Chapter 21 Book 1: 19.2: The Third Campaign: Killing the Officials' Confidence (2)
Book 1: Chapter 19.2: The Third Campaign: Killing the Officials’ Confidence (2)
Prime Minister Liu showed a bitter expression and said, “The crown prince is the continuation of our nation. We cannot lightly execute him; it would only make matters worse. Back when the crown prince suggested this course of action, Imperial Tutor Pang, you were the first to support him. I thought that you were thinking of the Song Nation. However, it turned out that Imperial Tutor Pang did it for himself. I suppose Imperial Tutor Pang benefited the most from the matter of the citizens turning to banditry, right? You sent out all your servants and subordinates to loot. Simultaneously, you devised strategies and immediately sent your servants to the surrounding cities, getting your old friends to join in the robbery. You, Imperial Tutor Pang, managed to snatch the most wealth. Now that the Song Nation is in chaos, you cannot escape blame!”
A commotion immediately erupted in the hall.
Was Prime Minister Liu falling out with Imperial Tutor Pang?
“You bastard! Prime Minister Liu, was this old man alone in issuing such instructions, and you did not? Which official here did not do that?” Imperial Tutor Pang shouted in anger.
“However, no one here went as overboard as you did. Do you know whom the victims are calling for outside the palace? Their complaints and accusations point to Imperial Tutor Pang, listing all his crimes. The various complaints are very clear and backed with evidence. The citizens want you dead. We can only placate the citizens by executing you. Imperial Tutor Pang, please donate your body to the nation for my Song Nation!” Prime Minister Liu suddenly bowed to Imperial Tutor Pang.
“Imperial Tutor Pang, please donate your body to the nation!” the many officials called out together.
“Bastards! All of you!” Imperial Tutor Pang pointed at everyone, showing an extremely unsightly expression.
As the Song Emperor sat on the throne, his eyelids twitched. He did not know what expression to show as he looked at Imperial Tutor Pang.
“Your Majesty, this old official did instruct my servants to do that. However, this old official was not alone in this. All of the civil and military officials did that. All this is Gu Hai’s scheme!” Imperial Tutor Pang cried out.
“Imperial Tutor Pang, the citizens want you dead. If you do not die, my Song Nation cannot survive. Imperial Tutor Pang, please donate your body to the nation for the sake of my Song Nation!” Prime Minister Liu bowed again.
“Imperial Tutor Pang, please donate your body to the nation!” all the officials called out again, bowing to Imperial Tutor Pang.
“You all! You all!” Imperial Tutor Pang looked in horror at the various officials.
Previously, these officials would protect him and follow him. When he called for support, they would respond with “this official agrees.” He even had several students and old subordinates among them. Now, all of them wanted him to die?
Imperial Tutor Pang suddenly felt dazzled. He seemed to see Gu Hai standing above the hall, clad in armor and pointing a sword at him, with all the officials as Gu Hai’s subordinates. They heeded Gu Hai’s command and forced him to death.
Imperial Tutor Pang immediately felt goosebumps.
The Song Emperor stood up from his throne and walked over to Imperial Tutor Pang. Then, he suddenly bowed to Imperial Tutor Pang and said, “Imperial Tutor, the nation is in danger. I beg Imperial Tutor to do this for the nation and the people.”
Imperial Tutor Pang’s entire body broke out in a cold sweat.
Now, Gu Hai was not just commanding the officials. He was even commanding the Song Emperor, using the Song Emperor to push Imperial Tutor Pang to death.
Imperial Tutor Pang stumbled backward and burst into despairing laughter. “Hahahahahaha!”
“This old official served three generations of Song Emperors, worked hard for the Song Nation for seventy years. I have experienced plenty of storms and solved many difficult problems. I strove to the utmost for the Song Nation, but in the end…” Imperial Tutor Pang said bitterly.
“Imperial Tutor!” The Song Emperor showed a bitter expression.
