Chapter 302

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Chapter 302: Wuxi Duke and Prince of Southern Jiang Plot Rebellion, Lin Beifan Reappointed as Supervisor!

The Wuxi Duke was filled with despair! This grain was his hope; he had been waiting for the autumn harvest to raise an army and seize control of the Central Plains! But now, the grain was gone, leaving him with no way to wage war. He couldn’t possibly fight anymore!

Even if he were to raise an army now, it wouldn’t be of any use. His grain reserves wouldn’t last for more than two months! He had to break through the Fenghuang Mountain Range within those two months, advance into the heartland of the Central Plains, to secure enough grain.

However, the imperial court had heavily fortified all the important passes through the Fenghuang Mountain Range. Getting his troops through there was as difficult as ascending to the heavens. According to his calculations, even at any cost, breaking through the Fenghuang Mountain Range would take 3 to 4 months. By that time, his troops would have starved to death.

Furthermore, during the course of the battle, he also had to be wary of the Slanted Moon Army’s sneak attacks. They had grown in numbers and required vigilance.

“Could it be… I’m about to lose?” The Wuxi Duke’s face was filled with loss and despair.

He had worked hard for half of his life, finally building up this massive foundation, amassing a million troops, and ambitiously establishing his own empire. He was on the cusp of realizing his goal—entering the capital, donning the imperial robes, and ascending the throne. But now, his enemies hadn’t harmed a single hair on their heads, and he was already crumbling!

This feeling of despair was simply too much!

Previously, he had no hope, which was fine, but now he was given hope only to have it snatched away in the blink of an eye! This feeling was the most painful and cruel!

“No! I haven’t lost yet!” The Wuxi Duke pulled out a dragon bone that he always carried with him and said, “Strategist, immediately contact Dayue. I need more grain! Once we have enough grain, we’ll raise our troops and march into the heartland of the Central Plains!”

Fengchun looked at the Prince, who had made up his mind, and with a serious expression, he cupped his fist and said, “Yes, Your Highness!”

In the Southern Jiang region, within the royal palace, the Prince of Southern Jiang was also standing at the edge of a precipice.

The Southern Jiang economy had completely collapsed, and with no grain left, they could only fight desperately.

If they didn’t fight now, they would be finished.

“In five days, we’ll raise our troops and march into the capital!” Facing his advisor, the Prince of Southern Jiang declared.

Wang Fugui was greatly shocked. “But Your Highness, we don’t have enough grain to wage this war!”

“Who said we don’t?” The Prince of Southern Jiang exclaimed loudly, “Even though we lack grain, we can buy it from Great Yan!”

Wang Fugui hesitated and delicately said, “But Your Highness, Great Yan is our enemy. Would they be willing to sell?”

In other words, they wouldn’t sell us grain!

“Money and riches they don’t want, but how about the priceless Dragon Bone? Would they want that?” The Prince of Southern Jiang smirked and carefully took out the Dragon Bone that he had treasured, a trace of reluctance in his gaze. This was an unparalleled treasure, his hope for becoming an immortal! He had nearly emptied his coffers to obtain this Dragon Bone. However, he was well aware that treasures favor the virtuous. Without power, he couldn’t protect the Dragon Bone. Instead of that, he might as well use it to exchange for grain, an opportunity to fight desperately.

If he succeeded, there would still be a chance to obtain the Dragon Bone in the future. If he failed, then it was all over, and there would be no need to worry anymore.

“Yes, Your Highness! We’ll arrange that immediately!” Wang Fugui and the others responded.

“Wait!” The Prince of Southern Jiang called out.

“Your Highness, is there something else?”

“First, contact Lin Beifan for me. That guy is crafty; he definitely still has Dragon Bone!”

“Your Highness, are you suggesting…”

“I’m suggesting that I use all of my money and treasures to exchange for Dragon Bone, and then use the Dragon Bone to get grain! This time…” The Prince of Southern Jiang’s gaze turned fierce and wild, “If we don’t succeed, we’ll die honorably!”

