EIF - Book 04 Chapter 061: Donating Resources
Major Metropolitan City, about fifteen minutes before Gu Hai’s group arrived outside Major Metropolitan City:
Archduke Xi Kang, Mo Yike, Qin Zibai, and Chang Sheng sat in a large palace hall, drinking tea.
“Archduke? Do you really want to put on a display of power before the Qian Nation envoy?” Qin Zibai frowned.
Archduke Xi Kang drank tea, then said, “That’s right. Although His Reverence is in closed-door cultivation, we cannot show weak prestige. The Northern Expedition Army suffered defeats at the frontline. We even lost twelve cities that we had already obtained. While we have reached a compromise with the Qian Nation, we cannot just swallow this frustration. Otherwise, they will think that my Yuan Nation is easy to bully. Furthermore, this is taking place in my Major Metropolitan City. Are we to lower ourselves before them?”
“But…” Qin Zibai smiled bitterly.
Qin Zibai was the one leading the Northern Expedition Army. Suffering many defeats meant that his command of soldiers was wanting. Archduke Xi Kang already gave him a lot of face by not calling him out directly. If Qin Zibai kept objecting, then Archduke Xi Kang would not give him face anymore.
“Archduke, is it really alright for us to do that? We…” Chang Sheng frowned.
Archduke Xi Kang sneered, “The Qian Nation is a heavenly dynasty while we are an imperial dynasty. Although there is a difference in grades, His Reverence can make use of the nation’s power. Unless the Qian Heavenly Emperor comes himself, my Yuan Nation has nothing to fear from them. Furthermore, so what if he comes? Not long ago, His Reverence could hold his own against the Supreme Ascendant and Heavenly Access. With the power of the nation, would His Reverence fear the Qian Heavenly Emperor here? Would the Qian Heavenly Emperor even dare to come here? After all, it is not just my imperial dynasty eyeing the Qian Nation.”
“Huh?” Chang Sheng frowned slightly. He still felt that this was not quite right.
“A fight between nations involves military strength and influence. By suppressing the Qian Nation, this archduke would be building influence for my Yuan Nation. How is that bad?” Archduke Xi Kang said.
“By being so aggressive, Archduke might plunge the Yuan Nation, which just returned to peace, into war again.” Chang Sheng frowned.
“Don’t worry. This archduke knows his limits. I will not do this head-on. I will bolster my Yuan Nation’s influence and make sure that the Qian Nation cannot say anything about it,” Archduke Xi Kang said confidently.
“Not head-on? Ha! Archduke Xi Kang wants to target Gu Hai, right?” Mo Yike said with narrowed eyes between sips of tea.
“Mo Yike? Ha! You are even sharper than your father. No wonder your father sent you over to Ying Province back then. It looks like that was to temper you,” Archduke Xi Kang looked at Mo Yike in surprise.
“Archduke is too polite. I was just judging matters as they stood. Gu Hai is escorting Princess Wanyu. Suppressing Gu Hai means suppressing the Qian Nation envoy. That will bolster the Yuan Nation’s influence, but the Qian Nation cannot say anything about it. Ha! This is a good plan, but won’t the commotion that Archduke will cause be too big?” Mo Yike said indifferently.
“Too big? This archduke wants all the citizens of the city to see the welcome banquet. This is a national matter, a grand occasion taking place outside the imperial court. The citizens would enjoy seeing it. What’s bad about this?” Archduke Xi Kang asked with a smile.
Mo Yike shook his head. “I’m only worried that Archduke’s plan might backfire.”
“Huh?” Archduke Xi Kang raised his eyebrows.
“Archduke thinks that Gu Hai is a soft persimmon that can be pinched at any time? Ha! Many people used to think so too—Duke Lu Yang, Lu An, Ao Shen, Chang Ming, Qin Zibai, Xi Yan, and many more whom I shall not name. However, Archduke should be aware of the results. You think that Gu Hai is not worthy of your attention, but if the results end up different from what you expect, then instead of building influence for the Yuan Nation, you will build Gu Hai’s influence,” Mo Yike said indifferently.