“Your Majesty, this old official does not blame you. I can only blame Gu Hai for being too horrifying. This old official does not have long to live anyway. I hope my sacrifice will bring fortune to the Song Nation!” Imperial Tutor Pang said bitterly as he removed his official’s hat.
“Imperial Tutor is upright and righteous!” Everyone bowed.
The next day:
The bound imperial tutor arrived at the market entrance. The presiding official read out countless charges against him before the eyes of everyone in Song City.
Everyone in Song City had rushed over to see this mastermind. The citizens’ lost confidence in the Song Nation suddenly showed signs of returning.
“That is Imperial Tutor Pang!”
“Serves him right!”
“It’s all Imperial Tutor Pang’s fault. He caused me to lose everything!”
“I heard that the emperor ordered Imperial Tutor Pang’s home seized and the stolen goods returned!”
“This is great! Long live the emperor!”
As Imperial Tutor Pang knelt on the execution platform, he showed a ferocious expression as he said, “Gu Hai, my son will definitely take revenge for me!”
Blood spurted into the air. As the imperial tutor, he had been below only one man and above everyone else. His students and previous subordinates filled the nation. Despite holding such authority, the emperor executed him at the market entrance to vent the citizens’ anger.
Song City slowly started to recover some life, and the citizens’ hate and resentment diminished significantly.
Standing at the back of the crowd, Gu Hai and Gu Han let out long breaths.
“This is good. Imperial Tutor Pang is dead. Let’s begin, then. This campaign is ending!” Gu Hai said with a trace of excitement.
“Yes!” Gu Han replied excitedly.
Word of Imperial Tutor Pang’s execution quickly spread across the Song Nation.
The various city lords all received this shocking news.
Imperial Tutor Pang had ordered his servants to rob the citizens and had been executed to uphold the nation’s laws.
The main hall of the city lord’s official residence, Lotus City, Song Nation:
When the Lotus City Lord read the news from Song City, he felt stupefied.
“How can this be? Imperial Tutor Pang? How could they execute him for robbing the citizens? He is the imperial tutor!” the Lotus City Lord exclaimed with an unsightly expression.
“Master, we also…” a steward said worriedly.
“What are you afraid of? That Imperial Tutor Pang just went overboard, and the citizens managed to get hold of dirt on him. We did it discreetly. It will be fine!” the Lotus City Lord said with raised eyebrows.
“It’s not good! It’s not good! Master!” A servant ran into the hall.
“What’s wrong?” The Lotus City Lord glared.
That servant immediately took out a piece of paper and said, “Master, it’s not good. I don’t know who did it, but this is being distributed all over Lotus City. This humble servant brought back only one copy!”
The Lotus City Lord snatched the paper and meticulously looked through it. As he read, he broke out in a cold sweat.
“How can this be? These are all the robberies committed under my instructions? How could it have detailed records of who and what were robbed? Even I cannot recall them all; how could this be so detailed? Is this evidence?” the Lotus City Lord exclaimed.
“I don’t know. I have no idea who spread this.” The servant shook his head.
“Could it be Gu Hai? Did he anticipate this long ago, so he sent people to monitor us?” the steward asked worriedly.
“Master, I heard that many people left the city with this list of crimes to make a complaint in the capital!” that steward said.
“What? Make a complaint?” The Lotus City Lord suddenly staggered.
Imperial Tutor Pang held noble status, but he ended up being executed at the market entrance when people provided concrete evidence. Could the Lotus City Lord have a better ending than Imperial Tutor Pang?
“Master, what should we do now? The Chen Nation’s army is also about to arrive!” the steward asked worriedly.
The Lotus City Lord showed an uncertain expression.
“The Song Nation? There is no point in remaining in the Song Nation anymore. Inform all the local officials to come here. We…we will defect to the Chen Nation, surrender to them with Lotus City!” the Lotus City Lord said in a determined tone.
“Ah?!” the other two cried out in surprise.
Chen Liangyi led the army towards the Song Nation’s capital.
