Chapter 143

The Zhenguo Duke’s reply quickly arrived.

It was as Yan Yan had guessed. The Zhenguo Duke truly did have an unusual relationship with Luo Bi Shi. This dated back to when the Zhenguo Duke was battling the southern barbarians.

Luo Bi Shi was commander of a local hundred-troop squad back then. The Zhenguo Duke was the great general dispatched to deal with the southern barbarians. The difference between the two was like heaven and earth.

At that time, the grudge between the southern barbarians and the people of China had been ongoing for a long time. It was seemingly to the point where they couldn’t coexist. Luo Bi Shi was garrisoned in the area and the situation was very tough. They had to always be on guard against extremists within the citizens who would incite people and end up causing a rebellion. The sourthern barbarians were all skilled in martial arts and had the habit of bringing their blades everywhere. If a rebellion happened, the outcome would be unimaginable.

Luo Bi Shi had encountered several such instances. The worst occasion had been orchestrated by the rebel army of the southern barbarians. He almost lost his life on the spot but was saved by the Zhenguo Duke who brought reinforcements.

When the Zhenguo Duke arrived, he wasn’t like many of the generals sent by the court who forcibly used troops to suppress the enemy. Instead, he started meticulously investigating the conflict between the barbarians and the Chinese, and why the usually docile southern barbarians would repeatedly revolt to the extent the court sent troops over.

It wasn’t a mistake to say this was a long-standing grudge between the two peoples.

During the reign of one of the previous emperors, the southern barbarians became part of the Grand Xi. The court at that time had been singing his praises, saying he had both political and military achievements and that he was a wise monarch. This previous emperor was Emperor Xi’s grandfather. The Zhenguo Duke’s punitive expedition against the southern barbarians was during this emperor’s reign.

The southern barbarians had been suppressed, but after they were taken over, the court didn’t establish a plan for the two peoples to live together in harmony. Instead, they swallowed the territory in one gulp and rushed to send over a batch of Chinese people to live on the land that belonged to the southern barbarians.

The southern barbarians were frightened after the battle. Their corpses had been piled into mountains. For the sake of survival, despite being resentful of the Chinese people’s invasion, they still put on a docile appearance.

Just like this, the two different peoples lived together for several decades. The conflict between them also accumulated in the dark bit by bit.

The Chinese disdained the barbarians for not speaking their language, their brutish ways and lack of etiquette. The southern barbarians felt the Chinese were treacherous and cunning. They bullied the honest and sincere southern barbarians for the sake of getting some small benefits. Therefore, they remained separate groups despite living together.

The Chinese especially felt an innate sense of superiority to the barbarians. They felt that since they lost their homes, these barbarians could only attach themselves to the Chinese in order to survive. The local laws were also more or less biased towards the Chinese. For example, if a Chinese hit a barbarian and it was reported to the authorities, the punishment was extremely light. If it were the other way around, the punishment was unimaginably heavy.

This only added to the arrogance of the Chinese, and although the southern barbarians looked humble, they held smoldering fires inside.

Furthermore, the Chinese had undergone Confucian teachings and had a concrete culture. This was completely different from the southern barbarians who only kept to themselves. Gradually, the Chinese occupied a large amount of the land and the barbarians ended up being laborers.

But this wasn’t really the fault of the Chinese. After all, their accomplishments were acquired through their intellect. Of course, there were some bad apples in the bunch. However, the majority didn’t take the initiative to bully the barbarians despite looking down on them. But since there was a blood feud between them, with some treacherous people inciting things behind the scenes, a rebellion finally occurred.

With blood being drawn once, a second and third time naturally happened. This was what resulted in the court sending troops to quell things repeatedly. The barbarians lived within the woods and the mountains. Whenever the troops arrived, those rebels would escape into the wilderness.The troops weren’t familiar with the terrain. Whenever they pursued them, they would eat a huge loss. After several fruitless attempts, the Zhenguo Duke was finally sent over.

The Zhenguo Duke stayed there for almost five years. He shouldered the pressure from the court by himself. He thoroughly investigated the conflict between the peoples and didn’t use any methods to suppress them. Instead, he focused on “comforting” them. He found places for the homeless citizens and also changed the local laws. He ordered people to teach them farming techniques and educate them. He also restrained the Chinese people there and changed the way they treated the barbarians. He told them they were all citizens of the Grand Xi and they should help each other.

This was an extremely arduous task but luckily the Zhenguo Duke accomplished it.

After the barbarians learned to farm, the citizens gradually became prosperous. With the help of the barbarians, the Chinese gradually adapted to the strange wilderness. The climate there was weird, humid and filled with insects. The thing they hated most wasn’t the environment but being bitten by snakes and bugs. Not only was it bitter, it was also life-threatening. This was also the reason troops from the court hadn’t dared pursue the rebels into the wildlerness.

The barbarians were born and raised there and had long since adapted. Their ancestors had passed down methods of dealing with snakes and bugs.