“Yes, Your Highness!” The group echoed.

Not long after, Lin Beifan received more than five million taels’ worth of gold, silver, and jewels from the Prince of Southern Jiang.

Then, with teary eyes and an unwilling heart, he handed over two taels of the Dragon Bone he had kept.

“Dragon Bone is truly a wonderful thing! In these two months, I haven’t even chipped its surface, and it has already earned me tens of millions of taels! Moreover, it will continue to bring in money endlessly…” Lin Beifan was very pleased, believing that creating the astonishing scam of Dragon Bone was his most brilliant decision!

“The Wuxi Duke is at the end of his rope, and so is the Prince of Southern Jiang. A civil war is about to break out prematurely! It seems I must make some preparations!” Lin Beifan went to the government office and issued a few orders.

Not only Lin Beifan but also the imperial court recognized the situation.

In the court, the Empress directly asked, “Having experienced the locust plague, the Wuxi Duke has no grain, and the Prince of Southern Jiang has no grain. My two uncles are both at their wits’ end and will undoubtedly fight back. Honorable ministers, what strategies do you have?”

“Reporting to Your Majesty, the two kings are indeed at their wits’ end. Apart from the path of rebellion, there’s no other way forward! As for the Wuxi Duke, we have natural defenses to rely on. As long as we hold the Fenghuang Mountain Range, the Wuxi Duke won’t be able to step into the Central Plains!”

“Furthermore, the Wuxi Duke faces the constant threat of the Dayue Dynasty to the west and the rebellious uprising from the internal Rat Army. With internal and external troubles, he is currently too preoccupied to pose a significant threat!”

“I’m more concerned that the Wuxi Duke might betray his ancestors and collude with the Dayue Dynasty!”

Sitting on the dragon throne, the Empress chuckled coldly. They had already formed an alliance long ago!

“Additionally, I’m worried that the Rat Army might make peace with the Wuxi Duke and join forces against our court! I’m even more afraid that the three major powers will unite… while the possibility is low, we must remain vigilant!”

The Empress secretly smiled in her heart; there was no need to worry about their cooperation.

Because the Rat Army and Dayue Dynasty harbored deep-seated enmity, they were sworn enemies, and cooperation was simply impossible. The Rat Army would undoubtedly resist if they made a move.

Thinking this, the Empress couldn’t help but look at Lin Beifan, who was idly sitting by, fishing.

It was him, the one who had secretly planted a pawn back then, and now he played such a pivotal role.

He truly was my most cherished loyal subject!

“The Wuxi Duke has natural defenses to rely on, and internal and external troubles, so there’s no immediate threat from him. What I’m most concerned about is the Prince of Southern Jiang! He has nothing left, and rebellion seems his only option. The terrain between Southern Jiang and the capital is flat with well-developed waterways, and there are no natural defenses. Therefore, we must prepare early, mobilize our forces, and deploy our troops.”

“The Prince of Northern Hebei in the far north is ambitious and might cause trouble; we must remain cautious.”

“Furthermore, the countries around us are eyeing our Central Plains, and we must be on our guard!”

Each minister shared their thoughts, and the Empress nodded.

In summary:

The Wuxi Duke will definitely rebel, but as long as we hold the Fenghuang Mountain Range, there’s no immediate danger.

The Prince of Southern Jiang will also rebel. The terrain between Southern Jiang and the capital is open and dangerous for warfare, so we must prepare early, mobilize our troops, and deploy our forces.

The Prince of Northern Hebei might exploit the situation, so we need to be vigilant.

The surrounding countries might also take advantage, and we must be on guard.

“Lin Beifan, what are your insights?” The Empress asked.

