If you like this series, please give a rating and review at the following link: https://www.novelupdates.com/series/i-am-a-corrupt-official-yet-they-say-i-am-a-loyal-minister/
or you can send manually to paypal account thunderkirin['@']gmail.com
Chapter 313: Wuxi Duke Lures Wolves into the House, Million Strong Army Nearing the Phoenix Mountain Range!
After receiving the rewards and returning, Lin Beifan reunited with his family and friends. Resting for two days, he resumed work, handling the accumulated official matters of the past half month. Days went by as usual, but his focus gradually shifted to the Phoenix Mountain Range.
At this time, the Phoenix Fortress was the stage of a fierce battle between the Wuxi Duke’s army and the imperial forces. Almost every day witnessed small skirmishes, and every three days, a major battle erupted. This had been going on for a month.
The imperial forces firmly held their ground in the Phoenix Mountain Range, not allowing the Wuxi Duke’s army to take a step beyond the Thunder Pond. Both sides suffered heavy casualties; the imperial forces lost 50,000 troops, while the Wuxi Duke’s army suffered even more, reaching a staggering 100,000!
The Wuxi Duke suffered immense losses not just due to the city assaults, but also because of the Slanted Moon Army. Roaming behind the main forces of the Wuxi Duke’s army, they appeared and disappeared like ghosts, causing disruptions and launching surprise attacks. Their hit-and-run tactics took a heavy toll on the Wuxi Duke, putting him in a vulnerable position.
The Wuxi Duke was seething with anger. “These rat soldiers!” He wished he could root out these agile rodents and eliminate them all!
However, he was currently fully committed to the siege, attempting to breach the fortress, leaving him no way to divert his attention to exterminate the Slanted Moon Army. Moreover, they were proving nearly impossible to eliminate.
“Strategist, do you have any good ideas?” the Wuxi Duke asked in frustration.
The strategist, Mr. Fengchu, sighed bitterly. “Your Highness, if there were a way, I would have thought of it long ago. How could it come to this?”
The Wuxi Duke was so infuriated that he smashed the table, exclaiming, “It’s because of these rat soldiers that I’m torn between priorities, vulnerable from all sides! With our full strength, we’re only achieving sixty to seventy percent, which is truly detestable!”
“Yes, Your Highness!” Mr. Fengchu nodded in agreement. “Without these rats, we might have already broken through the fortress and advanced into the heart of the Central Plains!”
“Strategist, how much food do we have left now?” the Wuxi Duke inquired.
Mr. Fengchu cupped his hands and replied, “Reporting to Your Highness, we currently have enough food to last two more months.”
“Two more months!” The Wuxi Duke frowned.
Although the food seemed abundant, the calculation was not that simple. They had been marching and fighting for a month already, yet the fortress remained unconquered. They had lost 100,000 troops, a massive blow to their strength. The more casualties they suffered, the weaker they became.
If a force of 600,000 couldn’t capture the Phoenix Fortress, what hope was there for 500,000 troops?
Or 400,000 troops?
Or 300,000 troops?
Would there be any hope in the future?
It was growing increasingly bleak!
If they couldn’t capture it within two months, this operation would be a failure!
Without food, our own army’s strength will greatly diminish, and the imperial forces will surely take advantage to annihilate us! All the efforts I’ve put in for over 20 years will go to waste, and I’ll never have a chance to sit on that coveted throne in my dreams again!
The more the Wuxi Duke thought about it, the more agitated he became. He stood up and paced back and forth, seemingly pondering a critical issue.
Fengchu, the strategist, puzzledly asked, “Your Highness, what are you…?”
“I’ve made up my mind!” declared the Wuxi Duke, his face darkening. “Open the Qinglong Fortress and let the Dayue Army enter our territory! By uniting the strength of both armies, we can definitely break through the Phoenix Mountain Range and head straight for the Central Plains!”
Fengchu was taken aback and hurriedly advised, “Your Highness, this is a risky move! If you really do this, you will be seen as betraying the world’s righteousness, carrying a stain of infamy that can never be washed away. People will despise you, and your path to the throne will face greater resistance! Moreover, the Dayue Dynasty is ambitious; be cautious, Your Highness!”
“Of course, I understand the consequences of this action!” the Wuxi Duke declared loudly. “But do I have any other choice right now? If I don’t seek the assistance of the Dayue Army, I might be trapped in the Phoenix Mountain Range!”
Fengchu fell silent. “Your Highness…”
“Since the moment I took up arms, I’ve had no way to turn back. Only success is allowed, failure is not! So, let’s break through the fortress and enter the Central Plains first. Otherwise, there’s no foundation to talk about anything!”
The Wuxi Duke patted Fengchu’s shoulder. “Strategist, you’re the person I trust the most. I’ll leave this matter to you. Don’t disappoint me!”
“Yes, Your Highness!” Fengchu acknowledged.
After returning, Fengchu immediately composed a letter and swiftly delivered it to the commander of the Qinglong Fortress. Upon receiving the order, the fortress’s commander opened the long-sealed gates.
The 500,000-strong Dayue Army, already prepared for action, surged into the land of the Wuxi, headed straight for the Phoenix Mountain Range.
News of this event spread rapidly throughout the world, shocking everyone.
“Wuxi Duke actually allowed the Dayue Army to enter his territory?”
“For the sake of his ambition, Wuxi Duke has actually opened the door to invaders! It’s simply unforgivable and goes against our traditions!”
“Wuxi Duke, as a member of the imperial family, not only failed to protect our ancestral lands but also led invaders in. Can you face our forefathers and the people of this land?”
“So unfilial! Extremely unfilial! If the late emperor knew, he would definitely strangle you in the afterlife!”