“Hah! Hahaha! Lord Mo, do you think that this archduke’s skill at the calligraphy Dao is not comparable to that of an inexperienced brat like him?” Archduke Xi Kang sneered confidently.
Mo Yike shook his head and said, “This humble official does not dare to say that. How about this? Since Archduke has made up his mind, there is no point in this humble official offering any more advice. So, this humble official will neither participate in the archduke’s plan nor say anything about it. I will only observe.”
“This humble official will not say anything, either. I will only observe,” Chang Sheng and Qin Zibai chorused.
Xi Kang narrowed his eyes slightly as he looked at everyone, feeling upset. However, the three’s stance was clear. They would cooperate but not participate. That was already giving him face. Although he outranked the three, the four clans had their own factions, not fearing each other.
This time, he worked to increase the Yuan Nation’s influence. These three clans were just refusing to participate, not objecting.
“Alright, alright. That is fine. I have already set up the Profound Light Mirror. We just have to wait for the Qian Nation envoy to arrive,” Archduke Xi Kang said.
“I have a report!”
A guard suddenly rushed into the palace hall.
“Reporting to the archduke, two flying ships were discovered to the north of the city. Based on past reports, they should be the Qian Nation envoy’s group!” the guard said urgently.
“They arrived so quickly? Did the surrounding patrols not discover them? How much longer before they arrive?” Duke Xi Kang’s expression changed.
“They will arrive in about fifteen minutes!” that guard said.
“Inform the various officials to head immediately to Five Sacred Mountains Academy! Hurry!” Archduke Xi Kang shouted with a glare.
In Major Metropolitan City:
Suddenly, beams of light soared into the sky all over the city. Then, projections appeared on the white clouds over various parts of the city.
More than a thousand screens showed the same scene in the sky, allowing nearly all the citizens to see it clearly.
This caused a huge commotion among the many citizens of the city. They all raised their heads and looked at the enormous light screens in the sky, which showed the scene at Five Sacred Mountains Academy.
The scene had a large number of Yuan Nation officials standing on a mist-wreathed mountain summit.
“The Profound Light Mirror is activated. Archduke Xi Kang’s words were true? He is going to show all the citizens the process of welcoming the Qian Nation envoy?”
“Look! Look! That’s Archduke Xi Kang. He is leading the officials to Five Sacred Mountains Academy!”
“The scene in the Profound Light Mirror is very clear. There is even sound?”
“Hurry, look! The Qian Nation envoy is here! Just two flying ships? That’s too shabby!”
Using the Profound Light Mirror to make such an event public was a rare occasion.
Many of the citizens put down everything they were doing and looked over out of curiosity.
At this moment, a red-clad woman sat by the window at a restaurant. This was Fairy Waner.
As Fairy Waner looked at the sky, she stared at Gu Hai.
“Why are you here?” Lin Waner appeared conflicted.
Two figures sat in a small courtyard. These were Long Shenwu and Sima Changkong.
There were guards stationed in the surroundings. The two held wine cups as they looked at the scene in the sky.
“Ha! Archduke Xi Kang? He is trying to make things difficult for Princess Wanyu, right?” Long Shenwu narrowed his eyes slightly.
“Princess Wanyu is acting overtly, while we act covertly. Hopefully, we can find the imperial academy’s chancellor,” Sima Changkong said with a smile.
“Archduke Xi Kang already targeted Wanyu and Gu Hai. Ha! I only hope that Gu Hai will not be humiliated too badly,” Long Shenwu said seriously.
Sima Changkong frowned and did not say anything.
In the shown scene:
Gu Hai’s group arrived, and the two sides formally started interacting.
After Archduke Xi Kang met Princess Wanyu, he looked at Gu Hai.
“That is Gu Hai?”
“The vile person written about in ‘The Army Returns on Arriving in the Han Nation’ is him?”
“He looks quite proper, doesn’t he? No, he must be hiding an insidious heart beneath that proper appearance!”
