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Chapter 269: Greedy and Loyal, Skillfully Calculating Every Inch
“However, this money is a bit little, only 500,000 taels!”
Lin Beifan weighed the silver bills in his hand and somewhat disdainfully remarked, “To be honest, it’s been a while since I received such a small sum of money. I’m lacking motivation!”
The Great Xia delegation was dumbfounded once again!
500,000 taels of silver, and he’s complaining it’s too little?
You see, they, as officials, might not earn 500,000 taels of silver in their entire lives!
But then, thinking of Great Wu’s political climate and considering Lin Beifan’s greedy nature, they all understood.
They exchanged glances. Mr. Wang spoke, “Mr. Lin, how much do you want?”
Lin Beifan counter-questioned, “How much do you want to reduce the redemption fee?”
Once again, they exchanged glances. Mr. Wang raised a finger, “Below 1 million taels, is that possible?”
Lin Beifan chuckled coldly, “Do you think it’s possible?”
The Great Xia delegation gave a wry smile; they didn’t think it was possible either.
Mr. Wang clenched his teeth and hesitantly raised a finger, “Below 10 million taels, perhaps?”
Lin Beifan nodded, “That’s more reasonable.”
Mr. Wang respectfully said, “Then I entrust this to Mr. Lin.”
Lin Beifan smiled, “As long as you give me 7 million taels, I’ll reduce the redemption fee to 10 million taels.”
The Great Xia delegation: “What the hell!”
Mr. Wang was astonished, “Mr. Lin, that’s too much you’re asking for. Please understand that I can’t fulfill that!”
“Too much? Not at all!” Lin Beifan shook his head, calmly saying, “You know, I’ve managed to lower the redemption fee from 80 million taels to 10 million taels. That’s a whopping 70 million taels I’ve saved you! I’m only asking for 7 million taels. What’s wrong with that? You’d be spending one unit of money to save nine units. I’m being quite conscientious!”
The Great Xia delegation was furious!
What an shameless extortionist! Did he really save those 70 million taels?
It’s obvious he just inflated the price like a lion’s roar!
And he says he’s conscientious?
Does this big corrupt official even know the meaning of conscience?
He’s completely corrupted!
Even dogs wouldn’t eat that!
“Mr. Lin, you’re asking for too much. We can’t afford it,” Mr. Wang said, suppressing his anger.
Lin Beifan shook his head, “That’s your concern. My conditions are already there. Either pay 80 million taels to the court, or pay 10 million taels to the court, give me 7 million taels, and the rest is off the table.”
“Mr. Lin, aren’t you afraid we’ll report you to the Great Wu Empress, accusing you of corruption and bribery?” someone threatened.
Lin Beifan sneered, “Feel free to report! Do you think Her Majesty believes an invader from an enemy country, or does he believe in me, the loyal and valiant noble who has repeatedly made great contributions to the court?”
The Great Xia delegation was left speechless.
This guy is truly greedy and loyal!
When he should be greedy, he’s extremely greedy!
When he should be loyal, he’s extremely loyal!
He’s meticulously precise, leaving no room for exploitation!
Lin Beifan calmly took a sip of tea, “I was threatened just now, and I’m not pleased. Add another 1 million taels!”
The faces of the Great Xia delegation turned green, “What the hell!”
After finishing his tea, Lin Beifan stood up, “Think it over and find me again! Oh, I forgot to remind you – if this matter isn’t resolved, the issue of the prince won’t be discussed. Farewell!”
Lin Beifan left gracefully, leaving the Great Xia delegation in a mix of red and green faces.
“Esteemed gentlemen, what should we do now?” Mr. Wang’s expression was bitter.
“This Lin Beifan is too greedy! According to what he said, we’d have to pay 18 million taels. The cost is way too high. If we empty our treasury like that, it will undoubtedly be a major blow!”
“But if we don’t give money, this matter won’t end!”
“His Majesty is urging us, and the whole Great Xia nation is watching. What can we do?”
“And if this matter isn’t resolved, we won’t be able to discuss the prince’s matter!”
“The pressure is too much!”
Everyone sighed and cursed that money-grubbing bastard.
“Very well then! Let’s first discuss this with His Majesty and feel out his attitude. If that’s really not feasible, we can contribute our share to make it work.” Mr. Wang clenched his teeth, “We’ll pool our resources.”
People were shocked and horrified, “Mr. Wang, you…”
Mr. Wang let out a sigh, “Gentlemen, every day the prince remains unrescued, there’s another day of danger. The court is in turmoil right now, and the various royal princes are taking advantage of the situation, encroaching upon the prince’s power. Time is running out.”
“If we can’t bring back the prince, our entire East Palace faction will suffer a catastrophic blow! Not only will all our efforts be in vain, but even our lives, and the lives of our clan members, might be at stake. By that time, it will be too late to regret, too late to do anything!”
Everyone nodded with heavy expressions.
Their interests, their clan’s interests, were tightly linked to the prince. When he prospered, they prospered; when he suffered, they suffered!
If their prince couldn’t be brought back, how could they expect to coexist with other princes who ascended the throne?
Power struggles have always been cruel!
To secure their rights, bloodshed is inevitable!
So, they had no choice. They had to follow this path even if it led to ruin!