The Chinese and southern barbarians became more and more harmonious. The barbarian rebels who remained hidden in the wilderness gradually could no longer sit still. Everyone came from their parents. None of them hatched from a rock. Some of the rebels were fighting for themselves for others were the remnants of the barbarian king from back then. Even more had been tricked or incited by others, or were truly unable to carry on living before taking up arms.

Their parents were all living in place and their lives were improving. These rebels had mixed in with the crowd and returned home a couple of times. They saw that the great official who had come was truly different from those in the past. With their parents persuading them and their wives and children waiting, these men were gradually swayed. The only issue was that if the rebels were caught, their outcome would probably not be good.

At this crucial moment, the Zhenguo Duke proclaimed that apart from the ringleaders, those who turned over a new leaf would be pardoned.

At first, since the Chinese were crafty, no one dared to believe this decree.

This lasted until one of the men whose mother was sick without anyone to care for her couldn’t endure any longer and turned himself in. After his identity was verified and it was confirmed he wasn’t one of the main conspirators, the officials let him return home.

This only took a brief period of time and the officials didn’t make things difficult for him. It was just a routine questioning.

Once one of them returned safely, the others could no longer sit still. They formed up into groups and turned themselves in. Those who did were allotted land and started a peaceful and industrious life.

Actually most citizens didn’t care who was in charge. All they wanted was shelter and three meals, living together with the whole family.

The Zhenguo Duke lived up to his words and didn’t use troops to suppress the uprising. Apart from the ringleaders, he also didn’t make things difficult for the citizens.

More and more barbarians knew of the Zhenguo Duke. Even those who didn’t really speak the language knew to give him a huge thumbs up, saying that he was a great and kind official.

Towards this, Luo Bi Shi prostrated himself in admiration.

He was an ambitious youth at the time. He had previously wondered how he would handle this matter if he had come with troops to suppress the uprising. After all, the citizens didn’t do anything wrong. The two sides merely had different customs. This was the result of a lack of communication and the circumstances.

Luo Bi Shi had racked his brains but felt this matter was very difficult to solve.

If they weren’t suppressed, it would be hard to explain things to the court. The chaos would only grow worse. If they were suppressed, they might be driven to desperation. He didn’t think that the Zhenguo Duke who was known for his unyielding might would use such a soft and gentle method. Using “comforting” to pacify things and accomplish something many officials before him could not.

Luo Bi Shi was still young and hotblooded. He left his squad on the spot and went to pledge allegiance to the Zhenguo Duke. He was even willing to become a personal guard.

But how could the Zhenguo Duke accept a court-ordered official as his own guard? He was appointed by the court and his majesty. Furthermore, although the education of the barbarians seemed effective initially, the Zhenguo Duke couldn’t possibly remain here forever. If there was another benevolent person here, it would help the civilization of the area.

This was the relationship between Luo Bi Shi and the Zhenguo Duke. To say it was a debt of life was a little exaggerated. After all, the Zhenguo Duke had saved him because of the situation at hand.

The two had only met that one time.

Towards Luo Bi Shi, the Zhenguo Duke’s actions were carved into his heart and affected his future actions. Towards the Zhenguo Duke, after leaving the south he actually didn’t remember this Luo Bi Shi that much. Only after Luo Bi Shi gradually revealed his edge did he remember the hot-blooded little soldier from back then.

Seeing his firm and steady progress, despite the two not really having a relationship, the Zhenguo Duke was also filled with admiration.

Within the Zhenguo Duke’s letter, he merely stated that the two had some prior relationship and didn’t say too much about it. The rest had all been pieced together by Luo Huai Yuan based on the clues and from what had happened back then.

To put it in his words, the Zhenguo Duke, that elder, inadvertently got himself a fan. This little fan had worshipped him for many years, and by now could already be upgraded to a diehard fan.

Of course this was just what Luo Huai Yuan had guessed. It still had to be verified.

After a few more interactions, Luo Huai Yuan pretty much figured out Luo Bi Shi’s thoughts. It was naturally not possible for him to commit men and horses to help Luo Huai Yuan openly. However, due to being influenced by the Zhenguo Duke, he wouldn’t make things difficult for him.

This was to say, he could do what he wanted. As long as he didn’t overstep, Luo Bi Shi would turn a blind eye.

This was all Luo Huai Yuan wanted. He wasn’t hoping to obtain the troops under Luo Bi Shi’s command and rely on the sparse forty-thousand men to invade the capital.

In this sort of place, it wasn’t as simple as it seemed to ascend the throne. You needed more than military might and wealth. You also needed the conditions to be right. Nothing could be lacking. You also had to have righteousnous and propriety behind you. Otherwise, those scholars would drown you in their spit. As for those sitting on the sidelines, they would naturally help get rid of the “evil tyrant” and come duke it out with you.

The reason the Jin Prince could succeed in his past life was due to him having a good mom. Luo Huai Yuan didn’t have a good mom. He could only remain obediently in place, watching the situation and prodding things secretly.

Luckily, it was still too early to be going all out.

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