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Chapter 300: I’m Willing to Exchange 200 Jin of Flesh from My Body for a Severe Drought!
Prince of Southern Jiang had traveled a long distance to the imperial capital just to witness how the locust plague would ravage the city, hoping to find some psychological balance. But now, things had taken an unexpected turn with strong winds and rain.
Even if he didn’t initially understand locusts, over the past few days, he had come to realize that locusts were afraid of water, especially rain. With both wind and rain, they definitely wouldn’t be able to fly over.
“Why is this happening? How did it suddenly start raining?” His mind was on the verge of collapse.
In contrast, the commoners within the capital were delighted.
“This rain is so good!”
“Now that it’s raining, the locusts won’t dare to come!”
“Keep raining, don’t stop!”
From the city tower of the capital, the Empress and the civil and military officials smiled at the sight of the gentle rain. Their faces were filled with long-lost smiles.
“What a good rain, a timely rain!”
“With this rain, the locusts won’t be able to come for a while, and our crops are saved!”
“Divine protection for the Great Wu, divine protection for the court!”
The Empress surveyed her officials, soldiers, and commoners, all of whom had bright smiles on their faces, as if they had narrowly escaped disaster.
However, she noticed one person among them—Lin Beifan.
He remained calm and composed, looking at the rain and wind without joy or sorrow.
Her heart stirred, recalling Lin Beifan’s words from before. She smiled and asked, “Minister Lin, you’ve remained calm and composed throughout. Did you foresee this?”
Lin Beifan clasped his hands and said, “Indeed, Your Majesty! I’ve said before that this locust plague could never come to pass.”
Everyone turned their attention to him, curious about how he had discerned this.
“How did you figure it out?” The Empress voiced the question on everyone’s mind.
Lin Beifan smiled and explained, “As I mentioned earlier, our region has experienced favorable weather since the beginning of the year. We’ve had ample rainfall and relatively humid air, which isn’t suitable for locusts to breed. Locusts prefer dry conditions and wouldn’t come here.”
The Empress nodded with approval, “Your explanation makes sense.”
He continued, “Furthermore, I observed the stars at night and knew that rain was coming today. Locusts are afraid of rain, so they wouldn’t dare cross our borders.”
“Is that so?” The Empress squinted her eyes.
She had long heard from Bai Guanyin that since becoming a Grandmaster, Lin Beifan had gained various extraordinary abilities. This was likely one of them. Otherwise, how could the rain be so perfectly timed?
“Minister, I never expected you to understand star observations and predict weather changes. You truly deserve to be my trusted advisor. So, can you tell me now, how long will this rain last? Will it completely block the locust plague?” the Empress inquired again.
Lin Beifan counted on his fingers and said in a mystical tone, “Your Majesty, I estimate this rain will last for about three days. The rainfall won’t be heavy, similar to what we’re experiencing now, and it won’t affect the livelihoods of the commoners. However, it should be enough to completely hinder the locust plague.”
The Empress’s delight knew no bounds as she exclaimed, “Excellent! If it truly lasts three days, I’ll remember your contribution!”
Outside the capital city, Prince of Southern Jiang shook his hefty body, wiped the rain off his face, and gazed at the city bathed in the gentle rain. He spitefully muttered, “Go ahead, revel in your temporary triumph! It’s just a little rain. The wind will soon stop, and so will the rain. That’s when you’ll be crying!”
He stood there hoping for the wind to cease, for the rain to halt, and for the locusts to eventually swarm and wreak havoc upon the city. But as he waited and waited, the rain persisted.
Comforting himself, he thought, “It’s fine! The rain only started not too long ago. It can last a bit longer, but it will eventually stop. Once the rain stops, it will be the time for your city to face disaster!”
He continued to wait, but after the time it took an incense stick to burn, the rain still hadn’t stopped.
“I can’t believe it hasn’t stopped yet! This rain should be over by now. But it’s fine, it’s summer now. This type of rain usually won’t last long. It should stop soon. I’ll just wait a bit longer.”
Waiting for another hour, the rain persisted.
“After a whole hour, why hasn’t it stopped? This rain, when will it end?”
Prince of Southern Jiang stared blankly at the sky, letting the raindrops fall on his face, feeling the coolness. But his heart burned with anger, and he didn’t know how to vent it.
He couldn’t help but think of his own Southern Jiang.
In the past, this kind of rain often fell in his region. The rain wasn’t heavy, and the wind wasn’t strong, but it lasted for a very long time. Under such nourishing rain, his rice paddies would grow lush and there would be a bountiful harvest every year.
But this year was different—somehow, there was severe drought. There had been no rain for three months, rivers had dried up, rice paddies had withered, and it had even led to a terrifying locust plague.
If only they could have a few rains like this in Southern Jiang, how could he end up like this?