“Hahahaha! Look, that’s the Divine Strategy Battalion’s Li Shenji at the side? To think that he took the initiative to bring up ‘The Army Returns on Arriving in the Han Nation.’ He can’t stand Gu Hai’s vile actions, either?”
“Archduke Xi Kang wants Gu Hai to evaluate the poem? Let’s see what Gu Hai says.”
“Clumsy work? Ptooey! That is just Archduke Xi Kang being humble. When he wrote it, the weather changed, and vast noble spirit appeared. To think this Gu Hai really took it as clumsy work!”
“They are going to welcome them with a grand banquet? Humph! There should not be any need to entertain a vile person like him.”
“The archduke is about to set up the banquet. Hey? Why are there no movements?”
“What do you mean you can’t set one up? Haven’t you been preparing for several days?”
The scene on the screen made the many citizens in the city feel extremely worried. This was especially so for the cultural cultivators who revered Five Sacred Mountains Academy. All of them showed unsightly expressions.
If the archduke could not put up a banquet at this moment, it would be very embarrassing.
Back in the scene:
“It’s true! Those two are glutton spirits! Archduke, there really is nothing left!” Li Gang felt like crying.
Archduke Xi Kang looked at Li Gang coldly. “Why did you not tell me such a major matter?”
“You…you instructed me not to report it, just let them eat as much as they wanted!” Li Gang felt like crying.
Archduke Xi Kang: “…”
All the Yuan Nation’s civil and military officials: “…”
Li Gang actually dropped the ball at this critical juncture, at this most important moment, the banquet?
This completely embarrassed the Yuan Nation officials.
Nearly two hundred million citizens in the city were watching, yet there was no food for the banquet? This would become an international joke.
Mo Yike and Chang Sheng exchanged looks and faint, bitter smiles. They stepped back, no longer bothering about this matter.
Archduke Xi Kang’s expression turned dark. He even felt like killing Li Gang. How could he have expected that his plan would be ruined at this critical juncture? It was just the start, and he already got embarrassed.
On the other hand, Gu Hai’s expression turned slightly cold. Is this something to pick on the Qian Nation envoy’s group? No, that’s not right. This does not benefit them. Furthermore, their expressions seem genuine.
“Never mind. Since the Yuan Nation is too stingy to provide a banquet, how about letting my Qian Nation give everyone a treat?” Gu Hai said.
Archduke Xi Kang’s expression turned stiff as he glared at the sorrowful Li Gang.
Right now, everyone in the city was watching them. If they had to go to the city to buy the ingredients, setting up the banquet would take at least one hour. How could they make it on time? Since Gu Hai offered, Archduke Xi Kang could only nod.
“Men! Coordinate with this Mister Li Gang to set up the banquet!” Gu Hai called out.
“Yes!” answered some men behind.
“Butcher some of the animal spirits in Five Sacred Mountains Academy,” Archduke Xi Kang instructed.
“Archduke, those are the auspicious beasts of my academy, not food!” Li Gang called out.
“Huh?” Archduke Xi Kang glared.
Are we really going to let Gu Hai provide the entire banquet? So what if they are auspicious beasts? If you drop the ball again at this moment, this archduke will kill you.
“Yes, yes. Men! Go capture that cow spirit and sheep spirit. Butcher them for the banquet!” Li Gang immediately called out with a shiver.
Finally, the banquet could proceed.
However, Long Wanyu’s lips curled up. “How stingy! Even though you are the ones treating us to a meal, we still have to donate our resources.”
Archduke Xi Kang’s complexion turned green, then red, then white. However, this scene was being broadcast to the entire city. Two hundred million citizens were watching. He could not get angry now; he could only pretend not to hear her.
While Archduke Xi Kang feigned ignorance, all the citizens in the city clearly heard Long Wanyu complaining under her breath.
The many citizens’ expressions also changed in obvious embarrassment over Archduke Xi Kang’s failure to manage this occasion properly.
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