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Chapter 306: The Venomous Tiger Doesn’t Eat Its Cubs, You’re Even More Venomous!
This sound created a huge ripple in the hearts of the people, shaking their very souls. As long as they worked hard enough, Southern Jiang Prince could live the life he desired! He could have feasts of meat, luxurious clothing, indulgent companionship, and even wear the imperial robe, reigning over all!
And yet, they could only continue eating dirt, drinking sour water, enduring hunger without a decent meal, possibly even heading to the afterlife ahead of time…
The more they thought about it, the more they realized Lin Beifan’s words made sense, and gradually, their hearts began to crumble.
If that’s the case, why should they still strive?
Why should they continue to fight desperately?
They had sacrificed so much, even their lives, just to let Southern Jiang Prince live a better life. Meanwhile, they would continue to suffer, toil, and be miserable?
At that moment, the morale of the Southern Jiang troops plummeted. They no longer had the will to fight!
Southern Jiang Prince panicked and quickly explained, “Soldiers, don’t listen to that bastard Lin Beifan’s nonsense! He’s deliberately sowing discord and trying to divide us! I’ve always treated you all as brothers, with care and concern…”
However, Lin Beifan laughed out loud, “Southern Jiang Prince, who would believe your words? Look at yourself first! You’re fat and well-fed, with a potbelly. You have so much fat on you that if we scraped it off, it would be enough to fuel the entire army’s cooking fires!”
“Now look at your soldiers, your so-called brothers. Each one is as thin as a rail, skin and bones. Is this how you treat your brothers?”
“You’re practically leeching off your own brothers, sucking their blood, eating their flesh, and digging into their bones. You even want to control their souls and make them sacrifice their lives for you… From the inside out, you’ve exploited them completely, wasting nothing!”
“Even tigers don’t eat their cubs, but you’re even more venomous than a tiger!!!”
Lin Beifan’s words echoed in the ears of the Southern Jiang troops, creating one enormous ripple after another. The morale of the army continued to waver, and their spirits continued to dissipate.
Southern Jiang Prince was furious, “Lin Beifan, you bastard, shut up!”
Lin Beifan chuckled, “What’s the matter? You dare to act but not to let others speak? Before you try to refute me, why don’t you hide away that potbelly you’ve been nurturing for three years? It would make your words more believable!”
Southern Jiang Prince was beside himself with anger, “You bastard!”
His words were too venomous, like a blade cutting lives and drawing blood at every turn. In just a few sentences, he had crushed the morale of his entire army.
At this moment, he wished he could rush to the opposite bank and tear Lin Beifan to pieces!
Lin Beifan continued to shout loudly, “Southern Jiang soldiers, I understand very well that you served Southern Jiang Prince to save your lives. But now, you can’t even survive. Why continue sacrificing yourselves for him?”
“Even ants strive to live, and yet you’re willingly marching towards your own destruction! Since that’s the case, why not choose a different path?”
Among the Southern Jiang troops, some stared blankly.
“A different path?”
“Do we… even have another option?”
“Of course there is!” Lin Beifan’s tone softened, “In the end, you are all citizens of Great Wu, all soldiers of our Great Wu. You were simply misled and followed the wrong person!”
“However, our Empress is still willing to welcome you, and our Great Wu is still willing to welcome you!”
“As long as you lay down your weapons, swim across to the other side, bow your heads and admit your mistakes, accepting the authority of our court! I guarantee that you will have a satisfying meal! You might even get to eat meat and drink wine!”
“Our court has always treated soldiers generously! Over these days, you should have seen it for yourselves, no need for me to say much.”
“Moreover, if all of you surrender, there won’t be a need to fight any longer!”
Lin Beifan smiled and continued, “We are all people of Great Wu. How can there be a lasting feud? We can sit down amicably, eat good rice, savor delicious meat, and enjoy fine wine. Then, together, we can defend our homeland. Isn’t that a wonderful prospect?”
The Southern Jiang soldiers were deeply moved by Lin Beifan’s words.
If there’s no way out with Southern Jiang Prince, why not go to the imperial court?
After all, at the end of the day, they were still soldiers of Great Wu, just led astray by the wrong person. As long as they bowed their heads and returned to the court’s allegiance, they wouldn’t be held accountable. The court would definitely welcome them.
At least, they would be able to live!
For the desperate Southern Jiang soldiers, being alive was better than anything else.
Southern Jiang Prince was in a panic, shouting loudly, “Soldiers, please remain calm! The other side is just using deceptive words to confuse you, distorting the truth. Don’t be fooled!”
“So what if we’re being fooled? Staying here means waiting for death, but going there means we can have a meal! I don’t want to die. I want to live!” An old soldier threw down his spear and jumped into the river, swimming towards the opposite bank.
The power of example was immense. More Southern Jiang soldiers followed suit, leaving their weapons behind and entering the river.
“I want to live too. What’s wrong with wanting to live?”
“In the end, I fight and go to war just to put food in my mouth. I follow whoever feeds me! Although I’m a Southern Jiang soldier, fundamentally I’m still a person of Great Wu! Surrendering to Great Wu isn’t shameful!”
