possibly find a compromise regarding the redemption fee? You are wholeheartedly negotiating the redemption fee for the Great Wu court, but that money belongs to the court and not you! However, if you relax your stance a bit, this money could be yours.”
Lin Beifan smiled and weighed the silver bills in his hand, “If you had done this earlier, wouldn’t the matter have been resolved sooner?”
The Great Xia delegation was dumbfounded!
Turns out, the other party had been waiting here all along!