Chapter 143 - Letter of Surrender
Chapter 143 - Letter of Surrender
Ten days later, the royal court of the Great Jin Kingdom...
The royal court was filled with a dismal atmosphere. The group of ministers did not say a word. Their gazes were completely focused on the King sitting on the dragon throne.
At the center of the two rows of ministers, an official dressed in yellow robes was reporting in with an unsightly look on his face.
"Your Royal Majesty, the Great Chen Kingdom has already pledged their allegiance to Gu Mansion completely, the entire nation is worshipping the Gu Mansion. More importantly, today, the Chen Army led by Gao Xianzhi, no, it should be called Gu Mansion Army, has entered our Jin Kingdom. This time, he is bearing down menacingly, while commanding the soldiers to four kingdoms all at the same time. After just a brief exchange at the front line, the news of our defeat arrived!" the golden-robed official reported with an ugly look on his face.
"Great Chen Kingdom!? Chen Lianyi has surrendered to Gu Hai just like that!? He didn't resist, even a bit?" The Jin King's face had an equally ugly look as he spoke.
"No, he didn't. We don't know what Gu Hai promised him, but Chen Lianyi is cooperating completely. It seems that Gu Hai has been preparing for this for a long time. The officials are being replaced in an organized manner, as if many of the Chen Kingdom officials had long been arranged by Gu Hai!" the golden robe wearing official reported with a complex look.
"No one is resisting?"
"There are a few. A few Dukes were unwilling to surrender to the Gu Mansion, but after they rose up in revolt, their rebellions were suppressed very soon. With the immortals participating in it, it was a purge with rivers of blood flowing everywhere. There were many in the Chen Kingdom who voiced their opposition, but they were dealt with very quickly. The general trend has already turned about. The Chen Kingdom no longer exists. From now on, it has already turned to Gu Mansion!" the golden-robed official reported respectfully.
"What about the citizens, wasn't there any resistance from their side?"
"Very little, very, very little. Gu Hai is the richest man in the six kingdoms. Not to mention, the Gu Mansion has accumulated quite a good reputation over the past few decades. They have a very good reputation among the common folk. Just last year, the Chen Kingdom was in a great turmoil, the citizens' hearts were bogged down with insecurities. Their approval of Gu Mansion is greater than the Chen Kingdom royal family. Therefore, the common folk are accepting it all rather smoothly!" stated the golden-robed man bitterly.
"Gu Hai sure has big ambitions; he wants to unite five kingdoms with just a mansion!?" King Jin's face turned dismal.
A wry smile appeared on the golden-robed official's face as he explained, "Your Majesty, although Gu Mansion is just a mansion, their influence is no less than that of a kingdom. Just in our country, the Gu Family occupies a leading position in business circles! It's a business kingdom, the sixth kingdom hiding within the five kingdoms. It's just that they have been known as a mansion, that's all!
"More importantly, Gu Hai has now stepped into the world of cultivation. He has three thousand immortals under him. I am afraid, our mortal army...!" The golden-robed official's face turned rather unsightly as he finished.
"Gu Hai is going against everything, he won't be in the air for too long. Hmph, he has three thousand immortals, but so what, my Great Jin Kingdom has the support of the immortal sect, the Ding Long Clan! Other kingdoms also have similar sects and clans supporting them, like the Song Jia Sect and Clear River Sect. The immortal sects will surely be angered by Gu Hai, and very soon, Gu Hai will be completely annihilated!" King Jin said frigidly.
"Reporting to Your Majesty, the Third Prince is requesting to see you!" an anxious voice came from outside the court suddenly.
"Oh? The Third Prince! The Third Prince, who has entered the Ding Long Clan for immortal cultivation, is back?" The group of ministers immediately cheered with joy.
"Granted!" shouted King Jin eagerly.
Very soon, a team of imperial guards carried a stretcher in. Lying on the stretcher was a red-robed man in an extremely sorry state. His legs were laden with bloodstains, and his entire body with scars. His hair was in a mess as well.
"The Third Prince?" Everyone looked at the red-robed prince in surprise. Why was he brought back on a stretcher?
"Son, what happened to you?" King Jin's expression changed as he rose from the dragon throne.
Although the Third Prince wasn't the crown prince, he was more important than the crown prince in King Jin's eyes, for his future prospects were higher than even King Jin's. He could become an immortal! King Jin might be a king, but he was just a mortal with a finite life. After a few decades he would turn into nothing, no more than a handful of loess, how could he compare with an immortal?
