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Chapter 402 Strategist, you’re so charming, I really like you!
At this moment, in the White Elephant Kingdom, due to the departure of 2 million people, there are now only 3 million people left. Those who remained are relatively wealthy and law-abiding citizens. They didn’t cause trouble during this riot, trying to protect themselves.
Now, those rioters have already left, thinking that the turmoil has passed and they can start a better life. They naively believe that if they don’t resist or cause trouble, the king will treat them well.
Some even feel relieved; with the rioters gone, there are fewer people competing for their interests, and they believe they will live better and become wealthier. However, they are ultimately too naive!
At this moment, a group of soldiers, led by a commander, stormed into a wealthy household.
The homeowner was bewildered and then became angry: “What are you doing? You’re breaking into a private residence without cause; it’s illegal, do you know that? Be careful, I’ll report you to the authorities!”
The commander sneered, “If you have the guts, go ahead and report it. This is an order from His Majesty!”
“What? This is an order from His Majesty?” The homeowner felt a growing sense of unease. “What does His Majesty want to do? What valuable items do we have?”
“What does His Majesty want to do?” The commander raised his voice. “Anything valuable, hand it over to me!”
“But, sir, valuable items?” The homeowner lamented, “After going through a fire, there’s nothing valuable left in our house. The only valuable thing is this house!”
“It seems you’re planning not to cooperate. Search their belongings!” The commander ordered.
Subsequently, all 14 soldiers rushed in and conducted a thorough search, not sparing any room or cabinet.
Soon, they found a small box of silver coins. “Take it!” the commander ordered.
The anxious homeowner intervened, “You can’t take that; it’s my mother’s funeral fund, our life savings. If you take it, what will we do?”
“Get out of the way!” A soldier kicked him, and he fell. Then they found two quilts and some warm clothing. “Take them!” the commander ordered again.
The homeowner panicked once more, “You can’t take those; it’s freezing outside. Without these quilts and clothing, my family will freeze to death!”
“Get lost!” Another soldier kicked him, and he fell again. They also found a pot of rice. “Take it!”
The homeowner pleaded desperately, “You really can’t take that; it’s all the rice we have left. If you take it, my family will starve! Please, have some mercy and leave us something to survive!”
“Get lost!” Finally, the commander got annoyed. He drew his large knife, placed it against the homeowner’s neck, and shouted, “If you utter another word, you, your wife, and children will lose your heads!”
“I… ah!” The homeowner looked at his family and gave up struggling.
And this scene repeated itself throughout the White Elephant Kingdom. Officials led the looting, taking away valuable possessions from the common people.
Those who resisted, those who were deemed unworthy, were either thrown into the dungeons or subjected to abuse by the officials and soldiers, resulting in the deaths of many innocent citizens.
The common people who remained in the White Elephant Kingdom couldn’t have imagined that, after thinking the riot had ended, they would welcome a supposed better life. Instead, they were met with dreams shattered as their valuable possessions were looted, and many perished, their homes in ruins. They had survived the ice disaster, only to fall into the hands of a corrupt regime.
Their hearts were filled with anger and regret. “The king is cruel and unjust, treating us like this; it’s an outrage!”
“If only we had joined those who went to the Great Wu earlier!”
“Indeed, they went to the Great Wu and still had food to eat, while we can’t even get a meal!”
“At first, we mocked them for leaving their hometown to beg. Now, we realize they were right, and we were wrong. I’m the real fool! A total fool!”
“Now that those people are gone, who will stand up for us?”
Famine had diminished their wealth, making life extremely difficult.
Meanwhile, across the country, gold, silver, jewels, and wealth had all accumulated in the royal palace.
The White Elephant King looked at the mountain of wealth but furrowed his brow. “Is this all? Far from enough! If we can’t deliver the tribute in full within three months, the Great Wu will be angry and send troops…”
The officials below trembled with fear. “Your Majesty, we have done our best, but we truly can’t find anything more! We just went through a natural disaster…”
The White Elephant King shouted, “If you can’t find it, then let them work for it! In any case, they must gather the tribute within three months, no matter what, or what use are they?”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
So, the forces of the White Elephant Kingdom’s court were on the move once again.
This time, it wasn’t about collecting riches but capturing the common people, forcing them into labor.
Regardless of age or gender, as long as they had the ability to work, they were put to work for seven to eight hours every day, with no alternative.
As for food, having a single meal of coarse grain and bran was considered fortunate, and it was often mixed with mud. Many people perished and starved.
The common people who remained were once again overwhelmed with immense regret. “If only we had gone to the Great Wu! I heard they treat our compatriots there really well. As long as everyone works hard, they ensure enough food. If there’s a bountiful harvest, they even distribute three-tenths of the grain!”
