Joy of Life - Chapter 664 - A Simple Conquering[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:33]
Chapter 664: A Simple Conquering
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Dongyi matter was still complicated and sensitive. Suddenly becoming subjects of the Qing Kingdom was not something everyone could accept. Merchants did harked after personal interest, and prostitutes were heartless. Even people in commerce and the brothels couldn’t wrap their heads around the change immediately. It was not the same as doing business in which one would rather trade with a stranger rather than a friend to better rip them off. When it came to the power of controlling one’s life and death, that power was better off in the hands of a friend. It was also different to brothels taking in clients. Did they want one woman to be tasted by tens of thousands of people? The girls all hoped they would eventually be released from the profession.
For the vassal states Dongyi controlled, there had long been unrest and conflict. The Song Kingdom neighboring Yanjing was better than the others because the nobles of the little country had long been used to the might of the Yanjing army and had no will to resist them. The small countries that did not border the Qing Kingdom began to make plans in secret once they realized they were about to lose the power and wealth they had in name and become an expendable hostage of Jingdou.
These small vassal states were not powerful, so the method they chose was rather sinister and dark. They secretly incited undercurrents and scattered incendiary thoughts among the Dongyi people. In just half a month, the resistance movements had become more powerful and regular.
All of this was within Fan Xian’s expectations. He had never thought peacefully taking over Dongyi would be a small matter that could be achieved quickly. It was the biggest thing to have happened in the world in 20 years.
The Eighth Bureau of the Overwatch Council prepared a large batch of civil officials who were sent in waves into Dongyi, the Sword Hut, and manor of the Master of the City, to begin cooperation and activate wave after wave of campaigning. With the help of the Fourth Bureau’s secret agents in various countries, the spies they bribed, and Dongyi going with the flow, a campaign about peace, avoiding battle, shared glory, and such was vigorously launched.
Dongyi itself had to take action to suppress the resistance in each location to prevent them from becoming uncontrollable mass uprisings. Fan Xian didn’t want the machinery of the Qing Kingdom to enter Dongyi too early. Once blood was spilled, the hatred in the hearts of the Dongyi people would deepen and matters would become difficult to clean up.
Three volunteer armies had already been suppressed. These volunteer armies were just a hundred or so thieves from the mountains and woods. Of the 12 Sword Hut disciples, 10 had been sent by Fan Xian to the mountains and forests of these small countries to suppress them and explain the situation. As for the result, Fan Xian was still waiting to hear back.
Since the situation was unstable, and because of the Dongyi people’s natural resisting natures, some of the powerful merchant groups were also becoming restless. Faced with this situation, Fan Xian directly allied with the second disciple of the Sword Hut, Li Bohua, to double power of Taiping money house and the palace treasury to freeze the actions of those merchants.
At the same time, Fan Xian and the diplomatic group co-authored 17 urgent memorials to Jingdou asking for the Emperor’s decision on related matters. He asked in his secret memorial about the arrangements relating to the hostages of the various vassal states and if matters could be brought down a level to prevent the nobles from panicking and doing something terrifying in their hopelessness.
Assimilating a piece of territory was not as easy as signing a piece of paper. The most important matter was to subdue the hearts and wills of the people. This would take years, decades, or even centuries.
Fan Xian was not in a rush, but he was worried that the Emperor would be in a hurry. His goal was to satisfy the Emperor while making it so the Dongyi people could accept the situation and not have it devolve to the point where the Qing Iron Riders had to come in from Yanjing to settle matters with bloodshed. It was like walking across a tightrope with an abyss on either side. He had to be very careful.
Conquering required campaigns, the buying of people’s hearts, and giving the Dongyi people an excuse to convince themselves. Fan Xian had to work without sleep to deal with everything and endlessly receive the major merchants and powerful figures of Dongyi in his position as a powerful official of the Qing Kingdom and Master of the Sword Hut to give them reassurance.
It was a tiring matter. Fan Xian’s handsome appearance was marred by dark under eye circles. His face also grew pale. He was exhausted. Every time he remembered he was saving hundreds of people’s lives, this sense of dying for a just cause made him alert again.