"Royal Father, just as I returned, I heard the news from the frontline! I couldn't tarry anymore and came right away!" answered the Third Prince. There was a bitter smile on his face.
"What happened? Who did this to you? Weren't you at the Ding Long Clan?" King Jin fired a series of questions at him, astounded.
"Ding Long Clan!? Ha, it's gone!" said the grief-stricken Third Prince.
"Gone? What do you mean gone? Doesn't your Ding Long Clan has a few thousand disciples, how could they be no more?" King Jin asked, alarmed.
"Gu Hai went to the Ding Long Clan, and almost everyone at the Ding Long Clan is dead, including the Patriarch. Only a few dozen of us survived. Luckily, I survived and escaped!" the Third Prince answered woefully.
"What?" the group of ministers cried out in shock and horror.
"Gu Hai!? How is this possible? Didn't he just start cultivating? How could he go against your Ding Long Clan?" King Jin blurted out in shock.
"Going against my Ding Long Clan is nothing! Royal Father, you might not know, but this time, when Gu Hai returned, he first annihilated the Golden Tong, then destroyed the Clear River Sect, Song Jia Sect, and not too long ago, he destroyed my Ding Long Clan!" the Third Prince reported, downcast.
The group of ministers and King Jin were rendered completely speechless.
He destroyed four immortal sects in succession!? The royal court sank into a deathly silence.
"Impossible, how can Gu Hai be so formidable? Didn't he just become a Xiantian cultivator? Just!" King Jin cried out, disbelief clearly written on his face.
"I heard the Song Jia Sect disciples' death was most miserable. Gu Hai completely wiped out over five thousand disciples alone!" the Third Prince said, agonized.
King Jin and the group of ministers were rendered speechless yet again.
The royal court again sank into a deathly silence...
"Reporting to Your Royal Majesty!" A messenger rushed into the court.
"Reporting to Your Royal Majesty, news just came from the Golden City! The Golden City has fallen, it has been breached by Gao Xianzhi's army already!" The messenger reported yet another bit of shocking news as he knelt on the ground.
Yet again, the group of ministers and King Jin were rendered speechless with this alarming information.
Golden Tong! Clear River Sect! Song Jia Sect! Ding Long Clan! Four major immortal sects have been destroyed by Gu Hai, one after another!? No wonder he wants to unite the world! No wonder he DARES to unite the world! The backer of my Great Jin Kingdom has also been eliminated!?
"Gu Hai… Gu Hai!" King Jin's face turned gloomy as he clenched his fists tightly. For a moment, he felt completely powerless.
Suddenly, sounds of someone beating the drums came from outside the court.
"What's going on?" King Jin turned his gaze to the outside.
Very soon, an imperial guard rushed into the court. "Reporting to Your Royal Majesty, Gu Mansion's Executive Tang Chu requested to see Your Majesty. But when he was stopped, he started beating the Heaven Shaking Drum, requesting to see Your Majesty!"
"Heaven Shaking Drum!? Only when someone among the common folks has suffered an extreme injustice would he or she would go and beat the Heaven Shaking Drum! And no matter how much he or she had suffered, he or she has to strike the drum at least eighty times with the might of a dragon, and only then would his injustice be accepted by the public. The Gu Mansion executive actually decided to beat the Heaven Shaking Drum?" the Third Prince said, astounded.
At this time, no one mentioned whether he beat the drum eighty times or not.
"Send him in!" King Jin decreed in a heavy voice. "No, Vice-minister of Ministry of Rites, you go and welcome him!" King Jin revised his decree right away.
"Yes, Your Royal Majesty!" A minister exited the royal court at once.
An oppressive air filled the court in his wake.
Meanwhile, the Third Prince was carried off to the side. At this moment, his mood was incomparably complex.
Soon, the Vice-minister of Ministry of Rites brought in a white-haired old man. Although the old man had white hair, he looked rather high-spirited. There was an extremely sharp gleam in his eyes. He was also followed by two black-robed men, who looked like they would protect him instantaneously.
"Manager Tang, please!" the Vice-minister of Ministry of Rites said in a very courteous manner.
Manager Tang's lips rose into a slight smile, his eyes flickering with pride and self-satisfaction. Previously, when the Jin Kingdom presided over the Gu Mansion's business, many people used to look at him rather cold-heartedly. The group of ministers here all held him in contempt. Apart from liking his money, all of them were as proud as peacocks.
Today, when the regime was about to change, his identity was about to be transformed, why would Manager Tang feel bad?