At first, he encountered some minor resistance. However, strange things started to happen after that.
Wherever Chen Liangyi’s army arrived, the city gates opened as they approached. Then, the officials in the city welcomed them very enthusiastically. The officials wiped off tears and snot as they cried, complaining as they voiced their thoughts. Their tone contained boundless hatred for the Song Nation and love for the Chen Nation.
The scene looked very touching. These officials cried as they fell to their knees before the Chen Nation’s army. It was like a scene of someone trying to take a master and threatening to commit suicide if the other party did not accept them.
“What is this situation?”
Chen Liangyi appeared confused. Back when Gu Qin told him to lead the troops out, he had been somewhat worried. However, everything he saw after entering the Song Nation overturned everything he knew.
At this moment, Chen Tianshan also appeared confused.
“This is the Song Nation?” Chen Tianshan said, finding this strange.
When they took back the lost territories of the Chen Nation, things were not this exaggerated. Only how long had passed? The various city lords rushed to surrender their cities and their authority to the Chen Nation without the Chen Nation army needing to attack them.
Am I dreaming?
While in a daze, Chen Liangyi and Chen Tianshan carelessly subdued the various territories of the Song Nation. However, how was this subdual? This was simply collecting for free. Even collecting for free would not go so fast. This was being given for free; everyone rushed to shove the territories to the Chen Nation.
Chen Liangyi’s entire worldview got overturned.
Be it the ordinary citizens, the officials, or the soldiers, no one rejected the Chen Nation wherever they went.
What is going on with the Song Nation?
The Chen Nation’s army slowly headed towards Song City.
When the Song Emperor heard the news from the various cities in Song City, he wished that he could commit suicide by smashing his head into a pillar. They had made another muddleheaded decision. He had placed the crown prince under house arrest and executed the imperial tutor—and as a result, the Song Nation rapidly lost its cities.
However, the Song Emperor did not know that the various officials in Song City all felt horrified.
Every official had received an anonymous letter. These letters detailed how they instructed their servants to rob the citizens. These letters were even more detailed than the complaints against Imperial Tutor Pang back then.
The various accusations placed nearly all the officials in despair.
The emperor could execute even Imperial Tutor Pang. In that case, what about us?
The various accusations were like a mountain pressing on every official’s heart. All the officials immediately became frantic, rushing back to their official residences to discuss this matter.
The number of people kneeling outside the palace kept increasing. There were people from the various cities of the Song Nation as well from Song City. Countless ordinary citizens implored the emperor to make a judgment.
At this moment, the Song Emperor was at his wit’s end. He sat in the royal court alone, not knowing what to do.
Just at this moment, Prime Minister Liu led a large number of officials into the hall.
“Prime Minister Liu, you are all here. What should we do with the current situation? I heard that the Chen Nation’s army would reach Song City in less than five days.”
The various officials exchanged looks.
“Your Majesty, sorry for this offense!” Prime Minister Liu said.
“Huh?” The Song Emperor’s expression changed.
“Men, capture the emperor and open the city gates. Then, respectfully invite the Chen Emperor into the city!” Prime Minister Liu commanded.
“What are you doing?! What are you doing?!” The Song Emperor’s expression turned even more sullen.
“Your Majesty, we are left without a choice. We cannot beat Gu Hai, so we have to do this. Your Majesty, please grant us this!” Prime Minister Liu said bitterly.
“Your Majesty, please grant us this!” the many officials said while bowing respectfully.
“You all! You all! Where is your loyalty?! I’m the emperor! The Song Nation’s emperor! How dare you?!” the Song Emperor shouted while glaring.
“Your Majesty’s muddleheaded decision resulted in the loss of the officials’ confidence in the nation. Now, there is no resisting the flow. We have already taken control of Your Majesty’s secret service. Resistance is futile!” Prime Minister Liu said bitterly.
The officials’ confidence in the nation was already dead. Killing the officials’ confidence completed.
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