When it came to conquering, what was most needed was a powerful and invincible martial power. Only with great martial power as a foundation could the Dongyi people be moved, forced, and humiliated into accepting the fate of being swallowed up by the Qing Kingdom.
After the situation in Dongyi calmed slightly, the Qing Iron Riders began to move toward the city. Like dark clouds bearing down on a mountain, they could not be stopped.
This was also the Emperor’s bottom line. If the Qing Kingdom could not station troops in Dongyi, what kind of surrender was that?
It was already the depths of summer. The hot sun blazed wildly in the sky and made all the sorrowful young wives in Dongyi feel like they had been turned into an endlessly panting bundle of pain. The heat completely chased away the cloudy and rainy weather from after the Great Grandmaster died and left only a blaze of light.
The Northern Qi diplomatic group had left long ago. A lot of people found it strange that although it was clear the Northern Qi people felt shocked and angry at the Qing Kingdom swallowing up Dongyi, they did not take any action. They calmly watched everything happen as if they had already accepted their fate.
Other than the Qing diplomatic group and officials of the manor of the Master of Dongyi, the hundreds of people standing outside Dongyi included Fan Xian and the disciples of the Sword Hut that had hurried back from various places.
Fan Xian lowered his head slightly. As he stood on the rolling yellow earth of the official roads, he unconsciously shuffled his feet and did not appear very stern.
He didn’t want to appear stern because he could clearly sense that the expressions of the Dongyi people waiting outside the city were not pretty. They were particularly pale. There was a special fury that was barely suppressed. At such a moment, Fan Xian would not purposely put on a stern appearance to provoke them.
The ground gradually began to tremble. Yun Zhilan, standing by Fan Xian’s side, also began to gradually tremble. Once the first disciple of the Sword Hut, and now the Master of Dongyi, was no longer able to control the gloomy emptiness in his heart, he began to shake.
The expressions of the officials of the manor of the Master of Dongyi were very ugly. The faces of the disciples of the Sword Hut were also very pale. As the trembling sound grew stronger, they revealed their true emotions.
At the end of the road, there was a faint roar of thunder that caused a giant tremor on the ground. The small rocks and sand on the yellow earth began to roll with the shaking.
A rider appeared in their line of sight. Immediately after, thousands of densely packed soldiers swept toward Dongyi from the west. A sense of killing and magnificence came from that direction and enveloped everyone on the outskirt of the city.
The Qing army had arrived.
The black swarm of riders approached Dongyi. They represented the Qing Kingdom’s powerful military power, the Qing Emperor’s unstoppable and powerful will, and conquest.
The army the Qing Kingdom sent to be stationed in Dongyi numbered in the tens of thousands. They had been pulled together from the armies of five border Roads in a month and hurried assembled into an army. They did not look chaotic because this mishmash Qing army that was going to represent the Qing Kingdom in Dongyi were all soldiers from the old Western Expedition Army led by the Great Prince. Their battle power was astounding.
Fan Xian narrowed his eyes and looked at the approaching and intimidating Qing army. Smiling slightly, he tidied his clothes and slowly stepped forward to welcome them. He involuntarily remembered the argument he had with the Emperor in the memorials he sent. Sigu Jian’s final decisions before his death had required a great deal of talking on his part before he managed to persuade the Emperor. The Emperor knew that if he wanted the people of Dongyi to accept the situation, the Great Prince and Fan Xian were indeed two good choices.
There were too few Black Knights, so the Emperor could only choose the Great Prince’s Western Expedition Army. Fan Xian was sure that among this group of stationed troops, not many generals were actually from the Western Expedition Army and the Great Prince was only here to show his face to Dongyi. In the end, he would have to go back. The Emperor would not allow his eldest son to stay long.
Thinking of the Emperor who was far away in Jingdou but remotely controlling Dongyi, Fan Xian’s emotions became complicated.
Unexpectedly, the Emperor had not been angry at him accepting the Sword Hut without an imperial edict. It seemed that he knew what Fan Xian was worried about and used extra urgent mail to send him a message. The message contained the same word as had been written in the box back then.