Entering the royal court, Manager Tang, instead of paying his respect to King Chen first, rather looked at the two black-robed guards behind him.
"Thank you very much for your help!" Manager Tan said, bending down slightly.
"Manager Tang, we are also under Captain's orders. You don't need to care about us. You can do your own thing!" one of the black-robed men said in a calm and poised manner.
Having heard this, Manager Tang nodded in acknowledgment.
Only now did the group of ministers pay attention to the two guards. Are these two of the three thousand immortals under Gu Hai?
Using immortals to protect a mortal? The group of ministers had a hard time understanding this at first, but were astounded, because just from this scene, they could see Gu Hai's determination.
"Tang Chu, the Gu Mansion's executive stationed at the Jin Kingdom, greets the Great King Jin!" Tang Chu said, bending down slightly.
Manager Tang had used 'greet' and not 'pays his respects'. Apparently, he was already posing as an envoy, and as such, he didn't feel the need to be as humble as the common folk of the Jin Kingdom!
"Manager Tang, did you come here to represent Gu Hai?" King Jin asked in a deep voice.
"Yes, that's what was my Lord's intention!" Manager Tang answered with a smile on his face.
"Your Gu Mansion has violated my borders, and you still have the guts to rush into my royal court!?" King Chen rebuked coldly.
In regards to King Chen's cold remark, Tang Chu wasn't afraid at all. On the contrary, he wore a slight smile on his face.
Tang Chu was the executive responsible for the business of the Jin Kingdom, employing countless people. He had his own prestige. Furthermore, once the Gu Mansion had taken over the Jin Kingdom, he would most likely be put in charge of this place. It was quite likely he might be replacing the King before him. Why would he still dread King Jin?
"King Jin, I didn't come here to argue with you, and more importantly, there is nothing to argue. The Third Prince is already here, presumably, he must have already reported everything!" Tang Chu said as he broke into a smile.
Hearing this, King Chen looked at Manager Tang with an unfriendly gaze.
"King Jin, ministers, you don't need to look at me like that, my Gu Mansion doesn't owe anything to you. On the contrary, it’s you who owe my Gu Mansion far too much!
"From King Jin high up, to the ministers below, don't tell me you have never taken any money from my Gu Mansion?" Manager Tang reminded them as his smile turned colder.
"Hmm?" Hearing this, the group of ministers' eyes started twitching.
"Don't think that your Jin Kingdom has been so stable because of your regime. Over the past few decades, the Jin Kingdom alone has experienced five floods, six droughts, each accompanied by a terrifying plague. When your treasury was empty, who do you think provided relief to the kingdoms, which lead to no unrest? It was my Gu Mansion! Had it not been for my Gu Mansion, your Jin Kingdom would have fallen into a turmoil a long time ago. Do you think you could completely rely upon the immortals of Ding Long Clan? Would they even care about you?" Manager Tang stated, smiling.
"This year, there was a huge drought in the Jin Kingdom, the fields over ten thousand li didn't reap a single grain. If my Gu Mansion isn't providing any relief, how long do you think your treasury could provide the grains? If the citizens don't have anything to eat, they would rise up in arms and overthrow your regime. This is the general trend!" Manager Tang stated in a calm and poised manner.
"Manager Tang, what do you want to say?" King Jin asked frigidly.
"Today, I, on behalf of My Lord, am delivering the Great Jin Kingdom royal family a letter of surrender. I hope that everyone will think about it, and cherish this opportunity, lest the common folks plunge into misery and suffering!" Manager Tang took out a piece of silk cloth.
"Letter of surrender?" King Jin's eyes went wide.
The group of ministers broke into an uproar, looking at Manager Tang with angry eyes, like they could not wait to eat Tang Chu alive.
"The letter of surrender has already been handed to you. Whether to surrender or not, it's your choice. But by just relying on yourself, it's just a matter of when. When the common folk would suffer, your end won't be any different! Also, your neighbor, the Cai Kingdom has already surrendered!" Tang Chu handed over the letter of surrender and retreated a step.
"Great King Jin, ministers, this lowly one will retire first. Everyone can discuss it among yourselves, think about it, and then inform me. You can find me at the Gu Mansion restaurant outside the royal palace!" Tang Chu informed them as a slight smile bloomed on his face.
Having finished, Tang Chu turned about and left the court, followed closely by the two black-robed guards.
Great King Jin's chest rose up and down as he suppressed his anger with difficulty. The group of ministers also broke out into shouts and curses in anger. However, there were some among the swearing ministers who seemed to be absorbed in thought, their eyes flickering with a strange look...