“Yes, I regret it so much now, I wish I had gone too!”
“In the Great Wu, we could still have a decent meal, but here, we can’t even get a single bite!”
“That’s right, in the Great Wu, we could still be treated like humans, but here, we’re worse off than dogs!”
“Let’s all go to the Great Wu!”
So, many of the suffering citizens of the White Elephant Kingdom, unable to bear the hardships, secretly slipped towards the border, heading towards the Great Wu. However, the White Elephant court had already prepared for this, closing the city gates and sealing off all the roads. They stationed heavy troops, making it seem like there was no way out.
“It’s all sealed off? Nowhere to run?”
“Is there really no way out?”
“Are we just going to wait for death?”
“I don’t want this!”
Despair overwhelmed the people of the White Elephant Kingdom. It seemed like they were being driven to their deaths!
Among them, the White Elephant King stood tall at the city gate, loudly declaring, “All of you, go back! If anyone dares to take one step forward, don’t blame me for not being polite!”
“Back! Back! Back…” White Elephant Kingdom’s soldiers, armed with long spears, shouted sternly. In the midst of the crowd, a big man clenched his teeth and said, “Maybe… maybe we should resist too!”
“You dare to resist?” The White Elephant King was infuriated, touching a sore spot.
“You rebellious peasants! If the lesson you’ve learned isn’t enough, I’ll have you all killed without mercy!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
The White Elephant Kingdom’s soldiers moved, and they carried out a brutal massacre of the resisting citizens in a scene of bloody carnage. Afterward, the court emerged victorious, and those who had resisted were reduced to lifeless corpses lying in pools of blood, a horrifying sight.
The White Elephant King, however, wore a stern expression. “In the future, anyone who approaches the city gates will face merciless execution!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
To prevent any further uprisings within the country and to secure his rule, the White Elephant King enforced a brutal regime. Anyone who showed signs of disobedience or rebellion was ruthlessly put down, sparing no one. In such an environment, occasional resistance sprang up in various parts of the White Elephant Kingdom but was quickly suppressed.
The days of the White Elephant Kingdom’s citizens became increasingly difficult. It was a situation of dire straits with no visible hope.
News of the situation in the White Elephant Kingdom quickly spread to the Great Wu, and the local citizens there became aware of it.
“Indeed! Those who didn’t join us in the beginning and still won’t join us now are just selfish!”
“Selfish individuals like them deserve this fate!”
“They thought that by not rebelling, the king would treat them well… too naive! The ones who often hurt you the most are your own people. Sure enough, as soon as we left, they showed their true colors!”
“Thank goodness we came to the Great Wu; otherwise, we would have suffered with them!”
“Yes, we’re lucky to have left quickly!”
While they felt fortunate, they couldn’t help but mourn the fate of the citizens who remained in the White Elephant Kingdom. After all, they were essentially the same people, just struggling to make a living here due to poverty. They would finish their work and eventually return, facing the same circumstances…
Deep sighs filled their hearts.
If only they could stay in the Great Wu forever!
Lin Beifan naturally learned about the situation in the White Elephant Kingdom. “This is a path to destruction! If they don’t deliver in three months, the White Elephant Kingdom will perish, and the Great Wu will expand its territory!” Everything in the White Elephant Kingdom was unfolding according to his plan, which made Lin Beifan very satisfied.
Turning his gaze to the Wuxi region, the 2 million White Elephant laborers were now settled and actively cultivating the land. Everything was orderly, and Lin Beifan thought it was time to return to the capital.
After all, he held the positions of Prime Minister, Supreme Commander of the Army, Prefect of the Capital City, and Head of the Imperial Academy. There were too many responsibilities to tend to, and he couldn’t stay away from the capital for too long. So, Lin Beifan handed over his duties to local officials.
At the same time, he bid farewell to Princess Ziyue, saying, “Princess, I have to go! As you know, I have too many responsibilities behind me. I’m bound to the court and have no choice.”
Princess Ziyue nodded in understanding and said reluctantly, “Strategist, when will you come back?”
“According to the plan, if everything goes smoothly, I will return to the Wuxi in three months. That will be the time for the White Elephant’s incorporation into the Great Wu.”
Princess Ziyue nodded again and said, “Alright, three months from now, I will come to accompany the strategist again. But before you leave, I hope you can fulfill a small request of mine.”
Lin Beifan opened his arms, closed his eyes, and said resolutely, “Princess, go ahead, I can endure it.”
Princess Ziyue chuckled and scolded him, “Strategist, you’re so cheeky! But I really like it!” With that, she pounced on him, and the two embraced tightly.