The Qing Emperor was putting Fan Xian’s heart at ease. Fan Xian couldn’t help but be perplexed. The Emperor’s trust in him truly touched him. But, he knew how cold and heartless the Emperor could be once he turned hostile. So, he didn’t dare feel touched or moved.
The wind and dust rose, moving forward like a twisted dragon and following the road to the city. The riders of the Qing Kingdom gradually increased their speed. Fan Xian involuntarily narrowed his eyes and covered his mouth and nose. He wondered who had given the order for this intimidating display and if it would cause the Dongyi people to develop rebellious sentiments.
He turned his head with dignity to look back and found that, contrary to his expectations, other than the warriors of the Sword Hut who wore expressions of faint anger on their faces, the rest of the officials and nobles from the various vassal states wore expressions of terror. Their faces were white. It seemed they couldn’t summon any intention of resistance.
Tens of thousands of riders approached. The strength was intimidating. They had scared any thoughts of resistance straight out of most of the Dongyi people’s minds.
Looking at this scene, Fan Xian couldn’t help but sigh in his heart. Dongyi was overly lacking in blood-lust. Although this move by the Great Prince was violent and rude, it struck right at their opponent’s weakness. He wondered if this had been something the Emperor ordered before they left.
Dongyi lack of blood-lust was a good thing for Fan Xian. He had never expected that the Northern Qi people would be able to surrender without a battle. Any bloodshed that could be prevented was good.
The sound of hooves was thunderous. They arrived momentarily on the outskirts of Dongyi. The tens of thousands of soldiers wore deep-colored, light armor that gave off a dazzling light under the sun.
The dust gradually settled and revealed the true appearance of the Qing army. The densely packed riders stood outside Dongyi. There was absolute silence. Even the warhorses twisting their heads seemed to have been intimidated by the Qing army’s military achievements and did not shuffle their hooves or snuffle.
Ten thousand cold gazes watched the people welcoming them in front of Dongyi.
The Dongyi officials, nobles, and merchants watched the scene with trembling hearts. They looked at the Qing army’s stern discipline, its air of austereness, excellent equipment, and the aura of confidence and tyranny exuded from their very beings. Everyone couldn’t help but wonder, If the sword saint had not given the order to surrender to the Qing Kingdom before he died, faced with the attack of this Qing army, who knew how many days Dongyi would be able to hold out for… or how many minutes?
Clip-clop, clip-clop. The sound of a solitary horse broke the silence in front of the city gate. The front group of the Qing army split apart. Their commander rode out along with the complicated and magnificent ceremonial weaponry at his side.
The Commander, the Great Prince, was right by the Emperor’s ceremonial weaponry. He wore silver, light armor with a sword at his waist and a long spear at his side. Behind him was a blood-red cloak that snapped and fluttered in the wind.
The Great Prince pulled light on his reigns and escorted the Emperor’s ceremonial weaponry to in front of the crowd. With a calm and complicated gaze, he looked at everyone in front of the city gate. A deafening silence followed.
Yun Zhilan closed his eyes. He was silent and struggled for a long time. His eyes gradually grew wet. He then slowly knelt toward the Emperor’s ceremonial weaponry beside the warhorse.
The Master of Dongyi had knelt, so all of the officials quickly followed and knelt down as well. The nobles of the vassal states also knelt. They all knelt in a dense mass on the ground facing the Qing army, the Qing Emperor, showing their subjugation.
The disciples of the Sword Hut did not kneel. They knew this was a decision that their teacher had no choice but to make before his death. They knew that their eldest disciple brother had already left the Hut and could only kneel in front of the Qing army for the sake of the Dongyi people. They were not officials of Dongyi. They were free people. They were people of the jianghu.
The people of jianghu had their own standards for doing things. They were unrestrained. They stared at the intimidating Qing riders who filled the mountains and valleys without a trace of fear in their eyes. On the contrary, there was boundless rage and blood-lust.
More than half of the ninth-level aces were present. They weren’t afraid of anything.
The Great Prince sat on his horse and glanced at the stubborn disciples of the Sword Hut who refused to lower themselves. As he was preparing to say something, he heard a familiar, bright, but tired and faint voice coming from the side.