If they couldn’t save the prince, they were all doomed!
Two days quickly passed.
The Great Xia delegation managed to meet with Lin Beifan once again, handing over the silver notes worth 8 million taels and promising to pay 10 million taels of redemption to the court.
Lin Beifan was quite pleased, “Is this all? Just 18 million taels? You give money, and I release people. Such a simple matter, isn’t it?”
The Great Xia delegation’s eyes twitched as they listened.
Only 18 million taels? Just 18 million taels?
They nearly emptied their own wealth, and coupled with the court’s 12 million taels, it was only then they managed to gather this sum!
“Mr. Lin, the money has been given to you. Do you know what to do next?”
Lin Beifan patted his chest and assured them, “Rest assured, I am a man of my word. Tomorrow, during the early court session, I will report this matter to Her Majesty. The situation at Hulao Pass will definitely be resolved promptly.”
The Great Xia representatives exchanged glances. Mr. Wang spoke loudly, “Alright! Then we entrust this to Mr. Lin. Now, let’s talk about the redemption of the Crown Prince.”
The other delegates became serious. Their main objective for this trip was the redemption of the Crown Prince, Xia Tianqiong.
Lin Beifan shook his head, “You want to redeem Crown Prince Xia Tianqiong? To be frank, this matter is very difficult to accomplish! You must realize, this war was instigated by your Crown Prince. He nearly led to the destruction of our country. He’s a major enemy of our nation. How could we easily release him?”
“Moreover, as long as Xia Tianqiong remains in our hands, you’ll be wary and won’t dare to use force again. Releasing him is like sending the tiger back to the mountain! If you were in our shoes, what would you do?”
The faces of the Great Xia representatives were extremely unsightly.
Although they had already guessed that this matter would be very difficult, they hadn’t expected it to be this tough.
Mr. Wang cupped his hands, “Mr. Lin, we’ll have to trouble you with this matter. As long as we can retrieve the Crown Prince, everything can be negotiated.”
Lin Beifan looked quite pleased, “Really?”
“Of course it’s true!”
Lin Beifan’s smile grew even wider, “As long as you give me 100 million taels of silver, I’m certain I can persuade Her Majesty to release Xia Tianqiong.”
The Great Xia delegation’s jaws dropped, “What the hell!”
100 million taels of silver? How can you even say that with a straight face!
Even if they emptied their national treasury, they couldn’t come up with such a massive amount of silver!
Mr. Wang’s face turned ugly, “Mr. Lin, please don’t joke. We can’t possibly gather 100 million taels of silver. Under the heavens, there isn’t anyone or any country that can.”
Lin Beifan seemed a bit displeased, “Then how much can you offer?”
The Great Xia delegation seemed somewhat indecisive. Mr. Wang cautiously raised a finger, “1 million taels, would that work?”
“It’s acceptable!” Lin Beifan nodded, “When the prince’s life is over, I will definitely hand over his ashes to you, so he can return to his roots and rest in peace.”
The Great Xia representatives were stunned, “What the heck!”
“If you’re in a hurry, I can take action immediately!”
The Great Xia delegation was in disbelief, “Oh my…”
Mr. Wang gritted his teeth, “5 million taels!”
“Alright!” Lin Beifan nodded again, “In 20 years, I will surely return the prince to you.”
The Great Xia group was once again thrown off!
In 20 years?
That’s a very long wait!
Mr. Wang gritted his teeth again, somewhat pleadingly, “Lin Beifan, 10 million taels! We really can’t offer any more. If we do, we won’t have anything left. We’ve already emptied our coffers. There’s no way we can get out even a single tael.”
Finally, Lin Beifan relented, “Fine, I’ll try to persuade Her Majesty. It shouldn’t be a big issue. But remember, this 10 million taels is for me, separate from the court’s redemption sum.”
Mr. Wang and his group were feeling quite distressed, “Thank you, Mr. Lin!”
The next day, after Lin Beifan returned from a quick visit to the palace, he reported, “I have already informed Her Majesty about this matter. After my earnest efforts, Her Majesty has finally agreed to release the prince.”
The Great Xia group was overjoyed, “Really?”
“Of course, why would I deceive you? However, His Majesty demands a redemption of 30 million taels to release the prince.”
“30 million taels!” They actually breathed a sigh of relief, considering it not too much.
At least it was better than that heartless bastard’s demands!
If he opened his mouth, it was either 80 million or 100 million, which had terrified them to no end!
Back and forth, they had already lost around 20 million from their hands, being even worse than a country’s enemy.
Lin Beifan continued, “However, Her Majesty doesn’t want money. She’s interested in goods worth 30 million taels, including food, salt, steel, cotton, and so on!”
The expressions of the Great Xia group grew serious again.
Goods worth 30 million taels were not a small sum!
If they really provided this, their Great Xia would become impoverished, and the country’s operations would be severely affected.
For instance, food shortages might lead to famine, stirring public resentment and causing political unrest.
And without enough food, they wouldn’t even be able to wage a war.
Lin Beifan seemed to see through their thoughts, and he said with a smile, “Don’t worry, you can gather the resources slowly. If it can’t be done in a year, then two years, if not two years, then three. Whenever you manage to gather it all, we will release the prince.”