“Wuxi Duke, I despise you!”
People criticized the Wuxi Duke with harsh words, condemning his actions.
In the Royal Residence of Northern Hebei, an adviser named Zhuge entered the study in a hurry and joyfully exclaimed, “Your Highness, wonderful news!”
The Prince of Northern Hebei put down his brush, stood up with his hands behind his back, and walked out elegantly, smiling. “Advisor, what’s the good news? Quickly tell me!”
Zhuge was excited. “Your Highness, the Wuxi Duke has been unable to capture the Phoenix Fortress, so he actually opened the Qinglong Fortress and invited the 500,000-strong Dayue Army to enter his territory and attack together!”
The Prince of Northern Hebei was taken aback. “Is this true?”
“It’s absolutely true, Your Highness!” Zhuge nodded vigorously.
The Prince of Northern Hebei’s anger flared. “You audacious imperial brother! You’re getting more and more reckless, and your mind is muddled! As a member of the Great Wu imperial family, not only did you fail to protect our ancestral heritage, you even opened the gates for invaders, allowing the Dayue Army to enter. This is utterly unreasonable! Unreasonable, I say! This infuriates me! From now on, I have no such brother!”
Then he looked at Zhuge with dissatisfaction. “Advisor, are you joking with me? How is this a good thing? This is clearly a scandal, a scandal of the Great Wu imperial family!”
“Your Highness, for us, this is indeed good news!”
Zhuge smiled. “Your Highness, think about it. With the combined forces of the Wuxi Duke’s army and the Dayue Army, we’ll have over a million soldiers. This is a massive military force that will undoubtedly cause heavy losses on both sides when they clash with the imperial forces. Isn’t this an opportunity for us?”
The Prince of Northern Hebei nodded slightly. “You’re right, Advisor…”
“Your Highness, also consider this: by letting the wolves into the house, the Wuxi Duke has forsaken righteousness. The Empress hasn’t protected our ancestral heritage, revealing her incompetence. Prince of Southern Jiang has already been eliminated early on. At this point, who else has a chance to inherit the throne?”
The Prince of Northern Hebei pointed to himself. “Perhaps… only I remain.”
“Exactly!” Zhuge clapped his hands excitedly. “Only Your Highness remains! Over the years, Your Highness has shown kindness and virtue, earning widespread praise. You’re seen as a rare wise ruler! When the time comes, a call from Your Highness will surely gather broad support. With you leading the army to suppress dissent, reclaiming the lands, the throne will be within your grasp!”
“Advisor, you’re absolutely right! You’re right, Advisor!” The Prince of Northern Hebei was greatly excited, stumbling over his words. “It’s fate! Even the heavens are helping me! Why doubt the success of our grand undertaking?”
“Your Highness is absolutely right. Even the heavens are on our side. Victory is assured!”
The Prince of Northern Hebei burst into laughter. “Haha…”
Apart from the Prince of Northern Hebei making moves behind the scenes, the surrounding countries of Great Wu were also preparing for action.
As long as the Phoenix Fortress falls, they will take the opportunity to rise up and invade, dividing and conquering Great Wu.
At this moment, the court of the imperial capital was most tense.
The Wuxi Duke’s army and the Dayue Army combined their forces, amassing an army of over a million. This alliance of domestic traitors and external enemies posed a greater threat than the battle at Hulao Pass, seriously endangering the imperial court.
The Empress immediately summoned civil and military officials to discuss countermeasures.
“I won’t go into the details; you should already know! The Wuxi Duke has colluded with external enemies, inviting wolves into our house. A million soldiers are poised near the Phoenix Mountain Range, and the situation is critical. Distinguished officials, what strategies do you propose?”
After a round of discussions, a comprehensive battle plan was quickly formulated. Having faced two major battles in the past year, everyone had gained some experience.
Finally, the Empress called for Lin Beifan: “Minister Lin, the situation in our Great Wu is critical! You’re skilled in warfare, having achieved glorious victories twice in a row. Therefore, this time, I appoint you as the military commander to lead operations in the Phoenix Mountain Range!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Lin Beifan accepted the command. He had long known that he couldn’t escape this fate.
Sighing inwardly, he thought, “Your Royal Highness the Duke, I apologize! Originally, I only wanted your money; I didn’t intend to take your life. But with the decree from the throne, I have no choice!”
Sigh! All I wanted was to be a straightforward corrupt official. Why is it so difficult?
After receiving the imperial decree, Lin Beifan set off immediately. However, he wasn’t in a hurry. The distance from the Qinglong Fortress to the Phoenix Fortress was over 800 miles, quite a distance. The 500,000-strong Dayue Army wouldn’t arrive so quickly.
Moreover, there were old enemies lying in ambush along the way, making the journey perilous.
On the other side, the Slanted Moon Corps also got wind of the news and were elated.
“The Dayue Army has entered the land of the Wuxi Duke. Our chance for revenge has come!”
“Yes, indeed, an opportunity we rarely encounter! During the Dayue’s time, we couldn’t deal with them. But now that they’ve stepped into our territory, whether they’re round or flat, we decide!”
“That’s right, this is heaven assisting us!”
“Guerrilla warfare, positional warfare, and tunnel warfare, let’s greet them first!”
“Let their blood stain the land of the West!”
Princess Ziyue, full of spirit, declared, “Comrades, with the entry of the Dayue Army, our chance for revenge has arrived! We must seize this opportunity to settle old scores, and avenge all grievances! Let’s kill them until they’re thrown into disarray and trembling with fear! Once they arrive, they won’t be able to leave!”
“Yes, Your Highness!” Everyone responded with unity.
The Slanted Moon Army swiftly began their actions, sharpening their weapons in anticipation of the Dayue Army’s arrival.