“Disciples of the Sword Hut, listen up,” Fan Xian said closing his eyes slightly. “Return to the city to help the manor of the Master of the City maintain the peace.”
This excuse was absurd. Fan Xian sighed to himself. He knew he had made a mistake. He shouldn’t have let the disciples of the Sword Hut come. They were all the best of the best, and each was proud and unyielding. Particularly powerful people like Li Bohua, the leader of the largest money house in the world, and Thirteenth Wang, the warrior most likely to break into the Great Grandmaster realm, how could they possibly bow their heads to the might of one country?
There was indeed not much blood-lust in Dongyi. If there were 10 parts of blood-lust, at least nine resided in the hearts of the Sword Hut’s disciples.
Hearing their leader speak, the disciples of the Sword Hut did not disobey. They knew Sir Fan junior was giving them a way out. There was a moment of impasse. In the end, Li Bohua was old and wise. After a long silence, he sighed. Two hot tears ran down his face silently. Leading his younger disciple brothers, he headed silently into the city and opened up the path into the city.
Thirteenth Wang didn’t leave with them or kneel. He stood coldly by Fan Xian’s side. He looked at the aggressive Qing troops as if he couldn’t see any of them.
The Great Prince glanced at Fan Xian with deep meaning. By his side, Eunuch Dai unrolled the imperial edict in his hands and began to read quietly to the officials and merchants of Dongyi kneeling in front of the ceremonial weaponry.
“I have heard that the master has passed. My grief is inconsolable, but I have also heard that in his wisdom, the master put the people above all. I feel great respect…”
Fan Xian stood by the road and quietly listened to this important edict. He realized that this edict was not like the ones in the past that were written from a formula. It actually sounded like the Emperor’s tone. Furthermore, the grief and respect in his words were not false. As to how the people of Dongyi would regard this Qing Emperor, who had killed Sigu Jian, was a different matter.
This edict was very long. It contained the Emperor’s greetings to the people of Dongyi as well as the importance of a united world for the common people. Each word rang with sincerity.
In the end, the Emperor acknowledged Yun Zhilan’s position as Master of Dongyi and ordered him to find a time to enter the capital to accept the granting of the title.
Kneeling at the very front, Yun Zhilan was not surprised by this order. Although his position as Master of the City had been achieved through negotiation, if he wanted to continue with it, he had to have the Qing Emperor’s personally confer him the title.
He stood up gloomily and accepted the imperial edict with both hands. He then bowed again.
The ceremony continued. It was a complicated and important ceremony, one that involved the conqueror and conquered.
The Great Prince dismounted and approached Fan Xian. He looked at him for a moment then said, “What you did earlier wasn’t good.”
Fan Xian knew that his brother was referring to him having the disciples of the Sword Hut leave. He was silent for a moment and then replied, “I am very tired. I don’t know what else I should have done.”
“The disciples of the Sword Hut must still demonstrate their attitude.” The Great Prince looked at him gently. He was quiet for a moment. He then said sternly, “However, you have done very well already. I think, of everyone under heaven, no one could have done better than you.”
Fan Xian smiled slightly but did not comment. He only said, “The disciples of the Sword Hut will demonstrate their attitude for the Emperor to see.”
He lowered his head and said to Thirteenth Wang by his side, “Thirteenth Wang, you’ll be responsible for the ceremony of settling in the army.”
The long silent Thirteenth Wang abruptly raised his head. He didn’t ask anything and only looked calmly at Fan Xian. His meaning was simple: Why me?
“Because you are a simple person.” Fan Xian gave him a reason he couldn’t refuse. “I have learned one thing from you. If you are simple, the world will be simple to you.”
Under the Great Prince’s slightly confused gaze, Fan Xian patted Thirteenth Wang and said, “I think you also hope that this matter can be simpler.”
The thirteenth disciple of the Sword Hut, Wang Xi, stood in front of the riders. He involuntarily remembered that bright afternoon when Sang Wen had taken him to choose girls. He felt similarly helpless and had a similar headache.
He only now realized that from that afternoon, Fan Xian had already decided to bind their lives together. Concerning this point, the simple Thirteenth Wang thought for a moment and then simply accepted it.