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Chapter 90 – A loyal subject does not serve two masters, unless both are female!
Lin Beifan led them to the third room.
Pushing the door open, they found many barrels of wine, stacked full to the brim. The aroma of wine wafted strongly, enough to intoxicate them. Lin Beifan boasted once again, “These fine wines are all gifts from the empress! Among them are Hundred Flowers Wine, Palace Jade liquid wine, Bihua tea wine, Supreme Monkey wine, and other rare and valuable wines. One barrel placed outside would be worth a fortune and unattainable for purchase! But I can drink them like water, and even ask the empress for more!”
“I ask you, if I were to pledge allegiance to the Prince of Northern Hebei, could he give me these things?”
“Could he let me drink until I’m satisfied?”
The corners of Mo Rushuang’s and Guo Shaoshuai’s mouths turned even more bitter: “No, he couldn’t!”
Lin Beifan then led them to visit other rooms.
There was a room filled with the most precious delicacies, such as abalone, bird’s nest, and shark fin, another room filled with valuable medicinal herbs like ginseng, lingzhi, and tianqi, and there was a room filled with various antiques and curios…
They were both dumbstruck by the endless wonders of treasures. Goodness, even the prince’s mansion wasn’t this extravagant! It wasn’t even one-tenth of what was here! They felt like they had entered a treasure trove, with precious things strewn everywhere!
If they were to take just one item, it would ensure they would be free from worry about food and clothing for life!
“This is only a small part of it!” Lin Beifan said with pride. “There are many other treasures that couldn’t fit here, so they are temporarily stored in the palace. When I need them, I can just take them out!”
“Are you serious about that?” Both Mo Rushuang and Guo Shaoshuai were scared out of their wits.
“Of course! The empress even wanted to reward me with a mansion just for these treasures, but it would be too much of a hassle to take care of it, so I declined!”
Lin Beifan spread his hands and said, “With such great imperial favor, how can I betray the empress? It’s impossible!”
He asked again, “If it were you, would you be willing to give up all the wealth and glory and do dangerous work that could cost your life?”
Mo Rushuang remained silent, and Guo Shaoshuai shook his head bitterly, “I wouldn’t.”
Lin Beifan asked again, “If it were you, would you be willing to give up your bright future and follow a prince you’ve never met before, always worrying about an uncertain future?”
Guo Shaoshuai shook his head again, “I wouldn’t.”
“Exactly!” Lin Beifan said with a righteous air, “As the saying goes, a loyal subject does not serve two masters unless they are both female rulers! You want me to betray the empress? That’s absolutely impossible; give up on that idea!”
Guo Shaoshuai then asked, “Hmm? Can you serve two female rulers?”
Lin Beifan instantly got annoyed and said, “That’s not the point. Don’t worry about these small details!”
“But, Mr. Lon, chaos is imminent, and what good is all that wealth when you don’t have the strength to protect it? You might even lose your life due to possessing the treasure beforehand and be shown as a traitor! Therefore, it’s better to prepare for a backup plan ahead of time. Otherwise, you will lose everything once your life is gone!” Mo Rushuang spoke with a heavy heart.
Lin Beifan nodded slightly, “You also make some sense.”
Mo Rushuang saw an opportunity and tried to persuade him harder, “During such troubled times, only strength can protect oneself. His Highness the Prince has a kind heart and has enlisted many heroes from the Jianghu! As long as Mr. Lin is willing to serve His Highness, he will undoubtedly send out various top experts to protect you, even I…I’m willing to…”
Mo Rushuang blushed, “I’m willing to hold the sword and protect you personally, and I won’t let any traitors or thieves get close to you!”
Lin Beifan nodded and smiled, “In fact, I do admire the person that His Highness, the Prince of Northern Hebei is! If I have to choose someone to surrender to, he would undoubtedly be my first choice! That’s why I let you visit my treasure house…”
Lin Beifan blinked, “Do you understand what I mean?”
“Huh? What do you mean?” The two of them were confused again.
What did visiting the treasure house have to do with this?
“Such a simple reason, why can’t you understand?” Lin Beifan said annoyed, “I let you visit my treasure house to tell you that the empress gave me so much because of my loyalty. How can the Prince of Northern Hebei expect me to pledge allegiance to him without showing some sincerity? Tell him that if he wants me to surrender to him, he can! But he must show some sincerity!”
Mo Rushuang and Guo Shaoshuai were shocked. In the end, it all came down to benefits!
Their nature as corrupt officials was undoubtedly exposed.
Mo Rushuang said indignantly, “Mr. Lin, serving His Highness, working for the welfare of the people, and establishing peace for future generations is a rare opportunity. Why talk about money?”
Lin Beifan snorted: “Miss Rushuang, your words don’t make any sense. I don’t even know the Prince of Northern Hebei, and I have no emotional connection with him. If not for money, what else should we discuss? Love?”
Guo Shaoshuai stammered, “Sister, what he said makes sense!”
“Shut up!” Mo Roushuang scolded him.
