EIF - Book 03 Chapter 083: People Long for Peace
Silver Moon City, city lord’s official residence:
Gasp! Sima Changkong’s pupils suddenly constricted. “I understand now! What an insidious Gu Hai!”
Prince Shenwu sat at the side with narrowed eyes, gently knocking on the table with his knuckles.
“Indeed. A deep scheme with a simple execution!” Prince Shenwu said.
The two turned their heads to look at a subordinate in front.
“It has been ten days. What is the reaction of everyone in the city?” Prince Shenwu looked at that subordinate.
“Duke Lu Yang’s name is completely cleared. It is not just in Silver Moon City but in all the nearby cities. All the city lords did their best to clear Duke Lu Yang’s name. All of the citizens believe that Duke Lu Yang will not rebel, and the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty’s rumors are just a joke. No one believes them, and no one supports it,” that subordinate said.
“Ha! Hahaha! This is pressuring Duke Lu Yang. Duke Lu Yang must be very anxious now. Gu Hai’s scheme—no, it should be called an overt plot, an overt plot that Duke Lu Yang cannot refuse to walk into—is forcing Duke Lu Yang into a trap? An overt plot? Nonetheless, he made it appear as secretive as a secret scheme. I rarely see this,” Sima Changkong laughed in a deep voice.
“Duke Lu Yang has no choice but to fall into the trap. The Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty’s danger will be resolved soon. Likewise, we will have trouble,” Prince Shenwu said with a frown.
“Indeed. Although there wasn’t much to the execution, we got dragged in as well. This did not just trap Duke Lu Yang; we have to fall into this trap too. We have no other choice,” Sima Changkong sighed.
“I think that the people in Duke Lu Yang’s official residence understand the plot by now. I wonder how chaotic it is over there?” Prince Shenwu smiled.
Duke Lu Yang’s official residence, Foundation Destroying City:
After meeting with Mo Yike, Duke Lu Yang summoned all his advisers, trusted aides, and important generals.
“Duke, this subordinate is incapable. I failed to figure out this plot sooner. Gu Hai’s insidious scheme has forced Duke into such a passive position,” Mo Yike said bitterly.
“Mister Mo, there is no need to blame yourself. Even if you had figured it out early, it would have been useless. There are no gaps in Gu Hai’s plot this time,” Duke Lu Yang said sullenly.
“Huh? What’s wrong? Grandfather, what is wrong with this? Aren’t things good now? Your innocence has been proven. The citizens are mocking the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty; everything is advantageous to us. Those rumors are just a joke,” Lu An said in confusion.
The other advisers frowned in deep thought. After a while, the expressions of some advisers changed dramatically, although some advisers still could not figure out what was wrong.
Mo Yike sighed, “It’s bad. It’s bad because the duke’s name is completely cleared, the rumors are just a joke, and all the citizens are mocking the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty—all of them.”
“Huh? What’s bad about that?” Lu An was still confused.
“If the duke really had no intention of fighting for supremacy, it would indeed be just a joke. The duke’s position would never waver, and he would get the support of the citizens. The Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty would just be a dancing clown, the joke of the world. However, what if the duke does want to fight for supremacy?” Mo Yike said with an unsightly expression.
“Gu Hai used two steps to do this. The first step was to vilify the duke, getting a portion of the citizenry to suspect the duke’s plans. The second step was the deliberate exposure of the foundation rock golems, which cleared the duke’s name. At the same time, that resulted in all the city lords declaring that the rumors were false; the city lords got used by Gu Hai. The city lords said that the duke could not possibly want to fight for supremacy, that it was just an enemy nation creating rumors. All the citizens now paid attention to this matter. The city lords got used by Gu Hai, becoming his mouthpiece. The one hundred city lords became Gu Hai’s accomplices? Using his enemy’s forces as his own? This Gu Hai is terrifying,” Mo Yike said sullenly.
“However, there’s still nothing wrong with that, right?” Lu An remained confused.
Mo Yike took one look at Lu An and could not be bothered to explain further.
One of the advisers at the side said in horror, “No, Young Master An, you are wrong. Although it all looks advantageous to the duke, it hides danger. Do you know the consequences of this?”
“Firstly, Duke Lu Yang’s name is cleared. However, he can never rebel. The citizens already formed a firm opinion. If Duke Lu Yang had separated from the Qian Heavenly Dynasty before this, he would have just been taking back what belonged to him. Ying Province—the Ying Imperial Dynasty—belongs to the duke in the first place. No one would say anything about that. However, if the duke separates now, he will be rebelling. One is a righteous act, and the other is a disgraceful act. One requires a just reason to separate. If one occupies the moral high ground, the citizens will support one even if there is war. However, if one rises in arms without a just reason, the citizens will not support one. Do you think that the two situations are the same?
“Secondly, the citizens have been mocking the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty for the past half a month or so. They see the rumormongers as their opponents; that’s why they mocked and ridiculed the rumormongers. Likewise, the rumormongers’ words are seen as the enemy’s stance. The duke rising in rebellion is a joke, something to be mocked and ridiculed. They are the Qian Heavenly Dynasty’s citizens. Rebellion is something inimical.
“The citizens already view rebellion in a negative light. Do you understand now?
“While the citizens did not want to see a rebellion happen, they previously did not reject the idea. If Duke Lu Yang rebelled, so be it. While they were not willing, they were unconcerned and could not do anything to stop it. However, things are different now. The current consensus is that anyone who rebels should be mocked and ridiculed.
“People long for peace!
“Previously, there was a balance between the duke and the Qian Heavenly Dynasty in the hearts of the citizens. They felt neutral between the two. Now, the citizens’ hearts are slowly leaning towards the Qian Heavenly Dynasty.