Lin Beifan calmly cupped his hands, “Reporting to Your Majesty, just as the ministers have said, as long as we hold the Fenghuang Mountain Range, the Wuxi Duke poses no immediate threat. The Prince of Northern Hebei might cause trouble, and the surrounding countries might also exploit the situation. However, they are all opportunistic and indecisive, like reeds swaying in the wind. As long as we stabilize the situation, they won’t dare to act recklessly!”

“Therefore, our main concern is now the Prince of Southern Jiang and his forces. As long as we stabilize the Southern Jiang situation, everything else will be stable. It won’t be a problem!”

The Empress nodded, “Continue.”

“Between Southern Jiang and the capital, there might not be natural defenses, but there’s still the Song River! The Song River is over 30 zhang wide and has an average depth of six zhang, so it can be used as a makeshift natural barrier!”

“If we station troops there, it won’t be so easy for the Prince of Southern Jiang to cross!”

The Empress nodded once again, “Well said, continue!”

“Secondly, in this battle, our main strategy should be to delay and avoid unnecessary sacrifices. Southern Jiang has no grain, but we do. As long as we hold onto Song River, the longer we drag out the time, the more advantageous it will be for us. The Prince of Southern Jiang will eventually collapse under his own pressure.”

“Very well!” The Empress agreed.

“Thirdly, our immediate priority is to evacuate the civilians, relocating all the residents near Southern Jiang to this side of Song River to prevent them from becoming bargaining chips for the Prince of Southern Jiang. All wealth and provisions should also be moved, and anything that can’t be taken should be destroyed.”

“Good point!”

Continuing, Lin Beifan proposed several more suggestions.

The Empress was extremely satisfied, smiling at Lin Beifan, “Sir, it seems you are indeed far-sighted and skilled in military strategy. Just as they say, one can’t serve two masters; I’ll entrust this matter to you. I hereby appoint you as the Military Supervisor, with the authority to wield the Imperial Seal and the Shangfang Sword, responsible for the military affairs of Southern Jiang.”

Lin Beifan was taken aback, “Am I going to war again?”

The officials were also bewildered, “Him again?”

“Well, practice makes perfect!” The Empress said with a smile, “Before, you defended Hulao Pass, captured the Crown Prince of Great Xia, and defeated the Great Xia Dynasty. Since you’ve already defeated Great Xia, dealing with the Prince of Southern Jiang should be a piece of cake.”

Lin Beifan tried to make excuses, “Your Majesty, the affairs of the capital are quite busy…”

The Empress shook her head, “Don’t lie to me! The affairs of the capital are already running smoothly, with officials each carrying out their duties. Yet you, the Prefect of the Capital, often find ways to shirk responsibilities and cozy up to respectable ladies!”

Lin Beifan: “…”

Lin Beifan struggled, “Your Majesty, this is absolutely not true! Don’t listen to baseless rumors!”

The Empress chuckled, “What about the physician Li Yuxin?”

Lin Beifan: “…”

“The beautiful female bodyguard by your side, Mo Rushuang, isn’t that right?”

Lin Beifan: “…”

“And that enchantress named Ziyue?”

Lin Beifan: “…”

Lin Beifan felt panicked; how did the Empress know so much? Could she have specifically investigated me?

All the things I did in secret…

Observing Lin Beifan’s changing expression, the Empress let out a sigh, saying, “Alright, dear Sir, let’s put personal affairs aside for now. This matter will be entrusted to you! I have great confidence in you!”

Following that, the Empress issued a royal decree. She bestowed upon Lin Beifan the title of Military Supervisor, granting him the Shangfang Sword and the Imperial Seal, and assigning him the responsibility of overseeing the military affairs in Southern Jiang.

After receiving the decree, Lin Beifan felt quite sad and distressed, muttering, “Your Highness the Prince, it’s not that I’m intentionally opposing you, but I find it difficult to fulfill your orders! Her Majesty is too cunning, making us fight against each other! Under the nine springs, I hope you won’t blame me!”

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