Lin Beifan chuckled leisurely, “Besides, if you want a horse to run fast, you have to let it eat more grass! If I don’t get paid, how can I eat and drink anything? Should I work for him for free? Is there anyone so foolish in this world?”
The faces of Mo Rushuang and Guo Shaoshuai became unnatural.
Lin Beifan was stunned: “Are you two the foolish ones? He hasn’t given you anything and you still stick to him like glue?”
Cough cough… Mo Rushuang and Guo Shaoshuai tried to defend themselves.
Guo Shaoshuai blushed and argued: “Lin Beifan, we are working for the common people. It’s not as vulgar as you think!”
Guo Shaoshuai blushed and argued: “Lin Beifan, we are doing this for the sake of the common people. It’s not as vulgar as you think!” Lin Beifan replied with irritation: “With your intelligence, you would even count the money for the people who sold you!”
“Okay, stop arguing!” Mo Rushuang looked at Lin Beifan with mixed emotions. “What do you want, Mr. Lin? We will report back to the prince!”
Lin Beifan said without hesitation, “Money, I need a lot of money. The more, the better! The amount of loyalty I give is proportional to the amount he pays me. If he gives me more than the empress, I’m willing to exhaust myself for him, even to my death!”
“Mr. Lin, how superficial you are?” Mo Rushuang was a little embarrassed and angry. She felt that Lin Beifan’s glorious image had collapsed in her heart. How could he become so crude and indecisive?
“If you’re not willing to spend money, what kind of master is worth serving?”
Lin Beifan sneered: “Lin Bei Fan sneered: “You should know that I’m risking my life by working for him! Once exposed, I will have nothing, not even my own life. So why not take money? At least I can say I owned something!”
“I can’t make the decision on this matter. I must report to the prince and wait for his decision,” Mo Rushuang said exhaustedly.
“Tell the Prince of Northern Hebei that I can’t resist any temptation!” Lin Beifan exclaimed.
“No money, no deal!”
Mo Roushuang and Guo Shaoshuai went back. They didn’t go back to Northen Hebei but used a special channel to quickly transmit the news back to the Northern Hebei Palace.
The prince opened it and became more and more excited and angry as he read it. He slammed his hand on the nearby table and shattered it.
“This is outrageous! Lin Beifan is a scumbag!”
“Your Highness, what happened? Did you receive a message from Lin Beifan?” Zhuge, senior adviser, asked carefully.
The prince handed over the paper and said angrily, “Look at what Lin Beifan said! He actually asked me for bribes, saying he won’t work without money! This is outrageous! I have been a Vassal King for so many years and have never been treated like this? Lin Beifan doesn’t have a sense of respect! I wish I could go to the capital and get rid of him!”
“Congratulations, Your Highness, this is actually a good thing!” Zhuge smiled.
“Where’s the good?” The prince was confused.
“Your Highness, think about it! Lin Beifan is the favored person of the empress. She trusts him a lot. If he pledges allegiance to you without asking for anything, can you trust his loyalty?”
“This…” The prince hesitated.
“Your Highness, you definitely can’t. This is human nature! That’s why Lin Beifan smartly proposed these conditions! Firstly, to see his status in your mind. The more you give him, the higher your status in his heart, the more pleased he will be.” Zhuge explained.
The prince nodded slightly, “Zhuge, you’re right! Go on!”
“Secondly, it is actually for him to surrender!”
“Surrender?” The prince was puzzled.
“My lord, just think about it. As long as he takes our bribes, regardless of whether he is truly loyal to you or not, the suspicion on him will never be erased. The more he takes, the more dangerous it becomes. Once discovered, it will be a capital offense. So he can only follow us until the end! Isn’t that surrendering?” Zhuge smiled.
“I see!” The prince suddenly realized.
Zhuge said with a bow, “Therefore, Lin Beifan actually wants to sincerely surrender to you, but because he has never met you, he is hesitant in his heart. That’s why he made this request to try you out. If Your Highness doesn’t understand the meaning behind it, you will lose a talented person. And if you give him the money, you will immediately gain a talented person!”
“But he is asking for too much!” The prince said painfully.
“Although he didn’t say anything, allowing Mo Rushuang to participate in his treasure house implies that we cannot offer less than that. If what those two said is not exaggerated, then his wealth is even greater than that of my palace! How can I come up with so much gold and treasures?”
Zhuge also struggled with this, saying, “Indeed, he is asking for a lot. To be honest, if we offer too little, it will seem like we don’t value him enough and appear petty. But if we offer too much and can’t come up with it, then it’s really difficult…”
“Even if I empty my palace, I can’t come up with it!” The prince asked eagerly, “Zhuge, do you have any ideas? Otherwise, should we give up? Finding talented people is rare, but we have no money!”
Zhuge hurriedly said, “My lord, we absolutely cannot give up! Lin Beifan is in the court and is very trusted by the empress. He can play a crucial role at a critical moment! So we must bring him into our fold! Otherwise, if he is trapped by other princes…it will be very detrimental to our big cause!”
The prince’s heart trembled. “You’re right! But what about the money…”
“Your Highness, don’t worry. Let me think of a solution!” Zhuge said with a headache.