As dusk approached, it was time to go back for dinner. Prince of Southern Jiang cast a glance at the overcast sky and then at the distant capital city. He gritted his teeth and muttered, “I refuse to believe that this rain will last the entire day! Tomorrow, I’ll return to enjoy the sight of your despair!”
On the second day, Prince of Southern Jiang returned to the same spot. Bathed in the still-falling drizzle and gazing at the city shrouded in mist and cloud, he was on the verge of tears.
“Why hasn’t it stopped yet? When will it end?”
The officials and soldiers who had been dealing with the locust plague in the distance had already withdrawn, returning to warm themselves. With this rain obstructing them, the locusts simply couldn’t fly over.
However, Prince of Southern Jiang still didn’t give up. He continued to linger.
With his hands clasped together, he fervently prayed to the heavens, “Heavenly Father, please, make this rain stop! I’m willing to trade 200 Jin of my flesh for a blazing sun and drought!”
The movement of the locusts intensified.
Prince of Southern Jiang raised his head in confusion. “What’s happening?”
To his surprise, the dense swarm of locusts suddenly changed direction, flying towards the west and quickly disappearing.
Prince of Southern Jiang was baffled. “Did they just fly away? Where are they going?”
In the capital city, the Empress, civil and military officials, and commoners all observed the locusts shifting direction, and they were overcome with excitement.
“The locust plague has finally passed!”
“They never crossed the border, never damaging our crops and farmlands!”
“This year will surely yield a good harvest!”
“What a fantastic rain, such a wonderful rain!”
Everyone was overjoyed, singing and dancing, as if they had just won a victorious battle.
In reality, for them, they had indeed won a victory. If this locust plague hadn’t been averted, it would have resulted in a significant reduction in food production and triggered a series of problems, causing turmoil in the entire nation, akin to the consequences of a war.
The Empress was overjoyed. “We’ve finally overcome this once-in-a-century locust plague! This year’s harvest is bound to increase. I’ve decided to grant a general amnesty!”
She introduced some tax reduction policies to alleviate the burden of grain taxes for the people.
Everyone was extremely delighted. “Your Majesty, you possess great wisdom!”
“Sir Lin, as you foretold, the rain indeed lasted for three days! Thanks to this timely rain, we safely survived the locust plague. You have accomplished a great feat!” The Empress said with a beaming smile.
“Your Majesty, this is the will of heaven, blessing Your Majesty and blessing the Grand Wu. I dare not take credit!” Lin Beifan humbly replied.
“Sir Lin, you are being too modest. You deserve this recognition! Without you, we might not have peacefully overcome the locust plague and won this battle to protect our food supply!” The Empress said meaningfully.
The Empress rewarded him with a series of precious gifts, causing jealousy among the officials.
“Your Majesty, we have also put in a lot of effort. You can’t just reward Sir Lin!”
“You should consider us too!”
“We old officials have also had it hard!”
Seeing the officials clamoring for attention, the Empress was very generous. “Of course, of course! Each of you will receive 100 taels as a token of my gratitude.”
Civil and military officials: “…”
At the same time, news of the Great Wu court successfully surviving the locust plague spread rapidly throughout the country, astonishing everyone.
“The Great Wu court managed to swiftly overcome the locust plague? How did they do it?”
“They had three days of continuous light rain!”
“The heavens have favored the Great Wu court! Such incredibly good luck!”
“If it weren’t for this timely rain, the capital city would have surely fallen into chaos. How fortunate!”
In the royal palace of Hebei, the Northern Region.
The Prince of Northern Hebei was not in a good mood. He had hoped that the locust plague would bring disaster to the court and allow him to benefit from it. However, it turned out to be a false alarm. He had wasted his emotions and been gloomy for two days for nothing.
The Advisor Zhuge persuaded, “Your Highness, the court did indeed have good luck, but such fortunate events are rare! Although luck is important, we also have a strong army. With tens of thousands of warriors at our disposal, what do we have to fear?”
“Advisor, your words are true,” Prince of Northern Hebei nodded.
In the Western Region, in the royal palace of Wuxi, the Wuxi Duke was similarly unhappy.
He had expected that the locust plague would stir things up at the court and cause them to lose some food. However, there was no threat at all. He had already worked up his enthusiasm, and now he had to look at this?
A mere rain had extinguished his enthusiasm. Was someone intentionally playing games with him?
The military strategist Fengchun advised, “Your Highness, the court’s good fortune is only temporary. Such luck won’t last long. With our current strength, we should wait until after the autumn harvest and then march straight to the capital!”
The Wuxi Duke nodded. “Strategist, you are right! Let’s protect our food and remain unchanging amid change. After the autumn harvest, it will be our time to establish dominance in the Central Plains!”
“You’re absolutely right, Your Highness,” Fengchun smiled as he stroked his beard.
At that moment, a person rushed in hurriedly.
“Your Highness, we’re in trouble! The locusts are flying towards the Wuxi Region!”
The Wuxi Duke turned pale. “What?!”