“I don’t want to fight anymore. I want to surrender!”
Led by these few Southern Jiang soldiers, many others jumped into the river.
Southern Jiang Prince was both afraid and furious, shouting, “No one is allowed to go! No one is allowed to go! Whoever goes will be dealt with by military law! Stop them for me! Whoever jumps into the river, I want them… killed!”
After a bloody episode, over a hundred Southern Jiang soldiers lost their lives.
They didn’t die at the hands of the imperial court, but rather at the hands of their own people. The sight was chilling.
Covered in blood, Southern Jiang Prince stood by the bank and yelled at the group of warriors, “Guard the river mouth for me! No one is allowed to approach! Whoever comes, kill them!”
“Yes, Your Highness!” the warriors responded.
Lin Beifan smiled slightly, “Southern Jiang Prince, the situation has already turned against you.”
Night fell quickly. Rain continued to drizzle outside, and the Southern Jiang troops remained busy cooking porridge to fill their stomachs. Other soldiers sought shelter under the trees or within tents to avoid the rain.
At this time, a group of soldiers exchanged quick glances, then stood up one after another and walked outside.
A non-commissioned officer asked, “Where are you all going?”
An experienced soldier replied, “We’re going to take a dump!”
“After drinking so much porridge, you still have to go?”
“We won’t have any left if we don’t go now. Do you want to come?”
The non-commissioned officer looked disgusted, “Forget it, you guys go on your own, just don’t get close to Songjiang!”
“Got it, I still value my life!”
They headed in the completely opposite direction of Songjiang, without attracting any attention.
However, when they were out of sight, they made a wide detour and finally arrived at a section of Songjiang’s riverside that was not under surveillance. Then, with utmost caution, they swam across to the opposite bank…
Songjiang was over 30 zhang wide, not particularly long. They quickly reached the other side and headed towards the imperial army camp.
“We are Southern Jiang soldiers, we are here to surrender!”
“I’m freezing and starving right now, please give us some food!”
“Otherwise, we’ll really starve to death!”
This incident alarmed Lin Beifan.
Lin Beifan looked at the group of deserters who had escaped from the opposite side and said with a smile, “You can recognize your mistakes and change your ways. It’s heartwarming to see that you risked your lives to come here. We still have some food left. You should eat first and satisfy your hunger before we talk!”
The Southern Jiang soldiers were ecstatic, “Thank you, sir! Thank you, sir…”
“But there’s one thing I need to remind you of! You are still considered surrendering soldiers, and your status is sensitive. So, you need to follow the arrangements. As long as you’re obedient and sensible, you won’t go hungry!”
They nodded repeatedly, “Understood! We’ll definitely obey!”
Lin Beifan was very satisfied, “Very good! After this battle is over, I’ll reinstate your military status, and you’ll enjoy the same treatment as the imperial army!”
They bowed repeatedly, “Thank you, sir, for your generosity!”
That evening, Lin Beifan met another wave of surrendering Southern Jiang soldiers and treated them just as well.
On the second day, the Southern Jiang army counted their numbers and found that 18 people were missing.
Southern Jiang Prince happened to notice this and asked, “Where are those 18 people? Who’s responsible? Step forward!”
One of the non-commissioned officers nervously stepped forward, “Reporting to Your Highness, I am the officer responsible for Zhang San and the others! They said they went to relieve themselves and haven’t come back yet…”
Another non-commissioned officer, also trembling, stepped forward, “Reporting to Your Highness, I am the officer responsible for Li Si and the others! They also said they went to relieve themselves and haven’t come back…”
“Taking a dump for so long, could they have escaped?” Southern Jiang Prince suppressed his anger.
“It’s unlikely, right?”
Just then, a commander rushed in and whispered something into Southern Jiang Prince’s ear.
Southern Jiang Prince’s face turned pale after hearing it.
He rushed out of the tent and arrived at the riverside, looking across the river.
On the opposite bank, several individuals wearing Southern Jiang armor were under the watchful eyes of a few imperial soldiers, doing heavy lifting work.
They were quickly recognized.
“Isn’t that Zhang San? They’ve already made it to the other side!”
“Isn’t that Li Si? He’s also on the other side!”
“When did they cross over? They slipped away so fast without even inviting me!”
“How did they manage to escape?”
Just then, they finished their work and it was time for breakfast.
They received a steamed bun made from white flour, a bowl of steaming porridge, with some pickled vegetables in it. They ate with relish, finding it aromatic and satisfying.
The Southern Jiang soldiers stared, their mouths watering.
“Damn! Even surrendering soldiers can eat this well!”
“The porridge is so white, and there are pickled vegetables. It must be delicious!”
“And there’s a steamed bun made from white flour. I haven’t had one in so long! Luxurious!”
“They’re eating better than us. I really want to go to the other side!”
Southern Jiang Prince’s temper exploded, and he trembled with anger, “These bastards! They did it on purpose! Deliberately undermining our troops’ morale. Their malice is beyond measure!”