“It is not just a small batch of people. With all the city lords making that declaration, the hearts of all the citizens who long for peace will tilt towards the Qian Heavenly Dynasty.”
“The citizens’ hearts?” Lu An gaped in shock.
Mo Yike showed a sullen expression as he said, “He controlled the hearts of all the people in the province without even using a soldier. This Gu Hai is too dangerous. To think that he even controlled the various city lords and soldiers of Ying Province to publicize this for him, putting the duke in an awkward situation!”
“However, what is the point? What can the citizens do?” Lu An still felt confused.
Mo Yike stared at Lu An, rendered speechless by his cluelessness.
One of the advisers on the side smiled bitterly. “Young Master An, the citizens’ opinions are the opinion of heaven. Just think about it: where do a dynasty’s blessings come from? They are formed by providence. What is providence?
“One portion of providence is made up of one hundred twenty-nine thousand six hundred portions of beneficence, one eon of beneficence.
“Indeed. How can a nation without blessings be a nation? Why was it so difficult to attack a small royal dynasty like the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty? It is because the dynasty has vast blessings. As long as the dynasty doesn’t run out of blessings, it will not fall. It has an endless source of blessings; the citizens support the nation. There is meaning to the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty’s existence. If the duke rises in revolt and reestablishes the Ying Imperial Dynasty, the citizens will not buy into that. Without blessings, what imperial dynasty would there be?” an adviser said sullenly.
“Gu Hai is truly ruthless. He has cut out the duke’s blessings,” another adviser said with an unsightly expression.
Mo Yike bowed bitterly to Duke Lu Yang and said, “Duke, we are incapable!”
“Duke, please forgive us!” The group of advisers bowed as well.
Duke Lu Yang took a deep breath and looked to the south.
“It’s Gu Hai?” A cold light flashed in Duke Lu Yang’s eyes.
“It should be. Now, the citizens hope for peace; of course, it is not everyone. However, now that this has happened, if Duke establishes his nation, the effects will be greatly diminished. Initially, if Duke had established his nation before this, you might have been able to obtain enough blessings to start an imperial dynasty; now, you might only have enough for a royal dynasty,” Mo Yike said with a bitter smile.
“Ah? Gu Hai only created a rumor, and the Ying Imperial Dynasty gets degraded to a Ying Royal Dynasty?” Lu An’s expression changed dramatically.
“Yes. Furthermore, Duke needs to take immediate action. If he drags this out and Gu Hai continues to promote this, the hearts of the citizens will sway further from the duke, which would lessen the blessings even further,” Mo Yike said with a bitter smile.
“Indeed. Duke, right now, you can only quickly establish your nation and grasp the blessings you can get now. We will slowly change the citizens’ minds in the future,” another adviser said.
Duke Lu Yang took a deep breath and remained silent for a while.
“Duke, Gu Hai’s overt plot not only decreased our blessings significantly, but more importantly, once Duke establishes his nation, the various cities will turn restless. Duke has taken most of the city lords under control. However, there are still a few holdouts. Once you establish your nation, they will definitely cause trouble. Duke will need to suppress them quickly. Ying Province will be in chaos soon.”
“Indeed. There is also the Qian Heavenly Dynasty. The moment Duke establishes his nation, the Qian Heavenly Dynasty will immediately make a move. The Qian Heavenly Emperor can tolerate a lot of Duke’s actions. However, he will never tolerate rebellion. The Qian Heavenly Dynasty’s armies will come attacking soon.”
The various advisers immediately figured out more problems as they considered Gu Hai’s overt plot.
At the side, Ao Shun took a deep breath and said, “Back then, Long Xiaoyue guessed that Duke aspired to start his own nation. However, she had no proof, so she could not do anything. Huangfu Chaoge also guessed Duke’s ambition to start his own nation. However, he also had no evidence and could not do anything, either. This time, Gu Hai did not need any evidence, yet he managed to force Duke into admitting it. The citizens are the foundation of a nation. If the citizens do not support Duke’s establishment of a nation, the effects would be greatly discounted. Gu Hai’s plan struck straight at the critical points.”
“What should we do now? Should we continue attacking the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty?” Lu An asked, feeling puzzled.
“Inform the frontlines. All soldiers are to retreat. Return to the various cities of Ying Province to prevent any outbreak of chaos,” Duke Lu Yang ordered reluctantly.
“Yes!” the generals answered.
“Everyone, come back to Ying City with me. We will set Ying City as the capital and revive my Ying Imperial Dynasty there,” Duke Lu Yang said.
“Yes. Long live my emperor! May my emperor live for ten thousand years!” The various officers immediately bowed.
Having the officials offer such salutations before one established one’s nation should be an extremely wondrous feeling.
However, Duke Lu Yang could not feel happy about this at all. This was because someone else had forced him into this emperor position—an enemy had done so.
Just thinking about being forced to become an emperor did not feel good.
“Gu Hai, do you think that I will let you off after this? Humph! This duke has prepared for so many years. There is no way you or that Huangfu kid can figure out my preparations.” A murderous light flashed in Duke Lu Yang’s eyes.
In the valley outside Foundation Deity City, Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty:
The Foundation Rock Deity ran over in excitement. “They retreated. Your Majesty, Mister Gu, Duke Lu Yang’s armies have retreated. All of them retreated—a thorough retreat. Hahaha! My Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty’s danger is resolved!”
Gu Hai sat before a Go board, playing Go alone. When he heard the Foundation Rock Deity’s shouts, he turned his head to the north and revealed a cold smile. “Indeed, the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty’s danger is resolved for now. However, Duke Lu Yang’s danger is just beginning. A rebellion? Ha! The Qian Heavenly Dynasty will no longer tolerate him. Now, it is his turn to face enemies on all sides! Humph!”
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